Friday, November 9, 2012

I've been doing some research into the Battle of Hungry Hill because of the recent news of the battle site's discovery.  That battle and the whole of the Rogue River War of 1855-1856 are indicative of the terrible treatment Native Americans received at the hands of settlers and the US Federal Government.  My research continues.

However, one interesting side note is the discovery of the involvement of August V. Kautz.  Kautz had a very illustrious career in the Army serving in the Mexican War, the Civil War and in the Arizona Department.  As a Union Cavalry officer, his actions earned him a brevet promotion to Major General, and he even served on the nine man military commission created to try the conspirators involved in Lincoln’s assassination.

Kautz was a lieutenant during the Rogue River War and his name is found as a witness on the November 11, 1854 treaty whereby the Rogue River bands of Indians ceded their lands to the United States.  He was also wounded during the fighting of the Rogue River War.  After the war, he was vocal about the execution of an Indian leader associated with the fighting arguing that as a prisoner of war, he should not have been executed for his actions.  Kautz even printed two issues of a newspaper to argue his point publicly.

Kautz was a prolific writer and is known among US Civil War re-enactors for his books The Company Clerk (1863), Customs of Service for Non-commissioned Officers and Soldiers (1864), and Customs of Service for Officers (1866).  They are used as resources in determining proper conduct among Army members during the US Civil War.

He was actually the subject of a scandalous court martial but his crime seems to have been being the one vocal Army voice against US politicians who seemed to be running an “Indian Ring” designed to use federal Indian offices to take extreme financial advantage of Native Americans forced onto reservations.  Kautz was considered soft on the Apaches and too sympathetic to Native Americans.   Eventually he was acquitted, served the remainder of his days well and is now buried in the Arlington national Cemetery.  

August V. Kautz

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