Who Killed Captain Nick Beuter?
Researched by Byrce Benedict
page 13 of the story linked below is this line: “The air of the
West was not conducive to humility. The men would do any necessary thing, and do
it well, but so far as flourishes, frills and petty discipline went, they would
have none of it. The Cap- tain of one Company in our Regiment lost his life by
reason of the in- justice of his acts. He was a brilliant officer, and was
started on the ladder of promotion, but he was toppled off by some one who had
nursed his wrath till it was too hot to bear the Captain's success.
This suggests the captain was killed by one of his men. I looked in the AG report for a captain being so killed and found Nick Benter of company C; by going to your page re the 12th I see the name is actually Beuter. The AG report says he was assassinated at Little Rock on April 2, a Miami county history says by bushwhackers.
The 2d paragraph of the letter below sheds some light. Well you judge for yourself.
Interesting Letter from Lieut. Hubbell to Mr. B. Snyder of this City.
Head Quarters, 12th Reg’t K. V.,
Little Rock , Ark. , May 4th, 1864.
SIR: Your letter of March 27th was received on the 3rd inst., it found me in tolerable good health considering the hard marches and exposures we have been through. We left Fort Smith on March 23rd, 1864, and started for Arkadelphia, and there join Gen. Steele. Everything went along as well as could be expect in the wilderness and mountains and swamps--you can judge how heavy loads gets along. I thought I had seen mountains before, but I was mistaken. We crossed one ten mile up, and we had a gay time. We saw no rebels while we were together.
When we were in camp on Saline creek, Saline county, Capt. Beuter was killed. He was A. A. A. G. on Col. Adams’ staff, who was commanding a Brigade, Captain had got his work done and came to the camp of the 12th Regiment (headquarters of the Brigade and our Regiment was about five hundred yards apart) after he had been around and saw the officers he came to our tent, and there we had a social chat and passed time off first rate, and at 9 o’clock Captain left for Brigade headquarters, when about half way we heard the report of a gun, three shots were fired, we thought nothing of that for Lt. Col. Hayes gave orders to kill hogs for rations was getting scarce, everything was quiet in camp after that, the next morning Isaac Ricketts of company C, Forage master for the out-fit, came to my tent before day and told me there was a dead man in the road and he thought it was Capt. Beuter, but could not tell for it was dark. I got up and started for the place, and I found it was Capt. Beuter. I had him taken to camp and put in the tent, and report to Col. Adams. He was robbed of his money and Revolvers, his pockets was turned inside out, his hat was also gone. He was shot through the heart. We put him in an ambulance and took him with us that day, we camped on the south fork of Saline Creek, and there we left the remains of poor Captain. He was buried on a hill in a very nice place, sloping each way, covered with pine trees. He was buried with military honors. Capt. Beuter was more than an ordinary man. He had a good and noble heart; was well posted in military affairs, and the best officer in the 12th Regiment. We miss him very much.
We did not go to Arkadelphia but keep South about 4 miles and came up with Steel’s forces on the Little Missouri river . General Steel had been fighting the rebels for several days--marching along and fighting at the same time. After we crossed the River we stopped over one day and Steel went on and when six miles from our camp, at what is called Prairie de Ann, he engaged the rebels again. The next day our Division came up--soon after we had come up Col. Hayes ordered Company C to support the 3rd Illinois Battery which was stationed in the rear. Of [next two sentences undecipherable] crossed the prairie the next day and camped in the timber. At 10 o’clock the next day we were attacked in the rear. We had everything packed up and loaded to start at moments notice; we were ordered in line and started on the double-quick and with a big hoop. The 6th and 14th Kansas Cavalry were fighting when we came up, our batteries were playing a lively tune and the 2d Arkansas and 18th Iowa was driving them back. The rebels tried to flank us on the right, but the 12th and the 2nd colored prevented that. Our skirmishers had a round with them, but they fell back so fast we could not get a chance to give them a dose of pills. We left the field at sundown and marched all night--dark, rainy and muddy--we had some awful roads to pass over--wagons and mules were left along side of the road look like a breaking up of a hard winter. We learned that the rebels loss was 75 killed and wounded. We lost 4 killed and 7 wounded. Well, after a time we landed at Camden on the Washataw river; we captured a boat with sixteen hundred bushels of corn. We were glad to have a chance to rest and get our affairs straight once more; we camped about two miles from town on a flat near the creek, but we did not stay more than six or eight days before we were ordered up in town to take possession of one of the fortifications.