Wounded Knee - Historical Reference
Section Three

Winners Of The West
Official Bulletin National Indian War Veterans U.S.A.
Published in the Interest of the Survivors of Indian Wars and the Old Army of the Plains
Vol X No. 3
St. Joseph Missouri, Feb. 28, 1933

Campaigning Against the Sioux

James E. Wilson Commander, Gen. Henry Lawton Camp Indianapolis, Ind.

Our Theme song: Boys, stay at home Stay at home if you can. Stay away from that city, That's known as Cheyenne. For Sitting Bull's there Also Wild Comanche Bill and he'll sure lift your scalp. In the dreary Black Hills And still we kept marching To the dreary Black Hills. It was December, 1890. There was great commotion among the soldiers in Camp on the Yellowstone just above Old Fort Keogh. What was it all about? Sibley tents were being hastily taken down and pulled up and with stakes, poles loaded into great army wagons with six mules hitched to each, with a mule skinner in the saddle, a jerk line in his left hand and a black snake whip in his right, ready for the command to go. Well, Comrades, this was the beginning of my experience in that well known Campaign of 1890-91, known as the "Messiah Campaign", against old Medicine man Sitting Bull, and Big Foot of the Sioux. Early in the winter of 1890 it was known that the Sioux were becoming restless and showing signs of going on the war path. About the first week in December troops began to assemble at the nearest point to the seat of the trouble. The 20th U.S. Infantry and three troops of the First U.S. Cavalry were stationed at Old Fort Assiniboine, away up north on the Milk River, about 40 miles south of the Canadian border and over 100 miles from the nearest settlement. Orders had come to send two companies of Infantry and three troops of Cavalry to Old Fort Keogh, near Miles City at the mouth of Tongue River where it empties into the Yellowstone. The two Infantry Companies were "G" commanded by Captain Harbought and "H" commanded by Captain John N. Coe, the two senior captains of the 20th U.S. infantry at that time.

A Troop train had been assembled on the railroad about one mile from the Fort, where we entertained and after about three days of rumbling down through the Shasta Mountain and river valleys we arrived at Fort Keogh and went into Camp in our sibley tents on the Yellowstone river where there were many other troops and one company of Crow Indian Scouts under command of Lieut. Casey. The snow was very deep and the river frozen over. We were compelled to melt snow in our tin cups in order to get water for the company cooks. Now here was a new experience for me. I had never been out on a campaign in Montana in the winter with weather 15 to 30 degrees below zero, and I was destined to learn something. Now to any of you 'old timers' who have never had to melt snow in a quart cup it might appear easy, but I'll say you will have to know your snow before you can do it. We were now in camp in a big forest and firewood was plenty. We hauled it in with six mule team loads at a time.

The First Sergeant gave the order, 'everybody outside. Now men, every man melt snow in your cup until you have a quart of water for the cook. Every man who fails to melt a quart of water and turn it over to the cook gets no supper tonight.' Well, some of us sure had a time and we nearly burned our cups to pieces before our good old First Sergeant, Patrick Farrell, who had been on many a Campaign in Montana in the winter showed us how, and after that it was easy. For three weeks we just had routine duty, gathering wood, company inspection and guard duty. On December 29th there was great commotion in the camp. Word came that the Indians had broken out and there was trouble.

Our entire camp on the Yellowstone was ordered out. Everybody was happy and eager to be on the move. Now there was a scene never to be forgotten. Three troops of the 1st U.S. Cav., one troop of Indian Scouts all mounted and in marching formation ahead, and two companies of the 20th U.S. Infantry brought up the rear. Flanking the line of march were newspaper reporters, and photographers in action. Then flanking both sides of the line at a distance of 200 to 300 yards were Indian squaws with their papooses strapped on their backs, all of them singing a war song, the most weird noise I had ever heard. We crossed the Tongue River and struck out in a southeasterly direction and soon out distanced the squaws and heard their songs no more, and I am sure any surviving Veterans who were on this march will remember this incident. We marched all day through the deep snow and as the Cavalry and mounted scouts had broken the trail, it made marching much easier for the foot soldiers.

