Title: Life and Adventures of "Buffalo Bill," Colonel William F. Cody

Date: 1917

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  [drawing]   Life and Adventures
This Thrilling Autobiography Tells in Colonel Cody's Own Graphic Language the Wonderful Story of His Long, Eventful and Heroic Career and is Supplemented with a Chapter by a Loving, Life-Long Friend covering his Last Days, Death and Burial. His Story shows his Devotion to Duty as a Child when Supporting his Widowed Mother, his Valuable Services to the Government while riding in the Famous "Pony Express" and Vividly Portrays his Thrilling Experiences as Hunter and Scout while acting as Guide to the Army and Trains of Prairie Schooners—His many Hair-breadth Escapes and Fights with Indians, Desperadoes and while Hunting Buffalo and other Wild Animals, as well as his Later Triumphs in Conducting the Tours of his Great Wild West Exhibition in the United States and Europe. The whole work comprising an Authentic History of many Events inseparably interwoven with the Exploration, Settlement and Development of our Great Western Plains. Illustrated with many Rare Engravings
  Copyright 1917 by JOHN R. STANTON  








Across the rolling, trackless plains
I see a victim as of old.
Aye, like a knight in armor girt,
As noble, free and quite as bold;
His flowing locks and massive brow
Proclaiming the gallant like he passed
While toiling to prepare the way
For those who built an empire vast.
They called him Bill—
Just Buffalo Bill.

What were the thoughts that filled his brain
While waiting for the final call?
Methinks he say the blood-stained trail,
The rifles flash, the red man's fall.
The war-whoop and the massacre.
Ah, God! His life was one great fight
To master man and elements,
To force the erring mortal right.
They called him Bill—
Just Buffalo Bill.

He loved the fellowship of man,
But on the veidt his fame was earned;
On silent plain, on lonesome trail
Where drifting sand in summer burned,
And winter chilled unto the bone,
By night, by day, he saw the star
That lifted him beyond his peers;
That made him first in peace or war.
They called him Bill—
Just Buffalo Bill.

The last of all the famous scouts
That blazed the way across the sand,
He led the van thru lands unknown,
Where now a hundred cities stand.
His princely mien, his kindly deeds,
Will long resound from hearth to hearth.
Strange tales they'll tell by fireside
Of mighty deeds and of his worth.
They called him Bill—
Just Buffalo Bill.



While writing principally autobiographically, I have sought to describe that great general movement westward—that irresistible wave of emigration which, arrested for a time by the Alleghenies, rose until at last it broke over and spread away across mountain, stream and plain, leaving States in its wake, until stopped by the shores of the Pacific.

The evolution of government and of civilization, and the adaptation of one to the other, are interesting to the student of history; but particularly fascinating is the story of the reclamation of the Great West and the supplanting of the wild savages that from primeval days were lords of the country but are now become wards of the Government, whose guardianship they were forced to recognize. This story is one well calculated to inspire a feeling of pride even in the breasts of those whose sentimentality impels to commiserate the hard lot of the poor Indian; for, rising above the formerly neglected prairies of the West are innumerable monuments of thrift, industry, intelligence, and all the contributory comforts and luxuries of a peaceful and God-fearing civilization; those evidences that proclaim to a wondering world the march of the Anglo-Saxon race towards the attainment of perfect citizenship and liberal, free and stable government.

For the small part I have taken in redeeming the West from savagery, I am indebted to circumstances rather than to a natural, inborn inclination for the strifes inseparable from the life I was almost forced to choose. But to especially good fortune must I make my acknowledgments, which protected me or preserved my life a hundred times when the very hand of vengeful fate appeared to lower its grasp above my head, and hope seemed a mockery that I had turned my back upon. Good fortune has also stood ever   responsive to my call since I first came before the public, and to the generous American and English peoples, aa well as to kind fortune, I here pour out a full measure of profound thanks and hearty appreciation, and shall hold them gratefully in my memory as a remembrance of old friends, until the drum taps "lights out" at the close of the evening of my eventful life.

Sincerely Yours
W. F. Cody
Buffalo Bill



There are tears, and sighs, and tender words today for the strong, brave man, Colonel Cody.

The Indians, who had been his foes and then became his loving friends, called him, in their child-of-nature way, affectionately "Pahaska"—man of long hair.

To the white men of his comradeship, he was "Buffalo Bill," and he has gone Over the Divide.

To the Indians, "Pahaska" has gone to the Happy Hunting Grounds.

To the boys and girls of America and Europe, Colonel Cody, "Buffalo Bill," "Pahaska," has gone up yonder where the light of heaven shines through the stars.

This is why there are tears, and sighs, and tender words today for the strong, brave man.

Pahaska's going away left a deep sorrow in the hearts of millions of people. Even the Indians loved him and grieve because he has gone, and yet Pahaska was one of the greatest Indian fighters. He only fought them when they were doing wrong, and they knew that. At other times he did much to show them how to keep in the right and often when they had troubles among themselves or with the white people, the Indians would send for Pahaska—Buffalo Bill—to help them to settle the troubles among themselves by coming to them and "arbitrating" for them, or in sometimes going to Washington City to talk to the Great White Father for them.

Today they are mourning far more for Pahaska than they would for even a great chieftain, because Pahaska knew better how to help them, and did it.

All over the civilized world white people, especially boys and girls, are mourning because Buffalo Bill has passed away.

Every boy and girl in America and all of Europe should know whatever they can about the famous scout and pioneer, "Buffalo   Bill," whose real name was William Frederic Cody. He was a truehearted man who loved all children, and nearly everybody else. He delighted to have children about him; strong, healthy boys and girls, and he often sent carriages and automobiles to orphan asylums and to the asylums for crippled children and had them brought by hundreds to enjoy his show. He spent the best part of his young manhood to make homes for boys and girls as well as grown folks, by doing all that he could to open up a vast wilderness where they could have gardens, and orchards, and parks to play and dance and skate in, and where they could have schools, churches and theaters, with all the good that these bring to boys and girls for life.

"Buffalo Bill" risked his life thousands of times and suffered years of hardship and danger to make the great Wild West of America the land of homes that much of it is now. When he began this work he was but a boy himself. At that time there was on the map of the United States in every schoolboy's geography a big white spot on the left side, between the Missouri River and Pacific Ocean, that was named "The Great American Desert." It was a vast stretch of plains, in some places bare and arid, in other places covered with a growth called Buffalo Grass. Over this wilderness roamed mighty herds of buffalo and other wild animals, and the savage Indians, who mostly lived upon the flesh of these animals.

Buffalo Bill and his associates, pioneers, plainsmen, scouts and guides, spent many years in driving away the savages and leading civilized people to this land that has been made to bloom with gardens, fields and orchards, where are the homes of millions of happy people.

Buffalo Bill wrote his own story in this book up to a certain period of his life, and to that has been added, by one who knew and loved him for fifty years, the further interesting history of the big-hearted, warm-souled, brave and daring, but kindly man, who, from an uneducated boy on the far western plains, became the friend and associate of sovereigns and rulers of nations, governors of states, writers of books, captains of industry and leaders of civilization in all that exalts and embellishes enlightened life.

At the time when the Kansas Pacific Road was being constructed   from Kansas City to Denver, I was engaged as "the staff" on the Kansas City Journal of Commerce (afterwards the Journal).

During this period I frequently went out upon the construction of the Kansas Pacific Railroad for the purpose of obtaining "stories" for our paper. Colonel William Frederick Cody—then called Will Cody—had been engaged by the contractors to supply buffalo meat to feed the graders. Thus I often met Cody, who, by this employment, gained the pseudonym of "Buffalo Bill."

During the many years following my association with Colonel Cody on the plains, he and I were intimate and devoted friends, and I would like to record here my deep sorrow at his taking off, which seems untimely to me for the reason that I am more than three years his elder.

In all the years that followed, I frequently met Colonel Cody, and particularly during his engagement at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Often when he was with The Wild West in the neighborhood of Chicago, he would telegraph me to join him and be his guest. Notably was this the case at the time of his engagement at Buffalo during the Panama-American Exposition, where I remained almost constantly in his company, and afterwards at the Trans-Mississippi Exposition at Omaha, of which I speak more in detail in the following pages.

There are some persons of the generation just grown into manhood who naturally enough did not comprehend the character of William Frederick Cody. In their generations he was known to them only as a showman. It was impossible for them to even understand and appreciate to the fullest extent the powerful object lesson which he was then bearing to them in The Wild West Exposition. For this they are not to be blamed. His greatest days were before their days.

The fact is that from a boy brought up on the plains of the far west, without the advantages of academic education, he became, from a messenger between wagon trains on the route from the Missouri River to Pike's Peak, the close friend and intimate of men of the better class all the way from simple, everyday manhood to the most exalted sovereigns and rulers of earth's nations.

He was one of the pony express riders who carried the mails on   horseback from St. Joseph, Mo., to Sacramento, Cal., and whose trail was afterward followed by the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads, every mile of the distance between the two cities named, except the short distance between St. Joseph, Mo., and Kearney, Neb., and Omaha and Kearney, the road taking that latter route because of a peculiar incident that occurred during the intervening time.

Mr. Lincoln was president of the United States, and among his prerogatives was that of naming the point from which the transcontinental road should start westward. In St. Joseph one day some young men whose political proclivities in the war time were more intense than their judgment was good, climbed to the postoffice in that city and tore down and destroyed the American flag. This angered Mr. Lincoln and his cabinet to the extent that when the railroad was to be started, Omaha was named as the initial point, and this did much toward the building of Omaha.

As is shown plentifully throughout this book, "Buffalo Bill" served his country as a soldier; his services as one of the most notable of scouts was demanded by the best Indian fighters of the West, and he became the "Chief Scout" of the American Army.

After all of his valuable services its soldier, scout, guide, he gathered whatever evidences he could of the wild life of the West and presented it forty years for the education of three generations of Americans and Europeans as the greatest object lesson in ethnology that has ever been seen in the world.

That such a man's life history should be demanded is the belief of the publishers of this book, and to help the boys and girls of the world, as well as the grown-ups, to know all the truth about this mighty man, now so deeply mourned, the book is published.

Respectfully yours,



Incidents of My Childhood—Iowa in the Early Days—Removed to Kansas—Boyhood Experiences in Kansas—A Barbecue to the Indians—The Tide of Immigration—Warfare on the Border—The Stabbing of My Father—Father's Escape from a Mob—Renewed Efforts to Kill Father—Efforts to Make Kansas a Slave State—My Engagement with the Great Overland Freighters—A Mob Outwitted by My Mother—Another Attempt on Father's Life
My First Love Affair—A Bloody Affray at School—Pursued by the Wounded Boy's Father—In Service on the Plains—My First Fight with Indians—How I Killed My First Indian—A Feeling of Relief—On the Road to Salt Lake—Description of a Bull Outfit—The Trail—A Buffalo Stampede—Captured by Danites—Burning of the Train by Mormons—On the Point of Starvation—Attacked by Indians—A Timely Rescue—Engage in Trapping—A Horrible Discovery—Off for Pike's Peak—Engagement as Pony Express Rider
Accidents and Escapes—Trapping on the Republican—I Break My Leg—My Partner Goes in Search of Help—A Desperate Situation—Objectionable Company—Indians Take Possession of My Dug-out—Return of Harrington—A Joyous Meeting—Our Return Home—Death of Brave Harrington
Adventures on the Overland Road—A Pony Express Rider Again—Pursued by Indians—Attack on a Stage Coach—A Charge through the Indian Camp—A General Drunk but Only One Murder—A Hunt for Bear—A Robber's Haunt Discovered—In a Tight Place—Killing One of the Robbers—My Escape—A Newly-Made Brave
An Inglorious Service—Bushwhacking in Missouri—A Meeting with Wild Bill—Busted at a Horse-race—A Duel in the Street
How I Became a Soldier—With the Jayhawkers—A Singular Meeting with Wild Bill—Acting as a Spy—A Pleasant Little Episode—A Wonderful Escape
Courtship and Marriage—My Bridal Trip—Taken for a Desperado—A Party of Our Own—A Close Call—Keeping an Hotel—Acting as a Guide to Custer—A Fight with the Indians—A Cholera Outbreak
A Millionaire in Prospective—A Howl from Rome—A Gentleman that Just Dropped in—Contractor on the K. P. R. R.—A Little Sport with the Hostiles—Brigham to the Front—A Pretty Buffalo Drive—A Big Surprise for the   Officers—In Pursuit of Indians—An Excited Colored Gentleman—How I Received the Title "Buffalo Bill"—A Race for My Scalp—A Great Shot—Sauce for the Gander—Run to Cover by Indians—Sending up a Signal for Help
Champion Buffalo Killer—A Match with Comstock—A Dash into the Herd—An Exhibition for the Ladies—Riding a Naked Horse into the Herd—Tragic Death of Comstock—Brigham and I Part Company—A Trick of Brigham's
Acting as Special Scout—Captured by Indians—A Clever Ruse Secures My Escape—Stretching My Mule—Ambushing the Pursuers—Chief Satanta Threatens the Post—Going on the War-Path—Dispatch Bearer—Off in the Dark—Stumbling onto a Hornet's Nest—An Interview with Sheridan—A Long Ride—A Dangerous Undertaking—A Provoking Mule—Getting Satisfaction
My Appointment as Chief of Scouts—Running Into a Band of Indians—Bringing Live Buffaloes into Camp—A Scared Irishman—A Lively Shaking Up—In Search of Indians—A Crack Shot—On the Trail—Out in a Dry Country—Surprised by Indians
A Hard Winter's Campaign—A Rough March—Making a Break Down a Canyon—A Turkey Hunt with Clubs—Rescue of a Starving Command—Intercepting a Beer Train—A Free Fight among the Scouts
Accused of Selling Government Horses—Arrested and Thrown into the Guard House—Captured by the Colored Troops—Dispute over a Telegram—In Pursuit of Horse Thieves—The Thieves Run Down—Escape and Wonderful Flight of a Thief—An Extraordinary Run for Liberty—A Successful Break in the Dark—Breaking up the Gang
A Military Expedition—Mixed on the Expenditures—A Big Indian Trail—Attack on the Courier—A Lieutenant in Sharp Quarters—Driving the Enemy before Us—Re-enforced by Pawnee Scouts—A Comical Sight—Battle between Sioux and Pawnees—Buckskin Joe—The Indians Think Better of Me
A Desperate Fight—A Charge through the Indian Village—Corraled by Indians—Killing of the Chief, Tall Bull—Meeting with Ned Buntline—Horse Racing in the Hostile Country—The Trick of Powder-Face—An Interesting Indian Tradition
Some Pleasing Novelties—In Pursuit of Indian Horse Thieves—Two Indians Bagged at a Single Shot—A Tough Officer—Pawnee Indians on Guard Duty—A Red Hot Situation—Appointed Justice of the Peace—A Peculiar Writ of Replevin—Performing a Marriage Ceremony—A Run for Our Lives
Entertaining a Distinguished Party—Putting on a Little Style for the Occasion—An Attack on the Buffaloes—An Accident to Leonard Jerome—Charged with a Heinous Offense—Still Pursuing the Enemy—Camp-fire Chats—A   Little Joke on McCarthy—Remains of the Murdered Buck Party—Hunting with Grand Duke Alexis—A Visit to Spotted Tail—They Wanted to Lift My Hair—Giving Duke Alexis the Cue—Killing His First Buffalo—Giving the Duke a Shaking Up—Some Presents from the Duke
Scouting In a Swallow-tail Outfit—A Great Trip East—Banqueted at Chicago—A Guest of the Union Club, New York—A Masquerade Ball—A Fellow that Looked Like Me—My Embarrassment at the Theatre—My First Appearance on the Stage—Return to the West
Again on the Indian Trail—A Charge on the Indians—A Sharp Fight—Wounded—Hunting with an Earl—A Party that Milligan Refused to Attend—Roping a Buffalo—Elected to the Legislature
An Actor—Studying the Parts—Now, Here's a How D'do—Buntline's Versatility—The Tide Taken at the Flood—A Little Funny Business—Criticisms of the Press—Lively Experience of Wild Bill—A Hunt with Mr. Medley—Guide to the Third Cavalry—On the Road Again—Death of My Little Boy
Scouting with the Fifth Cavalry—Indian Depredations—Report of the Custer Massacre—Causes Leading Thereto—Custer's Reports—Miners in the Black Hills—Indians Supplied with Ammunition by the Government—War Declared Against the Sioux—Movement of Troops—Crook Attacked by Sitting Bull—Custer Selected to Strike the Blow—Custer Strikes the Indians—Hoping Against Hope—The Massacre—After the Murderers of Custer—A Challenge—My Duel with Yellow Hand—A Moment of Great Danger—The First Scalp for Custer—Again in Pursuit of the Sioux—A Little Dust Causes an Excitement—Again on the Trail
Dangerous Work—Scouting on a Steamboat—A Ride Through the Bad Lands—A Terrible Journey—Lying Low—Return to the Mimic Stage—On a Round-up—Putting Real Indians on the Stage
An Ambitious Enterprise—Opening of the Wild West Show—Nate Salsbury Joins Me as a Partner—A Sketch of Salsbury's Active Life—A Bigger Show Put on the Road—The Show Dumped into the Mississippi—Our Losses in New Orleans—A Season in New York—A Hazardous Undertaking—Seeking New Worlds to Conquer—We Sail for England—Immense Excitement Created in London—Visit of Her Majesty, Queen Victoria—Her Majesty Salutes the American Flag—A Race for $2500—An Enthusiastic Farewell—Sailing for New York—A Pathetic Incident at Sea—Reception upon Our Arrival at New York—The Joy of Stepping upon the Soil of Dear America Again—Happy Meeting with Friends
World's Columbian Exposition—Other Visits to Europe—A Knight of the West—Love and Devotion to His Mother—Pahaska Friend of the Indians—Buffalo Bill Not a "Cusser"—Death and Burial






I have written about other scouts and pioneers; such renowned men as Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett and Kit Carson, but they were dead before I wrote of them. Otherwise, perhaps, I would not have had the hardihood to do it, because I had great respect for them in a general way and their capacity for "getting even."

I wrote of these men because the atmosphere and environment in which they had lived were peculiarly pleasant to me. There was a kinship, so to speak, in their love of the lives they led, with my own early ambitions and the experiences that followed.

But when it comes to writing of myself I am staggered, yet to stagger is not easy with me. Strange as it may seem, all things considered, I am a modest man, and I can prove it. Reminiscent writing demands one kind of egotism, but that does not signify self-conceit. One cannot indulge in personal reminiscence without frequent use of the personal pronoun, hence to tell the story here demanded of me the "ego" must occur often, otherwise the story could not be told autobiographically.

One strong and almost mandatory reason to me, and self-excuse, for doing this piece of work, that is anything but enticing, otherwise, is to tell the real truth concerning my experiences rather than to have go into history, as veracious, much of the romantic and dramatic stuff that has been attributed to me by persons who have written of "Buffalo Bill" and who depended upon hearsay, and more or less vivid imagination, for their extravagant consumption of good ink and paper used in the manner mentioned.

With all this in view, commanding as it does the leniency that it seeks, the story is herewith given so far as I am able to give it from memory.


I made my debut upon the stage of life February 26th, 1845. The scene of this extremely important event, to me, was a little log cabin situated in the backwoods of Scott County, Iowa, where opportunities were few and society was in a state of embryo, as the settling up of that State was just then beginning. My father, Isaac, and mother, Mary Ann, were honest folks, but their possessions comprehended scarcely anything more than good characters and eight children, of which latter I was fourth in rank. I was christened William Frederick, which name I have never discarded, though more than once in my life I would have found it convenient, and decidedly to my comfort, to be known, for the time being at least, as some other fellow.

If in early youth I was different from other boys it was because I was without example and not from any inherent distinguishing characteristics. Playmates I had none, save among my brothers, and of these there were only two, one of whom was too young to appreciate my ambitions and the other too old to indulge my fancies. Accordingly, we were forced to the rather unsatisfactory compromise of each brother playing by himself, a condition very harmful in the raising of a large family.

My father did not make a successful farmer, and when I was five years of age he abandoned the log cabin of my nativity and moved the family to a little village fifteen miles north of Davenport, on the Mississippi River, named LeClair. A year before this removal he became so seriously affected by the California fever that he resolved to emigrate to that exciting climate of gold, flowers, oranges, sweet odors and fighting whisky. A party was organized, an outfit provided and a start was made, but after proceeding some fifty miles on the way they all thought it best to change their former determination before increasing the distance from home, and carried this idea so far and successfully that every one in the party returned to their respective habitations.

At LeClair I was sent to a school where, by diligence and fairly good conduct I managed to familiarize myself with the alphabet, but further progress was arrested by a suddenly   developed love for skiff-riding on the Mississippi, which occupied so much of my time thereafter that really I found no convenient opportunity for further attendance at school, though neither my father nor mother had the slightest idea of my new found, self-imposed, employment, much to my satisfaction, let me add. When I was thrown in the society of other boys I was not slow to follow their example, and I take to myself no special credit for my conduct as a town-boy; for, like the majority, I foraged among neighboring orchards and melon patches, rode horses when I was able to catch them grazing on the commons, trapped innocent birds, and sometimes tied the exposed clothes of my comrades while they were in swimming and least suspicious of my designs or acts. I would not like to admit any greater crimes, though anything may be implied in the confession that I was quite as bad, though no worse, than the ordinary every-day boy who goes barefoot, wears a brimless hat, one suspender and a mischievous smile.


Shortly after my father's removal to LeClair he became a stage-driver on the line between Davenport and Chicago, but he had not followed this occupation long when he was chosen a justice of the peace, and soon after was elected to the Legislature, positions which reflected honor rather than material profit. He was a very popular man and I may with justice also add that he possessed considerable ability for the meager opportunities he had received. But he was a natural pioneer and his longing for new fields of adventure led him away from the place where his popularity was rapidly extending, and to the wilds of what was then the far West. Following the bent of his inclination, in the spring of 1852 he disposed of a small farm he owned at Walnut Grove, and packing his possessions in one carriage and three wagons he started with his family for the territory of Kiinsas. Father had a brother, Elijah, living at that time at Weston, Platte County, Missouri, near the Kansas line, and as he was a well-to-do merchant of the   place, father concluded to stop with him awhile until he could decide upon a desirable location in the territory. The overland trip was an uneventful one, save as it gave me an opportunity for seeing a large stretch of uninhabited wilderness, and the meeting of several rough characters on the route of which we stood in no small dread, and afforded me my first sight of a negro. When within twenty miles of Weston we asked permission to stop at a farm-house owned by a widow lady, but owing to the feeling of insecurity excited by frequent acts of pillage and outrage committed by a bad class of emigrants, our request was refused until, by chance, my father mentioned his brother's name, when a conversation was begun that resulted in a hospitable welcome from the widow, whose name was Burnes, and who was well acquainted with my uncle Elijah. We stopped at the farm-house a day and were regaled with many good things, among which was wheat-bread, something that I had not before eaten nor ever heard of, as corn-dodger had always been the chief staff of our frugal lives.

On the following day father and mother drove over to Weston in the carriage and in the evening returned with Elijah, who was very glad to see us and who took us to his home in Weston where we remained for some time. Father did not tarry long, but crossed over into Kansas, on a prospecting tour, hoping to find a place in which to settle his family. He visited the Kickapoo agency in Leavenworth County and soon after established a trading post at Salt Creek Valley, within four miles of the agency. Having thus entered into business, he settled his family on a farm belonging to Elijah, three miles from Weston, intending that we should remain here until the territory was opened up for settlement.


At this time Kansas was occupied by numerous tribes of Indians who were settled on reservations, and through the territory ran the great highway to California and Salt Lake City. In addition to the thousands of gold-seekers who were passing through Kansas by way of Ft. Leavenworth, there were as many more   Mormons on their hegira from Illinois to found a new temple in which to propagate their doctrines. This extensive travel made the business of trade on the route a most profitable one. But with the caravans were those fractious elements of adventurous pioneering, and here I first saw the typical Westerner, with white sombrero, buckskin clothes, long hair, moccasined feet and a belt fall of murderous bowies and long pistols. But instead of these outre peculiarities impressing me with feelings of trepidation, they inspired me with an ambition to become a daring plainsman. The rare and skillful feats of horsemanship which I duly witnessed bred in me a desire to excel the most expert; and when, at seven years of age my father gave me a pony, the full measure of my happiness had ripened, like Jonah's gourd, in a night. Thenceforth my occupation was horseback riding, in which pleasurable employment I made myself useful in performing necessary journeys in father's interest.

In anticipation of the early passage of what was known as the "Enabling Act of Kansas Territory," which was then pending before Congress, my father, in the fall of 1853, took his family from the farm of his brother and settled them at the post in Kansas, where he at once set about erecting suitable log buildings. In the succeeding winter the act was passed which opened up the territory for settlement, and father immediately pre-empted the claim on which he was living.

During the summer of this year we lived in our little log house, and father continued to trade with the Indians, who became very friendly; hardly a day passed without a social visit from them. I spent a great deal of time with the Indian boys, who taught me how to shoot with the bow and arrow, at which I became quite expert. I also took part in all their sports, and learned to talk the Kickapoo language to some extent.

Father desired to express his friendship for these Indians, and accordingly arranged a grand barbecue for them. He invited them all to be present on a certain day, which they were; he then presented them with two fat beeves, to be killed and cooked in the various Indian styles. Mother made several large boilers   full of coffee, which she gave to them, together with sugar and bread. There were about two hundred Indians in attendance at the feast, and they all enjoyed and appreciated it. In the evening they had one of their grand fantastic war dances, which greatly amused me, it being the first sight of the kind I had ever witnessed.

My Uncle Elijah and quite a large number of gentlemen and ladies came over from Weston to attend the entertainment. [drawing] STAKING OUT CLAIMS. The Indians returned to their homes well satisfied.

My uncle at that time owned a trading post at Silver Lake, in the Pottawattamie country, on the Kansas river, and he arranged an excursion to that place. Among the party were several ladies from Weston, and father, mother and myself. Mr. McMeekan, my uncle's superintendent, who had come to Weston for supplies, conducted the party to the post.

The trip across the prairies was a delightful one and we remained at the post several days. Father and one or two of the men went on to Fort Riley to view the country, and upon their return my uncle entertained the Pottawattamie Indians with a barbecue similar to the one given by father to the Kickapoos.

During the latter part of the summer father filled a hay contract at Fort Leavenworth. I passed much of my time among the campers, and spent days and days in riding over the country with Mr. William Russell, who was engaged in the freighting business and who seemed to take a considerable interest in me. In this way I became acquainted with many wagon-masters,   hunters and teamsters, and learned a great deal about the business of handling cattle and mules.

It was an excellent school for me, and I acquired a great deal of practical knowledge, which afterwards I found to be of invaluable service, for it was not long before I became employed by Majors & Russell, remaining with them in different capacities for several years.

The winter of 1853-54 was spent by father at our little prairie home in cutting house logs and fence rails, which he intended to use on his farm, as soon aa the bill for the opening of the territory should pass. This bill, which was called the "Enabling act of Kansas territory," was passed in April, 1854, and as before stated father immediately pre-empted the claim on which we were living.

The summer of that year was an exciting period in the history of the new territory. Thousands and thousands of people, seeking new homes, docked thither, a large number of the emigrants coming over from adjoining States. The Missourians, some of them, would come laden with bottles of whisky, and after drinking the liquor would drive the bottles into the ground to mark their land claims, not waiting to put up any buildings.


Every reader of American history is familiar with the disorders which followed close upon the heels of the "Enabling Act." Pending its passage the western boundary of Missouri was ablaze with the camp tires of intending settlers. Thousands of families were sheltered under the canvas of their ox wagons, impatiently awaiting the signal from the Nation announcing the opening of the territorial doors to the brawny immigrants, and when the news was heralded the waiting host poured over the boundary line and fairly deluged the new public domain.

In this rapid settlement of the territory a most perplexing question arose, which was contested with such virulence that a warfare was inaugurated which became a stain upon the nation's escutcheon, and was not abated until the Missouri and Kansas   borders became drunk with blood. Nearly all those who came from Missouri were intent upon extending slavery into the territory, whilst those who emigrated from Illinois, Iowa and Indiana and sought homes in the new domain were equally determined that the cursed hydra-head of slavery should never be reared in their midst. Over this question the border warfare began, and its fierceness can only find comparison in the inquisitorial persecutions of the fifteenth century. Men were shot down in their homes, around their firesides, in the furrows behind the plow,—everywhere. Widows and orphans multiplied, the arm of industry was palsied, while the incendiary torch lit up the prairie heavens, feeding on blighted homes and trailing along in the path of granaries and store-houses. Mobs of murder-loving men, drunk with fury, and with hearts set on desolation, day and night descended upon unguarded households, and tearing away husbands and brothers from the loving arms of wives and sisters, left their bodies dangling from the shade trees of their unhappy homes, or shot them down where their blood might sear the eyes of helpless, agonized relatives. Anguish sat on every threshold, pity had no abiding-place, and for four years the besom of destruction, with all its pestilential influences, blighted the prairies and rendered every heart on the border sad and despondent.


In this war of vengeance the Cody family did not escape a full measure of affiction. Near the Salt Creek trading post was another store, kept by a Missourian named Rively, around which a considerable settlement had been made, which became the rendezvous of many different elements, and particularly of pro-slavery men, who enjoyed Rively's sympathies. In the summer of 1854, and within a few months after the "Enabling Act" was passed, a very large meeting was held at the popular rendezvous, and father being present was pressed to address the crowd on the slavery question, he being regarded as favorably disposed to making Kansas a slave territory, owing to the fact that his brother, Elijah, was a Missourian.


After much urging he at length spoke substantially as follows:

"GENTLEMEN: You have called upon me for a speech, and I have accepted your invitation rather against my will, as my views may not accord with the sentiments of a majority of this assembly. My remarks will therefore be brief and to the point. The question before us to-day is, shall the territory of Kansas admit slavery, and hereafter, upon her admission, shall she be a slave State? The question of slavery is itself a broad one, which will not permit of discussion at length in this place. I apprehend that your motive in calling upon me is to have me express my [drawing] MURDEROUS ATTACK UPON MY FATHER. sentiments in regard to the introduction of slavery into Kansas. I shall gratify your wishes in that respect. I was one of the pioneers of the State of Iowa, and aided in its settlement when it was a territory, and helped to organize it as a State.

"Gentlemen, I voted that it should be a white State—that negroes, whether free or slave, should never be allowed to locate within its limits; and, gentlemen, I say to you now, and I say it boldly, that I propose to exert all my power in making Kansas the same kind of a State as Iowa. I believe in letting slavery remain as it now exists, and I shall always oppose its farther   extension. These are my sentiments, gentlemen. and let me tell you—"

He never finished this sentence, or his speech. His expressions were anything but acceptable to the rough-looking crowd, whose ire had been gradually rising to fever heat, and at this point they hooted and hissed him, and shouted, "You black Abolitionist, shut up!" "Get down from that box!" "Kill him!" "Shoot him!" and soon. Father, however, maintained his position on the dry goods box, notwithstanding the excitement and numerous invitations to step down, until a hot-headed pro-slavery man, who was in the employ of my Uncle Elijah, crowded up and said: "Get off that box, you black Abolitionist, or I'll pull you off."

Father paid but little attention to him, and attempted to resume his speech, intending doubtless to explain his position and endeavor to somewhat pacify the angry crowd. But the fellow jumped up on the box, and pulling out a huge bowie knife, stabbed father twice, who reeled and fell to the ground. The man sprang after him, and would have ended his life then and there, had not some of the better men in the crowd interfered in time to prevent him from carrying out his murderous intention.

The excitement was intense, and another assault would probably have been made on my father, had not Rively hurriedly carried him to his home. There was no doctor within any reasonable distance, and father at once requested that he be conveyed in the carriage to his brother Elijah's house in Weston. My mother and a driver accordingly went there with him, where his wounds were dressed. He remained in Weston several weeks before he was able to stir about again, but he never fully recovered from the wounds, which eventually proved the cause of his death.

My uncle of course at once discharged the ruffian from his employ. The man afterwards became a noted desperado, and was quite couspicuous in the Kansas war.


My father's indiscreet speech at Rively's brought upon our family all of the misfortunes and difficulties which from that time   [drawing] DEFENDING THE FORT   on befell us. As soon as he was able to attend to his business again, the Missourians began to harass him in every possible way, and kept it up with hardly a moment's cessation. Kickapoo City, as it was called, a small town that had sprung into existence seven miles up the river from Fort Leavenworth, became the hot-bed of the pro-slavery doctrine and the headquarters of its advocates. Here was really the beginning of the Kansas troubles. My father, who had shed the first blood in the cause of the freedom of [drawing] FIGHT WITH THE WYANDOTTES. Kansas, was notified, upon his return to his trading post, to leave the territory, and he was threatened with death by hanging or shooting, if he dared to remain.

One night a body of armed men, mounted on horses, rode up to our house and surrounded it. Knowing what they had come for, and seeing that there would be but little chance for him in an encounter with them, father determined to make his escape by a little stratagem. Hastily disguising himself in mother's bonnet and shawl, he boldly walked out of the house and proceeded towards the corn-field. The darkness proved a great protection,   as the horsemen, between whom he passed, were unable to detect him in his disguise; supposing him to be a woman, they neither halted him nor followed him, and he passed safely on into the corn-field, where he concealed himself.

The horsemen soon dismounted and inquired for father; mother very truthfully told them that he was away. They were not satisfied with her statement, however, and they at once made a thorough search of the house. They raved and swore when they could not find him, and threatened him with death whenever they should catch him. I am sure if they had captured him that night they would have killed him. They carried off nearly everything of value in the house and about the premises; then going to the pasture, they drove off all the horses; my pony, Prince, afterward succeeded in breaking away from them and came back home. Father lay secreted in the corn-field for three days, as there were men in the vicinity who were watching for him all the time; he finally made his escape, and reached Fort Leavenworth in safety, whither the pro-slavery men did not dare to follow him.

While he was staying at Fort Leavenworth he heard that Jim Lane, Captain Cleveland and Captain Chandler were on their way from Indiana to Kansas with a body of Free State men, between two and three hundred strong. They were to cross the Missouri River near Doniphan, between Leavenworth and Nebraska City, their destination being Lawrence. Father determined to join them, and took passage on a steamboat which was going up the river. Having reached the place of crossing, he made himself known to the leaders of the party, by whom he was most cordially received.

The pro-slavery men, hearing of the approach of the Free State party, resolved to drive them out of the territory. The two parties met at Hickory Point, were a severe battle was fought, several being killed; the victory resulted in favor of the Free State men, who passed on to Lawrence without much further opposition. My father finally left them, and seeing that he could no longer live at home, went to Grasshopper Falls,   thirty-five miles west of Leavenworth; there he began the erection of a saw-mill.

While he was thus engaged we learned from one of our hired workmen at home, that the pro-slavery men had laid another plan to kill him, and were on their way to Grasshopper Falls to carry out their intention. Mother at once started me off on Prince (my pony) to warn father of the coming danger. When I had [drawing] TO SAVE MY FATHER'S LIFE gone about seven miles I suddenly came upon a party of men who were camped at the crossing of Stranger Creek. As I passed along I heard one of them, who recognized me, saying, "That's the son of the old Abolitionist we are after;" and the next moment I was commanded to halt.

Instead of stopping I instantly started my pony on a run, and on looking back I saw that I was being pursued by three or four of the party, who had mounted their horses, no doubt supposing that they could easily capture me. It was very fortunate that I had heard the remark about my being "the son of the   Abolitionist," for then I knew in an instant that they were en route to Grasshopper Falls to murder my father. I at once saw the importance of my escaping and warning father in time. It was a matter of life or death to him. So I urged Prince to his utmost speed, feeling that upon him and myself depended a human life—a life that was dearer to me than that of any other man in the world. I led my pursuers a lively chase for four or five miles; finally, when they saw they could not catch me, they returned to their camp. I kept straight on to Grasshopper Falls, arriving there in ample time to inform father of the approach of his old enemies. That same night he and I rode to Lawrence, which had become the headquarters of the Free State men. There he met Jim Lane and several other leading characters, who were then organizing what was known as the Lecompton Legislature. Father was elected a member of that body, and took an active part in organizing the first Legislature of Kansas, under Governor Reeder, who, by the way, was a Free State man and a great friend of father's.

About this time agents were being sent to the East to induce emigrants to locate in Kansas, and father was sent as one of these agents to Ohio. After the Legislature had been organized at Lawrence, he departed for Ohio and was absent several months. A few days after he had gone, I started for home by the way of Fort Leavenworth, accompanied by two men, who were going to the fort on business. As we were crossing a stream called Little Stranger, we were fired upon by some unknown party; one of my companions, whose name has escaped my memory, was killed. The other man and myself put spurs to our horses and made a dash for our lives. We succeeded in making our escape, though a farewell shot or two was sent after us. At Fort Leavenworth I parted company with my companion, and reached home without any further adventure.

My mother and sisters, who had not heard of my father or myself since I had been sent to warn him of his danger, had become very anxious and uneasy about us, and were uncertain as to whether we were dead or alive. I received a warm welcome   [drawing] FRONTIER CAMPAIGNING   home, and as I entered the house, mother seemed to read from the expression of my countenance that father was safe; of course the very first question she asked was as to his whereabouts, and in reply I handed her a long letter from him which explained everything. Mother blessed me again and again for having saved his life.

While father was absent in Ohio, we were almost daily visited by some of the pro-slavery men, who helped themselves to anything they saw fit, and frequently compelled my mother and sisters to cook for them, and to otherwise submit to a great deal of bad treatment. Hardly a day passed without some of them inquiring "where the old man was," saying they would kill him on sight. Thus we passed the summer of 1855, remaining at our home notwithstanding the unpleasant surroundings, as mother had made up her mind not to be driven out of the country. My uncle and other friends advised her to leave Kansas and move to Missouri, because they did not consider our lives safe, as we lived so near the headquarters of the pro-slavery men, who had sworn vengeance upon father.

Nothing, however, could persuade mother to change her determination. She said that the pro-slavery men had taken everything except the little home, and she proposed to remain there as long as she lived, happen what might. Our only friends in Salt Creek Valley were two families; one named Lawrence, the other Hathaway, and the peaceable Indians, who occasionally visited us. My uncle, living in Missouri and being somewhat in fear of the pro-slavery men, could not assist us much, beyond expressing his sympathy and sending us provisions.

In the winter of 1854-55 father returned from Ohio, but as soon as his old enemies learned that he was with us, they again compelled him to leave. He proceeded to Lawrence, and there spent the winter in attending the Lecompton Legislature. The remainder of the year he passed mostly at Grasshopper Falls, where he completed his saw-mill. He occasionally visited home under cover of the night, and in the most secret manner; virtually carrying his life in his hand.


In the spring of this year (1855) a pro-slavery party came to our house to search for father; not finding him, they departed, taking with them my pony, Prince. I shall never forget the man who stole that pony. He afterwards rose from the low level of a horse thief to the high dignity of a justice of the peace, and I think still lives at Kickapoo. The loss of my faithful pony nearly broke my heart and bankrupted me in business, as I had nothing to ride.


One day, soon afterwards, I met my old friend, Mr. Russell, to whom I related all my troubles, and his generous heart was touched by my story. "Billy, my boy," said he, "cheer up, and come to Leavenworth, and I'll employ you. I'll give you twenty-five dollars a month to herd cattle."

I accepted the offer, and heartily thanking him, hurried home to obtain mother's consent. She refused to let me go, and all my pleading was in vain. Young as I was—being then only in my tenth year, my ideas and knowledge of the world, however, being far in advance of my age—I determined to run away from home. Mr. Russell's offer of twenty-five dollars a month was a temptation which I could not resist. The remuneration for my services seemed very large to me, and I accordingly stole away and walked to Leavenworth.

Mr. Badger, one of Mr. Russell's superintendents, immediately sent me out, mounted on a little gray mule, to herd cattle. I worked at this for two months, and then came into Leavenworth. I had not been home during all this time, but mother had learned from Mr. Russell where I was, and she no longer felt uneasy, as he had advised her to let me remain in his employ. He assured her that I was all right, and said that when the herd came in he would allow me to make a visit home.

Upon my arrival in Leavenworth with the herd of cattle, Mr. Russell instructed his book-keeper, Mr. Byers, to pay me my wages, amounting to fifty dollars. Byers gave me the sum all in half-dollar pieces. I put the bright silver coins into a sack,   [drawing] THE BULL-WHACKER.   which I tied to my mule, and started home, thinking myself a millionaire. This money I gave to mother, who had already forgiven me for running away.

Thus began my service for the firm of Russell & Majors, afterwards Russell, Majors & Waddell, with whom I spent seven years of my life in different capacities—such as cavallard-driver, wagon-master, pony express rider and driver. I continued to work for Mr. Russell during the rest of the summer of 1855, and in the winter of 1855-56 I attended school.

Father, who still continued to secretly visit home, was anxious to have his children receive as much education as possible, under the adverse circumstances surrounding us, and he employed a teacher, Miss Jennie Lyons, to come to our house and teach. My mother was well educated—more so than my father—and it used to worry her a great deal because her children could not receive better educational advantages. However, the little school at home got along exceedingly well, and we all made rapid advances in our studies, as Miss Lyons was an excellent teacher. She afterwards married a gentleman named Hook, who became the first mayor of Cheyenne, where she now lives.


The Kansas troubles reached their highest pitch in the spring of 1856, and our family continued to be harassed as much as ever by our old enemies. I cannot now recollect one-half of the serious difficulties that we had to encounter; but I very distinctly remember one incident well worth relating. I came home one night on a visit from Leavenworth, being accompanied by a fellow-herder—a young man. During the night we heard a noise outside of the house, and soon the dogs began barking loudly. We looked out to ascertain the cause of the disturbance, and saw that the house was surrounded by a party of men. Mother had become accustomed to such occurrences, and on this occasion she seemed to be master of the situation from the start. Opening a window, she coolly sang out, in a firm tone of voice: "Who are you? What do you want here?"


"We are after that old Abolition husband of yours," was the answer from one of the crowd.

"He is not in the house and has not been here for a long time," said my mother.

"That's a lie! We know he is in the house and we are bound to have him," said the spokesman of the party.

I afterwards learned they had mistaken the herder, who had ridden home with me, for my father, for whom they had been watching.

"My husband is not at home," emphatically repeated my heroic mother—for if there ever was a heroine she certainly was one—"but the house is full of armed men," continued she, "and I'll give you just two minutes to get out of the yard; if you are not out by the end of that time I shall order them to fire on you."

She withdrew from the window for a few moments and hurriedly instructed the herder to call aloud certain names—any that he might think of—just as if the house were full of men to whom he was giving orders. He followed her directions to the very letter. He could not have done it any better had he rehearsed the act a dozen times.

The party outside heard him, as it was intended they should, and they supposed that my mother really had quite a force at her command. While this little by-play was being enocied, she stepped to the open window again and said:—

"John Green, you and your friends had better go away or the men will surely fire on you."

At this point the herder, myself and my sisters commenced stamping on the floor in imitation of a squad of soldiers, and the herder issued his orders in a loud voice to his imaginary troops, who were apparently approaching the window preparatory to firing a volley at the enemy. This little stratagem proved eminently successful. The cowardly villains began retreating, and then my mother fired an old gun into the air which greatly accelerated their speed, causing them to break and run. They soon disappeared from view in the darkness.

The next morning we accidentally discovered that they had   intended to blow up the house. Upon going into the cellar which had been left open on one side, we found two kegs of powder together with a fuse secreted there. It only required a lighted match to have sent us into eternity. My mother's presence of mind, which had never yet deserted her in any trying situation, had saved our lives.


Shortly after this affair I came home again on a visit and found father there sick with fever and confined to his bed. One day my old enemy rode up to the house on my pony Prince, which he had stolen from me.

"What is your business here to-day?" asked mother.

"I am looking for the old man," be replied. "I am going to search the house, and if I find him I am going to kill him. Here, you girls," said he, addressing my sisters, "get me some dinner, and get it quick, too, for I am as hungry aa a wolf."

"Very well; pray be seated, and we'll get you something to eat," said one of my sisters, without exhibiting the least sign of fear.

He sat down, and while they were preparing a dinner for him, he took out a big knife and sharpened it on a whetstone, repeating his threat of searching the house and killing my father.

I had witnessed the whole proceeding and heard the threats, and I determined that the man should never go upstairs where father was lying in bed unable to rise. Taking a double-barreled pistol, which I had recently bought, I went to the head of the stairs, cocked the weapon, and waited for the ruffian to come up, determined, that the moment he set foot on the steps I would kill him. I was relieved, however, from the stern necessity, as he did not make his appearance.

The brute was considerably intoxicated when he came to the house, and the longer he sat still the more his brain became muddled with liquor, and he actually forgot what he had come there for. After he had eaten his dinner, he mounted his horse and rode off, and it was a fortunate thing for him that he did.

Father soon recovered and returned to Grasshopper Falls, while I resumed my cattle herding.




COMMON school advantages were denied us in the early settlement of Kansas, end to provide a means for educating the few boys and girls in the neighborhood of my home, a subscription school was started in a small log-cabin that was built on the bank of a creek that ran near our house. My mother took great interest in this school and at her persuasion I returned home and became enrolled as a pupil, where I made satisfactory progress until the evil circumstance of a love affair suddenly blasted my prospects for acquiring an education.

Like all school-boys, I had a sweetheart with whom I was "dead in love"—in a juvenile way. Her name was Mary Hyatt. Of course I had a rival, Stephen Gobel, a boy about three years my senior—the "bully" of the school. He was terribly jealous, and sought in every way to revenge himself upon me for having won the childish affections of sweet little Mary.

The boys of the school used to build play-houses or arbors among the trees and bushes for their sweethearts. I had built a play-house for Mary, when Steve, as we called him, leveled it to the ground. We immediately had a very lively fight, in which I got badly beaten. The teacher heard of our quarrel and whipped us both. This made matters worse than ever, as I had received two thrashings to Steve's one; I smothered my angry feelings as much as possible under the humiliating circumstances, and during the afternoon recess built another play-house, thinking that Gobel would not dare to destroy a second one; but I was mistaken, for he pushed the whole structure over at the first   opportunity. I came up to him just as he finished the job, and said:—

"Steve Gobel, the next time you do that, I'll hurt you." And I meant it too; but he laughed and called me names.

At recess, next morning, I began the construction of still another play-house, and when I had it about two-thirds finished, Steve slyly sneaked up to the spot and tipped the whole thing over. I jumped for him with the quickness of a cat and clutching him by the throat for a moment I had the advantage of him. But he was too strong for me, and soon had me on the ground and was beating me severely. While away from home I had some way come into possession of a very small pocket dagger, which I had carried about with me in its sheath, using it in place of a knife. During the struggle this fell from my pocket, and my hand by accident rested upon it as it lay upon the ground. Exasperated beyond measure at Steve's persistence in destroying my play-houses, [drawing] TWO TO ONE. and smarting under his blows, I forgot myself for the moment, grasped the dagger and unthinkingly thrust it into Steve's thigh. Had it been larger it would probably have injured him severely; as it was, it made a small wound, sufficient to cause the blood to flow freely and Steve to cry out in affright: "I am killed! O, I am killed!"

The school children all rushed to the spot and were terrified at the scene. "What's the matter?" asked one. "Bill Cody has killed Steve Gobel," replied another.

The uproar reached the teacher's ear, and I now saw him   approaching, with vengeance in his eye and a big club in his hand. I knew that he was coming to interview me. I was dreadfully frightened at what I had done, and undecided whether to run away or to remain and take the conaequences; but the sight of that flag-staff in the school teacher's hand was too much for me. I no longer hesitated, but started off like a deer. The teacher followed in hot pursuit, but soon became convinced that he could not catch me, and gave up the chase. I kept on running, until I reached one of Russell, Major & Waddell's freight trains which I had noticed going over the hill for the West. Fortunately for me I knew the wagon-master, John Willis, and as soon as I recovered my breath I told him what had happened.

"Served him right, Billy!" said he, "and what's more, we'll go over and clean out the teacher."

"Oh no; don't do that," said I, for I was afraid that I might fall into the hands of the wounded boy's friends, who I knew would soon be looking for me.

"Well, Billy, come along with me; I am bound for Fort Kearney; the trip will take me forty days. I want you for a cavallard driver."

"All right," I replied, "but I must go home and tell mother about it, and get some clothes."

"Well, then, to-night after we make our camp, I'll go back with you."


The affray broke up the school for the rest of the day as the excitement was too much for the children. Late in the afternoon, after the train had moved on some considerable distance, I saw Steve's father, his brother Frank, and one of the neighbors rapidly approaching.

"Mr. Willis, there comes old Gobel, with Frank and somebody else, and they are after me—what am I going to do?" I asked.

"Let 'em come," said he, "they can't take you if I've got anything to say about it, and I rather think I have. Get into   one of the wagons—keep quiet and lay low. I'll manage this little job. Don't you fret a bit about it."

I obeyed his orders and felt much easier.

Old Gobel, Frank and the neighbor soon came up and inquired for me.

"He's around here somewhere," said Mr. Willis.

"We want him," said Gobel; "he stabbed my son a little while ago, and I want to arrest him."

"Well, you can't get him; that settles it; so you needn't waste any of your time aronnd here," said Willis.

Gobel continued to talk for a few minutes, but getting no greater satisfaction, the trio returned home.

When night came, Willis accompanied me on horseback to my home. Mother, who had anxiously searched for me everywhere—being afraid that something had befallen me at the hands of the Gobels—was delighted to see me, notwithstanding the difficulty in which I had become involved. I at once told her that at present I was afraid to remain at home, and had accordingly made up my mind to absent myself for a few weeks or months—at least until the excitement should die out. Mr. Willis said to her that he would take me to Fort Kearney with him, and see that I was properly oared for, and would bring me back safely in forty days.

Mother at first seriously objected to my going on this trip, fearing I would fill into the hands of Indians. Her fears, however, were soon overcome, and she concluded to let me go. She fixed me up a big bundle of clothing and gave me a quilt. Kissing her and my sisters a fond farewell, I started off on my first trip across the plains, with a light heart, too, notwithstanding my trouble of a few hours before.

The trip proved a most enjoyable one to me, although no incidents worthy of note occurred on the way. On my return from Fort Kearney I was paid off the same as the rest of the employees. The remainder of the summer and fall I spent in herding cattle and working for Russell, Majors & Waddell.

I finally ventured home—not without some fear, however,   of the Gobel family—and was delighted to learn that during my absence mother had had an interview with Mr. Gobel, and having settled the difficulty with him, the two families had become friends again, and I may state, incidentally, that they ever remained so. I have since often met Stephen Gobel, and we have had many a laugh together over our love affair and the affray at the school-house. Mary Hyatt, the innocent cause of the whole difficulty, is now married and living in Chicago. Thus ended my first love scrape.

In the winter of 1856-57 my father, in company with a man named J. C. Boles, went to Cleveland, Ohio, and organized a colony of about thirty families, whom they brought to Kansas and located on the Grasshopper. Several of these families still reside there.

It was during this winter that father, after his return from Cleveland, caught a severe cold. This, in connection with the wound he had received at Rively's—from which he had never entirely recovered—affected him seriously, and in April, 1857, he died at home from kidney disease.

This sad event left my mother and the family in poor circumstances, and I determined to follow the plains for a livelihood for them and myself. I had no difficulty in obtaining work under my old employers, and in May, 1857, I started for Salt Lake City with a herd of beef cattle, in charge of Frank and Bill McCarthy, for General Albert Sidney Johnston's army, which was then being sent across the plains to fight the Mormons.


Nothing occurred to interrupt our journey until we reached Plum Creek, on the South Platte River, thirty-five miles west of Old Fort Kearney. We had made a morning drive and had camped for dinner. The wagon-masters and a majority of the men had gone to sleep under the mess wagons; the cattle were being guarded by three men, and the cook was preparing dinner. No one had any idea that Indians were anywhere near us. The first warning we had that they were infesting that part of the country   was the firing of shots and the whoops and yells from a party of them, who, catching us napping, gave us a most unwelcome surprise. All the men jumped to their feet and seized their guns. They saw with astonishment the cattle running in every direction, they having been stampeded by the Indians, who had shot and killed the three men who were on day-herd duty, and the red devils were now charging down upon the rest of us.

I then thought of mother's fears of my falling into the hands of the Indians, and I had about made up my mind that such was to be my fate; but when I saw how coolly and determinedly the McCarthy brothers were conducting themselves and giving orders to the little band, I became convinced that we would "stand the Indians off," as the saying is. Our men were all well armed with Colt's revolvers and Mississippi yagers, which last carried a bullet, and two buckshots.

The McCarthy boys, at the proper moment, gave orders to fire upon the advancing enemy. The volley checked them, although they returned the compliment, and shot one of our party through the leg. Frank McCarthy then sang out, "Boys, make a break for the slough yonder, and we can then have the bank for a breast-work."

We made a run for the slough which was only a short distance off, and succeeded in safely reaching it, bringing with ua the wounded man. The bank proved to be a very effective breastwork, affording us good protection. We had been there but a short time when Frank McCarthy, seeing that the longer we were corraled the worse it would be for us, said:—

"Well, boys, we'll try to make our way back to Fort Kearney by wading in the river and keeping the bank for a breast-work."

We all agreed that this was the best plan, and we accordingly proceeded down the river several miles in this way, managing to keep the Indians at a safe distance with our guns, until the slough made a junction with the main Platte River. From there down we found the river at times quite deep, and in order to carry the wounded man along with us, we constructed a raft of poles for his accommodation, and in this way he was transported.


Occasionally the water would be too deep for us to wade, and we were obliged to put our weapons on the raft and swim. The Indians followed us pretty close, and were continually watching for an opportunity to get a good range and give us a raking fire. Covering ourselves by keeping well under the bank, we pushed ahead as rapidly as possible, and made pretty good progress, the night finding us still on the way and our enemies yet on our track.


I being the youngest and smallest of the party, became somewhat tired, and without noticing it I had fallen behind the others for some little distance. It was about ten o'clock and we were keeping very quiet and hugging close to the bank, when I happened to look up to the moon-lit sky and saw the plumed head of an Indian peeping over the bank. Instead of hurrying ahead and alarming the men in a quiet way, I instantly aimed my gun at his head and fired. The report rang out sharp and loud on the night air, and was immediately followed by an Indian whoop, and the next moment about six feet of dead Indian came tumbling into the river. I was not only overcome with astonishment, but was badly scared, as I could hardly realize what I had done. I expected to see the whole force of Indians come down upon us. While I was standing thus bewildered, the men, who had heard the shot and the war-whoop and had seen the Indian take a tumble, came rushing back.

"Who fired that shot?" cried Frank McCarthy.

"I did," replied I, rather proudly, as my confidence returned and I saw the men coming up.

"Yes, and little Billy has killed an Indian stone-dead—too dead to skin," said one of the men, who had approached nearer than the rest, and had almost stumbled upon the corpse. From that time forward I became a hero and an Indian killer. This was, of course, the first Indian I had ever shot, and as I was not then more than eleven years of age, my exploit created quite a sensation.

The other Indians, upon learning what had happened to their   advance fired several shots without effect but which hastened our retreat down the river. We reached Fort Kearney just as the [drawing] KILLING MY FIRST INDIAN. reveille was being sounded, bringing the wounded man with us. After the peril through which we had passed it was a relief to feel   that once more I was safe after such a dangerous initiation.

Frank McCarthy immediately reported to the commanding officer and informed him of all that had happened. The commandant at once ordered a company of cavalry and one of infantry to proceed to Plum Creek on a forced march—taking a howitzer with them—to endeavor to recapture the cattle from the Indians.

The firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell had a division agent at Kearney, and this agent mounted us on mules so that we could accompany the troops. On reaching the place where the Indians had surprised us, we found the bodies of the three men whom they had killed and scalped, and literally cut into pieces. We of course buried the remains. We can't but few of the cattle; the most of them having been driven off and stampeded with the buffaloes, there being numerous immense herds of the latter in that section of the country at the time. The Indians' trail was discovered running south towards the Republican river, and the troops followed it to the head of Plum creek, and there abandoned it, returning to Fort Kearney without having seen a a single redskin.

The company's agent, seeing that there was no further use for us in that vicinity—as we had lost our cattle and mules—sent us back to Fort Leavenworth. The company, it is proper to state, did not have to stand the loss of the expedition, as the government held itself responsible for such depredations by the Indians.

On the day that I got into Leavenworth, sometime in July, I was interviewed for the first time in my life by a newspaper reporter, and the next morning I found my name in print as "the youngest Indian slayer on the plains." I am candid enough to admit that I felt very much elated over this notoriety. Again and again I read with eager interest the long and sensational account of our adventure. My exploit was related in a very graphic manner, and for a long time afterwards I was considerable of a hero. The reporter who had thus set me up, as I then   thought, on the highest pinnacle of fame, was John Hutchinson, and I felt very grateful to him. He now lives in Wichita, Kansas.


In the following summer Russell, Majors & Waddell entered upon a contract with the government for transporting supplies for General Albert Sidney Johnston's army that was sent against the Mormons. A large number of teams and teamsters were required for this purpose, and as the route was considered a dangerous one, men were not easily engaged for the service, though the pay was forty dollars per month in gold. An old wagon master named Lew Simpson, one of the best that ever commanded a bull-train, was upon the point of starting with about ten wagons for the company, direct for Salt Lake, and as he had known me for some time as an ambitious youth, requested me to accompany him as an extra hand. My duties would be light, and in fact I would have nothing to do, unless some one of the drivers should become sick, in which case I would be required to take his place. But even more seductive than this inducement was the promise that I should be provided with a mule of my own to ride, and be subject to the orders of no one save Simpson himself.

