Friday, August 13, 2010

Letter of the Day: August 13

Fort Riley, Kansas.

August 13th 1874


Ass’t Surg. Geo. A. Otis U.S.A.


Dear Sir,


On the 27th day of June last, Major Compton 6th U.S. Cavalry engaged in a fight with a band of the Kiowa Indians about forty miles south from Fort Dodge. Several Indians were killed in the engagement. I succeeded in procuring the skulls and a greater portion of the skeletons of two noted warriors slain. One, in particular, known in the tribe as “Cunning Jim”, a most notorious horse thief and desperado generally.


Do you receive such specimens into the museum? And if so, shall I ship by express? I made a special trip, sometime ago, to what was once called “Sheridan” then the terminus of the K.P.R.R. and not far from Ft. Wallace to obtain the remaining cervical vertebrae of the body from which I obtained the double Axis I forwarded you over a year ago but was unable to find the grave by reason of the head boards having been burned and carried away by hunters for fuel.


Do you also receive into the Museum such specimens as I enclose samples of  - I mean fossil remains of any or all kinds of animals?  No. 688 Sec. VI


Doctor I have another matter to broach which, perhaps, might better be done in another communication but I trust you will pardon me if it is too unofficious or asking too much trouble at your hands.


The Hospital Steward on duty at the Post, John McKenzie, is anxious to return East on duty, on account of his wife’s rapidly failing health since their arrival at this Post. Mrs. McKenzie is certainly and surely declining – the cause is obscure. I cannot think that it is a disease of nostalgia – although she is constantly entreating to return to their eastern home. From a robust woman, the patient has become so emaciated as to excite the comments of all. I suspicion incipient phthisis [ie tuberculosis] as there is a slight “hacking” cough, a result, however, I imagine, of some other more serious difficulty. The Steward has been in the service over thirteen years, and as the request is made at my hands, solely on account of his family, I have determined to present the case to you – feeling that your influence might procure him the consideration asked for. He is, moreover, an invaluable man in the Corps, and unless the change can be made for him he will be forced – although loathe to do so – to resign his position. If you will lend your influence towards consummating the change of station requested, I will consider it most decidedly, a personal favor as I esteem the Steward highly.


With Respect,

Yours Sincerely,

M.M. Shearer

A.A. Surg. U.S.A.

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