THE OLD SANTA FE TRAIL
COLONEL HENRY INMAN
Part 8 out of 8
"All right! You do the shooting, and I'll do the driving," and
suiting the action to the words, he snatched the whip out of Booth's
hand, slipped from the seat to the front of the wagon, and commenced
lashing the mules furiously.
Booth then crawled back, pulled out one of his revolvers, crept, or
rather fell, over the "lazy-back" of the seat, and reaching the hole
made by puckering the wagon-sheet, looked out of it, and counted
the Indians; thirty-four feather-bedecked, paint-bedaubed savages,
as vicious a set as ever scalped a white man, swooping down on them
like a hawk upon a chicken.
Hallowell, between his yells at the mules, cried out, "How far are
they off now, Booth?" for of course he could see nothing of what
was going on in his rear.
Booth replied as well as he could judge of the distance, while
Hallowell renewed his yelling at the animals and redoubled his
efforts with the lash.
Noiselessly the Indians gained on the little wagon, for they had not
as yet uttered a whoop, and the determined driver, anxious to know
how far the red devils were from him, again asked Booth. The latter
told him how near they were, guessing at the distance, from which
Hallowell gathered inspiration for fresh cries and still more vigorous
blows with his whip.
Booth, all this time, was sitting on the box containing the crackers
and sardines, watching the rapid approach of the cut-throats, and
seeing with fear and trembling the ease with which they gained upon
the little mules.
Once more Hallowell made his stereotyped inquiry of Booth; but before
the latter could reply, two shots were fired from the rifles of the
Indians, accompanied by a yell that was demoniacal enough to cause
the blood to curdle in one's veins. Hallowell yelled at the mules,
and Booth yelled too; for what reason he could not tell, unless to
keep company with his comrade, who plied the whip more mercilessly
than ever upon the poor animals' backs, and the wagon flew over
the rough road, nearly upsetting at every jump.
In another moment the bullets from two of the Indians' rifles passed
between Booth and Hallowell, doing no damage, and almost instantly
the savages charged upon them, at the same time dividing into two
parties, one going on one side and one on the other, both delivering
a volley of arrows into the wagon as they rode by.
Just as the savages rushed past the wagon, Hallowell cried out to
Booth, "Cap, I'm hit!" and turning around to look, Booth saw an arrow
sticking in Hallowell's head above his right ear. His arm was still
plying the whip, which was going on unceasingly as the sails of a
windmill, and his howling at the mules only stopped long enough to
answer, "Not much!" in response to Booth's inquiry of "Does it hurt?"
as he grabbed the arrow and pulled it out of his head.
The Indians had by this time passed on, and then, circling back,
prepared for another charge. Down they came, again dividing as before
into two bands, and delivering another shower of arrows. Hallowell
ceased his yelling long enough to cry out, "I'm hit once more, Cap!"
Looking at the plucky driver, Booth saw this time an arrow sticking
over his left ear, and hanging down his back. He snatched it out,
inquiring if it hurt, but received the same answer: "No, not much."
Both men were now yelling at the top of their voices; and the mules
were jerking the wagon along the rough trail at a fearful rate,
frightened nearly out of their wits at the sight of the Indians and
the terrible shouting and whipping of the driver.
Booth crawled to the back end of the wagon again, looked out of the
hole in the cover, and saw the Indians moving across the Trail,
preparing for another charge. One old fellow, mounted on a black
pony, was jogging along in the centre of the road behind them, but
near enough and evidently determined to send an arrow through the
puckered hole of the sheet. In a moment the savage stopped his pony
and let fly. Booth dodged sideways--the arrow sped on its course, and
whizzing through the opening, struck the black-walnut "lazy-back"
of the seat, the head sticking out on the other side, and the sudden
check causing the feathered end to vibrate rapidly with a vro-o-o-ing
sound. With a quick blow Booth struck it, and broke the shaft from
the head, leaving the latter embedded in the wood.
As quickly as possible, Booth rushed to the hole and fired his
revolver at the old devil, but failed to hit him. While he was
trying to get in another shot, an arrow came flying through from
the left side of the Trail, and striking him on the inside of the
elbow, or "crazy-bone," so completely benumbed his hand that he
could not hold on to the pistol, and it dropped into the road with
one load still in its chamber. Just then the mules gave an
extraordinary jump to one side, which jerked the wagon nearly from
under him, and he fell sprawling on the end-gate, evenly balanced,
with his hands on the outside, attempting to clutch at something to
save himself! Seeing his predicament, the Indians thought they had
him sure, so they gave a yell of exultation, supposing he must
tumble out, but he didn't; he fortunately succeeded in grabbing
one of the wagon-bows with his right hand and pulled himself in;
but it was a close call.
While all this was going on, Hallowell had not been neglected by
the Indians; about a dozen of them had devoted their time to him,
but he never flinched. Just as Booth had regained his equilibrium
and drawn his second revolver from its holster, Hallowell yelled
to him: "Right off to your right, Cap, quick!"
Booth tumbled over the back of the seat, and, clutching at a wagon-bow
to steady himself, he saw, "off to the right," an Indian who was in
the act of letting an arrow drive at Hallowell; it struck the side of
the box, and at the same instant Booth fired, scaring the red devil badly.
Back over the seat again he rushed to guard the rear, only to find
a young buck riding close to the side of the wagon, his pony running
in the deep path made by the ox-drivers in walking alongside of their
teams. Putting his left arm around one of the wagon-bows to prevent
his being jerked out, Booth quietly stuck his revolver through the
hole in the sheet; but before he could pull the trigger, the Indian
flopped over on the off side of his pony, and nothing could be seen
of him excepting one arm around his animal's neck and from the knee
to the toes of one leg. Booth did not wait for him to ride up;
he could almost hit the pony's head with his hand, so close was he
to the wagon. Booth struck at the beast several times, but the
Indian kept him right up in his place by whipping him on the opposite
of his neck. Presently the plucky savage's arm began to move.
Booth watched him intently, and saw that he had fixed an arrow in
his bow under the pony's shoulder; just as he was on the point of
letting go the bowstring, with the head of the arrow not three feet
from Booth's breast as he leaned out of the hole, the latter struck
frantically at the weapon, dodged back into the wagon, and up came
the Indian. Whenever Booth looked out, down went the Indian on
the other side of his pony, to rise again in a moment, and Booth,
afraid to risk himself with his head and breast exposed at this game
of hide and seek, drew suddenly back as the Indian went down the
third time, and in a second came up; but this was once too often.
Booth had not dodged completely into the wagon, nor dropped his
revolver, and as the Indian rose he fired.
The savage was naked to the waist; the ball struck him in the left
nipple, the blood spirted out of the wound, his bow and arrows and
lariat, with himself, rolled off the pony, falling heavily on the
ground, and with one convulsive contraction of his legs and an "Ugh!"
he was as dead as a stone.
"I've killed one of 'em!" called out Booth to Hallowell, as he saw
his victim tumble from his pony.
"Bully for you, Cap!" came Hallowell's response as he continued his
shouting, and the blows of that tireless whip fell incessantly on
the backs of the poor mules.
After he had killed the warrior, Booth kept his seat on the cracker box,
watching to see what the Indians were going to do next, when he was
suddenly interrupted by Hallowell's crying out to him: "Off to the
right again, Cap, quick!" and, whirling around instantly, he saw an
Indian within three feet of the wagon, with his bow and arrow almost
ready to shoot; there was no time to get over the seat, and as he
could not fire so close to Hallowell, he cried to the latter:
"Hit him with the whip! Hit him with the whip!" The lieutenant
diverted one of the blows intended for the mules, and struck the
savage fairly across the face. The whip had a knot in the end of it
to prevent its unravelling, and this knot must have hit the Indian
squarely in the eye; for he dropped his bow, put both hands up to
his face, rubbed his eyes, and digging his heels into his pony's
sides was soon out of range of a revolver; but, nevertheless, he was
given a parting shot as a sort of salute.
A terrific yell from the rear at this moment caused both Booth and
Hallowell to look around, and the latter to inquire: "What's the
matter now, Booth?" "They are coming down on us like lightning,"
said he; and, sure enough, those who had been prancing around their
dead comrade were tearing along the Trail toward the wagon with a
more hideous noise than when they began.
Hallowell yelled louder than ever and lashed the mules more furiously
still, but the Indians gained upon them as easily as a blooded racer
on a common farm plug. Separating as before, and passing on each
side of the wagon, they delivered another volley of bullets and
arrows as they rushed on.
When this charge was made, Booth drew away from the hole in the rear
and turned toward the Indians, but forgot that as he was sitting,
with his back pressed against the sheet, his body was plainly outlined
on the canvas.
When the Indians dashed by Hallowell cried out, "I'm hit again, Cap!"
and Booth, in turning around to go to his relief, felt something
pulling at him; and glancing over his left shoulder he discovered
an arrow sticking into him and out through the wagon-sheet. With a
jerk of his body, he tore himself loose, and going to Hallowell,
asked him where he was hit. "In the back," was the reply; where
Booth saw an arrow extending under the "lazy-back" of the seat.
Taking hold of it, Booth gave a pull, but Hallowell squirmed so that
he desisted. "Pull it out!" cried the plucky driver. Booth thereupon
took hold of it again, and giving a jerk or two, out it came. He was
thoroughly frightened as he saw it leave the lieutenant's body;
it seemed to have entered at least six inches, and the wound appeared
to be a dangerous one. Hallowell, however, did not cease for a moment
belabouring the mules, and his yells rang out as clear and defiant
After extracting the arrow from Hallowell's back, Booth turned again
to the opening in the rear of the wagon to see what new tricks the
devils were up to, when Hallowell again called out, "Off to the left,
Rushing to the front as soon as possible, Booth saw one of the savages
in the very act of shooting at Hallowell from the left side of the
wagon, not ten feet away. The last revolver was empty, but something
had to be done at once; so, levelling the weapon at him, Booth shouted
"Bang! you son-of-a-gun!" Down the Indian ducked his head; rap, rap,
went his knees against his pony's sides, and away he flew over
Back to his old place in the rear tumbled Booth, to load his revolver.
The cartridges they used in the army in those days were the
old-fashioned kind made of paper. Biting off one end, he endeavoured
to pour the powder into the chamber of the pistol; but as the wagon
was tumbling from side to side, and jumping up and down, as it fairly
flew over the rough Trail, more fell into the bottom of the wagon
than into the revolver. Just as he was inserting a ball, Hallowell
yelled, "To the left, Cap, quick!"
Over the seat Booth piled once more, and there was another Indian
with his bow and arrow all ready to pinion the brave lieutenant.
Pointing his revolver at him, Booth yelled as he had at the other,
but this savage had evidently noticed the first failure, and concluded
there were no more loads left; so, instead of taking a hasty departure,
he grinned demoniacally and endeavoured to fix the arrow in his bow.
