WHITE AGAINST RED AT THE ROSEBUD (1876)
AND THE GAMENESS OF CAPTAIN GUY HENRY
 ALTHOUGH after the battle of the Washita the Indians began to surrender upon their agencies in Indian
Territory, there were many outbreaks and many other battles in the Department of the Missouri. The
Southern Cheyennes, the Kiowas, Arapahos, Comanches and Apaches did not yield entirely until the
spring of 1875. Their ring-leaders were sent as prisoners to Fort Marion, near San Augustine,
Florida. The plains of Kansas, Colorado and southern Nebraska were in complete possession of the
white men, at last.
During the time that the southern Indians had been fighting the soldiers and settlers, the Dakota
Sioux and the Northern Cheyennes had been wandering pretty much as they pleased.
All western present South Dakota had been given to the Sioux as a farming country. All the wide land
adjoining, as far as the Big Horn Mountains line of central Wyoming, and from the North Platte River
of Nebraska to the Yellowstone River of southeastern Montana—one hundred thousand square
miles—had been given to them as their hunting grounds as long
 as the buffalo ran. No white men were to pass through without the permission of the Sioux.
The Northern Cheyennes had been granted no lands. Somehow, the Peace Commission had omitted them.
But that made no difference; they went where the Sioux went.
The Sioux farming lands were very poor. They did not know how to farm, white men had failed to make
a living there, the Government did not provide the schools and teachers and the food as promised; in
April, 1875, the Sioux were eating ponies and wolves. They were buffalo Indians, anyway, and it was
a great deal to expect of them that they should settle down and try to be like white people, when
the hunting trail was open to them.
The agency Indians saw themselves starving. What was the use in being tame and good, when their
relatives in the hunting grounds were free and fat and happy! A number of these Dakotas or Tetons
never came in at all. They chased the elk, deer and buffalo; at ration time they sent for their
share; and to show how well off they were they emptied the flour upon the prairie and wore the sacks
for shirts. They had only contempt for the foolish white people and for the "coffee cooling" agency
The United States had made a bad bargain. The Crows, the Arikaras, the Mandans, the Snakes
complained that the wild Indians raided them—took scalps and horses. The Crows and the others
said that when they had agreed to go upon reservations the United States had engaged to protect
them. Instead, now the
 Sioux knew just where to find them, but they themselves had been forbidden to make war. Wagon trains
and white settlers on the borders of the hunting grounds also complained.
The Sioux, too, had grievances, as a nation. Breaking the treaty, the Northern Pacific Railroad was
being surveyed south of the Yellowstone River, and through their hunting grounds. White miners were
trespassing in the Black Hills of the reservation itself—the sacred Pah-sappa or Medicine Land
of the Dakotas; the United States was insisting that the Sioux sell their Pah-sappa.
The head chief of the hunting Indians was Crazy Horse. Sitting Bull likewise was out, with a band.
He was not a chief, but a medicine worker, and much respected for his powers. He hated the white men
with a deep and lasting hatred.
"God made me an Indian. He did not make me an agency Indian, and I'll fight and die fighting before
any white man can make me an agency Indian," he said.
He was a Hunkpapa Dakota. Crazy Horse was an Oglala Dakota, but led the Northern Cheyennes also.
That name, Crazy Horse, had been given him because when he was born a wild pony charged through the
camp. He grew up to be a stern, fierce warrior; at twenty-six he was a war chief, bitter against the
In the early winter of 1875 the Indian Bureau ordered that runners be sent out, to tell the hunting
Indians that they must come into the Chief Red Cloud
 Agency or the Chief Spotted Tail Agency before January 31, 1876, and report; they were to be counted
None of the Sioux wished to be counted. When their numbers were not known, then they might obtain
double rations, and might supply their relatives and friends who were absent.
Only a few of the hunting Indians came in. Sitting Bull already had replied, during the summer when
he had been asked to talk about selling the Black Hills.