The offer was made in such a manner that I became at once wild to go, but my mother interposed an emphatic objection and urged me to abandon so reckless a desire. She reminded me that in addition to the fact that the trip would possibly occupy a year, the journey was one of extreme peril, beset as it was by Mormon assassins and treacherous Indians, and begged me to accept the lesson of my last experience and narrow escape as a providential warning. But to her pleadings and remonstrances I returned the answer that I had determined to follow the plains as an occupation, and while I appreciated her advice and desired greatly to honor her commands, yet I could not forego my determination to accompany the train.

Seeing that it was impossible to keep me at home, she reluctantly gave her consent, but not until she had called upon Mr. Russell and Mr. Simpson in regard to the matter, and had   obtained from the latter gentleman his promise that I should be well taken care of, if we had to winter in the mountains. She did not like the appearance of Simpson, and upon inquiry she learned, to her dismay, that he was a desperate character, and that on nearly every trip he had made across the plains he had killed some one. Such a man, she thought, was not a fit master or companion for her son, and she was very anxious to have me go with some other wagon-master; but I still insisted upon remaining with Simpson.



"Madam, I can assure you that Lew Simpson is one of the most reliable wagon-masters on the plains," said Mr. Russell, "and he has taken a great fancy to Billy. If your boy is bound to go, he can go with no better man. No one will dare to impose on him while he is with Lew Simpson, whom I will instruct to take good care of the boy. Upon reaching Fort Laramie, Billy can, if he wishes, exchange places with some fresh man coming back on a returning train, and thus come home without making the whoie trip."

This seemed to satisfy mother, and then she had a long talk   with Simpson himself, imploring him not to forget his promise to take good care of her precious boy. He promised everything that she asked. Thus, after much trouble, I became one of the members of Simpson's train. Before taking our departure, I arranged with Russell, Majors & Waddell that when my pay fell due it should be paid over to mother.


As a matter of interest to the general reader, it may be well in this connection to give a brief description of a freight train. The wagons used in those days by Russell, Majors & Waddell were known as the "J. Murphy wagons," made at St. Louis specially for the plains business. They were very large and were strongly built, being capable of carrying seven thousand pounds of freight each. The wagon-boxes were very commodious—being about as large as the rooms of an ordinary house—and were covered with two heavy canvas sheets to protect the merchandise from the rain. These wagons were generally sent out from Leavenworth, each loaded with six thousand pounds of freight, and each drawn by several yokes of oxen in charge of one driver. A train consisted of twenty-five wagons, all in charge of one man, who was known as the wagon-master. The second man in command was the assistant wagon-master; then came the "extra hand," next the night herder; and lastly, the cavallard driver, whose duty it was to drive the lame and loose cattle. There were thirty-one men all told in a train. The men did their own cooking, being divided into messes of seven. One man cooked, another brought wood and water, another stood guard, and so on, each having some duty to perform while getting meals. All were heavily armed with Colt's pistols and Mississippi yagers, and every one always had his weapons handy so as to be prepared for any emergency.

The wagon-master, in the language of the plains, was called the "bull-wagon boss;" the teamsters were known as "bull-whackers;" and the whole train was denominated a "bull-outfit." Everything at that time was called an "outfit." The men   [drawing] BEATING OF THE INDIANS.   of the plains were always full of droll humor and exciting stories of their own experiences, and many an hour I spent in listening to the recitals of thrilling adventures and hair-breadth escapes.


The trail to Salt Lake ran through Kansas northwestwardly, crossing the Big Blue River, then over the Big and Little Sandy, coming into Nebraska near the Big Sandy. The next stream of any importance was the Little Blue, along which the trail ran for sixty miles; then crossed a range of sand-hills, and struck the Platte River ten miles below old Fort Kearney; thence the course lay up the South Platte to the old Ash Hollow Crossing, thence eighteen miles across to the North Platte, near the mouth of the Blue Water, where General Harney had his great battle in 1855 with the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians. From this point the North Platte was followed, passing Court House Rock, Chimney Rock and Scott's Bluffs, and then on to Fort Laramie, where the Laramie River was crossed. Still following the North Platte for some considerable distance, the trail crossed the river at old Richard's Bridge, and followed it up to the celebrated Red Buttes, crossing the Willow Creeks to the Sweet Water, passing the great Independence Rock and the Devil's Gate, up to the Three Crossings of the Sweet Water, thence past the Cold Springs, where, three feet under the sod, on the hottest day of summer, ice can be found; thence to the Hot Springs and the Rocky Ridge, and through the Rocky Mountains and Echo Cañon, and thence on to the great Salt Lake Valley.

In order to take care of the business which then offered, the freight for transportation being almost exclusively government provisions, Russell, Majors & Waddell operated 6,250 wagons, for the hauling of which they used 75,000 oxen, and gave employment to 8,000 men; the capital invested by these three freighters was nearly $2,000,000. In their operations, involving such an immense sum of money, and employing a class of laborers incomparably reckless, some very stringent rules were adopted by the firm, to which all their employees were made to subscribe.   In this code of discipline was the following obligation: "I, — do hereby solemnly swear, before the Great and Living God, that during my engagement, and while I am in the employ of Russell, Majors & Waddell, that I will under no circumstances use profane language; that I will drink no intoxicating liquors of any kind; that I will not quarrel or fight with any other employee of the firm and that in every respect I will conduct myself honestly, be faithful to my duties, and so direct all my acts as will win the confidence and esteem of my employers, so help me God."

This oath was the creation of Mr. Majors, who was a very pious and rigid disciplinarian; he tried hard to enforce it, but how great was his failure it is needless to say. It would have been equally profitable had the old gentleman read the riot act to a herd of stampeded buffaloes. And he believes it himself now.


Nothing transpired on the trip to delay or give us any trouble whatever, until the train struck the South Platte River. One day we camped on the same ground where the Indians had surprised the cattle herd in charge of the McCarty brothers. It was with difficulty that we discovered any traces of anybody ever having camped there before, the only landmark being the single grave, now covered with grass, in which we had buried the three men who had been killed. The country was alive with buffaloes. Vast herds of these monarchs of the plains were roaming all around us, and we laid over one day for a grand hunt. Besides killing quite a number of buffaloes and having a day of rare sport, we captured ten or twelve head of cattle, they being a portion of the herd which had been stampeded by the Indians two months before. The next day we pulled out of camp, and the train was strung out to a considerable length along the road which ran near the foot of the sand-hills, two miles from the river. Between the road and the river we saw a large herd of buffaloes grazing quietly, they having been down to the stream for a drink.


Just at this time we observed a party of returning Californians coming from the west. They, too, noticed the buffalo herd, and in another moment they were dashing down upon them, urging their steeds to the greatest speed. The buffalo herd stampeded at once and broke down the hills; so hotly were they pursued by the hunters that about five hundred of them rushed through our train pell-mell, frightening both men and oxen. Some of the wagons were turned clear round, and many of the terrified oxen attempted to run to the hills, with the heavy wagons attached to them. Others turned around so short that they broke the wagon tongues off. Nearly all the teams got entangled in their gearing, and became wild and unruly, so that the perplexed drivers were unable to manage them.



The buffaloes, the cattle and the drivers were soon running in every direction, and the excitement upset nearly everybody and everything. Many of the cattle broke their yokes and stampeded. One big buffalo bull became entangled in one of the heavy wagon-chains, and it is a fact that in his desperate efforts to free himself he not only actually snapped the strong chain in two, but broke the ox-yoke   to which it was attached, and the last seen of him he was running towards the hills with it hanging from his horns. A dozen other equally remarkable incidents happened during the short time that the frantic buffaloes were playing havoc with our train, and when they got through and left us our outfit was badly crippled and scattered. This caused us to go into camp and spend a day in replacing the broken tongues and repairing other damages, and gathering up our scattered ox-teams.


The next day we rolled out of camp and proceeded on our way towards the setting sun. Everything ran along smoothly with us from that point until we came within about eighteen miles of Green River, in the Rocky Mountains—where we camped at noon. At this place we had to drive our cattle about a mile and a half to a creek to water them. Simpson, his assistant George Woods and myself, accompanied by the usual number of guards, drove the cattle over to the creek, and while on our way back to camp we suddenly observed a party of twenty horsemen rapidly approaching us. We were not yet in view of our wagons, as a rise of ground intervened, and therefore we could not signal the train-men in case of any unexpected danger befalling us. We had no suspicion, however, that we were about to be trapped, as the strangers were white men. When they had come up to us, one of the party, who evidently was the leader, rode out in front and said:—

"How are yon, Mr. Simpson?"

"You've got the best of me, sir," said Simpson, who did not know him.

"Well, I rather think I have," coolly replied the stranger, whose words conveyed a double meaning, as we soon learned. We had all come to a halt by this time and the strange horsemen had surrounded us. They were all armed with double-barreled shot guns, rifles and revolvers. We also were armed with revolvers, but we had had no idea of danger, and these men, much to our surprise, had "got the drop" on us and had covered us   with their weapons, so that we were completely at their mercy. The whole movement of corraling us was done so quietly and quickly that it was accomplished before we knew it.

"I'll trouble you for your six shooters, gentlemen," now said the leader.

"I'll give 'em to you in a way you don't want," replied Simpson.

The next moment three guns were leveled at Simpson. "If you make a move you're a dead man," said the leader.

Simpson saw that he was taken at a great disadvantage, and thinking it advisable not to risk the lives of the party by any rash act on his part, he said: "I see now that you have the best of me, but who are you, anyhow?"

"I am Joe Smith," was the reply.

"What! the leader of the Danites?" asked Simpson.

"You are correct," said Smith, for he it was.

"Yes," said Simpson, "I know you now; you are a spying scoundrel."

Simpson had good reason for calling him this and applying to him a much more opprobrious epithet, for only a short time before this, Joe Smith had visited our train in the disguise of a teamster, and had remained with us two days. He suddenly disappeared, no one knowing where he had gone or why he had come among us. But it was all explained to us now that he had returned with his Mormon Danites. After they had disarmed us, Simpson asked, "Well, Smith, what are you going to do with us?"

"Ride back with us and I'll soon show you," said Smith.


We had no idea of the surprise which awaited us. As we came upon the top of the ridge, from which we could view our camp, we were astonished to see the remainder of the train-men disarmed and stationed in a group and surrounded by another squad of Danites, while other Mormons were searching our wagons for such articles as they wanted.


"How is this?" inquired Simpson. "How did you surprise my camp without a struggle? I can't understand it."

"Easily enough," said Smith; "your men were all asleep under the wagons, except the cooks, who saw us coming and took us for returning Californians or emigrants, and paid no attention to us until we rode up and surrounded your train. With our arms covering the men, we woke them up, and told them all they had to do was to walk out and drop their pistols—which they saw was the best thing they could do under circumstances over which they had no control—and you can just bet they did it."

"And what do you propose to do with us now?" asked Simpson.

"I intend to burn your train," said he; "you are loaded with supplies and ammunition for Sidney Johnston, and as I have no way to convey the stuff to my own people, I'll see that it does not reach the United States troops."

"Are you going to turn us adrift here?" asked Simpson, who was anxious to learn what was to become of himself and his men.

"No; I am hardly so bad as that. I'll give you enough provisions to last you until you can reach Fort Bridger," replied Smith; "and as soon as your cooks can get the stuff out of the wagons, you can start."

"On foot?" was the laconic inquiry of Simpson.

"Yes, sir," was the equally short reply.

"Smith, that's too rough on us men. Put yourself in our place and see how you would like it," said Simpson; "you can well afford to give us at least one wagon and six yokes of oxen to convey us and our clothing and provisions to Fort Bridger. You're a brute if you don't do this."

"Well," said Smith, after consulting a minute or two with some of his company, "I'll do that much for you."

The cattle and the wagon were brought up according to his orders, and the clothing and provisions were loaded on.

"Now you can go," said Smith, after everything had been arranged.


"Joe Smith, I think you are a mean coward to set us afloat in a hostile country without giving us our arms," said Simpson, who had once before asked for the weapons, and had had his request denied.

Smith, after further consoltation with his comrades, said: "Simpson, you are too brave a man to be turned adrift here without any means of defense. You shall have your revolvers and guns." Our weapons were accordingly handed over to Simpson, and we at once started for Fort Bridger, knowing that it would be useless to attempt the recapture of our train.

When we had traveled about two miles we saw the smoke arising from our old camp. The Mormons after taking what goods they wanted and could carry off, had set fire to the wagons, many of which were loaded with bacon, lard, hard-tack, and other provisions, which made a very hot, fierce fire, and the smoke to roll up in dense clouds. Some of the wagons were loaded with ammunition, and it was not long before loud explosions followed in rapid succession. We waited and witnessed the burning of the train, and then pushed on to Fort Bridger. Arriving at this post, we learned that two other trains had been captured and destroyed in the same way, by the Mormons. This made seventy-five wagon loads, or 450,000 pounds of supplies, mostly provisions, which never reached General Johnston's command to which they had been consigned.


After reaching the fort, it being far in November, we decided to spend the winter there with about four hundred other employees of Russell, Majors & Waddell, rather than attempt a return, which would have exposed us to many dangers and the severity of the rapidly approaching winter. During this period of hibernation, however, the larders of the commissary became so depleted that we were placed on one-quarter rations, and at length, as a final resort, the poor, dreadfully emaciated mules and oxen were killed to afford sustenance for our famishing party.


Fort Bridger being located in a prairie, all fuel there used had to be carried for a distance of nearly two miles, and after our mules and oxen were butchered we had no other recourse than to carry the wood on our backs or haul it on sleds, a very tedious and laborious alternative.

Starvation was beginning to lurk about the post when spring approached, and but for the timely arrival of a westward-bound train loaded with provisions for Johnston's army some of our party must certainly have fallen victims to deadly hunger.

The winter finally passed away, and early in the spring, as soon as we could travel, the civil employees of the government, with the teamsters and freighters, started for the Missouri River, the Johnston expedition having been abandoned.

On the way down we stopped at Fort Laramie, and there met a supply train bound westward. Of course we all had a square meal once more, consisting of hard tack, bacon, coffee and beans. I can honestly say that I thought it was the best meal I had ever eaten; at least I relished it more than any other, and I think the rest of the party did the same.

On leaving Fort Laramie, Simpson was made brigade wagon-master, and was put in charge of two large trains, with about four hundred extra men, who were bound for Fort Leavenworth. When we came to Ash Hollow, instead of taking the usual trail over to the South Platte, Simpson concluded to follow the North Platte down to its junction with the South Platte. The two trains were traveling about fifteen miles apart, when one morning while Simpson was with the rear train, he told his assistant wagon-master, George Woods and myself to saddle up our mules, as he wanted us to go with him and overtake the head train.


We started off at about eleven o'clock, and had ridden about seven miles, when—while we were on a big plateau, back of Cedar Bluffs—we suddenly discovered a band of Indians coming out of the head of a ravine, half a mile distant, and charging down upon us at full speed. I thought that our end had come this   time. Simpson, however, was equal to the occasion, for with wonderful promptness he jumped from his jaded mule and in a trice shot his own animal and ours also and ordered us to assist him to jerk their bodies into a triangle. This being quickly done we got inside the barricade of mule flesh and were prepared to receive the Indians. We were each armed with a Mississippi yager and two revolvers, and as the Indians came swooping down on our improvised fort we opened fire with such good effect that three fell dead to the first volley. This caused them to [drawing] HOLDING THE FORT. retreat out of range, as with two exceptions they were armed with bows and arrows and therefore to approach near enough to do execution would expose at least several of them to certain death. Seeing that they could not take our little fortification, or drive us from it, they circled around several times, shooting their arrows at us. One of these struck George Wood in the left shoulder, inflicting only a slight wound, however, and several lodged in the bodies of the dead mules; otherwise they did us no harm. The Indians finally galloped off to a safe distance, where our bullets could not reach them, and seemed to be holding a   council. This was a lucky move for us, for it gave us an opportunity to reload our guns and pistols, and prepare for the next charge of the enemy. During the brief cessation of hostilities, Simpson extracted the arrow from Wood's shoulder, and put an immense quid of tobacco on the wound. Wood was then ready for business again.

The Indians did not give us a very long rest, for with another desperate charge, as if to ride over us, they came dashing towards the mule barricade. We gave them a hot reception from our yagers and revolvers. They could not stand or understand the rapidly repeating fire of the revolver, and we checked them again. They circled around once more and gave us a few parting shots as they rode off, leaving behind them another dead Indian and a horse.

For two hours afterwards they did not seem to be doing anything but holding a council. We made good use of this time by digging up the ground inside the barricade with our knives and throwing the loose earth around and over the mules, and we soon had a very respectable fortification. We were not troubled any more that day, but during the night the cunning rascals tried to burn us out by setting fire to the prairie. The buffalo grass was so short that the fire did not trouble us much, but the smoke concealed the Indians from our view, and they thought that they could approach close to us without being seen. We were aware of this and kept a sharp look-out, being prepared all the time to receive them. They finally abandoned the idea of surprising us.


Next morning, bright and early, they gave us one more grand charge and again we "stood them off." They then rode away half a mile or so and formed a circle around us. Each man dismounted and sat down, as if to wait and starve us out. They had evidently seen the advance train pass on the morning of the previous day, and believed that we belonged to that outfit and were trying to overtake it; they had no idea that another train was on its way after us.


Our hopes of escape from this unpleasant and perilous situation now depended upon the arrival of the rear train, and when we saw that the Indians were going to besiege us instead of renewing their attacks, we felt rather confident of receiving timely assistance. We had expected that the train would be along late in the afternoon of the previous day, and as the morning wore away we were somewhat anxious and uneasy at its non-arrival.

At last, about ten o'clock, we began to hear in the distance the loud and sharp reports of the big bull-whips, which were handled with great dexterity by the teamsters, and cracked like rifle shots. These were as welcome sounds to us as were the notes of the bag-pipes to the besieged garrison at Lucknow, when the re-enforcements were coming up and the pipers were heard playing, "The Campbells are Coming." In a few moments we saw the lead or head wagon coming slowly over the ridge, which had concealed the train from our view, and soon the whole outfit made its appearance. The Indians observed the approaching train and assembling in a group they held a short consultation. They then charged upon us once more, for the last time, and as they turned and dashed away over the prairie we sent our farewell shots rattling after them. The teamsters, seeing the Indians and hearing the shots, came rushing forward to our assistance, but by the time they reached us the red-skins had almost disappeared from view. The teamsters eagerly asked us a hundred questions concerning our fight, admired our fort and praised our pluck. Simpson's remarkable presence of mind in planning the defense was the general topic of conversation among all the men.

When the teams came up we obtained some water and bandages with which to dress Wood's wound, which had become quite inflamed and painful, and we then put him into one of the wagons. Simpson and myself obtained a remount, bade good-bye to our dead mules which had served us so well, and after collecting the ornaments and other plunder from the dead Indians, we left their bodies and bones to bleach on the prairie. The train moved on again and we had no other adventures except several exciting buffalo hunts on the South Platte, near Plum Creek.


We arrived at Fort Leavenworth about the middle of July, 1858, when I immediately visited home. I found mother in very poor health, as she was suffering from asthma. My oldest sister, Martha, had, during my absence, been married to John Crane, and was living at Leavenworth.


I had been home only about a month, after returning from Fort Bridger, when I again started out with another train, going this time as assistant wagon-master under Buck Bomer. We went safely through to Fort Laramie, which was our destination, and from there we were ordered to take a load of supplies to a new post called Fort Wallace, which was being established at Cheyenne Pass. We made this trip and got back to Fort Laramie about November 1st. I then quit the employ of Russell, Majors & Waddell, and joined a party of trappers who were sent out by the post trader, Mr. Ward, to trap on the streams of the Chugwater and Laramie for beaver, otter, and other fur animals, and also to poison wolves for their pelts. We were out two months, but as the expedition did not prove very profitable, and was rather dangerous on account of the Indians, we abandoned the enterprise and came into Fort Laramie in the latter part of December.

Being anxious to return to the Missouri River, I joined with two others, named Scott and Charley, who were also desirous of going East on a visit, bought three ponies and a pack-mule, and we started out together. We made rapid progress on our journey, and nothing worthy of note happened until one afternoon, along the banks of the Little Blue River, we spied a band of Indians hunting on the opposite side of the stream, three miles away. We did not escape their notice, and they gave us a lively chase for two hours, but they could find no good crossing, and as evening came on we finally got away from them.

We traveled until late in the night, when upon discovering a low, deep ravine which we thought would make a comfortable and safe camping-place, we stopped for a rest. In searching   [drawing] ATTACKED BY UNEQUAL NUMBERS   for a good place to make our beds, I found a hole, and called to my companions that I had found a fine place for a nest. One of the party was to stand guard while the others slept. Scott took the first watch, while Charley and I prepared our beds.


While clearing out the place we felt something rough, but as it was dark we could not make out what it was. At any rate we concluded that it was bones or sticks of wood; we thought perhaps it might be the bones of some animal which had fallen in there and died. These bones, for such they really proved to be, we pushed one side and then we lay down. But Charley, being an inveterate smoker, could not resist the temptation of indulging in a smoke before going to sleep. So he sat up and struck a match to light his old pipe. Our subterranean bed-chamber was thus illuminated for a moment or two; I sprang to my feet in an instant for a ghastly and horrifying sight was revealed to us. Eight or ten human skeletons lay scattered upon the ground!

The light of the match died out, but we had seen enough to convince us that we were in a large grave, into which, perhaps, some unfortunate emigrants, who had been killed by the Indians, had been thrown; or, probably, seeking refuge there, they had been corraled and then killed on the spot. If such were the case they had met the fate of thousands of others, whose friends have never heard of them since they left their Eastern homes to seek their fortunes in the far West. However, we did not care to investigate this mystery any further, but we hustled out of that chamber of death and informed Scott of our discovery. Most of the plainsmen are very superstitious, and we were no exception to the general rule. We surely thought that this incident was an evil omen, and that we would be killed if we remained there any longer.

"Let us dig out of here quicker than we can say Jack Robinson," said Scott; and we began to "dig out" at once. We saddled our animals and hurriedly pushed forward through the darkness, traveling several miles before we again went into   camp. Next morning it was snowing fiercely, but we proceeded as best we could, and that night we succeeded in reaching Oak Grove ranch which had been built during the summer. We here obtained comfortable accommodations and plenty to eat and drink—especially the latter.

Scott and Charley were great lovers and consumers of "tanglefoot" and they soon got gloriously drunk, keeping it up for [drawing] AN INCIDENT OF THE BLOODY YEAR OF '82. three days, during which time they gambled with the ranchmen, who got away with all their money; but little they cared for that, as they had their spree. They finally sobered up, and we resumed our journey, urging our jaded animals as much as they could stand, until we struck Marysville on the Big Blue. From this place to Leavenworth we secured first-rate accommodations along the road, as the country had become pretty well settled.


It was in February, 1859, that I got home. As there was now a good school in the neighborhood, taught by Mr. Devinny, my mother wished me to attend it, and I did so for two months and a half—the longest period of schooling that I ever received at any one time in my life. As soon as the spring came and the grass began growing, I became uneasy and discontented, and again longed for the free and open life of the plains.


The Pike's Peak gold excitement was then at its height, and everybody was rushing to the new gold diggings, I caught the gold fever myself, and joined a party bound for the new town of Auraria on Cherry Creek, afterwards called Denver, in honor of the then Governor of Kansas. On arriving at Auraria we pushed on to the gold streams in the mountains, passing up through Golden Gate and over Guy Hill, and thence on to Black Hawk. We prospected for two months, but as none of as knew anything about mining we met with very poor success, and therefore concluded that prospecting for gold was not our forte. We accordingly abandoned the enterprise and turned our faces eastward once more.

When we struck the Platte River, the happy thought of constructing a small raft—which would float us clear to the Missouri and thence down to Leavenworth—entered our heads, and we accordingly carried out the plan. Upon the completion of the raft, we stocked it with provisions and "set sail" down the stream. It was a light craft and a jolly crew, and all was smooth sailing for four or five days.

When we got near old Julesburg we met with a serious mishap. Our raft ran into an eddy, and quick as lightning went to pieces, throwing us all into the stream, which was so deep that we had to swim ashore. We lost everything we had, which greatly discouraged us, and we thereupon abandoned the idea of rafting it any further. We then walked over to Julesburg, which was only a few miles distant. This ranch, which became a somewhat famous spot, had been established by "Old Jules," a Frenchman, who was afterwards killed by the notorious Alf. Slade.



The great pony express, about which so much has been said and written, was at that time just being started. The line was being stocked with horsea and put into good running condition. At Julesburg I met Mr. George Chrisman, the leading wagon-master of Russell, Majors & Waddell, who had always been a good friend to me. He had bought out "Old Jules," and was then the owner of Julesburg ranch, and the agent of the pony express line. He hired me at once as a pony express rider, but as I was so young he thought I was not able to stand the fierce riding which was required of the messengers. He knew, however, that I had been raised in the saddle—that I felt more at home there than in any other place—and as he saw that I was confident that I could stand the racket, and could ride as far and endure it as well as some of the old riders, he gave me a short route of forty-five miles, with the stations fifteen miles apart, and three changes of horses. I was required to make fifteen miles an hour, including the changes of horses. I was fortunate in getting well broken animals, and being so light, I easily made my forty-five miles on time on my first trip out, and ever afterwards.

I wrote to mother and told her how well I liked the exciting life of a pony express rider. She replied, and begged of me to give it up, as it would surely kill me. She was right about this, as fifteen miles an hour on horseback would, in a short time, shake any man "all to pieces;" and there were but very few, if any, riders who could stand it for any great length of time. Nevertheless, I stuck to it for two months, and then, upon receiving a letter informing me that my mother was very sick, I gave it up and went back to the old home in Salt Creek Valley.




MY restless, roaming spirit would not allow me to remain at home very long, and in November, after the recovery of my mother, I went up the Republican river and its tributaries on a trapping expedition in company with Dave Harrington. Our outfit consisted of one wagon and a yoke of oxen for the transportation of provisions, traps and other necessaries. We began trapping near Junction City, Kansas, and then proceeded up the Republican River to the mouth of Prairie Dog Creek, where we found plenty of beavers.

Having seen no signs of Indians thus far, we felt comparatively safe. "We were catching a large number of beavers and were prospering finely, when one of our oxen, having become rather poor, slipped and fell upon the ice, dislocating his hip, so that we had to shoot him to end his misery. This left us without a team; but we cared little for that, however, as we had made up our minds to remain there till spring, but it was decided that one of us should go to the nearest settlement and get a yoke of oxen with which to haul our wagon into some place of safety where we could leave it.

We would probably have pulled through the winter all right had it not been for a very serious aceident which befell me just at that time. Spying a herd of elk, we started in pursuit of them, and creeping up towards them aa slyly as possible, while going around the bend of a sharp bluff or bank of the creek I slipped and broke my leg just above the ankle. Notwithstanding   the great pain I was suffering, Harrington could not help laughing when I urged him to shoot me, as he had the ox, and thus end my misery. He told me to "brace up," and that he would bring me out "all right." "I am not much of a surgeon," said he, "but I can fix that leg of youra, even if I haven't got a diploma."

He succeeded in getting me back to camp, which was only a few yards from the creek, and then he set the fracture as well as he knew how and made me as comfortable as was possible under the circumstances. We then discussed the situation, which, to say the least, looked pretty blue. Knowing that, owing to our mishaps, we could not do anything more that winter, and as I dreaded the idea of lying there on my back with a broken leg for weeks, and perhaps months, I prevailed upon Harrington to go to the nearest settlement—about one hundred and twenty-five miles distant—to obtain a yoke of cattle and then come back for me.

This he consented to do; but before leaving he gathered plenty of wood, and as the ground was covered with snow, I would have no difficulty in getting water if I had a fire. There was plenty of fresh meat and other provisions in the "dug-out," so that I had no fears of starvation. The "dug-out," which we had built immediately after we had determined to remain there all winter, was a cosy hole in the ground, covered with poles, grass and sod, with a fire-place in one end.

Harrington thought it would take him twenty days or more to make the round trip; but being well provided for—for this length of time—I urged him to go at once. Bidding me good-bye, he started on foot. After his departure, each day, as it came and went, seemed to grow longer to me as I lay there helpless and alone. I made a note of each day, so as to know the time when I might expect him back.


On the twelfth day after Harrington had left me I was awakened from a sound sleep by some one touching me upon the shoulder. I looked up and was astonished to see an Indian warrior standing at my side. His face was hideously daubed with paint which told me more forcibly than words could have done   that he was on the war-path. He spoke to me in broken English and Sioux mixed, and I understood him to ask what I was doing there, and how many there were with me.

By this time the little dug-out was nearly filled with other [drawing] CHIEF RAIN-IN-THE-FACE SAVES MY LIFE. Indians, who had been peeping in at the door, and I could hear voices of still more outside as well as the stamping of horses. I began to think that my time had come, as the saying is, when into the cabin stepped an elderly Indian, whom I readily recognized as old Rain-in-the-Face, a Sioux chief from the vicinity of Fort   Laramie. I rose up as well as I could and showed him my broken leg. I told him where I had seen him, and asked him if he remembered me. He replied that he knew me well, and that I used to come to his lodge at Fort Laramie to visit him. I then managed to make him understand that I was there alone and having broken my leg, I had sent my partner off for a team to take me away. I asked him if his young men intended to kill me, and he answered that was what they had proposed to do, but he would see what they had to say.

The Indians then talked among themselves for a few minutes, and upon the conclusion of the consultation, old Rain-in-the-Face turned to me and gave me to understand that as I was yet a "papoose," or a very young man, they would not take my life. But one of his men who had no fire-arms wanted my gun and pistol. I implored old Rain-in-the-Face to be allowed to keep the weapons, or at least one of them, as I needed something with which to keep the wolves away. He replied that as his young men were out on the war path, he had induced them to spare my life; but he could not prevent them from taking whatever else they wanted.

They unsaddled their horses as if to remain there for some time, and sure enough they stayed the remainder of the day and all night. They built a fire in the dug-out and cooked a lot of my provisions, helping themselves to everything as if they owned it. However, they were polite enough to give me some of the food after they had cooked it. It was a sumptuous feast that they had, and they seemed to relish it as if it were the best layout they had had for many a long day. They took all my sugar and coffee, and left me only some meat and a small quantity of flour, a little salt and some baking-powder. They also robbed me of such cooking utensils as they wished; then bidding me good-bye, early in the morning, they mounted their ponies and rode off to the south, evidently bent on some murdering and thieving expedition.

I was glad enough to see them leave, as my life had undoubtedly hung by a thread during their presence. I am confident that   had it not been for my youth and the timely recognition and interference of old Rain-in-the-Face they would have killed me without any hesitation or ceremony.

The second day after the Indians left it began snowing, and for three long and weary days the snow continued to fall thick and fast. It blocked the door-way and covered the dug-out to the depth of several feet, so that I became a snow-bound prisoner. My wood was mostly under the snow, and it was with great difficulty that I could get enough to start a fire with. My prospects were gloomy indeed. I had just faced death at the hands of the Indians, and now I was in danger of losing my life from starvation and cold. I knew that the heavy snow would surely delay Harrington on his return; and I feared that he might have perished in the storm, or that some other accident might have befallen him. Perhaps some wandering band of Indians had surprised and killed him.

I was continually thinking of all these possibilities, and I most say that my outlook seemed desperate. At last the twentieth day arrived—the day on which Harrington was to return—and I counted the hours from morning till night, but the day passed away with no signs of Harrington. The wolves made the night hideous with their howls; they gathered around the dug-out; ran over the roof; and pawed and scratched as if trying to get in.

Several days and nights thus wore away, the monotony all the time becoming greater, until at last it became almost unendurable. Some days I would go without any fire at all, and eat raw frozen meat and melt snow in my mouth for water. I became almost convinced that Harrington had been caught in the storm and had been buried under the snow, or was lost. Many a time during that dreary period of uncertainty I made up my mind that if I ever got out of that place alive I would abandon the plains and the life of a trapper forever. I had nearly given up all hopes of leaving the dug-out alive.


It was on the twenty-ninth day, while I was lying thus despondently thinking and wondering, that I heard the cheerful   sound of Harrington's voice as he came slowly up the creek, yelling, "whoa! haw!" to his cattle. A criminal on the scaffold, with the noose around his neck, the trap about to be sprung, and receiving a pardon just at the last moment, thus giving him a new lease of life, could not have been more grateful than I was at that time. It was useless for me to try to force the door open, as the snow had completely blockaded it, and I therefore anxiously awaited Harrington's arrival.

"Hello! Billy!" he sang out in a loud voice as he came up, he evidently being uncertain as to my being alive.

"All right, Dave," was my reply.

"Well, old boy, you're alive, are you?" said he.

"Yes; and that's about all. I've had a tough siege of it since you've been away, and I came pretty nearly passing in my chips. I began to think you never would get here, as I was afraid you had been snowed under," said I.

He soon cleared away the snow from the entrance and opening the door he came in. I don't think there ever was a more welcome visitor than he was. I remember that I was so glad to see him that I put my arms around his neck and hugged him for five minutes; never shall I forget faithful Dave Harrington.

"Well, Billy, my boy, I hardly expected to see you alive again," said Harrington, as soon as I had given him an opportunity to draw his breath; "I had a terrible trip of it, and I didn't think I ever would get through. I was caught in the snowstorm, and was laid up for three days. The cattle wandered away, and I came within an ace of losing them altogether. When I got started again the snow was so deep that it prevented me from making much headway. But as I had left you here I was bound to come through, or die in the attempt."

Again I flung my arms around Dave's neck and gave him a hug that would have done honor to a grizzly bear. My gratitude was thus much more forcibly expressed than it could have been by words. Harrington understood this, and seemed to appreciate it. The tears of joy rolled down my cheeks, and it was impossible for me to restrain them. When my life had been threatened   by the Indians I had not felt half so miserable aa when I lay in the dug-out thinking I was destined to die a slow death by starvation and cold. The Indians would have made short work of it, and would have given me little or no time to think of my fate.

I questioned Harrington as to his trip, and learned all the details. He had passed through hardships which but few men could have endured. Noble fellow, that he was. He had risked his own life to save mine.

After he had finished his story, every word of which I had listened to with eager interest, I related to him my own experiences, in which he became no less interested. He expressed great astonishment that the Indians had not killed me, and he considered it one of the luckiest and most remarkable escapes he had ever heard of. It amused me, however, to see him get very angry when I told him that they had taken my gun and pistol and had used up our provisions. " But nevermind, Billy," said he, "we can stand it till the snow goes off, which will not be long, and then we will pull our wagon back to the settlements."


A few days afterwards Harrington gathered up our traps, and cleaned the snow out of the wagon. Covering it with the sheet which we had used in the dug-out, he made a comfortable bed inside, and helped me into it. We had been quite successful in trapping, having caught three hundred beavers and one hundred otters, the skins of which Harrington loaded on the wagon. We then pulled out for the settlements, making good headway, as the snow had nearly disappeared, having been blown or melted away, so that we had no difficulty in finding a road. On the eighth day out we came to a farmer's house, or ranch, on the Republican river, where we stopped aud rested for two days, and then went on to the ranch where Harrington had obtained the yoke of cattle. We gave the owner of the team twenty-five beaver skins, equal to $60, for the use of the cattle, and he let us have them until we reached Junction City, sending his boy with us to bring them back.


At Junction City we sold our wagon and furs and went with a government mule train to Leavenworth—arriving there in March, 1860. I was just able to get around on crutches when I got into Leavenworth, and it was several months after that before I entirely recovered the use of my leg.

During the winter I had often talked to Harrington about my mother and sisters, and had invited him to go home with me in the spring. I now renewed the invitation, which he accepted, and accompanied me home. When I related to mother my adventures and told her how Harrington had saved my life, she thanked him again and again, I never saw a more grateful woman than she was. She asked him to always make his home with us, as she never could reward him sufficiently for what he had done for her darling boy, as she called me. Harrington concluded to remain with us through the summer and farm mother's land. But alas! the uncertainty of life. The coming of death when least expected was strikingly illustrated in his case. During the latter part of April he went to a nursery for some trees, and while coming home late at night he caught a severe cold and was taken seriously sick, with lung fever. Mother did everything in her power for him. She could not have done more had he been her own son, but notwithstanding her motherly care and attention, and the skill of a physician from Leavenworth, he rapidly grew worse. It seemed hard, indeed, to think that a great strong man like Harrington, who had braved the storms and endured the other hardships of the plains all winter long, should, during the warm and beautiful days of spring, when surrounded by friends and the comforts of a good home, be fatally stricken down. But such was his fate. He died one week from the day on which he was taken sick. We all mourned his loss as we would that of a loved son or brother, as he was one of the truest, bravest, and best of friends. Amid sorrow and tears we laid him away to rest in a picturesque spot on Pilot Knob. His death cast a gloom over our household, and it was a long time before it was entirely dispelled. I felt very lonely without Harrington, and I soon wished for a change of scene again.




AS the warm days of summer approached I longed for the cool air of the mountains; and to the mountains I determined to go. After engaging a man to take care of the farm, I proceeded to Leavenworth and there met my old wagon-master and friend, Lewis Simpson, who was fitting out a train at Atchison and loading it with supplies for the Overland Stage Company, of which Mr. Russell, my old employer, was one of the proprietors. Simpson was going with this train to Fort Laramie and points further west.

"Come along with me, Billy," said he, "I'll give you a good lay-out. I want you with me."

"I don't know that I would like to go so far west as that again," I replied, "but I do want to ride the pony express once more; there's some life in that."

"Yes, that's so; but it will soon shake the life out of you," said he. "However, if that's what you've got your mind set on, you had better come to Atchison with me and see Mr. Russell, who I'm pretty certain will give you a situation."

I replied that I would do that. I then went home and informed mother of my intention, and as her health was very poor I had great difficulty in obtaining her consent. I finally convinced her that as I was of no use on the farm, it would be better and more profitable for me to return to the plains. So after giving her all the money I had earned by trapping, I bade her good-bye and set out for Atchison.

I met Mr. Russell there and asked him for employment as a pony express-rider; he gave me a letter to Mr. Slade, who was   then the stage agent for the division extending from Julesburg to Rocky Ridge. Slade had his headquarters at Horseshoe Station, thirty-six miles west of Fort Laramie, and I made the trip thither in company with Simpson and his train.

Almost the very first person I saw after dismounting from my horse was Slade. I walked up to him and presented Mr. Russell's letter, which he hastily opened and read. With a sweeping glance of his eye he took my measure from head to foot, and then said:—

"My boy, you are too young for a pony express-rider. It takes men for that business."

"I rode two months last year on Bill Trotter's division, sir, and filled the bill then; and I think I am better able to ride now," said I.

"What! are you the boy that was riding there, and was called the youngest rider on the road?"

"I am the same boy," I replied, confident that everything was now all right for me.

"I have heard of you before. You are a year or so older now, and I think you can stand it. I'll give you a trial anyhow and if you weaken you can come back to Horse Shoe Station and tend stock."

That ended our first interview. The next day he assigned me to duty on the road from Red Buttes on the North Platte, to the Three Crossings of the Sweetwater—a distance of seventy-six miles—and I began riding at once. It was a long piece of road, but I was equal to the undertaking; and soon afterwards had an opportunity to exhibit my power of endurance as a pony express-rider.

One day when I galloped into Three Crossings, my home station, I found that the rider who was expected to take the trip out on my arrival, had gotten into a drunken row the night before and been killed. This left that division without a rider and as it was very difficult to engage men for the service in that uninhabited region, the superintendent requested me to make the trip until another rider could be secured. The distance to the   next station, Rocky Ridge, was eighty-five miles and through a very bad and dangerous country, but the emergency was great and I concluded to try it. I therefore started promptly from Three Crossings without more than a moment's rest and pushed on with usual rapidity, entering every relay station on time and accomplishing the round trip of three hundred and twenty-two miles back to Red Buttes without a single mishap and on time. This stands on the records as being the longest pony express journey ever made.


A week after making this trip, and while passing over the route again, I was jumped by a band of Sioux Indians who dashed out from a sand ravine nine miles west of Horse creek. They were armed with pistols and gave me a close call with several bullets, but it fortunately happened that I was mounted on the fleetest horse belonging to the Express Company, and one that was possessed of remarkable endurance. Being cut off from retreat back to Horse Shoe, I put spurs to my horse, and lying flat on his back, kept straight for Sweetwater, the next station, which I reached without accident, having distanced my pursuers. Upon reaching that place, however, I found a sorry condition of affairs, as the Indians had made a raid on the station the morning of my adventure with them, and after killing the stock-tender had driven off all the horses, so that I was unable to get a remount. I therefore continued onto Ploutz's Station—twelve miles further—thus making twenty-four miles straight run with one horse. I told the people at Ploutz's what had happened at Sweetwater Bridge, and with a fresh horse went on and finished the trip without any further adventure.


About the middle of September the Indians became very troublesome on the line of the stage road along the Sweetwater. Between Split Bock and Three Crossings they robbed a stage, killed the driver and two passengers, and badly wounded Lieut. Flowers, the assistant division agent. The red-skinned thieves   also drove off the stock from the different stations, and were continually lying in wait for the passing stages and pony express [drawing] A RACE FOR LIFE. riders, so that we had to take many desperate chances in running the gauntlet.


The Indians had now become so bad and had stolen so much stock that it was decided to stop the pony express for at least six weeks, and to run the stages only occasionally during that period; in fact, it would have been almost impossible to have continued the enterprise much longer without restocking the line.

While we were thus nearly all lying idle, a party was organized to go out and search for stolen stock. This party was composed of stage-drivers, express-riders, stock-tenders, and ranchmen—forty of them altogether—and they were well-armed and well-mounted. They were mostly men who had undergone all kinds of hardships and braved every danger, and they were ready and anxious to "tackle" any number of Indians. Wild Bill (who had been driving stage on the road and had recently come down to our division) was elected captain of the company.

It was supposed that the stolen stock had been taken to the head of Powder river and vicinity, and the party, of which I was a member, started out for that section in high hopes of success.

Twenty miles out from Sweetwater Bridge, at the head of Horse creek, we found an Indian trail running north towards Powder river, and we could see by the tracks that most of the horses had been recently shod and were undoubtedly our stolen stage-stock. Pushing rapidly forward, we followed this trail to Powder river; thence down this stream to within about forty miles of the spot where old Fort Reno now stands. Here the trail took a more westerly course along the foot of the mountains, leading eventually to Crazy Woman's fork—a tributary of Powder river. At this point we discovered that the party whom we were trailing had been joined by another band of Indians, and, judging from the fresh appearance of the trail, the united body could not have left this spot more than twenty-four hours before.


Being aware that we were now in the heart of the hostile country and might at any moment find more Indians than we had "lost," we advanced with more caution than usual and kept a sharp lookout. As we were approaching Clear creek, another   tributary of Powder river, we discovered Indians on the opposite side of the creek, some three miles distant; at least we saw horses grazing which was a sure sign that there were Indians there.

The Indians thinking themselves in comparative safety—never before having been followed so far into their own country by white men—had neglected to put out any scouts. They had no idea that there were any white men in that part of the country. We got the lay of their camp, and then held a council to consider and mature a plan for capruring it. We knew full well that the Indians would outnumber us at least three to one, and perhaps more. Upon the advice and suggestion of Wild Bill, it was finally decided that we should wait until it was nearly dark, and then, after creeping as close to them as possible, make a dash through their camp, open a general fire on them, and then stampede the horses.

This plan, at the proper time, was most successfully executed. The dash upon the enemy was a complete surprise to them. They were so overcome with astonishment that they did not know what to make of it. We could not have astounded them any more had we dropped down into their camp from the clouds. They did not recover from the surprise of this sudden charge until after we had ridden pell-mell through their camp and got away with our own horses as well as theirs. We at once circled the horses around towards the south, and after getting them on the south side of Clear creek, some twenty of our men—just as the darkness was coming on—rode back and gave the Indians a few parting shots. We then took up our line of march for Sweetwater Bridge, where we arrived four days afterwards with all our own horses and about one hundred captured Indian ponies.


The expedition had proved a grand success, and the event was celebrated in the usual manner—by a grand spree. The only store at Sweetwater Bridge did a rushing business for several days. The returned stock-hunters drank and gambled and fought. The Indian ponies, which had been distributed among   the captors, passed from hand to hand at almost every deal of the cards. There seemed to be no limit to the rioting and carousing; revelry reigned supreme. On the third day of the orgie, Slade, who had heard the news, came up to the bridge and took a hand in the "fun," as it was called. To add some variation and excitement to the occasion, Slade got into a quarrel with a stage-driver and shot him, killing him almost instantly.

The "boys" became so elated as well as "elevated" over their success against the Indians that most of them were in favor of going back and cleaning out the whole Indian race. One old driver especially, Dan Smith, was eager to open a war on all the hostile nations, and had the drinking been continued another week he certainly would have undertaken the job, single-handed and alone. The spree finally came to an end; the men sobered down and abandoned the idea of again invading the hostile country. The recovered horses were replaced on the road and the stages and pony express again began running on time.

Slade, having taken a great fancy to me, said: "Billy, I want you to come down to my headquarters, and I'll make you a sort of supernumerary rider, and send you out only when it is necessary."


I accepted the offer and went with him down to Horseshoe, where I had a comparatively easy time of it. I had always been fond of hunting, and I now had a good opportunity to gratify my ambition in that direction, as I had plenty of spare time on my hands. In this connection I will relate one of my bear-hunting adventures. One day, when I had nothing else to do, I saddled up an extra pony express horse, and arming myself with a good rifle and pair of revolvers, struck out for the foot-hills of Laramie Peak for a bear-hunt. Riding carelessly along, and breathing the cool and bracing autumn air which came down from the mountains, I felt as only a man can feel who is roaming over the prairies of the far West, well armed and mounted on a fleet and gallant steed. The perfect freedom which he enjoys is in itself a refreshing stimulant to the mind as well as to the body.   Such indeed were my feelings on this beautiful day as I rode up the valley of the Horseshoe. Occasionally I scared up a flock of sage-hens or a jack-rabbit. Antelopes and deer were almost always in sight in any direction, but as they were not the kind of game I was after on that day I passed them by and kept on towards the higher mountains. The further I rode the rougher and wilder became the country, and I knew that I was approaching the haunts of the bear. I did not discover any, however, although I saw plenty of tracks in the snow.

About two o'clock in the afternoon, my horse having become tired, and myself being rather weary, I shot a sage-hen and, dismounting, I unsaddled my horse and tied him to a small tree, where he could easily feed on the mountain grass. I then built a little fire, and broiling the chicken and seasoning it with salt and pepper, which I had obtained from my saddle-bags, I soon sat down to a "genuine square meal," which I greatly relished.

After resting for a couple of hours, I remounted and resumed my upward trip to the mountain, having made up my mind to camp out that night rather than go back without a bear, which my friends knew I had gone out for. As the days were growing short, night soon came on, and I looked around for a suitable camping place. While thus engaged, I scared up a flock of sage-hens, two of which I shot, intending to have one for supper and the other for breakfast.

By this time it was becoming quite dark, and I rode down to one of the little mountain streams, where I found an open place in the timber suitable for a camp. I dismounted, and after unsaddling my horse and hitching him to a tree, I prepared to start a fire. Just then I was startled by hearing a horse whinnying further up the stream. It was quite a surprise to me, and I immediately ran to my animal to keep him from answering, as horses usually do in such cases. I thought that the strange horse might belong to some roaming band of Indians, as I knew of no white men being in that portion of the country at that time. I was certain that the owner of the strange horse could not be far distant, and I was very anxious to find out who my neighbor was,   [drawing] SHARP BARGAINING   before letting him know that I was in his vicinity. I therefore re-saddled my horse, and leaving him tied so that I could easily reach him I took my gun and started out on a scouting expedition up the stream. I had gone about four hundred yards when, in a bend of the stream, I discovered ten or fifteen horses grazing.


On the opposite side of the creek, a light was shining high up the mountain bank. Approaching the mysterious spot as cautiously as possible, and when within a few yards of the light—which I discovered came from a dug-out in the mountain side—I heard voices, and soon I was able to distinguish the words, as they proved to be in my own language. Then I knew that the occupants of the dug-out, whence the voices proceeded, were white men. Thinking that they might be a party of trappers, I boldly walked up to the door and knocked for admission. The voices instantly ceased, and for a moment a death-like silence reigned inside. Then there seemed to follow a kind of hurried whispering—a sort of consultation—and then some one called out:—

"Who's there?"

"A friend and a white man," I replied.

The door opened, and a big, ugly-looking fellow stepped forth and said:—

"Come in."

I accepted the invitation with some degree of fear and hesitation, which I endeavored to conceal, as I saw that it was too late to back out, and that it would never do to weaken at that point, whether they were friends or foes. Upon entering the dug-out my eyes fell upon eight as rough and villainous looking men as I ever saw in my life. Two of them I instantly recognized as teamsters who had been driving in Lew Simpson's train, a few months before, and had been discharged.

They were charged with the murdering and robbing of a ranchman; and having stolen his horses it was supposed that they had left the country. I gave them no signs of recognition however,   deeming it advisable to let them remain in ignorance as to who I was. It was a hard crowd, and I concluded that the sooner I could get away from them the better it would be for me. I felt confident that they were a band of horse-thieves.

"Where are you going, young man; and who's with you?" asked one of the men who appeared to be the leader of the gang.

"I am entirely alone. I left Horseshoe Station this morning for a bear-hunt, and not finding any bears, I had determined to camp out for the night and wait till morning," said I; "and just as I was going into camp, a few hundred yards down the creek I heard one of your horses whinnying, and then I came to your camp."

I was thus explicit in my statement in order, if possible, to satisfy the cut-throats that I was not spying apon them, but that my intrusion was entirely accidental.

"Where's your horse?" demanded the boss thief.

"I left him down the creek," I answered.


They proposed going after the horse, but I thought that that would never do, as it would leave me without any means of escape, and I accordingly said, in hopes to throw them off the track, "Captain, I'll leave my gun here and go down and get my horse, and come back and stay all night."

I said this in as cheerful and as careless a manner as possible, so as not to arouse their suspicions in any way or lead them to think that I was aware of their true character. I hated to part with my gun, but my suggestion of leaving it was a part of the plan of escape which I had arranged. If they have the gun, thought I, they will surely believe that I intend to come back. But this little game did not work at all, as one of the desperadoes spoke up and said:—

"Jim and I will go down with you after your horse, and you can leave your gun here all the same, as you'll not need it."

"All right," I replied, for I could certainly have said nothing else. It became evident to me that it would be better to trust   myself with two men than with the whole party. It was apparent from this time on I would have to be on the alert for some good opportumty to give them the slip.

"Come along," said one of them, and together we went down the creek, and soon came to the spot where my horse was tied. One of the men unhitched the animal and said: "I'll lead the horse."

"Very well," said I, "I've got a couple of sage-hens here. Lead on."

I picked np the sage-hens, which I had killed a few hours before, and followed the man who was leading the horse, while his companion brought up the rear. The nearer we approached the dug-out the more I dreaded the idea of going back among the vlllainous cut-throats. My first plan of escape having failed, I now determined upon another. I had both of my revolvers with me, the thieves not having thought it necessary to search me. It was now quite dark, and I purposely dropped one of the sage-hens, and asked the man behind me to pick it up. While he was hunting for it on the ground, I quickly pulled out one of my Colt's revolvers and struck him a tremendous blow on the back of the head, knocking him senseless to the ground. I then instantly wheeled around, and saw that the man ahead, who was only a few feet distant, had heard the blow and had turned to see what was the matter, his hand upon his revolver. We faced each other at about the same instant, but before he could fire, as he tried to do, I shot him dead in his tracks. Then jumping on my horse, I rode down the creek as fast as possible, through the darkness and over the rough ground and rocks.

The other outlaws in the dug-out, having heard the shot which I had fired, knew there was trouble, and they all came rushing down the creek. I suppose by the time they reached the man whom I had knocked down, that he had recovered and hurriedly told them of what had happened. They did not stay with the man whom I had shot, but came on in hot pursuit of me. They were not mounted, and were making better time down the rough mountain than I was on horseback. From time to time I heard them gradually gaining on me.


At last they had come so near that I saw that I must abandon my horse. So I jumped to the ground, and gave him a hard slap with the butt of one of my revolvers, which started him on down the valley, while I scrambled up the mountain side. I had not ascended more than forty feet when I heard my pursuers coming closer and closer; I quickly hid behind a a large pine tree, and in a few moments they all rushed by me, being led on by the rattling footsteps of my horse, which they heard ahead of [drawing] A HEROIC REMEDY FOR A DESPERATE SITUATION. them. Soon they began firing in the direction of the horse, as they no doubt supposed I was still seated on his back. As soon as they had passed me I climbed further up the steep mountain, and knowing that I had given them the slip, and feeling certain I could keep out of their way, I at once struck out for Horseshoe Station, which was twenty-five miles distant. I had hard traveling at first but upon reaching lower and better ground I made good headway, walking all night and getting into the station just before daylight,—foot-sore, weary, and generally played out.


I immediately waked up the men of the station and told them of my adventure. Slade himself happened to be there, and he at once organized a party to go out in pursuit of the horse thieves. Shortly after daylight twenty well armed stage-drivers, stock-tenders and ranchmen were galloping in the direction of the dug-out. Of course I went along with the party, notwithstanding I was very tired and had had hardly any rest at all. We had a brisk ride, and arrived in the immediate vicinity of the thieves' rendezvous at about ten o'clock in the morning. We approached the dug-out cautiously, but upon getting in close proximity to it we could discover no horses in sight. We could see the door of the dug-out standing wide open, and we then marched up to the place. No one was inside and the general appearance of everything indicated that the place had been deserted—that the birds had flown. Such, indeed, proved to be the case.

We found a new-made grave, where they had evidently buried the man whom I had shot. We made a thorough search of the whole vicinity, and finally found their trail going southeast in the direction of Denver. As it would have been useless to follow them, we rode back to the station; and thus ended my eventful bear-hunt. We had no more trouble for some time from horse-thieves after that.

During the winter of 1860 and the spring of 1861 I remained at Horseshoe, occasionally riding pony express and taking care of stock, but meeting with no adventure worthy to be recorded.




FOLLOWING the breaking out of the great Civil War in 1861, a general desertion of stage-drivers and express riders took place, a majority of whom were natural rovers, and always looking out for change of employment. I was not an exception, and as it had now been nearly a year since I saw my mother, while reports of her ill health frequently reached me, I decided to pay her a visit, and at the same time determine, if government service promised better pay and more excitement than I had been getting out of my engagement with the express company, to join the army. In pursuance of this resolve I went to Leavenworth, which was at that time an important outfitting post for the West and Southwest.

While in the city one day I met several of the old, as well as the young men, who had been members of the Free State party all through the Kansas troubles, and who had, like our family, lost everything at the hands of the Missourians. They now thought a good opportunity offered to retaliate and get even with their persecutors, as they were all considered to be Secessionists. That they were all Secessionists, however, was not true, as all of them did not sympathize with the South. But the Free State men, myself among them, took it for granted that as Missouri was a slave State the inhabitants must all be Secessionists, and therefore our enemies. A man by the name of Chandler proposed that we organize an independent company for the purpose of invading Missouri and making war on its people on our own responsibility. He at once went about it in a very quiet   way, and succeed in inducing twenty-five men to join him in the hazardous enterprise. Having a longing and revengeful desire to retaliate upon the Missourians for the brutal manner in which they had treated and robbed my family, I became a member of Chandler's company. His plan was that we should leave our homes in parties of not more than two or three together, and meet at a certain point near Westport, Missouri, on a fixed day. His instructions were carried out, and we assembled at the rendezvous at the appointed time. Chandler had been there some days before us and, thoroughly disguised, had been looking around the country for the whereabouts of all the best horses. He directed us to secretly visit certain farms and collect all the horses possible, and bring them together the next night. This we did, and upon reassembling it was found that nearly every man had two horses. We immediately struck out for the Kansas line, which we crossed at the Indian ferry on the Kansas River, above Wyandotte, and as soon as we had set foot upon Kansas soil we separated with the understanding that we were to meet one week from that day at Leavenworth.

Some of the parties boldly took their confiscated horses into Leavenworth, while others rode them to their homes. This action may look to the reader like horse-stealing, and some people might not hesitate to call it by that name; but Chandler plausibly maintained that we were only getting back our own, or the equivalent, from the Missourians, and as the government was waging war against the South, it was perfectly square and honest, and we had a good right to do it. So we didn't let our consciences trouble us very much.

We continued to make similar raids upon the Missourians off and on during the summer, and occasionally we had running fights with them; none of the skirmishes, however, amounting to much. The government officials hearing of our operations, put detectives upon our track, and several of the party were arrested. My mother, upon learning that I was engaged in this business, told me it was neither honorable nor right, and she would not for a moment countenance any such proceedings. Consequently I abandoned the jay-hawking enterprise, for such it really was.


After abandoning the enterprise of crippling the Confederacy by appropriating the horses of non-combatants, I went to Leavenworth, where I met my old friend, Wild Bill, who was on the point of departing for Rolla, Mo., to assume the position of wagon master of a governmeat train. At his request to join him as an assistant I cheerfully accompanied him to Rolla, where we loaded a number of wagons with goremment freight and drove them to Springfield.


