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Lakota~The Massacre at Wounded Knee
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Sioux Campaign Winter of 1890-91~Section One
Col. Peter E. Traub
This very exhaustive article by Col. Traub covers the various and several incidents and engagements of that campaign affection:
- Cheyenne River Reservation: Blackfeet, Minneconjo, Sans Arcs and Two Kettle Sioux
- Crow Creek and Lower Brule Reservation: Lower Bruele and Yanktonai Sioux
- Pine Ridge (Red Cloud) Reservation: Northern Cheyenne and Oglalla Sioux
- Rose Bud (Spotted Tail) Reservation: Minneconjo, Ogalalla, Upper Brule and Wahzahzah Sioux
- Standing Rock Reservation: Blackfeet, Unkapapa, Lower and Upper Yanktonai Sioux
We hope at some future time to secure permission from Colonel Traub to reproduce this entire article, which we consider of great historical value, and are only taking the liberty of reproducing herewith a brief extract from the article pertaining to the "Battle of the Wounded Knee," as follows:
At 8:30 p.m., Dec. 28, 1890, Col. James W. Forsythe, Seventh U.S. Cavalry, with four Troops (C,D,G and E) and two Hotchkiss guns (personal note: remember in a previous article we posted the army denied having Hotchkiss guns at Wounded Knee) arrived at Wounded Knee Creek and assumed command. About 7:30 the next morning, after considerable trouble, the bucks of Big Foot's command, number 106, were collected 100 yards away from their camp, Troops K and B being posted midway between. Having explained to them that after surrender, they would be treated as prisoners of war, and that as such, they would have to be disarmed, squads of twenty were cut off and told to bring in their weapons to a designated place. The result of this was very unsatisfactory, as only two broken carbines were brought. Keeping the bucks together, details of soldiers were made under officers to search the Indian camp, which resulted in securing forty-eight guns, the squaws making every effort to conceal the weapons by sitting on them, practicing deception, etc.
While this was going on, one of the Indians in "Ghost Dance" costume, separated a little from the rest, and commenced to harrange the bucks. Forsythe paid no attention to him, that he was telling the Indians to be quiet and submit. Shortly after, however, he changed his address to one for the extermination of the whites, and he was silenced. Just following this, the search through the Indian teepees having been completed, order was given to search the persons of the bucks. The weather was cold, and they had been permitted to wear their blankets; underneath, most of them had their weapons concealed. Shortly after the move to disarm them, an Indian in "Ghost Dance" costume threw some dust in the air, as a signal, and the bucks made a break, opening fire on K and B Troops, so that every shot that failed to hit a trooper or his horse was sent directly through their own camp, where their squaws and children were located. They broken through and around the flanks of Wallace's (K) Troop and reached their camp, from which place they kept up a fire on the troops drawing death toward their women and children. The troops were completely taken by surprise and fully fifty shots were fired by the Indians before a single soldier discharged his weapon. (Personal Note: This completely contradicts all non civilian witnesses at the scene who said firing began 'almost instantly' after the first shot was heard.)
But, recovering, they soon surrounded the Indians with a perfect sheet of flame, through which every once in a while a bounding buck would make his way. Bucks, squaws and children mounted and dismounted, started for the hill up a dry ravine. (Note: This contradicts official army inquiry statements that said the horses all bolted upon the first shots and nobody rode away on any) It was impossible to distinguish buck from squaw, in spite of the care exercised by both officers and men, whose action under the trying circumstances was most praiseworthy. The hot fight, lasted about twenty minutes and skirmishing was kept up an hour afterwards.
