Title: Buffalo Bill Indian War Pictures Bring Tears to Major Burke, 'The Peacemaker'

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Realism Makes Old Scout Live Over Days of Last War With Reds.

Memory of Heroes Killed When Parleys Failed Sadden Spectator.

After the "Buffalo Bill" Indian War Pictures were privately inspected yesterday at the Central Film company's screen parlor, 'mid rounds of applause as the American flag, floating in motion, signaled the finish, and as the lights went up, Maj. Burke was noticed to dry moisture from his eyes. One of the enthusiasts, who knew the major's interest in the subject, slapped him approvingly on the shoulder, saying:

"Ain't they immense?"

Then asked: "What's matter, major, got cold in your eyes?"

"The deuce, no! Got a warmth in my heart from a burning fire of memories stirred by the realism," replied the major.

"Ah, when one comes to think, I suppose you are stirred by reminiscences of events and the people figuring in them?"

"Yes, for it is joyful to see the living old timers, Generals Miles, Maus, King, Lee and Baldwin, scouts and Indians one knows in the saddle; but it is handicapped by the rapid-fire thoughts that bring to memory those who have passed away. You see, I was there at Pine Ridge, and for three decades with Buffalo Bill had, like him, outgrown earlier antipathies and formed a strong friendship for 'Poor Lo.' Buffalo Bill and his exhibition was in Europe at the time the Messiah craze was growing. From information received, through our Indians, he learned that trouble was brewing. Our Indians wished to return, as their friends and relatives were in an excited state and wanted them to come home.


"It was an embarrassing position. Buffalo Bill had never missed a campaign, so he settled the matter by closing the exhibition, renting an old castle and 2,000 acres of land near Strasburg, Alsace-Loraine, and located the cowboys, Mexicans, employes, horses, buffalo, etc., there for the winter at grand expense. He took a fast train to Havre, crossed to England, took a fast steamer to New York through to Washington, visited General Miles, commander of the department of the West, and undertook a mission to visit "Sitting Bull" and induce him to drop the agitation and 'come in.' When he was within thirty miles of Sitting Bull's camp a courier overtook him with a countermanding order from President Harrison, who afterwards regretted it, as the result was, as the films show, that Sitting Bull was killed and 'brought in.'

"I took the seventy-five Indians via Antwerp, Philadelphia; consulted with the Indian department in Washington. Presidet [sic] Harrison received us and invoked the Indians to use their influence for peace. So, after a trip of say 5,800 miles, we landed at the scene of excitement a few hours after the Seventh cavalry. Colonel Cody returned to Nebraska, and as brigadier general of the Nebraska National guards, came to Pine Ridge, and there is no doubt in my mind but that his presence assisted materially, as we had some 2,000 Indians, who had traveled with us, and without exception [photo] Maj. John M Burke, from a photograph showing him as he appeared twenty-four years ago, in 1890, at Pine Ridge. they acted either as enlisted Indian scouts or as neutrals.


"It was thus that I acted in every way possible through my personal influences to bring about a better feeling with such good men as Young Man Afraid of His Horses, Rocky Bear, Low Neck, Woman's Dress, Black Heart, Yankton Charlie and others. We assisted every way possible to calm the excited fanatics and frustrate the designs of the disturbers.

"When General Miles' diplomacy had nearly effected it, the incidental and accidental battle of Wounded Knee, the attack on the agency, and the final battle of the Mission were unexpected shocks to our sentiments, and those of the peace-makers. Thus it is that seeing for the first time these vividly realistic scenes reproduced has really turned back the pages of time and refreshing emotions, arousing from oblivion many long lying dormant.


Maj. John M. Burke and friendly Indian scouts, No Neck and Woman's Dress.

"For instance, such a thrilling scene as the death of Captain Wallace, who was the life of a Christmas comedy festival just four days previous, who was shot through the body while disarming the Indians and badly bruised with a war club by a blow on the head, but at his feet, when found, were five dead Indians and five empty chambers in his revolver. And Father Craft, badly wounded, who was, like myself, among the peacemakers; then the terror at the agency where I was, seven miles across country, which was attacked at the same time we were, wondering what were the results with Forsythe's command; the overwhelming numbers of Indians in front and the general suggestion of treachery from our neutrals in the rear; the expressions of doubt about the Indian police and the Indian scouts holding true; the howling and singing in the hostile camp, and in the friendliest of the squaws and women singing death songs; the arrival in the night of Forsythe with his dead and wounded, all created a chaotic condition during a long night of horror with campfires smothered and every one on guard; at daylight the arrival of Gen. Guy Henry's Ninth cavalry, the attack on his wagon train which precipitated the battle of the Mission, is something anyone there can never forget, and me especially, as peacemaker's stock and standing depreciated to an extent unknown even in Wall street.


