August V. Kautz became a private in Company G of the First Ohio Volunteers beginning June 8, 1846 and served during the Mexican War. He was discharged June 14, 1847.

He became a cadet at the United States Military Academy beginning July 1, 1848. Upon graduation, he was appointed a Brevet 2nd Lieutenant in the 4th Infantry on July 1, 1852. He was appointed a 2nd Lieutenant on 24 March 1853 and a 1st Lieutenant on December 4, 1855 upon the death of William A. Slaughter.

He was appointed Captain in the 3rd Cavalry on May 14, 1861 and was transferred to the 6th Cavalry on August 3, 1861. He become Colonel of the 2nd Ohio Cavalry on September 2, 1862 and a Brevet Major June 9, 1863 for "...gallant and meritorious service in action at Monticello, Kentucky."

He was appointed Brigadier General of Volunteers on May 7, 1864 and a Brevet Lieutenant Colonel on June 9, 1864 for "...gallant and meritorious service in an attack on Petersburg, Virginia".

He was appointed a Brevet Colonel on October 7, 1864 for "...gallant and meritorious service in action on the Darbytown Road, Virginia." Became a Brevet Major General of Volunteers on October 18, 1864 for "...gallant and meritorious service during the campaign against Richmond, Virginia".

He was appointed a Brevet Brigadier General and Brevet Major General on March 13, 1865 for "...gallant and meritorious service in the field during the war. 

He was mustered out of the Volunteer Service on January 15, 1866 and became Lieutenant Colonel of the 34th Infantry on July 28, 1866. He was transferred to the 15th Infantry on March 15, 1869 and become Colonel of the 8th Infantry on June 8, 1874. He was appointed Brigadier General on April 20, 1891 and retired by operation of law on January 5, 1892. He died in Seattle on September 4, 1895. 

(Powell, William H., List of Officers of the United States Army from 1779 to 1900. New York: L. R. Hamersly and company, 1900. p. 406.


August Valentine Kautz was born January 5, 1828, at Ispringen, Baden, Germany, the son of George and Doratha Lawing Kautz. The same year he was born his parents emigrated to the United States and after a brief time in Baltimore, Maryland, settled in Brown County, Ohio, where Kautz attended public school.

On June 8, 1846, Kautz enlisted in the First Ohio Infantry and served in the Mexican War where he participated in the Battle of Monterey and was mustered out when his enlistment ended on June 14, 1847.

After his service in the Mexican War as a private Kautz applied for an appointment to the United States Military Academy where he joined the class of 1852. As a member of this class Kautz associated with men who would later rise to prominence on both sides in the Civil War. He maintained an academic position in the lower third of his class and later indicated that some of those above him treated him at times with a little less than proper respect.

His close friends at West Point were George H. Mendell, Charles R. Woods, Alexander Mc Cook and George Crook, but in the years after graduation he corresponded regularly with Mendell and Crook only.

When he graduated in June of 1852 he was first assigned to Fort Columbia, New York, with a brevet commission as a second lieutenant in the Fourth Infantry and received a permanent rank on March 24, 1853.

Lieutenant August V. Kautz arrived in the Pacific Northwest as a Second Lieutenant in 1853 having crossed the isthmus at Nicaragua and spending a short time at Benicia Barracks, Army headquarters on the Pacific Coast. He was briefly assigned to Vancouver (Columbia) Barracks and spent some time at Fort Steilacoom where a journal exists for part of his experiences there.

He was later transferred to Fort Orford but returned to Fort Steilacoom during the Indian War of 1855-56. He became a general Officer during Civil War. He retired to Seattle and died 04 Sep 1895. (Dictionary of Oregon History p. 131).

He rebuilt Fort Steilacoom in 1857 and 1858, spent some time with the escort to the United States-Canada boundary commission and closed his pre-Civil War career at Fort Chehalis.

He climbed to within 400 feet of the top of Mount Rainier in July of 1857 when he and Dr. Robert Orr Craig with Privates Nicholas Dogue and William Carroll in company with the Indian guide Wapowety approached the peak.

This activity was so strenuous that when the climbers returned to Fort Steilacoom they were emaciated and were hardly recognizable to post personnel. The Indian guide Wapowety who had been snow-blind and was unable to hunt for the group nearly died and Dr. Craig was ill for many days. The two soldiers spent several months under medical care after which Private Carroll applied for a discharge pension on grounds of permanent injuries. Lieutenant Kautz suffered his first experience with a bad case of piles and complained of stomach pains because of the large number of ground blackberries he had been forced to eat because of the lack of other food.

