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"A Grain Of Wheat"


Prologue
A Grain Of Wheat

By Ben Colder

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.

One of America's greatest challenges was conquering the west. The environment, adversaries, diseases, all became an education for today' prosperity.

This story opens three months before the ending of the American civil war.

After the Sand Creek Massacre, November 1864 in Colorado, the Plains Indians of the three tribes in that region decided to move northward to the more-isolated Powder River Country of Wyoming and Montana.
In route they sought revenge for the massacre and began attacking settlements near Julesburg Colorado on February 2.

On February 4--6, the Indians attacked a stagecoach station at Mud Springs. Later, they crossed the North Platte frozen River and camped in and among the bluffs, five miles north.
This story is dedicated to the descendants of that moment.
---------------------------------------------------
Break of day, January 7th, 1865.

At Julesburg, Colorado, the telecommunication office sounded like a small kettle drum as it tried receiving an urgent message.
The clerk temporarily stepped out of the office for a nature call.
One mile westward lay the recent built Fort Rankin and inside the small structure, Captain Nicholas J. O'Brien instructed sixty soldiers and several civilians.
Miles to the north, I was bivouacked at the entrance of a fissure, using nature to shield my small campfire. It worked for most of the night, but sometimes before dawn, the fire had burned to only a few smoldering embers. I stirred them with the promise of creating a flame and used a bit of dried cedar wood.

Stretching my legs to where all the muscles would work properly, I then moved about flapping my arms. My bones were feeling every bit of forty-five years spent on earth, especially the last twenty living in the Kansas and Colorado plains among various Indian tribes.

I knew the tribes had gathered at Cherry Creek for the purpose of creating a vast army; I also knew they intended to create havoc for every settler and soldier near Julesburg, but the secret was to know when.

Despite light powdery snow which had descended during the night, a rope line strung from one cedar bush to another appeared to have secured my horse and a jug head pack mule.

The sun had just beamed over a small knoll before I had my first cup of coffee. Dan, my horse, seemed jittery and wished to nibble at tender grass barely visible.
For some reason, I seemed to be lazier than normal. I wanted to sit around the fire and stay warm while eating the last of the venison jerky. My left wrist began aching as I wrapped it in a grease-soaked rag expecting a miracle cure for arthritis.

Fort Rankin lay about four miles due east of my present location and I knew if I wished to have a hot noon meal then I should be getting things in order.

Within minutes, my knee was in Dan's ribs, making sure he wasn't holding his breath as he often did. I yanked the saddle cinch and tighten it to the last hole. The old Jug head also became anxious to leave something he seldom did.

Into the journey, old jug head was tied to the rear of my saddle, but his stubbornness along the way quickly changed the idea.
The open terrain allowed a clear visibility for almost a mile.
I paced old Dan in a single foot stride as we rode against the cold frosty wind. I was appreciating my thick Buffalo robe and the fur lined moccasin which seemed to be working overtime at keeping my feet from frost bite.

I put my brain to wander toward Captain O'Brian and our last conversation concerning a half breed Cheyenne warrior, George Bent.
I met George and Maggie his Cheyenne wife last summer while visiting my mother's people camped along the South Platte River.
Bent, Ho-my-ike, a tribal name, and I had one thing in common, we were both breeds with having French ancestry.

Our fathers had done business with each other. His father owned a fur business and mine was a trapper and boatman for a major fur trading company of St. Louis, Missouri.

Concerning my Cheyenne mother, she was from a different group, but she and his mother, Owl woman, a daughter of a Cheyenne Chief were still good friends until my parent's untimely death, leaving my only sister to be raised by Kiowa Apache Chief Pacer and his family.

As I traveled on toward the fortress, I was astonished how quickly the warm sun seemed to have faded some of the snow, which caused my ride to be more cautious.

About a thousand yards out away from where I had camped, the jug head started his usual trait of wanting to quickly stop. The idea pulled on my saddle and I soared upwards.
Dismounting and rearranging the pull line so as I could handle it personally and yank it whenever the critter tried again.

Old Dan was being his usual self by ignoring the happening and patiently waiting for me to get on. We had not traveled a lot further when discovering several images riding on horseback toward the fortress.

I paused Dan and watched as hundreds of Cheyenne and Sioux seclude themselves behind bluffs. I recognized right away the happening and found a place to watch the plot unfold.

Immediately in front of where I sat hunkered down behind thick sage grass, some three hundred yards away sitting on a magnificent steed was none other than George Bent, along with Cheyenne War Chief, Big Crow.

Big Crow selected ten warriors to be decoys and to charge the fort in hope O'Brien and his men would chase after them. They did as instructed and went back in haste.

It was difficult to comprehend seeing O'Brien in lead of most of his men along with a few civilians in hot pursuit. Their lives were hanging by a thread and had it not been for a few trigger-happy young warriors, the plot would have worked. However, O'Brien detected it was a trap and turned his group and headed back to the fort.

For only a moment I was feeling relief, but then I saw hundreds of Sioux ride out from behind a bluff and overtake the column before they reached protection. Some of the men were cut off and was forced to dismount and defend themselves.
Their fate was certain, but I saw O' Brien and the civilians make it safely back inside the fort.

I kept my position and watched as the entire group rode on to the town of Julesburg. I suspected most of the town people were already in the fort by the time O'Brien went charging after those young bucks.

I assumed the town would be plundered as seeing Sioux Chief spotted tail take lead of his warriors. The enviable was ostensible as they were unopposed to plunder the stage station and a warehouse filled with winter supplies. I heard cannon shots breaking the atmosphere overhead as the fort fired two rounds.

Noticing O'Brien had sent out a wagon and a three-man burial detail, I guided Dan toward them.

As I approached, a soldier had me in his rifle site when another shouted, he thought he knew me.
It was refreshing hearing the trooper recall a time when I scouted for the Army.

Before traveling onward, I remained long enough to hear a trooper complain about the incident along with a statement of how Captain O: Brien and two hundred troopers whipped half the Sioux and Cheyenne nation.

I wanted to tell him he was mistaken but thought it best not to.

The matter at hand seemed to have every civilian inside the fort anxious to leave. They were concerned about the loss of their personal properties. I heard women complaining and threatening O'Brien to have him kicked out of the Army.

I tied my animals to a hitching post in front of the fort's store and stood a moment. It was hilarious watching an old woman shake a finger in O'Brien's face threatening to have him court marshaled and shot.

The Captain was trying desperately to quiet the situation by assuring her the government would send help and restore everything the Indians destroyed or stole.

I pressed my forehead against the saddle stirrup and grinned. I waited a few minutes before walking to where he could see me.
O'Brien glanced in my direction and shouted, "J.B., You're just the man I need to see!"

I waited and watched as he approached.
To soften the moment, I spoke in a humorous voice, "Morning, Nick, it looks as if you forgot and left the hen house door open. You were about to get flogged."

Nick's red forehead gave hint for the need of a cooler reception. It was obvious he was angry toward retreating into the fort. He grumbled, "Those old women have no clue how close they came to lose their hair to some war lance."

Captain O'Brien led the way to his private quarters for us to talk. I could tell he was upset with himself for making the hasty decision to chase after those young bucks.

"J.B., I sent my report to General Mitchell, and he's in the process of ordering six hundred troopers, along with 200 supply wagons and artillery to punish those Indians. By chance, you wouldn't know who was involved, other than your friend, Spotted Tail, and his bunch, would you?

"Now, Nick, where do you get that Spotted Tail is my friend? Why, if given the chance, he would just as soon cut out my heart before he would yours."

The cold January weather slowed progress of helping with the reconstruction of Julesburg, but the stage line had reopened and most of the delayed passengers were now on their way to Denver, with tales to share with their families that would last a lifetime.

By now, there was little doubt every farmhouse and barn that existed across the winner's pathway would be nothing but rubble, and the occupants all dead or captured.

However, after buying the few supplies I needed, my intentions were to head toward the North Platte River and sit out the winter with my mother's people. It would be a gamble, but I was in hopes the Kiowa Apache were also wintering there, and I might see my sister, whom I hadn't seen for more than a year.

I was tying down the supplies on the old jug head when a young soldier walked up to me stating that Captain O'Brien wished to see me before I left. I thought we had finished our little conversation, but apparently not.

It turned out that General Mitchell wanted me to meet with his command on the 18th, somewhere between Cottonwood Springs and Cherry Creek.





Author Notes Living Among several tribes and being Choctaw Breed from my Grandmother's people; my years of learning the ways of the culture and true history explained by tribal elders, I attempt to share something you may or may not find interesting.


Chapter 1
Continue of first chapter

By Ben Colder

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.

. The cold January weather slowed progress of helping with the reconstruction of Julesburg, but the stage line had reopened and most of the delayed passengers were now on their way to Denver, with tales to share with their families that would last a lifetime.

By now, there was little doubt every farmhouse and barn that existed across the winner's pathway would be nothing but rubble, and the occupants all dead or captured.

However, after buying the few supplies I needed, my intentions were to head toward the North Platte River and sit out the winter with my mother's people. It would be a gamble, but I was in hopes the Kiowa Apache were also wintering there, and I might see my sister, whom I hadn't seen for more than a year.

I was tying down the supplies on the old jug head when a young soldier walked up to me stating that Captain O'Brien wished to see me before I left. I thought we had finished our little conversation, but apparently not.

It turned out that General Mitchell wanted me to meet with his command on the 18th, somewhere between Cottonwood Springs and Cherry Creek.

NEW POST:

I was having mixed emotions about the General's request and stated so to O'Brien. His remark was that the Army still considered me as a scout on their payroll. It was an order, not a friendly suggestion.

Although I had not seen one dime of pay since the last of doing business with the military, I knew if I wanted to sell horses again, or hunt game for them, then I better go and do as requested, or my days of working for the Army were spent.

After two days into my ride, I learned from an elderly Cheyenne family that the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes had decided to move north to the Black Hills and Powder River Country of South Dakota and Wyoming.

The information created a new decision. General Mitchell was in for a big surprise, as I doubted the army would find any enemy at Cherry Creek.

For the next few days, nature bore down heavily with whiteouts, and in some places snow drifts were deep enough to bury me and the animals. This caused the trip to be slower than normal. I stayed camped out of the weather for the next two days. On the third day, General Mitchell and I were to meet just a few miles away.

I knew the tribes had left Cherry Creek for the Black Hills, and suspected others were busy plundering farms and burning stagecoach stations throughout the 150-mile strip of the South Platte Valley.

When the General and I did meet, I formed an opinion quickly. At least fifty or more of his men suffered from frostbite, which created a disadvantage for the General's plans.

I told him we had little chance of finding out who went where, and the direction they traveled. This seemed to have changed things, which caused him to give up the chase.

The following two days, I traveled with the General's agreement that when we hit a trail with one running back toward the South Platte and the other in the North, then my commitment was over. However, during the night, some young Sioux bucks came riding through the camp and fired at the soldier's tents.

This delayed my plans for another few days, as I and another scout known as D. Pack, followed the youngsters to a campsite made up of mostly old women and children.

We both agreed not to tell the General anything, lest he order the command to destroy the lodges and kill them all.

For the next couple of days, I remained with the command. I was completely ignorant of what was happening anywhere in the valley. It wasn't until afterwards; I learned my suspicions were right.

While guiding my animals through the belly deep snow, the Sioux was attacking every farmer and rancher east of Julesburg. The Cheyenne raided west, allowing the Arapaho the center. Reports were that at night the entire valley gave darkness a certain glow that was seen for twenty miles or more.

Things were heating up again near and all-around Julesburg. The stage station was nothing but rubble as I slowly rode old Dan past the charred remains. Across the way, in front of where a corral once stood, three fresh graves specified the Army had already been there and buried the dead.

During the time I left the fort and met with General Mitchell, the tribes were having a windfall, especially the Cheyenne. They had captured more than five hundred head of cattle and tangled with a company of Cavalry. Although the Army reported they had killed 20 or more Indians and recovered most of the cattle, the truth was that no Indians were hurt, two soldiers were wounded, and less than ten cows were recovered.

The next several days, the tribes went unopposed, but Spotted Tail lost three braves when trying to attack a wagon train.
Among the train's occupants were nine recently discharged soldiers who participated in the Sand Creek Massacre. The Cheyenne not only killed the men but mutilated the corpses in the same measure they had done to the Indian women and children at Sand Creek.

I arrived in the area where the wagons were parked. They were in a circle and bedded down for the evening with campfires burning higher than normal.

In one section, sat a few women and children huddled to shield out the cold north wind while their husbands stood armed guard at the end of each wagon.

Overtaken by darkness, I suspected everyone would be on edge. I paused my ride about a hundred yards away before shouting, "Hello in the camp!"

The figure of a man came to edge of the lead wagon and responded, "State your name and your business!"

Before dismounting, I stated, "I'm scouting for the Army out of Fort Rankin, J.B. Wright is the name!"

Holding a lit lantern, the man gave permission to come to the light.

He held it high as two men approached on both sides. The stern voice of someone gave invite to step down while another took the bridle reins and led Dan inside the wagon circle.

The person carrying the light led the way to a long makeshift table. He spoke, "No doubt you're hungry, you may sit, I'll have one of the ladies to bring you something to eat."

My presence brought a total silence. I could only imagine their feelings as I stared down into a tin plate of warm food.
The woman who gave me a hot cup of coffee said something I never understood.

The person who invited my presence I assume to be the wagon master, sat directly in front and asked questions concerning hostiles.
At the end of the table sat another man who stared the entire time I eat.

As I sipped the hot liquid another man sat adjacent staring at the feather stuck in the back of my hat. I waited for the questions, but they never came.

Before finishing the meal, the man who sat staring was summoned to a prayer meeting. The lady who poured my coffee remarked. "You may come too; the good Lord loves everybody."

Meanwhile, as the people went to their worship service, I found a place beneath the front wagon to stretch out my bedding.

Light from several lit lanterns and flickering fires produced enough vision I could see old Dan tied to a rope line with other horses.

Where I lay gave the ability to appreciate the people's singing. Though I never understood German language, I must admit the songs offered a sense of peace that rested my mind into thinking about what the new day may or not bring.

From experience and seeing signs, I suspected the tribes were on the move with thousands of stolen horses with mixed livestock. No doubt, the Sioux would be in the lead but leaving enough warriors to continue raiding and fighting anyone who dared to follow.

As dawn appeared, I was mounted and on my way toward the fort, and mid-day when arriving to learn Julesburg had been attacked again burning every building to the ground.

Captain O'Brien's face was still red with anger as I dismounted and tied Dan outside his office to the front hitching post.

I remained wordless the entire time Nick cursed the situation. I listened to every word as we went inside his office.
"JB, I have learned that no- good Spotted Tail has made off with wives and children of those soldiers he killed in that wagon train attack."

I remained quiet thinking about my short time with the train and never hearing anything about the subject.

The man was quiet as he opened a box of cigars and offered, but I declined.

Preparing to hear more about the raid, I was surprised to see him reach into the desk- drawer again and pull out a telegram. He spoke, "Here read this."

I stumbled through the wording but understood enough to ask, "Did she bring the boy?"

O'Brien sat staring while mumbling, "Your guess is good as mine. You read the same thing as I did. Concerning General Mitchel: how come you quit the man in the middle of a fight?"

I sat looking at the telegram never hearing anything said. I placed it back on the desk and stared out the window in total thought.

Nick repeated the question and I heard very clearly. I remarked, "You know me better than that. If he said I ran out on him, then he is a liar."

Nick was silent as he sat staring into my face. "Well, if you're not guilty, then you may wish to redeem the situation by going to Mudd Springs and see if you can stop your friends from killing all the people at the stage station. I'm sure a certain young lady would also appreciate it too."



Author Notes Based on true American History. Watch the video on my profile (A Grain Of Wheat.)
The video will help you to understand the setting and time frame. Some who you will see are in this story.


Chapter 2
Two Strikes

By Ben Colder

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.

Nick was silent as he sat staring into my face. "Well, if you're not guilty, then you may wish to redeem the situation by going to Mudd Springs and see if you can stop your friends from killing all the people at the stage station. I'm sure a certain young lady would also appreciate it as well."


My report must have been in line with his. The stern look on his face quickly turned to normal expression as he laid down his cigar in an ashtray,
He spoke, "I'm starved, let's go and eat."

The mess area was rapidly attending to the needs of the soldiers as we sat down at a private table. The person in charge brought our meals while I enjoyed the warmth from a nearby stove. Afterwards, the setting was perfect for a short nap but learning about the attack on Lodge Pole Creek's telegraph station got my undivided attention.

Nick had layed a perfect trap. All I could do was think about Mudd Springs and the danger Lottie Hamilton was facing. I had been there several times, and knew it was a well-fortified structure converted into a stagecoach station with a telegraph.

As arriving back to Nick's office, I remained quiet and waited to hear more about the trap I had stumbled into.

Much like a woman making a pretense of shyness, Nick was coy when handing me another telegram.

I read it as the message sent a sense of fear. I remarked, "They ain't got a chance. Why in the world would she want to come back here knowing how things are? Do you know which tribe is involved?"

'Yes, Two Strikes, and several Sioux warriors."

Nick wasn't fooling anyone. I knew if the Sioux was involved then the several was most likely hundreds.

I asked, "How about the Army, where is General Mitchel and his men? Nick, if the Sioux are involved, the Cheyenne no doubt are."

"JB, the only hope those people have is any influence you may have with the tribes. If not, your friend Lottie Hamilton and maybe the boy will be killed along with everyone else."

The man pointed to a large map hanging on the wall. He spoke, 'Come over here and let me show you something. Look here! From Fort Mitchell to Mud Springs, it's about fifty-five miles, and to Fort Laramie, almost a hundred and five miles."

I looked at the map in silence and studied the situation. Nick's trap had sprung, and I was caught. He knew all the time I would never refuse to go. Naturally, I had to save a little pride by stating, "So, I'm to know it's further from Mud Springs to Fort Laramie?"

The man removed the cigar he had laid in the ashtray and relit it. He growled, "Now I want you to understand something about the Army and the way we do things. Every one of us were sent out here to make a place for a growing society, and we will accomplish the task, no matter the price."

I growled back," You can save the lecture, I'm going, but Old Dan is tucker out. I need to rest him for a day or two."

"JB, we don't have a day or two. I will lend you Molly, my horse, she's not a bad ride however she's not gated like your Dan, but she will get you there and back."

I thought, back? That's an empty word, and it would take more than empty words to face Two Strikes. He and I had an old score to settle dating back when we both were much younger.

When leaving the fort that day riding another man's horse, I had to agree with Nick, the ride wasn't too bad, but the thing could never measure up to Dan's rocking chair ride.

I scolded myself for falling into another one of Nick's traps but knowing this time it had a personal tone toward the task.

My mind drifted to the hot August day, when Lottie Hamilton and her two-year-old son climbed upon a covered wagon, bound for Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

I thought of her last words and how she placed a sweet kiss of kindness on my unshaven cheek. Her husband, Norman Hamilton and I had been childhood friends as youngsters living with the Cheyenne people and neither of us ever suspected things would turn out the way they had.

Despite the situation at hand I still remembered the day she and Norm married. I have never witnessed two people more in love as they. I smiled remembering how he would try and make her use the term you instead of thee.

I marveled remembering how unambiguous her Quaker father was concerning her coming home and making a life in St Louis, but that was eight years ago.

I kept Molly somewhere between a fast walk and a trot all the way until reaching a place I knew would offer a shielded camp site.

The moon had waned as I secured the horse to a Cottonwood Tree and pitched a fireless camp. The animal and I needed rest and Mudd Springs lay almost thirty miles away.

Still fully clothed and curled in a wool blanket using my saddle as a pillow, sleep came quickly only to be awaken at dawn by the cooing of sage hens across the open prairie.

I could still feel the discomfort against my poor back and no doubt a change of weather was causing my wrist to hurt.
I pushed aside my physical problems and within minutes, Molly and I was traveling toward our destiny.

Two small strips of Buffalo Jerky chased BY a mouth full of canteen water served as breakfast.
A touch of wood-smoke was still in the air as I approached a small knoll. Someone was camping.

A narrow road used purposely for stagecoach travel lay visible about a hundred yards to the north. Mudd springs was less than two miles away but far enough to be out of hearing distance of any battle.

An old saying about curiosity capturing the moment could never be more inviting as I tied my horse to a shrub and eased to see who was camping.

A certain smell in the air I was familiar with explained the site of two young Cheyenne warriors chipping away at a flintstone rock making arrow heads and despite paint smeared on their faces, I knew they were boys which instructed my thoughts. The Cheyenne was creating artillery.

My only hope of reaching the station was to locate the main party's camp and try to come in the back way.

On a bluff less than a thousand yards away, I could see about fifteen or twenty soldiers shooting at many Sioux warriors. I watched the skirmish and knew there was little I could do to assist them.

It was apparent the soldiers were to keep Two Strikes and his band from getting any closer to the Stagecoach station.

I felt assured they would succeed, and everyone in the station would be safe. However, within minutes, a vast number of warriors appeared, causing the soldiers to cut and run.

I watched as one trooper dropped from his saddle, and another was wounded, but he and the others managed to make it to the station's corral and let all the horses and mules go free.

The idea was priceless, and sent the warriors in various directions, chasing after the animals. This move granted opportunity for all the men to get inside the station unharmed.

Rapidly, the troopers responded with a volley of rifle fire with very little resistance.


Thick sod walls of the station were keeping the bullets from penetrating. I knew by experience; it was only a matter of time before the tribe would call it a bad idea and return to their camp.

I waited until Two Strikes and his warriors were out of view before riding to the station. Two soldiers were standing at each end of the building, watching their enemy fade from sight.

I paused Molly in front of the station and remained mounted until the officer in charged gave permission to step down. "I'm Lt. Ellsworth. You must be J.B. Wright. We've been expecting you."

No doubt, Lottie and her son overheard the Lieutenant as she walked outside and stood mute.

I never heard a word the man was saying as I slid down off my horse and walked to her.

We just stood there looking at each other. I was somewhat coy, thinking of how I must smell like a hog sty. My thick ratty beard could stand a trim, but somehow none of it mattered.

She walked toward me with open arms, and we quickly embraced. She spoke much like a whisper, "I knew Thee would come."

Over the top of her head, I could see the boy, and only imagined his thoughts. I uttered, "The boy. He's Norm made over."

We released our embrace as she beckoned the boy to come forward. "Norman, this is Mr. J. B. Wright. He was thy father's best friend. Mr. Wright, this is Master Norman Hamilton."

A lump formed in my throat, which made it difficult to swallow. I smiled and spoke, "Glad to meet you, Master Norman Hamilton. You were about knee high to a grasshopper the last time I saw you."

Author Notes To get understanding from both aspects.Some characters appear in the video on my profile. Check it out, you just might see what your great grandparents endured.


Chapter 3
Continue- Two Strikes

By Ben Colder

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.

Over the top of her head, I could see the boy, and only imagined his thoughts. I uttered, "The boy. He's Norm made over."

We released our embrace as she beckoned the boy to come forward. "Norman, this is Mr. J. B. Wright. He was thy father's best friend. Mr. Wright, this is Master Norman Hamilton."

A lump formed in my throat, which made it difficult to swallow. I smiled and spoke, "Glad to meet you, Master Norman Hamilton. You were about knee high to a grasshopper the last time I saw you."

Young Norman timidly spoke, "Mother speaks highly of Thee, and Grandfather said, thou were a man to be considered."

I remembered the old man and how he was stern with Quaker religion. I thought to myself, the word 'consider' must be a hint for conversion.

Lt. Ellsworth suggested for us to go inside and enjoy a hot meal, while someone attended to my horse.

Inside a fireplace, coffee boiled in a large pot sending the aroma throughout the room.

After finding a place to sit at a long wooden table, Lottie poured me a cup of coffee. Little Norm continued staring making me feel much like I was a bug in a jar.

I asked the reason for her coming knowing it had been eight years.

She was about to speak when Lt. Ellsworth interrupted, "J.B., Colonel Collins and twenty-five men have arrived, and more are on the way from Fort Laramie. He wants to speak to you."

I overlooked the remark and continued waiting for Lottie to speak, but knowing my presence was needed elsewhere, she hesitated.

Ellsworth remained standing to one side, waiting until I was ready. Lottie whispered, "Thee may should go and speak with thy Colonel. Thee knows he is here to help."

I felt like melted butter sliding down a plate as I remained silent, just listening to her voice. I looked at little Norm and grinned, "Do you think I should go?"

Norm sat watching every move I made. He nodded yes, and I got up and followed Ellsworth outside to speak with the Colonel.

The man and I conversed about the situation of mostly guess work. We both knew the odds were in the tribe's favor concerning manpower. It all relied on more troops, and that was doubtful.

I was thinking, if the battle hinged upon more troops, then there would need to be at least a thousand.

I knew Bent was in the area. Earlier, I had seen him riding across the way with our old childhood Cheyenne friend, Ma-Toosh.

George Bent and I were not on friendly terms, but we did have respect for each other. I had always thought his father had something to do with my father's death.

The day was spent preparing for another attack, but it never came. When needed, Lottie and little Norm helped with serving food and drink to the troops.

Between short visits, Lottie and I had a few moments to ourselves. We discussed mostly her plans for her and the boy.

My thoughts had been correct about her father. He had died, and she wanted little Norm to grow up in the west and learn about nature. However, it had been more than a year since I last visited Norms' grave and the old home site.

I never let her, or the boy know the Army had butchered women and children at San Creek four months ago. The entire Indian nations were on the war path and I suspected they had burned their old place.

Later in the night as we continued our conversation, fifty additional soldiers under the command of Lt. William Brown, arrived with a 12-pound mountain howitzer.
Brown had plans to take the offensive the next morning.

Later, others arrived from Fort Laramie, placing our defense at 170 men and ready for battle.

Stunned at seeing those who suffered from frostbite and fatigue, I knew they were not much challenge for their rested opponent.

With confidence, the Colonel and I concluded the Indians would attack with some of their best but would hold back the heavy assault in the second with hope the defense was weakened.

However, my thoughts were for the Artillery to demonstrate its power and shoot into the midst of the first wave, which would allow the tribes to think their enemy was much stronger than it seemed.

I was not sure if the Colonel accepted my suggestion and left him and the others discussing strategy.

I walked back inside the station and sat with Lottie and the boy

He asked, "Will there be a battle?"

Minutes quickly slipped into a half hour as 500 to 1,000 Indians appeared ready for battle.

Four circled wagons instantly became defense and a makeshift corral for the animals.

A barrage of arrows dropped like rain. as men and horses fell victim as though the Thracian gladiator Spartacus did in the Third Servile War.

For my own safety, I accompanied a group of soldiers to drive the hostiles from bow range.
In the distance, I could see Bent sitting on a fine-looking steed jabbering to War Chief Two Strikes.

I tied a dingy rag on the end of my rifle and rode Molly at a walk toward a group of warriors I personally knew.

Beneath smeared war paint, my childhood friend Ma-Toosh welcomed my presence long enough to hear my remarks, "Tonight, sad singing and cries in Ma-Toosh lodge. Two Strikes will not care for your family. Nobody will sing sad songs for Two Strikes or Bent. Many soldiers are ready and more to come. Who will hunt the Tonka? Who will feed your children? Ma-Toosh can take his young warriors and leave now. Let Two- Strikes meet his enemy. I am not your enemy? In the station, is the wife and boy of our friend, Norman. We once were friends, has Ma-Toosh forgotten?"

The man sat staring into space, but suddenly turned his mount and yelped like a dog. In broken English, he growled, "Now We go J.B. My warriors and me, we go now. Two Strikes can fight his enemy alone, we go!"

I guided my mount toward Two Strikes expecting the worse. With a painted war face, he sat on a spotted horse and stared as though I was a fool to challenge him.

He sent out three Sioux warriors to ride in circles around me, in hope I would cut and run. However, I continued my ride until stopping only a few feet in front of him.

His war face of death exposed black lines painted over the white from his forehead to below his neckline, meaning death to all his white enemies. The coolness in his eyes uncovered hatred and vengeance, no doubt harbored in his mind over the massacre at Sand Creek.

Alertness sifted through me as I calmly cocked my rifle.

He broke the silence and questioned, "J.B., why you bring the white man to us? They kill our women and children. They cut them up like the deer and feed them to the coyotes."

In my mind, I rehearsed the words before I spoke, "It was a bad thing, but I did not bring the white man to you. He asked me to come and seek peace. The white man wants peace. Two Strikes wants war."

I waited for his response and was surprised when he lifted himself upward and stood on his mount and pointed toward the open grassland.


He spoke, "This is Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho land. All, the Great Spirit gives to us. The Tonka, (Buffalo) and the coyote, all ours. You say white man wants peace. Why he come and kill us? Maybe we go to white man's land and kill his family."

In my heart, I knew the man was right, and for the first time in my forty-five years on earth, I was speechless. I watch him as he changed positions and sat back down on his horse.

I spoke, "You know more white people will come and bring big guns. The bow and arrow are for hunting the deer. When you have no more bullets for the guns you took in battle, will you fight with sticks against the big guns? The white man has more bullets. Will Two Strikes lead his people into battle with sticks?"

Ma-Toosh had stopped and watched as Two Strikes and I talked. He turned his mount and rode up next to me asking, "If we leave and join our families, will the Army follow and fight us?"

I knew if I told him yes, then the fight would continue until all were dead including myself, so I thought to change the subject with humor.

"Do you not make the Buffalo go where you want him to go? Does he know you will follow and kill him?"

I never knew war paint could change to a smile until seeing Two Strikes almost burst with laughter.

"Then we shall go to our families. If the soldiers follow, we will know they come to kill us like the buffalo, and we will be strong and fight them."

Ma-Toosh made a peace sign, turned his mount, and led his warriors off the battlefield.
Two Strikes watched as more than half of his warriors turned and rode away.

He growled, "You have won this day, J.B., but will you win against all of the white man's lies?"



Author Notes So America does not beleave in Genocide? The story is based upon facts. Check out the video on my profile, learn who was involved in this story.Who knows? You just might see your Great Grandfather.


Chapter 4
The Julesburg Stagecoach.

By Ben Colder

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.

Previous post:

Again, I knew the man was right, and the Army would probably follow and engage them somewhere however, for now, all were safe, especially Lottie and the boy.

Before returning to Colonel Collins to give him my report, I sat for at least ten minutes watching the nations slowly leave toward the North Platte River.

There, four to five thousand men, women, and children were camped along the bluffs. They were waiting to see their fathers and brothers, who would soon catch up to them, before crossing the frozen river.

However, Two Strikes sent word, they were to remain camped for a few more days to let the horses rest.

The war chiefs wanted the Army to trail them and left easy signs to follow.

Meanwhile, at the Mud Spring stagecoach station, Lottie volunteered to help with the few wounded soldiers. She never noticed as I entered the building and stood in the doorway.
I watched her as she tried bringing comfort to the few moaning men whose pain was more fake than real.

A nudge against the back of my right leg caused me to turn and see young Norman standing behind me.

He asked, "Did thee speak to a real chief?"

I pulled him to my side and looked downward into his face. "Yes, I spoke with him, they have gone now to their families and won't be back."

Colonel Collins sent word he would like to speak with me. I left the boy standing by the door, watching his mother.

Collins was somewhat perplexed about my report and thought I should have had the tribes to surrender their guns. However, I made it clear to him and the others, I was asked only to stop a battle and I had succeeded.

The conversation entered a stage of speculation and how I should have known to make Two Strikes bring his people into camp and sign a peace agreement.

I was silent the entire time the man raged about how I had caused Two Strikes to slip through his fingers and destroy the opportunity of stopping the attacks made on innocent people.

I waited for the chance to ask, "Sir, the Quaker lady and boy who is helping your wounded, they have asked me to take them to their home site and I said I would. Will the Army lend me a team and wagon to do so?"

Collins stood looking out across the vast open prairie, He muttered, "I'm leaving here in the morning with enough troops to catch those Indians and engage them until they surrender with or without you!"

I could almost hear the words spoken by, Two Strikes, "You have won this day, J.B., But will you win against all of the white man's lies?"

He was right, the Army never wanted peace, but to rid all the Indians from off the face of the earth.

I started to walk back to the station, but turned and asked again, "Do I get the wagon or not?"

Col. Collins replied with a serious response. "I will need every wagon available filled with supplies, and if you intend to continue scouting for the Army, I expect you to lead an advance party and find those Indians."


With respect, I listened to the man growl about how so many mistakes were made by letting the tribes go, and with the help of the Almighty, he would secure peace and stop the killing of innocent people.


The man gave me much to ponder, but my question was, how about the innocent lives at Sand Creek and other slaughters done to those who were here long before the white man arrived? However, I kept my personal thoughts to myself.

Lottie and little Norm were sleeping on a pallet in a small room adjacent to the front entrance.

I felt not to awaken them, but I knew they would be disappointed come morning, when learning I had left with an advance patrol in pursuit of Two Strikes.

An hour before dawn, I saddled Molly and waited at the end of the corral for a six-man patrol.

A young corporal looked every bit of nineteen, Timothy, O' Riley, spoke to me with a touch of an Irish tongue. "Mr. Wright, the Colonel has ordered, we are to accompany you to find the Indian's trail. He will follow an hour behind with the column."

Before leaving, I spoke with the soldier guarding the corral, and I asked him to tell Lottie and the boy where I was going. If I did not return, they were to take the stage to Denver and find a Quaker community there and build a life for themselves.

Sunrise topped a hill as I guided my mount in the direction the tribe went.

I followed their trail leading to the North Platte River, all the while thinking they were either somewhat clumsy for leaving noticeable signs, or they wanted the Army to follow.

Leaving the young corporal with the others, I scouted a mile or so up ahead and came across an area where Cheyenne warriors had stopped long enough to enjoy a meal taken in their plunder.

Along the trail were scattered empty cans of oysters, meat, and fruit. I knew Collins and his column of soldiers were a few miles behind, so I turned my mount and rode back to the patrol.

After reporting the find, the young corporal in charge hurriedly sent a messenger to inform the Colonel.

The break of the day was completely spent by the time they made it. I suspected Two Strikes was totally ignorant of us following and by now, he was probably with his family camped somewhere across the river.

Col. Collins and I spoke along the lines of the Army bivouacking in the area where I found the discarded debris. He sent a detail of troopers ahead to set up a perimeter defense for the night.

To my way of thinking, we sustained around 150 men, some of whom were seasoned fighters. However, I recognized the tribes had more than a thousand warriors, fit for fight.

After the evening meal, Col. Collins called a meeting with the officers. He made sure I was present, and at times he would openly seek my opinion about his strategy.

In one of my comments, I reminded the Colonel about the vast number of women and children who would no- doubt be in the camp.

Later, I bedded down for the night, but my mind wandered toward the Sand Creek Massacre. Thoughts raced with questions as I lay thinking about what could take place tomorrow.

I realized all three tribes probably numbered four or five thousand, and to think 150 men and one field artillery piece would be successful was out of the question
.
I rolled up my bedding and saddled Molly, with every intention of warning the Colonel again about the number of warriors verses his Army. However, Lt. Ellsworth refused to let him be disturbed.

I grumbled, "Sir, If you have ever once imagined surviving to have grandchildren, then you should try and talk some sense into that Colonel's thick skull. He's about to get you and all your men killed, and I will be on my way back to Mud Springs when it happens."

The man asked, "Are you quitting?"

I sat there on my horse amazed. "You don't understand, do you? Yes, I am quitting, I should have never come in the first place. If my luck holds out, and a certain young lady and her son are still at Mud Springs, the Army will never hear from me again."

After arriving at Mud Springs, the Overland Stage was in the process of trying to work again. The small garrison of troops Collins had left was busy helping civilians clear away the results of the past events.

A small boy, not much older than little Norm, held a Cheyenne arrow in his hand, while trying to get his mother's attention.

By the way, a few soldiers gawked when I tied my mount to a corral post, there was little doubt my presence created uninvited questions.

My mind raced with many thoughts but settled upon one. I asked the stable attendant if the Denver stage had come through.

At first, the man acted as though he ignored me, but smiled," They are inside, waiting, if that's bothering you, but nope, no stage, the telegraph office said the company was sending some new teams for replacing those them dad blasted Enjoins took."

My ears were numb from the cold February weather, but I had no problem hearing a boy's voice. "Mother said thee would come back."

I turned and pulled little Norm up close to my side. "How have you been, is your mother still inside playing nurse?"

He answered, "She is, and when the Denver stage comes, we are going there. Will thou come too?"

Apparently, my return without the troops had caused a young Lieutenant to wonder. I saw him walking toward me as I prepared for questions.

"Mr. Wright, did the Colonel send you back to give me a message?"

I was slow responding, "No, I came back on my own, the others are probably fighting half of the Sioux nation by now. Your Colonel was warned, but he thought the Army no longer needed my services."

The young man turned and walked away, but I could hear him give orders to someone to send a telegram to Fort Laramie and confirm my statement.

I knew it was too early for the Fort to know anything, good or bad. However, I was also anxious to know how things had turned out.

For only a moment, my mind drifted toward the tribes and their hardships endured of traveling more than 400 miles during the worst weather through open and desolate plains.

Among them were their women and children carrying lodges and household properties, followed by a vast number of ponies and herds of captured cattle, horses and mules.

I smiled, thinking about how Two Strikes and other war chiefs who had outfoxed people like Colonel Collins and other egotistic glory seekers by killing more whites than reported at Sand Creek and destroying over a hundred miles of the Overland Stage line.

Young Norm and I walked inside the station and saw Lottie sitting at a table conversing with another lady. Her back was to us as we quietly slipped up behind her.

The person she was speaking with never gave a hint of our presence until Norm yanked the back of his mother's bonnet.

Lottie was silent as she turned to see me standing behind her. I think we both were glad for the moment.


Chapter 5
Continue, Julesburg Stagecoach.

By Ben Colder

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.

Previous;

The person she was speaking with never gave a hint of our presence until Norm yanked the back of his mother's bonnet.

Lottie was silent as she turned to see me standing behind her. I think we both were glad for the moment.

She spoke, "I prayed for Thee and the others to come back safely."

I allowed her feeling to exist as I spoke, "Well, you must be in good standing with your God because I was feeling the Army would do just fine without me."

Squeezing my hand, she lowly spoke, "I know thou are hungry; I will fetch thee some food. Please sit down, I will get thee coffee."

Apparently, the word concerning my unemployment had circulated among the entire area. The stage attendant sat down at the table next to me and said the Overland Stage Co was looking for people to either drive or ride shotgun and the job was mine if I wanted it.

The offer was somewhat noble; however, I had another man's horse to return and mine to retrieve.

Norm sat watching as I drank the coffee. I suspected he wished to do the same.

He asked, "Is it bitter? I tried it one time when Mother visited Grandfather's friends, I did not like it."

I sipped at the liquid again and made a puckered face to satisfy the moment.

The stage attendant grinned and poked fun, "Now this stuff will put hair on your chest."

Norm and I smiled at each other, I remarked, "Well, perhaps I need to stop drinking the stuff, look at my face, it has my beard thicker than a brier patch."

Lottie broke up our wordplay by sitting hot bowls of soup before all three of us.

"Now, thee should eat and thaw out your insides, the telegraph operator said people were saying a whiteout might be coming."

I relished the moment and remembered the times when she would order her table guest to eat and be thankful to God. I pictured seeing her late husband Norman as we sit and smiled at each other while she insisted, we bow our heads.

I broke the silence by asking the stage attendant if he thought the line would be ready to take passengers to Denver by the way of Julesburg?

He replied, "Hopefully tomorrow if the weather holds and the folks are wrong about the whiteout. However, if not. Your guess is good as mine."

I knew the Overland Trail paralleled with others leading toward the Great Platte River Road which joined the North Platte River in Kansas and Nebraska. However, all I needed was some way to keep Lottie and the boy with me all the way to Julesburg.

From there, the Hamilton's home site lay a hundred miles or more on a tributary off the South Platte River and I also knew the trail we would be traveling was used by white prospectors who hunted for gold in the Rocky Mountains.

My thoughts were channeled to scout and protect the stage for exchange of Lottie and the boy's passage, but everything still depended on the weather and the stage company.

Across the way, the Army had erected a so-called hospital tent made of canvas, having two doors for front and rear.
Another tent was joined with flaps and sewn together, making it a perfect bedroom for Lottie and another woman who took turns checking on the wounded men.

