- At Fort Leavenworth -- the treaty of Medicine Lodge -- going to Fort Dodge -- discontented Indians -- Indian outrages -- a delegation of chiefs -- terrible Indian raid -- death of Comstock -- vast herds of Buffalo -- preparing for a winter campaign -- meeting “Buffalo bill” -- he Undertakes a dangerous task -- Forsyth's gallant fight -- rescued.
The headquarters of the military department to which I was assigned when relieved from duty at New Orleans was at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and on the 5th of September I started for that post. In due time I reached St. Louis, and stopped there a day to accept an ovation tendered in approval of the course I had pursued in the Fifth Military District--a public demonstration apparently of the most sincere and hearty character. From St. Louis to Leavenworth took but one night, and the next day I technically complied with my orders far enough to permit General Hancock to leave the department, so that he might go immediately to New Orleans if he so desired, but on account of the yellow fever epidemic then prevailing, he did not reach the city till late in November. My new command was one of the four military departments that composed the geographical division then commanded by LieutenantGeneral Sherman. This division had been formed in 1866, with a view to controlling the Indians west of the Missouri River, they having become very restless and troublesome because of the building of the Pacific railroads through their hunting-grounds, and the encroachments of pioneers, who began settling in middle and western Kansas and eastern Colorado immediately after the war. My department embraced the States of Missouri and Kansas, the Indian Territory, and New Mexico. Part of this section of countrywestern Kansas particularly-had been frequently disturbed and harassed during two or three years past, the savages every now and then massacring  an isolated family, boldly attacking the surveying and construction parties of the Kansas-Pacific railroad, sweeping down on emigrant trains, plundering and burning stage-stations and the like along the Smoky Hill route to Denver and the Arkansas route to New Mexico. However, when I relieved Hancock, the department was comparatively quiet. Though some military operations had been conducted against the hostile tribes in the early part of the previous summer, all active work was now suspended in the attempt to conclude a permanent peace with the Cheyennes, Arapahoes, Kiowas, and Comanches, in compliance with the act of Congress creating what was known as the Indian Peace Commission of 1867. Under these circumstances there was little necessity for my remaining at Leavenworth, and as I was much run down in health from the Louisiana climate, in which I had been obliged to live continuously for three summers (one of which brought epidemic cholera, and another a scourge of yellow fever), I took a leave of absence for a few months, leaving Colonel A. J. Smith, of the Seventh Cavalry, temporarily in charge of my command. On this account I did not actually go on duty in the department of the Missouri till March, 1868. On getting back I learned that the negotiations of the Peace Commissioners-held at Medicine Lodge, about seventy miles south of Fort Larned-had resulted in a treaty with the Cheyennes, Arapahoes, Kiowas, and Comanches, by which agreement it was supposed all troubles had been settled. The compact, as concluded, contained numerous provisions, the most important to us being one which practically relinquished the country between the Arkansas and Platte rivers for white settlement; another permitted the peaceable construction of the Pacific railroads through the same region; and a third requiring the tribes signing the treaty to retire to reservations allotted them in the Indian Territory. Although the chiefs and head-men were wellnigh unanimous in ratifying these concessions, it was discovered in the spring of 1868 that many of the young men were bitterly opposed to what had been done, and claimed that most of the signatures had been obtained by misrepresentation and through proffers of certain annuities, and promises of arms and ammunition to be issued in the spring of 1868. This grumbling was very general in extent, and during the winter found outlet in occasional marauding, so, fearing a renewal of the pillaging and plundering at an early day, to prepare myself for the work evidently ahead the first thing I did on assuming permanent command was to make a trip to Fort Lamed and Fort Dodge, near which places the bulk of the Indians had congregated on Pawnee and Walnut creeks. I wanted to get near enough to the camps to find out for myself the  actual state of feeling among the savages, and also to familiarize myself with the characteristics of the Plains Indians, for my previous experience had been mainly with mountain tribes on the Pacific coast. Fort Lamed I found too near the camps for my purpose, its proximity too readily inviting unnecessary “talks,” so I remained here but a day or two, and then went on to Dodge, which, though considerably farther away from the camps, was yet close enough to enable us to obtain easily information of all that was going on. It took but a few days at Dodge to discover that great discontent existed about the Medicine Lodge concessions, to see that the young men were chafing and turbulent, and that it would require much tact and good management on the part of the Indian Bureau to persuade the four tribes to go quietly to their reservations, under an