"The episodes would fill a book; but looking at these pictures, I was thinking of Gen. E. A. Carr, a man with a wonderful record in the Civil war, who had been wounded by an Indian arrow as far back as 1854, and whom Cody guided in the battle just represented at Summit Springs in 1869, who died only a couple of years ago; of Gen. Wesley Merritt, as a young cavalryman so greatly esteemed by Grant as to be called to the attention and introduced to Gen. Robert E. Lee as he was departing from Appomattox after surrendering. He was commander in the battle of War Bonnet Creek, which the pictures show, as it occurred in 1876, and where Buffalo Bill came out victor in his duel with Yellow Hand, so vividly described by Gen. Charles King in his writings.

"General Merritt has passed away. General Wheaton, whom I saw when he defended Washington at the time that Abraham Lincoln was under fire at Fort Stevens in the suburbs, which episode I witnessed; Gen. Jack Hayes among the many military friends and old Red Cloud, American Horse, Rocky Bear, Black Heart; in fact, a lot of my dearly beloved red brothers.

"These memories have rushed through my brain as I was looking at the wonderful results accomplished by the advanced science of motion picture art. I can vouch for the wonderful realism without exaggeration, that these pictures produce. They are a great lesson in the new style of open order fighting which all armies are, you might say, copying from the American Indians' methods."


"While watching the wonderful, faithful films there passed before my memory many gone from our gaze forever, Generals Forsythe, Whiteside, Corbin, Lieutenant Squires, Lieutenant Kinzie — one a millionaire host for three regiments — on Christmas, and afterwards the hero defender of Pekin, the other with a tenor voice equaling Caruso or Tuffio; Fred Remington, the artist, who would have been with the gallant Lieutenant Casey had he not been confined to the hospital with pneumonia; Captain Capron of artillery fame, who was fighting at San Juan Hill when his son was killed at El Caney.

"Then I thought of Short Bull's fighting chief, Kicking Bear, who was among the hostile prisoners whom the government turned over to me at Chicago to accompany us on a tour of Europe with other Indians — believing it prevented a war in the spring.

"These Indians were taken by General Miles to Fort Sheridan, near Chicago, as hostages. Report back on the reservation was they were all hanged. President Harrison, Major General Commanding Schofield, at Washington, and "Bear Coat" thought it best to send these with Buffalo Bill to Europe with his other Indians. I received and receipted for these from a lieutenant and guard at Chicago as I passed en route to Europe. They traveled there extensively, visited every art gallery and cathedral, Windsor Castle, many palaces, stood at Wellington's tomb in St. Paul's and Sir Walter Raleighs in Westminster Abbey, with its accuratelly [sic] dressed and armed Indians with African negro curly heads on them, were returned to Fort Sheridan as prisoners, eventually went home and became good Indians; Eagle Star, one of the most efficient hostiles, was killed by a horse at Sheffield, was buried with Lone Wolf at West Brompton cemetery, London, near Adelaide Neilson's grave. These and others are now hobnobbing with Peter in Skyland.

"I thought of the little Indian boy found behind the bushes on the day of the battle and the two babies, one of whom died, leaving the now famous baby of the battlefield, who was at the time taken care of by me. Lieut. Guy Preston flew by on his ride from Forsythe with dispatches, flitting across the sixteen miles, through hundreds of Indians — saved by dash — as he reached General Brooks' headquarters, delivered the message, his horse with nostrils streaming with blood, dropping dead in front of headquarters; then Lieut. Charley Taylor 'Whitehat,' now colonel of the Philippines, wounded at Santiago, with his Indian scouts flying back and forth over the hills to the Bad Lands. Kelley (now secretary to W. J. Bryan), Cressey and Allen, press representatives who gamely stuck on the line and picked up dead soldiers' guns and made a record as volunteers.


"Then my mind rushed down to the Rio Grande, where now is Col. Pansey Brewer, then of the Seventh; Colonel Guilfoil of the Ninth cavalry, and Lieutenant Hawthorne, who was terribly wounded, a bullet driving his watch into his side, now a colonel; Col. H. C. Sickels, in '90, lieutenant in the Seventh cavalry, a couple of months ago with the Twelfth U. S. cavalry, assisting in producing the pictures he participated in when a leaden hail fell, all now on the Rio Grande 'watching and waiting for the order to charge' — certain to attain one or two stars each when Old Glory crosses to Mexia.

"These pictures meet the requirements of the lesson advocated by my namesake, Professor Burke of the Normal school of San Francisco, who was telegraphically quoted the other day on education as saying: "Teach the young something practical, something real, such as who and what was done by Benjamin Harrison, Nathan Hale, Paul Revere, Brigham Young, Admiral Dewey, Buffalo Bill and Peary' — now they can see our dear old friend Cody still in the saddle — on deck, 'A little disfigured but still in the ring, and proving that game birds can "come back."'