On our return to Rolla we heard a great deal of talk about the approaching fall races at St. Louis, and Wild Bill having brought a fast running horse from the mountains, determined to take him to that city and match him against some of the high-flyers there; and down to St. Louis we went with this running horse, placing our hopes very high on him.

Wild Bill had no difficulty in making up a race for him. All the money that he and I had we put up on the mountain runner, and as we thought we had a sure thing, we also bet the horse against $250. I rode the horse myself, but nevertheless, our sure thing, like many another sure thing, proved a total failure, and we came out of that race minus the horse and every dollar we had in the world.

Before the race it had been "make or break" with us, and we got "broke." We were "busted" in the largest city we had ever been in, and it is no exaggeration to say that we felt mighty blue.

On the morning after the race we went to the military headquarters, where Bill succeeded in securing an engagement for himself as a gorernment scout, but I being so young failed in obtaining similar employment. Wild Bill, however, raised some money, by borrowing it from a friend, and then buying me a steamboat ticket he sent me back to Leavenworth, while he went to Springfield, which place he made his headquarters while scouting in Southeastern Missouri.


One night, after he had returned from a scouting expedition, he took a hand in a game of poker, and in the course of the play   he became involved in a quarrel with Dave Tutt, a professional gambler, about a watch which he had won from Tutt, but who would not give it up.

Bill told him he had won it fairly, and that he proposed to have it; furthermore, he declared his intention of carrying the watch across the street next morning to military headquarters, at which place he had to report at nine o'clock. To which boast Tutt replied that he would himself carry the watch across the street at nine o'clock, and no other man would do it.

"If you make the attempt one of us will have to die at the hour named," was the answer Bill returned, and then walked carelessly away.

A challenge to a duel had virtually been given and accepted, and everybody knew that the two men meant business. At nine o'clock the next morning, Tutt started to cross the street. Wild Bill, who was standing on the opposite side, told him to stop. At that moment Tutt, who was [drawing] WILD BILL'S DUEL WITH DAVE TUTT. carrying his revolver in his hand, fired at Bill but missed him. Bill quickly pulled out his revolver and returned the fire, hitting Tutt squarely in the forehead and killing him instantly.

Quite a number of Tutt's friends were standing in the vicinity, having assembled to witness the duel, and Bill, as soon as Tutt fell to the ground, turned to them and asked if any one of them wanted to take it up for Tutt; if so, he would accommodate any of them then and there. But none of them cared to stand in front of Wild Bill to be shot at by him. Nothing of course was ever done to Bill for the killing of Tutt.




EARLY in the fall of 1861 I made a trip to Fort Larned, Kansas, carrying military dispatches, and in the winter I accompanied George Long through the country, and assisted him in buying horses for the government.

The next spring, 1862, an expedition against the Indians was organized, consisting of a volunteer regiment, the Ninth Kansas under Colonel Clark. This expedition, which I had joined in the capacity of guide and scout, proceeded to the Kiowa and Comanche country, on the Arkansas river, along which stream we scouted all summer between Fort Lyon and Fort Larned, on the old Santa Fe trail. We had several engagements with the Indians, but they were of no great importance.

In the winter of 1862, I became one of the "Red Legged Scouts,"—a company of scouts commanded by Captain Tuff. Among its members were some of the most noted Kansas Rangers, such as Red Clark, the St. Clair brothers, Jack Harvey, an old pony express-rider named Johnny Fry, and many other well known frontiersmen. Our field of operations was confined mostly to the Arkansas country and Southwestern Missouri. We had many a lively skirmish with the bushwhackers and Younger brothers, and when we were not hunting them, we were generally employed in carrying dispatches between Forts Dodge, Gibson, Leavenworth and other posts. Whenever we were in Leavenworth we had a very festive time. We usually attended all the   [drawing] ADVANCE OF THE INDIANS UNDER BLACK-FISH.   balls in full force, and "ran things" to suit ourselves. Thus I passed the winter of 1862 and the spring of 1863.

Subsequently I engaged to conduct a small train to Denver for some merchants, and on reaching that place in September, I received a letter stating that my mother was not expected to live. I hastened home, and found her dangerously ill. She grew gradually worse, and at last, on the 22d of November, 1863, she died. Thus passed away a loving and affectionate mother and a noble, brave, good and loyal woman.

Previous to this sad event my sister Julia had been married to a gentleman named J. A. Goodman, and they now came to reside at our house and take charge of the children, as my mother had desired that they should not be separated. Mr. Goodman became the guardian of the minor children.


I soon left the home now rendered gloomy by the absence of her whom I had so tenderly loved and going to Leavenworth I entered upon a dissolute and reckless life—to my shame be it said—and associated with gamblers, drunkards, and bad characters generally. I continued my dissipation about two months, and was becoming a very "hard case." About this time the Seventh Kansas regiment, known as "Jennison's Jay-hawkers," returned from the war, and re-enlisted and reorganized as veterans. Among them I met quite a number of my old comrades and neighbors, who tried to induce me to enlist and go South with them. I had no idea of doing anything of the kind; but one day, after having been under the influence of bad whisky, I awoke to find myself a soldier in the Seventh Kansas. I did not remember how or when I had enlisted, but I saw I was in for it, and that it would not do for me to endeavor to back out.

In the spring of 1864 the regiment was ordered to Tennessee, and we got into Memphis just about the time that General Sturgis was so badly whipped by General Forrest. General A. J. Smith re-organized the army to operate against Forrest, and after marching to Tupalo, Mississippi, we had an engagement with him   and defeated him. This kind of fighting was all new to me, being entirely different from any in which I had ever before engaged. I soon became a non-commissioned officer, and was put on detached service as a scout.

After skirmishing around the country with the rest of the army for some little time, our regiment returned to Memphis, but was immediately ordered to Cape Giradeau, in Missouri, as a Confederate force under General Price was then raiding that State. The command of which my regiment was a part hurried to the front to intercept Price, and our first [drawing] WILD BILL. fight with him occurred at Pilot Knob. From that time for nearly six weeks we fought or skirmished every day.


I was still acting as a scout, when one day I rode ahead of the command, some considerable distance, to pick up all possible information concerning Price's movements. I was dressed in gray clothes, or Missouri jeans, and on riding up to a farm house and entering I saw a man, also dressed in gray costume, sitting at a table eating bread and milk. He looked up as I entered, and startled me by saying:—

"You little rascal, what are you doing in those 'secesh' clothes?" Judge of my surprise when I recognized in the stranger my old friend and partner, Wild Bill, disguised as a Confederate officer.

"I ask you the same question, sir," said I, without the least hesitation.


"Hush! sit down and have some bread and milk, and we'll talk it all over afterwards," said he.

I accepted the invitation and partook of the refreshments. Wild Bill paid the woman of the house, and we went out to the gate where my horse was standing.

"Billy, my boy," said he "I am mighty glad to see you. I haven't seen or heard of you since we got busted on that St. Louis horse race."

"What are you doing here?" I asked.

"I am a scout under General McNiel. For the last few days I have been with General Marmaduke's division of Price's army, in disguise as a Southern officer from Texas, as you see me now," said he.

"That's exactly the kind of business that I am out on to-day,' said I; "and I want to get some information concerning Price's movements."

"I'll give you all that I have;" and he then went on and told me all that he knew regarding Price's intentions, and the number and condition of his men. He then asked about my mother, and when he learned that she was dead he was greatly surprised and grieved; he thought a great deal of her, for she had treated him almost as one of her own children. He finally took out a package, which he had concealed about his person, and handing it to me he said:—

"Here are some letters which I want you to give to General McNeil.

"All right," said I as I took them, "but where will I meet you again?"

"Never mind that," he replied; "I am getting so much valuable information that I propose to stay a little while longer in this disguise." Thereupon we shook hands and parted.

It is not necessary to say much concerning Price's raid in general, as that event is a matter of recorded history. I am only relating the incidents in which I was personally interested either as one of the actors or as an observer.



Another interesting, and I may say exciting, episode happened to me a day or two after my unexpected meeting with Wild Bill. I was riding with the advance guard of our army, and wishing a drink of water, I stopped at a farm house. There were no men about the premises, and no one excepting a very fine and intellectual looking lady and her two daughters. They seemed to be almost frightened to death at seeing me—a"yank"—appear before them. I quieted their fears somewhat and the mother then asked me how far back the army was. When I told her it would be along shortly, she expressed her fears that they would take everything on the premises. They set me out a lunch and treated me very kindly, so that I really began to sympathize with them; for I knew that the soldiers would ransack their house and confiscate everything they could lay their hands on. At last I resolved to do what I could to protect them.

After the generals and the staff officers had passed by, I took it upon myself to be a sentry over the house. When the command came along some of the men rushed up with the intention of entering the place and carrying off all the desirable plunder possible, and then tearing and breaking everything to pieces, as they usually did along the line of march.

"Halt!" I shouted; "I have been placed here by the commanding officer as a guard over this house, and no man must enter it." This stopped the first squad; and seeing that my plan was a success, I remained at my post during the passage of the entire command and kept out all intruders.

It seemed as if the ladies could not thank me sufficiently for the protection I had afforded them. They were perfectly aware of the fact that I had acted without orders and entirely on my own responsibility, and therefore they felt the more grateful. They urgently invited me to remain a little while longer and partake of an excellent dinner which they said they were preparing for me. I was pretty hungry about that time, as our rations had   been rather slim of late, and a good dinner was a temptation I could not withstand, especially as it was served up by such elegant ladies. While I was eating the meal I was most agreeably entertained by the young ladies, and before I finished it the last of the rear-guard was at least two miles beyond the house.

Suddenly three men entered the room, and I looked up and saw three double-barreled shot-guns leveled straight at me. Before I could speak, however, the mother and her daughters sprang between the men and me.

"Father! Boys! Lower your guns! You must not shoot this man," and similar exclamations were uttered by all three. The guns were lowered and then the men, who were the father and brothers of the young ladies, were informed of what I had done for them. It appeared that they had been concealed in the woods near by while the array was passing, and on coming into the house and finding a Yankee there, they determined to shoot him. Upon learning the facts, the oid man extended his hand to me, saying:—

"I would not harm a hair of your head for the world; but it is best that you stay here no longer, aa your command is some distance in advance now, and you might be cut off by bushwhackers before reaching it."

Bidding them all good-bye, and with many thanks from the mother and daughters, I mounted my horse and soon overtook the column, happy in the thought that I had done a good deed, and with no regrets that I had saved from pillage and destruction the home and property of a Confederate and his family.

Our command kept crowding against Price and his army until they were pushed into the vicinity of Kansas City, where their further advance was checked by United States troops from Kansas; and then was begun their memorable and extraordinary retreat back into Kansas.


While both armies were drawn up in skirmish line near Fort Scott Kansas, two men on horseback were seen rapidly leaving   the Confederate lines, and suddenly they made a dash towards us. Instantly quick volleys were discharged from the Confederates, who also began a pursuit, and some five hundred shots were fired at the flying men. It was evident that they were trying to reach our lines, but when within about a quarter of a mile of us, one of them fell from his horse to rise no more. He had been fatally shot. His companion galloped on unhurt, and seven companies of our regiment charged out and met him, and checked his pursuers. The fugitive was dressed in Confederate uniform, and as he rode into our lines I recognized him as Wild Bill, the Union scout. He immediately sought Generals Pleasanton and McNiel, with whom he held a consultation. He told them that although Price made a bold showing on the front, by bringing all his men into view, yet he was really a great deal weaker than the appearance of his lines would indicate; and that he was then trying to cross a difficult stream four miles from Fort Scott.

It was late in the afternoon, but General Pleasanton immediately ordered an advance, and we charged in full force upon the rear of Price's army, and drove it before us for two hours.

If Wild Bill could have made his successful dash into our lines earlier in the day, the attack would have been made sooner, and greater results might have been expected. The Confederates had suspected him of being a spy for two or three days, and had watched him too closely to allow an opportunity to get away from them sooner. His unfortunate companion who had been shot, was a scout from Springfield, Missouri, whose name I cannot now remember.

From this time on, Wild Bill and myself continued to scout together until Price's army was driven south of the Arkansas river and the pursuit abandoned.




CAMP-LIFE and fighting guerrillas is not a very desirable occupation, and even scouting in the service is not so agreeable as making love to pretty girls; appreciating this fact, after nearly four years of hardships along the advance, I was very much pleased with the change when in the winter of 1864-65 I was permitted to spend a time at military headquarters in St. Louis on detached service. It was while I was in this pleasing situation that I became acquainted with a young lady named Louisa Frederici, whom I greatly admired and in whose charming society I spent many a pleasant hour.

The war closing in 1865, I was discharged, and after a brief visit at Leavenworth I returned to St. Louis, having made up my mind to capture the heart of Miss Frederici, whom I now adored above any other young lady that I had ever seen. Her lovely face, her gentle disposition and her graceful manners, won my admiration and love; and I was not slow in declaring my sentiments to her. The result was that I obtained her consent to marry me in the near future, and when I bade her good-bye I considered myself one of the happiest of men.

Meantime I drove a string of horses from Leavenworth to Fort Kearney, where I met my old friend Bill Trotter, who was then division stage agent. He employed me at once to drive stage between Kearney and Plum Creek, the road running near the spot where I had my first Indian fight with the McCarthy brothers, and where I killed my first Indian, nearly nine years before. I drove atage over this route until February, 1866, and while bounding over the cold, dreary road day after day, my thoughts turned continually towards my promised bride, until I at last   determined to abandon staging forever, and marry and settle down. Immediately after coming to this conclusion, I went to St. Louis, where I was most cordially received by my sweetheart; it was arranged between us that our wedding should take place on the 6th day of March following.

At last the day arrived and the wedding ceremony was performed at the residence of the bride's parents, in the presence of a large number of invited friends, whose hearty congratulations we received. I was certainly to be congratulated, for I had become possessed of a lovely and noble woman, and as I [drawing] OVERLAND STAGE COACH. gazed upon her as she stood beside me arrayed in her wedding costume, I indeed felt proud of her; and from that time to this I have alway thought that I made a most fortunate choice for a life partner.


An hour after the ceremony we—my bride and myself—were on board of a Missouri river steamboat, bound for our new home in Kansas. My wife's parents had accompanied us to the boat, and had bidden us a fond farewell and a God-speed on our journey.


During the trip up the river several very amusing, yet awkward, incidents occurred, some of which I cannot resist relating. There happened to be on board the boat an excursion party from Lexington, Missouri, and those comprising it seemed to shun me, for some reason which at the time I could not account for. They would point at me, and quietly talk among themselves, and eye me very closely. Their actions seemed very strange to me. After the boat had proceeded some little distance, I made the acquaintance of several families from Indiana, who were en route to Kansas. A gentleman, who seemed to be the leader of these colonists said to me, "The people of this excursion party don't seem to have any great love for you."

"What does it mean?" I asked; "what are they saying? It's all a mystery to me."

"They say that you are one of the Kansas jay-hawkers, and one of Jennison's house burners," replied the gentleman.

"I am from Kansas—that's true; and was a soldier and a scout in the Union army," said I; "and I was in Kansas during the border ruffian war of 1856. Perhaps these people know who I am, and that explains their hard looks." I had a lengthy conversation with this gentleman—for such he seemed to be—and entertained him with several chapters of the history of the early Kansas troubles, and told him the experiences of my own family.

In the evening the Lexington folks got up a dance, but neither the Indiana people, my wife or myself were invited to join them. My new-found friend thereupon came to me and said: "Mr. Cody, let us have a dance of our own."

"Very well," was my reply.

"We have some musicians along with us, so we can have plenty of music," remarked the gentleman.

"Good enough!" said I, "and I will hire the negro barber to play the violin for us. He is a good fiddler, as I heard him playing only a little while ago." The result was that we soon organized a good string band and had a splendid dance, keeping it up as long as the Lexington party did theirs.



The second day out from St. Louis the boat stopped to wood-up at a wild looking landing. Suddenly twenty horsemen were seen galloping up through the timber, and as they came nearer the boat they fired on the negro deck-hands, against whom they seemed to have a special grudge, and who were engaged in throwing wood on board. The negroes all quickly jumped on the boat and pulled in the gang-plank, and the captain had only just time to get the steamer out into the stream before the bushwhackers—for such they proved to be—appeared on the bank.

"Where is the black Abolition jay-hawker?" shouted the leader. "Show him to us, and we'll shoot him," yelled another. But as the boat had got well out in the river by this time they could not board us, and the captain ordering a full head of steam, pulled out and left them.

I afterwards ascertained that some of the Missourians, who were with the excursion party, were bushwhackers themselves, and had telegraphed to their friends from some previous landing that I was on board, telling them to come to the landing which we had just left and take me off. Had the villains captured me they would have undoubtedly put an end to my career, and the public would never have had the pleasure of being bored by this autobiography.

I noticed that my wife felt grieved over the manner in which these people had treated me. Just married, she was going into a new country, and seeing how her husband was regarded, how he had been shunned, and how his life had been threatened, I was afraid she might come to the conclusion too soon that she had wedded a "hard customer." So when the boat landed at Kansas City I telegraphed to some of my friends in Leavenworth that I would arrive there in the evening. My object was to have my acquaintances give me a reception, so that my wife could see that I really did have some friends and was not so bad a man as the bushwhackers tried to make out.

Just as I expected, when the boat reached Leavenworth I   found a general round-up of friends at the landing to receive us. There were about sixty gentlemen and ladies. They had a band of music with them and we were given a fine serenade. Taking carriages, we all drove to South Leavenworth to the home of my sister Eliza, who had married George Myers, and there we were given a very handsome reception. All this cheered up my wife, who concluded that I was not a desperado after all.


Having promised my wife that I would abandon the plains, I rented a hotel in Salt Creek Valley—the same house, by the way, which my mother had formerly kept, but which was then owned by Dr. J. J. Crook, late surgeon of the 7th Kansas. This hotel I called the Golden Rule House, and I kept it until the next September. People generally said I made a good landlord and knew how to run a hotel—a business qualification which, it is said, is possessed by comparatively few men. But it proved too tame employment for me, and again I sighed for the freedom of the plains. Believing that I could make more money out West on the frontier than I could at Salt Creek Valley, I sold out the Golden Rule House and started alone for Saline, Kansas, which was then the end of the track of the Kansas Pacific railway, which was at that time being built across the plains. On my way I stopped at Junction City, where I again met my old friend Wild Bill, who was scouting for the government, his headquarters being at Fort Ellsworth, afterwards called Fort Harker. He told me that they needed more scouts at this post, and I accordingly accompanied him to that fort, where I had no difficulty in obtaining employment.

During the winter of 1866-67, I scouted between Fort Ellsworth and Fort Fletcher. In the spring of 1867 I was at Fort Fletcher, when General Custer came out to go on an Indian expedition with General Hancock. I remained at this post until it was drowned out by the heavy floods of Big creek, on which it was located; the water rose about the fortifications and rendered the place unfit for occupancy; so the government abandoned the   fort and moved the troops and supplies to a new post—which had been named Fort Hays—located further west, on the south fork of Big creek. It was while scouting in the vicinity of Fort Hays that I had my first ride with the dashing and gallant Custer, who had come up to the post from Fort Ellsworth with an escort of only ten men. He wanted a guide to pilot him to Fort Larned, a distance of sixty-five miles across the country.


I was ordered by the commanding officer to guide General Custer to his desired destination, and I soon received word from the General that he would start out in the morning with the intention of making the trip in one day. Early in the morning, after a good night's rest, I was on hand, mounted on my large mouse-colored mule—an animal of great endurance—and ready for the journey; when the General saw me he said:—

"Cody, I want to travel fast and go through as quickly as [drawing] GEN. GEO. A. CUSTER. possible, and I don't think that mule of yours is fast enough to suit me."

"General, never mind the mule," said I, "he'll get there as soon as your horses. That mule is a good one," as I knew that the animal was better than most horses.

"Very well; go ahead, then," said he, though he looked as if he thought I would delay the party on the road.

For the first fifteen miles, until we came to the Smoky Hill river, which we were to cross, I could hardly keep the mule in advance of the General, who rode a frisky, impatient and ambitions thoroughbred steed; in fact, the whole party was finely mounted. The General repeatedly told me that the mule was "no good"   and that I ought to have had a good horse. But after crossing the river, and striking the sand-hills, I began letting my mule out a little, and putting the "persuaders" to him. He was soon out-traveling the horses, and by the time we had made about half the distance to Fort Larned, I occasionally had to wait for the General or some of his party, as their horses were beginning to show signs of fatigue.

"General, how about this mule, anyhow?" I asked at last.

"Cody, you have a better vehicle than I thought yon had," was his reply.

From that time on to Fort Larned I had no trouble in keeping ahead of the party. We rode into the fort at four o'clock in the afternoon with about half the escort only, the rest having lagged far behind.


General Custer thanked me for having brought him straight across the country without any trail, and said that if I were not engaged as post-scout at Fort Hays he would like to have me accompany him as one of his scouts during the summer; and he added that whenever I was out of employment, if I would come to him he would find something for me to do. This was the beginning of my acquaintance with General Custer, whom I always admired as a man and as an officer.

A few days after my return to Fort Hays, the Indians made a raid on the Kansas Pacific railroad, killing five or six men and running off about one hundred horses and mules. The news was brought to the commanding officer, who immediately ordered Major Arms, of the Tenth Cavalry—which, by the way, was a negro regiment—with his company and one mountain howitzer, to go in pursuit of the red-skins, and I was sent along with the expedition as scout and guide. On the second day out we suddenly discovered, on the opposite side of the Saline river, about a mile distant, a large body of Indians, who were charging down upon us. Major Arms, placing the cannon on a little knoll, limbered it up and left twenty men to guard it; and then, with   the rest of the command, he crossed the river to meet the Indians.

Just as he had got the men over the stream we heard a terrific yelling and shouting in our rear, and looking back to the knoll where the cannon had been stationed, we saw the negroes, who had been left there to guard the gun, flying toward us, being pursued by about one hundred Indians, while another large party of the latter were dancing around the captured cannon, as if they had secured a trophy that was dangerous for them to handle. Major Arms soon turned his attention towards the Indians and with a sharp charge drove them from the gun and recaptured it, but not until the carnage was broken and the gun rendered useless. The fight became hotter when the Indians were re-enforced by another large war party, that now came back at us in fine style. In this charge five of our men were killed and many more wounded, among the latter being Major Arms himself. The colored troops became fear-stricken and it was almost impossible to prevent a panic. In this sorry condition, and the danger of our position becoming a perilous one if the unequal contest was continued, Major Arms ordered a retreat, which was obeyed with singular spirit and alacrity. The Indians pursued us for a while, but darkness soon came on and under its protecting mantle we managed to escape, and to reach Fort Hays at daylight the following morning in an exhausted condition.

During our absence on this expedition the cholera broke out at the post, from which terrible disease five or six soldiers died daily, but the colored troops had so much less dread of cholera than they had of Indians that there was no dearth of nurses for the sick, as every negro at the post became a volunteer minister to the cholera patients.






SOON after returning to Fort Hays I was sent with dispatches to Fort Harker. After delivering the messages I visited the town of Ellsworth, about three miles west of Fort Harker, and there I met a man named William Rose, a contractor on the Kansas Pacific railroad, who had a contract for grading near Fort Hays. His stock had been stolen by the Indians, and his visit to Ellsworth was to buy more.

During the course of our conversation, Mr. Rose incidentally remarked that he had some idea of laying out a town on the west side of Big creek, about one mile from the fort, where the railroad was to cross. He asked my opinion of the contemplated enterprise, and I told him that I thought it was "a big thing." He then proposed taking me as a partner in the scheme, and suggested that after we got the town laid oat and thrown open to the public, we should establish a store and saloon there.

Thinking it would be a grand thing to be half-owner of a town, I at once accepted his proposition. We bought a stock of such articles as are usually found in a frontier store, and transported them to the place on Big creek where we were to found our town. We hired a railroad engineer to survey the site and stake it off into lots, and we gave the new town the ancient and historical name of Rome. As a "starter," we donated lots to any one who would build on them, but reserved the corner lots and others which were best located for ourselves. These reserved lots we valued at fifty dollars each.


Our modern Rome, like all mushroom towns along the line of a new railroad, sprang up as if by magic, and in less than one month we had two hundred frame and log houses, three or four   stores, several saloons, and one good hotel. Rome was looming up, and Rose and I already conaidered ourselves millionaires, and thought we "had the world by the tail." But one day a fine looking gentleman, calling himself Dr. W. E. Webb, appeared in town, and dropping into our store introduced himself in a very pleasant way:—

"Gentlemen, you've got a very flourishing little town here. Wouldn't you like to have a partner in your enterprise?"

"No, thank you," said I, "we have too good a thing here to whack up with anybody."

My partner agreed with me, but the conversation was continued, and at last the stranger said:—

"Gentlemen, I am the agent or prospector of the Kansas Pacific railroad, and my business is to locate towns for the company along the line."

"We think we have the only suitable town-site in this immediate locality," said Mr. Rose, "and as a town is already started, we have saved the company considerable expense."

"You know as well as I do," said Dr. Webb, "that the company expects to make money by selling lands and town lots; and as you are not disposed to give the company a show, or share with me, I shall probably have to start another town near you. Competition is the life of trade, you know."

"Start your town, if you want to. We've got the 'bulge' on you, and can hold it," said I, somewhat provoked at his threat.

But we acted too independently and too indiscreetly for our own good. Dr. Webb, the very next day after his interview with us, began hauling material to a spot about one mile east of us, where he staked out a new town, which he called Hays City. He took great pains to circulate in our town the story that the railroad company would locate their round-houses and machine shops at Hays City, and that it was to be the town and a splendid business center. A ruinous stampede from our place was the result. People who had built in Rome came to the conclusion that they had settled in the wrong place; they began pulling down   their buildings and moving them over to Hays City, and in less than three days our once flourishing city had dwindled down to the little store which Rose and I had built.

It was on a bright summer morning that we sat on a pine box in front of our crib, moodily viewing the demolition of the last building. Three days before we had considered ourselves millionaires; on that morning we looked around and saw that we were reduced to the ragged edge of proverty. Our sanguine expectations of realizing immense fortunes were dashed to the ground and we felt pretty blue. The new town of Hays had swallowed Rome entirely. Mr. Rose facetiously remarked that he felt like "the last rose of summer," with all his lovely companions faded and gone, and he left blooming alone. I told him I was still there, staunch and true, but he replied that that didn't help the matter much. Thus ends the brief history of the "Rise, Decline and Fall" of Modern Rome.

It having become evident to me that there was very little hope of Rome ever regaining its former splendor and prosperity, I sent [drawing] A HOWL FROM ROME   my wife and daughter Arta—who had been born at Leavenworth in the latter part of December, 1866—to St. Louis on a visit. They had been living with me for some little time in the rear part of our "store."

At this time Mr. Rose and myself had a contract under Schumacher, Miller & Co., constructors of the Kansas Pacific, for grading five miles of track westward from Big creek, and running through the site of Rome. Notwithstanding we had been deserted, we had some small hope that they would not be able to get water at the new town, and that the people would all soon move back to Rome, as we really had the best location. We determined, therefore to go on with our grading contract, and wait for something better to turn up. It was indeed hard for us, who had been millionaires, to come down to the level of common railroad contractors—but we had to do it all the same.

We visited the new town of Hays almost daily, to see how it was progressing, and in a short time we became much better acquainted with Dr. Webb, who had reduced us from our late independent to our present dependent position. We found him a perfect gentlemen—a whole-souled, genial-hearted fellow, whom everybody liked and respected. Nearly every day "Doc." and I would take a ride over the prairie together and hunt buffalo.


On one occasion, having ventured about ten miles from the town, we spied a band of Indians not over two miles distant, who were endeavoring to get between us and the town, and thus cut us off. I was mounted on my celebrated horse Brigham, the fleetest steed I ever owned. On several subsequent occasions he saved my life, and he was the horse that I rode when I killed sixty-nine buffaloes in one day. Dr. Webb was riding a beautiful thoroughbred bay, which he had brought with him from the East. Having such splendid horses, we laughed at the idea of a band of Indians overtaking us on a square run, no matter how well they might be mounted, but not caring to be cut off by them, we ran our steeds about three miles towards home, thus   getting between the braves and the town. The Indians were then about three-quarters of a mile distant, and we stopped and waved our hate at them, and fired some shots at long range. There were thirteen in the party, and as they were getting pretty close to us, we struck out for Hays. They came on in pursuit and sent several scattering shots after us, but we easily left them behind. They finally turned and rode off towards the Saline river.

The Doctor thought this glorious sport, and panted to organize a party to go in pursuit of them, but I induced him to give up this idea, although he did so rather reluctantly. The Doctor soon became quite an expert hunter, and before he had remained on the prairie a year there were but few men in the country who could kill more buffaloes on a hunt than he.

Being aware that Rose and myself felt rather down-hearted over our deserted village, the Doctor one day said that, as he had made the proprietors of Rome "howl," he would give us two lots each in Hays, and did so. We finally came to the conclusion that our old town was dead beyond redemption or revival, and we thereupon devoted our undivided attention to our railroad contract. One day we were pushed for horses to work on our scrapers—so I hitched up Brigham, to see how he would work. He was not much used to that kind of labor, and I was about giving up the idea of making a work-horse of him, when one of the men called to me that there were some buffaloes coming over the hill. As there had been no buffaloes seen anywhere in the vicinity of the camp for several days, we had become rather short of meat. I immediately told one of our men to hitch his horses to a wagon and follow me, as I was going out after the herd, and we would bring back some fresh meat for supper. I had no saddle, as mine had been left at the camp a mile distant, so taking the harness from Brigham, I mounted him bareback and started out after the game, being armed with my celebrated buffalo-killer, "Lucretia Borgia,"—a newly-improved breech-loading needle gun, which I had obtained from the government.





"While I was riding toward the buffaloes I observed five horsemen coming out from the fort, who had evidently seen the buffaloes from the post, and were going out for a chase. They proved to be some newly-arrived officers in that part of the country, and when they came up closer, I could see by the shoulder straps that the senior officer was a captain, while the others were lieutenants.

"Hello! my friend," sang out the Captain, "I see you are after the same game we are."

"Yes, sir; I saw those buffaloes coming over the hill, and as we were about out of fresh meat I thought I would go and get some," said I.

They scanned my cheap-looking outfit pretty closely, and as my horse was not very prepossessing in appearance, having on only a blind bridle, and otherwise looking like a work-horse, they evidently considered me a green hand at hunting.

"Do you expect to catch those buffaloes on that Gothic steed?" laughingly asked the captain.

"I hope so, by pushing on the reins hard enough," was my reply.

"You'll never catch them in the world, my fine fellow," said the captain. "It requires a fast horse to overtake the animals on these prairies."

"Does it?" asked I, as if I didn't know it.

"Yes; but come along with us as we are going to kill them more for pleasure than anything else. All we want are the tongues and a piece of tender-loin, and you may have all that is left," said the generous man.

"I am much obliged to you, Captain, and will follow you," I replied.

There were eleven buffaloes in the herd and they were not more than a mile from us. The officers dashed ahead as if they had a sure thing on killing them all before I could come up with them; but I had noticed that the herd was making towards the   creek for water, and as I knew buffalo nature, I was perfectly aware that it would be difficult to turn them from their direct course. Thereupon, I started towards the creek to head them off, while the officers came up in the rear and gave chase.


The buffaloes came rushing past me not a hundred yards distant, with the officers about three hundred yards in the rear. Now, thought I, is the time to "get my work in," as they say; and I pulled the blind-bridle from my horse, who knew as well as I did that we were out for buffaloes—as he was a trained hunter. The moment the bridle was off, he started at the top of his speed, running in ahead of the officers, and with a few jumps he brought me alongside of the rear buffalo. Raising old "Lucretia Borgia" to my shoulder, I fired, and killed the animal at the first shot. My horse then carried me alongside the next one, not ten feet away, and I dropped him at the next fire.

As soon as one buffalo would fall, Brigham would take me so close to the next that I could almost touch it with my gun. In this manner I killed the eleven buffaloes with twelve shots; and, as the last animal dropped, my horse stopped. I jumped to the ground, knowing that he would not leave me—it must be remembered that I had been riding him without bridle, reins or saddle—and turning around as the party of astonished officers rode up, I said to them:—

"Now, gentlemen, allow me to present to you all the tongues and tender-loins you wish from these buffaloes."

Captain Graham, for such I soon learned was his name, replied: "Well, I never saw the like before. Who under the sun are you, anyhow?"

"My name is Cody," said I.

One of the lieutenants, Thompson by name, who had met me at Fort Harker, then recognized me, and said: "Why, that is Bill Cody, our old scout." He then introduced me to the other officers, who were Captain Graham of the Tenth Cavalry, and Lieutenants Reed, Emmick and Ezekiel.


Captain Graham, who was considerable of a horseman, greatly admired Brigham, and said: "That horse of yours has running points."

"Yes, sir; he has not only got the points, he is a runner and knows how to use the points," said I.

"So I noticed," said the captain.

They all finally dismounted, and we countinued chatting for some little time upon the different subjects of horses, buffaloes, [drawing] ACCEPT THE TONGUES AND TENDER-LOINS. Indians and hunting. They felt a little sore at not getting a single shot at the buffaloes, but the way I had killed them had, they said, amply repaid them for their disappointment. They had read of such feats in books, but this was the first time they had ever seen anything of the kind with their own eyes. It was the first time, also, that they had ever witnessed or heard of a white man running buffaloes on horseback without a saddle or a bridle.

I told them that Brigham knew nearly as much about the business as I did, and if I had twenty bridles they would have been of   no use to me, as he understood everything, and all that he expected of me was to do the shooting. It is a fact, that Brigham would stop if a buffalo did not fall at the first fire, so as to give me a second chance, but if I did not kill the buffalo then, he would go on, as if to say, "You are no good, and I will not fool away my time by giving you more than two shots." Brigham was the best horse I ever owned or saw for buffalo chasing.

Our conversation was interrupted in a little while by the arrival of the wagon which I had ordered out; I loaded the hindquarters of the youngest buffaloes on it, and then cut out the tongues and tender-loins, and presented them to the officers, after which I rode towards the fort with them, while the wagon returned to camp.

Captain Graham told me that he expected to be stationed at Fort Hays during the summer, and would probably be sent out on a scouting expedition, and in case he was he would like to have me accompany him aa scout and guide. I replied that notwithstanding I was very busy with my railroad contract I would go with him if he was ordered out. I then left the officers and returned to our camp.


That very night the Indians unexpectedly made a raid on the horses, and ran off five or six of our very best work-teams, leaving us in a very crippled condition. At daylight I jumped on old Brigham and rode to Fort Hays, where I reported the affair to the commanding officer; Captain Graham and Lieutenant Emmick were at once ordered out with their company of one hundred colored troops, to pursue the Indians and recover our stock if possible. In an hour we were under way. The darkies had never been in an Indian fight and were anxious to catch the band we were after and "Sweep de red debels from off de face of de yearth." Captain Graham was a brave, dashing officer, eager to make a record for himself, and it was with difficulty that I could trail fast enough to keep out of the way of the impatient soldiers. Every few moments Captain Graham would ride up to see if the   trail was freshening and how soon we should be llkely to overtake the thieves.

At last we reached the Saline river, where we found the Indians had only stopped to feed and water the animals, and had then pushed on towards the Solomon. After crossing the Saline they made no effort to conceal their trail, thinking they would not be pursued beyond that point—consequenntly we were able to make excellent time. We reached the Solomon before sunset, and came to a halt; we surmised that if the Indians were camped on this river, that they had no suspicion of our being in the neighborhood. I advised Captain Graham to remain with the company where it was, while I went ahead on a scout to find the Indians, if they were in the vicinity.

After riding some distance down the ravine that led to the river, I left my horse at the foot of a hill; then, creeping to the top, I looked cautiously over the summit upon the Solomon below. I at once discovered in plain view, not a mile away, a herd of horses grazing, our lost ones among them; very shortly I made out the Indian camp, noted its lay, and how we could best approach it. Reporting to Captain Graham, whose eyes fairly danced with delight at the prospect of surprising and whipping the red-skins, we concluded to wait until the moon rose, then get into the timber so as to approach the Indians as closely as possible without being discovered, and finally to make a sudden dash into their camp and clean them out. We had everything "cut and dried," as we thought, but alas! just as we were nearing the point where we were to take the open ground and make our charge, one of the colored gentlemen became so excited that he fired off his gun. We immediately commenced the charge, but the firing of the gun and the noise of our rush through the crackling timber alarmed the Indians, who at once sprang to their horses and were away from us before we reached their late camp. Captain Graham called out "Follow me, boys!" which we did for a while, but in the darkness the Indians made good their escape. The bugle then gave the recall, but some of the darkies did not get back until morning, having, in their fright, allowed   their horses to run away with them withersoever it suited the animals' pleasure to go.

We followed the trail the next day for awhile, but as it became evident that it would be a long chase to overtake the enemy, and as we had rations only for the day, we commenced the return. Captain Graham was bitterly disappointed in not being able to get the fight when it seemed so near at one time. He roundly cursed the "nigger" who fired the gun, and as a punishment for his carelessness, he was compelled to walk all the way back to Fort Hays.


The construction of the Kansas Pacific railroad was pushed forward with great rapidity, and when track-laying began it was only a very short time before the road was ready for construction trains as far west as the heart of the buffalo country. Twelve hundred men were employed in the work, and as the Indians were very troublesome it became difficult to obtain sufficient fresh meat to feed such an army of workmen. This embarrassment was at length overcome by the construction company engaging hunters to kill buffaloes, the flesh of which is equal to the best corn-fed beef.

Having heard of my experience and success as a buffalo hunter, Messrs. Goddard Brothers, who had the contract for boarding the employees of the road, met me in Hays City one day and made me a good offer to become their hunter, and I at once entered into a contract with them. They said that they would require about twelve buffaloes per day; that would be twenty-four hams, as we took only the hind-quarters and hump of each buffalo. As this was to be dangerous work, on account of the Indians, who were riding all over that section of the country, and as I would be obliged to go from five to ten miles from the road each day to hunt the buffaloes, accompanied by only one man with a light wagon for the transportation of the meat, I of course demanded a large salary. They could afford to remunerate me well, because the meat would not cost them anything.   They agreed to give me five hundred dollars per month, provides I furnished them all the fresh meat required.

Leaving my partner, Rose, to complete our grading contract, I immediately began my career as a buffalo hunter for the Kansas Pacific railroad, and it was not long before I acquired considerable notoriety. It was at this time that the very appropriate name of "Buffalo Bill" was conferred upon me by the roadhands. It has stuck to me ever since, and I have never been ashamed of it.

During my engagement as hunter for the company—a period of less than eighteen months—I killed 4,280 buffaloes; and I had many exciting adventures with the Indians, as well as hairbreadth escapes, some of which are well worth relating.


One day in the spring of 1868 I mounted Brigham and started for Smoky Hill river. After galloping about twenty miles I reached the top of a small hill overlooking the valley of that beautiful stream. As I was gazing on the landscape, I suddenly saw a band of about thirty Indians nearly half a mile distant; I knew by the way they jumped on their horses that they had seen me as soon as I came into sight.

The only chance I had for my life was to make a run for it, and I immediately wheeled and started back towards the railroad. Brigham seemed to understand what was up, and he struck out as if he comprehended that it was to be a run for life. He crossed a ravine in a few jumps, and on reaching a ridge beyond I drew rein, looked back and saw the Indians coming for me at full speed and evidently well mounted. I would have had little or no fear of being overtaken if Brigham had been fresh; but as he was not, I felt uncertain as to how he would stand a long chase.

My pursuers seemed to be gaining on me a little, and I let Brigham shoot ahead again; when we had run about three miles further, some eight or nine of the Indians were not over two hundred yards behind, and five or six of these seemed to be   shortening the gap at every jump. Brigham now exerted himself more than ever, and for the next three or four miles he got "right down to business," and did some of the prettiest running I ever saw. But the Indians were about as well mounted as I was, and one of their horses in particular—a spotted animal—was gaining on me all the time. Nearly all the other horses were strung out behind for a distance of two miles, but still chasing after me.


The Indian who was riding the spotted horse was armed with a rifle, and would occasionally send a bullet whistling along, [drawing] CHECKING A HOT PURSUIT. sometimes striking the ground ahead of me. I saw that this fellow must be checked, or a stray bullet from his gun might hit me or my horse; so, suddenly stopping Brigham and quickly wheeling him around, I raised old "Lucretia" to my shoulder, took deliberate aim at the Indian and his horse, hoping to hit one or the other, and fired. He was not over eighty yards away from me at this time, and at the crack of my rifle down went his horse. Not waiting to see if he recovered, I turned Brigham   and in a moment we were again fairly flying towards our destination; we had urgent business about that time, and were in a hurry to get there.

The other Indians had gained on us while I was engaged shooting at their leader, and they sent several shots whizzing past me, but fortunately none of them hit the intended mark. To return their compliment I occasionally wheeled myself in the saddle and fired back at them, and one of my shots broke the leg of one of their horses, which left its rider hors (e) de combat, as the French would say.

Only seven or eight Indians now remained in dangerous proximity to me, and as their horses were beginning to lag somewhat, I checked my faithful old steed a little, to allow him an opportunity to draw an extra breath or two. I had determined, if it should come to the worst, to drop into a buffalo wallow, where I could stand the Indians off for a while; but I was not compelled to do this, as Brigham carried me through most nobly.


The chase was kept up until we came within three miles of the end of the railroad track, where two companies of soldiers were stationed for the purpose of protecting the workmen from the Indians. One of the outposts saw the Indians chasing me across the prairie and gave the alarm. In a few minutes I saw, greatly to my delight, men coming on foot, and cavalrymen too came galloping to my rescue as soon as they could mount their horses. When the Indians observed this, they turned and ran in the direction from which they had come. In a very few minutes I was met by some of the infantrymen and trackmen, and jumping to the ground and pulling the blanket and saddle off of Brigham, I told them what he had done for me; they at once took him in charge, led him around, and rubbed him down so vigorously that I thought they would rub him to death.

Captain Nolan, of the Tenth Cavalry, now came up with forty of his men, and upon learning what had happened he determined to pursue the Indians. He kindly offered me one of   the cavalry horses, and after putting my own saddle and bridle on the animal, we started out after the flying Indians, who only a few minutes before had been making it so uncomfortably lively for me. Our horses were all fresh and of excellent stock, and we soon began shortening the distance between ourselves and the redskins. Before they had gone five miles we overtook and killed eight of their number. The others succeeded in making their escape. On coming up to the place where I had killed the first horse—the spotted one—on my "home run," I found that my bullet had struck him in the forehead and kilted him instantly. He was a noble animal, and ought to have been engaged in better business.

When we got back to camp I found old Brigham grazing quietly and contentedly on the grass. He looked up at me as if to ask if we had got away with any of those fellows who had chased us. I believe he read the answer in my eyes.


Another very exciting hunting adventure of mine which deserves a place in these reminiscences occurred near Saline river. My companion at the time was a man called Scotty, a butcher, who generally accompanied me on these hunting expeditions to cut up the buffaloes and load the meat into a light wagon which he brought to carry it in. He was a brave little fellow and a most excellent shot. I had killed some fifteen buffaloes and we had started for home with a wagon-load of meat. When within about eight miles of our destination we suddenly ran on to a party of at least thirty Indians who came riding out of the head of a ravine.

On this occasion I was mounted on a most excellent horse belonging to the railroad company and could easily have made my escape; but of course I could not leave Scotty, who was driving a pair of mules hitched to the wagon. To think was to act in those days; and as Scotty and I had often talked over a plan of defense in case we were ever surprised by Indians, we instantly proceeded to carry it out. We jumped to the ground, unhitched   the mules quicker than it had ever been done before, and tied them and my horse to the wagon. We threw the buffalo hams upon the ground and piled them around the wheels in such a shape as to form a breast-work. All this was done in a shorter time than it takes to tell it; and then, with our extra box of ammunition and three or four extra revolvers, which we always carried along with us, we crept under the wagon and were fully prepared to give our visitors the warmest kind of a reception.

The Indians came on pell-mell, but when they were within one hundred yards of us we opened such a sudden and galling fire upon them that they held up and began to circle around the wagon instead of riding up to take tea with us. They however charged back and forth upon us several times and their shots killed the two mules and my horse; but we gave it to them right and left and had the satisfaction of seeing three of therm fall to the ground not more than fifty yards away. On perceiving how well we were fortified and protected by our breast-work of hams, they probably came to the conclusion that it would be a difficult undertaking to dislodge us, for they drew off and gave us a rest, but only a short one.


This was the kind of fighting we had been expecting for a long time, as we knew that sooner or later we would be "jumped" by Indians while we were out buffalo hunting. I had an understanding with the officers who commanded the troops at the end of the track, that in case their pickets should at any time notice a smoke in the direction of our hunting ground they were to give the alarm, so that assistance might be sent to us, for the smoke was to indicate that we were in danger.

I now resolved to signal to the troops in the manner agreed on and at the first opportunity set fire to the grass on the windward side of the wagon. The fire spread over the prairie at a rapid rate, causing a dense smoke which I knew would be seen at the camp. The Indians did not seem to understand this strategic movement. They got off from their horses and from behind a bank or knoll again peppered away at us; but we were well   fortified, and whenever they showed their heads we let them know that we could shoot as well as they.

After we had been cooped up in our little fort for about an hour, we discovered cavalry coming toward us at full gallop over the prairie. Our signal of distress had proved a success. The Indians saw the soldiers at about the same time that we did, and [drawing] A SIGNAL OF DISTRESS. thinking that it would not be healthy for them to remain much longer in that vicinity, they mounted their horses and disappeared down the cañons of the creek. When the soldiers came up we had the satisfaction of showing them five "good" Indians—that is dead ones. Two hours later we pulled into camp with our load of meat, which was found to be all right, except that it had a few bullets and arrows sticking in it.




PRETTY soon after the adventures mentioned in the preceding chapter, I had my celebrated buffalo hunt with Billy Comstock, a noted scout, guide and interpreter, who was then chief of scouts at Fort Wallace, Kansas. Comstock had the reputation, for a long time, of being a most suocessful buffalo hunter, and the officers in particular, who had seen him kill buffaloes, were very desirous of backing him in a match against me. It was accordingly arranged that I should shoot him a buffalo-killing match, and the preliminaries were easily and satisfactorily agreed upon. We were to hunt one day of eight hours, beginning at eight o'clock in the morning, and closing at four o'clock in the afternoon. The wager was five hundred dollars a side, and the man who should kill the greater number of buffaloes from on horseback was to be declared the winner.

The hunt took place about twenty miles east of Sheridan, and as it had been pretty well advertised and noised abroad, a large crowd witnessed the interesting and exciting scene. An excursion party, mostly from St. Louis, consisting of about a hundred gentlemen and ladies, came out on a special train to view the sport, and among the number was my wife, with little baby Arta, who had come to remain with me for a while.

The buffaloes were quite plenty, and it was agreed that we should go into the same herd at the same time and "make a   run," as we called it, each one killing as many as possible. A referee was to follow each of us on horseback when we entered the herd, and count the buffaloes killed by each man. The St. Louis excursionists, as well as the other spectators, rode out to the vicinity of the hunting grounds in wagons and on horseback, keeping well out of sight of the buffaloes, so as not to frighten them, until the time came for us to dash into the herd—when they were to come up as near as they pleased and witness the chase.

We were fortunate in the first run in getting good ground. Comstock was mounted on one of his favorite horses, while I rode old Brigham. I felt confident that I had the advantage of Comstock in two things: first, I had the best buffalo horse that ever made a track; and second, I was using what was known at that time as the needle-gun, a breech-loading Springfield rifie—calibre 50,—it was my favorite old "Lucretia," which has already been introduced to the notice of the reader; while Comstock was armed with a Henry rifle, and although he could fire a few shots quicker than I could, yet I was pretty certain that it did not carry powder and lead enough to do execution equal to my calibre 50.


At last the time came to begin the match. Comstock and I dashed into a herd, followed by the referees. The buffaloes separated; Comstock took the left bunch and I the right. My great forte in killing buffaloes from horseback was to get them circling by riding my horse at the head of the herd, shooting the leaders, thus crowding their followers to the left, till they would finally circle round and round.

On this morning the buffaloes were very accommodating, and I soon had them running in a beautiful circle, when I dropped them thick and fast, until I had killed thirty-eight; which finished my run. Comstock began shooting at the rear of the herd which he was chasing, and they kept straight on. He succeeded, however, in killing twenty-three, but they were scattered over a distance of three miles, while mine lay close together. I had   [drawing] THE GREAT BUFFALO-KILLING MATCH.   "nursed" my buffaloes, as a billiard-player does the balls when he makes a big run.

After the result of the first run had been duly announced, our St. Louis excursion friends—who had approached to the place where we had stopped—set out a lot of champagne, which they had brought with them, and which proved a good drink on a Kansas prairie, and a buffalo hunter was a good man to get away with it.

While taking a short rest, we suddenly spied another herd of buffaloes coming toward us. It was only a small drove, and we at once prepared to give the animals a lively reception. They proved to be a herd of cows and calves—which, by the way, are quicker in their movements than the bulls. We charged in among them, and I concluded my run with a score of eighteen, while Comstock killed fourteen. The score now stood fifty-six to thirty-seven, in my favor.


Again the excursion party approached, and once more the champagne was tapped. After we had eaten a lunch which was spread for us, we resumed the hunt. Striking out for a distance of three miles, we came up close to another herd. As I was so far ahead of my competitor in the number killed, I thought I could afford to give an extra exhibition of my skill. I had told the ladies that I would, on the next run, ride my horse without saddle or bridle. This had raised the excitement to fever heat among the excursionists, and I remember one fair lady who endeavored to prevail upon me not to attempt it.

"That's nothing at all," said I; "I have done it many a time, and old Brigham knows as well as I what I am doing, and sometimes a great deal better."

So, leaving my saddle and bridle with the wagons, we rode to the windward of the buffaloes, as usual, and when within a few hundred yards of them we dashed into the herd. I soon had thirteen laid out on the ground, the last one of which I had   driven down close to the wagons, where the ladies were. It frightened some of the tender creatures to aee the buffalo coming at full speed directly toward them; but when he had got within fifty yards of one of the wagons, I shot him dead in his tracks. This made my sixty-ninth buffalo, and finished my third and last run, Comstock having killed forty-six.

As it was now late in the afternoon, Comstock and his backers gave up the idea that he could beat me, and thereupon the referees declared me the winner of the match, as well as the champion buffaio-hunter of the plains. [*]

On our way back to camp, we took with us some of the choice meat and finest heads. In this connection it will not be out of place to state that during the time I was hunting for the Kansas Pacific, I always brought into camp the best buffalo heads, and turned them over to the company, who found a very good use for them. They had them mounted in the best possible manner, and sent them to all the principal cities and railroad centers in the country, having them placed in prominent positions at the leading hotels, depots, and other public buildings, as a sort of trade-mark, or advertisement, of the Kansas Pacific railroad; and to-day they attract the attention of the traveler almost everywhere. Whenever I am traveling over the country and see one of these trade-marks, I feel pretty certain that I was the cause of the death of the old fellow whose body it once ornamented, and many a wild and exciting hunt is thus called to mind.

The end of the track finally reached Sheridan, in the mouth of May, 1868, and as the road was not to be built any farther just   [drawing] DEATH OF BILLY COMSTOCK.   then, my services as a hunter were not any longer required. At this time there was a general Indian war raging all along the Western borders. General Sheridan had taken up his headquarters at Fort Hays, in order to be in the field to superintend the campaign in person. As scouts and guides were in great demand, I concluded once more to take up my old avocation of scouting and guiding for the army.


Having no suitable place in which to leave my old and faithful buffalo-hunter Brigham, and not wishing to kill him by scouting, I determined to dispose of him. I was very reluctant to part with him, but I consoled myself with the thought that he would not be likely to receive harder usage in other hands than he had in mine. I had several good offers to sell him; but at the suggestion of some gentlemen in Sheridan, all of whom were anxious to obtain possession of the horse, I put him up at a raffle, in order to give them all an equal chance of becoming the owner of the famous steed. There were ten chances at thirty dollars each, and they were all quickly taken.

Old Brigham was won by a gentleman—Mr. Ike Bonham—who took him to Wyandotte, Kansas, where he soon added new laurels to his already brilliant record. Although I am getting ahead of my story, I must now follow Brigham for a while. A grand tournament came off four miles from Wyandotte, and Brigham took part in it. As has already been stated, his appearance was not very prepossessing, and nobody suspected him of being anything but the most ordinary kind of a plug. The friends of the rider laughed at him for being mounted on such a dizzy-looking steed. When the exercises—which were of a very tame character, being more for style than speed—were over, and just as the crowd was about to return to the city, a purse of $250 was made up, to be given to the horse that could first reach Wyandotte, four miles distant. The arrangement was carried out, and Brigham was entered as one of the contestants for the purse. Everybody laughed at Mr. Bonham when it became   known that he was to ride that poky-looking plug against the five thoroughbreds which were to take part in the race.

When all the preliminaries had been arranged, the signal was given, and off went the horses for Wyandotte. For the first half-mile several of the horses led Brigham, but on the second mile he began passing them one after another, and on the third mile he was in advance of them all, and was showing them the road at a lively rate. On the fourth mile his rider let him out, and arrived at the hotel—the home-station—in Wyandotte a long way ahead of his fastest competitor.

Everybody was surprised as well as disgusted, that such a homely "critter" should be the winner. Brigham, of course, had already acquired a wide reputation, aud his name and exploits had often appeared in the newspapers, and when it was learned that this "critter" was none other than the identical buffalo-hunting Brigham, nearly the whole crowd admitted that they had heard of him before, and had they known him in the first place they certainly would have ruled him out.

But to return to the thread of my narrative, from which I have wandered. Having received the appointment of guide and scout, and having been ordered to report at Fort Larned, then commanded by Captain Dangerfield Parker, I saw it was necessary to take my family—who had remained with me at Sheridan after the buffalo-hunting match—to Leavenworth and there leave them. This I did at once, and after providing them with a comfortable little home I returned and reported for duty at Fort Larned.




NEARLY all the scouts operating in Western Kansas, at the time of which I write, made their principal headquarters at Fort Larned, and were commanded by Dick Curtis, an old guide, frontiersman and Indian interpreter. When I first visited the place in the line of duty there were some three hundred lodges of Kiowas and Comanche Indians camped near the fort. These Indians had not as yet gone upon the war-path, but were restless and discontented, and their leading chiefs, Satanta, Lone Wolf, Kicking Bird, Satank, Sittamore, and other noted warriors, were rather saucy. The post at the time was garrisoned by only two companies of infantry and one of cavalry.

General Hazen, who was at the post, was endeavoring to pacify the Indians and keep them from going on the war-path. I was appointed as his special scout, and one morning he notified me that he was going to Fort Harker and wished me to accompany him as far Fort Zarah, thirty miles distant. The General usually traveled in an ambulance, but this trip he was to make in a six-mule wagon, under the escort of a squad of twenty infantry-men.

So, early one morning in August, we started, arriving safely at Fort Zarah at twelve o'clock. General Hazen thought it unnecessary that we should go father, and he proceeded on his way to Fort Harker without an escort, leaving instructions that we should return to Fort Larned the next day.


After the General had gone I went to the sergeant in command of the squad and told him that I was going back that very afternoon instead of waiting until the next morning; and I accordingly saddled up my mule and set out for Fort Larned. I proceeded uninterruptedly until I got about half-way between the two posts, when at Pawnee Rock I was suddenly "jumped" by about forty Indians, who came dashing up to me, extending their hands and saying, "How! How!" They were some of the Indians who had been hanging around Fort Larned in the morning. I saw they had on their war paint, and were evidently now out on the war-path.


My first impulse was to shake hands with them, as they seemed so desirous of it. I accordingly reached out my hand to one of them, who grasped it with a tight grip, and jerked me violently forward; another pulled my mule by the bridle, and in a moment I was completly surrounded. Before I could do anything at all, they had seized my revolvers from the holsters, and I received a blow on the head from a tomahawk which nearly rendered me senseless. My gun, which was lying across the saddle, was snatched from its place, and finally the Indian who had hold of the bridle started off towards the Arkansas river, leading the mule, which was being lashed by the other Indians who were following. The savages were all singing, yelling and whooping, as only Indians can do, when they are having their little game all their own way. While looking towards the river I saw, on the opposite side, an immense village moving down along the bank, and then I became convinced that the Indians had left the post and were now starting out on the war-path. My captors crossed the stream with me, and as we waded through the shallow water they continued to lash the mule and myself. Finally they brought me before an important looking body of Indians, who proved to be chiefs and principal warriors. I soon recognized old Satanta among them, as well as others whom I knew and I supposed it was all over with me.


The Indians were jabbering away so rapidly among themselves that I could not understand what they were saying. Satanta at last asked me where I had been; and as good luck would have it, a happy thought struck me: I told him I had been after a herd of cattle or "whoa-haws," as they called them. It so happened that the Indians had been out of meat for several weeks, as the large herd of cattle which had been promised them had not yet arrived, although expected by them.


The moment I mentioned that I had been searching for the "whoa-haws," old Santa began questioning me in a very eager [drawing] CAPTURED BY THE INDIANS. manner. He asked me where the cattle were, and I replied that they wore back only a few miles, and that I had been sent by General Hazen to inform him that the cattle were coming, and that they were intended for his people. This seemed to please the old rascal, who also wanted to know if there were any soldiers with the herd, and my reply was that there were. Thereupon the chiefs held a consultation, and presently Satanta asked   me if General Hazen had really said that they should have the cattle. I replied in the affirmative, and added that I had been directed to bring the cattle to them. I followed this up with a very dignified inquiry, asking why his young men had treated me so. The old wretch intimated that it was only "a freak of the boys;" that the young men wanted to see if I was brave; in fact, they had only meant to test my bravery, and that the whole thing was a joke.

