Native American accounts of the Battle of the Little Bighorn

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Native American accounts of the Battle of the Little Bighorn - SIOUX STORY. a Startling chapter of history....
SIOUX STORY. a Startling chapter of history. fatai-vlcws fatai-vlcws fatai-vlcws With the Indian Chiefs Who VTere in the Caster Fight, and Speak of C. it tor I lie First Time Without Srve-Iuci.l-utt.Tlmt Srve-Iuci.l-utt.Tlmt Srve-Iuci.l-utt.Tlmt Srve-Iuci.l-utt.Tlmt Srve-Iuci.l-utt.Tlmt Are Nw. f Tout Yatis, Dakota, July 30. Fort Yates is located on a plateau on the west ile of tlia Missouri river, '2,1AM miles above its mouth, and ninety miles by river sixty by road below Bismarck. It it on the Indian reservation. Caunou-Ball Caunou-Ball Caunou-Ball river, twenty-three twenty-three twenty-three miles above here, is the northern boundary of the reservation, reservation, winch extends down tlio river to tlie arrthern line of Nebraska, and west more than olio hundred mile. This is the lioux reservation On it are located the Blackfeet, Uncapapptis, Ogdlallas, Yank-tonnais, Yank-tonnais, Yank-tonnais, Cheyennes, Sausaves, Brules, Minaet-ongoes, Minaet-ongoes, Minaet-ongoes, and perhaps others. I am otcertain that I have named all. All these arc tribes of the Sioux nation, and they lumber altogether more than thirty thousand. Within two miles of this fort, n another plateau, are encamped the hostile hostile Sioux, who came in and surrendered, with Rain-in-the-Faee, Rain-in-the-Faee, Rain-in-the-Faee, Rain-in-the-Faee, Rain-in-the-Faee, Rain-in-the-Faee, Rain-in-the-Faee, Black Moon, Crow King. Gaul, Low Dog, and other chiefs, wbe are all here. Sitti.:g Bull and the Indians who surrendered with him, some three hundred, are on their way here from Juferd, and are expected within a day or two. YTe eame from Bismarck, via Fort Lincoln, Lincoln, by the overland route. Col. Tilford ia cemmsnd at Fort Lincoln, five miles below Bismarck, having kindly furnished s an ambulance and baggage wagon, each drawn by four mules. On the evening of r arrival the hostiles, who had bee it in eUuie of the military, were turned over te the i .-lienor- .-lienor- .-lienor- .-lienor- department, represented live by U S. Indian Agent J. A. Siephan, familiarly known as Father Stephan. We were invited by Capt. Howe ami Lieut. Ogle, of the Seventeeth infantry, who were on duty in charge of the hostiles, to be present at a conference with the chiefs bef-.re bef-.re bef-.re transferring them to the care of the agent. At ('apt. Howe's tent we found R tin-in tin-in tin-in t !u--Face, !u--Face, !u--Face, !u--Face, Don' t-Go-Our, t-Go-Our, t-Go-Our, t-Go-Our, t-Go-Our, Crow King, Low Dog, Bob Tail Hank, Hump, Fool Heart, Big Bond, Twin Bear, Little Hawk,' Seared Eigle, Circle Bear, Bui' I).,g, Crawler, Crazy Thunder and Bull's Ghost, all chiefs, squatted in a circle on the ground, sm iking a pipe which whi passed from ona to another. They shook hands and greeted us with the Indian aalutation '-How!" '-How!" '-How!" and 'cola'' (friend). Presently Chief Gaul came riding riding up, and jumping off his pony walked to the circle with a stride like Salvini's, and took his place with the ret. He greeted greeted the chiefs with a "How," but paid no attention to the whites. He is a man of Ine presence., dignified, slightly sullen and reticent. His walk is superb, and he tore thin a riy other one of the hostiles, represents the typical Indian in appear-, appear-, appear-, a nee. Captain Howe called the chiefs and the interpreter into the 'nclosed space in front fhiiteat, and telling them that he was o longer their father and that they must look to the agent, said he had some presents presents for them as tokens of his good will. They received this announcement with a "Ho" of approval, an 1 Lieutenant Ogle 'after ranking them a neat little speech, distributed the presents. There were a suit of clothes foreai h, a flannel shirt with a flaming red shield in front (which several f them immediately proceeded to put on ever their own clotl'ies,) papers of tobacco and last but not least, a quantity f paint. As soon as Rain-in Rain-in Rain-in the Face received his proportion r.f this, h took some in his hand and, spit ting on it. rubbed it over the upper part of liis fac and in his hair, until both were of the color ofgld;then Chief G ml, who was sp .kesmin for the Indians, said thev wanted guns I hat. they might hunt. Captain Captain Howe told him that h bail no authority authority to give ile-tn, ile-tn, ile-tn, and that he must apply apply to the lu'-ut. lu'-ut. lu'-ut. Til-- Til-- Til-- othvers told us that If those Indians had guns and ponies we would need a military escort. bacK to Fort Lincoln. The chiefs then rose, and shakirg Lands with all of us, went back to their amp. There lias been a great desire to hear the Indian i-c i-c i-c oupf. of the Custer fight. All these hrtt'iles were in it. Captain Howe, who is highly regarded by the Indiana, told me that Low Dog, chief of the Ogal-lalla, Ogal-lalla, Ogal-lalla, and