"Are you the Great Being that made me?" he demanded, of the runner. "Or was it the Great Being that
made me who sent you? If He asks me to come see Him, I will go; but the big chief of the white men
must come see me. I will not go to the reservation. I have no land to sell. There is plenty game
here for us. We have enough ammunition. We don't want any white men."
And this winter he answered again:
"Tell the white chief to come find me. I shall not run away. He need bring no guides."
Chief Crazy Horse answered not at all.
General Phil Sheridan was directed to round up him and Sitting Bull.
General Sheridan had been promoted to lieutenant-general, and appointed to the command of the whole
Division of the Missouri. This took in all the Indian country from the Mississippi River to the
Rocky Mountains, and from the Mexican border to Canada. There were the Departments of Texas, of the
Missouri, of the Platte and of Dakota.
 The campaign was to be waged by the Departments of the Platte and of Dakota. Brigadier General
George Crook commanded the Department of the Platte. This included Nebraska, Wyoming, north-eastern
Utah as far as the Salt Lake, and eastern Idaho, with headquarters at Omaha.
Brigadier General Alfred Howe Terry commanded the Department of Dakota. This included Minnesota,
Dakota and Montana, with headquarters at St. Paul.
Nobody in the army or in the Indian Bureau knew how many Indians were off the reservation. They were
thought to be not more than five or six hundred. One regiment of cavalry should be able to handle
General Crook did try a winter attack, with one thousand men. General J. J. Reynolds and a
detachment of nine cavalry companies charged into Crazy Horse's village in southern Montana, much as
Custer's Seventh Cavalry had charged into Black Kettle's village; but they were driven out, they
lost the ponies, they almost froze to death, and the bitter weather forced General Crook back into
winter quarters, again. That stung him.
The reservation Indians heard of the stand made by the Crazy Horse people; they stole away, party
after party, to join him and Sitting Bull. Fighting was a more successful life than farming. The
white soldiers had struck. Now the Great Sioux and Cheyenne War of 1876 burst into flame.
Brigadier General and Brevet Major-General George Crook had graduated from West Point in 1852. He
and General Sheridan had been room-mates and class
 mates there. Except for his service in the Civil War he had been fighting Indians ever since his
As a lieutenant he had been wounded by an arrow while campaigning in Oregon and Washington. As a
lieutenant-colonel he had subdued the Pai-Utes and Warm-Spring Snakes of Nevada and Idaho. As
commander of the Department of Arizona he had beaten the crafty Apaches.
He was noted not only as a skilled and stubborn Indian fighter but also as a scout; had studied
Indians, had learned to read a trail and the sign language, and to take care of himself in the open;
was fond of riding alone, ahead of his column, with rifle or double-barrel shotgun, hunting game,
picking up rocks and collecting birds' eggs, and viewing the country and the ways of the wild life.
While very strict in discipline, he cared little for show. He usually dressed, upon the trail, in a
canvas hunting-coat, old corduroy trousers, and felt hat.
The Indians knew him as a just man and a good friend as well as a stanch enemy. He could go wherever
they could go, he drank only water, he never tired and never showed fear. Because of his quiet garb
and his shrewdness they called him the Gray Fox.
He waited merely for the grass to get green and the ground to dry, so that his horses might travel
and live off the country. Then he organized another column, for a summer campaign into the Crazy
Horse and Sitting Bull domain far from military posts and supplies. He was to march in from the
south. A column under General Terry was to march in on the north. A third
 column under Colonel John Gibbon of Fort Ellis in central Montana was to march in from the west.
The Crook column—forty-nine officers and one thousand and two men—assembled at Fort
Fetterman, on the North Platte River in Wyoming one hundred miles above old Fort Laramie.
There were ten troops of the Third Cavalry and five troops of the Second Cavalry, all under Colonel
William B. Royall of the Third. Colonel Royall was a handsome Virginian, and a veteran. He had a
heavy gray moustache, bushy dark eyebrows, keen blue eyes, and a bald head scarred from a
Confederate saber during the Civil War.
