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PAWNEE ROCK.
 
 
 
 That portion of the great central plains which radiates from
 Pawnee Rock, including the Big Bend of the Arkansas, thirteen miles
 distant, where that river makes a sudden sweep to the southeast,
 and the beautiful valley of the Walnut, in all its vast area of
 more than a million square acres, was from time immemorial a sort of
 debatable land, occupied by none of the Indian tribes, but claimed
 by all to hunt in; for it was a famous pasturage of the buffalo.
 
 None of the various bands had the temerity to attempt its permanent
 occupancy; for whenever hostile tribes met there, which was of
 frequent occurrence, in their annual hunt for their winter's supply
 of meat, a bloody battle was certain to ensue.  The region referred
 to has been the scene of more sanguinary conflicts between the
 different Indians of the plains, perhaps, than any other portion
 of the continent.  Particularly was it the arena of war to the death,
 when the Pawnees met their hereditary enemies, the Cheyennes.
 
 Pawnee Rock was a spot well calculated by nature to form, as it
 has done, an important rendezvous and ambuscade for the prowling
 savages of the prairies, and often afforded them, especially the
 once powerful and murderous Pawnees whose name it perpetuates,
 a pleasant little retreat or eyrie from which to watch the passing
 Santa Fe traders, and dash down upon them like hawks, to carry off
 their plunder and their scalps.
 
 Through this once dangerous region, close to the silent Arkansas,
 and running under the very shadow of the rock, the Old Trail wound
 its course.  Now, at this point, it is the actual road-bed of the
 Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad, so strangely are the past
 and present transcontinental highways connected here.
 
 Who, among bearded and grizzled old fellows like myself, has forgotten
 that most sensational of all the miserably executed illustrations
 in the geographies of fifty years ago, "The Santa Fe Traders attacked
 by Indians"?  The picture located the scene of the fight at Pawnee
 Rock, which formed a sort of nondescript shadow in the background
 of a crudely drawn representation of the dangers of the Trail.
 
 If this once giant sentinel[61] of the plains might speak, what a
 story it could tell of the events that have happened on the beautiful
 prairie stretching out for miles at its feet!
 
 In the early fall, when the rock was wrapped in the soft amber haze
 which is a distinguishing characteristic of the incomparable Indian
 summer on the plains; or in the spring, when the mirage weaves its
 mysterious shapes, it loomed up in the landscape as if it were a huge
 mountain, and to the inexperienced eye appeared as if it were the
 abrupt ending of a well-defined range.  But when the frost came,
 and the mists were dispelled; when the thin fringe of timber on the
 Walnut, a few miles distant, had doffed its emerald mantle, and
 the grass had grown yellow and rusty, then in the golden sunlight
 of winter, the rock sank down to its normal proportions, and cut
 the clear blue of the sky with sharply marked lines.
 
 In the days when the Santa Fe trade was at its height, the Pawnees
 were the most formidable tribe on the eastern central plains, and
 the freighters and trappers rarely escaped a skirmish with them
 either at the crossing of the Walnut, Pawnee Rock, the Fork of the
 Pawnee, or at Little and Big Coon creeks.  To-day what is left of
 the historic hill looks down only upon peaceful homes and fruitful
 fields, whereas for hundreds of years it witnessed nothing but battle
 and death, and almost every yard of brown sod at its base covered
 a skeleton.  In place of the horrid yell of the infuriated savage,
 as he wrenched off the reeking scalp of his victim, the whistle of
 the locomotive and the pleasant whirr of the reaping-machine is heard;
 where the death-cry of the painted warrior rang mournfully over
 the silent prairie, the waving grain is singing in beautiful rhythm
 as it bows to the summer breeze.
 
 Pawnee Rock received its name in a baptism of blood, but there are
 many versions as to the time and sponsors.  It was there that Kit
 Carson killed his first Indian, and from that fight, as he told me
 himself, the broken mass of red sandstone was given its distinctive
 title.
 
