The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960 Page: 496
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
About a year later the need for mounted soldiers was re-empha-
sized from the field. On May 5, 1829, four companies of the 6th
Infantry Regiment under the command of Major Bennet
Riley were detached to accompany a train on the Santa Fe Trail.
After the foot soldiers had returned in the fall, Major Riley, in
his report to Colonel Henry Leavenworth, voiced a frustration
that his brothers in the arm were to echo for more than fifty
years as they fought mounted Indians on the plains:
Think what our feelings must have been to see them going off
with our cattle and horses, when, if we had been mounted, we could
have beaten them to pieces; but we were obliged to content ourselves
with whipping them from our camp.2
Four years after the suggestion he forwarded in 1828, General
Macomb had a mounted force, a battalion of Mounted Rangers.
By the end of 1832 its companies were spread from Fort Gibson
on the Arkansas River to posts as far north as Michigan., Such
an area of responsibility, one would suppose, must have called
for a large organization, but although it was more ambitious than
mounting one or two infantry companies, the force was lost in
the tens of thousands of square miles it was expected to secure.
There were six companies of 114 aggregate strength, and there
was a major in at least nominal command.4 The primary weapon
was that of the infantry, and the uniform seems not to have been
of any special design. The soldiers were, in fact, infantry mounted
to increase their range of operation.
On March 2, 1833, less than a year after authorizing the
Mounted Rangers, Congress created the 1st Regiment of Dragoons
and eliminated the ranger force, most of whose officers were
transferred to the new organization. The privates authorized for
the two forces were the same, six hundred, but in the new forma-
tion they were divided into ten companies of sixty each. The
addition of the company headquarters for the four new companies
and of the regimental headquarters, however, was an appreciable
gain in strength.'
sIbid., V, 51.
5Albert G. Brackett, History of the United States Cavalry, from the Formation
of the Federal Government to the xst of June, x863 (New York, 1865), 35.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960, periodical, 1960; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101186/m1/624/: accessed October 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.