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Before General Custer left for Fort McPherson, he removed our tents to a portion of that branch of Big Creek on which the post was established. He selected the highest ground he could find, knowing that the rainy season was not yet over, and hoping that, if the camp were on a knoll, the ground would drain readily and dry quickly after a storm.

We were not a great distance from the main stream and the fort, but still too far to recognize anyone that might be walking in garrison. The stream on which we were located was tortuous, and on a bend above us the colonel commanding, his adjutant and his escort were established. Between us and the fort, General and Mrs. Gibbs were camped, while the tents of a few officers on detached duty were still farther on. The sentinel's beat was along a line between us and the high ground, where the Indians were likely to steal upon us from the bluffs. This guard walked his tour of duty on a line parallel with the stream, but was too far from it to observe the water closely. Each little group of tents made quite a show of canvas, as we had abundance of room to spread out, and the quartermaster was not obliged to limit us to any given number of tents. We had a hospital tent for our sitting-room, with a wall-tent pitched behind and opening out of the larger one, for our bedroom. There was a wall-tent for the kitchen, near, and behind us, the "A" tent for the soldier whom the General had left to take care of us in his absence. We were as safely placed, as to Indians, as was possible in such a country. As is the custom in military life, the officers either came every day, or sent to know if I could think of anything they could do for my comfort. The General had thought of everything, and, besides, I did my best not to have any wants. I was as capable of manufacturing needs as anyone, and could readily trump up a collection in garrison, but I was rendered too wary by the uncertainty of my tenure of that (to me) valuable little strip of ground that held my canvas house, to allow my presence to be brought home to those gallant men as a trouble or a responsibility. The idea that I might have to retreat eastward was a terror, and kept in subjection any passing wish I might indulge to have anything done for me. I would gladly have descended into one of the cellar-like habitations that were so common in Kansas then, and had my food handed down to me, if this would have enabled the officers to forget that I was there, until the expedition returned from the Platte. Yet the elements were against me, and did their best to interfere with my desire to obliterate myself, as far as being an anxiety to others was concerned.

One night we had retired, and were trying to believe that the thunder was but one of those peculiar menacing volleys of cloud-artillery that sometimes passed over harmlessly; but we could not sleep, the roar and roll of thunder was so alarming. There is no describing lightning on the Plains. While a storm lasts, there seems to be an incessant glare. To be sure, there is not the smallest flash that does not illumine the tent, and there is no way of hiding from the blinding light. In a letter written to my husband while the effect of the fright was still fresh on my mind, I told him "the heavens seemed to shower down fire upon the earth, and in one minute and a half we counted twenty-five distinct peals of thunder." There seemed to be nothing for us to do but to lie quaking and terrified under the covers. The tents of the officers were placed at some distance from ours intentionally, as it is impossible to speak low enough, under canvas, to avoid being heard, unless a certain space intervenes. It is the custom to allow a good deal of ground to intervene, if the guard is so posted as to command the approach to all the tents. The result was, that we dared not venture to try to reach a neighbor; we simply had to endure the situation, as no cry could be heard above the din of the constantly increasing storm. In the midst of this quaking and misery, the voice of some officers outside called to ask if we were afraid. Finding that the storm was advancing to a tornado, they had decided to return to us and render assistance if they could, or at least to quiet our fears. The very sound of their voices calmed us, and we dressed and went into the outer tent to admit them. The entrance had been made secure by leather straps and buckles that the General had the saddler put on; and in order to strengthen the tents against these hurricanes, which we had already learned were so violent and sudden, he had ordered poles at each corner sunk deep into the ground. These, being notched, had saplings laid across either side, and to these the tent-ropes were bound. We were thus seemingly secured between two barriers. He even went further in his precautions, and fastened a picket-rope, which is a small cable of itself, to either end of the ridge-pole, stretching it at the front and rear, and fasting it with an iron pin driven into the ground. As we opened two or three of the straps to admit the officers and Eliza, who always overcame every obstacle to get to me in danger, the wind drove in a sheet of rain upon us, and we found it difficult to strap the opening again. As for the guy-ropes and those that tied the tent at the sides, all this creaking, loosening cordage proved how little we could count upon its stability. The great tarpaulin, of the heaviest canvas made, which was spread over our larger tent and out in the front for a porch, flapped wildly, lashing our poor little "rag house" as if in a fury of rage. Indeed, the whole canvas seemed as if it might have been a cambric handkerchief, for the manner in which it was wrenched and twisted above and on all sides of us. The tallow candle was only kept lighted by surrounding it with boxes to protect its feeble flame from the wind. The rain descended in such sheets, driven by the hurricane, that it even pressed in the tent-walls; and in spite of the trenches, that every good campaigner digs about the tent, we were almost inundated by the streams that entered under the lower edge of the walls.