We only made 12 miles the first day, and on account of the excitement no one seemed very tired although our equipment was heavy, including knapsack, haversack, canteen and web belt with 100 rounds of ammunition. We made camp in a low valley, set up our sibley tents and helped the cooks to build up fires from wood we had brought with us. The next morning, December 30th, was clear and cold with the sun shining bright and we were up early and after a hurried breakfast the old Army wagons were loaded up and we were on the march once more. The Cavalry and Crow Indian mounted scouts soon left the Infantry behind and we did not catch up with them again for nine days.

The two companies of Infantry made 20 miles the second day and 18 miles Dec. 31, 1890, and made Camp upon a wooded ridge of pine trees and here is where a good many of us made a mistake that we did not soon forget. After setting up our tents an banking up the snow to keep the wind out and from flapping the tents as it was blowing a gale through the pine trees, we were told to melt snow in our tin cups for water for our coffee. Our squad had built a fire beside a fell pine tree, and it being very cold we had taken off our overshoes and sat around the fire with our feet probably too close to the coals and before we knew it, the intense heat was cupping the soles of our shoes. The next morning many of the boys could not get their shoes on and were obliged to march in their overshoes. That was a weird night on "tin Cup Ridge." The wind howled and the timber wolves also. There seemed to us to be thousands of them and they would come very close to our camp as if to attack us. They howled the whole night through and then slunk away at the break of day, and the wind died down as we broke camp at sunrise New Years morning, 1891.

Our 17 miles march and Camp that day was uneventful and on Jan. 2nd we marched 19 miles which brought us to Camp on the west bank of the Powder River. On the 3rd we crossed the river on the ice and had to hep pull and push our six mule wagons up the opposite bluffs. Marching was very hard all day as it was much colder and the snow deeper and much harder to walk on. It rolled up under our feet and we were slipping and falling against each other all day. We were only able to make fourteen miles that day and all were tired and glad to make camp on "Timber Creek" although why it was so named we did not know as there was no timber in sight and our only fuel was sage brush. January 4th was the most eventful day we experienced since breaking Camp near Fort Keogh on December 29th. We were tired and foot sore so much so that we could hardly get going at all. We were climbing to a higher level of a rough country where one could look for miles and see nothing but the snow and where the sky and earth seemed to meet.

Suddenly we came in view of a lower ridge running parallel to our line of march which was covered with thousands of antelope, running as they caught sight of us and disapearing in the distance. It was one of the most beautiful sights we had ever witnessed. We also saw scores of jack rabbits as white as the snow and great flocks of sage hens would fly up so suddenly and so close to us that they would startle us by their noise. We were now so far from civilization that the wild life was showing up in all of its splendor. One would wonder how the wild animals could find anything to feed with the whole plains covered with a blanket of deep snow. By four o'clock in the afternoon the sun had disappeared and it was almost dark when we came to camp in the "Blue Mud Hills" of the badlands of Montana.

We had marched 20 miles that day against a strong wind and flurries of snow that would bite ones face. It was the most dismal evening we had as yet experienced. We were tired and nearly frozen and supposed to be somewhat in the neighborhood of hostile Indians although we did not know where we really were. The officers knew, but told us nothing. As we sat in our tents that bitter cold night with our furs to keep from freezing, one soldier spoke up in a very weak voice and said, "I wonder when we will find them Indians." Another replied, "I hope we find them soon and don't care if they kill us all and put us out of our pain." We had experienced much difficulty during the day in keeping some of the men on their feet. We had no ambulance and only one six mule team to each company. During that long, long, night more snow fell and that made our next days march more difficult than ever.

January 5th we made 22 miles toward the dreary "Black Hills" and made camp on "Dry Creek". On the 6th after a march of only 5 miles we came to camp on the Little Missouri River in company with the three troops of the 1st U.S. Cavalry and one troop of mounted Crow Indian Scouts which had preceded us. We had at last reached the end of our trek. On the morning of the 7th, the Cavalry and scouts were out early while the Infantry lounged in Camp and built fires to get themselves thoroughly thawed out. There we remained for two weeks and had a chance to cook some good warm food for the first time on the trip. Also to have a change of clothing and do some laundry work for the first time since leaving Ft. Keogh. We cut holes in the ice on the river but did not know it was alkali water, so that the more soap we put in it the greater the accumulation of alkali on the surface.

