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HANCOCK'S EXPEDITION.
 
 
 
 In the spring of 1867, General Hancock, who then commanded the military
 division of the Missouri, with headquarters at Fort Leavenworth,
 Kansas, organized an expedition against the Indians of the great
 plains, which he led in person.  With him was General Custer, second
 ranking officer, from whom I quote the story of the march and some
 of the incidents of the raid.
 
 General Hancock, with the artillery and six companies of infantry,
 arrived at Fort Riley, Kansas, the last week in March, where he was
 joined by four companies of the Seventh Cavalry, commanded by the
 intrepid Custer.
 
 From Fort Riley the expedition marched to Fort Harker, seventy-two
 miles farther west, on the Smoky Hill, where the force was increased
 by the addition of two more troops of cavalry.  Remaining there only
 long enough to replenish their commissary supplies, the march was
 directed to Fort Larned on the Old Santa Fe Trail.  On the 7th of
 April the command reached the latter post, accompanied by the agent
 of the Comanches and Kiowas; at the fort the agent of the Cheyennes,
 Arapahoes, and Apaches was waiting for the arrival of the general.
 The agent of the three last-mentioned tribes had already sent runners
 to the head chiefs, inviting them to a grand council which was to
 assemble near the fort on the 10th of the month, and he requested
 General Hancock to remain at the fort with his command until that date.
 
 On the 9th of April a terrible snow-storm came on while the troops
 were encamped waiting for the head men of the various tribes to arrive.
 Custer says:
 
           It was our good fortune to be in camp rather than on the
           march; had it been otherwise, we could not well have escaped
           without loss of life.  The cavalry horses suffered severely,
           and were only preserved by doubling their rations of oats,
           while to prevent their being frozen during the intensely
           cold night which followed, the guards were instructed to
           pass along the picket lines with a whip, and keep the
           horses moving constantly.  The snow was eight inches deep.
           The council, which was to take place the next day, had to be
           postponed until the return of good weather.  Now began the
           display of a kind of diplomacy for which the Indian is
           peculiar.  The Cheyennes and a band of Sioux were encamped
           on Pawnee Fork, about thirty miles above Fort Larned.
           They neither desired to move nearer to us or have us
           approach nearer to them.  On the morning of the 11th,
           they sent us word that they had started to visit us, but,
           discovering a large herd of buffalo near their camp,
           they had stopped to procure a supply of meat.  This message
           was not received with much confidence, nor was a buffalo
           hunt deemed of sufficient importance to justify the Indians
           in breaking their engagement.  General Hancock decided,
           however, to delay another day, when, if the Indians still
           failed to come in, he would move his command to the vicinity
           of their village and hold the conference there.
 
           Orders were issued on the evening of the 12th for the march
           to be resumed on the following day.  Late in the evening
           two chiefs of the "Dog-Soldiers," a band composed of the
           most warlike and troublesome Indians on the plains,
           chiefly made up of Cheyennes, visited our camp.  They were
           accompanied by a dozen warriors, and expressed a desire to
           hold a conference with General Hancock, to which he assented.
           A large council-fire was built in front of the general's
           tent, and all the officers of his command assembled there.
           A tent had been erected for the accommodation of the chiefs
           a short distance from the general's.  Before they could
           feel equal to the occasion, and in order to obtain time to
           collect their thoughts, they desired that supper might be
           prepared for them, which was done.  When finally ready,
           they advanced from their tent to the council-fire in single
           file, accompanied by their agent and an interpreter.
           Arrived at the fire, another brief delay ensued.  No matter
           how pressing or momentous the occasion, an Indian invariably
           declines to engage in a council until he has filled his pipe
           and gone through with the important ceremony of a smoke.
           This attended to, the chiefs announced that they were ready
           "to talk."  They were then introduced to the principal
           officers of the group, and seemed much struck with the
           flashy uniforms of the few artillery officers, who were
           present in all the glory of red horsehair plumes,
           aiguillettes, etc.  The chiefs seemed puzzled to determine
           whether these insignia designated chieftains or medicine men.
           General Hancock began the conference by a speech, in which
           he explained to the Indians his purpose in coming to see
           them, and what he expected of them in the future.
           He particularly informed them that he was not there to make
           war, but to promote peace.  Then, expressing his regrets
           that more of the chiefs had not visited him, he announced
           his intention of proceeding on the morrow with his command
           to the vicinity of their village, and there holding a
           council with all the chiefs.  Tall Bull, a fine, warlike-looking
           chieftain, replied to General Hancock, but his speech
           contained nothing important, being made up of allusions to
           the growing scarcity of the buffalo, his love for the white
           man, and the usual hint that a donation in the way of
           refreshments would be highly acceptable; he added that he
           would have nothing new to say at the village.
 