The veteran liar was now beating me at my own game of lying; but I was very glad of it, as it was in my favor. I did not let him suspect that I doubted his veracity, but I remarked that it was a rough way to treat friends. He immediately ordered his young men to give me back my arms and scolded them for what they had done. Of course, the sly old dog was now playing it very fine, as he was anxious to get possession of the cattle, with which he believed "there was a heap of soldiers coming." He had concluded it was not best to fight the soldiers if he could get the cattle peaceably.

Another council was held by the chiefs and in a few minutes old Satanta came and asked me if I would go over and bring the cattle down to the opposite side of the river, so that they could get them. I replied: "Of course; that's my instruction from General Hazen."

Satanta said I must not feel angry at his young men, for they had only been acting in fun. He then inquired if I wished any of his men to accompany me to the cattle herd. I replied that it would be better for me to go alone, and then the soldiers could keep right on to Fort Larned, while I could drive the herd down on the bottom. So, wheeling my mule around, I was soon recrossing the river, leaving old Satanta in the firm belief that I had told him a straight story and was going for the cattle which only existed in my imagination.

I hardly knew what to do, but thought that if I could get the river between the Indians and myself I would have a good three-quarters of a mile the start of them, and could then make a run for Fort Larned, as my mule was a good one.



Thus far my cattle story had panned out all right; but just as I reached the opposite bank of the river I looked behind and saw that ten or fifteen Indians who had begun to suspect something crooked were following me. The moment that my mule secured a good foothold on the bank I urged him into a gentle lope towards the place where, according to my statement, the cattle were to be brought. Upon reaching a little ridge and riding down the other side out of view, I turned my mule and headed him westward for Fort Larned. I let him out for all that he was worth, and when I came out on a little rise of ground I looked back and saw the Indian village in plain sight. My pursuers were now on the ridge which I had passed over and were looking for me in every direction.

Presently they spied me, and seeing that I was running away they struck out in swift pursuit, and in a few minutes it became painfully evident that they were gaining on me. They kept up the chase as far as Ash creek, six miles from Fort Larned. I still led them half a mile, as their horses had not gained much during the last half of the race. My mule seemed to have gotten his second wind, and as I was on the old road I played the whip and spurs on him without much cessation. The Indians likewise urged their steeds to the utmost.

Finally, upon reaching the dividing ridge between Ash creek and Pawnee fork, I saw Fort Larned only four miles away. It was now sundown and I heard the evening gun at the fort. The troops of the little garrison little dreamed that there was a man flying for his life from the Indians and trying to reach the post. The Indians were once more gaining on me, and when I crossed the Pawnee fork, two miles from the post, two or three of them were only a quarter of a mile behind me. Just as I had gained the opposite bank of the stream I was overjoyed to see some soldiers in a government wagon only a short distance off. I yelled at the top of my voice and, riding up to them, told them that the Indians were after me.



Denver Jim, a well known scout, asked how many there were, and upon my informing him that there were about a dozen, he said: "Let's drive the wagon into the trees, and we'll lay for 'em." The team was hurriedly driven in among the trees and low box-elder bushes, and there secreted.

We did not have to wait long for the Indians, who came dashing up, tasting their horses, which were panting and blowing. We let two of them pass by, but we opened a lively fire on the next three or four, killing two at the first crack. The others following, discovered that they had run into an ambush, and whirling off into the brush they turned [drawing] A RATTLING SURPRISE FOR MY PURSUERS. and ran back in the direction whence they had come. The two who had passed heard the firing and made their escape. We, scalped the two that we had killed, and appropriated their arms and equipments; and then catching their horses, we made our way into the post. The soldiers had heard us firing, and as we were approaching the fort the drums were being beaten, and the buglers were sounding the call to fall in. The officers thought   that Satanta and his Indians were coming in to capture the fort.

It seems that on the morning of that day, two hours after General Hazen had taken bia departure, old Satanta drove into the post in an ambulance, which he had received some months before as a present from the government. He appeared to be angry and bent on mischief. In an interview with Captain Parker, the commanding officer, he asked why General Hazen had left the post without supplying the beef cattle which he had promised him. The Captain told him that the cattle were surely on the road, but he could not explain why they were detained.

The interview proved to be a stormy one, and Satanta made numerous threats, saying that if he wished, he could capture the whole post with his warriors. Captain Parker, who was a brave man, gave Satanta to understand that he was reckoning beyond his powers, and would find it a more difficult undertaking than he had any idea of, as they were prepared for him at any moment. The interview finally terminated, and Satanta angrily left the officer's presence. Going over to the sutler's store, he sold his ambulance to Mr. Tappan the post-trader, and with a portion of the proceeds he secretly managed to secure some whisky from some bad men around the fort. There are always to be found about every frontier post some men who will sell whisky to the Indians at any time and under any circumstances, notwithstanding it is a flagrant violation of both civil and military regulations.

Satanta mounted his horse, and taking the whisky with him he rode rapidly away and proceeded straight to his village. He had not been gone over an hour, when he returned to the vicinity of the post accompanied by his warriors who came in from every direction, to the number of seven or eight hundred. It was evident that the irate old rascal was "on his ear," so to speak, and it looked as if he intended to carry out his threat of capturing the fort. The garrison at once turned out and prepared to receive the red-skins, who, when within half a mile, circled around the fort and fired numerous shots into it, instead of trying to take it by assault.



While this circular movement was going on, it was observed that the Indian village in the distance was packing up, preparatory to leaving, and it was soon under way. The mounted warriors remained behind some little time, to give their families an opportunity to get away, as they feared that the troops might possibly in some manner intercept them. Finally, they encircled the post several times, fired some fareweil rounds, and then galloped away over the prairie to overtake their fast departing village. On their way thither, they surprised and killed a party of woodchoppers down on the Pawnee fork, as well as some herders who were guarding beef cattle; some seven or eight men in all were killed, and it was evident that the Indians meant business.

The soldiers with the wagon—whom I had met at the crossing of the Pawnee fork—had been out for the bodies of the men. Under the circumstances it was no wonder that the garrison, upon hearing the reports of our guns when we fired upon the party whom we ambushed, should have thought the Indians were coming back to give them another "turn."

We found that all was excitement at the post; double guards had been put on duty, and Captain Parker had all the scouts at his headquarters. He was endeavoring to get some one to take some important dispatches to General Sheridan at Fort Hays. I reported to him at once, and stated where I met the Indians and how I had escaped from them.

"You were very fortunate, Cody, in thinking of that cattle story; but for that little game your hair would now be an ornament to a Kiowa's lodge," said he.

Just then Dick Curtis spoke up and said: "Cody, the Captain is anxious to send some dispatches to General Sheridan, at Fort Hays, and none of the scouts here seem to be very willing to undertake the trip. They say they are not well enough acquainted with the country to find the way at night."


As a storm was coming up it was quite dark, and the scouts feared that they would lose the way; besides, it was a dangerous   [drawing] HORRIBLE PUNISHMENT.   ride, as a large party of Indians were known to be camped on Walnut creek, on the direct road to Fort Hays. It was evident that Curtis was trying to induce me to volunteer, so I made some evasive answer to him for I did not care to volunteer after my long day's ride. But Curtis did not let the matter drop. Said he:—

"I wish, Bill, that you were not so tired by your chase of today, for you know the country better than the rest of the boys, and I am certain that you could go through."

"As far as the ride to Fort Hays is concerned, that alone would matter but little to me," I said, "but it is a risky piece of work just now, as the country is full of hostile Indians; still, if no other scout is willing to volunteer, I will chance it. I'll go, provided I am furnished with a good horse. I am tired of being chased on a government mule by Indians." At this Captain Nolan, who had been listening to our conversation, said:—

"Bill, you may have the best horse in my company. You can take your choice if you will carry these dispatches. Although it is against regulations to dismount an enlisted man, I have no hesitancy in such a case of urgent necessity as this is, in telling you that you may have any horse you may wish."

"Captain, your first sergeant has a splendid horse, and that's the one I want. If he'll let me ride that horse, I'll be ready to start in one hour, storm or no storm," said I.

"Good enough, Bill; you shall have the horse; but are you sure you can find your way on such a dark night as this?"

"I have hunted on nearly every acre of ground between here and Fort Hays, and I can almost keep my route by the bones of the dead buffaloes," I confidently replied.

"Never fear, Captain, about Cody not finding the way; he is as good in the dark as he is in the daylight," said Curtis.


An orderly was sent for the horse, and the animal was soon brought up, although the sergeant "kicked" a little against letting him go. After eating a lunch and filling a canteen with   brandy, I went to headquarters and put my own saddle and bridle on the horse I was to ride. I then got the dispatches, and by ten o'clock was on the road to Fort Hays, which was sixty-five miles distant across the country.

It was dark as pitch, but this I rather liked, as there was little probability of any of the red-skins seeing me unless I stumbled upon them accidentally. My greatest danger was that my horse might run into a hole and fall down, and in this way get away from me. To avoid any such accident, I tied one end of my rawhide lariat to the bridle and the other end to my belt. I didn't propose to be left on foot alone out on the prairie.

It was, indeed, a wise precaution that I had taken, for within the next three miles the horse, sure enough, stepped into a prairie-dog's hole, and down he went, throwing me clear over his head. Springing to his feet, before I could catch hold of the bridle, he galloped away into the darkness; but when he reached the full length of the lariat, he found that he was not so loose as he believed. I [drawing] INDIAN BURIAL PLACE. brought him up standing, and after finding my gun, which had dropped to the ground, I went up to him and in a moment was in the saddle again, and went on my way rejoicing, keeping straight on my course until I came to the ravines leading into Walnut creek, twenty-five miles from Fort Larned, where the country became rougher, requiring me to travel slower and more carefully, as I feared the horse might fall over the bank, it being difficult to see anything five feet ahead. As a good horse is not very apt to jump over a bank, if left to guide himself, I let mine pick his own way. I was now   proceeding as quietly as possible, for I was in the vicinity of a band of Indians who had recently camped in that locality. I thought that I had passed somewhat above the spot, having made a little circuit to the west with that intention; but as bad luck would have it this time, when I came up near the creek I suddenly rode in among a herd of horses. The animals became frightened and ran off in every direction.


I knew at once that I was among Indian horses, and had walked into the wrong pew; so without waiting to apologize, I backed out as quickly as possible. At this moment a dog, not fifty yards away, set up a howl, and then I heard some Indians engaged in conversation;—they were guarding the horses, and had been sleeping. Hearing my horse's retreating footsteps towards the hills, and thus becoming aware that there had been an enemy in their camp, they mounted their steeds and started for me

I urged my horse to his full speed, taking the chances of his falling into holes, and guided him up the creek bottom. The Indians followed me as fast as they could by the noise I made, but I soon distanced them, and then crossed the creek.

When I had traveled several miles in a straight course, as I supposed, I took out my compass and by the light of a match saw that I was bearing two points to the east of north. At once changing my course to the direct route, I pushed rapidly on through the darkness towards Smoky Hill river. At about three o'clock in the morning I began traveling more cautiously, as I was afraid of running into another band of Indians. Occasionally I scared up a herd of buffaloes, or antelopes, or coyotes, or deer, which would frighten my horse for a moment, but with the exception of these slight alarms I got along all right.

After crossing Smoky Hill river, I felt comparatively safe as this was the last stream I had to pass. Riding on to the northward I struck the old Santa Fe trail, ten miles from Fort Hays, just at break of day.

My horse did not seem much fatigued, and being anxious to   make good time and get as near the post as possible before it was fairly daylight, as there might be bands of Indians camped along Big creek, I urged him forward as fast as he could go. As I had not "lost" any Indians, I was not now anxious to make their acquaintance, and shortly after reveille rode into the post. I proceeded directly to General Sheridan's headquarters, and was met at the door by Colonel Moore, aid-de-camp on General Sheridan's staff, who asked me on what business I had come.

"I have dispatches for General Sheridan, and my instructions from Captain Parker, commanding Fort Larned, are that they shall be delivered to the General as soon as possible," said I.

Colonel Moore invited me into one of the offices, and said he would hand the dispatches to the General as soon as he got up.

"I prefer to give these dispatches to General Sheridan myself, and at once," was my reply.

The General, who was sleeping in the same building, hearing our voices, oalled out, "Send the man in with the dispatches." I was ushered into the General's presence, and as we had met before he recognized me and said: "Hello, Cody, is that you?"

"Yes, sir; I have some dispatches here for you, from Captain Parker," said I, as I handed the package over to him.

He hurriedly read them, and said they were important; and then he asked me all about General Hazen and where he had gone, and about the breaking out of the Kiowas and Comanches. I gave him all the information that I possessed, and related the events and adventures of the previous day and night.


"Bill," said he, "you must have had a pretty lively ride. You certainly had a close call when you ran into the Indians on Walnut creek. That was a good jcke that you played on old Satanta. I suppose you're pretty tired after your long journey?"

"I am rather weary, General, that's a fact, as I have been in the saddle since yesterday morning;" was my reply, "but my horse is more tired than I am, and needs attention fully as much   if not more," I added. Thereupon the General called an orderly and gave instructions to have my animal well taken care of, and then he said, "Cody, come in and have some breakfast with me."

"No, thank you, General," said I, "Hays City is only a mile from here, and I prefer riding over there, as I know about everyone in the town, and want to see some of my friends."

"Very well; do as you please, and come to the post afterwards as I want to see you," said he.

Bidding him good-morning, and telling him that I would return in a few hours, I rode over to Hays City, and at the Perry House I met many of my old friends who were of course all glad to see me. I took some refreshments and a two hours' nap, and afterward returned to Fort Hays, as I was requested.

As I rode up to the headquarters I noticed several scouts in a little group, evidently engaged in conversation on some important matter. Upon inquiry I learned that General Sheridan had informed them that he was desirous of sending a dispatch to Fort Dodge, a distance of ninety-five miles.



The Indians had recently killed two or three men while they were carrying dispatches between Fort Hays and Fort Dodge, and on this account none of the scouts seemed at all anxious to volunteer, although a reward of several hundred dollars was offered to any one who would carry the dispatches. They had learned of my experiences of the previous day, and asked me if I did not think it would be a dangerous trip. I gave it as my opinion that a man might possibly go through without seeing an   Indian, but that the chances were ten to one that he would have an exceedingly lively run and a hard time before he reached his destination, if he ever got there at all.


Leaving the scouts to decide among themselves as to who was to go, I reported to General Sheridan, who also informed me that he wished some one to carry dispatches to Fort Dodge. While we were talking, his chief of scouts, Dick Parr, entered and stated that none of the scouts had yet volunteered. Upon hearing this I got my "brave" up a little, and said: "General, if there is no one ready to volunteer, I'll carry your diepatches myself."

"I had not thought of asking you to do this duty, Cody, as you are already pretty hard worked. But it is really important that these dispatches should go through," said the General.

"Well, if you don't get a courier by four o'clock this afternoon, I'll be ready for business at that time. All I want is a fresh horse," said I; "meantime I'll take a little more rest."

It was not much of a rest, however, that I got, for I went over to Hays City again and had "a time with the boys." I came back to the post at the appointed hour, and finding that no one had volunteered, I reported to General Sheridan. He had selected an excellent horse for me, and on handing me the dispatches, he said: "You can start as soon as you wish—the sooner the better; and good luck go with you, my boy."

In about an hour afterwards I was on the road, and just before dark I crossed Smoky Hill river. I had not yet urged my horse much, as I was saving his strength for the latter end of the route, and for any run that I might have to make in case the "wild-boys" should "jump" me. So far I had not seen a sign of Indians, and as evening came on I felt comparatively safe.

I had no adventures worth relating during the night, and just before daylight I found myself approaching Saw-log crossing, on the Pawnee fork, having then ridden about seventy miles. A oompany of colored cavalry, commanded by Major Cox,   was stationed at this point, and I approached their camp cautiously, for fear that the pickets might fire upon me—as the darkey soldiers were liable to shoot first and cry "halt" afterwards. When within hearing distance I yelled out at the top of my voice, and was answered by one of the pickets. I told him not to shoot, as I was a scout from Fort Hays; and then, calling the sergeant of the guard, I went up to the vidette of the post, who readily recognized me. I entered the camp and proceeded to the tent of Major Cox, to whom I handed a letter from General Sheridan requesting him to give me a fresh horse. He at once complied with the request. After I had slept an hour and had eaten a lunch, I again jumped into the saddle, and before sunrise I was once more on the road. It was twenty-five miles to Fort Dodge, and I arrived there between nine and ten o'clock, without having seen a single Indian.



After delivering the dispatches to the commanding officer, I met Johnny Austin, chief of scouts at this post, who was an old friend of mine. Upon his invitation I took a nap at his house, and when I awoke, fresh for business once more, he informed me that the Indians had been all around the post for the   past two or three days, running off cattle and horses, and occasionally killing a stray man. It was a wonder to him that I had met with none of the red-skins on the way there. The Indians, he said, were also very thick on the Arkansas river, between Fort Dodge and Fort Larned, and making considerable trouble. Fort Dodge was located sixty-five miles west of Fort Larned, the latter post being on the Pawnee fork, about five miles from its junction with the Arkansas river.


The commanding officer at Fort Dodge was anxious to send some dispatches to Fort Larned, but the scouts, like those at Fort Hays, were rather backward about volunteering, as it was considered a very dangerous undertaking to make the trip. As Fort Larned was my post, and as I wanted to go there anyhow, I said to Austin that I would carry the dispatches, and if any of the boys wished to go along, I would like to have them for company's sake. Austin reported my offer to the commanding officer, who sent for me and said he would be happy to have me take his dispatches, if I could stand the trip on top of all that I had already done. "All I want is a good fresh horse, sir," said I.

"I am sorry to say that we haven't a decent horse here, but we have a reliable and honest government mule, if that will do you," said the officer. "Trot out your mule," said I, "that's good enough for me. I am ready at any time, sir."

The mule was forthcoming, and at dark I pulled out for Fort Larned, and proceeded uninterruptedly to Coon creek, thirty miles out from Dodge. I had left the main wagon road some distance to the south, and had traveled parallel with it, thinking this to be a safer course, as the Indians might be lying in wait on the main road for dispatch bearers and scouts.

At Coon creek I dismounted and led the mule by the bridle down to the water, where I took a drink, using my hat for a dipper. While I was engaged in getting the water, the mule jerked loose and struck out down the creek. I followed him in hopes that he would catch his foot in the bridle-rein and stop, but this   he seemed to have no idea of doing. He was making straight for the wagon road, and I did not know what minute he might run into a band of Indians. He finally got on the road, but instead of going back toward Fort Dodge, as I naturally expected he would do, he turned eastward toward Fort Larned, and kept up a little jog trot just ahead of me, but would not let me come up to him, although I tried it again and again. I had my gun in my hand, and several times I was strongly tempted to shoot him, and would probably have done so had it not been for fear of bringing Indians down upon me, and besides he was carrying the saddle for me. So I trudged on after the obstinate "critter," and if there ever was a government mule that deserved and received a good round cursing it was that one. I had neglected the precaution of tying one end of my lariat to his bit and the other to my belt, as I had done a few nights before, and I blamed myself for this gross piece of negligence.


Mile after mile I kept on after that mule, and every once in a while I indulged in strong language respecting the whole mule fraternity. From Coon creek to Fort Larned it was thirty-five miles, and I finally concluded that my prospects were good for "hoofing" the whole distance. We—that is to say, the confounded mule and myself—were making pretty good time. There was nothing to hold the mule, and I was all the time trying to catch him—which urged him on. I made every step count, for I wanted to reach Fort Larned before daylight, in order to avoid if possible the Indians, to whom it would have been "pie" to have caught me there on foot.

The mule stuck to the road and kept on for Larned, and I did the same thing. Just as day was beginning to break, we—that is the mule and myself—found ourselves on a hill looking down into the valley of the Pawnee fork, in which Fort Larned was located, only four miles away; and when the morning gun belched forth we were within half a mile of the post.

"Now," said I, "Mr. Mule, it is my turn," and raising my   gun to my shoulder, in "dead earnest " this time, I blazed away, hitting the animal in the hip. Throwiog a seoond cartridge into the gun, I let him have another shot, and I continued to pour the lead into him until I had him completely laid out. Like the great majority of government mules, he was a tough one to kill, and he clung to life with all the tenaciousnees of his obstinate nature. He was, without doubt, the toughest and meanest mule I ever saw, and he died hard.

The troops, hearing the reports of the gun, came rushing out to see what was the matter. They found that the mule had passed in his chips, and when they learned the cause they all agreed that I had served him just right. Taking the saddle and bridle from the dead body, I proceeded into the post and delivered the dispatches to Captain Parker. I then went over to Dick Curtis' house, which was headquarters for the scouts, and there put in several hours of solid sleep.

During the day Genaral Hazen returned from Fort Harker, and he also had some important [drawing] PLAGUED BY A MULE. dispatches to send to General Sheridan. I was feeling quite elated over my big ride; and   seeing that I was getting the best of the other scouts in regard to making a record, I volunteered to carry General Hazen's dispatches to Fort Hays. The General accepted my services, although he thought it was unnecessary for me to kill myself. I told him that I had business at Fort Hays, and wished to go there anyway, and it would make no difference to the other scouts, for none of them appeared willing to undertake the trip.

Accordingly, that night I left Fort Larned on an excellent horse, and next morning at daylight found myself once more in General Sheridan's headquarters at Fort Hays. The General was surprised to see me, and still more so when I told him of the time I had made in riding to Fort Dodge, and that I had taken dispatches from Fort Dodge to Fort Larned; and when, in addition to this, I mentioned my journey of the night previous, General Sheridan thought my ride from post to post, taken as a whole, was a remarkable one, and he said that he did not know of its equal. I can safely say that I have never heard of its being beaten in a country infested with hostile Indians.

To recapitulate: I had ridden from Fort Larned to Fort Zarah (a distance of sixty-five miles) and back in twelve hours, including the time when I was taken across the Arkansas by the Indians. In the succeeding twelve hours I had gone from Fort Larned to Fort Hays, a distance of sixty-five miles. In the next twenty-four hours I had gone from Fort Hays to Fort Dodge, a distance of ninety-five miles. The following night I had traveled from Fort Dodge thirty miles on muleback and thirty-five miles on foot to Fort Larned; and the next night sixty-five miles more to Fort Hays. Altogether I had ridden (and walked) 355 miles in fifty-eight riding hours, or an average of over six miles an hour. Of course, this may not be regarded as very fast riding, but taking into consideration the fact that it was mostly done in the night and over a wild country, with no roads to follow, and that I had to be continually on the look-out for Indians, it was thought at the time to be a big ride, as well as a most dangerous one.




GENERAL SHERIDAN highly complimented me for what I had done and informed me that I need not report back to General Hazen, as he had more important work for me to do. He told me that the Fifth Cavalry—one of the finest regiments in the army—was on its way to the Department of the Missouri, and that he was going to send it on an expedition against the Dog Soldier Indians, who were infesting the Republican river region.

"Cody," continued he, "I have decided to appoint you as guide and chief of scouts with the oommand. How does that suit you?"

"First-rate, General, and I thank you for the honor," I replied, as gracefully as I knew how.

The Dog Soldier Indians were a band of Cheyennes and unruly, turbulent members of other tribes, who would not enter into any treaty, or keep a treaty if they made one, and who had always refused to go upon a reservation. They were a warlike body of well built, daring and restless braves, and were determined to hold possession of the country in the vicinity of the Republican and Solomon rivers. They were called "Dog Soldiers" because they were principally Cheyennes—a name derived from the French chien, a dog.


On the third day of October the Fifth Cavalry arrived at Fort Hays, and I at once began making the acquaintance of the   different officers of the regiment. I was introduced by General Sheridan to Colonel William Royal, who was in command of the regiment. He was a gallant officer and an agreeable and pleasant gentleman. He was afterwards stationed at Omaha as Inspector-General in the Department of the Platte. I also became acquainted with Major W. H. Brown, Major Walker, Captain Sweetman, Quartermaster E. M. Hays, and in fact all the officers of the regiment.

General Sheridan, being anxious to punish the Indians who had lately fought General Forsyth, did not give the regiment [drawing] GOVERNMENT MULE TEAM. much of a rest, and accordingly on the 5th of October it began its march for the Beaver creek country. The first night we camped on the south fork of Big creek, four miles west of Hays City. By this time I had become pretty well acquainted with Major Brown and Captain Sweetman, who invited me to mess with them on this expedition, and a jolly mess we had. There were other scouts in the command besides myself and I particularly remember Tom Renahan, Hank Fields and a character called "Nosey " on account of his long nose.

On the morning of the 6th we pulled out to the north, and during the day I was very favorably struck with the appearance   of the regiment. It was a beautiful command and when strung out on the prairie with a train of seventy-five six-mule-wagons, ambulances and pack-mules, I felt very proud of my position as guide and chief of scouts of such a warlike expedition.

Just as we were about to go into camp on the Saline river that night, we ran on to a band of about fifteen Indians, who, seeing us, dashed across the creek, followed by some bullets which we sent after them; but as the small band proved to be a scouting party, we pursued them only a mile or two, when our attention was directed to a herd of buffaloes, which we immediately pursued and killed ten or fifteen for the command.

The next day we marched thirty milea, and late in the afternoon we went into camp on the South fork of the Solomon. At this encampment Colonel Royal asked me to go out and kill some buffaloes for the boys.

"All right, Colonel, send along a wagon or two to bring in the meat," I said.

"I am not in the habit of sending out my wagons until I know that there is something to be hauled in; kill your buffaloes first and then I'll send out the wagons," was the Colonel's reply. I said no more, but went out on a hunt, and after a short absence returned and asked the Colonel to send his wagons over the hill for the half dozen buffaloes I had killed.


The following afternoon he again requested me to go out and get some fresh buffalo meat. I didn't ask him for any wagons this time, but rode out some distance, and coming up with a small herd, I managed to get seven of them headed straight for the encampment, and instead of shooting them just then, I ran them at full speed right into the camp, and then killed them all, one after the other in rapid succession. Colonel Royal witnessed the whole proceeding, which puzzled him somewhat, as he could see no reason why I had not killed them on the prairie. He came up rather angrily, and demanded an explanation. "I can't allow any such business as this, Cody," said he, "what do you mean by it?"


"I didn't care about asking for any wagons this time, Colonel; so I tbought I would make the buffaloes furnish their own transportation," was my reply. The Colonel saw the point in a moment, and had no more to say on the subject.

No Indians had been seen in the vicinity during the day and Colonel Royal having carefully posted his pickets, supposed everything was serene for the night. But before morning we were aroused from our slumbers by hearing shots fired, and immediately afterwards one of the mounted pickets came galloping into camp, [drawing] BRINGING LIVE MEAT INTO CAMP. saying that there were Indians close at hand. The companies all fell into line, and were soon prepared and anxious to give the red-skins battle; but as the men were yet new in the Indian country a great many of them were considerably excited. No Indians, however, made their appearance, and upon going to the picket-post where the picket said he seen them none could be found, nor could any traces of them be discovered. The sentinel,—who was an Irishman,—insisted that there certainly had been red-skins there.



"But you must be mistaken," said Colonel Royal.

"Upon me sowl, Colonel, I'm not; as shure ez me name's Pat Maloney, one of thim rid divils hit me on the head wid a club, so he did," said Pat; and so, when morning came, the mystery was further investigated and was easily solved. Elk tracks were found in the vicinity and it was undoubtedly a herd of elks that had frightened Pat; as he had turned to run, he had gone under a limb of a tree, against which he hit his head, and supposed he had been struck by a club in the hands of an Indian. It was hard to convince Pat however, of the truth.

A three days' uninteresting march brought us to Beaver creek where we camped and from which point scouting parties were sent out in different directions. Neither of these, however, discovering Indians they all returned to camp about the same time, finding it in a state of great excitement, it having been attacked a few hours previous by a party of [drawing] MONUMENT ON CUSTER BATTLE GROUND. Indians, who had succeeded in killing two men and in making off with sixty horses belonging to Co. H.

That evening the command started on the trail of these Indian horse-thieves; Major Brown with two companies and three days rations pushing ahead in advance of the main command. Being unsuccessful, however, in overtaking the Indians, and getting nearly out of provisions—it being our eighteenth day out—the entire command marched towards the nearest railroad point, and   camped on the Saline river, distant three miles from Buffalo Tank. While waiting for supplies we received a new commanding officer, Brevet Major-General E. A. Carr, who was the senior major of the regiment, and who ranked Colonel Royal. He brought with him the now celebrated Forsyth scouts, who were commanded by Lieutenant Pepoon, a regular-army officer.

It was also while waiting in this camp that Major Brown received a new lieutenant to fill a vacancy in his company. On the day that this officer was to arrive, Major Brown had his private ambulance brought out, and invited me to accompany him to the railroad station to meet his lieutenant, whose name was A. B. Bache. He proved to be a fine gentleman, and a brave, dashing officer. On the way to the depot Major Brown had said, "Now, Cody, when we come back we'll give Bache a lively ride and shake him up a little."


Major Brown was a jolly good fellow, but sometimes he would get "a little off," and as this was one of his "off days" he was bound to amuse himself in some original and mischievous way. Reaching the depot just as the train came in, we easily found the Lieutenant, and giving him the back seat in the ambulance we were soon headed for camp.

Pretty soon Major Brown took the reins from his driver, and at once began whipping the mules. After getting them into a lively gallop he pulled out his revolver and fired several shots. The road was terribly rough and the night was so dark that we could hardly see where we were going. It was a wonderful piece of luck that we were not tipped over and our necks broken. Finally Bache said, good-humoredly:

"Is this the way you break in all your Lieutenants, Major?"

"Oh, no; I don't do this as a regular thing, but it's the way we frequently ride in this country," said the Major; "just keep your seat, Mr. Bache, and we'll take you through on time." The Major appropriated the reply of the old California stage-driver, Hank Monk, to Horace Greely.

We were now rattling down a steep hill at full speed, and just   as we reached the bottom, the front wheels struck a deep ditch over which the mules had jumped. We were all brought up standing by the sudden stoppage of the ambulance. Major Brown and myself were nearly pitched out on the wheels, while the Lieutenant came flying headlong from the back seat to the front of the vehicle.

"Take a back seat, Lieutenant," coolly said Major Brown.

"Major, I have just left that seat," said Bache.

We soon lifted the wagon out of the ditch, and then resumed our drive, running into camp under full headway, and creating considerable amusement. Every one recognized the ambulance and knew at once that Major Brown and I were out on a "lark," and therefore there was not much said about our exploit. Halting with a grand flourish in front of his tent, Major Brown jumped out in his most gallant style and politely asked his lieutenant in. A very pleasant evening was spent there, quite a number of the officers calling to make the acquaintance of the new officer, who entertained the visitors with an amusing account of the ride from the depot.

Next morning at an early hour, the command started out on a hunt for Indians. General Carr having a pretty good idea where he would be most likely to find them, directed me to guide him by the nearest route to Elephant Rock on Beaver creek.


Upon arriving at the south fork of the Beaver on the second day's march, we discovered a large, fresh Indian trail which we hurriedly followed for a distance of eight miles, when suddenly we saw on the bluffs ahead of us, quite a large number of Indians.

General Carr ordered Lieutenant Pepoon's scouts and Company M to the front. This company was commanded by Lieutenant Schinosky, a Frenchman by birth and a reckless dare-devil by nature, who was anxious to have a hair-lifting match. Having advanced his company nearly a mile ahead of the main command, about four hundred Indians suddenly charged down   upon him and gave him a lively little fight, until he was supported by our full force.

The Indians kept increasing in numbers all the while until it was estimated that we were fighting from eight hundred to one thousand of them. The engagement became quite general, and general were killed and wounded on each side. The Indians were evidently fighting to give their families and village a chance to get away. We had undoubtedly surprised them with a larger force than they had expected to see in that part of the country. We fought them until dark, all the time driving them before us. At night they annoyed us considerably by firing down into our camp from the higher hills, and several times the command was ordered out to dislodge them from their position and drive them back.



After having returned from one of these little sallies, Major Brown, Captain Sweetman, Lieutenant Bache and myself were taking supper together, when "whang!" came a bullet into Lieutenant Bache's plate, breaking a hole through it. The bullet came from the gun of one of the Indians, who had returned to the high bluff   overlooking our camp. Major Brown declared it was a crack shot, because it broke the plate. We finished our supper without having any more such close calls.

At daylight next morning we struck out on the trail, and soon came to the spot where the Indians had camped the day before. We could see that their village was a very large one, consisting of about fire hundred lodges; and we pushed forward rapidly from this point on the trail which ran back toward Prairie Dog creek.

About two o'clock we came in eight of the retreating village, and soon the warriors turned back to give us battle. They set fire to the prairie grass in front of us, and on all sides, in order to delay us as much as possible. We kept up a running fight for the remainder of the afternoon, and the Indians repeatedly attempted to lead us off the track of their flying village, but their trail was easily followed, as they were continually dropping tepee poles, camp kettles, robes, furs and all heavy articles belonging to them. They were evidently scattering, and it finally became difficult for us to keep on the main trail. When darkness set in, we went into camp, it being useless to try to follow the Indians after nightfall.

Next morning we were again on the trail, which led north and back towards Beaver creek, which stream it crossed within a few miles of the spot where we had first discovered the Indians, they having made nearly a complete circle, in hopes of misleading us. Late in the afternoon, we again saw them going over a hill far ahead of us, and towards evening the main body of warriors came back and fought us once more; but we continued to drive them until darkness set in, when we camped for the night.

The Indians soon scattered in every direction, but we followed the main trail to the Republican river, where we made a cut-off, and then went north towards the Platte river. We found, however, that the Indians by traveling night and day had got a long start, and the General concluded that it was useless to follow them any further, as we had pushed them so hard, and given them such a scare that they would leave the Republican country   and go north across the Union Pacific railroad. Most of the Indians, as he had predicted, did cross the Platte river, near Ogalalla, on the Union Pacific, and thence continued northward.

That night we returned to the Republican river and camped in a grove of cottonwoods, which I named Carr's Grove, in honor of the commanding officer.


The General told me that the next day's march would be towards the head-waters of the Beaver, and he asked me the distance. I replied that it was about twenty-five miles, and he said he would make it the next day. Getting an early start in the morning, we struck out across the prairie, my position as guide being ahead of the advance guard. About two o'clock General Carr overtook me, and asked how far I supposed it was to water. I thought it was about eight miles, although we could see no sign or indication of any stream in our front.

"Pepoon's scouts say you are going in the wrong direction," said the General, "and in the way you are bearing it will be fifteen miles before you can strike any of the branches of the Beaver; and that when you do, you will find no water, for the Beavers are dry at this time of the year at that point."

"General, I think the scouts are mistaken," said I, "for the Beaver has more water near its head than it has below; and at the place where we will strike the stream we will find immense beaver dams, large enough and strong enough to cross the whole command, if you wish."

"Well, Cody, go ahead," said he, "I'll leave it to you, but remember that I don't want a dry camp."

"No danger of that," said I, and then I rode on, leaving him to return to the command. As I had predicted, we found water seven or eight miles further on, where we came upon a beautiful little stream—a tributary of the Beaver—hidden in the hills. We had no difficulty in selecting a good halting place, and obtaining fresh spring water and excellent grass. The General, upon learning from me that the stream—which was only eight or nine   miles long—had no name, took out his map and located it and named it Cody's creek, which name it still bears.


We pulled out early next morning for the Beaver, and when we were approaching the stream I rode on ahead of the advance guard, in order to find a crossing. Just as I turned a bend of the creek "bang!" went a shot, and down went my horse—myself with him. I disentangled myself, and jumped behind the dead body. Looking in the direction whence the shot had come I saw two Indians, and at once turned my gun loose on them, but in the excitement of the moment I missed my aim. They fired two or three more shots, and I returned the compliment, wounding one of their horses.

On the opposite side of the creek, going over the hill, I observed a few lodges moving rapidly away, and also some mounted warriors, who could see me, and who kept blazing away with their guns. The two Indians who had fired at me and had killed my horse were retreating across the creek on a beaver-dam. I sent a few shots after them to accelerate their speed, and also fired at the ones on the other side of the stream. I was undecided as to whether it was best to run back to the command on foot or hold my position. I knew that within a few minutes the troops would come up, and I therefore decided to hold my position. The Indians, seeing that I was alone, turned and charged down the hill, and were about to re-cross the creek to corral me, when the advance guard of the command put in an appearance on the ridge, and dashed forward to my rescue. The red-skins whirled and made off.

When General Carr came up, he ordered Company I to go in pursuit of the band. I accompanied Lieutenant Brady, who commanded, and we had a running fight with the Indians, lasting several hours. We captured several head of their horses and most of their lodges. At night we returned to the command, which by this time had crossed the creek on the beaver-dam.

We scouted for several days along the river, and had two or   [drawing] BLOODY WORK OF SQUAWS.   three lively skirmishes. Finally our supplies began to run low, and General Carr gave orders to return to Fort Wallace, which we reached three days afterwards, and where we remained several days. While the regiment was waiting here for orders, I spent most of the time in hunting buffaloes, and one day, while I was out with a small party, we were "jumped" by about fifty Indians. We had a severe fight for at least an hour, when we succeeded in driving the enemy. They lost four of their warriors, and [drawing] FLIGHT OF THE INDIANS. probably concluded that we were a hard crowd. I had some excellent marksmen with me, and they did some fine work, sending the bullets thick and fast where they would do the most good. Two or three of our horses had been hit, and one man had been wounded; we were ready and willing to stay with the red-skins as long as they wished—but they finally gave it up, however, as a bad job, and rode off. We flnished our hunt, and went back to the post loaded down with buffalo meat, and received the compliment of the General for our little fight.




VERY soon after our fight on Beaver creek, Gen. Carr received orders from Gen. Sheridan for a winter's campaign in the Canadian river country, instructing him to proceed at once to Fort Lyon, Colorado, and there to fit out for the expedition. Leaving Fort Wallace in November, 1868, we arrived at Fort Lyon in the latter part of the month without special incident, and at once began our preparations for invading the enemy's country.

General Penrose had left this post three weeks previously with a command of some three hundred men. He had taken no wagons with him and his supply train was composed only of pack mules. General Carr was ordered to follow with supplies on his trail and overtake him as soon as possible. I was particularly anxious to catch up with Penrose's command, as my old friend, Wild Bill, was among his scouts. We followed the trail very easily for the first three days, and then we were caught in Freeze-Out canyon by a fearful snow storm, which compelled us to go into camp for a day. The ground now being covered with snow, we found that it would be impossible to follow Penrose's trail any further, especially as he had left no sign to indicate the direction he was going. General Carr sent for me and said that as it was very important that we should not lose the trail, he wished that I would take some scouts with me, and while the command remained in camp, push on as far as possible and see if I could not discover some traces of Penrose or where he had camped at any time.


Accompanied by four men I started out in the blinding snow storm, taking a southerly direction. We rode twenty-four miles, and upon reaching a tributary of the Cimarron, we scouted up and down the stream for a few miles and finally found one of Penrose's old camps. It was now late in the afternoon, and as the command would come up the next day, it was not necessary for all of us to return with the information to General Carr. So riding down into a sheltered place in a bend of the creek, we built a fire and broiled some venison from a deer which we had shot during the day, and after eating a substantial meal I left the four men there, while I returned to bring up the troops.

It was eleven o'clock at night when I got back to the camp. A light was still burning in the General's tent, he having remained awake, anxiously awaiting my return. He was glad to see me, and was overjoyed at the information I brought, for he he had great fears concerning the safety of General Penrose. He roused up his cook and ordered him to get me a good hot supper, all of which I greatly appreciated. I passed the night in the General's tent, and next morning rose refreshed and prepared for a big day's work.


The command took up its march next day for the Cimarron, and had a hard tramp of it on account of the snow having drifted to a great depth in many of the ravines, and in some places the teamsters had to shovel their way through. We arrived at the Cimarron at sundown, and went into a nioe warm camp. Upon looking around next morning, we found that Penrose, having been unencumbered by wagons, had kept on the west side of the Cimarron, and the country was so rough that it was impossible for us to stay on his trail with our wagons; but knowing that he would certainly follow down the river. General Carr concluded to take the best wagon route along the stream, which I discovered to be on the east side. Before we could make any headway with our wagon train we had to leave the river and get out on the divide. We were very fortunate that day in finding a splendid   road for some distance, until we were all at once brought up standing on a high table-land, overlooking a beautiful winding creek that lay far below as in the valley. The question that troubled us was how we were to get the wagons down. We were now in the foot-hills of the Rattoon mountains, and the bluff we were on was very steep.

"Cody, we're in a nice fix now," said General Carr.

"Oh, that's nothing," was my reply.

"But you can never take the train down," said he.

"Never you mind the train, General. You say you are looking for a good camp. How does that beautiful spot down in the valley suit you?" I asked him.

"That will do. I can easily descend with the cavalry, but how to get the wagons down there is a puzzler to me," said he.

"By the time you've located your camp, your wagons shall be there," said I.

"All right, Cody, I'll leave it to you, as you seem to want to be boss," he replied pleasantly. He at once ordered the command to dismount and lead the horses down the mountain-side. The wagon train was a mile in the rear, and when it came up, one of the drivers asked: "How are we going down there?"

"Run down, slide down or fall down—any way to get down," said I.

"We never can do it; it's too steep; the wagons will run over the mules," said another wagon-master.

"I guess not; the mules have got to keep out of the way," was my reply.

I told Wilson, the chief wagon-master, to bring on his mess-wagon, which was at the head of the train, and I would try the experiment at least. Wilson drove the team and wagon to the brink of the hill, and following my directions he brought out some extra chains with which we locked both wheels on each side, and then rough-locked them. We now started the wagon down the hill. The wheel-horses—or rather the wheel-mules—were good on the hold-back, and we got along finely until we nearly reached the bottom, when the wagon crowded the mules so hard that they   started on a run and galloped down into the valley and to the place where General Carr had located his camp. Three other wagons immediately followed in the same way, and in half an hour every wagon was in camp, without the least accident having occurred. It was indeed an exciting sight to see the six-mule teams come straight down the mountain and finally break into a full run. At times it looked as if the wagons would turn a somersault and land on the mules.

This proved to be a lucky march for us, as far as gaining on Penrose was concerned, for the route he had taken on the west side of the stream turned out to be a bad one, and we went with our immense wagon-train as far in one day as Penrose had in seven. His command had marched on to a plateau or high table-land so steep that not even a pack-mule could descend it, and he was obliged to retrace his steps a long ways, thus losing three days' time, as we afterwards learned.


While in this camp we had a lively turkey hunt. The trees along the banks of the stream were literally alive with wild turkeys, and after unsaddling the horses between two and three hundred soldiers surrounded a grove of timber and had a grand turkey round-up, killing four or five hundred of the birds, with guns, clubs and stones. Of course, we had turkey in every style after this hunt—roast turkey, boiled turkey, fried turkey, "turkey on toast," and so on; and we appropriately called this place Camp Turkey.

From this point on, for several days, we had no trouble in following Penrose's trail, which led as in a southeasterly direction towards the Canadian river. No Indians were seen nor any signs of them found. One day, while riding in advance of the command, down San Francisco creek, I heard some one calling my name from a little bunch of willow brush on the opposite bank, and, upon looking closely at the spot, I saw a negro.

"Sakes alive! Massa Bill, am dat you?" asked the man, whom I recognized as one of the colored soldiers of the Tenth Cavalry.   I next heard him say to some one In the brush: "Come out o' heah. Dar's Massa Buffalo Bill." Then he sang out: "Massa Bill, is you got any hawd tack?"

"Nary a hard tack; but the wagons will be along presently and then you can get all you want," said I.

"Dat's de best news I'se heerd foah sixteen long days, Massa Bill," said he.

"Where's your command? Where's General Penrose?" I asked.

"I dunno," said the darkey; "we got lost and we's been a starvin' eber since."

By this time two other negroes had emerged from their place of concealment. They had deserted Penrose's command—which was out of rations and nearly in a starving condition—and were trying to make their way back to Fort Lyon. General Carr concluded, from what they could tell him, that General Penrose was somewhere on Palladora creek; but we could not learn anything definite from the starved "mokes," for they knew not where they were themselves.


Having learned that General Penrose's troops were in such bad shape, General Carr ordered Major Brown to start out the next morning with two companies of cavalry and fifty pack-mules loaded with provisions, and to make all possible speed to reach and relieve the suffering soldiers. I accompanied this detachment, and on the third day out we found the half-famished soldiers camped on the Palladora. The camp presented a pitiful sight, indeed. For over two weeks the men had had only quarter rations and were now nearly starved to death. Over two hundred horses and mules were lying dead, having died from fatigue and starvation. General Penrose, fearing that General Carr would not find him, had sent back a company of the Seventh Cavalry to Fort Lyon for supplies; but no word as yet had been heard from them. The rations which Major Brown brought to the command came none too soon and were the means of saving many lives.


About the first man I saw after reaching the camp was my old, true and tried friend, Wild Bill. That night we had a jolly reunion around the camp-fires.

General Carr, upon arriving with his force, took command of all the troops, he being the senior officer and ranking General Penrose. After selecting a good camp, he unloaded the wagons and sent them back to Fort Lyon for fresh supplies. He then [drawing] DISCOVERY OF PENROSE'S STARVING COMMAND. picked out five hundred of the best men and horses, and, taking his pack-train with him, he started south for the Canadian river, distant about forty miles, leaving the rest of the troops at the supply camp.


I was ordered to accompany this expedition. We struck the south fork of the Canadian river, or Rio Colorado, at a point a   few miles above the old adobe walls, which at one time had composed a fort, and was the place where Kit Carson once had a big Indian fight. We were now within twelve miles of a new supply depot, called Camp Evans, which had been established for the Third Cavalry and Evans' Expedition from New Mexico. The scouts who had brought in this information also reported that they expected the arrival at Camp Evans of a bull-train from New Mexico with a large quantity of beer for the soldiers. This news was grateful to Wild Bill and myself, and we determined to lie low for that beer outfit. That very evening it came along, and the beer that was destined for the soldiers at Camp Evans never reached its destination. It went straight down the thirsty throats of General Carr'a command. It appears that the Mexicans living near Fort Union had manufactured the beer, and were taking it through to Camp Evans to sell to the troops, but it struck a lively market without going so far. It was sold to our boys in pint cups, and as the weather was very cold we warmed the beer by putting the ends of our picket-pins heated red hot into the cups. The result was one of the biggest beer jollifications I ever had the misfortune to attend.

One evening General Carr summoned me to his tent, and said he wished to send some scouts with dispatches to Camp Supply, which were to be forwarded from there to Sheridan. He ordered me to call the scouts together at once at his headquarters, and select the men who were to go. I asked him if I should not go myself, but he replied that he wished me to remain with the command, as he could not spare me. The distance to Camp Supply was about two hundred miles, and owing to the very cold weather it was anything but a pleasant trip. Consequently none of the scouts were anxious to undertake it. It was finally settled, however, that Wild Bill, a half-breed called Little Geary, and three other scouts should carry the dispatches, and they accordingly took their departure next day, with instructions to return to the command as soon as possible.

For several days we scouted along the Canadian river, but   found no signs of Indians. General Carr then went back to his camp, and soon afterwards our wagon train came in from Fort Lyon with a fresh load of provisions. Our animals being in poor condition, we remained in different camps along San Francisco Creek and the north fork of the Canadian until Wild Bill and his scouts returned from Camp Supply.


Among the scouts of Penrose's command were fifteen Mexicans, and between them and the American scouts there had existed a feud; when General Carr took command of the expeditions—uniting it with his own—and I was made chief of all the scouts, this feud grew more intense, and the Mexicans often threatened to clean us out; but they postponed the undertaking from time to time, until one day, while we were all at the sutler's store, the long-expected fight took place, and resulted in the Mexicans getting severely beaten.

General Carr upon hearing of the row, sent for Wild Bill and myself, he having concluded, from the various statements which had been made to him, that we were the instigators of the affair. But after listening to what we had to say, he thought that the Mexicans were as much to blame as we were.

It is not to be denied that Wild Bill and myself had been partaking too freely of "tangle-foot" that evening; and General Carr said to me: "Cody, there are plenty of antelopes in the country, and you can do some hunting for the camp while we stay here."

"All right, General, I'll do it."

After that I put in my time hunting, and with splendid success, killing from fifteen to twenty antelopes a day, which kept the men well supplied with fresh meat.

At length, our horses and mules having become sufficiently recruited to travel, we returned to Fort Lyon, arriving there in March, 1869, where the command was to rest and recruit for thirty days, before proceeding to the Department of the Platte, whither it had been ordered.




UPON my return to Fort Lyon General Carr granted me a leave of absence of one month which I improved by paying a visit to my family which was at this time in St. Louis. The nearest railroad station to Fort Lyon was Sheridan, fully one hundred and forty miles distant, and as I had no conveyance of my own, General Carr instructed Captain Hays, our quartermaster, to give me the use of a horse to make the necessary journey. When I received the horse it was with instructions to leave the animal in the quartermaster's corral at Fort Wallace until my return, but instead of so doing I placed the horse in the care of an old friend named Perry, who was a hotel-keeper in Sheridan.

After a twenty days' absence in St. Louis, pleasantly spent with my family, I returned to Sheridan, and there learned that my horse had been seized by the government. It seems that the quartermaster's agent at Sheridan had reported to General Bankhead, commanding Fort Wallace, and to Captain Laufer, the quartermaster, that I had left the country and had sold a government horse and mule to Mr. Perry, and of course Captain Laufer took possession of the animals and threatened to have Perry arrested for buying govemment property. Perry explained to him the facts in the case and said that I would return in a few days; but the Captain would pay no attention to his statements.

I immediately went over to the office of the quartermaster's agent, and had Perry point him out to me. I at once laid hold of him, and in a short time had treated him to just such a thrashing as his contemptible lie deserved. He then mounted a horse, rode to Fort Wallace, and reported me to General   Bankhead and Captain Laufer, and obtained a guard to return with and protect him.

The next morning I secured a horse from Perry, and proceeding to Fort Wallace demanded my horse and mule from General Bankhead, on the ground that they were Quartermaster Hays' property and belonged to General Carr's command and that I had obtained permission to ride them to Sheridan and back. General Bankhead in a gruff manner ordered me out of his office and off the reservation, saying that if I didn't take a hurried departure he would have me forcibly put out. I told him to do it and be hanged; I might have used a stronger expression, and upon second thought, I believe I did. I next interviewed Captain Laufer and demanded of him also the horse and mule, as I was responsible for them to Quartermaster Hays. Captain Laufer intimated that I was a liar and that I had disposed of the animals. Hot words ensued between us, and he too ordered me to leave the post. I replied that General Bankhead had commanded me to do the same thing, but that I had not yet gone; and that I did not propose to obey any orders of an inferior officer.

Seeing that it was of no use to make any further effort to get possession of the animals I rode back to Sheridan, and just as I reached there I met the quartermaster's agent coming out from supper, with his head tied up. It occurred to me that he had not received more than one-half of the punishment justly due him, and that now would be a good time to give him the balance—so I carried the idea into immediate execution. After finishing the job in good style, I informed him that he could not stay in that town while I remained there, and convinced him that Sheridan was not large enough to hold us both at the same time; he accordingly left the place and again went to Fort Wallace, this time reporting to General Bankhead that I had driven him away, and had threatened to kill him.


That night while sleeping at the Perry House, I was awakened by a tap on the shoulder and upon looking up I was considerably   surprised to see the room filled with armed negroes who had their guns all pointed at me. The first words I heard came from the sergeant, who said:—

"Now look a-heah, Massa Bill, ef you makes a move we'll blow you off de farm, shuah!" Just then Captain Ezekiel entered and ordered the soldiers to stand back.

"Captain, what does this mean?" I asked.

"I am sorry, Bill, but I have been ordered by General Bankhead to arrest you and bring you to Fort Wallace," said he.

"That's all right," said I, "but you could have made the arrest alone, without having brought the whole Thirty-eighth Infantry with you."

"I know that, Bill," replied the Captain, "but as you've not been in very good humor for the last day or two, I didn't know how you would act."

I hastily dressed, and accompanied Captain Ezekiel to Fort Wallace, arriving there at two o'clock in the morning.

"Bill, I am really sorry," said Captain Ezekiel, as we alighted, "but I have orders to place you in the guard-house, and I must perform my duty."

"Very well, Captain; I don't blame you a bit," said I; and into the guard-house I went as a prisoner for the first and only time in my life. The sergeant of the guard—who was an old friend of mine, belonging to Captain Graham's company, which was stationed there at the time—did not put me into a cell, but kindly allowed me to stay in his room and occupy his bed, and in a few minutes I was snoring away as if nothing unusual had occurred.

Shortly after reveille Captain Graham called to see me. He thought it was a shame for me to be in the guard-house, and said that he would interview General Bankhead in my behalf as soon as he got up. The Captain had a nice breakfast prepared for me, and then departed. At guard-mount I was not sent for, contrary to my expectations, and thereupon I had word conveyed to Captain Graham, who was officer of the day, that I wanted to see General Bankhead. The Captain informed me that the   General absolutely refused to hold any conversation whatever with me.

At this time there was no telegraph line between Fort Wallace and Fort Lyon, and therefore it was impossible for me to telegraph to General Carr, and I determined to send a dispatch direct to General Sheridan. I accordingly wrote out a long telegram informing him of my difficulty, and had it taken to the telegraph office for transmission; but the operator, instead of sending it at once as he should have done, showed it to General Bankhead, who tore it up, and instructed the operator not to pay any attention to what I might say, as he was running that post. Thinking it very strange that I received no answer during the day I went to the telegraph office, accompanied by a guard, and learned from the operator what he had done.


"See here, my young friend," said I, "this is a public telegraph line, and I want my telegram sent, or there'll be trouble."

I re-wrote my dispatch and handed it to him, accompanied with the money to pay for the transmission, saying, as I did so: "Young man, I wish that telegram sent direct to Chicago. You know it is your duty to send it, and it must go."

He knew very well that he was compelled to transmit the message, but before doing so he called on General Bankhead and informed him of what I had said, and told him that he would certainly have to send it, for if he didn't he might lose his position. The General, seeing that the telegram would have to go, summoned me to his headquarters, and the first thing he said, after I got into his presence was:—

"If I let you go, sir, will you leave the post at once and not bother my agent at Sheridan again?"

"No, sir;" I replied, "I'll do nothing of the kind. I'll remain in the guard-house until I receive an answer from General Sheridan."

"If I give you the horse and mule will you proceed at once to Fort Lyon?"


"No, sir; I have some bills to settle at Sheridan and some other business to transact," replied I.

"Well, sir; will you at least agree not to interfere any further with the quartermaster's agent at Sheridan?"

"I shall not bother him any more, sir, as I have had all I want from him," was my answer.

General Bankhead thereupon sent for Captain Laufer and ordered him to turn the horse and mule over to me. In a few minutes more I was on my way to Sheridan, and after settling my business there, I proceeded to Fort Lyon, arriving two days afterwards. I related my adventures to General Carr, Major Brown, and other officers, who were greatly amused thereby.


"I'm glad you've come, Bill," said General Carr, "as I have been wanting you for the last two weeks. While we have been at this post several valuable animals, as well as a large number of government horses and mules have been stolen, and we think the thieves are still in the vicinity of the fort, but as yet we have been unable to discover their rendezvous. I have had a party out for the last few days in the neighborhood of old Fort Lyon, and they have found fresh tracks down there and seem to think that the stock is concealed somewhere in the timber, along the Arkansas river. Bill Green, one of the scouts who is just up from there, can perhaps tell you something more about the matter."

Green, who had been summoned, said that he had discovered fresh trails before striking the heavy timber opposite old Fort Lyon, but that in the tall grass he could not foilow them. He had marked the place where he had last seen fresh mule tracks, so that he could find it again.

"Now, Cody, you're just the person we want," said the General.

"Very well, I'll get a fresh mount, and to-morrow I'll go down and see what I can discover," said I.

"You had better take two men besides Green, and a pack mule   with eight or ten days' rations," suggested the General, "so that if you find the trail you can follow it up, as I am very anxious to get back this stolen property. The scoundrels have taken one of my private horses and also Lieutenant Forbush's favorite little black race mule."

Next morning I started out after the horse-thieves, being accompanied by Green, Jack Farley and another scout. The mule track, marked by Green, was easily found, and with very little difficulty I followed it for about two miles into the timber and came upon a place where, as I could plainly see from numerous signs, quite a number of head of stock had been tied among the trees and kept for several days. This was evidently the spot where the thieves had been hiding their stolen stock until they had accumulated quite a herd. From this point it was difficult to trail them, as they had taken the stolen animals out of the timber one by one and in different directions, thus showing that they were experts at the business and experienced frontiersmen, for no Indian could have exhibited more cunning in covering up a trail than did they.

I abandoned the idea of following their trail in this immediate locality, so calling my men together, I told them that we would ride out for about five miles and make a complete circuit about the place, and in this way we would certainly find the trail on which they had moved out. While making the circuit we discovered the tracks of twelve animals—four mules and eight horses—in the edge of some sand-hills, and from this point we had no trouble in trailing them down the Arkansas river, which they had crossed at Sand creek, and then had gone up the latter stream, in the direction of Denver, to which place they were undoubtedly bound. When nearing Denver their trail became so obscure that we at last lost it; but by inquiring of the settlers along the road which they had taken, we occasionally heard of them.