The officers, finding we were sure to be drenched, began to fortify us for the night. They feared the tent would go down, and that the ridge-pole of a hospital-tent, being so much larger than that of a wall-tent, would do some fatal injury to us. They piled all the available furniture in a hollow square, leaving a little space for us. Fortunately, some one, coming down from the post a few days before, had observed that we had no table. There was no lumber at the post, and the next best thing was to send us a zinc-covered board which had first served for a stove; secondly, with the addition of rude supports, as our table, and now did duty in its third existence as a life-preserver; for the ground was softening with the moisture, and we could not protect our feet, except for the narrow platform on which we huddled. At last the booming of the thunder seemed to abate somewhat, though the wind still shrieked and roared over the wide plain, as it bore down upon our frail shelter. But the tent, though swaying and threatening to break from its moorings, had been true to us through what we supposed to be the worst of the tempest, and we began to put some confidence in the cordage and picket-pins. The officers decided to return to their tents, promising to come again should there be need, and we reluctantly permitted them to go. Eliza put down something on which we could step over the pools into the other tent, and we fell into bed, exhausted with terror and excitement, hardly noticing how wet and cold we and the blankets were.

Hardly had we fallen into a doze, when the voice of the guard at the entrance called out to us to get up and make haste for our lives; the flood was already there! We were so agitated that it was difficult even to find the clothes that we had put under the pillow to keep them from further soaking, much more to get into them. It was then impossible to remain inside of the tent. We crept through the opening, and, to our horror, the lightning revealed the creek--which we had last seen, the night before, a little rill in the bottom of the gully--now on a level with the high banks. The tops of good-sized trees, which fringed the stream, were barely visible, as the current swayed the branches in its onward sweep. The water had risen in that comparatively short time thirty-five feet, and was then creeping into the kitchen tent, which, as usual, was pitched near the bank. I believe no one attempted to account for those terrific rises in the streams, except as partly due to water-spouts, which were common in the early days of Kansas. I have seen the General hold his watch in his hand after the bursting of a rain-cloud, and keep reckoning for the soldier who was measuring with a stick at the stream's bed, and for a time it recorded an inch a minute.

Of course the camp was instantly astir after the alarm of the guard. But the rise of the water is so insidious often, that a sentinel walking his beat a few yards away will sometimes be unconscious of it until the danger is upon the troops. The soldiers, our own man, detailed as striker, and Eliza, were not so "stampeded," as they expressed it, as to forget our property. Almost everything that we possessed in the world was there, much of our property being fortunately still boxed. I had come out to camp with a valise, but the wagon-train afterward brought most of our things, as we supposed we had left Fort Riley forever. The soldiers worked like beavers to get everything they could farther from the water, upon a little rise of ground at one side of our tents. Eliza, the coolest of all, took command, and we each carried what we could, forgetting the lightning in our excitement.

The officers who had come to us in the early part of the tempest now returned. They found their own camp unapproachable. The group of tents having been pitched on a bend in the crooked stream, which had the advantage of the circle of trees that edged the water, was now found to be in the worst possible locality, as the torrent had swept over the narrow strip of earth and left the camp on a newly made island, perfectly inaccessible. The lives of the men and horses stranded on this little water-locked spot were in imminent peril. The officers believed us when we said we would do what we could to care for ourselves if they would go at once, as they had set out to do, and find succor for the soldiers. It was a boon to have something that it was necessary to do, which kept us from absolute abandonment to terror. We hardly dared look toward the rushing torrent; the agony of seeing the water steal nearer and nearer our tent was almost unendurable. As we made our way from the heap of household belongings, back and forth to the tent, carrying burdens that we could not even have lifted in calmer moments, the lightning became more vivid and the whole arc above us seemed aflame. We were aghast at what the brilliant light revealed. Between the bluffs that rose gradually from the stream, and the place where we were on its banks, a wide newly made river spread over land that had been perfectly dry, and, as far as any one knew, had never been inundated before. The water had overflowed the banks of the stream above us, and swept across the slight depression that intervened between our ground and the hills. We were left on that narrow neck of land, and the water on either side of us, seen in the lightning's glare, appeared like two boundless seas. The creek had broken over its banks and divided us from the post below, while the garrison found themselves on an island also, as the water took a new course down there, and cut them off from the bluffs. This was a misfortune to us, as we had so small a number of men and sorely needed what help the post could have offered.

