Bozeman Paymaster: Sample Chapter 1

Chapter 1 of Bozeman Paymaster: A Tale of the Fetterman Massacre, can now be viewed under the Books tab on this website. Over the next two weeks I will post Chapters 2 and 3. The publication date for Bozeman Paymaster has been set by Five Star Publishing for June 22, 2022.

You can pre-order the book at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Click on the links in the sidebar to take you to the pre-order page.

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Bozeman Paymaster Prelude 7

My new frontier historical novel, Bozeman Paymaster: A Tale of the Fetterman Massacre, will be issued by Five Star Publishing on June 22, 2022. I have posted a prelude each month to provide historical incidents occurring before the story in the book begins. This is the seventh and final prelude.

Henry B. Carrington

On June 13, 1866, Colonel Henry B. Carrington led his 18th United States Infantry into camp four miles east of Fort Laramie, Dakota Territory (later Wyoming Territory). In order not to become entangled with two thousand Indians camping near the fort in preparation for a big treaty council, Carrington decided it prudent not to march his soldiers any closer. He received an important Indian visitor soon after his vast wagon train formed into a hollow square. Standing Elk, a Brulé Sioux chief who held pacifist feelings, and was derided by his more warlike relatives as a “Laramie Loafer,” warned Carrington he would have to fight hostile Indians if he built new forts in the Powder River country along the Bozeman Trail.

Old Bedlam, Ft. Laramie, in 2018.

Carrington proceeded to Fort Laramie with a small escort to join a group of officers and civilians comprising the Peace Commission. The commission had been organized by the Department of the Interior’s Indian Bureau under the chairmanship of E. B. Taylor, an Indian Bureau Superintendent. Colonel Henry E. Maynadier, commander of the District of the Platte headquartered at Fort Laramie, headed the Army contingent of the commission.

Chief Red Cloud

All the nearby tribes had been summoned to hear the government officials explain the new “olive branch” policy and to obtain permission from the Indians for whites to travel unmolested on the Bozeman Trail. Chief Red Cloud arrived at Fort Laramie with his Bad Face Oglala Sioux band the same day as Carrington. That set the stage for the conflict that I write about in Bozeman Paymaster: A Tale of the Fetterman Massacre.

 

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Bozeman Paymaster Available on Pre-Order

My frontier historical novel, Bozeman Paymaster: A Tale of the Fetterman Massacre, will be released by Five Star Publishing on June 22, 2022. The hardcover book is now available for pre-order at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Here are links to both sources.

Amazon.com: Amazon.com: Bozeman Paymaster: A Tale of the Fetterman Massacre (Five Star Western Series): 9781432892999: Murphy, Robert Lee: Books

Barnes & Noble: Bozeman Paymaster: A Tale of the Fetterman Massacre by Robert Lee Murphy, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)

A large print edition will be available soon. Trade paperback and Kindle versions will not be available until this time next year, 2023.

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Bozeman Paymaster Prelude 6

My new frontier historical novel, Bozeman Paymaster: A Tale of the Fetterman Massacre, will be issued by Five Star Publishing in June 2022. I post a prelude each month before that date to provide historical facts occurring before the story in the book begins. This is the sixth prelude.

On May 19, 1866, Colonel Henry B. Carrington lead his 18th United States Infantry out of Fort Kearny, Nebraska Territory, and proceeded west on the Oregon Trail. The unit was finally on its way to undertake its assignment to defend the Bozeman Trail in Dakota Territory. Enough recruits had arrived, so the three battalions of the regiment now totaled more than two thousand men.

Plan of Fort Phil Kearny from “Indian Fights & Fighters” by Cyrus Townsend Brody (1904)

Prior to the departure, Carrington had personally designed the primary fort he planned to construct someplace along the Bozeman Trail. He would need to select a site where he would have access to timber to cut for construction lumber. Since he knew how many and what type of buildings he planned to erect within the fort, he had acquired prefabricated windows and doors, plus all the tools and implements required to build the fort. Included in the tons of supplies and equipment being dragged along were two sawmills.