Major Andrew W. Evans commanded the ten troops of the Third. The Third had served against the
Apaches in Arizona, with General Crook, and before his time, too; of late had been stationed in the
Captain and Brevet Major Henry E. Noyes commanded the five troops of the Second. The Second had been
serving in this Department of the Platte for some years, protecting the Union Pacific Railroad and
chasing Sioux, Cheyennes, Arapahos and Crows.
So the Third and the Second understood Indians and could be relied upon.
There were three companies of the Ninth Infantry and two companies of the Fourth Infantry. The
"walk-a-heaps" were commanded by Major Alexander Chambers of the Fourth—an old soldier who had
earned brevets at Shiloh, Vicksburg, and elsewhere.
Captain George M. Randall of the Twenty-third
In-  fantry was chief of scouts. He was another Crook man, from Arizona; had campaigned there and had
been in charge of an Apache reservation.
Weazened, sun-dried old Tom Moore was chief of the pack train. General Crook was the "daddy" of the
United States army pack-mule system; had organized it and used it with great success. Tom Moore had
bossed the pack trains in Arizona; there was nothing about a mule that he did not know.
Charley Russell, a Government packer and wagon master on the plains, was wagon-train chief. The
guides were Frank Gruard, Louis Richaud and Baptiste Pourrier.
Guide Gruard was a Sandwich Islander, dark of skin, with long black hair. He had lived with Chief
Crazy Horse—while riding pony express had been captured by the Sioux, who had thought that he
was a Sioux, himself. Later in this campaign he was almost captured again!
Louis Richaud was part French and part Sioux. So was Baptiste Pourrier, whom the soldiers called
"Big Bat," to separate him from another Baptiste, "Little Bat."
A party of war correspondents went along, by permission of General Sheridan, to write up the
campaign for their newspapers. They were Joseph Wasson of the San Francisco Alta California,
the Philadelphia Press and the New York Tribune; Robert E. Strahorn of the
Denver Rocky Mountain News and other papers; T. B. McMillan of the Chicago
Inter-Ocean; R. B.
 Davenport of the New York Herald; and John F. Finerty of the Chicago Times.
The Gray Fox arrived at Fort Fetterman and took command on May 28, this 1876. He started the very
next day, May 29, and headed into the north, for the fastnesses of the outlawed Sioux and Cheyennes.
With its fifteen companies of cavalry, its five companies of infantry, its one hundred and three
six-mule wagons and its almost one thousand pack mules, the column was the strongest that had yet
marched against the Indians of the West.
The Crows and Shoshonis or Snakes had been asked to help. The Sioux had stolen the Wyoming hunting
grounds from the Crows; they had always fought the Shoshonis, to get horses. The Crows now lived
upon a reservation in Montana, the Shoshonis in western Wyoming.
Crazy Horse had sent word to the Gray Fox. "When you touch the Tongue River I shall fight you."
The Gray Fox was an old hand at the Indian game. The Third Cavalry knew, and the Second Cavalry and
the infantry soon found out. He started with the infantry every morning at six o'clock sharp; the
cavalry broke camp at seven-thirty and caught up. In this manner the march was hastened.
They all marched right through the forbidden Powder River country; on June 7 they "touched" the
Tongue River, in northern Wyoming about fifteen miles from the Montana line. Skirmish companies had
been kept in the advance, bugle calls silenced. General
 Crook was enjoying himself. Every day he had ridden ahead of the column, to hunt; and he had found
some rare birds' eggs.
Crazy Horse was alert. In the morning of June 9 he attacked. The white soldiers' camp had been
pitched upon the south bank of the Tongue, at the Montana line. At half-past six o'clock the Sioux
and Cheyennes opened fire from the bluffs across the river; they aimed at the army tents and riddled
them, but the soldiers were outside.