Three troops were sent up the dry ravine, and they succeeded in killing six bucks and capturing five others (all badly wounded) and nineteen squaws and children. But they were immediately attacked by 125 Brules, who had gotten wind of the fight and left the agency. (Note: See previous statements that this timing is incorrect as stated)
In the fight that followed between the three troops and the 125 Brules, the prisoners were dropped and the Indians driven off. (Note: Skirmish was miles away, and involved only a small section of troops) The latter returned to the agency, which they attacked, drawing the fire of the scouts and police and spreading the report of the killing of Big Foot to the peaceably inclined ones in the camps surrounding the agency, which resulted in about 3,000 joining the hostiles and assuming a threatening attitude. (Note: Official government inquiry states the agency was NOT attacked, that there was no further trouble or threats and that no other Indians joined in)
The Indians from the Badlands, under Short Bull and Kicking Bear would have camped that night near the agency but on hearing the news of the Big Foot disaster, they turned back and assumed a hostile attitude at No Waters, eight miles from the mouth of White Clay Creek and about seventeen miles from Pine Ridge Agency. The hostile camp now embraced 4,000 Indians, including over 1,000 warriors. (Note: These figures are fabricated. No other Indians came and/or fought)
In this battle Captain Wallace, six non-commissioned officers and eighteen privates were killed: Lieutenant Garlington, Gresham and Hawthorne, eleven non-commissioned officers and twenty-two privates were wounded. Captain Whitney, Eighth U.S. Infantry was ordered to make an investigation of Indians killed. He reports as follows. (Note: He mistakenly gives the impression this was a separate battle, it was not. This was at Wounded Knee and his figures are wrong, see previous official reports in previous section) Sixty-two bucks and one boy killed, twenty-one bucks badly wounded, 40 squaws killed, one squaw wounded, one blind squaw unhurt, four small children and one papoose killed (Bodies of several babies have been counted on photographs taken at the scene) forty bucks and seven squaws killed in camp; twenty five bucks, ten squaws and two children in canyon near and outside of camp. The rest found in the hills. Forty eight horses and one burro found dead.
There was evidence that a number of bodies had been removed. Forty eight guns and 150 horses were secured. After the fight the troops went back to the agency. General Schofield, in his report to the Secretary of War regarding the conduct of the soldiers engaged in this battle, said, in part: "The evidence shows that great care was taken by the officers and enlisted men to avoid unnecessary killing of Indian women and children in the affair at Wounded Knee, and shows that the conduct of the Seventh U.S. Cavalry under very trying circumstances was characterized by excellent discipline and in many cases by great forbearance."
The Secretary of War, Mr. Redfield Proctor, completely exonerated Colonel Forsythe and the Seventh Cavalry. After carefully reviewing the circumstances, he said, "The women and children were never away from the immediate company of the men after the men broken from the circle. Many of them, men and women, got on their ponies and it was impossible to distinguish buck from squaw at a little distance when mounted. The bucks fired from among the squaws and children in their retreat. Cautions were repeatedly given by both officers and non-commissioned officers not to shoot squaws or children and the soldiers were cautioned individually that such and such Indians were squaws. Some were unavoidably killed and wounded, a fact which was universally regretted by the officers and men of the Seventh U.S. Cavalry. The Indians themselves were entirely responsible for this unfortunate phase of the affair."
Note: He fails to address the dozens of bodies of children and women and old ones who were found slaughtered miles away in ravines, being run down by troops and massacred as they ran, miles away from the massacre site at Wounded Knee.
From the Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs for 1891, volume 1, pages 179-181. Extracts from verbatim stenographic report of council held by delegations of Sioux with Commissioner of Indian Affairs, at Washington, February 11, 1891.
TURNING HAWK, Pine Ridge (Mr. Cook, interpreter). Mr. Commissioner, my purpose to-day is to tell you what I know of the condition of affairs at the agency where I live. A certain falsehood came to our agency from the west which had the effect of a fire upon the Indians, and when this certain fire came upon our people those who had farsightedness and could see into the matter made up their minds to stand up against it and fight it. The reason we took this hostile attitude to this fire was because we believed that you yourself would not be in favor of this particular mischief-making thing; but just as we expected, the people in authority did not like this thing and we were quietly told that we must give up or have nothing to do with this certain movement. Though this is the advice form our good friends in the east, there were, of course, many silly young men who were longing to become identified with the movement, although they knew that there was nothing absolutely bad, nor did they know there was anything absolutely good, in connection with the movement. In the course of time