"The youngster can see his last effort and read with greater avidity the history of which the libraries are full, telling of how and what he has done — even when a boy (the original boy scout) as a courier of ten years of age sixty years ago, his great Pony Express ride fifty-four years ago, when two other riders had been killed and he doubled their routes successfully notwithstanding the danger, as recorded by the grand old Denverite, Alexander Majors in his 'Seventy Years on the Plains,' making 322 miles in twenty-two and one-half hours without rest, except changing horses and lunching in the saddle. Of his ride related in Gen. Phil Sheridan's autobiography (get it and read it) forty-nine years ago in a terrible blizzard of 350 miles in less than sixty hours, with only two hours rest, (read Captain Price's History of the Fifth U. S. Cavalry, page 553) where he tells of Cody fifty-three years ago.


"In the fall of 1861 Cody was government scout and guide at Fort Larned; 1862 served as scout for the Ninth Kansas cavalry in the Southwest and was noted for conduct in several battles; enlisted in the Seventh Kansas cavalry; was honorably discharged after the war; returned to scout service and was appointed by General Sheridan chief of scouts. His brilliant reputation was earned by faithful and conspicuous service in many campaigns.

"W. F. Cody is one of the best scouts that ever rode at the head of a column of cavalry on the prairies of the far West.

"Colonel Dodge in 'Thirty Days Among the Indians,' says: 'Really remarkable scouts are very few in numbers — can be counted on the fingers. The services which they are called upon to perform are so important, dangerous and valuable that these men are honored in official reports and become great men on the frontier. Fremont's reports made Kit Carson a renowned man. Custer immortalized California Joe. Generals Sherman, Sheridan, Custer, Merritt, Crook, Miles and Carr made William F. Cody — "Buffalo Bill" — A PLAINS CELEBRITY UNTIL TIME SHALL BE NO MORE.'

"Twenty-three years ago was General Miles' great peace pow wow, now so well known a chapter in Western history at Pine Ridge. Present with him was a man ready to act his part as leader in war or pleader in peace, who had come 5,800 miles voluntarily to answer to the echo of a frontiersman roll call to duty, a man whose name, in the needed trailer days, was recognized as a gilt-edged asset by every unenvious officer, an inspiration to the men, a mark of honor to any regiment — Buffalo Bill.

"Gen. Phil Sheridan indelibly branded his name on the pillars of Fame when, in speaking of him, he said: 'When Bill Cody is with a command I sleep easy; he has always been successful on the trail and victorious in battle. A guide's duties are to prevent disaster and avoid the halo of glory attending a soldier's requiem. Buffalo Bill's pre-eminence and fame lies in the fact that he is living — for a dead scout is not worth a d--n.'

"Gen. Wesley Merritt's great ride to War Bonnet creek in the Custer campaign of 1876 was of great importance, as it relieved General Crook at Goose creek, and as it placed on record the success of Gen. Phil Sheridan's strategy in preventing the junction of hostiles by cutting off the immensely powerful southern Sioux, the Ogallala Red Cloud braves and Brule Sioux, from joining Sitting Bull and probably placing General Terry's command on a similar mournful page of bad scouting as that of the lamented General Custer.

"In these days of war and 'On to Mexico' talk, a valuable topographical lesson in the difficulties in the hilly country like the Bad Lands where the Indians in the Pine Ridge campaign took refuge. It is a rare study of guerilla warfare.

"Gen. Frank Baldwin, so prominently identified with Gen. Miles' campaigns as 'Old Get There,' and among the Indians as 'Chief Never Sleeps,' had some trying reconnoitering around these mystic, natural fortresses.


"As General Miles expressed it, 'They equal Gibraltar,' and the famed pass of Thermopylae was easy going in comparison. This defensive position tested his strategic skill to avoid attacking, which he did successfully, by surrounding the 8,000 active hostiles in double cordon of over eighty miles, forcing a choice of annihilation to those outside — starvation in those entrenched or the eventual peaceful surrender. Generals Miles, Baldwin, Maus and command in that terrible winter campaign of 1891 actually arrived at Pine Ridge in a 40 degree below zero, mile-a-minute blizzard, remembered by old-timers as the blow that formed icicles on camp fires. It's the very atmosphere of Denver's old-time days — every man, woman, child should see this visual history with the veteran lifeblood that makes them edifying.

"By the way, this being a peacemaker is lovely when one can furnish all the sunshine effectively, but when an emergency like that at Pine Ridge arises, when a fellow's action savors more of stupidity than treason, there is a sting of intensity in such remarks as 'Devil take your Indian brats, no one wants the papooses,' and, as, when dear old Gen. Jesse M. Lee and myself went out as peace envoys to the hostile camp, listening to the cheering references to the death of General Canby and the Meeker massacre gave us a little creeping sensation at the root of our scalp locks less pleasant than massage. But everything came out all right in the end.