           Rightly concluding that the Indians did not intend to come
           to our camp, as they had at first agreed to, it was decided
           to move nearer their village.  On the morning following the
           conference our entire force, therefore, marched from
           Fort Larned up Pawnee Fork in the direction of the main
           village, encamping the first night about twenty-one miles
           from Larned.  Several parties of Indians were seen in our
           advance during the day, evidently watching our movements,
           while a heavy smoke, seen to rise in the direction of the
           Indian village, indicated that something more than usual
           was going on.  The smoke, we afterward learned, arose from
           burning grass.  The Indians, thinking to prevent us from
           encamping in their vicinity, had set fire to and burned all
           the grass for miles in the direction from which they
           expected us.  Before we arrived at our camping-ground,
           we were met by several chiefs and warriors belonging to the
           Cheyennes and Sioux.  Among the chiefs were Pawnee Killer,
           of the Sioux, and White Horse, of the Cheyennes.  It was
           arranged that these chiefs should accept our hospitality
           and remain with us during the night, and in the morning all
           the chiefs of the two tribes then in the village were to
           come to General Hancock's head-quarters and hold a council.
           On the morning of the 14th, Pawnee Killer left our camp at
           an early hour, as he said for the purpose of going to the
           village to bring in the other chiefs to the council.
           Nine o'clock had been agreed upon as the time at which the
           council should assemble.  The hour came, but the chiefs
           did not.  Now an Indian council is not only often an
           important, but always an interesting, occasion.  At this
           juncture, Bull Bear, an influential chief among the
           Cheyennes, came in and reported that the chiefs were on
           their way to our camp, but would not be able to reach it
           for some time.  This was a mere artifice to secure delay.
           General Hancock informed Bull Bear that, as the chiefs
           could not arrive for some time, he would move his forces
           up the stream nearer the village, and the council could be
           held at our camp that night.  To this proposition Bull Bear
           gave his consent.
 
           At 11 A.M. we resumed the march, and had proceeded but a few
           miles when we witnessed one of the finest and most imposing
           military displays, according to the Indian art of war,
           which it has been my lot to behold.  It was nothing more
           nor less than an Indian line of battle drawn directly
           across our line of march, as if to say, "Thus far and no
           further."  Most of the Indians were mounted; all were
           bedecked in their brightest colours, their heads crowned
           with the brilliant war-bonnet, their lances bearing the
           crimson pennant, bows strung, and quivers full of barbed
           arrows.  In addition to these weapons, which, with the
           hunting-knife and tomahawk, are considered as forming the
           armament of the warrior, each one was supplied with either
           a breech-loading rifle or revolver, sometimes with both--
           the latter obtained through the wise forethought and strong
           love of fair play which prevails in the Indian department,
           which, seeing that its wards are determined to fight,
           is equally determined that there shall be no advantage taken,
           but that the two sides shall be armed alike; proving, too,
           in this manner, the wonderful liberality of our government,
           which is not only able to furnish its soldiers with the
           latest style of breech-loaders to defend it and themselves,
           but is equally able and willing to give the same pattern
           of arms to the common foe.  The only difference is, that if
           the soldier loses his weapon, he is charged double price
           for it, while to avoid making any such charge against the
           Indian, his weapons are given him without conditions attached.
 
           In the line of battle before us there were several hundred
           Indians, while further to the rear and at different
           distances were other organized bodies, acting apparently
           as reserves.  Still further behind were small detachments
           who seemed to perform the duty of couriers, and were held
           in readiness to convey messages to the village.  The ground
           beyond was favourable for an extended view, and as far as
           the eye could reach, small groups of individuals could be
           seen in the direction of the village; these were evidently
           parties of observation, whose sole object was to learn the
           result of our meeting with the main body and hasten with
           the news to the village.
 
           For a few moments appearances seemed to foreshadow anything
           but a peaceable issue.  The infantry was in the advance,
           followed closely by the artillery, while my command,
           the cavalry, was marching on the flank.  General Hancock,
           who was riding with his staff at the head of the column,
           coming suddenly in view of the wild, fantastic battle array,
           which extended far to our right and left, and was not more
           than half a mile in our front, hastily sent orders to the
           infantry, artillery, and cavalry to form in line of battle,
           evidently determined that, if war was intended, we should be
           prepared.  The cavalry being the last to form on the right,
           came into line on a gallop, and without waiting to align
           the ranks carefully, the command was given to "Draw sabre."
           As the bright blades flashed from their scabbards into the
           morning sunlight, and the infantry brought their muskets
           to a carry, a contrast was presented which, to a military
           eye, could but be striking.  Here in battle array, facing
           each other, were the representatives of civilized and
           barbarous warfare.  The one, with few modifications, stood
           clothed in the same rude style of dress, bearing the same
           patterned shield and weapon that his ancestors had borne
           centuries before; the other confronted him in the dress
           and supplied with the implements of war which an advanced
           stage of civilization had pronounced the most perfect.
           Was the comparative superiority of these two classes to be
           subjected to the mere test of war here?  All was eager
           anxiety and expectation.  Neither side seemed to comprehend
           the object or intentions of the other; each was waiting
           for the other to deliver the first blow.  A more beautiful
           battle-ground could not have been chosen.  Not a bush or
           even the slightest irregularity of ground intervened between
           the two lines, which now stood frowning and facing each other.
           Chiefs could be seen riding along the line, as if directing
           and exhorting their braves to deeds of heroism.
 
