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men loaf around, sleep, tell stories, or sing. Here
I must tell you of our singers, as they are called,
Henry Humer, Robert McNeil, " Whitey " Cane, and
" Boots, " the basso profundo ! They are as good a
lot of singers as can be found in the army.

Col. Otis often asks them to sing his favorite for
him, " Mother, Kiss Me In My Dreams." They will
sing it for him, but they know he hates to hear
" Susan Jane" the " One-Horse Open Shay" and
other pieces of that kind, and generally end it up
with one or the other of them, You can just bet it
makes us smile, and we encore our songsters.

June 17th. A hot, sultry day, and in the after
noon the grasshoppers came in great numbers. They
were so thick that they formed a cloud between the



FIGHTING INDIANS 93

earth and the sun, similar to an eclipse, for about an
hour. As the wind died out they settled to the ground,
completely covering everything. They chewed holes
in our tents, blanket, overcoats, etc., and one of the
men lost thirty rounds of ammunition, and when
questioned as to what had become of it, he said that
the grasshoppers had eaten it, brass shells and all.

They were the largest I ever saw, some of them
being over two inches in length.

The pests are called Egyptian locusts.

The man who carries the mail between Fort
Buford and Tongue River, came into camp this morn
ing on foot, minus mail and outfit. He reported that
he had been surprised by a party of hostiles as he
was eating and his ponies were resting, and had saved
himself by skulking through the sage bushes ; the
reds had taken the two ponies, the mail, and express
packages, and disappeared in great haste.

Company D, was immediately ordered to take
one day s rations, go to the place where the rob
bery took place, pick up the trail of the thieves and
capture or kill them and recover the mail. The mail
carrier was taken along, as also a number of Indian
scouts.

We are again short of rations.

Company I was ordered to report at Tongue Riyer
Post, in light marching order, which means no tents,
no extra clothing, no supplies. Company I got off this
morning.

There are indications of a general move on the
hostiles. There was mounted regimental drill and
target practice in the afternoon.

June 19. Weather fine. In the saddle at 7:30, go
five miles and camp on Cedar Creek. This stream
gets its name from a small grove of cedar trees on its
bank.



94 SEVENTH CAV ALRY



Company D returned from their scout after the
mail thieves, and reported following the trail until
they overtook them, when the Indians scattered. Our
men did not recover anything.

General Call sounded bright and early the morn
ing of June 20th. We move forward 18 miles and
camp. Had a lively time with rattlesnakes as we
began camp work, but a free use of sabres soon
cleaned them out. Prickly pears and cactus are so
thick that we are given orders to camp at will, which
we did. The result was a general mix-up.

Two men on picket duty fired their guns at jack-
rabbits, and were ordered brought in. They were
taken before Colonel Otis, who lectured them and
placed them in charge of the guard, with orders that
the culprits be required to walk during marches for a
a whole week. One of the offenders said : " Got two
rabbits and are to have a vacation for a whole week !"

June 21st. Broke camp at 6 o clock, and after
marching 15 miles camp in a very fair place, with
good feed for the horses. We have now butchered
the last of our cattle, and will for a time be without
fresh meat, as we are out of the way of deer and
antelope.

Some of the men found what they termed lamb s
quarters, a tender and pleasant tasting edible weed,
which we gathered and cooked as we would dandelion
greens. They made excellent food. We also found
Indian wild onions in abundance which went very
well with the greens. We go a mile for water ; the
only fuel obtainable is " buffalo chips."

June 22. March four miles and camp on the banks
of Big Sunday Creek, only three and one-half miles
from Tongue River Cantonment. Miles City can be
seen in the distance ; a large assemblage of tents, log



FIGHTING INDIANS 95

houses and rough board huts, squatting on the V
shaped lands formed by the junction of the Tongue
and the Yellowstone rivers. There are groups of tall
cottonwood trees nearby. We see near the landing
stacks of forage for the cavalry, and the camp of
General Miles s renowned Eleventh Cavalry com
posed of members of the Fifth Infantry mounted on
ponies cuptured from the Indians. A quaint, but
useful, little ferry boat, guided from side to side of
the river by wires so adjusted that the current sup
plies the propelling power, keeps on the move. On
the flat land beyond Miles City are large stacks of
prairie grass, which will be hauled across the river as
soon as a sufficiently strong ice-bridge has been
constructed by Jack Frost.