recognized by the Indians as a freat WMrrior, had jiromised to give him an account of the ...'h', and invited me to hear it. I took pencil and paper and with Low Don's consent noted it down. I have it almost word for word as translated by the interpreter, but I regret exceedingly that the interpreter did not give me a literal literal translation. All the Indians use a great many gestures and signs, and the interpreters tell me that it is very difficult to do more than give the substance of what they say. lew Doe's account or 'rim ccstkii vrenT. "We were in camp near Little Big Horn river. We had lost some horses, and an Ia lian went h ick on the trail to look for them. We did not know that the white warriors were cmi'i g after us. Some scouts or men in advance of the warriors law the Indian looking for the horses and ran after him and tried to kill him to keep biin from bringing us word, but be ran faster than they and came into camp and told us thattlu white warriors were coming. coming. I wus asleep in my lodge at he time. Toe 8iin was about noon (pointing with his fing.-r.) fing.-r.) fing.-r.) I heard the alarm, but I did not believe it. I thought it was a false alarm. I did not think it possible that any white men would attack us, so Strong as we weie. We had in camp the Cheyennes. A rrapa L i s, t.i.d seven difler-ent difler-ent difler-ent tribe of the Teton Sioux acounlits number. Although I did not believe it was a true alarm. 1 lost no time getting ready. When I got by gun and came out ef my lodge the attack had begun at the part of the camp where Sitting Bull and tlni I'ncipappas were. The I iians held their ground to give the woman and children children time to get out of the way. By' this timo the herders were driving in the horses end as I was n arlyatthe further end of the camp. 1 ordered my men to caieh their horses and mount. But there was much confusion. The women and children children were trying to catch their hursts and jet oet of the way, and my men were hurrying to go and help those that were fighting. When the fighters saw that the women and children were Safj they fell hack. By ths time my people people went to help them, and the less able warriors and the women c night horses and fot them ready, and we drove the first attacking attacking part- part- hick, and that party retreated retreated to a high hill. Then I tohi my people Bot to venture too far in pursuit for fear f tailing into an ambush. By this time THE LEAVE WORTH TIMES ; SUNDAY MORNING-, MORNING-, MORNING-, AUGUST 14, 18S1. all the warriors in our camp were niou.it- niou.it- en ana ready lor tight, and then we were attacked on the other side by another party. party. They came on us like a thunderbolt. I never before nor since saw men so brave and fearless a those white warriors. We retreated until until our men got alt together, and then we chatged upon them. I called to my men, "This is a good day to die: follow me." We massed our men, and that no man should fall buck, every man whipped another another man's horse and we rushed right upon them. As we rushed upon them the white warriors dismounted to fire, but they did very poor shooting. They held their horses rein-, rein-, rein-, on one arm while they were shooting, but their horses were so frightened that they pulled the men ali around, and a gn at many of their shots went up in the air and did us no harm. The white warriors stood their ground bravely, and fione of them made buy attempt attempt to get a way. After all but two of them were killed, I captured two of their horses. Then the wise men and chiefs of our nation gave out to our people not to mutilate t tie dead while chief, for he wa$ a brave warrior and died a brave man, und his remains should be respected. Then I turned round and went to help fight the other white warriors, who had retreated to a high hill on the east side of the river. This was Keno's command. I don't know whether any white men of Custer's force were taken prisoners. When I got back to our camp they were all dead. Kverytking was in confusion all the time of the tight. I did not see Gen. Custer. Custer. I do not know who killed him. We did not know till the fight was over that he was the white chief. We had no idea that the white warriors were coming until the runner came in and told us. I do not say that Beno was a coward. He fought well, but our men were nghtint to save their women and children, and drive theta hack. If Buno and his warriors had fought as Custer and his warriors fought, the battle might be been against us. No white man or Indian evi r fought as bravely as Custer and his men. The next day we fought Reno and his forces again, and killed many of them. Then the chiefs said these men had been punished enough, end that we ought to be merciful, and let them go. Then we heard that another force was coming up the river to right u General Terry's command, and we started to fight them, but tile chiefs and wise men counseled that we had fought enough and that we should not tigha unless at a -ked, -ked, and