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the command came to Ft. Robinson, Nebraska, where a great many Indians had come in to give themselves up. We found them to be, generally, women and children and old and decrepit men with no guns. This was just what the fighting Indians wanted-to get rid of those non-combatants who were only an encumbrance to them. Let the Government feed the squaws while the bucks fought the troops.
General Crook was not satisfied with the surrender, and decided to make a winter campaign against Mr. Crazy Horse. We started again from Ft. Robinson and Ft. Laramie in November, 1876, with a large command which required an extra amount of transportation to carry supplies. We arrived at Crazy Woman's creek and went into camp, having seen no Indians, but the scouts had been busy and had located a large village in the Bighorn mountains on the headwaters of the creek we were then camped on. Here again is where the packtrains came into play. We cut loose from the wagon train and proceeded up the creek where it would be impossible for wagons to go. It began to get cold. After a march of twenty miles we laid in camp all day expecting to make a night march. We dared not build a fire as the Indians would see our smoke. Cold? well I should say "Yes." Our spread for dinner was frozen beans, frozen bread, with snow balls and pepper on the side; supper the same, less the beans. We began to think that the government was treating us rather cool. Horse meat would have been a Delmonico dinner. The scouts came into camp in the evening and reported the Indian camp, supposed to be that of Crazy Horse, Standing Elk, and Young American Horse. We made the attack at daybreak and completely surprised the Indians, who soon rallied and came very near turning the tables on us, when eighty packers left their mules in the rear of the command and joined in the fight and soon had the Indians on the retreat. We looted the village and burned everything we could not take away. This was the most telling battle against the Sioux that was fought during that 1876 campaign. It had more to do to make them surrender than all the other fights. We found that Crazy
Horse was not in that fight, but was camped on Powder river. Had he been there with all his determined braves the battle might have had a different termination. He was so disgusted with that camp for retreating and giving up everything that he would hardly let the starving, freezing Indians come into his camp. His action in this case had its effect on him at his final surrender. General Crook made up his mind to try to strike Crazy Horse if possible before he left the country, but the cavalry horses and wagon mules were getting poor, the snow so deep, and the weather so terribly cold that it was beginning to tell on the men, and he concluded to give up the chase. We made a detour of a few days' march on the Powder river and headwater of the Bellefourche and Cheyenne river which brought us to Pumpkin Butte, where we camped on Christmas Eve, just twenty-six years ago this day, and a colder day and night I never slept out of doors. Several mules froze stiff and fell over during the night. So on the 25th of December we left Pumpkin Buttes and Crazy Horse behind and started for Cheyenne, which caused a general rejoicing among men and mules. The backbone of the Indian war was broken, but the main vertebra was still defiant, viz., Crazy Horse..
The next summer General Crook started again. He sent troops in all directions to bring in all Indians that had not previously surrendered. They had been coming in during the winter to Chief Red Cloud's camp which was then situated near Ft. Robinson, Nebraska. General Crook went personally to Ft. Robinson to superintend the surrender as they arrived. They were coming and going all the time, and he intended to put a stop to that. So he issued an order that no Indian should leave the agency without his permission. That made the Indians "heap mad," and they concocted a scheme to kill him. They were to call a council to talk with him about the surrender, when some one was to shoot him and have a general fight. An Indian, whom General Crook had befriended at some time, told Crook all about the plan. When the time came for the talk the General had the whole place
surrounded with troops. When the Indians saw such an array of soldiers they thought better of the plan, and the assassination did not take place. The Indians appeared to be undecided what to do, whether to go out again on the warpath or to surrender.
