1846-1917 Buffalo Bill.

Buffalo Bill's own story of his life and deeds; this autobiography tells in his own graphic words the wonderful story of his heroic career; online

. (page 18 of 26)
Online Library1846-1917 Buffalo BillBuffalo Bill's own story of his life and deeds; this autobiography tells in his own graphic words the wonderful story of his heroic career; → online text (page 18 of 26)
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while beside " Two Lance," a celebrated chief, who claimed he
could send an arrow entirely through the body of the largest
buffalo. This feat seemed so incredulous that there was a gen-
eral denial of his ability to perform it; nevertheless, the Grand
Duke and also several others who accompanied the chief, wit-
nessed, with profound astonishment, an accomplishment of the
feat, and the arrow that passed through the buffalo was given to
the Duke as a memento of Two Lance's skill and power. On


the same day of this performance the Grand Duke killed a
buffalo at a distance of one hundred paces with a heavy navy
revolver. The shot was a marvelous scratch.

When the Grand Duke was satisfied with the sport, orders
were given for the return to the railroad. The conveyance pro-
vided for the Grand Duke and General Sheridan was a heavy
double-seated open carriage, or rather an Irish dog-cart, and it
was drawn by six spirited cavalry horses which were not much
used to the harness. The driver was Bill Reed, an old overland


stage driver and wagon-master ; on our way in, the Grand Duke
frequently expressed his admiration of the skillful manner in
which Reed handled the reins. General Sheridan informed the
Duke that I also had been a stage driver in the Rocky Mountains,
and thereupon His Royal Highness expressed a desire to see me
drive. I was in advance at the time, and General Sheridan sang
out to me :

" Cody, get in here and show the Duke how you can drive.
Mr. Reed will exchange places with you and ride your horse."

"All right, General," said I, and in a few moments I had the
reins and we were rattling away over the prairie. When we
were approaching Medicine creek, General Sheridan said:
" Shake 'em up a little Bill, and give us some old-time stage-


I gave the horses a crack or two of the whip, and they started
off at a very rapid gait. They had a light load to pull, and kept
increasing their speed at every jump, and I found it difficult to
hold them. They fairly flew over the ground, and at last we
reached a steep hill, or divide, which led down into the valley of
the Medicine. There was jio brake on the wagon, and the horses
were not much on the hold back. I saw that it would be impos-
sible to stop them. All I could do was to keep them straight in
the track and let them go it down the hill, for three miles, which
distance, I believe, was made in about six minutes. Every once
in a while the hind wheels would strike a rut and take a bound,
and not touch the ground again for fifteen or twenty feet. The
Duke and the General were kept rather busy in holding their
positions on the seats, and when they saw that I was keeping the
horses straight in the road, they seemed to enjoy the dash which
we were making. I was unable to stop the team until they ran
into the camp where we were to obtain a fresh relay, and there
I succeeded in checking them. The Grand Duke said he didn't
want any more of that kind of driving, as he preferred to go a
little slower.



On arriving at the railroad, the Duke invited me into his car,
and made me some valuable presents, at the same time giving
me a cordial invitation to visit him, if ever I should come to his
country. At the same time General Sheridan took occasion to
remind me of an invitation to visit New York which I had re-
ceived from some of the gentlemen who accompanied the General
on the hunt from Fort McPherson to Hays City, in September


of the previous year. Said he: " You will never have a better
opportunity to accept that invitation than now. I have had a
talk with General Ord concerning you, and he will give you leave
of absence whenever you are ready to start. Write a letter to
General Stager, of Chicago, that you are now prepared to accept
the invitation, and he will send you a pass.'* Thanking the Gen
oral for his kindness, I then bade him and the Grand Duke good-
bye, and soon their train was out of sight.