My sleeping arrangement was usual for me. I considered it was lucky to be out of the weather and in the stable with hay for a mattress.

I must have been very tired as I awaken to see the sun climbing high in a clear and cloudless morning. I sat with my head propped against my drawn-up knees while trying to understand the moment.

The figure of something beneath a wool Army blanket lay just feet away. I had no problem understanding who it was.

I bumped him with my foot and asked, "Did you get cold?"

Norm pulled back the blanket off his head, "No, I slept very well, did thee?"

Things were getting underway to have breakfast when the stable attendant got my attention. He pointed toward a hill,
"There is someone on that hill yonder, and have been there since dawn."

I could see by the way he sat upon his horse; it was an Indian warrior. I thought privately asking myself why he was there and what he wanted.

I was not the only one who wondered about his presence. The corral guard laid his rifle on a fence post and took careful aim and was ready to shoot at the image when I suggested my going there to see what he wanted.

I saddled Molly and rode toward the figure. The closer I got, the more I realized who it was. My old friend Cheyenne warrior Ma-toosh sat staring at me as though to ask why it had taken me so long.

I made the peace sign and rode up close and stopped within feet from him. Pulling the saddle off Molly and laying down the saddle blanket on the ground, we sat between the two horses to block out the morning sun as we spoke.

Ma-toosh harshly spoke, "J.B., why you let Army follow our people. We fought them and killed many. Why you not in battle and you here?"

Many words ran through my mind as I slowly chose the ones I needed.
"Does my old friend think I not know Two Strikes laid a trap for the soldiers? I show the Army the trash you leave taken from the settlers, but they wanted no peace. I come back to be with our old friend Norman Hamilton's widow and boy."

Ma-toosh sat quietly before mumbling, "Norman, he is dead, yes? You have his woman and boy now?"

I knew his thoughts and quickly corrected the idea, "She is not my woman, but a friend like you, I promised to take them to their old home place."

If looks could kill, I would have been dead as he stared at me. He sternly spoke, "You make enemies, J. B., and many young Sioux warriors want to kill you."

I listened as he recounted how after fighting the Colonel Collins's Army and a few Sioux Warriors were defeated many of their friends blamed me for leading the Army to them.

"You know I speak truth, I tried to warn the Colonel, but he was like the bull buffalo who wishes to fight. I quit the Army. I know longer scout for them. Tell, Two Strikes, his words are strong, I hear no more of the white man's lies."

Apparently, the conversation was over. We got up and I saddled my horse. He spoke, "The Kiowa Apache camps alongside our people on the river toward the mountains, your sister and her son there too. Her brave, fight the Crow, he is now dead."

I sat mounted and watched him ride away while thinking about my sister. I never knew she had married and was a mother until he told me. However, there was little I could do to help her for now.

At Mud Spring, the length of time and the entire ordeal of speaking with an Indian cause much curiosity. The young Lieutenant who was left in charge of the garrison was more than eager to find out what Ma-toosh and I were talking about.

I wanted to tell him it was none of his business, but I saw Lottie standing in the door of the station, so I smiled.

"My sister, Lieutenant, he wanted me to know about my sister and that she had a son I've never seen."

The man demanded, "Who was he and how did he know you were here?"

I replied, "The wind sir, all Indians and half breeds listen to the wind. Try it sometimes, you never know, you just might hear it whisper your name."

I suppose Ma-toosh and I made a real shake up among everybody. The Lieutenant was not the only person who wanted to know what was happening.

Lottie never said a word as she sat down in front of me. The stagecoach station manager was more than curious. He inquired, "JB, have we got anything to be worried about?"

The telegraph operator walked in the door as I was about to answer. He said, "Folks, we have heard from Fort Laramie. Colonel Collins has returned to the Fort reporting losing only two men and killing 150 Indians."

I doubted anything Collins reported. Had it been true Ma-toosh would have told me. My thoughts were mostly about the young Sioux warriors wanting my hair on their lances.

Lottie and I sat awhile before learning the Denver stage would be ready to leave within a few hours. I booked her and the boy's passage to Julesburg for my scouting up the trail before the coach and making sure the direction was open.

I knew those young Sioux bucks Ma-toosh had mentioned knew where I was, and I doubted he had time to set things straight before leaving. However, I was prepared for the unexpected and knew they wished nothing more, but to make a reputation for themselves with my death.

I made certain everything was in order before allowing two hours with a head start. I was to meet the stage before crossing a small branch which normally was froze over this time of year.

The stage road intersected another which led to Julesburg then it angled back toward the Denver road. If I were to have any trouble from anyone, it would probably take place at the branch where several cottonwood trees could give perfect concealment.

I waited at the frozen stream for what seemed to be most of the day. The stagecoach appeared in the distance with little Norm occasionally sticking his head out of the window. I noticed the stage line had hired a shotgun rider and the driver was a person I met back at the station.

The coach stopped before entering the shallow icy water and waited for my appearance before driving the animals across. I had been there for nearly an hour and had not seen any signs of trouble. However, I had not ridden across the branch and assumed everything was safe.

Through the window, Lottie and I spoke for a few minutes while the shotgun guard climbed down and broke away ice to allow the horses to drink.

A few minutes eased away before a rifle shot sounded from across the branch, sending a bullet whizzing by my head.

The driver ordered everyone out of the coach and to squat down on the opposite side as the guard and I would get a shot at the offenders.
An arrow navigated through the air hitting the carriage door. I broke it off in the door and recognized it to be Sioux.

My enemies had found me. I saw one of the young bucks trying to get where he could send another arrow toward the coach.

Quickly, I splashed Molly across the branch and leaped out of the saddle and knocked the subject to the ground.
Another warrior saw us and made the attempt to come to his friend's rescue when from nowhere, Ma-toosh appeared with a scolding voice demanding the ordeal to stop before they were all killed.

I recognized the attackers to be just young male children, perhaps one or two not much older than little Norm. Ma-toosh scolded them with shame as though they were his own siblings.

I was so glad the whole ordeal was over. Ma-toosh sat on his mount watching as seven young Sioux boys rode away in hurry.

He spoke, "J B, you almost lost your hair. Those young wolf pups were hungry for the kill."

Over the years, I knew I had made enemies among the Crow and the Arapaho, but to be killed by a few young Sioux boys whom no doubt would probably receive punishment from their mothers, it would be a hard thing to accept.

I marveled at Ma-toosh and the expression on his face when the stage driver chided at the Shotgun guard, "Hard to believe a blame Indian would be helping a breed and the white man."

I told the driver to continue and I would catch up with him before reaching Julesburg.

Ma-toosh and I sat speaking to each other and watched the stage cross the branch and fade from view.

I assumed the young want to be warriors had either lost a father or a loved one in the fight with Collins or sought for revenge by killing me.

Ma-toosh asked, "Norman, his wife and boy on coach, yes? I remember her, she makes Norman pray to her God. It was good, no?"

I had no idea how to answer him other than, "She will remember you. Drop by the old place sometimes, I will help her get things in order and then move on to see my sister and her boy."

"JB, you leave her and boy, the Comanche, maybe the Crow, they come and take her and boy away. You stay, maybe sister come and stay with you, yes?"

I appreciated his comments but knew if I was to catch up with the stage before they reached Julesburg then I needed to be on my way. However, I left him with a special invite for a good warm meal and a place to get in out of the weather.

The stagecoach driver was making up the lost time caused at the branch. He must have had the teams in a full run and would probably be halfway to Julesburg before I would catch up.

I spurred Molly into a gallop and took a short cut, which would put me a mile or so ahead of the stage. My plans were to be waiting on the main road when the coach appeared. The only hindrance would be maybe a tree or other substance laying across the road needing to be removed.

I was satisfied at not seeing any Indians or bandits hiding along the trail, but in the distance, I did see a small column of soldiers from Fort Rankin crossing the road in front of us.

I assumed my friend Captain O'Brien had sent out a patrol to secure things.

The officer in charge guided his men to me and we spoke mostly about the weather and a change the Army had made at the fort.

"'O'Brien is no longer in charge, General Mitchel sent him to Fort Laramie. Captain Lewis is in charge now. I am Lieutenant William Smith at your service, sir. I take it, you must be the fellow they call J.B. Wright."

I wondered how he knew, "Now what would give you the impression?"

We both chuckled, "Your horse, sir, it's branded U.S. on its buttocks and besides, I was with General Mitchel, the day you scouted for us up on the North Platte."

"So, Nick, is no longer in charge? Would you by chance know if my horse Dan is still stalled at the Fort?"

He answered, "We had two horse to die the other day and I'm not sure if one of them was yours."

A soldier interrupted, "If I may speak sir, yes sir, one of them was his, I heard the quartermaster say how mad J. B. would be with he finds out."

I sat bewildered, "How did those horses die?"

The soldier replied, "Not really sure, but they were old."

I growled, "By thunder they were not, Dan was only ten years old, I raised him from a colt. I wish I knew what he died of. Well sir, I will just keep Molly and the Army can have my old jug head mule. You can tell Nick for me that is, if you see him, I'll be up on the North Platte River at the old Hamilton place if he objects."

The conversation was over. They went about their duties and since I had nothing to go back for, my thoughts went toward catching up with the stage and taking Lottie and the boy on to their old home site.

Author Notes This style of writing will offer broken English with some words hard to understand. We are dealing with 1865 in the old west during the Sand Creek Massacre.


Chapter 6
The Captives

By Ben Colder

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.

Wrinkles are beginning to show.
Gray streaks in jet black hair
A look of wonder, perhaps quail,
She hears the night wind wail.

She stares across the grassland,
Hearing sabers clang
The dust refuses to settle,
For there is no rain.

Poised, she sits in wait
For the moment to arrive,
She hears the name, Mother,
And all her children cry

Strangers are in the land,
With skin, reddish and pale,
Her sons ride to fight them,
In war to no avail.

Her prayers go unanswered,
Her home engulfed in flames,
She lies on the ground dying,
While suffering all the blame.


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When I arrived at Julesburg, Mama Fletcher's boarding house was under construction, but it still had enough rooms to house fourteen people.

Lottie and the boy had rented the second room down the main hallway, but Momma Fletcher refused to let me speak with them.

She chided, "Nope, no high smelling bearded saddle tramp is allowed to walk on my clean floors and beside why would a person like her would want to see the likes of you?"

I had to agree. It was last summer when I took my bath in the Platte River and I had always had a beard as far back into my twenties. However, I used my knife and sometimes scissors when handy to keep it trim.

No doubt, I smelled like a skunk and looked bushy as a porcupine, but so did most men who lived and hunted for survival.

Momma Fletcher knocked on Lottie's door and told her some smelly man wanted to speak with her and if she did not care to come out then she would have her brother to run me off the place.

Lottie opened the door and embraced me, "It is well, Mrs. Fletcher, he is a friend."

I could hear the lady as I closed the door of how it would take a pound of mint under a person's nose to sit through any conversation with me. However, it never took Lottie long before having someone to bring a bathtub and fill it to the brim.

Momma Fletcher giggled, "I'll have my brother to build a fire out back and heat some water."

It took the women more than two hours, but before nightfall, I was sitting in a straight back chair, clean as a newborn baby and smelling like a perfume bottle.

Lottie was busy cutting away what she described as dead ends from my hair and whacking at my beard. I never thought much about little Norm laughing, but when she stuck a mirror in front of me, I had to join him.

"Now, do not thee look and feel much better?"

I sat a minute looking at myself in the mirror hoping my horse recognized me.

For the next few days, I wore store bought farm clothing and slept in a soft bed down the hall while Lottie and Norma occupied their rented room.

I was up before daylight everyday checking on Molly and getting acquainted with some new townspeople who had just arrived from the east.

A boot and shoe cobbler fresh from New York who claimed Genoa Italy as home had their team and wagon for sale. It was something needed to get Lottie and Norm to the old Hamilton place.

The man was a short small frame guy who acted as if he may have had eye problems, however, he could see plainly as I counted out four twenty-dollar gold pieces from a small deer skin bag.

Julesburg was rapidly building back. When weather permitted, wagon loads of fresh milled lumber was arriving from Denver nearly every day

Lottie and I had decided to wait a few more weeks and leave sometimes in the middle of March when streams and the ground had thawed and dry enough to travel without bogging down.

She and Momma Fletcher was becoming close friends. They sat knitting and making all sorts of household items while little Norm made friends with several German children. However, among older settlers who experienced Indian raids, much talk about the Sand Creek massacre often surfaced.

Early one morning, before breakfast, a knock on my bedroom door hurried me to quickly slip on my trousers.

Through the door, I could hear voices speaking. I spoke loudly as I stomped into my boots, "I'll be with you in a minute."

The voices became silent when I opened the door. Two men dressed as farmers stood staring as though we had met.
The older man spoke with a German accent, trying to remind of our conversations the night of my short stay at the wagon caravan.

"Kind sir, I understand you no longer scout for the Army, and we are hoping you might work for us. Among our group, we have raised five hundred dollars for the recovery restitution of the Women and children the Indians took.


I listened to the men and wanted to tell them it was as if looking for a needle in a haystack.

The plea in their voices concerned me well enough to caution my wording as I tried to explain things.

I knew by now the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho had moved north after the fight with Collins and with the Army not pursuing, it probably placed the tribes cutting through the Sand Hills and moving westward toward the Powder River basin. If so, it was little doubt they had linked into tribal units and joined with their northern relatives.

Conversing with people who knew nothing about Indian culture and barely understanding English to recognize the odds of finding captives offered more than just a challenge.

Five hundred dollars rang loud in my ears, but not loud enough to let some blood thirsty warrior dangle my scalp in front of his friends.

"Gentlemen, I am honored you wished to employ my services, but in all honesty, it's a big country out there and it would be near impossible to find your friends."

The men remained silent and then spoke among themselves. Again, the older man pleaded and stated he would personally offer a thousand dollars in gold if I would bring his daughter and grandchildren back safely.

"Mister, you have no idea what you are asking. I'm going to be honest, your daughter, if she is alive, belongs to a warrior and she is his wife and the children, if they survived, is mostly likely used as slaves and taunted into adopting the Indian ways."

The man sat down on the side of my bed and wept like a child. He spoke, "Please, would you bring my family back to me, I have nothing more to offer."

Lottie stood in her doorway as the men were leaving. I walked down the hall and stopped at the pitcher and bowl to wash my face.

She replied, "Good morning, thee are having company quite early, is there something wrong?"

Lying nearby was a clean towel and I dried my face. "Nope, nothing wrong, just some fellows seeking the impossible."

Lottie smiled, "Did Thou not know, all things are possible with God?"

I refused to be rude and smiled, "You must have a lot of faith in something I know nothing about, but if your God can help those poor devils, I'd bet you could convert the whole lot."



Author Notes This story is created within the pages of true American History. It can be found in the L.O.C. On some occasions I will tell you the exact place to find the happenings. Please enjoy and tell your friends. More readers are appreciated.


Chapter 7
Continue-The Captives

By Ben Colder

New post,

Lottie smiled, "Did Thou not know, all things are possible with God?"

I refused to be rude and smiled, "You must have a lot of faith in something I know nothing about, but if your God can help those poor devils, I'd bet you could convert the whole lot."

She was calm as we walked to the boarding house breakfast table, leaving little Norm to stop along the way and chat with a girl who tried teaching him the German language.

All during the meal, I thought about the old man who was willing to give his last cent for the return of his family.

I remained still, only listening to others talk across the table at each other.

Julesburg was rebuilding. A salesman from St. Louis, who represented the latest of women and men's apparel seemed eager to brag about how eastern society adapted to wearing the modest of clothing.


I saw Lottie look down at her potato sack-like homemade garment while the man bragged about how American fashions were quickly being influenced by European designers.


One fellow who sat at the end of the table; I would have gladly shared my bath water with, made a comment of him seeing a woman in Denver wearing a big city dress.


"Yep! When you set one of them city made dresses next to a homemade dress, I can recognize the difference every time."

The salesperson grinned, "Then I take it you approve of the new styles."


Lottie and I smiled at each other waiting to hear the man's answer.

"Approve? Why those women are hooked in them things tighter than a mule in a four-foot stall."

Everyone was silent when Mrs. Fletcher poured more coffee to those who asked. She winked at Lottie and mumbled,

"Don't pay any attention to those men and besides, what would they know what a woman likes and don't like?"

I finished with eating and kicked back my chair before leaving for the stable to check on Molly.

Before entering the stable, I noticed three covered wagons parked near the corral. I suspected they were the families who had asked to employ my services.

The gentleman who tearfully pleaded for the return of his family bared heavy on my mind. The offer of a thousand dollars was noble, but money was not the problem.

I knew if the Sioux had killed the men for revenge of Sand Creek then it was doubtful his daughter or grandchildren were still alive.

I took Molly out of the stall and walked her inside the corral. Norm and another boy about his age sat on the fence and watched as I attempted to teach the horse a single-foot gait.

The more I worked with her, the more challenging it became. It was hard to get Old Dan out of my mind but Molly progressed quite well.

Then it all happened very quickly. The if game started. What if Old Dan is still alive and some officer was enjoying his rocking chair movement?

What if the soldier lied just so he could get Dan for his own?

Fort Rankin was four miles away and why not go there and see for yourself, but what if it is true and the Army claims Molly as their property, then what will you do?

I brushed aside all the questions and handed the bridle reins to Norm. "Here, you lead her around the corral, she will follow and if you wish, climb up on her back and ride a while."

I watched the boy mount and trot Molly as an experienced rider. I shouted, "That's it, she canters for you. With your knees, push hard against her shoulder and she will change to a walk."

Norm was enjoying the ride almost as much as Molly appreciating the change in weight.

I suppose the moment was one of those special times when a boy has an opportunity to experience something new.

Lottie had eased up close and stood watching as I coached the event. She knew about the men who wanted me to find their loved ones but refrained from expressing her thoughts.

I could almost tell the reason why the same two men had walked up and stood by our sides.

"Mr. Wright, by chance have you reconsidered our offer?"

I wanted to tell the men not to bother me again, but with Lottie and the boy present, I tried to get them to understand.

"Gentlemen, you must know. Indians capture all races. They never show special interest to one group. All tribes have captives. The white European and some even have black African people along with Mexicans.

A few years back, I knew of two young Mexican boys the Apache traded to the Cheyenne. Today, you could not tell if they were Mexican blood. They have created families within the Cheyenne people and oppose their enemies just as the others do."

One of the men spoke. "Mr. Wright, we are not asking for you to bring any other race home, but our family only. If you reconsider, we will be here for another two days."

Lottie stood watching Norm as he got down and walked Molly to me. Wordless, I walked the horse to a stall while she and the boy returned to the boarding house.

My mind drifted to the moment I first met the German people. The man who seemed so determined to get his daughter and grand kids back was the same person who befriended me the night I stayed at the wagon train.

I remembered the morning and how desperation expressed in their faces. I pondered the thought of maybe they were needing help and not knowing how to ask. However, I had pushed it away from my mind.

Later, after I returned to the boarding house, Lottie and Norm were in their room. I stopped by to check on them, but I really needed an answer to something which worried me.

I asked, "Lottie, what does your religion say about when a person thinks of something, then later remembers certain things toward the subject, and all of a sudden, gets a clear understanding?"

Lottie smiled. "Do Thee not know God is Wisdom and understanding?"

I explained to her about the night I met the Germans and the results of the fight with the Sioux. Also, I clarified I had felt they wanted something but let me ride away before asking. Now, they have appeared once again in my life, asking for help.

Lottie reached for my hand and squeezed it, "Thee are blessed, and God is wanting for thee to help these people, but it is thy decision."

A piece of me wanted to help find the captives, another thought dwelled upon the Brule Lakota.

I surmised, I could find Ma-toosh camping with his people, but Two Strikes and other Sioux war chiefs would be problems. Particularly, after the tribes had experienced two massacres back to back.

It seemed as if attitudes toward everything in general had become zenith; and with seeds of distrust sown toward the white man, a garden of hopelessness was rapidly sprouting.

Washington was on edge. The U.S. Secretary of War decided to punish the Sioux for the Grattan Massacre, instead of holding Grattan responsible for exceeding his authority.

These were things my friend Captain O'Brien had shared, and it made me suspect westward trails were now heavily escorted by the military.

I knew if I was to have any success locating the people in question, I needed more information.

I sent little Norm to the grandfather's wagon to suggest for us to meet in private. Also, they should bring any photographs which could help identify his family.

Lottie and I made an agreement. She and the boy were to remain at the Fletcher House until summer, and if I failed to return by then, they were to go on to Denver and join a colony of her religion.


Author Notes All of this story is created from American true history. It can be found within the Library Of Congress.
My blessings to each of you.


Chapter 8
Part two- The Captives

By Ben Colder

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.

I sent little Norm to the grandfather's wagon to suggest to him for us to meet in private. Also, they should bring any photographs which could help find his family.

Lottie and I made an agreement. She and the boy were to remain at the Fletcher House until summer, and if I did not return by then, they were to go on to Denver and join a colony of her religion.

It was near evening when the grandfather and I met. We made a covenant. He was to advance a hundred dollars in gold, and we were to settle the difference upon my return with his family.

The photo he gave me was old and taken when the daughter was a young girl. Still, I took it and put it in my shirt pocket, knowing all the time it was not much help.

After supper, I walked Lottie and the boy to their room. I made her take the money and secured the promise of her keeping our agreement concerning Denver.

Reluctantly, she took the gold coins and dropped them in her dress pocket. "I will pray for Thee, J.B. Wright."

Little Norm pulled on my arm as if he wished for me to bend down and whisper in my ear. However, he kissed my unshaven cheek and spoke softly, "I, too, will pray for thee."

The morning dawn caught my saddling Molly at the stable. The attendant uttered, "I think you should know the latest."

While saddling, I listened to the man explain how the Indian agent at Fort Laramie sent a warning across the telegraph lines. Little Thunder was now in charge of the tribe since the death of Conquering Bear.

The attendant snarled, "Yes sir, folks better be on the lookout for those blood thirsty red devils."

I ignored his remark but responded, "You might wish to keep your powder dry old timer, just in case they come snooping around here. Never know about things."

Gently against my face, the cool morning air felt good as I let Julesburg fade from sight.

Guiding Molly northwest, I allowed thoughts to drift toward Lottie. I knew she missed Norman, and at times, I did too.
Little Norm was truly his father's image, especially having a crooked smile when asking so many questions.

The ride at times was amazing. I never knew two horses could be so different when changing strides. Dan had a rocking chair movement, while Molly still needed improvement.

Ash Hollow, a tributary of the Platte River, lay forty miles due north and because of its clear blueish tint water, the Cheyenne, my mother's people, called it Blue Water.
If the Sioux were anywhere away from camping near Fort Laramie, they would be dwelling in caves along the Platte or camped there.

Yet, I was not aware the Army was in motion toward tracking Little Thunder for breaking a treaty, nor did I know General Harney had orders to engage him at all costs.

I was fully aware of the Grattan massacre and how it all started by some Mormon claiming the Indians stole his cow.

The cow was lame and came wandering into the Sioux camp and was killed for food.

The day started off to be one of those clear and cloudless mornings with a cool breeze causing the pull up to my coat collar to shield the back of my neck.

The weathervane in my left wrist sent signals. I removed the salve-soaked rag, Lottie had tied around it and tossed it to the ground.

No matter how many ideas people shared about the cure for arthritis, it seemed nothing worked. I suppose it was nature, but I had learned throbbing pain meant a change in the weather.

Perhaps the numerous of wildflowers which bloomed across a vast opening made me have thoughts toward my childhood.

Seeing the wind blow across the prairie reminded me of what my German foster father said. He thought it looked as if it was ocean waves on the high seas.

I visualized mother when she would take my sister and me into the open plains and pick wildflowers. Even as a small boy, I always played the role of the brave warrior who stood on guard while they filled baskets with berries and plants

The scenery was a breathtaking event. Visibility was for miles when Molly and I topped a hill. Grazing peacefully, were various wildlife aplenty as we traveled down a slope in site of a small Buffalo heard.

Somewhere in the area, I knew there was possibly a scout or perhaps a small hunting party following the heard. I surmised they knew I was there, and my hope was, they were Cheyenne.

It was not long before I knew. From out of a gully, two young bucks came riding up behind and continued riding as I walked Molly down the trail.

Three more rode out of the same gully and walked their mounts beside me. My heartbeat rapidly in my mouth as I recognized them to be Shoshone. However, I dared not to show concern as two others rode directly in front and stopped.

My first thoughts were upon why the Shoshone were this far west. I had camped a few years back on the Wind River and met their chief, named Large. If memory served correctly, he fit the name very well.

I made a peace sign, and the two in front returned it. In my birth father's French language, I asked if they spoke French or English.

In broken English, an older brave spoke, "You scout for soldiers. I see you at Fort. Why you hunt the Buffalo? Maybe you give them to soldiers?"

At first, it was hard to assure him my days of scouting for the Army were over. I let him know I was only riding through the area to find the Cheyenne, my mother's people.

He sat a minute looking at me, wondering if I was lying. "You have whiskey? You have tobacco?"

I noticed a fresh human scalp dangling from his war lance. I knew he would be my target if things went wrong.

"Sorry, I don't have either. Never found much pleasure in them."

The man hand- signaled the others and let out a few yelps. He turned his mount, led the party back to stalking the herd.

I was troubled with the question of why they were so eager to leave when I was only one person, and my death could have been so quick. However, less than a mile away, I saw the answer.

Two dismounted soldiers were observing an image on the ground. The closer I rode toward them, the more I could see the image was a person.

There was no need for introduction, one of the men recognized me.

"Mr. J.B. Wright, have you been tracking any young Sioux boys who likes shooting into tents?"

For the sake of the young officer who bent down to get a closer look at the dead man's face, I responded, "No, but I came across a few Shoshones back a ways, and one of them probably had that fellow's hair dangling on a lance."

The young officer, whom I suspected was leading a patrol trying to locate Little Thunder, asked, "Would you know who the dead man is?"

I dismounted and looked closer. "No. He's probably a buffalo hunter who ran into some folks who never care to share their food."

It was good seeing my old scouting partner Dee. The officer, I did not know, but I knew he was in good company.

Pack knew the terrain like the back of his hand and lived among the Sioux for more than twenty years. However, he was scouting for the Army and the Sioux nation was being hunted down for the Grattan incident and things could easily take a turn for the worse.

I asked. "Dee, just what happened concerning that massacre? I heard about it and reckoned it to be just a bunch of hearsay."

As the young officer searched the dead man's body for Identification, Dee enlightened me on how the massacre really came about.

He stated, "What happened, was, the fort's commander sent out one of them West Point greenhorns who thought all of the answers came out of a book.
His thinking placed him riding into old Chief Conquering Bear's camp to arrest the person accused of stealing a cow.
Conquering Bear thought the man was touched in the head and was not about to release one of his braves who killed the crippled cow.

J.B. that Indian never stole anything. That animal hobbled into camp and a warrior, which the Army called High Forehead, killed, and butchered it so as his family could eat. Now, J. B., You know Conquering Bear wasn't about to turn that man over to the Army and some trigger-happy greenhorn shot the old chief in the back and everything went downhill from there."

I must admit after Pack spoke his version of what happened, it made me wonder about Little Thunder and if he was not somewhere in hiding watching us.

Suddenly, the ground trembled and noise from a Buffalo stampede had the three of us leaving the dead man on the ground and riding fast to get out of the way.

For a while, I remained with both men until the dust settled.

We watched as Shoshone women rode horses attached with travois going toward the dead buffalo.

Author Notes J,B,Wright is a 45 years of age half-breed Cheyenne Indian. He will play an interesting part in this story I have dedicated his actions to an Army scout I will mention later in the saga.


Chapter 9
Continue Part Two, The Captives

By Ben Colder

I must admit after Pack spoke his version of what happened, it made me wonder about Little Thunder and if he was not somewhere in hiding watching.

Suddenly, the ground trembled and noise from hundreds of buffalos had us leaving the dead man on the ground and riding fast to get out of the way.

For a while, I remained with both men until the dust settled.

We watched as the Shoshone women led horses attached with travois to every dead animal.

It never took long for them to skin each and store meat tightly within the hides.

I spoke loudly in the young officer's presence, "Dee, do you suppose women back east could manage with the skinning of those critters?"

The officer laughed, "Mr. Wright, some of the ladies which I have known would run from the very sight of just seeing those beasts."

Dee and I both knew had the Sioux been close enough to see the Shoshone kill their winter meat, we would have witnessed more than just a simple buffalo hunt.

Later, as we went our separate ways, I guided Molly northwestward toward the Platte River while Dee and his companion went south in search for signs of Little Thunder.

When traveling, my mind pondered the things Dee had said toward the Grattan affair and I supposed every tribe would be hunted down and killed or perhaps controlled on some reservation.

I knew the Army and its attitude toward the tribes. Sand Creek, in my opinion, set a pattern for genocide, especially, with those who adopted the phrase, "Nits make parasites."

My Cheyenne mother was right when it came to trust the white man. His purpose was to steal our lands and kill as many of us he could.



I was totally ignorant to the fact Washington had vowed to avenge the Grattan Massacre. The War Department had appointed a general by the name of Harney to find the Sioux and destroy them, and I would soon learn the meaning, "Whip the Indians."


Shadows on the ground from buzzards flying across the sunny sky expressed the crucial speed for collecting the Shoshone's meat source. However, the cold March winds assured preserving the substance against spoliation.

I paused on a hillside as I watched the women walk their animals over a small hill toward a three-day journey while carrying their winter food more than a hundred miles across an open terrain.

I allowed my thoughts to point toward Lottie and the boy while imagining they would be about their daily tasks. Norm no dubt would probably be learning the German language and Lottie busy at making various crafts.

I let an hour almost slip by before nudging Molly onward. The Platte River was a full day's ride away, but I planned to camp the night before riding into the village.

I suspected Ma-tosh would either be there or gone with a scouting party looking for signs to make sure the Army would not sneak up and massacre his tribe.

Pack and his companion knew the Cheyenne were camped along the south fork, but nevertheless, it was Little Thunder and the Sioux who occupied the interest or at least it seemed that way.

I found a place to camp for the night and why wheels of hatred turned, Washington had appointed a man who could whip the Indians in retaliation for the Grattan Massacre.

The officer chosen would need to be meaner than a snake and leave nothing alive who would testify the story to news reporters.

As I made camp, things were already in a process. The War Department had contacted, William S. Harney who was away in Paris on vacation at the time but was ordered to return and make life miserable for the Sioux.

I hobbled Molly for the night and bedded down to a small fire, but it was hard to fall asleep. The mosquitoes kept buzzing near my ears while night sounds from various critters kept my hand near the rifle.

Dawn was almost at hand before sleep finally did arrive. However, not for long. A few Buffalo which I suspected broke away from the main herd grazed a patch of grass nearby.

Their snorting sounded closer as I peeped from under the blanket to see how close they really were.

I suppose it was the cool humidity causing arthritis in my wrist to hurt. I massage it as always, but to no avail. Perhaps Lottie was right, the only cure for pain was to work it out and just hope for the best.

The morning rapidly disappeared as I watched the rising of the sun absorb various shadows in the distance.

A ground squirrel moved across an opening and stopped long enough to look back at me, supposing I was about to steal his winter supply.

I was saddling Molly to leave when an arrow zinged past my cheek and stuck in the ground. Its markings identified who the shooter was.

I recognized the markings and asked, "How long have you been there?"

Ma-toosh retrieved the arrow and placed it inside his quiver.

He chuckled, "Long enough to hear you snore."

In defense, I growled, "It wasn't me; it was them critters. You know, It's a going sum when a fellow has to listen to them things while trying to get his rest, besides, I'm glad to see you. Saves me from having to ride into your camp and waste a day trying to recruit your help."

Ma-tosh was silent while I stirred ashes to reheat the leftover coffee.

I asked, "Want some of this stuff or have you yet to develop a taste for it?"

The man snarled, "White man's ways. You take white man's ways. My enemies make me drink tree sap first."

I thought about what he said, but the brew was hot, and I needed something warm inside.

He asked, "Why you come here, J B.?"

I responded, "Like I said, I need your help. Two Strikes has a white family and I need to take them back to their people."

The man stood gauging at me. "Not good time, J.B., no good time. White man's Army hunts Sioux now. They kill soldiers who killed Conquering Bear. Your friend, Pack, he, and soldier scout, Wak, yaw,' kala, (Little Thunder) has now."

His words shot fear at me as I thought about Pack and the last words he spoke however, we both knew the penalty for leading the Army into battle.

If a decision for death was ordered, Dee Pack would die a slow and painful death while listening to his companion scream for mercy.



"Are you sure little Thunder has them? They were gazing over a dead Buffalo hunter yesterday."



Ma-Toosh spoke low, "Blue Water, they are there. They kill them, maybe."

Blue Water Creek was more than forty miles away, but if he would go, then perhaps we could talk Little Thunder into sparing the men's lives


I asked, "Will you go with me? Dee Pack is a friend. I'm not concerned so much about the soldier, but if we can save Pack, I'd owe you."


Ma-tosh smiled, "You owe? J.B. forget young Sioux shoot arrows to kill him."

I chided,"Dad burn it, Ma-toosh. This is important. I've not forgotten you probably save the whole lot of us that day, but Pack is my friend and he needs help."


I had considered myself fortunate to have someone like him riding along beside me. Blue Water Creek, sometimes known as Ash Hollow, would have various tribes camping along the banks and no doubt with women and children. My hope was, Two Strikes was there with his captivates.

We had not ridden far when my companion stopped and pointed across the way.

He remarked, "There! The old one comes."

I sat watching as Old Chief Smoke, of the Oglala Lakota Sioux rode with his warriors toward us.






Author Notes I did not place any errors on purpose. If any , they are real. Thanks for reading my little story.
Though my writing and stories are not a favorite among most of the readers, I am obliged to have you and the others. My blessings to each. Thanks for reading.


Chapter 10
The 7 day dance

By Ben Colder

I sat watching as Old Chief Smoke, of the Oglala Lakota Sioux rode with his warriors toward us.

Despite belly deep grass, the white markings on his painted pony looked clean as though it had just been washed. The man, an Oglala Lakota head chief and one of the last great Shirt Wearers, a highly prestigious Lakota warrior society, stopped his group yards away, but rode privately toward us and halted where we would face each other.

Ma-toosh made a peace sign and the old man returned it. He spoke, "I see you, Ma-toosh. You not hunt Buffalo? Many now. They eat grass by river. Why you do not hunt with the Cheyenne?"

When as a small boy, I remembered the old chief. My natural father was alive then and they traded for furs. However, he never recognized me, and I doubted he remembered.

Old Chief Smoke was one of the first among Sioux leaders who respected the supremacy of the whites and relished the idea of socializing. He had gone as far as to move the bulk of his camps to live outside the walls of Fort Laramie.
He acknowledges the number of whites who were flooding across his lands en-route to Organ and one of few who preached to his young warriors, the essence of understanding how the white man had better weaponry.

Ma-toosh replied, "I go with friend. We find Little Thunder's camp. We get Scout, he dies maybe?"

Old Chief Smoke motioned for one of his warriors. They spoke privately as the old man pointed toward us.

Moments later, he said, "Wak ya,' kala, (Little Thunder) is there. The man called Pack, he not dead, soldier not dead. Much eat, drink hooch, big medicine."

Surprisingly, Ma-toosh looked at me and smiled.

In humor, I replied, "Hum, sounds like we're missing all the fun, what you say we go and join them."

My worries had turned to laughter. Old Chief also found humor as Ma-toosh sat straight faced looking out across the way thinking the old man and I was touched in the head.

Old Chief Smoke's laughter gave opportunity to ask if he remembered a French fur trader who lived in years past named Frenchie and traveled with a Cheyenne woman, "Sat- in-fa, (Pretty Flower.)

The old man sat quiet, then abruptly pushed his hands back and forth as if playing the accordion.

With excitement, I spoke, "Yah! That's him. That was my Poppa. He played a squeeze box. I was the little boy with them."

The old man spoke, "Beaver, he Beaver man, no fox, no blankets, he trades for Beaver."

I was amazed at how sharp and clear the old man's mind was.

"Chief, that was forty years ago. I was about 5 then, but I remember you."

The conversation seemed to have hit it off right. The old fellow summoned all his warriors to come. They spoke privately in their native tongue and decided to escort us to Little Thunder's camp.

Ma-toosh remained silent the entire time we rode, but nevertheless, my mind raced toward the idea of maybe recruiting the old fellow's help with finding the captives.

I felt a sense of pride having the privilege of riding beside a legend. Old Chief Smoke was an icon at several tribal meetings, especially among the Sioux and Cheyenne. His name rang like a bell throughout the tribal nations.

Perhaps his being of the Smoke People who were one of the most prominent Lakota families of the times and who appreciate supremacy of the whites. However, not all felt that way.
His observing and learning the white man's ways caused much dissention among some of the young warriors. Several were calling him soft and his community outside Fort Laramie's gates was made up of men who like to stay home with their wives and nothing but a bunch of loafers who pleaded with the soldiers for whiskey and food.

It was near dusk when we approached Little Thunder's camp. Flickering lights from several campfires revealed the wind was blowing from the west. I felt this understanding press against my face, suspecting a storm could be brewing, but Little Thunder's group could have cared less. They were doing a big festival.

For the past seven days, they had fasted for the event and we were entering into a tribal dance where seven robust warriors had danced day and nights without the partaking of food.

Old Chief Smoke motioned for us to descend and leave our animals to browse with others. On foot we enter the ordeal with a young warrior who posted to keep watch for the enemy.

He escorted Old Chief Smoke and another brave toward Little Thunder and seated them with three chiefs.

My friend and I followed with me nearly stumbling over a child while looking across people's heads trying to locate Pack.

The traditional healer had the entire group mesmerized with his jugglery tricks and the using of knives to stick into his body without show of blood.

I had heard of this happening before, but never witnessed it until now. My mother's chief once said, he did it by drinking a concocter made from small apples grown on certain cactus plants from Mexico. However, I was there to check on Pack and not to get pie eyed drunk.

Ma-toosh and I made our way through the crowd and sat down on the ground near Old Chief Smoke. We watched as the seven dancers moved across the way portraying as an eagle flying high in the sky.

A young madden who poured liquid which caused the intoxication, offered me a wooden cup filled with the substance. Old Chief Smoke called it hooch, which made you love everybody.

I shook my head no and rubbed my stomach as though I had enough. Nonetheless, Ma-toosh, not only took the cup offered to me, but filled another and readied the moment.

Despite a few drops of rain felt by most, the ceremony continued for a few hours as the old Witch Doctor performed a rain dance.

It was obvious he wanted to capitalize on the fact, nature was already in process of sending a cloud burst.

Moments later, the heavy down pour sent everyone scrabbling into their dwellings. Old Chief Smoke motioned for Ma-toosh and me to follow him into a large tent where several chiefs sat around a fire passing a pipe and smoking what smelled like burnt rope.

The lighting was poor, but I could see well enough to recognized, Two Strikes and another person who I thought had little regard for me.

Blue Horse, an adopted brother to Chief Red Cloud and second son of OLD Chief Smoke, was seated to where I was forced to sit between him and his father.

My companion sat across the way with the fire pit sometimes blocking the view.

In the center of the circle, Little Thunder sat fully dressed for war and staring at me. I felt like a deer sensing danger and ready to run.

Author Notes I have tried to place the reader into the realness of things. Please enjoy. It will get better. Tell your friends to read it here before it goes to print.


Chapter 11
Spiritual Surgery

By Ben Colder



Blue Horse, an adopted brother to Chief Red Cloud and second son of OLD Chief Smoke, was seated to where I was forced to sit between him and his father.



My companion sat across the way with the fire pit sometimes blocking the view.



In the center of the circle, Little Thunder sat fully dressed for war and staring at me. I felt like a deer sensing danger and ready to run.



New:

During the meeting, I learned Pack and the Army officer were well cared for and kept in another tent across the way.


Part of me wished to sit quietly while the other was ready to leave. However, the heavy rain pouring down from the top of the tent taught, I should be contented.


It was lightning which caused all the interest. Despite heavy downpour, an announcement concerning a tree on fire near where our horses grazed sent everyone out of the tent scrambling to check on the animals.



