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peer of Lee, which exhausts all comparison. When I first met him I was struck by his open, frank and countly manner, warmth of greeting, and soldierly eloquence and precision of speech and bearing. He was then in the full mental and physical vigor of middle manhood. Of medium height and slight build, with a broad head surmounting a fully developed chest, and a keen, soft, grayish blue eye, Johnston was a model gentleman and soldier. His Mexican services gave him prominence and reputation, as long ago as 1855, and he was even then regarded as the ideal soldier of the United States Army. I need not recall his great, but unfortunate military career. I met him in Omaha three years ago for the last time. He talked of Major William E. Moore, his chief commissary in the great campaign of Atlanta, with emotion which he could scarcely conceal, at the loss of his gallant friend. Referring to the Atlanta campaign, he declined to admit that it was a “retreat” on his part; he spoke of it, as "a series of battles between unequal forces,” with that modesty which was a leading trait of his character. At a dinner given in Omaha by the late Ezra Millard to Gen. Sherman, I mentioned Johnston to Gen. Sherman, who spoke of the Confederate commander in the warmest language of praise: "I couldn't capture a tin cup from him in the whole series of battles and retreats,” said the immortal hero of the march to the sea.
Three years, perhaps, after the Sioux Camp and court scenes Gen. Johnston was made inspector-general of the army. I think it was in 1859 or 1860, that I was informed that a gentleman had inquired for me at the office of the Herndon House, in Omaha, where I was then living. I walked down from my room to meet him, passing Johnston on the stairway, as he was coming up and I was going down, without recognition by either of the other. I pursued my friend until I found that the soft-hatted, plainly dressed person in Virginia dark grey citizens clothes, whom I had met on the stairway, was none other than "Joe Johnston,” as he was familiarly called, who, on a tour of inspection, had come down from Ft. Randall to Council Bluffs, and did me the honor to say that “I thought I would spend Sunday with you.” Such a marked attention from such a man was a flattering compliment, and the visit, so delightful to me in all respects, of thirty years ago, led to a continued friendship of which Gen. Johnston gave me many proofs before he drew his sword in defense of his mother state, as well as since the close of the war. If I am not mistaken, I had something to say for this illustrious American when President Cleveland appointed him government commissioner of the Pacific railroads in 1884, a place that he continued to hold largely by the special personal request of his old antagonist, Gen. Sherman, at the hands of President Harrison.
The Big Sioux Camp was beautifully located on the wooded banks of the river which led me to give it this name. The leading incident was the court martial of Maj. Howe, against whom, Gen. Harney himself preferred the charges and was the chief witness. Gen. Lyon prosecuted him with relentless vigor upon charges which concerned corrupt practices of a petty but disgraceful character, and, I believe, to conviction. In after years, in conversation with Jefferson Davis in Memphis, where the conquered chief of the Confederate States of America resided after the war, who was secretary of war, when that “Howe court” was held, I found that Davis was able to recall the fact that he officially reviewed its proceedings. It was a somewhat celebrated case in the army annals, but I was surprised at proofs which Mr. Davis gave of the reach and accuracy of his memory in recalling incidents connected with that court. I do not remember that he so much as mentioned the name of Johnston, who, as I have said, was a member of the court, either in that connection or any other, although Lee, whose picture decorated the wall above Mr. Davis' desk, was the subject of considerable conversation. Men whose military judgment are widely respected agree with my own notion, that if Johnston, instead of Lee, had commanded the Confederates at Gettysburgh, Gen. Longstreet's criticisms of Lee's mistakes in that crucial battle of the war for and against the Union would not have applied to the confederate chief at Fair Oaks, who doubled up McCleilan in the first onslaughts on the Peninsula, who outgeneraled, if he did not outfight, Sherman before Atlanta, and who would have saved Pemberton at Vicksburgh, if his military counsels had been heeded by the authorities and lesser men and soldiers than Joseph Johnston, who was expected to beat Grant and rescue Pemberton's army without adequate force at his command for the purpose.”
REMINISCENCES OF A TEACHER AMONG THE
NEBRASKA INDIANS, 1843-1885.
By MRS. ELVIRA GASTON PLATT.
It was on June 24, 1843, that we first set foot on Nebraska soil, though it was then known as Indian Territory. On our way to the Pawnee village, aboard the steamer Oceanica, laden with government supplies and bound for Bellevue, the seat of the Council Bluffs agency for the Otoes, Pawnees and Omahas, Captain Lyttleton invited us with the guests on board, to go out and take a view of his farm. The steamer was drawn to the shore near the mouth of the Weeping Water where we landed, ascending the bluff that we might the more perfectly see what had so enchanted Capt. Lyttleton as to cause him to choose that wild spot as the site of his future home. The beauty that surrounded us any one may prove by visiting the spot to-day, though then it was only a rich primeval pasture ground, "fenced by the stooping sky."