Army freight wagon

“Carrington’s Overland Circus,” as the soldiers called it, commenced the journey with 264 mule-drawn freight wagons, 4 ambulances, 998 mules, 79 steers, and 12 cows with calves. The whole entourage, including marching and mounted soldiers, stretched five miles along the dusty road. The one thing missing when the 18th US Infantry departed Fort Kearney, NT, was an adequate supply of ammunition for the Springfield rifles. Higher headquarters informed Carrington not to be concerned, he could stock up at Fort Laramie, DT.

 

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Bozeman Paymaster Prelude 5

My new frontier historical novel, Bozeman Paymaster: A Tale of the Fetterman Massacre, will be issued by Five Star Publishing in June 2022. I will post a prelude each month before that date to provide historical facts that occur before the story in the book begins. This is the fifth prelude.

During the early months of 1866, Colonel Henry B. Carrington worked to assemble the men and materials of the 18th United States Infantry at Fort Kearny, Nebraska Territory, in preparation for his assignment to defend the Bozeman Trail in Dakota Territory. Carrington’s soldiers, most of them raw recruits, were armed with the obsolete, muzzle-loading, single-shot Springfield rifle musket that had been the standard infantry weapon for the Union during the recently ended Civil War. Carrington pleaded frequently that his regiment be equipped with newer weapons, but he was only successful in obtaining Spencer seven-shot carbines for his 25-member military band.

Springfield Rifle Musket: 56 Inches Long. Fired 2 to 3 Rounds Per Minute.

The 7th Iowa Cavalry passed by Fort Kearny, NT, in April 1866 on their way east to be mustered out following their Civil War service at Camp Rankin (later named Fort Sedgwick) in Colorado. Carrington commandeered their 200 horses and created a small unit of mounted infantry for the 2nd Battalion of the 18th US Infantry. The long-barreled Springfield rifle proved almost impossible to handle in the saddle. It was hard enough for soldiers not trained as cavalrymen to stay on a horse much less handle an unwieldy firearm while trying to do so.

Spencer Carbine: 47 Inches Long. Fired 20 Rounds Per Minute.

 

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Bozeman Paymaster Prelude 4

My new frontier historical novel, Bozeman Paymaster: A Tale of the Fetterman Massacre, will be issued by Five Star Publishing in June 2022. I will post a prelude each month before that date to provide historical facts that occur before the story in the book begins. This is the fourth prelude.

 

William T. Sherman

On May 16, 1866, Colonel Henry B. Carrington, commanding officer of the Eighteenth U.S. Infantry, received an important visitor at Fort Kearny, Nebraska Territory, where he was preparing to implement his orders to fortify the Bozeman Trail. Lieutenant General William Tecumseh Sherman, commanding officer of the Division of the Missouri, arrived from his St. Louis headquarters to inspect the regiment. Sherman was convinced that Carrington’s mission would be peaceful because of treaty negotiations taking place at Fort Laramie, Dakota Territory. Because of this, Sherman authorized the deployment of wives and family members of the regiment. While at Fort Kearny, the general encouraged the wives to keep journals or diaries.

Margaret Carrington

Henry Carrington’s wife, Margaret Irvin McDowell Sullivant Carrington, aged 35, would follow Sherman’s advice. Margaret was a cousin to Brigadier General Irvin McDowell, an early commander of the Army of the Potomac during the recently ended Civil War. Her father, Joseph Sullivant, founded Ohio State University. Margaret married Henry Carrington in 1851. She had lost four children in childbirth, but now she and her two young sons, aged 6 and 9, were among the families who would travel up the Bozeman Trail to establish Fort Phil Kearny, Dakota Territory. Margaret’s journal was published in 1868 as Absaraka: Home of the Crows. Her first-hand account provides valuable insight into the lives of those impacted by Red Cloud’s War and the Fetterman Massacre.