He worked to defend Leschi after the Indian War of 1855-56 and did the "measuring" of Connell's Prairie that "proved" that Antonio B. Rabbeson could not have seen Leschi at one end of the Prairie and very soon thereafter see him shoot A. Benton Moses and Joseph Miles from ambush.

His brother, Fred Kautz was a civilian employee of the army at Fort Steilacoom after the Indian War. Fred Kautz went to California during the Gold Rush in California before he came north to Washington Territory. He was involved in quartermaster duties and often went on pick-up and delivery missions. He was a deputy United States Commissioner in 1857 and arrested the sheriff of Pierce County on the charge of selling liquor to the Indians. This act stopped the execution of Leschi, War Chief of the Nisquallies and caused a round of indignation meetings in Olympia and Steilacoom. He returned home to Ohio in 1859 and during the Civil War was an officer in the Volunteer Army.

Another brother, Albert was a cadet at the United States Naval Academy while Kautz was at Fort Steilacoom. Albert was born in Georgetown, Ohio, on January 29, 1838. He was graduated from the United States Naval Academy in June of 1858. He served on a number of vessels and was captured by a Confederate Privateer during the Civil War and was exchanged (Hamersly, p. 82-83). He became a Commodore in 1897 and a Rear Admiral in 1898 (Callahan, p. 306).

August V. Kautz' Indian wife was Kitty Etta Quaymuth the daughter of Quaymuth and an unknown wife. Quaymuth's father was Yanatco (Sennatco) and mother a daughter of Weywitch, a Yakima chief. Kitty's mother was the daughter of Yak-tah-quat. The Kautz's had two sons, Nugent, known as Lugie and Augustus, known as Doctin. Doctin was born 09 February 1859 and died in 1935.

Edward Huggins stated that a sister of Kitty Kautz married a Mr. Treadway of the Land Office. Kitty married second on July 3, 1875 William Diggins of Olympia and on February 15, 1884 married Henry Walker of Thurston County. She died in 1891 and was buried in the Yelm Pioneer Cemetery.

When Kautz left the Pacific Northwest at the beginning of the Civil War he set up a fund at Fort Nisqually which was under the care of Edward Huggins for some time to be paid to Kitty at twenty dollars a month for the two boys. (Kautz File, Tahoma Research Service)


Bagley, Clarence. History of King County. Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1929 p. 179-180.

The account of this, the last encounter of the regulars with the hostile Indians, is best told in the report of Lieutenant August V. Kautz, who was in command of part of the attacking forces.

It follows:

"Our objective point was Muckleshoot Prairie, between the White and the Green Rivers. It was regarded as the heart of the country occupied by the hostiles. The troops were separated at the Puyallup Block-house. From there I marched on with that portion of the command which went direct to Muckleshoot Prairie.

"Colonel Casey, who was in command of the other detachment, went by the Lemon Prairie route to Muckleshoot. My command reached the prairie about the last day of February. On that day I received a dispatch from Colonel Casey requesting me to send a detachment to the crossing of the White River to meet him.

"On the next day, the 1st of March (1856) I started out with a command of fifty men. When we arrived at the ford of the White River the Indians appeared in our rear and threatened an attack. I at once sent a dispatch to Colonel Casey telling him the Indians had made their appearance, and that I would endeavor to hold the ford until he arrived.

"I made disposition of the men on a bar of the river, among some driftwood, to await the coming of the troops. The Indians worked their way around us on both sides of the river, but were not able to make any impression on the troops lodged as they were behind logs and driftwood.

"At three o'clock in the afternoon, Captain (Erasmus Darwin) Keyes arrived at the ford with about one hundred men. We then moved against the Indians and they retreated. Later, as we were marching to Muckleshoot Prairie, they gave us a volley from a bluff where they were stationed. They then disappeared and we went into camp.

"One man had been killed and nine men, including myself, wounded. This was the last fight the regulars had with the hostiles."

Bagley, Clarence. History of King County Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1929 p. 179-180

Bagley, Clarence. History of King County Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1929 p. 438

"Brigadier General August V. Kautz, United States Army, retired, who rendered much military service in King County during the Indian War, and whose last service was as commander of the Department of The Columbia in which he was formerly a lieutenant, died at his home in Seattle (on September 4, 1895)."


