Title: Warriors Watch Old Battles with Indians

Periodical: Washington Herald (D.C.)

Date: February 28, 1914

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Veterans See Themselves in "Movie" Reproduction of Bloody Conflicts of Frontier Campaigns.


Army officers, active and retired, grizzled veterans of the Indian wars, yesterday lived again their battles during two complimentary presentations of moving pictures of frontier battles, in which many of them participated. The pictures were shown first at the Columbia in the afternoon, and the Home Club of the Interior Department in the evening.

Under the direction of Col. William F. Cody, dear to the hearts of hundreds of thousands the world over as Buffalo Bill, the Indian fights through which he passed as a chief scout with United States troops were re-enacted last summer on the scenes of the original engagements.

The War Department loaned United States troops for the purpose, and the Interior Department permitted the mobilization of Indians, and then virtually all survivors on both sides of the conflicts were gathered into a council to make the scenes historically correct. The result is a set of films almost uncanny in their realism. The realism was carried even to the point of having officers of general rank, active and retired, re-enact the parts they played in battles as young lieutenants. Maj. Gen. Miles is seen reviewing again on the plains of South Dakota, the victorious troops following the battle of Wounded Knee, the last battle of the last Indian uprising. And gathered around him are many who sat their horses during the review twenty-two years before. In an earlier picture, Col. H. G. Sickles, now in command of the Twelfth Cavalry, is seen scouting on his stomach through the sage brush, in company with Buffalo Bill, watching a wagon train which was about to be attacked by a band of Cheyennes — a part he had played as a young lieutenant, and upon the identical spot.

Many national figures appear in the presentation. Besides Lieut. Gen. Miles, are Maj. Gen. Jesse M. Lee, Brig. Gen. Charles King, Brig. Gen. Frank Baldwin, Brig. Gen. Marion Maus, from the army veterans, and Short Bull, who led in person hundreds of warriors, many veterans of the warpath of the powerful Red Cloud, Ogallalla and Spotted Tail Brule Sioux through the scenes they re-enacted in bloody earnest many years before.

The pictures cover scenes from 1876 to 1891 — from the battle of War Bonnet Creek in the Custer campaign, to the end of the Messian Ghost Dance Craze War — the Pine Ridge campaign.

Many of the scenes are beautiful, many are inspiring, others impress through the terrible realism they show. All defy a detailed description, but the verdict of the audiences who sat spell-bound through the two presentations may be indicated from the remark of Brig. Gen. Hall, a veteran of the Custer campaign and most of the Indian fights.

"Bill, I didn't think it could be done," he said, clasping Col. Cody's hand during the performance at the Columbia. "I didn't think until I saw these pictures that it would be possible to reproduce what we went through out there."

The Columbia performance was given under the auspices of the National Press Club. Every seat in the house was filled when Senator Francis E. Warren arose for a brief introduction of Col. Cody. In the audience were most of the general officers stationed here, among them the Adjutant General of the Army.

The evening performance at the Home Club of the Interior Department was attended by especially invited guests of Secretary Lane, who, with Secretary Garrison and Maj. Gen. Leonard Wood, has done everything in his power to make the venture a success. Members of the Cabinet and their wives, Senators and members of Congress and military men of this and other nations packed the club to capacity.

One complete set of reels will be preserved in the archives of the War Department as a historical record of the frontier campaigns, a record such as never before was taken of a similar set of scenes.