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[231] Colonel McPhail's grasp was loosened on his sword by the shock. He thought a shell had fallen among them. This momentarily checked the charge and rendered it less effective, the Indians getting out on the plain, where their immense numbers deterred any further charge until the cavalry could be reenforced.

Lieutenant-Colonel Marshall had left his line for a moment, and, taking care of Colonel McPhail's right flank, charged down the hill with the rangers. In an effort to cut off some Indians to the right, he got into rather close quarters with some of them. The thunder-stroke checked the the cavalrymen that he thought were following him in the dash. He wheeled his horse in time to avoid a single-handed encounter with a dozen warriors.

While the dismounted companies of cavalry were getting their horses from camp, and Captains Rubles's, Davy's, and Lieutenant Johnston's companies, that had been on the right of the hill with Major Bradley, were being formed for the pursuit, the Indians had got three or four miles away. Their families had been started ahead, and the warriors were covering the rear of the train. The cavalry pursued, and the Seventh regiment followed on. Lieutenant Whipple's section of the battery was sent forward, and Company B, of the Tenth, to support it. The cavalry reached the Indians before dark, and made five successive charges on their rear, killing a great number. The battery and the Seventh regiment were not up in time to take a hand.

The Indians fought desperately. One stalwart warrior, with an American flag wrapped around him theatrically, fired twice while the cavalry were within twenty rods charging upon him, his balls taking effect in the overcoats and saddle of private Green, and rubber blanket of Carlson of Company F. The Indian got the powder down, but not the ball, for the third load, which he discharged at the breast of Archy McNee, of Company F, of course without effect. He then clubbed his musket and struck Carlson, nearly unhorsing him. A dozen carbine balls were put into, and then he had to be sabred to finish him.

Gustaf Stark, of Company B, was killed in one of these charges, and Andrew Moore dangerously, if not mortally, wounded.

The cavalry boys took twenty-one scalps in this charge.

Colonel McPhail had told them that it was very barbarous to take scalps, but that he wouldn't believe any man had killed an Indian unless he showed the hair, and enough of it so that two locks couldn't be taken from the same head.

The trail of the Indians was strewed with tons of dried buffalo meat, pemmican, robes and undressed buffalo skins, besides camp furniture. It was a wild flight, in which they abandoned everything that impeded them. Much of this stuff they left in camp.

The Seventh regiment, with Company B of the Tenth, had reached a point ten or twelve miles from camp, the artillery a point farther advanced, while Colonel McPhail was engaged fifteen miles from camp. Darkness came on, and Colonel Marshall ordered a bivouac of his men, and Captain Edgerton's company of the Tenth. Guards were posted, and the exhausted men had laid down to sleep, when Colonel McPhail returned on his way to camp, having received an order not to pursue after dark, and — mistakenly delivered — to return to camp. The General intended to leave it discretionary with Colonel McPhail to bivouac or return to camp accordingly, as he might have got many miles away, or be near to camp. The infantry joined the cavalry and artillery, and marched until daylight the next morning before reaching camp, having been twenty-four hours marching or fighting, and since ten o'clock in the morning without water.

The General was just ready to leave camp with the other forces, but the exhausted condition of the men and cavalry horses that had been out all night, precluded the march that day. This unfortunate mistake delayed the pursuit two days, for it required the next day's march, the twenty-sixth, to reach the point of the cavalry fight on the night of the twenty-fourth.

The battle of dead Buffalo Lake.

Camp was moved on the twenty-fifth, three miles, on to the great hill, where a pond of fresh water and grass were found. Lieutenant Freeman's and Murphy's and Starr's bodies were buried at Camp Sidney, below the hill. Doctor Weiser's was buried at Camp Whitney, on the hill.

The march was resumed on the twenty-sixth, and Dead Buffalo Lake reached about noon. The Indians were seen in the distance advancing towards us. It was not known that there was any good camping-place within reach that day ahead, and it was decided to go into camp on the lake.

Lieutenant Whipple's six-pounders were advanced to a hill half a mile in advance, towards the Indians, and the Sixth regiment was deployed forward, to support the battery and engage the Indians.

The Indians circled around, got on the high knolls and ridges, and took observations, but seemed indisposed to pitch in. The artillery shelled them when they ventured near enough, and the skirmishers gave them shots when they approached anywhere near camp.

Thus some hours passed without the Indians developing their purpose. A large portion of them kept out of sight. Finally, about three o'clock, a mounted force of Indians suddenly dashed in on the north side of the camp, where mules had been turned out to graze, and where teamsters were getting grass.

The Indians had almost reached them, when Captains Wilson's and Davy's companies of cavalry — the latter under Lieutenant Kidder--putting their horses to the jump, dashed upon the Indians, and so dismayed them that they wheeled their ponies to escape, but not in time to escape the carbine shots, followed by the revolver and sabre, and left a goodly number of the red devils

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