William Cody 7TH Kansas Jayhawker

He was born William Frederick Cody in Iowa in 1846. The records show "Buffalo Bill" enlisted in the Seventh Kansas Cavalry on February 19, 1864. He was mustered in on February 24, and assigned to Company H.  Below is an image of Cody during his time with the 7th Kansas.                                                                  

He later became internationally famous under the name of "Buffalo Bill" Cody, and because of his Wild West Show. In 1861 Cody was sixteen, and claimed to be member of an "independent company of Kansans, organized by Chandler for the purpose of invading Missouri, and making war upon it people." After the Chandler gang was broken up by government detectives, Cody worked for Wild Bill Hickok for a spell. Then he joined the Red Legs Scouts.

The red-legs stole, robbed, burned, and indiscriminately murdered on both sides of the Missouri Kansas border. Cody had several friends and old neighbors in the Seventh Kansas Cavalry, who tried their best to persuade him to enlist in the regiment.  He would have none of it, but his friends found a way to convince him. 

In his autobiography Bill writes: "One day after having been under the influence of bad whiskey, I awoke to find myself a soldier in the Seventh Kansas. I did not remember how or when I enlisted."

While writing about his exploits while a member of the unit, Bill throws out a little "buffalo." Cody claims credit for accepting the surrender of General Marmaduke.  Bill also claimed to have disguised himself as a Tennessee boy, located and infiltrated Forrest camp, on a special mission for Union General A. J. Smith.

For whatever reason, not many pages of the legend of William F Cody were written during his time as a member of Jennnison Jay-hawkers.

At 22, in Kansas, he was rechristened "Buffalo Bill".  He had been a trapper, a bull-whacker, a Colorado "Fifty-Niner", Pony Express rider (1860), wagon-master, stagecoach driver, and even hotel manager. He earned his nickname for his skill while supplying Kansas Pacific Railroad workers with buffalo meat.

From 1868 through 1872 he was continuously employed by the United States Army, a record in the hazardous and uncertain scouting profession. He won the congressional Medal of Honor in 1872 and was ever after the favorite scout of the Fifth Cavalry.

Cody considered himself lucky to have been wounded in action just once, and then it was "only a scalp wound." But mostly he felt lucky to have been in the right place at the right time.

In 1872 he appeared on stage for the first time, and the Wild West show was inaugurated in Omaha in 1883 with real cowboys and real Indians portraying the "real West." The show spent ten of its thirty years in Europe. By the turn of the century, Buffalo Bill was probably the most famous and most recognizable man in the world.

Some of the information found in the article was obtained from: Jennisons Jayhawkers; a Civil War Cavalry Regiment And Its Commander. Stephen Z. Starr. Lousisiana State University Press 1973.                                                                         

© Patrick Marquis quantrillsguerrillas.com"Permission should be requested and agreed to before using this copyrighted essay." 


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