The infantry replied with their "long Tom" Spring-fields; a battalion of the Third Cavalry under
Captain and Brevet Colonel Anson Mills the Texan charged the bluffs. The Indians scampered away.
They had done little harm other than wounding two men, killing several horses and mules, and boring
a hole through the stove pipe of Colonel Mills' tent. But Chief Crazy Horse had made good his
When the dispatches to the Eastern papers announced that Colonel Mills' stove pipe had been
punctured, a Southern editor criticized him for having gone into action wearing a stove-pipe silk
The Gray Fox moved southwest seventeen miles to a better camp, at the juncture of Big Goose Creek
and Little Goose Creek, northern Wyoming. Here he waited for the Crows and Shoshonis to join him.
The Crows came first, brought by Frank Gruard and Louis Richaud. They had been afraid that the Sioux
had driven the white chief back; now when they were shown the camp they charged in with a great
They numbered one hundred and seventy-five
war-  riors, each man with two ponies; were well armed with breech-loading rifles. Their hair was bushed
on top of their heads, Crow fashion.
In a jiffy they raised their war lodges in the midst of the white tents, and were eating a feast of
coffee, sugar and bread. Their chiefs, Old Crow, Medicine Crow and Good Heart, were treated by
General Crook to stewed dried apples.
The Shoshonis or Snakes arrived next. They were eighty-six, fully equipped; approached at headlong
gallop in column of twos and wheeled left front into line like cavalry. Scout Tom Cosgrove and two
other Texans were with them. Scout Cosgrove had been captain of Texas cavalry during the Civil War.
He had drilled the Shoshonis. They bore two American flags, and every warrior fluttered a bright
pennon. Their chiefs were Wesha and Nawkee, and two sons of Head Chief Washakie.
The Crows and the Shoshonis held grand council with the Gray Fox, and gave a war dance that lasted
"The Sioux have trampled upon our hearts; we shall spit upon their scalps," Old Crow said.
The next day, June 15, the Gray Fox made preparations to march on and strike the enemy. The Crows
had reported that the Sioux and Cheyennes were encamped "in numbers like the grass" in the valley of
the Rosebud River, just to the west of the Tongue River, southern Montana. The Rosebud River was the
The wagons and baggage were to be left here on
 Goose Creek, guarded by infantry under the quarter-master, Captain and Brevet Major John V. Furey.
But one hundred and seventy-five infantrymen who said that they knew how to ride were mounted upon
The Crows and Shoshonis also made preparations. They cleaned their guns and sharpened their lances
and tomahawks; cut coup sticks—peeled willow branches twelve feet long, with which to touch
the enemy. The first coup counted entitles the warrior to the scalp; and whatever ponies he touches
June 16 the Gray Fox marched, with his mounted men, four days' rations in the saddle pockets, one
hundred rounds of ammunition in the cartridge belts, one blanket behind each saddle, and a small
pack train bossed by Tom Moore.
General Crook purposed to seize the Crazy Horse or Sitting Bull village, to outfit with the captured
meat, and push on to join the General Terry and Colonel Gibbon columns.
The Crows and Shoshonis rode their best war ponies. Their medicine men chanted to them, telling them
what demons the Sioux were and stirring them to deeds of valor.
This afternoon the advance scouts came tearing back. There were buffalo ahead, running away from a
Sioux hunting party. The young warriors began to race about, in order to fill their ponies' lungs
and give them their second wind, for battle.
Beyond the top of a grassy slope all the country
be-  fore was brown with buffalo, but no Sioux appeared. The soldiers were ordered not to shoot, for fear
of alarming the enemy. The Crows and Shoshonis stripped and ran the buffalo, killing so many that
the officers objected. But the red allies would not understand.
"Ugh! Better kill the buffalo than have him feed the Sioux."
The chase lasted the whole afternoon. Now there was little chance of surprising any Sioux within ten
"Where you find buffalo, there you'll find Indians," was a plains maxim. This night Captain
Sutorius, the Swiss commander of Troop E, Third Cavalry, who had been in the regiment twenty-two
years, said to War Correspondent Finerty, as they lay side by side, each shivering under a single
"We'll have a fight tomorrow; mark my words. I feel it in the air."