ENERAL ORD, commanding the
partrnent of the Platte at the time, and
who had been out on the Alexis hunt,
had some business to attend to at Fort
McPherson, and I accepted his invita-
tion to ride over to the post with him
in an ambulance. On the way thither
he asked me how I would like to have
an officer's commission in the regular
army. He said that General Sheridan
and himself had had some conversation
about the matter, and if I wanted a
commission, one could easily be pro-
cured for me. I thanked General Ord
for his kindness, and said that although an officer's commission
in the regular army was a tempting prize, yet I preferred to re-
main in the position I was then holding. He concluded by stat-
ing that if at any time 1 should wish a commission, all that I
would have to do to secure it would be to inform him of my

Having determined to visit New York, I acted upon General
Sheridan's suggestion and wrote to General Stager, from whom
in a few days I received my railroad passes. Obtaining thirty
days' leave of absence from the department, I struck out for the
East. On arriving in Chicago, in February, 1872, I was met at
the depot by Colonel M. V. Sheridan, who said that his brother,
the General, had not yet returned, but had sent word that I was
to be his and the Colonel's guest, at their house, while I re-
mained in Chicago.

I spent two or three days very pleasantly in the great city of
the West, meeting several gentlemen who had been out on the



Sheridan hunt in September: General Stager, Colonel Wilson,
editor of the Journal; Mr. Sam Johnson, General Rucker and
others, by all of whom I was most cordially received and well
entertained. I was introduced to quite a number of the best peo-
ple of the city, and was invited to several " swell" dinners. I
also accompanied General Sheridan who meantime had re-
turned to the city to a ball at Riverside, an aristocratic sub-

urb. On this
occasion I be-
came so embar-
rassed that it
was more diffi-
cult for me to
face the throng
of beautiful
ladies, than it
w ould hav e
been to con-
front a hundred
hostile Indians.
This was my
first trip to the
East, and I had
not yet become
accustomed to
being stared at.
And besides
this, the hun-
answer further


dreds of questions which I was called upon
embarrassed and perplexed me.

According to the route laid out for me by General Stager, 1
was to stop at Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Rochester on my way
to New York, and he provided me with all the necessary railroad
passes. Just as I was about to leave Chicago I met Professor
Henry A. Ward, of Rochester, for whom during the previous
year o* two I had collected a large number of specimens of wild


animals. He was on his way to Rochester, and kindly volun-
teered to act as my guide until we reached that point. We spent
one day in viewing the wonders of Niagara, and I stopped one
day at Rochester and was shown the beauties of that handsome
city by Professor Ward, and I had the honor of receiving an in
vitation to dine with the Mayor.


On arriving at New York I was met at the depot by Mr. J. G.
Hecksher, who had been appointed as " a committee of one"
to escort me to the Union Club, where James Gordon Bennett,
Leonard W. Jerome and others were to give me an informal re-
ception, and where I was to make my headquarters during my
visit to the great metropolis. I had an elegant dinner at the
club rooms, with the gentlemen who had been out on the Sep-
tember hunt, and other members of the club.

After dinner, in company with Mr. Hecksher who acted as my
guide I started out on the trail of my friend, Ned Buntline,
whom we found at the Brevoort Place Hotel. He was delighted
to see me, and insisted on my becoming his guest. He would
listen to no excuses, and on introducing me to Messrs. Overton
& Blair, proprietors of the Brevoort, they also gave me a press-
ing invitation to make my home at their house. I finally com-
promised the matter by agreeing to divide my time between the
Union Club, the Brevoort House, and Ned Buntline's headquart-

The next few days I spent in viewing the sights of New York,
everything being new and startling, convincing me that as yet I
had seen but a small portion of the world. I received numerous
dinner invitations, as well as invitations to visit different places
of amusement and interest ; but as they came in so thick and
fast, I soon became badly demoralized and confused. I found
I had accepted invitations to dine at half a dozen or more houses
on the same day and at the same hour. James Gordon Bennett
had prepared a dinner for me, at which quite a large number of
his friends were to be present, but owing to my confusion, aris-


ing from the many other invitations I had received, I forgot all
about it and dined elsewhere. This was " a bad break," but I
did not learn of my mistake until next day, when at the Unioa
Club House several gentlemen, among them Lawrence Jerome,
inquired " where in the world I had been," and why I had not
put in an appearance at Bennett's dinner. They said that Ben-
nett had taken great pains to give me a splendid reception, that
the party had waited till nine o'clock for me and that my non-
arrival caused considerable disappointment. I apologized as well
as I could by saying that I had been out on a scout and had got
lost and had forgotten all about the dinner, and expressed my
regret for the disappointment I had created by my forgetfulness.
August Belmont, the banker, being near, said: "Never mind,
gentlemen, I'll give Cody a dinner at my house."