we went back and took our women and children and went away. This ended Low Dog's narration, given in the heating of halt a dozen officers, some of the Seventeenth Infantry and some of the Seventh Cavalry Custer's regiment. It was in the evening; the sun had set and the twilight was deepening. Officers were there who were at the Big Horn with Ben-teen, Ben-teen, Ben-teen, senior captain ol the Seventh, who usually exercised command as a field officer, officer, add who, with his battalion, joined Beno on the first day of the light, after his rei rent, and were in the second day's light. It w is a strange and intensely interesting interesting i-ceiie. i-ceiie. i-ceiie. When Low Dog bejan his narrative only Cape. Howe,, the interpreter, and myself were present, but as he progressed the officers gathered round, listening to every word, anil all were impressed that the Indian chief was giving a true account, according to his ' knowledge. Some one asked how many Indians were killed in the tight. Low Dig answered, "Thirty-eight, "Thirty-eight, "Thirty-eight, who died then, and a great many I can't tell the number who were wounded and died afterwards, I never saw a fight in which so many in proportion to the killed were wounded, and so many horses were wounded." wounded." Another asked who were the dead Indians that were found in two tepees five in one and six in the other all richly dressed, and with their ponies, slain about the tepees. He said eight were chiefs killed in the battle; one was his own brother, born of the same mother and the same father, and he did not know who the other two were. The question was asked, "What did Sitting Sitting Bull take in the tight?" Low Dog is not friendly to sitting Bull. Ileanswered with a sneer: "If some one would lend him a heart he would fight." Then Low D-w D-w D-w said he would like to go home, a d with the interpreter he went back to the Indian camp. He is a tall, straight Indian, thirty-four thirty-four thirty-four years old. not a bad face, regular regular features and small hands and feet. Tie said that when he had his weapons and was on the war path he considered no man his superior; but when he surrendered he laid that feeling all aside, and now if any man should try tochastise him in his humble humble condition and helplessness all he could do would b. o tel I him that he was no limn and a cow-d cow-d cow-d w hich, while lie was on the war-path war-path war-path he would allow no man to say and live. lie saiil that when he was fourteen years old, he had his first exoerienee on the war path: "I went against the will of my parents parents ami those having authority over me. It was on a stream aove the mouth of tne Yellow S;one. We went to war against a band of A ! nihoines that were hunting buffalo, and I killed one of their men. Alter we killed all of, that band another band c woe out against us, and I killed one of them. When we came back to our tribe 1 was made a chief, as no Sioux had ever been known to kill two enemies in one fight at my age, and I was invited into the councils of the chiefs anil wise men. At that time we had no thought that we would ever light the whites. Then I heard some people talking that the chief of the white men wanted the Indians to live where he ordered and do as he said, and he would feed and clothe them. I was called into council with the chiefs and wise men, and we had a talk about that. My judgment was why should I allow any man to support support me against my will anywhere, as long as I have hands and as long as I am an able man for a boy? Little 1 thought then that I would have to fight the white man. or do as he should tell me. When it began began to be plain that we would have to yield or fight, we had a great many councils. councils. I uaid. why should I be kept as an humble man, when I am a brave warrior and on my own lands? The game is mine, and the hills, and the valleys, and the white man has no right to say where I shall go or what I shall do. If any white man tries to destroy destroy my property, or take my lands, I will take my gun, get on my horse, and go ami punish him. 1 never thought that I would have to change that view. But at last I saw that if 1 wished to do good to my nation, I would have to do it by wise thinking and not so much fighting. " Now, I want to learn the white man's ways, for I see that he is stronger than we are. and that his government is belter than ours." Having heard Low Dog's story of the fight, I concluded I would try to pet an account from other chiefs, and going with an interpreter to the Indian carep a-proached a-proached a-proached Chief Gaul first. He said if he knew any thing he would tell it. hut he denied that he was in the fight. He said he was helping fie, women catch the horses and took no other part. If he thought I believed that, he mistook his man, and I shall try him again. Bain-in-the-Kace Bain-in-the-Kace Bain-in-the-Kace Bain-in-the-Kace Bain-in-the-Kace Bain-in-the-Kace Bain-in-the-Kace refused refused to talk. I then called on Crow King, a