Title: A Letter From Buffalo Bill

Periodical: Wichita Eagle

Date: March 6, 1890

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We are permitted to publish the following from a letter from the Hon. Wm. F. Cody, alias Buffalo Bill, to a friend at Fort Reno, I.T.: [1]

My Dear Friend,

Pardon my neglect in not answering your most welcome letter sooner. I was delighted to hear that promotion had carried you to the gallant Fifth Cavalry, my beau ideal of a cavalry regiment and of which I will always entertain the happiest recollections. How I would have enjoyed your fall maneuvers, with yourself, Captain Hayes [2] and others of ye olden times.

When I finish up this scout of mine around the world, with my own command I am coming to visit the Fifth cavalry, and the pleasure of living old times over again with old friends of the regiment is one of my happiest anticipations.

I go from here to Rome and will make a desperate effort to perform in the old Roman colloseum, where gladiators of old fought and died. I have just crossed the Mediterranean from Spain, and while in that country challenged any and all bull-fighters to bring along their most ferocious bull and that my men could rope and ride him but the challenge was declined and when I offered to do it for fun, they still refused saying that it would be a slur on their national sports.

My outfit is as strange to the people of these old countries as they are to us. I took a hundred Sioux Indians to Mount Vesuvius the other night and you should have seen them having a war dance around the crater; only think of it! And when any of them happened to step on a piece of hot lava it was amusing to see them jump.

My outfit consists of 243 persons, 200 horses and mules and 29 buffaloes: quite a large family, you will say, to take around. I find it rather expensive but would not be satisfied until I made the boss scout which I hope to do before I quit the show business. Barnum tried it in London, but three months was enough for him. Circuses were seen in London on previous occasions and Barnum is returning having lost money on the venture. It is a risky business. I am more than anxious sometimes, then again I strike a streak of luck and do them up in great shape. Well, enough for the present. My best wishes to your family and my old friends of the Fifth.

I remain yours as ever,


Note 1: Indian Territory. [back]

Note 2: Edward Mortimer Hayes (1842-1912) began his military career during the Civil War in 1860; was promoted through the ranks to become a Major in the U.S. Army, for "gallant services in action against Indians at Beaver Creek, Kansas, October 25-26, 1868."; and served in Cuba, and the Philippines before retiring his military career as a Brigadier General in 1902. He was familiarly known as "Fighting Jack" Hayes. [back]

Title: A Letter From Buffalo Bill

Periodical: Wichita Eagle

Date: March 6, 1890

Topics: Buffalo Bill's Wild West in Italy & Spain

Keywords: American bison Bullfighters Circus Correspondence Horses Lava Mules Sioux Nation Vesuvius (Italy) Volcanoes United States. Army. Cavalry, 5th

People: Barnum, P. T. (Phineas Taylor), 1810-1891

Places: Colosseum (Rome, Italy) Fort Reno (Okla.) London (England) Mediterranean Sea Naples (Italy) Rome (Italy) Spain

Sponsor: This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Geraldine W. & Robert J. Dellenback Foundation.

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