The soldiers had to do without fires. The independent Crows and Shoshonis lighted large ones, cooked
buffalo meat, and then howled their war songs.
General Crook wished that they had stayed home, but he could not say so, now. He asked them to scout
ahead tonight, and find the Sioux. They said that they were too full of buffalo meat.
By daybreak the column was marching down the valley of the pretty Rosebud, in eastern south Montana.
Goose Creek had been put forty miles behind. What awaited before? The Crows and Shoshonis were
rather sober. Only a few of them would scout in the
 advance. They did not act at all anxious to find the terrible Sioux.
Hills rose on either side, with the Rosebud flowing northeast through the middle of the green
valley. About eight o'clock halt was ordered, to wait for the scouts, in a basin edged by the hills
and cliffs. The June sun was hot, here; on both banks of the river, the horses and mules grazed;
officers and men not on picket duty dozed.
Then at half-past eight firing was heard, down the valley.
"Those pesky Indians are shooting buffalo again!"
No! Here came the scouts, lashing their ponies and gazing behind. Two Crows arrived; one of them
"Sioux! Sioux! Heap Sioux!"
The other warriors were pouring in from the northern slopes. Behind them the hill tops were black
with the enemy.
The Gray Fox had not been caught napping, in spite of the careless scouts. He was ready.
"Throw the infantry forward dismounted as skirmishers and hold those fellows in check," he shouted.
The infantry rail.
"Saddle up, there—saddle up, quick!" barked Captain Anson Mills, to the cavalry.
"How do you feel about this now, eh?" Captain Sutorius asked of Correspondent Finerty, with a grin.
The enemy looked to be overwhelming in numbers.
It's all right. It's the anniversary of Bunker Hill. A good luck day."
 "That's so. Never thought of it." And Captain Sutorius cried, to the troopers: "It's the anniversary
of Bunker Hill, boys. We're in luck."
The troopers waved their carbine barrels. Adjutant Henry Lemly galloped to the Third from General
"The commanding officer's compliments, Colonel Mills. Your battalion will charge those bluffs on the
Away went Troops A, E, I and M, Third Cavalry; through the river, through the bogs on the other
side, across the level and up the bluffs in the north.
Captain Guy Henry's battalion, Troops B, D, F and L, charged on the left or west, to check the
enemy's right. Troop C of Captain Frederick Van net and Troop G of First Lieutenant Emmet Crawford
sped to hold the bluffs in the rear and prevent a surround. The Second Cavalry was kept in reserve,
until the battle should develop.
There was little fighting on the east, or right. Chief Crazy Horse had a host of warriors, both
Sioux and Cheyennes, at his call. He had launched fifteen hundred, to draw the Gray Fox men on in
detachments, and to wipe them out that way; or else to lure them all to the right by leaving it
Four miles beyond the camp the Rosebud entered a narrow canyon—the Dead Canyon of the Rosebud.
The Sioux and Cheyenne village was at the lower end. If Crazy Horse might get the white soldiers
into that canyon he would crush them as they hastened through to attack the village.
 General Crook rightly suspected that the village was located there. That was one reason why he had
sent the Crows and Shoshonis forward. If they had scouted in earnest, he might have surprised the
village—although after the buffalo hunt this was scarcely likely. The scouts had brought the
enemy right to him. Now it was white general against red general, in pitched battle.
The Colonel Mills companies charged gallantly, using their revolvers and drove the Sioux and
Cheyennes from the first crest; but another ridge appeared in front of them and there the same
warriors were, again. They rode back and forth, making insulting gestures. One of the chiefs was
signaling with a small looking-glass.
Troop I, of Captain William H. Andrews, was detached to the support of the left wing, where Captain
Henry's battalion and Colonel Royall were being hard beset by the bold Cheyennes. The Colonel Mills
men charged again; they cleared the second ridge—and were confronted by a third ridge, with
the enemy capering and firing and hooting along it.
