4th US Infantry History 1848 - 1861


The end of 1848 saw the Regiment at various posts and forts with Headquarders and Companies C
and E at Detroit, Company A at Fort Mackinaw, Michigan, and Companies G and K at Fort Gratiot,
Michigan. The remaining companies were in New York with Company B at Fort Niagara, Companies
D and I at Madison Barracks, F at Fort Ontario, and H at Plattsburg Barracks.

In June of 1852 the companies were assembled at Governor's Island. In July the Regiment, except for
Companies A and I, embarked by sea for Central America. On August 19th the Regiment, except for
Companies A, B, and I, arrived at Benicia, California. Company B arrived at Benicia in late August.
Companies A and I left New York on the 20th of November, 1852. After spending the first part of 1853
in Central America, Companies A and I arrived in San Francisco on June 19th, 1853. During the move
to California the Fourth suffered heavily from cholera, fever,and other disease, losing 1 officer and over
100 enlisted men.

When the regiment was ordered west the regimental commander, 80 year old Colonel William Whistler,
was left behind. It is not know if he was left behind due to his advanced age or due to his heavy drinking
(he once threw a case of books off a regimental baggage train feeling that the space was better used
for a case of Whiskey.) Commissioned in 1801, he had commanded the regiment for 15 years. His nephew
was the famous painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler (Whistlers Mother).

While on the West coast, companies from the Fourth U.S. Infantry participated in several battles and
skirmishes including Red Bluffs, California (March 1852), the first Rogue River campaign (August
1853), Brannans's Prairie, Washington Territory (December, 1855), White River, Washington Territory
(1856), the second Rogue River campaign (March - May), 1855, and the Pig Island (San Juan Island)
war (August 1859 - April, 1860).

During 1855, about 300 Indians of the Umpqua tribe and about 200 of the Calapooya tribe were moved
to a newly formed Indian reservation in central Oregon (approx. 30 miles west of Salem) named Grand
Ronde. Plans were also made to move the friendly bands of the Rogue Indian tribes from the area
surrounding Fort Lane to this new reservation the following March. A military post was established at
this reservation in July and named Fort Yamhill. Company F, Fourth US was stationed at Fort Yamhill
from July of 1856 until the summer of 1857 when they were sent to Fort Hoskins. Company K, Fourth
US Infantry was stationed at Fort Yamhill from August of 1857 until they left for San Pedro, California
in June of 1861.

During the spring and summer of 1861 companies of the Regiment moved from their posts, first to San
Francisco, then Fort Sumner. Company A from Fort Chehalis; Company C from Fort Townsend; Companies
F and G from Fort Hoskins; H from Fort Cascades; I from Fort Mojave (Company I moving to San Diego);
Company K from Fort Yamhill; and Headquarters from Fort Dalles. Starting in August, companies A, D, F,
G, and K moved from the San Francisco area to San Bernardino. In October, Headquarters and companies
A, D, F, G, H, and K all arrived in San Pedro.

Of the officers on duty with the Fourth Infantry (or recently with the Fourth) only five resigned to join the
rebellion.