agreement which, when entered into, many of them protested had not been fully understood. A few hours after my arrival a delegation of prominent chiefs called on me and proposed a council, where they might discuss their grievances, and thus bring to the notice of the Government the alleged wrongs done them; but this I refused, because Congress had delegated to the Peace Commission the whole matter of treating with them, and a council might lead only to additional complications. My refusal left them without hope of securing better terms, or of even delaying matters longer; so henceforth they were more than ever reckless and defiant. Denunciations of the treaty became outspoken, and as the young braves grew more and more insolent every day, it amounted to conviction that, unless by some means the irritation was allayed, hostilities would surely be upon us when the buffalo returned to their summer feeding-grounds between the Arkansas and the Platte. The principal sufferers in this event would be the settlers in middle and western Kansas, who, entirely ignorant of the dangers hanging over them, were laboring to build up homes in a new country. Hence the maintenance of peace was much to be desired, if it could be secured without too great concessions, and although I would not meet the different tribes in a formal council, yet, to ward off from settlers as much as possible the horrors of savage warfare, I showed, by resorting to persuasive methods, my willingness to temporize a good deal. An abundant supply of rations is usually effective to keep matters quiet in such cases, so I fed them pretty freely, and also endeavored to control them through certain men who, I found, because of former associations, had their confidence. These men, employed as scouts or interpreters, were Mr. William Comstock, Mr. Abner S. Grover, and Mr. Richard Parr. They had lived on the Plains for many years with different tribes of Indians,  had trapped and hunted with them, and knew all the principal chiefs and headmen. Through such influences, I thought I saw good chances of preserving peace, and of inducing the discontented to go quietly to their reservations in the Indian Territory as soon as General Hazen, the representative of the Peace Commissioners, was ready to conduct them there from Fort Larned. Before returning to Leavenworth I put my mediators (as I may call them) under charge of an officer of the army, Lieutenant F. W. Beecher, a very intelligent man, and directed him to send them out to visit among the different tribes, in order to explain what was intended by the treaty of Medicine Lodge, and to make every effort possible to avert hostilities. Under these instructions Comstock and Grover made it their business to go about among the Cheyennes — the most warlike tribe of all-then camping about the headwaters of Pawnee and Walnut creeks, and also to the north and west of Fort Wallace, while Parr spent his time principally with the Kiowas and Comanches. From the different posts-Wallace, Dodge, and Lamed-Lieutenant Beecher kept up communication with all three scouts, and through him I heard from them at least once a week. Every now and then some trouble along the railroad or stage routes would be satisfactorily adjusted and quiet restored, and matters seemed to be going on very well, the warm weather bringing the grass and buffalo in plenty, and still no outbreak, nor any act of downright hostility. So I began to hope that we should succeed in averting trouble till the favorite war season of the Indians was over, but the early days of August rudely ended our fancied tranquility. In July the encampments about Fort Dodge began to break up, each band or tribe moving off to some new location north of the Arkansas, instead of toward its proper reservation to the south of that river. When I learned presently that a party of Cheyennes had made a raid on the Kaws — a band of friendly Indians living near Council Groveand stolen their horses, and also robbed the houses of several white people near Council Grove. This raid was the beginning of the Indian war of 1868. Immediately following it, the Comanches and Kiowas came to Fort Lamed to receive their annuities, expecting to get also the arms and ammunition promised them at Medicine Lodge, but the raid to Council Grove having been reported to the Indian Department, the issue of arms was suspended till reparation was made. This action of the Department greatly incensed the savages, and the agent's offer of the annuities without guns and pistols was insolently refused, the Indians sulking back to their camps, the young men giving themselves up to  war-dances, and to powwows with “medicine-men,” till all hope of control was gone. Brevet Brigadier-General Alfred Sully, an officer of long experience in Indian matters, who at this time was in command of the District of the Arkansas, which embraced Forts Lamed and Dodge, having notified me of these occurrences at Larned, and expressed the opinion that the Indians were bent on mischief, I directed him there immediately to act against them. After he reached Lamed, the chances for peace appeared more favorable. The Indians came to see him, and protested that it was only a few bad young men who had been depredating, and that all would be well and the young men held in check if the agent would but issue the arms and ammunition. Believing their promises, Sully thought that the delivery of the arms would solve all the difficulties, so on his advice the agent turned them over along with the annuities, the Indians