           After a few moments of painful suspense, General Hancock,
           accompanied by General A. J. Smith and other officers,
           rode forward, and through an interpreter invited the chiefs
           to meet us midway for the purpose of an interview.
           In response to this invitation, Roman Nose, bearing a white
           flag, accompanied by Bull Bear, White Horse, Gray Beard,
           and Medicine Wolf, on the part of the Cheyennes, and Pawnee
           Killer, Bad Wound, Tall-Bear-That-Walks-under-the-Ground,
           Left Hand, Little Bear, and Little Bull, on the part of the
           Sioux, rode forward to the middle of the open space between
           the two lines.  Here we shook hands with all the chiefs,
           most of them exhibiting unmistakable signs of gratification
           at this apparently peaceful termination of our rencounter.
           General Hancock very naturally inquired the object of the
           hostile attitude displayed before us, saying to the chiefs
           that if war was their object, we were ready then and there
           to participate.  Their immediate answer was that they did
           not desire war, but were peacefully disposed.  They were
           then told that we would continue our march toward the
           village, and encamp near it, but would establish such
           regulations that none of the soldiers would be permitted
           to approach or disturb them.  An arrangement was then
           effected by which the chiefs were to assemble at General
           Hancock's headquarters as soon as our camp was pitched.
           The interview then terminated, and the Indians moved off
           in the direction of their village, we following leisurely
           in the rear.
 
           A march of a few miles brought us in sight of the village,
           which was situated in a beautiful grove on the bank of the
           stream up which we had been marching.  It consisted of
           upwards of three hundred lodges, a small fraction over half
           belonging to the Cheyennes, the remainder to the Sioux.
           Like all Indian encampments, the ground chosen was a most
           romantic spot, and at the same time fulfilled in every
           respect the requirements of a good camping-ground; wood,
           water, and grass were abundant.  The village was placed on
           a wide, level plateau, while on the north and west, at a
           short distance off, rose high bluffs, which admirably served
           as a shelter against the cold winds which at that season of
           the year prevail from those directions.  Our tents were
           pitched within a mile of the village.  Guards were placed
           between to prevent intrusion upon our part.  We had scarcely
           pitched our tents when Roman Nose, Bull Bear, Gray Beard,
           and Medicine Wolf, all prominent chiefs of the Cheyenne
           nation, came into camp with the information that upon our
           approach their women and children had all fled from the
           village, alarmed by the presence of so many soldiers, and
           imagining a second Chivington massacre to be intended.
           General Hancock insisted that they should all return,
           promising protection and good treatment to all; that if
           the camp was abandoned, he would hold it responsible.
           The chiefs then stated their belief in their ability to
           recall the fugitives, could they be furnished with horses
           to overtake them.  This was accordingly done, and two of
           them set out mounted on two of our horses.  An agreement
           was also entered into at the same time, that one of our
           interpreters, Ed Gurrier, a half-breed Cheyenne, who was in
           the employ of the government, should remain in the village
           and report every two hours as to whether any Indians were
           leaving there.  This was about seven o'clock in the evening.
           At half-past nine the half-breed returned to head-quarters
           with the intelligence that all the chiefs and warriors were
           saddling up to leave, under circumstances showing that they
           had no intention of returning, such as packing up every
           article that could be carried with them, and cutting and
           destroying their lodges--this last being done to obtain
           small pieces for temporary shelter.
 