chief of the Uncapappas, Sitting Bull's tribe, and a noted warrior. He has a good f"e und wieds great inti ience over the Indians. He is one of the few chiefs who speak well of Sitting Hull After some little little talk he came up to the fort and gave me his story. crow king's stout or ths fioht. We were in camp not thinking there was any danger of a battle, although we had heard that the long-haired long-haired long-haired chief had been sent after us. Some of our runners went back on our trail, for what purpose I do not know. One came back ami reported that an army of white soldiers was coming, and he had no more than reported w hen another runner came in with the same story, and also told us that the command had divided, and that one party was going round to attack us oif the opposit side. The first atlack was at the camp of the Uncapappas tribe. The shots neither raised raised nor fell. Here he indicated that the, whites commenced firing at about four hundred hundred yards distance. The Indians retreatid at first slowly, to give the women and children time to go to a place of safety. Other Indians got our horses. By that time we had warriors enough to turn upon the whites and we drove them to the hill, and started back to camp. Then the second band of white warriors came. We did not know who was their chief, but we supposed it was Custer's command. The party commenced firing at long range. Indicating nearly a mile We had then all our warriors and horses. There were eighty warriors in my band. All the Sioux were there from every where. We had warriors plenty as the leaves on the trees. Our camp wasas long as from the fort to the lower end of our camp here. More than two and a half miles. Sitting Bui and Crazy Horse were the great chiefs ofthefi.ht. Sitting Bull did not fight himself, but he gave orders. We turned against this second party. The greater portion of our warriors came together together in their front and we rushed our horses on them. At the same time warriors rode out on each side of them and circled around them until they were surrounded. When they saw that they were surrounded they dismounted. They tried to hold on to their horses, but as we pressed closer they let go their horses. We crowded them towards our main camp and killed them all. They kept in order ami fought like brave warriors warriors as long as they had a man left. Our camp was on Greasy Grass river, Little Bii Horn. When we charged every chief gave the cry, "Hi-vi-vi." "Hi-vi-vi." "Hi-vi-vi." "Hi-vi-vi." "Hi-vi-vi." Here Crow- Crow- Chief gave us the cry in a high, prolonged tone. J When this cry is given it is a command to all the warriors to watch tiie chief, and follow his actions. Then every chief rushed rushed his horse on the white soldiers, and all our warriors did the same, every one whip ping another's horse. There was great hurry and confusion in the fight. No one chief was ahove another in that fight. It was not more than half an hour alter the long-haired long-haired long-haired chief attacked us before he and all his men were dead. Then we went hack for the first party. We tired at them until the sun went down. We surrounded them and watched them all n glit. and at daylight we fought them again. We killed many of them. Then a ehiet from the Uncap tpas called our men off. He told them those men had been punished enough, that they were fighting fighting under orders, that we had killed the great leader and his men in the fig it the day before, and we should let the rest go home. Sitting Buil gave this order. lie said: "This is not my doings, nor these men's. They are lighting because they were commanded to light. We have killed their leader. Let them go.' 1 call on the Great Spirit to w it-ness it-ness it-ness what 1 say. We did not want to tight-Long tight-Long tight-Long Hair sent us word that he was com. ing to light us, and we had to defend ourselves ourselves anil our wives anil children. If this command had not been given we could have cut Beno's command to pieces, as we did Gutter's. No warrior knew Custer in the fight. We did not know him, dead or alive. When the fight was over the chiets gave orders to look for the long-haired long-haired long-haired chief among the dead, but no chief with long hair could be found. Custer had his hair cut short before starting on this march Crow King said that if Reno had held out until Custer came and then fought as Custer did, t hat they would have whipped the Indians. The Indians would then have been compelled to divide to protect their women and children, and the whites would have had the advantage. He expressed expressed great admiration for the bravery of Custer and his men, and said that that fight impressed the Indians t bat the whites were their superiors and it would be their destruction to keep on fighting them. Both he and Low Dog said that they did not feel that they would be blamesl for the Custer fight or its results. It was war; they were attacked; Custer tried to kill them; they killed him. Crow King said he had two brothers killed