In a prelude to the Fetterman Massacre (which would occur just fifteen days later) Lt. H. S. Bingham of the 2nd US Cavalry would be killed while attempting to save a wood train from attack on December 6th, 1866:
"Indians appeared on the hills around the Post. Col. Carrington, Lt. Col. Fetterman, Capt. Brown and Lieuts. Wands, Grummond & Bingham with thirty five cavalry and some mounted Infantry went in pursuit and found the wood train under attack and corralled. They relieved the wood train and followed the Indians to Peno Creek about 6 miles from the Post, when they had a fight with about 300 Indians. Lieut. H.S. Bingham 2nd Cav. and Sergt. Bowers "E" Co. 18th Inf. were killed and three soldiers wounded. There were five Govt. horses shot, and three mules in the wood train wounded."
Bingham signed this Eagle Discharge for a private soldier from the Third U.S. Veteran Vols. just ten months before he was killed.
This unit was famous because it consisted of confederate prisoners who became "Galvanized Yankees" by volunteering to serve instead of remaining in prison.
The discharge is in fine condition, with wear as shown in the scan. Please read Captain Fetterman's report of Bingham's death below.
$895.00 plus shipping
Fort Philip Kearney, Dakota Territory,
December 7, 1866.
Captain: In compliance with your communication of to-day I have the honor to submit to the colonel commanding the post the following report of the operations of my party on the 6th instant, while in pursuit of Indians who had attacked the wood party:
In obedience to the instructions of the colonel commanding, I took command of the cavalry, numbering about thirty men, under the immediate command of Second Lieutenant H. S. Bingham, second United States cavalry, and proceeded to the wood train, about four miles from the post, which I found corralled and surrounded by Indians. There I was joined by Captain Fred. H. Brown, eighteenth United States infantry, and a couple of mounted infantry, who had already started for the relief of the train, and was overtaken by Second Lientenant A. H. Wands, eighteenth United States infantry, and started in pursuit of the Indiana, who retired before us for five miles, when, arriving in a valley through which passed the Big Horn road, the Indians offered us battle.
In the most unaccountable manner the cavalry turned and commenced a retreat, which I, assisted by Captain Brown and Lieutenant Wands, used every exertion to check. The Indians, corralling and closing around us, it was plain the retreat, if continued, would be a rout and massacre.
We, therefore, with the two mounted infantrymen who were with us, dismounted from our horses, and, continuing onr exertions, succeeded in calling back a few of the cavalry, which swelled our number to about fourteen men, with which we turned and fought the enemy, who numbered about one hundred, surrounding us on both sides.
While thus engaged, the mounted infantry which had started out on the Big Horn road, under the command of Colonel Carrington, came in Bight, and passed along the road about half a mile to our right, with the purpose, I hoped, of getting to the rear of the enemy, who had a low ridge at their back. The Indians, seeing the approach of the mounted infantry, retired, we following; but finding that their rear was not attacked, a large number of them returned. After fighting about twenty minutes longer, they again retired, we in pursuit. Not being able to overtake them, I concluded to take the road and join Colonel Carrington's party, which we soon found on the road a short distance in advance.
I cannot speak too highly of the conduct of Captain Brown and Lieutenant Wands, without whose assistance I fear we must have suffered serious disaster. Lientenant Bingham, while retiring with the major part of the cavalry, encountered the mounted infantry as they were descending the road, and joined them, leaving my party of about fourteen men to oppose a hundred Indians. I cannot account for this movement on the part of an officer of such unquestionable gallantry as Lieutenant Bingham; but it is presumed that being unable to check the retreat of his men, he defined it most prudent to hold his men in hand as much as possible, and fall back on the mounted infantry who were expected down the road.
Our casualties at this time were one man wounded, two horses wounded, and one killed.
Three Indian ponies were shot, and two men were seen carried from the field.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. J. FETTERMAN, Capt. Eighteenth U. S. Infantry, Brevet Lieut. Col. U. S. A.
Brevet Captain Wm. H. Bisbie,
Eighteenth Infantry, Post Adjutant Fort Philip Kearney, D. T.
Colonel and A. D. C.
[Telegram. J •
Phil. Kearney, D. T., December 19, 1866. A. A. A. General, Department of the Platte:
No special news since last report. Indians appeared to-day and fired on wood train, but were repulsed. They are accomplishing nothing, while I am perfecting all details of the post and preparing for active movements.
HENRY B. CARRINGTON, Col. 18 U. S. Infantry, Commanding Pott.