Crazy Horse was still out and had runners going back and forth all the time. They kept him posted about affairs at the agency. General Crook concluded to disarm the Indians and set a time for them to appear and give up their arms. When the time arrived three-fourths of the Indians started out again on the war-path. They went about twentyfive miles and entrenched themselves on Chadron creek, just four miles from where I am now writing. The General had "boots and saddles" sounded, and a large body of troops took along with them a couple of mountain howitzers and a Gatling gun. When they arrived within gunshot, no shot having been fired as yet, the commanding officer called to the Indians under a flag of truce and told them he would just give them five minutes to surrender. When the five minutes were up he let go his cannon and the flag went up instanter. They were taken back to the agency, where they were all disarmed. Crazy Horse was on his way to the agency, the General having sent friendly Indians out to meet him. His marches were very slow as his ponies were very poor, the squaws and children worn out, cold, and hungry. When within twenty miles of the agency he stubbornly refused to go further, but the General sent him word by other Indians that he would bring him in if he had to call all the troops in the United States. He sent some of his aids-de-camp, with plenty of provisions and wagons to haul the women and children. After a long talk and being assured he would not be hurt he reluctantly agreed to come in. There was a general rejoicing among the Indians when he agreed to come in, and he was met by nearly all the Indians at the agency. It was an imposing sight to see all those Indians, several thousand in all, headed by Crazy Horse himself, who was riding beside Lieutenant Clark of Crook's staff. He was escorted directly to General Crook,
who shook hands with the chief and directed that he should be made comfortable as well as all his people. The next day was set to disarm Crazy Horse's band. They had come into the fort, and the agency was located a short distance away. In the morning Crazy Horse, personally, was not at the fort, but was said to be at the agency, where he was found by the Indian police that had been sent after him. But he refused to return to the fort with them; the police so reported on their return to the fort. General Crook sent the police back-those police were all Indians—to take an ambulance with them and bring Crazy Horse to the fort. We all expected it would bring on a big fight as the Indian police were very determined, but they brought him in without much of a demonstration from the other Indians. He was put in the guardhouse, where there was the usual guard, and as a precaution several Indians were detailed as extra guards. Crazy Horse was very sullen and morose. All of a sudden he jumped up, brandishing a large knife, and made for the door. An Indian jumped on his back and pinioned his arms. The soldier guard sprang forward with his gun at a charge. Crazy Horse was seen to fall. When the excitement was over Crazy Horse was dead, having been pierced through the body with either a knife or the bayonet of the soldier. Thus died one of the greatest Indian war chiefs that ever fought a battle with the white men.
PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS OF EARLY DAYS IN DECATUR, NEBRASKA.
BY CAPT. S. T. LEAMING.1
I have been asked by the Historical Society of Nebraska to give some personal recollections of pioneer life in Burt county, particularly in connection with the settlement of De
1 Capt. Silas T. Leaming was a native of Schoharie county, New York. At four years of age he moved with his parents to La Porte, Indiana, where he went to country school and worked as a civil engineer. He crossed the plains to California in 1852, returning in 1855.
catur, and the steamboats which then seemed the link between the Wild West and civilization. It has been said that all things pass away when their usefulness is ended. Whether this be true or not, the days of steamboating on the upper Missouri were of short duration. The locomotive with its long train of cars sent them into oblivion with the stage coach and the prairie schooner.
The very first steamer to come as far as this point was sent out by the government in 1819 with a party of explorers. This boat was named Western Engineer and commanded by Maj. Stephen H. Long. The expedition remained at a point just below Council Bluff during the winter of 1819-20. Early in the spring, the boat received a new commander and was used for transporting government supplies to the forts and trading posts along the Missouri. The second steamer to plow the waters of the "Big Muddy" was the Yellowstone, owned by the American Fur Company and commanded by Captain Bennett. This steamer made its first trip during the summer of 1831. From this date until after the close of the Civil War, steamers made regular trips between St. Louis and the Yellowstone. During the last years of steam navigation on the upper Missouri, shifting sands and changing boundaries rendered extreme care necessary in order to avoid being stranded on a sand bar, and progress was slow, until even steamers, that the old settlers declared could run over a heavy dew, came less and less frequently. Coming here in 1856, I found them still plying and eagerly looked for by the few white inhabitants living in settlements near the river. These steamers were not "floating palaces," but they represented a certain phase of luxury and were the connecting link with the outside world. There was no hurry in those
As surveyor for the Iowa Central Airline R. R. he surveyed the route of that road from Ida Grove, Iowa, to Decatur, Nebraska. He settled in Decatur in 1857 and was the first mayor of the town. In 1859 he was a member of the territorial legislature, and later surveyed the Omaha and Winnebago Indian reservation. He was first lieutenant, and captain of Company I, 2d Nebraska Cavalry, and took part in the campaign leading to the battle of White Stone Hills. He was married in 1869 to Elizabeth Thompson of Decatur. After her death he married, in 1897, Miss Marion Hutchinson of Fordwick, Canada. He died February 18, 1906.