When within four miles of Denver—this was on a Thursday—we learned that the horse-thieves had passed there two days   before. I came to the conclusion they would attempt to dispose of the animals at Denver, and being aware that Saturday was the great auction day there, I thought it best to remain where we were, at a hotel, and not go into the city until that day. It certainly would not have been advisable for me to have gone into Denver meantime, because I was well known there, and if the thieves had learned of my presence in the city they would at once have suspected my business.

Early Saturday morning we rode into town and stabled our horses at the Elephant corral. I secured a room from Ed. Chase, overlooking the corral, and then took up my post of observation. I did not have long to wait, for a man whom I readily recognized as one of our old packers, rode into the corral mounted upon Lieutenant Forbush's racing mule, and leading another government mule, which I also identified. It had been recently branded, and over the "U. S." was a plain "D. B." I waited for the man's companion to put in an appearance, but he did not come, and my conclusion was that he was secreted outside of the city with the rest of the animals.

Presently the black mule belonging to Forbush was put up at auction. Now, thought I, is the time to do my work. So, walking through the crowd, who were bidding for the mule, I approached the man who had offered him for sale. He recognized me and endeavored to escape, but I seized him by the shoulder, saying: "I guess, my friend, that you'll have to go with me. If you make any resistance, I'll shoot you on the spot." He was armed with a pair of pistols, which I took away from him. Then informing the auctioneer that I was a United States detective, and showing him—as well as an inquisitive officer—my commission as such, I told him to stop the sale, as the mule was stolen property, and that I had arrested the thief, whose name was Williams.

Farley and Green, who were near at hand, now came forward, and together we took the prisoner and the mules three miles down the Platte river; there, in a thick bunch of timber, we all dismounted and made preparations to hang Williams from a limb, if he did not tell us where his partner was. At first he denied   knowing anything about any partner, or any other stock; but when he saw that we were in earnest, and would hang him at the end of the given time—five minutes—unless he "squealed," he told us that his "pal" was at an unoccupied house three miles further down the river.

We immediately proceeded to the spot indicated, and as we came within sight of the house we saw our stock grazing near by. Just as we rode up to the door, another one of our old packers, whom I recognized as Bill Bevins, stepped to the front and I covered him instantly with my rifle before he could draw his revolver. I ordered him to throw up his hands, and he obeyed the command. Green then disarmed him and brought him out. We looked through the house and found their saddles, pack-saddles, blankets, overcoats, lariats and two Henry rifles, which we took possession of. The horses and mules we tied in a bunch, and with the whole outfit we returned to Denver, where we lodged Williams and Bevins in jail, in charge of my friend, Sheriff Edward Cook. The next day we took them out, and tying each one on a mule we struck out on our return trip to Fort Lyon.


At the hotel outside the city, where we had stopped on Thursday and Friday, we were joined by our man with the pack-mule. That night we camped on Cherry creek, seventeen miles from Denver. The weather—it being in April—was cold and stormy, but we found a warm and cosy camping place in a bend of the creek. We made our beds in a row, with our feet towards the fire. The prisoners so far had appeared very docile, and had made no attempt to escape, and therefore I did not think it necessary to hobble them. We made them sleep on the inside, and it was so arranged that some one of us should be on guard all the time.

At about one o'clock in the night it began snowing, while I was watching. Shortly before three o'clock, Jack Farley, who was then on guard, and sitting on the foot of the bed, with his back to the prisoners, was kicked clear into the fire by Williams, and the next moment Bevins, who had got hold of his shoes—   which I had thought were out of his reach—sprang up and jumped over the fire, and started on a run. I sent a shot after him as soon as I awoke sufficiently to comprehend what was taking place. Williams attempted to follow him, and as he did so I whirled around and knocked him down with my revolver. Farley by this time had gathered himself out of the fire, and Green had started after Bevins, firing at him on the run; but the prisoner made his escape into the brush. In his flight, unfortunately for him, and luckily for us, he dropped one of his shoes.

Leaving Williams in the charge of Farley and "Long Doc," as we called the man with the pack-mule, Green and myself struck out after Bevins as fast as possible. We heard him breaking through the brush, but knowing that it would be useless to follow him on foot, we went back to the camp and saddled up two of the fastest horses, and at daylight we struck out on his trail, which was plainly visible in the snow. He had got an hour and a half the start of us. His tracks led us in the direction of the mountains and the South Platte river, and, as the country through which he was passing was covered with prickly pears, we knew that he could not escape stepping on them with his one bare foot, and hence we were likely to overtake him in a short time. We could see, however, from the long jumps that he was taking that he was making excellent time, but we frequently noticed, after we had gone some distance, that the prickly pears and stones along his route were cutting his bare foot, as nearly every track of it was spotted with blood.


We had run our horses some twelve miles when we saw Bevins crossing a ridge about two miles ahead. Urging our horses up to their utmost speed, we reached the ridge just as he was descending the divide towards the South Platte, which stream was very deep and swift at this point. It became evident that if he should cross it ahead of us, he would have a good chance of making his escape. So pushing our steeds as fast as possible, we rapidly gained on him, and when within a hundred yards of him I   cried to him to halt or I would shoot. Knowing I was a good shot, he stopped, and coolly sitting down waited till we came up.



"Bevins, you're given us a good run," said I.

"Yes," said he, "and if I had had fifteen minutes more of a   start, and got across the Platte, I would have laughed at the idea of your ever catching me."

Bevins' run was the most remarkable feat of the kind ever known, either of a white man, or an Indian. A man who could run bare-footed in the snow eighteen miles through a prickly pear patch, was certainly a "tough one," and that's the kind of a person Bill Bevins was. Upon looking at his bleeding foot I really felt sorry for him. He asked me for my knife, and I gave him my sharp-pointed bowie, with which he dug the prickly pear briars out of his foot. I considered him as "game" a man as I had ever met.

"Bevins, I have got to take you back," said I, "but as you can't walk with that foot, you can ride my horse and I'll foot it."

We accordingly started back for our camp, with Bevins on my horse, which was led either by Green or myself, as we alternately rode the other horse. We kept a close watch on Bevins, for we had ample proof that he needed watching. His wounded foot must have pained him terribly but not a word of complaint escaped him. On arriving at the camp we found Williams bound as we had left him and he seemed sorry that we had captured Bevins.


After breakfasting we resumed our journey, and nothing worthy of note again occurred until we reached the Arkansas river, where we found a vacant cabin and at once took possession of it for the night. There was no likelihood of Bevins again trying to escape, for his foot had swollen to an enormous size and was useless. Believing that Williams could not escape from the cabin, we unbound him. We then went to sleep, leaving Long Doc on guard, the cabin being comfortably warmed and well lighted by the fire. It was a dark, stormy night—so dark that you could hardly see your hand before you. At about ten o'clock Williams asked Long Doc to allow him to step to the door for a moment.

Long Doc, who had his revolver in his hand, did not think it necessary to wake us up, and believing that he could take care of   the prisoner, he granted his request. Williams thereupon walked to the outer edge of the door, while Long Doc, revolver in hand, was watching him from the inside. Suddenly Williams made a spring to the right, and before Doc could even raise his revolver, he had dodged around the house. Doc jumped after him, and fired just as he turned a corner, the report bringing us all to our [drawing] ROBBING A STAGE COACH. feet, and in an instant we knew what had happened. I at once covered Bevins with my revolver, but as I saw that he could hardly stir, and was making no demonstration, I lowered the weapon. Just then Doc came in swearing "a blue streak," and announced that Williams had escaped. There was nothing for us to do except to gather our horses close to the cabin and stand guard over them for the rest of the night, to prevent the possibility of Williams sneaking up and stealing one of them. That was the last I ever saw or heard of Williams.



We finally got back to Fort Lyon with Bevins, and General Carr, to whom I immediately reported, complimented us highly on the success of our trip, notwithstanding we had lost one prisoner. The next day we took Bevins to Boggs' ranch on Picket Wire creek, and there turned him over to the civil authorities, who put him in a log jail to await his trial. He was never tried, however, for he soon made his escape, as I expected he would. I heard no more of him until 1872, when I learned that he was skirmishing around on Laramie plains at his old tricks. He sent word by the gentleman from whom I gained this information, that if he ever met me again he would kill me on sight. He was finally arrested and convicted for robbery, and was confined in the prison at Laramie City. Again he made his escape, and soon afterwards he organized a desperate gang of outlaws who infested the country north of the Union Pacific railroad, and when the stages began to run between Cheyenne and Deadwood, in the Black Hills, they robbed the coaches and paasengers, frequently making large hauls of plunder. They kept this up for some time, till finally most of the gang were caught, tried, convicted and sent to the penitentiary for a number of years. Bill Bevins and nearly all of his gang are now confined in the Nebraska State prison, to which they were transferred from Wyoming.




A DAY or two after my return to Fort Lyon, the Fifth Cavalry were ordered to the Department of the Platte, and took up their line of march for Fort McPherson, Nebraska. We laid over one day at Fort Wallace, to get supplies, and while there I had occasion to pass General Bankhead's headquarters. His orderly called to me and said the General wished to see me. As I entered the General's office he extended his hand and said: "I hope you have no hard feelings toward me, Cody, for having you arrested when you were here. I have just had a talk with General Carr and Quartermaster Hays and they informed me that you had their permission to ride the horse and mule, and if you had stated this fact to me there would have been no trouble about the matter whatever."

"That is all right, General," said I; "I will think no more of it. But I don't believe that your quartermaster's agent will ever again circulate false stories about me."

"No," said the General; "he has not yet recovered from the beating that you gave him."

From Fort Wallace we moved down to Sheridan, where the command halted for us to lay in a supply of forage which was stored there. I was still messing with Major Brown, with whom I went into the village to purchase a supply of provisions for our mess; but unfortunately we were in too jolly a mood to fool away money on "grub." We bought several articles, however, and put them into the ambulance and sent them back to the camp with our cook. The Major and myself did not return until reveille next morning. Soon afterwards the General sounded   "boots and saddles," and presently the regiment was on its way to McPherson.

It was very late before we went into camp that night and we were tired and hungry. Just as Major Brown was having his tent put up his cook came to us and asked where the provisions were that we had bought the day before.

"Why, did we not give them to you—did you not bring them to camp in the ambulance?" asked Major Brown.

"No, sir; it was only a five-gallon demijohn of whisky, a five-gallon demijohn of brandy, and two cases of Old Tom-Cat gin," said the cook.

"The mischief!" I exclaimed; "didn't we spend any money on grub at all?"

"No, sir," replied the cook.

"Well, that will do for the present," said Major Brown.

It seems that our minds had evidently been running on a different subject than provisions while we were loitering in Sheridan, and we found ourselves, with a two hundred and fifty mile march ahead of ua, without anything more inviting than ordinary army rations.

At this juncture Captain Denny came up and the Major apologized for not being able to invite him to take supper with us; but we did the next best thing, and asked him to take a drink. He remarked that that was what he was looking for, and when he learned of our being out of commissary supplies and that we had bought nothing except whisky, brandy and gin, he said, joyously:—

"Boys, as we have an abundance, you can eat with us and we will drink with you."

It was a satisfactory arrangement, and from that time forward we traded our liquids for their solids. When the rest of the officers heard of what Brown and I had done they all sent us invitations to dine with them at any time. We returned the compliment by inviting them to drink with us whenever they were dry. Although I would not advise anybody to follow our example, yet it is a fact that we got more provisions for our whisky   than the same money, which we paid for the liquor, would have bought, so after all it proved a very profitable investment.


On reaching north fork of the Beaver and riding down the valley towards the stream, I suddenly discovered a large fresh Indian trail. On examination I found it to be scattered all over the valley on both sides of the creek, as if a very large village had recently passed down that way. Judging from the size of the trail, I thought there could not be less than four hundred lodges, or between twenty-five hundred and three thousand warriors, women and children in the band. I galloped back to the command, distant about three miles, and reported the news to General Carr, who halted the regiment, and, after consulting a few minutes, ordered me to select a ravine, or as low ground as possible, so that he could keep the troops out of sight until we could strike the creek.

We went into camp on the Beaver, and the General ordered Lieutenant Ward to take twelve men and myself and follow up the trail for several miles, and find out how fast the Indians were traveling. I was soon convinced, by the many camps they had made, that they were traveling slowly, and hunting as they journeyed. We went down the Beaver on this scout about twelve miles, keeping our horses well concealed under the banks of the creek, so as not to be discovered.

At this point, Lieutenant Ward and myself, leaving our horses behind us, crawled to the top of a high knoll, where we could have a good view for some miles distant down the stream. We peeped over the summit of the bill, and not over three miles away we could see a whole Indian village in plain sight, and thousands of ponies grazing around on the prairie. Looking over to our left on the opposite side of the creek, we observed two or three parties of Indians coming in, loaded down with buffalo meat.

"This is no place for us, Lieutenant," said I; "I think we have important business at the camp to attend to as soon as possible."


"I agree with you," said he, "and the quicker we get there the better it will be for us."

We quickly descended the hill and joined the men below. Lieutenant Ward hurriedly wrote a note to General Carr, and handing it to a corporal, ordered him to make all possible haste back to the command and deliver the message. The man started off on a gallop, and Lieutenant Ward said: "We will march slowly back until we meet the troops, as I think the General will soon be here, for he will start immediately upon receiving my note."


In a few minutes we heard two or three shots in the direction in which our dispatch courier had gone, and soon after we saw him come running around the bend of the creek, pursued by four or five Indians. The Lieutenant, with his squad of soldiers and myself, at once charged upon them, when they turned and ran across the stream.

"This will not do," said Lieutenant Ward, "the whole Indian village will now know that soldiers are near by.

"Lieutenant, give me that note, and I will take it to the General," said I.

He gladly handed me the dispatch, and spurring my horse I dashed up the creek. After having ridden a short distance, I observed another party of Indians also going to the village with meat; but instead of waiting for them to fire upon me, I gave them a shot at long range. Seeing one man firing at them so boldly, it surprised them, and they did not know what to make of it. While they were thus considering, I got between them and our camp. By this time they had recovered from their surprise, and, cutting their buffalo meat loose from their horses, they came after me at the top of their speed; but as their steeds were tired out, it did not take me long to leave them far in the rear.

I reached the command in less than an hour, delivered the dispatch to General Carr, and informed him of what I had seen. He instantly had the bugler sound "boots and saddles," and all the troops—with the exception of two companies which   [drawing] ATTACK ON A COURIER.   we left to guard the train—were soon galloping in the direction of the Indian camp.


We had ridden about three miles when we met Lieutenant Ward, who was coming slowly towards us. He reported that he had run into a party of Indian buffalo hunters, and had killed one of the number, and had had one of his horses wounded. We immediately pushed forward and after marching about five miles came within sight of hundreds of mounted Indians advancing up the creek to meet us. They formed a complete line in front of us. General Carr, being desirous of striking their village, ordered the troops to charge, break through their line, and keep straight on. This movement would, no doubt, have been successfully accomplished had it not been for the rattlebrained and dare-devil French Lieutenant Schinosky, commanding Company B, who, misunderstanding General Carr's orders, charged upon some Indians at the left, while the rest of the command dashed through the enemy's line, and was keeping straight on, when it was observed that Schinosky and his company were surrounded by four or five hundred red-skins. The General, to save the company, was obliged to sound a halt and charge back to the rescue. The company, during this short fight, had several men and quite a number of horses killed.

All this took up valuable time, and night was coming on. The Indians were fighting desperately to keep us from reaching their village, which being informed by couriers of what was taking place, was packing up and getting away. During that afternoon it was all we could do to hold our own in fighting the mounted warriors, who were in our front and contesting every inch of the ground. The General had left word for our wagon train to follow up with its escort of two companies, but as it had not made its appearance he entertained some fears that it had been surrounded, and to prevent the possible loss of the supply train we had to go back and look for it. About 9 o'clock that evening we found it, and went into camp for the night.




Early the next day we broke camp and passed down the creek but there was not an Indian to be seen. They had all disappeared and gone on with their village. Two miles further we came to where a village had been located, and here we found nearly everything belonging or pertaining to an Indian camp, which had been left in the great hurry to get away. These articles were all gathered up and burned. We then pushed out on the trail as fast as possible. It led us to the northeast towards the Republican; but as the Indians had a night the start of us we entertained but little hope of overtaking them that day. Upon reaching the Republican in the afternoon the General called a halt, and as the trail was running more to the east, he concluded to send his wagon train on to Fort McPherson by the most direct route, while he would follow on the trail of the red-skins.

Next morning at daylight we again pulled out and were evidently gaining rapidly on the Indians for we could occasionally see them in the distance. About 11 o'clock that day while Major Babcock was ahead of the main command with his company, and while we were crossing a deep ravine, we were surprised by about three hundred warriors who commenced a lively fire upon us. Galloping out of the ravine on to the rough prairie the men dismounted and returned the fire. We soon succeeded in driving the enemy before us, and were so close upon them at one time that they abandoned and threw away nearly all their lodges and camp equipages, and everything that had any considerable weight. They left behind them their played-out horses, and for miles we could see Indian furniture strewn along in every direction. The trail became divided, and the Indians scattered in small bodies, all over the prairie. As night was approaching and our horses were about giving out, a halt was called. A company was detailed to collect all the Indian horses running loose over the country, and to burn the other Indian property.

The command being nearly out of rations I was sent to the nearest point, Old Fort Kearney, about sixty miles distant for supplies.





Shortly after we reached Fort McPherson, which continued to be the headquarters of the Fifth Cavalry for some time, we fitted out for a new expedition to the Republican river country, and were re-enforced by three companies of the celebrated Pawnee Indian scouts, commanded by Major Frank North: his officers being Captain Lute North, brother of the Major, Captain Cushing, his brother-in-law, Captain Morse, and Lieutenants Beecher, Matthews and Kislandberry. General Carr recommended at this time to General Augur, who was in command of the Department, that I be made chief of scouts in the Department of the Platte, and informed me that in this position I would receive higher wages than I had been getting in the Department of the Missouri. This appointment I had not asked for.

I made the acquaintance of Major Frank North and I found him and his officers perfect gentlemen, and we were all good friends from the very start. The Pawnee scouts had made quite a reputation for themselves as they had performed brave and valuable services in fighting against the Sioux, whose bitter enemies they were; being thoroughly acquainted with the Republican and Beaver country, I was glad that they were to be with the expedition, and my expectation of the aid they would render was not disappointed.

During our stay at Fort McPherson I made the acquaintance of Lieutenant George P. Belden, known as the "White Chief," whose life was written by Colonel Brisbin, U. S. army. I found him to be an intelligent, dashing fellow, a splendid rider and an excellent shot. An hour after our introduction he challenged me for a rifle match, the preliminaries of which were soon arranged. We were to shoot ten shots each for fifty dollars, at two hundred yards, off hand. Belden was to use a Henry rifle, while I was to shoot my old "Lucretia." This match I won and then Belden proposed to shoot a one hundred yard match, as I was shooting over his distance. In this match Belden was victorious. We were now even, and we stopped right there.



While we were at this post General Augur and several of his officers, and also Thomas Duncan, Brevet Brigadier and Lieutenant-Colonel of the Fifth Cavalry, paid us a visit for the purpose of reviewing the command. The regiment turned out in fine style and showed themselves to be well drilled soldiers, thoroughly understanding military tactics. The Pawnee scouts were also reviewed and it was very amusing to see them in their full regulation uniform. They had been furnished a regular cavalry uniform and on this parade some of them had their heavy overcoats on, others their large black hats, with all the brass accoutrements attached; some of them were minus pantaloons and only wore a breech-clout. Others wore regulation pantaloons but no shirts and were bare headed; others againhad the seat of the pantaloons cut out, leaving only leggins; some of them wore brass spurs, though without boots or moccasins; but for all this they seemed to understand the drill remarkably well for Indians. The commands, of course, were given to them in their own language by Major North, who could talk it as well as any full-blooded Pawnee. The Indians were well mounted and felt proud and elated because they had been made United States soldiers. Major North had for years complete power over these Indians and could do more with them than any man living. That evening after the parade was over the officers and quite a number of ladies visited a grand Indian dance given by the Pawnees, and of all the Indians I have seen their dances excel those of any other tribe.


Next day the command started; when encamped, several days after, on the Republican river near the mouth of the Beaver, we heard the whoops of Indians, followed by shots in the vicinity of the mule herd, which had been taken down to water. One of the herders came dashing into camp with an arrow sticking into him. My horse was close at hand, and, mounting him bare-back, I at once dashed off after the mule herd, which had been   stampeded. I supposed certainly that I would be the first man on the ground, but I was mistaken, however, for the Pawnee Indians, unlike regular soldiers, had not waited to receive orders from their officers, but had jumped on their ponies without bridles or saddles, and placing ropes in their mouths, had dashed off in the direction whence the shots had come, and had got there ahead of me. It proved to be a party of about fifty Sioux, who had endeavored to stampede our mules, and it took them by surprise to see their inveterate enemies—the Pawnees—coming at full gallop towards them. They were not aware that the Pawnees were with the command, and as they knew that it would take regular soldiers some time to turn out, they thought they would have ample opportunity to secure the herd before the troops could give chase.

We had a running fight of fifteen miles and several of the enemy were killed. During this chase I was mounted on an excellent horse, which Colonel Royal had picked out for me, and for the first mile or two I was in advance of the Pawnees. Presently a Pawnee shot by me like an arrow and I could not help admiring the horse that he was riding. Seeing that he possessed rare running qualities, I determined if possible to get possession of the animal in some way. It was a large buckskin or yellow horse, and I took a careful view of him so that I would know him when I returned to camp.

After the chase was over I rode up to Major North and inquired about the buckskin horse.

"Oh, yes," said the Major, "that is one of our favorite steeds."

"What chance is there to trade for him?" I asked.

"It is a government horse," said he, "and the Indian who is riding him is very much attached to the animal."

"I have fallen in love with the horse myself," said I, "and I would like to know if you have any objections to my trading for him if I can arrange it satisfactorily with the Indian?"

He replied: "None whatever, and I will help you to do it; you can give the Indian another horse in his place."


A few days after this, I persuaded the Indian, by making him several presents, to trade horses with me, and in this way I became the owner of the buckskin steed, not as my own property, however, but as a government horse that I could ride. I gave him the name of "Buckskin Joe" and he proved to be a second Brigham. That horse I rode on and off during the summers of 1869, 1870, 1871 and 1872, and he was the horse that the Grand Duke Alexis rode on his buffalo hunt. In the winter of 1872, [drawing] ATTACK ON THE CABIN. after I had left Fort McPherson, Buckskin Joe was condemned and sold at public sale, and was bought by Dave Perry, at North Platte, who in 1877 presented him to me, and I owned him until his death in 1879.

The command scouted several days up the Beaver and Prairie Dog rivers, occasionally having running fights with way parties of Indians, but did not succeed in getting them into a general battle. At the end of twenty days we found ourselves back on the Republican.



Hitherto the Pawnees had not taken much interest in me, but while at this camp I gained their respect and admiration by showing them how I killed buffaloes. Although the Pawnees were excellent buffalo killers, for Indians, I have never seen one of them who could kill more than four or five in one run. A number of them generally surround the herd and then dash in upon them, and in this way each one kills from one to four buffaloes. I had gone out in company with Major North and some of the officers, and saw them make a "surround." Twenty of the Pawnees circled a herd and succeeded in killing only thirty-two.

While they were cutting up the animals another herd appeared in sight. The Indians were preparing to surround it, when I asked Major North to keep them back and let me show them what I could do. He accordingly informed the Indians of my wish and they readily consented to let me have the opportunity. I had learned that Buckskin Joe was an excellent buffalo horse, and felt confident that I would astonish the natives; galloping in among the buffaloes, I certainly did so by killing thirty-six in less than a half-mile run. At nearly every shot I killed a buffalo, stringing the dead animals out on the prairie, not over fifiy feet apart. This manner of killing was greatly admired by the Indians who called me a big chief, and from that time on I stood high in their estimation.




ON leaving camp, the commaad took a westward course up the Republican, and Major North with two companies of his Pawnees and two or three companies of cavalry, under the command of Colonel Royal, made a scout to the north of the river. Shortly after we had gone into camp, the Black Tail Deer fork, we observed a band of Indians coming over the prairie at full gallop, singing and yelling and waving their lances and long pokes. At first we supposed them to be Sioux, and all was excitement for a few moments. We noticed, however, that our Pawnee Indians made no hostile demonstrations or preparations toward going out to fight them, but began swinging and yelling themselves. Captain Lute North stepped up to General Carr and said: "General, those are our men who are coming, and they have had a fight. That is the way they act when they come back from a battle and have taken any scalps."

The Pawnees came into camp on the run. Captain North calling to one of them—a sergeant—soon found out that they had run across a party of Sioux who were following a large Indian trail. These Indians had evidently been in a fight, for two or three of them had been wounded and they were conveying the injured persons on travoix. The Pawnees had "jumped" them and had killed three or four after a sharp fight, in which much ammunition was expended.

Next morning the command, at an early hour, started out to take up this Indian trail which they followed for two days as rapidly as possible; it becoming evident from the many camp-fires which we passed that we were gaining on the Indians.   Wherever they had encamped we found the print of a woman's shoe, and we concluded that they had with them some white captive. This made us all the more anxious to overtake them, and General Carr accordingly selected all his best horses, which could stand a hard run, and gave orders for the wagon train to follow as fast as possible, while he pushed ahead on a forced march. At the same time I was ordered to pick out five or six of the best Pawnees, and go on in advance of the command, keeping ten or twelve miles ahead on the trail, so that when we overtook the Indians we could find out the location of their camp, and send word to the troops before they came in sight, thus affording ample time to arrange a plan for the capture of the village.

After having gone about ten miles in advance of the regiment, we began to move very cautiously, as we were now evidently nearing the Indians. We looked carefully over the summits of the hills before exposing ourselves to plain [drawing] GEN. E. A. CARR. view, and at last we discovered the village, encamped in the sand-hills south of the South Platte river at Summit Springs. Here I left the Pawnee scouts to keep watch, while I went back and informed General Carr that the Indians were in sight.

The General at once ordered his men to tighten their saddles and otherwise prepare for action. Soon all was excitement among the officers and soldiers, every one being anxious to charge the village. I now changed my horse for old Buckskin Joe, who had been led for me thus far, and was comparatively fresh. Acting on my suggestion, the General made a circuit to the north, believing that if the Indians had their scouts out, they would   naturally be watching in the direction whence they had come. When we had passed the Indians and were between them and the Platte river, we turned toward the left and started toward the village.

By this manœuver we had avoided discovery by the Sioux scouts, and we were confident of giving them a complete surprise. Keeping the command wholly out of sight, until we were within a mile of the Indians, the General halted the advance guard until all closed up, and then issued an order that, when he sounded the charge, the whole command was to rush into the village.


As we halted on the top of the hill overlooking the camp of the unsuspecting Indians, General Carr called out to his bugler: "Sound the charge!" The bugler for a moment became intensely excited, and actually forgot the notes. The General again sang out: "Sound the charge!" and yet the bugler was unable to obey the command, Quartermaster Hays—who had obtained permission to accompany the expedition—was riding near the General, and comprehending the dilemma of the man, rushed up to him, jerked the bugle from his hands and sounded the charge himself in clear and distinct notes. As the troops rushed forward, he threw the bugle away, then drawing his pistols, was among the first men that entered the village.

The Indians had just driven up their horses and were preparing to make a move of the camp, when they saw the soldiers coming down upon them. A great many of them succeeded in jumping upon their ponies, and leaving everything behind them, advanced out of the village and prepared to meet the charge; but upon second thought they quickly concluded that it was useless to try to check us, and those who were mounted rapidly rode away, while the others on foot fled for safety to the neighboring hills. We went through their village, shooting right and left at everything we saw. The Pawnees, the regular soldiers and officers were all mixed up together, and the Sioux were flying in every direction.




The pursuit continued until darkness made it impossible to longer follow the Indians, who had scattered and were leading off in every direction like a brood of young quails. The expedition went into camp along the South Platte, much exhausted by so long a chase, and though very tired, every trooper seemed anxious for the morrow.

It was nearly sunrise when "boots and saddles" was sounded, breakfast having been disposed of at break of day. The command started in a most seasonable time, but finding that the trail was all broken up, it was deemed advisable to separate into companies, each to follow a different trail.

The company which I headed struck out toward the Northwest over a route indicating the march of about one hundred Indians, and followed this for nearly two days. At a short bend of the Platte a new trail was discovered leading into the one the company was following, and at this point it was evident that a junction had been made. Further along evidences of a reunion of the entire village increased, and now it began to appear that farther pursuit would be somewhat hazardous, owing to the largely increased force of Indians. But there were plenty of brave men in the company and nearly all were anxious to meet the Indians, however great their numbers might be. This anxiety was appeased on the third day, when a party of about six hundred Sioux was discovered riding in close ranks near the Platte. The discovery was mutual and there was immediate preparation for battle on both sides. Owing to the overwhelming force of the Indians, extreme caution became necessary, and instead of advancing boldly the soldiers sought advantageous ground. Seeing this, the Indians became convinced that there had been a division in Gen. Carr's command and that the company before them was a fragmentary part of the expedition; they therefore assumed the aggressive, charging us until we were compelled to retire to a ravine and act on the defensive. The attack was made with such caution that the soldiers fell back without undue haste, and had ample opportunity to secure their horses in the natural pit, which was a ravine that during wet seasons formed a branch of the Platte.



After circling about the soldiers with the view of measuring their full strength, the Indians, comprehending how small was the number, made a desperate charge from two sides, getting so near us that several of the soldiers were badly wounded by arrows. But the Indians were received with such withering fire that they fell back in confusion, leaving twenty of their warriors on the ground. Another charge resulted like the first, with heavy loss to the red-skins, which so discouraged them that they drew off and held a long council. After discussing the situation among themselves for more than an hour they separated, one body making off as though they intended to leave, but I understood their motions too well to allow the soldiers to be deceived.

The Indians that remained again began to ride in a circle around us, but maintained a safe distance, out of rifle range. Seeing an especially well mounted Indian riding at the head of a squad, passing around in the same circle more than a dozen times, I decided to take my chances for dismounting the chief (as he proved to be) and to accomplish this purpose I crawled on my hands and knees three hundred yards up the ravine, stopping at a point which I considered would be in range of the Indian when he should again make the circuit. My judgment proved correct, for soon the Indian was seen loping his pony through the grass, and as he slackened speed to cross the ravine, I rose up and fired, the aim being so well taken that the chief tumbled to the ground while his horse, after running a few hundred yards, approached the soldiers, one of whom ran out and caught hold of the long lariat attached to the bridle, and thus secured the animal. When I returned to the company, all of whom had witnessed my feat of killing an Indian at a range of fully four hundred yards, by general consent the horse of my victim was given to me.

This Indian whom I killed proved to be Tall Bull, one of the most cunning and able chiefs the Sioux ever had, and his death so affected the Indians that they at once retreated without further attempt to dislodge us.


Some days after this occurrence Gen. Carr's command was brought together again, and had an engagement with the Sioux, in which more than three hundred warriors and a large number of ponies were captured, together with several hundred squaws, among the latter being Tall Bull's widow, who told with pathetic interest [drawing] THE KILLING OF CHIEF TALL BULL. how the Prairie Chief [*] had killed her husband. But instead of being moved with hatred against me, as most civilized women would have been under like circumstances, she regarded me with special favor, and esteemed it quite an honor that her husband, a great warrior himself, should have met his death at my hands.



The expedition having succeeded in thoroughly dispersing and punishing the Sionx, Gen. Carr went into barracks at Fort Sedgwick, but we had not remained long in quarters before reports of fresh outbreaks reached us and we had therefore to remain in constant expectation of orders for moving.

One day, while we were lying at Fort Sedgwick, General Carr received a telegram from Fort McPherson stating that the Indians had made a dash on the Union Pacific railroad, derailing a freight train, from which they captured several bolts of calico and other dry goods, and had killed several section-men, besides running off some stock near O'Fallon's station; also that an expedition was going out from Fort McPherson to catch and punish the red-skins if possible. The General ordered me to accompany the expedition, and accordingly that night I proceeded by rail to McPherson station, and from thence rode on horseback to the fort. Two companies, under command of Major Brown, had been ordered out, and next morning, just as we were about to start, Major Brown said to me:

"By the way, Cody, we are going to have quite an important character with us as a guest on this scout. It's old Ned Buntline, the novelist."

Just then I noticed a gentleman, who was rather stoutly built, and who wore a blue military coat, on the left breast of which were pinned about twenty gold medals and badges of secret societies. He walked a little lame as he approached us, and I at once concluded that he was Ned Buntline.

"He has a good mark to shoot at on the left breast," said I to Major Brown, "but he looks like a soldier." As he came up, Major Brown said:

"Cody, allow me to introduce you to Colonel E. B. C. Judson, otherwise known as Ned Buntline."

"Colonel Judson, I am glad to meet you," said I; "the Major tells me that you are to accompany us on the scout."

"Yes my boy, so I am," said he: "I was to deliver a   [drawing] RIOTING WITH SPOILS TAKEN FROM A FREIGHT TRAIN.   temperance lecture to-night, but no lectures for me when there is a prospect for a fight. The Major has kindly offered me a horse, but I don't know how I'll stand the ride, for I haven't done any riding lately; but when I was a young man I spent several years among the fur companies of the Northwest, and was a good rider and an excellent shot."

"The Major has given you a fine horse, and you'll soon find yourself at home in the saddle," said I.

The command soon pulled out for the South Platte river, which was very wide and high, owing to recent mountain rains, and in crossing it we had to swim our horses in some places. [drawing] THE LAST OF THE BUFFALOES—GATHERING THE BONES. Buntline was the first man across. We reached O'Fallon's at eleven o'clock, and in a short time I succeeded in finding the Indian trail; the party seemed to be a small one, which had come up from the south. We followed their track to the North Platte, but as they had a start of two days, Major Brown abandoned the pursuit, and returned to Fort McPherson, while I went back to Fort Sedgwick, aeoompanied by Buntline.

During this short scout, Buntline had asked me a great many questions, and he was determined to go out on the next expedition with me, providing he could obtain permission from the   commanding officer. I introduced him to the officers—excepting those he already knew—and invited him to become my guest while he remained at the post, and gave him my pony Powder Face to ride.


By this time I had learned that my horse Tall Bull was a remarkably fast runner, and therefore when Lieutenant Mason, who was quite a sport and owned a racer, challenged me to a race, I immediately accepted it. We were to run our horses a single dash of half a mile for one hundred dollars a side. Several of the officers, and also Reub. Wood, the post-trader, bantered me for side bets, and I took them all until I had put up my last cent on Tall Bull.

The ground was measured off, the judges were selected, and all other preliminaries were arranged. We rode our horses ourselves, and coming up to the score nicely we let them go. I saw from the start that it would be mere play to beat the Lieutenant's horse, and therefore I held Tall Bull in check, so that none could see how fast he really could run. I easily won the race, and pocketed a snug little sum of money. Of course everybody was now talking horse. Major North remarked that if Tall Bull could beat the Pawnees' fast horse, I could break his whole command.

The next day the troops were paid off, the Pawnees with the rest, and for two or three days they did nothing but run horse-races, as all the recently captured horses had to be tested to find out the swiftest among them. Finally the Pawnees wanted to run their favorite horse against Tall Bull, and I accordingly arranged a race with them. They raised three hundred dollars and bet it on their horse, while of course I backed Tall Bull with an equal amount, and in addition took numerous side bets. The race was a single dash of a mile, and Tall Bull won it without any difficulty. I was ahead on this race about seven hundred dollars, and the horse was fast getting a reputation. Heretofore nobody would bet on him, but now he had plenty of backers.



I also made a run for my pony Powder Face against a fast pony belonging to Captain Lute North. I selected a small boy living at the post to ride Powder Face, while an Indian boy was to ride the other pony. The Pawnees as usual wanted to bet on their pony, but as I had not fully ascertained the running qualities of Powder Face, I did not care about risking very much money on him. Had I known him as well then as I did afterwards I would have backed him for every dollar I had, for he proved to be one of the swiftest ponies I ever saw, and had evidently been kept as a racer.

The race was to be four hundred yards, and when I led the pony over the track he seemed to understand what he was there for. North and I finally put the riders on, and it was all I could do to hold the fiery little animal after the boy became seated on his back. He jumped around and made such quick movements, that the boy was not at all confident of being able to stay on him. The order to start was at last given by the judges, and as I brought Powder Face up to the score and the word "go" was given, he jumped away so quickly that he left his rider sitting on the ground; notwithstanding, he ran through and won the race without him. It was an easy victory, and after that I could get up no more races. Thus passed the time while we were at Fort Sedgwick.

General Carr having obtained a leave of absence. Colonel Royal was given the command of an expedition that was ordered to go out after the Indians, and in a few days—after having rested a couple of weeks—we set out for the Republican, having learned that there were plenty of Indians in that section of the country. At Frenchman's fork we discovered an Indian village, but did not surprise it, for its people had noticed us approaching, and were retreating when we reached their camping place. We chased them down the stream, and they finally turned to the left, went north and crossed the South Platte river five miles above Ogalalla. We pushed rapidly after them, following them   across the North Platte and on through the sand hills towards the Niobrara, but as they were making much better time than we, the pursuit was abandoned.


While we were in the sand hills, scouting the Niobrara country, the Pawnee Indians brought into camp, one night, come very large bones, one of which a surgeon of the expedition pronounced to be the thigh bone of a human being. The Indians claimed that the bones they had found were those of a person belonging to a race of people who a long time ago lived in this country: That there was once a race of men on the earth whose size was about three times that of an ordinary man, and they were so swift and powerful that they could run alongside of a buffalo, and taking the animal in one arm could tear off a leg and eat the meat as they walked. These giants denied the existence of a Great Spirit, and when they heard the thunder or saw the lightning they laughed at it and said they were greater than either. This so displeased the Great Spirit that he caused a great rain storm to come, and the water kept rising higher and higher so that it drove those proud and conceited giants from the low grounds to the hills, and thence to the mountains, but at last even the mountain tops were submerged, and then those mammoth men were all drowned. After the flood had subsided, the Great Spirit came to the conclusion that he had made man too large and powerful, and that he would therefore correct the mistake by creating a race of men of smaller size and less strength. This is the reason, say the Indians, that modern men are small and not like the giants of old, and they claim that this story is a matter of Indian history, which has been handed down among them from time immemorial.

As we had no wagons with us at the time this large and heavy bone was found, we were obliged to leave it.




REMAINING at Fort Sedgwick during the winter, early in the following spring I returned Fort McPherson under orders to report to Major-General Emory, of the Fifth Cavalry, who had been appointed commandant of the district of the Republican, with headquarters at that post.

As the command had been continually in the field, it was generally thought that we were to have a long rest; and it looked as if this post was to be my home and headquarters for some time to come. I accordingly sent to St. Louis for my wife and daughter to join me there. GeneralEmory promised to build a house for me, but before the building was completed my family arrived.

During the fall of 1869 there were two or three scouting expeditions sent out; but nothing of very great importance was accomplished by them. I found Fort McPherson to be a lively and pleasant post to be stationed at, especially as there was plenty of game in the vicinity, and within a day's ride there were large herds of deer, antelope and elk.

During the winter of 1869-70 I spent a great deal of time in pursuit of game, and during the season we had two hunting parties of Englishmen there; one party being that of Mr. Flynn, and the other that of George Boyd Houghton, of London—the well-known caricaturist. Among the amusements which I arranged for the party's entertainment were several horse races, in which, however, Tall Bull and Powder Face were invariably the winners, much to my profit. Tall Bull by this time had such a reputation as a running horse, that it was difficult to make a   race for him. I therefore had recourse to a novel proposition in order to run him against a horse in Captain Spaulding's company of the Second Cavalry.

This race was an interesting affair. I made a bet that Tall Bull would beat the Second Cavalry horse around a one mile track, and that during the time he was running, I would jump off and on the horse eight times. I rode the horse bareback, seized his mane with my left hand, rested my right on his withers, and [drawing] ANTELOPE CHASING. while he was going at full speed, I jumped to the ground, and sprang again upon his back, eight times in succession. Such feats I had seen performed in the circus and I had practiced considerably at it with Tall Bull, so that I was certain of winning the race in the manner agreed upon.


Early one morning, in the spring of 1870, the Indians, who had approached during the night, stole some tweaty-one head   of horses from Mr. John Burke—a government contractor—Ben Gallagher and Jack Waite. They also ran off some horses from the post, among the number being my pony Powder Face. The commandant at once ordered out Lieutenant Thomas with Company I of the Fifth Cavalry, and directed me to accompany them as trailer. We discovered the trail after some little difficulty, as the Indians were continually trying to hide it, and followed it sixty miles, when darkness set in.

We were now within about four miles of Red Willow creek and I felt confident the Indians would camp that night in that vicinity. Advising Lieutenant Thomas to halt his company and "lay low" I proceeded on to the creek, where moving around cautiously, I suddenly discovered horses feeding in a bend of the stream on the opposite side. I hurried back to the troops with the information, and Lieutenant Thomas moved his company to the bank of the creek, with the intention of remaining there until daylight, and then, if possible, surprise the Indians.

Just at break of day we mounted our horses, and after riding a short distance we ascended a slight elevation, when, not over one hundred yards distant, we looked down into the Indian camp. The Indians, preparing to make an early start, had driven up their horses and were in the act of mounting, when they saw us charging down upon them. In a moment they sprang upon their ponies and dashed away. Had it not been for the creek, which lay between us and them, we would have got them before they could have mounted their horses; but as it was rather miry, we were unexpectedly delayed. The Indians fired some shots at us while we were crossing, but as soon as we got over we went for them in hot pursuit. A few of the red-skins had not had time to mount and had started on foot down the creek towards the brush. One of these was killed.


A number of our soldiers, who had been detailed before the charge to gather up any of the Indian horses that might be stampeded, succeeded in capturing thirty-two. I hurriedly looked   [drawing] HALTING TO GET THE SCALP   over them to see if Powder Face was among them; but he was not there. Starting in pursuit of the fugitives I finally espied an Indian mounted on my favorite, dashing away and leading all the others. We continued the chase for two or three miles, overtaking a couple who were mounted on one horse. Coming up behind them I fired my rifle, when about thirty feet distant; the ball passed through the backs of both, and they fell headlong to the ground; but I made no stop however just then, for I had my eye on the gentleman who was riding Powder Face. It seemed to be fun for him to run away from us, and run away he did, for the last I saw of him was when he went over a divide, about three miles away. I bade him adieu. On my way back to the Indian camp I stopped and secured the war bonnets and accoutrements of the pair I had killed, and at the same time gently "raised their hair."

We were feeling rather tired and hungry, as we had started out on [drawing] A GORY TROPHY OF VICTORY. the trail thirty-six hours before without a breakfast or taking any food with us; but not a murmur or complaint was heard among the men. In the abandoned Indian camp, however, we found enough dried buffalo meat to give us all a meal, and after remaining there for two hours, to rest our animals, we started on our return to Fort McPherson, where we arrived at night, having traveled 130 miles in two days.

This being the first fight Lieutenant Thomas had ever commanded in, he felt highly elated over his success, and hoped that his name would be mentioned in the special orders for gallantry; sure enough, when we returned both he, myself and the whole command received complimentary mention in a special order. This he certainly deserved for he was a brave, energetic, dashing little officer. The war bonnets which I had captured I turned over to General Carr, with the request that he present them to   General Augur, whose daughters were visiting at the poat at the time.


Shortly after this, another expedition was organized at Fort McPherson for the Republican river country. It was commanded by General Duncan, who was a jolly, blustering old fellow, and the officers who knew him well said that we would have a good time, as he was very fond of hunting. He was a good fighter, and one of the officers said that an Indian bullet never could hurt him, as he had been shot in the head with a cannon ball which had not injured him in the least; another said the ball glanced off and killed one of the toughest mules in the army.

The Pawnee scouts, who had been mustered out of service during the winter of 1869 and '70 we reorganized to accompany this expedition. I was glad of this, as I had become quite attached to one of the officers. Major North, and to many of the Indians. The only white scout we had at the post, besides myself at that time, was John Y. Nelson, whose Indian name was Sha-Cha-Cha-Opoyeo, [*] which interpreted means Red-Willow-Fill-the-Pipe. This man is a character in his way; he has a Sioux squaw for a wife, and consequently a half-breed family.

We started out from the post with the regimental band playing the lively air of "The Girl I Left Behind Me." We made but a short march that day, and camped at night at the head of Fox creek. Next morning General Duncan sent me word by his orderly that I was to bring up my gun and shoot at a mark with him; but I can assure the reader that I did not feel much like shooting anything except myself, for on the night before I had returned to Fort McPherson and spent several hours in interviewing the sutler's store in company with Major Brown. I looked around for my gun and found that I had left it behind. The last I could remember about it was that I had it at the sutler's store. I informed Major Brown of my loss, who said that   I was a nice scout to start out without a gun. I replied that that was not the worst of it, as General Duncan had sent for me to shoot a match with him, and I did not know what to do; for if the old gentleman discovered my predicament, he would very likely severely reprimand me.

"Well, Cody," said he, "the best you can do is to make some excuse, and then go and borrow a gun from some of the men, and tell the General that you lent yours to some man to go hunting with to-day. While we are waiting here, I will send back to the post and get your rifle for you." I succeeded in obtaining a gun from John Nelson, and then marching up to the General's headquarters I shot the desired match with him, which resulted in his favor.

This was the first scout the Pawnees had been out on under command of General Duncan, and in stationing his guards around the camp he posted them in a manner entirely different from that of General Carr and Colonel Royal, as he insisted that the different posts should call out the hour of the night thus:


"Post No. 1, nine o'clock, all is well! Post No. 2, nine o'clock, all is well!" etc.

The Pawnees, who had their regular turns at standing upon guard, were ordered to call the hour the same as the white soldiers. This was very difficult for them to do, as there were but few of them who could express themselves in English. Major North explained to them that when the man on post next to them should call out the hour, they must call it also as nearly like him as possible. It was very amusing to hear them do this. They would try to remember what the other man had said on the post next to them. For instance, a white soldier would call out: "Post No. 1, half-past nine o'clock, all is well!" The Indian standing next to him knew that he was bound to say something in English, and he would sing out something like the following:

"Poss number half pass five cents—go to —! I don't care!"

This system was really so ridiculous and amusing that the   General had to give it up, and the order was accordingly countermanded.

Nothing of any great interest occurred on this march, until one day, while proceeding up Prairie Dog creek, [*] Major North and myself went out in advance of the command several miles and killed a number of buffaloes. Night was approaching, and I began to look around for a suitable camping ground for the command. Major North dismounted from his horse and was resting, while I rode down to the stream to see if there was plenty of grass in the vicinity. I found an excellent camping spot, and returning to Major North told him that I would ride over the hill a little way, so that the advance guard could see me. This I did, and when the advance came in sight I dismounted and laid down upon the grass to rest.


Suddenly I heard three or four shots, and in a few moments Major North came dashing up towards me, pursued by eight or ten Indians. I instantly sprang into my saddle, and fired a few shots at the Indians, who by this time had all come in sight, to the number of fifty. We turned our horses and ran, the bullets flying after us thick and fast—my whip being shot from my hand and daylight being put through the crown of my hat. We were in close quarters, when suddenly Lieutenant Valkmar came galloping up to our relief with several soldiers, and the Indians seeing them whirled and retreated. As soon as Major North got in sight of his Pawnees, he began riding in a circle. This was a sign to them that there were hostile Indians in front, and in a moment the Pawnees broke ranks pell-mell and, with Major North at their head, started for the flying warriors. The rest of the command pushed rapidly forward also, and chased the enemy for three or four miles, killing three of them.

But this was a wrong move on our part, as their village was on Prairie Dog creek, while they led us in a different direction; one   Indian only kept straight on up the creek—a messenger to the village. Some of the command who had followed him, stirred [drawing] A RED HOT SITUATION. up the village and accelerated its departure. We finally got back to the main force, and then learned that we had made a great mistake. Now commenced another stern chase.

The second day that we had been following these Indians we came upon an old squaw, whom they had left on the prairie to die. Her people had built for her a little shade or lodge, and had given her some provisions, sufficient to last her on her trip to the Happy Hunting grounds. This the Indians often do when pursued by an enemy, and one of their number becomes too old and feeble to travel any longer. This squaw was recognized by John Nelson who said she   was a relative of his wife. From her we learned that the flying Indians were known as Pawnee-Killer's band, and that they had [drawing] CARSON'S BRAVE RESCUE OF A COMRADE. lately killed Buck's surveying party, consisting of eight or nine men; the massacre having occurred a few days before on Beaver   creek. We knew that they had had a fight with the surveyors, as we found quite a number of surveying instruments, which had been left in the abandoned camp. We drove these Indians across the Platte river and then returned to Fort McPherson, bringing the old squaw with us; from there she was sent to the Spotted Tail agency.

During my absence, my wife had given birth to a son, and he was several weeks old when I returned. No name had yet been given to him and I selected that of Elmo Judson, in honor of Ned Buntline; but this the officers and scouts objected to. Major Brown proposed that we should call him Kit Carson, and it was finally settled that that should be his name.

During the summer we made one or two more scouts and had a few skirmishes with the Indians: but nothing of any great importance transpired. In the fall of 1870, while I was a witness in a court-martial at Fort D. A. Russell I woke up one morning and found that I was dead broke,—this is not an unusual occurrence to a frontiersman, or an author I may add, especially when he is endeavoring to kill time—and to raise necessary funds I sold my race-horse Tall Bull to Lieutenant Mason, who had long wanted him.

In the winter of 1870 and 1871 I first met George Watts Garland, an English gentleman, and a great hunter, whom I had the pleasure of guiding on several hunts and with whom I spent some weeks. During the winter I also took several parties out on the Loupe river country hunting and trapping. Although I was still chief of scouts I did not have much to do, as the Indians were comparatively quiet, thus giving me plenty of time for sporting.

In the spring of 1871 several short scouting expeditions were sent out from Fort McPherson, but all with minor results.


About this time General Emory was considerably annoyed by petty offenses committed in the vicinity of the post, and as there was no justice of the peace in the neighborhood, he was anxious   to have such an officer there to attend to the civilians; one day he remarked to me that I would make an excellent justice.

"General, you compliment me rather too highly, for I don't know any more about law than a government mule does about book-keeping," said I.

"That doesn't make any difference," said he, "for I know that you will make a good 'Squire." He accordingly had the county commissioners appoint me to the office of justice of the peace, and I soon received my commission.

One morning a man came rushing up to my house and stated that he wanted to get out a writ of replevin, to recover possession of a horse which a stranger was taking out of the country. I had no blank forms, and had not yet received the statutes of Nebraska to copy from, so I asked the man:

"Where is the fellow who has got your horse?"

"He is going up the road, and is about two miles way," replied he.

"Very well," said I, "I will get the writ ready in a minute or two." I saddled up my horse, and then taking my old reliable gun, "Lucretia," I said to the man: "That's the best writ of replevin that I can think of; come along, and we'll get that horse, or know the reason why." We soon overtook the stranger, who was driving a herd of horses, and as we came up to him, I said: "Hello, sir; I am an officer, and have an attachment for that horse," and at the same time I pointed out the animal.

"Well, sir, what are you going to do about it?" he inquired.

"I propose to take you and the horse back to the post," said I.

"You can take the horse," said he, "but I haven't the time to return with you."

"You'll have to take the time, or pay the cost here and now," said I.

"How much are the costs?"

"Twenty dollars."

"Here's your money," said he, as he handed me the greenbacks.


I then gave him a little friendly advice and told him that he was released from custody. He went on his way a wiser and a poorer man, while the owner of the horse and myself returned to the fort. I pocketed the twenty dollars, of course. Some people might think it was not a square way of doing business, but I didn't know any better just then. I had several little cases of this kind, and I became better posted on the law in the course of time, being assisted by Lieutenant Burr Reilly, of the Fifth Cavalry, who had been educated for a lawyer.


One evening I was called upon to perform a marriage ceremony. The bridegroom was one of the sergeants of the post. I had "braced up" for the occasion by imbibing rather freely of stimulants, and when I arrived at the house with a copy of the Statutes of Nebraska, which I had recently received, I felt somewhat confused. Whether my bewilderment was owing to that importance of the occasion and the large assembly, or to the effect of Louis Woodin's "tanglefoot," I cannot now distinctly remember—but my suspicions have always been that it was due to the latter cause. I looked carefully through the statutes to find the marriags ceremony, but my efforts were unsuccessful. Finally the time came for the knot to be tied. I told the couple to stand up and then I said to the bridegroom: "Do you take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife, to support and love her through life?"

"I do," was the reply.

Then addressing myself to the bride, I said: "Do you take this man to be your lawful wedded husband through life, to love, honor and obey him?"

"I do," was her response.

"Then join hands," said I to both of them; "I now pronounce you to be man and wife, and whomsoever God and Buffalo Bill have joined together let no man put asunder. May you live long and prosper. Amen."

This concluded the interesting ceremony, which was followed   by the usual festivities on such occasions. I was highly complimented for the elegant and eloquent manner in which I had tied the matrimonial knot.

During the summer of 1871, Professor Marsh, of Yale College, came out to McPherson with a large party of students to have a hunt and to look for fossils. Professor Marsh had heard of the big bone which had been found by the Pawnees in the Niobrara country, and he intended to look for that as well as other bones. He accordingly secured the services of Major F. North and the Pawnees as an escort. I was also to accompany the bone-hunters, and would have done [drawing] PERFORMING A MARRIAGE CEREMONY. so had it not been for the fact that just at that time I was ordered out with a small scouting party to go after some Indians.


The day before the Professor arrived at the fort I had been out hunting on the north side of the North Platte river, near Pawnee Springs, with several companions, when we were suddenly attacked by Indians, who wounded one of our number, John Weister. We stood the Indians off for a little while, and Weister got even with them by killing one of their party.   The Indians, however, outnumbered us, and at last we were forced to make a run for our lives. In this we succeeded and reached the fort in safety. The General wanted to have the Indians pursued and said he could not spare me to accompany Professor Marsh.

However, I had the opportunity to make the acquaintance of the eminent Professor, whom I found to be not only a well-posted person, but a very entertaining gentleman. He gave me a geological history of the country, told me in what section fossils were to be found, and otherwise entertained me with several scientific yarns, some of which seemed too complicated and too mysterious to be believed by an ordinary man like myself; but it was all clear to him. I rode out with him several miles, as he was starting on his bone-hunting expedition, and I greatly enjoyed the trip. His party had been provided with government transportation and his students were all mounted on government horses. As we rode along he delivered a scientific lecture and he convinced me that he knew what he was talking about. I finally bade him good-bye and returned to the post. While the fossil-hunters were out on their expedition we had several lively little skirmishes with the Indians. After having been absent some little time Professor Marsh and his party came back with their wagons loaded down with all kinds of bones and the Professor was in his glory. He had evidently struck a bone-yard, and "gad!" [*] wasn't he happy! But they had failed to find the big bone which the Pawnees had unearthed the year before.




POST McPHERSON was in the center of a fine game country, in which buffalo were particularly plentiful, and though fairly surrounded by hostile Indians, it offered so many attractions for sportsmen that several hunting parties braved the dangers for the pleasure of buffalo-chasing. In September, 1871, General Sheridan brought a number of friends out to the post for a grand hunt, coming by way of North Platte in a special car, and thence by government wagons to the fort, which was only eighteen miles from that station.

The party consisted of General Sheridan, Lawrence R. Jerome, James Gordon Bennett, of the New York Herald; Leonard W. Jerome, Carroll Livingston, Major J. G. Hecksher, General Fitzhugh, General H. E. Davies, Captain M. Edward Rogers, Colonel J. Schuyler Crosby, Samuel Johnson, General Anson Stager, of the Western Union Telegraph Company; Charles Wilson, editor of the Chicago Evening Journal; General Rucker, Quartermaster-General, and Dr. Asch—the two last named being of General Sheridan's staff. They were met at the station by General Emory and Major Brown, with a cavalry company as escort and a sufficient number of vehicles to carry the distinguished visitors and their baggage.

A brisk drive of less than two hours over a hard and smooth road brought them to the fort, where they found the garrison, consisting of five companies of the Fifth Cavalry, under the command of General Carr, out on parade awaiting their arrival.   The band played some martial music, and the cavalry passed very handsomely in review before General Sheridan. The guests were then most hospitably received, and assigned to comfortable quarters.

Lieutenant Hayes, the quartermaster of the expedition, arranged everything for the comfort of the party. One hundred cavalry under command of Major Brown were detailed as an escort. A train of sixteen wagons was provided to carry the baggage, supplies, and forage for the trip; and, besides these, there were three four-horse ambulances in which the guns were carried, and in which members of the party who became weary of the saddle might ride and rest. At General Sheridan's request I was to accompany the expedition; he introduced me to all his friends, and gave me a good send-off.

During the afternoon and evening the gentlemen were all entertained at the post in a variety of ways, including dinner and supper parties, and music and dancing; at a late hour they retired to rest in their tents at the camp which they occupied outside the post—named Camp Rucker, in honor of General Rucker.


At five o'clock next morning a cavalry bugle sounded the reveille, and soon all were astir in the camp, preparatory to pulling out for the first day's march. I rose fresh and eager for the trip, and as it was a nobby and high-toned outfit which I was to accompany, I determined to put on a little style myself. So I dressed in a new suit of light buckskin, trimmed along the seams with fringes of the same material; and I put on a crimson shirt handsomely ornamented on the bosom, while on my head I wore a broad sombrero. Then mounting a snowy white horse—a gallant stepper—I rode down from the fort to the camp, rifle in hand. I felt first-rate that morning, and looked well.