" Thank you, sir," said I; " I see you are determined that 1
shall not run short of rations while I am in the city. I'll be-
there, sure." Both Mr. Jerome and Mr. Hecksber told me that
I must not disappoint Mr. Belmont, for his dinners were splen-
did affairs. I made a note of the date, and at the appointed
time I was promptly at Mr. Belmont' s mansion, where I spent
a very enjoyable evening.

Mr. Bennett, who was among the guests, having forgiven my
carelessness, invited me to accompany him to the Lieclerkranz
masked ball, which was to take place in a few evenings and would
be a grand spectacle. Together we attended the ball and during
the evening I was well entertained. The dancers kept on their
masks until midnight, and the merry and motley throng pre-
sented a brilliant scene, moving gracefully beneath the bright
gas-light to inspiriting music. To me it was a novel and
entertaining sight, and in many respects "eminde;! me greatly of
an Indian war-dance.

Acting upon the suggestion of Mr. Bennett, I had dressed my-
self in my buckskin suit, and I naturally attracted considerable
attention ; especially when I took part in the dancing and exhib-
ited some of my backwoods steps, which, although not as grace-
ful SLA some, were a great deal more emphatic. But when I


undertook to do artistic dancing, I found I was decidedly out of
place in that crowd, and I accordingly withdrew from the floor.
I occasionally passed an evening at Ni bio's Garden, viewing
the many beauties of " The Black Crook,'' which was then hav-
ing its long run, under the management of Jarrett & Palmer,
whose acquaintance I had made, and who extended to me the
freedom of the theater.


Ned Buntline and Fred Maeder had dramatized one of the
stories which the former had written about me for the New York
Weekly. The drama was called "Buffalo Bill, the King of
Border Men." While I was in New York it was produced at
the Bowery Theater; J. B. Studley, an excellent actor, appearing
in the character of " Buffalo Bill," and Mrs. W. G. Jones, a fine
actress, taking the part of my sister, a leading role. I was curi-
ous to see how I would look w T hen represented by some one else,
and of course I was present on the opening night, a private box
having been reserved for me. The theater was packed, every
seat being occupied as well as all standing-room. The drama
was played smoothly and created a great deal of enthusiasm.

The audience, upon learning that the real " Buffalo Bill" was
present, gave several cheers between the acts, and I was called
on to come out on the stage and make a speech. Mr. Freleigh,
the manager, insisted that I should comply with the request,
and that I should be introduced to Mr. Studley. I finally con-
sented, and the next moment I found myself standing behind
the footlights and in front of an audience for the first time in
my life. I looked up, then down, then on each side, and every-
where I saw a sea of human faces, and thousands of eyes all
staring at me. I confess that I felt very much embarrassed
never more so in my life and 1 knew not what to say. I
made a desperate effort, and a few words escaped me, but what
they were I could not for the life of me tell, nor could any one
else in the house. My utterances were inaudible even to the
leader of the orchestra, Mr. Dean, who was sitting only a few


feet in front of me. Bowing to the audience ,1 beat a hasty
retreat into one of the canons of the stage. I never felt more
relieved in my life than when I got out of the view of that im-
mense crowd.


That evening Mr. Freleigh offered to give me five hundred
dollars a week to play the part of " Buffalo Bill" myself. I
thought that he was certainly joking, especially as he had wit-
nessed my awkward performance; but when he assured me that
he was in earnest, I told him that it would be useless for me to
attempt anything of the kind, for I never could talk to a crowd
of people like that, even if it was to save my neck, and that he
might as well try to make an actor out of a government mule.
I thanked him for the generous offer, which I had to decline
owing to a lack of confidence in myself; or as some people
might express it, I didn't have the requisite cheek to undertake
a thing of that sort. The play of " Buffalo Bill " had a very
successful run of six or eight weeks, and was afterwards
produced in all the principal cities of the country, everywhere
being received with genuine enthusiasm.

