Austin, Texas: Fifth Military District, 1870. Envelope or Cover. This four-page letter is datelined “Mankato May 24th/59”. It is enclosed in its original mailing envelope and is postmarked with a scarce, but blurred, strike of circular “PAID” Mankato handstamp; see ASCC, p. 188. The letter is in nice shape, the envelope is soiled. Each set of orders is written on bifold stationery and contains its original mailing envelope. The printed letterhead reads: “Headquarters Fifth Military District, / (State of Texas) / Office of the Assistant Adjutant General. / Austin, Texas, _______, 18__”. The orders are dated February 23, March 26, April 11, 1870. Each is addressed to "Brevet Major Clarence Mauck, Commanding Detachment, 'Operating Against Indians',Blanco, Blanco County, Texas."
The orders are in nice shape. The envelopes have no postal markings as they were delivered by courier. Two have some edgewear; the other was roughly opened and has some insect predation.
The first letter acknowledges Mauck’s arrival at Blanco with a detachment of the U.S. 4th Cavalry Regiment and informs him that he may relocate his as necessary “for the best interests of the service.” The second informs Mauck that funds were being prepared to allow him to purchase “forage for your command.” And, the last acknowledges a report from Mauck that his rations will soon be “exhausted” and directs him to return with his detachment to the Headquarters in Austin on the 19th of April. Very good. Item #009485
The Fifth Military District, to which the 4th Cavalry was assigned, was established in Texas following the Civil War to protect the lives and property of freedmen and suppress crime in general. Freedman’s Bureau records show that in those early years, Mauck was active in his constabulary duties, arresting civilians for ten crimes in 1868 alone (three black on black, three white on white, and four white on black).
However, in the late 1860s attacks on homesteads by the Comanche, Kickapoo, Kiowa and Apache increased in both frequency and scale. As this happened, the mission of the army changed. At first, the military attempted, rather sporadically, to suppress the tribes’ attacks, and in February, 1870, Mauck was ordered to lead a detachment from the 4th Cavalry to Blanco, Texas on a short campaign “operating against Indians” who had been raiding in the area. Military records suggest that it accomplished little. However, in 1873, the 4th Cavalry began a systematic campaign – primarily against the Apache – that proved to be especially effective. Mauck was an active and important campaigner in the Indian Wars until 1880 when he became the commander of Fort Stanton, New Mexico. He died of illness the following year.
A nice grouping of orders that documents one of the early military actions against American Indian tribes of the Southwest following the Civil War. A small archive related to Mauck’s later campaign against the Cheyenne in 1878 is held at Yale, and archive of about thirty-five Mauck military documents and letters was sold for $17,775 in a 2008 Skinner auction.