 It was late in the spring of 1826; Kit was then a mere boy, only
 seventeen years old, and as green as any boy of his age who had never
 been forty miles from the place where he was born.  Colonel Ceran
 St. Vrain, then a prominent agent of one of the great fur companies,
 was fitting out an expedition destined for the far-off Rocky Mountains,
 the members of which, all trappers, were to obtain the skins of the
 buffalo, beaver, otter, mink, and other valuable fur-bearing animals
 that then roamed in immense numbers on the vast plains or in the
 hills, and were also to trade with the various tribes of Indians on
 the borders of Mexico.
 
 Carson joined this expedition, which was composed of twenty-six
 mule wagons, some loose stock, and forty-two men.  The boy was hired
 to help drive the extra animals, hunt game, stand guard, and to make
 himself generally useful, which, of course, included fighting Indians
 if any were met with on the long route.
 
 The expedition left Fort Osage one bright morning in May in excellent
 spirits, and in a few hours turned abruptly to the west on the broad
 Trail to the mountains.  The great plains in those early days were
 solitary and desolate beyond the power of description; the Arkansas
 River sluggishly followed the tortuous windings of its treeless banks
 with a placidness that was awful in its very silence; and whoso
 traced the wanderings of that stream with no companion but his own
 thoughts, realized in all its intensity the depth of solitude from
 which Robinson Crusoe suffered on his lonely island.  Illimitable as
 the ocean, the weary waste stretched away until lost in the purple of
 the horizon, and the mirage created weird pictures in the landscape,
 distorted distances and objects which continually annoyed and deceived.
 Despite its loneliness, however, there was then, and ever has been
 for many men, an infatuation for those majestic prairies that once
 experienced is never lost, and it came to the boyish heart of Kit,
 who left them but with life, and full of years.
 
 There was not much variation in the eternal sameness of things during
 the first two weeks, as the little train moved day after day through
 the wilderness of grass, its ever-rattling wheels only intensifying
 the surrounding monotony.  Occasionally, however, a herd of buffalo
 was discovered in the distance, their brown, shaggy sides contrasting
 with the never-ending sea of verdure around them.  Then young Kit,
 and two or three others of the party who were detailed to supply
 the teamsters and trappers with meat, would ride out after them on
 the best of the extra horses which were always kept saddled and tied
 together behind the last wagon for services of this kind.  Kit, who
 was already an excellent horseman and a splendid shot with the rifle,
 would soon overtake them, and topple one after another of their huge
 fat carcasses over on the prairie until half a dozen or more were
 lying dead.  The tender humps, tongues, and other choice portions
 were then cut out and put in a wagon which had by that time reached
 them from the train, and the expedition rolled on.
 
 So they marched for about three weeks, when they arrived at the
 crossing of the Walnut, where they saw the first signs of Indians.
 They had halted for that day; the mules were unharnessed, the
 camp-fires lighted, and the men just about to indulge in their
 refreshing coffee, when suddenly half a dozen Pawnees, mounted on
 their ponies, hideously painted and uttering the most demoniacal
 yells, rushed out of the tall grass on the river-bottom, where they
 had been ambushed, and swinging their buffalo-robes, attempted to
 stampede the herd picketed near the camp.  The whole party were on
 their feet in an instant with rifles in hand, and all the savages
 got for their trouble were a few well-deserved shots as they hurriedly
 scampered back to the river and over into the sand hills on the other
 side, soon to be out of sight.
 
 The expedition travelled sixteen miles next day, and camped at
 Pawnee Rock, where, after the experience of the evening before,
 every precaution was taken to prevent a surprise by the savages.
 The wagons were formed into a corral, so that the animals could be
 secured in the event of a prolonged fight; the guards were drilled
 by the colonel, and every man slept with his rifle for a bed-fellow,
 for the old trappers knew that the Indians would never remain
 satisfied with their defeat on the Walnut, but would seize the first
 favourable opportunity to renew their attack.
 