in the fight; that froth thirtyo fifty Indians were killed, and a much larger larger number, who were wounded, died afterward. afterward. I also had a talk with Hump, chief of the Miniifoongoes, and said to have a larger larger following than any other chief in the camp. hump's story or the custer fight. The sun was about at meridian when the fight began. This he indicated by pointing; pointing; the Indians have no division of time corresponding to our hours That was the first we knew that the white warrior were coming. They attacked the Uncapa-pas Uncapa-pas Uncapa-pas first. They were at the upper end of our camp. The Minnecongoes. Sausaves and Cheyennes were near the center of the camp, but nearer the end of the camp furthest from where the attack was made. The charge was from the upper end of the camp. The Indians gave way slowly, retreating retreating until they got their horses and got mounted. Just as soon as they got sufficient force for our warriors were rushing to help them as fast as they could they drove the white warriors b.'.ck, and they retreated. These weie Beno's men. I had a horse that I could not manage. He was not mine, and was not well broke; so I went to where the horses were, and" the women an t the old men and boys were gathering them together, together, and caught a horse that I could manage better, and when I had caught him anil mounted, the other party of- of- white warriors (Custer's forces) charged. The la-dians la-dians la-dians had by that time all got together, and it seemed, the way Cu-ter Cu-ter Cu-ter came, that he started to cut off our retreat, not appearing appearing to know where Reno was, or that he had retreated. When the Indians charged on the long haired chief and his men, the long-haired long-haired long-haired chief and his men j became confused, and they retreated slowly, slowly, but it was no time at all before the Indians Indians had the long-haired long-haired long-haired chief and his men surrounded. Then our chiefs gave j the "hi yi-yi" yi-yi" yi-yi" yell, and all the Indians joined, and they whipped each other's horses, and they made such short work of killing tnem, that no man could give any correct account of it. The fir.-.t fir.-.t fir.-.t charge the Indians mde they never slacked up or stopped. They nitde a finish of it. The Indians and whites were so mixed no that you could hanliy tell anything about it. The first di-h di-h di-h the Indians made my hore was shot from under me and I was wounded shot ahove the knee, and ih'e ball came out at the hip (here the interpreter interpreter said that he had seen the. sear), and 1 fell and lay right there. Tiie r.'st of the Indians kept on on horseback, and I did not get. in the final figlit. It was a clear day. There was no storm nor thunder nor lightning. The teport was that it was the long haired chief that enme to tight u, but that was all that we knew. I know that Sitting-Ball Sitting-Ball Sitting-Ball was in the fight, but on account of my wound I did not know anything he did. Every able-bodied able-bodied able-bodied Indian there took part in the tight, as far us I could tell. Those that d'd not j tin in t he fight it was because they could not find room to get in. There were a good many agency Indians iu our camp. They all took part in the fight, same as'the hostiles. hostiles. The agency ludians had come out, and all made report to us that Lome-Hair Lome-Hair Lome-Hair was coming to fight us. So the Indians all g it together that be might not strike snia I parties, and not for the purpose of fighting or counciling Long Hair wh it he was coming coming for, but they were getting ready to be strong to defend themselves. Iron Thunder, brother to Hump, and one year younger Hum p is 34 ami Iron Thunder 3a years old then told his story. He said: We were encamped on the west side of the Little Big Horn. On the upper side of the camp was a small ash grove, and the camp was strung along from that grove more than two miles down the river. The tepeeswerecioe together, one band a 1-j 1-j 1-j .ining another all the way down. I did not know anything about Beno's-attack Beno's-attack Beno's-attack until his men were so close that the bullets bullets went through the camp, and everything everything was iu confusion. The horses were so frightened we could not catch them. I catching my horse to join in the tight. When I caught him and was nieunted. our warriors had driven the white men off'aud weie running after them. Then I followed followed the way they went, and I saw a lot of horsemenIndians crossing the river, and wentafterttie.il. 1 followed them across the.riyer, and before I overtook them, going going up the bill. I found an Indian lying there dead. I knew him. He and I were sworn friends. I stopped to look at bin:. The whi'es were still firing back at us. Just as I arrived where our men were, the report came to us that another party was coming to attack us. We could not see them from where we were. The report was that they were coming to head off the women and children from the way they