I must admit, concern for Molly placed my steps ahead of the group. I once experienced seeing lightning strike the ground near a buffalo herd which killed several.


My companion caught up with me and pointed toward the base of a hill. "They are there, they eat, rain no stop."

 

I stood soaked from my head to my toes. "It's not the rain I worry about, but the lightning."

 

Ma-toosh stood drenched while he fumbled with an eagle feather in his hair. "Fire come from sky, maybe kill horses, much to eat."

 

I never said anything, but eating my horse was far from my mind, although I had eaten my share of horse meat.

 

My friend and I joined the others and began following toward the tent.

Blue Horse, Old Chief Smoke's son, lagged with the others and began a conversation.



I had heard of this Indian and from the questions he asked, I considered him to be wiser than the average. His questions were more of trying to explain a hidden desire for learning the White Man's ways; including scouting and how I felt toward leading the Army to find our people.

 

I was cautious with my words. "Sunka Wakan, (Blue Horse), I've never scouted for the Army with hatred in my heart toward my people, but with hope they would understand how to live a better life, as your father has. Are you not fed and cared for well at Fort Laramie? "

 

The man was silent all the way back to the tent. The question had caused reason he chose to sit away from me. I watched as he and Two Strikes spoke low to each other.

 

My insides were shivering from the cold damp clothing I wore, but I refused to let anyone know as I rubbed my hands over the fire.

 

I knew Blue Horse was a leader of the Wagle Band of Oglala Lakota and with having just one good eye, it made him look fierce. However, I discerned he had an unnoticeable streak of goodness and I intended to use it to locate the captives.

 

Not long after we reached the tent, our places were to sit around the fire, I got a break hoped for. I was less convinced Two Strikes had not brought any of the white captives whom I sought, but the two women who entered the tent, carrying dry clothing for Little Thunder quickly changed my mind.

 

No matter the attire and dark braided hair, blue eyes, and weather hardened skin, the women were seasoned and the people whom I looked for could have never adapted to this point.

 

I punched my friend and motioned for him to look close at the females. I continued listening to each chief give their opinion toward the whites overflowing the land and slaughtering the buffalo.

 

In front of everyone, Little Thunder stripped naked and redressed into dry clothing and then tossed the wet garments to one of the women, harshly.

 

Later, the same two women and two others returned with bedding and fixed us a place to sleep for the night.

 

During the event, snoring sounded like a hog sty causing me to get up and go outside and talk with the tent guard. I wanted information concerning captives, but the entire ordeal was fruitless. The two white women seen earlier were gifts from the Apache and had been in the tribe for years.

 

As dawn approached, the guard and I continued our little talk but before sun rise Dee Pack came looking for me. Word of my presence had traveled fast. The first words he spoke were, "Good to see you, I figured the Shoshone went back home with your scalp dangling on some warrior's lance."

 

I responded, "Thought the same about you. Old Chief Smoke and his group escorted us all the way here. Even got a hot meal and a place to lay my head. Had to get out of there. Those fellows snored louder than a bunch of hogs." Dee started to tell me things I considered private scout talk, nevertheless, I ask, "Where's you Army friend?"

 

He chuckled, "Little Thunder thought he should have a sleeping partner, pretty little thing I must admit. He and her were still under all them fur skin when I left.

 

You know, J.B., he's ready to shed those Army duds and stay right here with that girl."

 

The wayward winds were trying to make an appearance ending our conversation. Dee went to his lodging and I returned to face the essentials for the moment.

I was surprised to see Blue Horse was awake and ready to meet what his day offered. He acknowledged my presence by grunting and nodding his head. I returned the greeting in like manner when a gush of wind pressed hard against the sides of the tent sending others scrambling to their feet.

 

It made no difference if we wanted the fest to end or not, Mother Nature was challenging. Several young warriors were outside building windbreakers around the council tent to keep everything intact.

 

I dabbed a small amount of water on my face and wiped it away on my sleeve. I raked my hand through what was left of my wild hair I once had before Lottie cut much of it away.

 

Reaching into my shirt pocket, I pulled out what was left of the venison jerky and called it breakfast. With no coffee to start the day, I finished the water left in my container and went outside to relieve myself.

 

My companion was being lazy. He laid still as a log, never knowing nature was trying to blow us all away. Nevertheless, with the excitement caused by loud yelling, "death to all the whites," a young Sioux warrior had stumbled into camp with a bullet hole near his collar bone.

 

I witnessed my first emergency surgery. Three braves carried the young man into the medicine man's lodge while his parents and relatives stood nearby chanting.

 

I had no idea how the young man could have survived with such a wound, but within minutes, he was sitting up and drinking water and mumbling to Little Thunder of how an Army patrol had seen him and fired a shot, hitting him in the back.

 

Little Thunder was furious and called the chiefs together. I was told to bring Dee and the Army officer before the council.

 

Despite the high winds, I managed to make it to Dee's lodge with my heart beating faster than a drum.

 

I knew the Army officer and Dee's life and mine were all being weighed in a balance, and if Two Strikes had anything to do with it, then certainly we all would be put to death.

 

My companion was waiting near the tent entrance when arriving. He spoke, "Blue Horse, speak for you, he tells the council, he no want to kill the soldier, but him to tell Bluecoat chief, we no want war."

 

Together, he and I found a place behind the windbreaker and waited to be called inside the tent. Our welcome mat had just been pulled away as Two Strikes walked outside and looked at the young Lieutenant and spat at him. However, the wind caught the spit and blew it back on his foot. He huffed." You die and all soldiers die."

 



Author Notes There are records telling about this type happening recorded in books from those who claimed to have been captured.


Chapter 12
continue 7 day dance

By Ben Colder

During the meeting, I learned Pack and the Army officer were well cared for and kept in another tent across the way.

Part of me wished to sit quietly while the other was ready to leave. However, the heavy rain pouring down from the top of the tent taught, I should be contented.

It was lightning which caused all the interest. Despite heavy downpour, an announcement concerning a tree on fire near where our horses grazed sent everyone out of the tent scrambling to check on the animals.

I must admit, concern for Molly placed my steps ahead of the group. I once experienced seeing lightning strike the ground near a buffalo herd which killed several.

My companion caught up with me and pointed toward the base of a hill. "They are there, they eat, rain no stop."

I stood soaked from my head to my toes. "It's not the rain I worry about, but the lightning."

Ma-toosh stood drenched while he fumbled with an eagle feather in his hair. "Fire come from sky, maybe kill horses, much to eat."

I never said anything, but eating my horse was far from my mind, although I had eaten my share of horse meat.

My friend and I joined the others and began following toward the tent.
Blue Horse, Old Chief Smoke's son, lagged with the others and began a conversation.

I had heard of this Indian and from the questions he asked, I considered him to be wiser than the average. His questions were more of trying to explain a hidden desire for learning the White Man's ways; including scouting and how I felt toward leading the Army to find our people.

I was cautious with my words. "Sunka Wakan, (Blue Horse), I've never scouted for the Army with hatred in my heart toward my people, but with hope they would understand how to live a better life, as your father has. Are you not fed and cared for well at Fort Laramie? "

The man was silent all the way back to the tent. The question had caused reason he chose to sit away from me. I watched as he and Two Strikes spoke low to each other.

My insides were shivering from the cold damp clothing I wore, but I refused to let anyone know as I rubbed my hands over the fire.

I knew Blue Horse was a leader of the Wagle Band of Oglala Lakota and with having just one good eye, it made him look fierce. However, I discerned he had an unnoticeable streak of goodness and I intended to use it to locate the captives.

Not long after we reached the tent, our places were to sit around the fire, I got a break hoped for. I was less convinced Two Strikes had not brought any of the white captives whom I sought, but the two women who entered the tent, carrying dry clothing for Little Thunder quickly changed my mind.

No matter the attire and dark braided hair, blue eyes, and weather hardened skin, the women were seasoned and the people whom I looked for could have never adapted to this point.

I punched my friend and motioned for him to look close at the females. I continued listening to each chief give their opinion toward the whites overflowing the land and slaughtering the buffalo.

In front of everyone, Little Thunder stripped naked and redressed into dry clothing and then tossed the wet garments to one of the women, harshly.

Later, the same two women and two others returned with bedding and fixed us a place to sleep for the night.

During the event, snoring sounded like a hog sty causing me to get up and go outside and talk with the tent guard. I wanted information concerning captives, but the entire ordeal was fruitless. The two white women seen earlier were gifts from the Apache and had been in the tribe for years.

As dawn approached, the guard and I continued our little talk but before sun rise Dee Pack came looking for me. Word of my presence had traveled fast. The first words he spoke were, "Good to see you, I figured the Shoshone went back home with your scalp dangling on some warrior's lance."

I responded, "Thought the same about you. Old Chief Smoke and his group escorted us all the way here. Even got a hot meal and a place to lay my head. Had to get out of there. Those fellows snored louder than a bunch of hogs." Dee started to tell me things I considered private scout talk, nevertheless, I ask, "Where's you Army friend?"

He chuckled, "Little Thunder thought he should have a sleeping partner, pretty little thing I must admit. He and her were still under all them fur skin when I left.

You know, J.B., he's ready to shed those Army duds and stay right here with that girl."

The wayward winds were trying to make an appearance ending our conversation. Dee went to his lodging and I returned to face the essentials for the moment.
I was surprised to see Blue Horse was awake and ready to meet what his day offered. He acknowledged my presence by grunting and nodding his head. I returned the greeting in like manner when a gush of wind pressed hard against the sides of the tent sending others scrambling to their feet.

It made no difference if we wanted the fest to end or not, Mother Nature was challenging. Several young warriors were outside building windbreakers around the council tent to keep everything intact.

I dabbed a small amount of water on my face and wiped it away on my sleeve. I raked my hand through what was left of my wild hair I once had before Lottie cut much of it away.

Reaching into my shirt pocket, I pulled out what was left of the venison jerky and called it breakfast. With no coffee to start the day, I finished the water left in my container and went outside to relieve myself.

My companion was being lazy. He laid still as a log, never knowing nature was trying to blow us all away. Nevertheless, with the excitement caused by loud yelling, "death to all the whites," a young Sioux warrior had stumbled into camp with a bullet hole near his collar bone.

I witnessed my first emergency surgery. Three braves carried the young man into the medicine man's lodge while his parents and relatives stood nearby chanting.

I had no idea how the young man could have survived with such a wound, but within minutes, he was sitting up and drinking water and mumbling to Little Thunder of how an Army patrol had seen him and fired a shot, hitting him in the back.

Little Thunder was furious and called the chiefs together. I was told to bring Dee and the Army officer before the council.

Despite the high winds, I managed to make it to Dee's lodge with my heart beating faster than a drum.

I knew the Army officer and Dee's life and as well as mine were all being weighed in a balance, and if Two Strikes had anything to do with it, then certainly we all would be put to death.

Author Notes It will get better.


Chapter 13
Horse sense

By Ben Colder



My companion was waiting near the tent entrance when arriving. He spoke, "Blue Horse, speak for you, he tells the council, he no want to kill the soldier, but him to tell Blue-coat chief, we no want war."

Together, he and I found a place behind the windbreaker and waited to be called inside the tent. Our welcome mat had just been pulled away as Two Strikes walked outside and looked at the young Lieutenant and spat at him. However, the wind caught the spit and blew it back on his foot. He huffed." You die and all soldiers die."

I knew my chances of finding the white family had just slipped away as I watched him call the braves together and ride from view.

Blue Horse walked out of the tent and motioned for us to come inside. Ma-toosh led the way.

I listened to Dee as he tried assuring the officer, they would be all right and if Old Smoke had any voice in the matter, they would be riding back to Fort Laramie before the day was through.

Respected for his long life and wisdom, Old Chief Smoke of the Wagluhe Band shared this virtue with others. Out of the seven bands of the Oglala Lakota, his group were known as Wagluhe; meaning (One who lives with relatives and stays near the white man's forts allowing their daughters to marry soldiers.")

Nevertheless, Little Thunder and many others had no intentions of slicing away any of their principles and were ready for war.

By noon, Blue Horse persuaded the council to allow the young officer to take a message to the fort, but Red Cloud, Blue Horse's brother argued if they should leave, the white man's Army would come back to Little Thunder's camp and massacre the women and children.

I, for one, was in favor of Dee and the young officer following Blue Horse's advice, but who was to say; if Two Strikes waited along the trail to carry out his threat.

I knew my voice in the matter was not asked, but I spoke anyway. Boldly, I went before the council.

"Little Thunder, I realize the council has not called upon me to speak but hear me! Blue Horse speaks for the safety of everyone, and it is a good thing. Little Thunder, he is wise to let the scout and Army Officer go in peace, but I must agree with some of the others. They will be back, and they will bring hundreds of troops with them. They will not stop until you and your people answer for killing soldiers, even if the Army is at fault."

Everyone sat quietly, looking at me as Little Thunder spoke, "Why you warn Little Thunder? You scout for Army. They find Cheyenne camp and kill J B's sister. Maybe all Cheyenne!"

Old Chief Smoke burst with laughter, causing everyone to join in, except Blue Horse. He spoke, "some whites are good. Some bad, like our people J.B. talks truth. He sees the bad white man, not see the good white man."

I remained quiet while listening to the tribal leaders mumbled at each other. Ma-toosh stared at me as though we needed to leave.

Nevertheless, I spoke, "Little Thunder, I speak with a sincere heart, I came here hoping to find a white family. Two Strikes took them from a wagon train. I speak the truth. The Army will come, and they will fight until all is dead."

A blanket of silence covered, as Ma-toosh motioned for us to leave. He whispered, "We go."

Perhaps Little Thunder and others took heed to my warning, but I knew nothing else could be said to convince them. I never lied or misled in any manner, and they knew it.

Blue Horse walked with us to our animals and before departing he asked, "You go now to Cheyenne?"

Ma-toosh grunted, "We go, Cheyenne."

Blue Horse spoke, "J.B., maybe, the white family now dead you look for? Woman be Two Strikes woman now? J.B. no more look for the white family? He stays with sister and Cheyenne now?

A million thoughts crossed my mind as I mounted my horse and with a smile, I replied, "Maybe."

Although it was not the fault of the Sioux, I still knew the Army would never allow Little Thunder to go unpunished for the Grattan Massacre.

Beyond my knowledge at the time, the U.S President coined the phrase, "Whip the Indians," was now becoming more apparent each day.

My friend, Dee Pack was living with his wife and children within the Sioux tribe, and I knew when he reached Fort Laramie, he would try to persuade the Army to recognize the truth of the matter. However, things were yet to be seen.

Within minutes of our ride, whoever oversaw Nature showed mercy! Unruly wind, sometimes so unbearable for man and beast, had suddenly died to a whisper.

Ma-toosh was ahead, leading up a narrow trail, as I paced Molly a few yards behind. I suspected if Two Strikes were anywhere close by, he would show his presence.

Two Strikes was someone with no love for a breed or half-breed who scouted for the Army, and after the Mud springs incident, it was almost certain he and I would one day, face each other in battle.

The man had something I needed, and after my little self-honesty speech made before the council, he, no doubt, already knew I would stop at nothing to take the white captive's home.

Darkness was at hand when my companion and I arrived at the Cheyenne camp.

The women were mostly in their dwellings, attending to the children and preparing for the night.

A small batch of ashes from a previous cooked meal simmered in a pit as Ma-toosh greeted his family.

I stood watching and remembered seeing how my mother greeted my father after his coming home from a successful trapping season.

Things were kosher as my friend invited me into his lodge for the night and there, a bear skin rug gave comfort as we dined on fresh cooked antelope,


All was quiet as I sat watching my friend play with his children and for only a moment, I thought about Lottie and the day of my departure. Though, the uncertainty of my seeing her again, it made my mind refused to ponder the subject.


There had been excitement in the Cheyenne camp earlier in the day, A few warriors captured a white man who was suspected to be a scout for a wagon train. Word was his fate would be decided by the council.

I knew Ma-toosh expected to be at the council meeting, so I would occupy my time by walking down to the river come morning.

Sleep had less problems finding me. I would hear my friend on several occasions get up and go outside. However, I turned over and drifted to sleep only to see the sun peeping through the top of the tent and wondering how long I had slept.

Nature had started to live up to her reputation. March unruly winds was underway as I stepped outside to greet the day.

My host had gone to the council lodge to speak for the scout's defense, but I doubted if the poor soul would see nightfall.

The Cheyenne people were like all other tribes. They were tired of seeing the white people come into their lands, killing off the food supply and leaving it mostly to rot in the sun.

I stood near the bank of the river and looked out across the flowing stream. Moisture from the water instigated the hurt from Arthritis in my left wrist.

A young brave leading a string of ponies down a path toward me had my attention as I watched him turn and walk the animals into a shallowness.



Author Notes The American Buffalo Nickle with the photo is Two Moons.


Chapter 14
Two Strikes Camp

By Ben Colder

I stood near the bank of the river and looked out across the flowing stream. Moisture from the water instigated pain in my left wrist.

A young brave leading a string of ponies down a path toward me had my attention as I watched him turn and walk the animals into a shallowness.

I was enjoying the moment, especially seeing women fighting the windy waves while filling flasks with water for their needs.

I could hear laughter as the children played and splashed the cool liquid on each other just as my sister and I had done several years ago.

I allowed my mind to ponder somewhere between my parent's death and wanting to see my sister. I never heard Ma-tosh when he walked up behind me.

He spoke, "J B. Two Moons wishes to see you."

I turned to see a young boy not much more than eleven years of age. I tried hard to place the child in my thought pattern; when suddenly it dawned; the boy was the youngster my sister kept while his parents were away on a buffalo hunt.

I barely remember the child, but for the sake of the situation, I replied, "You have almost grown into a warrior, I did not know you."

He smiled while responding, "Soon, I will become a warrior, maybe a great chief someday, you like?"

Do I like? He had no idea how I really felt. I lied. "Yes, I think you will make a good Chief and have more wisdom than all of the Cheyenne people."

Maybe It was divination, something I knew nothing about, but things were in the making for this young man.

Changing the subject, I asked Ma-toosh, "Did the wagon train scout make it?"

Before responding, Ma-toosh waited until young Two Moons left us and walked out of hearing distance. "Many want man to die, I no want him to die."

Ma-toosh hesitated before telling me news about my sister. Nevertheless, he did say she was remarried to a warrior named, Tamesha, (One who howls like the wolf.) This told me she was in Two Strikes' camp and miles away.

The news caused two reasons to visit the Sioux; nonetheless challenge awaited. A cold chill ran up my spine thinking how the man relished nothing better than to see my presence.

It was obvious, he used my sister's circumstances as bait. He knew it was a matter of time before I would learn of her whereabouts.

Two Strikes was not a bad source, he wanted the best for his people, and I would never blame him fighting for what he considered the right cause.

The country was rapidly changing, and all the tribes knew it. Forts and military camps were being built everywhere. I would never swear to it, but I think the white people who sought after gold, "Yellow Iron" received more protection from themselves than any Indian I knew.

Ma-Toosh described them to be like wild animals eating loco- weed.

It would be hard to judge the times knowing I was a son of a French fur trader.

George Bent made the right choice by fading into the Indian cause however, I accepted my Mother's version toward the subject. She considered most of the white culture as liars, but to survive, one needed to learn how.

From various sources, I knew White Americans were still at war with each other in the east. While at Fort Rankin, Nick had shared his concern toward the number of people looking for gold in the Montana hills.

He talked about the Army using a man name John Bozeman to blaze a trail and how telegraph lines would be strung all the way into the Big Horn Mountains.

I knew this was one of Two Strike's concerns. The telegraph lines were crossing hunting grounds. I had heard my mother's people complain toward the ordeal and swore to join the Sioux to combat the problem.

I knew firsthand officers like the ones I had served knew nothing about un-orthodox fighting. If it never came from an Army set of rules, then it was not a proper fight.

Two Strikes and every war chief I knew could have cared less about the way they killed a man. They showed it quite often with the fellow's hair dangling from a war lance.

Among some of my Indian friends was the standard joke about how the white man had problems dealing with the weather, and the biggest laugh was how settlers made homes in the ground like the gopher.

In mine and the Army's opinion, I was done with scouting and the only thing I had to do was to find those captives.

Ma-Toosh had expressed his lack of interest, but gave warning concerning some of the Sioux.

My thoughts went back to the day the Stagecoach came under attack by Sioux youngsters who would have pleasured the thought of my death. I was glad nothing more became of the incident and felt a strong gratitude toward Ma-Toosh for being there.

As I rode Molly across the open flat, I suspected the Sioux camp was somewhere in the Powder River basin. I never wished to face the man in battle and hoped Blue Horse or Red Cloud would be present to stop it.

There had been enough hurt with the Sand Creek Massacre and fighting among ourselves would never erase the hurt. Every tribe harbored sorrow and would relish a slow death for the guilty especially, Henry B. Carrington.

I was at least a day or more ride before reaching the river. In a thick wild pecan grove, I camped fireless with Molly only feet away. Perched on a dead snag, a screech owl sat twisting its head back and forth no doubt looking for prey.

Had I been one who believed in the old witch doctors saying about seeing owls before I turned in for the night, I would have saddled Molly and rode a different direction. I drifted to sleep mumbling, "What does a blasted owl got to do with deciding who lives or dies?"

Early dawn exposed the mist I felt against my body. A small fire and a cup of hot coffee would no doubt fill the need, but insight spoke otherwise. Signs I had seen earlier led me to believe the Sioux camp was not far away.

Later in the morning, I reached the river and rode upstream when I saw a young warrior and a companion on horseback traveling in the same direction. They knew nothing of my presence as camp dogs barked at their arrival.


I watched the couple enter the camp and suspected they would be greeted by the elders, but nothing stirred except for an old man who came out of his lodge and yelled at the dogs.

Secluded behind a Juniper and Pine grove, I prepared to sit shielded with Molly tied to a small pine bush.

Locating Two Strike's lodge was not difficult. He had special marking along the top of his tent while another tent sat close by,

I suspected it to be where the captives were.

Author Notes Remember the old Radio and TV series and the invite to continue?
The Arapaho, Sioux, and the Cheyenne join for a great Buffalo Hunt. There is a reason so stay tuned in to this station as we bring you, A Grain Of Wheat. LOL.


Chapter 15
Roman Nose

By Ben Colder

I watched the couple enter the camp and suspected they would be greeted by the elders, but nothing stirred except for an old man who came out of his lodge and yelled at the dogs.

Secluded behind a Juniper and Pine grove, I prepared to sit shielded with Molly tied to a small pine bush. Locating Two Strikes' lodge was not difficult. He had special marking along the top of his tent while another sat close by, I suspected to be the captives.

Upstream and all along the riverbank several lodges were visible, and one occupied my sister and her family.

Most of the morning was spent watching the camp before several occupants could be seen moving about. My eyes rested upon what I thought to be the lodge of the captives. I was surprised not seeing any movement in either lodge especially, Two Strikes.
The sight of seeing only women and children going about their daily activities sent a strong message, the man was simply not there.

Noticing only small boys who would have relished being with their chief somewhere either hunting the Buffalo or raiding white settlements. I rode Molly boldly down a path separated by lodges on both sides and stopping in front of a tent I assumed belonged to my sister.

Before I could descend, the tent flap opened and out came a woman with a small child. She stood staring and looking confused, but lowly spoke, "White man says you die."

I chuckled, "Now, you know how all white people lie. Will not you invite me inside?"

An unexplained feeling and the look of curiosity changed into a smile of happiness. An embrace came with a hug around my waist and despite the crying of the child, I picked up my little niece and gave her a kiss on the cheek.

I never needed to ask anything, and she never stopped talking about how Two Strikes despised the fact I scouted for the white man's army.

She noticed the swelling in my wrist and had me to sit while she prepared a deep purple liquid much like Polk berry sap.

Placing the entire wrist in the substance, I was surprised to feel all the pain was gone.

The time we spent was talking about our childhood and how things seemed to be changing to the worst for our people. She spoke about her new husband and told how brave he was and how one day he would sit among the chiefs.

I wanted the visit to last longer but she was beckoned to go and help with the skinning of the day's hunt.

As she prepared to leave, I asked about the white captives and where they were staying. She was silent and then spoke before leaving. "You come for white woman and children? Did the white man's army pay you to come here for them? They not here, they go with Apaches to mountains."

As she pulled back the tent flap to exit, I said, "Shewa, I will be at Norman Hamilton's old home site. His wife and boy will be living there."

It was late evening, near dusk when reaching the place I had camped the night before. My dealing with Two Strikes would need to wait.

The moon was wane when I built a small fire and the things
my sister and I talked about still lay fresh on my mind.

Near the glowing campfire, I stretched out my bedroll and could feel the warmth from the embers.

Remembering the screech owl and the old witch doctors' saying, I looked toward the dead snag, but the bird was not there.

My body was tired, and the pain in my wrist had returned. I tried easing to sleep as nature sent a cool breeze across the ashes causing a small flame to surface and then quickly leave.

The night became sleepless as I lay thinking about how disappointed the old German will be when explaining what I had learned. I knew little about the Apache but only that which told by the Cheyenne elders.

If they were alive, then no doubt they were made slaves and the daughter a sex partner for warriors.

The coolness of weather made me shiver as I saddled Molly for another day's ride. I was a good two days away from facing those who had placed confidence in my ability to find their loved ones.

I reasoned with self as though it was somehow my fault for taking money I had not earned, but thoughts toward collecting which the Army owed me erased how I would pay it back.

Still, as I pondered about Lottie and the idea of raising the boy on their old home site, a touch of fear for their safety clouded the idea. The area was rapidly changing. Increasingly white settlers and buffalo hunters were slowly arriving from all parts of the world.

I smiled remembering how Captain O'Brian's face would turn revolting red when trying to correct my calling the animal a Buffalo. His version was Bison.

I had no intention of changing anything my French father had taught me and the white man was in for an awakening. I had been honest with Collins when advising not to engage the Sioux or any other tribes but create an agreement for the good of both parties

Among my mother's people there was much talk about war chief Red Cloud of the Sioux. Though I had never seen the man I was told we had something in common. We both were about the same age; however, my focus was upon a young Cheyenne warrior who showed signs toward being a great leader. I had seen the person only once and remembered his size and facial features. The tribe called him (Voo; xenehe) the white man called him Roman Nose

In less than a thousand yards appeared the said with several warriors riding swiftly to join Two Strikes at the buffalo hunt.

There was much scrub between them and myself which kept my presence secluded.

My thoughts went to the day Nick and I talked about the unorthodox way of war and how the hostiles presented cunning battle tactics.

I never gave it much thought either way, but the tribes who presented defense for that which given by ancestors offered nothing but sticks and rocks shaped into weapons compared to the white man's arsenal.

The rifle I carried had once belong to my foster father, but it went lacking for accuracy compared to the new Spencer.

I had ridden only a few miles when detecting a certain smell, something a person finds hard to forget. Burning wood could never screen away the scent of human flesh.

On a narrow trail made by a recent wagon train, the smoldering remains of a wagon had become a graveyard for those who had fallen victim to Roman Nose.

There was not anything I could do but report the find to the Army and hope they send a burial detail to the scene.

Despite the puzzling situation, I tried keeping my mind away from the happening by directing thoughts toward Lottie and the boy. Two Strikes was right about distrust. It was obvious Washington wanted all the Indians either tucked away on some reservation or dead.

Author Notes The story will enter the time and something history fails to tell but from only one side. I will try and let you understand the reasoning in time.


Chapter 16
False Dreams.

By Ben Colder



Going on a narrow trail made by recent wagon trains, the smoldering remains of a wagon had become a graveyard for those who had fallen victim to Roman Nose.

Here was not anything I could do but report the find to the Army and hope they send a burial detail to the scene.

Notwithstanding the puzzling passage, I tried keeping my mind away from the happening by directing thoughts toward Lottie and the boy. Two Strikes was right about distrust. It was evident Washington wanted all the Indians either tucked away on some reservation or dead.

Captain O'Brien's words were still fresh in my mind about the youth of the soldiers he and others were receiving with no combat experience. I had to agree with the complaint, those I had seen that day on patrol made me to understand the concern.

Various people believed the Cheyenne and the Sioux were almost seasoned warriors from birth, but truth of the matter, the time of my childhood our teaching was aimed toward defense from our own culture. Occasionally the Kiowa, Crow especially the Pawnee who wanted our food and horses made vicious attacks on our villages, but the elders (Dog Soldiers) always dealt with the aspects.

Beginning with our tribal leaders, we were always taught to honor our horses more than a friend. Countless told stories of how the Comanches became riding warriors and how they defeated the Spanish and took their mounts along with the idea of challenging the enemy on horseback; I suppose my mother's people also learned as well.

I almost laughed aloud when remembering times when Ma-Toosh and I stayed in trouble for stealing tribe members ponies and running races.

Into the journey and after nearing a vast opening, I rode peacefully trying to guess the month of the year. I supposed it to be April or May as seeing multitude of various colored flowers growing along hillsides.

Even though my mother's people had an alphabet, she tried hard to teach me and my sister how to speak French, but white culture was the hardest. The phrase sometimes was impossible to understand especially, the Quaker dialect.

I never knew much toward my real father or when the French trappers appeared in the land, but I did know things told by tribal elders of how the white man brought disorder of structure among the tribes including plant and animal life.

I accepted this to be truth remembering stories about cholera and its devastation left on the entire Indian culture

My ideas were strong toward seeing my first fort and how white soldiers worked at creating adobe and sod housing only later to convert them into wooden structures.

Two decades prior when Norman Hamilton and I were in our early twenties, not far off the North Platt River a fort was being built, the white man called it Fort Kearney. We visited the site and could not believe our eyes.

How weird it was; seeing scores of white people hurrying in wagons to somewhere they knew nothing about. Norman said they were like scared mice trying to get away from a stomping foot

My ride placed me a day away from destiny, and seeing several wagons parked near a wild pecan grove quickly changed my thought pattern. I suspected they were waiting on the wagon I had seen burned.

Two guys carrying rifles approached as I stopped Molly and waited for an invite. One man stood staring and spoke, "The brand on your horse tells me you might be an army scout. Where ye out of?"

Witnessing several women and children standing near the wagons I decided to tell the men about the burned wagon in private. I spoke, "I'm out of Fort Rankin near Julesburg, is that where you people are heading?"

The guy who had a personal interest in my horse remarked, "Yes, but some of the others are determined to go on to Denver."

Broadening curiosity, I quickly accepted an invite to descend and share a hot meal. I was totally impressed with the way some of the women were dressed especially, the one who served me coffee. I never cared showing my ignorance about European culture, but I knew they were not German
.
I could hear several men speaking a language completely unknown to me. The phrase seemed highly strung as having a touch of fear. I supposed they were preparing to leave to investigate the burnt wagon.

I watched as two men carrying shovels mounted what I considered to be regular farm animals. Uncertainty hinted they knew there was nothing to bury except ashes

Later expressing my gratitude for the meal, I prepared to leave when the wagon master bade me aside explaining what I had suspected. He inquired, "Was there anything left to salvage? Men, I sent will bury the people's remains and catch up with us on the way. Since we are traveling in the same direction, I am prepared to pay for your scouting experience."

A tender offer and what I had hidden away in my saddle bags was more than enough to pay back the old man's advance. I was in hope Lottie and the boy was still there and not taken the stage to Denver.

Seeing Julesburg was less than a day ride, I suspected we would arrive sometime before dusk. Overwhelming majority of the tribes I had seen were busy in the Buffalo hunt, so I was not overly concerned about trouble.

The wagon master had solved my curiosity toward knowing the calendar month, it was the 17th of April 1865.



Author Notes The Civil War ended 4-15-1865.


Chapter 17
The old home site

By Ben Colder

Seeing Julesburg was less than a day's ride, I suspected we would arrive sometime before dusk. Overwhelming majority of the tribes I had seen were busy in the Buffalo hunt, so I was not overly concerned about trouble. The wagon master had solved my curiosity toward knowing the calendar month, it was the 17th of April 1865.

When arriving a thousand yards away from the main entrance of the town, my timing predicted was correct. Sun setting was almost hidden behind a mountain. I guided the wagons to the end of town and seeing the Germans were gone, I had the wagon master to have his group to use the area.

I watched as people lit lanterns for the night including Fletcher's boarding house. My mind went toward Lottie and the boy hoping they were still there. I took the sum earned and stalled Molly for the night. I washed my face and hands in the watering trough.

Being Mrs. Fletcher was acquainted with my appearance, I was not concerned among those thoughts but only toward Lottie and little Norm.

A small bell connected to the top of the door alerted my presence as Mrs., Fletcher stood in the hallway with her hands on her hips.
She spoke, "Well the dead has come alive! She and the boy have changed rooms, they are in #4 near the end of the hall."

Two men coming down the hallway as though lost in fear eased near me.

I discerned something was wrong. I asked Mrs. Fletcher, "Why all the sadness, has Julesburg been attacked again?"

She replied,"You haven't heard? The war back east has ended, and President Lincoln has been murdered,"

I stood amazed at the news while she handed me a letter. She remarked, "The old German gentleman gave it to me to give to you, that is, if I saw you again. It is written in his language. I hope you can read it."

I stood looking down the hallway as Mrs. Fletcher walked to Lottie's door. I could hear her knock and announce my presence which sent Little Norm rushing out of the room. He could have cared less about the surrounding or even the sound of his mother's voice telling him not to run.

He almost knocks me down as he leaped into my side. I huffed," Wow, we must be careful or we both will be on the floor."

He spoke, "Thee did come back, did thee get the captives?"

Seeing Lottie standing near I smiled,"No not yet, I'ill tell you all about it after I get settled and cleaned up."

Lottie stood staring with a smile on her face and amazed at the way the boy had revealed his fondness.

We both found humor when Mrs. Fletcher presented me with a clean towel and a small lump of lie soap. She spoke, "You can have your old room back, nobody has been in there since you left and besides, you two want be far away from each other."

Realizing my appearance and the aroma of days without a bath, I spared Lottie the task of a hug and excused my presence. I spoke low, "Lottie, let me freshen up and I will come to your room and we can talk then."

She understood and led the boy back into their room. I heard little Norm still talking as they went inside.

I turned the door key on my room door and walked inside. I lit the lantern that rested on a table near the bed and flopped down in a chair.

I had laid the items Mrs. Fletcher gave me on the foot of the bed but need for rest quickly hindered the bathing ideas.

I shut my eyes for only a moment but a rap on the door brought them open again. Sunbeams were shining through a gap in the window curtain revealing I had slept the night away.

Little Norm was at my door, He spoke excitingly, "We are having breakfast, Mother wishes to know if she should bring thee something to eat?"

I declined and made effort toward bathing first. The same wooden tub I had used before lay waiting.

Mrs. Fletcher must have felt remorse for her cranky spirit, a new store-bought shirt lay outside my door.

Later, during the noon meal there seemed to be more people eating than those who stayed there. A tall thin faced man sat staring in my direction as though we had met.

Lottie and the boy had finished eating and went to their room leaving me sipping my last cup of coffee. It gave us men the opportunity to get acquainted as he spoke, "The lady in charge of this boarding house said you were a Breed. May I ask what tribe?"

Defensibly I spoke, "I am Cheyenne, does that offend you?"

He sharply spoke, "Quite the opposite, I find the Cheyenne, (The Beautiful people) and the Teton Dakota remarkably interesting. May I introduce myself?,

I am John Lund with a news syndicate back east. I was sent out here to get the true understanding about the Indians. If you can take me to your people's village an arrange an interview with those in charge, I would gladly pay you for your services."

His request was stunning, "Mr. Lund, do you not know the tribes are on the war path? If it is a story you want, then perhaps you should interview those who survived the Sand Creek Massacre, but I must warn; my mother's people take no pleasure in talking to any white man."

"Mr. Wright, Now that the war is over in the east, Washington no doubt will be sending thousands of troops out here to rid all Indians one way or another. I wish for the people back home to know what the military is doing in hope readers will protest to congress."

I sat digesting the man's words knowing all the time he was fooling himself. I remained silent as I prepared to leave, but turned and remarked, "Sir, I hope you the best, but you will need to find someone else to chase after your dream."

Lottie had become impatient and came to the dining room door. I saw her and so did John Lund.

Lund spoke, "I'm afraid I have detained you long enough, the young lady seems to be needing your services. If you change your mind, I will be staying here until I find someone who will take me to the Indians."

On the way to our rooms Lottie asked, "Would that gentleman be thy friend?"

I spoke, "My friend?" Nothing could be further from realness. No, he's a newspaper man."

When time allowed, I tried reading the old man's letter and remembering my foster father and how often he tried teaching me to speak and understand the language; the results were disappointing however, I did understand enough to know he and the others would be somewhere near Denver.

The following morning began perfect. For the very first time in years I deemed it to be a day of necessity. Lund and others had always been willing to employ my services, but with Lottie and the boy it seemed difficult

Having her now in my life sent a feeling of responsibility toward my childhood friend.

When leaving for our journey, the boarding house account was paid in full and was given food to enjoy on the way.

The wagon I had purchased from the shoe cobbler was packed with things Lottie had chosen. Molly was tied to the tail gate as Little Norm sat at the end of the wagon trying to make her eat a carrot.

Lottie remarked, "The Father has granted a beautiful day to travel, do not thee think so?"

I pondered the word beautiful remembering how John Lund used the same word when speaking about the Cheyenne.

I replied, "Yes I do, are you comfortable?"

She answered, "Yes considering, but it so good to be out of the room and into our Father's fresh air."

We had not traveled far before realizing someone was following. I pulled the wagon to a dense wooded area and after sending Lottie and the boy into hiding, I sat waiting with my rifle cocked.

I suspected trouble but was surprised to see John Lund on a rented horse.

I waited until he rode within feet before saying, "You're a lucky man, I was ready to blow you out of that saddle. Why are you following us?"

The man spoke," You must forgive me for delaying your journey, I was not following you intentionally, but hopefully your people would give me a chance to learn what happened at Sand Creek."

Lottie and the boy were hidden watching and listening to every word we said. Slowly they walked from hiding and climbed on the wagon. They stayed silent as Lund asked if he could accompany us to our destination.

Seeing the man had no weapons, I remarked, "Mr. Lund, you have no idea where you are. There's a lot more tribes to deal with than just the Cheyenne and carrying only a journal won't save your life."

"Mr. Wright, I am willing to take that chance if you and the Misses will allow."

Across the way on a tree limb a squirrel sat eating a pine cone. The rifle was cocked and ready to fire when I gave it to Lund stating, "Let us see if you are any good at shooting a rifle. Sitting on that tree limb is a squirrel. See if you can hit the thing."

The man took the rifle and aimed sending the animal to its death.

I looked at Lottie with amazement as Lund gave back the weapon.

He spoke, "The thought of me not carrying a rifle does not mean I know nothing about them. Mr. Wright, I never came here to shoot squirrels out of trees but to learn something about the Indians and the truth about the Sand Creek Massacre."

I decided not to respond and proceeded on the way however, I did tell him we were two days away from our destination and would be camping in dangerous places.

The man rode close to the wagon and at times he would drift back almost out of site while Lottie and I discussed his presence however, she never seemed not to have cared.

I was not sure about the happening at Sand Creek,the only information I had was totally hear say. I knew Chief Black Kettle personally and considered him to be admired for wishing for peace.

Captain O'Brien and I had once discussed the situation and I had learned Black Kettle and some others had once visited Washington and met with the president.

I suppose knowing this had built a false hope in my mother's people, but every agreement the tribes ever made quickly developed with the Indians losing more land and less hope for freedom.

Colorados' egotist governor John Evans wanted a seat in Washington's Congress and a Methodist preacher turned soldier, David Chivington, wished for fame among white culture. I supposed these desires were the bases for the massacre.

During the evening when we all sat near the appreciated campfire, Lund and I spoke about various things The subjects concerning people and different attitudes, his. questions were more toward savagery and the way the tribes fought.

It brought back to mind when O'Brien spoke about the unorthodox way Two Strikes and the others fought, but I blocked out the thoughts.

The food given by the lady at the boarding house was shared as little Norm sat next to me on a log. Lund sat across on a blanket near the fire scribbling something in his journal.

Afterwards, I removed several items from the wagon as to make a place for her as well as the boy to sleep. It was one of those Colorado dark night with low hanging clouds blocking out a starry sky. Night sounds from various animals in the distance had little Norm's attention.