           I had retired to my tent, which was some few hundred yards
           from that of General Hancock, when a messenger from the
           latter awakened me with the information that the general
           desired my presence in his tent.  He briefly stated the
           situation of affairs, and directed me to mount my command
           as quickly and as silently as possible, surround the Indian
           village, and prevent the departure of its inhabitants.
           Easily said, but not so easily done.  Under ordinary
           circumstances, silence not being necessary, I could have
           returned to my camp, and by a few blasts from the trumpet,
           placed every soldier on his saddle almost as quickly as it
           has taken time to write this short sentence.  No bugle calls
           must be sounded; we were to adopt some of the stealth of the
           Indians--how successfully remained to be seen.  By this time
           every soldier and officer was in his tent sound asleep.
           First going to the tent of the adjutant and arousing him,
           I procured an experienced assistant in my labours.  Next the
           captains of companies were awakened and orders imparted
           to them.  They in turn transmitted the order to the first
           sergeant, who similarly aroused the men.  It has often
           surprised me to observe the alacrity with which disciplined
           soldiers, experienced in campaigning, will hasten to prepare
           themselves for the march in an emergency like this.
           No questions are asked, no time is wasted.  A soldier's
           toilet, on an Indian campaign, is a simple affair, and
           requires little time for arranging.  His clothes are
           gathered up hurriedly, no matter how, so long as he retains
           possession of them.  The first object is to get his horse
           saddled and bridled, and until this is done his own dress
           is a matter of secondary importance, and one button or hook
           must do the duty of half a dozen.  When his horse is ready
           for the mount, the rider will be seen completing his own
           equipment; stray buttons will receive attention, arms will
           be overhauled, spurs restrapped; then, if there still remain
           a few spare moments, the homely black pipe is filled and
           lighted, and the soldier's preparation is complete.
 
           The night was all that could be desired for the success of
           our enterprise.  The air was mild and pleasant; the moon,
           although nearly full, kept almost constantly behind the
           clouds, as if to screen us in our hazardous undertaking.
           I say hazardous, because none of us imagined for one moment
           that if the Indians discovered us in our attempt to surround
           them and their village, we should escape without a fight--
           a fight, too, in which the Indians, sheltered behind the
           trunks of the stately forest trees under which their lodges
           were pitched, would possess all the advantage.  General
           Hancock, anticipating that the Indians would discover our
           approach, and that a fight would ensue, ordered the
           artillery and infantry under arms, to await the result of
           our moonlight adventure.  My command was soon in the saddle,
           and silently making its way toward the village.
           Instructions had been given forbidding all conversation
           except in a whisper.  Sabres were disposed of to prevent
           clanging.  Taking a camp-fire which we could see in the
           village as our guiding point, we made a detour so as to
           place the village between ourselves and the infantry.
           Occasionally the moon would peep out from the clouds and
           enable us to catch a hasty glance at the village.  Here and
           there under the thick foliage we could see the white,
           conical-shaped lodges.  Were the inmates slumbering,
           unaware of our close proximity, or were their dusky defenders
           concealed, as well they might have been, along the banks of
           the Pawnee, quietly awaiting our approach, and prepared to
           greet us with their well-known war-whoop?  These were
           questions that were probably suggested to the mind of each
           individual of my command.  If we were discovered approaching
           in the stealthy, suspicious manner which characterized our
           movements, the hour being midnight, it would require a more
           confiding nature than that of the Indian to assign a
           friendly or peaceful motive to our conduct.  The same
           flashes of moonlight which gave us hurried glimpses of the
           village enabled us to see our own column of horsemen
           stretching its silent length far into the dim darkness, and
           winding its course, like some huge anaconda about to envelop
           its victim.
 
           The method by which it was determined to establish a cordon
           of armed troopers about the fated village, was to direct
           the march in a circle, with the village in the centre,
           the commanding officer of each rear troop halting his
           command at the proper point, and deploying his men similarly
           to a line of skirmishers--the entire circle, when thus formed,
           facing toward the village, and, distant from it perhaps a
           few hundred yards.  No sooner was our line completely formed
           than the moon, as if deeming darkness no longer essential
           to our success, appeared from behind her screen and lighted
           up the entire scene.  And beautiful it was!  The great
           circle of troops, each individual of which sat on his steed
           silent as a statue, the dense foliage of the cotton trees
           sheltering the bleached, skin-clad lodges of the red men,
           the little stream in the midst murmuring undisturbedly in
           its channel, all combined to produce an artistic effect,
           as striking as it was interesting.  But we were not there
           to study artistic effects.  The next step was to determine
           whether we had captured an inhabited village, involving
           almost necessarily a severe conflict with its savage
           occupants, or whether the red man had again proven too
           wily and crafty for his more civilized brothers.
 