we heard that the soldiers were moving toward the scene of trouble. After awhile some of the soldiers finally reached our place and we heard that a number of them also reached our friends at Rosebud. Of course, when a large body of soldiers is moving toward a certain direction they inspire a more or less amount of awe, and it is natural that the women and children who see this large moving mass are made afraid of it and be put in a condition to make them run away. At first we thought the Pine Ridge and Rosebud were the only two agencies where soldiers were sent, but finally we heard that the other agencies fared likewise. We heard and saw that about half our friends at Rosebud agency, from fear at seeing the soldiers, began the move of running away from their agency toward ours (Pine Ridge), and when they had gotten inside of our reservation they there learned that right ahead of them at our agency was another large crowd of soldiers, and while the soldiers were there, there was constantly a great deal of false rumor flying back and forth. The special rumor I have in mind is the threat that the soldiers had come there to disarm the Indians entirely and to take away all their horses from them. That was the oft-repeated story. So constantly repeated was this story that our friends from Rosebud, instead of going to Pine Ridge, the place of their destination, veered off and went to some other direction toward the "Bad Lands." We did not know definitely how many, but understood there were 300 lodges of them, about 1,700 people. Eagle Pipe, Turning Bear, High Hawk, Short Bull, Lance, No Flesh, Pine Bird, Crow Dog, Two Strike, and White Horse were the leaders. Well, the people after veering off in this way, many of them who believe in peace and order at our agency, were very anxious that some influence should be brought upon these people. In addition to our love of peace we remembered that many of these people were related to us by blood. So we sent out peace commissioners to the people who were thus running away from their agency. I understood at the time that they were simply going away from fear because of so many soldiers. So constant was the word of these good men from Pine Ridge agency that finally they succeeded in getting away half of the party from Rosebud, from the place where they took refuge, and finally were brought to the agency at Pine Ridge. Young-Man-Afraid-of-his-Horses, Little Wound, Fast Thunder, Louis Shangreau, John Grass, Jack Red Cloud, and myself were some of these peace-makers. The remnant of the party from Rosebud not taken to the agency finally reached the wilds of the Bad Lands. Seeing that we had succeeded so well, once more we sent to the same party in the Bad Lands and succeeded in bringing these very Indians out of the depths of the Bad Lands and were being brought toward the agency. When we were about a day's journey from our agency we heard that a certain party of Indians (Big Foot's band) from the Cheyenne River agency was coming toward Pine Ridge in flight.
CAPTAIN SWORD. Those who actually went off of the Cheyenne River agency probably number 303, and there were a few from the Standing Rock reserve with them, but as to their number I do not know. There were a number of Ogalallas, old men and several school boys, coming back with that very same party, and one of the very seriously wounded boys was a member of the Ogalalla boarding school at Pine Ridge agency. He was not on the warpath, but was simply returning home to his agency and to his school after a summer visit to relatives on the Cheyenne river.
TURNING HAWK. When we heard that these people were coming toward our agency we also heard this. These people were coming toward Pine Ridge agency, and when they were almost on the agency they were met by the soldiers and surrounded and finally taken to the Wounded Knee creek, and there at a given time their guns were demanded. When they had delivered them up, the men were separated from their families, from the tipis, and taken to a certain spot. When the guns were thus taken and the men thus separated, there was a crazy man, a young man of very bad influence and in fact a nobody, among that bunch of Indians fired his gun, and of course the firing of a gun must have been the breaking of a military rule of some sort, because immediately the soldiers returned fire and indiscriminate killing followed.
SPOTTED HORSE. This man shot an officer in the army; the first shot killed this officer. I was a voluntary scout at that encounter and I saw exactly what was done, and that was what I noticed; that the first shot killed an officer. As soon as this shot was fired the Indians immediately began drawing their knives, and they were exhorted from all sides to desist, but this was not obeyed. Consequently the firing began immediately on the part of the soldiers.
TURNING HAWK. All the men who were in a bunch were killed right there, and those who escaped that first fire got into the ravine, and as they went along up the ravine for a long distance they were pursued on both sides by the soldiers and shot down, as the dead bodies showed afterwards. The women were standing off at a different place form where the men were stationed, and when the firing began, those of the men who escaped the first onslaught went in one direction up the ravine, and then the women, who were bunched together at another place, went entirely in a different direction through an open field, and the women fared the same fate as the men who went up the deep ravine.