Lottie tried assuring the boy it was some lonely coyote calling for his wife. I grinned when he spoke," Did she run away? He was angry, and she went away to live somewhere else."

Lottie snickered. "Most likely, now it's thy bedtime."

Coiled in a blanket with the journal still in his hands, John Lund was fast asleep.

Lottie and I sat alone talking before she joined the boy in the wagon.

Precisely the same ideas I wanted to say to her before we departed Julesburg pushed hard to be spoken. I never wished to discourage or dampen her dreams toward living in their old home place, but she needed to understand the dangers ahead.

Much of the night, I sat on the log keeping the fire going thinking how to handle my present situation. Across from me lay a newspaper man searching for a story he hoped one day might grant him a better job, the other, a widow and son of my childhood friend who wished somehow to restore the past into a future for her and the boy.

Author Notes Travel with us into the next post and we shall see what lurks in the shadows.


Chapter 18
Not one tear

By Ben Colder

Much of the night, I sat on the log keeping the fire going thinking how to handle my present situation.

Across from me lay a newspaper man searching for a story he hoped one day might grant him a better job, the other, a widow and son of my childhood friend who wished somehow to restore the past into a future for her and the boy.


Deep inside me I suspected the house and barn were not standing. I knew Norman's grave was hidden in sage brush and would be hard to find.



The next morning, not more than a thousand yards away was a small stream of water running down the mountain slope. I strung my blanket from one tree to another so Lottie could have her privacy.

She sent me a pleasant smile as John, and I sat discussing things and drinking our first cup of coffee. There was lots to be said about Lund. He was one who never trusted Washington to tell the truth about matters and neither did I.



My experience in scouting for the Army always turned out to be a price to pay in some way or another, but I tried understanding both sides of the issue.



White culture wished to settle the land with innovative ideas and people from around the world as Captain O'Brien stated were determined to make a better life for themselves, but the tribes had other ideas.

From what I had witnessed ,I would never argue the point Two Strikes made. This was Indian land and if Lottie's God or something else created it, then it belonged to the tribes.

The sun was racing to show its bright face the next morning. I was glad for a pleasant night of rest for us all. The wagon team seemed a little jittery but ready to go.

I watched Lund do something I had seen Nick do after eating. I supposed it to be a tradition among white culture. The man removed an item from a small leather pouch and began brushing his teeth.

The guy's methods and questions had revealed much more than I expected. I knew he was man of knowledge and expressed concern toward my mother's people, but in reality, the tribes would never give him anything.

Into the day's ride and near the noon hour, we entered a stretch of open terrain for several miles. I could tell John had grown weary as he stood in the stirrups rubbing his buttocks .

I motioned for him to ride near as I requested, "Tie your mount next to Molly and sit in the wagon for a while, I'm sure little Norm would appreciate the company."

The guy did as I offered and before we rode out of the opening, he was sound asleep with his head on a box filled with dishes.

I spoke lowly to Lottie, "Take a look at our fearless newspaper man. He's protecting your dishes."

Lottie spoke, "He seems to be a good man, but do Thee think the chiefs will allow him to see them?"

I never knew how to answer so I quietly guided the team onward.

During the second night of our journey, we sat near the fire having our evening meal when John enlightened how the west would soon be overrun with white civilization. He expressed knowledge concerning the war department and how it would be creating more forts, and sending thousands of troops left over from the war,

I never doubted the man's prediction or even pondered Washington's desire but my experience and seeing untrained soldiers fight against a nation who offered the ability to survive made me appreciate the decision I had made.

I had in mind Lund would be useful in helping with the reconstruction of the Hamilton place but if not, he might help with the mixing of clay bricks or carrying water while we made an adobe.

I sort of felt sorry for the man, he needed what I could not give. My knowledge of the Sand Creek event was mostly hear-said and from sources who knew as little as myself.

The only person who could give the man an honest report would be a friendly tribal member however, the way things were developing, it would be doubtful.

Despite the luxury of daily bathing, Lottie always looked and dressed suitable for any man to appreciate. Little Norm's appearance also revealed the same.

On occasion, while driving the wagon and sitting close, I felt a little uncomfortable knowing my last bath was in a wooden tub eight days ago however, she never said a word or reacted offhandedly.

On the morning of the third day of our journey, the old home-site came in view. The trail to the North Platte River was now grown over in thick scrubs. I stopped the wagon as Lottie sat quietly staring at a heap of burnt rubbish. I heard her sigh and then mumble something I suppose was a prayer.

The boy came and sat in the seat next to his mother as I fetched water for the team. I stayed quiet not knowing what to say, but it was something I had expected.

John Lund, I suppose felt the same and walked to the ruins.

I finished with watering the team and slowly walked to where they all were standing. I heard Lottie speaking about the days when she sat looking out the kitchen window and watching the sun peek its beautiful bright face over the top of a Mountain.

I felt her disappointment and could see our guest was perplexed.

I was inspired to say a few things but kept quiet.

Later I spoke, "Lottie, we need to be real about this. It is going to take time. First, new logs need to be cut and then structured in the way you would like places to be, but meanwhile you and the boy will need some placed to live.
As you well know, it gets cold at nights and you and the boy sleeping in the wagon will get tiresome. What you say, we find Norms grave and place some flowers on it and go back to Julesburg. I can hire help and we can have this place cleaned up and rebuilt by the end of spring."

She never answered and took the boy by the hand and explored the area.

Deep in my thoughts, I knew the southern tribes were all in the Powder River Basin and the Cheyenne elite had combined forces with the Sioux creating a war party of more than two thousand well trained warriors.

I suspected Chief Red Cloud was in charge and If so, then the Army was in for something unthinkable. Red Cloud was a no nonsense person who resented white culture from every aspect and would die before surrendering to some reservation.

Observing Roman Nose and the burnt wagon that day aroused my suspicion toward other war chiefs who might be involved. If the war council had placed Red Cloud as leader then there would be no doubt the Sioux war chiefs were also to follow the man.

I walked alone to a place I thought Norm's grave might be. I knew it was nearby, but everything grew as I suspected.
Lottie and the boy walked down to a little stream while John Lund remained seated on the stump scribbling something in his journal.

I was fortunate when moving away a patch of dried sage grass. The grave had sunken but with a little bit of time and some fresh dirt I could have it presentable by the time Lottie and the boy returned from the stream.

I removed a shovel from the wagon and went ahead as Lund asked if I had found it. I never responded but continued to achieve the task.

Lottie came and stood beside me and noticed I had placed fresh soil on the grave.

Little Norm picked a few wildflowers and placed them at the head.

I was surprised not to see Lottie shed a tear as she spoke to the boy, "He was thy earthly father but gone to heaven now."

Little Norm stood wordless but later asked."Did you know him well?"

I pondered the word well and struggled how to respond.

"Yes, we were friends just about your age."

Total silence as Lottie asked if I would place everything back in the wagon.

Nothing more was needed to be said as I began doing the request.




Author Notes I appreciate Google for the photo.


Chapter 19
Part two-Not One Tear

By Ben Colder

I was surprised not to see Lottie shed a tear as she spoke to the boy, "He was thy earthly father but gone to heaven now."

Little Norm stood wordless but later asked me."Did you know him well?"

I pondered the word well and struggled how to respond.

"Yes, we were friends just about your age."

Total silence as Lottie asked if I would place everything back in the wagon.

Nothing more was needed to be said as I began doing the request.

I was surprised when Lottie asked me to place everything back in the wagon. I could tell she was troubled and stayed silent as I hitched the team and prepared to leave. Nothing needed said as Lund tied his horse to the rear next to Molly and sat with the boy.

We had not driven far when she remarked, "JB, it was a foolish dream to think I could raise Norman in his father's footsteps. I have considered some things thee have said. While Norman and I was at the stream, I spoke with God and He gave me a peace about a decision."

I sat quiet for a way before asking, "Do you care to tell me?"

She sat still for more than a mile before responding, "I was much like thee. I guess, I wanted something I could not have. I was hoping to live a special time in my life through thee and I am afraid I have caused thee much worry. I do apologize."

I smiled, "You, I mean Thee, owe me no apology. I could have said no."

She spoke, "I have been selfish, and I ask thee to forgive me."



The words I wished to say somehow refused to come forth. I guided the team onward thinking about how hard it must be for her and the boy. Little Norm had taken a liking to me and I had him as well.



I argued silently with myself toward Lottie being near thirty years of age and more like a sister.

I was forty-five and considered an old man in some people's opinion, but I was still a man in many ways though I could never make a good husband. My left wrist still revealed a scar and plagued with arthritis and at times the pain could be unbearable.

At one time she had asked how the scar was made but I never had the heart to tell her it was caused when fighting in a drunken brawl at a trapper's rendezvous.

Lund sat in the wagon keeping the boy company all the way to where we had camped the night before.

The site was still visible as our guest gathered firewood. Minutes later, a flame offered warmth against the cold Colorado wind.

I removed the canvas from off the boxes and made a makeshift tent for Lottie and the boy. I strung a rope line in the same place we had the night before. I tied our animals as Lund sat wrapped in a blanket and shivering.

It was late nightfall before we relished a warmed-over mulligan.

Curled in a wool blanket and trying to eat, Lund sat staring into the fire as though he needed to be home.

The chilly night winds put little Norm between his mother and me. I could tell he shivered as I suggested he sit closer to the fire. I spoke, "Lottie, you and the boy take my extra blanket and I'll fix you a warmer place.

She was hesitant but did as asked while I unloaded several boxes from the wagon.

I stacked them to block out the frigid wind allowing warmth from the fire to aid us.

An hour or so before dawn, I awakened by the pain in my wrist. I tried keeping it warm as much as possible, but nothing seemed to work.

Lottie was awake and watched as I sat rubbing the thing. She did not say a word but came and sat next to me. "I know thee are in pain, but I have prayed."

I had reheated the coffee, but it was so strong I made no offer. She simply sat with her head next to my shoulder staring into the fire. I spoke low, "No doubt, I bet your bed in a warm room at the boarding house would be appreciated."

She smiled, "No doubt, and JB, where would he be? Perhaps sitting around a campfire rubbing an arthritis wrist?"

A glimpse of the morning sun wished to present its appearance from over a mountain brought the calls of two sage birds. Moments later as dawn faded into day; nature came alive with every species of birds fluttering about.

Before the boy awaken, I was asked to open one of the boxes and within the hour Lottie had prepared a meal fit for a king.

John Lund sat with his knees propped beneath his chin watching the two of us. He remarked, "JB, I think we should have done what you had planned and built that Adobe. My back thinks my legs will never thaw."

Into the day's ride toward Julesburg, I noticed fresh signs of trouble up ahead. I motioned for Lund to ride up close as I gave him the rifle.

He asked, "What you want me to do with it?"

I responded, "I know you can shoot a squirrel out of a tree but how good are you and shooting people?"

"Why? Do we have trouble?"

"Could be, if so, it will probably be waiting in those clumps of trees just as we enter that opening."

John Lund checked the weapon and made sure it was ready to fire. He spoke, "JB, I've never shot a man before and not sure if I can. Maybe you should do it."

I was hesitant before saying, "If you value all that black curly hair then you may wish to defend yourself."

I laid my colt pistol in reach while speaking, "Lund, pay attention. If trouble comes, then take out the lead warrior and follow close. We are going to make a run into those trees on the other side. I think we might hold them off there."



Author Notes I wish to thank those who voted for my work in the book of the month contest. I assure I am far less the writer most of you are but at my age you just occupy until the Lord comes to get you one way or the other.
Stay safe out there , China hates you, but Jesus loves you.


Chapter 20
The Feather

By Ben Colder

John Lund checked the weapon and made sure it was ready to fire. He spoke, "JB, I've never shot a man before and not sure if I can. Maybe you should do it."

I was hesitant before saying, "If you value all that black curly hair then you may wish to defend yourself."

I laid my colt pistol in reach while speaking, "Lund, pay attention. If trouble comes, then take out the lead warrior and follow close. We are going to make a run into those trees on the other side. I think we might hold them off there."

Scarcely a second passed before Lund shot at an Indian riding toward us. I recognized the person to be Ma-Toosh. I shouted, "Hold you fire, he is friendly."

Ma-Toosh was furious and held part of a feather in his hand.
He shouted, "JB, why you shoot at me?"

I wanted to laugh but for the sake of things I spoke, "I never shot at you, it was Lund. It is a good thing that the rifle fires a little to the left or you'd be a dead Indian."

Lund sat on his horse amazed as I gave Ma-Toosh the feather from the back of my hat. I spoke, "here take mine, I'll get another."

The man chided, "I left you signs, how come you not know where I be? Who is this white man?"

Lottie and the boy sat quietly listening to every word.

Ma-Toosh noticed and spoke to Lottie, "I see you and boy when Sioux pups attack the stage, yes?"

She replied, "Yes, I remember Thee Ma-Toosh and I also remember a certain young Cheyenne brave who loved eating fresh baked biscuits and wild honey."

I broke up the conversation and said we had to get out of the opening as I led the team into a bunch of trees.

Lund returned the rifle and followed close.as I stated, "Newspaper man, this is your lucky day. Whether or not he will, Ma-Toosh is just the man who can tell you all about Sand Creek."

It was during the evening and sitting near the fire when I asked my Indian friend if he would tell Lund what really happened to cause such a massacre of women and children.

I knew he had relatives there as well as several others. Roman Nose and Two Strikes, I felt, had more than probable cause for revenge, and for some reason I detected something different toward Ma-Toosh.

At first, the man was silent and then spoke, "No good, JB."

Lund sat staring at the man as though he understood, but remarked, "Mr. Ma-Toosh, I understand; it was a sad thing for all, but the white people in my land needs to know the truth of the matter. I do hope you will reconsider. Not all white people are bad, I suspect not all Indians are bad and nobody can blame your people for wanting to keep what is theirs. Sir, I do hope you will reconsider."

Ma-Toosh sat looking at me and then spoke, "White man talk like wind. You tell him J B. You tell him what Chief Red Cloud say, Little Thunder council."

I stayed quiet trying to gather my wording. I moved closer to Little Norm and tied his shoelaces. I remarked, "John, he's not going to tell you about Sand Creek, it's a sore spot with him and all the tribes, including myself, but I will do as he asked and tell you what Chief Red Cloud said toward the white man and his treaties.

If you really wish for your people to know the truth, then tell them this. Chief Red Cloud is a man to respect. The tribes have placed him in charge of all warriors of various tribes about 2000 or more. None of us out here wishes for war. It was white culture who wants it.

Your people came wanting our land and killing our food supply. They also brought sickness and various diseases causing many to die, including our animals and plant life. Today we suffer, tomorrow, we die.

John stopped writing and looked straight at me and spoke, "Aren't you part white? Have not you considered that?"

I responded, "Yes, I am French and Cheyenne. I know nothing about the French but only the Cheyenne. Mr. Lund, I claim my mother's people as my people, Ma-Toosh is more than friend. We are blood brothers and have been since we were children.

Mr. Lund, when we get back to Julesburg, take the coach to you home and tell your people, Chief Red Cloud sends them a message. As Ma-Toosh and I are witnesses, you can tell them he told the people that the great spirit raised both the white man and the Indian, but he believed the Indian was raised first and placed here so all the land here belong to the Indian.

The white man land across big waters, his land is there. We Indians have given them room since they come from the great waters and now many white people more than Indians. We have but a small amount of land now and the Great Spirit says to keep it, and we will."

Lund treasured Red Cloud's sayings, Though his journal appeared full, I was sure he would quickly make room for anything said about Sand Creek.

It was getting late and little Norm was fast asleep with his head leaning on my shoulder. Lottie reached to take him, but I put him to bed.

She and I sat for a while and talked about her going on to Denver. She never mentioned joining a Quaker colony and it made me curious. I could tell she was perplexed toward something and I supposed it to be self-disappointment.

Having her and the boy to be my very own family was beyond a dream but remembering how she and Norman cherished each other created inferior.

Long after we retired for the evening and she and the boy curled beneath a blanket, I sat near the fire pondering what to do.

Both other companions were already asleep when I tried reheating the coffee. Ma-Toosh came wide awake when I dropped the coffee pot. He never said a word but pulled the blanket over his head and mumbled to himself.

The following morning into our journey to Julesburg, I sat quietly driving the team thinking how to rise above the inferior thoughts. Deep within, I argued with my age verses her age but somehow it never mattered. She had been honest with her feelings, but it was me and my lack of knowing how to convey mine.

I loved her and the boy more than words could ever express, but my life as a nomad moving from one place to another created my lack of experience of being a father or a husband.

We had topped a hill close to Julesburg when Ma-Toosh went his way and we went ours. I suspected he knew his presence near a town would send some trigger-happy settler into a rage and be killed.

We both waved at each other as he vanished from site. I spoke to Lund, "Well, you never got your story about the massacre, but it would be nice if you let your people know what Red Cloud said."

He responded, "I intend too, J B and hopefully, I'll find someone who can shed light on what really happened at San Creek."

Mrs. Fletcher's boarding house lay only yards away when I stopped the wagon and allowed Lottie and the boy to get off and stand on the front porch

I secured the team at the stable and walked back to where they stood waiting.

Together, we entered the establishment and was joyfully received by Mrs. Fletcher. She took Lottie by the hand and walked her to their old room leaving me and the boy standing as if we never existed. Lottie turned and asked,

"Are Thee coming?"

Author Notes All tribes are coming together and getting ready for a full scale war.


Chapter 21
Continue -The Feather

By Ben Colder

Mrs. Fletcher's boarding house lay only yards away when I stopped the wagon and allowed Lottie and the boy to get off and stand on the front porch.

I secured the team at the stable and walked back to where they stood waiting.

Together, we entered the establishment and was joyfully received by Mrs. Fletcher. She took Lottie by the hand and walked her to their old room leaving me and the boy standing as if we never existed. Lottie turned and asked, "Are Thee coming?"

Mrs. Fletcher whispered, "He can have his old room back and I aimed to get my brother to boil some water out back while you and the boy take your bath in the room.

Lottie stood near her bedroom door and smiled as I received my room key. I knew the old gal's routine and prepared to get a bath outside in the cold Colorado wind. I must say it was worth it. An hour later, in front of a smudged mirror, I attempt to shave some of my beard away.

I changed into the only clean set of buckskin I had and placed the old ones aside.

When hearing a light tap on the door. I spoke, "The door is unlocked, you can come in."

Little Norm stood in the doorway. He spoke, "Mother said we were to eat, and we would meet in the parlor."

Apparently, John Lund had made friends among those who sold hard liquor and wine. I was handed a small glass of what was wine and hearing the man say, "Let us toast to our safe journey back to Julesburg and to the man who made it possible."

I looked at Lottie while thinking how fortunate we were to have not met anyone but Ma-toosh.

The man never knew what was really happening and in privacy, Ma-Toosh had informed of an event I had suspected would happen. Thought I never understood much of the aspects, but as usual, the Army had pushed things a little too far.

Chief Red Cloud had summoned all the tribes together, something unusual for the Indians. Every war chief from various tribal societies, some at once thought to be enemies of my mother's people had made Red Cloud the man to be in charge of every combat procedure.
.
The following morning an hour or so before dawn, a knock on my door brought me out of bed to light the Lateran. Thinking it could be little Norm, I spoke loudly, "Its unlocked, you know the way the in."

Mrs. Fletcher's voice spoke loudly, "Mr. Wright, there is an Army Major in my parlor wishing to see you, what shall I tell him?"

I thought a minute. "Give me a few minutes and I will be there."

Had my mind been a dart board, no doubt it would be filled with all sorts of troublesome darts, but I settled on the question of who it could it be?

Within minutes, I stood face to face with my old friend Nicholas O'Brien. I noticed he had shed the Captain Bars and now wearing Major insignia. I spoke, "Well, should I congratulate you on the promotion or sit tight and find out what's on your mind?"

Nick portrayed his usual manner, He growled, "I'll accept your good wishes, but you may not like what I am about to ask of you. Do you still have my horse?"

My thoughts of rebuttal somehow just would not come out the way I wanted. "Do you still have Old Dan?"

Nick stood silently staring at me and chuckled, "Let's stop horsing around and get down to business. I need you, JB."

'You need me? What for? How did you know I was here?"

Nick paused before stating, "Your horse, Dan is dead, you can have Molly, I will give you a bill of sale in case you have problems explaining things."

Mrs. Fletcher came into the room asking if we would care for some coffee. We both accepted as Nick continued his business.

Open minded I listened as he explained about how the people really had problems. He placed a special interest of how things were shaping toward a full-scale war with the tribes because of what the governor of Colorado was saying.

The man had gathered volunteers from everywhere and had issued a decree toward killing every Indian no matter, friendly or not.

Moments later, we were served our coffee as Nick continued the conversation. I listened while realizing what was really happening concerning the tribes.

Things were now making sense. Red Cloud was right by gathering the tribes. Every white person who owned a gun would be killing Indians no matter woman or child.

I sat dazed while thinking how the Sand Creek Massacre would be nothing compared to what was about to happen. I asked, "Nick, what do you want of me? I'm only a half-breed who may or may not be of any help in this matter and besides the Army owes me a hundred and forty dollars and I have yet to receive a dime."

Nick was quiet as he pulled out a long envelop from his breast pocket and removed the contents from inside. I watched as he scribbled something on the back and sign it.

He spoke, "Here is a signed bill of sale for Molly and I have your money the Army owes you and sixty dollars more, but there is one catch for receiving all. I need you to go to Fort Laramie with me and sign a voucher releasing the Army of anything owed to you."

I was about to do it again, as usual, Nick had laid a perfect trap and I was falling headfirst into the net.

I remarked, "If I don't go with you, no bill of sale and no money that the Army owes me. Do I have that right?"

I think for the first time I saw the man grin as he spoke, "Yep, something like that."

I sat quietly not really wanting to leave Lottie and the boy, but it would give me a chance to rid the Army out of my life forever or at least it appeared that way.

Nick counted out ten twenty-dollar gold coins on the coffee table asking, "Well, what shall it be?"

I chided, "Bribery, that's what it is, just plain bribery."

Nick growled, "Well, are you coming?"

I picked up the money and the envelope and placed them in my front pocket. I spoke, "I'll meet you at the stable in an hour."

Before returning to my room, I saw Mrs. Fletcher sitting the breakfast table. I got her attention and asked if we could speak? She quickly finished and came to where I stood. In a low tone, I asked for a favor.

At first, she seemed skittish but spoke, "What is it?"

I gave her everything Nick had given me with instructions to give it to Lottie if I never returned within a given time.

She agreed but asked, "Are you going with that Major? If so, I wish to let you know Lottie and the boy will be fine here with me. She is much help and besides, there is something you should know before you leave.

She and that boy loves you very much and there is no need of you wanting her to go to Denver and join up with her religion. She has been excommunicated for marrying her late husband and that is why her father took her back east. I just thought you might like to know."

I was stunned but deep inside I was happy and spoke, "Tell her an old dog can learn new tricks from someone younger."

She asked, "Now, what does that mean?"

I grinned while speaking, "Just tell her what I said, she'll understand."

Author Notes Did you know! On the day Lincoln signed the proclamation of freeing the salves, he also gave permission to hang 35 Sioux warriors together at the same time. First time a gallows had done such, but it happened. Free a slave and hang those who fought to keep their land. Something wrong with this picture.


Chapter 22
Part One- Hidden surprises

By Ben Colder

Previous:

She agreed but asked, "Are you going with that Major? If so, I wish to let you know Lottie and the boy will be fine here with me. She is much help and besides, there is something you should know before you leave.

She and that boy love you very much and there is no need of you wanting her to go to Denver and join up with her religion. She has been excommunicated for marrying her late husband and that is why her father took her back east. I just thought you might like to know."

I was stunned but deep inside I was happy and spoke, "Tell her an old dog can learn new tricks from someone younger."

She asked, "Now, what does that mean?"

I grinned while speaking, "Just tell her what I said, she'll understand."


New:

The outside stable door was open when I arrived. I could hear voices but not too clearly. Nick was speaking to the two men who escorted him to find me.

I acknowledged one of the men to be someone whom I had shared hours with trying to drink up all the whiskey we could buy.

In a broken Irish tongue, he spoke," Well, what a stroke of luck. The Major did find you. He talked you into coming with us, did he?"

I begin saddling my horse trying not to pay much attention to the man's jabbering. I spoke, "Corporal O'Riley, I see you finally made Sargent. You must have learned to stay out of the guardhouse and control the Irish Temperament."

"Its Sargent, Timothy O'Riley to you Mr. Army scout and don't you forget it!"

The man stuck his hand out for a handshake chuckling, "Good to see you J B."

Nick interrupted, "Now, if you two Gin heads are through yaking at each other, we will be on our way."

"Gin heads? Did ya hear the man, J B? Why I bet there's not a bottle of Gin in 100 miles from here."

I grinned at Nick and asked," Couldn't you find someone else to tag along with you then this red-headed win bag?"

Nick growled, "Sargent O'Riley, you two knock it off, we need to be on our way."

When leaving Julesburg, O'Riley introduced the other escort. A young man, not more than twenty who claimed to be a farm boy from Missouri. I asked, "How long have you been out here, son."

He replied, "Long enough to wish I was back home on my Poppa's farm."

The morning air was feeling good against my thick beard. The early Colorado spring dampness had a slight adhesiveness causing me to feel virtuous about not being clean shaven.

Fort Laramie was miles beyond Mudd Springs, and my question dealt with surroundings and why not stop at Fort Mitchell and sign the voucher, it was much nearer.

I guided Molly up-close to Nick asking why Fort Laramie when we can get our business done at Fort Mitchell.

He answered, "Our deal is at Fort Laramie so leave it alone JB, I'll tell you later."

Sargent O'Riley chuckled, "JB when are you going to learn about that fellow. He is going to keep you in the dark as long as he can so relax, you'll find out soon enough."

I rode yards ahead as to scout the way and suspected I had fallen into another one of Nick's traps.
.
Beyond my knowledge, the tribes were preparing for something on a much larger scale then Old Chief Smoke's opinion toward Little Thunder's revenge.

I was familiar with various opinions and statements spoken by officers as well as enlistees concerning Chief Red Cloud, and his ability to always slip through the Army's fingers; now could it be a moment to trap the person? If so, I wanted no part of it.

Fort Laramie was partially no stranger. I remember clearly as a boy when the place was nothing but an isolated trading post where my parents exchanged furs for supplies. I saw my first whiskey peddler from the east and how he tried to get my French father to trade his pelts for a keg of whiskey.

I vividly remember Kit Carson though I do remember the pony he sold my father for a pack animal and how Poppa argued the fact he should have traded for a mule.

I must admit in those days the fur company Poppa trapped for was stingy with most things including the upkeep of the post. The Army now had refurbished it with new logs and Adobe walls making it well fortified.

When little Norm's father and I was about his age, I remember Norman's version of the place. He called it the mouth of the trail leading over the mountains to the great waters. How little did we both know; it would be known as the Organ Trail.

The landscape was all too familiar. Hundreds of wagons were continuing to cross tribal lands to the gold fields in California and with many just looking for a place to settle.

My Cheyenne mother had tried shielding my sister and me from seeing horrific results of white settler's bleached skulls and other body parts partially eaten by wild animals. It was mostly the Sioux who did it and spent the time watching for the easy prey as they called it.

My foster father had once remarked, "If those people can somehow manage to bargain their way past the tribes, it would be the environment killing them all."

The stories told by men who claimed to be "Mountain Men" concerning people trapped during a blizzard in a mountain pass gave assurance to the word savage.

I had seen some of the tribes go hungry including myself but never like the wolf who eats its own.

Across a dell and barely into a grove of pecan trees, we camped early. Though Molly was not jaded, the horse Nick rode was.

Recognizing the mount to be nowhere near Molly's ability, I was feeling glad I had given the bill of sale to Mrs. Fletcher.

Nick was good about using my ignorance toward Army procedures, but this time I had shown some wisdom in case he wanted Molly back. I also left the money as well.

During a time when we sat near the fire and drinking mostly hot colored water, "said to be coffee," Sargent O'Brien posted the young soldier as sentry. All three of us took two-hour shifts while Nick snored like a hog.

It was on the young man's watch when we were awakened to know a Pawnee hunting party was crossing the opening. The fire was quickly smothered as we readied our weapons to engage.

O'Riley whispered, "J B, are they your people?"

I placed my finger to my lips as to hush while the main party passed through the opening.

Later, when it was safe, I explained they were Pawnee, a tribe who my mother's people and the Sioux had fought for years. The Sioux's hatred sent many to their graves (Happy Hunting Ground), but my mother tried shielding us children from knowing this.

Their presence brought question and childhood memories as a teen. I knew most tribes relished killing each other. The Sioux hated the Pawnee and the Cheyenne hated the Shoshones. The Crow, they were hated by all.

I waited before asking O'Riley the real reason of us going to Fort Laramie. He made sure we were out of Nick's hearing range before saying, "There is reason to think all the tribes will come together for a peaceful gathering to discuss a treaty. The Major believes your presence could help. Now do not let on like you know anything, or I will lose these stripes again."

The man assuredly had given me something to consider. If the ordeal were to bring Red Cloud to the table of surrender, the Army was in for a massive surprise. I had witnessed this thought before by an Irishman, named Fitzgerald whom my foster father admired. If my information was correct concerning Red Cloud and his tribal war authority, then my presence would be useless.

At dawn and after drinking the last of the weakest coffee ever made, Nick asked me a point blunt question. "J B, what do you know about Crazy Horse?"

I was stunned at first and before responding I was quiet. He asked again," Well, do you know the man or not?"

I responded, "Is this what it's all about wither I know a war chief named Crazy Horse?"

Nick growled, "Well?"

I thought a minute before saying, "Yes, I know of the man but to have met him face to face, the answer is no, and I'm not sure I care too. What's going on Nick?"

The man was silent as he girted his mount but asked as he mounted. "Do you know an old War Chief called Old Chief Smoke?"

I sternly growled back at him, "I'm not going any further with you until I learn what's going on."

Sargent O'Riley grinned and stuck his thumb upward indicating a sign of approval.

Into our journey, I rode beside Major Nickolas O'Brian as to hear old news toward Spotted Tail and the second Julesburg raid. The man began shedding light on various things I knew nothing about. Perhaps placing Lottie and the boy priority in my thoughts had blotted away the desire to learn current events.

We were riding at a slow pace while I listened to the man tell his version of how the entire territory could be facing a full- scale all-out war. He assuredly had my attention when claiming every white person within the region could lose their lives including Lottie and her son.

He asked," Have you ever met an Army Scout by the name of Jim Bridger?"

I responded, "Yes, I've met him a time or two. How come you brought me along if Bridger is in on it?"

The guy sped up his mount while saying, "You'll understand when we get there. Scout on up-ahead, we're wasting time."

We had not ridden far when I detected something was not right. I led Molly into a clump of trees and dismounted. I motioned for my companions to stop and sit quietly. I eased to the edge of an opening and noticed several Indians on horseback tracking the party of Pawnee we had previously seen.

I motioned for Nick and the others to dismount and walk their animals to where I sat looking out across the open terrain. I whispered, "Dog Soldiers, and the others in the rear are Lakota Bad Faces. They are tracking those Pawnees. I would hate to be in the middle of that fight when those fellows get caught."

In a whispering voice, Nick asked, "What's the Dog Soldiers doing this far south."

I wanted to tell him they could be anywhere they pleased, but for the sake of things, I lowly responded, "Those Pawnees probably raided either a Cheyenne or a Sioux village, you can guess the rest."

When the pursuers were out of sight, Nick began explaining the real reason he needed my services. It had been Crazy Horse who attacked Julesburg the second time and took a white captive who personally meant something to him.

My thinking I kept private knowing my luck in such matter had been shown to be a failure when hired to bring back the old man's family. Two Strikes had traded them to the Apache, and I suspected Crazy Horse doing the same thing.

I spoke, "I never knew you had a special someone, who is she?"

He had been hesitant at first but spoke, "Just a lady friend, now just leave it like that."

I thought to myself, well now, I do believe I may have the upper hand this time. I said, "Okay, but I'll need more to go on than your personal feelings."

He sternly asked, "J B, do you think there could be a chance getting her back unharmed?"

Nick was a friend and the last thing I wished to do was to crush his hope, I answered, "Depends on her, Nick, it all depends on her."

He growled, "Now what the heck you mean by that?"

I kept things light as possible knowing if she obeyed her captor's wishes then she would still be alive but if not, she would be dead or traded to another tribe.

I answered. "I never meant anything by it, I was only saying, I simple do not know at this time. Why are you just now telling me? I might could have done something a little different back at Julesburg."

Nick huffed, "Like what? I should have kept things to myself, let' go on to the Fort, we're wasting time."

Sargent O'Riley rode up beside me speaking low, "The Major is like a sore tail cat about things right now, but he will simmer down once we reach Fort Laramie. So, don't let it bother you."

Having no intentions of doing so, I wished only to sign the voucher and be on my way. If Nick had any more hidden surprises then he would just need to handle things without my help and besides, I was sixty dollars to the good and I suspected the extra money was for feeling guilty over letting my horse die on his watch.

Author Notes This story thickens into real historical events, only names and places are changed to protect the innocent.
Follow close and you will learn what could have happened in your back yard.


Chapter 23
Continue - Hidden Surprises

By Ben Colder

Sargent O'Riley rode up beside me speaking low, "The Major is like a sore tail cat about things right now, but he will simmer down once we reach Fort Laramie. So, don't let it bother you."

Having no intentions of doing so, I wished only to sign the voucher and be on my way. If Nick had any more hidden surprises then he would just need to handle things without my help and besides, I was sixty dollars to the good and I suspected the extra money was for feeling guilty over letting my horse die on his watch.

In time I learned, I could have never been more wrong about things. Fort Laramie laid about forty miles ahead and we would arrive long after dark or camp for the night and arrive early morning.

We had traveled only a few miles when I felt to camp early. The signs I had seen traveling toward the Fort made me think the loafers were receiving unknown visitors.

I understood Old Chief Smoke's people lived near the area, but the signs I had noticed indicated something strange.
Cheyenne Dog Soldiers were near and possible Sioux bad faces however, being not sure, I kept quiet about it.

Before reaching the Fort, I knew Nick would tell me what was really on his mind, so I rode quietly away from the others.

The impression of warriors so close to the fort offered little peace toward the subject, but I knew something was in the making.

A sleepless night fighting insects and pondering what the Cheyenne scouting party had in mind presented the morning ride less contented.

We entered the gate with the guard shouting our presence and across the parade ground and off to one side, a makeshift gallow explained something unexpected.

The bodies of two Sioux warriors and three Fort loafers dangled in heavy iron chains with cannon balls as weights holding them down in a thoughtlessly position.

It was clear, the idea was to leave them there until the flesh rotted off their bodies.

I remembered Nick's pet sayings and how the Indians were Unorthodox in war, but I remained quiet.

We dismounted in front of the stables as two soldiers led our animals inside. Nick went to report our presence while my companions and I followed the mounts.

O'Riley stated, "It's a little too early to get us a drink, JB, but if you twist my arm, I bet we can find one."

My mind was still at the gallows, I vaguely heard the man.
He spoke again, "J B, shall we indulge?"

I grunted, "No, I'ill pass, it's a little too early in the day, but you go ahead."

My two companions left me to browse the area and I noticed several settler wagons parked near a side entrance. A few men and several women gathered in an opening listening to a person speak.

The young sentry posted nearby stood very attentive as to be enjoying every word.

I asked, "What's the man jabbering about, he must be a drummer selling something."

The lad answered, "No, sir. He's preaching the Bible, and many things I'eve never heard before."

His words caught me off guard, so I asked, "Quaker man?"

The lad replied, "No, Methodist, I think."

A silent response to myself was knowing Colonel Chivington who also a Methodist preacher had led the massacre at Sand Creek.

It was hard for me to keep from looking at the dead hanging on the gallows. There were no trap doors for the victims to fall through meaning the iron chains were still bound around their skeleton necks telling they had strangled to death.

I was deeply perturbed about the situation but tried not to show it. Before leaving the area, Sargent O'Riley had a message. Nick had summoned my presence and wanted me to come to the office and meet the Fort Commander and sign the pay receipt.

I was still angry about what I had seen and the way those persons had died however, for Nick's sake, I remained quiet as I walked inside.

Seated in a Cain- bottom chair and beneath a wide brim hat, Jim Bridger sat in his buckskin attire staring and trying to remember where we had met. I ignored the man while making my mark at the bottom of the voucher.

I refused to be rude but thought to let him stew awhile, But before I could say anything, he burst with laughter, "JB Wright, you old son of a Frenchman, I see the Army has recruited your help in the matter."

Across the way and sitting ajar from Bridger was a thick black beard officer who listened to every word Bridger and I were speaking.

Nick introduced the man as Colonel Thomas Moonlight and at first, I thought my hearing had deceived me.

I spoke to Jim, "What matter? I was asked to come here with the Major to sign a piece of paper and nothing more."

I turned and looked at Nick while asking," What matter is he speaking about?"

Knowing I was ignorant toward current events, Bridger sat quietly staring out the window.

Colonel Moonlight changed the entire conversation by stating, "Mr. Wright, Major O'Brien speaks highly of you and feels there could be a chance Red Cloud might come in peacefully and sigh a treaty if you were to ask him."

I was already perturbed at seeing the dead Indians and the way they had died. I tried speaking calmly as I looked at Nick and said, "Well you did it again, but this time it won't work. I told you in Julesburg and now I am telling you in front of this man Moonlight or starlight or whatever his name is; I have no intentions of scouting for the Army ever again and besides, speaking to Red Cloud would mean death for sure."

I turned and looked at the post commander direct, I said, " You call the Indians savage and not orthodox, why don't you have those men buried instead of leaving their bodies out there to rot in the sun!"

Colonel Moonlight responded, "Mr. Wright, I could care less if you ever scout for the Army, those savages raped a white woman and she is here and brought charges against them. Sir, that is why they will rot away until there is nothing to bury. Now if you would kindly go about your business, I have other matters then listen to you growl over some savages who deserved what they got."

I walked out of the office with one thought as I noticed Bridger following. He spoke, "O'Brien tells me you may be looking for some captives, and I understand the tribes may have someone special to him too. Where you planning to look?"

Author Notes In true history, this hanging is real. It did happen. It is spun for story.


Chapter 24
Lady Captive

By Ben Colder

I walked out of the office with one thought as I noticed Bridger following. He spoke, "O'Brien tells me you may be looking for some captives, and I understand the tribes may have someone special to him too. Where you planning to look?"

I had simmered some and spoke low, "Jim, the Apache have the ones I was paid to find and knowing where to look is beyond my thinking. I suspect they got traded off and probably down in Mexico by now."

Jim remarked, "I'm going for a bite to eat, care to join me?"

The word eat was like music to my ears as I spoke, "Lead the way."

During the meal, we sat to ourselves discussing several points of interest. Jim noticed I still favored my left wrist and in a humorous manner, I let it be known the situation was a reminder to never get drunk as I was the day, I picked a fight and lost.

I changed the subject by asking what sort of man Moonlight was.
Jim responded, "He's all right to be a Scotsman, but he has a lot to learn about things out here. He thinks a show of force will win Red Cloud to the peace council but like I told him, Red Cloud is not like other chiefs, the man has probably forgotten more battle tactics then Moonlight will ever learn."

We had finished our meal and on the way to the stable, Jim asked," If you may be thinking of leaving, why don't you speak with the lady captive. She may be the one you're looking for or perhaps knows something about them."

I knew the woman I was paid to find had children and if she were brought in alone then I would be wasting my time, yet I agreed.

In a small room adjacent to the head office, I sat waiting to meet the woman. I could tell the officer's wives had ministered to her needs as she entered wearing a nice dress with her hair fixed very well.

Though a little paint and powder and a new hair style brightened her appearance, shyness explained a troubled heart.

I tried making her feel comfortable when asking a few simple questions. I knew of her situation, but asked, "Would you by chance belong to a German immigrant wagon train who was attacked by the Sioux? The lady I am looking for has a little boy and girl with her, but you fit the description."

The woman burst in tears and begin jabbering something in her German language. My understanding was not fruitful, but a few words I did understand.

Jim Bridger could read people like the back of his hand and remarked, "I think she just told you she is and something about her children were still with those who brought her here, or something like that."

