Private Thomas Benton Baxter
1st California Cavalry
Thomas Benton Baxter was mustered into Company F, 1st California Cavalry of the Union Army on August 15, 1863. He signed up for a three year term. The unit was in the New Mexico Territory by May 31, 1864 to protect against any possible invasion. The troops were not released when the Civil War ended because of the need to control the Indian tribes that had been raiding settlers' outposts and wagon trains. In May 1865, Company F was attached to an expedition commanded by Colonel "Kit" Carson. It built Fort Nichols in the Indian Territory to protect wagon trains passing through the dangerous country. On June 15, 1865, about fifty Comanche warriors attacked a wagon train which was being escorted by Company F from Fort Nichols to Fort Larned, Kansas. The attack was repulsed, and the retreating Indians were followed for several miles. Six Indians were killed or wounded. Thomas Baxter was mustered out at Fort Sumner, New Mexico Territory on August 1, 1866 when his enlistment was completed. He chose to then go to the Midwest rather than return to California.
Thomas Baxter married Lucy Ann Peabody on September 5, 1872 in Clay Center, Kansas. They had seven children, and six children survived to adulthood. Her father, Allen Peabody, had served as a private in Company K, 2nd Regiment, Massachusetts Heavy Artillery Volunteers during the Civil War.
Randolph W. Baxter, Ph.D.
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