AMERICAN HORSE. The men were separated, as has already been said, from the women, and they were surrounded by the soldiers. Then came next the village of the Indians and that was entirely surrounded by the soldiers also. When the firing began, of course the people who were standing immediately around the young man who fired the first shot were killed right together, and then they turned their guns, Hotchkill guns, etc., upon the women who were in the lodges standing there under a flag of truce, and of course as soon as they were fired upon they fled, the men fleeing in one direction and the women running in two different directions. So that there were three general directions in which they took flight. There was a woman with an infant in her arms who was killed as she almost touched the flag of truce, and the women and children of course were strewn all along the circular village until they were dispatched. Right near the flag of truce a mother was shot down with her infant; the child not knowing that its mother was dead was still nursing, and that especially was a very sad sight. The women as they were fleeing with their babes were killed together, shot right through, and the women who were very heavy with child were also killed. All the Indians fled in these three directions, and after most all of them had been killed a cry was made that all those who were not killed wounded should come forth and they would be safe. Little boys who were not wounded came out of their places of refuge, and as soon as they came in sight a number of soldiers surrounded them and butchered them there. Of course we all feel very sad about this affair. I stood very loyal to the government all through those troublesome days, and believing so much in the government and being so loyal to it, my disappointment was very strong, and I have come to Washington with a very great blame on my heart. Of course it would have been all right if only the men were killed; we would feel almost grateful for it. But the fact of the killing of the women, and more especially the killing of the young boys and girls who are to go to make up the future strength of the Indian people, is the saddest part of the whole affair and we feel it very sorely. I was not there at the time before the burial of the bodies, but I did go there with some of the police and the Indian doctor and a great many of the people, men from the agency, and we went through the battlefield and saw where the bodies were from the track of the blood.
TURNING HAWK. I had just reached the point where I said that the women were killed. We heard, besides the killing of the men, of the onslaught also made upon the women and children, and they were treated as roughly and indiscriminately as the men and boys were. Of course this affair brought a great deal of distress upon all the people, but especially upon the minds of those who stood loyal to the government and who did all that they were able to do in the matter of bringing about peace. They especially have suffered much distress and are very much hurt at heart. These peace-makers continued on in their good work, but there were a great many fickle young men who were ready to be moved by the change in the events there, and consequently, in spite of the great fire that was brought upon all, they were ready to assume any hostile attitude. These young men got themselves in readiness and went in the direction of the scene of battle so they might be of service there. They got there and finally exchanged shots with the soldiers. This party of young men was made up from Rosebud, Ogalalla (Pine Ridge), and members of any other agencies that happened to be there at the time. While this was going on in the neighborhood of Wounded Knee-the Indians and soldiers exchanging shots-the agency, our home, was also fired into by the Indians. Matters went on in this strain until the evening came on, and then the Indians went off down by White Clay creek. When the agency was fired upon by the Indians from the hillside, of course the shots were returned by the Indian police who were guarding the agency buildings. Although fighting seemed to have been in the air, yet those who believed in peace were still constant at their work. Young-Man-Afraid-of-his-Horses, who had been on a visit to some other agency in the north or northwest, returned, and immediately went out to the people living about White Clay creek, on the border of the Bad Lands, and brought his people out. He succeeded in obtaining the consent of the people to come out of their place of refuge and return to the agency. Thus the remaining portion of the Indians who started from Rosebud were brought back into the agency. Mr. Commissioner, during the days of the great whirlwind out there, those good men tried to hold up a counteracting power, and that was "Peace." We have now come to realize that peace has prevailed and won the day. While we were engaged in bringing about peace our property was left behind, of course, and most of us have lost everything, even down to the matter of guns with which to kill ducks, rabbits, etc, shotguns, and guns of that order. When Young-Man-Afraid brought the people in and their guns were asked for, both men who were called hostile and men who stood loyal to the government delivered up their guns.
TEXT: James Mooney, The Ghost-dance Religion and the Sioux Outbreak of 1890, 14th Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, Part 2 (1896)]
Winners Of The West
Official Bulletin National Indian War Veterans U.S.A.
Published in the Interest of the Survivors of Indian Wars and the Old Army of the Plains
Vol X No. 3
St. Joseph Missouri, Feb. 28, 1933
James E. Wilson Commander, Gen. Henry Lawton Camp Indianapolis, Ind.
Our Theme song: Boys, stay at home Stay at home if you can. Stay away from that city, That's known as Cheyenne. For Sitting Bull's there Also Wild Comanche Bill and he'll sure lift your scalp. In the dreary Black Hills And still we kept marching To the dreary Black Hills. It was December, 1890. There was great commotion among the soldiers in Camp on the Yellowstone just above Old Fort Keogh. What was it all about? Sibley tents were being hastily taken down and pulled up and with stakes, poles loaded into great army wagons with six mules hitched to each, with a mule skinner in the saddle, a jerk line in his left hand and a black snake whip in his right, ready for the command to go. Well, Comrades, this was the beginning of my experience in that well known Campaign of 1890-91, known as the "Messiah Campaign", against old Medicine man Sitting Bull, and Big Foot of the Sioux. Early in the winter of 1890 it was known that the Sioux were becoming restless and showing signs of going on the war path. About the first week in December troops began to assemble at the nearest point to the seat of the trouble. The 20th U.S. Infantry and three troops of the First U.S. Cavalry were stationed at Old Fort Assiniboine, away up north on the Milk River, about 40 miles south of the Canadian border and over 100 miles from the nearest settlement. Orders had come to send two companies of Infantry and three troops of Cavalry to Old Fort Keogh, near Miles City at the mouth of Tongue River where it empties into the Yellowstone. The two Infantry Companies were "G" commanded by Captain Harbought and "H" commanded by Captain John N. Coe, the two senior captains of the 20th U.S. infantry at that time.