this time condescendingly accepting. This issue of arms and ammunition was a fatal mistake; Indian diplomacy had overreached Sully's experience, and even while the delivery was in progress a party of warriors had already begun a raid of murder and rapine, which for acts of devilish cruelty perhaps has no parallel in savage warfare. The party consisted of about two hundred Cheyennes and a few Arapahoes, with twenty Sioux who had been visiting their friends, the Cheyennes. As near as could be ascertained, they organized and left their camps along Pawnee Creek about the 3d of August. Traveling northeast, they skirted around Fort Harker, and made their first appearance among the settlers in the Saline Valley, about thirty miles north of that post. Professing friendship and asking food at the farm-houses, they saw the unsuspecting occupants comply by giving all they could spare from their scanty stores. Knowing the Indian's inordinate fondness for coffee, particularly when well sweetened, they even served him this luxury freely. With this the demons began their devilish work. Pretending to be indignant because it was served them in tin cups, they threw the hot contents into the women's faces, and then, first making prisoners of the men, they, one after another, ravished the women till the victims became insensible. For some inexplicable reason the two farmers were neither killed nor carried off, so after the red fiends had gone, the unfortunate women were brought in to Fort Harker, their arrival being the first intimation to the military that hostilities had actually begun. Leaving the Saline, this war-party crossed over to the valley of the Solomon, a more thickly settled region, and where the people were in better circumstances, their farms having been started two or three years before. Unaware of the hostile character of the raiders, the people here  received them in the friendliest way, providing food, and even giving them ammunition, little dreaming of what was impending. These kindnesses were requited with murder and pillage, and worse, for all the women who fell into their hands were subjected to horrors indescribable by words. Here also the first murders were committed, thirteen men and two women being killed. Then, after burning five houses and stealing all the horses they could find, they turned back toward the Saline, carrying away as prisoners two little girls named Bell, who have never been heard of since. It was probably the intention to finish, as they marched back to the south, the devilish work begun on the Saline, but before they reached that valley on the return, the victims left there originally had fled to Fort Harker, as already explained, and Captain Benteen was now nearing the little settlement with a troop of cavalry, which he had hurriedly marched from Fort Zarah. The savages were attacking the house of a Mr. Schermerhorn, where a few of the settlers had collected for defense, when Benteen approached. Hearing the firing, the troopers rode toward the sound at a gallop, but when they appeared in view, coming over the hills, the Indians fled in all directions, escaping punishment through their usual tactics of scattering over the Plains, so as to leave no distinctive trail. When this frightful raid was taking place, Lieutenant Beecher, with his three scouts-Comstock, Grover, and Parr — was on Walnut Creek. Indefinite rumors about troubles on the Saline and Solomon reaching him, he immediately sent Comstock and Grover over to the headwaters of the Solomon, to the camp of a band of Cheyennes, whose chief was called “Turkey leg,” to see if any of the raiders belonged there; to learn the facts, and make explanations, if it was found that the white people had been at fault. For years this chief had been a special friend of Comstock and Grover. They had trapped, hunted, and lived with his band, and from this intimacy they felt confident of being able to get “Turkey leg” to quiet his people, if any of them were engaged in the raid; and, at all events, they expected, through him and his band, to influence the rest of the Cheyennes. From the moment they arrived in the Indian village, however, the two scouts met with a very cold reception. Neither friendly pipe nor food was offered them, and before they could recover from their chilling reception, they were peremptorily ordered out of the village, with the intimation that when the Cheyennes were on the warpath the presence of whites was intolerable. The scouts were prompt to leave, of course, and for a few miles were accompanied by an escort of seven young men, who said they were sent with them to protect the two from harm. As the party rode along over the prairie, such a depth  of attachment was professed for Comstock and Grover that, notwithstanding all the experience of their past lives, they were thoroughly deceived, and in the midst of a friendly conversation some of the young warriors fell suddenly to the rear and treacherously fired on them. At the volley Comstock fell from his horse, instantly killed. Grover, badly wounded in the shoulder, also fell to the ground near Comstock. Seeing his comrade was dead, Grover made use of his friend's body to protect himself, lying close behind it. Then took place a remarkable contest, Grover, alone and severely wounded, obstinately fighting the seven Indians, and holding them at bay for the rest of the day. Being an expert shot, and having a long-range repeating rifle, he “stood off” the savages till dark. Then cautiously crawling away on his belly to a deep ravine, he