RELYING upon the influence which I believed Little Robe would exert upon his people, and knowing the pressure we were able to bring to bear through the three chiefs we held as hostages, I felt confident that sooner or later the Cheyennes would be forced to release the two white girls from their captivity. Placing a strong guard over the three chiefs, and warning them not to attempt to escape if they valued their lives, I returned to my tent after having ordered every comfort possible to be provided for our prisoners consistent with their position.
It was perhaps an hour or more after dark when an Indian voice was heard calling from one of the hillocks overlooking the camp. I proceeded to the guard fire near which the three chiefs were still seated engaged in conversation and through Romeo inquired who the parties were whose voices we heard, and their object. They informed me that the voices were those of some of their young men who were anxious to ascertain if their friends, the captives, were still alive. Anxious that they should not only see that their friends were alive, but well treated, I desired to induce them to come within our lines and visit the captive chiefs. This was communicated to them through the chiefs, who called to them in tones capable of being heard far beyond the point at which the young Indians were posted, But this did not satisfy their suspicious natures; they imagined some trap, and declined to accept the invitation. Romeo, the only one who could converse freely in the Indian tongue, might have been able to persuade them to come in, but it was not safe for him to venture beyond the line of our pickets and trust himself in the power of the young Indians. In this emergency I thought of Mo-nah-see-tah, in whom I had every confidence, and who I believed might be successful in inducing her friends to come in. Sending for her, I soon acquainted her with my plan to which she gave her ready assent, only expressing an apprehension that in passing our own chain of sentries in the darkness they might mistake her for an enemy and fire upon her. This difficulty I removed by offering to escort her safely through the line of pickets and there await her return. Starting at once in the darkness, she clinging to my hand with the natural timidity of a girl, we proceeded to the picket station nearest to the point from which the sound of voices had come and after explaining to the sentry our purpose, passed beyond as far as it was prudent to do, and then, bidding Mo-nah-see-tah to proceed on her mission, I halted to await her return. A few moments later I heard her voice in the darkness calling to her friends beyond; back came the quick response, and soon after I could distinguish the tones of the assembled group as Mo-nah-see-tah endeavored to convince them of their security in trusting to the promises made them. Her arguments finally prevailed over their suspicions, and in the dim light of the stars I could see her returning, accompanied by four or five others. Not caring to tempt them by meeting them alone so far from support, I slowly retired until I was near the picket post. Here the Indians found me and after the form of an introduction by Mo-nah-see-tah and a general hand shaking the entire party proceeded without hesitation to the guard fire, where they joined their less fortunate chiefs. It may strike the reader with some surprise that Mo-nah-see-tah, herself a captive in our hands, should have voluntarily returned to us that night after once being safely beyond our lines. But she only confirmed the confidence that was placed in her. During her imprisonment, if her stay in our camp without a guard may be termed imprisonment, she had become a great favorite with the entire command; not only this, but she believed she would in due time be given up to her own people, and that until then she would receive kind treatment at our hands and be exposed to less personal danger and suffering during hostilities than if with her village.
The visit of the young men to our camp that night could not but have a beneficial influence upon the tribe, as they were enabled to see that the three chiefs were being treated with the utmost consideration and were being held, as informed at first, simply as hostages to enforce compliance with demands which even an Indian's ideas of right and wrong must pronounce just. After a lengthy conversation between the captives and their friends the latter took their departure, charged with messages to the village, both from the captive chiefs and me, similar to those transmitted through the chief who had been released for that purpose. The following day was passed without incident in awaiting the arrival of tidings from the village. Early in the afternoon the pickets reported a small body of Indians in sight. Upon a nearer approach the party appeared to consist of about fifty mounted Indians. They rode steadily in the direction of the camp with no apparent wish to conceal their movements, thus indicating that they were on an errand of peace. When within half a mile or less of camp the entire party dismounted, and after picketing their ponies out to graze, advanced on foot directly toward camp. So strange a proceeding, and at a time when the excitement regarding our relations with the Indians ran high, was sufficient to assemble nearly all the occupants of camp to watch the approach of this delegation of Indians. The latter were apparelled in their best and most highly colored clothes. As they came near it was perceived that several paces in advance of the main group strode two chiefs, evidently leaders of the party; both advanced with uncovered heads. Suddenly I thought I detected a familiar face and form in the taller of the two chiefs in front, and on more careful scrutiny I recognized my former friend and guest, Little Robe, who had thus quickly responded to my invitation to cast aside all doubts and come and visit me with a view to bringing about more friendly relations between his people and the whites.