were going, and so we turned around anil went towards them. Our men moved around in the direction of a circle, but I cut across to a knoll and looked up the river and saw them coming down. The day before before the fight I had come back from a war party against the Crows. I had only one nerse, and his feet were worn out (the Indians Indians do not shoe their horses, and they often give out on long marches), and bv the time I got half-way half-way half-way back to where Long-Haired Long-Haired Long-Haired Chief and his men were my horse was so lame I could go no further. I was nearly two miles away when the Indians Indians charged Long-Haired" Long-Haired" Long-Haired" Chief and his warriors. You could not notice the difference difference in the sun from the time when Cus ter was charged until he was done awav with. Agency Indians, Yanktons anil Santees were there. 1 took part. Every Indian took part in the fight that could, but there was such confusion that no one could tell the particulars of what was done. Lieutenant Edgerly of the Seventh cavalry cavalry who was in Beuteen's battalion, which joined Reno's force fifteen or twenty minutes minutes after Reno's retreat, gave me the following following account: At about ID o'clock in the morn'ng of the 2-jth 2-jth 2-jth of June, 1S70, we were sav, filieen miles from the hostile camp. Our force was then all together. We halted while Custer weuton a hill wi'h the Crow and Rees smuts to take a look at the Indian camp, which was in sight. When General Custer came down from the hill officers' call was sounded. The officers all went to where he was.and he told us that our presence presence wus discovered; that his scouts bad clrased a small number of Imkjaus that they had seen, and they had gotten away and gone in the direction of t' e Indian camp, ml as there was no use in trying to surprise them, as his intention had been, the next morning, we would press' on as quickly as we could and attack them in the village if possible. The idea was that the Indians would not stand against a whole regiment of cavalry, cavalry, and that as soon as they learned of our advance they would try to getaway fr. m us. He then ordered troop com mamlers to mount their troops and report when they were in readiness to move on In about a minute every t-oop t-oop t-oop commander had reported. General" Ouster and his Adjutant, Adjutant, Colonel Cook, then organized ttie regiment into four battalions of three troops each, giving to each of the four senior senior officers the command of a battalion. These officers were Reno, Iieuteen, Keogli and Yates. He ordered Major Reno to move straight down the valley to the Indian Indian village and at tack, and he would be supported. He ordered Colonel Benteen to move off toward the left, at an angle of about forty-five forty-five forty-five degrees from Reno'scourse and attack any Indians he could find. The idea was that the Indians would run ether to the right or left. He detailed Captain Captain McDotigal, with his trjon, as rear guard, to take charge of the pack train. The orders he gave to Colonel Keogh hjh Captain Yates I don't know, but be went off with them five companies companies and about 2o0 to3d0 men in a direction direction parallel to Reno's. The last that I saw of General Ouster alive he was going ofl in the direction mentioned. Colonel Benteen moved off' as ordered, and almost immediately ' ruck a series of high hills. He .-ent .-ent .-ent an officer Lieu'enant Gibson to the tops of several of these hills, to see if any Indians were visible in the direction of his route. Lieutenant Gibson reported .several times that there were no s:gns of Indians, and then Colonel Benteen swung around to the right, and about five or six miles from the starting point we came iion Reno's trail, and followed it rapidly. Afier following it several miles, an orderly orderly trumpter, from General Custer, came in and handed Colonel Benteen a note to this effect : "We have struck a big villiage. Hurry up. Bring up the packs. Signed. W. W. Cook, adjutant." We then passei on, and when within about three miles of the Indian village we could see that there was fighting going on in the valley, and very shorlty we saw a body of men upwards of a hundred-make hundred-make hundred-make a break for the bluffs on the east side of Little Big Horn river, on the west side of which the Indian villiage was situated, cross the stream and disappear in the bluffs. We were then on the right bank, to the east of the stream, and some dis-tnnce,from dis-tnnce,from dis-tnnce,from it. Ai the orderly who brought the message from Custer had told us that the Indian villiage was surprised, an.) 1 that, when he came away. Reno was driving driving everything before "him and killing them right and left, I supposed that the men we taw running were Indians driven by our men. We hurried forward in the direction of the fori where Reno crossed, with intent to hurry to his support; but as we approached the ford a Crow scout. Half Yellow Face, came out upon our right