           Directing the entire line of troopers to remain mounted
           with carbines held at the "Advance," I dismounted, and
           taking with me Gurrier, the half-breed, Dr. Coates, one of
           our medical staff, and Lieutenant Moylan, the adjutant,
           we proceeded on our hands and knees toward the village.
           The prevailing opinion was that the Indians were still
           asleep.  I desired to approach near enough to the lodges
           to enable the half-breed to hail the village in the Indian
           tongue, and if possible establish friendly relations at once.
           It became a question of prudence with us, which we discussed
           in whispers as we proceeded on our "Tramp, tramp, tramp,
           the boys are creeping," how far from our horses and how
           near to the village we dared to go.  If so few of us were
           discovered entering the village in this questionable manner,
           it was more than probable that, like the returners of stolen
           property, we should be suitably rewarded and no questions
           asked.  The opinion of Gurrier, the half-breed, was eagerly
           sought for and generally deferred to.  His wife,
           a full-blooded Cheyenne, was a resident of the village.
           This with him was an additional reason for wishing a peaceful
           termination to our efforts.  When we had passed over
           two-thirds of the distance between our horses and the
           village, it was thought best to make our presence known.
           Thus far not a sound had been heard to disturb the stillness
           of the night.  Gurrier called out at the top of his voice
           in the Cheyenne tongue.  The only response came from the
           throats of a score or more of Indian dogs which set up a
           fierce barking.  At the same time one or two of our party
           asserted that they saw figure moving beneath the trees.
           Gurrier repeated his summons, but with no better results
           than before.
 
           A hurried consultation ensued.  The presence of so many dogs
           in the village was regarded by the half-breed as almost
           positive assurance that the Indians were still there.
           Yet it was difficult to account for their silence.  Gurrier
           in a loud tone repeated who he was, and that our mission was
           friendly.  Still no answer.  He then gave it as his opinion
           that the Indians were on the alert, and were probably
           waiting in the shadow of the trees for us to approach nearer,
           when they would pounce upon us.  This comforting opinion
           induced another conference.  We must ascertain the truth of
           the matter; our party could do this as well as a larger
           number, and to go back and send another party in our stead
           could not be thought of.
 
           Forward! was the verdict.  Each one grasped his revolver,
           resolved to do his best, whether it was in running or
           fighting.  I think most of us would have preferred to take
           our own chances at running.  We had approached near enough
           to see that some of the lodges were detached some distance
           from the main encampment.  Selecting the nearest of these,
           we directed our advance on it.  While all of us were full
           of the spirit of adventure, and were further encouraged
           with the idea that we were in the discharge of our duty,
           there was scarcely one of us who would not have felt more
           comfortable if we could have got back to our horses without
           loss of pride.  Yet nothing, under the circumstances, but
           a positive order would have induced any one to withdraw.
 
           Cautiously approaching, on all fours, to within a few yards
           of the nearest lodge, occasionally halting and listening to
           discover whether the village was deserted or not, we finally
           decided that the Indians had fled before the arrival of the
           cavalry, and that none but empty lodges were before us.
           This conclusion somewhat emboldened as well as accelerated
           our progress.  Arriving at the first lodge, one of our party
           raised the curtain or mat which served as a door, and the
           doctor and myself entered.  The interior of the lodge was
           dimly lighted by the dying embers of a small fire built in
           the centre.  All around us were to be seen the usual
           adornments and articles which constitute the household
           effects of an Indian family.  Buffalo-robes were spread like
           carpets over the floor; head-mats, used to recline on, were
           arranged as if for the comfort of their owners; parflêches,
           a sort of Indian band-box, with their contents apparently
           undisturbed, were carefully stowed away under the edges or
           borders of the lodge.  These, with the door-mats, paint-bags,
           rawhide ropes, and other articles of Indian equipment,
           were left as if the owners had only absented themselves for
           a brief period.  To complete the picture of an Indian lodge,
           over the fire hung a camp-kettle, in which, by means of the
           dim light of the fire, we could see what had been intended
           for the supper of the late occupants of the lodge.
           The doctor, ever on the alert to discover additional items
           of knowledge, whether pertaining to history or science,
           snuffed the savoury odours which arose from the dark
           recesses of the mysterious kettle.  Casting about the lodge
           for some instrument to aid him in his pursuit of knowledge,
           he found a horn spoon, with which he began his investigation
           of the contents, finally succeeding in getting possession
           of a fragment which might have been the half of a duck or
           rabbit, judging from its size merely.  "Ah!" said the doctor,
           in his most complacent manner, "here is the opportunity I
           have long been waiting for.  I have often desired to test
           the Indian mode of cooking.  What do you suppose this is?"
           holding up the dripping morsel.  Unable to obtain the
           desired information, the doctor, whose naturally good
           appetite had been sensibly sharpened by his recent exercise,
           set to with a will and ate heartily of the mysterious
           contents of the kettle.  He was only satisfied on one point,
           that it was delicious--a dish fit for a king.  Just then
           Gurrier, the half-breed, entered the lodge.  He could solve
           the mystery, having spent years among the Indians.  To him
           the doctor appealed for information.  Fishing out a huge
           piece, and attacking it with the voracity of a hungry wolf,
           he was not long in determining what the doctor had supped
           heartily upon.  His first words settled the mystery: "Why,
           this is dog."  I will not attempt to repeat the few but
           emphatic words uttered by the heartily disgusted member of
           the medical fraternity as he rushed from the lodge.
 
