Week 26: June/July

Week 26: June 25th thru July 1st

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6/25 of…1865

David Butterfield‘s first wagon train — carrying 150,000 lbs. of goods and escorted by 250 troopers — left Atchinson, KS, on the Smokey Hill Route for Denver, CO, 592 miles west. Improvements were made to the route as they went and locations for stage way-stations were selected. Butterfield Overland Dispatch+2 stagecoaches would soon follow.  {001}


The Custer Fight - Week 26The Custer Fight – C.M. Russell – 1906

Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer, age 36, defeated and killed with 268 cavalry troopers at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, MT (Battle of the Greasy Grass). Led by Sioux Chiefs Gall and Sitting Bull alongside Oglala Lakota Chief Crazy Horse, possibly as many as 2,500 Cheyenne Tsitsistas (Sioux term: Sha hi ye na-), Arapaho, and Sioux warriors decimated Custer’s command in less than thirty minutes. Legend has it that warrior Rain-in-the-Face* killed Custer. He said he didn’t. White Cow Bull said he shot a buckskin-clad man from his horse in the middle of the Little Big Horn River at Medicine Tail Coulee on the first charge. Later, he described a fight with a tall strong soldier in a blue shirt, armed with a rifle, not a carbine, at “The Last Stand”. This may well have been Custer, who was armed with a Remington-Hepburn. Brass casings from that rifle were found around and under his interestingly mutilated body (all of the bodies were mutilated one way or another). A Cheyenne warrior named Yellow Nose was claimed to have captured the 7th Cavalry’s flag during the battle. There is a claim that a Sgt. Finkel** escaped the massacre when his horse bolted (debated). One has to wonder if Custer felt some regret at having left the Gatling guns and Rodman cannons behind. Comanche - Week 26Custer’s sorrel horse (four white socks), VictoryCaptain Fredrick Benteen and Major Marcus Reno and their commands barely survived.*** Total army casualties were tallied at : 268 killed, 49 wounded (six of these later died of wounds. Indian casualties were said to be: 136 warriors, 6 women and 4 children killed, and perhaps another 150+ wounded. Far too complex for the OWDR, endless debate follows this event, look it all up and enjoy!
Painting: U.S. PD 1906 – C.M. Russell – The Custer Fight – LOC. Photo: U.S. PD, Grabill – LOC,  Legend has it that Capt. Miles Keogh’s horse Comanche was the sole 7th Cavalry Survivor. {001 & 007}
*Wk. 37, 09/14/1905 – Rain-in-the-Face
**Wk. 35, 08/28/1930 – Sgt. Frank Finkel
**06/27/1876 – below
Wk. 23, 06/09/1876 – background
Wk. 24, 06/17/1876 – background
Quotes Index – Indian Quotes – Politicians, Soldiers, Preachers and others…
–  Boyer, Benteen & Custer
Wk.. 14, 04/04/1933 – Libby Custer


Mitch Boyer - Week 26Mitch Boyer (Bouyer) Kar-pash (born c. 1837), died with Custer at the Little Bighorn, reported to have been shot off his horse at Medicine Tail Coulee (and killed later). One of the finest scouts in the old West. It was said that when Boyer was convinced that Custer would attack, he gave away all of his possessions, knowing he would die that day.  {001}


Indian women warriors: Pretty Nose (Arapaho), Buffalo Calf Road Woman (Cheyenne), Moving Road Woman (Hunkpapa Sioux) and Minnie Hollow Wood (Lakota Sioux) were said to have fought well in the battle. Girls were also said to have been among the Sioux “Suicide Boys“.*  {001}
– above
*Wk. 25, 06/24/1876 – Suicide Boys
References – DictionaryIndian Warrior Women
Quotes Index, Indian Quotesfrom the Indians themselves
– Rain-in-the-Face
Photo Gallery Index – Indian Photos – Indian Warrior Women


Closed Hand died just below Last Stand Hill. Little Whirlwind was killed in the same vicinity. Noisy Walking died that night in his father’s lodge at the Little Bighorn camp. Cut Belly, shot down in the vicinity of where the Stone House now stands, died a few days later at the Powder River. The Northern CheyenneSuicide Boys” have kept their vow.  {001}
Information taken from the 1931 account of the Battle by Cheyenne Warrior Wooden Leg.
“…after the Suicide Boys initiated the charge, the battle lasted only about another half-hour.”
Stands in Timber
– above
Wk. 25, 06/24/1876 – Suicide Boys
References – DictionarySuicide Boys


Died in the Napa Valley, Colonel Joseph Ballinger Chiles, California pioneer trail blazer and guide. He first emigrated to California with the Bidwell-Bartleson party in 1841.* He returned east and led the first of the seven parties he would lead back to California (1843 – 1848). His 1843 trek established the trail from Fort Boise to California by way of the Malheur, Pit, and Sacramento River. Chiles led one of the first wagon trains to cross Carson Pass (1848). He also pioneered the “Forty-Mile Desert” cut-off from Humboldt Sink to the Carson River, which turned out to be a popular route with gold seekers in 1849. In California he operated a grist mill, raised livestock, and made wheat whiskey in the Napa Valley. Sometime in 1849 he and Jerome C. Davis began operating a profitable ferry across the Sacramento River. He acquired an immense amount of cheap property from the Mexican Government yet supported Fremont’s revolt (1846).** A wise, prudent and busy man and by all accounts a “delightful” fiddle player. Photo: U.S. PD pre-1923 {001}
*Wk. 20, 05/18/1841 – Bidwell-Bartleson party
**Wk.28, 07/13/1890 – John C. Fremont


The Apache Kid surrenders; he contacted the army and said that if the soldiers hunting him were recalled, he would surrender. They were, and he did. He and four others were court martialed, found guilty of mutiny and desertion, and sentenced to death by firing squad. This was commuted to life in prison in August. General Miles intervened, and the sentence was further reduced to ten years in prison. Sent to the  Alcatraz Island Military Prison (CA), until their convictions were overturned in October of 1888.  They returned to the reservation…  {001}


The largest ever combined reunion of Union and Confederate American Civil War veterans brings more than 50,000 to the Gettysburg Battlefield at Gettysburg, PA.  {001}


Mary Hallock Foote, age 90, died in Grass Valley, CA . Author and illustrator. Hers were firsthand accounts and fine illustrations from one who was there. A Frequent contributorOld West Daily Reader Subscribe Today

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