Jim went to the office door and requested for someone who could understand the German language.

A few minutes later a young soldier whom I suspected to be of the same culture sat down in a chair beside us.

He began speaking the language which caused her to be more relaxed and after a short conversation, the young soldier spoke, "Sir, she said her people were traveling to Denver when attacked by Indians. Her husband and two others were killed, and she and her children were taken prisoner."

I still had the picture the old man gave me and showed it to her. I was pleased to see her wipe away tears and smile as she pointed to the person in the photo and then pointed toward herself.

I knew I had found the granddaughter, but the children offered more of a challenging task.

Bridger was a quiet individual who honored wisdom as paying attention to the environs. He understood that my finding the mother without the children would have a bad ending.

He was staying quiet toward the post commander's and my disagreement, but I knew it would be but a matter of time before he would share information concerning why he was there.

Two winters ago, on the Tongue, our trapping line nearly connected. Several times we had met at the Trappers rendezvous and exchanged various ideas.

I liked the way he used the moment by inviting me to a good hot meal and playing a hunch the woman in question was the person I was looking for. I must admit, the situation opened my mind toward any suggestion he could have had.

The person may have been wise and could discern things either good or bad, but he was lost toward the subject of Red Cloud as much as I was.

We stopped near the steps leading up to the large wooden deck where two troopers stood guarding the Commander's office. I braced to meet whatever to be and entered ready to escort the captive to her people.

Major O'Brien awaited my presence as Jim and I walked inside.

He spoke, "Some officer's wives are trying to make things a little more comfortable for your lady companion and you are to meet them in ten minutes at the stables."

I could tell something was wrong, but I thought to let him say.
I glanced at Jim, but he turned his head as though his mind was totally void.
I asked, "Nick, what is it? Spit it out, I know something is wrong."

Author Notes Created from within the pages of true American History. The man in the photo is Jim Bridger who lived and scouted during the time frame of this saga. He was actually at the fort and rode among several Army scouts involving Red Cloud and others mentioned in this saga. All based on true history.


Chapter 25
War Chief Hump is coming!

By Ben Colder

I glanced at Jim, but he turned his head as though his mind was totally void.

I asked, "Nick, what is it? Spit it out, I know something is wrong."

Nick responded, "Now before you say anything just hear me out and then whatever you decided then it will be that way, but J B listen with an open mind. Do not allow your and Moonlight's situation make your decision and whatever you decide, then it will be just the way you say."

I sat across from Bridger as Nick begins telling how Old Chief Smoke and the Bear people had dissolved their differences and how the Northern and Southern Cheyenne were gathering with Red Cloud.

It was estimated to be more than two thousand warriors from various tribes who had sworn to follow the man no matter the results.

I sat observant heeding to every word the man spoke. A touch of fear and uncertainty was in his voice. Complexity mixed with common sense revealed why Jim's presence.

Bridger would no doubt give strong advice toward things he knew, but from what I had seen and recently experienced at Blue Water, the Army was in for a long vigorous fight.

Outside my knowledge the war had begun. One hundred miles or more upstream on the Platte, an outpost was burned, and the occupants killed.

Bridger already knew this and so did Nick, but the real problem was Colonel Moonlight. He had returned from leading a column of soldiers hundreds of miles in circles throughout the Wind River basin and not finding one hostile.

Slowly, the entire reason Nick had tricked me to Fort Laramie was coming together. The Army could have cared less which Fort I signed the paper, just so it was signed.

Colonel Moonlight was not present when I remarked, "Nick, I'm leaving to take the lady to her people and you, and Bridger can scratch Moonlight's back. If you value your life, you will take Jim's advice and stay here and let that crazy Colonel chase after Red Cloud."


Things were quiet as I exited the office and walked to the stable. Sargent O'Riley was there to make sure everything was all right.

The officer's wives had done the lady captive a service by giving her certain items to make her comfortable. Food for three days were also stored in a large basket and shielded from the sun beneath the wagon seat.

Molly was tied to the tailgate as we exited through the front entrance. I paced the team slowly as to help the person as she could get settled for a long ride.

Julesburg was less than three days away and at the pace we would travel, trouble could happen before arriving.

Red Cloud had already begun the war against the intruders, the tribes had come together naming themselves," The People."

If Nick was right then it meant many war chiefs such as Hump, Dull Knife, Crazy Horse, and even Roman Nose who had personal reasons to see every white soldier slain with no mercy. He had relatives brutally murdered at Sand Creek.

The ride was somewhat boring except for an occasional stop for nature calls. The lady sat quietly most of the time except occasionally she would point toward various wildflowers and lowly speak the word, (Zienlich) meaning pretty.

This action brought a spark of hope. She had been treated badly and taken advantage of from every facets of existence.

In her facial features, I could see the worry about her children's well-being, but I admired the woman for trying to keep her thoughts focused toward joining her people though we were far from being out of danger.

My thoughts occasionally drifted back to Nick's trickery and why he wished for me to remain and help with his intentions. I understood why Moonlight was like a sore tail cat, in private Jim had mention his folly.

After days of searching the Wind River area, he returned without finding one clue of where the hostiles were however, that same day just after he and the men dismounted, four Cheyenne Dog Soldiers came riding through the gate waving buffalo skins, causing all the horses to scatter leaving Moonlight and the men scrambling into buildings. The Indians left unharmed and the trooper's horses with them.

The report made it to General Dodge in Nebraska and the reply was Kill every Indian within miles of the fort.

Author Notes Zienlich) German word. The text explains

Folks, we are at approx 40,000 words into a 400 or more page novel.
I share this story with you though only a few care to read.
I leave a few mistakes at times for purpose but sometimes not. Your help is always appreciated though I would never change my style of writing. I am southern born, southern bred, and when I die, I will be southern dead.
Glad you like my little take on how the west was stolen.


Chapter 26
Hump

By Ben Colder

I could tell something was wrong, but I thought to let him say.
I glanced at Jim, but he turned his head as though his mind was totally void.

I asked, "Nick, what is it? Spit it out, I know something is wrong."

Nick responded, "Now before you say anything just hear me out and then whatever you decide then it will be that way, but J B listen with an open mind. Do not allow your and Moonlight's situation make your decision and whatever you decide, then it will be just the way you say."

I sat across from Bridger as Nick began telling how Old Chief Smoke and the Bear people had resolved their differences and how the Northern and Southern Cheyenne were gathering with Red Cloud.

It was estimated to be more than two thousand warriors from various tribes who had sworn to follow the man no matter the results.

I sat observant heeding to every word the man spoke. A touch of fear and uncertainty was in his voice. Complexity mixed with common sense revealed why Jim was there.

Bridger would no doubt give strong advice toward things he knew, but from what I had seen and recently experienced at Blue Water, the Army was in for a long vigorous fight.

Outside my knowledge the war had begun. One hundred miles or more upstream on the Platte, an outpost was burned, and the occupants killed.

Bridger already knew this and so did Nick, but the real problem was Colonel Moonlight. He had returned from leading a column of soldiers hundreds of miles in circles throughout the Wind River basin and not finding one hostile.

Slowly, the entire reason Nick had tricked me to Fort Laramie was coming together. The Army could have cared less which Fort I signed the paper, just so it was signed.

Colonel Moonlight was not present when I remarked, "Nick, I'm leaving to take the lady to her people and you, and Bridger can scratch Moonlight's back. If you value your life, you will take Jim's advice and stay here and let that crazy Colonel chase after Red Cloud."


Things were quiet as I exited the office and walked to the stable. Sargent O'Riley was there to make sure everything was all right. The officers' wives had done the lady captive a service by giving her certain items to make her comfortable.
Food for three days were stored in a large basket and shielded from the sun beneath the wagon seat.

Molly was tied to the tailgate as we exited through the front entrance. I paced the team slowly as to help the lady so she could get settled for a long ride.

Julesburg was less than three days away and at the pace we were traveling trouble could happen before arriving.

Red Cloud had already began the war against the intruders, the tribes had come together naming themselves," The People."

If Nick was right then it meant many war chiefs such as Hump, Dull Knife, Crazy Horse, and even Roman Nose who had personal reasons to see every white soldier slain with no mercy.
They had relatives brutally murdered at Sand Creek.

The ride was somewhat boring except for an occasional stop for nature calls and the lady sat quietly most of the time except occasionally, she would point toward various wildflowers and lowly speak pretty in her language.

This action brought a spark of hope. She had been mistreated badly and taken advantage from every means of existence.

In her facial features, I could see the worry about her children's well-being. I admired the woman for trying to keep her thoughts focused toward joining her people, but we were far from being out of danger.

My thoughts occasionally drifted to Nick's trickery and why he wished for me to remain and help with his intentions. I understood why Moonlight was like a sore tail cat and in private Jim had mention his folly.

After days of searching the Wind River area, he had returned without finding one clue of where the hostiles were however, that same day just after he and the men dismounted, four Cheyenne Dog Soldiers came riding through the gate waving buffalo skins, causing all the horses to scatter leaving Moonlight and the men scrambling into buildings.The Indians left unharmed and the trooper's horses with them.

The report made it to General Dodge in Nebraska and the reply was Kill every Indian within miles of the fort.

Knowing more than a thousand peaceful Indians lived in the vicinity, Nick ignored the order and responded such happenings would cause the death of every white person in the territory.

Later, a message came to round up every Indian and move them quickly to a reservation.

In to our first day of travel, not many miles away from the fort, troubled appeared

On a knoll, Sioux war chief Hump sat watching as we entered the open terrain. I suspected we were about to have problems and hastened the animals into a gallop.

We were not far but far enough the fort would never hear any gun shots.

A gorge was to my left and a group of hills to my right. Hump and his warriors were yards in front which caused me to turn the team sharply in hope to miss the gorge.

The turn was a failure and the wagon tilted launching both of us out on the ground. The team broke free including Molly just as the wagon flipped the second time. It came to rest partially with one side overlapping a large boulder.

Our adversaries were almost upon us just as we crawled beneath the wagon.

Author Notes Folks, we are at approx 40,000 words into a 350 page novel. I hope to keep your interest. It is created from real history.


Chapter 27
Hump continues

By Ben Colder

Previous Post;



A gorge was to my left and a group of hills to my right. Hump and his warriors were yards in front which caused me to turn the team sharply in hope to miss the gorge.

The turn was a failure and the wagon tilted launching both of us out on the ground. The team broke free including Molly just as the wagon flipped the second time. It came to rest partially with one side overlapping a large boulder.

Our adversaries were upon us as we crawled beneath the wagon.

New;

Perhaps a miracle or plain luck, but beneath the seat next to my head my rifle was in reach.

The visibility was poor but clear enough to see Hump and four warriors plotting strategy. My left leg was visible as an arrow scarcely missed it.

I was in hope to change their attitude by shouting scolding words in Southern Cheyenne language of how a small boy could do better.

The man who fired responded by cursing me in broken English and swearing to have my scalp on his war lance by morning.

I looked at the woman as she lay with her hands over her eyes jabbering something in her language.

The sticky substance was on the stock of my rifle as I realized it was jam from the food basket dangling beneath the wagon seat.

I thought perhaps to calm the woman's fright by licking the jam and speaking," Now, that's some good stuff. Let us enjoy the food while those poor devils out there decide what to do.?"

She never understood a word I was saying as I removed a loaf of bread and began spreading jam with my knife.

The scent must have been reviving. She removed her hands from her eyes and stared at me as though I was crazy. I knew she would never understand, but I spoke anyway.

" Lady, I have no intentions of letting those fellows take us without a good fight, and I think if I can get a shot at Hump, it might change the situation, but we need to wait this thing out."

I suppose she felt safe or understood more than I realized as she reached for a piece of bread and began spreading the jam.

This was the first time since we had met I had seen a smile.
It never mattered if she did or did not understand, I knew our chances were slim.

My concentration was on hope they might show themselves enough to get a clear shot, but obviously they were waiting for darkness.

Fort Laramie was more than a mile away and just far enough to be out hearing distance.

As the sun began its downward move, I laid my pistol between the woman and myself. I kept my knife ready.

She knew we were in danger and I tried explaining to use the pistol on herself if things went wrong. She never said a word but stared at the weapon.

I knew Hump was like the others who enjoyed playing cat and mouse with their cornered victims. I kept watching out the small opening hoping to get a shot at him.

The woman was quiet as I gave her the canteen of water. Once not staring out the opening, I would glance in her direction as she lay bewildered. Perhaps the soft heart Lottie said I had begun to surface. The very few words I had learned from my German foster father taught just enough to work.

Close to the dusk, I suspected a couple of warriors would try and bait me into exposing my position,

From time to time, my mind would drift toward little Norm and things he would ask. Very same day at the burnt home site I wanted it to be as they dreamed it to be, but I knew better.

I was proud and surprised at Lottie for realizing she could never re-live her special moments with Norman.

I quickly regained thoughts of my present condition when hearing horses coming from the direction of the fort.

I heard Hump and his bunch hurriedly leave and suspected help was arriving. Not to be able to see clearly, the woman and I remained still until hearing a familiar voice.

On the edge of the wagon a figure of a person appeared as Sargent O'Riley could have never been more appreciated.

With his Irish tongue he asked, "Now, my good friend J B, would you and the lady be alright?"

As two soldiers pulled the wagon to its upright position, I helped the woman to her feet and smiled. "See, I told you we'd be alright."

O'Riley chuckled, "Looks like Hump was about to add your hair to his collection. '

I remained quiet while trying to understand how they knew we were in trouble. I asked, "How did you know we were having problems?"

"Your horse. When it came through the gate alone, the Major knew Molly would never return without you, so he sent us out to investigate and it looks like we got here just at the right time. I would like to have gotten a shot at that Hump."

I never said a word, but thought if he lived long enough, he probably would.

The wagon was not in the best shape to travel. Due to broken spokes in two wheels, the idea was to leave it and send someone back for repairs.

Two men were left as guards allowing the woman and myself to use their horses for transporting us back to the fort.

I chuckled a little humor to settle the men's minds. "Fellows, the Army as you know will probably leave you here all night so there is food in the basket so help yourself, I suspect Hump is miles from here."

After returning to the fort, the wives of several officers were called to receive the lady.

O'Riley led the way to Nick's office to give his report as I followed close behind.

Inside, I sat listening to the man growl about the occurrence.


"So, you allowed Hump to cause the destruction of a perfectly good government wagon and dang near get someone killed the Army is responsible for."

I sat looking down at the cluttered desk while almost stuttering, "Now Nick, you know good and well that wagon was far from being perfect and besides, I had no choice, it was either let Hump kill us or try and defend ourselves; so I chose to fight.".

Nick growled back, "The Sargent said the wagon was beyond repair so you have cost the Army one hundred and fifty-two dollars and not counting the price of a perfect pair of mules."

I asked myself a question. A perfect pair of mules?

I never had one dime in my pocket, and I suspected Nick knew it. I was quiet while trying to figure out where all this was going.

The straight back chair I sat in was uncomfortable but much better than laying beneath a busted wagon not knowing if I would live to see another day.

Nick had my undivided attention as he began explaining the depth of current events.

The ending of the war in the east and its well- trained officers plus thousands of enlistees were coming to the west and men like me were needed to scout and teach the hostiles' ways of battle.

As I listen, the more I understood why Jim Bridger was there.
From what I was hearing, Red Cloud and the others had more warriors than the Army knew.

Dealing with Hump placed my thought pattern toward other war chiefs including the Kiowa who had been silent in much of the troubles.

I asked, "Nick, what is it that you want? If things are shaping to be as you are predicting, what does the Army need with my services? I am limited with knowledge toward Red Cloud or other leaders. Sure, I may know a few personally but they would just soon cut my heart out as they would yours."

The guy picked up a pencil off the desk and broke it. "J B, you owe the Army for a busted wagon and a pair of mules and by thunder; you will either scout for me or spend time in the guard-house until the debt is paid in full. Have I made myself clear?"

Bridger dropped his head and in a chuckling voice, "The canteen is open, what you say we go and wash down the Major's words."

I felt like I was boxed into something and hard to explain. The white man' Army had scored again, and no doubt used Bridger to make it happen. I was hoping during a few drinks. the man's tongue might loosen, and I would learn more of what lay ahead.

On the second round of drinks, Bridger did as I expected. I was able to learn names of certain Generals who were to be sent to the area and a new kind of soldier.

Nick at one time told me about the black skin soldier and how not one officer cared to lead them.

I had pushed the idea from my mind until Bridger harped how he thought the tribes might find them interesting.

I wanted to laugh aloud but decided to sit and listen to more about the black man's appearance and how their hair was woolly like the Buffalo.

On the third round of drinks, I found myself feeling sorry for the black soldier as Bridger explained they seemed to be much like the Indian with no future.

I was almost drunk by the time we entered Nick's office. My sleeping accommodations were already made but I declined and went to the stable and stretched out on a pile of hay.

For some reason, I could not dismiss the idea of a black man coming out here to fight an enemy much like himself. I dozed to sleep imagining Hump facing his black enemy for the first time.

Author Notes The story now thickens toward something never revealed in history books.
J B Wright is created from a real scout whose name is recorded in several true reports found in the Library Of Congress.
Real history action and events will appear as we travel toward how the west was stolen.


Chapter 28
The trip

By Ben Colder

For some reason, I could not dismiss the idea of a black man coming out here to fight an enemy much like himself. I dozed to sleep imagining Hump facing his black enemy for the first time.

The following morning, the encounter with Hump was still fresh on my mind. I washed my face in the watering trough and went to breakfast.

I sat on a bench next to a soldier and later a voice interrupted saying the Major wanted me to sit with him and Bridger.

My head was like a busted drum and each time I would sip water, it was like being drunk again.

I knew Bridger was laughing and I had fallen into another one of Nick's traps. He really wanted everything to go as planned and he knew now I understood some of what was to encounter. All I could think of was one day getting even.

It took most of the day to shake a rot gut hangover, but a late meal and much black coffee helped clear the mind.

I was pleased to hear the woman captive was doing well and ready to see her family. I was also glad she and the other ladies were dwelling from the site of the gallows.

I still had anger toward the Army and the authorities for their actions against the bodies of the Sioux warriors but war being what it is, I pushed it away from my mind.

The Whole Thing was quiet as I asked Nick, "What's on your mind?".

He answered," Have you thought it over or should I have Sargent O'Riley throw you in the guard house?"

The threat made me angry. "Nick, you and I have been friends a few years, but to have a man to do something I doubt could happen, I will go to your guardhouse and stay out your little game. I ask only one thing, and that is let me have a wire sent to Julesburg and get a friend to send the money."

The guy insisted I was to calm down and hear what he had to say.

"J B, perhaps I was a little hasty about things, but you need to understand General Dodge gave orders to kill every Indian within miles of the Fort. That takes in Old Chief Smoke's people and others, but I had the man to rescind the order.

J B, there are more than a thousand friendly Indians living outside the fort and within miles of this area. Doing anything like that would cost the lives of every white person including women and children in the region. J B, I need your scouting experience to escort a movement of these people to a reservation."

I sat a minute looking at Bridger while listening to more of what Nick had to say. The Powder River area was about to detonate into something neither of us could ever imagine.

I could understand the importance of the matter, but I was not sure if I really could be much help. I spoke lowly, "Nick, no sense getting all riled up, I'll lead those people to your reservation, but not because of your threat, but because some are my mother's people and knowing the Army and the way they change their minds, they are better off on a reservation eating government food then living here outside the fort begging like a bunch of dogs."

Nick was silent while looking out the office window. Later he turned and began a short lecture on Army Generals, men I had never heard of. I suppose he felt the uncertainty I was feeling toward my lack of ability. Still, learning General Canby was dead because of not knowing his enemy somehow allowed the confidence needed.

Utilizing a name Bridger sometimes recognized I asked, "Gabe, how do you feel about all of this?"

His response was, "J B , what the Major is trying to tell you is, the officers coming out here are without knowledge toward what you and I already know about the tribes and their way of battle."

I sat quietly pondering the man's words and wanted to feel somewhat daunted, but I dismissed the idea and continued listening as Nick told about General Grant having had experienced the west.

Officers such as Sheridan, Sherman, Miles, and others were West Point officers who knew only the Civil War and those engagements but nothing about dealing with guerrilla fighting.
Only General Crook would be bringing any experience. He had led a campaign in the region fourteen years prior before being sent into the Civil War.

The news had my attention and I must admit, learning about those men and a need toward guidance had created something within me which I hoped for the best for Ma-Toosh and others.

There was no stopping of the many thousands of troops coming or the greenhorn leaders who would probably get themselves and their men killed in the name of an Army destined for superiority.

I moved out of my chair and stood staring out the front glass window while remembering my biological father and the days as young boy when guys like him and others-built ferries at the Platte to help immigrants come to the fort. The Occasion was peaceful moments when the tribes were friendly and Mountain men felt good about trading.

I never turned to look at Nick, but spoke openly, "I have a bad feeling about this and If for some reason I fail to return, can I count on you to let Lottie know so she and the boy can go on with their lives?"

Nick was hesitant but spoke, "I will, but J B, you know this area and the tribes like the palm of your hand, and I doubt anything will happen, but yes, I will do that."

Before leaving the office, Nick had assured the German lady would be cared for and in time a wire would be sent to her people and most likely they would come and take her to Denver.

I walked to the stables to check on Molly while trying to understand how I had become so trusting when knowing all the time the Army was not reliable.

White men had tried for years to bribe, steal, and in every means to get all the tribe's land and like my mother said, they were not ever to be trusted.

I suspected Nick was like all the rest and I knew he was using me for his own personal gain, but for the sake of my mother's people and others like Ma-Toosh, I was willing to do what I could to help their cause.

It would be in the fall before the tribes would attend the great Buffalo hunt for their winter rations, and by then perhaps the Smoke people and others would be settled learning how to farm for themselves.

These thoughts gave me inspiration to scout and feel somehow my mother was sending her approval.

The trip would take days with much concern toward each moment. My job would be scouting miles ahead with hope of not seeing trouble.

Sargent O'Riley and a twenty-man detail would oversee the moving of people and their needs. Good and bad water would be plentiful, the responsibility of knowing the difference was mine.

On occasion, I allowed my thought pattern to lay heavy toward War Chief Hump and the Cheyenne Dog Soldiers I had seen days before.

I surmised the Lakota Sioux had left the fork of the Solomon River and the Arapaho were still somewhere near the Republican.

Prior to leaving and in private, Bridger gave warning concerning Red Cloud's spies hiding within the Smoke people and to always expect the unexpected.

The right time of our departure was to be an hour before dawn. Presiding four hundred- and twenty-six-men women and children into dark uncertainty was not exciting.

I created an excuse using Molly as needing to fix her front left shoe and replace another which offered the delay until dawn. I knew the trail very well and made plans to rest the group in a grove of Cottonwood trees not far from the river. That is where they would have shade and could prepare food the Army provided.

I also knew Red Cloud had once ambushed and killed fourteen Crow warriors in the same vicinity.

I suspected if there were spies as Jim had claimed, it would most likely be there to expect trouble.

The morning offered our journey a good day to travel. Every so often I would scout ahead a mile or more looking for signs of any worry. The specified location we were to break for resting seemed peaceful enough to enjoy a cool breeze winding its way through a grove of mixed saplings just yards away from the riverbank.

A few women who volunteered to help with distributing food to the children and elderly were mostly Cheyenne from my mother's tribe.
I sat alone beneath a large willow eating as Sargent O'Riley found a place to sit just a few feet away. I could tell he was vexed toward something and waited to see if he would discuss it.

He was almost finished before speaking low, "J B, we have people missing."

I sat pondering his words and surmising it would be the spies.

I asked." How many?"


Chapter 29
Spotted Tail

By Ben Colder

For some reason, I could not dismiss the idea of a black man coming out here to fight an enemy much like himself. I dozed to sleep imagining Hump facing his black enemy for the first time.

The following morning, the encounter with Hump was still fresh on my mind. I washed my face in the watering trough and went to breakfast.

I sat on a bench next to a soldier and later a voice interrupted saying the Major wanted me to sit with him and Bridger.

My head was like a busted drum and each time I would sip water, it was like being drunk again.

I knew Bridger was laughing and I had fallen into another one of Nick's traps. He really wanted everything to go as planned and he knew now I understood some of what was to encounter. All I could think of was one day getting even.

It took most of the day to shake a rot gut hangover, but a late meal and much black coffee helped clear the mind.

I was pleased to hear the woman captive was doing well and ready to see her family. I was also glad she and the other ladies were dwelling from the site of the gallows.

I still had anger toward the Army and the authorities for their actions against the bodies of the Sioux warriors but war being what it is, I pushed it away from my mind.

It was quiet as I asked Nick, "What's on your mind?"

He answered," Have you thought it over or should I have Sargent O'Riley throw you in the guard house?"

The threat made me angry. "Nick, you and I have been friends a few years, but to have a man to do something I doubt could happen, I will go to your guardhouse and stay out your little game. I ask only one thing, and that is let me have a wire sent to Julesburg and get a friend to send the money."

The guy insisted I was to calm down and hear what he had to say.

"J B, perhaps I was a little hasty about things, but you need to understand General Dodge gave orders to kill every Indian within miles of the Fort. That takes in Old Chief Smoke's people and others, but I had the man to rescind the order.

J B, there are more than a thousand friendly Indians living outside the fort and within miles of this area. Doing anything like that would cost the lives of every white person including women and children in the region.
J B, I need your scouting experience to escort a movement of these people to a reservation."

I sat a minute looking at Bridger while listening to more of what Nick had to say. The Powder River area was about to detonate into something neither of us could ever imagine.

I could understand the importance of the matter, but I was not sure if I really could be much help. I spoke lowly, "Nick, no sense getting all riled up, I'll lead those people to your reservation, but not because of your threat, but because some are my mother's people and knowing the Army and the way they change their minds, the people are better off on a reservation eating government food then living here outside the fort begging like a bunch of dogs."

Nick was silent while looking out the office window. Later he turned and began a short lecture on Army Generals, men I had never heard of. I suppose he felt the uncertainty I was feeling toward my lack of ability. Still, learning General Canby was dead because of not knowing his enemy somehow allowed the confidence I needed.

I asked, "Bridger, how do you feel about all of this?"

His response was, "J B , what the Major is trying to tell you is, the officers coming out here are without knowledge toward what you and I already know about the tribes and their way of fighting battles."

I sat quietly pondering the man's words and wanted to feel somewhat daunted, but I dismissed the idea and continued listening as Nick told about General Grant having experienced the west.

Officers such as Sheridan, Sherman, Miles, and others were West Point officers who knew only the Civil War and those engagements but nothing about dealing with guerrilla fighting.

Only General Crook would be bringing any experience. He had led a campaign in the region fourteen years prior before being sent into the Civil War.

The news had my attention and I must admit, learning about those men and a need toward guidance had created something within me which I hoped for the best for Ma-Toosh and others.

There was no stopping of the many thousands of troops coming or the greenhorn leaders who would probably get themselves and their men killed in the name of an Army destined for superiority.

I moved out of my chair and stood staring out the front glass window while remembering my biological father and the days as young boy when guys like him and others-built ferries at the Platte to help immigrants come to the fort.

The Occasion was peaceful moments when the tribes were friendly and Mountain men felt good about trading.

I never turned to look at Nick, but spoke openly, "I have a bad feeling about this and If for some reason I fail to return, can I count on you to let Lottie know so she and the boy can go on with their lives?"

Nick was hesitant but spoke, "I will, but JB, you know this area and the tribes like the palm of your hand, and I doubt anything will happen, but yes, I will do that."

Before leaving the office, Nick had assured the German lady would be cared for and in time a wire would be sent to her people and most likely they would come and take her to Denver.

I walked to the stables to check on Molly while trying to understand how I had become so trusting when knowing all the time the Army was not reliable.

White men had tried for years to bribe, steal, and in every means to get all the tribe's land and like my mother said, they were not ever to be trusted.

I suspected Nick was like all the rest and I knew he was using me for his own personal gain, but for the sake of my mother's people and others like Ma-Toosh, I was willing to do what I could to help the cause.

It would be in the fall before the tribes would attend the great Buffalo hunt for their winter rations and by then perhaps the Smoke people and others would be settled learning how to farm for themselves.

These thoughts gave me inspiration to scout and feel somehow my mother was sending her approval.

The trip would take days with much concern toward each moment. My job would be scouting miles ahead with hope of not seeing trouble.

Sargent O'Riley and a twenty-man detail would oversee the moving of people and their needs. Good and bad water would be plentiful, the responsibility of knowing the difference was mine.

On occasion, I allowed my thought pattern to lay heavy toward War Chief Hump and the Cheyenne Dog Soldiers I had seen days before.

I surmised the Lakota Sioux had left the fork of the Solomon River and the Arapaho were still somewhere near the Republican.

Prior to leaving and in private, Bridger gave warning concerning Red Cloud's spies hiding within the Smoke people and to always expect the unexpected.

The right time of our departure was to be an hour before dawn and presiding four hundred- and twenty-six-men women and children into a dark uncertainty was not exciting.

I created an excuse using Molly as needing to fix her front left shoe and replace another which offered the delay until dawn.

I knew the trail very well and made plans to rest the group in a grove of Cottonwood trees not far from the river.

That is where they would have shade and could prepare food the Army had provided.

I also knew Red Cloud had once ambushed and killed fourteen Crow warriors in the same vicinity.

I suspected if there were spies as Jim had claimed, it would most likely be there to expect trouble.

Author Notes The Photo is Spotted Tail


Chapter 30
Continue - Spotted Tail

By Ben Colder

I suspected if there were spies as Jim had claimed, it would be there to expect trouble.

The morning offered our journey a good day to travel. Every so often I would scout ahead a mile or more looking for signs of any worry. The specified location we were to break for resting seemed peaceful enough to enjoy a cool breeze winding its way through a grove of mixed saplings just yards away from the riverbank.

A few women who volunteered to help with distributing food to the children and elderly were mostly Cheyenne from my mother's tribe.

I sat alone beneath a large willow eating as Sargent O'Riley found a place to sit just a few feet away. I could tell he was vexed toward something and waited to see if he would discuss it.

He was almost finished before speaking low, "J B, we have people missing."

I sat pondering his words and surmising it would be the spies.

I asked." How many?"

"The nearest I can tell, three young braves from the Smoke people, but maybe more. I had the men to do a head count and I'll let you know."

This news alerted my suspicion; we were about to have trouble, but the knowing of when and where was the mystery. I tried being discreet as possible when mounting Molly and riding away.

Jim's warning about having spies among the Smoke people was coming into play. Without a doubt they had slipped away and reported our strength.

Sand deposits from an old riverbed would easily shield many warriors and I suspected they would wait and catch us out in the open.

Guessing we were about to have trouble; In an unsuspected way I turned Molly and rode back to the group and called O'Riley aside. I told him I was not certain but be on guard.

The man quickly passed the word.

I was optimistic toward the entire ordeal. The area in which I suspected problems gave our opponent a certain advantage.

Making four hundred people walk in sections compelled the mounted escorts.

I was not alone with understanding. O'Riley rode up beside me asking, "Do you think we should single file these people in case we do get hit? It would give the men a chance to quickly group and fight off any charge."

I never wished to contribute to worry, but I suspected there were some within the group would aid the attackers.
Even though the man supervised things, I suggested we leave it as they were and to warn the men about those who might aid the event.

As I rode into the unknown, my double trigger Hawkins lay across my lap as to bring it to a firing position without the aid of my pain swelling wrist.

I knew if I could manage to lead the movement safely across a vast opening which lay hundreds of yards away, we would be temporally out of danger and could rest the people beneath a thick patch of various type of trees.

It was a place where the Sioux had once attacked a party of twelve men who determined to find gold in the hills even though a signed treaty said they were to stay away.

Author Notes "NOTICE"
It is June 1866, nineteen months after the Sand Creek Massacre. Sioux Indian Chief Red Cloud has gathered thousands of young and old warriors from various tribes together. Their mission? To defend the lands from foreign aggression.
The Civil War in the eastern part of America is over. The southern states have surrendered for the purpose of blending and becoming one nation for all. Southern prisoners of war in order to gain their freedom was made to pledge an oath to fight Indians to clear the way for progress.They were called Galvanized Yankees.
The civil war has left the country in a struggling situation. U.S.Grant is elected President and the need for prosperity is beyond words.
Though a treaty was signed allowing the Indians an area two or three times the size of Kansas which allowed thousand of Buffalo to roam freely for the Indians' livelihood, foreign settlers were determined to settle the land and slowly annihilate the animal.
Gold is found in the sacred Black Hills and the need for monetary prosperity, despite the treaty, Grant allows gold mining to happen.
Red Cloud and others are furious and has started a war of defending what the great spirit has given the Indians.
J.B. Wright, a half-breed Cheyenne understands there is no stopping the over -flow of the foreigners and now escorts a few hundred friendly Indians to a reservation so they will have food and learn to live in peace.


Folks, the story is about to thicken into something you may or may not find wholesome, but it is all based upon true American history.
Thanks for your kind support.


Chapter 31
Continue -Part one- Spotted Tail

By Ben Colder

I knew if I could manage to lead the movement safely across a vast opening which lay hundreds of yards away, we would be temporally out of danger and could rest the people beneath a thick patch of various trees.

It was a place where the Sioux had once attacked a party of twelve men who determined to find gold in the hills even though a signed treaty said they were to stay away.

It was dawn the following morning when O'Riley and I got a chance to speak to each other. There was a slight chill in the air as I sat crouched near a fire drinking my first cup of coffee.

We had not seen or even heard anything to make us think we were in danger. Noises of night creatures and even the peaceful cooing of doves off in a grassy hollow enhanced the idea.

Though the scene offered such, among the people having a certain quietness hinted something I was not sure of.

Distance from the others and in a deep voice, I told O'Riley we had been fortunate not to have seen any signs, but I had a gut feeling toward something different.

The issue was the people and their expressions on some of their faces. Still the women from my mother's tribe who helped with feeding the elderly and children wore a look of keenness.

I tried talking to some of them in their own language, but it was though they were deaf and turned away.

Before saddling Molly and preparing to leave, I told O'Riley to stay alert.
I gated the animal into a single foot stride until the terrain hindered the idea to a slow walk.

Seeing various kinds of birds fluttering their way undisturbed revealed I was alone for now. I allowed my thoughts to question the number of young men missing from the Cheyenne group.

It widened my perplexity toward the quietness though nature seemed very peaceful

The surrounding landscape we now traveled harbored old memories for those who dared. Most all my life I had heard various stories concerning the tribes and victories against the intruders.

So, as I continued riding, I explored various burned items no doubt left by wagon trains

The Army called it the Bozeman trail, named after a man who carved his way through the vast wilderness while leading hundreds of people to what they believed to be paradise.

Nick had taught me well concerning the times and how in the eastern part of the globe big changes were in the making especially, after the white man had finished fighting among themselves.

Perhaps it was my lack of understanding toward the white culture and their disagreements, but it all seemed to be much like the tribes who fought each other over the same issue.

I enjoyed hearing the peaceful sounds of nature. Earlier, it had rained further upward in the hills which caused the aroma of clean fresh air with a touch of sweetness.

I paused Molly and sat looking out across the vast opening admiring millions of wildflowers. Not far away, bees were pollinating the area and gathering nectar for hives found secretly somewhere inside a patch of woods off in the distance.

I thought about Lottie and the way she expressed gratitude toward her God and His creating such beauty and how He had made the birds and colored them in many ways.

I admit, I knew nothing about her God, but I suppose He was one who expressed a good taste for nature.

Through tall grass and in a dell just yards away, twin fawns followed their mother and soon disappeared into a patch of woods.

The undisturbed nature convinced I was alone and nothing out of the ordinary was moving about.

Suspecting we were safe for now I eased Molly back toward the group, but my restlessness remained.

The people were grouped in three circles when I arrived. The women were attending to the children while O'Riley and two guards stood away talking to each other.

I dismounted and walked Molly to where food was being served and stood a moment before a soldier handed me a cup of coffee. He asked, "Did you see anything out there we should be concerned about?"

Another soldier took Molly, led her to a tree, and tied her to a low hanging branch. Before I could respond to the man's question, I was given a tin plate filled with hot beans freshly dipped from a large black pot still hanging over a smoldering fire.

Where Molly was tied I sat with my back against the tree as O'Riley came and sat across from me.
He asked," Well, what do you think? Should we expect trouble or go on in a single file or stay in groups as we are?"

Still feeling the uneasiness, I was hesitant to speak but thought to let things stay as they were. "I never saw anything or any signs between here and the foothills.
We will be crossing a vast opening just this side of two patches of thick timber, it could be there, if we have any problems."

I suppose it was the warm food causing my drowsiness.

I closed my eyes for only what seemed to be a second when a hand patted my shoulder and a voice said, "Get you a nap, it will be awhile before we get things ready."

I had no idea how long I had slept. It was Molly and her snorting and swishing her tail at a horsefly which caused my awakening.

Though mountains and their snow capped peaks were seen miles away, the thought of reaching the foothills without incident gave encouragement, but for some reason I could not shake the uneasiness I felt.


Author Notes In 1851, Congress passed the Indian Appropriations Act which created the Indian reservation system and provided funds to move Indian tribes onto farming reservations and hopefully keep them under control. Indians were not allowed to leave the reservations without permission.


HISTORY
Spotted Tail knows J B is scouting for the movement and orders his braves to stay clear until a designated
time and not to leave signs of their presence.
Thank you Google:

In 1855 Spotted Tale was jailed at Fort Leavenworth in retaliation for the defeat of Lt. John Grattan's force the previous year, though Spotted Tail had not been involved in the incident. Upon his release in 1856, he balanced Lakota nationalism with conciliation to the United States, as he was convinced of American military superiority.


Chapter 32
Continue -Part One Spotted Tail

By Ben Colder

Nature was telling me one thing, but my gut feeling was speaking something different.

I tried pushing the feeling away by arguing with self it was the resent encounter with Hump causing my restlessness.

We had not traveled far when in the back section of the group had a ruckus to happen causing a guard to fire his weapon.

O'Riley quickly turn his horse and rode to the incident as I did the same.

A young soldier had fired at what he thought was an enemy hiding in the tall grass, so I rode to where he pointed and saw nothing but a tree stump with a bullet scrape across its top.

O'Riley was angry but I could not find fault in the lad's action. We were all on edge knowing problems could happen anywhere at any time.

The feeling of our presence now being exposed was never a concern. I suspected if trouble awaited then it knew when we left the fort.

It was later in the day when O'Riley and I could talk freely about the incident. Not only did we discuss the condition, but I also learned the answer toward my need for escort duty.

Knowing my Cheyenne heritage and the way I felt toward Chivington and the Salt Creek massacre had satisfied Nick to give me the escort duty while Bridger scouted for another crusade leaving the next day.

700 men led by Colonel Carrington for the Big Horn country was to occupy another fort beyond Fort Reno found on the Powder River.

Increased things were coming together. I could only imagine the look and his facial expression when Red Cloud learned the happenings.

The touching of the pen when signing the treaty promising to keep the white man out of the Black Hills, the vain swelling words of peace was more of the white man's lies.

I led the way onward with intentions of making camp near the dell where I had seen the abundance of wildflowers.
After noticing the mother deer and fawns, I knew there was much peaceful wildlife. A small steam of cool spring water flowing down a hillside offered a good drink and would serve purpose for the people.

I sat awhile enjoying the peaceful settings as nature had offered one of her best portraits of serenity.

Later, I rode back to the group and described the location to O'Riley while suggesting we make camp near the wooded area.

This would shield the people from much of the northern wind blowing down out of the hills.

Hours later, peace was enhanced by seeing flickering campfires for a mile.

Only feet away from Molly; I lay listening to the drums and women chanting songs of gladness while the men danced a movement of honor toward the Great Spirit.

As we rested the peaceful night, many miles north of our present location, Jim Bridger also rested with his group and despite the odds of battling hostiles, the fort commander along with several white families were also there.

Their purpose was to occupy Fort Phil Kearney an isolated defense found on the fork of the little and big Piney Creek near Montana. They were to relieve those who had tolerated the cold Canadian whiteouts and fear from an unorthodox enemy.

Among them were the galvanized troops who were ready to smell Magnolia blossoms and hear the song Dixie played anyway they could. They were completing an old saying," You can take the dog out of the fight, but never the fight out of the dog."