 At dark the sentinels were placed in position, and to young Kit fell
 the important post immediately in front of the south face of the
 Rock, nearly two hundred yards from the corral; the others being at
 prominent points on top, and on the open prairie on either side.
 All who were not on duty had long since been snoring heavily,
 rolled up in their blankets and buffalo-robes, when at about half-past
 eleven, one of the guard gave the alarm, "Indians!" and ran the mules
 that were nearest him into the corral.  In a moment the whole company
 turned out at the report of a rifle ringing on the clear night air,
 coming from the direction of the rock.  The men had gathered at
 the opening to the corral, waiting for developments, when Kit came
 running in, and as soon as he was near enough, the colonel asked him
 whether he had seen any Indians.  "Yes," Kit replied, "I killed one
 of the red devils; I saw him fall!"
 
 The alarm proved to be false; there was no further disturbance that
 night, so the party returned to their beds, and the sentinels to
 their several posts, Kit of course to his place in front of the Rock.
 
 Early the next morning, before breakfast even, all were so anxious
 to see Kit's dead Indian, that they went out en masse to where he was
 still stationed, and instead of finding a painted Pawnee, as was
 expected, they found the boy's riding mule dead, shot right through
 the head.
 
 Kit felt terribly mortified over his ridiculous blunder, and it was
 a long time before he heard the last of his midnight adventure and
 his raid on his own mule.  But he always liked to tell the "balance
 of the story," as he termed it, and this is his version: "I had not
 slept any the night before, for I stayed awake watching to get a
 shot at the Pawnees that tried to stampede our animals, expecting
 they would return; and I hadn't caught a wink all day, as I was out
 buffalo hunting, so I was awfully tired and sleepy when we arrived
 at Pawnee Rock that evening, and when I was posted at my place at
 night, I must have gone to sleep leaning against the rocks; at any
 rate, I was wide enough awake when the cry of Indians was given by
 one of the guard.  I had picketed my mule about twenty steps from
 where I stood, and I presume he had been lying down; all I remember
 is that the first thing I saw after the alarm was something rising up
 out of the grass, which I thought was an Indian.  I pulled the trigger;
 it was a centre shot, and I don't believe the mule ever kicked after
 he was hit!"
 
 The next morning about daylight, a band of Pawnees attacked the train
 in earnest, and kept the little command busy all that day, the next
 night, and until the following midnight, nearly three whole days,
 the mules all the time being shut in the corral without food or water.
 At midnight of the second day the colonel ordered the men to hitch up
 and attempt to drive on to the crossing of Pawnee Fork, thirteen miles
 distant.[62]  They succeeded in getting there, fighting their way
 without the loss of any of their men or animals.  The Trail crossed
 the creek in the shape of a horseshoe, or rather, in consequence of
 the double bend of the stream as it empties into the Arkansas, the
 road crossed it twice.  In making this passage, dangerous on account
 of its crookedness, Kit said many of the wagons were badly mashed up;
 for the mules were so thirsty that their drivers could not control
 them.  The train was hardly strung out on the opposite bank when
 the Indians poured in a volley of bullets and a shower of arrows
 from both sides of the Trail; but before they could load and fire
 again, a terrific charge was on them, led by Colonel St. Vrain and
 Carson.  It required only a few moments more to clean out the
 persistent savages, and the train went on.  During the whole fight
 the little party lost four men killed and seven wounded, and eleven
 mules killed (not counting Kit's), and twenty badly wounded.
 
 A great many years ago, very early in the days of the trade with
 New Mexico, seven Americans were surprised by a large band of Pawnees
 in the vicinity of the Rock and were compelled to retreat to it for
 safety.  There, without water, and with but a small quantity of
 provisions, they were besieged by their blood-thirsty foes for two
 days, when a party of traders coming on the Trail relieved them from
 their perilous situation and the presence of their enemy.  There were
 several graves on its summit when I first saw Pawnee Rock; but
 whether they contained the bones of savages or those of white men,
 I do not know.
 
 Carson related to me another terrible fight that took place at the
 rock, when he first became a trapper.  He was not a participant,
 but knew the parties well.  About twenty-nine years ago, Kit, Jack
 Henderson, who was agent for the Ute Indians, Lucien B. Maxwell,
 General Carleton and myself were camped halfway up the rugged sides
 of Old Baldy, in the Raton Range.  The night was intensely cold,
 although in midsummer, and we were huddled around a little fire of
 pine knots, more than seven thousand feet above the level of the sea,
 close to the snow limit.
 