The expedition was soon under way. Our road for ten miles wound through a wooded ravine called Cottonwood cañon, intersecting the high ground, or divide, as it is called, between the   Platte and Republican rivers. Upon emerging from the cañon we found ourselves upon the plains. First in the line rode General Sheridan, followed hy his guests, and then the orderlies. Then came the ambulances, in one of which were carried five greyhounds, brought along to course the antelope and rabbit. With the ambulances marched a pair of Indian ponies belonging to Lieutenant Hayes—captured during some Indian fight—and harnessed to a light wagon, which General Sheridan occasionally used. These little horses, but thirteen hands high, showed more vigor and endurance than any other of the animals we had with us. Following the ambulances came the main body of the escort and the supply wagons.

We marched seventeen miles the first day, and went into camp on Fox creek, a tributary of the Republican. No hunting had as yet been done; but I informed the gentlemen of the party that we would strike the buffalo country the next day. A hundred or more questions were then asked me by this one and that one, and the whole evening was spent principally in buffalo talk, sandwiched with stories of the plains—both of war and of the chase. Several of the party, who were good vocalists, gave us some excellent music. We closed the evening by christening the camp, naming it Camp Brown, in honor of the gallant officer in command of the escort.

At three o'clock next morning the bugle called us to an early start. We had breakfast at half-past four, and at six were in the saddle. All were eager to see and shoot the buffaloes, which I assured them we would certainly meet during the day. After marching five miles, the advance guard, of which I had the command, discovered six buffaloes grazing at a distance of about two miles from us. We returned to the hunters with this information, and they at once consulted with me as to the best way to attack the "enemy."


Acting upon my suggestions, Fitzhugh, Crosby, Lawrence Jerome, Livingston, Hecksher and Rogers, accompanied by   myself as guide, rode through a convenient cañon to a point beyond the buffaloes, so that we were to the windward of the animals. The rest of the party made a detour of nearly five miles, keeping behind the crest of a hill. We charged down upon the buffaloes at full gallop, and just then the other party emerged from their concealment and witnessed the exciting chase. The buffaloes started off in a line, single file. Fitzhugh, after a lively gallop, led us all and soon came alongside the rear buffalo, at which he fired. The animal faltered, and then with another shot Fitzhugh brought him to the ground. Crosby dashed by him and leveled another of the herd, while Livingston dropped a third. Those who were not directly engaged in the hunt now came up and congratulated the men upon their success, and Fitzhugh was at once hailed as the winner of the buffalo-cup, while all sympathized with Hecksher, whose chance had been the best at the start, but who lost by reason of his horse falling and rolling over him.



The hunt being over, the column moved forward on its march, passing through a prairie-dog town, several miles in extent. These animals are found throughout the plains, living together in a sort of society; their numberless burrows in their "towns" adjoin each other, so that great care is necessary in riding through these places, as the ground is so undermined as often to fall in under the weight of a horse. Around the entrance to their holes the ground is piled up almost a foot high; on these little elevations the prairie-dogs sit upon their hind legs,   chattering to each other and observing whatever passes on the plains. They will permit a person to approach quite near, but when they have viewed him closely, they dive into their dens with wonderful quickness. They are difficult to kill, and if hit generally succeed in crawling underground before they can be captured. Rattlesnakes and small owls are generally found in great numbers in the prairie-dog towns, and live in the same holes with the dogs on friendly terms. A few of the prairie dogs were killed, and were found to be very palatable eating.

A short distance beyond the dog town we discovered a settlement of five white men, who proved to be the Clifford brothers, Arthur Ruff, Dick Seymour and John Nelson—the latter already referred to in these pages. Each of them had a squaw wife and numerous half-breed children, living in tents of buffalo skins. They owned a herd of horses and mules and a few cattle, and had cultivated a small piece of land. Their principal occupation was hunting, and they had a large number of buffalo hides, which they had tanned in the Indian manner.

Upon reaching Pleasant Valley, on Medicine creek, our party divided into two detachments—one hunting along the bank of the stream for elk or deer, and the other remaining with the main body of the escort. The elk hunters met with no success whatever, but the others ran across plenty of buffaloes, and nearly everybody killed one or more before the day was over. Lawrence Jerome made an excellent shot; while riding in an ambulance he killed a buffalo which attempted to cross the line of march. About four o'clock P. M., we arrived at Mitchell's fork of the Medicine, having traveled thirty-five miles during that day, and there we went into camp—calling it Camp Jack Hayes, in honor of Lieutenant Hayes.

On the next morning, the 25th, we moved out of camp at eight o'clock. The party was very successful through the day in securing game, Hecksher, Fitzhugh, Livingston and Lieutenant Hayes, and in fact all, doing good shooting.

Lawrence Jerome persuaded me to let him ride Buckskin Joe, the beat buffalo horse in the whole outfit, and on his back he did   wonders among the buffaloes. Leonard Jerome, Bennett and Rogers also were very successful in buffalo hunting. Our camp of this night was named Camp Asch to commemorate our surgeon, Dr. Asch. The evening was pleasantly spent around the camp fires in relating the adventures of the day.


Upon crossing the Republican river on the morning of the 26th, we came upon an immense number of buffaloes scattered over the country in every direction, as far as the eye could reach, and all had an opportunity to do as much hunting as they wished. The wagons and troops moved slowly along in the direction of the next camp, while the hunters went off separately, or by twos and threes, in different directions, and all were rewarded with abundant success. Lawrence Jerome, however, had his career suddenly checked. He had dismounted to make a steady and careful shot, and thoughtlessly let go of the bridle. The buffalo failing to take a tumble, as he ought to have done, started off at a lively gait, followed by Buckskin Joe, the horse being determined to do some hunting on his own account; the last seen of him, he was a little ahead of the buffalo, and gaining slightly, leaving his late rider to his own reflections and the prospect of a tramp; his desolate condition was soon discovered and another horse, warranted not to run under any provocation, was sent to him. It may be stated here that three days afterwards, as I subsequently learned, Buckskin Joe, all saddled and bridled, turned up at Fort McPherson.

We pitched our tents for the night in a charming spot on the bank of Beaver creek. The game was so abundant that we remained there one day. This stopping place was called Camp Cody, in honor of the reader's humble servant. The next day was spent in hunting jack-rabbits, coyotes, elks, antelopes and wild turkeys, and in the afternoon we sat down to the finest dinner ever spread on the plains.


In the evening a court-martial was held, at which I presided as chief justice. We tried one of the gentlemen for aiding and   abetting in the loss of a government horse, and for having something to do with the mysterious disappearance of a Colt's pistol. He was charged also with snoring in a manner that was regarded as fiendish, and with committing a variety of other less offenses too numerous to mention.

The accused made a feeble defense as to the pistol, and claimed that instead of losing a government horse, the fact was that the horse had lost him. His statements were all regarded as "too thin," and finally failing to prove good character, he confessed all, and threw himself upon the mercy of the court. The culprit was Lawrence Jerome.

As chief justice I delivered the opinion of the court, which my modesty does not prevent me from saying was done in an able and dignified manner; as an act of clemency I suspended judgment for the time being, remarking that while the camp-fire held out to burn, the vilest sinner might return; and in hope of the accused's amendment, I would defer pronouncing sentence. The trial afforded us considerable amusement, and gave me a splendid opportunity to display the legal knowledge which I had acquired while acting as justice of the peace at Fort McPherson.

On the morning of the 28th the command crossed the South Beaver, distant nine miles from Camp Cody, and then striking a fair road we made a rapid march until we reached our camp on Short Nose or Prairie Dog creek, about 2 P. M., after having made twenty-four miles. The remainder of the afternoon was spent in hunting buffaloes and turkeys. Camp Stager was the name given to this place, in honor of General Stager, of the Western Union Telegraph Company.


The next day we made a march of twenty-four miles, and then halted at about 1 P. M. on the North Solomon river. This day we killed three buffaloes, two antelopes, two raccoons, and three teal ducks. Near our camp, which we named Camp Leonard Jerome, was a beaver dam some six feet high and twenty   yards wide; it was near the junction of two streams, and formed a pond of at least four acres.

On the 30th we traveled twenty-five miles, and during the march nine turkeys, two rabbits, and three or four buffaloes were killed. We went into camp on the bank of the South fork of the Solomon river, and called the place Camp Sam Johnson. We were now but forty-five miles from Fort Hays, the point at which General Sheridan and his guests expected to strike the Kansas Pacific Railway and thence return home. That evening I volunteered to ride to Fort Hays and meet the party next day bringing with me all the letters that might be at the post. Taking the best horse in the command I started out, expecting to make the trip in about four hours.

The next morning the command got an early start and traveled thirty miles to Saline river, where they made their last camp on the plains. As some of the party were attacking a herd of buffaloes, I rode in from Fort Hays and got into the middle of the herd, and killed a buffalo or two before the hunters observed me. I brought a large number of letters, which proved welcome reading matter.


Tn the evening we gathered around the camp-fire for the last time. The duty of naming the camp, which was called Camp Davies, having been duly performed, we all united in making that night the pleasantest of all that we had spent together. We had eloquent speeches, songs, and interesting anecdotes. I was called upon, and entertained the gentlemen with some lively Indian stories.

The excursionists reached Fort Hays, distant fifteen miles, on the morning of October 2d, where we pitched our tents for the last time, and named the camp in honor of Mr. Hecksher. That same afternoon General Sheridan and his guests took the train for the East, after bidding Major Brown, Lieutenant Hayes and myself a hearty good-bye, and expressing themselves as greatly pleased with their hunt, and the manner in which they had been escorted and guided.


It will be proper and fair to state here that General Davies afterwards wrote an interesting account of this hunt and published it in a neat volume of sixty-eight pages, under the title of "Ten Days on the Plains." I would have inserted the volume bodily in this book, were it not for the fact that the General has spoken in a rather too complimentary manner of me. However, I have taken the liberty in this chapter to condense from the [drawing] AROUND THE CAMP-FIRE. little volume, and in some places I have used the identical language of General Davies without quoting the same; in fact, to do the General justice, I ought to close this chapter with several lines of quotation marks to be pretty generally distributed by the reader throughout my account of our ten days' hunt.

Soon after the departure of General Sheridan's party, we returned to Fort McPherson and found General Carr about to   start out on a twenty days' scout, not so much for the purpose of finding Indians, but more for the object of taking some friends on a hunt. His guests were a couple of Englishmen,—whose names I cannot now remember—and Mr. McCarthy, of Syracuse, New York, who was a relative of General Emory. The command consisted of three companies of the Fifth Cavalry, one company of Pawnee Indians, and twenty-five wagons. Of course I was called on to accompany the expedition.


One day, after we had been out from the post for some little time, I was hunting on Deer creek, in company with Mr. McCarthy, about eight miles from the command. I had been wishing for several days to play a joke on him, and had arranged a plan with Captain Lute North to carry it into execution. I had informed North at about what time we would be on Deer creek, and it was agreed that he should appear in the vicinity with some of his Pawnees, who were to throw their blankets around them, and come dashing down upon us, firing and whooping in true Indian style, while he was to either conceal or disguise himself. This programme was faithfully and completely carried out. I had been talking about Indians to McCarthy, and he had become considerably excited, when just as we turned a bend of the creek, we saw not half a mile from us about twenty Indians, who instantly started for us on a gallop, firing their guns and yelling at the top of their voices.

"McCarthy, shall we dismount and fight, or run?" said I.

He didn't wait to reply, but wheeling his horse, started at full speed down the creek, losing his hat and dropping his gun; away he went, never once looking back to see if he was being pursued. I tried to stop him by yelling at him and saying that it was all right, as the Indians were Pawnees. Unfortunately he did not hear me, but kept straight on, not stopping his horse until he reached the camp.

I knew that he would tell General Carr that the Indians had jumped him, and that the General would soon start out with the   troops. So as quick as the Pawnees rode up to me I told them to remain there while I went after my friend. I rode after him as fast as possible, but he had arrived at the command some time before me and when I got there the General had, as I had suspected he would do, ordered out two companies of cavalry to go in pursuit of the Indians. I told the General that the Indians were only some Pawnees, who had been out hunting and that they had merely played a joke upon us. I forgot to inform him that I [drawing] NO TIME FOR LOOKING BACK. had put up the trick, but as he was always fond of a good joke himself, he did not get very angry. I had picked up McCarthy's hat and gun which I returned to him, and it was some time afterwards before he discovered who was at the bottom of the affair.


When we returned to Fort McPherson we found there Mr. Royal Buck, whose father had been killed with his entire party by Pawnee Killer's band of Indians on the Beaver creek. He had a letter from the commanding officer of the department   requesting that he be furnished with an escort to go in search at the remains of his father and the party. Two companies of cavalry were sent with him and I accompanied them as a guide. As the old squaw, which we had captured, and of which mention is made in a previous chapter, could not exactly tell us the place on Beaver creek where the party had been killed, we searched the country over for two days and discovered no signs of the murdered men. At last, however, our efforts were rewarded with success. We found pieces of their wagons and among other things an old letter or two which Mr. Buck recognized as his father's handwriting. We then discovered some of the remains, which we buried; but nothing further. It was now getting late in the fall and we accordingly returned to Fort McPherson.

A short time after this the Fifth Cavalry was ordered to Arizona, a not very desirable country to soldier in. I had become greatly attached to the officers of the regiment, having been continually with them for over three years, and had about made up my mind to accompany them, when a letter was received from General Sheridan instructing the commanding officer "not to take Cody" with him, and saying that I was to remain in my old position. In a few days the command left for its destination, taking the cars at McPherson Station, where I bade my old friends adieu. During the next few weeks I had but little to do, as the post was garrisoned by infantry, awaiting the arrival of the Third Cavalry.


About the first of January, 1872, General Forsyth and Dr. Asch, of Sheridan's staff came out to Fort McPherson to make preparations for a big buffalo hunt for the Grand Duke Alexis, of Russia; and as this was to be no ordinary affair, these officers had been sent by General Sheridan to have all the necessary arrangements perfected by the time the Grand Duke should arrive. They learned from me that there were plenty of buffaloes in the vicinity, and especially on the Red Willow, sixty miles distant. They said they would like to go over on the Red Willow and pick out a   suitable place for the camp; they also inquired the location of the camp of Spotted Tail, chief of the Sioux Indians. Spotted Tail had permission from the Government to hunt the buffalo with his people during the winter, in the Republican river country. It was my opinion that they were located somewhere on the Frenchman's fork, about one hundred and fifty miles from Fort McPherson.

General Sheridan's commissioner informed me that he wished me to visit Spotted Tail's camp, and induce about one hundred of the leading warriors and chiefs to come to the point where it should be decided to locate the Alexis hunting camp, and to be there by the time the Grand Duke should arrive, so that he could see a body of American Indians and observe the manner in which they killed buffaloes. The Indians would also be called upon to give a grand war dance in honor of the distinguished visitor.

Next morning General Forsyth and Dr. Asch, accompanied by Captain Hays, who had been left at Fort McPherson in charge of the Fifth Cavalry horses, taking an ambulance and a light wagon, to carry their tents and provisions sufficient to last them two or three days, started, under my guidance, with a small escort, for Red Willow creek, arriving there at night. The next day we selected a pleasant camping place on a little knoll in the valley of the Red Willow. General Forsyth and his party returned to the post the next day while I left for Spotted Tail's camp.

The weather was very cold and I found my journey by no means a pleasant one as I was obliged to camp out with only my saddle-blankets; and besides, there was more or less danger from the Indians themselves; for, although Spotted Tail himself was friendly, I was afraid I might have difficulty in getting into his camp. I was liable at any moment to run into a party of his young men who might be out hunting, and as I had many enemies among the Sioux, I would be running considerable risk in meeting them.


At the end of the first day I camped on Stinking Water, a tributary of tne Frenchman's fork, where I built a little fire in   the timber; but it was so very cold I was not able to sleep much. Getting an early start in the morning I followed up the Frenchman's fork and late in the afternoon I could see, from the fresh horse tracks and from the dead buffaloes lying here and there, recently killed, that I was nearing Spotted Tail's camp. I rode on for a few miles further, and then hiding my horse in a low ravine, I crawled up a high hill, where I obtained a good view of the country. I could see for four or five miles up the creek, and got sight of a village and of two or three hundred ponies in its [drawing] CHIEF SPOTTED TAIL. vicinity. I waited until night came and then I succeeded in riding into the Indian camp unobserved.

I had seen Spotted Tail's camp when he came from the North and I knew the kind of lodge he was living in. As I entered the village I wrapped a blanket around my head so that the Indians could not tell whether I was a white or a red man. In this way I rode around until I found Spotted Tail's lodge. Dismounting from my horse I opened his tent door and looking in, saw the old chief lying on some robes. I spoke to him and he recognized me at once and invited me to enter. Inside the lodge I found a   white man, an old frontiersman, Todd Randall, who was Spotted Tail's agent and who had lived a great many years with the Indians. He understood their language perfectly and did all the interpreting for Spotted Tail. Through him I readily communicated with the chief and informed him of my errand. I told him that the warriors and chiefs would greatly please General Sheridan if they would meet him about ten sleeps at the old Government crossing of the Red Willow. I further informed him that there was a great chief from across the water who was coming there to visit him.

Spotted Tail replied that he would he very glad to go; that the next morning he would call his people together and select those who would accompany him. I told Spotted Tail how I had entered his camp. He replied that I had acted wisely; that although his people were friendly, yet some of his young men had a grudge against me, and I might have had difficulty with them had I met them away from the village. He directed his squaw to get me something to eat, and ordered that my horse be taken care of and upon his invitation I spent the remainder of the night in his lodge.


Next morning the chiefs and warriors assembled according to orders, and to them was stated the object of my visit. They were asked: "Do you know who this man is?"

"Yes, we know him well," replied one, "that is Pa-he-has-ka," (that being my name among the Sioux, which translated means "Long-Hair") "that is our old enemy;" a great many of the Indians, who were with Spotted Tail at this time, had been driven out of the Republican country.

"That is he," said Spotted Tail, "I want all my people to be kind to him and treat him as my friend."

I noticed that several of them were looking daggers at me. They appeared as if they wished to raise my hair then and there. Spotted Tail motioned and I followed him into his lodge, and thereupon the Indians dispersed. Having the assurance of   Spotted Tail that none of the young men would follow me I started back for the Red Willow, arriving the second night.

There I found Captain Egan with a company of the second Cavalry and a wagon train loaded with tents, grain, provisions, etc. The men were leveling off the ground and were making preparations to put up large wall tents for the Grand Duke Alexis and his suite, and for General Sheridan, his staff and other officers, and invited guests of the party. Proceeding to Fort McPherson I reported what had been done. Thereupon Quartermaster Hays selected from the five or six hundred horses in his charge seventy-five of the very best, which were sent to the Red Willow, to be used by Alexis and his party at the coming hunt. In a day or two a large supply of provisions, liquors, etc., arrived from Chicago, together with [drawing] THE GRAND DUKE, ALEXIS bedding and furniture for the tents; all of which were sent over to Camp Alexis.


At last, on the morning of the 12th of January, 1872, the Grand Duke and party arrived at North Platte by special train, in charge of a Mr. Francis Thompson. Captain Hays and myself, with five or six ambulances, fifteen or twenty extra saddle horses and a company of cavalry under Captain Egan, were at the depot in time to receive them. Presently General Sheridan and a large, fine looking young man, whom we at once concluded to be the   Grand Duke, came out of the cars and approached us. General Sheridan at once introduced me to the Grand Duke as Buffalo Bill, for he it was, and said that I was to take charge of him and show him how to kill buffalo.

In less than half an hour the whole party were dashing away towards the south, across the South Platte and towards the Medicine, upon reaching which point we halted for a change of horses and a lunch. Resuming our ride we reached Camp Alexis in the afternoon. General Sheridan was well pleased with the arrangements that had been made and was delighted to find that Spotted Tail and his Indians had arrived on time. They were objects of great curiosity to the Grand Duke, who spent considerable time in looking at them, and watching their exhibitions of horsemanship, sham fights, etc. That evening the Indians gave the grand war dance, which I had arranged for.


General Custer, who was one of the hunting party, carried on a mild flirtation with one of Spotted Tail's daughters, who had accompanied her father thither, and it was noticed also that the Duke Alexis paid considerable attention to another handsome red-skin maiden. The night passed pleasantly, and all retired with great expectations of having a most enjoyable and successful buffalo hunt. The Duke Alexis asked me a great many questions as to how we shot buffaloes, and what kind of a gun or pistol we used, and if he was going to have a good horse. I told him that he was going to have my celebrated buffalo horse Buckskin Joe, and when we went into a buffalo herd all he would have to do was to sit on the horse's back and fire away.

At nine o'clock next morning we were all in our saddles and in a few minutes were galloping over the prairies in search of a buffalo herd. We had not gone far before we observed a herd some distance ahead of us crossing our way; after that we proceeded cautiously, so as to keep out of sight until we were ready to make a charge.

In a moment the Duke became very much excited and anxious   to charge directly toward the buffaloes, but I restrained him for a time, until getting around to windward and keeping behind the sand hills the herd was gradually approached.

"Now," said I, "is your time; you must ride as fast as your horse will go, and don't shoot until you get a good opportunity."

Away we went, tearing down the hill and throwing up a sandstorm in the rear, leaving the Duke's retinue far behind. When within a hundred yards of the fleeing buffaloes the Duke fired, but unfortunately missed, being unused to shooting from a running horse.

I now rode up close beside him and advised him not to fire until he could ride directly upon the flank of a buffalo, as the sport was most in the chase. We dashed off together and ran our horses on either flank of a large bull, against the [drawing] THE GRAND DUKE KILLING HIS FIRST BUFFALO. side of which the Duke thrust his gun and fired a fatal shot. He was very much elated at his success, taking off his cap and waving it vehemently, at the same time shouting to those who were fully a mile in the rear. When his retinue came up there were congratulations and every one drank to his good health with overflowing glasses of champagne. The hide of the dead buffalo was carefully removed and dressed, and the royal traveler in his journeyings over the world has no doubt often rested himself upon this trophy of his skill (?) on the plains of America.

An encampment was now made, as the party was quite fatigued, and the evening passed with song and story. On the following day, by request of Spotted Tail, the Grand Duke hunted for a   while beside "Two Lance," a celebrated chief, who claimed he could send an arrow entirely through the body of the largest buffalo. This feat seemed so incredulous that there was a general denial of his ability to perform it; nevertheless, the Grand Duke and also several others who accompanied the chief, witnessed, with profound astonishment, an accomplishment of the feat, and the arrow that passed through the buffalo was given to the Duke as a memento of Two Lance's skill and power. On [drawing] ON THE HAPPY HUNTING GROUNDS OF MISSOURI. the same day of this performanoe the Grand Duke killed a buffalo at a distance of one hundred paces with a heavy navy revolver. The shot was a marvelous—scratch.

When the Grand Duke was satisfied with the sport, orders were given for the return to the railroad. The conveyance provided for the Grand Duke and General Sheridan was a heavy double-seated open carriage, or rather an Irish dog-cart, and it was drawn by six spirited cavalry horses which were not much used to the harness. The driver was Bill Reed, an old overland   stage driver and wagon-master; on our way in, the Grand Duke frequently expressed his admiration of the skillful manner in which Reed handled the reins. General Sheridan informed the Duke that I also had been a stage driver in the Rocky Mountains, and thereupon His Royal Highness expressed a desire to see me drive. I was in advance at the time, and General Sheridan sang out to me:

"Cody, get in here and show the Duke how you can drive. Mr. Reed will exchange places with you and ride your horse."

"All right, General," said I, and in a few moments I had the reins and we were rattling away over the prairie. When we were approaching Medicine creek, General Sheridan said: "Shake 'em up a little Bill, and give us some old-time stage-driving."


I gave the horses a crack or two of the whip, and they started off at a very rapid gait. They had a light load to pull, and kept increasing their speed at every jump, and I found it difficult to hold them. They fairly flew over the ground, and at last we reached a steep hill, or divide, which led down into the valley of the Medicine. There was no brake on the wagon, and the horses were not much on the hold back. I saw that it would be impossible to stop them. All I could do was to keep them straight in the track and let them go it down the hill, for three miles, which distance, I believe, was made in about six minutes. Every once in a while the hind wheels would strike a rut and take a bound, and not touch the ground again for fifteen or twenty feet. The Duke and the General were kept rather busy in holding their positions on the seats, and when they saw that I was keeping the horses straight in the road, they seemed to enjoy the dash which we were making. I was unable to stop the team until they ran into the camp where we were to obtain a fresh relay, and there I succeeded in checking them. The Grand Duke said he didn't want any more of that kind of driving, as he preferred to go a little slower.


On arriving at the railroad, the Duke invited me into his car, and made me some valuable presents, at the same time giving me a cordial invitation to visit him, if ever I should come to his country. At the same time General Sheridan took occasion to remind me of an invitation to visit New York which I had received from some of the gentlemen who accompanied the General on the hunt from Fort McPherson to Hays City, in September [drawing] SHAKING UP THE GRAND DUKE. of the previous year. Said he: "You will never have a better opportunity to accept that invitation than now. I have had a talk with General Ord concerning you, and he will give you leave of absence whenever you are ready to start. Write a letter to General Stager, of Chicago, that you are now prepared to accept the invitation, and he will send you a pass." Thanking the General for his kindness, I then bade him and the Grand Duke good-bye, and soon their train was out of sight.




GENERAL ORD, commanding the Department of the Platte at the time, and who had been out on the Alexis hunt, had some business to attend to at Fort McPherson, and I accepted his invitation to ride over to the post with him in an ambulance. On the way thither he asked me how I would like to have an officer's commission in the regular army. He said that General Sheridan and himself had had some conversation about the matter, and if I wanted a commission, one could easily be procured for me. I thanked General Ord for his kindness, and said that although an officer's commission in the regular army was a tempting prize, yet I preferred to remain in the position I was then holding. He concluded by stating that if at any time I should wish a commission, all that I would have to do to secure it would be to inform him of my desire.

Having determined to visit New York, I acted upon General Sheridan's suggestion and wrote to General Stager, from whom in a few days I received my railroad passes. Obtaining thirty days' leave of absence from the department, I struck out for the East. On arriving in Chicago, in February, 1872, I was met at the depot by Colonel M. V. Sheridan, who said that his brother, the General, had not yet returned, but had sent word that I was to be his and the Colonel's guest, at their house, while I remained in Chicago.

I spent two or three days very pleasantly in the great city of the West, meeting several gentlemen who had been out on the   Sheridan hunt in September: General Stager, Colonel Wilson, editor of the Journal; Mr. Sam Johnson, General Rucker and others, by all of whom I was most cordially received and well entertained. I was introduced to quite a number of the best people of the city, and was invited to several "swell" dinners. I also accompanied General Sheridan—who meantime had returned to the city—to a ball at Riverside, an aristocratic suburb. On this occasion I became so embarrassed that it was more difficult for me to face the throng of beautiful ladies, than it would have been to confront a hundred hostile Indians. This was my first trip to the East, and I had not yet become accustomed to being stared at. And besides [drawing] SCOUTING AMONG THE CIVILIANS. this, the hundreds of qaestions which I was called upon to answer further embarrassed and perplexed me.

According to the route laid out for me by General Stager, I was to stop at Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Rochester on my way to New York, and he provided me with all the necessary railroad passes. Just as I was about to leave Chicago I met Professor Henry A. Ward, of Rochester, for whom during the previous year or two I had collected a large number of specimens of wild   animals. He was on his way to Rochester, and kindly volunteered to act as my guide until we reached that point. We spent one day in viewing the wonders of Niagara, and I stopped one day at Rochester and was shown the beauties of that handsome city by Professor Ward, and I had the honor of receiving an invitation to dine with the Mayor.


On arriving at New York I was met at the depot by Mr. J. G. Hecksher, who had been appointed as "a committee of one" to escort me to the Union Club, where James Gordon Bennett, Leonard W. Jerome and others were to give me an informal reception, and where I was to make my headquarters during my visit to the great metropolis. I had an elegant dinner at the club rooms, with the gentlemen who had been out on the September hunt, and other members of the club.

After dinner, in company with Mr. Hecksher—who acted as my guide—I started out on the trail of my friend, Ned Buntline, whom we found at the Brevoort Place Hotel. He was delighted to see me, and insisted on my becoming his guest. He would listen to no excuses, and on introducing me to Messrs. Overton & Blair, proprietors of the Brevoort, they also gave me a pressing invitation to make my home at their house. I finally compromised the matter by agreeing to divide my time between the Union Club, the Brevoort House, and Ned Buntline's headquarters.

The next few days I spent in viewing the sights of New York, everything being new and startling, convincing me that as yet I had seen but a small portion of the world. I received numerous dinner invitations, as well as invitations to visit different places of amusement and interest; but as they came in so thick and fast, I soon became badly demoralized and confused. I found I had accepted invitations to dine at half a dozen or more houses on the same day and at the same hour. James Gordon Bennett had prepared a dinner for me, at which quite a large number of his friends were to be present, but owing to my confusion,   arising from the many other invitations I had received, I forgot all about it and dined elsewhere. This was "a bad break," but I did not learn of my mistake until next day, when at the Union Club House several gentlemen, among them Lawrence Jerome, inquired "where in the world I had been," and why I had not put in an appearance at Bennett's dinner. They said that Bennett had taken great pains to give me a splendid reception, that the party had waited till nine o'clock for me and that my non-arrival caused considerable disappointment. I apologized as well as I could by saying that I had been out on a scout and had got lost and had forgotten all about the dinner, and expressed my regret for the disappointment I had created by my forgetfulness. August Belmont, the banker, being near, said: "Never mind, gentlemen, I'll give Cody a dinner at my house."

"Thank you, sir," said I; "I see you are determined that I shall not run short of rations while I am in the city. I'll be there, sure." Both Mr. Jerome and Mr. Hecksher told me that I must not disappoint Mr. Belmont, for his dinners were splendid affairs. I made a note of the date, and at the appointed time I was promptly at Mr. Belmont's mansion, where I spent a very enjoyable evening.

Mr. Bennett, who was among the guests, having forgiven my carelessness, invited me to accompany him to the Liederkranz masked ball, which was to take place in a few evenings and would be a grand spectacle. Together we attended the ball and during the evening I was well entertained. The dancers kept on their masks until midnight, and the merry and motley throng presented a brilliant scene, moving gracefully beneath the bright gas-light to inspiriting music. To me it was a novel and entertaining sight, and in many respects reminded me greatly of an Indian war-dance.

Acting upon the suggestion of Mr. Bennett, I had dressed myself in my buckskin suit, and I naturally attracted considerable attention; especially when I took part in the dancing and exhibited some of my backwoods steps, which, although not as graceful as some, were a great deal more emphatic. But when I   undertook to do artistic dancing, I found I was decidedly out of place in that crowd, and I accordingly withdrew from the floor.

I occasionally passed an evening at Niblo's Garden, viewing the many beauties of "The Black Crook," which was then having its long run, under the management of Jarrett & Palmer, whose acquaintance I had made, and who extended to me the freedom of the theater.


Ned Buntline and Fred Maeder had dramatized one of the stories which the former had written about me for the New York Weekly. The drama was called "Buffalo Bill, the King of Border Men." While I was in New York it was produced at the Bowery Theater; J. B. Studley, an excellent actor, appearing in the character of "Buffalo Bill," and Mrs. W. G. Jones, a fine actress, taking the part of my sister, a leading rôle. I was curious to see how I would look when represented by some one else, and of course I was present on the opening night, a private box having been reserved for me. The theater was packed, every seat being occupied as well as all standing-room. The drama was played smoothly and created a great deal of enthusiasm.

The audience, upon learning that the real "Buffalo Bill" was present, gave several cheers between the acts, and I was called on to come out on the stage and make a speech. Mr. Freleigh, the manager, insisted that I should comply with the request, and that I should be introduced to Mr. Studley. I finally consented, and the next moment I found myself standing behind the footlights and in front of an audience for the first time in my life. I looked up, then down, then on each side, and everywhere I saw a sea of human faces, and thousands of eyes all staring at me. I confess that I felt very much embarrassed—never more so in my life—and I knew not what to say. I made a desperate effort, and a few words escaped me, but what they were I could not for the life of me tell, nor could any one else in the house. My utterances were inaudible even to the leader of the orchestra, Mr. Dean, who was sitting only a few   feet in front of me. Bowing to the audience, I beat a hasty retreat into one of the cañons of the stage. I never felt more relieved in my life than when I got out of the view of that immense crowd.


That evening Mr. Freleigh offered to give me five hundred dollars a week to play the part of "Buffalo Bill" myself. I thought that he was certainly joking, especially as he had witnessed my awkward performance; but when he assured me that he was in earnest, I told him that it would be useless for me to attempt anything of the kind, for I never could talk to a crowd of people like that, even if it was to save my neck, and that he might as well try to make an actor out of a government mule. I thanked him for the generous offer, which I had to decline owing to a lack of confidence in myself; or as some people might express it, I didn't have the requisite cheek to undertake a thing of that sort. The play of "Buffalo Bill" had a very successful run of six or eight weeks, and was afterwards produced in all the principal cities of the country, everywhere being received with genuine enthusiasm.

I had been in New York about twenty days when General Sheridan arrived in the city. I met him soon after he got into town. In answer to a question how I was enjoying myself, I replied that I had struck the best camp I had ever seen, and if he didn't have any objections I would like to have my leave of absence extended about ten days. This he willingly did, and then informed me that my services would soon be required at Fort McPheraon, as there was to be an expedition sent out from that point.

At Westchester, Pennsylvania, I had some relatives living whom I had never seen, and now being so near, I determined to make them a visit. Upon mentioning the matter to Buntline, he suggested that we should together take a trip to Philadelphia, and thence run ont to Westchester. Accordingly the next day found us in the "City of Brotherly Love," and in a few hours   we arrived at the home of my uncle, General Henry R. Guss, the proprietor of the Green Tree Hotel, who gave us a cordial reception.

Inviting us into the parlor, my uncle brought in the members of his family, among them an elderly lady, who was my grandmother, as he informed me. He told me that my Aunt Eliza, his first wife, was dead, and that he had married a second time; Lizzie Guss, my cousin, I thought was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. They were all very anxious to have us remain several days, but as I had some business to attend to in New York, I was obliged to return that day. Assuring them, however, that I would visit them again soon, I bade them adieu, and with Buntline took the train for New York.

The time soon arrived for my departure for the West; so packing up my traps I started for home, and on the way thither I spent a day with my Westchester relatives, who did everything in their power to entertain me during my brief stay with them.




UPON reaching Fort McPherson, I found that the Third Cavalry, commanded by General Reynolds, had arrived from Arizona, in which Territory they had been on duty for some time, and where they had acquired quite a reputation on account of their Indian fighting qualities. Shortly after my return, a small party of Indians made a dash on McPherson station, about five miles from the fort, killing two or three men and running off quite a large number of horses. Captain Meinhold and Lieutenant Lawson with their company were ordered out to pursue and punish the Indians if possible. I was the guide of the expedition and had an assistant, T. B. Omohundro, better known as "Texas Jack," and who was a scout at the post.

Finding the trail, I followed it for two days, although it was difficult trailing because the red-skins had taken every possible precaution to conceal their tracks. On the second day Captain Meinhold went into camp on the South fork of the Loupe, at a point where the trail was badly scattered. Six men were detailed to accompany me on a scout in search of the camp of the fugitives. We had gone but a short distance when we discovered Indians camped, not more than a mile away, with horses grazing near by. They were only a small party, and I determined to charge upon them with my six men, rather than return to the command, because I feared they would see us as we went back and then they would get away from us entirely. I asked the men if they were willing to attempt it, and they replied that they would follow me wherever I would lead them. That was the kind of spirit that pleased me, and we immediately moved forward on the enemy, getting as close to them as possible without being seen.




I finally gave the signal to charge, and we dashed into the little camp with a yell. Five Indians sprang out of a willow tepee, [drawing] INDIAN HIDING HIS TRAIL. and greeted ua with a volley, and we returned the fire. I was riding Buckskin Joe, who with a few jumps brought me up to the tepee, followed by my men. We nearly ran over the Indians   who were endeavoring to reach their horses on the opposite side of the creek. Just as one was jumping the narrow stream a bullet from my old "Lucretia" overtook him. He never reached the other bank, but dropped dead in the water. Those of the Indians who were guarding the horses, seeing what was going on at the camp, came rushing to the rescue of their friends. I now counted thirteen braves, but as we had already disposed of two, we had only eleven to take care of. The odds were nearly two to one against us.


While the Indian re-enforcements were approaching the camp I jumped the creek with Buckskin Joe to meet them, expecting our party would follow me; but as they could not induce their horses to make the leap, I was the only one who got over. I ordered the sergeant to dismount his men, leaving one to hold the horses, and come over with the rest and help me drive the Indians off. Before they could do this, two mounted warriors closed in on me and were shooting at short range. I returned their fire and had the satisfaction of seeing one of them fall from his horse. At this moment I felt blood trickling down my forehead, and hastily running my hand through my hair I discovered that I had received a scalp wound. The Indian, who had shot me, was not more than ten yards away, and when he saw his partner tumble from his saddle he turned to run.

By this time the soldiers had crossed the creek to assist me, and were blazing away at the other Indians. Urging Buckskin Joe forward, I was soon alongside of the chap who had wounded me, when raising myself in the stirrups I shot him through the head.

The reports of our guns had been heard by Captain Meinhold, who at once started with his company up the creek to our aid, and when the remaining Indians, whom we were still fighting, saw these re-enforcements coming, they whirled their horses and fled; as their steeds were quite fresh they made their escape. However, we killed six out of the thirteen Indians, and captured   most of their stolen stock. Our loss was one man killed, and another—myself—slightly wounded. One of our horses [drawing] "RAISING MYSELF IN THE STIRRUPS I SHOT HIM THROUGH THE HEAD." was killed, and Buckskin Joe was wounded, but I didn't discover the fact until some time afterwards, as he had been shot in the breast and showed no signs of having received a scratch of any kind. Securing the scalps of the dead Indians and other trophies we returned to the fort.

I made several other scouts during the summer with different officers of the Third Cavalry, one being with Maj. Alick Moore, a good officer, with whom I was out for thirty days. Another long one was with Major Curtis, with whom I followed some Indians from the South Platte river to Fort Randall on the Missouri river, in Dakota, on which trip the command ran out of   rations and for fifteen days subsisted entirely upon the game we killed.


In the fall of 1872 the Earl of Dunraven and Dr. Kingsley, with several friends, came to Fort McPherson with a letter from General Sheridan, asking me to accompany them on an elk hunt. I did so, and afterwards spent several weeks in hunting with the Earl of Dunraven, who was a thorough sportsman and an excellent hunter. It was while I was out with the Earl that a Chicago party—friends of General Sheridan—arrived at Fort McPherson for the purpose of going out on a hunt also. They, too, had a letter from the General requesting me to go with them. The Earl had not yet finished his hunt, but as I had been out with him for several weeks, and he had by this time learned where to find plenty of elks and other game, I concluded to leave him and accompany the Chicago party. I informed him of my intention and gave him my reasons for going, at the same time telling him I would send him one of my scouts, Texas Jack, who was a good hunter, and would be glad to accompany him. The Earl seemed to be somewhat offended at this, and I don't think he has ever forgiven me for "going back on him." Let that be as it may, he found Texas Jack a splendid hunter and guide, and Jack was his guide on several hunts afterwards.

Among the gentlemen who composed the Chicago party were E. P. Green,—son-in-law of Remington, the rifle manufacturer,—Alexander Sample, Mr. Milligan, of the firm of Heath & Milligan, of Chicago, and several others, whose names I do not now remember. Mr. Milligan was a man full of life, and was continually "boiling over with fun." He was a regular velocipede, so to speak, and was here, there, and everywhere. He was exceedingly desirous of having an Indian fight on the trip, not that he was naturally a blood-thirsty man, but just for variety he wanted a little "Indian pie." He was in every respect the life of the party, during the entire time that we were out. One day while he was hunting with Sample and myself we came in sight of a band of thirty mounted Indians.


"Milligan, here's what you've been wanting for some time," said I, "for yonder is a war party of Indians and no mistake; and they'll come for us, you bet."

"I don't believe this is one of my fighting days," replied Milligan, "and it occurs to me that I have urgent business at the camp."


Our camp was five or six miles distant on the Dismal river, and our escort consisted of a company of cavalry commanded by Captain Russell. The soldiers were in camp, and Milligan thought that Captain Russell ought to be at once notified of the appearance of these Indians. Knowing that we could reach the camp in safety, for we were well mounted, I continued to have considerable amusement at Milligan's expense, who finally said:

"Cody, what's making my hat raise up so. I can hardly keep it on my head."

Sample, who was as cool as a cucumber, said to Milligan: "There must be something wrong with your hair. It must be trying to get on end."

"It's all very fine for you fellows to stand here and talk," replied Milligan, "but I am not doing justice to my family by remaining. Sample, I think we are a couple of old fools to have come out here, and I never would have done so if it had not been for you."

By this time the Indians had discovered us and were holding a consultation, and Milligan turned his horse in the direction of the camp. I never believed that he was half as scared as he seemed to be, but that he was merely pretending so that we could enjoy our joke. However, we did not wait any longer, but rode into camp and notified Captain Russell, who immediately started with his company to pursue the band. While we were riding along with the company Milligan said to Sample: "Now, Alick, let them come on. We may yet go back to Chicago covered with glory."

We struck the trail going north, but as we had not come out   on a scout for Indians, we concluded not to follow them; although Milligan was now very anxious to proceed and clean them out. The hunt came to an end in a day or two, and we escorted the visiting sportsmen to North Platte, where they took the train for Chicago. Before their departure they extended to me a very cordial invitation to come to their city on a visit, promising that I should be well taken care of.


Soon after this I had the pleasure of guiding a party of gentlemen from Omaha on a buffalo hunt. Among the number [drawing] INDIAN "PIPE OF PEACE." were Judge Dundy, Colonel Watson B. Smith, and U. S. District Attorney Neville. We left Fort McPherson in good trim. I was greatly amused at the "style" of Mr. Neville, who wore a stove-pipe hat and a swallow tail coat, which made up a very comical rig for a buffalo hunter. As we galloped over the prairie, he jammed his hat down over his ears to keep it from being shaken off his head, and in order to stick to his horse, he clung to the pommel of his saddle. He was not much of a rider, and he went bouncing up and down, with his swallow-tails flopping in the air. The sight I shall never forget, for it was enough to make a "horse laugh," and I actually believe old Buckskin Joe did laugh.

However, we had a splendid hunt, and on the second day I   lariated, or roped, a big buffalo bull and tied him to a tree,—a feat which I had often performed, and which the gentlemen requested me to do on this occasion for their benefit, as they had heard of my skill with the lariat. I captured several other buffaloes in the same way. The gentlemen returned to Omaha well pleased with their hunt.

In the fall of the year 1872, a convention was held at Grand Island, when some of my friends made me their candidate to represent the Twenty-sixth District in the Legislature of Nebraska; but as I had always been a Democrat and the State was largely Republican, I had no idea of being elected. In fact I cared very little about it, and therefore made no effort whatever to secure an election. However, I was elected and that is the way in which I acquired my title of Honorable.




DURING the summer and fall of 1872, I received numerous letters from Ned Buntline, urging me to come East and go upon the stage to represent my own character. "There's money in it," he wrote, "and you will prove a big card, as your character is a novelty on the stage."

At times I almost determined to make the venture; but the recollection of that night when I stood on the stage of the Bowery Theater and was unable to utter a word above a whisper, would cause me to stop and think and become irresolute. I feared that I would be a total failure, and wrote Buntline to that effect. But he insisted that I would soon get over all that embarrassment, and become accustomed to the stage, so that I would think no more of appearing before five thousand people than I would before half a dozen. He proposed to organize a good company, and wished me to meet him in Chicago, where the opening performance would be given.

I remained undecided as to what I ought to do. The officers at the fort, as well as my family and friends to whom I had mentioned the matter, laughed at the idea of my ever becoming an actor. That I, an old scout who had never seen more than twenty or thirty theatrical performances in my life, should think of going upon the stage, was ridiculous in the extreme—so they all said.

A few days after my election to the Legislature a happy event occurred in my family circle, in the birth of a daughter whom we named Ora; about the same time I received another letter from Buntline, in which he requested me to appear on the stage for a few months as an experiment; and he said that if I made   a failure or did not like the business, I could easily return to my old life.

My two sisters who had been living with us had married—Nellie, to A. C. Jester, a cattle man, and May, to Ed. Bradford, a railroad engineer—and consequently left us; and my wife had been wishing for a long time to visit her parents in St. Louis. Taking these and other things into consideration I finally resolved to resign my seat in the Legislature and try my luck behind the foot-lights. I informed General Reynolds of my determination, telling him at the same time that at the end of the month, November, I would resign my position under him. The General regretted to hear this, and advised me not to take the step, for I was leaving a comfortable little home, where I was sure of making a good living for my family; while, on the other hand, I was embarking upon a sea of uncertainty. Having once [drawing] TEXAS JACK (J. B. OMOHUNDRO). made up my mind, however, nothing could change it.


While I was selling my horses and other effects, preparatory to leaving the fort, one of my brother scouts, Texas Jack, said he would like to accompany me. Now as Jack had also appeared as the hero in one of Ned Buntline's stories, I thought that he would make as good a "star" as myself, and it was accordingly arranged that Jack should go with me. On our way east we   stopped in Omaha a day or two to visit General Augur and other officers, and also the gentlemen who were out on the Judge Dundy Hunt. Judge Dundy and his friends gave a dinner party in my honor at the leading restaurant and entertained me very handsomely during my stay in the city.

At Omaha I parted with my family, who went to St. Louis, while Jack and myself proceeded to Chicago. Ned Buntline and Mr. Milligan, having been apprised of our coming by a telegram, met us at the depot. Mr. Milligan accompanied us to the Sherman house, where he had made arrangements for us to be his guests while we remained in the city. I didn't see much of Buntline that evening, as he hurried off to deliver a temperance lecture in one of the public halls. The next day we met him by appointment, and the first thing he said, was:—

"Boys, are you ready for business?"

"I can't answer that," replied I, "for we don't know what we are going to do."

"It's all arranged," said he, "and you'll have no trouble whatever. Come with me. We'll go and see Nixon, manager of the Amphitheater. That's the place where we are to play. We'll open there next Monday night." Jack and myself accordingly accompanied him to Manager Nixon's office without saying a word, as we didn't know what to say.

"Here we are, Mr. Nixon," said Buntline; "here are the stars for you. Here are the boys; and they are a fine pair to draw to. Now, Nixon, I am prepared for business."

Nixon and Buntline had evidently had a talk about the terms of our engagement. Buntline, it seems, was to furnish the company, the drama, and the pictorial printing, and was to receive sixty per cent. of the gross receipts for his share; while Nixon was to furnish the theater, the attaches, the orchestra, and the local printing, and receive forty per cent. of the gross receipts.


"I am ready for you, Buntline. Have you got your company yet?" asked Nixon.


"No, sir; but there are plenty of idle theatrical people in town, and I can raise a company in two hours," was his reply.

"You haven't much time to spare, if you open on Monday night," said Nixon. "If you will allow me to look at your drama, to see what kind of people you want, I'll assist you in organizing your company."

"I have not yet written the drama," said Buntline.

"What the deuce do you mean? This is Wednesday, and you propose to open on next Monday night. The idea is ridiculous. Here you are at this late hour without a company and without a drama. This will never do, Buntline. I shall have to break my contract with you, for you can't possibly write a drama, cast it, and rehearse it properly for Monday night. Furthermore, you have no pictorial printing as yet. These two gentlemen, whom you have with you, have never been on the stage, and they certainly must have time to study their parts. It is preposterous to think of opening on Monday night, and I'll cancel the engagement."

This little speech was delivered in rather an excited manner by Mr. Nixon. Buntline said that he would write the drama that day and also select his company and have them at the theater for rehearsal next morning. Nixon laughed at him, and said there was no use of trying to undertake anything of the kind in so short a time—it was utterly impossible to do it. Buntline, whose ire was rising, said to Nixon: "What rent will you ask for your theater for next week?"

"Six hundred dollars," was the reply.

"Well, sir, I'll take your theater for next week at that price, and here is half the amount in advance," said Buntline, as he threw down three hundred dollars on the stand. Nixon took the money, gave a receipt for it, and had nothing more to say.

"Now, come with me boys," said Buntline, and away we went to the hotel. Buntline immediately obtained a supply of peas, ink and paper, and then engaged all the hotel clerks as penmen. In less than an hour after he had rented the theater, he was dashing off page after page of his proposed drama—the work being   done in his room at the hotel. He then set his clerks at copying for him, and at the end of four hours he jumped up from the table, and enthusiastically shouted; "Hurrah for 'The Scouts of the Plains!' That's the name of the play. The work is done. Hurrah!"

The parts were then copied off separately by the clerks, and handing us our respective portions Buntline said: "Now, boys, go to work, and do your level best to have this dead-letter perfect for the rehearsal, which takes place to-morrow morning at ten o'clock, prompt. I want to show Nixon that we'll be ready on time."

I looked at my part and then at Jack; and Jack looked at his part and then at me. Then we looked at each other, and then at Buntline. We did not know what to make of the man.

"How long will it take to commit your part to memory, Bill?" asked Jack.

"About six months, as near as I can calculate. How long will it take you?" answered I.

"It will take me about that length of time to learn the first line," said Jack. Nevertheless [drawing] STUDYING THE PARTS. we went to our room and commenced studying. I thought it was the hardest work I had ever done.

"This is dry business," finally remarked Jack.

"That's just what it is," I answered; "jerk the bell, Jack." The bell-boy soon appeared. We ordered refreshments; after partaking thereof we resumed our task. We studied hard for an hour or two, but finally gave it up as a bad job, although we had succeeded in committing a small portion to memory.   Buntline now came into the room and said: "Boys, how are you getting along?"

"I guess we'll have to go back on this studying business as it isn't our forte," said I.

"Don't weaken now, Bill; you'll come out on the top of the heap yet. Let me hear you recite your part," said Buntline. I began "spouting" what I had learned, but was interrupted by Buntline: "Tut! tut! you're not saying it right. You must stop at the cue."

"Cue! What the mischief do you mean by the cue? I never saw any cue except in a billiard room," said I. Buntline thereupon explained it to me, as well as to Jack, who was ignorant as myself concerniug the "cue" business.

"Jack, I think we had better back out and go to hunting again," said I.


"See here, boys; it won't do to go back on me at this stage of the game. Stick to it, and it may be the turning point in your lives and lead you on to fortune and to fame."

"A fortune is what we are after, and we'll at least give the wheel a turn or two to see what luck we have," said I. This satisfied Buntline, but we didn't study any more after he left us. The next morning we appeared at rehearsal and was introduced to the company. The first rehearsal was hardly a success; and the succeeding ones were not much better. The stage manager did his best to teach Jack and myself what to do, but when Monday night come we didn't know much more about it than when we began.

The clock struck seven, and then we put on our buckskin suits, which were the costumes we were to appear in. The theater was being rapidly filled, and it was evident that we were going to make our début before a packed house. As the minutes passed by, Jack and I became more and more nervous. We occasionally looked through the holes in the curtain, and saw that the people


When at length the curtain arose, our courage had returned, so that we thought we could face the immense crowd; yet when the time came for us to go on, we were rather slow in making our appearance. As we stepped forth we were received with a storm of applause, which we acknowledged with a bow.

Buntline, who was taking the part of "Cale Durg," appeared, and gave me the "cue" to speak "my little piece," but for the life of me I could not remember a single word. Buntline saw I [drawing] BEHIND THE FOOTLIGHTS. was "stuck," and a happy thought occurred to him. He said, as if it were in the play:


"Where have you been, Bill? What has kept you so long?"

Just then my eye happened to fall on Mr. Milligan, who was surrounded by his friends, the newspaper reporters, and several military officers, all of whom had heard of his hunt and "Indian fight"—he being a very popular man, and widely known in Chicago. So I said:—

"I have been out on a hunt with Milligan."


This proved to be a big hit. The audience cheered and applauded, which gave me greater confidence in my ability to get through the performance all right. Buntline, who was a very versatile man, saw that it would be a good plan to follow this up and said: "Well, Bill, tell us all about the hunt." I thereupon proceeded to relate in detail the particulars of the affair. I succeeded in making it rather funny, and I was frequently interrupted by rounds of applause. Whenever I began to "weaken," Buntline would give me a fresh start, by asking some question. In this way I took up fifteen minutes, without once speaking a word of my part; nor did I speak a word of it during the whole evening. The prompter, who was standing between the wings, attempted to prompt me, but it did no good; for while I was on the stage I "chipped in" anything I thought of.

The "Scouts of the Plains" was an Indian drama, of course; and there were between forty and fifty "supers" dressed as Indians. In the fight with them, Jack and I were at home. We blazed away at each other with blank cartridges; and when the scene ended in a hand-to-hand encounter—a general knock-down and drag-out—the way Jack and I killed Indians was "a caution." We would kill them all off in one act, but they would come up again ready for business in the next. Finally the curtain dropped, the play was ended, and I congratulated Jack and myself on having made such a brilliant and successful début. There was no backing out after that.


The next morning there appeared in the Chicago papers some funny criticisms on our first performance. The papers gave us a better send-off than I expected, for they did not criticise us as actors. The Chicago Times said that if Buntline had actually spent four hours in writing that play, it was difficult for anyone to see what he had been doing all the time. Buntline, as "Cale Durg," was killed in the second act, after a long temperance speech; and the Inter-Ocean said that it was to be regretted that he had not been killed in the first act. The company,   however, was very good, and M'dlle. Morlacchi, as "Pale Dove," particularly fine; while Miss Cafarno "spouted" a poem of some seven hundred and three verses, more or less, of which the reader will be glad to know that I only recall the words "I was born in March."

Our engagement proved a decided success financially, if not artistically. Nixon was greatly surprised at the result, and at the end of the week he induced Buntline to take him in as a partner in the company.

The next week we played at DeBar's Opera House, in St. Louis, doing an immense business. The following week we were at Cincinnati, where the theater was so crowded every night that hundreds were unable to obtain admission. We met with equal success all over the country. Theatrical managers, upon hearing of this new and novel combination, which was drawing such tremendous houses, were all anxious to secure us; and we received offers of engagements at all the leading theaters. We played one week at the Boston Theater, and the gross receipts amounted to $16,200. We also appeared at Niblo's Garden, New York, the theater being crowded to its utmost capacity every night of the engagement. At the Arch Street Theater, Philadelphia, it was the same way. There was not a single city where we did not have crowded houses.

We closed our tour on the 16th of June, 1873, at Port Jervis, New York, and when I counted up my share of the profits I found that I was only about $6,000 ahead. I was somewhat disappointed, for, judging from our large business, I certainly had expected a greater sum.

Texas Jack and myself longed for a hunt on the Western prairies once more; and on meeting in New York a party of gentlemen who were desirous of going with us, we all started westward, and after a pleasant trip arrived at Fort McPherson.


Texas Jack and I spent several weeks hunting in the western part of Nebraska, and after this pleasant recreation we went to   New York and organized a theatrical company for the season of 1873-74. Among the people we engaged for our next tour was Wild Bill, whose name, we knew, would be a drawing card. Bill did not think well of our enterprise on account of our unfamiliarity with the stage, but a large salary forced him to forego his diffidence before the public, and he accordingly made his début as an actor. He remained with us during a greater part of the season, much to our advantage, and would have continued but for a demoralizing habit that compelled us to part with [drawing] WILD BILL'S IMPROMPTU PERFORMANCE. him. The habit to which I refer was that of firing blank cartridges at the legs of the supers, often burning them severely and at times almost bringing our performance to a ridiculous close. I remonstrated with him time and again, but all to no purpose, and at last, worn out with expostulations, I reluctantly told him he must either quit shooting the supers or leave the company. Without making any reply he retired to the dressing room and there changing his clothes he elbowed his way out through the audience, leaving word with the stage-carpenter that I could go   to thunder with my show. I met him later in the evening and tried to persuade him to remain with me, but to no avail, and finding him determined Jack and I paid him his wages and gave him an extra purse of $1,000, with which he bade us good-bye.

The next I heard of Wild Bill was as a star at the head of a would-be rival organization that soon went to pieces. Bill left the troupe under the belief that it had disbanded, but he directly after learned that the company had reorganized and were presenting the same play with an actor personating him. When Bill ascertained this fact he sent a letter to the manager demanding that the name of Wild Bill be stricken from the advertisements, but no attention was paid to his objections. Determined to stop the bogus exhibition Bill went to a town where the company was announced to appear and, purchasing a ticket, took a seat near the orchestra, ready for business. When the bogus character at length appeared Bill jumped over the footlights and seizing his personator, threw him through one of the scenes, and then knocked down the manager, who was dressed in the disguise of an Indian, and kicked him over the lights and onto the fellow who was blowing a big horn in the orchestra. The excitement broke up the performance and Bill was arrested, but was let off with a fine of three dollars, which he cheerfully paid for so happy a privilege, after which he went West and participated in several adventures of a thrilling character, a description of which, however, does not properly belong here.