Booth rose up in the wagon, and grasping hold of one of its bows
with his left hand, seized the revolver by the muzzle, and with all
the force he could muster hurled it at the impudent brute. It was
a Remington, its barrel octagon-shaped, with sharp corners, and when
it was thrown, it turned in the air, and striking the Indian
muzzle-first on the ribs, cut a long gash.
"Ugh!" he grunted, as, dropping his bow and spear, he flung himself
over the side of his pony, and away he went across the prairie.
Only one revolver remaining now, and that empty, with the savages
still howling around the apparently doomed men like so many demons!
Booth fell over the seat, as was his usual fate whenever he attempted
to get to the back of the wagon, picked up the empty revolver, and
tried to load it; but before he could bite the end of a cartridge,
Hallowell yelled, "Cap, I'm hit again!"
"Where this time?" inquired Booth, anxiously. "In the hand," replied
Hallowell; and, looking around, Booth noticed that although his right
arm was still thrashing at the now lagging mules with as much energy
as ever, through the fleshy part of the thumb was an arrow, which was
flopping up and down as he raised and lowered his hand in ceaseless
efforts to keep up the speed of the almost exhausted animals.
"Let me pull it out," said Booth, as he came forward to do so.
"No, never mind," replied Hallowell; "can't stop! can't stop!" and up
and down went the arm, and flip, flap, went the arrow with it, until
finally it tore through the flesh and fell to the ground.
Along they bowled, the Indians yelling, and the occupants of the
little wagon defiantly answering them, while Booth continued to
struggle desperately with that empty pistol, in his vain efforts
to load it. In another moment Hallowell shouted, "Booth, they are
trying to crowd the mules into the sunflowers!"
Alongside of the Trail huge sunflowers had grown the previous summer,
and now their dry stalks stood as thick as a cane-brake; if the wagon
once got among them, it would be impossible for the mules to keep up
their gallop. The savages seemed to realize this; for one huge old
fellow kept riding alongside the off mule, throwing his spear at him
and then jerking it back with the thong, one end of which was fastened
to his wrist. The near mule was constantly pushed further and further
from the Trail by his mate, which was jumping frantically, scared out
of his senses by the Indian.
At this perilous juncture, Booth stepped out on the foot-board of
the wagon, and, holding on by a bow, commenced to kick the frightened
mule vigorously, while Hallowell pulled on one line, whipping and
yelling at the same time; so together they succeeded in forcing the
animals back into the Trail.
The Indians kept close to the mules in their efforts to force them
into the sunflowers, and Booth made several attempts to scare the
old fellow that was nearest by pointing his empty revolver at him,
but he would not scare; so in his desperation Booth threw it at him.
He missed the old brute, but hit his pony just behind its rider's leg,
which started the animal into a sort of a stampede; his ugly master
could not control him, and thus the immediate peril from the
persistent cuss was delayed.
Now the pair were absolutely without firearms of any kind, with
nothing left except their sabres and valises, and the savages came
closer and closer. In turn the two swords were thrown at them as they
came almost within striking distance; then followed the scabbards,
as the howling fiends surrounded the wagon and attempted to spear
the mules. Fortunately their arrows were exhausted.
The cantonment on the Walnut was still a mile and a half away, and
there was nothing for our luckless travellers to do but whip and kick,
both of which they did most vigorously. Hallowell sat as immovable
as the Sphinx, excepting his right arm, which from the moment they
had started on the back trail had not once ceased its incessant motion.
Happening to cast his eyes back on the Trail, Booth saw to his dismay
twelve or fifteen of the savages coming up on the run with fresh
energy, their spears poised ready for action, and he felt that
something must be done very speedily to divert them; for if these
added their number to those already surrounding the wagon, the chances
were they would succeed in forcing the mules into the sunflowers,
and his scalp and Hallowell's would dangle at the belt of the leader.
Glancing around in the bottom of the wagon for some kind of weapon,
his eye fell on the two valises containing the dress-suits.
He snatched up his own, and threw it out while the pursuers were yet
five or six rods in the rear. The Indians noticed this new trick
with a great yell of satisfaction, and the moment they arrived at
the spot where the valise lay, all dismounted; one of them, seizing
it by the two handles, pulled with all his strength to open it, and
when he failed, another drew a long knife from under his blanket and
ripped it apart. He then put his hand in, pulling out a sash, which
he began to wind around his head, like a negress with a bandanna,
letting the tassels hang down his back. While he was thus amusing
himself, one of the others had taken out a dress-coat, a third a pair
of drawers, and still another a shirt, which they proceeded to put on,
meanwhile dancing around and howling.
Booth told Hallowell of the sacrifice of the valise, and said,
"I'm going to throw out yours." "All right," replied Hallowell;
"all we want is time." So out it went on the Trail, and shared
the same fate as the other.
The lull in hostilities caused by their outstripping their pursuers
gave the almost despairing men time to talk over their situation.
Hallowell said he did not propose to be captured and then butchered
or burned at the pleasure of the Indians. He said to Booth: "If they
kill one of the mules, and so stop us, let's kick, strike, throw dirt
or anything, and compel them to kill us on the spot." So it was agreed,
if the worst came to the worst, to stand back to back and fight.
During this discussion the arm of Hallowell still plied the effective
lash, and they drew perceptibly nearer the camp, and as they caught
the first glimpse of its tents and dugouts, hope sprang up within them.
The mules were panting like a hound after a deer; wherever the
harness touched them, it was white with lather, and it was evident
they could keep on their feet but a short time longer. Would they
hold out until the bridge was reached? The whipping and the kicking
had but little effect on them now. They still continued their gallop,
but it was slower and more laboured than before.
The Indians who had torn open the valises had not returned to the
chase, and although there were still a sufficient number of the
fiends pursuing to make it interesting, they did not succeed in
spearing the mules, as at every attempt the plucky animals would
jump sideways or forward and evade the impending blow.
The little log bridge was reached; the savages had all retreated,
but the valorous Hallowell kept the mules at their fastest pace.
The bridge was constructed of half-round logs, and of course was
extremely rough; the wagon bounded up and down enough to shake the
teeth out of one's head as the little animals went flying over it.
Booth called out to Hallowell, "No need to drive so fast now,
the Indians have all left us"; but he replied, "I ain't going to stop
until I get across"; and down came the whip, on sped the mules,
not breaking their short gallop until they were pulled up in front
of Captain Conkey's quarters.
The rattling of the wagon on the bridge was the first intimation
the garrison had of its return.
The officers came running out of their tents, the enlisted men poured
out of their dugouts like a lot of ants, and Booth and Hallowell were
surrounded by their friends in a moment. Captain Conkey ordered his
bugler to sound "Boots and Saddles," and in less than ten minutes
ninety troopers were mounted, and with the captain at their head
started after the Indians.
When Hallowell tried to rise from his seat so as to get out every
effort only resulted in his falling back. Some one stepped around
to the other side to assist him, when it was discovered that the
skirt of his overcoat had worked outside of the wagon-sheet and
hung over the edge, and that three or four of the arrows fired at him
by the savages had struck the side of the wagon, and, passing through
the flap of his coat, had pinned him down. Booth pulled the arrows
out and helped him up; he was pretty stiff from sitting in his cramped
position so long, and his right arm dropped by his side as if paralysed.
Booth stood looking on while his comrade's wounds were being dressed,
when the adjutant asked him: "What makes you shrug your shoulder so?"
He answered, "I don't know; something makes it smart." The officer
looked at him and said, "Well, I don't wonder; I should think it
would smart; here's an arrow-head sticking into you," and he tried
to pull it out, but it would not come. Captain Goldsborough then
attempted it, but was not any more successful. The doctor then told
them to let it alone, and he would attend to Booth after he had done
with Hallowell. When he examined Booth's shoulder, he found that
the arrow-head had struck the thick portion of the shoulder-blade,
and had made two complete turns, wrapping itself around the muscles,
which had to be cut apart before the sharp point could be withdrawn.
Booth was not seriously hurt. Hallowell, however, had received two
severe wounds; the arrow that had lodged in his back had penetrated
almost to his kidneys, and the wound in his thumb was very painful,
not so much from the simple impact of the arrow as from the tearing
away of the muscle by the shaft while he was whipping his mules;
his right arm, too, was swollen terribly, and so stiff from the
incessant use of it during the drive that for more than a month
he required assistance in dressing and undressing.
The mules who had saved their lives were of small account after
their memorable trip; they remained stiff and sore from the rough
road and their continued forced speed. Booth and Hallowell went out
to look at them the next morning, as they hobbled around the corral,
and from the bottom of their hearts wished them well.
Captain Conkey's command returned to the cantonment about midnight.
But one Indian had been seen, and he was south of the Arkansas in
the sand hills.
The next morning a scouting-party of forty men, under command of a
sergeant, started out to scour the country toward Cow Creek,
northeast from the Walnut.
As I have stated, the troopers stationed at the cantonment on the
Walnut were mostly recruits. Now the cavalry recruit of the old
regular army on the frontier, thirty or forty years ago, mounted on
a great big American horse and sent out with well-trained comrades
on a scout after the hostile savages of the plains, was the most
helpless individual imaginable. Coming fresh from some large city
probably, as soon as he arrived at his station he was placed on the
back of an animal of whose habits he knew as little as he did of the
differential calculus; loaded down with a carbine, the muzzle of which
he could hardly distinguish from the breech; a sabre buckled around
his waist; a couple of enormous pistols stuck in his holsters;
his blankets strapped to the cantle of his saddle, and, to complete
the hopelessness of his condition in a possible encounter with a
savage enemy who was ever on the alert, he was often handicapped by
a camp-kettle or two, a frying-pan, and ten days' rations. No wonder
this doughty representative of Uncle Sam's power was an easy prey for
"Poor Lo," who, when he caught the unfortunate soldier away from his
command and started after him, must have laughed at the ridiculous
appearance of his enemy, with both hands glued to the pommel of his
saddle, his hair on end, his sabre flying and striking his horse at
every jump as the animal tore down the trail toward camp, while the
Indian, rapidly gaining, in a few minutes had the scalp of the hapless
rider dangling at his belt, and another of the "boys in blue" had
joined the majority.
The scouting-party had proceeded about four or five miles, when one
of the corporals asked permission for himself and a recruit to go
over to the Upper Walnut to find out whether they could discover
any signs of Indians.
While they were carelessly riding along the big curve which the
northern branch of the Walnut makes at that point, there suddenly
sprang from their ambush in the timber on the margin of the stream
about three hundred Indians, whooping and yelling. The two troopers
of course, immediately whirled their horses and started down the
creek toward the camp, hotly pursued by the howling savages.
