Sorry, folks, this entry doesn’t focus on who was where when doing what. While important for setting stages and understanding why things happened the way they did, the simple fact of the matter is that trying to cover too much too quickly results in shallow work. When I read my own entry and then ask myself, “Yes, but so what?”, there’s an issue. So, while feverish material gathering continues, I’ll be taking a little more time for analysis.
Part of the problem is that there’s so much material that turns up once one starts looking. I don’t seem to have a thread or two to trace, I have that ball of yarn that the cat’s been playing with. Sometimes, though, it seems like a thread is looking for you instead of you for it. We’ll take as an example one August V. Kautz, once of the 6th US Cavalry during the Civil War.
I first came across Kautz on US Regulars Archive, where I saw his Customs of Service for Officers of the Army and Customs of Service for NonCommissioned Officers and Enlisted Men. Interesting, but not what I was looking for at the time, so I moved on.
Last week when driving home from a business meeting, I saw the sign for the Five Forks battlefield visitor center and turned in. On the bookshelf was a book on Sheridan (I think) and Kautz’ cavalry raid of 1865. Hm, Kautz again, I thought. But I was in a hurry to get home. I didn’t linger long and I didn’t buy the book.
Last weekend as I was thumbing through the War Department’s General Orders from 1861 and 1862, he found me again. This time it was in the list of appointments for the original officers of the 6th US Cavalry. There, in General Orders No. 65, August 23, 1861, is the appointment to captain of First Lieutenant August V. Kautz from the 4th US Infantry. Hmm, there he is again. Odd, I wonder who he was. But I was trying to finish the 1st/4th Cavalry and start the 1st Dragoons, so I moved on.
Yesterday, I’m in the university library on my lunch hour looking through the Supplement to the Official Records. It’s an unwieldy, cumbersome resource, but there are occasional gems in there. As I’m paging through additions to the records from early 1862 on the battle of Valverde, I discovered a diary extract. Not just one, but several, that cover most of 1862 at a minimum. Whose? Why my stalker friend August Kautz, of course. So at this point I decided that I have two choices: either research the guy or get a restraining order against him. Since Option B isn’t viable, you’ll be reading about him here in the near future.
I’ve come across several officers so far that I’d like to look into more. Many interesting fellows served during the war in the Regulars, and several of them deserve attention. I wanted to think of a tag line for the biographies before I started them, however. JD Petruzzi has a Faded Hoofbeats section at Hoofbeats and Cold Steel, which I think is a great label. Then I remembered Fiddler’s Green, a poem troopers had to memorize during their spur rides in the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. I’ll post about it more later, but suffice for now to say that it is a place where dead cavalry troopers go. Perfect. So now there’s a concept, we just need more entries. Back to work.