--The town was well fortified. While we were at Camden Gen. Steel lost 200 wagons and mules attached, they were sent out to forage and was surrounded by four thousand rebels; the train was guarded by the 1st Negro and 18th Iowa and a part of the 6th, 2nd and 14th Kansas . The darkies cut their way through but lost about one hundred killed and wounded. The 18th Iowa lost some and another train of 200 wagons was taken in on there way to Pine Bluffs and three Regiment of Infantry the 29th Wisconsin , 77th Ohio and an Indiana regiment. After we had got settled down in our new camp and got things in good shape and expected to remain all summer, the first thing we knew was an order to march by force marches for some place and where we did not know, but could give a good guess. We were ordered to burn off all surplus clothing, camp and garrison equipage and ordinance stores, and the number of pounds to each company was weighed out, which was 212 lbs. We started out at dark and march all night and all the next day--hot weather and not much to eat come near playing us out--we continued on until we got to Saline river. It commenced raining at 11 o’clock and rained all the afternoon and all night, after dark we were ordered back 3/4 of a mile to guard the rear train, which were trying to cross on the Pontoon bridge[;] we laid down in the mud and water in line of battle all night; the next morning we were ordered back near the bridge there we waited until 11 o’clock when we went back to the rear again. The Rebel had commenced their work of getting another train; they had been fighting all the morning with Steel’s Division, finally, the old 12th went in to see about it, in the meantime the 2nd colored, Col. Crawford, had taken a battery from the rebels. Well, we went in and got our hands full the first fire. Col. Hayes was mortally wounded in the leg above the knee and he had to have his leg taken off. Our regiment was without a commander for a while. We drove the rebels back and changed our base and got everything all ready for them--it was in the woods and mud and water knee deep, finally, they came back in force on our left, the ball open and we went in and such musketry firing was never heard before. There was three regiments of us and we stood up and give them fits, and after we had been fighting a while I was struck with a spent ball in the side and had to leave the field. We had two wounded Corp. Sheldon and Corp. Stansbrough. Sheldon was brought off the field, but Stransbrough fell in the rebels hand and also Louis Barnard and Samuel Jackson, they were trying to get Stransbrough across the bridge before they cut it loose. I think they will come out all right for Dr. Stuckslager our surgeon was taken the same time and he took Barnard and Jackson and tied white cloths around their arms and took them for hospital attendance. Sheldon is in the hospital at this place and is doing well, he got a flesh wound in the hip. Stransbrough was wounded above the knee and broke a bone, I fear he will have to have his leg amputated. George Ellis, 1st Lieut. of “I” Co. was killed--he was a son in-law of Capt. Pardee of your city.
Our loss in the 12th was 42 killed and wounded and missing. It was a severe battle on both sides, the rebels loss must have been heavy. The rebel force was fifteen thousand strong, we did not have seven thousand at any time and we did not use artillery at all, in fact we could not get it in the timber for the mud was so deep. It was a perfect roar of musketry for two hours and fifteen minutes. Gen. Thayer said it was the heaviest musketry firing he ever heard; the cavalry heard it for ten miles. The next morning we were cut down on transportation--in the first we had two wagons to a regiment but after the fight it was one wagon to a brigade and our proportion was 15 pounds. Well, that was heavy, I had to take my company books and cut the writing out and throw the balance away. I dressed myself up and burnt the rest of my clothing, I did not have a change of clothing nor nary blanket when I got to Little Rock.--The boys throwed away blankets, knapsacks when we got in. I lost 6 guns in the fight and all the knapsacks. We had nothing to eat of any account since we left Camden until we got to Little Rock and how we stood it is more than I can tell. We left Camden April 26th and arrived at Little Rock May 3rd, distance 115 miles. Since we left Fort Smith we have marched 375 miles and fought two battles, &c. I think that it pretty good for the “Feather bed 12th.” We have one thing to brag on, and that is we are not afraid to fight rebels. Company “C” was as cool any set of men I ever saw--they stood it like veterans. Miami county never need be ashamed of Company C. Lieut. Nichols is a brick, and don’t fear the devil or rebels and a cooler man I never saw--he is a good officer.
W. O. HUBBELL
(Reprinted from the Paola, Kansas Union Crusader, May 27, 1864.)