The corporal was an excellent rider; a well-trained and disciplined
soldier, having seen much service on the plains. He led in the flight,
closely followed by the unfortunate recruit, who had been enlisted
but a short time. Not more than an eighth of a mile had been covered,
when the corporal heard his companion exclaim,--
"Don't leave me! Don't leave me!"
Looking back, the corporal saw that the poor recruit was losing ground
rapidly; his horse was rearing and plunging, making very little
headway, while his rider was jerking and pulling on the bit, a curb
of the severest kind. Perceiving the strait his comrade was in,
the corporal reined up for a moment and called out,--
"Let him go! Let him go! Don't jerk on the bit so!"
The Indians were gaining ground rapidly, and in another moment the
corporal heard the recruit again cry out,--
Realizing that it would be fatal to delay, and that he could be of
no assistance to his companion, already killed and scalped, he leaned
forward on his horse, and sinking his spurs deep in the animal's
flanks fairly flew down the valley, with the three hundred savages
close in his wake.
The officers at the camp were sitting in their tents when the sentinel
on post No. 1 fired his piece, upon which all rushed out to learn
the cause of the alarm; for there was no random shooting in those
days allowed around camp or in garrison. Looking up the valley of
the Walnut, they could see the lucky corporal, with his long hair
streaming in the wind, and his heels rapping his horse's sides, as he
dashed over the brown sod of the winter prairie.
The corporal now slackened his pace, rode up to the commanding
officer's tent, reported the affair, and then was allowed to go to
his own quarters for the rest he so much needed.
Captain Conkey immediately ordered a mounted squad, accompanied by an
ambulance, to go up the creek to recover the body of the unfortunate
recruit. The party were absent a little over an hour, and brought
back with them the remains of the dead soldier. He had been shot
with an arrow, the point of which was still sticking out through his
breast-bone. His scalp had been torn completely off, and the lapels
of his coat and the legs of his trousers carried away by the savages.
He was buried the next morning with military honours, in the little
graveyard on the bank of the Walnut, where his body still rests in
the dooryard of the ranch.
In the spring of 1867, General Hancock, who then commanded the military
division of the Missouri, with headquarters at Fort Leavenworth,
Kansas, organized an expedition against the Indians of the great
plains, which he led in person. With him was General Custer, second
ranking officer, from whom I quote the story of the march and some
of the incidents of the raid.
General Hancock, with the artillery and six companies of infantry,
arrived at Fort Riley, Kansas, the last week in March, where he was
joined by four companies of the Seventh Cavalry, commanded by the
From Fort Riley the expedition marched to Fort Harker, seventy-two
miles farther west, on the Smoky Hill, where the force was increased
by the addition of two more troops of cavalry. Remaining there only
long enough to replenish their commissary supplies, the march was
directed to Fort Larned on the Old Santa Fe Trail. On the 7th of
April the command reached the latter post, accompanied by the agent
of the Comanches and Kiowas; at the fort the agent of the Cheyennes,
Arapahoes, and Apaches was waiting for the arrival of the general.
The agent of the three last-mentioned tribes had already sent runners
to the head chiefs, inviting them to a grand council which was to
assemble near the fort on the 10th of the month, and he requested
General Hancock to remain at the fort with his command until that date.
On the 9th of April a terrible snow-storm came on while the troops
were encamped waiting for the head men of the various tribes to arrive.
It was our good fortune to be in camp rather than on the
march; had it been otherwise, we could not well have escaped
without loss of life. The cavalry horses suffered severely,
and were only preserved by doubling their rations of oats,
while to prevent their being frozen during the intensely
cold night which followed, the guards were instructed to
pass along the picket lines with a whip, and keep the
horses moving constantly. The snow was eight inches deep.
The council, which was to take place the next day, had to be
postponed until the return of good weather. Now began the
display of a kind of diplomacy for which the Indian is
peculiar. The Cheyennes and a band of Sioux were encamped
on Pawnee Fork, about thirty miles above Fort Larned.
They neither desired to move nearer to us or have us
approach nearer to them. On the morning of the 11th,
they sent us word that they had started to visit us, but,
discovering a large herd of buffalo near their camp,
they had stopped to procure a supply of meat. This message
was not received with much confidence, nor was a buffalo
hunt deemed of sufficient importance to justify the Indians
in breaking their engagement. General Hancock decided,
however, to delay another day, when, if the Indians still
failed to come in, he would move his command to the vicinity
of their village and hold the conference there.
Orders were issued on the evening of the 12th for the march
to be resumed on the following day. Late in the evening
two chiefs of the "Dog-Soldiers," a band composed of the
most warlike and troublesome Indians on the plains,
chiefly made up of Cheyennes, visited our camp. They were
accompanied by a dozen warriors, and expressed a desire to
hold a conference with General Hancock, to which he assented.
A large council-fire was built in front of the general's
tent, and all the officers of his command assembled there.
A tent had been erected for the accommodation of the chiefs
a short distance from the general's. Before they could
feel equal to the occasion, and in order to obtain time to
collect their thoughts, they desired that supper might be
prepared for them, which was done. When finally ready,
they advanced from their tent to the council-fire in single
file, accompanied by their agent and an interpreter.
Arrived at the fire, another brief delay ensued. No matter
how pressing or momentous the occasion, an Indian invariably
declines to engage in a council until he has filled his pipe
and gone through with the important ceremony of a smoke.
This attended to, the chiefs announced that they were ready
"to talk." They were then introduced to the principal
officers of the group, and seemed much struck with the
flashy uniforms of the few artillery officers, who were
present in all the glory of red horsehair plumes,
aiguillettes, etc. The chiefs seemed puzzled to determine
whether these insignia designated chieftains or medicine men.
General Hancock began the conference by a speech, in which
he explained to the Indians his purpose in coming to see
them, and what he expected of them in the future.
He particularly informed them that he was not there to make
war, but to promote peace. Then, expressing his regrets
that more of the chiefs had not visited him, he announced
his intention of proceeding on the morrow with his command
to the vicinity of their village, and there holding a
council with all the chiefs. Tall Bull, a fine, warlike-looking
chieftain, replied to General Hancock, but his speech
contained nothing important, being made up of allusions to
the growing scarcity of the buffalo, his love for the white
man, and the usual hint that a donation in the way of
refreshments would be highly acceptable; he added that he
would have nothing new to say at the village.
Rightly concluding that the Indians did not intend to come
to our camp, as they had at first agreed to, it was decided
to move nearer their village. On the morning following the
conference our entire force, therefore, marched from
Fort Larned up Pawnee Fork in the direction of the main
village, encamping the first night about twenty-one miles
from Larned. Several parties of Indians were seen in our
advance during the day, evidently watching our movements,
while a heavy smoke, seen to rise in the direction of the
Indian village, indicated that something more than usual
was going on. The smoke, we afterward learned, arose from
burning grass. The Indians, thinking to prevent us from
encamping in their vicinity, had set fire to and burned all
the grass for miles in the direction from which they
expected us. Before we arrived at our camping-ground,
we were met by several chiefs and warriors belonging to the
Cheyennes and Sioux. Among the chiefs were Pawnee Killer,
of the Sioux, and White Horse, of the Cheyennes. It was
arranged that these chiefs should accept our hospitality
and remain with us during the night, and in the morning all
the chiefs of the two tribes then in the village were to
come to General Hancock's head-quarters and hold a council.
On the morning of the 14th, Pawnee Killer left our camp at
an early hour, as he said for the purpose of going to the
village to bring in the other chiefs to the council.
Nine o'clock had been agreed upon as the time at which the
council should assemble. The hour came, but the chiefs
did not. Now an Indian council is not only often an
important, but always an interesting, occasion. At this
juncture, Bull Bear, an influential chief among the
Cheyennes, came in and reported that the chiefs were on
their way to our camp, but would not be able to reach it
for some time. This was a mere artifice to secure delay.
General Hancock informed Bull Bear that, as the chiefs
could not arrive for some time, he would move his forces
up the stream nearer the village, and the council could be
held at our camp that night. To this proposition Bull Bear
gave his consent.
At 11 A.M. we resumed the march, and had proceeded but a few
miles when we witnessed one of the finest and most imposing
military displays, according to the Indian art of war,
which it has been my lot to behold. It was nothing more
nor less than an Indian line of battle drawn directly
across our line of march, as if to say, "Thus far and no
further." Most of the Indians were mounted; all were
bedecked in their brightest colours, their heads crowned
with the brilliant war-bonnet, their lances bearing the
crimson pennant, bows strung, and quivers full of barbed
arrows. In addition to these weapons, which, with the
hunting-knife and tomahawk, are considered as forming the
armament of the warrior, each one was supplied with either
a breech-loading rifle or revolver, sometimes with both--
the latter obtained through the wise forethought and strong
love of fair play which prevails in the Indian department,
which, seeing that its wards are determined to fight,
is equally determined that there shall be no advantage taken,
but that the two sides shall be armed alike; proving, too,
in this manner, the wonderful liberality of our government,
which is not only able to furnish its soldiers with the
latest style of breech-loaders to defend it and themselves,
but is equally able and willing to give the same pattern
of arms to the common foe. The only difference is, that if
the soldier loses his weapon, he is charged double price
for it, while to avoid making any such charge against the
Indian, his weapons are given him without conditions attached.
In the line of battle before us there were several hundred
Indians, while further to the rear and at different
distances were other organized bodies, acting apparently
as reserves. Still further behind were small detachments
who seemed to perform the duty of couriers, and were held
in readiness to convey messages to the village. The ground
beyond was favourable for an extended view, and as far as
the eye could reach, small groups of individuals could be
seen in the direction of the village; these were evidently
parties of observation, whose sole object was to learn the
result of our meeting with the main body and hasten with
the news to the village.
For a few moments appearances seemed to foreshadow anything
but a peaceable issue. The infantry was in the advance,
followed closely by the artillery, while my command,
the cavalry, was marching on the flank. General Hancock,
who was riding with his staff at the head of the column,
coming suddenly in view of the wild, fantastic battle array,
which extended far to our right and left, and was not more
than half a mile in our front, hastily sent orders to the
infantry, artillery, and cavalry to form in line of battle,
evidently determined that, if war was intended, we should be
prepared. The cavalry being the last to form on the right,
came into line on a gallop, and without waiting to align
the ranks carefully, the command was given to "Draw sabre."
As the bright blades flashed from their scabbards into the
morning sunlight, and the infantry brought their muskets
to a carry, a contrast was presented which, to a military
eye, could but be striking. Here in battle array, facing
each other, were the representatives of civilized and
barbarous warfare. The one, with few modifications, stood
clothed in the same rude style of dress, bearing the same
patterned shield and weapon that his ancestors had borne
centuries before; the other confronted him in the dress
and supplied with the implements of war which an advanced
stage of civilization had pronounced the most perfect.