As soon as I recognized him I advanced to meet him. He grasped my hand and embraced me with what seemed to me real cordiality. Waiting until the other members of his party came up, I shook hands with each individual and then invited them to my tent. As the tent would not accommodate the entire party Little Robe designated about a dozen of the most important, who entered, while the others remained outside. I soon found that in Little Robe I had a hearty coadjutor in the work before me. He admitted that the white girls were held as captives in the Cheyenne village, which was the first positive evidence received :of this fact. He also stated, what I had no reason to doubt, that he had at various times attempted to purchase them with a view, if successful, of returning them to the nearest military post; but his efforts in this direction had always failed. He admitted the justice of my demands upon his people and assured me that to bring about a satisfactory condition of affairs he would use every exertion and employ all the influence at his command. It was to assure me of this desire on his part that he had hastened to visit me.
Knowing that the surest and speediest way to establish a state of good feeling in an Indian is to provide liberally for the wants of his stomach, I ordered a beef to be killed and distributed among the followers of Little Robe; with this also were distributed the usual supplies of coffee, sugar, flour, etc., so that the recipients were not only prepared to regard us as at least very kindly disposed, but I knew the effect on the village, when the result of the visit and the treatment extended to our guests was described, would materially aid us in our negotiations with the tribe. Little Robe, while earnest in his desire to see the white girls returned to us, frankly admitted that his influence was not supreme and there were those who would object to their release, at least without compensation; and it might be that a satisfactory settlement of the question might be delayed for many days.
After partaking of a bountiful repast Little Robe and his party set out for the village, promising to send me word the following day as to his success. Another day was passed in waiting, when the chief who had accompanied Little Robe the previous day again visited us, but brought no decisive or satisfactory reply. The substance of the reply was that the Cheyennes desired us to release the three chiefs then held by us as hostages, after which they would be prepared to consider the question of the release of the two white girls. To this I sent back a reply that we would remain in the camp we then occupied until the following day, when, if a favorable answer should not have been received, we would follow on their trail and encamp nearer to the village, the great distance then separating us, about twelve miles, being a hindrance in the way of transmitting messages promptly from one to the other.
I knew that the village was in no condition for a rapid or extended flight, and could be overhauled by the cavalry whenever desired; at the same time, to allow as much freedom in their deliberations as possible, I had not been unwilling that a few miles should separate us. No reply was received; consequently we packed up and marched down the Sweet water, on the trail of the village, about ten miles and went into camp. Here I received another visit from the chief who had previously acted as diplomatic courier between the camp and village, but the response of the Cheyennes was still unsatisfactory and exhibited a disinclination on their part to make any decided promises respecting the release of the captive white girls. They insisted as preliminary to such decision that the three chiefs held by us should be restored to liberty, after which we might discuss the question relating to the release of the girls.
I will not weary the reader by describing the various subterfuges resorted to by the Indians by which they strove to avoid or delay the surrender of the white girls without first, as had been customary, receiving a ransom. Finally, after I had almost exhausted the patience of the troops, particularly of the Kansas regiment, which had been raised and organized mainly to effect the recapture of the white girls or else avenge the outrage of which they had been the victims, I determined to force matters to an issue without further quibling on the part of the Indians.
I sent for a delegation of chiefs from the Cheyenne village to receive my ultimatum. They came, and upon their arrival I assembled them in my tent, the three captured chiefs being also permitted to be present, as the conference, as will be seen, was to be of deep interest to them. After recounting to the chiefs the incidents of our pursuit of the village, their surprise at being overtaken, the strategems by which they hoped to elude us, the steps we had already taken to obtain the release of the white girls, and the delays interposed by the Indians, I stated that I had but one other message to send to the village; and upon the chiefs of the latter would rest the responsibility of peace or war. Further delay would not be submitted to on our part. We knew they had two of our race captives in the village, and we were there to demand and enforce the demand for their release, cost what it might. I then informed them that if by sunset the following day the two white girls were not restored to our hands unharmed the lives of the three chiefs would be forfeited and the troops would resume active hostilities.