The Indian scouts were camped about 100 yards from the Infantry and would remain quiet during the day but when night came they would sing their weird songs and beat their tom-toms. This was the routine until January 21st. Each day, and in fact each hour we were expecting something to happen. Along about noon on the 21st an object appeared in the distance. The officers discovered it with their field glasses. Soon it came near enough for us to determine that it was a man mounted on a mule. He came riding up to the tent of Captain Harbought, the company commanding officer, and delivered him a large envelope. It developed that the man was an orderly from headquarters, sixty miles away. We all gathered around him and learned that there had been a battle and that Captain Wallace and his famous "K" troop of the 7th Cavalry had been almost wiped out.

Well we all know the story of that battle, of "Wounded Knee Creek." We learned but little of what had really happened in that battle but found the object of the long march of the three troops of the 1st U.S. Cavalry, one mounted troop of Crow Indian Scouts and two companies of the 20th US Infantry was intended to head off the Indians escaping to the Badlands, where they would have been difficult to dislodge. The next morning we were ordered to break camp and march back again to old Fort Keogh. We had marched 150 miles, through deep snow and weather 25 to 35 degrees below zero and now we were ordered to march back again with all the weather conditions equally as bad. As before, the Cavalry and mounted scouts soon were out of sight of the Infantry. We were lonesome, miserable, and a sorry lot of unshaven men. Our overshoes gave out when we still had 100 miles of marching ahead. Then came a break about the fourth day of our backward march. The wind changed to our backs and the sun was warmer. It was what the Indians called a chinook wind. We could now raise the ear flaps on our caps. We were allowed much more freedom going back. Now and then we could step out of ranks and shoot at game.

Company H had some crack marksmen and they brought in quantities of sage hens and rabbits. Well we finally arrived at our old Camp on the Yellowstone and settled down. At Ft. Keogh where the 22nd U.S. Infantry headquarters was located we were able to to get shaved, and cleaned up and a change of clothing. We felt like new recruits just arrived from Columbus Barracks. Those were the days that we old Veterans cherish more than all others, when we were rookies. Dear old Comrades, I may later on continue this story and give you the aftermath of a winters Campaign in the dead of Winter out in Montana in the long ago." James E. Wilson Late Sergeant, Co. H. 20th U.S. Infantry

Historical Reference Thanks to Tatanka Cante, Lakota, Green Grass, SD for making these documents available for http://www.wintercount.org. This document may not be redistributed in whole or in part without permission.

Source: Winner of The West.
Published St. Joseph Mo, Wing Printing Co.
June 1939 Issue.
Vol XVI No. 5
"Official Bulletin National Indian War Veterans, U.S.A.
Published in the Interest of the Survivors of Indian Wars and The Old Army of the Plains."

For Acts performed at Wounded Knee Creek, December 29.1890

1. William G. Austin, Sergeant, Cavalry
2. John E. Clancy, Musician, Artillery
3. Mosheim Feaster, Private, cavalry
4. Earnest A. Garlington, 1st Lieut, Artillery
5. John C. Gresham, 1st Lieut, Cavalry
6. Matther H. Hamilton, Private, Cavalry
7. Joshua B. Hertzog, Private, Artillery
8. Harry L.Hawthorne, 2nd Lieut, Artillery
9. Marvin C. Hillock, Private, Cavlary
10. George Hobday, Private, Cavalry
11. George Lloyd, Sergeant, Cavlary
12. Albert W. McMillan, Sergeant, Calvary
13. Frederick E. Toy, 1stSergeant, Cavalry
14. Jacob Trautman, 1st Sergeant, Cavalry
15. James Ward, Sergeant, Cavlary
16. Paul H. Weinert, Corporal, Artillery
17. Herman Ziegner, Private Cavalry

Historical Reference Thanks to Tatanka Cante, Lakota, Green Grass, SD for making these documents available for http://www.wintercount.org. This document may not be redistributed in whole or in part without permission.