           Other members of our small party had entered other lodges,
           only to find them, like the first, deserted.  But little of
           the furniture belonging to the lodges had been taken,
           showing how urgent and hasty had been the flight of the
           owners.  To aid in the examination of the village,
           reinforcements were added to our party, and an exploration
           of each lodge was determined upon.  At the same time a
           messenger was despatched to General Hancock, informing him
           of the flight of the Indians.  Some of the lodges were
           closed by having brush or timber piled up against the
           entrance, as if to preserve the contents.  Others had huge
           pieces cut from their sides, these pieces evidently being
           carried away to furnish temporary shelter for the fugitives.
           In most of the lodges the fires were still burning.  I had
           entered several without discovering anything important.
           Finally, in company with the doctor, I arrived at one the
           interior of which was quite dark, the fire having almost
           died out.  Procuring a lighted fagot, I prepared to explore it,
           as I had done the others; but no sooner had I entered the
           lodge than my fagot failed me, leaving me in total darkness.
           Handing it to the doctor to be relighted, I began to feel
           my way about the interior of the lodge.  I had almost made
           the circuit when my hand came in contact with a human foot;
           at the same time a voice unmistakably Indian, and which
           evidently came from the owner of the foot, convinced me that
           I was not alone.  My first impressions were that in their
           hasty flight the Indians had gone off, leaving this one
           asleep.  My next, very naturally, related to myself.
           I would gladly have placed myself on the outside of the
           lodge, and there matured plans for interviewing its occupant;
           but unfortunately to reach the entrance of the lodge, I must
           either pass over or around the owner of the before-mentioned
           foot and voice.  Could I have been convinced that among
           its other possessions there was neither tomahawk nor
           scalping-knife, pistol nor war-club, or any similar article
           of the noble red-man's toilet, I would have risked an attempt
           to escape through the low narrow opening of the lodge;
           but who ever saw an Indian without one or all of these
           interesting trinkets?  Had I made the attempt, I should
           have expected to encounter either the keen edge of the
           scalping-knife or the blow of the tomahawk, and to have
           engaged in a questionable struggle for life.  This would
           not do.  I crouched in silence for a few moments, hoping
           the doctor would return with the lighted fagot.  I need not
           say that each succeeding moment spent in the darkness of
           that lodge seemed an age.  I could hear a slight movement
           on the part of my unknown neighbour, which did not add to
           my comfort.  Why does not the doctor return?  At last I
           discovered the approach of a light on the outside.  When it
           neared the entrance, I called the doctor and informed him
           that an Indian was in the lodge, and that he had better
           have his weapons ready for a conflict.  I had, upon
           discovering the foot, drawn my hunting-knife from its
           scabbard, and now stood waiting the denouement.  With his
           lighted fagot in one hand and cocked revolver in the other,
           the doctor cautiously entered the lodge.  And there directly
           between us, wrapped in a buffalo-robe, lay the cause of my
           anxiety--a little Indian girl, probably ten years old;
           not a full-blood, but a half-breed.  She was terribly
           frightened at finding herself in our hands, with none of
           her people near.  Other parties in exploring the deserted
           village found an old, decrepit Indian of the Sioux tribe,
           who had also been deserted, owing to his infirmities and
           inability to travel with the tribe.  Nothing was gleaned
           from our search of the village which might indicate the
           direction of the flight.  General Hancock, on learning the
           situation of affairs, despatched some companies of infantry
           with orders to replace the cavalry and protect the village
           and its contents from disturbance until its final disposition
           could be determined upon, and it was decided that with eight
           troops of cavalry I should start in pursuit of the Indians
           at early dawn on the following morning.
 
           The Indians, after leaving their village, went up on the
           Smoky Hill, and committed the most horrible depredations
           upon the scattered settlers in that region.  Upon this news,
           General Hancock issued the following order:--
 
           "As a punishment of the bad faith practised by the Cheyennes
           and Sioux who occupied the Indian village at this place, and
           as a chastisement for murders and depredations committed
           since the arrival of the command at this point, by the
           people of these tribes, the village recently occupied by
           them, which is now in our hands, will be utterly destroyed."
 
           The Cheyennes, Arapahoes, and Apaches had been united under
           one agency; the Kiowas and Comanches under another.
           As General Hancock's expedition had reference to all these
           tribes, he had invited both the agents to accompany him
           into the Indian country and be present at all interviews
           with the representatives of these tribes, for the purpose,
           as the invitation stated, of showing the Indians "that the
           officers of the government are acting in harmony."
 