Jack and I played a very successful season, closing at Boston on the 13th of May, 1874. Business called me to New York, and while attending to several matters preparatory to returning to the West, I met an English gentleman, Thomas P. Medley, of London, who had come to America for a hunt on the plains. He had often heard of me and was anxious to engage me as his guide and companion, and he offered to pay the liberal salary of one thousand dollars a month while I was with him. He was a   very wealthy man, as I learned upon inquiry, and was a relative of Mr. Lord, of the firm of Lord & Taylor, of New York. Of course I accepted his offer.



When we reached the hunting ground in Nebraska, he informed me, somewhat to my surprise, that he did not want to go out as Alexis did, with carriages, servants, and other luxuries, but that he wished to rough it just as I would do—to sleep on the ground in the open air, and kill and cook his own meat. We started out from North Platte, and spent several weeks in hunting all over the country.

Mr. Medley proved to be a very agreeable gentleman and an excellent hunter. While in camp he busied himself carrying wood and water, attending to the fire, and preparing and cooking the meals, never asking me to do a thing. He did not perform these menial services to save expenses, but because he wanted to do as the other hunters in the party   were doing. After spending as much time as he wished, we returned to the railroad, and he took the train for the East. Everything that was required on this hunt was paid for in a most liberal manner by Mr. Medley, who also gave the members of the party several handsome presents.

About this time an expedition consisting of seven companies of cavalry and two companies of infantry, to be commanded by Colonel Mills of the Third Cavalry, was being organized to scout the Powder river and Big Horn country, and I was employed as guide for the command. Proceeding to Rawlins, Wyoming, we "outfitted," and other guides were engaged—among them Tom Sun and Bony Ernest, two noted Rocky mountain scouts. We there left the railroad, and passing through the Seminole range of the Rocky mountains we established our supply camp at the foot of Independence Rock on the Sweet Water. I was now on my old familiar stamping ground, and it seemed like home to me. Fifteen years before, I had ridden the pony express and driven the overland stages through this region, and the command was going into the same section of country where Wild Bill's expedition of stage-drivers and express-riders had recaptured from the Indians a large number of stolen stage-horses, as previously related.

Leaving the infantry to guard the supply camp, Colonel Mills struck out for the north with the seven companies of cavalry, and in a few days surprised Little Wolf's band of Arapahoes and drove them into the agencies. We then scouted the Powder river, Crazy Woman's fork, and Clear fork, and then pushed westward through the mountains to the Wind river. After having been out for a month or two we were ordered to return.

I immediately went East and organized another dramatic company for the season of 1874-75, Texas Jack being absent in the Yellowstone country hunting with the Earl of Dunraven. I played my company in all the principal cities of the country, doing a good business wherever I went. The summer of 1875 I spent at Rochester with my family.



For the season of 1875-76, Texas Jack and I reorganized our old combination, and made a very successful tour. While we were playing at Springfield, Massachusetts, April 20th and 21st, 1876, a telegram was handed me just as I was going on the stage. I opened it and found it to be from Colonel G. W. Torrence, of Rochester, an intimate friend of the family, who stated that my little boy Kit was dangerously ill with the scarlet fever. This was indeed sad news, for little Kit had always been my greatest pride. I sent for John Burke, our business manager, and showing him the telegram, told him that I would play the first act, and making a proper excuse to the audience, I would then take the nine o'clock train that same evening for Rochester, leaving him to play out my part. This I did, and at ten o'clock the next morning I arrived in Rochester, and was met at the depot by my intimate friend Moses Kerngood who at once drove me to my home. I found my little boy unable to speak but he seemed to recognize me and putting his little arms around my neck he tried to kiss me. We did everything in our power to save him, but it was of no avail. The Lord claimed his own, and that evening at six o'clock my beloved little Kit died in my arms. We laid him away to rest in the beautiful cemetery of Mount Hope amid sorrow and tears.




WE closed our theatrical season earlier than usual in the spring of 1876, because I was anxious to take part in the Sioux war which was then breaking out. Colonel Mills had written me several letters saying that General Crook was anxious to have me accompany his command, and I promised to do so, intending to overtake him in the Powder river country. But when I arrived at Chicago, on my way west, I learned that my old regiment, the gallant Fifth Cavalry, was on its way back from Arizona to join General Crook, and that my old commander, General Carr, was in command. He had written to military headquarters at Chicago to learn my whereabouts, as he wished to secure me as his guide and chief of scouts. I then gave up the idea of overtaking General Crook, and hastening on to Cheyenne, where the Fifth Cavalry had already arrived, I was met at the depot by Lieutenant King, adjutant of the regiment, he having been sent down from Fort D. A. Russell for that purpose by General Carr, who had learned by a telegram from military headquarters at Chicago that I was on the way. I accompanied the lieutenant on horseback to the camp, and as we rode, one of the boys shouted, "Here's Buffalo Bill!" Soon after there came three hearty cheers from the regiment. Officers and men were all glad to see me, and I was equally delighted to meet them once more. The General at once appointed me his guide and chief of scouts.




The next morning the command pulled out for Fort Laramie, and on reaching the post we found General Sheridan there, accompanied by General Frye and General Forsyth, en route to Red Cloud agency. As the command was to remain here a few days, [drawing] SIOUX INDIANS DESTROYING THE TELEGRAPH LINE. I accompanied General Sheridan to Red Cloud and back, taking a company of cavalry as escort.

The Indians having recently committed a great many depredations on the Union Pacific railroad, destroying telegraph lines, and also on the Black Hills road running off stock, the Fifth Cavalry was sent out to scout the country between the Indian agencies and the hills. The command operated on the South fork of the Cheyenne and at the foot of the Black Hills for about two weeks, having several small engagements with roving   bands of Indians during the time. General Wesley Merritt—who had lately received his promotion to the Colonelcy of the Fifth Cavalry—now came out and took control of the regiment. I was sorry that the command was taken from General Carr, because under him it had made its fighting reputation. However, upon becoming acquainted with General Merritt, I found him to be an excellent officer.


The regiment, by continued scouting, soon drove the Indians out of that section of the country, as we supposed, and we had started on our way back to Fort Laramie, when a scout arrived at the camp and reported the massacre of General Custer and his band of heroes on the Little Big Horn, on the 25th of June, 1876; and he also brought orders to General Merritt to proceed at once to Fort Fetterman and join General Crook in the Big Horn county.

The extraordinary and sorrowful interest attaching to the destruction of Custer and his brave followers, felt by the whole civilized world, prompts me to give herewith a brief description of the causes leading thereto, and some of the details of that horrible sacrifice which so melts the heart to pity.

When the Black Hills gold fever first broke out in 1874, a rush of miners into that country resulted in much trouble, as the Indians always regarded that region with jealous interest, and resisted all encroachments of white men. Instead of the Government adhering to the treaty of 1868 and restraining white men from going into the Hills, Gen. Custer was sent out, in 1874, to intimidate the Sioux. The unrighteous spirit of this order the General wisely disregarded, but proceeded to Prospect Valley, and from there he pushed on to the valley of the Little Missouri. Custer expected to find good grazing ground in this valley, suitable for a camp which he intended to pitch there for several days, and reconnoiter, but the country was comparatively barren and the march was therefore continued to the Belle Fourche valley, where excellent grazing, water. and plenty of wood was found.


Crossing the Fourche the expedition was now among the outlying ranges of the Hills, where a camp was made and some reconnoitering done; but finding no Indians, Gen. Custer continued his march, skirting the Black Hills and passing through a country which he described as beautiful beyond description, abounding with a most luxurious vegetation, cool, crystal streams, a profusion of gaudy, sweet smelling flowers, and plenty of game.

Proceeding down this lovely valley, which he appropriately named Floral Park, an Indian camp-fire, recently abandoned was discovered, and fearing a collision unless pains were taken to prevent it, Custer halted and sent out his chief scout, Bloody Knife, with twenty friendly Indian allies to trail the departed Sioux. They had gone but a short distance when, as Custer himself relates: "Two of Bloody Knife's young men came galloping back and informed me that they had discovered five Indian lodges a few miles down the valley, and that Bloody Knife, as directed, had concealed his party in a wooded ravine, where they awaited further orders. Taking E company with me, which was afterward reinforced by the remainder of the scouts and Col. Hart's company, I proceeded to the ravine where Bloody Knife and his party lay concealed, and from the crest beyond obtained a full view of the five Indian lodges, about which a considerable number of ponies were grazing. I was enabled to place my command still nearer to the lodges undiscovered. I then dispatched Agard, the interpreter, with a flag of truce, accompanied by ten of our Sioux scouts, to acquaint the occupants of the lodges that we were friendly disposed and desired to communicate with them. To prevent either treachery or flight on their part, I galloped the remaining portion of my advance and surrounded the lodges. This was accomplished almost before they were aware of our presence. I then entered the little village and shook hands with its occupants, assuring them through the interpreter, that they had no cause to fear, as we were not there to molest them, etc."

Finding there was no disposition on the part of Gen. Custer   to harm them, the Indians dispatched a courier to their principal village, requesting the warriors to be present at a council with the whites. This council was held on the following day, but though Custer dispensed coffee, sugar, bacon and other presents to the Indians, his advice to them regarding the occupation of their country by miners was treated with indifference, for which, he observes in his official report, "I cannot blame the poor savages."


During the summer of 1875 Gen. Crook made several trips into the Black Hills to drive out the miners and maintain the government's faith, but while he made many arrests there was no punishment and the whole proceeding became farcical. In August of the same year Custer City was laid out and two weeks later it contained a population of six hundred souls. These Gen. Crook drove out, but as he marched from the place others swarmed in and the population was immediately renewed.

It was this inability, or real indisposition, of the government to enforce the terms of the treaty of 1868 that led to the bitter war with Sitting Bull and which terminated so disastrously on the 25th of June, 1876.

It is a notorious fact that the Sioux Indians, for four years immediately preceding the Custer massacre, were regularly supplied with the most improved fire-arms and ammunition by the agencies at Brule, Grand River, Standing Rock, Fort Berthold, Cheyenne and Fort Peck. Even during the campaign of 1876, in the months of May, June and July, just before and after Custer and his band of heroes rode down into the valley of death, these fighting Indians received eleven hundred and twenty Winchester and Remington rifles and 413,000 rounds of patent ammunition, besides large quantities of loose powder, lead and primers, while during the summer of 1875 they received several thousand stand of arms and more than a million rounds of ammunition. With this generous provision there is no cause for wonder that the Sioux were able to resist the government and   [drawing] THE SUN, OR TORTURE DANCE. Among the curious ceremonies practiced by some of the Northwest Indians, particularly the Sioux tribe, is the Sun Dance, which, however, is very rarely performed. Once in a great while some of the more courageous, to show their bravery and endurance, inflict upon themselves such tortures as are shown in the illustration, in which condition they remain sometimes for days, and until either completely prostrated, or the flesh is torn out.   attract to their aid all the dissatisfied Cheyennes and other Indians in the Northwest.

Besides a perfect fighting equipmeat, all the Indians recognized in Sitting Bull the elements of a great warrior, one whose superior, perhaps, has never been known among any tribe; he combined all the strategic cunning of Tecumseh with the cruel, uncompromising hatred of Black Kettle, while his leadership was far superior to both. Having decided to precipitate a terrible war, he chose his position with consummate judgment, selecting a central vantage point surrounded by what is known as the "bad lands," and then kept his supply source open by an assumed friendship with the Canadian French. This he was the better able to accomplish, since some years before he had professed conversion to Christianity under the preaching of Father DeSmet and maintained a show of great friendship for the Canadians.


War against the Sioux having been declared, brought about by the combined causes of Black Hill outrages and Sitting Bull's threatening attitude, it was decided to send out three separate expeditions, one of which should move from the north, under Gen. Terry, from Fort Lincoln; another from the east, under Gen. Gibbon, from Fort Ellis, and another from the south, under Gen. Crook, from Fort Fetterman; these movements were to be simultaneous, and a junction was expected to be formed near the headwaters of the Yellowstone river.

For some cause, which I will refrain from discussing, the commands did not start at the same time. Gen. Crook did not leave Fetterman until March 1st, with seven hundred men and forty days' supply. The command was intrusted to Col. Reynolds, of the Third Cavalry, accompanied by Gen. Crook, the department commander. Nothing was heard of this expedition until the 22d following, when Gen. Crook forwarded from Ft. Reno a brief account of his battle on Powder river. The result of this fight, which lasted five hours, was the destruction of Crazy Horse's village of one hundred and five lodges; or that   is the way the dispatch read, though many assert that the battle resulted in little else than a series of remarkable blunders which suffered the Indians to make good their escape, losing only a small quantity of their property.

One serious trouble arose out of the Powder river fight, which was found in an assertion made by Gen. Crook, or at least attributed to him, that his expedition had proved that instead of there being 15,000 or 20,000 hostile Indians in the Black Hills and Big Horn county, that the total number would not exceed 2,000. It was upon this estimation that the expeditions were prepared.

The Terry column, which was commanded by Gen. Custer, consisted of twelve companies of the Seventh Cavalry, and three companies of the Sixth and Seventeenth Infantry, with four Gatling guns, and a detachment of Indian scouts. This force comprised twenty-eight officers and seven hundred and forty-seven men, of the Seventh Cavalry, eight officers and one hundred and thirty-five men of the Sixth and Seventeenth Infantry, two officers and thirty-two men in charge of the Gatling battery, and forty-five enlisted Indian scouts, a grand total of thirty-eight officers and nine hundred and fifty-nine men, including scouts.

The combined forces of Crook, Gibbon, Terry and Custer, did not exceed twenty-seven hundred men, while opposed to them were fully 17,000 Indians, all of whom were provided with the latest and most improved patterns of repeating rifles.

On the 16th of June Gen. Crook started for the Rosebud, on which stream it was reported that Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse were stationed; about the same time a party of Crow Indians, who were operating with Gen. Crook, returned from a scout and reported that Gen. Gibbon, who was on Tongue river, had been attacked by Sitting Bull, who had captured several horses. Crook pushed on rapidly toward the Rosebud, leaving his train behind and mounting his infantry on mules. What were deemed accurate reports, stated that Sitting Bull was still on the Rosebud, only sixty miles from the point where Gen. Crook camped on the night of the 15th of June. The command traveled forty   [drawing] THE LAST ONE OF CUSTER'S BRAVE BAND.   miles on the sixteenth, and when within twenty miles of the Sioux' principal position, instead of pushing on, Gen. Crook went into camp.


The next morning he was much surprised at finding himself attacked by Sitting Bull, who swooped down on him with the first streaks of coming dawn, and a heavy battle followed. Gen. Crook, who had camped in a basin surrounded on all sides by high hills, soon found his position so dangerous that it must be changed at all hazards. The advance was therefore sounded with Noyes' battalion occupying a position on the right, Mills on the right center, Chambers in the center, and the Indian allies on the left. Mills and Noyes charged the enemy in magnificent style, breaking the line and striking the rear. The fight continued hot and furious until 2 P. M., when a gallant charge of Col. Royall, who was in reserve, supported by the Indian allies, caused the Sioux to draw off to their village, six miles distant, while Gen. Crook went into camp, where he remained inactive for two days.

In the meantime, as the official report recites: "Generals Terry and Gibbon communicated with each other June 1st, near the junction of the Tongue and Yellowstone rivers, and learned that a heavy force of Indians had concentrated on the opposite bank of the Yellowstone, but eighteen miles distant. For fourteen days the Indian pickets had confronted Gibbon's videttes."

Gen. Gibbon reported to Gen. Terry that the cavalry had thoroughly scouted the Yellowstone as far as the mouth of the Big Horn, and no Indians had crossed it. It was now certain that they were not prepared for them, and on the Powder, Tongue, Rosebud, Little Horn and Big Horn rivers, Gen. Terry at once commenced feeling for them. Major Reno, of the Seventh Cavalry, with six companies of that regiment, was sent up Powder river one hundred and fifty miles, to the mouth of Little Powder to look for the Indians, and, if possible to communicate with General Crook. He reached the mouth of the Little Powder in five days, but saw no Indians, and could   hear nothing of Crook. As he returned, he found on the Rosebud a very large Indian trail, about nine days old, and followed it a short distance, when he turned about up Tongue river, and reported to Gen. Terry what he had seen. It was now known that no Indians were on either Tongue or Little Powder rivers, and the net had narrowed down to Rosebud, Little Horn and Big Horn rivers.

Gen. Terry, who had been waiting with Custer and the steamer Far West, at the mouth of Tongue river, for Reno's report, as soon as he heard it, ordered Custer to march up the south bank to a point opposite Gen. Gibbon, who was encamped on the north bank of the Yellowstone. Accordingly Terry, on board the steamer Far West, pushed up the Yellowstone, keeping abreast of Gen. Custer's column.

Gen. Gibbon was found in camp quietly awaiting developments. A consultation was had with Gens. Gibbon and Custer, and then Gen. Terry definitely fixed upon the plan of action. It was believed the Indians were at the head of the Rosebud, or over on the Little Horn, a dividing ridge only fifteen miles wide separating the two streams. It was announced by Gen. Terry that Gen. Custer's column "would strike the blow."

At the time that a junction was formed between Gibbon and Terry, Gen. Crook was about one hundred miles from them, while Sitting Bull's forces were between the commands. Crook, after his battle, fell back to the head of Tongue river. The Powder, Tongue, Rosebud and Big Horn rivers all flow northwest, and empty into the Yellowstone; as Sitting Bull was between the headwaters of the Rosebud and Big Horn, the main tributary of the latter being known as the Little Big Horn, a sufficient knowledge of the topography of the country is thus afforded by which to definitely locate Sitting Bull and his forces.

Having now ascertained the position of the enemy, or reasoned out the probable position. Gen. Terry sent a dispatch to Gen. Sheridan, as follows: "No Indians have been met with as yet, but traces of a large and recent camp have been discovered twenty or thirty miles up the Rosebud. Gibbon's column will   move this morning on the north side of the Yellowstone, for the mouth of the Big Horn, where it will be ferried across by the supply steamer, [drawing] CUSTER'S LAST SHOT. and whence it will proceed to the mouth of the Little Horn, and so on. Custer will go up the Rosebud to-morrow with his whole regiment, and thence to the headwaters of the Little Horn, thence down that stream."

Followiag this report came an order, signed by E. W. Smith, Captain of the Eighteenth Infantry, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, directing General Custer to follow the Indian trail discovered, pushing the Indians from one side while Gen. Gibbon pursued them from an opposite direction. As no instructions were given as to the rate each division should travel, Custer, noted for his quick, energetic   movements, made ninety miles the first three days, and, discovering the Indians in large numbers, divided his command into three divisions, one of which he placed under Major Reno, another under Major Benteen, and led the other himself.


As Custer made a detour to enter the village, Reno struck a large body of Indians, who, after retreating nearly three miles, turned on the troops and ran them pell mell across Grassy creek into the woods. Reno over-estimated the strength of his enemies and thought he was being surrounded. Benteen came up to the support of Reno, but he too took fright and got out of his position without striking the enemy.

While Reno and Benteen were trying to keep open a way for their retreat, Custer charged on the village, first sending a courier, Trumpeter Martin, to Reno and Benteen with the following dispatch: "Big village; be quick; send on the packs." This order was too plain to be misconstrued. It clearly meant that he had discovered the village, which he intended attacking at once; to hurry forward to his support and bring up the packs, ambulances, etc. But instead of obeying orders, Reno and Benteen stood aloof, fearful lest they should endanger their position, while the brave Custer and his squad of noble heroes rushed down like a terrible avalanche upon the Indian village. In a moment, fateful incident, the Indians came swarming about that heroic band until the very earth seemed to open and let loose the elements of volcanic fury, or like a riot of the fiends of Erebus, blazing with the hot sulphur of their impious dominion. Down from the hillside, up through the valleys, that dreadful torrent of Indian cruelty and massacre poured around the little squad to swallow it up with one grand swoop of fire. But Custer was there at the head, like Spartacus, fighting the legions about him, tall, graceful, brave as a lion at bay, and with thunderbolts in his hands. His brave followers formed a hollow square, and met the rush, and roar, and fury of the demons. Bravely they breasted that battle shock, bravely stood up and faced the leaden   hail, nor quailed when looking into the blazing muzzles of five thousand deadly rifles.


Brushing away the powder grimes that had settled in his face, Custer looked over the boiling sea of fury around him, peering through the smoke for some signs of Reno and Benteen, but seeing none yet thinking of the aid which must soon come, with cheering words to his comrades, he renewed the battle, fighting still like a Hercules and piling heaps of victims around his very feet.

Hour after hour passed and yet no friendly sign of Reno's coming; nothing to be seen saving the battle smoke, streaks of fire splitting though the misty clouds, blood flowing in rivulets under tramping feet, dying comrades, and Indians swarming about him, rending the air with their demoniacal "hi-yi-yip-yah,—yah-hi-yah."


The fight continued with unabated fury until late in the afternoon; men had sunk down beside their gallant leader until there was but a handful left, only a dozen, bleeding from many wounds and hot carbines in their stiffening hands. The day is almost done, when look! heaven now defend him! the charm of his life is broken, for Custer has fallen; a bullet cleaves a pathway through his side, and as he falters another strikes his noble breast. Like a strong oak stricken by the lightning's bolt, shivering the mighty trunk and bending its withering branches down close to the earth, so fell Custer; but like the reacting branches, he rises partly up again, and striking out like a fatally wounded giant lays three more Indians dead and breaks his mighty sword on the musket of a fourth; then, with useless blade and empty pistol falls back the victim of a dozen wounds. He is the last to succumb to death, and dies, too, with the glory of accomplished duty on his conscience and the benediction of a grateful country on his head. The place where fell these noblest   [drawing] THE FINDING OF CUSTER'S BODY.   of God's heroes is sacred ground, and though it be the Golgotha of a nation's mistakes it is bathed with precious blood, rich with the germs of heroic inheritance.

I have avoided attaching blame to any one, using only the facts that have been furnished me of how Custer came to attack the Sioux village and how and why he died.

When the news of the terrible massacre was learned, soldiers everywhere made a pilgrimage to the sacred place, and friendly hands reared a monument on that distant spot commemorative of the heroism of Custer and his men; collected together all the bones and relics of the battle and piled them up in pyramidal form, where they stand in sunshine and storm, overlooking the Little Big Horn.

Soon after the news of Custer's massacre reached us preparations were immediately made to avenge his death. The whole Cheyenne and Sioux tribes were in revolt and a lively, if not very dangerous, campaign was in prospective.


Two days before receipt of the news of the massacre, Colonel Stanton, who was with the Fifth Cavalry, had been sent to Red Cloud agency and on the evening of the receipt of news of the Custer fight a scout arrived in our camp with a message from the Colonel informing General Merritt that eight hundred Cheyenne warriors had that day left Red Cloud agency to join Sitting Bull's hostile forces in the Big Horn country.

Notwithstanding the instructions to proceed immediately to join General Crook by the way of Fort Fetterman, Colonel Merritt took the responsibility of endeavoring to intercept the Cheyennes, and as the sequel shows he performed a very important service.

He selected five hundred men and horses, and in two hours we were making a forced march back to Hat, or War Bonnet creek—the intention being to reach the main Indian trail running to the north across that creek before the Cheyennes could get there. We arrived there the next night, and at daylight the following   morning, July 17th, 1876, I went out on a scout, and found that the Indians had not yet crossed the creek. On my way back to the command I discovered a large party of Indians, which proved to be the Cheyennes, coming up from the south, and I hurried to the camp with this important information.

The cavalrymen quietly mounted their horses, and were ordered to remain out of sight, while General Merritt, accompanied by two or three aides and myself, went out on a little tour of observation to a neighboring hill, from the summit of which we saw that the Indians were approaching almost directly towards us. Presently fifteen or twenty of them dashed off to the west in the direction from which we had come the night before; and upon closer observation with [drawing] INDIANS RUNNING OFF STOCK. our field glasses, we discovered two mounted soldiers, evidently carrying dispatches for us, pushing forward on our trail.


The Indians were evidently endeavoring to intercept these two men, and General Merritt feared that they would accomplish their object. He did not think it advisable to send out any soldiers to the assistance of the couriers, for fear they would show to the Indians that there were troops in the vicinity who were waiting for them. I finally suggested that the best plan was to wait   [drawing] THE ATTACK AND THE CAPTURE   until the couriers came closer to the command, and then just as the Indians were about to charge, to let me take the scouts and cut them off from the main body of the Cheyennes, who were coming over the divide.

"All right, Cody," said the General, "if you can do that, go ahead."

I rushed back to the command, jumped on my horse, picked out fifteen men, and returned with them to the point of observation. I told General Merritt to give us the word to start out at the proper time, and presently he sang out:

"Go in now, Cody, and be quick about it. They are going to charge on the couriers."

The two messengers were not over four hundred yards from us, and the Indians were only about two hundred yards behind them. We instantly dashed over the bluffs, and advanced on a gallop towards the Indians. A running fight lasted several minutes, during which we drove the enemy some little distance and killed three of their number. The rest of them rode off towards the main body, which had come into plain sight, and halted, upon seeing the skirmish that was going on. We were about half a mile from General Merritt, and the Indians whom we were chasing suddenly turned upon us, and another lively skirmish took place. One of the Indians, who was handsomely decorated with all the ornaments usually worn by a war chief when engaged in a fight, sang out to me, in his own tongue: "I know you, Pa-he-haska; if you want to fight, come ahead and fight me."

The chief was riding his horse back and forth in front of his men, as if to banter me, and I concluded to accept the challenge. I galloped towards him for fifty yards and he advanced towards me about the same distance, both of us riding at full speed, and then, when we were only about thirty yards apart, I raised my rifle and fired; his horse fell to the ground, having been killed by my bullet. Almost at the same instant my own horse went down, he having stepped into a gopher hole. The fall did not hurt me much, and I instantly sprang to my feet. The Indian had   [drawing] THE DUEL WITH YELLOW HAND.   also recovered himself, and we were now both on foot, and not more than twenty paces apart. We fired at each other simultaneously. My usual luck did not desert me on this occasion, for his bullet missed me, while mine struck him in the breast. He reeled and fell, but before he had fairly touched the ground I was upon him, knife in hand, and had driven the keen-edged weapon to its hilt in his heart. Jerking his war-bonnet off, I scientifically scalped him in about five seconds.


The whole affair from beginning to end occupied but little time, and the Indians, seeing that I was some little distance from my company, now came charging down upon me from a hill, in hopes of cutting me off. General Merritt had witnessed the duel, and realizing the danger I was in, ordered Colonel Mason with Company K to hurry to my rescue. The order came none too soon, for had it been given one minute later I would have had not less than two hundred Indians upon me. As the soldiers came up I swung the Indian chieftain's top-knot and bonnet in the air, and shouted:—

"The first scalp for Custer."

General Merritt, seeing that he could not now ambush the Indians, ordered the whole regiment to charge upon them. They made a stubborn resistance for a little while, but it was of no use for any eight hundred, or even sixteen hundred Indians to try and check a charge of the gallant old Fifth Cavalry, and they soon came to that conclusion and began a running retreat towards Red Cloud agency. For thirty-five miles we drove them, pushing them so hard that they were obliged to abandon their loose horses, their camp equipage and everything else. We drove them into the agency, and followed in ourselves, notwithstanding the possibility of our having to encounter the thousands of Indians at that point. We were uncertain whether or not the other agency Indians had determined to follow the example of the Cheyennes and strike out upon the war-path; but that made no difference with the Fifth Cavalry, for they would have fought them all if necessary. It was dark when we rode into the agency,   where we found thousands of Indians collected together; but they manifested no disposition to fight.

While at the agency I learned the name of the Indian chief whom I had killed in the morning; it was Yellow Hand, a son of old Cut-nose—a leading chief of the Cheyennes. Cut-nose having learned that I had killed his son sent a white interpreter to me with a message to the effect that he would give me four mules if I would turn over to him Yellow Hand's [drawing] THE FIRST SCALP FOR CUSTER. war-bonnet, guns, pistols, ornaments, and other paraphernalia which I had captured. I sent back word to the old gentleman that it would give me pleasure to accommodate him, but I could not do it this time.


The next morning we started to join General Crook, who was camped near the foot of Cloud Peak in the Big Horn mountains,   awaiting the arrival of the Fifth Cavalry, before proceeding against the Sioux, who were somewhere near the head of the Little Big Horn,—as his scouts informed him. We made rapid marches and reached General Crook's camp on Goose creek about the 3d of August.

At this camp I met many old friends, among whom was Colonel Royall, who had received his promotion to the Lieutenant-Colonelcy of the Third Cavalry. He introduced me to General Crook, whom I had never met before, but of whom I had often heard. He also introduced me to the General's chief guide, Frank Grouard, a half breed, who had lived six years with Sitting Bull, and knew the country thoroughly.

We remained in this camp only one day, and then the whole troop pulled out for the Tongue river, leaving our wagons behind, but taking with us a large pack train. We marched down the Tongue river for two days, thence in a westerly direction over to the Rosebud, where we struck the main Indian trail, leading down this stream. From the size of the trail, which appeared to be about four days old, we estimated that there must have been in the neighborhood of seven thousand Indians in the war party.

For two or three days we pushed on, but we did not seem to gain much on the Indians, as they were evidently making about the same marches that we were. On the fourth or fifth morning of our pursuit, I rode ahead of the command about ten miles, and mounting a hill I scanned the country far and wide with my field glass, and discovered an immense column of dust rising about ten miles further down the creek, and soon I noticed a body of men marching towards me, that at first I believed to be the Indians of whom we were in pursuit; but subsequently they proved to be General Terry's command. I sent back word to that effect to General Crook, by a scout who had accompanied me, but after he had departed I observed a band of Indians on the opposite side of the creek, and also another party directly in front of me. This led me to believe that I had made a mistake. But shortly afterwards my attention was attracted by the   appearance of a body of soldiers, who were forming into a skirmish line, and then I became convinced that it was General Terry's command after all, and that the red-skins whom I had seen were some of his friendly Indian scouts, who had mistaken me for a Sioux, and fled back to their command terribly excited, shouting, "The Sioux are coming!"


General Terry at once came to the post, and ordered the Seventh Cavalry to form line of battle across the Rosebud; he also ordered up his artillery and had them prepare for action, doubtless dreading another "Custer massacre." I afterwards learned the Indian had seen the dust raised by General Crook's forces, and had reported that the Sioux were coming.

These manœuvres I witnessed from my position with considerable amusement, thinking the command must be badly demoralized, when one man could cause a whole army to form line of battle and prepare for action. Having enjoyed the situation to my heart's content, I galloped down towards the skirmish line, waving my hat and when within about one hundred yards of the troops, Colonel Weir, of the Seventh Cavalry, galloped out and met me. He recognized me at once, and accompanied me inside the line; then he sang out, "Boys, here's Buffalo Bill. Some of you old soldiers know him; give him a cheer!" Thereupon the regiment gave three rousing cheers, and it was followed up all along the line.

Colonel Weir presented me to General Terry, and in answer to his question I informed him that the alarm of Indians which had been given was a false one, as the dust seen by his scouts was caused by General Crook's troops. General Terry thereupon rode forward to meet General Crook, and I accompanied him at his request. That night both commands went into camp on the Rosebud. General Terry had his wagon train with him, and everything to make life comfortable on an Indian campaign. He had large wall tents and portable beds to sleep in, and commodious hospital tents for dining-rooms. His camp looked very   comfortable and attractive, and presented a great contrast to that of General Crook, who had for his headquarters only one small fly tent; and whose cooking utensils consisted of a quart cup—in which he made his coffee himself—and a stick upon which he broiled his bacon. When I compared the two camps, I came to the conclusion that General Crook was an Indian fighter; for it was evident that he had learned that, to follow and fight Indians, a body of men must travel lightly and not be detained by a wagon train or heavy luggage of any kind.

That evening General Terry ordered General Mills to take his regiment, the Fifth Infantry, and return by a forced march to the Yellowstone, and proceed down the river by steamboat to the mouth of Powder river, to intercept the Indians, in case they attempted to cross the Yellowstone. General Miles made a forced march that night of thirty-five miles, which was splendid traveling for an infantry regiment through a mountainous country.

Generals Crook and Terry spent that evening and the next day in council, and on the following morning both commands moved out on the Indian trail. Although General Terry was the senior officer, he did not assume command of both expeditions, but left General Crook in command of his own troops, although they operated together. We crossed the Tongue river to Powder river, and proceeded down the latter stream to a point twenty miles from its junction with the Yellowstone, where the Indian trail turned to the southeast in the direction of the Black Hills. The two commands now being nearly out of supplies, the trail was abandoned, and the troops kept on down Powder river to its confluence with the Yellowstone, and remained there several days. Here we met General Mills, who reported that no Indians had as yet crossed the Yellowstone. Several steamboats soon arrived with a large quantity of supplies, and once more the "Boys in in Blue" were made happy.




ONE evening while we were in camp on the Yellowstone at the mouth of Powder river, I was informed that the commanding officers had selected Louis Richard, a half breed and myself to accompany General Mills on a scouting expedition on the steamer Far West, down the Yellowstone as far as Glendive creek. We were to ride on the pilot and keep a sharp lookout on both sides of the river for Indian trails that might have stream. The idea of scouting on a steamboat was indeed a novel one to me, and I anticipated a pleasant trip.

At daylight next morning we reported on board the steamer to General Mills, who had with him four or five companies of his regiment. We were somewhat surprised when he asked us where our horses were, as we had not supposed that horses would be needed if the scouting was to be done on the steamer. He said we might need them before we got back, and thereupon we had the animals brought on board. In a few minutes we were booming down the river at the rate of about twenty miles an hour.

The steamer Far West was commanded by Captain Grant Marsh, whom I found to be an interesting character. I had often heard of him, for he was and is yet one of the best known river captains in the country. He it was who, with his steamer the Far West, transported the wounded men from the battle of the Little Big Horn to Fort Abraham Lincoln on the Missouri river, and on that trip he made the fastest steamboat time on record. He was a skillful and experienced pilot, handling his boat with remarkable dexterity.


While Richard and myself were at our stations on the pilot house, the steamer with a full head of steam went flying past islands, around bends over sand-bars, at a rate that was [drawing] SCOUTING ON A STEAMBOAT. exhilarating. Presently I thought I could see horses grazing in a distant bend of the river and I reported the fact to General Mills, who asked Captain Marsh if he could land the boat near a large tree which he pointed out to him. "Yes, sir; I can land her there, and make her climb the tree if necessary," said he.

On reaching the spot designated, General Mills ordered two companies ashore, while Richard and myself were instructed to take our horses off the boat and push out as rapidly as possible to see if there were Indians in the vicinity. While we were getting ashore, Captain Marsh remarked that if there was only a good heavy dew on the grass he would shoot the steamer ashore and take us on the scout without the trouble of leaving the boat.

It was a false alarm, however, as the objects we had seen   proved to be Indian graves. Quite a large number of braves who had probably been killed in some battle, were laid on scaffolds, according to the Indian custom, and some of their clothing had been torn loose from the bodies by the wolves and was waving in the air.

On arriving at Glendive creek we found that Colonel Rice and his company of the Fifth Infantry who had been sent there by General Mills, had built quite a good little fort with their trowel-bayonets—a weapon which Colonel Rice was the inventor of, and which is, by the way, a very useful implement of war, as it can be used for a shovel in throwing up intrenchments and can be profitably utilized in several other ways. On the day previous to our arrival, Colonel Rice had a fight with a party of Indians, and had killed two or three of them at long range with his Rodman cannon.


The Far West was to remain at Glendive over night, and General Mills wished to send dispatches back to General Terry at once. At his request I took the dispatches and rode seventy-five miles that night through the bad lands of the Yellowstone, and reached General Terry's camp next morning, after having nearly broken my neck a dozen times or more.

There being but little prospect of any more fighting, I determined to go East as soon as possible to organize a new "Dramatic Combination," and have a new drama written for me based upon the Sioux war. This I knew would be a paying investment as the Sioux campaign had excited considerable interest. So I started down the river on the steamer Yellowstone en route to Fort Beauford. On the same morning Generals Terry and Crook pulled out for Powder river, to take up the old Indian trail which we had recently left.

The steamer had proceeded down the stream about twenty miles when it was met by another boat on its way up the river, having on board General Whistler and some fresh troops for General Terry's command. Both boats landed, and almost the   first person I met was my old friend and partner, Texas Jack, who had been sent out as a dispatch carrier for the New York Herald.

General Whistler, upon learning that General Terry had left the Yellowstone, asked me to carry to him some important dispatches from General Sheridan, and although I objected, he insisted upon my performing this duty, saying that it would only detain me a few hours longer; as an extra inducement he offered me the use of his own thorough-bred horse, which was [drawing] CARSON KILLS AN INDIAN THIEF AT LONG RANGE. on the boat. I finally consented to go, and was soon speeding over the rough and hilly country towards Powder river, and I delivered the dispatches to General Terry the same evening. General Whistler's horse, although a good animal was not used to such hard riding, and was far more exhausted by the journey than I was.

After I had taken a lunch, General Terry asked me if I would carry some dispatches back to General Whistler, and I replied that I would. Captain Smith, General Terry's aid-de-camp, offered me his horse for the trip, and it proved to be an   excellent animal; for I rode him that same night forty miles over the bad lands in four hours, and reached General Whistler's steamboat at one o'clock. During my absence the Indians had made their appearance on the different hills in the vicinity, and the troops from the boat had had several skirmishes with them. When General Whistler had finished reading the dispatches, he said: "Cody, I want to send information to General Terry concerning the Indians who have been skirmishing around here all day. I have been trying all the evening long to induce some one to carry my dispatches to him, but no one seems willing to undertake the trip, and I have got to fall back on you. It is asking a great deal, I know, as you have just ridden eighty miles; but it is a case of necessity, and if you'll go Cody, I'll see that you are well paid for it."

"Never mind about the pay," said I, "but get your dispatches ready and I'll start at once."


In a few minutes he handed me the package and, mounting the same horse which I had ridden from General Terry's camp. I struck out for my destination. It was two o'clock in the morning when I left the boat, and at eight o'clock I rode into General Terry's camp, just as he was about to march—having made one hundred and twenty miles in twenty-two hours.

General Terry, after reading the dispatches, halted his command and then rode on and overtook General Crook, with whom he held a council; the result was that Crook's command moved on in the direction which they had been pursuing, while Terry's forces marched back to the Yellowstone and crossed the river on steamboats. At the urgent request of General Terry I accompanied the command on a scout in the direction of the Dry fork of the Missouri, where it was expected we would strike some Indians.

The first march out from the Yellowstone was made in the night, as we wished to get into the hills without being discovered by the Sioux scouts. After marching three days, a little to the   east of north, we reached the buffalo range and discovered fresh signs of Indians, who had evidently been killing buffaloes. General Terry now called on me to carry dispatches to Colonel Rice, who was still camped at the mouth of Glendive creek, on the Yellowstone—distant about eighty miles from us.

Night had set in with a storm and a drizzling rain was falling when, at ten o'clock, I started on this ride through a section of country with which I was entirely unacquainted. I traveled through the darkness a distance of about thirty-five miles, and at daylight I rode into a secluded spot at the head of a ravine where stood a bunch of ash trees and there I concluded to remain till night, for I considered it a dangerous undertaking to cross the wide prairies in broad daylight—especially as my horse was a poor one. I accordingly unsaddled my animal and ate a hearty breakfast of bacon and hard tack which I had stored in the saddle-pockets; then, after taking a smoke, I lay down to sleep, with my saddle for a pillow. In a few minutes I was in the land of dreams.


After sleeping some time—I can't tell how long—I was suddenly awakened by a roaring, rumbling sound. I instantly seized my gun, sprang to my horse and hurriedly secreted him in the brush. Then I climbed up the steep side of the bank and cautiously looked over the summit; in the distance I saw a large herd of buffaloes which were being chased and fired at by twenty or thirty Indians. Occasionally a buffalo would drop out of the herd, but the Indians kept on until they had killed ten or fifteen. They then turned back and began to cut up their game.

I saddled my horse and tied him to a small tree where I could reach him conveniently in case the Indians should discover me by finding my trail and following it. I then crawled carefully back to the summit of the bluff, and in a concealed position watched the Indians for two hours, during which time they were occupied in cutting up the buffaloes and packing the meat on their ponies. When they had finished this work they rode off in   the direction whence they had come and on the line which I had proposed to travel. It appeared evident to me that their camp was located somewhere between me and Glendive creek, but I had no idea of abandoning the trip on that account.

I waited till nightfall before resuming my journey, and then I bore off to the east for several miles, and by making a semi-circle to avoid the Indians, I got back on my original course, and then pushed on rapidly to Colonel Rice's camp, which I reached just at daylight.



Colonel Rice had been fighting Indians almost every day since he had been encamped at this point, and he was very anxious to notify General Terry of the fact. Of course I was requested to carry his dispatches. After remaining at Glendive a single day I started back to find General Terry, and on the third day I overhauled him at the head of Deer creek while on his way to Colonel Rice's camp. He was not, however, going in the right direction, but bearing too far to the east, and I so informed him. He then asked me to guide the command and I did so.


On arriving at Glendive I bade good-bye to the General and his officers and took passage on the steamer Far West, which was on her way down the Missouri. At Bismarck I left the steamer, and proceeded by rail to Rochester, New York, where I met my family. Mr. J. Clinton Hall, manager of the Rochester Opera House, was very anxious to have me play an engagement at his theater, so I agreed to open the season with him as soon as I had got my drama written; and I did so, meeting with an enthusiastic reception.

My new drama was arranged for the stage by J. V. Arlington, the actor. It was a five-act play, without head or tail, and it made no difference at which act we commenced the performance. Before we had finished the season several newspaper critics, I have been told, went crazy in trying to follow the plot. It afforded us, however, ample opportunity to give a noisy, rattling, gunpowder entertainment, and to present a succession of scenes in the late Indian war, all of which seemed to give general satisfaction.


From Rochester I went to New York and played a very successful engagement at the Grand Opera House under the management of Messrs. Poole and Donnelly. Thence my route took me to all the principal cities in the Eastern, Western and Middle States, and I everywhere met with crowded houses. I then went to the Pacific Coast, against the advice of friends who gave it as their opinion that my style of plays would not take very well in California. I opened for an engagement of two weeks at the Bush Street Theater, in San Francisco, in a season when the theatrical business was dull and Ben DeBar and the Lingards were playing there to empty seats. I expected to play to a slim audience on the opening night, but instead of that I had a fourteen hundred dollar house. Such was my success that I continued my engagement for five weeks, and the theater was crowded at every performance. Upon leaving San Francisco I made a circuit of the interior towns and closed the season at Virginia City, Nevada.


Some time previously I had made arrangements to go into the cattle business in company with my old friend, Major Frank North, and while I was in California he had built our ranches on the South fork of the Dismal river, sixty-five miles north of North Platte, in Nebraska. Proceeding to Ogalalla, the headquarters of the Texas cattle drovers, I found Msjor North there awaiting me, and together we bought, branded and drove to our ranches our first installment of cattle. This occupied us during the remainder of the summer.

Leaving the cattle in charge of Major North, I visited Red Cloud Agency early in the fall, and secured some Sioux Indians to accompany me on my theatrical tour of 1877-78. Taking my family and the Indians with me, I went directly to Rochester. There I left my oldest daughter, Arta, at a young ladies' seminary, while my wife and youngest child traveled with me during the season.

I opened at the Bowery Theater, New York, September 3d, 1877, with a new border drama entitled, "May Cody, or Lost and Won," from the pen of Major A. S. Burt, of the United States army. It was founded on the incidents of the "Mountain Meadow Massacre," and life among the Mormons. It was the best drama I had yet produced, and proved a grand success both financially and artistically. The season of 1877-78 was the most profitable one I had ever had.

In February, 1878, my wife became tired of traveling, and proceeded to North Platte, Nebraska, where, on our farm adjoining the town, she personally superintended the erection of a comfortable family residence, and had it all completed when I reached there, early in May. In this house we are now living, and we hope to make it our home for many years to come.


After my arrival at North Platte, I found that the ranchmen, or cattlemen, had organized a regular annual "round-up," to take place in the spring of the year.

The word "round-up" is derived from the fact that during   the winter months the cattle become scattered over a vast tract of land, and the ranchmen assemble together in the spring to sort out and each secure his own stock. They form a large circle, often of a circumference of two hundred miles, and drive the cattle toward a common center, where, all stock being branded, each owner can readily separate his own from the general herd, and then he drives them to his own ranch.

In this cattle driving business is exhibited some most magnificent horsemanship, for the "cow-boys," as they are called, are invariably skillful and fearless horsemen—in fact only a most [drawing] ON THE ROUND UP. expert rider could be a cow-boy, as it requires the greatest dexterity and daring in the saddle to cut a wild steer out of the herd. Major North was awaiting me, upon my arrival at North Platte, having with him our own horses and men. Other cattle owners, such as Keith and Barton, Coe and Carter, Jack Pratt, the Walker brothers, Guy and Sim Lang, Arnold and Ritchie and a great many others with their outfits, were assembled and were ready to start on the round-up.

As there is nothing but hard work on these round-ups, having to be in the saddle all day, and standing guard over the cattle at night, rain or shine, I could not possibly find out where the fun came in that North had promised me. But it was an exciting life, and the days sped rapidly by; in six weeks we found ourselves   at our own ranch on Dismal river, the round-up having proved a great success, as we had found all our cattle and driven them home. This work being over, I proposed to spend a few weeks with my family at North Platte, for the purpose of making their better acquaintance, for my long and continued absence from home made me a comparative stranger under my own roof. One great source of pleasure to me was that my wife was delighted with the home I had given her amid the prairies of the far West. Soon after my arrival, my sisters, Nellie and May, came to make us a visit, and a delightful time we had during their stay. When they left us I accompanied them to their home in Denver, Colorado, where I passed several days visiting old friends and scenes. Proceeding thence to Ogallala I purchased from Bill Phant, an extensive cattle drover from Texas, a herd of cattle, which I drove to my ranch on the Dismal river, after which I bade my partner and the boys good-bye, and started for the Indian Territory to procure Indians for my Dramatic Combination for the season of 1878-79.


Having secured my Indian actors, and along with them Mr. C. A. Burgess, a government interpreter, and Ed. A. Burgess, known as the "Boy Chief of the Pawnees," I started for Baltimore, where I organized my combination, and which was the largest troupe I had had yet on the road, opening in that city at the Opera House, under the management of Hon. John T. Ford, and then started on a southern tour, playing in Washington, Richmond and as far south as Savannah, Georgia, where we were brought to a sudden halt, owing to the yellow fever which was then cruelly raging in the beautiful cities of the "Land of the cotton and the cane."



WHEN the season of 1882-83 closed I found myself richer by several thousand dollars than I had ever been before, having done a splendid business at every place where my performance given in that year. Immense success and comparative wealth, attained in the profession of showman, stimulated me to greater exertion and largely increased my ambition for public favor. Accordingly, I conceived the idea of organizing a large company of Indians, cow-boys, Mexican vaqueros, famous riders and expert lasso throwers, with accessories of stage coach, emigrant wagons, bucking horses and a herd of buffaloes, with which to give a realistic entertainment of wild life on the plains. To accomplish this purpose, which in many respects was a really herculean undertaking, I sent agents to various points in the far West to engage Indians from several different tribes, and then set about the more difficult enterprise of capturing a herd of buffaloes. After several months of patient work I secured the services of nearly fifty cow-boys and Mexicans skilled in lasso-throwing and famous as daring riders, but when these were engaged, and several buffaloes, elk and mountain sheep were obtained, I found all the difficulties had   not yet been overcome, for such exhibitions as I had prepared to give could only be shown in large open-air enclosures, and these were not always to be rented, while those that I found suitable were often inaccessible by such popular conveyances as street cars. The expenses of such a show as I had determined to give were so great that a very large crowd must be drawn to every exhibition or a financial failure would be certain; hence I soon found that my ambitious conception, instead of bringing me fortune, was more likely to end in disaster. But having gone so far in the matter I determined to see the end whatever it might be.

In the spring of 1883 (May 17th) I opened the Wild West Show at the fair grounds in Omaha, and played to very large crowds, the weather fortunately proving propitious. We played our next engagement at Springfield, Ill., and thence in all the large cities, to the seaboard. The enterprise was not a complete financial success during the first season, though everywhere our performances were attended by immense audiences.


Though I had made no money at the end of the first year, the profit came to me in the way of valuable experience and I was in no wise discouraged. Flattering offers were made me by circus organizations to go on the road as an adjunct to their exhibitions, but I refused them all, determined to win success with my prairie Wild West Show or go down in complete failure. The very large patronage I received during my first season convinced me that if I could form a partnership with some one capable of attending to the management and business details that the enterprise would prove a magnificent success, a belief which I am glad to say was speedily realized.

My career on the stage threw me in contact with a great many leading stars, and I came to have an acquaintanceship with nearly all my contemporary American actors. Among those with whom I became most intimate was Nate Salsbury, a comedian whose equal I do not believe graces the stage of either America or   England to-day. Aside from his popularity and wealth, acquired in legitimate comedy, I knew him to be a reliable friend, and withal endowed with a rare business sagacity that gave him the reputation of being one of the very best, as well as successful, managers in the show business. Knowing his character as such, I [drawing] NATE SALSBURY. approached him with a proposition to join me as an equal partner, in putting the Wild West entertainment again on the road. The result of my overtures was the formation of a partnership that still continues, and under the new management and partnersnip of Cody & Salsbury, the Wild West has won all its glory.


The reader will pardon a digression from the general scope of this autobiography for the probably more interesting, though all too brief, allusion to the career of my esteemed partner, who has won success in life by struggles quite as difficult and trying as any through which I have passed.

Nate (Nathan) Salsbury was born in Freeport, Ill., in 1846, when his parents were in such humble circumstances that his early training was all in the direction of "digging sand and sawing wood." As there was little to bind his affections to the home of his nativity, when the war broke out Nate joined the Fifteenth Illlnois, with which he remained, as a private in the ranks, sixteen months. In 1863 he again enlisted and participated in a dozen battles and was wounded three times. His career as an active participant was terminated by his capture and incarceration in Andersonville prison, where he remained subjected to all the horrors of that dreadful pen for a period of seven months. Being at length exchanged he returned home and entered the law office of Judge Beck, now Chief Justice of Colorado, with the idea of becoming a lawyer. A few months of office study and attendance at commercial school only served to impress him with the idea that the profession would still have a fairly large membership even though his name were not added to the list. Abandoning his former expectations he went to school for a time and in the clash exhibitions and amateur theatricals of his town developed a desire to go on the stage.

The first experience Nate had in search of a crown for his greatest ambition was far from a pleasant one. Having saved up less than a score of dollars he went to Grand Rapids, Mich., and there made application of the Opera House managers, Johnson, Oates & Hayden, for a situation. Mr. Oates asked him his line of business to which Nate modestly replied, "Oh, anything." "Well," said Oates, "what salary do you expect?" "Oh, anything," was the equally prompt response. Seeing that the applicant had evidently not yet passed the threshhold of the profession, Oates said to him, in an indifferent manner. "I will give you twelve dollars a week and you'll be d—d lucky if you   get a cent." He didn't; but he entered the profession, which was the next best thing.

From Grand Rapids Nate went to Detroit, where he remained three months without advancing himself either financially or professionally. Somewhat discouraged he returned to his Illinois home, but only to stay a few months, when his restless ambition prompted him to try his fortune in the East. Accordingly he went to Baltimore, and thence to Boston, where he secured a situation at the Boston Museum with a salary of twelve dollars per week. Here his talent was soon discovered by the management, who raised his salary to a twenty-eight dollars per week. Others also saw the budding genius of Nate and after playing a season at the Museum he accepted the position of leading heavy man at Hooley's theater in Chicago.

His progress thenceforward was rapid, as his popularity grew apace and his salary rose with every new engagement. But there was too much originality in the man to permit of him remaining a member of a stock company, so at the conclusion of his second season at Hooley's he conceived and constructed a comedy entertainment, with eight people in the cast, to which he gave the title of "The Troubadours." For twelve years this organization, as originally formed, with very slight changes, continued on the road and played repeatedly in all the largest cities with splendid success.

Following "The Troubadours," Nate wrote another comedy, called "Patchwork," which had a run of eighteen months, and then he brought out his most successful comedy, "The Brook," which he wrote entire in eight hours, and at a single sitting. This piece he played continuously for five years, making a large amount of money and pleasing millions of people, until he joined me and took the active management of the Wild West Show, which compelled him to withdraw from the stage.


Immediately upon forming a partnership with Salsbury we set about increasing the company and preparing to greatly enlarge   the exhibition. Nearly one hundred Indians, from several tribes, were engaged, among the number being the world famous Chief Sitting Bull, and several other Sioux that had distinguished themselves in the Custer massacre. Besides these we secured the services of many noted plainsmen, such as Buck Taylor, the great rider, lasso thrower and King of the Cowboys; Utah Frank, John Nelson, and a score of other well-known characters. We also captured a herd of elk, a dozen buffaloes and some bears with which to illustrate the chase.




Our vastly enlarged and reorganized company gave daily exhibitions in all the large cities to enormous crowds during the summer of 1884, and in the fall we started for New Orleans to spend the winter exhibiting at the Exposition Grounds. We accordingly chartered a steamer to transport our property and   troupe to the Crescent City. Nothing of moment transpired on the trip until we were near Rodney Landing, Miss., when our boat collided with another and was so badly damaged that she sank in less than an hour. In this accident we lost all our personal effects, including wagons, camp equipage, arms, ammunition, donkeys, buffaloes and one elk. We managed, however, to save our horses, Deadwood coach, band wagon, and—ourselves. The loss thus entailed was about $20,000.

As soon as I could reach a telegraph station I hastily sent a telegram to Salsbury, who was with the Troubadours at Denver, as follows: "Outfit at bottom of the river, what do you advise?" As I learned afterwards, Salsbury was just on the point of going upon the stage to sing a song when my rueful telegram was handed him. The news hit him hard, but in no wise disconcerted him; stepping to the speaking tube connecting with the orchestra he shouted to the leader, "Play that symphony again and a little louder, I want to think a minute." As the music struck up he wrote out the following message: "Go to New Orleans, reorganize and open on your date," which I received and promptly complied with his instructions.

In eight days I had added to the nucleus that had been saved a herd of buffalo and elk, and all the necessary wagons and other properties, completing the equipment so thoroughly that the show in many respects was better prepared than at the time of the accident—and we opened on our date.


The New Orleans exposition did not prove the success that many of its promoters anticipated and the expectations of Mr. Salsbury and myself were alike disappointed, for at the end of the winter we counted our losses at about $60,000.

The following summer we played at Staten Island, on the magnificent grounds of Mr. Erastus Wiman, and met with such splendid success that our losses at New Orleans were speedily retrieved. So well satisfied were we with New York that we leased Madison Square Garden for the winter of 1886-87 and gave our   exhibition there for the first time in a covered space. We gave two performances every day during the entire winter and nearly always played to crowded houses, though the seating capacity of the place was about 15,000.


The immortal bard has well said, "ambition grows with what it feeds on." So with Salsbury and I, our unexampled success throughout America with the Wild West show excited our ambition to conquer other nations than our own. Though the idea of transplanting our exhibition, for a time, to England had frequently occurred to us, the importance of such an undertaking was enlarged and brought us to a more favorable consideration of the project by repeated suggestions from prominent persons of America, and particularly by urgent invitations extended by distinguished Englishmen. While inclined to the enterprise we gave much thought to the enormous expense involved in such a step and might not have decided so soon to try the rather hazardous experiment but for an opportunity that promised to largely increase our chances of success.

Several leading gentlemen of the United States conceived the idea of holding an American Exhibition in the heart of London and to this end a company was organized that pushed the project to a successful issue, aided as they were by several prominent residents of the English capital. When the enterprise had progressed so far as to give flattering promise of an opening at the time fixed upon, a proposition was made to Mr. Salsbury and myself, by the president and directors of the company, to take our show to London and play the season of six months as an adjunct of the American Exhibition, the proposition being a percentage of the gate receipts.

After a mature consideration of the offer we accepted it and immediately set about enlarging our organization and preparing for a departure for England.

A great deal of preliminary work was necessary, but we set manfully about the task of securing the services of a hundred   [drawing] CAPTURING BEAR FOR THE EXHIBITION.   Indians, representative types of the Sioux, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Pawnee and Ogalallas tribes, and succeeded in getting the required number, none of whom had ever been off their reservations prior to joining my show. Among the prominent chiefs thus engaged was Red Shirt, a redoubtable warrior and second only in influence to Sitting Bull himself. A short while before his engagement with us he had quelled an uprising among his people, instigated by a pretender to the chieftainship of the tribe, by invading the pretender's camp with only two of his followers and shooting the leader dead before the eyes of his affrighted wife. This fearless act had served to elevate him very much in the eyes of his people, who thereafter accepted him as a leader. When, therefore, he decided to join the Wild West show, under the flattering offers I made him, his influence aided us very much in procuring our complement of Indians, not only from his own tribe, but from others as well.


Our arrangements having at length been completed, by collecting together a company of more than two hundred men and animals, consisting of Indians, cowboys, (including the celebrated Cowboy band,) Mexican wild riders, celebrated rifle shots, buffaloes, Texas steers, burros, bronchos, racing horses, elk, bears, and an immense amount of camp paraphernalia, such as tents, wagons, stage coach, etc., we chartered the steamship State of Nebraska, of the State line, Capt. Braes, and were ready to set sail to a country that I had long wished to visit,—the Motherland. Accordingly, on Thursday, March 31st, 1887, we set sail from New York, the piers crowded with thousands of our good friends who came down to wave their adieux and to wish us a pleasant voyage. Our departure was an occasion I shall never forget, for as the ship drew away from the pier such cheers went up as I never before heard, while our Cowboy band played "The Girl I left Behind Me" in a manner that suggested more reality than empty sentiment in the familiar air. Salsbury and I, and my daughter Arta, waved our hats in sad farewells and stood upon   [drawing] RED SHIRT KILLING HIS RIVAL.   the deck watching the still cheering crowd until they faded in the distance, and we were out upon the deep, for the first time in my life.


