Motorhead Quote

"The battlefields are silent now. The graves all look the same." -- Motorhead,Voices from the War

Bates, Joseph

a.k.a. Joseph Murphy


Company M

Born: June 10, 1838 Providence, Rhode Island

Died: September 13, 1893 (headstone at St. Aloysius lists September 14, 1893)

Grave location: Bear Butte Cemetery, Sturgis, SD or St. Aloysius Cemetery, Sturgis, SD

Grave GPS Coordinates: N44 24.654 W103 29.685 (Bear Butte) N44 24.849 W103 31.165 (St. Aloysius)

He enlisted on July 18, 1870, at age 31, at Carlisle, PA, by Lieutenant William Cain. His previous occupation was listed as soldier. He deserted on May 11, 1872, and was apprehended on December 20, 1873. A reward of $30 was paid for his apprehension. He joined Company M by transfer from Company F, 7th Cavalry, on January 7, 1874, per SO 274, Dept. of Dakota, St. Paul, December 12, 1873. He was discharged on February 28, 1877, at Fort Rice, D.T., on expiration of service, as a corporal. He enlisted at Fort Rice on February 27, 1877, at age 37, in Company H, 7th Cavalry. The post surgeon at Fort Rice on February 19, 1878, noted that:

“I certify I have carefully examined the said Private Joseph Bates of Captain F.W. Benteen's Company, and find him incapable of performing the duties of a soldier because ... during the nearly 27 yrs, that I have known this man he has been on Sick Report or in the hospital half of the time for inebriation bordering on delerium tremens and for Erisepilatious inflammation caused by any trifling injury, due to ... constant contamination of his blood with alcohol. He is useless as a soldier and unfit for that profession ...” (Pension File 1017491, Records Group 15, National Archives.)

He was discharged on February 19, 1878, at Fort Rice, for disability, as a private. his application for an invalid pension (for heart disease and rheumatism) on April 29, 1891, was approved at $10 per month. He had blue eyes, brown hair, fair complexion, and was 5'10" tall, and was never married.

NOTE -- When I first decided to photograph the graves of 7th Cavalry troopers in South Dakota I stumbled upon the mystery of Joseph Bates. Sources indicated that he was buried in Bear Butte Cemetery in Sturgis. Other sources also stated that he was interred in Sturgis but at Saint Aloysius Cemetery. The mystery came about when I found graves for him at both cemeteries. The dates of death on the headstones at the two cemeteries are one day apart. I checked veteran burial records at the State Archives in Pierre, South Dakota, hoping that I could clear up the mystery. It only got worse. I found records for him at both cemeteries.  To date, I am still investigating. If you have ANY information, please email me (see email in my profile).

Headstone for Murphy aka Bates at Bear Butte Cemetery, Sturgis, South Dakota

Plate on Murphy stone at Bear Butte Cemetery.

Headstone for Joseph Bates at Bear Butte Cemetery - Sturgis, South Dakota

Headstone for Joseph Bates at St. Aloysius Cemetery - Sturgis, South Dakota

WPA Graves Registration Project - Listing for St. Aloysius Cemetery -- notice the document lists his service during the Spanish-American War.  A war that took place five years after his death!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to leave your comments. No sign-in required.