"Bulldog tenacity, reckless courage appeal to man's animal taste as much over the trucemaker as does his appetite for spring chicken excel that of fried mush, but when one meets the beaming, benign magnetism of Gen. Jesse M. Lee we can see that goodness at least can assist us to grow old gracefully.

"And these pictures will teach this community how interesting would be a properly conducted 'Denver 1915, Westward Ho! Festival' celebrating your over half-century of prosperity. So mingle together, clasp hands, put shoulder to shoulder, assimilating as has the white man and the red, as then will be the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific in the Panama canal wedding of the two long separated oceans and give Denver, with her God-given natural gifts, a historic pageant eclipsing anything ever organized on the American continent — WITH REALITY."

Title: Buffalo Bill Indian War Pictures Bring Tears to Major Burke, 'The Peacemaker'

Source: McCracken Research Library, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody Collection, MS6, OS Box 50, page 22

Topics: Buffalo Bill on Film

Keyword: Central Film Company

People: Burke, John M., 1842-1917 Miles, Nelson Appleton, 1839-1925 Maus, Marion P. (Marion Perry), 1850-1930 King, Charles, 1844-1933 Lee, Jesse M. Baldwin, Frank Dwight, 1842-1923 Wovoka, approximately 1856-1932 Sitting Bull, 1831-1890 Harrison, Benjamin, 1833-1901 Young Man Afraid of His Horse, approximately 1830-1900 Rocky Bear Low Neck Woman's Dress Black Heart (Oglala Sioux chief) Yankton Charlie No Neck (Tahu Wanica) Wallace, George D., 1849-1890 Craft, Francis M., 1852-1920 Forsyth, James W. (James William), 1836-1906 Henry, Guy Vernor, 1839-1899 Carr, E. A. (Eugene Asa), 1830-1910 Merritt, Wesley, 1834-1910 Grant, Ulysses S. (Ulysses Simpson), 1822-1885 Lee, Robert E. (Robert Edward), 1807-1870 Yellow Hand, 1850?-1876 Wheaton Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865 Hays, John Coffee, 1817-1883 Whitside, Samuel M., 1839-1902 Corbin, Henry Clark, 1842-1909 Squires, Herbert G. Kinzie, John J. Caruso, Enrico, 1873-1921 Ruffo, Titta, 1877-1953 Remington, Frederic, 1861-1909 Casey, Edward W. Capron, Allyn K., Sr., 1846-1898 Capron, Allyn K., Jr., 1871-1898 Kicking Bear, 1853-1904 Schofield, John McAllister, 1831-1906 Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, Duke of, 1769-1852 Raleigh, Walter, Sir, 1552?-1618 Eagle Star, Paul, 1864-1891 Lone Wolf Neilson, Adelaide, 1848-1880 Peter, the Apostle, Saint Preston, Guy Brooks, J. R. Taylor, Charles Kelley, Fitch Bryan, William Jennings, 1860-1925 Cressey, Charles H. Allen, Charles W., 1851-1942 Brewer, Pansey Guilfoil Hawthorne, Harry L. Sickel, Horatio Gates, Jr. Burk, Frederic, 1862-1924 Hale, Nathan, 1755-1776 Revere, Paul, 1735-1818 Young, Brigham, 1801-1877 Dewey, George, 1837-1917 Peary, Robert E. (Robert Edwin), 1856-1920 Majors, Alexander, 1814-1900 Sheridan, Philip Henry, 1831-1888 Price, George F. (George Frederic), -1888 Frémont, John Charles, 1813-1890 Carson, Kit, 1809-1868 Custer, George A. (George Armstrong), 1839-1876 Milner, Moses Embree, 1829-1876 Sherman, William T. (William Tecumseh), 1820-1891 Crook, George, 1829-1890 Terry, Alfred Howe, 1827-1890 Canby, Edward Richard Sprigg, 1817-1873 Meeker, Nathan Cook, 1814-1879

Places: Pine Ridge (S.D.) Strasbourg (France) Alsace-Lorraine (Germany) Le Havre (France) England New York Washington (D.C.) Antwerp (Belgium) Philadelphia (Pa.) Nebraska Summit Springs (Colo.) Appomattox (Va.) Warbonnet Creek (Neb.) Fort Stevens (Or.) Pekin (Ill.) San Juan Hill (Cuba) El Caney (Cuba) Chicago (Ill.) Fort Sheridan (Ill.) Windsor Castle St. Paul's Cathedral (London, England) Westminster Abbey Sheffield (England) London (England) Philippines Santiago de Cuba (Cuba) Badlands (N.D.) Mexico San Francisco (Calif.) Fort Larned (Larned, Kan.) Kansas Gibraltar Thermopylae (Greece) Denver (Colo.) Meeker (Colo.) Panama Canal (Panama)

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