Was the comparative superiority of these two classes to be
subjected to the mere test of war here? All was eager
anxiety and expectation. Neither side seemed to comprehend
the object or intentions of the other; each was waiting
for the other to deliver the first blow. A more beautiful
battle-ground could not have been chosen. Not a bush or
even the slightest irregularity of ground intervened between
the two lines, which now stood frowning and facing each other.
Chiefs could be seen riding along the line, as if directing
and exhorting their braves to deeds of heroism.
After a few moments of painful suspense, General Hancock,
accompanied by General A. J. Smith and other officers,
rode forward, and through an interpreter invited the chiefs
to meet us midway for the purpose of an interview.
In response to this invitation, Roman Nose, bearing a white
flag, accompanied by Bull Bear, White Horse, Gray Beard,
and Medicine Wolf, on the part of the Cheyennes, and Pawnee
Killer, Bad Wound, Tall-Bear-That-Walks-under-the-Ground,
Left Hand, Little Bear, and Little Bull, on the part of the
Sioux, rode forward to the middle of the open space between
the two lines. Here we shook hands with all the chiefs,
most of them exhibiting unmistakable signs of gratification
at this apparently peaceful termination of our rencounter.
General Hancock very naturally inquired the object of the
hostile attitude displayed before us, saying to the chiefs
that if war was their object, we were ready then and there
to participate. Their immediate answer was that they did
not desire war, but were peacefully disposed. They were
then told that we would continue our march toward the
village, and encamp near it, but would establish such
regulations that none of the soldiers would be permitted
to approach or disturb them. An arrangement was then
effected by which the chiefs were to assemble at General
Hancock's headquarters as soon as our camp was pitched.
The interview then terminated, and the Indians moved off
in the direction of their village, we following leisurely
in the rear.
A march of a few miles brought us in sight of the village,
which was situated in a beautiful grove on the bank of the
stream up which we had been marching. It consisted of
upwards of three hundred lodges, a small fraction over half
belonging to the Cheyennes, the remainder to the Sioux.
Like all Indian encampments, the ground chosen was a most
romantic spot, and at the same time fulfilled in every
respect the requirements of a good camping-ground; wood,
water, and grass were abundant. The village was placed on
a wide, level plateau, while on the north and west, at a
short distance off, rose high bluffs, which admirably served
as a shelter against the cold winds which at that season of
the year prevail from those directions. Our tents were
pitched within a mile of the village. Guards were placed
between to prevent intrusion upon our part. We had scarcely
pitched our tents when Roman Nose, Bull Bear, Gray Beard,
and Medicine Wolf, all prominent chiefs of the Cheyenne
nation, came into camp with the information that upon our
approach their women and children had all fled from the
village, alarmed by the presence of so many soldiers, and
imagining a second Chivington massacre to be intended.
General Hancock insisted that they should all return,
promising protection and good treatment to all; that if
the camp was abandoned, he would hold it responsible.
The chiefs then stated their belief in their ability to
recall the fugitives, could they be furnished with horses
to overtake them. This was accordingly done, and two of
them set out mounted on two of our horses. An agreement
was also entered into at the same time, that one of our
interpreters, Ed Gurrier, a half-breed Cheyenne, who was in
the employ of the government, should remain in the village
and report every two hours as to whether any Indians were
leaving there. This was about seven o'clock in the evening.
At half-past nine the half-breed returned to head-quarters
with the intelligence that all the chiefs and warriors were
saddling up to leave, under circumstances showing that they
had no intention of returning, such as packing up every
article that could be carried with them, and cutting and
destroying their lodges--this last being done to obtain
small pieces for temporary shelter.
I had retired to my tent, which was some few hundred yards
from that of General Hancock, when a messenger from the
latter awakened me with the information that the general
desired my presence in his tent. He briefly stated the
situation of affairs, and directed me to mount my command
as quickly and as silently as possible, surround the Indian
village, and prevent the departure of its inhabitants.
Easily said, but not so easily done. Under ordinary
circumstances, silence not being necessary, I could have
returned to my camp, and by a few blasts from the trumpet,
placed every soldier on his saddle almost as quickly as it
has taken time to write this short sentence. No bugle calls
must be sounded; we were to adopt some of the stealth of the
Indians--how successfully remained to be seen. By this time
every soldier and officer was in his tent sound asleep.
First going to the tent of the adjutant and arousing him,
I procured an experienced assistant in my labours. Next the
captains of companies were awakened and orders imparted
to them. They in turn transmitted the order to the first
sergeant, who similarly aroused the men. It has often
surprised me to observe the alacrity with which disciplined
soldiers, experienced in campaigning, will hasten to prepare
themselves for the march in an emergency like this.
No questions are asked, no time is wasted. A soldier's
toilet, on an Indian campaign, is a simple affair, and
requires little time for arranging. His clothes are
gathered up hurriedly, no matter how, so long as he retains
possession of them. The first object is to get his horse
saddled and bridled, and until this is done his own dress
is a matter of secondary importance, and one button or hook
must do the duty of half a dozen. When his horse is ready
for the mount, the rider will be seen completing his own
equipment; stray buttons will receive attention, arms will
be overhauled, spurs restrapped; then, if there still remain
a few spare moments, the homely black pipe is filled and
lighted, and the soldier's preparation is complete.
The night was all that could be desired for the success of
our enterprise. The air was mild and pleasant; the moon,
although nearly full, kept almost constantly behind the
clouds, as if to screen us in our hazardous undertaking.
I say hazardous, because none of us imagined for one moment
that if the Indians discovered us in our attempt to surround
them and their village, we should escape without a fight--
a fight, too, in which the Indians, sheltered behind the
trunks of the stately forest trees under which their lodges
were pitched, would possess all the advantage. General
Hancock, anticipating that the Indians would discover our
approach, and that a fight would ensue, ordered the
artillery and infantry under arms, to await the result of
our moonlight adventure. My command was soon in the saddle,
and silently making its way toward the village.
Instructions had been given forbidding all conversation
except in a whisper. Sabres were disposed of to prevent
clanging. Taking a camp-fire which we could see in the
village as our guiding point, we made a detour so as to
place the village between ourselves and the infantry.
Occasionally the moon would peep out from the clouds and
enable us to catch a hasty glance at the village. Here and
there under the thick foliage we could see the white,
conical-shaped lodges. Were the inmates slumbering,
unaware of our close proximity, or were their dusky defenders
concealed, as well they might have been, along the banks of
the Pawnee, quietly awaiting our approach, and prepared to
greet us with their well-known war-whoop? These were
questions that were probably suggested to the mind of each
individual of my command. If we were discovered approaching
in the stealthy, suspicious manner which characterized our
movements, the hour being midnight, it would require a more
confiding nature than that of the Indian to assign a
friendly or peaceful motive to our conduct. The same
flashes of moonlight which gave us hurried glimpses of the
village enabled us to see our own column of horsemen
stretching its silent length far into the dim darkness, and
winding its course, like some huge anaconda about to envelop
The method by which it was determined to establish a cordon
of armed troopers about the fated village, was to direct
the march in a circle, with the village in the centre,
the commanding officer of each rear troop halting his
command at the proper point, and deploying his men similarly
to a line of skirmishers--the entire circle, when thus formed,
facing toward the village, and, distant from it perhaps a
few hundred yards. No sooner was our line completely formed
than the moon, as if deeming darkness no longer essential
to our success, appeared from behind her screen and lighted
up the entire scene. And beautiful it was! The great
circle of troops, each individual of which sat on his steed
silent as a statue, the dense foliage of the cotton trees
sheltering the bleached, skin-clad lodges of the red men,
the little stream in the midst murmuring undisturbedly in
its channel, all combined to produce an artistic effect,
as striking as it was interesting. But we were not there
to study artistic effects. The next step was to determine
whether we had captured an inhabited village, involving
almost necessarily a severe conflict with its savage
occupants, or whether the red man had again proven too
wily and crafty for his more civilized brothers.
Directing the entire line of troopers to remain mounted
with carbines held at the "Advance," I dismounted, and
taking with me Gurrier, the half-breed, Dr. Coates, one of
our medical staff, and Lieutenant Moylan, the adjutant,
we proceeded on our hands and knees toward the village.
The prevailing opinion was that the Indians were still
asleep. I desired to approach near enough to the lodges
to enable the half-breed to hail the village in the Indian
tongue, and if possible establish friendly relations at once.
It became a question of prudence with us, which we discussed
in whispers as we proceeded on our "Tramp, tramp, tramp,
the boys are creeping," how far from our horses and how
near to the village we dared to go. If so few of us were
discovered entering the village in this questionable manner,
it was more than probable that, like the returners of stolen
property, we should be suitably rewarded and no questions
asked. The opinion of Gurrier, the half-breed, was eagerly
sought for and generally deferred to. His wife,
a full-blooded Cheyenne, was a resident of the village.
This with him was an additional reason for wishing a peaceful
termination to our efforts. When we had passed over
two-thirds of the distance between our horses and the
village, it was thought best to make our presence known.
Thus far not a sound had been heard to disturb the stillness
of the night. Gurrier called out at the top of his voice
in the Cheyenne tongue. The only response came from the
throats of a score or more of Indian dogs which set up a
fierce barking. At the same time one or two of our party
asserted that they saw figure moving beneath the trees.
Gurrier repeated his summons, but with no better results
A hurried consultation ensued. The presence of so many dogs
in the village was regarded by the half-breed as almost
positive assurance that the Indians were still there.
Yet it was difficult to account for their silence. Gurrier
in a loud tone repeated who he was, and that our mission was
friendly. Still no answer. He then gave it as his opinion
that the Indians were on the alert, and were probably
waiting in the shadow of the trees for us to approach nearer,
when they would pounce upon us. This comforting opinion
induced another conference. We must ascertain the truth of
the matter; our party could do this as well as a larger
number, and to go back and send another party in our stead
could not be thought of.
Forward! was the verdict. Each one grasped his revolver,
resolved to do his best, whether it was in running or
fighting. I think most of us would have preferred to take
our own chances at running. We had approached near enough
to see that some of the lodges were detached some distance
from the main encampment. Selecting the nearest of these,
we directed our advance on it. While all of us were full
of the spirit of adventure, and were further encouraged
with the idea that we were in the discharge of our duty,
there was scarcely one of us who would not have felt more
comfortable if we could have got back to our horses without
loss of pride. Yet nothing, under the circumstances, but
a positive order would have induced any one to withdraw.
Cautiously approaching, on all fours, to within a few yards
of the nearest lodge, occasionally halting and listening to
discover whether the village was deserted or not, we finally
decided that the Indians had fled before the arrival of the
cavalry, and that none but empty lodges were before us.