 Kit, or "the General," as every one called him, was in a good humour
 for talking, and we naturally took advantage of this to draw him out;
 for usually he was the most reticent of men in relating his own
 exploits.  A casual remark made by Maxwell opened Carson's mouth,
 and he said he remembered one of the "worst difficults" a man ever
 got into.[63]  So he made a fresh corn-shuck cigarette, and related
 the following; but the names of the old trappers who were the
 principals in the fight I have unfortunately forgotten.
 
 Two men had been trapping in the Powder River country during one
 winter with unusually good luck, and they got an early start with
 their furs, which they were going to take to Weston, on the Missouri,
 one of the principal trading points in those days.  They walked the
 whole distance, driving their pack-mules before them, and experienced
 no trouble until they struck the Arkansas valley at Pawnee Rock.
 There they were intercepted by a war-party of about sixty Pawnees.
 Both of the trappers were notoriously brave and both dead shots.
 Before they arrived at the rock, to which they were finally driven,
 they killed two of the Indians, and had not themselves received a
 scratch.  They had plenty of powder, a pouch full of balls each,
 and two good rifles.  They also had a couple of jack-rabbits for
 food in case of a siege, and the perpendicular walls of the front
 of the rock made them a natural fortification, an almost impregnable
 one against Indians.
 
 They succeeded in securely picketing their animals at the side of
 the rock, where they could protect them by their unerring rifles
 from being stampeded.  After the Pawnees had "treed" the two trappers
 on the rock, they picked up their dead, and packed them off to their
 camp at the mouth of a little ravine a short distance away.  In a few
 moments back they all came, mounted on fast ponies, with their
 war-paint and other fixings on, ready to renew the fight.  They
 commenced to circle around the place, coming closer, Indian fashion,
 every time, until they got within easy rifle-range, when they slung
 themselves on the opposite sides of their horses, and in that position
 opened fire.  Their arrows fell like a hailstorm, but as good luck
 would have it, none of them struck, and the balls from their rifles
 were wild, as the Indians in those days were not very good shots;
 the rifle was a new weapon to them.  The trappers at first were
 afraid the savages would surely try to kill the mules, but soon
 reflected that the Indians believed they had the "dead-wood" on them,
 and the mules would come handy after they had been scalped; so they
 felt satisfied their animals were safe for a while anyhow.  The men
 were taking in all the chances, however; both kept their eyes skinned,
 and whenever one of them saw a stray leg or head, he drew a bead
 on it and when he pulled the trigger, its owner tumbled over with
 a yell of rage from his companions.
 
 Whenever the savages attempted to carry off their dead,[64] the two
 trappers took advantage of the opportunity, and poured in their
 shots every time with telling effect.
 
 By this time night had fallen, and the Indians did not seem anxious
 to renew the fight after dark; but they kept their mounted patrols
 on every side of the rock, at a respectable distance from such dead
 shots, watching to prevent the escape of the besieged.  As they were
 hungry, one of the men went down under cover of the darkness to get
 a few buffalo-chips with which to cook their rabbit, and to change
 the animals to where they could get fresh grass.  He returned safely
 to the summit of the rock, where a little fire was made and their
 supper prepared.  They had to go without water all the time, and so
 did the mules; the men did not mind the want of it themselves, but
 they could not help pitying their poor animals that had had none
 since they left camp early that morning.  It was no use to worry,
 though; the nearest water was at the river, and it would have been
 certain death to have attempted to go there unless the savages
 cleared out, and from all appearances they had no idea of doing that.
 
 What gave the trappers more cause for alarm than anything else,
 was the fear that the Indians would fire the prairie in the morning,
 and endeavour to smoke them out or burn them up.  The grass was in
 just the condition to make a lively blaze, and they might escape
 the flames, and then they might not.  It can well be imagined how
 eagerly they watched for the dawn of another day, perhaps the last
 for them.
 
