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SUBJUGATION OF BLACK
MOKH-E-TAV (BLACK) E-TO (KETTLE.)
BY FRED A. HUNT
VE-HO (WHITE MAN.) MOKH-IS-TUN-E (PENMAN OR WRITER.)
N 1868, Camp Supply
was established in the Indian Territory; its location being some eighty miles a little east of south of Dodge City, Kansas, and at the union point of Beaver and Wolf Creeks. These two creeks, at their affluence, form the North Fork of the Canadian River, which empties into the Arkansas river at Webbers Falls, after traversing the entire extent of what was formerly known as the Indian Territory. At Camp Supply, Major-General Philip H. Sheridan ("Little Phil") established his headquarters and thence supervised the military operations of the several punitive columns destined for reprisal on the Indians. The largest of these was under the direct command of Colonel Alfred Sully, Twentyfirst U. S. Infantry, and comprised eleven troops of the Seventh U. S. Cavalry, under Lieutenant-Colonel George Armstrong Custer and three companies of the third and one company of the Thirty-eighth regiment of U. S. Infantry.
On November 26, 1868, General Custer, with the companies of his regiment, struck the trail of a war party composed of Black Kettle's band of Cheyennes, reenforced by other bands of Cheyennes and Arapahoes. It was rumored and expected that Black Kettle's force would be joined by numbers of disaffected Kiswas, Mescalers Apaches and Quajada (staked plain) Comanches, which concentration would make a formidable command of hostiles. Black Kettle's band had been on a foray northward; had killed the mail carriers traveling between Dodge and
Larned, Kansas; had murdered. hunter at Dodge, as well as two couriers sent northward by General Sheridan with despatches and letters. They were thus flushed with pride over the scalps they had taken and the success of their incursion.
Immediately on finding the trail, Custer, with his usual promptitude, corralled the wagon-train, leaving a small guard or escort therewith, and directed that a petty supply train should follow along his route so that, in case of any long siege of the hostile camp, his men would be provided with food and ammunition, especially the latter. He then made forced marches along the trail of the Indians with his cavalry and pack-train; the Osage Indian trailers and white scouts (under the leadership of Ben Clark, and with whom was the half-breed interpreter Romero, or Romeo, still living in Oklahoma) constantly on the alert for signs of the village (or encampment) of the hostiles. There was no difficulty experienced in following the track of the Indians, as it was distinctly impressed in the deep snow that covered the ground.
The village was discovered before dawn of the ensuing morning, and occupied a position where the Washita makes a gooseneck bend, and so meanders around a tract of land of twenty-five acres, with but one outlet. This locality is now a meadow of the farm of G. F. Turner, a merchant of Cheyenne, and as its surface has never been plowed, it has about the same contour as at the time the battle was fought. Each recurrent spring the land is overflowed, and most of the timber present at the time of the contest has been cut down, but enough remains to adequately identify