This conclusion somewhat emboldened as well as accelerated
our progress. Arriving at the first lodge, one of our party
raised the curtain or mat which served as a door, and the
doctor and myself entered. The interior of the lodge was
dimly lighted by the dying embers of a small fire built in
the centre. All around us were to be seen the usual
adornments and articles which constitute the household
effects of an Indian family. Buffalo-robes were spread like
carpets over the floor; head-mats, used to recline on, were
arranged as if for the comfort of their owners; parfleches,
a sort of Indian band-box, with their contents apparently
undisturbed, were carefully stowed away under the edges or
borders of the lodge. These, with the door-mats, paint-bags,
rawhide ropes, and other articles of Indian equipment,
were left as if the owners had only absented themselves for
a brief period. To complete the picture of an Indian lodge,
over the fire hung a camp-kettle, in which, by means of the
dim light of the fire, we could see what had been intended
for the supper of the late occupants of the lodge.
The doctor, ever on the alert to discover additional items
of knowledge, whether pertaining to history or science,
snuffed the savoury odours which arose from the dark
recesses of the mysterious kettle. Casting about the lodge
for some instrument to aid him in his pursuit of knowledge,
he found a horn spoon, with which he began his investigation
of the contents, finally succeeding in getting possession
of a fragment which might have been the half of a duck or
rabbit, judging from its size merely. "Ah!" said the doctor,
in his most complacent manner, "here is the opportunity I
have long been waiting for. I have often desired to test
the Indian mode of cooking. What do you suppose this is?"
holding up the dripping morsel. Unable to obtain the
desired information, the doctor, whose naturally good
appetite had been sensibly sharpened by his recent exercise,
set to with a will and ate heartily of the mysterious
contents of the kettle. He was only satisfied on one point,
that it was delicious--a dish fit for a king. Just then
Gurrier, the half-breed, entered the lodge. He could solve
the mystery, having spent years among the Indians. To him
the doctor appealed for information. Fishing out a huge
piece, and attacking it with the voracity of a hungry wolf,
he was not long in determining what the doctor had supped
heartily upon. His first words settled the mystery: "Why,
this is dog." I will not attempt to repeat the few but
emphatic words uttered by the heartily disgusted member of
the medical fraternity as he rushed from the lodge.
Other members of our small party had entered other lodges,
only to find them, like the first, deserted. But little of
the furniture belonging to the lodges had been taken,
showing how urgent and hasty had been the flight of the
owners. To aid in the examination of the village,
reinforcements were added to our party, and an exploration
of each lodge was determined upon. At the same time a
messenger was despatched to General Hancock, informing him
of the flight of the Indians. Some of the lodges were
closed by having brush or timber piled up against the
entrance, as if to preserve the contents. Others had huge
pieces cut from their sides, these pieces evidently being
carried away to furnish temporary shelter for the fugitives.
In most of the lodges the fires were still burning. I had
entered several without discovering anything important.
Finally, in company with the doctor, I arrived at one the
interior of which was quite dark, the fire having almost
died out. Procuring a lighted fagot, I prepared to explore it,
as I had done the others; but no sooner had I entered the
lodge than my fagot failed me, leaving me in total darkness.
Handing it to the doctor to be relighted, I began to feel
my way about the interior of the lodge. I had almost made
the circuit when my hand came in contact with a human foot;
at the same time a voice unmistakably Indian, and which
evidently came from the owner of the foot, convinced me that
I was not alone. My first impressions were that in their
hasty flight the Indians had gone off, leaving this one
asleep. My next, very naturally, related to myself.
I would gladly have placed myself on the outside of the
lodge, and there matured plans for interviewing its occupant;
but unfortunately to reach the entrance of the lodge, I must
either pass over or around the owner of the before-mentioned
foot and voice. Could I have been convinced that among
its other possessions there was neither tomahawk nor
scalping-knife, pistol nor war-club, or any similar article
of the noble red-man's toilet, I would have risked an attempt
to escape through the low narrow opening of the lodge;
but who ever saw an Indian without one or all of these
interesting trinkets? Had I made the attempt, I should
have expected to encounter either the keen edge of the
scalping-knife or the blow of the tomahawk, and to have
engaged in a questionable struggle for life. This would
not do. I crouched in silence for a few moments, hoping
the doctor would return with the lighted fagot. I need not
say that each succeeding moment spent in the darkness of
that lodge seemed an age. I could hear a slight movement
on the part of my unknown neighbour, which did not add to
my comfort. Why does not the doctor return? At last I
discovered the approach of a light on the outside. When it
neared the entrance, I called the doctor and informed him
that an Indian was in the lodge, and that he had better
have his weapons ready for a conflict. I had, upon
discovering the foot, drawn my hunting-knife from its
scabbard, and now stood waiting the denouement. With his
lighted fagot in one hand and cocked revolver in the other,
the doctor cautiously entered the lodge. And there directly
between us, wrapped in a buffalo-robe, lay the cause of my
anxiety--a little Indian girl, probably ten years old;
not a full-blood, but a half-breed. She was terribly
frightened at finding herself in our hands, with none of
her people near. Other parties in exploring the deserted
village found an old, decrepit Indian of the Sioux tribe,
who had also been deserted, owing to his infirmities and
inability to travel with the tribe. Nothing was gleaned
from our search of the village which might indicate the
direction of the flight. General Hancock, on learning the
situation of affairs, despatched some companies of infantry
with orders to replace the cavalry and protect the village
and its contents from disturbance until its final disposition
could be determined upon, and it was decided that with eight
troops of cavalry I should start in pursuit of the Indians
at early dawn on the following morning.
The Indians, after leaving their village, went up on the
Smoky Hill, and committed the most horrible depredations
upon the scattered settlers in that region. Upon this news,
General Hancock issued the following order:--
"As a punishment of the bad faith practised by the Cheyennes
and Sioux who occupied the Indian village at this place, and
as a chastisement for murders and depredations committed
since the arrival of the command at this point, by the
people of these tribes, the village recently occupied by
them, which is now in our hands, will be utterly destroyed."
The Cheyennes, Arapahoes, and Apaches had been united under
one agency; the Kiowas and Comanches under another.
As General Hancock's expedition had reference to all these
tribes, he had invited both the agents to accompany him
into the Indian country and be present at all interviews
with the representatives of these tribes, for the purpose,
as the invitation stated, of showing the Indians "that the
officers of the government are acting in harmony."
In conversation with the general the agents admitted that
Indians had been guilty of all the outrages charged against
them, but each asserted the innocence of the particular
tribes under his charge, and endeavoured to lay their crimes
at the door of their neighbours.
Here was positive evidence from the agents themselves that
the Indians against whom we were operating were deserving
of severe punishment. The only conflicting portion of the
testimony was as to which tribe was most guilty. Subsequent
events proved, however, that all of the five tribes named,
as well as the Sioux, had combined for a general war
throughout the plains and along our frontier. Such a war
had been threatened to our post commanders along the
Arkansas on many occasions during the winter. The movement
of the Sioux and Cheyennes toward the north indicated that
the principal theatre of military operations during the
summer would be between the Smoky Hill and Platte rivers.
General Hancock accordingly assembled the principal chiefs
of the Kiowas and Arapahoes in council at Fort Dodge,
hoping to induce them to remain at peace and observe their
The most prominent chiefs in council were Satanta, Lone Wolf,
and Kicking Bird of the Kiowas, and Little Raven and Yellow
Bear of the Arapahoes. During the council extravagant
promises of future good behaviour were made by these chiefs.
So effective and convincing was the oratorical effort of
Satanta, that at the termination of his address, the
department commander and his staff presented him with the
uniform coat, sash, and hat of a major-general. In return
for this compliment, Satanta, within a few weeks, attacked
the post at which the council was held, arrayed in his
In the spring of 1878, the Indians commenced a series of depredations
along the Santa Fe Trail and against the scattered settlers of the
frontier, that were unparalleled in their barbarity. General Alfred
Sully, a noted Indian fighter, who commanded the district of the
Upper Arkansas, early concentrated a portion of the Seventh and Tenth
Cavalry and Third Infantry along the line of the Old Santa Fe Trail,
and kept out small expeditions of scouting parties to protect the
overland coaches and freight caravans; but the troops effected very
little in stopping the devilish acts of the Indians, who were now
fully determined to carry out their threats of a general war, which
culminated in the winter expedition of General Sheridan, who completely
subdued them, and forced all the tribes on reservations; since which
time there has never been any trouble with the plains Indians worthy
General Sully, about the 1st of September, with eight companies of
the Seventh Cavalry and five companies of infantry, left Fort Dodge,
on the Arkansas, on a hurried expedition against the Kiowas, Arapahoes,
and Cheyennes. The command marched in a general southeasterly
direction, and reached the sand hills of the Beaver and Wolf rivers,
by a circuitous route, on the fifth day. When nearly through that
barren region, they were attacked by a force of eight hundred of the
allied tribes under the leadership of the famous Kiowa chief, Satanta.
A running fight was kept up with the savages on the first day,
in which two of the cavalry were killed and one wounded.
That night the savages came close enough to camp to fire into it
(an unusual proceeding in Indian warfare, as they rarely molest
troops during the night), I now quote from Custer again:
The next day General Sully directed his march down the
valley of the Beaver; but just as his troops were breaking
camp, the long wagon-train having already "pulled out," and
the rear guard of the command having barely got into their
saddles, a party of between two and three hundred warriors,
who had evidently in some inexplicable manner contrived to
conceal themselves until the proper moment, dashed into the
deserted camp within a few yards of the rear of the troops,
and succeeded in cutting off a few led horses and two of
the cavalrymen who, as is often the case, had lingered a
moment behind the column.
Fortunately, the acting adjutant of the cavalry, Brevet
Captain A. E. Smith, was riding at the rear of the column
and witnessed the attack of the Indians. Captain Hamilton,
of the Seventh Cavalry, was also present in command of the
rear guard. Wheeling to the rightabout, he at once prepared
to charge the Indians and attempt the rescue of the two
troopers who were being carried off before his very eyes.
At the same time, Captain Smith, as representative of the
commanding officer of the cavalry, promptly took the
responsibility of directing a squadron of the cavalry to
wheel out of column and advance in support of Captain
Hamilton's guard. With this hastily formed detachment,
the Indians, still within pistol-range, but moving off with
their prisoners, were gallantly charged and so closely
pressed that they were forced to relinquish one of their
prisoners, but not before shooting him through the body and
leaving him on the ground, as they supposed, mortally wounded.
The troops continued to charge the retreating Indians,
upon whom they were gaining, determined, if possible,
to effect the rescue of their remaining comrade. They were
advancing down one slope while the Indians, just across
a ravine, were endeavouring to escape with their prisoner
up the opposite ascent, when a peremptory order reached the
officers commanding the pursuing force to withdraw their men
and reform the column at once. The terrible fate awaiting
the unfortunate trooper carried off by the Indians spread
a deep gloom throughout the command. All were too familiar
with the horrid customs of the savages to hope for a moment
that the captive would be reserved for aught but a slow,
lingering death, from tortures the most horrible and painful
which blood-thirsty minds could suggest. Such was the truth
in his case, as we learned afterwards when peace (?) was
established with the tribes then engaged in war.