 The first gray streaks of light had hardly peeped above the horizon,
 when, with an infernal yell, the Indians broke for the rock, and
 the trappers were certain that some new project had entered their
 heads.  The wind was springing up pretty freshly, and nature seemed
 to conspire with the red devils, if they really meant to burn the
 trappers out; and from the movements of the savages, that was what
 they expected.  The Indians kept at a respectful distance from the
 range of the trappers' rifles, who chafed because they could not
 stop some of the infernal yelling with a few well-directed bullets,
 but they had to choke their rage, and watch events closely.  During
 a temporary lull in hostilities, one of the trappers took occasion
 to crawl down to where the mules were, and shift them to the west
 side of the rock, where the wall was the highest; so that the flame
 and smoke might possibly pass by them without so much danger as where
 they were picketed before.  He had just succeeded in doing this,
 and, tearing up the long grass for several yards around the animals,
 was in the act of going back, when his partner yelled out to him:
 "Look out!  D---n 'em, they've fired the prairie!"  He was back on
 the top of the rock in another moment, and took in at a glance what
 was coming.
 
 The spectacle for a short interval was indescribably grand; the sun
 was shining with all the power of its rays on the huge clouds of smoke
 as they rolled down from the north, tinting them a glorious crimson.
 The two trappers had barely time to get under the shelter of a large
 projecting point of the rocky wall, when the wind and smoke swept
 down to the ground, and instantly they were enveloped in the darkness
 of midnight.  They could not discern a single object; neither Indians,
 horses, the prairie, nor the sun; and what a terrible wind!
 
 The trappers stood breathless, clinging to the projections of rock,
 and did not realize the fire was so near them until they were struck
 in the face by pieces of burning buffalo-chips that were carried
 toward them with the rapidity of the awful wind.  They were now badly
 scared, for it seemed as if they were to be suffocated.  They were
 saved, however, almost miraculously; the sheet of flame passed them
 twenty yards away, as the wind fortunately shifted at the moment
 the fire reached the foot of the rock.  The darkness was so intense
 that they did not discover the flame; they only knew that they were
 saved as the clear sky greeted them from behind the dense smoke-cloud.
 
 Two of the Indians and their horses were caught in their own trap,
 and perished miserably.  They had attempted to reach the east side
 of the rock, so as to steal around to the other side where the mules
 were, and either cut them loose or crawl up on the trappers while
 bewildered in the smoke and kill them, if they were not already dead.
 But they had proceeded only a few rods on their little expedition,
 when the terrible darkness of the smoke-cloud overtook them and soon
 the flames, from which there was no possible escape.
 
 All the game on the prairie which the fire swept over was killed too.
 Only a few buffalo were visible in that region before the fire, but
 even they were killed.  The path of the flames, as was discovered by
 the caravans that passed over the Trail a few days afterward, was
 marked with the crisp and blackened carcasses of wolves, coyotes,
 turkeys, grouse, and every variety of small birds indigenous to the
 region.  Indeed, it seemed as if no living thing it had met escaped
 its fury.  The fire assumed such gigantic proportions, and moved
 with such rapidity before the wind, that even the Arkansas River
 did not check its path for a moment; it was carried as readily across
 as if the stream had not been in its way.
 
 The first thought of the trappers on the rock was for their poor
 mules.   One crawled to where they were, and found them badly singed,
 but not seriously injured.  The men began to brighten up again when
 they knew that their means of transportation were relatively all
 right, and themselves also, and they took fresh courage, beginning
 to believe they should get out of their bad scrape after all.
 
 In the meantime the Indians, with the exception of three or four
 left to guard the rock, so as to prevent the trappers from getting
 away, had gone back to their camp in the ravine, and were evidently
 concocting some new scheme for the discomfort of the besieged
 trappers.  The latter waited patiently two or three hours for the
 development of events, snatching a little sleep by turns, which they
 needed much; for both were worn out by their constant watching.
 At last when the sun was about three hours high, the Indians commenced
 their infernal howling again, and then the trappers knew they had
 decided upon something; so they were on the alert in a moment to
 discover what it was, and euchre them if possible.
 