lay close, suffering terribly from his wound, till the following night, when, setting out for Fort Wallace, he arrived there the succeeding day, almost crazed from pain and exhaustion. Simultaneously with the fiendish atrocities committed on the Saline and Solomon rivers and the attack on Comstock and Grover, the pillaging and murdering began on the Smoky Hill stage-route, along the upper Arkansas River and on the headwaters of the Cimarron. That along the Smoky Hill and north of it was the exclusive work of the Cheyennes, a part of the Arapahoes, and the few Sioux allies heretofore mentioned, while the raiding on the Arkansas and Cimarron was done principally by the Kiowas under their chief, Satanta, aided by some of the Comanches. The young men of these tribes set out on their bloody work just after the annuities and guns were issued at Lamed, and as soon as they were well on the road the rest of the Comanches and Kiowas escaped from the post and fled south of the Arkansas. They were at once pursued by General Sully with a small force, but by the time he reached the Cimarron the war-party had finished its raid on the upper Arkansas, and so many Indians combined against Sully that he was compelled to withdraw to Fort Dodge, which he reached not without considerable difficulty, and after three severe fights. These, and many minor raids which followed, made it plain that a general outbreak was upon us. The only remedy, therefore, was to subjugate the savages immediately engaged in the forays by forcing the several tribes to settle down on the reservations set apart by the treaty of Medicine Lodge: The principal mischief-makers were the Cheyennes. Next in deviltry were the Kiowas, and then the Arapahoes and Comanches. Some few of these last two tribes continued friendly, or at least took no active part in the raiding, but nearly all the young men of both were the constant allies of the Cheyennes and Kiowas. All four tribes together could put on the war-path a formidable force of about  6,000 warriors. The subjugation of this number of savages would be no easy task, so to give the matter my undivided attention I transferred my headquarters from Leavenworth to Fort Hays, a military post near which the prosperous town of Hays City now stands. Fort Hays was just beyond the line of the most advanced settlements, and was then the terminus of the Kansas-Pacific railroad. For this reason it could be made a depot of supplies, and was a good point from which to supervise matters in the section of country to be operated in, which district is a part of the Great American Plains, extending south from the Platte River in Nebraska to the Red River in the Indian Territory, and westward from the line of frontier settlements to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, a vast region embracing an area of about 150,000 square miles. With the exception of a half-dozen military posts and a few stations on the two overland emigrant routes — the Smoky Hill to Denver, and the Arkansas to New Mexico-this country was an unsettled waste known only to the Indians and a few trappers. There were neither roads nor well-marked trails, and the only timber to be found — which generally grew only along the streams — was so scraggy and worthless as hardly to deserve the name. Nor was water by any means plentiful, even though the section is traversed by important streams, the Republican, the Smoky Hill, the Arkansas, the Cimarron, and the Canadian all flowing eastwardly, as do also their tributaries in the main. These feeders are sometimes long and crooked, but as a general thing the volume of water is insignificant except after rain-falls. Then, because of unimpeded drainage, the little streams fill up rapidly with torrents of water, which quickly flows off or sinks into the sand, leaving only an occasional pool without visible inlet or outlet. At the period of which I write, in 1868, the Plains were covered with vast herds of buffalo — the number has been estimated at 3,000,000 head-and with such means of subsistence as this everywhere at hand, the 6,000 hostiles were wholly unhampered by any problem of foodsupply. The savages were rich too according to Indian standards, many a lodge owning from twenty to a hundred ponies; and consciousness of wealth and power, aided by former temporizing, had made them not only confident but defiant. Realizing that their thorough subjugation would be a difficult task, I made up my mind to confine operations during the grazing and hunting season to protecting the people of the new settlements and on the overland routes, and then, when winter came, to fall upon the savages relentlessly, for in that season their ponies would be thin, and weak from lack of food, and in the cold and snow, without strong ponies to transport their villages and plunder, their movements would be so much impeded that the troops could overtake them.  