Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση
[ocr errors]

hostiles; and the white settlers, fearing the vengeance of the Sioux, fled by thousands to places of safety. Great lights and signal fires shone from the bluffs and hill tops a few miles distant from Pine Ridge, and the Bad Lands were ablaze with lights that could be seen for miles. More United States troops were ordered into the vicinity of the Agency, and every precaution was taken to prevent a general uprising of the Indians.

General Miles, who had arrived at St. Paul from Chicago, now started for Deadwood by way of Standing Rock, and for the time being established his headquarters at Rapid City, Dakota, with four companies of soldiers. Chief Two Strike came into General Brookes' camp at Pine Ridge, bringing with him 184 lodges, aggregating about 800 Indians, and surrendered. General Carr was at the junction of the Rapid and Cheyenne Rivers, with a command of 400 soldiers in readiness to move to Pine Ridge, when required. Seven companies of the Seventeenth Infantry were sent from Fort Russell to Pine Ridge. It was estimated that there were at this time, at and near Pine Ridge Agency, 1,000 lodges, or over 5,000 fighting Indians; and that there were 250 lodges, or over 1,000 warriors, near the mouth of White Clay Creek.

On December 18th, a courier brought the report to General Carr that a party of fifteen men were besieged on Spring Creek, at Daily's ranch, about fifty miles distant, and Major Tupper was immediately dispatched with 100 men to the rescue. Near Smithville, some shots were exchanged with a large number of Indians, who were concealed in the brakes near a small creek.

While the government wagons, with their escorts, were crossing Spring Creek, they were attacked by about forty Indians. One soldier was wounded, and some others narrowly escaped. A troop of cavalry commanded by Captain Wells, came to their rescue and the Indians retreated after over one hundred shots were exchanged.

General Carr sent a troop of cavalry into the Bad Lands to watch and report any movements of the hostiles. The troops reported 70 Indian lodges in a wholly inaccessible place. The outlet for these Indians was a trail up Cottonwood Canon across the road from Rapid Creek to Wounded This outlet was immediately closed by a detachment from the Sixth Infantry.

On December 18th, 1024 hostile Indians returned to Pine Ridge, and rations were issued to them. · On December 19th, reports came from the camp on the Cheyenne River, that there were 70 lodges, containing about 350 hostiles, between Battle and Spring Creeks; while a larger band, containing at least 300 warriors, with their wives and families, were encamped on the Cheyenne River, about twenty miles further down.

Three heliograph stations were established under military authority; one in camp, one on the top of the high bluffs, and one following Captain Stanton's command. In the afternoon of the 20th, the report came through the heliograph lines that an engagement was on between Captain Stanton's forces and the Indians.

Orders were immediately given by General Carr for Lieutenant Scott, with Troop D, to go to his assistance, and other troops were immediately put in marching order. Captain Stanton had given chase to a large band of Indians with a herd of ponies heading for the Bad Lands. Shots were exchanged for some time, when the Indians turned and went into the valley of Wounded Knee creek, and Captain Stanton, fearing an ambush, withdrew his troops, and returned.

On this same day, 500 friendly Indians left Pine Ridge to attempt to bring in the hostiles, acting under the direction of General Brooke. At Fort Yates, everything seemed to be quiet, and 39 of Sitting Bull's band sent word that they were willing to return. General Carr sent out a cavalry detachment to head off a portion of the band that was believed to be moving toward the Bad Lands.

On December 22d, a sensation occurred at Pine Ridge by the arrest in Red Cloud's camp of a white man who pretended to be the Indian Messiah. He was dressed in Indian clothes, covered with a blanket. He admitted, however, that his name was Hopkins, and that he came there from Iowa. He claimed that he came in the interest of peace. He wanted to go to the Bad Lands and preach to the Indians there. He had some followers among the Indians, but none of the chiefs believed in him, and Red Cloud spat in his face and said, “You go home. You are no Son of God.”

On December 23d, it was reported to General Miles that the chiefs Two Strike and Kicking Bear had started for the Bad Lands to join the hostiles, and a troop of cavalry was immediately dispatched after them, who returned after a thirteen mile ineffectual chase. Another troop of cavalry exchanged shots with a small band of Indians, who

were attempting to get away, and succeeded in stopping and capturing two squaws and one papoose.

On Christmas day, a band of eighty hostile Indians made two at. tacks upon a camp of Cheyenne scouts at the mouth of Battle Creek, the first attack resulted in a loss of one scout killed and two wounded; and two hostiles killed and several wounded. The Indians were repulsed. The second attack was made after dark, and hot firing was kept up for two hours, and a number of the Indians were killed and wounded. Kicking Bear led the attacking forces in person.

On December 26th, the several bands of Indians, which had come in under Big Foot and Hump, started for the Bad Lands. General Carr, with several troops of cavalry, started in pursuit.

On December 28th, the Seventh Cavalry, under command of Captain Whiteside, surrounded and captured Big Foot with his entire band of 106 warriors and about 200 women and children, who were in camp on Porcupine creek. This capture was made without resistance. They were all marched over to the former camp of the Seventh Cavalry on Wounded Knee, and comprised nearly all of the followers of Sitting Bull, who escaped after the death of their chief, on Grand River.