A Troop train had been assembled on the railroad about one mile from the Fort, where we entertained and after about three days of rumbling down through the Shasta Mountain and river valleys we arrived at Fort Keogh and went into Camp in our sibley tents on the Yellowstone river where there were many other troops and one company of Crow Indian Scouts under command of Lieut. Casey. The snow was very deep and the river frozen over. We were compelled to melt snow in our tin cups in order to get water for the company cooks. Now here was a new experience for me. I had never been out on a campaign in Montana in the winter with weather 15 to 30 degrees below zero, and I was destined to learn something. Now to any of you 'old timers' who have never had to melt snow in a quart cup it might appear easy, but I'll say you will have to know your snow before you can do it. We were now in camp in a big forest and firewood was plenty. We hauled it in with six mule team loads at a time.
The First Sergeant gave the order, 'everybody outside. Now men, every man melt snow in your cup until you have a quart of water for the cook. Every man who fails to melt a quart of water and turn it over to the cook gets no supper tonight.' Well, some of us sure had a time and we nearly burned our cups to pieces before our good old First Sergeant, Patrick Farrell, who had been on many a Campaign in Montana in the winter showed us how, and after that it was easy. For three weeks we just had routine duty, gathering wood, company inspection and guard duty. On December 29th there was great commotion in the camp. Word came that the Indians had broken out and there was trouble.
Our entire camp on the Yellowstone was ordered out. Everybody was happy and eager to be on the move. Now there was a scene never to be forgotten. Three troops of the 1st U.S. Cav., one troop of Indian Scouts all mounted and in marching formation ahead, and two companies of the 20th U.S. Infantry brought up the rear. Flanking the line of march were newspaper reporters, and photographers in action. Then flanking both sides of the line at a distance of 200 to 300 yards were Indian squaws with their papooses strapped on their backs, all of them singing a war song, the most weird noise I had ever heard. We crossed the Tongue River and struck out in a southeasterly direction and soon out distanced the squaws and heard their songs no more, and I am sure any surviving Veterans who were on this march will remember this incident. We marched all day through the deep snow and as the Cavalry and mounted scouts had broken the trail, it made marching much easier for the foot soldiers.
We only made 12 miles the first day, and on account of the excitement no one seemed very tired although our equipment was heavy, including knapsack, haversack, canteen and web belt with 100 rounds of ammunition. We made camp in a low valley, set up our sibley tents and helped the cooks to build up fires from wood we had brought with us. The next morning, December 30th, was clear and cold with the sun shining bright and we were up early and after a hurried breakfast the old Army wagons were loaded up and we were on the march once more. The Cavalry and Crow Indian mounted scouts soon left the Infantry behind and we did not catch up with them again for nine days.
The two companies of Infantry made 20 miles the second day and 18 miles Dec. 31, 1890, and made Camp upon a wooded ridge of pine trees and here is where a good many of us made a mistake that we did not soon forget. After setting up our tents an banking up the snow to keep the wind out and from flapping the tents as it was blowing a gale through the pine trees, we were told to melt snow in our tin cups for water for our coffee. Our squad had built a fire beside a fell pine tree, and it being very cold we had taken off our overshoes and sat around the fire with our feet probably too close to the coals and before we knew it, the intense heat was cupping the soles of our shoes. The next morning many of the boys could not get their shoes on and were obliged to march in their overshoes. That was a weird night on "tin Cup Ridge." The wind howled and the timber wolves also. There seemed to us to be thousands of them and they would come very close to our camp as if to attack us. They howled the whole night through and then slunk away at the break of day, and the wind died down as we broke camp at sunrise New Years morning, 1891.
