The soldiers who fought the American Indian tribes
This book describes the exploits of the soldiers of the United States Army who fought the indigenous native Indian tribes for the dominance of the North American heartland in the years following the American Civil War. It concentrates particularly on those whose acts of outstanding bravery earned them the highest award it is possible to bestow upon an American soldier—the Congressional Medal of Honour. The contents of this volume were originally part of a two volume work which recounted the actions of the soldiers and sailors of the American Army and Navy from the time the award was created, through the American Civil War and covering actions and campaigns up to and including the Spanish American War and the war in China at the turn of the 20th century. What made this present selection particularly appealing was the large number of fine illustrations which appeared within the text to support the descriptions of the actions. As is often the case with 19th century books the illustrations were not given the prominence or focus that modern day readers might prefer. This Leonaur edition seeks to rectify this. These wonderful accounts of high action are compellingly told and this book is an essential addition to the libraries of all those interested in frontier America and the outstanding exploits of the soldiers in ‘dirty shirt blue’ who won a continent.
Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket.
On the second night, when darkness had fallen, Schmalsle mounted his horse and dashed through the lines of the warriors with such reckless speed as to completely surprise the braves. A number of them attempted to pursue the daring rider, but Schmalsle had the better mount and was the better rider, and proved too speedy for his pursuers.<br>
He was chased into a herd of buffaloes and escaped in the tumult and under the cover of darkness.<br>
Schmalsle continued his wild ride till his horse became completely exhausted and dropped dead on the road. The young scout then travelled on foot, and after two nights of continuous marching—he was compelled to hide during the day—finally reached Camp Supply, where he furnished information of the critical situation of the supply train.<br>
Colonel Lewis at once sent Major Price with a battalion of the Eighth United States Cavalry to the relief. The appearance of this large force caused the Indians to raise the siege and disperse in all directions.<br>
“The Indians,” First Sergeant George K. Kitchen, of Troop I, Sixth United States Cavalry, relates, “concentrated their entire force, and made a vigorous and united charge on the train. This charge was repulsed after a hard fight, the Indians coming to within fifty yards of the train, and repeatedly attempting, after being beaten off, to overwhelm the troops by dint of superior numbers.
“The wagons were then, as it was impossible to advance, put into park as rapidly as possible, forming in an egg shape. The infantry was thrown out on a skirmish line round the hastily formed corral, some 25 yards from the wagons. When this movement was completed, the little band of cavalry found themselves, at the end of some hard fighting, about 500 yards away from the skirmish line, and surrounded by the enemy. To regain their comrades of the Fifth Infantry they had to charge through a mass of Indians, who concentrated themselves between them and the wagons. This was successfully done.<br>
“On reaching the park we secured our horses inside the enclosure, and were then ordered out on the skirmish line.<br>
“The hostiles now divided, and about 400 of them at this time made two unsuccessful charges on the right rear of the corral, defended by about one-half of the command. These charges were made in column of platoons, and the alignment was as precise and well maintained as regular troops could do it. Each time they came up to within forty yards of the line in admirable order, and only the perfect steadiness and continuous, well-directed fire of our troops prevented this well-conceived and daringly executed movement from being successful.<br>
“By our heavy fire, however, we at last succeeded in repelling them in confusion from the very muzzles of our guns.<br>
“The enemy then, unsuccessful in storming us, took up position on the numerous sand hills around, some as far away as 400 yards, others at about only 200 yards, surrounding us by a complete circle. As we lay beneath them we were exposed to a severe and vexatious fire from all points, and our return fire was comparatively harmless. When darkness arrived we were divided up into squads, and orders were given to dig rifle pits, from twenty to thirty yards distant, around the corral. The enemy followed our example and were occupied in entrenching themselves on the sand hills they held during the day. Their object now appeared to be to starve us out, as they knew we had no means of quenching our thirst. <br>
“The Washita was one mile away, and the one water-hole near us had been inaccessible during the day, and our repeated attempts to get at it at night proved futile. Several details tried to reach the water, but the Indians placed a strong guard around it, and their fire was too well-directed to allow of our men getting near. They would permit us to get within fifty yards of the hole, in fancied security, before opening on us, and then poured in their fire, which balked every effort to reach the desired spot. In the meantime a desultory fire was kept up by them on all sides of us.