Winners Of The West Official Bulletin National Indian War Veterans U.S.A.
Published in the Interest of the Survivors of Indian Wars and the Old Army of the Plains
Vol VII No. 3
St. Joseph Missouri, Feb. 28, 1931

Indian Wars 1790-1898

Data Taken from the Historical Register of the Armies of the United States

1790-1795 - War with the Northwest Indians, Miamis, Wyandottes, Delawares, Pottawatomies, Shawnees, Chippewas and Ottawas
1806 - Sabine Expedition, Louisiana
1811-1813 - Second War with the Northwest Indians
1812 - Seminole War, Florida
1813 - Peoria Indian War, Illinois
1813-1814 - Creek Indian War, Alabama
1817-1818 -Second Seminole War
1819 - Yellowstone Expedition
1823 - Campaign against Blackfeet and Arickaree Indians
1827 - La Fevre Indian War
1831 - Sac and Fox Indian War
1832 - Black Hawk War
1833-1839 - Cherokee Indian War
1834 - Pawnee Expedition
1835 - 1836 - Third Seminole War
1836 - 1837 - Second Creek War
1837 - Osage Indian Troubles
1838 - Heatherly Indian War
1848 - Cayuse War, Oregon
1849-1861 - Navajo Wars
1849-1861 - Comanche, Cheyenne and Kickapoo Indian Troubles
1850 - Pitt River (Cal.) Expedition
1851-1852 - Yuma (Cal) Expedition
1851-1853 - Utah Indian War
1851-1856 - Indian Wars, Oregon and Washington
1855 - Snake Indian Expedition
1855 -1856 - Sioux Expedition, Nebraska Territory
1855 - Yakima Expedition, Washington Territory
1855 -1856 - Cheyenne and Arapahoe Troubles
1855 -1858 - Seminole or Florida War
1856 -1858 - Kansas Border Troubles
1857 - Gila Expedition, New Mexico
1857 - Sioux Indian Troubles in Minnesota and Iowa
1857-1858 - Utah Expedition
1858 - Expedition against Northern Indians
1858 - Puget Sound Expedition
1858 - Spokane, Coeur d'Alene and Paloos Indian Troubles
1858 - Navajo Expedition, New Mexico
1858-1859 - Wichita Expedition, Indian Territory
1859 - Colorado River Expedition
1859 - Pecos Expedition, Texas
1859 - Antelope Hills Expedition, Texas
1859 - Bear River Expedition, Utah
1859 - San Juan Imbroglio, Washington Territory
1859-1860 - Cortina Troubles on Texas and Mexican Border
1860 - Pah-Ute Expedition, California
1860 - Kiowa and Comanche Expedition, Indian Territory
1860 - Carson Valley Expedition, New Mexico
1860-1861 - Navajo Expedition, New Mexico
1861-1890 - Apache Indian War in Arizona and New Mexico
1861 - Indian Massacres at New Ulm, Minn.
1862-1867 - Sioux Indian War in Minnesota and Dakota
1863-1869 - War against the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, and Comanche Indians in Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Indian Territory
1865-1868 - Indian War in Oregon, Idaho and California
1867-1881 - Campaign against Lipan, Kiowa, Kickapoo and Comanche Indians Mexican Border Disturbances
1868-1869 - Canadian River Expedition, New Mexico
1871 - Yellowstone Expedition
1872 - Yellowstone Expedition, Dakota
1872-1873 - Modoc Campaign
1873 - Yellowstone Expedition, Dakota
1874-1875 - Campaign against Kiowa, Cheyenne and Comanche Indians in Indian Territory
1874 - Sioux Expedition, Wyoming and Nebraska
1874 - Black Hills Expedition, the Dakotas
1875 - Expedition against the Nevada Indians
1876 - Sioux Indian War
1876 - Powder River, Wyoming Expedition
1876-1877- Big Horn and Yellowstone Expeditions
1876-1879 - Sioux and Cheyenne War
1877 - Nez Perce Campaign
1877-1878 - Bannock Campaign
1878 - Ute Expedition
1879 - Snake Indian Troubles, Idaho
1890-1891 - Sioux Indian War
1895 - Bannock Indian Disturbances
1898 - Chippewa Indian Disturbances

Historical Reference Thanks to Tatanka Cante, Lakota, Green Grass, SD for making these documents available for http://www.wintercount.org.

This document may not be redistributed in whole or in part without permission.

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