On July 15, 1857, Lieutenant August V. Kautz stood wearily gazing about him at the rolling expanse of a glacier high on Mount Rainier. His reddened eyes smarted under long exposure to the glaring white world and his sunburned and bearded face showed deep lines of fatigue and hunger. Some distance below two companions gasped for breath and struggled with an occasional step upward.

It was 5 o'clock in the afternoon and shadows were creeping across the ridges, outlining wind swept undulations of the snow surface. The strong breeze that had been blowing most of the day, with accompanying freezing temperatures, was forming ice crystals in the canteens. The weather was giving signs of deterioration as clouds began to sweep the ridges.

From one of the figures below, Private Nicholas Dogue, came the strongly German accented, " I guess, Lieutenant, ve petter go back."

Kautz took another deep breath and looked about him, then down to the gradually darkening forests and ridges which lay below the vast sweep of the mountain's south flanks. A chill breeze suddenly took his cap from his head and carried it beyond reach; soon the numbing sensation in his toes and fingers worked into his consciousness as he realized the hopelessness of proceeding farther under present conditions at such a late hour.

In ten hours the party had climbed about eight thousand feet from the last camp, far below in the green meadow above the west moraine of the Nisqually Glacier. Two members of the party, William Carroll and the Indian guide, Wapowety, had already given up because of fatigue and snow blindness and returned to camp. Private Dogue and Dr. Robert Orr Craig were some distance below the lieutenant, who had arrived at a point, which, according to his own words, "....although there were points higher yet, the mountain spread out comparatively flat."

With one last glance toward the snow dome that rose beyond a broad plateau, Kautz rejoined his companions and at 6 o'clock they began the descent down pinnacles and terraces of a roughly broken part of the glacier, below and over steep snow fields and rocky ridges to the timberline camp.

Weary to a point of exhaustion, and weak from an inadequate diet the past few days, scratched and battered by a week of fighting heavy underbrush, dense forests and stream crossings of the eighty mile approach from Fort Steilacoom on Puget Sound, Lieutenant Kautz and his four companions had accomplished the first clearly recorded ascent to the upper snow dome of Rainier. To them must go the credit for disproving the belief so prevalent in those days that such an ascent was impossible.

As an aftermath of the expedition, which ended when the climbers returned to Fort Steilacoom emaciated and hardly recognizable to post personnel, Wapowety nearly died. Dr. Craig was ill for many days and the two soldiers spent several months under medical care, after which Private Carroll applied for a discharge pension on grounds of permanent injuries. Kautz suffered his first experience with a bad case of piles, but otherwise had no permanent damage....

Of his planning for the ascent of Rainier, Lieutenant Kautz wrote:

"I made preparations after the best authorities I could find, from reading accounts of the ascent of Mont Blanc and other snow mountains. We made for each member of the party an alpenstock of dry ash with an iron point. We sewed upon our shoes an extra sole, through which were driven four penny nails with the points broken off and the heads inside. We took with us a rope about fifty feet long, a hatchet, a thermometer, plenty of hard biscuit, and dried beef such as the Indians prepare.

"Information relating to the mountain was exceedingly meager; no white man had ever been near it, and Indians were very superstitious and afraid of it. The southern slope seemed the lest abrupt, and in that direction I proposed to reach the mountain; but whether to keep the high ground, or follow some stream to itís source was a question.

"Leschi, the chief of the Nisquallies, was at that time in the guard house, awaiting his execution and as I had greatly interested myself to save him from his fate, he volunteered the information that the valley of the Nisqually River was the best approach after getting above the falls.

"He had some hope that I would take him as a guide; but finding that out of the question he suggested Wah-pow-e-ty, an old Indian of the Nisqually Tribe, as knowing more about the Nisqually than any other of his people."

Some conjecture later arose about the highest point attained by Kautz. His words indicate he was at about the 14,000 foot altitude on the snow crest just east of Point Success, and was looking across the intervening saddle to the crater rim and Columbia Crest, a little over half a mile away. It should be noted that Kautz' estimate of his altitude, "...about 12,000 feet," was based on his belief that Rainier was 12,330 feet in height, as determined by Lieutenant Wilkes in 1841. It was therefore probably he was only abut three hundred thirty feet lower than the absolute summit.