In May 1866, two other officers’ wives were at Fort Kearny, Nebraska Territory, preparing to accompany their husbands into Sioux country. Sallie Horton was the young wife of the regiment’s chief surgeon, Major Samuel Miller Horton, who was only 29 himself. Lucy Bisbee was the 24-year-old wife of Lieutenant William Henry Bisbee. The Bisbee’s 2-year-old son accompanied them. If either of these wives kept diaries, they were not published.

Frances Carrington

Other wives and families would join their husbands over the forthcoming months of 1866. One of these would write a memoir of her experiences at Fort Phil Kearny. Newly married Frances Courtney Grummond was only 21 when she arrived at the fort on September 17, 1866, with her husband, Lieutenant George Washington Grummond. He would be one of the victims of the Fetterman Massacre. She would later marry Henry Carrington after his first wife, Margaret, died in 1870. Frances would publish her book, My Army Life and the Fort Phil Kearney Massacre, in 1908. For some reason, the fort’s name in the book’s title contains an extra “e.” Henry  probably influenced the writing of the book. The final portion is devoted to reestablishing his reputation following the Fetterman fiasco.

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Time Flies

Eagle Talons, The Iron Horse Chronicles-Book One is now “out of print” in a hardcover edition from Five Star Publishing. Eagle Talons continues to be available in paperback and Kindle versions at Amazon. Bear Claws, The Iron Horse Chronicles-Book Two and Golden Spike, The Iron Horse Chronicles-Book Three, are available in hardcover editions from Five Star Publishing. Bear Claws and Golden Spike are available in paperback and Kindle versions at Amazon.

I have a limited number of Eagle Talons in hardcover for sale. If you would like an autographed hardcover book, please send me a request using the Contact Form on this website, and we’ll make a deal.

Remember to watch for the release of Bozeman Paymaster-A Tale of the Fetterman Massacre to be released in hardcover edition by Five Star Publishing on June 22, 2022.

 

 

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Bozeman Paymaster Prelude 3

My new frontier historical novel, Bozeman Paymaster: A Tale of the Fetterman Massacre, will be issued by Five Star Publishing in June 2022. I will post a prelude each month before that date to provide historical facts that occur before the story in the book begins. This is the third prelude.

Henry B. Carrington

Colonel Henry B. Carrington received orders on March 10, 1866, to move west with the Eighteenth U.S. Infantry from Fort Kearny, Nebraska Territory, and fortify the Bozeman Trail with the regiment’s second battalion. Carrington’s orders came from his immediate superior, Brigadier General Philip St. George Cooke, commander of the U.S. Army’s Department of the Platte. This new department had been created on March 5, 1866, with headquarters in Omaha. The department covered the States of Minnesota and Iowa, the Territories of Nebraska and Montana, and portions of Dakota Territory. Later, Dakota Territory became North and South Dakota and Wyoming.

The Department of the Platte was one of three departments in the Division of the Missouri, under the command of Lieutenant General William Tecumseh Sherman, headquartered in St. Louis. Sherman reported directly to General Ulysses S. Grant, commander in chief of the U.S. Army with his headquarters in Washington, District of Columbia. The chain of command above Carrington was short.

Philip St. George Cooke

Cooke graduated from West Point in 1827 and served with distinction in numerous capacities during the early years of his career, principally in the West. As a Brevet Lieutenant Colonel in 1846, he commanded the Mormon Battalion, part of General Stephen Watts Kearny’s Army of the West which was on a mission to take New Mexico and California away from Mexico. The Mormon Battalion consisted of “soldiers” contracted from Brigham Young who needed cash to finance the movement of the Mormons from Nauvoo to the Great Salt Lake. The soldiers donated most of their pay and allowances to a church charity. Cooke’s Mormon Battalion surveyed a wagon road from Santa Fe south into Mexico and west to the Pacific coast. It was the longest infantry march in U.S. Army history. The route Cooke pioneered resulted in the Gadsden Purchase in 1853. James Gadsden, U. S. Ambassador to Mexico, bought this strip of land between the Gila River (the U.S. southern border at the time) and Mexico for $10 million (equivalent to $230 million today). This land strip would be needed later by the Southern Pacific to build its railroad.