This is Miles City, as seen from a distance. It is
a rough place, full of saloons, gambling hells, dance
halls and brothels.

Our present camp is the thirtieth we have occu
pied since April 21st, and during the interval we have
marched one thousand and three hundred miles !

It is rumored that we are to go from here to Milk
Mountains, and there we will find plenty of big game.
These rumors are always interesting.



96 SEVENTH CAVALRY



CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO.

Camp Where Rattlesnakes Are Numerous Wagon Train

Arrives From Miles City With Supplies for Man

and Beast At Last Ready to Close In On Reds.

JUNE 22d, 1877. Rattlesnakes are very thick here,
but no one has been bitten yet and all very carefu 1
not to be. While lying down on the ground to-day, to
take a nap, Captain French heard a slight rustle in
the sage bush near his head, and he was not long in
getting up either. On investgating with sabre he
found a fine rattler, and soon transferred its spirit to
the happy hunting grounds.

A wagon train with fifty wagons came in to-day
from Tongue River. They brought forage and rations.
The teamsters reported General Miles as fixing up
for a big campaign.

Ordered out on another scout, to-day, and while
out met a party of one hundred and fifty Indians.
They said they were out on a hunt, by permission of
General Miles, and as they had one of Miles s scouts
with them, we let them proceed on their way. The
scout who was with them, as I was then informed,
is a half-bread, who shot and killed a man at Cheyenne
Agency in 1876, but he has never been arrested or
even examined on the subject, and goes and comes
at will, being considered a hard case and owing to
his readiness with a gun, is considered a bad man to
tackle. He is reported to have married one of Sitting
Bull s daughters, and has been employed as a scout
by General Miles all Summer. He looks like a dirty,
lazy loafer, but must be a good scout, or else General
Miles would not have him around. He is also said to
be one of the scouts who refused to go into the last
Battle with Custer



FIGHTING INDIANS 97



On the morning of June 23d, I went up on one of
the bluffs, on a prospecting tour for moss agates.
There are splendid ones on the higher ridges. I found
a great many that would compare favorably with
any I ever saw in rings that cost as high as fifty
dollars. They are of different shades, shapes and
sizes, and many of them have inside what looks like
the shadow of a bush.

The headquarters team went to the post to-day,
and came back with some nice new and heavy
pup-tents for the officers. This looks like business.
Rained in the afternoon, and mail for our regiment
arrived from Tongue River.

June 24th. No moving orders yet. Bought a dozen
eggs. They turned out to be condensed chickens, but
the sutler charge d the small sum of one dollar and
twenty-five cents for them just the same. So our
surplus is again reduced, without any personal
benefit, It seemed rather hard to pay such prices, but
you must do it, The men in power will give one
man the exclusive privilege of accompanying the
regiment, and the sutler charges the men what he
has a mind to. Of course he does not charge the
officers as much as he does the men, and that makes
it all right in that quarter. Great pains are taken to
keep that wagon at the head of the train.

The question arises, " But why do soldiers buy of
the sutler if he charges such excessive prices ?" Well,
we all admit that we ought to pass up the sutler, but
if a man is sick and tired of tack and bacon, and has
only short allowances of that part of the time, and
has a chance to get anything different, even if it
takes a whole month s salary to procure one square
meal, he will make the venture. A man will pay
any price for a meal rather than endure the pangs of
extreme hunger. And if a soldier has not got the



98 SEVENTH CAVALRY

ready cash, he can easly get a sutler s check which
will buy just as much as cash, and the amount is
deducted from the soldier s pay by the Paymaster.
Sutler s should not be allowed to issue such checks,
and should be compelled to rely on their resources to
keep up with a command.

June 25th, 1877. This the anniversary of the
Custer Massacre on the Little Big Horn. The brave
General and his entire command, sent out by General
Terry, Department Commander, on a scout, were
trapped by Sitting Bull, whose fighting force was
twelve times as large. Now Setting Bull must know
his days are numbered.

This is a rainy day. Had inspection and mounted
drill, with sabre and revolver practice. In the after
noon it was very warm. We can see and hear the
steamboats on the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers,
so do not consider we are entirely out of the world.
There are thirty -eight different steamers on the up
per Missouri this Summer.

June 27th, a fine day. Drill ! Drill ! Drill ! Some
of the horses are about all in.

Saw some unusually large meteors during the
evening. One of them was in sight for fully one
minute, lighting up the heavens for miles around,
and then it disappeared as suddenly as it came.