The expedition proceeded down the valley of the Beaver,
the Indians contesting every step of the way. In the
afternoon, about three o'clock, the troops arrived at
a ridge of sand hills a few miles southeast of the
presentsite of Camp Supply, where quite a determined
engagement took place between the command and the three
tribes, Cheyennes, Arapahoes, and Kiowas, the Indians
being the assailants. The Indians seemed to have reserved
their strongest efforts until the troops and train had
advanced well into the sand hills, when a most obstinate
resistance--and well conducted, too--was offered the
farther advance of the troops. It was evident that the
troops were probably nearing the Indian villages, and that
this opposition to further advance was to save them. The
character of the country immediately about the troops was
not favourable to the operations of cavalry; the surface
of the rolling plain was cut up by irregular and closely
located sand hills, too steep and sandy to allow cavalry
to move with freedom, yet capable of being easily cleared
of savages by troops fighting on foot. The Indians took
post on the hilltops and began a harassing fire on the
troops and train. Captain Yates, with a single troop of
cavalry, was ordered forward to drive them away. This was
a proceeding which did not seem to meet with favour from
the savages. Captain Yates could drive them wherever he
encountered them, but they appeared in increased numbers
at some other threatened point. After contending in this
non-effective manner for a couple of hours, the impression
arose in the minds of some that the train could not be
conducted through the sand hills in the face of the strong
opposition offered by the Indians. The order was issued
to turn about and withdraw. The order was executed, and
the troop and train, followed by the exultant Indians,
retired a few miles to the Beaver, and encamped for the
night on the ground afterward known as Camp Supply.
Captain Yates had caused to be brought off the field, when
his troop was ordered to retire, the body of one of his men,
who had been slain in the fight. As the troops were to
continue their backward march next day, and it was impossible
to transport the dead body further, Captain Yates ordered
preparations made for interring it in camp that night.
Knowing that the Indians would thoroughly search the deserted
camp-ground almost before the troops should get out of sight,
and would be quick, with their watchful eyes, to detect a
grave, and, if successful in discovering it, would unearth
the body in order to get the scalp, directions were given
to prepare the grave after nightfall; and the spot selected
would have baffled any one but an Indian. The grave was
dug under the picket line to which the seventy or eighty
horses of the troop would be tethered during the night,
so that their constant tramping and pawing should completely
cover up and obliterate all traces. The following morning,
even those who had performed the sad rites of burial to
their fallen comrade could scarcely have indicated the exact
location of the grave. Yet when we returned to that point
a few weeks later, it was discovered that the wily savages
had found the place, unearthed the body, and removed the
scalp of their victim on the day following the interment.
After leaving the camp at Supply, the Indians gradually increased
their force, until they mustered about two thousand warriors.
For four days and nights they hovered around the command, and by the
time it reached Mulberry Creek there were not one thousand rounds of
ammunition left in the whole force of troopers and infantrymen.
At the creek, the incessant charges of the now infuriated savages
compelled the troops to use this small amount held in reserve, and
they found themselves almost at the mercy of the Indians. But before
they were absolutely defenceless, Colonel Keogh had sent a trusty
messenger in the night to Fort Dodge for a supply of cartridges to
meet the command at the creek, which fortunately arrived there
in time to save that spot from being a veritable "last ditch."
The savages, in the little but exciting encounter at the creek before
the ammunition arrived, would ride up boldly toward the squadrons of
cavalry, discharge the shots from their revolvers, and then, in their
rage, throw them at the skirmishers on the flanks of the supply-train,
while the latter, nearly out of ammunition, were compelled to sit
quietly in their saddles, idle spectators of the extraordinary scene.
Many of the Indians were killed on their ponies, however, by those
who were fortunate enough to have a few cartridges left; but none
were captured, as the savages had taken their usual precaution to
tie themselves to their animals, and as soon as dead were dragged
away by them.
INVASION OF THE RAILROAD.
The tourist who to-day, in a palace car, surrounded by all the
conveniences of our American railway service, commences his tour of
the prairies at the Missouri River, enters classic ground the moment
the train leaves the muddy flood of that stream on its swift flight
toward the golden shores of the Pacific.
He finds a large city at the very portals of the once far West,
with all the bustle and energy which is so characteristic of American
Gradually, as he is whirled along the iron trail, the woods lessen;
he catches views of beautiful intervales; a bright little stream
flashes and foams in the sunlight as the trees grow fewer, and soon
he emerges on the broad sea of prairie, shut in only by the great
circle of the heavens.
Dotting this motionless ocean everywhere, like whitened sails, are
quiet homes, real argosies ventured by the sturdy and industrious
people who have fought their way through almost insurmountable
difficulties to the tranquillity which now surrounds them.
A few miles west of Topeka, the capital of Kansas, when the train
reaches the little hamlet of Wakarusa, the track of the railroad
commences to follow the route of the Old Santa Fe Trail. At that
point, too, the Oregon Trail branches off for the heavily timbered
regions of the Columbia. Now begins the classic ground of the once
famous highway to New Mexico; nearly every stream, hill, and wooded
dell has its story of adventure in those days when the railroad was
regarded as an impossibility, and the region beyond the Missouri as
a veritable desert.
After some hours' rapid travelling, if our tourist happens to be a
passenger on the "California Limited," the swift train that annihilates
distance, he will pass by towns, hamlets, and immense cattle ranches,
stopping only at county-seats, and enter the justly famous Arkansas
valley at the city of Hutchinson. The Old Trail now passes a few
miles north of this busy place, which is noted for its extensive
salt works, nor does the railroad again meet with it until the site
of old Fort Zarah is reached, forty-seven miles west of Hutchinson,
though it runs nearly parallel to the once great highway at varying
distances for the whole detour.
The ruins of the once important military post may be seen from the
car-windows on the right, as the train crosses the iron bridge
spanning the Walnut, and here the Old Trail exactly coincides with
the railroad, the track of the latter running immediately on the
Three miles westward from the classic little Walnut the Old Trail ran
through what is now the Court House Square of the town of Great Bend;
it may be seen from the station, and on that very spot occurred the
terrible fight of Captains Booth and Hallowell in 1864.
Thirteen miles further mountainward, on the right of the railroad,
not far from the track, stands all that remains of the once dreaded
Pawnee Rock. It lies just beyond the limits of the little hamlet
bearing its name. It would not be recognized by any of the old
plainsmen were they to come out of their isolated graves; for it is
only a disintegrated, low mass of sandstone now, utilized for the base
purposes of a corral, in which the village herd of milch cows lie down
at night and chew their cuds, such peaceful transformation has that
great civilizer, the locomotive, wrought in less than two decades.
Another five or six miles, and the train crosses Ash Creek, which,
too, was once one of the favourite haunts of the Pawnee and Comanche
on their predatory excursions, in the days when the mules and horses
of passing freight caravans excited their cupidity. A short whirl
again, and the town of Larned, lying peacefully on the Arkansas and
Pawnee Fork, is reached. Immediately opposite the centre of the
street through which the railroad runs, and which was also the course
of the Old Trail, lying in the Arkansas River, close to its northern
bank, is a small thickly-wooded island, now reached by a bridge, that
is famous as the battle-ground of a terrible conflict thirty years ago,
between the Pawnees and Cheyennes, hereditary enemies, in which the
latter tribe was cruelly defeated.
The railroad bridge crosses Pawnee Fork at the precise spot where
the Old Trail did. This locality has been the scene of some of the
bloodiest encounters between the various tribes of savages themselves,
and between them and the freight caravans, the overland coaches,
and every other kind of outfit that formerly attempted the passage of
the now peaceful stream. In fact, the whole region from Walnut Creek
to the mouth of the Pawnee, which includes in its area Ash Creek
and Pawnee Rock, seemed to be the greatest resort for the Indians,
who hovered about the Santa Fe Trail for the sole purpose of robbery
and murder; it was a very lucky caravan or coach, indeed, that passed
through that portion of the route without being attacked.
All the once dangerous points of the Old Trail having been successively
passed--Cow Creek, Big and Little Coon, and Ash Creek, Fort Dodge,
Fort Aubrey, and Point of Rocks--the tourist arrives at last at
the foot-hills. At La Junta the railroad separates into two branches;
one going to Denver, the other on to New Mexico. Here, a relatively
short distance to the northwest, on the right of the train, may be
seen the ruins of Bent's Fort, the tourist having already passed the
site of the once famous Big Timbers, a favourite winter camping-ground
of the Cheyennes and Arapahoes; but everywhere around him there reigns
such perfect quiet and pastoral beauty, he might imagine that the
peaceful landscape upon which he looks had never been a bloody arena.
I suggest to the lover of nature that he should cross the Raton Range
in the early morning, or late in the afternoon; for then the
magnificent scenery of the Trail over the high divide into New Mexico
assumes its most beautiful aspect.
In approaching the range from the Old Trail, or now from the railroad,
their snow-clad peaks may be seen at a distance of sixty miles.
In the era of caravans and pack-trains, for hour after hour, as they
moved slowly toward the goal of their ambition, the summit of the
fearful pathway on the divide, the huge forms of the mountains seemed
to recede, and yet ascend higher. On the next day's journey their
outlines appeared more irregular and ragged. Drawing still nearer,
their base presented a long, dark strip stretching throughout their
whole course, ever widening until it seemed like a fathomless gulf,
separating the world of reality from the realms of imagination beyond.
Another weary twenty miles of dusty travel, and the black void slowly
dissolved, and out of the shadows lines of broken, sterile,
ferruginous buttes and detached masses of rocks, whose soilless
surface refuses sustenance, save to a few scattered, stunted pines
and lifeless mosses, emerged to view.
The progress of the weary-footed mules or oxen was now through ravines
and around rocks; up narrow paths which the melting snows have
washed out; sometimes between beetling cliffs, often to their very
edge, where hundreds of feet below the Trail the tall trees seemed
diminished into shrubs. Then again the road led over an immense broad
terrace, for thousands of yards around, with a bright lake gleaming
in the refracted light, and brilliant Alpine plants waving their
beautiful flowers on its margin. Still the coveted summit appeared
so far off as to be beyond the range of vision, and it seemed as if,
instead of ascending, the entire mass underneath had been receding,
like the mountains of ice over which Arctic explorers attempt to reach
the pole. Now the tortuous Trail passed through snow-wreaths which
the winds had eddied into indentations; then over bright, glassy
surfaces of ice and fragments of rocks, until the pinnacle was reached.
