Killed at the famous "Wagon Box Fight"- Lt. John C. Jenness letter signed as a.a.a.g. for 1st Brigade of Hardin's Division of the 22d Army Corps.
"Circular No. 11" dated December 14th, 1864, boldly signed "J. C. Jenness" in his distinctive hand writing. A tremendously scarce autograph, this would frame nicely and is in very fine condition.
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Wagon Box Fight Near Fort Phil Kearney, Wyoming, 2 August 1867
Wagon Box Fight site, near Fort Phil Kearney, Wyoming
On the morning of August 2, Captain Powell's force was divided. Fourteen soldiers were detailed to escort the wood train to and from the fort; 13 soldiers guarded the wood-cutting camp, about one mile from the wagon box corral. The Indian plan of attack on the woodcutters and soldiers was tried-and-true, similar to the plan used the previous year to kill Fetterman's force, a total of 81 lost. A small group of Indians would entice the soldiers to chase them, leading the men into an ambush by a larger hidden force. Crazy Horse was among the members of the decoy team.
The plan broke down when a number of fighters attacked an outlying camp of four woodcutters and four soldiers, killing three of the soldiers. The other soldier and the woodcutters escaped and warned the soldiers near the corral. The pursuing force halted at the woodcutter's camp to loot and seize the large number of horses and mules there, which gave the soldiers taking refuge in the corral time to prepare for the attack. There were 26 soldiers and six civilians in the corral.
Stone memorial to Wagon Box Fight site, near Fort Phil Kearney, Wyoming
The first assault on the wagon box corral came from mounted warriors from the southwest, but the raiders encountered heavy fire from the soldiers using the new breech-loaders. The attackers withdrew, regrouped, and launched several further attacks on foot. They killed Powell's second-in-command, Lt. Jenness, and two soldiers. The battle continued from about 7:30 a.m. until 1:30 pm. The defenders had plenty of ammunition, and were well-defended from arrows behind the thick sides of the wagon boxes.
The garrison at Fort Kearny learned of the fight from its observation station on Pilot Hill. About 11:30 a.m., Major Benjamin Smith led 103 soldiers out of the fort to the wood camp to relieve the soldiers in the wagon boxes. Smith took with him 10 wagons, driven by armed civilians, and a mountain howitzer. He proceeded carefully and, when he neared the wagon box corral, began firing his cannon at long range. The attackers were forced to withdraw. Smith advanced without opposition to the corral, collected the soldiers, and returned quickly to Fort Kearny. Additional civilian survivors, who had hidden in the woods during the battle, made it back to the fort that night