THE FRONTIER EXPRESS AND BUFFALO BILL'S PICTORIAL 3
The Scout -- Men who Wore the Buckskins.
General "Phil" Sheridan's Autobiography.
[Continued from Page 2.]
1868, he says, "The difficulties and hardships to be encountered had led several experienced officers of the army, and some frontiersmen like old Jim Bridger, the famous scout and guide of earlier days, to discourage the project. Bridger even went so far as to come out from St. Louis to discourage the attempt. I decided to go in person, bent on showing the Indians that they were not secure from punishment because of inclement weather-- an ally on which they had hiterhto relied with much assurance. We started, and the very first night a blizzard struck us and carried away our tents. The gale was so violent that they could not be put up again; the rain and snow drenched us to the skin. Shivering from wet and cold I took refuge under a wagon, and there spent such a miserable night that, when morning came, the gloomy predictions of old man Bridger and others rose up before me with greatly increased force. The difficulties were now fully realized, the blinding snow mixed with sleet, the piercing wind, thermometer below zero-- with green bushes only for fuel-- occasioning intense suffering. Our numbers and companionship alone prevented us from being lost or perishing, a fate that stared in the face the frontiersmen, guides and scouts on their solitary mission.
"An important matter had been to secure competent guides for the different columns of troops, for, as I have said, the section of country to be operated in was comparatively unknown.
"In those days the railroad town of Hays City was filled with so-called 'Indian Scouts,' whose common boast was of having slain scores of redskins, but the real scout-- that is, a guide and trailer knowing the habits of the Indians-- was very scarce, and it was hard to find anybody familiar with the country south of Arkansas, where the campaign was to be made. Still, about the various military posts there was some good material to select from and we managed to employ several men, who, rom their experience on the plains in various capacities, or from natural instict and aptitude, soon became excellent guides and courageous and valuable scouts, some of them, indeed, gaining much distinction. Mr. William F. Cody ('Buffalo Bill'), whose renown has since become world-wide, was one of the men thus selected. He received his sobriquet from his marked success in killing buffaloes to supply fresh meat to the constriction parties on the Kansas-Pacific Railway. He had lived from boyhood on the plains and passed every experience: herder, hunter, ponyexpress rider, stage driver, wagon maste rin the quartermaster's department, and scout of the army, and was first brought to my notice by distinguishing himself in bringing me an important dispact from Fort Larned to Fort Hays, a distance of sixty-five miles, through a section invested with Indians. The dispatch informed me that the Indians near Larned were preparing to decamp, and this intelligence required that certain orders should be carried to Fort Dodge, ninety-five miles south of Hays. This too being a particularly dangerous route-- several couriers having been killed on it-- it was impossible to get one of the various 'Petes,' 'Jacks' or 'Jims' hanging aroud Hary City to take my communication. Cody, learning of the strait I was in, manfully came to the resuce, and proposed to make the trip to Dodge, though he had just finished his long and perilous ride from Larned. I gratefully accepted his offer, and after a short rest he mounted a fresh horse and hastened on his journey, halting but once to rest on the wat, and then only for an hour, the stop being made at Coon Creek, where he got another mount from a troop of cavalry. At Dodge he took some sleep, and then continued on to his own post-- Fort Larned-- with most dispatches. After resting at Larned, he was again in the saddle with tidings for me at Fort Hays, General Hazen sending him, this time, with word that the villages had fled to the south of Arkansas. Thus, in all, Cody rode about 350 miles in less than sixty hours, and such an exhibition of endurance and courage at that time of the year, and in such weather, was more than enough to convince me that his services would be extremely valuable in the campaign, so I retained him at Fort Hays till the battalion of the Fifth Cavalry arrived, and then made him Chief of Scouts."
Read through the fascinating book, "Campaigning with Crook (Major-General George Crook, U.S.A.) and Stories of Army Life," due to the graphic and soldierly pen of Captain Charles King, of the U. S. Army; published in 1890.
Incidentally the author refers in various pages to Col. Cody as scout, etc., and testifies to the general esteem and affection in which "Buffalo Bill" is held by the army.
The subjoined extracts from the book will give our readers an excellent idea of the military scout's calling and its dangers:
"By Jove, General!" says "Buffalo Bill," sliding backward down the hill, "now's our chance. Let our part mount here out of sight, and we'll cut those fellows off. Come down every other man of you."
