Title: Indian History Depicted to Life by Movies Film, Says Gen. King

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Famous Fighter Tells How Miles and Other Officers Supervised Each Detail That Battles Might Be Faithfully Reproduced.


When the Chicago Tribune informed its readers on Tuesday (Oct. 10) that Lieutenant General Miles, the four officers with him, and our famous old scout, "Buffalo Bill," re-enacted the very parts they had played at the battle of Wounded Knee, Dec. 29, 1890, the Tribune unwittingly conveyed a wrong impression, yet told the petrified truth.

No one of the generals named nor Cody himself took any part whatever at that mid-winter and most unfortunate battle. No one of them took any part in the photographic representation of its reproduction.

Nevertheless, certain other papers report General Miles and his associates, including myself, as "charging with Cody and driving the Indians in full flight while the cameras clicked," and many theatrical and some malicious flings are being made at their expense. The papers [flirted?] with the assumption that these officers were going for the express purpose of being photographed in mimic battles, and having committed themselves to that view of the case, consistency seems to have demanded that they adhere to it.


But the facts are that General Miles and his party went for a very different purpose.

The worst Indian war ever known was narrowly averted in the winter of 1890-91. Semi-starvation, superstition and [fatigue?] had conspired to arouse the [en-?] Sioux nation to revolt. The Messiah craze had made fanatics of the warriors of every band. Nothing but the [adept?] measures taken by General Miles, commander of the military division of Missouri, could have put a stop to it. He assembled troops from all over the West, gradually and skillfully "herded" the entire array of "hostiles" in toward Pine Ridge, and there, with nearly a dozen regiments surrounding them, the half-crazed Indians were induced to listen to reason, and after many councils and conferences that called for infinite tact, patience and forbearance on the part of Miles and his aides, the chiefs gathered in solemn state, and in most dramatic and impressive conclave, with hands uplifted to heaven, pledged allegiance to the White Father and signed the peace compact that to this day stands unbroken.


No scene of greater historical interest was ever enacted on our Indian frontier, and it was to reproduce the pictures of the great peace congress, not a battle, that General Miles and the survivors of his staff, Generals Lee, Maus, and Baldwin, journed to Pine Ridge.

The intention is to have these films historically as accurate as possible. As the dramatic affair at Pine Ridge occurred less than a quarter of a century ago, General Miles still looks, afoot and in saddle, much as he did at the time, and it was interesting to watch the Sioux survivors of the campaign who came to pay homage to "Bear Coat," "the big chief who showed them the right road." It was good to note the reverence in which they held General Lee, whom they had learned to trust implicitly years before the outbreak of 1890, who came then from distant Arizona, as captain in the Ninth infantry, to the aid of General Miles in the pacification work of '90 and '91, and who in the dead of winter, and without military escort of any kind, led like a second Moses, his saddened and suffering red children to the new land of promise along the Missouri, and saw to it that they got the provisions and clothing intended for them. Generals Baldwin and Maus were officers of the personal staff of the major-general commanding in the field that winter of '90 and '91, and rightfully appear with him in the pictures of the council and the surrender.


The pictures taken at Wounded Knee were to represent on the very ground the fight of December 29, 1890. Colonel Sickel, with a few troops of the Twelfth cavalry, and the skilled field artists of the great film company (of which Colonel Cody, "Buffalo Bill," is vice president), together with a host of Indians, were there for that purpose. Sickel commanded a troop of the Seventh cavalry at the battle, made an excellent sketch of the field at the time, and was of the utmost assistance to the "stage managers." As for myself, reported as charging, etc., with Cody, in the mimic scene, I was just as far from this year's "battle" as I was from that of 1890 — to-wit, about [100?] miles.

It is true that we were all together at Pine Ridge agency early in October, and that I even went further and visited the scene of Wounded Knee, and saw Jack Red Cloud and talked with Joe Horn Cloud. It is true that some spirited, stirring battle scenes were taken, notably the fight on the War Bonnet, of July 17, 1876, and that of Summit Springs, July 11, 1869, in both of which my own regiment was engaged, and in both of which Cody was our chief scout and the same conspicuous figure on the field, and in each of which he killed in close combat the leader of the Indian band. It is true that I have been helping in the scenario and staging of these pictures, for at War Bonnet, at least, Cody and I were close together, and I saw the start of his duel with Yellow Hand, but not the finish, as I was rather busy myself at the time.

But when the papers describe me as "re-enacting on the field" the somewhat active part demanded of me some forty years ago, they are far too flattering.