Reuben Frank Bernard
Brigadier General, United States Army
of the United States Army:
Captain Reuben F. Bernard
One of the first regular army noncommissioned officers to gain a widespread reputation as one of the “bravest and most efficient Apache fighters in the Army,” was Dragoon Sergeant Reuben F. Bernard.
A native of Tennessee, Bernard served as a Private, Corporal, Sergeant and First Sergeant with the 1st Dragoons at Fort Craig, New Mexico from 1855 to 1862. He first came to Gadsden Purchase territory in 1856 with Major Enoch Steen. In 1861 as a First Sergeant of Dragoons, he was with a relief column from Fort Breckinridge which was sent to reinforce Lieutenant Bascom who had arrested Cochise, accusing him of kidnapping a white child, then was embarrassed by the Chiricahua leader’s escape. When Lieutenant Bascom refused to exchange prisoners as proposed by Cochise, Sergeant Bernard said he tried to persuade the young lieutenant to change his mind. Perhaps he tried too earnestly to dissuade Bascom from his course of action, which was later found to be a bloody blunder. The Lieutenant had Bernard arrested. He was later tried for insubordination and released.
Bernard was commissioned in 1862 in the 1st U.S. Cavalry Regiment. He served with his regiment throughout the Civil War, being brevetted Captain in May 1864 for gallant and meritorious services in action at Smithfield, Virginia; Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel, March 1865 for gallant and meritorious services during the war; and Brigadier General in 1890 for gallant service in actions against Indians at Chiricahua Pass, Arizona, on October 20, 1869, near Silver River, Oregon, June 23, 1878, and Birch Creek, Oregon, July 8, 1878.
He commanded Camp Lowell in 1868 and 1869,
and Fort Bowie in 1870 and 71. He retired in 1896 as a Lieutenant Colonel
in the 9th Cavalry. By the time his military career was finished, Bernard
had been involved in 101 actions against Indians or
Operating around Fort Bowie in 1869 and 1870,
Captain Reuben F. Bernard, an old hand at fighting Apaches, was taking
on Cochise’s Chiricahua Apaches. He led eight expeditions against the Indians
in 1869, his most successful being in October when he was reinforced by
troops from Camps Goodwin and Crittenden. The Apaches had attacked a stagecoach
on 5 October and murdered both the passengers and the soldier escort near
Dragoon Springs. Bernard led his force into Chiricahua Pass to confront
the Apaches. In three fights with them in October, he killed over 30 Apaches
and retook stock.
Served in the United States Army as Private, Corporal, Sergeant and First Sergeant, Troop D, First United States Dragoons, 19 February 1855 to 14 September 1862;
Acting Secont Lieutenant, 1st United States avalry, 5 January to 14 September 1862
Second Lieutenant, 1st United States Cavalry, 17 July, 1862
First Lieutenant, 21 June 1863
Captain, 28 July 1866
Major, 8th United States Cavalry, 1 November 1882
Lieutenant Colonel, 9th United States Cavalry, 22 July 1892
Breveted Captain, 6 May 1864 for gallant and meritorious service in the battle of Todd’s Tavern, Virginia;
Brevetted Major, 28 August 1864 for gallant
and meritorious service in action at
Breveted Lieuenant Colonel and Colonel, 13 March 1865 for gallant and meritorious service during the Civil War;
Brevetted Brigadier General, 27 February 1890 for gallant service in action against Indians at Chiricahua Pass, Arizona , 20 October 1869, and in the actions against Indians near the Silver River, Oregon, 23 June 1878, and at Birch Creek Oregon, 8 July 1878
Retired from active service on 14 October 1896
Died November 17, 1903 and buried with full
military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.
WASHINGTON, November 17, 1903 – Brigadier General Reuben F. Bernard, a veteran of the Civil War, is dead at his residence in this city. His remains will be interred at Arlington Thursday with military honors.
General Bernard saw his first service in the
Civil War as Second Lieutenant in the First Cavalry. He was brevetted
Captain May 6, 1864 for his service at the battle of Todd’s Tavern, Virginia.
On July 28, 1864, he became a Captain in the First Cavalry. For service
in action in Smithsfield, Virginia, be received the brevet rank of Major
in 1864 and in 1865 be became a brevet Colonel for similar services during
the war. He was in 103 actions.
VETERAN SERVICE DATES: Unknown
DATE OF DEATH: 11/17/1903
DATE OF INTERMENT: Unknown
BURIED AT: SECTION SD ES SITE 1866
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
BERNARD, REUBEN F
From the United States Army Cavalry Journal
Posted: 24 July 2002 Updated: 17 September 2004 Updated: 27 August 2005 Updated: 10 January 2008