FIGHTING INDIANS 99



CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE.

Hurricane Sends Camp Tents Flying Wrong Bugle Call

Causes Confusion General Miles Takes Command

Big Drive Against Hostiles Is Under Way.

THE sun came out very hot the morning of July
1st, but thunder soon began to rumble, and large and
densely black clouds gathered in the distance, and
came direct for our camp. Tent pins were driven
deeper and preparations made to make the best
defense possible against the wind and rain. The
storm was furious. Tents flew around in the air.
The best we could do was to lie close to the ground.
We were afraid that the wind would blow that away
too. Occasionally we could hear hard words, as the
wind would take some man s hat or blanket and go
dancing over the prairie with it. We let things
amuse themselves, and when the storm was over
gathered what we could find and were soon house
keeping once more, but with parts of our houses
missing. Needless to say we got soaking wet most
of the officers included.

A trumpeter " got rattled," when the storm having
passed over, he was ordered to sound Stable Call, and
instead sounded General Call which is the signal to
take down tents, pack saddles and get ready to move*
The men got busy, but a moment later the trumpeter
" came out of it " and restored things to their proper
order by sounding first Recall and then Stable Call-
But didn t that trumpeter catch it at headquarters
where he was immediately wanted. He was given a
reprimand, and that closed the incident. As an ex
cuse, he said to the Adjutant, " There must have been
sand in my trumpet !" The Adjutant said, " You
need more sand in your gizzard !"



100 SEVENTH CAVALRY



July 2d, 1877. The only thing out of the usual
routine of camp duties that transpired to-day, was the
detailing of Cavalrymen to act as Artillerymen.

July 3d. Ordered to break camp at 3 o clock in
the morning. Something is going to happen !

A despatch came in, saying that hostiles had ap-
peard in force near Glendive Creek, and that an
attack was feared. Help was asked for, and two
companies of the Second Cavalry, which were then
in camp at Tongue River, and five pieces of artillery
were put on the steamboat Kansas, and away they
went as fast as steam and current could take them.
They have orders to join us in three days, to march
north, if it is not necessary for them to stay at
Glendive. More rain in the evening.

July 4th, and hurrah for everyboyd !

Broke camp at two o clock. No one but General
Miles knows where we are going, and he is not the
kind of a man to tell.

We made a still march of about twenty-four miles
and then went into camp. General Miles joined us in
the evening, with a wagon train of seventy wagons,
and one hundred pack mules. There seems to already
be a different look on the way things are to go. We
now have a man at the head who is not afraid of his
shadow, and who we think will make others hump
themselves to keep up with the precession.

General Miles, although a young man, seems to be
possessed of fine judgement, and does not put on as
much style when at work, as a clerk in the Adjutant s
tent. He is as brave as was General Custer, though
we miss in him that dash that caused General
Custer s death. He wants to see where he is going,
but when he sees he goes. He is called "Buffalo
Soldier " by the Indians, and they say that no bullet
can hurt him. We hope that none ever will.



FIGHTING INDIANS 101



The ground was covered with a thin coat of snow
this morning, but it turned out to be very warm dur
ing the day. Camped on Custer Creek. Slight fall of
snow in the evening.

On the 5th of July, we broke camp at five o clock
in the morning. Company M was rear guard to-day,
and we had lots of fun helping the wagons out of the
mud, and over bad portions of the road.

Thermometer at 90 degrees in the shade of the
ambulance ; no water along the route only what we
can get out of the mud holes.

Our command now consists of nine companies of
the 7th Cavalry; two companies of the 2d Cavalry;
five companies of the 5th Infantry (which are mount
ed on captured Indian ponies), one heavy parrot gun
and one small breech-loading mountain howitzer.

We have seventy wagons, two hundred pack
mules, thirty Indian scouts, and four white . scouts. In
the commissary department they have twenty Cali
fornia and Texas packers, who pack, unpack, and
take care of the mules and attend to the cattle herd,
which now numbers about seventy head but will soon
be reduced to nothing if we do not get where there
are more buffalo.

After marching over twenty-eight miles we camp
ed on the banks of High Creek. This creek gets its
name from its high banks, which rise for hundreds
of feet on either side.

July 6th we were in the saddle at five o clock, and
headed for Idaho Territory, glad to be rid of the dull
monotony of camp life, but sorry that our horses are
not in better order, as they have nearly had the hides
drilled off from them.

