Major Joel H. Elliott (USA), 7th U.S. Cavalry

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Major Joel H. Elliott (USA), 7th U.S. Cavalry's Geni Profile

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Joel Haworth Elliott

Birthdate: (28)
Birthplace: Wayne County, IN, United States
Death: November 27, 1868 (28)
Cheyenne, OK, United States (Died in the Battle of Washita )
Place of Burial: Fort Gibson, OK, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Mark Elliott and Mary S Haworth
Brother of William Quincy Elliott, Sr.

Occupation: Military
Managed by: Casey Leigh Dukes
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Major Joel H. Elliott (USA), 7th U.S. Cavalry

Joel Haworth Elliott, son of Mark Elliott and Mary S. Haworth was born October 27, 1840 in Wayne Co., Centre Township, Indiana, and died November 27, 1868 in White Rock, Indian Territory on the Washita River during the Battle of Washita River.

Joel Elliott was born to a stanch pacifist Quaker family in Wayne County, Indiana and lived on the family farm until the age of 21. Joel, however, ended up choosing a different path in life, which undoubtedly caused much concern to his family and Quaker friends. In the furor of the Civil War Joel H. Elliott was moved to enlist in Company C, 2nd Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Cavalry on August 28, 1861. On August 22, 1963 he was commissioned as First Lieutenant of Company E, 7th Indiana Cavalry. Then on October 21, 1863, he was promoted to Captain of Company M. He fought in various battles throughout the war and survived a critical wound to his left lung and shoulder during the Battle of Brice's Crossroads on June 10, 1864 in Guntown, Miss.

The records of his Quaker Meeting make no mention of him during the time he fought for the Union during the Civil War. However, after the war when Joel decided to make his profession in the military, he was disowned from West Grove Friends Meeting, Wayne County, IN, June 13th, 1867. "For serving in the army and accepting an office in the army." After the Civil War he served under the command of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer in Kansas. Through the influence of Governor Morton, the Indiana war governor, he was raised to the rank of Major in the Seventh United States Cavalry.

On 11 October 1867, at Fort Leavenworth, a court martial found Brevet Major General George Armstrong Custer, Lieutenant Colonel, 7th U.S. Cavalry guilty and sentenced him to suspension from rank and command for one year, and forfeiture of his pay for the same time. Major Joel Elliott was put in command of the 7th Cavalry during that year Custer was suspended.

Later in October of 1867 Major Joel Elliott took 150 men from the 7th U.S. Cavalry, and a battery of the 4th to Medicine Lodge Creek to meet with the five major plains tribes to sign a peace treaty. Artillery provided the escort for the "Peace Commission" who were to go to Medicine Lodge Creek (Kansas) and meet the Indians. The troops left Ft. Larned on October 12th, 1867 with over 200 wagons, 30 of which were filled with gifts for the Indians. They arrived at Medicine Lodge Creek on the morning of the 14th. Over 5000 Indians from five different tribes were present at that meeting. By Monday, October 28th, 1867 all tribes present (the Kiowa, the Comanche, the Kiowa-Apache, the Cheyenne and Arapahos) signed the "Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty."

On November 27, 1868, at the Battle of Washita. The 7th U.S. Cavalry lead a surprise attack at dawn on a sleeping Cheyenne village located at White Rock along the banks of the Washita River, Indian Territory. The chief of that band of Southern Cheyenne was Motatavo (Black Kettle), he and his wife along with a number of thier tribe were killed in that attack. Hanging from the top of his teepee were two flags, an American flag and a white flag. Chief Black Kettle had assured the members of that village that the Americans would not attack them as long as the American flag flew above his teepee. He was dead wrong. Major Elliot was also killed while leading a Left Wing Detachment of the 7th. Total casualities from the 7th - 2 Officers and 19 Enlisted men, mostly in Elliot's Detachment.

According to a modern account by the United States Army Center of Military History, the 7th Cavalry had 21 officers and men killed and 13 wounded at the Washita. They estimated the Indians had perhaps 50 killed and as many wounded. Twenty of the soldiers killed were part of a small detachment led by Major Joel Elliott, who was among the dead. Elliott had separated from the three companies he led, apparently without Custer's approval. Yelling "Here's for a brevet or a coffin!" Elliott and his small band pursued a group of fleeing Cheyenne. Elliott's contingent ran into a mixed party of Cheyenne, Kiowa, and Arapaho warriors who were rushing from villages up the river to aid Black Kettle's encampment. The warriors overwhelmed the small troop in a single charge. Custer's abrupt withdrawal without determining the fate of Elliott and the missing troopers darkened Custer's reputation among his peers. There was deep resentment within the 7th Cavalry that never healed. In particular, Eliott's friend and H Company captain Frederick Benteen never forgave Custer for "abandoning" Elliott and his troopers. Eight years later, when Benteen failed to race to Custer's aid at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, his actions were closely examined in light of his long-standing anger toward Custer for the events at the Washita River.

Major Elliott's body along with the other 18 fallen soldiers was recovered from the battlefield two weeks later on December 11th, 1868. Major Elliott's body was taken to Ft. Arbuckle, Indian Territory for burial. After Ft. Arbuckle was decommissioned in 1870, his body was taken from there and laid to rest in the Officers' Circle at Ft. Gibson National Cemetery, Ft. Gibson, Muskogee Co., Oklahoma in 1872.

In 1875 Fort Elliott, a military post, was established in Wheeler County, Texas. Fort Elliott was named in honor of Major Joel H. Elliott.

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Major Joel H. Elliott (USA), 7th U.S. Cavalry's Timeline

October 27, 1840
Wayne County, IN, United States
November 27, 1868
Age 28
Cheyenne, OK, United States
Fort Gibson, OK, United States