(Dee Molenaar, The Challenge of Rainier Seattle: The Mountaineers, 1971, p. 31-32)

Herbert Hunt, "Kautz on Mount Rainier," History of Tacoma Chapter 7.


In July, 1857, Lieutenant Kautz undertook the ascent of Mount Tacoma-Rainier. A short account of the expedition was published in the Washington Republican, of Steilacoom, July 24. This account said, in part:

"Some two weeks ago an expedition to ascertain the practicality of ascending Mount Rainier, was organized by Lieut. A. V. Kautz U. S. A. Dr. R. 0. Craig, U. S. A., joined the party at the last moment, which consisted, besides the above mentioned gentlemen, of four enlisted men from Fort Steilacoom and an Indian named Wah-pow-e-ty, who had once been across from the Cowlitz River down the Nisqually when a boy. 

"The party started on the 8th instant with ten days' supplies from Fort Steilacoom, taking horses as far as the Mishell prairie, a distance of about forty miles. From thence, with six days' provisions, consisting of dried meat and hard bread and a blanket on their backs, they proceeded across the mountains between the Mishell and Nisqually for five days up the river, traveling on bars wherever possible but a greater part of the way through the dense undergrowth of the bottom, from where the Nisqually emerges from an immense glacier.

"The sixth day they started up the mountain but the weather was very bad. They soon were enveloped in a storm of hail, snow and mist; and unable to see their course they sought a camp, at an elevation of 7,000 feet above the sea.

"The next morning, the 16th, it stopped snowing about 8 o'clock and they commenced the ascent. The party now consisted of Lieutenant Kautz, Doctor Craig, Privates Caroll, of Company A, Doge, of Company C, Fourth Infantry, and the Indian. About 4 o'clock, at an elevation of 10,000 feet Caroll and the Indian gave out and returned to eamp. 

At an elevation of about twelve thousand feet Doge said he could go no farther. The Doctor was behind, but came up to that point afterwards. The crest of the mountain was now fairly turned and the ascent less steep. The nearest peak was still to attain, to make the observations that were contemplated. It was after 6 o'clock and the cold precluded all possibility of staying on the mountain all night, as ice was forming in their canteens. The wind was exceedingly strong and intensely cold. 

The party now found that they should have started earlier in the morning. They decided to return and try and make the desired observations the next day; but their late return and overexertion was too much for most of the party. The Indian had violent inflammation of the eyes and could not see; and they could not make a second ascent that day. They could not wait, as an examination of their stock of provisions showed about three crackers and a pound of dried meat to the man, to carry them over a tract of country that required six days, and the weather being unfavorable they decided to return, having at least demonstrated the practicability of ascending the mountain.

The newspaper account goes on to tell what the travelers saw:

"Signs of deer and bear were plenty. The party killed but one deer. They saw numbers of mountain sheep, a small animal with long and shaggy black and whitish hair, with the appearance and attitude of a small dog, and the feet of a sheep. They are exceedingly wild-burrow in the earth, and, at the least alarm make for their holes."

There is no evidence that Lieutenant Kautz indulged in this ludicrous nature fake. Maybe it was the blinded Indian who talked to the editor. The idea of sheep burrowing in the ground was new to natural history, and very interesting, if true. Later if was shown that what the party thought were sheep were in reality marmots, but the tracks they saw were the tracks of  mountain sheep.

In after years General Kautz described his climb before the Tacoma Academy of Science. This was after the mountain top had been reached and the craters mapped. It was made plain then that though a fearless endeavor had been made he and his party failed to reach the nearest peak, and had they climbed that they still would not have been at the summit, which is Crater peak. They did not see either of the two craters.

The glory of being the first to wrest the secrets of the summit was left to be snatched by Stevens and Van Trump in 1870, but General Kautz gave Kautz glacier and Kautz creek to the nomenclature of the mountain, and the bravery and endurance which he and his men, and Wah-pow-e-ty, the Indian guide, displayed, entitled the lieutenant to the highest praise. It would be a fitting thing to name some point on the mountain after this Indian. 

