Order of the Indian Wars of the United States

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Order of the Indian Wars of the United States

During the spring of 1896, Colonel B.J.D. Irwin, Assistant Surgeon General, U.S. Army Retired, gathered together and organized a group of fellow officers in Chicago and at Fort Sheridan all of whom had participated in the Plains Indian Wars. The purpose of this gathering was to organize “ a Society that should stand related to the Indian Wars of the United States”. The Society would be called "The Order of Indian Wars of the United States" (OIWUS) and would use as its paradigm other extant military lineage sodalities such as the Society of the Cincinnati (War of Independence), The Aztec Club of 1847 (Mexican War) and the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (Union Army, War Between the States). All of these hallowed societies were formed by veteran participants with provisions for descendants. Ab initio the Order was to be a society of veteran officer participants in the Indian Wars and their male descendants. As with those stated organizations, the first qualification for any prospective member of the Order was that he be a patriotic gentleman of impeccable character. The second qualification was military service in any of the myriad conflicts, battles or actual field service against hostile Indians within the jurisdiction of the United States. Providentially, the OIWUS also provided for hereditary male membership. Today the entire membership is hereditary since the last officer participants died many decades ago.

The purpose of the OIWUS was to perpetuate the history of the services rendered by the American military forces during the various conflicts and wars within the territory of the United States. Furthermore, the Order was committed to collecting and publishing historical data pertaining to “the brave deeds and personal devotion” of those involved in Indian warfare. The Charter Members of the Order were: Colonel B.J.D Irwin; Major George W. Baird; Lieutenant Colonel Ruben F. Bernard; Captain C.H. Conrad; General J.W. Cloud; Major Forest H. Hathaway; and Captain Allyn Capron. The OIWUS flourished after the formal chartering of 10 June 1896, claiming as members a number of renowned military men. General John J. Pershing; Major General Frederick D. Grant; Brigadier General Edward J. McClernand; Brigadier General Samuel W. Fountain; Brigadier General Edward S. Godfrey; Lieutenant Colonel Ulysses S. Grant III; and Major Charles A. Coolidge were all members of the OIWUS.

Website at http://www.oiwus.org/#

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