Glancing behind me, I see Cody, Tait and "Chips," with five cavalrymen, eagerly bending
[Pictured Below: Colussium.]
forward in their saddles, grasping carbine and rifle, every eye bent upon me, wathcing for the signal. Not a man but myself knows how near they are. That's right, close in, you beggars! Ten seconds more and you are on them. A hundred and twenty-five yards-- a hundred--ninety--"Now, lads, in with you."
There's a rush, a wild ringing cheer; then bang, bang, bang! and in a cloud of dust, Cody and his men tumble in among them, "Buffalo Bill" closingon a superbly accoutred warrior. It is the work of a minute: the Indian has fired and missed. Cody's bullet tears through the rider's leg into the pony's heart, and they tumble in a confused heap on the prairie. The Cheyenne struggles to his feet for another shot, but Cody's second bullet hits the mark. It is now close quarters, knife to knife. After a hand-to-hand struggle, Cody wins, and the young chief, "Yello Hand," drops lifeless in his tracks after a hot fight. Baffled and astounded, for once in a lifetime beaten at their own game, their project of joining "Sitting Bull" nipped in the bud, they take a hurried flight. But our chief is satisfied. "Buffalo Bill" is radiant; his are the honors of the day.-- From page 35.
In all these years of campaigning, the Fifth Cavalry has had varied and interesting experience with a class of men of whom much has been written, and whose names, to readers of the dime novel and New York Weekly style of literature, were familiar as household words; I mean the "Scouts of the Prairie," as they have been christened. Many thousands of our citizens have been to see "Buffalo Bill's" thrilling representations of the scenes of his life of adventure. To such he needs no introduction, and throughout our cavalry he is better known than any general except Miles, Merritt, Carr or Crook.
A motley set they are as a class-- these scouts; hard riding, hard swearing, hard drinking ordinarily, and not all were of unimpeachable veracity. But there was never a word of doubt or question in the Fifth when "Buffalo Bill," came up for discussion. He was Chief of Scouts in Kansas and Nebraska in the campaign of 1868-69, when the hostiles were so completely used up by General Carr. He remained with us as chief scout until the regiment was ordered to Arizone to take its turn at the Apaches in 1871. Five years the regiment was kept among the rocks and deserts of that marvelous land of cactus and centipede; but when we came homeward across the continent and were ordered up to Cheyenne to take a hand in the Sioux war of 1876, the "Sitting Bull" campaign, the first addition to our ranks was "Buffalo Bill" himself-- who sprang from the Union Pacific train at Cheyenne, and was speedily exchanging greetings with an eager group of his old comrades-- reinstated as Chief of Scouts.
Of his services during the campaign that followed, a dozen articles might be written. One of the most thrilling incidents of our fight on the 17th of July with the Cheyenne Indians, on the War Bonnet, was when he killed the warrior "Yellow Hand," in as plucky a single combat on both sides as is ever witnessed. The Fifth had a genuine affection for Bill; he was a tried and true comrade-- one who for cool daring and judgment had no superior. He was a beautiful horseman, an unrivaled shot, and as a scout unequaled. We had tried them all-- Hualpais and Tontos in Arizona; half-breeds on the great plains. We had followed Custer's old guide, "California Joe, in Dakota, met handsome Bill Hickox ("Wild Bill") in the Black Hills: tailed for weeks after Crook's favorite, Frank Guard, with "Little Bat" and "Big Baptiste," three good ones all over the Big Horn and Powder Rive country; hunted Nez Perces with Cosgrove and his Shoshones among the Yellowstone mountains, and listened to Crawford's yarns and rhymes in many a bivouac in the Northwest. They were all noted men in their way, but Bill Cody was the paragon.
[Lack of space excludes volumes of interesting indorsements.-- EDITOR.]
At the time of the organization of the "Wild West," now some twelve years ago, the prejudice which existed between the white man and the Indian was intense, so much so as to be really remarkable.
It affords the writer, therefore, in his present reminiscent mood, much pleasure to dwell on the beneficial effect which the enterprise has had in dispelling that wholly unjustifiable prejudice. Ignorance always breeds distrust. A horse only shies at strange and unaccustomed objects, and in that respect he is very much like his master.
When the exhibition was first organized it was a source of much trouble in many places, where the feeling was so strongle developed that they threw stones at the Indians in the streets. Now this has all been changed and the mission of the exhibition has been fulfilled in that it has bred mutual confidence. The people of the East have learned that the Indian has a better side to his ature and that he is trustworthy when he is trused.