It is a grand sight to look back and see the long
columns of troops and wagons crawling over the
prairie, the pack mules all following the gray horse



102 SEVENTH CAVALRY



with the bell on; and to see the big stacks of hard
tack boxes weave from side to side as the mules plod
steadily along. The gray horse is called the " Bell-
horse; " and the mules will follow it wherever it goes.

Watch that mule that is slyly getting out of the
line; do you know what he is going to do ? I do, and
so does that packer who is coming, with his horse on
a run. When a mule gets tired, or lazy, whichever it
is, or both together, he will step out of the line, and if
not watched very close, will lie down, and as the load
is so heavy that he can t get up with it on, they have
to be unpacked in order to get them up.

See him get down ; there he goes, flat on his side !

Now the mule must be unpacked, whipped to his
feet, arid repacked when he gets back on all fours,
and the whip will be a propelling power to make him
hustle and catch up with the rest. It would not do
to let them all stop when one goes down as they
would all be apt to lie down, and it would detain the
whole command for near and hour waiting for the
mules to be unpacked, got on their feet and repacked
and in marching order again

A mule is no fool, and a fool is not a mule ; you
can bet on that every time.

The following conversation between Colonel Otis
and Major Merrill was overheard to-day by an
Orderly :

" Major, what name do you think the men use
when they refer to me ?"

" Don t know," the Major replied.

" Bulldozer T said the Colonel in an angry tone.

" That is nothing," said the Major, " they refer to
me as Four-Eyed-Son-of-a-Gun !"

And so it goes, " the men " have a nickname for
each officer some complimentary, some otherwise.



FIGHTING INDIANS 103

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR.

Visit Battlefield of Former Campaign and Site of Former

Indian Village General Miles Orders Charge On

Fleeing Indians A Thrilling Adventure.

WE passed over the battlefield of 1874, where Gen
eral Stanley and his command were so badly cut up
by Sioux Indians. Bones were strewn on the ground
quite thick. Here is the skeleton of a horse and close
to it the skeleton of a man, the bare and bleached
bones glistening in the sunlight, and the whitened
skull looking grinningly up at us as we ride past.
Near these bones we notice a dozen or more empty
cartridge shells, sure proof that the soldier had died
in the line of duty.

" Will our bones ever lie and bleach in such a
place ?" we wonder as we go on to we know not
what!

We now ride over a beautiful table land, flat and
smooth as a barn floor. It forms a point made by the
Yellowstone River and High Creek, where they join;
then through bad-lands, cut up by deep ravines and
gulches. Not a spear of grass or a bit of cactus or
other growth relieves the eye. This is a land of
desolation. We enter a deep ravine, and along the
bottom we go, rock walls rise thirty, sixty, in places
a hundred feet above our heads on either side. What
a place for an ambuscade ! But our scouts are ahead
and it is safe to follow them.

Cutting sand and fine dust strike our faces, fill our
eyes and make breathing difficult. Look, there are
massive rocks ahead that block our way ; no, we take
a sharp turn to the right, and emerge from desolation
directly into paradise ! The finest, smoothest, largest
meadow I ever saw is right before me a mead
ow where a scythe has never been swung. The
rich grass brushes the legs of the cavalrymen as they
ride through it.



104 SEVENTH CAVALRY

Halt /sounds the trumpet.

Dismount /it sounds again, and we get off our
horses, remove the bits from their mouths and let
them eat and be happy while they can. We are to
wait here until the wagon train catches up with us.

General Miles is half a mile ahead of us with his
scouts. He is signaling. What does that mean ?

INDIANS !

The trumpet sounds To Horse ! and we quickly
put the bits in our horses mouths, arnd are ready.

Mount ! goes the trumpet, and we mount. There
is no confusion, no misunderstanding the tones of the
trumpet, for it is in the hands of Chief Trumpeter
Hardy himself.

Forward /sounds the trumpet again, and forward
we go. We make for that bluff where we can see
General Miles.

When we had gone a quarter of a mile, we saw
saw some one leave the bluff and ride full speed to
intercept Trumpeter Hardy. The two meet, Trum
peter Hardy bends over in the saddle to receive an
order, sent by General Miles, and then as he straight
ens up there is a bright flash in the sunlight. He has
in hand the copper bugle he carried when he was with
Custer during the Civil War. See ! He raises it to
his lips and the tones of the bugle sound out clear
and strong. W hat melody ! But what is the order ?