At the same time I called attention to the fact that in the famished condition of their ponies they could not expect to escape the pursuit of the cavalry. Every argument which might have weight in influencing a favorable decision was stated to them. The conference then broke up and the three chiefs were remanded to the custody of the guard. The delegation from the village, after a brief interview with their captive comrades, took a hasty departure and set out upon their return to the village, deeply impressed, apparently, with the importance of promptness in communicating to the chiefs at the village the decision which had been arrived at regarding the captives. The terms given to the Indians soon became known to every individual in the command, and naturally excited the deepest interest. All hoped for a favorable issue, but no one regarded the events transpiring with the intense interest and anxiety felt by young Brewster, who now saw that his long-cherished hope to recover his sister was either about to be realized, or forever sealed in disappointment.
The captive chiefs did not pretend to conceal their solicitude as to the part they were involuntarily made to play in the events then transpiring. I did not expect prompt action on the part of the chiefs in the village. I knew they would practise every delay conceivable before complying with our demands; but when the question was forced upon them as to whether they preferred to deliver up the white girls to us or to force, by their refusal, the execution of the three chiefs, their decision would be in favor of their people.
Three o'clock arrived, and no tidings from the village. By this time the officers and men of the command had assembled near headquarters and upon the small eminences near by, eagerly watching the horizon in the direction of the village to catch the first glimpse of the messengers who must soon arrive to avert the execution of the three chiefs. Even the three chiefs became despondent as the sun slowly but surely approached the horizon, and no tidings from the village reached them. Finally, Romeo came to me and stated that the three chiefs desired to see me. I repaired to their place of confinement at once and was asked by the younger of the three if it was my firm purpose to make good my words in the event of the failure of their people to release the white girls. I replied in the affirmative. The chief then attempted a little Indian diplomacy by assuring me that in the village and among his own people he was a man of great consequence and could exert a wide influence; for this reason he requested me to release him and he would hasten to the village, obtain the release of the two girls, and return in time to save his two companions. When this proposition was first made I attributed it to fear that the chiefs in the village might decline to restore the two girls to liberty and the lives of the three chiefs would be sacrificed thereby; but subsequent events proved that while this consideration may have had its influence, the principal motive which prompted the proposition was a desire to escape from our hands before the white girls should be restored to us, as the chief referred to had been a party to their capture and to the subsequent ill treatment they had received. I replied to his proposal that if he was of such importance in his tribe as he claimed to be he was the most proper person for me to retain possession of, as his people would be more likely to accede to my demands to save his life than that of a person of less consequence.
The sun was perhaps an hour high when the dim outlines of about twenty mounted figures were discerned against the horizon, on a high hill two or three miles to the west of us. Instantly all eyes were directed to the party, but the distance was too great to enable any of us to clearly define either the number or character of the group. The eyes of the three chiefs perceptibly brightened with hope. Securing my field glass, I carefully scanned the party on the hill. Every one about me waited in anxious suspense the result of my examination. Gradually, under the magnifying powers of the glass I was able to make out the figures in sight. I could only determine at first that the group was, as might be imagined, composed of Indians, and began counting them audibly, when I discovered two figures mounted upon the same pony.
As soon as this was announced several of my companions at once exclaimed: "Can they be the girls?" I could detect nothing, however, in their appearance warranting such a conclusion, their dress apparently being the same as that of the other individuals of the group. While endeavoring to make out something more definite in regard to the party I saw the two figures descend from the pony and, leaving the rest of the group, advance toward us on foot. All this I reported to the anxious bystanders, who became now more than ever convinced that the two figures approaching must be the two girls. I began describing the appearance of the two as well as I could with the aid of the glass: "One seems to have a short, heavy figure; the other is considerably taller and more slender." Young Brewster, who stood at my side, immediately responded, "The last one must be my sister; she is quite tall. Let me go and meet them; this anxiety is more than I can endure." But this I declined, fearing that should one of the two now approaching us prove to be his sister, seeing her in the forlorn condition in which she must be might provoke young Brewster beyond control, and induce him to attempt to obtain revenge in a manner not governed by either prudence or propriety. So I reluctantly declined to permit him to advance beyond our lines. But by this time the two figures had approached near enough to enable me clearly to determine that they were really of white complexion and undoubtedly the two girls whose release we were so impatiently waiting for.
