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Blue on a small ferry boat, one of the teamsters brought his whip. onto the off-wheeler to bring him into place. Harney, seeing him, broke out with the greatest volley of oaths we had ever heard, abusing him outrageously, and he was one of the best teamsters in the command. Afterwards the teamsters were afraid of him and would sooner take their mules a half mile to water than anywhere near his tent.
Continuing on the old military road, we soon came into the present State, then Territory, of Nebraska. At Kearney, the command was strengthened with four or six companies of Infantry, if my memory is right, mounted on ponies, with fifteen scouts, Jim Baker, Joe Laflesh and others whose names have been forgotten. half of them were Indians. Who was Adjutant, memory fails to say. Captain Van Vleet was Quartermaster; Lieutenant Warren was topographical engineer. We also had a gentleman from Paris, France, who said that in his own country he was a grand count, but in America he was no account at all. But he was mistaken, for he was good to eat putrid chickens. The Kearney troops had for wagon-master a Sergeant by name of Avery, who now resides in Herman, this county. He has always been a picture to memory, as seen riding along his train. Wm. Drummond was head wagon master. Passing up the Platte to Laramie, we crossed but one stream of running water, and that was the South Platte; and for two or three hundred miles we saw not a tree. At this time there was a trader at O'Fallon's Bluff, and at old Julesburg, and one some five miles below. Crossing at Julesburg we traveled for the North Platte. At the head of Ash Hollow we met a train that had corraled three times that day on account of Indians, who wanted to trade for arms and ammunition; telling them they did not want to fight them, but the soldiers, who were coming. a spy glass their camp off to the northwest. low to the river we went into camp at midnight. crossed the river. The cavalry was sent to get around back of them whilst the infantry were to attack them in front. As the infantry got close to their camp they were spied, and Little Thunder, their chief, came out to meet Harney and have a talk. The latter kept him in conversation till he could learn of his cavalry's whereabouts. Gaining his desires, he told the chief he had been sent to fight him,
We could see with Passing down the hol
and he should go and get his men ready.
As he started, the troops
As they ran
started to follow. When within hailing distance, he motioned them to run. As they did so, firing was opened on them. into the cavalry they got it again and then went to fighting for their lives. One, who was supposed dead, and had a death wound, raised пр and shot a soldier. Then another soldier went to finish him with his sabre. As the soldier struck at him the Indian threw up and received the blow on his gun, thus breaking the sabre at the hilt. An officer then thought to try his hand and rode up for that purpose, when the Indian grasped the broken sabre and with it nearly severed the leg of the officer's horse. The Indian was at last finished by a revolver ball. Other Indians got in "cache holes" from which they killed the most of those who were killed-thirteen in all. If I remember rightly one hundred and twenty-six Indians were slain. Whilst the fight was going on we train men brought our train into corral, making the river the base and forming a half circle with wagons, mules on the inside, front wheel locked in hind wheel ahead. After the fight, I was sent with six or eight wagons out to haul in the plunder from the camp which was about six miles from the river on a nice stream of water called the Blue or Brule. For the first three miles I met the troops guarding the prisoners, squaws with tepees on ponies and children riding in the usual way. I do not think I saw a dozen bucks amongst them. Being told that there were two camps, one a mile farther up, I thought to take the upper first and finish at the other as I returned. Passing the lower one a mile or more away, I heard the bugle sound rally on the chief. Turning at right angles, by persevering use of the whip we got the teams into a dog trot and kept it up till we got where we were wanted. Here were some as pretty tepees as I ever saw; new hides stretching over a circumference of eighteen feet, and running to an apex twenty feet high. Inside were bales of dried buffalo meat in skins piled three feet high all around next the outside. By order of the General we loaded the meat and lodges, as they were taken down by two or three squaws, into the wagons, and such other things as were to be found, and started on our return to camp. Crossing the river, which had quick-sand bottom, we lost many of those long poles by the jarring and shaking of the wagons, and for which we dared not stop as our wagons would sink, and thus they floated off
in the current.
The river was near half a mile wide and not over a
foot deep in any place. It was after dark when we got to camp.
The next morning Harney came to me inquiring after the buffalo robes, saying he wanted them for his old regiment and that I should get them. Thinking my turn had now come for a cursing, I says, "how many, General?" and he turns off and says, "no more." But he had scared a nice large robe out of one of the teamsters, who brought it to me. I searched the wagons but found no more, neither had I seen any put in the wagons. They had buried our dead whilst I was on the battlefield, a little to the west of Ash Hollow and not far from the bluff, on rising ground. Learning that a man by the name of McDonald, with whom I had served two years in the first dragoons, was buried there, I went to pay my last respects to his grave, which was marked with a cedar post. Leaving two companies here with the largest number of prisoners, to build a post, which was called Fort Grafton, after a Lieutenant by that name, who was sent with eighteen men to punish them for killing a Mormon's cow. They proved too many for him, killing his whole. party but one, and he was wounded. This was the year previous-
1855. Passing on to Laramie, there was nothing unusual except in the vicinity of Courthouse Rock, where we had encamped about 3 o'clock on a clear, bright day with a gentle breeze from the south. We had our first sight of grass-hoppers. An hour after camping the ground was covered one inch thick with them. At every step we would tread numbers of them. could hardly discern the sun. spear of grass left for our animals.