Hurrah! A shrill chorus sounded; through the intervals between the dismounted troopers the Crows and
Shoshonis charged. They had been rallied—they were lashing to meet the hated Sioux.
Major George Randall and First Lieutenant John G. Bourke of General Crook's staff led the Crows, on
the right. Orderly Sergeant John Van Moll, a giant of a man, dashed with them, on foot. Texan Tom
Cosgrove, chief of Wind River scouts, led his Shoshonis,
 on the left. Bugler Elmer A. Snow of Troop M rode beside him.
Down from the second ridge they all rushed, Sergeant Van Moll running as swiftly as the ponies. Down
from the third ridge the Sioux gladly rushed, to battle them. There was a great fight. The soldiers
dared not fire, for fear of killing the friendlies. It was hard to tell one Indian from another. All
were stripped to breech-clouts and moccasins, and wore streaming war bonnets.
The Crows fought from horseback—lying low and racing back and forth, shooting and whooping and
counting coups. So did the Sioux. Half the Shoshonis fought on foot. For a time it was nip and tuck,
while the white men looked on and cheered. But the Sioux increased. Reinforcements bolted in, hot
for Crow and Snake scalps. At a signal whoop, the Crook scouts prepared to retire. They picked up
their wounded and what dead they could, and carrying double their ponies darted up the slope, for
the cavalry line.
Sergeant Van Moll failed to keep pace. He seemed to be left to the Sioux, run though he did. Major
Randall and Lieutenant Bourke saw—they turned, to his rescue. But "Humpy," a little Crow
warrior with a crooked back, was swifter. He swooped by them, reached Van Moll, clutched him by the
shoulder and motioned to him to jump on behind. Holding fast, big Sergeant Van Moll rode into the
line behind little Humpy, and the whole battalion shouted.
"There were no insects on them, either, when they
 passed us on the home stretch," wrote War Correspondent Finerty, who was there.
Now the Mills men mounted and made a counter charge; drove the enemy from the third ridge.
The Gray Fox was at the front, himself, directing the movements. He had grown impatient. His good
black horse had been shot from under him. The Sioux and Cheyennes were standing up to him, and
appeared to be more than two thousand. The fighting had lasted two hours and he had accomplished
nothing, although the battle field extended over five miles. He determined to push matters to a
finish. These northern Indians certainly were of different calibre from the Apaches.
He ordered the Mills battalion to fall back from the ridges and reform. That was done. Tom Moore's
frontiersmen packers were thrown in, to cover the retirement. Every man was a crack shot, and as
cool as a cucumber. On came the Sioux, to turn the flanks of the Mills troopers. At short range they
were received with such a volley from the steady packers that "in not more than seven seconds,"
Lieutenant John Bourke wrote, "they concluded that home, sweet home was a better place."
On the west Major Royall's detachment of Captain Guy Henry's battalion and Captain Henry Noyes'
Troop I, Second Cavalry, were being pressed stubbornly, in rough ground, by the fierce Cheyennes.
General Crook sent Bugler Snow with orders to Major Royall to fall back, also.
The Sioux almost cut Bugler Snow off, as he
gal-  loped full tilt across the open valley. Rah! They nearly had him—no, he was out-pacing them,
they dropped behind, they fired—with both arms broken he tumbled from his horse in the Major
Royall lines. He delivered the orders.
Major Royall attempted to fall back. The Cheyennes took it for a retreat. They rushed him. The
Sioux, checked in the pursuit of the Mills battalion, scoured over, to help. Captain Peter D.
Vroom's Troop L delayed a little too long; was caught and separated from the battalion. The enemy
surrounded it. Captain Henry led a charge into the furious melee, to rescue his comrades.
