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Bad Hand diagnosed as insane

December
18
1883

On this day in 1883, Ranald Slidell (Bad Hand) Mackenzie, hard-driving cavalry officer, was diagnosed as suffering from "paralysis of the insane." Mackenzie was born in New York City in 1840. He received his education at Williams College and at the United States Military Academy, where he graduated in 1862 at the head of his class. He served with great distinction in the Union cavalry during the Civil War, ending the conflict as a brevet major general. After the war he became one of the leading cavalry commanders on the frontier, leading the Fourth United States Cavalry in a number of campaigns against varous Indian tribes. In Texas he is best known for his victory against the Comanches at Palo Duro Canyon and for the extralegal Remolino raid into Mexico in pursuit of Kickapoo raiders. Mackenzie's plans to marry and to retire near Boerne, Texas, in 1883 were ended by his increasing mental illness, and he was committed to a New York asylum in 1884. He died on Staten Island in 1889.

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