Nearer, along the broad successive terraces of the opposite mountains,
the evergreen pine, the cedar, with its stiff, angular branches, and
the cottonwood, with its varied curves and bright colours, were
crowded into bunches or strung into zigzag lines, interspersed with
shrubs and mountain plants, among which the flaming cactus was
conspicuous. To the right and left, the bare cones of the barren
peaks rose in multitude, with their calm, awful forms shrouded in snow,
and their dark shadows reflected far into the valleys, like spectres
from a chaotic world.
In going through the Raton Pass, the Old Santa Fe Trail meandered up
a steep valley, enclosed on either side by abrupt hills covered with
pine and masses of gray rock. The road ran along the points of
varying elevations, now in the stony bed of Raton Creek, which it
crossed fifty-three times, the sparkling, flitting waters of the
bubbling stream leaping and foaming against the animals' feet as they
hauled the great wagons of the freight caravans over the tortuous
passage. The creek often rushed rapidly under large flat stones,
lost to sight for a moment, then reappearing with a fresh impetus and
dashing over its flinty, uneven bed until it mingled with the pure
waters of Le Purgatoire.
Still ascending, the scenery assumed a bolder, rougher cast; then
sudden turns gave you hurried glimpses of the great valley below.
A gentle dell sloped to the summit of the pass on the west, then,
rising on the east by a succession of terraces, the bald, bare cliff
was reached, overlooking the whole region for many miles, and this is
The extreme top of this famous peak was only reached after more than
an hour's arduous struggle. On the lofty plateau the caravans and
pack-trains rested their tired animals. Here, too, the lonely trapper,
when crossing the range in quest of beaver, often chose this lofty
spot on which to kindle his little fire and broil juicy steaks of the
black-tail deer, the finest venison in the world; but before he
indulged in the savoury morsels, if he was in the least superstitious
or devout, or inspired by the sublime scene around him, he lighted
his pipe, and after saluting the elevated ridge on which he sat by the
first whiff of the fragrant kinnikinick, Indian-fashion, he in turn
offered homage in the same manner to the sky above him, the earth
beneath, and to the cardinal points of the compass, and was then
prepared to eat his solitary meal in a spirit of thankfulness.
Far below this magnificent vantage-ground lies the valley of the
Rio Las Animas Perdidas. On the other verge of the great depression
rise the peerless, everlastingly snow-wreathed Spanish Peaks,
whose giant summits are grim sentinels that for untold ages have
witnessed hundreds of sanguinary conflicts between the wily nomads
of the vast plains watered by the silent Arkansas.
All around you snow-clad mountains lift their serrated crowns above
the horizon, dim, white, and indistinct, like icebergs seen at sea
by moonlight; others, nearer, more rugged, naked of verdure, and
irregular in contour, seem to lose their lofty summits in the intense
blue of the sky.
Fisher's Peak, which is in full view from the train, was named from
the following circumstance: Captain Fisher was a German artillery
officer commanding a battery in General Kearney's Army of the West in
the conquest of New Mexico and was encamped at the base of the peak
to which he involuntarily gave his name. He was intently gazing at
the lofty summit wrapped in the early mist, and not being familiar
with the illusory atmospheric effects of the region, he thought that
to go there would be merely a pleasant promenade. So, leaving word
that he would return to breakfast, he struck out at a brisk walk for
the crest. That whole day, the following night, and the succeeding
day, dragged their weary hours on, but no tidings of the commanding
officer were received at the battery, and ill rumours were current
of his death by Indians or bears, when, just as his mess were about
to take their seats at the table for the evening meal, their captain
put in an appearance, a very tired but a wiser man. He started to go
to the peak, and he went there!
On the summit of another rock-ribbed elevation close by, the tourist
will notice the shaft of an obelisk. It is over the grave of George
Simpson, once a noted mountaineer in the days of the great fur
companies. For a long time he made his home there, and it was his
dying request that the lofty peak he loved so well while living should
be his last resting-place. The peak is known as "Simpson's Rest,"
and is one of the notable features of the rugged landscape.
Pike's Peak, far away to the north, intensely white and silvery in the
clear sky, hangs like a great dome high in the region of the clouds,
a marked object, worthy to commemorate the indefatigable efforts of
the early voyageur whose name it bears.
In this wonderful locality, both Pike's Peak and the snowy range over
two hundred miles from our point of observation really seem to the
uninitiated as if a brisk walk of an hour or two would enable one to
reach them, so deceptive is the atmosphere of these elevated regions.
About two miles from the crest of the range, yet over seven thousand
feet above the sea-level, in a pretty little depression about as
large as a medium-sized corn-field in the Eastern States, Uncle
Dick Wooton lived, and here, too, was his toll-gate. The veteran
mountaineer erected a substantial house of adobe, after the style
of one of the old-time Southern plantation residences, a memory,
perhaps, of his youth, when he raised tobacco in his father's fields
The most charming hour in which to be on the crest of Raton Range is
in the afternoon, when the weather is clear and calm. As the night
comes on apace in the distant valley beneath, the evening shadows
drop down, pencilled with broad bands of rosy light as they creep
slowly across the beautiful landscape, while the rugged vista below
is enveloped in a diffused haze like that which marks the season of
the Indian summer in the lower great plains. Above, the sky curves
toward the relatively restricted horizon, with not a cloud to dim
its intense blue, nowhere so beautiful as in these lofty altitudes.
The sun, however, does not always shine resplendently; there are
times when the most terrific storms of wind, hail, and rain change
the entire aspect of the scene. Fortunately, these violent bursts
never last long; they vanish as rapidly as they come, leaving in
their wake the most phenomenally beautiful rainbows, whose trailing
splendours which they owe to the dry and rare air of the region, and
its high refractory power, are gorgeous in the extreme.
In 1872 the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad entered the
valley of the Upper Arkansas. Twenty-four years ago, on a delicious
October afternoon, I stood on the absolutely level plateau at the
mouth of Pawnee Fork where that historic creek debouches into the
great river. The remembrance of that view will never pass from my
memory, for it showed a curious temporary blending of two distinct
civilizations. One, the new, marking the course of empire in its
restless march westward; the other, that of the aboriginal, which,
like a dissolving view, was soon to fade away and be forgotten.
The box-elders and cottonwoods thinly covering the creek-bottom were
gradually donning their autumn dress of russet, and the mirage had
already commenced its fantastic play with the landscape. On the sides
and crests of the sparsely grassed sand hills south of the Arkansas
a few buffaloes were grazing in company with hundreds of Texas cattle,
while in the broad valley beneath, small flocks of graceful antelope
were lying down, quietly ruminating their midday meal.
In the distance, far eastwardly, a train of cars could be seen
approaching; as far as the eye could reach, on either side of the
track, the virgin sod had been turned to the sun; the "empire of
the plough" was established, and the march of immigration in its
hunger for the horizon had begun.
Half a mile away from the bridge spanning the Fork, under the grateful
shade of the largest trees, about twenty skin lodges were irregularly
grouped; on the brown sod of the sun-cured grass a herd of a hundred
ponies were lazily feeding, while a troop of dusky little children
were chasing the yellow butterflies from the dried and withered
sunflower stalks which once so conspicuously marked the well-worn
highway to the mountains. These Indians, the remnant of a tribe
powerful in the years of savage sovereignty, were on their way,
in charge of their agent, to their new homes, on the reservation
just allotted to them by the government, a hundred miles south of
Their primitive lodges contrasted strangely with the peaceful little
sod-houses, dugouts, and white cottages of the incoming settlers on
the public lands, with the villages struggling into existence, and
above all with the rapidly moving cars; unmistakable evidences that
the new civilization was soon to sweep the red men before it like
chaff before the wind.
Farther to the west, a caravan of white-covered wagons loaded with
supplies for some remote military post, the last that would ever
travel the Old Trail, was slowly crawling toward the setting sun.
I watched it until only a cloud of dust marked its place low down
on the horizon, and it was soon lost sight of in the purple mist
that was rapidly overspreading the far-reaching prairie.
It was the beginning of the end; on the 9th of February, 1880, the
first train over the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad arrived
at Santa Fe and the Old Trail as a route of commerce was closed
forever. The once great highway is now only a picture in the memory
of the few who have travelled its weary course, following the windings
of the silent Arkansas, on to the portals that guard the rugged
pathway leading to the shores of the blue Pacific.
 The whole country watered by the Mississippi and Missouri was
called Florida at that time.
 The celebrated Jesuit, author of _The History of New France_,
_Journals of a Voyage to North America_, _Letters to the Duchess_, etc.
 Boulevard, Promenade.
 Notes of a Military Reconnoissance from Fort Leavenworth,
in Missouri, to San Diego, in California, including parts of the
Arkansas, Del Norte, and Gila Rivers. Brevet Major W. H. Emory,
Corps of Topographical Engineers, United States Army, 1846.
 Hon. W. F. Arny, in his Centennial Celebration Address at Santa Fe,
July 4, 1876.
 Edwards, _Conquest of New Mexico_.
 I think this is Bancroft's idea.
 _Historical Sketches of New Mexico_, L. Bradford Prince, late
Chief Justice of New Mexico, 1883.
 D. H. Coyner, 1847.
 He was travelling parallel to the Old Santa Fe Trail all the time,
but did not know it until he was overtaken by a band of Kaw Indians.
 McKnight was murdered south of the Arkansas by the Comanches
in the winter of 1822.
 Chouteau's Island.
 _Hennepin's Journal_.
 The line between the United States and Mexico (or New Spain,
as it was called) was defined by a treaty negotiated in 1819,
between the Chevalier de Onis, then Spanish minister at Washington,
and John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State. According to its
provisions, the boundary between Mexico and Louisiana, which had been
added to the Union, commenced with the river Sabine at its entrance
into the Gulf of Mexico, at about the twenty-ninth degree of north
latitude and the ninety-fourth degree of longitude, west from
Greenwich, and followed it as far as its junction with the Red River
of Natchitoches, which then served to mark the frontier up to the
one hundredth degree of west longitude, where the line ran directly
north to the Arkansas, which it followed to its source at the
forty-second degree of north latitude, whence another straight line
was drawn up the same parallel to the Pacific coast.
 This tribe kept up its reputation under the dreaded Satanta,
until 1868--a period of forty years--when it was whipped into
submission by the gallant Custer. Satanta was its war chief,
one of the most cruel savages the great plains ever produced.
He died a few years ago in the state prison of Texas.
 McNess Creek is on the old Cimarron Trail to Santa Fe, a little
east of a line drawn south from Bent's Fort.
 Mr. Bryant, of Kansas, who died a few years ago, was one of
the pioneers in the trade with Santa Fe. Previous to his decease
he wrote for a Kansas newspaper a narrative of his first trip across
the great plains; an interesting monograph of hardship and suffering.