Colonel Forsyth came out from the Agency to the camp on Wounded Knee, with orders from General Brooke to disarm Big Foot's band; and on the morning of December 29th, he assumed command of the two battalions of 500 men and a battery of Hotch

At about eight o'clock in the morning, the Hotchkiss guns were mounted so as to command the Indian camp, and the troops so disposed as to surround the camp and prevent escape. The Indians were ordered to come forward from their tents and give up their arms—the squaws and children remaining behind.

The warriors came forward to the place indicated, and formed in a half circle, squatting on the ground, in front of the lodge of their chief, Big Foot, who lay very sick with pneumonia. They were ordered by twenties to proceed to their tepees, obtain their arms and give them up. The first twenty returned with only two guns. Major Whiteside, who was superintending this part of the work, after consulting with Colonel Forsyth, gave the order for the troops, who were all dismounted and formed in a square, about twenty-five steps away, to close in within twenty feet of the Indians. Thereupon a detachment

kiss guns.

a

of cavalry, after a thorough search of the lodges, returned with only some forty-eight rifles.

These remnants of the followers of Sitting Bull had relied upon the words of Captain Whiteside in yielding to the military authority, but they were naturally suspicious and uneasy. They had witnessed the tragic fate of their old chief and medicine man. Many of them believed that they were to be put to death, and naturally supposed that their disarming was simply to render them defenseless; others believed that they were to be disarmed, then imprisoned and held for years in Florida, North Carolina, or Alabama as their brothers, the warlike Apaches, had been treated years before.

The whole proceedings of this morning intensified their feelings, and confirmed them in their belief in regard to the terrible fate which awaited them. When the detachment returned from the search, the little band of 106 warriors, only partly armed, surrounded by 500 rifles and covered by a battery of Hotchkiss guns, raised their plaintive death chant. Then a dusky warrior stepped forward, stooped to the ground, gathered a handful of earth, and threw it into the air. In the twinkling of an eye, the death chant was changed to a war song, and before the startled soldiers realized their danger, the Indians drew their rities from beneath their blankets, grasped their knives and hatchets, and rushed upon the wall of rifles, for liberty or death. It was the desperate death struggle of brave men against three or four times their number, who believed that they were all to be massacred, and who determined to sell their lives as dearly as possible.

The slaughter was terrible; rifles rang; hatchets whizzed through the air; soldiers shouted; and the savage war whoops sounded across the bluffs and echoing canons for miles. The Indians broke through the lines and ran to the tepees. The Hotchkiss guns were turned upon them, regardless of women and children, and the repeated volleys from the carbines brought them down like grain before the sickle. The camp, valley and hill-sides seemed but a sheet of flame over which the smoke rolled in clouds. Big Foot, himself, rose from his sick bed, and came to the door of his tepee only to fall dead pierced with many bullets. The surviving Indians now started to escape to the bluffs and

The Hotchkiss guns were turned upon them, and the battle became really a hunt on the part of the soldiers, the purpose being

canons.

.

total extermination. All order and tactics were abandoned, the object being solely to kill Indians, regardless of age or sex. The battle was ended only when not a live Indian was in sight.

About 100 warriors and over 120 women and children were found dead on the field. Twenty-nine soldiers were killed outright and thirty-five were wounded. Captain Wallace was killed, and Lieutenant Garlington wounded, in the first volley. In the early part of the battle, the fighting was almost hand to hand. Carbines were fired and clubbed. Sabres and hatchets gleamed, and war clubs circled and whistled through the air. Many Indians and soldiers fought on the ground after being wounded. This was one of the most bloody Indian battles of recent years, and the manner in which Big Foot's heroic followers turned upon their captors, and made the terrible break for liberty, shows a degree of daring and bravery, which has rarely been equaled, and rivals anything that has occurred in the Indian wars upon this continent.

On December 30th, the day after the battle of Wounded Knee, General Miles sent the following report to the Secretary of War:

Colonel Forsyth says sixty-two dead Indian men were counted on the plain where the attempt was made to disarm Big Foot's band, and where the fight began; on other parts of the ground there were eighteen more. These do not include those killed in ravines, where dead warriors were seen, but not counted. Six were brought in badly wounded and six others were with a party of twenty-three men and women, which Captain Jackson had abandoned, when attacked by one hundred and fifty Brule Indians from the Agency. counts for ninety-two men killed, and leaves few alive and unhurt. The women and children broke for the hills when the fight began, and comparatively few of them were hurt and few brought in; thirtynine are here, of which number twenty-one are woundedl. IIad it not been for the attack by the Brules, an accurate account would have been made, but the ravines were not searched afterwards. I think this shows very little apprehension from Big Foot's band in the future. A party of forty is reported as held by the scouts at the head of Medicine Creek. These consist of all sizes, and the cavalry from Rosebud will bring them in, if it is true. These Indians under Big Foot were among the most desperate. There where thirty-eight of

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »