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Sioux wife, whose hospitality we enjoyed in his wigwam, which was furnished with the richest furs and decorated with several chidren of the half-breed brand of their mixed parentage. Mr. Galpin was an educated man, I think a collegiate. He sighed for return to civilization, but the ties which bound him to the freedom and other charms of the aboriginal life, made him a willing captive, and be died among the Sioux with whom he had long lived, and to whose many good qualities he never neglected a proper opportunity to pay just tribute.
It had been the intention to return from Ft. Pierre upon one of three or four government transports, but it happened that Mr. Charles Chouteau was in that country with his company's boat, the little “St. Mary” of sainted name. He landed from the upper river in good time, and we took passage on her for Omaha, with the once famous pilot, Joe Le Barge, as chief man at the wheel. Two things were assured by this circumstance which were most desirable, safety and speed on the down-the-river journey, and good company in a social way. I remember the middle-aged son of the Chouteau family of St. Louis as a tall, spare man whose manners were slightly Frenchy, and always polite. Le Barge was a short, stout, alert and energetic man, with an eye like an eagle, which had been trained by twenty years of service as a student of the mysterious and muddy waterways of the Missouri. The death of Joe Le Barge, the brown faced and black eyed pilot, two or three years ago, caused a pang of regret in the hearts of tens of thousands, who dwell along the banks of the great river, who knew and admired him in both his character and calling. The journey home took about a week's time, the boat stopping at all Indian villages to discharge small packages of presents and goods and to receive whatever there was for the fur company. The sight of Omaha again after the long, and sometimes dangerous absence, was gladdening, and the welcome from friends, who seemed nearer to us than before this kind of separation, was both cheering and grateful."
THE MILITARY CAMP ON THE BIG SIOUX RIVER IN
By GEORGE L. MILLER.
This annexment to the “Ft. Pierre expedition incident of the Indian campaign of General W. S. Harney in 1855, of which the battle of Ash Hollow was the bloody opening. I had accompanied the river expedition in June of that year to Ft. Pierre, as has been related in another paper, returning to Omaha in July. Gen. Harney had crossed with his main forces from the Platte river garrisons during the summer after having made his compacts of peace with the Sioux, for which his grab-all bargains with them at Ft. Laramie, and the big talks" with Maj. Montgomery at Ft. Pierre, had paved the way. Reports of depredations, actual
, and threatened, of the Santee and other bands of Indians on the Iowa lines of advanced settlement in the vicinity of Sioux City, probably caused him to order considerable forces to the Big Sioux in the autumn of that year.
Gen. Harney accompanied them in person and in command. I visited this camp several times during the latter months of the season, on business and pleasure, assisting Lieut. Plummer and other officers, in supplying the troops with needed subsistence from Council Bluffs and Omaha markets. I do not remember the number of troops that occupied that encampment. I should say that it was composed of cavalry and infantry, and perhaps some light artillery, that would be called a regiment in all; everything being in perfect military order, with Harney always a chief figure, not only on account of his high rank and reputation, but almost as much on account of his splendid physique and commanding presence. It was here that I met Gen. Harney for the first time.
I was afforded a good opportunity to study the character of one of the most eminent of the heroes of our earlier wars. His form was that of the ideal soldier; six feet four in height, as straight and erect as any Sioux chief that ever lived; brusque in manner; rough in mould and
mein, as in voice; proud of his name and his honest titles to distinction; harsh of speech, and in no way fastidious about his choice of a ljectives to emphasize his commands or displeasure. He was yet so tender of heart, after all, that even a wronged army mule could arouse in him the most practical sympathy, as an incident will illustrate which I myself witnessed with my own delighted eyes, at the Big Sioux camp, as follows:
Gen. Harney was walking about the encampment on a beautiful morning after everybody had opened their eyes and their tents for another day of army life in that then wild and untamed locality. He was attended by an orderly who was leading his own favorite saddle mule at a respectful distance in the rear of his big master. The general was in citizens dress, as I remember. It was his habit to carry with him a riding whip when taking these casual “constitutionals” for exercise and observation, and he had it well in band at the moment when he discovered a muleteer kicking and beating one of the army mules. In less time than it will take to tell the rest of the story, the “Hero of Chapultepec" had seized the mule-beater
of the neck with one hand, and was giving him a savage horse-whipping with that handy riding whip in the other. There was considerable subdued comment over the incident, that served to bring out quiet remarks upon the character of Harney; and it also impressed me with that peculiarity of his nature which could permit him to shoot down not less than sixty Indians at Ash Hollow, including more than one woman, as a punishment for offences, wbich, in my belief, they never committed, without any compunctions of conscience or emotion of sympathy with human suffering, and yet, abuse of a mule could, and did, excite in him both sympathy and resentment, which was displayed by violence and by small and large blocks of profanity, that would make the average cowboy of the plains ashamed of the poverty of his choicest vocabulary. But, upon the whole, there was room to admire Gen. Harney for a great deal of personal manhood and military merit. I never regarded him as a great soldier, nor was he ever born for large commands. There were at least three younger men in the Sioux Camp in 1855 under Gen Harney's orders who were his superiors, from whom the coun: try was destined to hear in later years out of the red centers and chaos of the civil war; men who shed their blood upon both sides of
the conflict, and whose names already have an enduring place in the military history of our country. I will mention them in connection with the first court martial I ever saw, which was in progress for weeks at Big Sioux Camp, for the trial of one Major Howe of the cavalry arm of the service, which I frequently attended during my stay there. It may be said here, as in parenthesis, that this sketch is written with the main object of recording my impressions of these now eminent historical characters.