At the outbreak of hostilities I had in all, east of New Mexico, a force of regulars numbering about 2,600 men-1,200 mounted and 1,400 foot troops. The cavalry was composed of the Seventh and Tenth regiments; the infantry, of the Third and Fifth regiments and four companies of the Thirty-Eighth. With these few troops all the posts along the Smoky Hill and Arkansas had to be garrisoned, emigrant trains escorted, and the settlements and routes of travel and the construction parties on the Kansas-Pacific railway protected. Then, too, this same force had to furnish for the field small movable columns, that were always on the go, so it will be rightly inferred that every available man was kept busy from the middle of August till November; especially as during this period the hostiles attacked over forty widely dispersed places, in nearly all cases stealing horses, burning houses, and killing settlers. It was of course impossible to foresee where these descents would be made, but as soon as an attack was heard of assistance was always promptly rendered, and every now and then we succeeded in killing a few savages. As a general thing, though, the raiders escaped before relief arrived, and when they had a few miles the start, all efforts to catch them were futile. I therefore discouraged long pursuits, and, in fact, did not approve of making any at all unless the chances of obtaining paying results were very evident, otherwise the troops would be worn out by the time the hard work of the winter was demanded from them. To get ready for a winter campaign of six months gave us much to do. The thing most needed was more men, so I asked for additional cavalry, and all that could be spared-seven troops of the Fifth Cavalrywas sent to me. Believing this reinforcement insufficient, to supplement it I applied for a regiment of Kansas volunteers, which request being granted, the organization of the regiment was immediately begun at Topeka. It was necessary also to provide a large amount of transportation and accumulate quantities of stores, since the campaign probably would not end till spring. Another important matter was to secure competent guides for the different columns of troops, for, as I have said, the section of country to be operated in was comparatively unknown. In those days the railroad town of Hays City was filled with socalled “Indian scouts,” whose common boast was of having slain scores of red-skins, but the real scout — that is, a guide and trailer knowing the habits of the Indians--was very scarce, and it was hard to find anybody familiar with the country south of the Arkansas, where the campaign was to be made. Still, about Hays City and the various military posts there was some good material to select from, and we managed to employ several men, who, from their experience on the plains in various capacities, or from natural instinct and aptitude, soon became excellent guides  and courageous and valuable scouts, some of them, indeed, gaining much distinction. Mr. William F. Cody ( “Buffalo bill” ), whose renown has since become world-wide, was one of the men thus selected. He received his sobriquet from his marked success in killing buffaloes for a contractor, to supply fresh meat to the construction parties on the Kansas-Pacific railway. He had given up this business, however, and was now in the employ of the quartermaster's department of the army, and was first brought to my notice by distinguishing himself in bringing me an important despatch from Fort Lamed to Fort Hays, a distance of sixty-five miles, through a section infested with Indians. The despatch informed me that the Indians near Lamed were preparing to decamp, and this intelligence required that certain orders should be carried to Fort Dodge, ninety-five miles south of Hays. This too being a particularly dangerous route-several couriers having been killed on it — it was impossible to get one of the various “Petes,” “Jacks,” or “Jims” hanging around Hays City to take my communication. Cody learning of the strait I was in, manfully came to the rescue, and proposed to make the trip to Dodge, though he had just finished his long and perilous ride from Lamed. I gratefully accepted his offer, and after four or five hours rest he mounted a fresh horse and hastened on his journey, halting but once to rest on the way, and then only for an hour, the stop being made at Coon Creek, where he got another mount from a troop of cavalry. At Dodge he took six hours sleep, and then continued on to his own postFort Lamed — with more despatches. After resting twelve hours at Lamed, he was again in the saddle with tidings for me at Fort Hays, General Hazen sending him, this time, with word that the villages had fled to the south of the Arkansas. Thus, in all, Cody rode about 350 miles in less than sixty hours, and such an exhibition of endurance and courage was more than enough to convince me that his services would be extremely valuable in the campaign, so I retained him at Fort Hays till the battalion of the Fifth Cavalry arrived, and then made him chief of scouts for that regiment. The information brought me by Cody on his second trip from Lamed indicated where the villages would be found in the winter, and I decided to move on them about the 1st of November. Only the women and children and the decrepit old men were with the villages, howeverenough, presumably, to look after the plunder-most of the warriors remaining north of the Arkansas to continue their marauding. Many severe fights occurred between our troops and these marauders, and in these affairs, before November I over a hundred Indians were killed, yet from the ease with which the escaping savages would disappear only to fall upon remote settlements with pillage and murder, the results were by  no means satisfactory. One of the most noteworthy of these preliminary affairs was the gallant fight made on the Republican River the 17th of September by my Aide, Colonel George A. Forsyth, and party, against about seven hundred Cheyennes and Sioux. Forsyth, with Lieutenant Beecher, and Doctor J. H. Mooers as surgeon, was in charge of a company of citizen scouts, mostly expert rifle-shots, but embracing also a few