Thursday, November 3, 2011
David Fultz, 2nd Kansas Militia; "Killed by Jennison's Men"?
The circumstances surrounding the death of David Fultz of the 2nd Kansas Militia provide an interesting glimpse inside the Union Army of the Border in the aftermath of the Battle of Westport. Though it is certain that he died at the hands of Union troops, it is still a mystery exactly why he was killed and who was responsible.
David Fultz was a farmer who lived in the rural southeast corner of Shawnee County before he volunteered for the 2nd KSM. He was born in Kentucky and migrated to Douglas County Kansas along with his wife Elizabeth, before migrating to Shawnee County in 1863. David and his five brothers all served the Union side during the War including one who was in the field with the 21st Kansas Militia from Douglas County.
The story of David Fultz may never have come to light if not for the official report of his Commander, Colonel George Veale. Near the end of Colonel Veale's report, dated 30 October, 1864 was a list of the men from his Division who were killed, captured and wounded including this entry for David's Company I: "Killed - William Waln, Robert Bolls, David Fultz, the latter, killed by Jennison's men." This declaration caused a stir of outrage from Colonel Jennison's quarter as could be expected. Although Charles "Doc" Jennison had been rightly accused of many such outrages against those who opposed him, he had never stood accused of killing a Union soldier. Jennison was a staunch abolitionist who was personally responsible for as much death and destruction on the Border as anyone, but this accusation, made by a peer in his official report without supporting details, would launch an investigation by the order of General Curtis.
Lt. J.M.Hubbard was General Curtis' Signal Officer and was given charge of the investigation, which elicited the following facts:
On Sunday, October 23rd, between 4 and 5 P.M., two gentlemen found a wounded man near Little Santa Fe, who gave his name as David Fults, Company "I," 2d Regiment Kansas State Militia. His statement was that having been separated from his regiment at the Big Blue the day before, he fell in with a body of our cavalry, which he believed to be Colonel Jennison's regiment. He told several soldiers who he was ; also told the commander, whom he believed to be Colonel Jennison, the same story, but the officer declared him a rebel bushwhacker, and ordered him to be shot. The unfortunate man was wounded in the small of the back and in the leg. The first ball passed through his body. They left him where he was found. He died shortly afterwards. (Much of the information gathered for this blog entry was taken from the book "Rebel invasion of Missouri and Kansas, and the Campaign of the Army of the Border Against General Sterling Price in October and November, 1864" by Richard Josiah Hinton. The unedited parts will be in italics)
One of the men who found David Fultz was named John J. Ingalls, a prominent Kansan. The veracity of Ingalls story is not in question, but David Fultz story of being shot by "Jennison's Men" was. How would Fultz have been able to identify the men who shot him as Jennison's? He may not have been able to. Although Jennison and his 15th Kansas Cavalry was a well-known and notorious outfit, Fultz may have only come to his conclusion after he was shot. So, why was he shot? How did he end up near Little Sante Fe? The results of Lt. Hubbard's investigation revealed some surprising answers.