and beckoned us to come upon the hill. We immediately turned to the right and went up 'the hill When we reached thesummit we found Colonel Reno and his battalion i there, with several wounded men crying anxiously for water, ami then learned to our surprise that, they had been driven 1 from their ground. There were a few Indians around, behind rocks and the points of the hills, who were shooting into us at that time. A skirmish line was lormed and these Indians driven iav in a few minutes. Then I heard heavy firing over in the direction which we afterward-found afterward-found afterward-found the remains of Custer's portion of the com-nami, com-nami, com-nami, and could see clouds of dust and horsemen rushing back and forth on the opposit side of the river and about four miles away. While this firing was going on, Colonel Weir, mv captain, came to me and asked ine what I thought we ought to do. I told him I thought we ought by all mean to go down to Custer's assistance. He thought so to, and I heard the first ser-gean. ser-gean. ser-gean. esperess himself to that effect. He then asked me if I would be willing to go down with only D troops, if he could get pern ission to go. I told him I would. He then walked towards Colonels Reno and Benteen, and very shortly came back, mounted his horse, took an orderly with him and went out in the direction from which we had heard the firing and which hail then almost wholly reaped. I supposed i hat he had received permission to go out with the troops, (though he afterwards t'ld me lie had not, and bail not even asked asked for it.) So I mounted the troops and followed uim. After goii.g a few hundred yards I swung off to the right with the troops and weut into little valley which must have been the one followed by Custer Custer and his men, or nearly parallel to it, and moved right towards the great oody of the Indians, whom we had already seeu from the highest point. After we had gone a short distance down the valley, valley, Cot. Weir, who had remained to our hit. on the bluff, saw a large number of Indians coming. toward us, and motioned witii his hand for me to swing nround with the troops to where he was, which I did. When I got up on the bluff I saw Col. Benteen, Benteen, Captain French and Lieutenant Godfrey Godfrey coming toward us with their troops. We moved along on that bluff for a short distance, when the Indians commenced to fire on us. The trooos were all dismounted, dismounted, formed on the top of the ridge and returned the fire. This firing was kept up about half an hour, when the troops were drawn back to their original position by order of Gen. Reno. Our troops hail one man killed in coming back and one horse only, although two or three Indians ran up on tiie bill immediately after we left and emptied their Winchesters Winchesters on us. As soon as we got back to where Reno was we found the other troops disposed around on the crests of this elevation, elevation, and Weir's troops and Godfrey's lell in side by side so as to prolong the ir regular line already formed by onr troops. Almost as soon as we took this position tiie Indians came up in our front and opened fire. The firing was heavy, but only a few men were killed, as most of the shots went over our heads. It continued for more than an hour, and until half an hour after dusk. That ended the first day's fight. The uext morning, before daylight, heavy firing commenced again from the hills, five to seven or eight hundred yards from us, and continued until about 10 o'clock. After that there was very little firing, although the Indians in email numbers numbers could be seeen on the ridges around us. During the afternoon the Indians n the other side of the river had taken down their lodges, or tepees, and about 4 o'clock they all started off. From the time we took our position the afternoon before, we lo3t but few men. We remained right there, r in a new position position adjoining, that night, and the next morning Lieut. Bradley, of Gen. 'ferry's column, who had command of the scouts, came up and told us that Custer and all his men were killed. Shortly after. Gen. Terry came along with his column He then sent our rcg iueut over to bury the dead. The first dead soldiers we came to were Lieuts. Caihoun, Crittenden, and enlisted men of L troop. The bodies of these officers officers were lying a short distance in rear of their men, in the very place w here thev belonged, and the bodies of 'heir men forming a very regular skirmish line. Crittenden's body was shot full o arrows. The next lot be came to consisted of Colonel Keogh and his troop. They had evidently been failing ba k toward the knoll where we found Colonel Custer's oody fighting as they retreated. The other other men that I saw showed no sign of regular regular formation; their bodies were scattered over the ground with a general tendency toward the knoll where Custer was. On tne kuoil which I spoke of we found the bodes of General Custer. Colonel Cook his adjutant Colonel Tom Custer, several enlisted men and several