3 Replies Latest reply on Dec 30, 2020 4:47 PM by Elliot Schneider

    Seeking list who died of cholera from 17th Infantry Regiment


      When cholera came to San Antonio in Sept. 1866, the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment (white) was ordered to remove from San Antonio to the Medina River.  On Sept. 7th, 1866 the first case of cholera among these soldiers appeared among companies G and D. Army Asst. surgeon Dr. William M Austin, of the 17th, established a cholera hospital on site and implemented strict sanitation protocols. According to Dr. P. V. Schenck, Assistant Surgeon and Brevet Major of the 4th Cavalry, this included the immediate burial of the dead with their belongings, then the burning and disinfection of the burial site. Several days later the US 4th Calvary that had also been stationed in San Antonio removed to the Medina River, camping separately from the 17th's site. Company K of the 4th Cavalry, was particularly hard hit by cholera.  The cholera cases among the soldiers peaked on Sept 19 - 20, and disappeared by Sept 30. In all there were 382 cases among the soldiers camped on the Medina, with 64 deaths.


      In 1868 the San Antonio National Cemetery opened and soldiers remains were moved to this cemetery with the exception of those that died of cholera; since it was too soon to do so. The military required at least 50 years before exhuming remains of cholera victims due to safety concerns.  My question is this:  Is there a roster of the soldiers from this regiment who died in the cholera epidemic and were buried in the mass grave?

        • Re: Seeking list who died of cholera from 17th Infantry Regiment
          J. Andrew Tracker

          If this is a Regular Army regiment, there might something in the Registers of Deaths in the Regular Army, 1860 - 1889.


          This is also available on Ancestry at https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/2128/ .   You  need a subscription to access it on Ancestry. Some libraries provide free access to their patrons.

          • Re: Seeking list who died of cholera from 17th Infantry Regiment
            Jason Atkinson Guide

            Dear Mr. Crews,


            Thank you for posting your requests on History Hub!

            In addition to the Register of Deaths mentioned by the previous reply, you may be interested in the Final Statements, 1862 - 1899 in the Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1762-1917  (Record Group 94). We also searched the National Archives Catalog and located 18 record series from the 1860s related to the 17th Infantry Regiment of the Regular Army. For more information about these records, please contact the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1) at Archives1reference@nara.gov.

            Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT1. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


            The Final Statements are now available in digital form and may be viewed online via Fold3. There may be a fee for accessing them on Fold3. Some libraries offer free access to Fold3 for their patrons.


            We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!


            • Re: Seeking list who died of cholera from 17th Infantry Regiment
              Elliot Schneider Guide



              Mr. Andrews is correct I've viewed these list that he recommended they are in their but it is all my soldiers last name from roughly 1860-1867. If you are interested in an individual then I could provide but too site and sift through all last names from Sept of 1866 for the 17th Infantry Regiment would take weeks. Maybe if you are able to somehow purchase the subscription you could accomplish this for your research.


              Also please see the following War Department Surgeons Report on Cholera



              Additionally, thought you might want to read this:


              In Sept 1866, pandemic Cholera visited San Antonio Texas for a third time and final time. At its onset the US Army 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment (white) had been stationed in San Antonio. They were ordered to remove to the Medina River, approx. 15 miles south of San Antonio. On Sept 2, the first case of cholera among the Medina troops prompted Asst Surgeon, Dr William M Austin to set up a Cholera Hospital on site at the Medina River camp. The number of cholera cases peaked on Sept 19-20, and had disappeared entirely by Sept. 30, 1866. The US Army 4th Cavalry had also been stationed in San Antonio at this time and they too were ordered to remove to the Medina River, setting up camp separate from that of the 17th Infantry's. According to Asst Surgeon, Dr. P. V. Schenck (Brevet Major), with the 4th Cavalry; Company K of the 4th Cavalry was particularly hard hit by cholera. Working together these doctors treated 387 cases of cholera, 64 of whom died and Army per sanitation protocols were quickly buried with their possessions. Given the number of sick, and Army sanitation protocol for cholera; this site may contain one or more mass graves. When San Antonio National Cemetery opened in 1868, the remains of soldiers buried in various sites were reinterned here including those buried at the Medina River., except the approx 50 soldiers that had died of cholera, as it was unsafe to disturb these graves. Location: 0.5 km east of the Applewhite Road Bridge over the Medina River, South Bexar County, Texas. There are no markers or indication of the burials remaining on site at this time.

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