           In conversation with the general the agents admitted that
           Indians had been guilty of all the outrages charged against
           them, but each asserted the innocence of the particular
           tribes under his charge, and endeavoured to lay their crimes
           at the door of their neighbours.
 
           Here was positive evidence from the agents themselves that
           the Indians against whom we were operating were deserving
           of severe punishment.  The only conflicting portion of the
           testimony was as to which tribe was most guilty.  Subsequent
           events proved, however, that all of the five tribes named,
           as well as the Sioux, had combined for a general war
           throughout the plains and along our frontier.  Such a war
           had been threatened to our post commanders along the
           Arkansas on many occasions during the winter.  The movement
           of the Sioux and Cheyennes toward the north indicated that
           the principal theatre of military operations during the
           summer would be between the Smoky Hill and Platte rivers.
           General Hancock accordingly assembled the principal chiefs
           of the Kiowas and Arapahoes in council at Fort Dodge,
           hoping to induce them to remain at peace and observe their
           treaty obligations.
 
           The most prominent chiefs in council were Satanta, Lone Wolf,
           and Kicking Bird of the Kiowas, and Little Raven and Yellow
           Bear of the Arapahoes.  During the council extravagant
           promises of future good behaviour were made by these chiefs.
           So effective and convincing was the oratorical effort of
           Satanta, that at the termination of his address, the
           department commander and his staff presented him with the
           uniform coat, sash, and hat of a major-general.  In return
           for this compliment, Satanta, within a few weeks, attacked
           the post at which the council was held, arrayed in his
           new uniform.
 
 In the spring of 1878, the Indians commenced a series of depredations
 along the Santa Fe Trail and against the scattered settlers of the
 frontier, that were unparalleled in their barbarity.  General Alfred
 Sully, a noted Indian fighter, who commanded the district of the
 Upper Arkansas, early concentrated a portion of the Seventh and Tenth
 Cavalry and Third Infantry along the line of the Old Santa Fe Trail,
 and kept out small expeditions of scouting parties to protect the
 overland coaches and freight caravans; but the troops effected very
 little in stopping the devilish acts of the Indians, who were now
 fully determined to carry out their threats of a general war, which
 culminated in the winter expedition of General Sheridan, who completely
 subdued them, and forced all the tribes on reservations; since which
 time there has never been any trouble with the plains Indians worthy
 of mention.[69]
 
 General Sully, about the 1st of September, with eight companies of
 the Seventh Cavalry and five companies of infantry, left Fort Dodge,
 on the Arkansas, on a hurried expedition against the Kiowas, Arapahoes,
 and Cheyennes.  The command marched in a general southeasterly
 direction, and reached the sand hills of the Beaver and Wolf rivers,
 by a circuitous route, on the fifth day.  When nearly through that
 barren region, they were attacked by a force of eight hundred of the
 allied tribes under the leadership of the famous Kiowa chief, Satanta.
 A running fight was kept up with the savages on the first day,
 in which two of the cavalry were killed and one wounded.
 
 That night the savages came close enough to camp to fire into it
 (an unusual proceeding in Indian warfare, as they rarely molest
 troops during the night), I now quote from Custer again:
           The next day General Sully directed his march down the
           valley of the Beaver; but just as his troops were breaking
           camp, the long wagon-train having already "pulled out," and
           the rear guard of the command having barely got into their
           saddles, a party of between two and three hundred warriors,
           who had evidently in some inexplicable manner contrived to
           conceal themselves until the proper moment, dashed into the
           deserted camp within a few yards of the rear of the troops,
           and succeeded in cutting off a few led horses and two of
           the cavalrymen who, as is often the case, had lingered a
           moment behind the column.
 
           Fortunately, the acting adjutant of the cavalry, Brevet
           Captain A. E. Smith, was riding at the rear of the column
           and witnessed the attack of the Indians.  Captain Hamilton,[70]
           of the Seventh Cavalry, was also present in command of the
           rear guard.  Wheeling to the rightabout, he at once prepared
           to charge the Indians and attempt the rescue of the two
           troopers who were being carried off before his very eyes.
           At the same time, Captain Smith, as representative of the
           commanding officer of the cavalry, promptly took the
           responsibility of directing a squadron of the cavalry to
           wheel out of column and advance in support of Captain
           Hamilton's guard.  With this hastily formed detachment,
           the Indians, still within pistol-range, but moving off with
           their prisoners, were gallantly charged and so closely
           pressed that they were forced to relinquish one of their
           prisoners, but not before shooting him through the body and
           leaving him on the ground, as they supposed, mortally wounded.
           The troops continued to charge the retreating Indians,
           upon whom they were gaining, determined, if possible,
           to effect the rescue of their remaining comrade.  They were
           advancing down one slope while the Indians, just across
           a ravine, were endeavouring to escape with their prisoner
           up the opposite ascent, when a peremptory order reached the
           officers commanding the pursuing force to withdraw their men
           and reform the column at once.  The terrible fate awaiting
           the unfortunate trooper carried off by the Indians spread
           a deep gloom throughout the command.  All were too familiar
           with the horrid customs of the savages to hope for a moment
           that the captive would be reserved for aught but a slow,
           lingering death, from tortures the most horrible and painful
           which blood-thirsty minds could suggest.  Such was the truth
           in his case, as we learned afterwards when peace (?) was
           established with the tribes then engaged in war.
 