 The devils this time had tied all their ponies together, covered
 them with branches of trees that they had gone up on the Walnut for,
 packed some lodge-skins on these, and then, driving the living
 breastworks before them, moved toward the rock.  They proceeded
 cautiously but surely, and matters began to look very serious for
 the trappers.  As the strange cavalcade approached, a trapper raised
 his rifle, and a masked pony tumbled over on the scorched sod dead.
 As one of the Indians ran to cut him loose, the other trapper took
 him off his feet by a well-directed shot; he never uttered a groan.
 The besieged now saw their only salvation was to kill the ponies
 and so demoralize the Indians that they would have to abandon such
 tactics, and quicker than I can tell it, they had stretched four
 more out on the prairie, and made it so hot for the savages that
 they ran out of range and began to hold a council of war.
 
 Finding that their plan would not work--for as the last pony was shot,
 the rest stampeded and were running wild over the prairie--the Indians
 soon went back to their camp again, and the trappers now had a few
 spare moments in which to take an account of stock.  They discovered,
 much to their chagrin, that they had used up all their ammunition
 except three or four loads, and despair hovered over them once more.
 
 The Indians did not reappear that evening, and the cause was apparent;
 for in the distance could be seen a long line of wagons, one of the
 large American caravans en route to Santa Fe.  The savages had seen
 it before the trappers, and had cleared out.  When the train arrived
 opposite the rock, the relieved men came down from their little
 fortress, joined the caravan, and camped with the Americans that
 night on the Walnut.  While they were resting around their camp-fire,
 smoking and telling of their terrible experience on the top of the
 rock, the Indians could be heard chanting the death-song while they
 were burying their warriors under the blackened sod of the prairie.
 
 I witnessed a spirited encounter between a small band of Cheyennes
 and Pawnees in the fall of 1867.  It occurred on the open prairie
 north of the mouth of the Walnut, and not a great distance from
 Pawnee Rock.  Both tribes were hunting buffalo, and when they,
 by accident, discovered the presence of each other, with a yell
 that fairly shook the sand dunes on the Arkansas, they rushed at once
 into the shock of battle.
 
 That night, in a timbered bend of the Walnut, the victors had a grand
 dance, in which scalps, ears, and fingers of their enemies, suspended
 by strings to long poles, were important accessories to their weird
 orgies around their huge camp-fires.[65]
 
 One of the most horrible massacres in the history of the Trail
 occurred at Little Cow Creek in the summer of 1864.  In July of that
 year a government caravan, loaded with military stores for Fort Union
 in New Mexico, left Fort Leavenworth for the long and dangerous
 journey of more than seven hundred miles over the great plains,
 which that season were infested by Indians to a degree almost without
 precedent in the annals of freight traffic.
 
 The train was owned by a Mr. H. C. Barret, a contractor with the
 quartermaster's department; but he declined to take the chances of
 the trip unless the government would lease the outfit in its entirety,
 or give him an indemnifying bond as assurance against any loss.
 The chief quartermaster executed the bond as demanded, and Barret
 hired his teamsters for the hazardous journey; but he found it a
 difficult matter to induce men to go out that season.
 
 Among those whom he persuaded to enter his employ was a mere boy,
 named McGee, who came wandering into Leavenworth a few weeks before
 the train was ready to leave, seeking work of any description.
 His parents had died on their way to Kansas, and on his arrival at
 Westport Landing, the emigrant outfit that had extended to him
 shelter and protection in his utter loneliness was disbanded; so the
 youthful orphan was thrown on his own resources.  At that time the
 Indians of the great plains, especially along the line of the Santa Fe
 Trail, were very hostile, and continually harassing the freight
 caravans and stage-coaches of the overland route.  Companies of men
 were enlisting and being mustered into the United States service to
 go out after the savages, and young Robert McGee volunteered with
 hundreds of others for the dangerous duty.  The government needed
 men badly, but McGee's youth militated against him, and he was below
 the required stature; so he was rejected by the mustering officer.
 
 Mr. Barret, in hunting for teamsters to drive his caravan, came
 across McGee, who, supposing that he was hiring as a government
 employee, accepted Mr. Barret's offer.
 
