Page images



the spot and make it fairly representative may be imagined by the reader as the susof the time of the battle of the Washita. pensory time before the fighting com

The Washita flows down from the West mences, when the hearts beat quicker, against a high cut-bank, which forms the when the breath comes irregularly and break of the high prairie on the south as it the teeth have a custom of setting hard descends suddenly to the level with the together. Just as the pearly dawn rifted river valley, and then the stream turns the darkness, Custer gave the order for northward and flows for about a thousand the attack, and the tense silence yards, then returning to the wall-like prai- broken by the crash of the opening bars rie embankment (the goose-neck spoken of of Custer's favorite martial tune whirlabove), and this tract, thus circumscribed ing through the crisp air. The horses, by the river, was the place where the vil- that had been impatiently chafing under lage was situated. Northwest of the vil- the restraint and the bitter cold, sprang lage ran two ridges between which Cus- forward exultantly, because they were in ter led his troops, remaining quiescent motion, and so impetuously that many of and concealed until the Osages and scouts the musicians were carried into the thick had made a more careful survey. They of the melee. The men were also exsoon reported the undoubted presence of hilarated at the termination their large numbers of Indians and a very frozen inactivity, and shouted jubilantly large herd of ponies; this report being at the arrived opportunity of having a verified by Custer and his staff, who whack at the Indians. General Custer, scrupulously inspected the village (from as usual, was in the lead, riding a magplaces of concealment) and its reasonably nificent black stallion, and, clearing the vulnerable points. Bitterly cold as, was trail crossing the ashita at one jump, was that night, the command rested as best greeted by the Indians shouting “Tse they could on the snow; the while Custer mokh-e ve-yune He-yo-vi-e!” (The Big formulated his plan of attack, after

after Chief, Yellow Hair); yellow hair being which the troops were quietly moved to Custer's sobriquet derived from his flowthe various points whence they were to at- ing hair of that hue. By the side of Custack the camp.

ter rode Ben Clark (*Red Neck-Mi-e, Captain Edward S. Meyer was assigned red; No-to-wah, neck; from the ruddy to the right to occupy the elevated ground hue of his neck and breast, sunburned by south of the village and to cut off any exposure), and as the Indians recognized possible retreat of the hostiles. He cau- him they warned one another: "Tan-uttiously took up the position that he was tse-vome, Mi-e-no to-wah tah-hah-to-om, to occupy, fording the stream close to

Look out for Red Neck, he's a dead shot. where a small affluent from the south It has been the pleasure of the writer to empties in and following up this tribu- meet many scouts and trailers, but assurtary for several hundred yards to the edly one of the bravest, most competent higher plateau. Captain Louis M. Ham- and unassuming is Ben Clark, now Post ilton and Captain Albert Barnitz took Guide and Interpreter at Fort Reno, Oktheir detachments into the heavy timber lahoma, and completing the fiftieth year northwest from the Indian camp, while of his service with the Government. First Lieutenant William W. Cook's The unpreparedness of the Indians for sharpshooters were located on the north the assault resulted in great confusion side of the Washita, and on a level tract and slaughter among them, and as the of land that is now a cotton field, half troopers swirled hither and thither reapa mile north and west of the Indians. ing the harvest of death, Custer also General Custer had five troops with him placed a few “good” Indians to his to charge the village at the early dawn, credit. After the primary recurrent the signal for the charge being the tune charges he occupied a little knoll that of “Garry Owen,” to be played by the commanded a view of the battle-field, Seventh Cavalry band, that always ac- and thence issued his orders. On that companied the regiment in its campaigns. knoll, a brown sandstone monument, com

a Everything is prepared for the memorative of the engagement, slaught, and the preliminary description erected some years ago by Major Hugh



L. Scott, formerly of the Seventh Cav- (Charge on them, kill them !) Elliott alry.

fought his way back toward the small As the Indians fled from their village creek—since named Sergeant-Major they tried to pass down the river to the Creek-until within rifle range of it, camps below, that stretched for

some when he was blocked by Indians who had miles, and were met by the detachments taken position in its bed, whence they commanded by Hamilton and Barnitz. leisurely picked off his men. The latter The junction of the opponents was the then formed a little circle, prepared to occasion of heavy fighting, during which kill as many of the hostiles as possible ere Hamilton was shot squarely between the being killed themselves (true soldier

( eyes and instantly killed, and Barnitz fashion), and around this circle their dead was shot through the lungs, from which and horribly mutilated bodies were found. wound he never recovered and was retired None of those back with the regiment on December 15, 1870, on account of knew of Elliott's party having followed wounds received while in the line of duty. the Indians; none heard the noise of

The loss to the Indians was their village their contest, and none knew of their precaptured and destroyed, one hundred and cise fate until they were discovered subthree warriors killed, and fifty-three wo- sequently and then cut and gashed almost men and children captured, and the pony beyond recognition. herd taken and sent to the happy hunting Ben Clark thus epitomizes the fight grounds. The soldiers lost one officer and from the time of the killing of Captain three men killed, and three officers and Louis McLane Hamilton, as it came uneleven men wounded.