Still another and even greater object has been ained in the remarkable educational effect upon the "Redskin." Hundreds of these men have been taken annually from their reservations and given the countless advantages to be derived from traveling all over our great county. Their surprise, interest and intelligent observation, too, they have crossed the great Water of their traditions, they have visited Europe, and, like their ancestors who accompanied columbus to the court of Spain, they have seen the home of America's discoverer. This has been productive of much good and resulted in modifying greatly their views of life ande in broadenin their minds. With also he farher result hat they have rebition will come as a revvelaion and an object lesson, all the more precious for the reason that the nex enerathion will know it only in history and thus to tose who come after us it will be no more a reality in its vivid picturesqueness tan he stories of the Arabian Nights. The Indianis presented here in all his proud and glittering harness. He is gaily painted with te bright pigments which he has digged from the bosom of the earth, and crowned with the gor-geous plumes which he as plucked from the pinions of te eagle of the sky.
His superb physique and matchless agility and endurance will be presented as he careens upon his faithful riend, the cayuse or Indian horse. He will be seen at home (if a nomad can be said to have a home) within the protection of his tepee, or tent of skins. The every event of his life is vividly portrayed, both in times of piping peace or stirring war. His daily habits, manners, customs, his ingenuity in the chase, his strategy and valor in war, his independence, helpfulness and his bitter resentment are all brought out in striking and vivid colors.
This most remarkable exhbition is absolutely unique in that no complete and absolutely perfect presentation of the national life of any people has ever been attempted or placed before the public in the perfect verisimilitude which is that striking and charming feature of the "Wild West."
There are no lessons which are so valuble, so impressive, as object lessons. The impressions made through the eye are more lasting than any other. Here we see the last of this great people in mimic represenations of the historic scenes which have rendered crimson with life-blood that pages of his past history. Here we ealize the brary and endurace exhibited by him as he sullenly retreated, step by step, from the coast life to the mountain's shelter. We see in realistic tableaux the thrilling events which illumine intelligently the mind of the visitor, when perusin the stories of tha sanguinary past, or contemplating the canvases of the artists who portrayed the life of the plains or viewing the work of the sculptor, past or future. These scenes in mimicry of the past will soon be beyond the posibility of reproduction. In all our great country, once his sole possession, there will be left no trace of the aborigine. His virtues and his faults will have been buried with him. As as the years roll by and time softens the harsh lines of history, his virtues of bravery and gratitude, as well as of hospitality, will alone be preserved in the memory. The dead past will be swallowed up in the brilliant future that awaits him.
"Here lived and loved
Another race of beings."
And so we, too, go forward toward the change that must come to us, as to all who have gone before, knowing that
"All the tribes that tread the earth are
But a handful to those that slumber in her bosom."
he began to make his mark, and lay the foundation of his future greatness.
Next it became "Wild Will," the pony express-rider of the overland, and as such he faced many dangers, and overcame many obstacles which would have crushed a less strong nature and brave heart.
Then it became "Bill Cody, the Wagon-master," then overland stage drive, and from that to guide across the plains, until he drifted into his natural calling as a Government scout.
"Buffalo Bill, the Scout and Indian Fighter," was known from north to south, from east to west, for his skill, energy, and daring as a ranger of moutain and plain.
With the inborn gift of a perfect borderman, Buffalo Bill led armies across trackless moutains and plains, through deserts of death, and to the farthest rereats of the ctruel redskins who were making war upon the settlers.
Buffalo Bill has never sought the reputation of being a "man killer."
He has shunned difficulties of a personal nature, yet never backed down in the face of death in the discharge of duty.
Brought face to face with the worst elements of the frontier, he never sought the title of hero at the expense of other lives and sufferring.
An Indian fighter, he was yet the friend of the redskin in many ways, and to-day there is not a man more respected among all the fighting tribes than Buffalo Bill, though he is feared as well.
In his delineation of Wild West life before the vast audiences he has appeared to in this country and Europe, he has been instrumental in educating the Indians to feel that it would be madness for them to continue the struggle against the innumerable whites, and to teach them that peace and happiness could come to them if they would give up the war-path and the barbarism of the past, and seek for themselves, homes amid civilized scenes and associations.
Buffalo Bill is therefore a great teacher among his red friends, and he has done more good than any man I know who has lived among them.
Courtly by nature, generous to a fault, big-hearted and brainy, full of gratitude to those whome he feels indebted to, he has won his way in the world and stands to-day as truly one of Nature's noblemen.