Our 17 miles march and Camp that day was uneventful and on Jan. 2nd we marched 19 miles which brought us to Camp on the west bank of the Powder River. On the 3rd we crossed the river on the ice and had to hep pull and push our six mule wagons up the opposite bluffs. Marching was very hard all day as it was much colder and the snow deeper and much harder to walk on. It rolled up under our feet and we were slipping and falling against each other all day. We were only able to make fourteen miles that day and all were tired and glad to make camp on "Timber Creek" although why it was so named we did not know as there was no timber in sight and our only fuel was sage brush. January 4th was the most eventful day we experienced since breaking Camp near Fort Keogh on December 29th. We were tired and foot sore so much so that we could hardly get going at all. We were climbing to a higher level of a rough country where one could look for miles and see nothing but the snow and where the sky and earth seemed to meet.
Suddenly we came in view of a lower ridge running parallel to our line of march which was covered with thousands of antelope, running as they caught sight of us and disapearing in the distance. It was one of the most beautiful sights we had ever witnessed. We also saw scores of jack rabbits as white as the snow and great flocks of sage hens would fly up so suddenly and so close to us that they would startle us by their noise. We were now so far from civilization that the wild life was showing up in all of its splendor. One would wonder how the wild animals could find anything to feed with the whole plains covered with a blanket of deep snow. By four o'clock in the afternoon the sun had disappeared and it was almost dark when we came to camp in the "Blue Mud Hills" of the badlands of Montana.
We had marched 20 miles that day against a strong wind and flurries of snow that would bite ones face. It was the most dismal evening we had as yet experienced. We were tired and nearly frozen and supposed to be somewhat in the neighborhood of hostile Indians although we did not know where we really were. The officers knew, but told us nothing. As we sat in our tents that bitter cold night with our furs to keep from freezing, one soldier spoke up in a very weak voice and said, "I wonder when we will find them Indians." Another replied, "I hope we find them soon and don't care if they kill us all and put us out of our pain." We had experienced much difficulty during the day in keeping some of the men on their feet. We had no ambulance and only one six mule team to each company. During that long, long, night more snow fell and that made our next days march more difficult than ever.
January 5th we made 22 miles toward the dreary "Black Hills" and made camp on "Dry Creek". On the 6th after a march of only 5 miles we came to camp on the Little Missouri River in company with the three troops of the 1st U.S. Cavalry and one troop of mounted Crow Indian Scouts which had preceded us. We had at last reached the end of our trek. On the morning of the 7th, the Cavalry and scouts were out early while the Infantry lounged in Camp and built fires to get themselves thoroughly thawed out. There we remained for two weeks and had a chance to cook some good warm food for the first time on the trip. Also to have a change of clothing and do some laundry work for the first time since leaving Ft. Keogh. We cut holes in the ice on the river but did not know it was alkali water, so that the more soap we put in it the greater the accumulation of alkali on the surface.
The Indian scouts were camped about 100 yards from the Infantry and would remain quiet during the day but when night came they would sing their weird songs and beat their tom-toms. This was the routine until January 21st. Each day, and in fact each hour we were expecting something to happen. Along about noon on the 21st an object appeared in the distance. The officers discovered it with their field glasses. Soon it came near enough for us to determine that it was a man mounted on a mule. He came riding up to the tent of Captain Harbought, the company commanding officer, and delivered him a large envelope. It developed that the man was an orderly from headquarters, sixty miles away. We all gathered around him and learned that there had been a battle and that Captain Wallace and his famous "K" troop of the 7th Cavalry had been almost wiped out.
Well we all know the story of that battle, of "Wounded Knee Creek." We learned but little of what had really happened in that battle but found the object of the long march of the three troops of the 1st U.S. Cavalry, one mounted troop of Crow Indian Scouts and two companies of the 20th US Infantry was intended to head off the Indians escaping to the Badlands, where they would have been difficult to dislodge. The next morning we were ordered to break camp and march back again to old Fort Keogh. We had marched 150 miles, through deep snow and weather 25 to 35 degrees below zero and now we were ordered to march back again with all the weather conditions equally as bad. As before, the Cavalry and mounted scouts soon were out of sight of the Infantry. We were lonesome, miserable, and a sorry lot of unshaven men. Our overshoes gave out when we still had 100 miles of marching ahead. Then came a break about the fourth day of our backward march. The wind changed to our backs and the sun was warmer. It was what the Indians called a chinook wind. We could now raise the ear flaps on our caps. We were allowed much more freedom going back. Now and then we could step out of ranks and shoot at game.