Companies Right Into Line! and putting our
selves into that position in an instant, we ride
forward.

Gallop /is the next call. At last ! Aha, this is
something like it ! Just what we had heard about
but had given up all hopes of taking part in.

A Trumpeter of each company is with his Captain,
and another stays by the First Sergeant of the Com-



FIGHTING INDIANS 105

pany. It is the duty of these company trumpeters to
tell what the calls mean and to repeat them.

How our travel-worn horses do pull out, each do
ing its best.

Deploy Skirmishers, By the Right and Left Flank !
is the next call sounded, and the six companies of
the Seventh Cavalary take their positions twenty
yards apart, with horses on a gallop.

CHARGE /commands the bugle of Chief Trum
peter Hardy. Twelve Company Trumpeters repeat
this call, and on we go as fast as we can make our
horses travel. We make the top of the bluff, and,
whew ! about two miles distant are about two score
mounted f Indian braves, and there may be several
thousand more behind that other bluff. On we rush
but will the reds stand ? No, they are off ! See
them lash their ponies ! Hear them yell ! Up hill
and down we keep up the chase, but get no nearer
the fugitives. Our horses are flecked with foam and
many of them begin to lag. The wagon train and
pack mules are out of sight.

We reach the top of a ridge, and on the flat land
below, quietly resting on the bank of Cherry Creek,
are our savages those two score Indians we have
been trying so hard to catch. We have been chasing
our own scouts, friendly Cheyennes and Crows, who
had that morning been sent on ahead to scout for
hostiles.

Recall was sounded, and Rally by Companies fol
lows. We are soon in proper trim. Word was then
passed along, that General Miles wishing to see now
the Seventh Cavalry would respond in an emergency
had instructed the scouts to make the fake run, and
they most successfully complied with his orders.

We went into camp. The wagon train and pack
mules came in late.



106 SEVENTH CAVALRY



CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE.

Where Miles Defeated Sitting Bull in 1876 Bones Litter

The Battle Field Pownee Tom Secures Necklace

of Bear-Claws Crazy Jim s Strange Feast.

BROKE camp on the morning of July 7th at six
o clock, marched about ten miles and went into camp
on the battle field where a part of General Miles s
command had a tussle with a body of Sitting Bull s
warriors last Summer, and whipped twice their
own number. There are thousands of old tepee
poles and wooden pins lying on the ground, where
they were abandoned by the reds. The tepee poles
are from ten to twenty feet long, straight and
smooth, one end of most of them having been worn
to a sharp point, due to being dragged on the ground.
When moving their villages, the Indians fasten one
end of two or more tepee poles on the sides of a pony
and permit the other end to drag. On the back of
pony as well as on the dragging tepee poles unduly
heavy burdens are carried.

Buffalo bones are scattered all about this former
site of an Indian village. There are hundreds of deer
and buffalo hides staked down to the ground, which
shows that the squaws were engaged in their tanning
processes when surprised by the soldiers. The hides
were all hard and wrinkled, and were good for
nothing.

We explored the old village pretty thoroughly.

Manly little bags of paints and charms were found
as also an old carbine, an old flint-lock pistol, a few
axe-helves with the letters " U. S. Q. M. D." branded
on them, part of a coffee-mill the drawer of which
contained a quantity of beads and herbs done up in
bits of rags, and tied with pieces of sinew.

Several axes and the axe-helves, with the coffee-
mill, were relics of the Custer Massacre. A horse-
brush was found by one of the men, that still bore



FIGHTING INDIANS 107



upon its back the following inscription, cut in with a
knife :

" C. B., Co. F., 7th Cav., 1873."

This brush had belonged to a Sergeant in that
company, who was killed in the Indian campaign
of 1873.

My company was detailed for picket duty to-nght
and had just got the pickets posted, when around
came an order for the First Battalion to be ready to
start on a five day s scout at 5 o clock in the morning.
We were at once relieved from picket duty, and drew
extra amunition, and enough hard-tack and bacon to
keep us good and salty for six days. We did not get
but little sleep all night long. Now that General
Miles has left us, we expect to do nothing but fool
around from camp to camp, and drill what little life
our horses have out of them.

Broke camp the morning of July 8th at 5 o clock,
and taking a pretty fresh Indian trail, followed it until
about 5 o clock in the afternoon, then halted for the
night. Have to govern our marches now so as to


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