It was in the wee hours before the singing ceased and the drums quit beating. I had just drifted to sleep when awakened by a Cheyenne whispering voice calling my name.

It was Two Moons, a young man I remembered talking with when visiting Ma Toosh on the Platte. He spoke low, "J B, Spotted Tail and several warriors are waiting near the hills."

Before I could rise from my position, the lad had disappeared into the darkness.

At breakfast, I shared the information with O'Riley and within minutes every soldier knew.

Spotted Tail and I knew each other from when I was about the same age as Two Moons. His name was not always Spotted Tail but adopted the idea from a striped raccoon pelt given to him by a friend of my French father.

Although we knew each other, the idea of my life being spared weighed in a balance. He was the Uncle of Crazy Horse but valued his own life and according to rumors he had semi abstained from hostilities.

Nick had once mention the man and how the Army were making plans to send him and a few others to Washington in hope of allowing gold seekers to mine the Black Hills.

As knowing this, I suspected he was one of very few chiefs who knew the white man's value toward the yellow substance, but also, of me, I was a hypocrite and a turncoat to my people.

Into the morning Molly and I traveled at a slow pace in sight of where it was said Spotted Tail would be. I rode openly and when reaching the place, I had Molly to do a curtsy as a stage performer would.

The intentions were to draw him into an opening, and it worked. In seconds, a magnificent full blanket Appaloosa appeared just yards away fully dressed in his battle apparel as Spotted Tail sat staring at me.

Author Notes The Black Hills land claim is an ongoing land dispute between Native Americans from the Sioux Nation and the United States government. The land in question was pledged to the Sioux Nation in the Fort Laramie Treaty of April 29, 1868, but effectively nullified without the Nation's consent in the Indian Appropriations Bill of 1876. That bill ¢??denied the Sioux all further appropriation and treaty-guaranteed annuities¢?? until they gave up the Black Hills.[1] A Supreme Court case was ruled in favor of the Sioux in 1980. The Sioux have outstanding issues with the ruling and have not collected the funds. As of 2011, the award was worth over $1 billion.[2]

in 1875, Spotted Tail was among the Sioux chiefs appointed by U.S. officials to negotiate the sale of the Black Hills following George Armstrong Custer's expedition there a year earlier.


Chapter 33
Part One - The enemy waits

By Ben Colder

Into the morning Molly and I traveled at a slow pace in sight of where it was said Spotted Tail would be. I rode openly and when reaching the place, I had Molly to do a curtsy much like a stage performer.

The intentions were to draw him into an opening, and it worked. In seconds, a magnificent full blanket Appaloosa appeared just yards away. Fully dressed in his battle apparel, Spotted Tail sat staring.

He raised his war lance and pointed toward the clear blue sky while speaking, "J B why you scout for Army? Why you make the Cheyenne and my people go to white man's reservation, no good. Like white man's jail but no Iron windows."

I was moved by his comment. I answered his question with knowing he had spent two years in prison for something he was not guilty of.

For the sake of punishment toward the tribes, he had pleaded guilty for attacking a military detachment.

I answered the man with a question, "Why did Spotted Tail go to white man's prison for something he did not do?"

"J B we go sit by trees; we talk."

I responded, "Tell your warriors not to attack the soldiers, then we talk."

Like a wild dog, it only took two sharp yelps and the waving of his war lance to make it happen.

I guided Molly to a large Elm and dismounted still holding on to the bridle. Neither of us trusted each other as I suspected he had been intimidated into leading a war party against O'Riley and the others.

Rumors were he and Red Cloud had resentment toward each other. As we sat on a blanket beneath the tree, I asked if he was going to accept the Army's offer of taking him to Washington to meet the great white chief.

This was one time I was glad I paid attention when Nick tried lecturing me on current events.

The surprisingly expression on his face quickly answered my question. I suspected it had to do with allowing gold mining in the Black Hills, but I was not certain.

I remarked, "I hear you and Red Cloud are at odds with each other? He does not want people on sacred ground, and maybe Spotted Tail no care?"

The man was silent and sat staring into space. He quickly rose while saying, "We go now J B, no attack soldiers. Let people grow corn. Good, maybe not."

I watched as a young brave took the blanket and draped it over his pony. I guided Molly back to our movement and informed O'Riley about everything.

I could tell the man was relieved from worry as he remarked," J B, if I had a gallon of whiskey we would all celebrate, but being it would be impossible, the next time we are at the fort, the drinks are on me."

It was high noon when we reached an area where we could eat while enjoying shade from out the hot blistering sun. The light breeze sometimes felt was warm but nothing compared to the coolness we had the previous day.

We were still a two-day journey from our destiny and if things could stay peaceful, I would complete my obligation and be back at Julesburg within a week.

I only imagine Lottie and the boy being occupied with various duties at the boarding house and if things went well then, I was willing to settle down and try to be a father to the boy.

It was late evening when noticing the uneasiness had vanished. The little talk with Spotted Tail had opened my eyes to something I had suspected.
Surmising the man had agreed to visit Washington had something to do with allowing gold to be mined in the Black Hills without reprisal, but if so, he could only speak for himself but not Red Cloud.

Red Cloud was a man of real honor with high regards toward his heritage and I doubted the man would ever be talked into going to Washington especially, and let people enter the Black Hills and hunt for gold.

For almost a year, Red Cloud had led more than 3000 warriors from several tribes including my mother's people against the Army and white settlers.

They had ambushed and killed what they called intruders to the point the Army was having problems understanding the man's strategy.

I must admit the guy was something to be admired. Despite people like Spotted Tail and a few others who seemed to have much resentment toward him, Red Cloud had managed to keep his warriors organized however, the Crow, Pawnee, and others were hidden in the shadow of the happenings. In my opinion, they were like buzzards who sit and waited to glean all the battle fragments.

As I rode onward, I wished to clear my mind of things especially thoughts of distrust. I was aware of the treaty signed two months ago at Fort Laramie granting the Sioux all the surrounding including the Black Hills as the land of the Sioux Nation, but deep down inside, I suspected sooner or later, the Army would change it to their favor.

The entire ordeal would be much like Nick had done to me. I was earning that extra sixty dollars he gave me at the boarding house, and the thought of him feeling bad for letting Old Dan die on his watch was another trap I had fallen into.

I rode much of the day before deciding to turn and go back to the group. I chose a place to camp near a small creek an area with good grazing and plenty of water for cooking.

The place brought memories of when my mother's people would camp for weeks and hunting parties went forth and kept the tribe stocked with food.

A day when Norman and I were boys and irritated the women until they fed us and then made us leave.

It was also the place when in hot August six years ago where I ended a month of tracking for Army Col. Sibley and his troops.

Several Sioux warriors had left a reservation in Minnesota and went on a killing spree. At the time I was in my late thirties and void of understanding, but I had no guilt. They had hacked and slaughtered hundreds of white settlers causing thirty thousand people to leave their homes in seven Minnesota counties.

late July, 1868, JULESBURG COLORADO.

After two raids from Spotted Tail and his nephew Crazy Horse, the town of Julesburg Colorado was now rebuilding structures and with an ardent desire to prosper.

John Lund was in process of starting a newspaper and Lottie had agreed to help.

Little Norm went on his first job selling papers for 2 cents and starting his first saving account. No longer did she sit thinking of the past or worrying about J B, she was occupied from early morning until almost dusk.

German immigrant, Otto Schultz had opened the first late hour diner where she and John often dined.
In their conversations, occasionally J B would surface but it was normally about secondhand news or what the paper would print the following day.

Sioux Chief Red Cloud was becoming a permanent type set and appeared much in vast articles concerning tittle-tattle reports.

More than a hundred miles away, at the special place I had selected for the night, nature presented pleasantness.

An earlier rain shower high in mountains sent a touch of freshness causing a slight chill in the air.

I hobbled Molly and tied her to a low hanging tree branch and allowed enough freedom for her to nibble at the tender shoots of grass growing just feet away.

It was obvious the people were tired as many campfires were seen but not drums or singing could be heard.



Author Notes : Get read for a twist of things and prepare for some tough drama.


Chapter 34
Continue - The enemy waits

By Ben Colder

Notice:
The photo is a Crow War chief.
According to Crow tradition, a man must fulfill certain requirements to become chief of the tribe: command a war party successfully, enter an enemy camp at night and steal a horse, wrestle a weapon away from his enemy and touch the first enemy fallen, without killing him.

NOW WE ENTER A JOURNEY SOME MAY FIND DISTURBING.

The story;

More than a hundred miles away, at the special place JB had selected for the night, nature presented its appeal. An earlier rain shower in the high mountains sent a touch of freshness causing a slight chill in the air.

I hobbled Molly and tied her to a low hanging tree branch and allowed enough freedom for her to nibble at the young tender grass growing just feet away.

In the wee hours near dawn, I was awaken by Molly acting jittery and stomping her hooves as though some wild animal was near.

I quickly ascended and slipped on my high-top moccasins to see to the matter when I felt a sharp pain in my left thigh and fell to the ground. I tried getting up when I felt another deep burning pain in my right side.


I could hear screams and gun shots and realized we were being attacked but there was nothing I could do.
Somewhere between hearing the rapid shooting and war cries, I lost awareness.

It was two days or more before I slowly opened my eyes and detected a rotting smell. It was like miles away, but I could hear chanting and something rattling near my ear as a witch doctor sang in a high pitch voice.

Slowly things began making sense. I was really in the presence of a Crow tribal witch- doctor and a woman who kept bathing my face with what I was smelling.

I argued with self about death and surmised I was dead and being punished or being prepared to enter the great hunting grounds my mother often spoke of.

I lay listening to the chanting and tried to move but an excruciating pain shot through my side almost causing me to vomit.

I was aware I still had my beard but reached to see if I had my hair. Sliding my hand downward toward the painful area, I discovered I was nude as the day of my birth.

Every weird thought a man could ever have was quickly substituted with questions about the people and if O'Riley and his men were alive.

Much like other tribes, the Crow when torching their victims relished the idea of mutilation.

Propped against the wall of where I lay beneath several furs, fresh human scalps dangled on a war lance. Its markings revealed I was inside a tepee which occupied someone wishing to be a war chief.

Later, I was alone and despite the pain, I tried moving about though visibility was poor. I scanned the area with hope of finding my clothes but to no avail.

I made it back to the bed and covered myself and lay pondering the moment when the tent flap pulled back and in walked my host, a painted warrior who stood wordless staring in my direction as I lay still as a tree frog.

He never lingered and quickly left but moments afterwards, a young female I considered to be in her teens prepared a liquid substance for my wounds.

It never mattered if I was naked or not; she was to wash my body and nurse me to health.

I had been fortunate; a bullet had passed through my body and never destroyed any vitals. Another bullet chipped my left femur which would temporally hinder the ability to walk.
Meanwhile:



At Julesburg, a week later, news of the happening finally arrived. The report was the reservation movement was ambushed and all the soldiers were killed including the scout.

John Lund tried shielding the news from Lottie and gave her and the boy a few days off to spend time together and doing things they liked.

During the evening meal at the boarding house, Lottie and little Norm sat listening to a man who had arrived from Fort Laramie. He made no excuses for being blunt toward his hatred for the Indians.

He voiced, "Yes sir, they need to kill every blood thirsty savage that draws a breath in this world. Turned against their own, they did.

At Fort Laramie they are saying the Sioux killed more than half of those who were being moved to a reservation and to top it all, every soldier including the scout were also killed in the ruckus."

Little Norm sat quietly staring at his mother as Lottie excused their presence. She whispered, "Come on son, let's go to our room."

Inside, they sat quietly trying to dismiss the man's words. Neither wished to believe the tale, but understanding the times and the many current events, it was hard to consider otherwise.

Little Norm asked, "Mother, do Thee believe him?"

Trying not to show concern, Lottie acted as though she was absorbed reading the previous weeks paper and mumbled, "Believe who?"

"That man!"

"What man?"

"Thee know, the man speaking about the Indians. Do thee think Mr. J.B. was the scout he was speaking of?"

Not knowing how to really answer the boy, she spoke, "Mr. J B is too smart to let things like that happen. It is thy bedtime, so let us not speak of such. We will have a big day come tomorrow, so get ready for bed."






Author Notes I have been asked to start a series and I am considering the task.
What say you?


Chapter 35
Part 1-Trophy

By Ben Colder

"The end of the previous post."


"What man?"

"Thee know, the man speaking about the Indians. Do thee think Mr. J B is the scout he was speaking of?"

Not knowing how to really answer the boy, she spoke, "Mr. J B is too smart to let things like that happen. It is thy bedtime, so let us not speak of such. We will have a big day come tomorrow, so get ready for bed."


"New Post."

More than a hundred- and fifty-miles true north and at the base of a mountain range, I lay injured but improving.

My surrounding were totally engulfed in the presence of the Cheyenne's worse enemy.

Amitola (Rainbow) the young woman who cared for my health, she and I was slowly becoming friends.

One evening, just as she was departing, I asked if any soldiers were still living and if I was the only one who had survived.

She never lingered but when leaving, she turned and spoke my captor's name.

It was a restless night and at dawn I finally met my captor face to face without his war paint. A much younger person than I suspected but, meaner than a pit viper. His motive, to be the chief of all the Apsaalooke, (The Crow.)

As a Cheyenne half- breed and knowing many tribal customs, the man no doubt relished the idea of keeping me alive as a trophy. Something, he could present as power and control over the enemy.


Since the happening, I suspected many days had turned into weeks. I stopped thinking about O'Riley and his men when seeing the many scalps dangling from several war lances.

Perhaps a touch of concern or maybe expecting a miracle, but at times, I found myself hoping not to see red hair.

Though a prisoner, the man had made a crutch from the fork of a hard-wood tree and patted the arm pit with fur from a rabbit.

I must say, despite the discomfort of trying to walk, the aid was immensely helpful.

The man knew my name and who I was and no doubt I would experience something incredibly special.

Thoughts toward Lottie and the boy at times would build a greater desire to escape but I had no idea who had my horse.

Security was tight and I was never allowed to stray but only under guard, and not more than a hundred yards from the dwelling..

One morning as the young nurse entered the dwelling to care for my wounds, I could hear a commotion of something unusual happening. It sounded as if it was close to the dwelling.

As Rainbow prepared the medicine, I brushed her aside and hobbled to see to the matter. The reality of questioning the fate of O'Riley and others stood now evermore present.

With their heads covered with deer skin hoods, and with only small holes for breathing; four poor souls awaited their fate.

Noticing warriors wearing military attire, I considered the victims to be O'Riley and his soldiers. I felt totally helpless toward doing anything.

To the captors, it was a game, to the participants, it meant a slow death.









Author Notes The Native American Crow Tribe, known in their Siouan language as Apsalooke, lived around the Yellowstone River.
The river which stretches from modern-day Wyoming through Montana and into North Dakota, where it joins the Missouri River.


Chapter 36
Continue -Trophy

By Ben Colder

Previous Post:

Noticing warriors wearing military attire, I considered the victims to be O'Riley and his soldiers. I felt helpless toward doing anything.

To the captors, it was a game, to the participants, it meant a slow death.




New Post:

To many, the event was nothing more than a sporting challenge toward life. The men were bound in an uncomfortable position and powerless to guide their animals wherever the beast wished to go.

I watched as a rider struggled to escape his present position and after seeing the sun' reflection revealing reddish body hair; I assume it to be O'Riley.

As the man continued struggling, the beast suddenly stopped and almost threw the rider to the ground. Every tribal member burst with laughter with hope of making it happen again.

I had seen all I cared and turned to go back inside when I was forced to continue to watch.

The area of the event changed into thorny bushes with only a small path for the animal to trot through and impossible for the rider not to feel the thorns ripping into his nude flesh.

This happening went on until minutes before dusk as each rider was removed off their beast and the hoods removed as well.

From my position, I could see O'Riley standing with his unclothed body bleeding from the thorns.

Later, two mules were killed and butchered and then prepared over an open fire. I could hear a warrior shout to the captives and in broken English he growled not to speak to each other.

They remained quiet while eating the charred meat as O'Riley tried focusing on my position.

With his head covered for so many hours, I suspected the man could not see me, but he chanced shouting, "J B, my friend, if that's you, for God's sake, try and get us out of this."

As my captor stood close by, I could not answer, but watched a young brave snatch away his meal and feed it to a camp dog.

Though feeling an excruciating pain in the lower part of my body, I managed to position the crutch under my arm and tried hobbling away into the dwelling.

My captor never said a word but stood watching as I went inside. I made it to where I had been resting and within minutes, the flap pulled back and in came my captor and for the first time, the man spoke his name in the French language. He was Bull Chief, "gens du corbeaux," people of the Crow.

I had not forgotten much of my French language and knew the man took pride in what he thought to be right for his people.

We were among many of his enemies and in his way of thinking, I was twice the culprit.

He hated the Cheyenne and the white man, but had great respect for the French fur trappers whom some had married into the tribes.

My only hope lay within his knowing I was of French descendant and I waited for a chance to speak using the language, but due to a ruckus outside, the opportunity never came.


Julesburg Colorado


The newspaper office had just opened for business when Lottie and her son entered for their first day of work since their time off.

John Lund had hired an older woman who had worked in Boston and familiar with printing and how to help fix things when needed.

John introduced the woman as Claudette Morgan of the late Spencer Morgan who was killed in one of Crazy Horse's episodes when traveling westward. The greeting was cordial as Lottie went to her workplace.

Claudette was an attractive forty-two years of age woman with copper tone hair and a touch of grey.

She appeared to be a strong willed person though struggling with deep hurt toward losing her husband and son to a cruel death.

John was slow toward the idea of giving Lottie the telegram from Major O'Brien and thought to invite both women to lunch at Otto's diner.

There, during the meal his plans were to somehow find a way to prepare Lottie for the news about J B.

His hope was Claudette could share strength toward the situation.

For the first time in his life, John Lund was falling in love. Lottie was slowly filling an emptiness and his only weakness toward proposing marriage would be her reactions toward O'Brien's message.





Author Notes The mule riding event is created from true events. Ref- pg 254 (Captured by the Indians) Names are changed to protect the innocent.


Chapter 37
Continue - Trophy

By Ben Colder

Previous Post

John was slow toward the idea of giving Lottie the telegram from Major O'Brien and thought to invite both women to lunch at Otto's diner.

There, during the meal his plans were to somehow find a way to prepare Lottie for the news about J B.

His hope was Claudette could share strength toward the situation.

For the first time in his life, John Lund was falling in love. Lottie was slowly filling an emptiness and his only weakness toward proposing marriage would be her reactions toward O'Brien's message.

New Post:

(At the Crow Indian Village)



There had been an exciting day for most of the tribe. The nude prisoners riding stubborn animals through torching thorns and not able to shoo away flies from their bleeding bodies seemed satisfying to some.

An uproar heard close to the dwelling sent my host running outside.

A ceremonial dance was starting and the old Witch Doctor who chanted the first day of my awakening was now singing and chanting unmerciful cries toward his Rain God.

If the old man had connections with a higher power or not would be something to consider, but into the night a downpour came washing several lodges away including the one I was staying in.

It was all I could do to stand and having to move to higher ground with nothing but streaks of lightening to show the way, I found myself like several others who wished to rid the old guy from the planet.

When finally reaching the place to set up new lodging, at daylight, I was amazed to see the previous area had completely washed away and taking much of the mountain with it.

I had no idea where any of the other captives were and surmised they were considered baggage and was eliminated, but before the morning got under way, several braves came riding up the grade with their nude captives being dragged behind.

O'Riley nor any of his men could see me from where I stood watching. I wanted so badly to help the man, but my life was in jeopardy as well. Nobody knew what the warriors had in mind, but I suspected it would end with death.

Though she was not allowed to speak to me or any captives, I was glad to see my nurse, Amitola.

She and three other women were busy erecting a new lodge while I sat on a log just dry enough to be comfortable. My body hurt all over as I sat listening to several young warriors laughing and no doubt ready to put their captives through another torching event.

I considered myself fortunate having the ability to converse in French with my captor and I hoped for an opportunity to speak for myself and the others toward gaining our freedom.

I had nothing to offer in the way of trade, my horse and tack was already considered spoils of war and besides, the Crow had hundreds of horses and finding Molly would be like searching through tall grass in hope of finding a spent rifle cartridge.



JULESBURG COLORADO



Inside the Julesburg's weekly news office and after reading the telegram, Lottie Hamilton sat staring into space as though she was in a trance.

Little Norm stood near surmising the news was bad. He was hesitant before asking, "Mother, what's wrong?"

She had tuned out the boy and all of the cruel world she had come to know while John focused his conversations on Claudette and at times, out the corner of his eye, he would glance at her.

Quietly, she rose from the chair and spoke low to little Norm. "Come on son, we're going back to our room."

John observed as she left the office. He walked to the front glass plate window and viewed as she and the boy crossed the road and went inside the boarding house.

Mrs. Fletcher was busy instructing the kitchen help toward the day's noon meal, but had noticed the two when they passed by the front desk.

Assuming they went to their room and after finishing her task she went immediately there and slightly knocked on the door.

Knowing normally they were at the newspaper office, she lowly asked through the door, "Lottie is everything alright?"

A soft response of answering," Yes, Mrs. Fletcher, we are well."

The woman slowly turned the doorknob and opened it to see Lottie lying across the bed sobbing.

Little Norm, lowly spoke, "I think it's sad news, but my mother is a strong person and we will be fine."

The proprietor backed out of the room reminding the noon meal would be on time and she expected to see their faces.

The boy was silent as the door closed leaving only the sound of weeping.

When failing to be present at the dinner table, Mrs. Fletcher sent their meals to the room. Rumors toward J B's death was apparent and most everyone seemed to have known except Lottie.



Back at the Crow Indian Village;


More than a hundred miles away and into the Black Mountain range, women of Bull Chief's tribe were busy erecting new lodges and clearing away underbrush.

Bull Chief himself, and the warriors were inside a newly constructed tribal lodge discussing the fate of their captives.
.

Author Notes The photo is the Black Mountains mentioned in this story.


Chapter 38
Continue - Part two- Trophy.

By Ben Colder

Previous Post;


The woman slowly turned the doorknob and opened it to see Lottie lying across the bed sobbing.

Little Norm, lowly spoke, "I think it's sad news, but my mother is a strong person and we will be fine."

The proprietor backed out of the room reminding the noon meal would be on time and she expected to see their faces.
The boy was silent as the door closed leaving only the sound of weeping.

When not present at the dinner table, Mrs. Fletcher sent their meals to the room. Rumors toward J B's death was clear and most everyone seemed to have known except Lottie.




Meanwhile, at the Crow Indian Village.


More than a hundred miles away and into the Black Mountain range, women of Bull Chief's tribe were busy erecting new lodges and clearing away scrub.

The warriors were at council in a new constructed lodge discussing the fate of the captives.

New Post;


I was slowly improving but unable to walk far without the aid of my crutch. My young nurse was obedient toward her duties and I sometimes saw a trace of compassion but never when my captors were near.

I wanted much to reverse the situation in hope to win a spark of friendship but to no avail. She was all duty bound of washing and cleaning my wounds and then treating them with the old witch doctors' stinking concoctions.

The ingredient, I had no idea, but it worked and day by day I seemed to be gaining strength to walk further without the support.

Much time had passed since I had heard or seen the other captives, but then one morning just after sunrise, my attention drew to the sound of warriors raising their voices with exciting yelps as though attending a sporting event.

It was obvious something of interest was happening as one of my tent guards left to see the ruckus leaving only one guard.
I was in luck; he was young and somewhat of a misfit but wise enough to do his duty.

I tried speaking to him in French, but he continued standing near the flap with no reply.

I eased back inside to my bed trying to understand what the excitement was all about. I ran my hand through my long abundance of hair but glad it was shorter than my host.

The crow was much like the Sioux in some regards about long hair. It was clear my captor was proud of his and the fact it almost touched the ground.

My mother called them the bird people and most always had some dead bird or symbolic image in their dress. She claimed her people relished raiding their camps to steal tobacco.

I considered it much like a transaction, while one stole horses, the other would steal tobacco. It would be hard to find much fault because every tribe I knew of were marauders.

I could still hear the echoes from exciting voices as I imagined O'Riley and the others were entertaining the tribe with life competing performances. I could only hope the ending was swift.

The Crow had a law concerning winning a person's freedom. In a circle the event would happen with a long skin rope tied around the captive's neck while being staked to the ground and allowing only several feet of freedom for the captive to cut his opponent.

The event sent two warriors at various times to quickly leap before the captive to the other side of the circle without being cut. If both warriors could do so, then they could kill the captive and take his scalp.

The idea of a captive winning was slim,but Jim Bridger had beaten the odds when he was younger.

Knowing this for certain gave me hope for the guys but the quietness and then a war cry brought much doubt.

My situation prevented the ability of seeing the happening or really knowing the consequence and I could only hope for the best.

Early the next morning before dawn I could hear several voices. I suspected the tribe were getting ready to pull down the tents and move to another place.

Later when my nurse arrived, she seemed to be all smiles about something and again I tried communicating.

During her routine of bathing my wounds she placed her hands to her head and symbolized horns while jabbering something I too was glad to hear. Buffalo, thousands of Buffalo were in the valley eating and storing much protein for the approaching winter.

It would be a change of diet from horse meat and prairie dog.

I could feel a coolness in the atmosphere and suspected winter was not far away. At times I would see various places thinking we were somewhere in the Wind River basin, but the change of location quickly erased the idea. We were much higher as I suspected we were now near the Yellowstone River country, an area I had trapped prior years.

The change of weather and the healing of my wounds placed my thinking to perhaps it was the month of October or maybe early November and if so, it would be common to expect a heavy snow.


Meanwhile at Julesburg Colorado;




Weeks had slowly slipped away since Lottie received notice of J B's alleged death. Though she and the boy worked each day at the newspaper office, she at the type set and the boy selling papers, John Lund was still hesitant toward asking her to marry him.

Though living a bachelor's life and dating eastern society ladies, John was a good judge of character. He never wished to be assertive and would allow more time before asking.

With his handsome appearance and a solid financial background many women would cherish the opportunity,but his desire was for a former Quaker girl and now a widow with a son.

As John made secret plans for him and Lottie, she too was making plans for her and the boy.


Author Notes Notice: I know occasionally a misspelled word appears or spags as it is called, but they can be fixed easily.
What I am really looking for is depth, balance, high and low points of interest and if it has the flow of interest. Many of you express the interest of cliff hangers and to me, it is a good thing. Helps with continuation.
I do appreciate each of your reviews but as mentioned really helps.


Chapter 39
Continue- Part 2 -Trophy

By Ben Colder

Previous Post;


Weeks had slowly slipped away since Lottie received notice of J B's alleged death. Though she and the boy worked each day at the newspaper office, Lottie, at the type set, and the boy selling papers, John Lund was still hesitant toward asking her to marry him.

Though living a bachelor's life and dating eastern society ladies, John was a good judge of character. He never wished to be assertive and would allow more time before asking.

His handsome appearance and a solid financial background would entice many women, but his desire was Lottie, a former Quaker girl and now a widow with a son.

As John made secret plans for him and Lottie, she too was making plans for her and the boy.

New Post;
Mrs. Fletcher was being more than a proprietor of a boarding house. It was her sternness and disbelief toward the death of J B which offered Lottie the strength she needed.

The construction of a new building next door to the boarding house was completed and the owner had just placed a for rent sign in the window as Lottie passed by.

The owner, Mr. James C, Grimes approached Lottie of buying an ad in the paper advertising the opening.

At first, she was coy and then asked concerning the rent and if he thought the place would be suitable for making dresses and men's clothing.

Grimes smiled surmising she wished it for herself and quoted a small amount. He spoke, "You can rent the place for 5 dollars a month providing I get a new suit out of the deal."

She replied, "I will pay you six months in advance, but you must wait until I get things I need before measuring you for a nice fit"

Grimes was well acquainted with Lottie's grief. "Take all the time you need and if you need assistance with getting set up, then some of my workers will come and help you."

Working in the newspaper office and learning about society changes, the eastern women's dress code was fascinating. John Lund's former employer a news syndicate kept Lottie informed with dress patterns and sometimes changes in men's apparel.

The idea of having her own business and not having to depend on working for someone else offered a challenge.

Little Norm could remain selling papers while she worked across the road and keeping him in view. It was all too perfect and if things such as the new singer sewing machine could arrive as well as material from St Louis, "The New Look Clothing store," would be in business before Christmas.

Further north into the Yellowstone River Basin.


In the Yellowstone River valley, more than two thousand bison roamed in vast herds with some grazing the riverbank and then would aimlessly make their way toward an area of several hot watering pools.

It was there the warriors would sneak close in the tall grass and kill their prey.

On the second day, just as it began snowing, I accompanied my host during a time when the women skinned the animals and prepared the meat into easy transporting sizes.

Day by day, I was gaining strength with more ability enough to walk further without the aide.

Though I used it as to reveal my need, I wanted my captors to think it was a necessity. It was apparent I was my captor's crown, but it kept me alive with hope of escaping.

Many days had slowly slipped away since hearing the excitement of the game of life. The results of the contest were kept from me and I found myself looking for a red scalp on several war lances.

Although It was obvious, the idea was a trial to see if I had strength enough to escape, my captor sent two young braves for my assistance toward grooming his horses.

When we approached a small snow-covered dell, several shaggy looking mounts pawed their way into the light snow covered area looking for grass.

I scanned the herd hoping to see Molly but to no avail. I took a chance and whistled hoping she may come, but I was quickly knocked to the ground by one of the braves.

My grooming chore was over quicker than the moment it started. The fall sent a sharp pain to my wounded thigh informing I was yet too weak for escaping.

Beyond my knowledge at the time the Sioux war parties were raiding throughout the lower region causing Fort Laramie to receive more and more troops, but Red Cloud was also getting reinforcements as well.

Many of the friendlies I was escorting to the reservation during the attack had scattered through the hills including my mother's people and were now part of Red Cloud's army.

The few who escaped the occurrence had managed their way back to Fort Laramie with the report of all the soldiers were killed or taken prisoner including myself.

This had prompted O'Brien to do as I had requested concerning Lottie, but he having disbelieved sent it anyway.









Author Notes J B knows his chances for escaping are slim until his body mends with strength to survive the winter and the deep snowy terrain.


Chapter 40
Part One- The escape

By Ben Colder

Previous Post;

Beyond my knowledge at the time the Sioux war parties were raiding throughout the lower region causing Fort Laramie to receive increased troops, but Red Cloud was also getting reinforcements as well.

Many of the friendlies I was escorting to the reservation during the attack had scattered through the hills including my mother's people and were now part of Red Cloud's army.

The few who had escaped the occurrence had managed their way back to Fort Laramie with the report all the soldiers were killed or taken prisoner including myself. This prompted O'Brien to do as I had requested concerning Lottie, but having disbelieve, he sent it anyway.

New Post;

At the time, Sioux Chief Red Cloud was gaining popularity causing wildly emotional and exaggerated reactions among white settlers including some of the tribes.

The Pawnee and my captors feared the man the most. In the past he had built a reputation among all the tribes as having superiority by sending many Pawnees and the Crow tribe to their happy hunting grounds. Just mentioning Red Clouds' name in front of my captors had the undivided attention.

Though I had never met the man but once as a boy. I was told we were about the same age and in a brighter sense, I hoped someday my captor and he would meet face to face.

Nevertheless, my host had nothing to do with it; my best friend Norman Hamilton, (Lottie's husband) was killed by the Crow tribe which caused me to have less concern for any of them.

It was the vast herds of buffalo which brought the Cheyenne and Sioux hunting parties to the Yellowstone River basin.

Early one morning during a heavy falling snow a young warrior came riding into the camp yelling the Sioux were in the area. My host quickly dressed and painted his war face while screaming to the others to do the same.

It was a break I was hoping for. As the others prepared for battle, my host returned to where I sat leaning against my crutch. He never said a word but stood staring with his repulsive looking face as to say he would be back to reclaim his authority.

It was later in the day when my nurse came to do what she normally did each morning. The excitement of a battle between the Sioux and the Crow had everything in the state of disarray.

I tried once again to carry a conversation with the nurse but as always, she ignored the idea however, I could tell she had deep concern toward the happenings.

With most of the warriors gone to challenge their opponents, the camp was left with mostly women and old men and only a few braves not old enough to become warriors.

The two young men who stood on guard at the tent entrance were prone to speak often to each other with chuckling voices. I suspected they were joking about me or other things they considered humor.

Inside the dwelling, I sat near the fire and at times would go outside to the wood pile and brush away the snow and try bringing more wood than I could manage.

The tent guard watched and made no effort to help which caused me to drop much of the load. He scoffed at the idea but held the flap back to enter.

While at the wood pile, I had noticed the warriors had taken most of the swift riding mounts and leaving a few older ponies and two mules branded U. S. Army.

It was then, I made plans to escape taking both mules. The unfaithful terrain I wished to travel no doubt would have deep snow drifts only the mules could successfully travel.

Late evening and during freezing winds my tent guard left his post to find shelter inside another dwelling. I laid aside the crutch and gathered as many fur skins as possible. I created a makeshift carrying bag within the bundle of furs.

The flint stones and other elements used to create fire I especially made sure to take.

I reached the area where the mules stood shivering in the cold winds and UN-hobbled them. Without anyone suspecting, I warmly led them away into the dense forest.


Julesburg Colorado.
The snow had stopped falling in Julesburg and people from every occupation scrambled into stores buying various principal items they felt would last though a harsh winter.

By early December, every shelf inside the general store was bare. The spring and summer shipments of food and building supplies were either sold or stored away inside a recent built warehouse near the entrance of town.

Every merchant was anxious for their deliveries, but between nature and the on-going hostile events with Red Cloud and others, the odds of receiving anything before spring was unsure.

The Singer sewing machine company had shipped its order and the other needed items such as special clothing material for making men's apparel were also delayed to an uncertainty.

As the hostility between the tribes and eastern white culture upgraded into a full scale war, Washington was sending experience leaders and thousands of enlistees to either kill the Indians or restrain them to a reservation.

The former General Grant who received Southern General Robert E Lee's surrender now was President of the United States who had inherited a broke nation.

His goal was, no matter the treaty; mine the gold out of the Black Hills so we can once again have wealth and prosperity.

Early one morning as nature continued distributing her white moisture throughout the region, little Norman Hamilton distributed the local newspaper to all the merchants and his private customers.

Because of the things needed to get her business started, Lottie continued working for John Lund until she could get things in order.

John had no problem with the plan and despite losing her to a business of her own, he was always trying to encourage the fact by showing her various new styles of women clothing worn by the elite.

She was fascinated with innovative ideas and John would spend much time scanning the new catalogs with various advertisements.

Lost in a world of excitement and toward having her own business, she wished to create something new for the ladies and had gently erased the worries toward J B.

She spoke, "John, have thee notice the length of ladies' clothing and how the skirts touch the ground? This would never do out here in all this dirt. Mr. Wong's Chinese laundry would need to charge double when cleaning them."

John gaped. "Well, I have never noticed or even had an interest in such, but it is obvious you have, so what can you do about it?"

Lottie watched as Claudette pulled the drapes at the front plate glass window to shut out the cold whistling wind.

She smiled while speaking to herself. "That's it, an adjustable skirt."






Author Notes Most dresses and skirts hung straight down from the body in neoclassical fashion during the times.


Chapter 41
Continue , The escape

By Ben Colder

Previous:

As the cold whistling wind continued to howl, Lottie watched as Claudette pulled the drapes at the front plate glass window.

She smiled while speaking to herself. "That's it, an adjustable skirt."

New;

Meanwhile as Julesburg was getting a taste of one of the worse whiteouts in recent years; in the Yellowstone River basin I was trying to use my knees to guide a stubborn mule away from deep snowdrifts.

In a covered ravine just feet away, I knew a stream of water was probably there and I would need to break through the ice for me and the animals to drink.

I considered myself much like a rabbit acquainted with a brier patch as I searched for signs of awareness.

Three years prior, Ma-Toosh and I had trapped parts of the basin for beaver, but I was unfamiliar with the present location.

Almost a hundred yards away or more, I could see several trees near the edge of a cliff. There was an old hollowed hardwood protected from the cold winds by the others.

I guided the mule as the other followed. We stopped at the base of the tree and discovered the entrance was completely covered with snow.

Time and the freezing winds were unfriendly. The numbness in my feet and hands were alarming as I slid down off the mule.

One of the furs I had brought with me was a fox which I found useful to cover my hands as I removed the snow from the entrance.

At one time, the old tree had been exceptionally large, and no doubt endured nature's resentments. At the top and down its side exposed the results of maybe one or two lightning occurrences, eventually killing the poor thing.

At its base, the large fissure was perfect for the shelter I needed. I worked diligently removing the snow along with many broken branches. I was not concerned about my captors or if they were following, nature was hindering the idea.

The thick overcast and gusty freezing winds challenged but kept me a single-minded desire to once again to see Lottie and the boy.

Time was essential, but I managed to clean out the opening and found it rewarding. The dried debris was perfect for starting a fire.

By the time nightfall threatened, I had hobbled both animals near the entrance as I sat beneath several furs enjoying the warmth from the small fire.

The few pieces of charred meat I had brought with me was like chewing rawhide but a needed necessity.

For the first time since leaving the warmer environment, my feet and hands were responding toward normal and bringing with it, the recurring pain to my left wrist.

The much higher elevation would keep me enduring colder weather but for now, I was out of the bone chilling wind.

I knew game was plentiful in the lower region, the Elk and deer would be looking for grass however, I was without anything to kill the beast to sustain my hunger.

I made a staff out of a broken sapling and though it was semi-green, it was still strong enough to use as a club if needed.

After placing more wood on the fire, I tried relaxing to hear nights sounds and how owls hooted at each other. It had been a long time since I could rest my mind without fear of the unknown.
Meanwhile;

At Julesburg Colorado, looking at the latest catalog which featured modern ladies' apparel, wheels of innovation turned rapidly in the mind of Lottie Hamilton.

Silas Brooks, the general store owner gave permission for her to browse through his warehouse and see if she could find any material needed to start her project.

She dressed little Norm and herself to meet the chilly atmosphere and decided to take Brooks' offer.

The chilly wind almost knocked her to the ground as she took little Norm by the hand and proceeded walking down the wooden plank.

Before reaching the warehouse, a group of riders who called themselves the Colorado militia came riding down the half-frozen road stopping at the telegraph office.

After the Sand Creek Massacre hatred ran high toward all tribes, Colorado Governor Evans was forced to resign office and currently Governor Alexander Cummings now resided, but hatred for the tribes was still apparent.

Evans had left a mess. Bounties for killing the Indians was never lifted. Many called it open game for all tribes and even those who gave them comfort.











Author Notes Though appointed by President Lincoln, Governor Evans never recovered from allowing the Sand Creek Massacre to happen.


Chapter 42
Part 2- The escape

By Ben Colder

In some parts, this is a retake. I have changed much as the editor suggested. Please bare with me until I get it right.
This is a tough write with much research for this old man. LOL

Previous post:

Late evening and during freezing winds my tent guard left his post to find shelter inside another dwelling. I laid aside the crutch and gathered as many fur skins as possible. I created a makeshift carrying bag within the bundle. The flint stones and other elements used to create a fire I especially made sure to take.

I reached the area where the mules stood enduring the cold shivering winds. Without anyone suspecting, I removed the shackles from around their legs and led them away into the dense forest.

As I guided the animals into the uncertainty, I thought of Lottie and suspected the snow had stopped falling in Julesburg.

No doubt people would be scrambling into stores trying to buy principal items and hoping it lasted throughout the winter.

I knew by early December, every shelf inside the general store would be bare as any excess food or building supplies would either be promised or stored away inside a warehouse near the entrance of town.

I suspected every merchant would be anxious for their deliveries and I was certain both nature and Red Cloud would delay all shipments until spring.

Meanwhile, as the animals and I made our way through the dense snow-covered forest and beyond my knowledge, the former General Grant who received Southern General Robert E. Lee's surrender now was President of the United States.

The man had one goal in mind. No matter the treaty, get the gold out of the Black Hills at any cost.


Corrected and new post;

Miles away and while the town of Julesburg received the taste of one of the worse whiteouts in recent years; I was in the Yellowstone River basin trying to use my knees to guide a stubborn mule away from deep snowdrifts.

