Washita Memories: Eyewitness Views of Custer's Attack on Black Kettle's Village

Overview

The Battle of the Washita is one of the most tragic—and disturbing—events in American history. On November 27, 1868, the U.S. Cavalry under Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer attacked a peaceful Southern Cheyenne village along the Washita River in present-day western Oklahoma. This U.S. victory signaled the end of the Cheyennes’ traditional way of life and resulted in the death of Black Kettle, their most prominent peace chief.

In this documentary history, Richard G. Hardorff ...

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Overview

The Battle of the Washita is one of the most tragic—and disturbing—events in American history. On November 27, 1868, the U.S. Cavalry under Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer attacked a peaceful Southern Cheyenne village along the Washita River in present-day western Oklahoma. This U.S. victory signaled the end of the Cheyennes’ traditional way of life and resulted in the death of Black Kettle, their most prominent peace chief.

In this documentary history, Richard G. Hardorff presents a broad range of views of the Washita battle. Eyewitnesses to the destruction of the Southern Cheyenne village included soldiers, officers, tribal members, Indian and white scouts, and government officials. Many of these witnesses recorded their memories of the event. The records they left vary from oral accounts handed down through Cheyenne families to personal letters, diary entries, newspaper columns, and even official government files. With Washita Memories, Hardorff has collected these surviving documents into a one-of-a-kind primary resource.

Each document is reproduced in full with an introduction and extensive annotation, and a general introduction places the campaign and its aftermath in historical context. Hardorff also provides fourteen detailed maps of the battle site and campaign routes.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806139906
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/2008
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard G. Hardorff is the author of numerous works on the Battle of the Little Bighorn, Custer, and the Plains Indians, including Lakota Recollections of the Custer Fight and Custer and the Little Bighorn. He resides in Genoa, Illinois.

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Table of Contents


List of Maps xi Preface and Acknowledgments xiii Introduction 3
1 Indian Depredations in the Department of the Missouri, August 10-November 27, 1868 32
2 Clara Blinn, Civilian Captive 41
3 Little Rock, Cheyenne 44
4 Edmund Guerrier, Civilian 50
5 Black Kettle, Cheyenne 54
6 George A. Custer, Seventh Cavalry 58 Official Report, November 28, 1868 60 Official Report, December 22, 1868 66 Letter to K. C. Barker, May 26, 1869 80 Extract from My Life on the Plains (1874) 82
7 Albert Barnitz, Seventh Cavalry 96 Letter to Jennie Barnitz, December 5, 1868 98 Lt. Edward S. Godfrey to Jennie Barnitz, Letter Extracts 102 Extract of Journal, November 23-27, 1868 106 Extract of Narrative Account, 1889 112 Interview by and Correspondence with Walter M. Camp, 1910 116 Letter to Joseph Thoburn, November 28, 1910 124
8 Edward S. Godfrey, Seventh Cavalry 129 Interview and Notes by Walter M. Camp, 1917 130 Extract of Narrative Account, 1928 132 Excerpt of Critique on Homer Wheeler, Buffalo Days, 1926 147 Letter to Elizabeth B. Custer, December 15, 1918 149
9 Francis M. Gibson, Seventh Cavalry 151
10 Charles Brewster, Seventh Cavalry 157
11 James M. Bell, Seventh Cavalry 162 Interview by Walter M. Camp, ca. 1910 163 Correspondence with Walter M. Camp, 1911 167
12 Anonymous Correspondent, New York Daily Tribune 171
13 Frederick W. Benteen, Seventh Cavalry 174
14 Winfield Scott Harvey, Seventh Cavalry 180
15 Dennis Lynch, Seventh Cavalry 184
16 John Ryan, Seventh Cavalry 189
17 J. C. Pickens, Seventh Cavalry 199
18 Ben Clark, Seventh Cavalry 202 New York Sun Interview, May 14, 1899 204 Kansas City Star Interview, December 4, 1904 215 Revision of StarInterview, October 22, 1910 221 Interview and Field Notes by Walter M. Camp, October 22, 1910 224 Letter to Frederick S. Barde, May 1, 1903 235
19 DeB. Randolph Keim, New York Herald 237 Extract of Dispatch, December 1, 1868 237 Extract of Dispatch, December 4, 1868 249 Extract of Dispatch, December 6, 1868 253 Extract of Dispatch, December 11, 1868 255
20 Milton Stewart, Nineteenth Kansas Cavalry 264
21 Henry E. Alvord, Tenth Cavalry 267
22 Thomas Murphy, Bureau of Indian Affairs 270
23 Philip H. Sheridan, Department of the Missouri 274 Official Report, December 3, 1868 275 Official Report, December 19, 1868 278 Official Report, January 1, 1869 281
24 James S. Morrison, Agency Employee 282
25 Benjamin H. Grierson, Tenth Cavalry 285
26 William B. Hazen, Southern Indian Military District 288
27 Hugh L. Scott, Seventh Cavalry 291 Letter to Walter M. Camp, December 4, 1910 292 Interview Notes by Walter M. Camp, undated 294
28 Homer Heap of Birds, Cheyenne 295
29 Magpie, Cheyenne 301
30 Judson Cunningham, Roger Mills County Recorder 312
31 Stacy Riggs, Cheyenne 317 Account of Black Kettle's Daughter, as Told to Her Son, Stacy Riggs, November 18, 1936 318 Extract of Letter to Cheyenne Star, July 1934 320
32 Moving Behind Woman, Cheyenne 323
33 John L. Sipes Jr., Cheyenne 329
34 Mrs. B. K. Young Bird, Cheyenne 332
35 Mrs. Lone Wolf, Cheyenne 335
36 Red Bird Black, Cheyenne 338
37 George W. Yates, Seventh Cavalry 339
38 Wolf Belly Woman, Cheyenne 341
39 Sarah C. Brooks, White Captive 343
40 Trails the Enemy, Kiowa 345
41 Philip McCusker, Interpreter 349
42 George Bent, Interpreter 353 Letter to Robert Peck, December 1906 356 Letter to George Hyde, September 1905 361 Letters to Joseph B. Thoburn, December 27, 1911, and January 9, 1912 365
43 Vincent Colyer, Special Indian Commissioner 367 Appendixes A Military Records of Seventh Cavalry Officers 373 B Squadron Formations at the Washita 383 C Roster of the Sharpshooters 387 D Roster of the Band 389 E Roster of the Osage Scouts 391 F Cavalry Casualties 393 G Indian Casualties 397 H Exhumations and Reburials of Indian Remains 405 I Genealogical Outline of Black Kettle 427 Bibliography 433 Index 459
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