Before starting on the trip several of the Indians expressed grave fears that if they trusted themselves to the great waters a horrible death would soon overtake them, and at the last moment it required all our arts of persuasion to induce them to go on board.

Red Shirt explained that these fears were caused by a belief prevalent among many tribes of Indians, that if a red man attempted to cross the ocean, soon after beginning his journey he would be seized of a malady that would first prostrate the victim and then slowly consume his flesh, day after day, until at length the very skin itself would drop from his bones, leaving nothing but the skeleton and this even could never find burial. This gruesome belief was repeated by chiefs of the several tribes to the Indians who had joined me, so that there is little reason for wonder, that with all our assurances, the poor unlearned children of a nature run riot by neglect, should hesitate to submit themselves to such an experiment.

On the day following our departure from New York the Indians began to grow weary and their stomachs, like my own, became both treacherous and rebellious. Their fears were now so greatly intensified that even Red Shirt, the bravest of his people, looked anxiously towards the hereafter, and began to feel his flesh to see if it were really diminishing. The seal of hopelessness stamped upon the faces of the Indians aroused my pity, and though sick as a cow with hollow-horn myself, I used my utmost endeavors to cheer them up and relieve their forebodings. But for two days nearly the whole company was too sick for any other active service than feeding the fishes, in which I am not proud to say that I performed more than an ordinary share. On the third day, however, we all began to mend so far that I called the Indians together in the main saloon and gave them a   [drawing] OUR DEPARTURE FOR ENGLAND.   Sunday address, as did also Red Shirt, who was now recovered from his anxiety about the future.

After the third day at sea we had an entertainment every afternoon, in which Mr. Salsbury, as singer and comedian, took the leading part, to the intense delight of all on board. On the seventh day a storm came up that raged so fiercely that for a time the ship had to lay to, and during which our stock suffered greatly, but we gave them such good care, and had such excellent luck as well, that none of our animals, save one horse, died on the trip.


At last as we cast anchor off Gravesend a tug boat approaching attracted the entire company on deck, for we were expecting to meet our advance manager, Jno. M. Burke, with general instructions as to our landing, etc. It turned out, however, to be a government boat loaded with custom-house and quarantine officials, under whom we were to pass the usual inspection. Another official accompanied them, with whom arrangements had been made for the passage of our arms, as a restriction was placed upon the landing of our ammunition, of which we had brought a large quantity, the English government regulations requiring that it be unloaded and turned over to the arsenal authorities, in whose charge it was kept during our stay in London, we drawing on them daily for our supply as needed. I feel in duty bound to acknowledge here that the English government, through its different officials, extended to us every kind of courtesy, privileges and general facilities that materially assisted in rendering pleasant the laat few hours of a remarkable voyage. The bovines and buffalo that were a part of our outfit were inspected, and a special permit granted us to take them to the Albert dock, the place of our debarkation, and after holding them in quarantine there for a few days they were allowed to join ua in camp.

Recent disastrous outbreaks of rinderpest, foot and mouth disease, and other ills that bovine flesh is heir to, necessitate the law being very strict as regards importation of cattle, all foreign   beasts being required to be killed within twenty-four hours after their arrival.


During this delay time was given me for reflection and gradually as my eyes wandered over the crowded waterway with its myriads of crafts of every description, from the quaint channel fishing-boat to the mammoth East India trader and ocean steamers, topped by the flags of all nations and hailing from every accessible part of the known world, carrying the productions of every clime and laden with every commodity, I thought of the magnitude of the enterprise I was engaged in and wondered what its results would be.

The freight I had brought with me across the broad Atlantic was such a strange and curious one that I naturally wondered whether, after all trouble, time and expense it had cost me, this pioneer cargo of Nebraska goods would be marketable. In fact, it would take a much more facile pen than mine to portray the thick crowding thoughts that scurried through my brain. Standing on the deck of a ship, called the "State of Nebraska," whose arrival had evidently been watched for with great curiosity, as the number of yachts, tug boats and other crafts which surrounded us attested, my memory wandered back to the days of my youth, when in search of the necessaries of existence and braving the dangers of the then vast wild plains, a section of which comprised the then unsettled territory of Nebraska. I contrasted that epoch of my life, its lonely duties and its hardships, and all its complex history, as the home and battle-ground of a savage foe, with its present great prosperity and its standing as the empire State of the central West. A certain feeling of pride came over me when I thought of the good ship on whose deck I stood, and that her cargo consisted of early pioneers and rude, rough riders from that section, and of the wild horses of the same district, buffalo, deer, elk and antelope—the king game of the prairie,—together with over one hundred representatives of that savage foe that had been compelled to submit to a conquering   civilization and were now accompanying me in friendship, loyalty and peace, five thousand miles from their homes, braving the dangers of the to them great unknown sea, now no longer a tradition, but a reality—all of us combined in an exhibition intended to prove to the center of old world civilization that the vast region of the United States was finally and effectively settled by the English-speaking race.


This train of thought was interrupted by the sight of a tug with the starry banner flying from her peak bearing down upon us, and a tumultuous waving of handkerchiefs on board, evoking shouts and cheers from all our company.

As the tug came nearer, strains of "The Star Spangled Banner," rendered by a band on her deck, fell upon our ears, and immediately our own Cowboy band responded with "Yankee Doodle," creating a general tumult on our ship as the word was passed from bow to stern that friends were near. Once alongside, the company on board the tug proved to be the directors of the American Exhibition, with Lord Ronald Gower heading a distinguished committee accompanied by Maj. Burke and representatives of the leading journals, who made us feel at last that our sea voyage was ended.


After the usual introductions, greetings and reception of instructions, I accompanied the committee on shore at Gravesend, where quite an ovation was given us amid cries of "Welcome to old England" and "three cheers for Bill," which gave pleasing evidence of the public interest that had been awakened in our coming.

A special train of saloon carriages was waiting to convey us to London and we soon left the quaint old Kentish town behind us, and in an hour we arrived at Victoria station. The high road-bed of the railroad, which runs level with the chimney tops, was a novel sight, as we scurried along through what seemed to be an   endless sea of habitation, and I have scarcely yet found out where Gravesend finishes and London commences, so dense is the population of the suburbs off the "boss village" of the British Isles, and so numerous the small towns through which we passed. The impression created by the grand Victoria station, by the underground railroad, the strange sights and busy scenes of the "West End," the hustle and the bustle of a first evening view of mighty London, would alone make a chapter.

My first opinion of the streets was that they were sufficiently lively and noisy to have alarmed all the dogs in every Indian village in the Platte country, from the Missouri river to the headwaters of the Platte, in its most primitive days.

A short trip on the somewhat dark and sulphurous underground railroad brought us to West Kensington, a quiet section of the West End, the station of which had been already connected by special bridges, then nearly completed, with the grounds as yet unknown to London, but destined to become the scene of several months' continuous triumphs. Entering the headquarters of the exhibition we found a bounteous repast set and a generous welcome accorded us. The heartiness of my reception, combined with the natural sense of relief after such a journey and the general indications of success, proved a happy relaxation of the nervous strain to which I had been subjected for several weeks. Speeches, toasts and well wishes, etc., accompanied the spirited and spirituous celebration of the occasion. My genial hosts' capacity for the liquid refreshments would have made me envy them in the 60s, and led me to suspect that there might be accomplishments in England in which even western pioneers are excelled.


After brief social converse, and a tranquilizing smoke, we made a casual visit to the grounds, where the preparations for the stabling, the arena and the grand stand, with busy hundreds of workmen hastening their completions by night by the aid of lucigen lights and bon-fires, presented an animated scene, and a   display of energy rarely witnessed in connection with an amusement enterprise. These operations were dealing with the expenditure of $125,000, including the fencing in of an arena more than a third of a mile in circumference, flanked by a grand stand filled with seats and boxes, estimated to accommodate 20,000 persons. Sheltered stands for 10,000 more were also being erected; it being understood that room for 40,000 spectators in all should be provided at each performance. For the Indian encampment a large hill had been thrown up by spare labor, and this was already decorated by a grove of newly planted trees. The stables for horses, mules and mustangs, and the corrals for buffaloes, antelope, elk, etc., were all in simultaneous course of construction. Everything so far impressed me very favorably and I began to feel that if we did not command success we would, with our advantages of location, surroundings and novelty and realism, at least deserve it.

The interest evinced by the British workmen in my presence detracting somewhat from their attention to business, caused us to retire after a brief inspection. This same curiosity however was as a straw indicating which way the wind blew. I was now, for the first time, introduced in its own habitat to that world-famed vehicle, the London hansom cab. In one of them I was whirled through the West End, past the famous Hyde Park, through Piccadilly, around Leicester and Trafalgar squares, to that central resort and theatrical hub of this vast community, the Strand. This narrow street, in its relation to the great city, reminded me of one of the contracted passes in the "Rockies," to which traffic had been naturally attracted, and usage had made a necessity. The density of its foot traffic, the thronging herd of omnibuses, the twisting, wriggling, shouting, whip-cracking cabbies, seemed like Broadway squeezed narrower, and I realized at once the utility and necessity of the two-wheeled curio in which I was whirled through the bewildering mingle of Strand traffic. With but one or two hub-bumps we were soon landed at the magnificent hotel Metropole, in Northumberland avenue, where I met many American gentlemen from different cities, who   recognized me on sight and gave me hearty greeting. I retired early, determined to retrace my steps to Gravesend at daylight and ascend the Thames on board the Nebraska, as my great anxiety was the successful debarkation.


On an early tide that at its flood I now felt would lead on to fortune, with flags flying we entered, amid a perfect ovation, the great port of London. The ship's officers pointed out to us as we steamed by them the places of historical interest.

With each horseman looking after his own mount, we were unloaded with a rapidity that astonished the old officials and hands on the docks. Our entire outfit was as quickly loaded upon three railway trains, for we were yet twelve miles from our future camp, and speedily we were delivered, people and property, at the Midland railway depot, alongside the grounds. By 6 p. m. our canvas city had sprung up in the heart of the West End of London, and from our flagstaff "Old Glory" floated in the British breeze. The Cowboy band rendered "The Star-Spangled Banner," and the vast crowds that had gathered at all available lookouts gave a storm of cheers. This was gratifying, and as an evidence of appreciation and gratitude the band gave them "God Save the Queen."

Thus the Wild West and Bill Cody of Nebraska, U. S. A., were at home in camp in London.

The dining tents not being up yet, our first meal was taken in full view of our kindly and curious visitors. The meal was finished by 7 o'clock, and by 9 the tired occupants of the camp, Indians, Mexicans, cowboys, scouts, men, women and children were peacefully and snugly reposing after a long and arduous voyage.


Henry Irving, the great actor; his genial friend, John Toole; Miss Ellen Terry, Justin McCarthy, M. P.; Minister Phelps, Consul General Waller and Deputy Consul Moffet assisted us greatly in the ceremonies of landing. Our own Mary Anderson, Mrs. Brown-Potter, Henry Labouchere, Chas. Wyndham, and, in short, all the   prominent members of the local literati and theatrical profession, took immense and friendly interest in our enterprise.

Lord Ronald Gower and hundreds of other lords, knights and ladies of high degree, besides a host of distinguished American residents of London, visited our camp and stables before the regular day of opening to give expressions of friendship, good-will and encouragement.

Our motley and strange people, living in their primitive style, and feats of our horsemen in their daily exercises were deeply interesting to our visitors and the innate English love of horsemanship presaged the success that came to us.

The press was generous to us to an extent probably never known before. Its columns teemed daily with such eulogistic matter concerning us and our enterprise that I almost feared we might not come up to the expectations thus raised.

Beside the daily newspapers and literary magazines, Punch and the other humorous periodicals did their best for us, after their manner, and the poets were melodious about us. Shortly I began to discover that my lines had fallen into the pleasant places that London society ascribes to what it is pleased to term "the distinguished foreigner." I also discovered that, at least in such cases as mine, one should have as many lives as a stack of black cats, all working at once, or else have the attribute of ubiquity, to keep the pace that was set for "Buffalo Bill," "Col. Cody," "Bill Cody," "Mr. Cody," et al. id omne genus—whatever that is.


I was invited in one or the other of these characters, continuously and numerously, to breakfasts, luncheons, dinners, suppers, garden parties, athletic layouts, midnight doings, soirees, matinees, dedications and, in short, was overwhelmed with social attentions.

Of course, all this was pleasant to me as one who loves to live, but I had business to attend to also, and very strenuous business, for the Wild West, and I did my best to meet the demand. Then I was made an honorary member of nearly all the clubs, social, festive, artistic, fashionable, and many of them were distinctly distinguishing.   Notably the Reform Club, where I met the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and other royalty. Then there was luncheon at the Mansion House with the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress; dinner at the Beaufort Club, where that fine sportsman, the Duke of Beaufort, was host; a memorable evening at the Savage Club with Mr. Wilson Barrett—just home from an American tour—presiding, with such choice spirits present as Henry Irving, John L. Toole and a host of others of the art, literary and histrionic element of London and the world. The Duke of Teck entertained me at United Arts Club, Lord Bruce and other lords at the St. George's Club. The list of all these as shown by my diary would be exhaustive of the peerage book and the blue books and would also exhaust the reader, as it cam« near exhausting "Buffalo Bill," "Col. Cody," etc. And yet the rounds were delightful and I appreciated the honors done me and my beloved country. Through these I met frequently such charming and distinguished persons as Chas. Wyndham of the Criterion, Mr. Lawson of the Daily Telegraph, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Wilde, Madame Minnie, Hauk, Mrs. Navarro, who was our own Mary Anderson; Miss Emma Nevada, Mrs. Brown-Potter, and hundreds of the kinred kind. One of the most delightful affairs was a visit to Mr. Henry Labouchere on the occasion of a glorious garden production by the Laboucheres of "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

These are decimatingly few of the many social courtesies extended me, and I must say that considering the exacting demands upon me by the preliminary arrangements for so large an exhibition as we were preparing to give with the Wild West, and polite attention to the social demands, it has since been a wonder to me how we succeeded in giving such a great and acceptable a performance on the opening day, and thereafter, for the show went on for months and the social amenities kept gait and pace. To make the situating more exacting, as to my personal work, the hundred or more Indians with us from the Pine Ridge Agency were all new to the show and were of the wild variety; besides, we had a hundred new ponies from the plains of Texas that had never been bridled or saddled, much less shot over, and all these had to be brought into at least Wild West discipline, and largely under my personal supervision.



A communication from Marlborough House of April 26. 1887, resulted in an arrangement for a special performance for their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales, although everything about the Wild West buildings was incomplete, the track unfinished and held back by rainy weather and the hauling of huge timbers, all combining to make the condition of the grounds unspeakably bad. But for all this, I determined to pull through, as the Wild West always suited me the better the more raw and wild that it was.

I retired the night previous to the visit, aching to the core with care and fatigue, but with the hunter's pleasant anticipations after striking a country where water is plenty and grazing good, two circumstances that always bring the frontiersman renewed confidence and mental as well as bodily repose.

The entertainment to the future King of Great Britain and Emperor of India, with his royal party, was, of course, to be an exclusive one and I got the royal box rigged as handsomely as circumstances would permit and the taste of chosen artists could devise. The English and American flags were very prevalent in the decorations, and it was my further object, beside entertaining the Princelings, to make the occasion a grand, additional dress rehearsal.

The party that was conducted into our precincts was a strong one numerically as well as in point of exalted rank. The Prince and Princess of Wales with their three daughters, the Princesses Louise, Victoria, and Maude, led the way. They were followed by the Marquis of Lorne and Princess Louise, his wife, the Duke of Cambridge, H. S. H. Teck and son, the Comptesse de Paris, the Crown Prince of Denmark, with numerous lords and ladies in waiting. The Prince of Wales introduced me to his wife, afterward Alexandra, Queen-Consort, and introductions to the other royal personages followed, in which Nate Salsbury and Major John Burke were included.

His Royal Highness Edward, Prince of Wales, was then a man under medium height, somewhat inclined to corpulency, mixed with the indescribable manner that hedges royalty from constant association with state ceremonials and the teachings of the "divine right"   of kings; there was in the being of this man the simple, plain-spoken kindliness of a well-bred gentleman. He accepted the evident homage that surrounded him as a matter of course, but did not act as though be would exact it.

Many times subsequently I had the pleasure of meeting, and I found less of the airs of office about him than I have many times seen displayed by third-rate civic officials, even in our own dearly beloved and highly-spoken-of democratic republic. But the republic is not to blame for that, and true Americans rarely show it. The Princess of Wales was a quiet, self-possessed and gentle lady much given to innocent merriment and still speaking English with a slightly-clipped foreign accent.

All my apprehensions of a mishap because of the unfinished condition of things about the establishment were dispelled from the moment the signal was given by "command" of the Prince, and the Indians, yelling like fiends, galloped out from their ambuscades and swept around the enclosure like a whirlwind.

The effect was instantaneous and otherwise electric. The Prince rose from his seat and leaned eagerly over the front of the box and the entire party seemed thrilled effectually by the spectacle. "Cody," I said to myself, "You've fetched 'em." From that moment we were in all right—right from the word "Go!"

Every day in our aggregation was in capital form and the whole thing went off grandly.

Our lady shot experts, on being presented at the finish, committed the little solacism of offering to shake hands with the Princess, for, be it known, feminine royalty offers the hand back uppermost which the person presented is expected to lift with finger tips and salute with the lips. However, the Princess was quick to perceive and she solved the situation by taking the proffered hands, somewhat shaded with gunpowder, and shaking them heartily.

The royal parity inspected the Indian encampment after the performance and the Prince had an extended conversation with Red Shirt—extended for an Indian. The Princess, through the interpreter, gave the chief welcome to England to which the chief, with   great dignity, responded: "Tell the Great White Chief's wife that it gladdens my heart to hear her words."

The ladies of the suite patted John Nelson's half-breed pappoose snd when all visited my headquarters the Prince showed much interest in the trappings and decorations there, and especially in the gold-mounted sword presented to me by generals of the United States Army with whom I had served in the boisterous years gone and never to return.

The prince, who was an earnest sportsman and a bold rider to hounds with the "men folks," visited our stables, where were quartered more than 200 bronchos and other equine help. He was pleased, and I never felt prouder of the military methods that pervaded this department of our aggregation. He quite won my heart by demanding the full and particular history of my old war horse Charlie, who, now in his twenty-first year, had carried me through many dangers many times and once bore me in a flight of 100 miles in nine hours, forty minutes, when chased by a band of hostile Indians. Old Charlie seemed to like the attentions of royalty but he was very democratic just the same.

At 7 that evening the royal visit ended. It had been an eminent success, and the gratification of Major Burke—our major domo, so to speak—Nate Salsbury, my business partner, and myself over the outcome of the day presaging a season of unqualified success.

That the Wild West made a big impression in London could not have been more emphatically proven than it was by the fact that even Queen Victoria became interested and to us came the "command" for a special performance for Her Majesty and suite.

Of course, Royalty does not request, desire or invite persons in its realm to do this or that, but "commands" it to be done. Thus, "By command of Her Majesty the Queen," a special performanee was given by the Wild West in order that this Queen of Great Britain and Empress of India should have a private view of the exhibition.

Since the death of Prince Albert, her husband, which event had occurred thirty years previous to this "command," the queen had been more than ordinarily seclusive. She seldom appeared before great assemblages of her subjects and her visits to even her   parliament were rare. To theatrical performances she never went during that long period of her mourning. Her latest knowledge of the greatest actors and actresses of the time was gained by private performances given, by command, in her court, and these were infrequent.

The Wild West was altogether too big a thing to take to Windsor Castle, and as in the case of Mahomet and the mountain, as the Wild West could not go to the Queen it became absolutely necessary for the Queen to go to the Wild West, if she desired to see it, and it was evident that she did.

Of course, the entire outfit, Mr. Salsbury, Major Burke and myself included, felt highly complimented by this unusual and remarkable departure. The great London public was astonished, almost to the extent of unbelief, the first impression being that the entire announcement was simply a Yankee hoax.

Her Majesty was to arrive at five o'clock in the afternoon and I was informed that she expected to give one hour to seeing all that the Wild West could supply in the matter of its performances, within that space of time, and she expected the whole thing. This was a poser, but we determined to do the best we could.

A dais was erected and a special box coustructed that was draped in crimson velvet and otherwise extravagantly decorated to give exclusion therein to her Majesty and the exalted notables of her train. These preparations for the August visit being completed, our vast company awaited with feelings akin to awe for the royal arrival.

With the punctuality that is conventional with royalty, this great sovereign and suite came upon the tick of time and their carriages entered the arena and were driven around to the entrance of the box that had been prepared.

With her Majesty came their Royal Highnesses, the Prince and Princess Henry of Battenberg, the Marquis of Lorne, the Dowager Duchess of Athole, the Hon. Ethel Cadogan, Sir Henry and Lady Ponsonby, General Lynedoch Gardiner, Colonel Sir Henry Evart, Lord Ronald Gowen, and a collection of brilliantly uniformed military attendants and exquisitely gowned ladies, forming a veritable portiere of living flowers about the temporary throne.

Then another very remarkable incident occurred. Our entire   company of performers having been introduced in the usual manner and the American flag sent around the arena at the hands of a graceful and well-mounted horseman ,the statement preceded it that this was an "emblem of peace and friendship to all the world." As the standard bearer passed the royal box with "Old Glory" her Majesty arose, bowed deeply and impressively to the banner, and the entire court party came up standing, the noblemen uncovered, the ladies bowed and the soldiers, generals and all, saluted.

The incident thrilled, unspeakably, every American present, and with the impulse of the West our company gave a shout such as had never before been heard in Britain. Under ordinary circumstances, that yell would have seemed uncouth; but this was a great event, all saw it as such, hence the shout blended harmoniously with the situation.

For the first time in history a British sovereign had saluted the Star-Spangled Banner, and that banner was carried by a delegated and exalted attache of Buffalo Bill's Wild West.

The presence of the Queen gave mighty stimulus to our people and the performance was admirably given. Every member of the company seemed determined to excel. The young women did unusually successful shooting at their targets; my own shooting was the best of its kind that I ever did; the fight of the cowboys and Indians had greater vim, even the bucking bronchos seemed to be under the influence of the contagious enthusiasm and there never had been a more excellent performance in the Wild West Exhibition from beginning to end and in every specialty. Moreover, her Majesty instead of staying only an hour, decided to "sit out" the performance and then she sent the "command" that Buffalo Bill should be presented to her. The compliments, deliberate and unmeasured, that she gave me, that modesty mentioned in the opening of this story forbids me to repeat.

She was a kindly little lady, not five feet high, but a gracious queen for every inch. I presented Miss Lillian Smith, who was herself a queen—with a Winchester rifle—and the young lady, with the naivete of the western American girl that she was, talked with royalty, on the solid footing of American sovereignty, showed the   mechanism of the gun with enthusiasm, and Queen Victoria, deeply interested, evinced that interest.

Then I presented Red Shirt, the Indian Chieftain, who was gorgeous in war paint and feather trappings. His proud bearing was fetching among the royal party, and when he spoke through an interpreter, saying he had come a long way to see her Majesty and "felt glad," the Queen smiled appreciatively, and as the red man, unconventionally, but proudly, strolled away with the dignity of a Supreme Court Judge, she seemed to say, "I know a real prince when I see him."

Then came two Indian women with their brown pappooses strapped to the shoulders of their mothers. The red babies were passed up and royalty and retinue petted and patted them and the kids acted as though they were used to that sort of thing.

Then the Queen and her suite ended their visit and the remarkable episode in the life of a plain plainsman, who in boyhood had never dreamed of meeting royalty on such a footing, and who would have felt that would have been a big thing to meet, in a friendly way, the mayor of Leavenworth.

But, besides royalty, there came to the Wild West, and my own tent on the encampment, great men in statesmanship, art, poetry, war and wealth, and they became my friends for life.

Shortly after this incident of the Queen's visit, came another affair that was to be the third to royalty of the Wild West exhibitions. A royal equerry came to Earl's Court bringing a further "command" from her Majesty. It expressed the demand that on the 20th of June a special exhibition by the Wild West should be given in the morning to the kingly and princely guests of Queen Victoria, on the occasion of her Jubilee.

Never before, since the world commenced, has such a gathering honored a public entertainment. Caesar and his captive monarchs, the Field of the Cloth of Gold, nothing in history can compare with that assemblage of the mighty ones of earth that honored the Wild West upon this occasion.

The gathering of personages comprised the King of Denmark, the King and Queen of Belgium, the King of Saxony, the King of   Greece, the Crown Prince of Austria, the Prince and Princess of Saxe-Meiningen, the Crown Prince and Princess of Germany, the Crown Prince of Sweden and Norway, the Princess Victoria of Prussia, the Duke of Sparta, the Grand Duke Michael of Russia, Prince George of Greece, Prince Louis of Baden, and the Prince and Princess of Wales with their children and a host of lords and ladies unnumbered.

Our good old Deadwood Coach, "baptized in fire and blood" so repeatedly on the plains, had the inanimate honor of carrying on its time-honored springs, four kings and the Prince of Wales, that day, during the played attack of the Indians. The Prince said to me: "Colonel, you never held four kings like these, did you?"

"I've held four Kings," I replied, "but four Kings and the Prince of Wales make a royal flush, and that is unprecedented."

The Prince took it, for I had taught him the great American game of draw-poker, and he let off that hair-trigger laugh of his that has been so well known to his intimates.

Of course, the joke was somewhat obscure to the other four-fifths of the "hand," and I almost pitied Wales when he tried to explain, in three languages, the intricacies of the joke. Still I could not blame them, for experience has taught me that the game really needs a lot of learning before one can understand it properly.

The crowned heads seemed to be quite satisfied when that ride was over with, for the Indians did their shooting with aboriginal energy.

After our London engagement closed, which was one of the pleasantest periods of my life, we made a tour of the "provinces." There were Birmingham, Manchester and other English cities and for the period of preparation for these I took advantage of the spare time left to me by the hiatus to visit Italy on a two weeks' vacation with my daughter Arta. It was a well-earned vacation because from the day of our opening in London to its close, I had not missed one of the three hundred performances given during that engagement, notwithstanding the multiplicity of social affairs that by courtesy I was forced to observe and which professionally and socially kept me occupied eighteen hours out of every twenty-four.



On Monday evening, May 1st, we gave the last indoor representation, in the presence of a vast and one of the most enthusiastic audiences I ever appeared before; bouquets were presented to various members of the company and when I appeared I met with one of the warmest receptions of my life: bouquets were thrown, handed and carried into the arena to me while the vast audience cheered, waved hats, umbrellas and handkerchiefs, jumped upon their feet, and in fact the scene was very suggestive of a pandemonium. It was fully five minutes before the noise subsided sufficiently to enable us to proceed with the performance.

Every act went with a rush and a cheer, and was received by cries of "bravo," "well done," etc. At the close of the exhibition calls were made for Red Shirt and myself, in response to which I thanked my patrons and assured them that the recollection of that evening's display of kindness would ever be fresh in my memory. Cries of "bravo, Bill," and the singing of "For he's a jolly good fellow" by the entire audience brought the demonstration to a close.

On Tuesday afternoon I was given a benefit by the race-course people, on which occasion I concluded to give our outdoor performance on the race-course and despite the unfavorable weather the turn-stiles showed that nearly 50,000 people had paid admission to the grounds. This audience, like the one in the building the previous evening, was also very enthusiastic and the people seemed to vie with each other in showering applause upon the various acts and features.

A RACE FOR $2,500.

Our Wild West performances in Manchester were now at a close, but having two or three days to spare I concluded to accept a challenge made some days previously by Mr. B. Goodall, a noted horse breeder of Altrincham, for an international ten-mile race between his English thoroughbreds and my American bronchos, for £500 a side. The riders were J. Latham for Goodall and Tony Esquivel for me, and the conditions were that each rider should change horses without assistance at the completion of each half mile. The afternoon was fine with the exception of one fierce though fieeting rain storm.   At five minutes to three o'clock thirteen of our bronchos, saddled with heavy cow-boy saddles, were brought into the enclosure and about ten minutes later nine English thoroughbreds made their appearance. The men mounted their first horses at 3:20 and got away well, Latham at once taking the lead. The Englishman effected his first change with an advantage, but on the next occasion he lost this and Tony went to the front. Latham, however, gained a little for some succeeding minutes. There was no question of the speed of his horses, but Tony was more adroit in changing, and before many laps were over he led the Englishman by a good two furlongs. Then for a time Tony lost ground, but Lathem never succeeded in overhauling him and he passed the post 300 yards ahead, having made the remarkable time of twenty-one minutes. Wild enthusiasm was manifested throughout the race by the 20,000 spectators and at the termination of their arduous task both victorious Tony and defeated Latham were loudly cheered.


On Friday morning, May 4th, at 11 a. m., amid the cheers, well wishes and hand shaking of the vast crowd who had gathered to see us depart, we pulled slowly out of the Windsor Bridge station of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway en route by special passenger train for Hull, where after giving our farewell English performance we were to embark for home. The time of the arrival of our train at the various stations had become generally known, and all along the entire route we were met by vast crowds who cheered and wished us God speed. Upon our arrival at Hull the crowd was so large that it was necessary to send for a squad of police to enable us to make our way through them from the station to the conveyances. On Saturday afternoon, May 5th, we gave our farewell performance in England, at Hull, before an enormous crowd and that evening at 9 o'clock our entire effects were aboard the good ship Persian Monarch which, under the command of the brave, gallant and courteous Captain Bristow, was to leave her moorings at 3 a. m. the next morning for New York. We had chartered the ship for this trip and had everything to ourselves, and all evening the vast crowds who lined   the docks cheered, sang songs and wished us bon voyage. A great many even remained until our departure and went wild with excitement when they saw us as a company leave their shores perhaps forever.


The homeward voyage was marked with one very distressing and pathetic incident to me in the loss of my favorite horse Charlie, that I had ridden for fifteen years in sunshine and in storm, in days of adversity as well as of prosperity, and to whose fleetness of foot I owed my life on more than one occasion when pursued by Indians. He stood the voyage very well, apparently, until May 14th, and even on the morning of that day when I visited him he seemed to be as well as usual.

A few minutes after leaving him, however, a groom ran to me and told me he had a chill. We did everything we could for him, but it was useless. He had lung fever, and after three days' illness he died. We could almost understand each other, and I felt very deeply. The sailors stitched him up in canvas and he lay all day Thursday, the 17th, on deck, covered with the American flag. At 8 o'clock in the evening we dropped the body, properly weighted, into the ocean. I did think of bringing him on here and burying him in his native soil, but finally concluded not to do so.

I cannot describe my joy upon stepping again on the shore of beloved America. Though I had received such honors while abroad as few persons have been favored with, and scored a triumph, both socially and professionally, that may well excite my pride, yet "there is no place like home," nor is there a flag like the old flag.

With the happiness of returning to my own country again came a double portion of joy in meeting with so many old friends whose arms opened to welcome me. But of the particular pleasures of these glad meetings it does not become me to speak now, since the space at my disposal is already exhausted; suffice it therefore to say, that I am again before the American public with the Wild West Show which is now performing for the season, at Eraatina, Staten Island, where we scored such a splendid success in the summer of 1886.





After Colonel Cody wrote the foregoing narrative he seems to have "dropped out of literature." His business interests grew greatly and he had little time to devote to anything else, though the excitement of his life did not abate in matters pertaining to the Wild West and kindred affairs and his work of improving his beloved frontier regions was redoubled.

At the time of the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Colonel Cody and his associates established adjoining the grounds of the fair a vast coliseum in which the Wild West was domiciled, and here for many months, during the existence of the Great White City, the entertainments of the Wild West, with all its appurtenances enlarged and improved amazingly, were given twice daily during the continuance of the exposition. Indeed, the Wild West was little short of being a legitimate part of this the most comprehensive, beautiful and important of all the world shows that have ever been given, and it is not probable that it ever will be surpassed.

The Wild West visited Europe three times: first, that to England in 1887, details of which have been given in Col. Cody's narrative. The second visit was in 1889, to be an attraction at the Paris Exposition Universalle of that year. After the Paris engagement the Wild West was taken to Spain, Italy, Austria-Hungary and Germany and returned to America. In 1902 the exhibition was taken to England, thence to Scotland, Wales, France, Italy, Hungary, Austria, Galicia, Slavonia, Bohemia, Croatia, Belgium, Germany and Denmark, for a tour of four years.

Everywhere it was received with wonder and acclaim and then triumphantly returned to America.


Upon the return of the Wild West to America, Col. Visscher apostrophized the great pioneer, scout, showman, and patriot in the following verses, which, to some extent, epitomizes the career of "Buffalo Bill," and for that reason are incorporated here. The verses are as follows:


To Colonel Wm. F. Cody ("Buffalo Bill").


Who is this gallant cavalier that rides in from the West?
His horse, and gun, and trappings are the truest and the best;
He strides his noble thorobred with manly, easy grace,
And sits the saddle like a sheik, and rides a rattling pace;
His hair falls white and long adown his shoulders strong and wide,
And all his bearing has the poise of manliness and pride.

A sovereign born and citizen of this fair western land,
He rose among his fellows in the custom of command;
His boyhood heard the wailing that was echo of the yell
When the savage made the border seem the environs of hell;
With his dying father's spirit, his hunting-knife and gun,
He drove the bronze barbarians into the setting sun.

'Mong the willows by the river, on mesa, hill and plain,
They fell beneath his horse's hoofs and 'fore his leaden rain;
Full well he wreaked his vengeance, and he blazed a western path,
With the weapons of his prowess and the scoring of his wrath.
From Missouri's murky waters to the white Sierra's crest,
This knightly man led dauntless men and empire to the West.

To save the name and legends, and traditions of that land—
The wilderness that blossomed—and its story strange and grand,
To the wondering sight of millions, and to sing its passing song,
He led toward the Orient his motley, nomad throng,
With their singing and their dancing, their weapons and their ways,
Their riding and their fighting in their tribe to tribe's affrays.

From the canyons of the mountains to the canyons of the deep,
And to where the western nations close guard and jealous keep,
The monuments and tokens of their ancient rule and state,
There the gallant western chieftain rode among the titled great,
A fellow prince among the kings, a sovereign by the right
Of honest manhood, bred beneath high Liberty's clear light.


Where the altars of the Druids and ancient abbeys lie,
'Neath forest-covered ruins, marking centuries gone by,
And in places that are cob-webbed with history as old
As Britain's first traditions, lying deep in must and mold,
There the chieftain and his riders went, and held their hardy games
To plaudits of the multitude, lords, kings and royal dames.

By the Tiber, 'neath the shadow of St. Peter's lofty dome,
The mighty pile that canopies the hierarch of Rome;
Mid monuments and masonry, that crumbling in decay,
Teach the vanity of empire—how weak and fleet its sway—
Here rode the knightly plainsman, and his cabelleros sang.
Where oft, in centuries agone, acclaim to Caesars rang.

'Mong potentates and powers, in the cities of the kings,
From where Mahomet's crescent across the Orient swings
To where the North sea booms against old Denmark's rugged shores,
And back to where dear homeland opened wide to him her doors,
Went and came the dashing horseman, and he bore the banner high
That Freedom's heroes, for its weal, will dare, and do, and die.

When by this mighty inland sea the vast White City gleamed,
As radiant as mountain snows, the chieftain's banners streamed
Above his wide encampment, and from every clime and land
Came men to do him honor and to grasp his manly hand.
Even yet he leads his riders, and his lesson's high and strong,
And here, saluting him, I sing this heartfelt, homely song.

Tonight, long since these simple lines were writ,
Before his pictured face I sadly sit,
Mourning that his great heart is stilled
And that the mighty soul that thrilled
With love of friends and country, true and tried,
Has gone, for aye, beyond the Great Divide.

When Cody, who was "Buffalo Bill" for more than fifty years, was such a little fellow that he was called Willie by everybody who knew him, he became the mainstay of his widowed mother's family. His father had been killed by the Indians and his home had been burned by the savages. But all that is another story.

One who knows cannot start out to tell anything about Buffalo Bill's life without being tempted to go off at a tangent, ten times a minute, to relate other stirring tales, and true ones, in that man's strange and eventful career, the incidents chase each other so closely.

But, as I was saying, when Will Cody was a little fellow, not more   than 12 or 14 years old—can you imagine that big, tall, white haired man, who rides a horse as if man and horse were one animal, and who has been all over North America and Europe time and aagin, introducing to more than a hundred rulers and their people a congress of the Rough Riders of the world; can you imagine such a man as once having been a kid himself? Well, he was, and instead of playing at "kill Indians" with wooden knives and toy guns he had to do the real thing.


Will Cody had to support his mother and sisters—or at least help a great deal in that direction—and he was cheerfully willing to do it.

In those days, away out where begins what the schoolboys of the time knew as the "Great American Desert," but which is now a land of flourishing cities, towns, villages, farms, homes, gardens, art, literature and all that exalts and embellishes civilized life, there was a trio of good men, partners, who had great caravans crossing and recrossing the desert, opening the way for empire in the western wilderness. Sometimes there were as many as fifty wagons in one of those trains, though generally only twenty-five, and there would be as many as fifteen or twenty of these trains out on the plains at one time, often hundreds of miles apart, coming and going from the Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains and beyond.

These wagons were huge, canvas-covered affairs that were almost as big as the ships in which Columbus first crossed the ocean. They were drawn by many spans of horses or yokes of oxen to each—often from five to ten—and a small army of men, drivers and helpers, accompanied each train.

This trio of partners had the firm name of Russell, Majors & Waddell, and required a number of men to ride as messengers between the trains. The boy, Will Cody, secured one of these places.

On "Cody day" at the trans-Mississippi fair in Omaha in 1900 the writer sat at a banquet table with Colonel Cody, Colonel Alexander Majors, the late United States Senator John M. Thurston, Edward Rosewater, late editor of the Omaha Bee; Major John M. Burke, the governors of Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri and other   notables of the region, and in his speech at the table Colonel Majors told this, among other stories of Colonel Cody, the guest of the occasion:

"One day, away back in the late '50s," said Colonel Majors, "in our Kansas camp, came to me a handsome, wiry lad who said that he had his mother's permission to take a place with us as a messenger. He seemed to think that his mother's permission entirely settled the matter.

"I told him that I thought he was rather young for such strenuous and hazardous work, but he made light of that, and there was about him such an air of self-confidence, in that, and such diffdence and modesty, in other ways, that he captured me at once and I gave him the place, which was one of peril, requiring caution, coolness and endurance. His duty was that of carrying dispatches between our wagon trains upon the march across the plains. Little did I think then that I was starting out in life one who was destined to win fame and fortune throughout the world.

"When 'Little Billy Cody' received his first month's pay, which, I think, was $40, he took the money, some gold, mostly silver, to his mother and spread it out over the table, gleefully exclaiming: 'Lookee, mother ain't that a big lot of money?'"

At this point in Colonel Major's remarks some one at the table called out:

"Yes! and he's been spreading it ever since."

Continuing, Colonel Majors said: "The firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell required all of its employes to sign a pledge not to indulge in profanity, intoxicating drinks and brawling, and to that the majority kept well, for the most part. This was especially true of young Cody.

"Then it was simply 'Little Billy Cody, the Messenger,' next it became 'Wild Bill, the Pony Express Rider,' then 'Bill Cody, the Wagonmaster,' then 'Buffalo Bill, the Hunter, Scout and Indian Fighter,' now Colonel W. F. Cody, the head of a mighty school of history and ethnology, the friend and associate of statesmen, artists, men of letters, kings, presidents and all manner of potentates and people of importance; the head of one of the greatest enterprises for   the reclamation of arid lands; a true and honest man and a valuable citizen.

"With the inborn gift of a perfect borderman, Buffalo Bill led armies across deserts and over mountains, through most appalling dangers and to the farthest retreats of savages who carried on cruel raids against those who were endeavoring to settle the far West that to this republic has now come to be a source of incalculable wealth and to the world a mighty help.

"This man never sought the reputation of a 'killer,' and was careful to avoid brawls, yet never halted in the discharge of duty, even in the face of direst danger. He fought the Indians to the redskin's last stand, and yet was his friend and has always had the best respect of the warring tribes.


"One of Buffalo Bill's finest characteristics was his love and devotion to his mother, a mother most worthy the devotion of such a son. When he first came to me he had to make his mark when signing the pay roll, and he drew a man's pay because he earned every dollar of it, after his first month. One pay day, his mother being with him, the paymaster told him to come up and make his mark and get his money. The boy's face flushed when he saw tears come into his mother's eyes and heard her whisper, 'Oh, Willie, if you would only learn to write, how happy I would be.'

"A boy's opportunities for education in that region and day were meager enough at best, much less were they for a boy in Cody's place, who lived his days in the saddle, riding hard for duty's sake and often at the risk of his life from the bullet or arrow of the lurking savage. But when young Cody saw the tears in his mother's eyes, because of his lack of letters, he set at work immediately to acquire the art of penmanship, and in a little while he was issuing editions of his name, in different styles, almost anywhere, and sometimes it got him into trouble. 'Will Cody,' 'Little Billy,' 'Billy the Boy Messenger' and 'William Frederic Cody,' were written with the burnt end of a stick, with chalk or charcoal, upon tents, wagon covers and all tempting and available spaces, with great frequency and   appalling crudity, at first, while with hunting knife he carved upon ox yoke, wagon body, bench, door, side of the house, wherever he could find wood enough, the name with which he has since made his mark on a page of history."

"I'm almost the only one left now," he would say. "Almost the only one left. And I guess I haven't so very long to go." And with the death of Buffalo Bill there dies an idol—an idol in the eyes of every boy in the United States, and almost of the world. For Buffalo Bill's fame was not the fame of the United States. It was a fame that extended to Europe, and to Africa, and to Asia. Boys of China have thrilled over the exploits of Buffalo Bill, even though they never have seen him. Boys of Spain have gazed upon the buffalo killer; boys of France and Germany and Hungary and England and Scotland have done likewise, and worshipped his prowess almost as much as the boys of America have done. The news of Buffalo Bill's death will not be confined to the United States. It will travel into the fighting trenches of Europe, into the Orient, and into Africa. For the fame of Fahaska was world-wide.


But those who will mourn the most are nearer home—up there on the stretches of South Dakota's prairies where live the remainder of the valiant Sioux, the Indians whom he fought and whom he befriended. Perhaps you have thought that the Indian would look upon Buffalo Bill as an enemy, as the man who had fought them and driven them from the plains. But that is not true. Pahaska—they named him that because of his long hair—was their friend, and they accepted him as such. I have seen the time when the braves of the Ogallalah and Sioux tribe have brought their papooses a hundred miles and, with happiness shining in their eyes, lifted them high in the air that the great Pahaska might pat them on the head and give them his blessing.

"He never fought us except when we needed it," old Short Bull, the man who is supposed to have caused the Ghost Dance war, told me one day, "and he was our friend even when he fought us. He killed us because we were bad and because we fought against what   he knew was best for us. And when there was peace, he was our best friend. Did he not talk to the Great White Spirit in Washington and help us? Did he not get food for us when we were starving? Did he not give us money from his own hands that we might live? No, Pahaska has not been our enemy. He has been our friend."

Such are the people who will mourn for Pahaska out on the plains of the Dakotas. And there will be another class also—the class that is almost numberless, the world of the Small Boy.

For Buffalo Bill was a man's man and yet a boy's man. He was all that was desired in the form of romantic manhood. His stories were the stories that thrilled—the yarn of his duel with Yellowhand, when the renegade challenged him before thousands of Indians and soldiers, only to meet death at Colonel Cody's hand. Then, too, there were the stories of the Battle of Warbonnet and of Summit Springs. There were the stories of trails and of plains—and many a time I have seen the Colonel, an island in an ocean of small boys, telling them the stories of the past, the stories of days when the warhoop echoed and the tomahawk was something more than a tradition.

And yet another world will honor him—the world of the Army. For there Colonel Cody was respected and honored as a man apart, a man who occupied a niche distinctive in life. From. Gen. Nelson A. Miles, for whom he acted as scout in the early days, down to the veriest rooky, the name of William Frederick Cody was a charmed one. And they recognized in him that being which linked the early days of army history in the West to the records of today. The Army and the West and Cody—the three things were inseparable. And with the news of the death of William Frederick Cody the army will sorrow with the small boy and the Sioux as they say:

"Farewell to Pahaska!"

Early one afternoon, a few summers ago, the writer sat with Colonel Cody under the awning of his tent with the Wild West exhibition. The vast affair had moved during the small hours of that morning from a "stand" on the West Side in Chicago to one on the North Side. At the end of a little spell of silent ruminating Colonel Cody looked up and said:


"By Jinks! I'm a scout all right, but dog my cats if I could find the way back to where we came from last night."

On the same occasion, when Colonel Cody was absent for a moment, his little orphan grandson came in and told his foster mother, his Aunt Irma, that grandpa had said he might ride on the Deadwood coach in the arena, if he would hold on tight.

"Well, we will see grandpa about that," said Aunt Irma. At that moment the colonel entered and his daughter inquiringly said: "Willie says that you told him he might ride on the Deadwood stage if he would hold on tight?"

"I said," replied grandpa, "that if he rode on the coach he'd have to hold on dog-gone tight."

Soon the boy was away somewhere among the Indians, Arabs, Cossacks and what-not, and Colonel Cody, calling to a helper about the place, said: "Murphy, put little Mister—er—What's-his-name on the coach."

Then after looking down for a moment he turned with his peculiar far-away smile to those present and said:

"Blame my skeets if I hadn't forgot the boy's name, and he's named after me."

This exhibits Colonel Cody's sulphurous style of swearing, and it was about the only kind of "cussin" that he did. He was exceedingly fond of children and had a way with them that was wonderfully winning. Often when they were gathered about him one would say:

"Tell me a story, Buffalo Bill!"

And what wonderful stories they would be! What tales he would weave as they clustered about him, back in his little tent at the edge of the great "exhibition top," where he invariably would gather his juvenile audiences in the afternoons! What thrilling yarns of the plains and the crested buttes, of long rides through the snows and sands, of hand to hand enconnters with the Injuns—masterpieces they were, for he had lived them—and one by one he would recount them until the shuddering little forms of his excited listeners would gather close to him and hug his big booted legs for protection, yet would repeat with the blood-curdling finale of every narrative:

"Tell us another, Buffalo Bill!"


"What, another?" Once you heard that great, deep, booming voice, with the laughter hidden away in the corners of it, the strong joy of it never faded from the memory. And with that big voice, which thundered in spite of the gentleness it carried, he would ask the question in apparent surprise as he reared back his tremendous shoulders; then with tender strength he would gather his audience close again to him and travel on to the depiction of new thrills, new exploits. And so it is that the eyes of many a child have been wet with tears since the news flashed forth that Buffalo Bill had gone past the last frontier, that many a "Now I lay me" has included the supplicating words of childhood:

"And God—bless Buffalo Bill."

Will Cody was the handsomest young man I ever saw. He was as quiet and unassuming a lad as ever cinched a pony. There was about him a manner of reserve that nearly approached shyness and he would have been almost awkward in personality had it not been for his manliness of form and strength of physique that gave him the graces of nature. This has been true of him all his life, notwithstanding that his career has led him all the way from messenger boy between trains of "prairie schooners," in the early days on the plains, to be the associate of kings, dukes, princes, queens and duchesses, governors, presidents, millionaires, statesmen and men of letters and art for three generations.

Buffalo Bill played a big part in his life, served his country as a soldier, blazed the western way and taught three generations great facts in history and ethnology with his strong object lesson, the Wild West. Withal he proudly bore "Old Glory" wherever he went, to be kissed by the breezes of the Old World and the New.

Now he has gone and is mourned by unnumbered thousands throughout the world. He left on the trail over the Great Divide at Denver, Colorado, January 10th, 1917. Prominent men and women from many states and civilized nations journeyed to Denver to attend his funeral. Cities did him honor and legislatures adjourned for the obsequies. In very many ways the funeral of Colonel Cody attested greater interest on the part of the world than if he had been an important ruler.


On Sunday, January the 14th, 1917, followed by a vast cortege of citizens, persons and societies, the mortal remains of Colonel Cody were taken in Denver to the Capitol of Colorado. The casket in which the body was borne and in which it is to rest is of solid bronze and constructed in the most superbly and appropriately ornamental way. From the residence of Colonel Cody's sister, Mrs. May Cody Decker, on Lafayette street, the procession moved at 9:30 in the morning. The body was immediately escorted by the officers of Denver Lodge No. 17, Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, and the active and honorary pall bearers. Upon the arrival at the state house four members of the B. P. O. E., four members of the Grand Army of the Republic and four members of the Colorado National Guard, took their places about the casket as the guard of honor.

The garrison of United States troops stationed at Fort Logan arrived with the cortege at the capitol and the military band that came with the soldiers played sacred music as the public passed by the catalfaque to view for the last time the face of Buffalo Bill. The infantry was formed in two lines facing each other, and these extended from Colfax Avenue on Sherman, through the capitol building to the East Fourteenth Avenue entrance.


They bade good-by to Buffalo Bill—thousands and thousands of persons. They braved the cold and the discomfort of standing to shuffle past his bier and drop a flower or tear. Men of high estate and low; women gowned in fashion's latest word and women who came from humble homes; boys and girls by the hundreds who wished the last look at the face of their idol; statesmen who relinquished the cares of office to pay homage to the famous old frontiersman.

Never in the history of the West has one who lay dead been accorded so great a demonstration of tribute.

In the rotunda of the capitol Buffalo Bill lay, a silent figure deaf to the playing of the band in the gallery, knowing not that the thousands were surging through the doors, with armed soldiers   struggling constantly to prevent their crushing, seeking to stand for a moment or so at his side. It would have warmed the heart of the old scout. His great black eyes would have flashed, his lips would have laughed, he would have given frank expression of joy that so many had come to see and honor him. He would have liked to grip the hands of those old scouts, pards of his in the early days, who murmured their good-bys in voices that broke. He would have delighted in bowing to those governors and state officials from Nebraska and Wyoming and Colorado—the states in which he wrote with daring deeds the fame that was international—who in common with the poorly dressed, the handsomely dressed, the poor and the rich, the humble and the high, stood in the long line to wait their turn. And the children—Buffalo Bill would have liked to pat their heads, tell them a story, put his strong arms about them and clasp them close.

But Buffalo Bill was dead—his horse stood without, the old worn saddle, with its gleaming brass pommel, on his back, the bridle reins sagging loose. The animal champed its bit and pawed the earth and quick-stepped for the throng that passed. Perhaps he waited in expectation for his master to come, to leap with his old-time agility to his back, catch up the reins and, rising in the stirrups, sweep off his broad-brimmed hat and—"Salute from the saddle."

But the horse walked riderless in the procession that left the capitol and followed, through the lanes made by crowds that milled on the sidewalks, the body of Buffalo Bill. And the band played no lively airs that the old scout loved and thrilled to—they played the sorrow-laden marches of death. It was Buffalo Bill's last great triumph—and he knew it not.

At the Elks' Club the entire front of the auditorium was a mass of flowers—floral tributes from every state in the Union, from friends Buffalo Bill had made in every walk of life. Near the casket sat Johnny Baker, head bowed, murmuring tender words he wanted Buffalo Bill, the man whom he loved as a father and by whom he was loved as a son, to hear. With Johnny Baker sat the widow and other members of the famous old plainsman's family.

When the casket was borne into the flower-filled room at the   mortuary, the escort and such of his friends as could find voice, sang after the prayers and eulogies, the soft trailing notes of the song that Pahaska loved, "Tenting Tonight on the Old Camp Ground."

As the song was sung there were tears in the eyes of strong and rugged men who remembered the melody in other days; tears for the love of a comrade gone to the land of the setting sun into the Great Beyond.

Three organizations took part in the services—the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Grand Army of the Republic and the Elks. A flag was placed on the breast of the old scout by Mrs. Fannie D. Hardin of the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic. The Grand Army of the Republic services ended with the sounding of "taps." John W. Springer pronounced the eulogy for the Elks and Albert U. Mayfield, supreme boss of the National Order of Cowboy Rangers, said a few words of tribute.

The Rev. Charles H. Marshall of the St. Barnabas Episcopal Church conducted the religious services.

And then the casket was closed—the picturesque figure of Buffalo Bill had passed from the view of men. From the Elks' Club the body was taken to the mortuary of George W. Olinger. It will rest there until it is carried to the final resting place—a grave that will overlook the plains he loved so well—on Lookout Mountain. And there the thousands will pass year after year and pause to gaze at the statue of Buffalo Bill that will be erected, and to pay tribute to the memory of a man who helped to build the greatness of the West, who was beloved of kings and presidents and of little children. It will be a fitting place for the body of Buffalo Bill to lie buried—where the world can continue to pay its tribute.

Messages of sympathy and condolence poured in upon the family from all parts of the world. It is thought to be a fitting close for the autobiography to reprint a few of these showing the high esteem in which "Buffalo Bill" was held as a man and friend.


"Colonel Cody was a high-minded gentleman, a brave American and a great scout. He performed a great work in the West for   the pioneers and for the generations coming after them, and his exploits will live forever in history."


The Rocky Mountain Club, an organization of former Western men now living in the East, passed the following resolutions:

The news of the passing away of our fellow member, Col. William F. Cody, brings sorrow to all of us. Colonel Cody was the one remaining hero of all time whose name is indelibly entwined in the redemption of our great West from barbarism and savagery, making it the hand-maiden of civilization and progress. His fame will shine in history in lines of living light with those other pioneer American crusaders, Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett and Kit Carson. He was gentle, sincere, brave, loyal and manly, and the world is the poorer for his passing. His fellow members of the Rocky Mountain Club ask you to present to his widow and family their respectful homage and sympathy.


"Mr. Buffalo Bill, Denver, Colo.: Dear Sir—My grandpa told me this morning you were ready to start for the happy hunting grounds. He said a long time ago they had perhaps given you the end of a golden string and told you to wind it into a ball and you had it most all winded up and it had led you to the happy hunting ground, and after you got there they would lock the gate and throw the key away, as you were the last one they had been waiting for. Mr. Buffalo Bill, I want to go to the happy hunting ground too. It looks to me like a nicer place than just heaven where they have only gold streets and harps and angels and things. Mr. Buffalo Bill, will you please take the key and hold the gate and make room for just me? I am a little fellow and don't take much room nohow, and I will come as soon as I get through here. Then they can lock the gate and throw the key away forever and ever.




Resolutions in memoriam on the life, character and death of William F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) were adopted by the Sons of Colorado as follows:

We, the Sons of Colorado, in annual meeting assembled this 11th day of Jannary, 1917, being mindful of the passing of the "Old West," do herewith take cognizance of the death of our boyhood friend and hero, "Buffalo Bill," a product of the "West that was."

Where men's souls were tried to the utmost, where women suffered untold tortures and privations, Buffalo Bill had kept the memories of those days alive as no other could.

By his death the West loses virtually the last of the picturesque figures of those times. His home was the West. No state, no county, city or town could claim him. He belonged to the West.

We recognize, as will history, his wonderful life and activity on the frontiers of this great western empire, the memory of which will live long in the hearts and minds of men of every nation of his earth.

Be it resolved that we, the Sons of Colorado, feel a sense of great loss, that our old friend, Buffalo Bill, is no more.

Be it further resolved that these resolutions be spread upon our minutes and that a copy be sent to the bereaved family.


The first contribution to a fund for the building of a monument to Colonel Cody included forty buffalo nickels sent by the pupils of the primary and grammar grades of the Maple Grove school, district No. 69, Arapahoe county, "to build a monument to Buffalo Bill."

The donation was brought to Denver by Principal Robert M. Jones, who, with Orrie M. Heath, teacher in the primary grade, collected the fund.

The subscription was received by a committee consisting of Cody Boles of North Platte, grandson of Colonel Cody; Judge W. L. Walls and Sen. J. M. Schwoob of Cody; H. R. Weston of Laramie, and Sam F. Dutton of Denver.


* Poor Billy Comstock was afterwards treacherously murdered by the Indians. He and Sharpe Grover visited a village of Indians, supposed to be peaceably inclined, near Big Spring station, in Western Kansas; and after spending several hours with the red-skins in friendly conversation, they prepared to depart, having declined an invitation to pass the night there. It appears that Comstock's beautiful white-handled revolver had attracted the attention of the Indians, who overtook him and his companion when they had gone about half a mile. After surrounding the two men they suddenly attacked them. They killed, scalped and robbed Comstock; but Grover, although severely wounded, made his escape, owing to the fleetness of the excellent horse which he was riding. This sad event occurred August 27. [back]

* For many years I was known among all Northern Indians as the Prairie Chief. [back]

* Who is still shooting Indians from the top of the old Deadwood stage coach in the Wild West show. [back]

* Near the lonely camp where I had so long been laid up with a broken leg, when trapping years before with Dave Harrington. [back]

* A favorite expression of the Professor's. [back]

Title: Life and Adventures of "Buffalo Bill," Colonel William F. Cody

Publisher: Stanton and VanVliet Co.

Date: 1917

Topics: Buffalo Bill Himself

Sponsor: This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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