In a covered ravine just feet away, I knew a stream of water was there and I would need to break through the ice to drink.

I considered myself much like a rabbit acquainted with a brier patch as I searched for signs of awareness.

Three years prior, Ma-Toosh and I had trapped parts of the basin for beaver, but I was unfamiliar with the present location.

A hundred yards away or more I could see several trees near the edge of a cliff. There was an old hollowed hardwood protected from the cold winds by the others.

I guided the mule and the other followed. We stopped at the base of the tree and discovered the entrance was completely blocked with snow.

Time and the freezing winds were unfriendly. The numbness in my feet and hands were alarming as I slid down off the mule. One of the furs I had brought was a fox which I found useful to cover my hands as I removed the snow from the entrance.

At one time, the old tree had been exceptionally large, and no doubt endured nature's resentments. At the top and down its side exposed the results of one or two lightning occurrences, eventually killing the unfortunate thing.

At its base, the large gap was perfect for the shelter I needed. I worked diligently removing the snow along with many broken branches. I was not concerned about my captors or if they were following, nature hindered the idea.

The thick overcast and gusty freezing winds challenged but kept me a single-minded desire to once again to see Lottie and the boy.

Time was essential, but I managed to clean out the opening and found it rewarding. The dried debris was perfect for starting a fire.

By the time nightfall came, I had hobbled both animals near the entrance as I sat beneath several furs enjoying warmth from the small fire.

The few pieces of charred meat I had brought with me was like chewing skin but needed.

For the first time since leaving the warmer environment, my feet and hands were responding toward normal and bringing with it, the recurring pain to my left wrist.

Being higher in elevation kept me enduring colder weather but for now, I was out of the bone chilling wind.

I knew game was plentiful in the lower region, the Elk and deer would be looking for grass however, I was without anything to kill the beast and sustain my hunger.

I made a staff out of a broken sapling and thought it was green enough to be useful.

After placing more wood on the fire, I tried relaxing to hear nights sounds and how owls hooted at each other. It had been a long time since I could rest my mind without fear of the unknown.

I allowed my thoughts to drift toward Lottie and not knowing she sat looking at the latest catalog which featured modern ladies' apparel.

Silas Brooks, the general store owner had given permission for her to browse through his warehouse to see if she could find any material needed to start a project.

At the time, beyond my knowledge, Lottie was determined to make a life for the boy and herself by using a talent she could easily do.

I drifted to sleep while thinking about her strong willpower and how she had shown wisdom the day we discovered the burnt ruins. I suppose it was her acceptance of things to be nothing more than a dream which I admired most about her.

I was enjoying deep thoughts toward her and the boy while drifting in and out of sleep, but in the early hours everything seemed to vanish. The mules were acting nervous and wanting to break free from their predicaments.

I threw more wood on the fire as to give a brighter light to see to the matter. I suspected a predator was near.

I managed to settle the animals for a few minutes when a blood curling scream sounded just yards away.
I had nothing but my staff and a sharp piece of flint rock I had used to help start the fire. I brought both mules in closer to the entrance.

I was glad to have enhanced the fire with more wood and was ready to face the big cougar.

Using one of my hands to block glare from the flames and the other waving a fiery stick, the big cat stayed at bay.

Perhaps it was weakness in the leather used for hobbling the animals or maybe it was stretched beyond its worth however, it took only one yank and the mule ran away into the darkness.

As dawn appeared, nature seemed to be on my side for a change. The overcast had turned into a clear blue sky without a trace of clouds.

Near the fire, I sat raking my hand through my hair wondering what I should do next. I suspected the runaway mule was breakfast to either the big cat or the pack of wolves I had heard howling during the night, but no matter, it was for certain I needed to move from my present location.

I gathered all the furs along with some dried tinder and tied it down on the remaining mule's back. My walking ability seemed fine as long as I had my staff.

I knew it would be a slow go, but I needed to come down off the mountain and find my way through the valley. I was in hope it would lead me to something familiar.

Through rigid and snowy terrain, the mule and I eased from the mountain and at times I would step inside a low place and finding myself in belly deep snow. I had become dependent on a makeshift rope tied around the animal's neck.


Author Notes After speaking with several of you. the back and forth seems to draw confusing thoughts so I have updated the task into staying the course of telling a story the best I can. I hope you like it.
No matter the rating, your opinion does matter.


Chapter 43
Continue =Part two- The Escape.

By Ben Colder

New Post:

On into an area just yards away from a thick Juniper grove, a few large cottonwoods stood side by side creating an ideal place to make camp. They were on my side of the frozen branch.

Depending upon years of experience and trapping while learning much about nature, I knew I was traveling south west and if I could manage to get across then I could turn further south and find the Laramie River or at least something I might recognize.

The brisk wind continued blowing from true north, but it was not much of a bother. The trial rested before me of crossing the frozen creek.

I walked with no problem suspecting I could make it to the other side, but I was not sure about the weight of the mule.

Thinking to take a chance by removing the bundles and carrying them myself. I proceeded only few feet when detecting I was lying on my back looking upward toward the blue sky.

The ice was strong enough but standing or walking on the substance would be something to consider.

I returned with the furs unharmed and led the critter up the bank where we soon stopped to rest for a while.

The tributary was part of the Yellowstone River basin and extended for at least several miles. Suspecting my present location was somewhere either east of Southern Montana or not far from Wyoming, but either way, I knew the big Missouri was to the east.

The Cottonwoods I had seen near the patch of Junipers were enormous in size with roots at least four or five feet high and several feet apart creating a perfect place to camp shielded from the north winds.

The time spent trying to cross the tributary had been costly. Between the mule and I, It would have been hard to measure who hungered most.

Seeing rabbit tracks leading to a hole at the base of the tree would supply my supper but the mule needed food of another source.

Earlier, there were a small herd of Buffalo at the edge of a dell pawing away the snow finding grass, and I suspected if they were successful then I could stake the mule near the place and let the thing do for itself.

The idea seemed to be working as I created this routine for several days and while the animal escaped starvation, I was busy dining on rabbit and other prey.

This routine went on for several days, but one morning it came to a halt. The Buffalo exited out of the valley leaving the poor mule staked to face the largest Grizzly Bear I had ever seen. Evidently, something or someone had aroused the big creature from its wintry den.

From where I stood watching, I was thankful to be downwind as I watched the beast slay the only form of transportation I had; which caused me to wait before trying to make it out of the region on foot.

The smell of fresh kill must have alerted every wolf pack in the area. I watched as the bear began feasting on its prey and at the same time, try and keep a pack of wolves at bay.

It was totally useless. As one pack coached the bear into a chase, others would drag the carcass into the woods and feast.

I stood thinking how the Cheyenne would use the same trick against their enemy.


During the day, I could tell the season was changing, it was warmer, and in some places, the ice was beginning to melt.

Out of two saplings, I spent much time making a Travois with one shorter than the other. It took a while, but I manage to break the long one to almost the same length.

By evening, I had things in order and planned to strap it down and leave early the following day though at daylight, everything was ready, but across the creek, I could hear voices.

I eased to a group of trees and stood hidden behind the largest. I suspected it was my captor in search for me.

When the voices broke the timber line, I could see two uniform soldiers looking for a shallow to cross. Minutes later, a small group of twelve more soldiers appeared and joined the two others.
















Author Notes Sasquatch or Yvette as it sometimes called has created a ton of wealth for Hollywood and newspapers for centuries. The idea comes from the Native Americans describing a very large Grizzly or other extra large Brown Bears. The Indians called them Sasquatch - Big Feet or foot. Sorry to have busted the myth bubble.


Chapter 44
A dime novel

By Ben Colder

During the day, I could tell the season was changing, it was warmer, and in some places, the ice was beginning to melt.

Out of two saplings, I spent much time making a Travois with one shorter than the other. It took a while, but I manage to break the long one to the same length.

By evening, I had things in order and planned to strap it down and leave early the following day though at daylight, everything was ready, but across the creek, I could hear voices.

I eased to a group of trees and stood hidden behind the largest. I suspected it was my captor in search for me.

When the voices broke the timber line, I could see two uniform soldiers looking for a shallow to cross. Minutes later, a small group of twelve mounted soldiers appeared and joined the two others.

I stepped out from behind the tree and walked down the slope to get their attention, but they turned and rode downstream and out of hearing distance.

I stood for a few minutes battling depression. The only connection I had with civilization had just faded from view.

I refused to let disappointment rule my mind as I turned and walked back to the camp site. I stewed my thoughts and blamed the fact I should have yelled at them, but I refused not to continue the mental anguish.

At the campsite, part of a log still smoldering. I blew my breath against several hot embers and in seconds, the fire I had so desperately needed for many days returned.

I had a choice, either go on with my earlier plans or unload the travois and stay until the creek thawed, but either way, I was miles and days away from the things I longed to see especially, Lottie and the boy.

As I sat munching on left over supper, I wrestled with the idea of the day and time of the year it was. I refused to think Lottie had given up and perhaps went back east.

Hours later, I faced reality and decided to remove all the furs from the crude made sled and placed them back once again in the same spot they had rested for several weeks.
The bed I had gowned custom now beckoned its comfort to my shaggy stinking body.

From where I lay, I could see a trace of the blue sky slowly disappearing into gloomy grey. Far into the eastern Heavens, thunder rolled sending flashes of lightening as to announce rain was soon to follow.

I closed my eyes feeling pleased to know my prediction of warmer weather was on its way. The stillness and warmth from the fire gave a sense of relaxation and quickly eased my mind into a deep sleep only to be awakened by the patter of rain hitting on top of the informal abode.

It must have been in the early hours when the rain stopped as I awakened to see the overcast gone and the beautiful enticing blue skies coaching the fact I should once again enter into another day of exploring the idea of crossing the creek.


As the morning began welcoming warmer weather; nature was also enjoying the change.
The sound of birds chirping and hearing the water in the creek returning to normal gave a feeling of joy, something I thought had lost its way out of my life.

I had just strapped down the furs on the sled when a flock of noisy crows began fluttering in and out of treetops uneasy about something.

I stopped what I was doing and grabbed the sharp pointed staff and prepared to meet trouble. My heartbeat faster than a drum hoping not to meet the Grizzly who had slayed my transportation.

I could hear whatever it was as it moved through the half-frozen brush coming my direction.

I stood with the staff in one hand, the other holding a sharp edge rock.

I struggled with thoughts while trying to convince myself I was ready to meet whatever it was.



Author Notes Put on your Bonnet and grab your hat, we're going for a ride.


Chapter 45
Continue -Dime Novel

By Ben Colder

Previous;

I stood with the staff in one hand, the other holding a sharp edge rock.

I struggled with thoughts while trying to convince myself I was ready to meet whatever it was.

New;

The closer the noise, the more the Adrenalin increased. Inside, I shuddered but refused to let it rule. Then suddenly appeared, a Chestnut blazed face horse, mounted by a U.S. Army cavalry Lieutenant. His companion, a Pawnee Indian scout.

I stood petrified as a rock and barely could answer when he stated." I'm Lieutenant Collins, we're out of Fort Kearney, my scout saw the smoke from your fire so I thought we should investigate."

Totally lost for words; something not normal for me, I stammer, "Lieutenant, get down and stretch your legs, you're welcome. I would offer you and your scout some coffee but I'm fresh out."

The young officer sent the scout back to get some coffee and bring up the rest of the patrol.

We both sat on logs next to each other as the man warmed his hands and spoke, "I'm sure glad to see the weather getting a little warmer. How about you? Have you been out here long?"

Hearing another voice, especially speaking English, I just sit not wanting him to stop talking. It was like apathy when hearing him ask," What might be your name?"

I was hesitant, but answered, "Wright, Lieutenant, J.B. Wright."

The man sat quiet without an expression. In a deep voice he asked, "Are you really J.B. Wright the scout who is reported dead? Mr. Wright, the Army has you as a hero who went down fighting overwhelming odds."

Before we continued talking, the scout and the other appeared stopping a few yards away.

A young trooper made his way to where we sat and went ahead to make coffee.

The officer again asked," Mr. Wright, is it true, are you really J B Wright, the scout?"

The young trooper overheard the question and walked back to the patrol. I could tell he was anxious to spread the news among his fellow comrades.

To bring forth confidence, I asked, "Would you know if Major O'Brien is still at Fort Laramie?"

The expression on the young officer's face completely changed from firm to a smile. He replied, "No sir, I am told the Major was transferred to somewhere near the Mexican Border to fight the Apaches."

Things were quiet between us as we sat sipping at the hot liquid, something I believed would have never touch my lips again.

I broke the silence by asking, "Bridger, the last I heard of him, he was scouting for Carrington and on his way toward the Big Piney to build a new fort. I suppose the place you say you're out of would be it?"

The officer took a sip of his brew. He spoke, "This stuff seems to be more bitter each time I drink it, but to answer your question, No, old Jim has moved on to where the Army figured they needed him the most, but I can tell you one thing, he was dead set against on the fort being where it is."

I spoke low, "Your scout, Lieutenant, he's the reason Jim disliked the idea. Its built in Pawnee country, a tribe most hated by the Sioux and my mother's people."

The young man sat staring into the fire and asked in a low tone, "What are you saying? Should I not trust the scout?"

I avoided the question by asking," What year and month is it?"

His face beamed with excitement when replying. "Its March the 6th 1867 and the reason why I know is because my wife and I celebrated her twenty second birthday on the 2nd and that was four days ago."

It was hard to think I had been more than a year away from seeing Lottie and the boy. I asked, "What are you doing out here, Lieutenant? I know you weren't searching for me, but really, what are you doing out here?"

The young man got up and stretched while speaking, "Following orders, Mr. Wright, just following orders. The Army believes if I could find Red Cloud and perhaps get him to come to a harmony then all the wars would stop, and we can live in peace."

I pondered how to really speak to the young man and kept quiet, but later asked, "No, I mean you, personally? You can forget thinking Red Cloud would ever sit down at a peace council. It's been tried before."

The young man was hesitant, but spoke, "Mr. Wright, I volunteered to come out here in hope of vindicating my brothers' name. He was killed in a fight led by Red Cloud and the Army thinks he was a coward."

The conversation ended with the young man speaking loudly at his Sergeant.

"See Mr. Wright gets a horse and make some sort of way to take his furs as well."

Within the hour, we left toward Fort Kearney as I tried erasing the time and all the fearful moments I had experienced. My thoughts were engulfed with the present surroundings and listening to the men chatter back and forth.

At times, I would hear my name mentioned and then a chuckle. The young soldier who rode next to me shared some of the remarks by stating, "A few of the guys are making a joke about you. They are saying they had never ridden with a ghost before."

The tangerine colored sun was traveling downward and soon hidden behind the hills as we made camp at the fork in the creek.

At mealtime, the change of diet from rabbit and ground squirrel to a tin plate of beans and fat back was like eating steak before eastern nobles.

Some of the men found it to be wit when I remarked having eaten so many rabbits and ground squirrels, when I passed by a brier patch, I was not sure if I should jump in the thing or climb a tree.

According to the young officer, the next two days we would travel the same route he and the patrol had come. Some of the places were familiar as I had trapped the little Piney River for beaver with Matoosh.

I waited until we were less than a day's ride from the fort before speaking to the young man concerning his brother.
Before we all stretched out for the night, I sat near the fire and waited until he had the guards posted and the others settled.

I offered to share the last of the coffee, but he declined and sat adjacent. He deserved to know the truth concerning his brother but with my lack of education I sat hesitant to speak.

It was my asking if the Army would back pay what they owed me and if so, I would pay for all the drinks, but it would be after I got a bath, and visited the fort's barber.

He chuckled, "you'll need to stand in line and I'm sure the line will be long."

It was this remark, I felt to explain things about what happened to cause his brother's death.

I started by saying how the Army never got things right and how the brass always covered their mistakes.

He never said a word but listened as I explained how I met his brother and how I thought he was a good man and soft toward the tribes.

He remarked, "Yes, he was, and according to letters he sent to our parents, he and Crazy Horse had become friends and was learning much about their habitat."

Before dawn, I was awakened by a movement near the fire. The Lieutenant was up and stirring embers. I noticed the Pawnee scout was gone and waited getting up to meet the day.

Later, I heard others moving about and within minutes, the smell of coffee boiling sent me to my feet.

Boots and saddles were not far from being a reality as I realized I was the sleepy head.

Words of I thought to let you sleep some more before heading out caused me to fold the blanket which I needed through the night.

Lieutenant Collins sat on the same log he did the night before. He sipped at the hot brew, but never complained.

I sat down on a opposite log rubbing my bearded face while mumbling, "I thought you said you never liked coffee."

He took another sip, "No, I never said I never liked it, what I said was, I was having problems getting use to the bitterness."

I felt not to say anything alarming,but I had noticed sometimes during the night, the Pawnee scout had left camp. I spoke in a low voice, "Your scout, Lieutenant, where is he?"

"Oh, Mr. Wright, I sent him on up ahead to scout the way. He left early."

Perhaps it was just me and my crazy suspicion, but I had yet to trust a proven enemy of the Cheyenne.






Author Notes Folks we are getting close to a full novel of 60,000 words and after reaching the number, the story will enter into Part Two, probably ending with 180,000 words, or 450-525 pg book.
I hope you will continue reading the story. Your thoughts and corrective help is always appreciated. I have two editors and your thoughts will be considered before publishing. Tell your Historical fiction friends about the story if you like it. Always room for one more review. P.S. I am looking for high and low points of interest in the story. What say you?


Chapter 46
Solly Solomon

By Ben Colder

Previous Post;


I felt not to say anything to alarm the men, but I noticed sometimes during the night, the Pawnee scout had left camp. I spoke in a quiet voice, "Your scout, Lieutenant, where is he?"
"Oh, Mr. Wright, I sent him on up ahead to scout the way. He left early."
It was just me and my crazy suspicion, but I had yet to trust a proved enemy of the Cheyenne.

New Post;

Before the morning got under way for departure, I wanted the man to know the truth about his brother.

I started by asking if his brother ever wrote home telling how he left the fort several times and spend days with the Sioux. It was said, Crazy Horse taught him how to string a bow and shoot an arrow along with other means of survival.

I was glad to be in the presence of young Collins as the Cheyenne also liked him, but hesitant saying the man's biggest problem was Red Beard, an Irishman, and a field general who displayed a tough attitude.

He asked," Mr. Wright were you there when my brother was killed?"

I remained quiet not knowing how to answer without causing added sadness. I responded, "Lieutenant, when we get to the fort and if time permits, perhaps you and I can sit down over a mug of beer and I'ill tell you the whole story."

This had pleased him for within the hour we were in the saddle heading toward the fort.

Darkness had ended our journey when riding through the main gate, and not knowing how or what to expect, I followed orders when the Lieutenant told us to descend and walk our animals to the stable.

I paused and handed the reins to a soldier as Collins suggested I was to follow him to the central office.

To my left, I noticed a small building and with the help of a bright shining light beaming through a window, I could see the figure of a person getting a haircut.

Later, as we stepped upon the high wooden porch, I braced to meet the commander with hope of standing down wind.

Once we were inside, Young Collins made his report while I sat in a chair across from the desk Sergeant and feeling like a bug in a jar.
Within minutes, the sergeant put aside his work, walked to a window, and raised it.

I sat feeling slightly insulted, but I really could not blame the man. I would had done the same.
A few minutes later, I was stunned to see Commander Carrington personally come out of his office and stood mute just staring at me.

For a few minutes we had entered a staring event with him breaking the moment with his asking, "Sergeant, do you still read those dime novels about Mountain Men of the west? Was not there one about J.B. Wright and how he singled handed killed more than a hundred Indians before they killed him?"

I sat listening and watching the man search though his desk. He brought a small colorful eight-page booklet out of the last drawer while speaking, "I think this is it."

The Commander examined the front cover while speaking, "I must say, the drawing of this person on the front looks nothing like you."

He handed me the book and to my surprise, in the drawing I looked much younger with shoulder length hair and almost clean shaved.

I gave back the item and we all enjoyed a good laugh. Carrington spoke, "Mr. Wright, please come inside my office, we have much to talk about."

I followed and sat in a chair and made sure it was out of smelling range or at least I hoped.

The man started the conversation by asking specific details concerning the overall happenings of my event.

I was not sure how to answer but spoke, "Sir, Major O'Brien at Fort Laramie came to Julesburg where I was staying and asked my help in escorting a group of friendly Indians to a place the Army wished to use as a temporary reservation.

We were into our second day when having our first event. It was with Spotted Tail, but after sitting and talking awhile, the man withdrew the idea of attacking."

The Colonel sat attentive wanting to hear more and asked, "Well, what really happened? If the Sioux was talked out of attacking, then who and how come things fell apart? Our report said it was the Sioux who killed you and everyone else."

I wanted to explain in depth the entire story but was interrupted by the Sergeant knocking on the door and entering the room asking permission to leave for the evening.

Realizing the hour was late and bedtime, the Commander responded, "Mr. Wright, the hour is late, and we can discuss this tomorrow, but if you will go with the Sergeant, he will make provisions. Have you eaten?"

I responded with assurance I had and went ahead to follow the man out of the building. He led the way while saying, "The barber has retired for the night, but I will see you get what you need in the way of a bath and haircut in the morning. You can stay in a private room in the first barracks tonight and we can make other arrangement come morning."

I spoke, "No, just point me to the stable and I will sleep there."

We walked wordlessly and when reaching the place, a trooper was told to fetch a blanket and prepare to receive a guest for the night.

The stables were still being completed. I found a place to lay my stinking carcass near the front close to a wood burning stove. I had never spent much time with infantry soldiers however, there seemed to be several of those people occupying at least three of the long wooden barracks.

The posted sentry and I talked about everything in general until I finally relaxed and welcomed a deep sleep.

I suppose I was more tired than I thought as the call to breakfast had sounded for the last time.

Lieutenant Collins stood near mumbling, "If you plan on eating breakfast then you need to get up and come with me. Those fellows never wait on anyone and when they are through serving, they are through."

I stopped at the watering trough, washed my face, and tried flattening my beard. I walked through the serving line just as the others and not one person showed resentment. Perhaps it was the odor from the pile of horse manure near the edge of the stable camouflaged the moment.

Before noon, I was bathed, shaved, and wearing new clothing donated by the post general store.

By now, everyone on the post knew who I was and reacted with the utmost respect.

The Lieutenant and I walked together to the commander's office as to continue my report. I was unaware about the grieving or the sadness I felt among many however, just a couple of months prior a Captain Fetterman and eighty men were killed not far from the post.

Red Cloud had used the same tactics Spotted Tail and others did to Major O'Brien the day I arrived at Fort Rankin, but Nick was wiser and got most of his men back into the fort safely with only losing fourteen men verses Fetterman himself and eighty others.

As we entered the head office, I stopped at the Sergeant's desk asking to see the dime novel. He obliged and when looking at the bearded image of a person whom to be me, I rubbed my clean-shaved face and remarked," This is the first time my face has been smoother than a newborn baby's rump."

I wanted to chuckle aloud as remembering Mrs. Fletcher and how she growled "It would take a pound on mint under each nostril to sit anywhere near something like me."

The Colonel could hear us and came out of his office voicing, "Gentlemen, come in." He stared at me and remarked to Lieutenant Collins, "Is this the same man you brought into this office last night?"

Everyone chuckled as the sergeant replied," Sir, we have a barber who can do miracles."

In a joking manner, I looked at the Lieutenant and asked, "Are they making fun at me."

I must admit, I did look different and smell better than the previous night. The lilac tonic the man splashed against the back of neck seemed strong as it did when first applied.

The first question coming out of the mouth of the commander was nothing concerning my personal happenings but how well I knew Red Cloud's battle tactics and if I thought I could manage to bring the man in for a peace council.

I could not believe what I was hearing. I looked at the Lieutenant and dropped my head. The commander was treating me and my situation as though nothing mattered about my absence or if I had no plans of my own but to be obedient to his wishes of bringing in Red Cloud.

He walked to a map hanging on the wall and pointed to an area he thought Red Cloud could be.

I spoke. "Now, Waite a minute Colonel. I have been a captive of the Crow and existed in the wilderness for a year or more and you are willing to erase all of that so I can go out and find Red Cloud and perhaps bring him here so you can make a peace treaty?"

The man explained he had wired Washington and cleared up the matter of my death and the president sent his respects and wished one day personally to meet me.

I thought Lieutenant Collins would burst with laughter when I responded. "How nice, did he say how much back pay I would receive?"

"Back Pay? I am not aware of any back pay. I have no record of such, but I will have someone to investigate the matter. Now, I would like for you and the Lieutenant to take as many men you feel needed and be ready to leave by daylight.."



Author Notes Folks, though this story is Historical Fiction, it is based upon real American History. If ever an opportunity, I Think you would appreciate visiting the sites where it all happened.
The video I hope will enlighten your understanding how the west was stolen from the those who fought to keep their existence.


Chapter 47
Continue-Solly Solomon

By Ben Colder

Previous Post;

"Back Pay? I am not aware of any back pay. I have no record of such, but I will have someone to investigate the matter. Now, I would like for you and the Lieutenant to take as many men you feel needed and be ready to leave by daylight."

New;

I was never given the chance to speak my disapproval but left the room with the Lieutenant. On the way out I stopped and asked to see the novel again. I stared at the front cover asking,

"Who made this book, Sergeant?"

The man responded, "It says it was published by some New York company and a fellow by the name of John Lund wrote it."

I thanked him and followed Collins outside and we stopped at the end of the porch. I stated, "Lieutenant, I'm not one to ask favors, but I would like to send a wire to the town of Julesburg to a Lottie Hamilton at the Fletcher's boarding house letting her know I am alive and hope to see her soon."

Collins responded, "I'll get it done, and Mr. Wright, I would not blame you if you rode out of here today and never looked back."

I responded firmly, "On what Lieutenant? On what?"

I watched Collins go into a small frame building and send the wire as I walked inside the post general store. I browse without a cent in my pocket, but I wanted to thank the proprietor for the clothes.

I never had to wait long when an extremely attractive lady approached asking if she could help. I was totally stunned. I thought, no doubt an officer's wife who wished to spend her time working other than to be at some quilting Bee with other ladies.

She spoke, "I'm Jeanie Collins and you must be J B Wright. My husband is Lieutenant Collins. He speaks highly of you."

I thought, now I know why he was so all fired up to get back to the fort.

She led the way to a large counter where I recognized the furs being the same bunch I so appreciated for all the comfort they had bestowed upon my existence during such a harsh winter.

She spoke," The owner of the store is not here right now but he is willing to buy your furs at a reasonable price."

I was overwhelmed. I had forgotten all about them. Perhaps Lottie's' God was smiling. Maybe if they brought enough money to pay the store for the clothes and a good horse, I could be knocking on Lottie's door within three or four days.

Lieutenant Collins returned from sending the wire and entered the store with a smile. His wife and I were still talking as he stopped at the end of the counter. He spoke, "I see you two are getting acquainted."

He walked to Jeanie and pulled her to his bosom. He smiled while speaking, "Mr. Wright, now you see why I knew what day it was."

They embraced while I continued looking at other items. They were speaking low to each other when I approached.

The Lieutenant spoke, "Mr. Wright, Old King Solomon has a few mounts for sale, you may wish to see if he would let you have one."

"Who?"

"He's an old trapper who hangs out here sometimes hoping to sell his winter furs and at times he has a few horses to sell as well."

"Are you talking about Solly Solomon? I know him, where is he?"

Collins led the way, "come on, and I'll show you."

At the end of the fort, before we reached the makeshift corral, I was asked how come me to know the man.

I replied, "He's part of the land, Lieutenant, nobody knows how old Solly is, but it is said he was born somewhere on the Solomon River and I suppose the name came from there."

As we approached the corral a bushy haired individual with a beard covering nearly all his face stood watching Collins and me as we stopped just feet away.

Solly was the first to speak. "Who do we have here, Lieutenant?"

"An old friend of yours he claims."

Solly looked me over as buying a horse. "Where do I know you from?"

I never said a word but just stood letting Collins do all the talking. "This is Mr. J B Wright, Solly. He says he knows you."

"Na, ya ain't him. J B Wright is dead, so it told."

I asked, "Did you make the rondeaux this winter?"

Old Solly stared, "What would you know about a trappers rondeaux, you ain't no trapper, not wearing them duds. Pull up your left shirt sleeve, I'll know if you are J B or not."

I did as he asked, and I thought he would dance a jig. "Yahoo, if ya ain't. I did not know you, not the way you look. Everybody thinks ya dead. I knew it was a lie. Ain't no Injun alive could lift J B Wright' hair."

Collins was inquisitive, "What's the scar on your wrist got to do with all of this?"

"Long story, Lieutenant, someday maybe if time allows, I'll tell you all about it."


Author Notes In the next post, you will learn about what happened to J B 's captors. J.B. refuses to leave and find Red Cloud and the Colonel wished to have him put in the guard house. So stay tuned in and lets see how all this works out.


Chapter 48
Powder River Country.

By Ben Colder

Ending of previous post;

Collins was inquisitive, "What's the scar on your wrist got to do with all of this?"

"Long story, Lieutenant, someday maybe when time allows, I'll tell you all about it."

It was good seeing old Solly. He and I had much in common. It was told he once scouted the Rockies for Jedediah Smith but denied every word by saying, he was old, but not that old.

Lieutenant Collins left us talking and went about his duties.
There were three horses in the small corral which a spotted appaloosa had my attention. Its unusual marking had my mind in overtime as I tried remembering where I had seen the animal before.

I asked, "how did you come by these mounts, Solly? That spotted one. I think I have seen it before."

"Now, J B ya know its not nice to ask a fellow where he gets things, but being its you, then I'll tell ya. Well, I was down in the Yellowstone basin thinking I might get a few buffalo hides to trade to the Arapahos when I come across four Injun ponies all shot up and I thought to see if I could help them."

I was very attentive as Solly found a place to sit to rest his legs. He removed the moccasin footwear from off his right foot and rubbed his toes.

He spoke lowly, "J B, I tried helping them critters with all of my know how, and I succeeded with them three you see over there, but I lost one on the way coming here. The thing just up and died during the night, but it was having a hard time healing from all those bullet wounds."

I spoke, "Sounds to me like they must have been a battle."

"Battle? Not much of a battle. J.B. those dang blasted Crow Indians never had a chance up against them Sioux Bad Faces, and what they did to those poor devils, I rather not talk about it."

I asked, "Did one have real long hair?"

"Now, J B, all Crow Indians have long hair. I rather not talk about what those poor fellows went through. If you see one of those ponies then take the thing, it'll be my gift for seeing you again and my proving to the others you ain't dead."

Old Solly cleared away my pondering about the outcome of the captors. The spotted horse I had chosen spent most of the day getting acquainted with my presence.

I could see the visible scabs where the bullets were removed but the horse seemed strong enough for carrying my carcass through the rough terrain envisioned.

As night approached, Solly and I sat near a small fire at the end of the corral recalling times and fellow trappers we knew, and bits of certain fearful happenings in both of our lives.

Wrapped in two blankets and a small chunk of wood for a pillow, I slept a restless night hearing old Solly snore. I had just drifted to sleep when hearing a voice calling, "Mr. Wright, It's dawn, but I wanted you to know you're exempt from scouting my patrol."

With one eye open, I could see the figure of a person I assume to be Lieutenant Collins. I asked, "How did you manage me getting out of orders?"

He spoke, "I told him you weren't interested in going."

"I bet he wasn't happy about it, Lieutenant."

"No, at first, he wanted to put you in the guard house, but like I told him. It would be hard explaining about having someone locked up whom officially dead."

"I bet he was furious."

"He was at first, but I think he realized he needed to get your death voided through proper channels."

We both were quiet for a moment while listening to old Solly snore.

I asked," Lieutenant, if you are taking a patrol out this morning then you'll more than likely find Red Cloud in the Powder River area? If so, I advise you to be careful. There will be more to contend with other than Red Cloud."


"I'm taking twenty good men and I hope we can find Red Cloud and get the man to consider peace."

I thought of his wife Jeanie and the love she showed for him, but deep inside, I suspected she would become a widow like others.

Solly was awake just as Collins departed. He stirred the fire asking if he thought the mess sergeant would have some hot coffee. I watched the figure of Collins fade into the false dawn as we walked to where breakfast was being served.

Solly spoke, "Something seems to be troubling you this morning. Now, you ain't going with the Lieutenant, are you? I heard some of what you and him were talking about and he is liable to get himself and all those men killed trying to make that Colonel happy. You and I both know Red Cloud ain't studying no peace. He want's all white people to leave especially, them dang blasted gold diggers in the Black Hills."

We went through the chow line as soldiers always did and found a place to sit next to a young private who seemed to be talkative. He asked, "I hear you might be the famous J.B Wright? If so, I'm mighty proud to be seated next to you."

I looked at Solly and wanted to laugh but for the sake of the young man's pride I responded with a question, "What's your name soldier?"

"Shipley, Sir. I'm from the state of Vermont."

I finished eating and got up while saying, "Well, private Shipley, it was a pleasure to be seated next to you and I hope someday you will make general."

Solly and I walked back to the corral as I watched the column prepare to form ranks.

Jeanie Collins stood on the wooden walkway watching her husband prepare to leave.

Inside me, I fought a battle worse than Collins could ever imagine. In the worse way, I wanted to see Lottie and little Norm but noticing the Pawnee scout seemed anxious and suspecting trickery I found myself fearing for Collins.

I proceeded toward the Lieutenant as he was about to mount. He spoke, "Mr. Wright, we are preparing to leave, I hope things in Julesburg turns out suitable for you."

I responded, "Lieutenant, if you will wait for a few minutes, I'll saddle one of Solly's horses and go with you."

Collins sent a runner to the Colonel's office telling the happenings. The man walked out of his office and leaned against a pillow- post not saying a word.

Within twenty minutes, I was riding next to Collins through the main gate, and before out of hearing distance Solly shouted,
"J.B. Wright, you are one crazy man, but I suppose you'll soon find it out. Keep you chin to the wind and hope you good luck, cause ya gonna needs it."

Into the ride, I was having trouble getting use to ridding in a worn out saddle and a horse knowing only two gates, trot and walk. My greatest hope was not having to gallop the thing into a fast run.

The Pawnee scout was nowhere to be seen but I suspected somewhere along the way we would meet him and some of his friends.

The Powder River area would place us about two or three days from the fort and if we could avoid trouble, then we would be in area where Red Cloud was known to frequent however, the basin stretched for miles and I was counting on the man finding us.

Collins was a sincere young man with plans for a great future. I liked him and his pretty little wife, and somehow, I was in hope Lottie and I could find love in the same manner.

Between getting use to a horse who never had a saddle to contend with or bits in its mouth, the absence of the Pawnee scout hindered our relaxing near a campfire on the first night out.

Most of the time while others rested, I was feeling the day's journey in my scarred thigh. I could hear the night sounds and, in the distance, a lonely coyote calling its mate assured to me a peaceful note.

Collins and I never got the chance to speak much. He was tired as I was and after posting the guards, he was sound asleep.

The Powder River area lay about two hundred miles or more from the fort and I knew we were in for several days riding from Pawnee country to the heart of the Sioux and I suspected the Cheyenne; my mother's people were camped alongside the other tribes.

According to old Solly, Red Cloud had gathered tribesmen from the Oglala, Bruel, Miniconjou, San Arcs and even the Blackfoot meaning peace was nowhere in sight.





Author Notes Among the tribes some called Jim Bridger "Blanket."
The Powder River basin is about 250 miles from Fort Phil Kearney.


Chapter 49
Continue -Powder River Country.

By Ben Colder

Previous post;


According to old Solly, Red Cloud had gathered ethnic followers from the Oglala, Bruel, Miniconjou, San Arcs and even the Blackfoot and peace was nowhere in sight.
New:

The morning got underway with the Pawnee scout returning and telling Collins about seeing signs of a large war party traveling toward the river. He became totally silent as I approached, but I never felt the spirit of resentment. If anything, he was willing to partner the task of scouting.

He knew of me, but I knew nothing about him, but I did know the Pawnee and their deception.

Later in the day the two of us left to make a perimeter around the column as Collins continued forward. The Pawnee scout and I were to meet before they reached a wide opening shielded by a grove of thick pecan trees.

In my ride I saw nothing out of the ordinary and reached the place where the other scout and I were to meet. I paused my mount and rested beneath a tree waiting for the man to appear.

Several minutes passed as becoming suspicious something was wrong. Though the person in mind was marked untrustworthy; I knew he should have appeared by now.

I was in the process of mounting when seeing two Sioux warriors ride from the area he and I were to meet.

I waited for several minutes before traveling to the place. As I rode closer and seeing nothing of interest, I turned and rode toward the slope of a small hill separating my view from why the scout was tardy.

The man's horse lay dead, shot by an arrow through the heart and its rider lay near brutally murdered and scalped.

I left everything for nature to run its course and rode back to the column and in private I told Collins the happenings.

The news created an impasse moment, but quickly returned with a question. "J B did not you tell me the Sioux hated the Pawnee?"

I knew what the man had in mind and suspected we would continued our mission.

"Yes, I told you the Sioux and my mother's people hated the Crow and the Pawnee, and I know the situation has not changed your mind, but in all honesty, Lieutenant, if we can be fortunate enough to meet with Red Cloud and come out of this alive, then you will have something to tell your grand-kids about."

Due to the happening, we camped fireless with double sentries.

No doubt Red Cloud knew of our presence along with hundreds of others who resented the man and took it upon their selves to run the white culture from out of the country.

Collins was depending upon my ability to find Red Cloud, but I had doubts of doing it.

We sat across from each other with he wrapped in a blanket and his back pressed against the base of a tree as I did the same nodding in and out of sleep.

All of us knew to be cautious and expect the unexpected, and during the night most of us slept sleepless listening to every sound for movement.

Hours later as daylight appeared, twenty young fearsome soldiers were ready to meet whatever the day offered.

Later in the morning as we traveled onward, the fresh signs of unshod ponies appeared coming from the direction we had spent the night.

I was proud of Collins for taking my advice and camping fireless as I suspected we would have had uninvited visitors.

Solly clued me into knowing there was distension within Red Cloud's camp. I knew Spotted Tail resented the man but learning others were feeling the same gave a spark of hope I intended to use if given the chance.

It was true I had met Red Cloud when we were young, but it never made any difference, the man was angry toward the white culture, and with my scouting for his enemy, my death would be certain as anyone else.

We were only a few miles from where I suspected Red Cloud's camp would be. Earlier, I had seen several women and children walking the riverbank. Some were drawing water while others attended the children.

This was a sigh the camp was not far and if my suspicion was correct then Red Cloud was probably there or close by.

I rode back to the column and reported my find to Collins which I suggested we make camp as we did the night before, and be ready to ride carrying a white flag into Red Cloud's camp at dawn.

We camped early in a patch of woods with instructions of no talking or moving about. Our horses were shielded behind a thick juniper grove with guards to keep them quiet.

The moment gave Collins and I the opportunity to talk. I wanted him to know the truth about his brother's death before we entered what could be the last day of all our lives.

I started by telling him his brother was not only a fine soldier but a good man who had the admiration of many tribesmen.

My friend Norman Hamilton was alive the time and he too like him.

Some of the soldiers addressed him as a gallant leader and would follow him into battle anytime and anywhere.

The man sat very alert waiting to hear more. The seating arrangement I sat had become very uncomfortable forcing position change. This caused my speaking to be slightly louder.













































Author Notes Folk, It thickens. Put your spurs on, we're going for a ride.
If my old sorry style of writing offends just hit skip. It'll be ok.


Chapter 50
Part two - Powder River Country

By Ben Colder

Previous Post ;

Collins sat very alert waiting to hear more before asking questions.

The seating arrangement I sat had become uncomfortable forcing me to change positions. This caused my speaking to be louder.

New:

A few of the men whom no doubt was not sleeping overheard my next few comments. "Lieutenant, your brother's intentions of setting things straight with a hot-headed egotistic red bearded general was the cause of his death.

I never knew the man but I was told by a person who was there at the time, the general was new in the area and saw your brother walking out of the post general store and started scolding him before all of those who were presence. He tried reprimanding while asking if he was a coward?

Your brother growled back at the man he was no coward and went about his business."

A light snore coming from the Lieutenant's direction stopped my telling the story. I pulled my hat down over my face and within minutes was sound asleep.