Indian fighters, among these Grover and Parr. The company was organized the latter part of August for immediate work in defense of the settlements, and also for future use in the Indian Territory when the campaign should open there. About the time the company had reached its complement — it was limited to forty-seven men and three officers — a small band of hostiles began depredations near Sheridan City, one of the towns that grew up over-night on the Kansas-Pacific railway. Forsyth pursued this party, but failing to overtake it, made his way into Fort Wallace for rations, intending to return from there to Fort Hays. Before we started back, however, another band of Indians appeared near the post and stole some horses from the stage company. This unexpected raid made Forsyth hot to go for the marauders, and he telegraphed me for permission, which I as promptly gave him. He left the post on the 10th of September, the command consisting of himself, Lieutenant Beecher, Acting Assistant Surgeon Mooers, and the full strength, forty-seven men, with a few pack mules carrying about ten days rations. He headed north toward the Republican River. For the first two days the trail was indistinct and hard to follow. During the next three it continued to grow much larger, indicating plainly that the number of Indians ahead was rapidly increasing. Of course this sign meant a fight as soon as a large enough force was mustered, but as this was what Forsyth was after, he pushed ahead with confidence and alacrity. The night of the 16th of September he encamped on the Arickaree branch of the Republican, not far from the forks of the river, with the expectation of resuming the march as usual next day, for the indications were that the main body of the savages must be still a long way off, though in the preceding twenty-four hours an occasional Indian had been seen. But the enemy was much nearer than was thought, for at daybreak on the morning of the 17th he made known his immediate presence by a sudden dash at Forsyth's horses, a few of which were stampeded and captured before the scouts could reach them. This dash was made by a small party only to get the horses, so those engaged in it were soon driven off, but a few minutes later hundreds of savages — it was afterward learned that seven hundred warriors took part in the fighthitherto invisible, showed themselves on the hills overlooking the camp and so menacingly as to convince Forsyth that his defense must be one  of desperation. The only place at hand that gave any hope of successful resistance was a small island in the Arickaree, the channel on one side being about a foot deep while on the other it was completely dry; so to this position a hurried retreat was made. All the men and the remaining animals reached the island in safety, but on account of the heavy fire poured in from the neighboring hills the packs containing the rations and medicines had to be abandoned. On seeing Forsyth's hasty move, the Indians, thinking they had him, prepared to overwhelm the scouts by swooping down on one side of the island with about five hundred mounted warriors, while about two hundred, covered by the tall grass in the river-bottom attacked the other side, dismounted. But the brave little band sadly disappointed them. When the charge came it was met with such a deadly fire that a large number of the fiends were killed, some of them even after gaining the bank of the island. This check had the effect of making the savages more wary, but they were still bold enough to make two more assaults before mid-day. Each of these ending like the first, the Indians thereafter contented themselves with shooting all the horses, which had been tied up to some scraggy little cottonwood-trees, and then proceeded to lay siege to the party. The first man struck was Forsyth himself. He was hit three times in all-twice in one leg, both serious wounds, and once on the head, a slight abrasion of the scalp. A moment later Beecher was killed and Doctor Mooers mortally wounded; and in addition to these misfortunes the scouts kept getting hit, till several were killed, and the whole number of casualties had reached twenty-one in a company of forty-seven. Yet with all this, and despite the seeming hopelessness of the situation, the survivors kept up their pluck undiminished, and during a lull succeeding the third repulse dug into the loose soil till the entire party was pretty well protected by rifle-pits. Thus covered they stood off the Indians for the next three days, although of course their condition became deplorable from lack of food, while those who were hurt suffered indescribable agony, since no means were at hand for dressing their wounds. By the third day the Indians, seeming to despair of destroying the beleaguered party before succor might arrive, began to draw off, and on the fourth wholly disappeared. The men were by this time nearly famished for food. Even now there was nothing to be had except horsemeat from the carcasses of the animals killed the first day, and this, though decidedly unpalatable, not to say disgusting, had to be put up with, and so on such unwholesome stuff they managed to live for four days longer, at the end of which time they were rescued by a column of troops under Colonel Bankhead, which had hastened from Fort Wallace  in response to calls for help, carried there by two brave fellowsStilwell and Truedell-who, volunteering to go for relief, had slipped through the Indians, and struck out for that post in the night after the first day's fight.