I had been in New York about twenty days when General
Sheridan arrived in the city. I met him soon after he got into
town. In answer to a question how I was enjoying myself, I re-
plied that I had struck the best camp I had ever seen, and if he
didn't have any objections I would like to have my leave of ab-
sence extended about ten days. This he willingly did, and then
informed me that my services would soon be required at Fort
McPherson, as there was to be an expedition sent out from that

At Westchester, Pennsylvania, I had some relatives living
whom I had never seen, and now being so near, I determined to
make them a visit. Upon mentioning the matter to Buntline, he
suggested that we should together take a trip to Philadelphia,
and thence run out to Westchester. Accordingly the next day
found us in the " City of Brotherly Love," and in a few hours


we arrived at the home of my uncle, General Henry R. Guss,
the proprietor of the Green Tree Hotel, who gave us a cordial


Inviting us into the parlor, my uncle brought in the members
of his family, among them an elderly lady, who was my grand-
mother, as he informed me. He told me that my Aunt Eliza,
his first wife, was dead, and that he had married a second time ;
Lizzie Guss, my cousin, I thought was the most beautiful girl I
had ever seen. They were all very anxious to have us remain
several days, but as I had some business to attend to in New
York, I was obliged to re-turn that day. Assuring them, how-
ever, that I would visit them again soon, I bade them adieu, and
with Buntline took the train for New York.

The time soon arrived for my departure for the West; so
packing up my traps I started for home, and on the way thither
I spent a day with my West Chester relatives, who did everything
in their power to entertain me during niy brief stay with them.





PON reaching Fort McPherson, I found that the
Third Cavalry, commanded by General Rey-
nolds, had arrived from Arizona, in which
Territory they had been on duty for some time,
and where they had acquired quite a reputation
on account of their Indian lighting qualities.
Shortly after my return, a small party of In-
dians made a dash on McPherson station,
about five miles from the fort, killing two or
three men and running off quite a large number
of horses. Captain Meinhold and Lieutenant Lawson w r ith their
company were ordered out to pursue and punish the Indians if
possible. I was the guide of the expedition and had an assistant,
T. B. Omohundro, better known as " Texas Jack, " and who was
a scout at the post.

Finding the trail, I followed it for two days, although it was
difficult trailing because the red-skins had taken every possible
precaution to conceal their tracks. On the second day Captain
Meinhold went into camp on the South fork of the Loupe, at a
point where the trail was badly scattered. Six men were detailed
to accompany me on a scout in search of the camp of the fugitives.
We had gone but a short distance when we discovered Indians
camped, not more than a mile away, with horses grazing near by.
They were only a small party, and I determined to charge upon
them with my six men, rather than return to the command, be-
cause I feared they would see us as we went back and then they
would get away from us entirely. I asked the men if they were
willing to attempt it, and they replied that they would follow me
wherever I would lead them. That was the kind of spirit that
pleased me, and we immediately moved forward on the cueiny>
getting as close to them as possible without being seen.



I finally gave the signal to charge, and we dashed into the little
camp with a yell. Five Indians sprang out of a willow tepee,


and greeted us with a volley, and we returned the fire. I was
riding Buckskin Joe, who with a few jumps brought me up to the
tepee, followed by my men. We nearly ran over the Indians


who were endeavoring to reach their horses on the opposite side
of the creek. Just as one was jumping the narrow stream a bullet
from my old " Lucretia " overtook him. He never reached the
other bank, but dropped dead in the water. Those of the Indians
who were guarding the horses, seeing what was going on at the
camp, came rushing to the rescue of their friends. I now counted
thirteen braves, but as we had already disposed of two, we had
only eleven to take care of. The odds were nearly two to one
against us.


While the Indian re-enforcements were approaching the camp I
jumped the creek with Buckskin Joe to meet them, expecting
our party would follow me ; but as they could not induce their
horses to make the leap, I was the only one who got over. I
ordered the sergeant to dismount his men, leaving one to hold
the horses, and come over with the rest and help me drive tne In-
dians off. Before they could do this, two mounced warriors
closed in en me and were shooting at short range. I returned
their fire and had the satisfaction of seeing one of them fall from
his horse. At this moment I felt blood trickling down my fore-
head, and hastily running my hand through my hair I discovered
that I had received a scalp wound. The Indian, who had shot me,
was not more than ten yards away, and when he saw his partner
tumble from his saddle he turned to run.

