Friday, March 5, 2010
"I asked Eagan if he would hold my horse, and I dismounted, turned the Indian over on his face, put my left foot on his neck and raised his scalp. I held it up to Eagan saying, 'John, here is the first scalp for M troop.' I secured the rifle, which was a heavy muzzle-loading buffalo gun made at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and of the style issued to the Indians for hunting purposes. I also took a 44-calibre Remington revolver and a sheath knife, but did not bother with trinkets which he had. I believe some of these articles are in my collection at my home at the present time.
"Hanging the scalp at the sabre hook of my waist belt, I started to find our command, and on the way noticed that the skirt of my overcoat was covered with blood. So I threw the scalp away, and upon arriving at camp reported my experience to the company commander, Lieutenant Owen Hale. He asked me what I did with the scalp, and I told him. He smiled and said that I should have kept it, as it was considered an honor on that occasion. I called Lieutenant Hale's attention to the condition of my $14 overcoat, and he asked me how I felt about that time. I told him I felt like the Irishman who belonged to one of the New York regiments in my brigade, known as Meagher's Irish Brigade. The man's brother was killed in front of Petersburg on June 16, 1864, and he felt so bad about it that the next day he got behind a stump and killed 10 Confederates. His captain asked him how he felt about it, and he said that he did not know as it would help poor Tom any, but he felt a little relieved about the heart. That was the way I felt."
- Sgt. John Ryan
"M" Co., 7th Cavalry