The next day, June 25, we landed at Bellevue, and were entertained by the agent, Maj. Daniel Miller.
no white woman at the agency, Mrs. Miller having gone down the river for fear of the Otoes, who were threatening an outbreak on account of some disaffection towards the agent. A blacksmith for the Omahas had come upon the deck of the Oceanica, with his wife and cow; and they found shelter in a log cabin a little way up the river from the agency buildings, the trading post of the American Fur Company lying between the two. On the Sabbath, July 2, a messenger ar. rived from the Pawnee villages bringing tidings of the attack of the Sioux upon them, which is mentioned in Mr. (not Rev.) Allis's historical sketch. This attack had been made the Wednesday previous and the village that was burned was the one to which we were bound as teachers. My brother, G. B. Gaston, had gone to the Pawnees under the auspices of the A. B. C. F. M., and being informed by him that it was desirable that the teachers employed by the government should
I was very
be those who would co-operate with the missionaries in their work, Mr. Platte and I went out with that intent.
The question now was, should we go on to the villages or return to the states; but as the back trail was so long and would have disappointment written all along its way, and that before us was short and lighted up with hope, we decided to go forward. desirous to go with my husband, who would return with the messenger, but Maj. Miller counseled strongly that I wait four weeks till the teams should come in for the government supplies as well as for those for the mission. He pleaded that we were liable to be attacked by the Sioux on the way;
sence might hinder the men from escaping and that all might be killed or taken captive, so, although loth to do so, I yielded the point. Propriety demanding that I go to the only white woman in the place, very reluctantly I was ushered into the cabin of the Omaha blacksmith, with its one small room on the ground and a low loft above, which was occupied at night by the striker Albert Fontenelle, who had recently returned from Missouri where he had been at school.
Those four weeks of waiting were marked in my calendar as never to be forgotten. A few days after my husband left Macinac, boats came down the river, the men on board bringing word that the Sioux, having become offended with the traders of the Fur Company, would soon send a war party to attack those at Bellevue. A day or two after this news came, two Omaha women, who were living with a white man, saw, just before sunset, what they insisted was proof of the presence of the enemy--bushes waving, where no bushes grew. They declared that it was Sioux scouts with branches of trees tied to them, which, rising just above their heads, would look like a clump of bushes and thus enable the Indians to make observations without being seen. These women rushed to the cabin of the blacksmith and demanded shelter, as their house was on the bluff and would be the first to meet the attack. The agent felt comparatively safe with his doors fastened by iron bars and bolts-—the Fur Company was picketed in and kept guarded—and so for one long week during those hot July nights the white man and his two Indian women, the blacksmith and wife, his striker, and my own precious self, were shut in that cabin without windows, the door barred, while the men had bowie knives and revolvers within reach. Very unrefreshing
was the sleep that visited my pillow; but no Sioux came to attack; the excitement died away and we drew free breath again.
But now it became apparent that a new lodger was about to appear. to claim a place with us. The two Omaha women ushered the stranger into its new world, but announced that the mother was no "brave” to endure pain. Now added duties were mine. I did not choose to starve or to see others suffer hunger, and if I did not, food must be prepared. But how could I make a fire hot enough to cook the inevitable coffee, cornpone and bacon on those fiery July days, in that little hut near the bed of an invalid? The blacksmith's forge was near by, and I said, “that shall be my refuge,” and it was. I have heard the voices of men, who were driving oxen, when they sounded to me' rough and rude, but the “whoa-up, whoa-up, whoa-steady, Brown and Bandy, whoa-gee now Duke and Berry,” were music to my listening ear on that last Saturday of July, as the government teams were driven down the narrow defile, that led from the overhanging bluffs, to the river bank, on which stood the agency buildings.
Monday, July 31, six prairie schooners, heavily laden, each drawn by three yoke of oxen, slowly climbed to the uplands, that overlooked the narrow bottom on which stood Bellevue, although La Bellevue was on the heights. I was the only passenger, but my husband was captain of the craft I had boarded, and my brother engineered another. The skies were fair, the air was cool and pure, new experiences lay before me, and my heart leaped for joy. Our path lay along the old trail, known to the early settlers of Nebraska, a trail worn by Indians and by the traders who loved the wild life to be found in the “Great American Desert.” The first and part of the second day we were on the high lands, with small streams to cross, but no sloughs. Two of the streams were the Great and the Little Papillion. I wish to protest against the vandalism, that has re duced that musical name to Papio, as we hear it announced while flying over that ground to-day. The old time spirit of the teacher always comes over me and I am prompted to say “Pa-peel-yong, Sir.” And now too, much to be deplored is it, that the euphonious O-ma-ha, has come to be the hard Omaha, and the smooth Pawny, the forced Pawnee.
The fording of the Elkhorn was a task of some magnitude; but as the river was low, by doubling teams, and by the drivers' wading in the