der his immediate observation: While this engagement was being prose- “In making its sharp bend around the cuted, the Indians for a distance of fifteen village, the Washita river had cut into miles down the Washita comprehending its north bank, until heavy portions of the Comanches, Kiowas and Cheyennes, as- bank fell away and made a natural breastsembled in force and attacked Custer, work in the river below. About twenty shouting the while: "Shiv-e nah-ho tse men, women and children (Tse-ot, warmokh-e ve-yun-a,” try and kill the big riors; Ha-a-yo, squaws; Is-sun, boys, and chief; but the big chief turned the tables Ik-sun, girls) took refuge in this place. on them and drove them on the back trail and hid from sight during the heaviest some five miles down the river, until ap- fighting. When a lull came, they were proaching darkness constrained the discovered, and, on their refusal to surlinquishment of the chase. During the render, were all killed. I saw a Cheyenne pursuit, Major Joel H. Elliott, Seventh (Tsis-tah) woman, the last survivor, kill Cavalry, seeing some young bucks escap- her child with a butcher knife and then ing, followed them with the regimental bury the blade in her own breast. Cheysergeant-major, and fifteen men. The enne babies are almost as fair as white bucks were recaptured, but Elliott and children, hence several of the soldiers his party, on their way back, were sur- thought she had murdered a white child, Founded by hostiles and killed. He had and one of them poked his carbine over the followed the young Indians (bucks, in embankment and sent a bullet into her Western parlance) taking a course due brain. Even General Custer shared the south and nearly at right angles to the opinion that a white child had been killed, Washita. After following this direction and so stated in his account of the battle. for a mile and a half, very

small "While standing on the knoll to which branch of the river was crossed and an Custer had ridden, I saw a large number open prairie reached; on this prairie the of women and children near two buttes on bucks were captured and were being the prairie, south of the village, pursued brought back, when the party was at- by Meyer's men, who were killing them tacked by some of the hostiles from down

without mercy.

General Custer immedithe river, supposedly numbering from one ately ordered me to instruct Meyer to thousand to fifteen hundred warriors. stop the slaughter, and the remaining woThey joyously yelled at seeing the little men and children were taken captive and party,

“Shiv-e-ie-vo-tsit tah-nah-ho!” placed in a big tepee under guard.




ten years for the same offense for which soft snap is the ruin of a prisoner, and the Recidivist (second-termer), receives an easy way out confirms the habitual and perhaps one or two years. There should second offender unerringly in crime. be two prisons, one for first offenders and In the meantime, we are entering upon another for the Recidivist who is the real a period of education. The public mind criminal per se.

Short sentence should be is just beginning to grasp the import of the prevailing one for the former, and the problem in its varied economic, civic practical life detention for the latter, and and moral import. Crime costs

the both provisionally, under the Indetermi- United States Government $600,000,000 nate sentence. The Recidivist rarely re- per annum, or an amount about equal to forms. The way of escape should be made one-half the public debt. California difficult both for his own sake, and cer- bears more than its proportionate share tainly as a safeguard to society.


of this burden. The criminal wave breaks prison experience should not be made upon this shore and scatters its spume far onerous. The second-termer should be and wide. Our congregate system is its leniently dealt with, as regards time of greatest crime-breeding center. The service. There is always a breaking point, criminal impact is appalling. The young I have noticed, in the detinue of every offenders are here inoculated with its first offender beyond which he becomes virus. No prison management however embittered. He is then likely to become efficient can stem its influence. Only inan enemy to society where, if the law had telligent legislation crystallized into wise been more lenient, he might have been and efficient laws are equal to the task. reclaimed. I advocate hard work, hard This must be backed by an equally enfare and strict discipline for these, to in- lightened public sentiment to place us ulaugurate a wholesome respect for prison- timately abreast with advancement along life, and commensurately for the laws. A these lines ; other States.



The gift of song is such a holy thing,
So bright, apart from wealth or worldly fame,
That whereso’er 'tis found, men know it came

From God.

Men said my days were wasted, and indeed

It seemed I went with empty hands, nor now

Is there recalled one furrow that my plow
Then made across the broad and fertile mead:
And further, I could reap not, if the seed

Were never planted; that the autumn bough

Would barren be, nor could they but allow
Such days at last to scanty want would lead !

But He who clothes the lilies of the field

And hears the hungry ravens when they cry,
Has led me safely down the ways that shield

From bitter blasts, beneath a cloudless sky;
And song is mine; still passing moments yield

That peace of Ophir cannot buy.


Marvelous MexicoThe Louer City Reservoir at Guanajuato.

[graphic][ocr errors]

Marvelous MexicoGeneral interior of Santa Domingo at Oaxaca. This floor is entirely of tile and the church

is said to have cost upwards of thirteen million dollars.

« PreviousContinue »