Henry Hopkins Sibley
Photo from the book, Confederate General of the West, by Jerry Thompson
Henry H. Sibley began his army career prior to the outbreak of the Mexican/American war. He was stationed on the Texas Border in anticipation of hostilities.
From the book, Confederate General of the West, by Jerry Thompson.
Sibley at Forts Jesup and Washita
Sibley earned a reputation for bravery at the Battle of Vera Cruz and during the occupation of Mexico City, he was a popular figure at the officer's club. Thompson points out that, "the membership read like a who's who of the Civil War. They included P.G.T. Beauregard, Barnard E. Bee, Richard S. Ewell, Thomas T. Fauntleroy, Ulysses S. Grant, William J. Hardee, Joseph Hooker, Joseph E. Johnston, Robert E. Lee, Mansfield Lovell, John B. Magruder, George B. McClellan, Andrew Porter, Charles P. Stone, and Earl Van Dorn."
Sibley assumed command of Fort Graham on the Brazos River on November 13, 1850. Thompson further reports he was transferred over one hundred miles southwest "to occupy a post on Hamilton Creek, a tributary of the Colorado, fourteen miles above its junction with the larger river. Fort Croghan, where they arrived on August 20, 1852, was on the edge of the Texas Hill Country, and had been established at the same time as Fort Graham."
In the spring of 1853, he led seventeen men north one hundred and seventy five miles to Fort Phantom Hill in pursuit of horse thieves. Thompson reports that "reaching the Indian Agency on the Clear fork, Sibley, in a conference with Agent Stem, was able to definitely determine that the horses had been stolen by a party of Wichita. Indian runners were sent to the Wichita village to demand the return of the horses and punishment of the thieves. Sibley waited at the agency for five days, occupying himself in fishing and in night-shooting of turkeys. On the fifth day, a band of Wichita were reported approaching the agency from the north, driving before them a small herd of run-down horses."
A parley with Wichita chief Koweake broke down, resulting in Sibley's threat to arrest the chief.