As the Kansas volunteers had left their homes and various occupations in civil life to accomplish, among other results, the release of the two girls who had been abducted from the frontier of their State, I deemed it appropriate that that regiment should be the first to welcome the two released captives to friends and freedom. Accordingly, the three senior officers of the regiment were designated to proceed beyond our lines and conduct the two girls to camp, a duty whose performance carried its pleasure with it. The three officers advanced to meet the two figures (I use the term figures, as the dress was of that nondescript pattern which renders this term most appropriate). They had passed one-fourth of the distance, perhaps, when young Brewster, whom I had detained at my side with difficulty, bounded away and the next moment was running at full speed to greet his long-lost sister. Dashing past the three officers, he clasped in his arms the taller of the two girls. This told us all we had hoped for. We awaited their approach, and as they drew near to the little brook which flowed just beyond the point occupied by the group of officers around me, I stepped forward, and extending my hands to the the girls bade them a hearty welcome to liberty. In a moment officers and men were struggling about them upon all sides, eager to take them by the hand and testify the great joy felt at their deliverance from a life of captivity.
Men whom I have seen face death without quailing found their eyes filled with tears, unable to restrain the deep emotion produced by this joyful event. The appearance of the two girls was sufficient to excite our deepest sympathy. Miss White, the younger of the two, though not beautiful, possessed a most interesting face. Her companion would have been pronounced beautiful by the most critical judge, being of such a type as one might imagine Maud Mueller to be, Their joy at their deliverance, however, could not hide the evidences of privation and suffering to which they had been subjected by their cruel captors. They were clothed in dresses made from flour sacks, the brand of the mills being plainly seen on each dress; showing that the Indians who had held them in captivity had obtained their provisions from the Government at some agency. The entire dress of the two girls was as nearly like the Indian mode as possible ; both wore leggings and moccasins; both wore their hair in two long braids, and as if to propitiate us, the Indians, before releasing them, had added to the wardrobe of the two girls various rude ornaments such as worn by squaws. About their wrists they wore coils of brass wire; on their fingers had been placed numerous rings, and about their necks strings of variously colored beads. Almost the first remark I heard young Brewster make after the arrival of the two girls was: Sister, do take those hateful things off."
Fortunately they were not the only white women in camp. I had a white woman as cook, and to enable the two girls to improve their wardrobe a little before relating to us the history of their capture and captivity they were conducted to the tent of the white woman referred to, from whose limited wardrobe they were able to obtain enough to replace the dresses made of flour sacks, and in a few minutes reappeared presenting a much more civilized appearance than when they first entered camp.
In a previous chapter I have given the main incidents of their capture. The story of their captivity was that of hundreds of other women and girls whose husbands, fathers, or brothers take their lives in their hands and seek homes on the frontier. There was much in their story not appropriate for these pages. They described how great their joy was at encountering each other for the first time as prisoners in the hands of the Indians. They had been traded repeatedly from the hands of one chief to those of another, the last transfer having been effected only two weeks prior to their release. Soon after their first meeting it was their good fortune, comparatively, to become the property of one chief. This threw them into each other's society and tended to lighten the horrors of their captivity. While thrown together in this manner they planned an escape. Their plan, it seems, was more the result of desperation than of careful deliberation, as they had no idea as to what state or territory the village was then in, nor in what direction to travel should they escape from the village. Indeed, one of their first questions on entering our lines was to ask in what part of the country we were.
Determining at all hazards, however, to flee from their captors at the first opportunity and trust to chance to lead them to the settlements or to some military post, they escaped from the village one night and travelled for several hours in a northerly direction. During this attempt to regain their liberty they reached a wagon road over which wagons and horses had passed recently and were congratulating themselves upon the success of their effort, when a bullet whistled past them and in close proximity to them. Casting an anxious look, they saw to their horror and disappointment, their late captor or owner riding at full speed in pursuit. Escape was impossible. Nothing remained but to await the arrival of the chief, who came up excited with savage rage at the idea of their attempt to escape him. Marching back on foot to the village, they became the recipients of renewed insults and taunts. Nor did it end here. The squaws of the village, always jealous of white women when captives, took this opportunity to treat them with the greatest severity for their attempt to regain their liberty. The old chief, also, decided upon a change of program. He had invested several ponies when he became the possessor of the two girls and he did not propose to risk the loss of this property. So he determined to separate the two girls by selling one of them, and the two friends in misfortune were torn from each other. Miss White, in consideration of three ponies given in exchange, passed into the hands of another chief, whose lodge was generally located some miles from that of her late master.