While we ran hither and thither, startled at the shouts of the officers and men as they called to one another, dreading some new terror, our hearts sinking with uncontrollable fright at the wild havoc the storm was making, the two dogs that the General valued, Turk, the bull-dog, and Rover, his favorite fox-hound, broke their chains and flew at each other's throat. Their warfare had been long and bloody, and they meant that night to end the contest. The ferocity of the bull-dog was not greater than that of the old hound. The soldiers sprang at them again and again to separate them. The fangs of each showed partly buried in the other's throat, but finally, one powerful man choked the bull-dog into relaxing his hold. The remnants of the gashed and bleeding contestants were again tied at a secure distance, and the soldiers renewed their work to prevent the tents from falling. I remember that in one gale, especially furious, seventeen clung to the guy-rope in front and saved the canvas from downfall.

But, after all, something worse awaited us than all this fury of the elements and the dread of worse to come to ourselves; for the reality of the worst that can come to anyone was then before us without a warning. There rang out on the air, piercing our ears even in the uproar of the tempest, sounds that no one, once hearing, ever forgets. They were the despairing cries of drowning men. In an instant our danger was forgotten; but the officers and men were scattered along the stream beyond our call, and Eliza was now completely unnerved. We ran up and down the bank, wringing our hands, she calling to me, "Oh, Miss Libbie! what shall we do? What shall we do?" We tried to scream to those dark forms hurrying by us, that help might come farther down. Alas! the current grew more furious as the branch poured into the main stream, and we could distinguish, by the oft-repeated glare of the lightning, the men waving their arms imploringly as they were swept down with tree-trunks, masses of earth, and heaps of rubbish that the current was drifting by. We were helpless to attempt their rescue. There can be few moments in existence that hold such agonizing suffering as those where one is appealed to for life, and is powerless to give succor. I thought of the ropes about our tent, and ran to unwind one; but they were lashed to the poles, stiff with moisture, and tied with sailors' intricate knots. In a frenzy, I tugged at the fastenings, bruising my hands and tearing the nails. The guy-ropes were equally unavailable, for no knife we had could cut such a cable.

Eliza, beside herself with grief to think she could not help the dying soldiers with whom she had been such a favorite, came running to me where I was insanely struggling with the cordage, and cried, "Miss Libbie, there's a chance for us with one man. He's caught in the branches of a tree; but I've seen his face, and he's alive. He's most all of him under water, and the current is a-switchin' him about so he can't hold out long. Miss Libbie, there's my clothes-line we _could_ take, but I can't do it, I can't do it! Miss Libbie, you wouldn't have me to do it, would you? For where will we get another?" The grand humanity that illumined the woman's face, full of the nobility of desire to save life, was so interwoven with frugality and her inveterate habit of protecting our things, that I hardly know how the controversy in her own mind would have ended if I had not flown to the kitchen tent to get the clothes-line. The current swayed the drowning man so violently he was afraid to loosen his hold of the branches to reach the rope as we threw it to him over and over again, and it seemed momentarily that he must be torn from our sight. The hue of death was on his face--that terrible blue look--while the features were pinched with suffering, and the eyes starting from their sockets. He was naked to the waist, and the chill of the water, and of those hours that come before dawn, had almost benumbed the fingers that clutched the branches. Eliza, like me, has forgotten nothing that happened during that horrible night, and I give part of her story, the details of which it is so difficult for me to recall with calmness:

"Miss Libbie, don't you mind when we took the clothes-line an' went near to him as we could get, he didn't seem to understan' what we was up to? We made a loop and showed it to him, when a big flash of lightnin' came and made a glare, and tried to call to him to put it over his head. The noise of the water, and the crashin' of the logs that was comin' down, beside the thunder, drownded out our voices. Well, we worked half an hour over that man. He thought you and me, Miss Libbie, couldn't pull him in--that we wasn't strong enough. He seemed kind o' dazed-like; and the only way I made him know what the loop was for, I put it on over my body and made signs. Even then, he was so swept under that part of the bank, and it was so dark, I didn't think we could get him. I could hear him bubblin', bellowin', drownin' and gaggin'. Well, we pulled him in at last, though I got up to my waist in water. He was cold and blue, his teeth chatterin'; he just shuck and shuck, and his eyes was perfectly wild. We had to help him, for he could hardly walk to the cook tent. I poured hot coffee down him; and, Miss Libbie, you tore aroun' in the dark and found your way to the next tent for whisky, and the lady that never was known to keep any before, had some then. And I wrapped the drownded man in the blouse the Ginnel give me. It was cold, and I was wet and I needed it, Miss Libbie; but didn't that man, as soon as ever his teeth stopped a-chatterin', jest get up and walk off with it? And, Miss Libbie, the Ginnel wrote to you after that, from some expedition, that he had seen the soldier Eliza gave her clothes-line to save, and he sent his thanks and asked how I was, and said I had saved his life. I just sent back word, in the next letter you wrote the Ginnel, to ask if that man said anything about my blouse he wore off that night. You gave one of the Ginnel's blue shirts to a half-naked, drownded man. We saved two more and wrapped 'em in blankets, and you rubbed 'em with red pepper, and kept the fire red-hot, and talked to them, tryin' to get the shiver and the scare out of 'em. I tell you, Miss Libbie, we made a fight for their lives, if ever any one did. The clothes-line did it all. One was washed near to our tent, and I grabbed his hand. We went roun' with our lanterns, and it was so dark we 'spected every moment to step into a watery grave, for the water was so near us, and the flashes of lightnin' would show that it was a-comin' on and on. Turk and Rover would fight just by looking at each other, and in all that mess they fell on each other, an' I was sure they was goin' to kill each other, and, oh, my! the Ginnel would have taken on so about it! But the soldiers dragged them apart." 

Seven men were drowned near our tent, and their agonizing cries, when they were too far out in the current for us to throw our line, are sounds that will never be stilled. The men were from the Colonel's escort on the temporary island above us. The cavalrymen attempted, as the waters rose about them, to swim their horses to the other shore; but all were lost who plunged in, for the violence of the current made swimming an impossibility. A few negro soldiers belonging to the infantry were compelled to remain where they were, though the water stood three feet in some of the tents. When the violence of the storm had abated a little, one of the officers swam the narrowest part of the stream, and, taking a wagon-bed, made a ferry, so that with the help of soldiers that he had left behind holding one end of the rope he had taken over, the remaining soldiers were rescued and brought down to our little strip of land. Alas! this narrowed and narrowed, until we all appeared to be doomed. The officers felt their helplessness when they realized that four women looked to them for protection. They thought over every imaginable plan. It was impossible to cross the inundated part of the plain, though their horses were saddled, with the thought that each one might swim with us through the shallowest of the water. They rode into this stretch of impassable prairie, but the water was too swift, even then, to render it anything but perilous. They decided that if the water continued to rise with the same rapidity we would be washed away, as we could not swim, nor had we strength to cling to anything. This determined them to resort to a plan that, happily, we knew nothing of until the danger was passed. We were to be strapped to the Gatling guns as an anchorage. These are, perhaps, the lightest of all artillery, but might have been heavy enough to resist the action of what current rose over our island. There would have been one chance in ten thousand of rescue under such circumstances, but I doubt if being pinioned there, watching the waves closing around us, would have been as merciful as permitting us to float off into a quicker death.

While the officers and men with us were working with all their might to save lives and property, the little post was beleaguered. The flood came so unexpectedly that the first known of it was the breaking in of the doors of the quarters. The poorly built, leaky, insecure adobe houses had been heretofore a protection, but the freshet filled them almost instantly with water. The quarters of the laundresses were especially endangered, being on even lower ground than the officers' houses. The women were hurried out in their night-dresses, clasping their crying children, while they ran to places pointed out by the officers, to await orders. Even then, one of our Seventh Cavalry officers, who happened to be temporarily at the garrison, clambered up to the roof of an adobe house to discover whether the women of his regiment were in peril. The same plan for rescue was adopted at the post that had been partly successful above. A ferry was improvised out of a wagon-bed, and into this were collected the women and children. The post was thus emptied in time to prevent loss of life. First the women, then the sick from the hospital, and finally the drunken men; for the hospital liquor was broken into, and it takes but a short time to make a soldier helplessly drunk. The Government property had to be temporarily abandoned, and a great deal was destroyed or swept away by the water. It was well that the camp women were inured to hardship, for the condition in which the cold, wet, frightened creatures landed, without any protection from the storm, on the opposite bank, was pitiful. One laundress had no screams of terror or groans of suffering over physical fright; her wails were loud and continuous because her savings had been left in the quarters, and facing death in that frail box, as she was pulled through the turbid flood, was nothing to the pecuniary loss. It was all the men could do to keep her from springing into the wagon-bed to return and search for her money.