           The expedition proceeded down the valley of the Beaver,
           the Indians contesting every step of the way.  In the
           afternoon, about three o'clock, the troops arrived at
           a ridge of sand hills a few miles southeast of the
           presentsite of Camp Supply, where quite a determined
           engagement took place between the command and the three
           tribes, Cheyennes, Arapahoes, and Kiowas, the Indians
           being the assailants.  The Indians seemed to have reserved
           their strongest efforts until the troops and train had
           advanced well into the sand hills, when a most obstinate
           resistance--and well conducted, too--was offered the
           farther advance of the troops.  It was evident that the
           troops were probably nearing the Indian villages, and that
           this opposition to further advance was to save them.  The
           character of the country immediately about the troops was
           not favourable to the operations of cavalry; the surface
           of the rolling plain was cut up by irregular and closely
           located sand hills, too steep and sandy to allow cavalry
           to move with freedom, yet capable of being easily cleared
           of savages by troops fighting on foot.  The Indians took
           post on the hilltops and began a harassing fire on the
           troops and train. Captain Yates, with a single troop of
           cavalry, was ordered forward to drive them away.  This was
           a proceeding which did not seem to meet with favour from
           the savages. Captain Yates could drive them wherever he
           encountered them, but they appeared in increased numbers
           at some other threatened point.  After contending in this
           non-effective manner for a couple of hours, the impression
           arose in the minds of some that the train could not be
           conducted through the sand hills in the face of the strong
           opposition offered by the Indians.  The order was issued
           to turn about and withdraw.  The order was executed, and
           the troop and train, followed by the exultant Indians,
           retired a few miles to the Beaver, and encamped for the
           night on the ground afterward known as Camp Supply.
 
           Captain Yates had caused to be brought off the field, when
           his troop was ordered to retire, the body of one of his men,
           who had been slain in the fight.  As the troops were to
           continue their backward march next day, and it was impossible
           to transport the dead body further, Captain Yates ordered
           preparations made for interring it in camp that night.
           Knowing that the Indians would thoroughly search the deserted
           camp-ground almost before the troops should get out of sight,
           and would be quick, with their watchful eyes, to detect a
           grave, and, if successful in discovering it, would unearth
           the body in order to get the scalp, directions were given
           to prepare the grave after nightfall; and the spot selected
           would have baffled any one but an Indian.  The grave was
           dug under the picket line to which the seventy or eighty
           horses of the troop would be tethered during the night,
           so that their constant tramping and pawing should completely
           cover up and obliterate all traces.  The following morning,
           even those who had performed the sad rites of burial to
           their fallen comrade could scarcely have indicated the exact
           location of the grave.  Yet when we returned to that point
           a few weeks later, it was discovered that the wily savages
           had found the place, unearthed the body, and removed the
           scalp of their victim on the day following the interment.[71]
 
 After leaving the camp at Supply, the Indians gradually increased
 their force, until they mustered about two thousand warriors.
 For four days and nights they hovered around the command, and by the
 time it reached Mulberry Creek there were not one thousand rounds of
 ammunition left in the whole force of troopers and infantrymen.
 At the creek, the incessant charges of the now infuriated savages
 compelled the troops to use this small amount held in reserve, and
 they found themselves almost at the mercy of the Indians.  But before
 they were absolutely defenceless, Colonel Keogh had sent a trusty
 messenger in the night to Fort Dodge for a supply of cartridges to
 meet the command at the creek, which fortunately arrived there
 in time to save that spot from being a veritable "last ditch."
 
 The savages, in the little but exciting encounter at the creek before
 the ammunition arrived, would ride up boldly toward the squadrons of
 cavalry, discharge the shots from their revolvers, and then, in their
 rage, throw them at the skirmishers on the flanks of the supply-train,
 while the latter, nearly out of ammunition, were compelled to sit
 quietly in their saddles, idle spectators of the extraordinary scene.[72]
 
 Many of the Indians were killed on their ponies, however, by those
 who were fortunate enough to have a few cartridges left; but none
 were captured, as the savages had taken their usual precaution to
 tie themselves to their animals, and as soon as dead were dragged
 away by them.