horses, while lower down, just at the base otthe knoll were Lieutenat Riley. Captain Yates, and a great many enlisted men and horses. General Custer's brother, Boston, and his nephew, Reed, were about a hundred hundred yards from the general's body. The only bodies of eflicers that I saw mutilated were Colonel Tom Custer and Colonel Cook. A 11 the bodies were stripped stripped of their uniforms. The great majority of the men were stark naked, but in a ;ood many cases they left the undershirt, socks and drawers on the bodies. The bodies were on the east side of the river, below the main village, and about four miles from where Reno had taken position. position. When I went out with the troops.on the afternoon of the 25th, I could see quite a number of Indians galloping back and forth in the battlefield, wtiere we afterwards afterwards tound the bodies, and firing at objects objects on the ground, but we could not see what the ohjects were. When I first reached the top of the hill where Reno was, on the 25th, I heard the heavy firing, and it contiuuedabout fifteen' or twenty minutes. Then the heavy firing wa- wa- all over. After we buried Custer and and his men on the east, side of the river w e crossed to the west side and buried the dead of Reno's command about forty in number and then we found two Indian lodges, or tepees, with six bodies of Indians Indians in one and five in the other, beautifully beautifully dressed, and fastened to a pole in the center of the tepee. Chief Low Dog has told me since he came here that that is an honorable way of disposing of men who have died fighting bravely, and that their bodies are ieft to the enemy, to whom they belong. I never knew another such case. My opinion is that they were left necause the It dians left in a hurry, being frightened by the approach of "Terry's column. Aro'ind the tepees where we found the dead Indians were as many dead ponies as there were Indians. The ponies were arranged in a circle around the tepee, with their heads toward ; the tepee. From what I sa, I think th-re th-re th-re Jcere a many as 7,000 warriors. 1 judged, from seeing Terry's command about. 500 men the size of which I knew, ride down wh -re -re I saw the Indians the day before. Terry's command looked like a hundful compared to the Indians. Custer's trail showed and this is what the Indians say that he p issfd down the river which is only about fifteen or twenty twenty yards wide there on the east side; that is, on the right bank. Reno had crossed and attacked from the west. The river bank was so high and steep that it was impracticable impracticable to get down to it from the bluff until he git to a place a little over three miles from where Reno took his position after his retreat across the river. Th"re he found a ford, and the general general belief was that he attempted to cross and was attacked and driven back to where he was found dead Dead bodies were found all the way from the ford to where Custer's b idy was found. Custer's hair which he had been accustomed accustomed to wear long was cut short before be started on the march. His body was nak'd, but not mutilated. I have heard the statements mude by the chiefs and taken by you, and I believe that they told what they believed to be the truth. A Marine Velocipede. Niw Y'ork, Aug. 13. Xr Robert Fryer has invented a new ocean steamer. The vessel will be a kind of a marine velocipede velocipede on three w eels. Her hull is not in-'ended in-'ended in-'ended to touch the water. The steamer has not yet been begun, but Mr Fryer has completed a bmall model of her at Mo-Crea's Mo-Crea's Mo-Crea's yard. The vessel floats on three spheres made of sheet steel, one foward and two astern. Each of these is united with flanges, which surroundj nearly the whole of its circumference and act as paddles paddles The spheres are so arranged that they can be worked backward and forward or one worked backward and the other forward simulraneously, so that the vessel may be turned compiefely around in "her own water," as sailors put it. With such power of rapid turning, no rudder will be necessary. The upper works are to rest upon the siheres that are to do the propelling, propelling, and will be as light as consistent with strength. There are to be three decks, and the state rooms are to be in the after part of the vessel, between the wheels, on the second and third decks. The dining-room dining-room dining-room is to be on the third deck. The boat is to be 210 feet long and 1 0 feet deep. Her three spheres or paddle wheels are to be 00 feet in diameter each, the flanges or paddles being each 18 inches. Mr. Fryer says he expects to beat the best cean time at least two days and declares that bis vessel wiil be both, safe and comfortable, R I I c a

Clipped from
  1. The Leavenworth Times,
  2. 14 Aug 1881, Sun,
  3. Page 3

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  • Native American accounts of the Battle of the Little Bighorn

    staff_reporter – 12 Jun 2018

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