Friday, July 18, 2014

A Morale Builder

No doubt you’ve read about different methods for improving morale during the war such as the development of corps badges, better rations, flags, etc. Today, I read about how an artillery demonstration boosted morale.

The Place: Leroy, Kansas
The Time: mid-June 1862
Context: An expedition is being organized to return “loyal” Indian refugees to the Indian Territory. Most of these Unionist Indians were from the Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole tribes. This venture was labeled as the First Indian Expedition, and the troops involved included the First Indian Home Guards, the Second Indian Home Guards, plus units from Kansas and Wisconsin.
Eyewitness: Indian Agent W. G. Coffin described the event to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, William P. Dole.

Coffin reported that after much effort, Captain Norman Allen’s Kansas Battery finally agreed to visit Leroy, Kansas. There, the battery gave a demonstration before “nearly two thousand Indians….[it] was received by the Indians with entire satisfaction and applause, it has made a grand impression upon them and has also strengthened their confidence in the success of the expedition….I doubt very much whether those Indians could have been induced to go at all had it not been for that Battery going along with them….”

Source: National Archives. Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs. M234.
W. G. Coffin to William P. Dole, June 16, 1862, reel 834, frame 1235.

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