Beecher's
Island


Plattsburgh Sentinel, Plattsburgh (New York)
October 2, 1868

The Indian War

A Desperate Fight - Lient. F.H. Beecher, and Dr. John H. Mooers among the killed - a general uprising of the Indians.

Transcribed and donated by Mike Day.

We learned by a telegraphic dispatch received in Plattsburgh, Thursday evening the 24th inst., that Dr. H. Mooers of Plattsburgh, was mortally wounded by the Indians in a scrimmage, near Fort Wallace, Kansas. Dr. M. is a son of our venerable neighbor, Dr. Benjamin J. Mooers, and brother of W.P. Mooers, and had gone out as Ass't Surgeon in the 16th NY Volunteers, and was afterwards made full Surgeon of the 118th N.Y. , in which regiment he served until the close of the war. He has a wife and child living in Plattsburgh.
Dr. Mooers was Acting Surgeon to a regiment of U.S. Cavalry. In the same fight Col. Forsyth was dangerously wounded and Lieut. Beecher killed. The following are the published accounts:

Fort Wallace, Sept. 23.

Two scouts from Col. Forsyth's command, who had been scouring the country toward the headwaters of the Republican River, arrived last night. They left Col. Forsyth's camp on the Dry Fork, Republican City, five miles from the mouth, and ninety miles north of here. They report that on the morning of the 17th inst. the Indians tried to run off a portion of Col. Forsyth's stock, and half an hour later three or four hundred appeared on the bluffs two miles off and made a dash for the camp. Col. Forsyth having only fifty men, crossed them to a small island. The Indians fired on him, and kept it up briskly until 11 o'clock after which only scattered shots until 3 o'clock, when they again opened fire with increased force. Their number was estimated to be about 700. The fight was continued in this manner until sunset, when the Indians made a desperate charge to take the camp, but were unsuccessful. They continued the fight until 11 o'clock, at which time the scouts left (for) Fort Wallace to obtain assistance. They were obliged to crawl two miles on their hands and knees through the Indians to get out. At daylight they heard firing back at camp, seven miles away, and occasional shots all day. The casualties are: Col. Forsyth, left leg broken by a ball and shot through the right thigh; Lieut. Beecher, shot in several places and supposed to be dying as his back was broken. He begged his men to kill him. Dr. Mooers was shot in the head. Two were killed and twenty wounded. All the stock of the command was killed and the men were living on horse flesh. The scouts had only a pound and a half to last them into Fort Wallace. The party had 65 rounds of ammunition left, and were fortifying. The scouts could travel only at night, on account of the danger from Indians. On learning of Col. Forsyth's condition, Lieut. Bankhead, commanding this post, sent out a hundred men with provisions and ammunition to his relief. He also sent scouts to Col. Carpenter, who was supposed to be 45 miles west of here, to proceed to Col. Forsyth's assistance.
Later, 8 p.m. - Gen. Nichols has just arrived from Fort Reynolds and reports that Lieut. Beecher is dead. Dr. Mooers is mortally wounded and is dying, and Col. Forsyth is nearly as bad. All are lying there with Indians all around them eating their horse flesh and waiting for relief. Col. Bankhead and Carpenter will reach them tonight.
A dispatch from Col. Bankhead, gives the following killed and wounded: The killed are Lieut. F.H. Beecher, Acting Surgeon Mooers, F.W. Culver, Wm. Wilson and Lewis Farley.
Wounded - Col. G.A. Forsyth, W.P. Armstrong, G.B. Clark, Barney Day, H. Farley, Richard Garnett, John Haley, Frank Harrington, W.H.H. McCall, Howard Martin, Thos. O'Donnell, H.H. Tucker, Lewis McLaughlin, Harry Davenport, S.P. Davis.

St. Louis, Sept. 29.

A dispatch from Grinnell Railway Station, says Col. Forsyth and all the wounded arrived at Fort Wallace and are doing well.
600 Indians crossed the railroad yesterday near Monument, and it is believed that they are preparing for a attack on all the stations, driving the buffaloes before them. Immense numbers of the latter are along the line of the railway. All citizens on the route are under arms.
Ammunition if being issued to troops and inspections are being made.

Washington, Sept. 29.

The following was received this morning at Army Headquarters:

St. Louis, Sept. 28.

To the Adjutant General:
General Sherman has full reports from Col. Bankhead, who would start for Fort Wallace the 27th. He reports Lieut. Beecher and Surgeon Mooers dead and buried, also that George W. Culver, Wm. Wilson and Lewis Farley, scouts are dead, and gives a list of others killed. Col. Forsyth has two wounds. He thinks at least 75 Indians were killed or badly wounded. From signs it is alleged the Indians are moving South.
Gen. Sheridan reports seven companies of the Fifth Cavalry on hand, ready for service and he will keep every man at work to catch and destroy the Indians.
[Signed] W. T. Sherman
Lieutenant General


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