Company H had some crack marksmen and they brought in quantities of sage hens and rabbits. Well we finally arrived at our old Camp on the Yellowstone and settled down. At Ft. Keogh where the 22nd U.S. Infantry headquarters was located we were able to to get shaved, and cleaned up and a change of clothing. We felt like new recruits just arrived from Columbus Barracks. Those were the days that we old Veterans cherish more than all others, when we were rookies. Dear old Comrades, I may later on continue this story and give you the aftermath of a winters Campaign in the dead of Winter out in Montana in the long ago." James E. Wilson Late Sergeant, Co. H. 20th U.S. Infantry
What About Wounded Knee Experience of General Shafter's Regiment, 1st Infantry
I was there and as I remember there was about 50 soldiers shipped out of there in boxes and a bunch of wounded in the hospital some of whom died soon afterward. I was on the detail to go out and bury the dead Indians, but we had to turn back on account of the weather, and another detail was sent a couple of days after. That was no picnic, with the thermometer at 30 degrees below zero and our regiment had just come from California and were not acclimated for such weather. We were sent first as they did not know how long it would last, and for fear the railroads would be blocked, they got us there in a hurry. I think there were 112 Indians buried and there was a whole churchful of the wounded Indians I don't just remember, but I was on guard there once or twice. There was bout 5,000 Indians in camp, and about as many soldiers. They mounted my regiment, Shafter's 1st U.S. Infantry, on cow ponies, and we were a sight and the laughing stock for the Indians when we were drilling with Gun, Clothing Bag, 2 Blankets, Canteen, Haversack or Grub Bag and a big Belt of ammunition. Men and ponies were scattered all over the plains.
The following letter was written by Mari Sandoz (Author of the book,Crazy Horse) to Will Robinson of the SD State Historical Society.
I quote in its entirety.
October 19, 1947
Will G. Robinson, Secretary
South Dakota State Historical Society
Pierre, S. Dakota
Dear Mr. Robinson: I'm happy to know that the Plains Indians are suddenly getting so much attention. During the past ten days I've had eight queries from new correspondents about the Sioux, and about Crazy Horse and his place in history, including one letter from Texas and one from Switzerland. I predict you will have a find turnout to the Sioux Memorial dedication. I hope to be there. Now about the identification of the picture sent you by Blanche M. Lewis of Sioux City, with the name of Crazy Horse in pencil on the back, and published in the Sept. 1, 1947 WI-IYOHI. I recall seeing that picture many times (I have it in my files in storage in Denver) always identified as the same man--not Crazy Horse. My difficulty now is that, after five years away from my Indian material and anything Indian, I can't recall the man's name. I tried to locate the picture here but the library has little such material and other likely places, like the Heye Foundation, only show pictures when requested by name. I tried Crazy Horse there, as I did ten years ago, and I got that same old picture of the dark, sadly war-bonnetted little Indian whom I've known all my life (and verified by queries at Pine Ridge) as Crazy Horse No. II, the successor of the war chief. As was often done by the Sioux, when married the widow of an illustrious man he took his predecessor's name.
The Heye people showed me another Crazy Horse picture--the wrinkled old man who might have been the war chief's father, but looked more like the Arapaho Crazy Horse. I tried a few probably names for your photograph on the Heye files but nothing came of that. The picture in your Bulletin isn't the Larvie woman, not if thepictures I've seen of her were authentic. One of these was purchased with the picture of the little Crazy Horse II, with the photographers name stamped on the back of both, and the year, 1890. The Larvie pictures I saw showed more white blood and more fire than the woman here seemed to have. The hair arrangement and the clothing of the picture in your Bulletin suggest that the woman may not be Sioux at all. Pictures of Arapaho women and an occasional Ute have the side part and the pulled-back hair, etc. See pictures of Chipeta as a young woman. In fact, this could be an early picture of Chipeta.