The story of the two girls, containing accounts of wrongs and ill treatment sufficient to have ended the existence of less determined persons, is too long to be given here. Besides indignities and insults far more terrible than death itself, the physical suffering to which the two girls were subjected was too great almost to be believed. They were required to transport huge burdens on their backs, large enough to have made a load for a beast of burden. They were limited to barely enough food to sustain life; sometimes a small morsel of mule meat not more than an inch square was their allowance of food for twenty-four hours. The squaws beat them unmercifully with clubs whenever the men were not present. Upon one occasion one of the girls was felled to the ground by a blow from a club in the hands of one of the squaws. Their joy, therefore, at regaining their freedom after a captivity of nearly a year can be better imagined than described; while that of the brother who had struggled so long and determinedly to regain his sister could not be expressed in words.
After the momentary excitement consequent upon the safe arrival of the girls in camp had subsided, officers, particularly of the Kansas volunteers, came to me with the remark that when we first overtook the Cheyenne village and I failed to order an attack when all the chances were in our favor, they mentally condemned my decision as a mistake; but with the results accomplished afterwards they found ample reason to amend their first judgment and frankly and cordially admit that the release of the two captives was far more gratifying than any victory over the Indians could have been if purchased by the sacrifice of their lives.
With this happy termination of this much of our negotiations with the Indians, I determined to march in the morning for Camp Supply, Indian Territory, satisfied that with the three chiefs in our possession and the squaws and children captured at the Washita still held as prisoners at Fort Hays, Kansas, we could compel the Cheyennes to abandon the war path and return to their reservation. The three chief's begged to be released, upon the ground that their people had delivered up the two girls; but this I told them was but one of the two conditions imposed; the other required the tribe to return to their reservation and until this was done they need not hope for freedom ; but in the meanwhile I assured them of kind treatment at our hands.
Before dark a delegation of chiefs from the village visited camp to likewise urge the release of the three chiefs. My reply to them was the same as that I had given to the captives. I assured them, however, that upon complying with their treaty obligations, and returning to their reservation the three chiefs would be restored to their people and we would return to them also the women and children captured at the Washita. Seeing that no modification of these terms could be obtained, they finally promised to accede to them, saying that their ponies, as I knew to be the fact, were in no condition to travel, but as soon as practicable they would surely proceed with their entire village to Camp Supply and abandon the war path forever; a promise which, as a tribe, they have adhered to from that day to this with strict faith, so far as my knowledge extends.
I have not heard from General Sheridan since we separated at Fort Sill; he to set out for Camp Supply and I with my command to begin my present movement. But when near Camp Supply a courier met me with despatches from General Sheridan, who had been meanwhile summoned to Washington, informing me in regard to the arrangements made for my command upon its arrival at Camp Supply. The Kansas volunteers were to march to Fort Hays and there be mustered out of the service. The Seventh Cavalry was also to proceed to the same point and there await further orders, as the General in his note stated that he had concluded to draw in the Seventh and end the campaign.
In reply to my letter, written subsequently from Camp Supply, giving him a detailed account of our operations, including the release of the two white girls, I received a letter of warm encouragement from the General, written from Chicago, where he had just established his present headquarters. In that letter he wrote: "I am very much rejoiced at the success of your expedition, and feel proud of our winter's operations and of the officers and men who have borne its privations and hardships so manfully. . . . Give my kind regards to the officers, and say how happy I should be to see them should any of them come this way on leave." These words of hearty sympathy and approval from one who had not only shared but appreciated at their true worth our "privations and hardships," were far more cheering and valued than the empty honor contained in half a dozen brevets bestowed grudgingly and recalled in a moment of pique.