 By the last day of June the caravan was all ready, and on the morning
 of the next day, July 1, the wagons rolled out of the fort, escorted
 by a company of United States troops, from the volunteers referred to.
 
 The caravan wound its weary way over the lonesome Trail with nothing
 to relieve the monotony save a few skirmishes with the Indians; but
 no casualties occurred in these insignificant battles, the savages
 being afraid to venture too near on account of the presence of the
 military escort.
 
 On the 18th of July, the caravan arrived in the vicinity of Fort
 Larned.  There it was supposed that the proximity of that military
 post would be a sufficient guarantee from any attack of the savages;
 so the men of the train became careless, and as the day was excessively
 hot, they went into camp early in the afternoon, the escort remaining
 in bivouac about a mile in the rear of the train.
 
 About five o'clock, a hundred and fifty painted savages, under the
 command of Little Turtle of the Brule Sioux, swooped down on the
 unsuspecting caravan while the men were enjoying their evening meal.
 Not a moment was given them to rally to the defence of their lives,
 and of all belonging to the outfit, with the exception of one boy,
 not a soul came out alive.
 
 The teamsters were every one of them shot dead and their bodies
 horribly mutilated.  After their successful raid, the savages
 destroyed everything they found in the wagons, tearing the covers
 into shreds, throwing the flour on the trail, and winding up by
 burning everything that was combustible.
 
 On the same day the commanding officer of Fort Larned had learned
 from some of his scouts that the Brule Sioux were on the war-path,
 and the chief of the scouts with a handful of soldiers was sent out
 to reconnoitre.  They soon struck the trail of Little Turtle and
 followed it to the scene of the massacre on Cow Creek, arriving
 there only two hours after the savages had finished their devilish
 work.  Dead men were lying about in the short buffalo-grass which
 had been stained and matted by their flowing blood, and the agonized
 posture of their bodies told far more forcibly than any language
 the tortures which had come before a welcome death.  All had been
 scalped; all had been mutilated in that nameless manner which seems
 to delight the brutal instincts of the North American savage.
 
 Moving slowly from one to the other of the lifeless forms which
 still showed the agony of their death-throes, the chief of the scouts
 came across the bodies of two boys, both of whom had been scalped
 and shockingly wounded, besides being mutilated, yet, strange to say,
 both of them were alive.  As tenderly as the men could lift them,
 they were conveyed at once back to Fort Larned and given in charge
 of the post surgeon.  One of the boys died in a few hours after his
 arrival in the hospital, but the other, Robert McGee, slowly regained
 his strength, and came out of the ordeal in fairly good health.
 
 The story of the massacre was related by young McGee, after he was
 able to talk, while in the hospital at the fort; for he had not
 lost consciousness during the suffering to which he was subjected
 by the savages.
 
 He was compelled to witness the tortures inflicted on his wounded and
 captive companions, after which he was dragged into the presence of
 the chief, Little Turtle, who determined that he would kill the boy
 with his own hands.  He shot him in the back with his own revolver,
 having first knocked him down with a lance handle.  He then drove
 two arrows through the unfortunate boy's body, fastening him to the
 ground, and stooping over his prostrate form ran his knife around
 his head, lifting sixty-four square inches of his scalp, trimming
 it off just behind his ears.
 
 Believing him dead by that time, Little Turtle abandoned his victim;
 but the other savages, as they went by his supposed corpse, could not
 resist their infernal delight in blood, so they thrust their knives
 into him, and bored great holes in his body with their lances.
 
 After the savages had done all that their devilish ingenuity could
 contrive, they exultingly rode away, yelling as they bore off the
 reeking scalps of their victims, and drove away the hundreds of mules
 they had captured.
 
 When the tragedy was ended, the soldiers, who had from their
 vantage-ground witnessed the whole diabolical transaction, came up
 to the bloody camp by order of their commander, to learn whether
 the teamsters had driven away their assailants, and saw too late
 what their cowardice had allowed to take place.  The officer in
 command of the escort was dismissed the service, as he could not
 give any satisfactory reason for not going to the rescue of the
 caravan he had been ordered to guard.