There is the same nose and forehead. Bothyour pictures seem to have been taken about 1874 and 1893, judging by the photography and the wearing of the Indians. There was a subtle change in the latter after Ninety-three. The scar at the corner of the mouth in the WI-IYOHI picture seems to beold, older, I think, than Crazy Horse's would have been. It looks like the one in the portrait of Black Heart, the Oglala, in the Cross painting at the Walker Gallery, Minneapolis, and in the photograph of him at the American Museum of Natural History, taken 1917, at the Coney Island Shows. Little Big Man, too, had a scar at the corner of his mouth, a little above, made by a spear back when he was around 17, in a fight with the Snakes (Shoshonis). If it weren't for the dress and hair, your picture of the woman would resemble one of the wives of Little Big Man. Now about the Crazy Horse scar: There was no discrepancy in the stories about the bullet wound Crazy Horse received or the scar.
I found the scar described in the AGO records as a small hole under the left nostril with a slight ridge outside it, enough to give that side of Crazy Horse's face a slightly haughty cast--striking, one officer wrote, considering the mildness and gentleness of his face otherwise, more the face of a holy man as his father was than the fierce, relentless warrior the army knew he could be. In order to be very certain of the whole No Water incident, upon which so much of the summer of 1877 depended, and to clear up which No Water (there were three) did the shooting, Eleanor Hinman and I went back to He Dog's to have him tell the whole story a second time. With the familiarity from the previous hearing, we got the full wing account: (See "Interview with He Dog at Oglala, S. Dak, July 13, 1930, Interpreter John Colhoff:). Little Shield, brother of He Dog, who was with Crazy Horse at the time of the shooting, sat in on this interview and contributed his account of the actual shooting to the story: "Crazy Horse had taken the woman and a few followers and had gone on a war expedition against the Crows.
On the second night he came to a place on Powder River where several bands had joined together and they stopped with friends. Little Shield was with Crazy Horse at the time he was shot.No Water overtook him on the second night after he had left camp with the woman. Crazy Horse and the woman were sitting by the fire in a friend's tipi when No Water rushed in, saying, "My friend, I have come!" Crazy Horse jumped up and reached for his knife. No Water shot him just below the left nostril. The bullet followed the line of the teeth and fractured his upper jaw. He fell forward into the fire. No Water left the tent at once and told his friends he had killed Crazy Horse. The woman went out the back of the ten, crawling under the tent covering, when No Water fired. She went to relatives and begged for protection. She did not go back to Crazy Horse. It was Bad Heart Bull's revolver that No Water borrowed for the shooting. Yellow Bear brought back the revolver and the word that No Water had killed Crazy Horse. Later, someone brought word that Crazy Horse was not dead."
I thought about this until the summer of 1931, then, when I was back on the Pine Ridge reservation with my sister, and back to He Dog's for more information, I asked about the shooting again, particularly the caliber of the revolver. I know enough about guns to know that was remarkably little bullet penetration at such short range. Perhaps the powder had deteriorated or the Indians had divided the powder into two shells, as they often did those short years. Otherwise the gun had to be a very small one. He Dog laughed and stretched out his hand. "My granddaughter would find it little I think," the interpreter, Colhoff said for the old man. "It could be hidden in the hand" (The laughing was, I suppose, for the fact that I knew more about bigger guns, the hunting rifles my father had repaired for the old Indians for years)
He Dog also showed us where the scar was, just under the nostril and with his hand showed the path of the bullet around above the roots of the teeth, too high to knock any of them out, but the jaw was fractured and caused a slight and disdainful ridge along the corner of the nose. No, the only picture of Crazy Horse that I know about is the one in the Amos Bad Heart Bull paintings of the Reno Battle, available in the Sioux Indian Painting, Editions d'Art C. Zwedricki, Nice France, copied from the Amos Bad Heart Bull Manuscript, interpreted by Helen Blish for the Carnegie Foundation. I have one purporting to be Crazy Horse, copied from a canvas lodge, Crazy Horse on a yellow-spotted horse. In the Bull painting referred to above, Crazy Horse is on a white and yellow spotted horse, with his greenish paint with hailstone marks, as described in my book. I'm sorry my information is so meager. I've put in a great deal of time trying to find a picture of the war chief, both for the Historical Society at home and for my book. But all this is good, good for the history of our region and good for your Memorial.
Sincerely, Mari Sandoz
Notes of Mari Sandoz, no date given "He Dog, Oglala, nephew Red Cloud sided with Crazy Horse at Ft. Robinson,in Sioux War fighting 1876. Surrendered with Crazy Horse at Ft. Robinson, May 7, 1877. When Court of Indian Offenses was established at Pine Ridge, he was made judge of it. Served in this capacity many years until his advanced age and failing eyesight forced him to quit. Was 92 years old.Lives with niece in Oglala."