J.E.B. Stuart

During the Civil War, Brigadier General Cooke served as cavalry division commander for Major General George B. McClellan. During the Seven Days Campaign in Virginia in 1862, Cooke’s son-in-law, Confederate Brigadier General J.E.B Stuart, rode completely around the Army of the Potomac, evading Cooke’s pursuit. This embarrassment ended Cooke’s field command responsibilities, and he served the remainder of the war on court-martial and recruiting duties.

Like Carrington’s assignment to command the Eighteenth US Infantry without having any combat experience, Cooke’s assignment as a department commander, without combat action in the latter part of the war, is somewhat of a mystery.

 

 

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Bozeman Paymaster Prelude 2

My frontier historical novel, Bozeman Paymaster: A Tale of the Fetterman Massacre, will be issued by Five Star Publishing in June 2022. I will post a prelude each month before that date to provide historical facts that occur before the story in the book begins. This is the second prelude.

Henry B. Carrington

Colonel Henry B. Carrington, a Yale Law School graduate, received his commission as commanding officer of the 18th US Infantry in 1861. When the Civil War broke out, he was the adjutant general of Ohio under Governor Salmon P. Chase. It did not hurt Carrington’s career that he had a passing friendship with President Abraham Lincoln, who appointed Chase to be Secretary of the Treasury. For most of the war years, Carrington, who was promoted to Brevet Brigadier General in 1862, helped the governor of Indiana raise that state’s regiments for the Union’s war effort. During his earlier years, Carrington had been secretary to well-known author Washington Irving. Carrington clearly had influential friends in high places. Though he served throughout the duration of the war, Colonel Carrington did not fight in a single battle. The 18th US Infantry’s field commander was Lieutenant Colonel William Judd Fetterman.

Photo of Fort Kearny by Samuel C. Mills
Library of Congress, Public Domain

In March 1866, Colonel Carrington began assembling elements of the 18th US Infantry Regiment at Fort Kearny, Nebraska Territory. The fort was named for General Stephen Watts Kearny, famous for the conquest of New Mexico and California during the Mexican-American War. The fort, located along the Oregon Trail in south-central Nebraska near the Platte River, served as a major assembly point for westward bound travelers.

The 18th US Infantry contained three battalions, but Carrington would man the new Bozeman Trail forts with only the Second Battalion (the 2/18). The First Battalion would be assigned to defend the Oregon Trail leading from Fort Laramie to Salt Lake City. The Third Battalion would man forts in Colorado Territory. Each battalion should contain 700 men. The 2/18 mustered a strength of only 220, many of whom were new recruits, all armed with obsolete, muzzle-loading, Springfield rifles. Carrington pleaded frequently that the 2/18 be equipped with newer weapons, but he was only successful in obtaining Spencer seven-shot carbines for his 25-member military band.

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Once Upon A Time

The readers of this website know I write historical fiction. Continuing with that tradition, here is some personal history from over a half century ago. Truly, “once upon a time.”

We were the senior class officers for Hobbs High School in Hobbs, New Mexico, in 1956. Bill Caudle shared this photo with me as part of his Christmas greetings. He and I recently reestablished communication, but I have lost track of Shirley Maness and James Watts.

How does one know this is historical? First, it’s a black and white photo. Second, we are not wearing masks. Third the hairstyles and clothing provide a great clue.

I grew up in Hobbs and attended all twelve grades in our great public school system. I’m happy to brag that the class of 1956 graduated well-educated students sixty–five years ago.

My wife, Barbara, and I have survived this terrible Corona virus pandemic successfully and look forward to a better year in 2022 for everyone. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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