Making a brief halt at Camp Supply to rest our animals and replenish our stores, my command continued its march to Fort Hays, crossing the Arkansas River at Fort Dodge, Kansas. Upon our arrival at Fort Hays we were met by the husband of young Brewster's sister, who had learned of her restoration to liberty from the published despatches which had preceded us to Fort Hays. He was still lame from the effects of the bullet wound received at the time the Indians carried off his bride, whom he had given up as dead or lost to him forever. The joy of their meeting went far to smooth over their late sorrow. They could not find language to express their gratitude to the troops for their efforts in restoring them to each other. As the Indians had robbed them of everything at the time of the attack, a collection was taken up among the troops for their benefit, which resulted in the accumulation of several hundred dollars, to be divided between the two captives. The time came for our guests to leave us and rejoin their people, or such of them as had survived the attack of the Indians, Goodbys were spoken and the two girls, so lately victims of the most heartless and cruel captivity, departed with husband, brother, and friends for their frontier homes, bearing with them the warm sympathies and cordial good wishes of every soldier in the command.
Mo-nah-see-tah was anxious to visit her friends who were now captives at Fort Hays, and who were kept in a large stockade at the post, our camp being placed some two or three miles below the post. Accordingly she repaired to the stockade and spent several hours relating, no doubt, the story of our march since they had separated from each other. She preferred to live in the cavalry camp, where she was allowed to roam with out the restraint of a guard; but it was deemed advisable soon after to place her with the other women and children inside the stockade.
The three captive chiefs were also transferred to the same place for safe keeping. Here a most unfortunate misunderstanding arose. The chiefs had been confined inside the same enclosure with the women and children, but in separate tents. The commanding officer of the post decided to remove them to rooms in the guardhouse, adjoining the stockade. This was decided upon as a measure of security. There was no interpreter kept at the post; consequently there was no way of communicating with the Indians except by rude signs, and even this method was but indifferently understood by the infantry soldiers constituting the garrison of the post. From accounts given me by the Indians afterwards, it seems the men of the guard, in the execution of the order to transfer the three chiefs, entered the stockade muskets in hand, and upon the failure of the chiefs to comprehend what was required of them the soldiers attempted to push the chiefs from the stockade by force, pointing with their bayonets to the outside. The chiefs, failing to understand a word spoken to them, and with the natural suspicion of their race, imagined that they were being led or driven forth to execution and determined to die there and then. An attack was at once made upon the guard with knives which they carried beneath their blankets. The sergeant of the guard received a stab in the back which almost proved mortal. This was the signal for a determined fight between the three chiefs and the guard, the latter having the decided advantage in numbers and weapons. The result could not be long doubtful. One of the chiefs, Big Head, the young man who had proposed to proceed to the village and obtain the release of the two white girls, fell dead at the first fire of the guard. The oldest of the three, Dull Knife, received a bayonet wound through the body which proved fatal in a few days. The third, Fat Bear, was felled by, a blow from the butt of a musket, but did not receive serious injury.
Knowing that I could converse with the Indians, and from my acquaintance with them might be able to quiet the excitement among the remaining prisoners, the commanding officer of the post sent to me for assistance. Upon repairing to the stockade I found the women and children in a state of great excitement and huddled together inside their tents. Entering the stockade, I soon learned their version of the affair, which did not vary materially from that just given. Mo-nah-see-tah pointed to a bullet-hole in her blanket, the effect of a stray shot fired during the melee. The affair was a source of deep regret to all.
The Cheyennes, in accordance with their promise made to me, returned to their reservation; and having thus far complied with the terms of the agreement then made, it devolved upon the military authorities to return to them their people whom we had up to that time and since the battle of the Washita retained as prisoners of war. An order was accordingly issued releasing the only surviving chief, Fat Bear, and the women and children then held at Fort Hays. Wagons and subsistence were furnished them from Fort Hays to Camp Supply and a squadron of the Seventh Cavalry escorted them to the latter point, where they were received by their own people. Mo-nah-see-tah although gladdened by the prospect of being restored to her people, exhibited marked feelings of regret when the time for her departure arrived. She had grown quite accustomed to the easy, idle life she had led among the troops as compared with that mere existence of toil and drudgery to which all tribes of Indians consign their squaws.