One of the strongest characteristics of Buffalo Bill, to my mind, was his love for his mothe-- a mother most worthy the devotion of such a son. His love and devotion to his sisters has also been marked throughout his lifetime.
When he first came to me he had to sign the pay-roll each month by making the sign of a cross, his mark. He drew a man's pay, and earned every dollar of it.
He always had his mother come to get his pay, and when one day he was told by the paymaster to come and "make his mark and get his money," his face flushed as he saw tears come itnto his mother's eyes and heard her low-uttered words:
"Oh, Willie! If you would only learn to write, how happy I would be."
Educational advantages in those early days were crude in the exreme, and Little Billy's chances to acquire knowledge were few, but from that day, when he saw the tears in his mother's eyes at his inability to write his name, he began to study hard and to learn to writ; in fact, his acquiring the art of penmanship got him into heaps of trouble, as "Will Cody," "Little Billy," "Billy the Boy Messenger," and "William Frederic Cody" were written with the burnt end of a stick upon tents, wagon-covers, and all tempting places, while he caved upon wagon-body, ox-yoke, and where he could find suitable wood for his pen-knife to cut into, the name he would one day make famous.
With such energy as this on his part, Billy Cody was not very long in learning to write his name upon the pay-roll instead of making his mark, though ever sice, I may add, he has made his mark in the pages of history.
All through his lie he was ever the devoted son and brother, and true as steel to his friends, for he has not been spoiled by the fame he has won, while to-day his firmest friends are he officers of the army with whom he has served through dangers and hardships untold, as proof of which he was freely given the endorsement of such men as Sherman, Sheridan, Gen. Nelson A. Miles, Generals Carr, Merritt, Royal, and a host of others.
Thus describes the tableau given at Chicago in the World's Fair celebration of Columbus Day in Buffalo Bill's Indians:
What delighted my soul was the appearace, in two tabelaux, of twelve indians from Buffalo Bill's Wild West. Grouped first in the landing of Columbus, and secondly, as exhibits-- if I may so term before-- before the Court of Spain, these twelve Indians were so splendid in pose, expression and statuesque immobility as to excite a genuine furvore. If they wanted a victory over their conquerers they had it that night in Jackson Park. The white man, bedecked in velvets and jewels, was a physical nervous pigmy beside these bronze children of the plains, whpse lordly bearing ad repose were worth all the paintins in the Art Place. Here was no counterfeit presentment. Here was nature giving art a lesson. I shall never cease to be grateful to a woman for having brought American Indians into what is called "societ" and shown their infinite superiority to their fellow-actors and their audiences in grace, dignity, bearin and nerve. --Kate Field's Washington.
Buffalo Bill and the Romans
I'll take my stalwart Idian braves
Down to the Coloseum,
And the old Romans from their graves
Will all arise to see 'em;
Pretors and censors will return
And hasten throuh the Forum,
The ghostly Senate will adjourn
Because it lacks a quorum.
And up the ancient Appian way
Will flock the ghostly legions,
From Gaul unto Calabria,
And from remoter regions;
From British bog and wild lagoon,
and Libyan desert sandy,
They'll all come, marchig to the tune
Of "Yankee Doodle Dandy."
Prepare the triumph car for me
And purple throne to sit on,
For I've done more than Julius C.-
He could not down the Briton!
Caesar ad Cicero shall bow,
And ancient warriors famous,
Before the myrtle-bandaged brow
Of Buffalo Williamus.
We march, unwhipped, through history---
No bulwark can detain us-
And link the age of Grover C.
And Scipio Africanus.
I'll take my stalwart Indian braves
Down to the Colosseum,
And the old Romans from their graves
Will all arise to see 'em.
--London Telegraph, 1887.
Colosseum visisted 1890.
No more permanent good has been accomplished by the Wild West's existence than the influence that it has had on art, sculpture and painting. The wide-of-the-mark idea artists-- especially in Europe-- have had of the American aborigine is strikingly illustrated by two figures at Sir Walter Raleigh's tomb in Westminster Abbey which attracted the atention of Kicking Bear, Short Bull, Rocky Bear, and other chiefs, on a visit to that historic edifice. The dress, bows, arrows, ornaments, and ody figures were Indians, but the heads were those of the short, culry-haired African Negro.
This visit of Buffalo Bill was a revelation to the art students, and every facility was given them mornin, noon and night to visit and paint.
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