For the use of this document I am indebted to Hon. Sol. Miller,
the editor of the journal in which it originally appeared. I have
also used very extensively the notes of Mr. William Y. Hitt, one of
the Bryant party, whose son kindly placed them at my disposal, and
copied liberally from the official report of Major Bennett Riley--
afterward the celebrated general of Mexican War fame, and for whom
the Cavalry Depot in Kansas is named; as also from the journal of
Captain Philip St. George Cooke, who accompanied Major Riley on
 Chouteau's Island, at the mouth of Sand Creek.
 Valley of the Upper Arkansas.
 About three miles east of the town of Great Bend, Barton County,
 The Old Santa Fe Trail crosses the creek some miles north of
Hutchinson, and coincides with the track again at the mouth of
Walnut Creek, three miles east of Great Bend.
 There are many conflicting accounts in regard to the sum
Don Antonio carried with him on that unfortunate trip. Some
authorities put it as high as sixty thousand; I have taken a mean
of the various sums, and as this method will suffice in mathematics,
perhaps we can approximate the truth in this instance.
 General Emory of the Union army during the Civil War. He made
an official report of the country through which the Army of the West
passed, accompanied by maps, and his _Reconnoissance in New Mexico
and California_, published by the government in 1848, is the first
authentic record of the region, considered topographically and
 _Doniphan's Expedition, containing an account of the Conquest
of New Mexico_, etc. John T. Hughes, A.B., of the First Regiment
of Missouri Cavalry. 1850.
 Deep Gorge.
 Colonel Leavenworth, for whom Fort Leavenworth is named, and
who built several army posts in the far West.
 Colonel A. G. Boone, a grandson of the immortal Daniel, was one
of the grandest old mountaineers I ever knew. He was as loyal as
anybody, but honest in his dealings with the Indians, and that was
often a fault in the eyes of those at Washington who controlled
these agents. Kit Carson was of the same honest class as Boone,
and he, too, was removed for the same cause.
 A narrow defile on the Trail, about ninety miles east of
Fort Union. It is called the "canyon of the Canadian, or Red, River,"
and is situated between high walls of earth and rock. It was once
a very dangerous spot on account of the ease and rapidity with which
the savages could ambush themselves.
 Carson, Wooton, and all other expert mountaineers, when following
a trail, could always tell just what time had elapsed since it was
made. This may seem strange to the uninitiated, but it was part
of their necessary education. They could tell what kind of a track
it was, which way the person or animal had walked, and even the tribe
to which the savage belonged, either by the shape of the moccasin
or the arrows which were occasionally dropped.
 Lieutenant Bell belonged to the Second Dragoons. He was
conspicuous in extraordinary marches and in action, and also an
accomplished horseman and shot, once running and killing five buffalo
in a quarter of a mile. He died early in 1861, and his death was
a great loss to the service.
 Known to this day as "The Cheyenne Bottoms."
 Lone Wolf was really the head chief of the Kiowas.
 The battle lasted three days.
 Kicking Bird was ever afterward so regarded by the authorities
of the Indian department.
 Lorenzo Thomas, adjutant-general of the United States army.
 Kendall's _Santa Fe Expedition_ may be found in all the large
 A summer-house, bower, or arbour.
 Frank Hall, Chicago, 1885.
 The greater portion of this chapter I originally wrote for
_Harper's Weekly_. By the kind permission of the publishers, I am
permitted to use it here.
 These statistics I have carefully gathered from the freight
departments of the railroads, which kept a record of all the bones
that were shipped, and from the purchasers of the carbon works,
who paid out the money at various points. Some of the bones, however,
may have been on the ground for a longer time, as decay is very slow
in the dry air of the plains.
 La Jeunesse was one of the bravest of the old French Canadian
trappers. He was a warm friend of Kit Carson and was killed by the
Indians in the following manner. They were camping one night in the
mountains; Kit, La Jeunesse, and others had wrapped themselves up
in their blankets near the fire, and were sleeping soundly; Fremont
sat up until after midnight reading letters he had received from
the United States, after finishing which, he, too, turned in and
fell asleep. Everything was quiet for a while, when Kit was awakened
by a noise that sounded like the stroke of an axe. Rising cautiously,
he discovered Indians in the camp; he gave the alarm at once,
but two of his companions were dead. One of them was La Jeunesse,
and the noise he had heard was the tomahawk as it buried itself
in the brave fellow's head.
 This black is made from a species of plumbago found on the hills
of the region.
 The Pawnees and Cheyennes were hereditary enemies, and they
frequently met in sanguinary conflict.
 A French term Anglicised, as were many other foreign words by
the trappers in the mountains. Its literal meaning is, arrow fender,
for from it the plains Indians construct their shields; it is
buffalo-hide prepared in a certain manner.
 Boiling Spring River.
 For some reason the Senate refused to confirm the appointment,
and he had consequently no connection with the regular army.
 Point of Rocks is six hundred and forty seven miles from
Independence, and was always a favourite place of resort for the
Indians of the great plains; consequently it was one of the most
dangerous camping-spots for the freight caravans on the Trail.
It comprises a series of continuous hills, which project far out on
the prairie in bold relief. They end abruptly in a mass of rocks,
out of which gushes a cold, refreshing spring, which is, of course,
the main attraction of the place. The Trail winds about near this
point, and many encounters with the various tribes have occurred there.
 "Little Mountain."
 General Gatlin was a North Carolinian, and seceded with his
State at the breaking out of the Rebellion, but refused to leave
his native heath to fight, so indelibly was he impressed with the
theory of State rights. He was willing to defend the soil of
North Carolina, but declined to step across its boundary to repel
invasion in other States.
 The name of "Crow," as applied to the once powerful nation
of mountain Indians, is a misnomer, the fault of some early
interpreter. The proper appellation is "Sparrowhawks," but they
are officially recognized as "Crows."
 Kit Carson, ten years before, when on his first journey, met
with the same adventure while on post at Pawnee Rock.
 The fusee was a fire-lock musket with an immense bore, from
which either slugs or balls could be shot, although not with any
great degree of accuracy.
 The Indians always knew when the caravans were to pass certain
points on the Trail, by their runners or spies probably.
 It was one of the rigid laws of Indian hospitality always to
respect the person of any one who voluntarily entered their camps
or temporary halting-places. As long as the stranger, red or white,
remained with them, he enjoyed perfect immunity from harm; but after
he had left, although he had progressed but half a mile, it was just
as honourable to follow and kill him.
 In their own fights with their enemies one or two of the
defeated party are always spared, and sent back to their tribe to
carry the news of the slaughter.
 The story of the way in which this name became corrupted into
"Picketwire," by which it is generally known in New Mexico, is this:
When Spain owned all Mexico and Florida, as the vast region of the
Mississippi valley was called, long before the United States had
an existence as a separate government, the commanding officer at
Santa Fe received an order to open communication with the country
of Florida. For this purpose an infantry regiment was selected.
It left Santa Fe rather late in the season, and wintered at a point
on the Old Trail now known as Trinidad. In the spring, the colonel,
leaving all camp-followers behind him, both men and women, marched
down the stream, which flows for many miles through a magnificent
canyon. Not one of the regiment returned or was ever heard of.
When all hope had departed from the wives, children, and friends
left behind at Trinidad, information was sent to Santa Fe, and a wail
went up through the land. The priests and people then called this
stream "El Rio de las Animas Perditas" ("The river of lost souls").
Years after, when the Spanish power was weakened, and French trappers
came into the country under the auspices of the great fur companies,
they adopted a more concise name; they called the river "Le Purgatoire."
Then came the Great American Bull-Whacker. Utterly unable to twist
his tongue into any such Frenchified expression, he called the stream
with its sad story "Picketwire," and by that name it is known to all
frontiersmen, trappers, and the settlers along its banks.
 The ranch is now in charge of Mr. Harry Whigham, an English
gentleman, who keeps up the old hospitality of the famous place.
 "River of Souls." The stream is also called Le Purgatoire,
corrupted by the Americans into Picketwire.
 Pawnee Rock is no longer conspicuous. Its material has been
torn away by both the railroad and the settlers in the vicinity,
to build foundations for water-tanks, in the one instance, and for
the construction of their houses, barns, and sheds, in the other.
Nothing remains of the once famous landmark; its site is occupied
as a cattle corral by the owner of the claim in which it is included.
 The crossing of the Old Santa Fe Trail at Pawnee Fork is now
within the corporate limits of the pretty little town of Larned,
the county-seat of Pawnee County. The tourist from his car-window
may look right down upon one of the worst places for Indians that
there was in those days of the commerce of the prairies, as the road
crosses the stream at the exact spot where the Trail crossed it.
 This was a favourite expression of his whenever he referred
to any trouble with the Indians.
 Indians will risk the lives of a dozen of their best warriors
to prevent the body of any one of their number from falling into
the white man's possession. The reason for this is the belief,
which prevails among all tribes, that if a warrior loses his scalp
he forfeits his hope of ever reaching the happy hunting-ground.
 It was in this fight that the infamous Charles Bent received
 The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad track runs very
close to the mound, and there is a station named for the great mesa.
 The venerable Colonel A. S. Johnson, of Topeka, Kansas,
the first white child born on the great State's soil, who related
to me this adventure of Hatcher's, knew him well. He says that he
was a small man, full of muscle, and as fearless as can be conceived.
 The place where they turned is about a hundred yards east of
the Court House Square, in the present town of Great Bend; it may
be seen from the cars.
 See Sheridan's _Memoirs_, Custer's _Life on the Plains_, and
Buffalo Bill's book, in which all the stirring events of that
campaign--nearly every fight of which was north or far south of the
Santa Fe Trail--are graphically told.
 A grandson of Alexander Hamilton; killed at the battle of the
Washita, in the charge on Black Kettle's camp under Custer.
 This ends Custer's narrative. The following fight, which
occurred a few days afterward, at the mouth of Mulberry Creek,
twelve miles below Fort Dodge, and within a stone's throw of the
Old Trail, was related to me personally by Colonel Keogh, who was
killed at the Rosebud, in Custer's disastrous battle with Sitting Bull.
We were both attached to General Sully's staff.
 It was in this fight that Colonel Keogh's celebrated horse
Comanche received his first wound. It will be remembered that
Comanche and a Crow Indian were the only survivors of that unequal
contest in the valley of the Big Horn, commonly called the battle
of the Rosebud, where Custer and his command was massacred.
 Now Kendall, a little village in Hamilton County, Kansas.
 Raton is the name given by the early Spaniards to this range,
meaning both mouse and squirrel. It had its origin either in the
fact that one of its several peaks bore a fanciful resemblance to
a squirrel, or because of the immense numbers of that little rodent
always to be found in its pine forests.
 In the beautiful language of the country's early conquerors,
"Las Cumbres Espanolas," or "Las dos Hermanas" (The Two Sisters),
and in the Ute tongue, "Wahtoya" (The Twins).
 The house was destroyed by fire two or three years ago.
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