On still another branch of Big Creek there was another body of men wrestling with wind and wave. Several companies, marching to New Mexico, had encamped for the night, and the freshet came as suddenly upon them as upon all of us. The colonel in command had to seize his wife, and wade up to his arms in carrying her to a safe place. Even then, they were warned that the safety was but temporary. The ambulance was harnessed up, and they drove through water that almost swept them away, before they reached higher ground. There was a strange coincidence about the death, eventually, of this officer's wife. A year afterward they were encamped on a Texas stream, with similar high banks, betokening freshets, and the waters rose suddenly, compelling them to take flight in the ambulance again; but this time the wagon was overturned by the current, and the poor woman was drowned.

When the day dawned, we were surrounded by water, and the havoc about us was dreadful. But what a relief it was to have the rain cease, and feel the comfort of daylight! Eliza broke up her bunk to make a fire, and we had breakfast for everybody, owing to her self-sacrifice! The water began to subside, and the place looked like a vast laundry. All the camp was flying with blankets, bedding and clothes. We were drenched, of course, having no dry shoes even, to replace those in which we had raced about in the mud during the night. But these were small inconveniences, compared with the agony of terror that the night had brought. As the morning advanced, and the stream fell constantly, we were horrified by the sight of a soldier, swollen beyond all recognition, whose drowned body was imbedded in the side of the bank, where no one could reach it, and where we could not escape the sight of it. He was one who had implored us to save him, and our failure to do so seemed even more terrible than the night before, as we could not keep our fascinated gaze from the stiffened arm that seemed to have been stretched out entreatingly.

Though we were thankful for our deliverance, the day was a depressing one, for the horror of the drowning men near us could not be put out of our minds. As night came on again, the clouds began to look ominous; it was murky, and it rained a little.


At dark word came from the fort, to which some of the officers had returned, that we must attempt to get to the high ground, as the main stream, Big Creek, was again rising. All the officers were alarmed. They kept measuring the advance of the stream themselves, and guards were stationed at intervals, to note the rise of the water and report its progress. The torch-lights they held were like tiny fire-flies, so dark was the night. An ambulance was driven to our tent to make the attempt to cross the water, which had abated there slightly, and, if possible, to reach the divide beyond. One of the officers went in advance, on horseback, to try the depth of the water. It was a failure, and the others forbade our going, thinking it would be suicidal. While they were arguing, Diana and I were wrapping ourselves in what outside garments we had in the tent. She had been plucky through the terrible night, writing next morning to the General that she never wished herself for one moment at home, and that even with such a fright she could never repay us for bringing her out to a life she liked so much. Yet as we tremblingly put on our outside things, she began to be agitated over a subject so ridiculous in such a solemn and dangerous hour, that I could not keep my face from what might have been a smile under less serious circumstances. Her trepidation was about her clothes. She asked me anxiously what she should do for dresses next day, and insisted that she must take her small trunk. In vain I argued that we had nowhere to go. We could but sit in the ambulance till dawn, even if we were fortunate enough to escape to the bluff. She still persisted, saying, "What if we should reach a fort, and I was obliged to appear in the gown I now wear?" I asked her to remember that the next fort was eighty miles distant, with enough water between it and us to float a ship, not to mention roving bands of Indians lying in wait; but this by no means quieted her solicitude about her appearance. At last I suggested her putting on three dresses, one over the other, and then taking, in the little trunk from which she could not part, the most necessary garments and gowns. When I went out to get into the wagon, after the other officers had left, and found our one escort determined still to venture, I was obliged to explain that Diana could not make up her mind to part with her trunk. He was astounded that at such an hour, in such a dangerous situation, clothes should ever enter anyone's head. But the trunk appeared at the entrance of the tent, to verify my words. He argued that with a wagon loaded with several people, it would be perilous to add unnecessary weight in driving through such ground. Then, with all his chivalry, working night and day to help us, there came an instant when he could no longer do justice to the occasion in our presence; so he stalked off to one side, and what he said to himself was lost in the growl of the thunder.