By this time the soldiers had crossed the creek to assist me,
and were blazing away at the other Indians. Urging Buckskin
Joe forward, I was soon alongside of the chap who had wounded
me, when raising myself in the stirrups I shot him through the

The reports of our guns had been heard by Captain Meinhold,
who at once started with his company up the creek to our aid,
and when the remaining Indians, whom we were still fighting,
saw these re-enforcements coming, they whirled their horses and
fled; as their speeds were quite fresh they made their escape.
However, we killed six out of the thirteen Indians, and captured



most of their stolen stock. Our loss was one man killed, and

another myself slightly wounded. One of our horses

was killed, and

Buckskin Joe was

wounded, but I

didn't discover the

fact until some

time afterwards,

as he had been

shot in the breast


showed no
of having ft

re- 2

S1 g ns

received a scratch *

of any kind. ^
Securing the
scalps of the dead
Indians and other
trophies w e
turned to the fort.
I made several
other scouts dur-
ing the summer
with different g
officers of the
Third Cavalry, c
one being with ^jfj
Maj. Alick Moore,
a good officer, with
whom I was out
for thirty days.
Another long one
was with Major
Curtis, with whom
I followed some
Indians from the South Platte river to Fort Randall on the
Missouri river, in Dakota, on which trip the command ran out of


rations and for fifteen days subsisted entirely upon the game we


In the fall of 1872 the Earl of Dunraven and Dr. Kingsley,
with several friends, came to Fort McPherson with a letter from
General Sheridan, asking me to accompany them on an elk hunt.
I did so, and afterwards spent several weeks in hunting with the
Earl of Dunraven, who was a thorough sportsman and an excel-
lent hunter. It was while I was out with the Earl that a
Chicago party friends of General Sheridan arrived at Fort
McPherson for the purpose of going out on a hunt also. They,
too, had a letter from the General requesting me to go with them.
The Earl had not yet finished his hunt, but as I had been out
with him for several weeks, and he had by this time learned
where to find plenty of elks and other game, I concluded to leave
him and accompany the Chicago party. I informed him of my
intention and gave him my reasons for going, at the same time
telling him I would send him one of my scouts, Texas Jack, who
was a good hunter, and would be glad to accompany him. The
Earl seemed to be somewhat offended at this, and I don't think
he has ever forgiven me for " going back on him." Let that
be as it may, he found Texas Jack a splendid hunter and guide,
and Jack was his guide on several hunts afterwards.

Among the gentlemen who composed the Chicago party were
E. P. Green, son-in-law of Remington, the rifle manufactur-
er, Alexander Sample, Mr. Milligan, of the firm of Heath &
Milligan, of Chicago, and several others, whose names I do not
now remember. Mr. Milligan was a man full of life, and was
continually " boiling over with fun." He was a regular veloci-
pede, so to speak, and was here, there, and everywhere. He
was exceedingly desirous of having an Indian fight on the trip,
not that he was naturally a blood-thirsty man, but just for variety
he wanted a little " Indian pie." He was in every respect the
life of the party, during the entire time that we were out. One
day while he was hunting with Sample and myself we came in
sight of a band of thirty mnuted Indians.,


" Milligan, here's what you've been wanting for some time,"
said I, " for yonder is a war party of Indians and no mistake;
and they'll come for us, you bet."

" 1 don't believe this is one of my fighting days," replied Mil-
ligan, " and it occurs to me that I have urgent business at the


Our camp was five or six miles distant on the Dismal river,
and our escort consisted of a company of cavalry commanded by
Captain Russell. The soldiers were in camp, and Milligan
thought that Captain Russell ought to be at once notified of the
appearance of these Indians. Knowing that we could reach the
camp in safety, for we were well mounted, I continued to have
considerable amusement at Milligan's expense, who finally said:

" Cody, what's making my hat raise up so. I can hardly keep

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Online Library1846-1917 Buffalo BillBuffalo Bill's own story of his life and deeds; this autobiography tells in his own graphic words the wonderful story of his heroic career; → online text (page 18 of 26)