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While stationed at Rolla, Samuel was joined by his family, including his ten-year-old son David, who repeatedly but unsuccessfully begged his father to take him on his frequent scouting trips. On one such trip, however, Samuel, sensing something was happening behind him, turned and found David riding on a pony in the center of a group of soldiers.
David later became desperately ill with malaria and pneumonia, and Colonel Wood was forced to leave his son with a farm family. Although Samuel feared he would never see his son alive again, David received good care, recovered, and was retrieved by his father and returned to Council Grove, Kansas, ending his career in the army.