When Lieutenant Kautz left Steilacoom, Leschi was in the guard house awaiting death, "and as I had," said General Kautz in after years, "greatly interested myself to save him from an unjust fate which I knew the white man would eventually be ashamed of, he volunteered the information that the valley of the Nisqually River was the best approach after getting above the falls. He had some little hope that I would take him as a guide, but finding that out of the question he suggested Wah-pow-e-ty, an old Indian of the Nisqually tribe, as knowing more about the Nisqually than any other member of his people." Wah-pow-e-ty was all fidelity, though fearful of the mountain. He became snowblind and suffered terribly. 

Lieutenant Kautz had to lead him part way back to Steilacoom, adding to the grievous hardships of the journey through the tangle of brush and heavy timber, with insufficient food, with clothing in rags, and all members of the party suffering from exhausting fatigue. Lieutenant Kautz himself never fully recovered.

Herbert Hunt, "Kautz on Mount Rainier", History of Tacoma Chapter 7.

Harrison Landing, James River, Va
July 13 1862

My dear Huggins:

Your letter of March 24 reached me a few days ago as usual long after your letter of more recent date. After all, the mail seems to be certain, but terribly slow. Presume long before this reaches you will have become familiar and perhaps have forgotten the repulse of McClellan from Richmond, for a repulse it is, though no fault of McClellans, on the contrary the whole affair is a credit to him and his troops. But it has revealed our strength to the enemy, or rather our weakness compared to them. 

They have concentrated their troops and mustered every man they could raise, whilst every step of the War Dept. has had a tendency to weaken our strength, first they stopped Recruiting, they paid no attention to McClellans call for reinforcements & doubted his representations of the enemy strength, & now they know it and try to repair it by calling suddenly for three hundred thousand more troops. 

Now there is no alternative but to wait until we can get an equal number of troops, at least before we can advance again. Perhaps the hot months of Aug. & July will pass away in this monotonous duty. The rebels however have been as much disappointed as we have been, they had the force and expected to crush us and did not do it. Had the War Dept. supported McClellan properly they would have been driven back and we should now be in Richmond. Our Government has many elements of weakness with all its resources. 

The Secretary of War is trying to ruin McClellan has ruined himself and nearly ruined the country. One competent mind would have ended this war before this, but there are too many at work and too many politicians that must have their say. Although we are brought to a stand still for the present the enemy is also they cannot drive us back, they have not saved Richmond but only delayed its fall. 

I have finally made up my mind to enter the volunteer service I have tendered my services to the Governor of Ohio & expect that he will give me a Regiment. I should not do this but am driven to it by the fact that the Regular service is being absorbed by the vast volunteer service. Had I accepted a Regiment six months ago when it was offered to me, I should be in a far better way for advancement. 

A Junior captain in my Regiment did so, and now although still a Captain in my Regiment he is also a Col. of Pennsylvania Volunteers and commands the Brigade to which I am attached and I must report to him. Had I deemed that the war would not be nearly closed by this time I should have known what to do then. 

Now it must last six months longer at least and I am determined to be prepared for its continuance still longer. I shall not be obliged to vacate my regimental position in the line. I did not witness the recent fearful battles. We were far out with our regiment and several others on the right flank protecting that quarter when the enemy attacked McClellan; they came down between us & cut General Stonemans command and cut us off from the main Army; we were then ordered to the grand depot at the White House where we held the ground until all the public property was shipped or destroyed and then fell back to Fortress Monroe, and joined the Amy again

None of our old Steilacoom friends were lost in the fight but some were wounded. Capt. Scott was wounded in the arm, and Capt. Bates is also reported to be wounded but I have not learned that for certain. Our loss in the fights is not so heavy as was at first supposed. Twelve thousand will cover killed wounded and prisoners. 

The troops are in very good spirits and all we want is a few more and we can then try the enemy again. They will try to worry us here but they dare not attack us in force. They have done their best and their strength will now dwindle away, I have not seen any of our old friends lately. Got a letter from Gibbs the other day he was then sick in Washington, but was getting better. 

I heard that Buckley was also quite sick with typhoid fever in the Shenandoah Valley. The trunk that I expected for so long a time has at length arrived, in Washington, and I received a letter from Capt. Winsor of Chehalis with regard to the trouble he experienced in getting it. Ford don't seem to have behaved very well about it. He would not write to me about it himself or take any measures about it and would not turn it over to any body else although I left him full instructions about it. 

However, I am glad to get it on any terms. It has cost me considerable already and now I must pay thirty dollars more in order to get it from the Express office. My best regards to all inquiring friends, to the Dr. & his family and Mrs. Huggins.

Yours truly