A heavy bullet struck him under the right eye, passed clear through his face, broke his nose and
tore out under his left eye. It was a frightful wound. He reeled, spat blood in handfuls, but he
stayed in the saddle and directed his soldiers; then he lurched to the ground.
The men gave way a little. The Cheyennes charged—a battle was waged right over his body, but
fortunately he was not stepped on. A party of brave Shoshonis made a stand, to save him—the
troopers charged again, and he was dragged from the danger. Hurrah!
The Captain Van Vliet battalion had arrived, to help Major Royall; the Tom Moore packers were
protecting the right flank; dismounted infantry and Second Cavalry filled the gap between them and
Colonel Mills had fallen back, as ordered, into the basin—
 "It's time to stop this skirmishing, colonel," the Gray Fox said, galloping to him, behind the line
of troopers lying flat and firing. "You must take your battalion and go for their village away down
the canyon. I will follow and support you as soon as possible."
"All right, sir," Colonel Mills answered promptly. "Sound cease firing, bugler. Mount the men,
In a minute Companies A, E and M, Third Cavalry, had wheeled to the right and at a trot were making
for the northeast end of the valley, where the Dead Canyon opened. The five troops of the Second
Cavalry, under Major Noyes, were to follow close.
The Sioux saw and yelled. Parties of them streamed around by the south and pelted to reach the
The canyon proved to be a mean place, deep and narrow, the Rosebud boiling through and the steep
rocky sides grown to evergreens. Captain Sutorius the Swiss and Lieutenant Adolphus Von Leuttwitz
cleaned the Sioux from the mouth with Troop E. The three companies, two hundred men, kept on.
In the fore there rode Aide-de-Camp Bourke, War Correspondent Finerty, and Lieutenant Frederick
Schwatka who became a famous Arctic explorer. Frank Gruard guided.
The pony tracks were many, showing that this was a much used canyon. Colonel Mills waxed rather
dubious. He had ten or twelve miles to go. Major Noyes' five companies arrived. The Indians had not
attacked—it was a straw silence, but behind, in the
 west, the gunfire had swelled. The battle there had been renewed.
At seven miles there were signs of Indians watching him, before and from either side. The village
must be almost in sight. So he halted his command at a wider place, where another canyon entered
from the left, and he began to form for battle.
Somebody was coming, in the rear, at a gallop. It was an officer in buckskin, his long black beard
grayed with dust: Captain Azor H. Nickerson of the Twenty-third Infantry and of General Crook's
staff. He and an orderly had ridden the whole seven miles without escort. He saluted Colonel Mills,
and spoke in a hurry.
"Mills, Royall is hard pressed and must be relieved. Henry is badly wounded and Vroom's troop is all
cut up. The general orders that you and Noyes defile by your left flank out of this canyon and fall
on the rear of the Indians who are pressing Royall. The general cannot move on to support you on
account of the wounded."
This was true. The Gray Fox could spare only a small detail to guard his hospital and he dared not
risk it. But well for Colonel Mills that he had been ordered out of the canyon; and well for General
Crook that he had not moved in support. Chief Crazy Horse had arranged an ambush at the lower end.
With plenty of warriors to use, he had stationed one reserve near an enormous dam of brush and logs
that blocked the end; had made ready to close in behind the column with another force.
The Gray Fox had suspected. His heart had told
 him and he had recalled the Colonel Mills detachment for the two reasons.
The orders had arrived in good time and at a good place. The Mills and Noyes cavalry took the side
canyon out, leading their horses and climbing by heads of companies, so as to operate quickly. They
safely emerged upon a level plateau.
"Prepare to mount—mount!"
At a gallop they all spurred to the relief of Major Royall. The Sioux and Cheyenne boys were herding
the warriors' horses behind the red line; the Royall men, also fighting on foot, were getting
surrounded. Scores of Indians were rushing to the field; soon there might be a grand charge, of five
When the Indian lookouts saw the. reinforcements tearing in, they whooped the alarm; the warriors
ran, vaulted into the saddle, and fled before they were attacked in their rear. They left thirteen
scalps for the Crows and Shoshonis.
