Randal Slidell Mackenzie

Randal Slidell Mackenzie - Born June 27, 1840 at Mt. Pleasant, N.Y., Ulysses S. Grant referred to him as "the most promising young officer in the army" for his contributions during the Civil War. He commanded the 4th Cavalry Regiment from Fort Concho, Texas, during the Red River Indian War.

Troops movements in the Red River Indian War were as follows:

On August 14, 1874 Col. Nelson Appleton Miles set out from Fort Dodge, Kan. with two battalions of 6th Cavalry, one battalion of four companies of the 5th Infantry; a detachment of artillery including one Parrott Gun and two Gatling Guns, one company of twenty-five Delaware scouts and twenty-five newly hired civilian scouts and guides, commanded by Lt. Frank Baldwin. Maj. James Biddle and Maj. Charles E. Compton were the battalion commanders for the 6th Cavalry.

Col. J. W. Davidson came from Fort Sill, Indian Territory with one battalion of four companies of the l0th Cavalry.

Maj. W. R. Price came from Fort Union and Fort Bascom, New Mexico with one battalion composed of 250 horsemen and two mounted howitzers of the 8th Cavalry.

Mackenzie came from Fort Concho, Texas with two battalions of eight companies of the 4th Cavalry.

Lt. Col. George P. Buell came from Fort Richardson with two battalions of eight companies of the 11th Infantry.

The scheme had flaws. The five columns had separate commanders, independent of each other, so coordination of the thousands of soldiers taking the field depended on decisions of planners hundreds of miles from the front. However, through skillful leadership at the front and the tenacity of Miles and Mackenzie and their subordinates, the Army prevailed.

Mackenzie’s most notable battle was his courageous and daring pursuit of the Indians into the Palo Duro Canyon on September 28, 1874. After spotting a large Camp of Kiowas, Comanches, and Cheyennes on the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River where Cita Blana Canyon cut into the Palo Duro Canyon, Mackenzie led his forces 1,000 feet deep into the canyon down an Indian trail so steep that the soldiers had to lead their horses single file. The attack was difficult, but successful. Instead of following the fleeing Indians, Mackenzie captured the horses. After holding out the serviceable horses, Mackenzie ordered killed 1048 ponies, horses, and mules. The loss of shelter and equipment was significant in returning the Indians to the reservations in Indian Territory.

Mackenzie died January 19, 1889 and is buried at West Point, N.Y.


from Old Mobeetie Texas Association Website – Red River War, http://www.mobeetie.com/pages/rrwar.htm