The trunk was secured in the ambulance, and Diana, Eliza and I followed. There we sat, getting wetter, more frightened and less plucky as the time rolled on. Again were we forbidden to attempt this mode of escape, and condemned to return to the tent, which was vibrating in the wind and menacing a downfall. No woman ever wished more ardently for a brown-stone front than I longed for a dug-out. Any hole in the side of a bank would have been a palace to me, living as I did in momentary expectation of no covering at all. The rarest, most valuable of homes meant to me something that could not blow away. Those women who take refuge in these days in their cyclone cellar--now the popular architecture of the West--will know well how comforting it is to possess something that cannot be readily lifted up and deposited in a neighboring county.

With the approach of midnight, there was again an abatement in the rain, and the water of the stream ceased to creep toward us; so the officers, gaining some confidence in its final subsidence, again left us to go to their tents. For three days the clouds and thunder threatened, but at last the sun appeared. In a letter to my husband, dated June 9, 1867, I wrote: "When the sun came out yesterday, we could almost have worshipped it, like the heathen. We have had some dreadful days, and had not all the officers been so kind to us, I do not know how we could have endured what we have. Even some whom we do not know have shown the greatest solicitude in our behalf. We are drenching wet still, and everything we have is soggy with moisture. Last evening, after two sleepless nights, Mrs. Gibbs and her two boys, Alphie and Blair, Diana and I, were driven across the plain, from which the water is fast disappearing, to the coveted divide beyond. It is not much higher, as you know, than the spot where our tents are; but it looked like a mountain, as we watched it, while the water rose all around us. Some of the officers had tents pitched there, and we women were given the Sibley tent with the floor, that sheltered me in the other storm. We dropped down in heaps, we were so exhausted for want of sleep, and it was such a relief to know that at last the water could not reach us." The letter (continued from day to day, as no scouts were sent out) described the moving of the camp to more secure ground. It was incessant motion, for no place was wholly satisfactory to the officers. I confessed that I was a good deal unnerved by the frights, that every sound startled me, and a shout from a soldier stopped my breathing almost, so afraid was I that it was the alarm of another freshet--while the clouds were never more closely watched than at that time.

A fresh trouble awaited me, for General Hancock came to camp from Harker, and brought bad news. The letter continues: "The dangers and terrors of the last few days are nothing, compared with the information that General Hancock brings. It came near being the last proverbial 'straw.' I was heart-sick, indeed, when I found that our schemes for being together soon were so ruthlessly crushed. General Hancock says that it looks as if you would be in the Department of the Platte for several months--at which he is justly indignant--but he is promised your return before the summer is ended. He thinks, that if I want to go so badly, I may manage to make you a flying visit up there; and this is all that keeps me up. The summer here, so far separated from you, seems to stretch out like an arid desert. If there were the faintest shadow of a chance that I would see you here again, I would not go, as we are ordered to. I will come back here again if I think there is the faintest prospect of seeing you. If you say so, I will go to Fort McPherson on the cars, if I get the ghost of an opportunity."

Eliza, in ending her recollections of the flood at Fort Hays, says, "Well, Miss Libbie, when the water rose so, and the men was a-drownin', I said to myself in the night, if God spared me, that would be the last of war for me; but when the waters went down and the sun came out, then we began to cheer each other up, and were willing to go right on from there, if we could, for we wanted to see the Ginnel so bad. But who would have thought that the stream would have risen around the little knoll as it did? The Ginnel thought he had fixed us so nice, and he had, Miss Libbie, for it was the knoll that saved us. The day the regiment left for Fort McPherson the Ginnel staid behind till dark, gettin' everythin' in order to make you comfortable, and he left at 12 o'clock at night, with his escort, to join the troops. He'd rather ride ride all night than miss that much of his visit with you. Before he went, he came to my tent to say good-by. I stuck my hand out, and said, 'Ginnel, I don't like to see you goin' off in this wild country, at this hour of the night.' . . . 'I have to go,' he says, 'wherever I'm called. Take care of Libbie, Eliza,' and puttin' spurs to his horse, off he rode. Then I thought they'd certainly get him, ridin' right into the mouth of 'em. You know how plain the sound comes over the prairie, with nothin', no trees or anythin', to interfere. Well, in the night I was hearin' _quare_ sounds. Some might have said they was buffalo, but on thy went, lumpety lump, lumpety lump, and they was Indians! Miss Libbie, sure as you're born, they was Indians gettin' out of the way, and, oh! I was so scart for the Ginnel."

Note: This is Chapter 17 of the Book Tenting on the Plains or General Custer in Kansas and Texas, by Elizabeth B. Custer. (originally published 1895) You can download this book at the Project Gutenberg website.