Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Soldier Of The West

James Henry Carleton a Union officer and southwestern Indian fighter was born December 27th 1814.

James Henry Carleton was born in Lubec Maine December 27th 1814. During the Aroostook War he was commissioned a Lieutenant. After this he served in the Mexican American War and with the 1st US Dragoons in the American West. Carleton was sent to the Mountain Meadows Massacre in Utah, his orders being to bury the dead they placed 34 in a mass grave along with the 39 who had been buried just before his company arrived. The then Major Carleton investigated and concluded the Mormons and some Paiute Indians had murdered 120 emigrants bound for California.

At the beginning of the Civil War Carleton raised the Union 1st California Volunteer Infantry in 1861 and was made their Colonel. In October of that year he was paced in command of the District of Southern California. In 1862 Carleton led a forced march of the California Column to link up with Union forces in New Mexico serving with General Edward R S Canby. Carleton was made the department commander of the New Mexico territory, and began a scorched earth policy against the Indians. His main field commander was Colonel Christopher Kit Carson.

The end of the Civil War saw Carleton a Brevet Major General in the regular army. He retained his troops until 1866 when the US Regular Army took over the American West and Carleton served with the 4th US Cavalry as a Lieutenant Colonel. Carleton died of pneumonia in San Antonio Texas January 7th 1873 still serving in uniform, and his body is buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge Massachusetts.

Another web site of interest about this subject
The Mountain Meadows Massacre Special Report By Brevet Major James Henry Carleton 1859

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