The air was full of them so you Before night there was not a
Whilst passing up the Platte some of the Indians, twelve in number, who had saved themselves, were ahead of us, and coming into Laramie as if on a trading expedition. They got between the herd and the Mexican herders, who were along the walls of the Fort. They raised a yell, swinging their blankets, and stampeded one hundred and fifty animals. The post wagon-master being saddled, mounted and put after them and saved a good many. Major How who was up the Laramie nine miles, with four companies of cavalry, was sent for; he followed them two days and returned. When he reported to Harney, it was better than any tragedy Shakespeare ever wrote. He cursed him and swore till everything was blue. I think
he was put under arrest; at last he was taken to Fort Pierre.
remaining ten days to rest the animals, he took all the spare troops, leaving some prisoners there. We started out to build a fort on White River. The first day we camped on Running Water river. The next we went down a dry draw till we came to water, the head of White River, which we followed down three days, and then abandoned the building of the fort, the Laramie. Our troops were sent back, and with the infantry we started for Pierre on the ninth of October. Here on the head of the river we had snow twelve inches deep, and had frost every night for a month. The snow soon disappeared, but it left our mules weak. Every morning we would have to help some of them up before putting the harness on them; they would travel fifteen or twenty miles a day. I should be pardoned if I swore here, for we crossed this stream thirteen times in one day. At every crossing there would be a lot of soldiers to help the teams across, they standing on the bank yelling and doing no earthly good. We soon after bid adieu to White River, and passing up a long gradual slope for ten miles, we camped on a high piece of ground with a swale on it with good grass and water. next morning we had to let our wagons down from this hill with both wheels locked, and long ropes attached, with men to hold them back. This hill was sand, three or four hundred feet high, the descent being about sixty degrees. At the bottom we found ourselves How many
in the Bad Lands which it took us two days to cross. men found a road through them is a question to me. brought to the train many specimens of petrifications, which was a turtle three feet long; it looked as if it might have been just caught on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico. We had a night's camp on alkali water that looked like strained honey, which we could not drink without mixing with coffee. After getting out of these lands we came to a more beautiful country, which is destined to be a great wheat field. Two days more brought us to Pierre, in a cold rain, when our mules were turned loose with picket ropes dragging. In the morning, going to look after them, I found a great many of them dead; on the ends of the ropes were frozen three to five hundred pounds of mud which was gathered as they dragged them. Some could no longer pull their ropes and were fine Kentucky mules, but too young
were anchored. These
for the trip, many only two years old. This day the Quartermaster told me the General wanted me to stay with him. I told him I would do so for sixty-five dollars a month. He thought it was more than they could pay. I felt a little sore, as I had done my own duty and a good deal of the head wagon-master's, for which he received the pay, my pay being only forty-five dollars. After spending a week above Pierre, in crossing the Missouri, I was sent after, but I declined the call and have not regretted it. Pierre was an old trading post built of adobe brick, half a mile from the river, and eight miles from timber, a desolate, bleak looking place. I left there without going back to bid the General farewell, who had always treated me with respect, I think from the fact that we had traveled a good deal over Florida, known to each other. With Quartermaster VanVleet, his brother, teamsters, and fourteen teams, 'we started down the north side of the river, crossing Jim River about fifty miles north of its mouth. Then taking a southeast course we came to the Big Sioux, west of Sioux City. We contin- . ued on to Leavenworth, where we were paid off and sent into Platt county, Mo., with a herd of mules to winter. Here, in the early March of 1856, I made up my mind to quit the government employ, and going to the Fort drew my pay. Being asked where I was going, I told them twenty miles beyond the last white settlement up the Missouri, thinking I should hardly go so far, but I went one hundred. At Sioux City I took a contract of Frame & Rustin to get out thirty thousand rails at thirty dollars per thousand, in Dakota county, Nebraska. Employing two men, I went to where we were to board, got mauls and wedge timber from the bluff at St. Johns, and was ready for work. The next morning, seeing a grove · of timber off to the southwest, and thinking we might as well have a claim apiece, we started for it. After walking two or three miles we found ourselves on low ground with water on it, but pushing on through snow and water till it came above our boots, and finding ourselves still a mile from the objective point, we had to beat a retreat, returning to our boarding places tired out and weary. Here all was confusion; the beds out and things torn up generally. On making inquiries, the lady told us (and she was a lady) that she could not keep us. With tears in her eyes she pointed out the lice in her She had a boarder whom she called Posey, an Indianian, for