Romeo, who had accompanied us through out the events described in these pages as interpreter, took unto himself a wife from the Cheyenne village and thereafter became a sort of trader between the whites and Indians. I believe he is still acting in that capacity. Lone Wolf is still the leading chief of the Kiowas; but if public and private advices are to be relied upon he has acted with extremely bad faith toward the Government, and even as these lines are being penned is reported as absent from his reservation, leading a war party of his people in committing depredations upon the people of the Texas frontier. Satanta, since his release from the Texas state prison, has led a comparatively quiet and uneventful life. How much of this is due to his incarceration in prison for a short term of years can only be inferred. Little Raven continues to exercise the powers of head chief of the Arapahoes, although he is too old and infirm to exercise active command. My former friend and companion, Yellow Bear, is the second chief in rank to Little Raven, and probably will succeed to the dignities of the latter ere many years have rolled around. Little Robe, of the Cheyennes, whose acts and words were always on the side of peace, died some three years ago.
A few words in regard to one other character with whom the reader of these sketches has been made acquainted and I shall have disposed of the principal personages, not included in the military, whom the reader has encountered from time to time. California Joe accompanied my command to Fort Hays, Kansas, on the Kansas Pacific Railroad, when the troops were partially disbanded and sent to different stations. California Joe had never seen a railroad nor a locomotive and here determined to improve his first opportunity in these respects and to take a trip in the cars to Leavenworth, distant about four hundred miles. A few days afterward an officer of my command, happening to be called to Leavenworth, thought he recognized a familiar form and face in front of the leading hotel of the city. A closer scrutiny showed that the party recognized was none other than California Joe. But how changed! Under the manipulations of the barber, and through the aid of the proprietor of a gentle man's furnishing store, the long, curly locks and beard of California Joe, both of which had avoided contact with comb, brush, or razor for many years, had undergone a complete metamorphosis. His hair and beard were neatly trimmed and combed, while his figure, a very commanding one, had discarded the rough suit of the frontiersman and was now adorned by the latest efforts of fashion. If the reader imagines, however, that these changes were in keeping with the taste of California Joe, the impression is wholly incorrect. He had effected them simply for a sensation. The following day he took the cars for the West, satisfied with the faint glimpse of civilization he had had.
As I soon after left that portion of the Plains in which these scenes are laid I saw no more of California Joe; but I often wondered what had become of my loquacious friend, whose droll sayings and quaint remarks had often served to relieve the tedium of the march or to enliven the group about the camp-fire. I had begun, after a few years had passed without trace or tidings from Joe, to fear that he had perhaps gone to that happy hunting ground to which he no doubt had sent more than one dusky enemy, when a few weeks ago I was most agreeably surprised to receive indubitable evidence that California Joe was still in the land of the living, but exactly where I could not determine, as his letter was simply dated "Sierre Nevade Mountains, California." Now as this range of mountains extends through the entire length and embraces a considerable portion of the State of California, Joe's address could not be definitely determined. But as his letter is so characteristic of the man, I here introduce it as the valedictory of California Joe:
The events described in this chapter terminated my service in the field on what is known as the southern and middle Plains, embracing all that portion of the plains south of the Platte River. From and after the Washita campaign the frontiers of Kansas have enjoyed comparative peace and immunity from Indian depredations. No general Indian war has prevailed in that part of the country, nor is it probable that anything more serious in this way than occasional acts of horse-stealing will occur hereafter. Many of my friends have expressed surprise that I have not included in My Life on The Plains some of the hunting scenes and adventures which have formed a part of my experience; but I feared the introduction of this new feature, although probably the pleasantest and in many respects most interesting of my recollections of border life, might prolong the series of articles far beyond the length originally assigned to them, I hope, however, at an early day to relate some of my experiences with the large game so abundant on the Plains, and in this way fill up a blank in these articles which my friends who are lovers of sport have not failed to observe.
As I pen these lines I am in the midst of scenes of bustle and busy preparation attendant upon the organization and equipment of a large party for an important exploring expedition, on which I shall start before these pages reach the publishers' hands. During my absence I expect to visit a region of country as yet unseen by human eyes, except those of the Indian-a country described by the latter as abounding in game of all varieties, rich in scientific interest, and of surpassing beauty in natural scenery. Bidding adieu to civilization for the next few months, I also now take leave of my readers, who, I trust, in accompanying me through my retrospect, have been enabled to gain a true insight into a cavalryman's Life on The Plains.