When I say that Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, the illustrious Confederate Chieftain, who has but recently passed from the scenes of earth, honored by all men who respect exalted personal virtues and great military capacity and achievement, was a member of that court; that Nathaniel Lyon, the “Hero of Camp Jackson,” who fell, face to the foe, at Wilson's Creek after conquering Missouri to the Union cause, was its Judge Advocate; and that Alfred Pleasanton, the distinguished Union cavalry leader was Gen. Harney's adjutant and chiefof-staff at the Sioux Camp, none will dispute the justice of the comparison which I venture to make, between Gen. Harney and three, at least, of his Big Sioux command who were then unknown to fame. Johnston then held the modest rank of Lieut. Colonel; Lyon that of captain of the Second Infantry of the old army, and Pleasanton was a young dashing first lieutenant. It was in Pleasanton's company that I dined with Mrs. Dr. Madison, in her tent at the camp, for which privilege and pleasure I was indebted to a renewal of my acquaintance with Surgeon Madison, whom I had first met at Ft. Pierre. That dinner was as formal and stately as if it had been given in a Vanderbilt mansion in Fifth Avenue, Mrs. Madison presiding with infinite grace and dignity, elegant in dress, and amply gloved for the occasion. I wonder if Gen. Pleasanton could recall this incident from over the stormy scenes of blood through which he has since passed? I do not remember that I have ever met him since that day of dining and wining in the camp on the Big Sioux. But not so with Johnston and Lyon. It was here that my acquaintance with these eminent soldiers began, which terminated only with their lives. That with Gen. Lyon led to the closest confidence and intimacy, which continued until he fell at Wilson's Creek, the first eminent victim of the war of the Union, whose cause he espoused with the resolution of a heroic nature and with all the zeal and courI had pre
age of one of the purest of patriots. I knew him well. dicted for him, years before his opportunity came, that when occasion called he would prove his ability as a soldier equal to great commands. I shall continue to live, and probably die in the belief that he fell a victim to the incompetency of John C. Fremont, wbo failed to reinforce him from Rolla, Mo., with two regiments, for which, at the earnest request of Lyon, I, among others, urgently appealed, pending the unequal combat in which that heroic life went out. National honors were paid to his memory, and he sleeps near kindred dust in his native Connecticut. One of his ancestors on his mother's side fought with Washington at the battle of Harlem Heights, falling at the head of his troops. He was mentioned for conspicuous gallantry in this action by Washington in special orders. This Rev. olutionary soldier was a Knowlton.
The present President of the State Historical Society, Hon. J. Sterling Morton, may recall the fact that on our visit to Salt Lake City, many years ago, in calling at the home of Maj. W. H. Hooper, the old Utah delegate in Congress, we saw pictures of Lyon and of the Knowlton side of his family, of whom Mrs. Hooper was a near relative, hanging on the walls of his hospitable home.
Gen. Lyon was a small man in stature. He was markedly blonde in complexion. His temperament was nervous-sanguine, which fired him with that restless mental and physical energy that was the most striking feature of his character. He was a clear, forceful and vigorous writer. He hated a secessionist with venomous dislike and unconcealed contempt, as a traitor to his country. But, after all, his was a kindly and a generous spirit, and, it is the best tribute, that can be paid to his memory to say that those who knew him best loved him most.
Leaving the greatest of this quartette of American soldiers, measured by their military renown, to the last, what shall I say of Joseph E. Johnston, one of the most manly and chivalric of all the noble army of Virginians, whom the smother of states and statesmen" has produced—the Confederate hero of Fair Oaks, and of the defense against Gen. Sherman in "the march to the sea?” My acquaintance with him began at Sioux Camp, survived the war, and continued to the late sad day of his death. He was a noble man and soldier, intellectually superior, in my judgment, and morally the