Crazy Horse now withdrew to move his village. General Crook had fifty white and red soldiers killed
and wounded; he was almost out of supplies, his men had fired twenty-five thousand cartridges, and
his hospital had to be protected. To fight his way through all those Indians, and reach the General
Terry column at the Yellowstone, one hundred miles, was impossible; to march around meant a detour
of two hundred miles. Therefore he decided to withdraw, also.
The time was two o'clock in the afternoon.
The plucky Captain Henry had been taken to the rear. He lay upon the hard ground; one eye had been
 destroyed, in fact he could not see at all; a bloody rag covered his face, and the flies buzzed
hungrily. An orderly held a horse so that the shadow fell upon him.
"Fix me up so that I can go back, can't you?" Captain Henry had mumbled, to the surgeon.
War Correspondent Finerty bent over him. "That's too bad, captain. Can I do anything for you?"
"It's nothing, Jack. For this we are soldiers. By the way, I hear that you've been in the thick of
the firing today, and done well. I'd advise you to join the army. You ought to try for a
"Join the army!" Looking at Captain Henry, Reporter Finerty did not feel very enthusiastic.
Now there was a terrible journey in store for the wounded, and especially for Captain Henry.
First, to Goose Creek, fifty miles. The wounded were carried in travois, or litters of a blanket
slung between two poles and dragged each behind a mule.
General Crook tried to pick the smoothest road, but the best proved bad enough. Captain Henry's
litter was supported by a mule at either end. He suffered frightfully; he could swallow only broth;
the mules objected to the smell of blood and the looks of their burden; the rear mule bit Captain
Henry in the head—they turned the captain about and the front mule threatened to kick him.
Once the lead mule stumbled and pitched him out. But he never uttered one word of complaint. Yet he
was not a strong man, in body; he was slightly built.
From Goose Creek the wounded had to be sent in
 wagons, to Fort Fetterman, one hundred and fifty miles south. Lying upon grass, they were jolted
over hills and ridges, into gulches and out, and across creeks.
Captain Henry should have been dead, before this, the surgeons said; but he was resolved not to die.
He had set his mind upon seeing his wife. She was at Fort D. A. Russell, near Cheyenne of Wyoming.
She could not come to him—the Sioux and Cheyennes held the trails; she could not get quick
word of him, for the Indians had cut the telegraph wires. The captain knew that she would be
anxious. He was going on to her.
So they took him across country again, in an army ambulance, one hundred more miles to Medicine Bow
station on the Union Pacific Railroad. From there he rode one hundred miles by train, to Cheyenne.
He had been traveling over two weeks. At the end of all, he insisted upon walking from the carriage
to the doorway of his quarters in Fort Russell—but he had to be led.
Then at the doorway, when his wife grasped him by the hand, he said, only:
"Well, this is a great way to celebrate the Fourth of July."
What she said, she didn't really quite know; but it wasn't very much, for he was a soldier and she
was a soldier's wife.
Captain Guy Vernor Henry did not die. His sheer grit pulled him through. He was bound to live. He
already had four brevets, and the Medal of Honor was coming to him. His gallantry on the Rosebud
 brought him another brevet—that of brigadier general. In a year he joined his regiment; one
eye was sightless, his face was scarred, his body somewhat weak; but his nerve all was there. He
went into the field against the Sioux; lasted only six weeks, was carried home—and tried
In 1890, when the Sioux ghost-danced, as major of the Ninth cavalry he led it one hundred and ten
miles in a day and a half, was in the saddle twenty-two hours, and fought two battles; all in zero
Captain Henry died, major-general of Volunteers and brigadier general of Regulars, October 27, 1899,
in the service, in Porto Rico where the Spanish-American War had landed him. He had ridden, fought
and worked for his country through twenty-three years after he might with good reason have retired.
But to him the Indian bullet was nothing; the business of being a good soldier was everything.
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