The change of guards had Collins and me on our feet at dawn. Just the thought of having a cup of coffee and a good hardy breakfast served the purpose for now.

Chancing a fire or the smell of smoke would be dangerous. I needed to know my surroundings and the type of terrain we were heading into.

I suspected the Sioux were camped somewhere along the river, but I needed to know who it was camped closer.

If the Norther Cheyenne or any of my mother's people were nearer, then it was possible Ma- Toosh or some others I knew might be there. Either way, it was a gamble and I never concealed the fact from Collins or any of the men. All of us knew our purpose and the danger which we faced.

A Sargent who said to have fought for the Confederacy during the war in the east firmly held the white flag as we traveled toward the villages.

Momentarily, the light fog rising from off the river seemed to have muffle our presence, but soon as we crossed a small tributary, we were met face to face with hundreds of Cheyenne warriors.

In a calm voice I demanded nobody was to touch their weapons or act aggressive in any manner. Collins spoke to the men in a soft voice, "Easy men, keep your eyes straight forward and no talking."

From my position, I could see the markings on a tent head-to-head with several others, I guided the patrol toward the area as the Cheyenne Dog Soldiers allowed us to pass.

My heart was in my mouth, but I dared not to let them know. Painted from his forehead to his chin in red coloring, a warrior stopped us and stared.

I spoke in the southern Cheyenne language we were there seeking peace and politely asked to see the Chief.

Two Cheyenne Dog Soldiers broke away from the others and rode boldly past and spit.

It was an insult, but I knew not to react aggressively. I rode onward with the Sargent by my side with such a grip on the flag, his knuckles turned white.

Collins rode behind me with the men tightly bunched and ready for whatever the moment offered.

It was quieter than a mouse sleeping in a bale of cotton as the Chief appeared from his lodge.

The man never said a word but stood staring with amazement. I could almost read his thought toward thanking the great spirit for bringing his enemy to his door.

I made a peace sign and luckily, he could speak and understand southern Cheyenne very well. I told him who I was and why we were there.

He was hesitant speaking but stared with disbelief. For the sake of Collins and the others he spoke in broken English, "You are dead. Spotted Tail say you are dead. He says, He see the Crow kill you."

I smiled while speaking southern Cheyenne. I made humor by telling him the Crow could only wound the white in me, but the Cheyenne lives on.

This changed the entire ordeal. Maybe it was my mother prompting words of wisdom as a smile broke through war paint and granted a peaceful scenery.

The man spoke loudly to all in hearing distance, we were accepted under a flag of truce and he would listen to what needed to be said.

Lieutenant Collins did the right thing when handing the man his sword. Its affect symbolized uprightness and sincerity.

Though the spirit of uncertainty still lingered, Collins ordered the men to dismount and walk their animals to a small opening near the edge of a wooded area and wait.

It was obvious the men were prepared to fight if the situation turned bitter.

Collins and I were invited inside the Chief's dwelling while the men stayed bunched in their location.

I detected Collin's uneasiness and spoke in a whisper,
"Tribal law will protect them, Lieutenant, I will explain later."

We were made to sit opposite from the chief with a small fire separating the issue. He was quiet though waiting for others. I tried visualizing the man without his war paint but useless.

It was customary for us to eat what ever we were served.
The Chief was served first and then Collins and me.

I noticed the Chief staring at Collins while he ate. I knew what it was when he asked," What kind of meat is this? It's delicious."

I whispered, "Horse, Lieutenant."

Collins asked "Horse? Like the animal we ride?"

"None other, Lieutenant, none other."

"Well, I never knew the thing could taste this good."

The peaceful reception quickly ended as two warriors came and sat across from Collin.

One, I recognized as a Cheyenne warrior, Hook Nose, (Roman Nose) the other a Sioux, "Crazy Horse."
Our host was none other than Morning Star, "Chief Dull Knife."

Crazy Horse and I had much in common when dealing with the Crow Indians. They had dealt the young man much misery as a boy.

Hook nose was of the Northern Cheyenne and wishing to be chief. I had never met either of them personally but had witnessed the results of their battle tactics.




Author Notes All right you bunch of poets. I shortened this just for you.


Chapter 51
The Ride back to the fort.

By Ben Colder

Previous Post;

Crazy Horse and I had much in common when dealing with the Crow Indians. They had dealt the young man much misery as a boy.

Hook nose was of the Northern Cheyenne and wishing to be chief. I had never met either personally but had seen the results of their battle tactics.

Collins seemed to be the star of attraction as the cold grey eyes of Crazy Horse sat staring.

I broke the silence when telling Crazy Horse Lieutenant Collins had a brother who sent letters home telling how you taught him how to shoot a bow and arrow.

I watched the pressure quickly change into a more peaceful moment. Crazy Horse remarked in his language of how he remembered the man and how Collins favored him.

Seeing Collins was not understanding, he later spoke in broken English, "He dead. He dies in battle. Red Cloud. My people, many dies."

I was glad the warrior spoke what he did. It gave me a chance to bring our mission to the point of being heard. I told Collins, the task was all his and I would try hard to make his words ring with sincerity.

I was glad to have Dull Knife as someone to keep Hook Nose at bay. Collins's request was short with clarity. He asked if the tribes wished for peace, the white man also wished the same and to prove it, the great white father in Washington was sending his chiefs to council with all the chiefs who wished for peace.

The stage was set. I could tell Roman Nose wanted no part of peace and would continue to fight until all intruders was killed or retreated from the land.

Dull Knife listened with an open mind and asked, "Will this council be at the white man's fort?"
In a tinder spirit, Collins replied, "Yes."
Dull Knife stared in my direction asking, "How do I know he speaks truth? Many treaties made, many broken, all white man break. They say, no white man can come to Black Hills, but they do. Now they come."

Roman nose got up and shouted, "Yes, and we kill them!"
I watched Collins sit quietly as I tried imagining what was going through his mind. I was proud of him as he continued sitting and listening to both warriors try and convince Dull Knife not to listen to any more of the white man's lies.

Dull knife spoke directly to me. "Leave us, go! Take your soldier with you, no harm will come to you or the soldiers, but leave us."

I told Collins what the man said but he insisted on staying until he spoke to Red Cloud.

My words were strong," Lieutenant, you have no clue how lucky we are for now. We will do what the man asked or jeopardize everything we came for. Tell me when this meeting will take place?"

Collins was not sure but stated within two weeks. I took it upon myself and told Dull Knife when the time and place was arranged, I would come or someone else would come with a message.

I knew Collins was disappointed of not seeing Red Cloud, but he had no idea the achievement made. Hook Nose, (Roman Nose) and Crazy Horse were war chiefs and had vowed to remove the white man from the land with their lives.

Morning Star, (Dull Knife) was a man of wisdom and considered the people and what would be best for the women and children. The Sand Creek Massacre still laid heavy on the minds of many chiefs and the last thing they wanted was to lose their families to either starvation or the sword.

Trust for white culture was forbearing. President Grant had sent victorious civil war generals to the area for controlling the tribes or eliminate them from off the earth. Sand Creek was witnessed to this happening.

I could or would not find fault in any decision Dull Knife would make. I totally understood the feeling of every war chief and why they wished to continue fighting.

Dull Knife was cynic toward another treaty after the white culture had broken his word concerning the Black Hills and allowing settlers to move into the west.

My mother's people suffered much just as they all did. The American Civil War General Sherman had burned and starved the south into surrendering and had plans to do the same with every tribe.

His strategy first started with bringing Buffalo hunters from all parts of the world toward ending the herds existence.

it was a touch and go situation for me personally. I loved my mother's people and it bothered me deeply to see their suffering, but somehow I knew the great spirit was making a change of some kind and seeing the thousands of soldiers coming to the frontier with up to date weaponry, I knew it was but a matter of time for all tribes to either change into the white man's ways or die.

I suspected the results would be the latter for many but for now, I wished only to see Collins and the others back to the fort safely.

My goal was to head toward Julesburg Colorado and try and pick up where Lottie and I left off.

We were into our first day of riding back to the fort when discovering hundreds of unshod hoof prints heading the same direction we were.

"Collins asked, "J B, what do you think?"

Trying to eliminate fear, I chuckled, "What I think? Well Lieutenant, I think we should give the men and the horses rest before we overtake people we might not care to meet."

This was one time I was glad Collins took my advice. More than two hundred mixed bands of warriors were less than a half day's ride ahead, traveling straight toward Fort Phil Kearney.

During the time we were camped, I wanted to clear the matter concerning the war chief's disapproval of signing any treaty.

The agreement once signed years previous allowed travelers, railroad surveyors, and construction workers to enter tribal lands safely. It also allowed the government to build forts and create roads allowing chiefs at times to witness the process without interruption, but all of it changed when gold was found in the Black Hills.

My mother's people said it was like a sickness and pondered the idea why the yellow iron meant so much.

I explained this to Collins and allowed him to know his brother was killed during a time when all tribes had enough of lies and broken promises, but the Army had obligations to protect those who dared crossing the lands no matter what any agreement was made.



Author Notes There are many movies made "In To The West, Lonesome Dove, and others, but they are all Hollywood twisted in favor for justification for white culture.
Now those who owned the land lives on reservations.
The ultimate decision; blend or bend.
YOU DECIDE !
Remember, God created both, good and bad and has His ways in both. What an amazing world we live in.


Chapter 52
Change Of Plans

By Ben Colder

Previous Post;


I explained this to Collins and allowed him to know his brother was killed during a time when all tribes had enough of lies and broken promises, but the Army had obligations to protect those who dared crossing the lands no matter what any agreement may have been made.

New Post;

The following morning as we entered our second day toward the fort, nature could have never offered a more peaceful ride. At times I could hear some of the men speaking low to each other.

We left the signs of unshod hoof prints as they angled off toward the Powder River where I suspected they would either cross at the lower end or perhaps join Red Cloud camped somewhere on a tributary.

There were two trails back to the fort with one I knew intersected the Oregon Trail (Bozeman). It was the one normally used by warriors who sometimes attacked wagon trains.

A certain item I found earlier into our ride showed some of the tracks were made by the Arapaho. No doubt Red Cloud was preparing a big event involving many tribes.

I told Collins this with humor, "lieutenant, seems you have much to report to your commander, who knows you just might get yourself two silver bars out of the deal."

He obviously found no favor with my little tease. He replied, "Just getting back safely without a fight will be reward enough. J B, my wishing for higher rank is something I will probably never see. Jeanie and I have other plans and I assure the Army is not involved."

"Does this mean you are quitting the Army?"

"No, I never said that. I meant Jeanie and I plan to have a family someday, but it won't be out here in the west."

We rode quietly until I felt to scout on ahead. I suspected Dull Knife's promise of safety had spread through his tribe but there were others who could have cared less.

It was morning of our third day when passing through the fort's main gate.

We stabled our horses while Collins walked to the Commander's office to make his report. I was never asked to go and was glad which gave me time to rub down the horse and care for its needs.

Later in the day, Collins found me at the place where Old Solly and I had spent some time. Though the old man was gone, I suspected he was on his way back into the hills.

I was hesitant, but asked Collins if he would send a wire addressed to the Fletcher's boarding house in Julesburg letting Lottie Hamilton know I would be leaving the fort and should be there in about ten days.

Collins did as I asked and before supper, the answer was something I never expected.

It would be hard to know who was saddened the most.
Collins said, "Miss, Lottie Hamilton is no longer a tenant at the boarding house and no forwarding address has been given."

It had been fourteen months since she and I last spoke to each other, and hearing of my death no doubt sent her and the boy back east and besides, I was now 47 years of age and she was still young and attractive.

Perhaps Collins wished to bring a form of gladness as he spoke, "The Commander has authorized you some money and said if you were still on post in the morning he would like to speak with you."

I had intention of collecting every dime and would talk to the man. The horse I was riding was ready for retirement and I was in hope the Army would grant me the loan of another.

Suspecting Lottie and the boy were now in St Louis, my need for the Julesburg trip was totally void. I could only hope she and little Norm was happy and perhaps find someone who would be good to them.

After supper, I went to my favorite place to sleep. The same soldier who was on duty the night before leaving handed me a blanket while speaking, "Your spot awaits."

I grinned and took the blanket with humor, "I'll have ham and eggs brought to my haystack and be careful not to overcook my eggs."

I must have been exhausted as it seemed I had just shut my eyes when hearing reveille. I could hear the hustle of men scrambling into formation. I peeped out from under the blanket seeing two ranks of foot soldiers getting ready for roll call.

I also noticed a group of civilian horsemen preparing to leave and learned later they were Colorado Militia.

I knew something was in the making and suspected Collins would fill me in on the happenings.

I was late for breakfast but was fed anyway. My plans were to sign for my pay and get a bath and maybe shave off a 6 day beard before talking to the Post Commander.

I never had to find Collins, he found me just as I was about to get my bath. "J B, the commander wishes to see you. You haven't the time for a bath, he needs to see you now."

I stood half naked staring at the big wooden tub filled with warm water. I slipped my clothes on while saying, "Lieutenant, you need to learn, I ain't married to this Army or any Army, but I'll go with you. Besides, I need to collect my money."

I must say, seeing so many foot soldiers occupying the fort was something new to me. Those fellows had built the place to be solid or it appeared that way.

Collins and I entered headquarters and I sat in the same chair I had when meeting the Colonel. The sergeant who had allowed me to see the dime novel was seated at his desk fumbling through papers and acting as if he was busy.

Collins was inside the commanders' office and at times I could hear someone raise his voice. The door opened and out walked Collins. He stood staring at me and spoke firmly, " He want's to see you now, but before you go in there, I want to warn you, he's little upset and he wants you to guide another patrol and find Red Cloud."

"He wants me to find Red Cloud?"

"Will you be in charge?"

"No, I have been excused from this one, but J B, there is nothing in the book says you should go."

Appreciation for hospitality and money I had yet to collect, I went inside to hear what the man had in mind. I could tell he was disturbed about something but thought to let him tell why.

He was angry at Collins for not bringing Red Cloud to the fort. I listened to him growl how incompetent Collins and I were for not even seeing Red Cloud but settled on spending time with a chief of no importance.

I let him stew and then when he simmered to a more peaceful manner, I spoke, "Sir, if you think Dull Knife is a man of less importance, then how about Crazy horse or Roman Nose, they were there. Has the commander of this fort forgotten why the thing is built and why you and the others are out here? Those men are war chiefs and would like nothing better than to have your hair on a war lance."

I watched the man drop his head and scratch his nose. He spoke, "Perhaps, I was a little to hard on the Lieutenant. Do you think you and him could find Red Cloud and bring him in to talk, nothing more but to come to some kind of an agreement of stopping these raids and killing innocent people."

I sat quietly while staring at a photo I assumed to be the man's family. I spoke, "Sir, did not Collins inform you that Red Cloud knows about a parlay to be here at the fort two weeks from now?"

"Yes, he told me, but I need to be sure before sending a wire to Washington."

I sat looking at the man wishing to shame him for not having confidence in Collins judgment but remained quiet.

I got up and walked to the door and spoke before leaving. "Sir, you have a good man in that Lieutenant, and If I was you, I'd pay attention to what he had to say."

On the way out, I stopped and signed the voucher and later drew the sum of forty dollars. It was far from what the Army owed me, but I was glad to have something.

I returned to my bath water but found it already used. The line at the Post barber was long so I decided to spend time at the Post general store hoping to find Collins there

The store was busy, but I got to meet the owner. I looked for Jeanie, but she was nowhere to be seen. I asked the owner of her whereabouts and was told she and the Lieutenant were at their quarters.

I waited until the man was though helping customers before asking about the sale of my furs. It was a pleasant response telling how Solly was pleased with the amount he received.

I left the store and walked to the stable to check on my horse. A young soldier sitting in a straight back chair and propped against the stable door never glanced in my direction as I went inside.

Later, I met Lieutenant Collins and Jeanie and we had a late meal together. He asked if I had drawn my pay and I assure I had.

During the meal, the subject concerning Red Cloud surfaced and if the commander would follow through with his plans of sending someone to meet with Red Cloud?

Perhaps it was for Jeanie' sake when Collins spoke, "J B you need to overlook the Commander's arrogance, we are still appalled over Captain Fetterman's death,and the thin tall fellow wearing Captain bars, he is Captain Brown.

He and Fetterman were Civil War buddies and he has vowed to personally kill Red Cloud."

I remained quiet but thought how it could be so easily the opposite. From my point of view, the army may have been successful in the war back east but fighting an enemy on their ground had proven to be ignorant.

Author Notes From Fort Phil Kearney to JULESBURG Colo is about 436 miles in today's travel. Making about 20 miles without trouble in 1867 took anywhere near 8-10 days. In 1868, there was a peace conference held at Fort Laramie. Dull Knife and others were there, including Red Cloud. More will come about this I think you might be interested. Remember not all glitters is gold.


Chapter 53
Continue -Change of plans

By Ben Colder

Previous Post.


I remained quiet but thought how it could be easily the opposite. From my point of view, the army may have been successful in the war back east but fighting an enemy on their ground proved ignorance.

New Post.

Red Cloud wanted nothing better than to bait others into doing the same as he had Fetterman. I had seen this same strategy work against Fort Rankin, but Nick was smart enough to see through the ploy and got most his men back inside.

We finished our meal and partied company in a cordial manner. Again, I was lost as to what to do or where to go.
As I suspected, the loan of a horse from the Army was out of the question so I was stuck with the rough riding Indian pony.
In one sense, my mount was better at going the distance. The Army's horses were grain fed and spoiled to such.

With some of my money I bought a few needed items. I secured it tightly inside a canvas. It would be enough to last until reaching some of my mother's people or at least I hoped.

I suspected if Ma-Toosh was alive and he and his family would be among the Southern Cheyenne somewhere on the Platte.

Having to return the loan of the Army's new Spencer rifle, and with the rest of my money; I bought an older model rifle with cartridges but nothing like the Spencer. I had a knife Solly had given me before leaving with Collins, one he had used often for skinning animals.


The day was well underway when I rode through the main gate.

Heading toward what I hoped to be an agreeable ride with nature and hiding my personal feelings, I left the little out-post and all its foot soldiers to the essentials of the world.

It was my second time to quit scouting for the Army, but this time Nick was not around to rope me into a situation.
As I rode, the Colonel's words were still fresh, but was quickly smothered away with thoughts of Red Cloud and the others. If they did agree to settle things, then it would be somewhere other than Fort Phil Kearney, due to the recent Fetterman incident.
.
From the Fort to the South Platte River was a least a good 10 days (about 1 and a half weeks) or more ride. The Pony was strong, and it could make the journey easily. It was me who was weak. My left wrist was in constant pain no matter what I put on it. At times sharp pains in my thigh would cause me to try and walk the hurt away.

Some of the terrain I traveled was easy to move about while others near streams had tall sheer sandstone bluffs with winding ravines.

For the first two nights I camped fire less. Earlier, I had seen fresh signs of unshod ponies traveling downward into a gorge. I suspected they were either Crow or Pawnee but either way I thought it to be wisdom to remain from sight.

At times, nature seemed to have worked more than usual for my insides. The jerky I bought from the Fort's store was not the best and I suspected it had sit in jars longer than normal.

About the fifth day in traveling, I noticed the terrain and how it was changing into something I felt comfortable with.
The Rockies were visible which allowed me to think I was in Colorado and was making better time than expected.

I could angle onward and make Julesburg and then go on to my intended location but knowing Lottie was not there, still kept me moving onward.

Early the next morning, I heard animals moving across an open valley which I believed were Buffalo. I rode to a high place and surprised to see at least two hundred horses moving swiftly across the opening prairie. Two- out- riders bunched them as two others rode drag.

I could tell they were white culture and heading in the same direction I was traveling.

It took most of the day before I could get anywhere near. As I approached the rider riding drag and the cocking of a rifle got my attention.

Not one word was exchanged as the man directed me to their camp and before I even thought of dismounting a firm voice asked to say my name and business.

"I mean no harm; Wright is my name. Saw the herd and thought I might get a cup of coffee and a bit to eat."

A sharp response, "Where you out of? Are you an Army scout?"

Another voice interrupted, "Son, put down that rifle and invite the man to step down."

An older man whom I suspected was the young man's father spoke, "We are the Jefferies, I am Luke, this here is my boy, Robert. The other three over there by the fire are my three sons, Henry, Thomas, and Charles. Step down, you are welcome to break bread with us."

"Did you say your name was Wright?"

"Yes."

"We're you from?"

"Up until a few days ago I was scouting for the Army out of Fort Phil Kearney but I'm now on my way toward the Platte."

I asked, "We're are you heading with all those horses?"

"Fort Rankin, Mister Wright, I could sure use a good scout to help get us their safely."

"I have four sons and two neighbors from home that's doing all the work; me and cookie, another neighbor just tags alone. Cooking does the cooking and I do the straw bossing."

The two neighbors I had not previously seen were on night guard and trying to keep the herd calm and bunched.

I sat appreciative enjoying the hot brew as I showed my lack of having a healthy meal for a few days.

Luke, I could tell was a religious man as he sat near the fire reading from what Lottie had told me was a Bible.

I asked, "Would you folks be Quakers?"

One of the boys burst with laughter and imitated the Quaker language. "Hey Paw, are thee a Quaker?"

I knew I had said the wrong thing as the old man looked straight at me stating, "Mister Wright, we are Bible believing Christian and nothing more."

I was quiet while realizing the man had wisdom, something which could come in handy before reaching their destination.
Red Cloud's war was in full swing of things and would relish taking every horse the people had.

Before resting for the night, I was offered the opportunity of scouting for them. Thirty dollars and vittles with the pick of any two horse I wanted when we arrived at the fort.

It was a deal I could not afford to pass by. I could use the money and especially a good horse who could learn the gates.

Being at the fort would place me at my destination. My plans were to stay at the Fletcher Boarding House and use the same corral for teaching gates to the horse. It would be the same place I taught little Norm how to ride.


Chapter 54
The end of the beginning

By Ben Colder

Previous.

Being at the fort would place me at my destination. My plans were to stay at the Fletcher's Boarding House and use the same corral for teaching gates to the horse. It would also be the same place I taught little Norm to ride.

New.

Nature was good to us. She had supplied two beautiful days while moving the heard to graze near the fort.

I knew Nick was no longer there and surprised to meet a much younger lieutenant than Collins. His team quickly looked the herd over as the Jefferies kept them bunched.

They had been lucky to have lost only twenty-three out of two hundred and eleven they had started with.

Mister Jefferies and I had an agreement to pay me when the Army paid him for the horses.

I took the two he had offered and led them away to the Julesburg Horse and Mule Barn.

I was amazed with seeing the way the town had grown, and how new construction was in process. Nothing I recalled was the same, even Mrs. Fletcher's boarding house had a new coat of paint.

The corral owner came out of the barn and stood at the corner of the fence. I turned my animals loose to run free within the corral and suspected the man was the new owner. He spoke, "Looks like you got some mighty fine horses. How did you come by the Injun pony?"

I responded, "Oh, he just happened along. In case anyone is interested, he and that young mare is for sale and I'll be staying at the boarding house."

The man asked, "Will you be staying long? It's a dollar a day for all three and I will throw in some grain feeding as well."

I had twelve dollars left of my scouting money and the thought of trading lay heavy on my mind.

"Tell you what, partner! I'll trade you the Indian pony for a week's boarding and grain feed the other two."

The man was hesitant but spoke, "Its a deal."

I managed to stable the animals and went to the boarding house. A small bell hanging over the door announced my presence as I entered.

Behind the high back counter and sitting in an arm rest chair was Mrs. Fletcher's' brother. The man stared hard at me before asking, "Are you staying just one night or longer? Just sign the book, but you will need to carry your own stuff to your room. Got a bad back and there isn't nobody here to carry it."

Mrs. Fletcher was coming up the hall and approached me as I made my mark on the book. She stood looking straight at me. In a question kind of way, she spoke, "Is that you, J B Wright and if it is, mint or no mint, I'm going to hug your neck."

I thought the woman would pull me to the floor before she released. She shouted to her brother who had signed me in,
"Brother, this is J B Wright. Don't you remember him? Lottie's beau. My, my, and everyone claimed you were dead, but I knew you was far from that."

I smiled at her while speaking, "Yes, sometimes folks get things all mixed up, don't they?"

She responded, "J B, did you have the Army to send a wire here asking about Lottie? I sent them back the truth, she and the boy have been gone for at least six or seven month and longer. After hearing you were dead, she up and married that newspaper man, John Lund. Now, J B I was against it, but she wouldn't listen."

I was stunned at hearing the news, but I could not blame her or John. He was not a bad sort, a little green to the ways of the west but he had more to offer than I could ever give.

Mrs. Fletcher and I talked a few more minutes before she made her brother heat some water and take the tub to the same room I had stayed.

She asked, "Are you hungry, if you are, I can go get you something from the kitchen?"

I told her I had eaten while on the trail, but I would take breakfast with the other guest the following morning.

I left the lady wishing to tell me more, but I was tired, and I had all the depressing thoughts I needed for the day.

Having a soft bed and a warm bath was something I could have only imagined. Both were great but the bed was something to get use too. In the middle of the night I pulled the cover from off the bed and slept on the floor.

At times, my sleep was interrupted by dreams of my captivity while others were of Lottie.

I got up from the floor and sat much of the night in a chair trying to get comfortable, but my thigh wanted to hurt. I was glad when hearing a knock on the door and a voice reminding of breakfast.

I needed some new clothes and to shave but decided not. My money was almost gone and no way to earn more. My hope lay for the sum promised by the Jefferies and if not, then perhaps I could find work to pay Mrs. Fletcher.

All I needed was a week to have the horse tamed and riding like a rocking chair. She was a beautiful young filly and gentle enough to be taught the ways of man.

It would be something to keep my mind occupied from thoughts toward Lottie and the boy. My hope was everything would be good in their favor and they would be happy.

During the noon meal I was interrupted by Mrs. Fletcher. She let me know someone had left an envelope with my name on it at the front desk.

I hurried and finished while suspecting it was the money I had earned from the Jefferies. It was, and a ten-dollar bonus of thanks. I now had the exact amount the Army had paid for scouting.

It was a good day and I felt good in my body. Something unusual. I was without pain in my wrist and I could walk with my thigh not hurting. It was the change in the weather or something else, but it never mattered. it was good moving about without pain.

After checking on the horses, the general store was my next stop. The sound of someone sawing a board echoed between two buildings as I entered the structure.

An older gentleman stood behind the counter and talking to a woman I assumed to be a customer. There were a variety of items of clothing stacked on tables as I browsed among several.

A lady whom I never saw when I came in peeped her head from around the corner of another room and politely spoke, "I'll be with you in a minute, feel free to look at anything you like and let me know if I can help."

On one of the tables were stacks of modern style clothing for men. I was intrigued with the way they were made. They looked to me like the maker used colored canvass but durable enough to be shielded from thorn bushes.

I picked out two with hope I could wear them. I held them up to my body to see if they were long enough. I never knew the lady was watching and I suppose she felt I needed help.

She wasted little time finding what she thought would be my size and gave them to me. "Go in that little room and try them on and see if they fit."

I did as she asked, and they were a little tight, but I could manage.

The next items were shirts, but they were easy to pick. Most of them were the color of grey so I took a couple to match the britches.

I was at the counter to pay the bill when the helpful lady asked, "I suspect you might be the Army scout who everyone thought was dead? News travel fast around here but I'm glad it was only a rumor."

The older man I assumed to be the proprietor never said a word until I was ready to leave. "Mr. Wright, thank you for your business and I hope your stay here in Julesburg is a pleasant one."

I thanked the man, went to the corral, and started working with the horse. The package that held my item of clothing, I laid on the back of a wagon until I finished with walking the animal around in the corral.

I never noticed the lady from the store who helped me as she came and sat near the package watching every move the horse and I did.

She waited until I was through walking the horse before saying, "Mr. Wright, you seemed to have left something at the store and Mr. Brewer asked me to bring it to you."

I had left my old clothes laying on the counter. I spoke, "There was no reason you should have brought those old clothes. You could have thrown them away or put them in your burning pile"

She was embarrassed at first but spoke, "Mr. Wright, I'm Sadie Ledbetter, I was a friend of Lottie Hamilton. We had lunch together at the German cafe often and she spoke about you."

I remained quiet not knowing what to do or say. I watched as she started to turn and walk back to the store. "I asked, "Mrs. Sadie, would it be asking too much for you to say where they are? Not that I would go there and cause problems but to know if they are doing well."

"I suppose it would be all right. I received a letter a month or so ago saying she and the boy was doing fine and John had opened a newspaper office in Denver. Little Norm is in school and he is liking it."

"Mrs. Sadie, you don't know me from the governor, but I'm asking if you think I should pay them a visit?"

"Mr. Wright, according to the letter, she is expecting a child and they are hoping for a girl."

Momentarily, I was crushed, but quickly regained my wits. I wanted nothing but the best for her and now with a new child entering her life, she and the boy could forget the past and move on to a brighter future.

For the next few days, I worked diligently with the young filly. She was quick and faster than Molly could have ever been. I had her where she would take a piece of rope out of my new trousers' back pocket and hold it in her mouth.

She listened to every command and was quick to obey. I could give a sharp whistle and she would come quickly to my side; something Molly had problems with.

One evening during the supper meal, a guest fresh from the city of Chicago began telling stories about how things were back east. He called it the restoration days and how things were returning to normal since the ending of the war.

I never said a word but sat thinking about current events and how Red Cloud was still in full battle array and the Army was far from stopping it.

The young filly was ready, and I would put her up against anything the Army had to offer. A mark of white in the center of her forehead gave her the name of star.

It was the second day of July 1867 when I left Julesburg heading toward the South Platte River. I knew the trail like the palm of my hand and kept Star at a walking pace.

The Horse and Mule barn owner had sold both horses we had bargained for but I manage to buy a mule to carry my supplies.

I considered it to be lucky to have gotten the store's last of eight new steel traps. The knife Solly had given me, I used sometimes whittling or carving out various things.

I was in process of making a doll to give to one of Ma-Toosh's girls.

The ride with nature were not without visualization. I could imagine trapping would be during winter either on the Platte or the Piney.

On the morning of the second day of my ride, the Platte River came in view. I rode its banks until reaching a place where I had spent many happy hours as a boy. Though the Cheyenne had moved on northward, I remained in the same area where it was said I was born.

I made camp and thought to stay a few days before moving upstream. I was in hope of flushing away the past and focus on good memories toward my parents and childhood friends.

I thought of my sister and remembered her warnings, but It felt good again to be alone with nature and never thinking about the Army or Red Cloud's war.

Author Notes Folks, you who have stayed the course of my scratching out this tribute to America's yesteryear and have read and reviewed a 60,000 word novel. We now enter Part Two. If I have inspired or taught you something concerning people and attitudes when creating American history, then it has been worth it.
JB Wright lives on with an exciting life but will cross paths with Lottie someday in an usual way.
Part Two is filled with true American History and engulfed with drama. I have been asked if I will publish this. Though through the years much of my work has been published under various names and at the age of 82 my goal is when I am a 100, I may write another So keep your wits and stay in the saddle as long as you can. My blessings to each of you.
For now, I will take a break.


Chapter 55
The Sequel -A Grain Of Wheat.

By Ben Colder

Part Two- A Grain of Wheat.
 
The epic opens during the spring of 1867, a time when Red Cloud of the Sioux nation was in a full-scale war with the United States. I was camped on the Platte River at a place where it was said I was born.

My intentions were to spend time forgetting the past and search the river for good trapping and prepare for winter lodging.
I knew the trapper’s rendezvous were normally held somewhere either on the upper Arkansas or Missouri rivers and I intended to be there. For sure my old friend Solly- Solomon would be present along with Bridger and a few others I cared to see.

It took me only a day to build a Wikiup and almost in the same place where my parents lived during the time of mine and my sisters’ birth.
My Cheyenne heritage, I displayed more than my French father, and it seemed to have dominated most everything a half-breed boy needed at the time.

I suspected much of the area had been trapped and I knew for certain my father and other Frenchmen from various parts of Canada had at one time traplines stretched throughout what is known today as Wyoming,

I could only visualize those times and it felt good remembering the faces of some who died in battle with the white culture. I knew much of the Beaver were gone but I had no intentions of trapping what was left. There was a market with the white man for the fur bearing animals.

Though it was springtime when pelts were not of their best, I made comfort for myself and explored both upper and downstream of the river marking places I would be successful.

This became days of routine until several Cheyenne Dog soldiers appeared uninvited. Beneath the black paint smear around his eyes hoping to frighten his enemy, I recognized the man to be someone I knew as a boy. He spoke, "J B, like a rabbit, you return to your mother.”

I could see several Sioux on horseback in the background near the forest and suspected they were a war party either going or coming from a battle.

I spoke, “It is good to see my friend, Grey Fox. Yes, I come here, the place where I was born. Has Grey Fox returned to remember our days as boys?"

He chuckled, “Smoke from fire I smell. I come to see.”

I asked, “Does Grey Fox go to war with white man or takes horses from white people who come?”

“We go JB, we go take horses from the Crow kill many Crows. You know scout for white man no more, maybe J B, I kill in battle. No more J B, no more, yes?”

I stood strong against his threat but smiled when saying, “Yes, no more; white man lies, no more.”

The man backed his horse away from me and let out a blood curling scream as to invite all to follow him into the dense forest.

I pitied the Crow people in one sense but knowing they were not facing superior weaponry as they would if fighting the white man’s army, I shirked it off as just another fight among the tribes.
 
 Perhaps an old saying, “a little Bird told me” was true. Two days later just as it started to rain, Ma-Toosh appeared at the edge of the woods. He yelled a certain call we both understood as I returned it in like manner.

Grey Fox had wasted no time telling the council of my presence. It was good seeing my old friend and just hearing his voice created a hidden strength I had long forgotten.
.
I stopped him before he said it. I spoke, “Yes, like a rabbit, I have returned to my hole.”

We both found humor with the saying and spent the day out of the rain inside the lodge recalling things as boys.
I never had to ask where he got the Army’s new spencer, I suspected he had been part of a war party fighting the soldiers somewhere.

Words could never express the gladness I felt just hearing about current events and how the white man’s army was calling for a peace treaty to be signed at Fort Laramie.
.
He spoke but in a doubtful way. “J B no go to treaty, yes?”

I never answered but in my heart, and mind I could only hope if a treaty were agreed then both sides would honor their commitments.

Later I spoke, “No, I must search for good trapping for this winter. Got no time to listen to promises maybe kept, maybe not. And what about Ma-Toosh, will he be there?”

“No go, J B, no go. Ma-Toosh he be with family; we go with others to big river. We camp there. Do not J B take Norman’s woman and boy?”

It was hard to try and explain things about Lottie being married to John, so I evaded the question and tried pushing the conversation toward another subject, but he knew something was wrong.
 

He probed at my facial expressions when asking,” J B no take white woman, maybe Cheyenne woman?. Grey Fox, he brings Crow girls to camp, some pretty, some not pretty. Maybe J B take young pretty crow woman, yes?”
 

 

 





 

Author Notes
I wish to apologize to the reader for being wrong with the time frame about Trappers Gathering.
According to reports available the last was 1840 in the area I write about but my time frame is sixteen years later.
I have made proper changes to the main manuscript.
Thank you Earl for catching this.

J B Wright is created from the lives of several Army scouts during the times of conquering the west. We are getting close to Thanksgiving here in America and had it not been for the American Indian, the first to arrive here from Europe would have starved to death. Facts. Later, what is known as bite the hand that feeds you came to be.


Chapter 56
Continue -The sequel.

By Ben Colder

Previous post.

It was hard to try and explain things about Lottie being married to John, so I evaded the question and tried pushing the conversation toward another subject, but he knew something was wrong.

He probed at my facial expressions when asking," J B no take white woman, maybe Cheyenne woman? Grey Fox, he brings Crow girls to camp, some pretty, some not pretty. Maybe J B take young pretty crow woman, yes?"

New.

The last thing on earth I wanted was for someone to be concerned about.

Ma-Toosh was full of suggestions and I could never fault him for it. He never understood the situation between Lottie and myself and I had no intentions of explaining things, so I kept him in the dark toward much of the happenings.

Though we spent much time exploring the Platte for trapping, we seldom spoke about depressing thoughts, however occasionally he would mention his family and how the girls were becoming maidens.

At times I would tease and brag about how rich he would be in horses when the young warriors would come asking for his daughter's hands in marriage.

He remained silent and never expressed his thoughts either way.

Late one evening as we returned from exploring the southern bank of the Platte. Grey Fox and several young Cheyenne braves sat dismounted on the ground near my lodge holding on to their horse's bridles.

It was a friendly visit with none of them wearing war paint. Ma-Toosh spoke first. "Grey Fox has brought meat. J B, we eat good tonight."

I suspected the visit was for a purpose and before dusk, I would know the answer.

I must say the meeting was surely cordial and quickly turned into a feast. Two of the young braves attended to the makeshift rotisserie while we three older men sat and visited. A young antelope basted in a substance I was not acquainted with and rather smelly but tasted nourishing.

Grey Fox went right to the point for his visit. He wanted advice and my personal feelings toward the upcoming treaty meeting.

Ma-Toosh sat quietly knowing all the time why they were there and what they wanted.

I knew the Army and their overall desire of either kill the Indian or incarcerate him to some reservation. With most of the generals I had met, imprison would be the last resort.

President Grant was just like his predecessors who lived by the rule "Whip the Indians and make room for progress no matter the cost."

Money was the object and the find of gold in the Black Hills in their opinion would put the nation monetarily on their feet after suffering the devastation of bloody civil war.

President Lincoln had allowed thirty-five Sioux warriors to be hung from a gallows at the same time which sent cheers throughout the white culture. Their guilt? Defending what was theirs from intruders no matter who.

Knowing these things placed bitterness in my mind but a coin has two sides. White culture had much to offer in the way of matters concerning modern weaponry and education toward future existence.

I knew it would be hard to relate this to Grey Fox, but I thought to try.

I spoke, "In your village lives, Ma-Toosh' and your families who fear toward all the happenings. Your children know nothing but the old ways of the Cheyenne. Soon more whites will come, more soldiers with better weapons. How long can the Cheyenne last if all die in battle? I am part white and have learned much of the white man's ways. Some good, some bad. But the Cheyenne ways are also, some good, some bad."

Grey Fox stood up and stretched his legs. He spoke, "J B speaks wise, but J B forgets he is still Cheyenne. We no want war with the whites but they keep coming and taking our land. Should we lie down, and say come, you take all?"

I remained quiet and let Ma-Toosh speak. He stammered at first but spoke, "I am Cheyenne, the great spirit made me Cheyenne. I no wish to fight the white man but I no want him to come and kill my family like Sand Creek. So, I will fight him!"

I spoke, "Grey Fox, go to the treaty listen wisely and look into the white man's faces and see for yourself before agreeing to anything."

Our visit was over. Grey Fox had heard enough. Before departing he spoke, "J B, I will go and I will look into the white man's eyes. Then I will do what I think is right, Will J B come and listen?"

"Maybe, maybe not. But be wise and listen carefully to the agreement before touching the pen,"

After my guest had ridden away, I was intrigued with what Ma-Toosh had to say.

"When we were on river searching for good place to trap, I saw snake kill another and eat him. Now he be one snake. Maybe white man be snake and the Cheyenne be snake inside him, yes?"

I answered, "Maybe, just maybe."

I was glad Ma-Toosh had stayed and for the next few days we talked about things we remembered doing as boys and how we aggravated tribal elders with various tricks we would play on the old witch doctor.

The visit was educational to me. I had often pondered what was happening with things while I was in captivity.

Ma-Toosh was full of information concerning battles and skirmishes with the white soldiers and I suspected the Spencer came from one of the happenings.

On one occasion when we sat inside the lodge listening to the rain hit its sides, he told me something concerning Colonel Carrington, a man I had little regard for.

While I was a prisoner in the Crow camp, Carrington was leading more than a thousand-foot soldiers and 200 wagons up the Oregon trail along the Platte near Nebraska.

The tribes found the ordeal to be comical and had it not been for "Blanket"- Jim Bridger, scouting the move, a fight could have happened but instead the warriors found it amusing watching marching soldiers cross the open prairie while pot shooting coyotes and pronghorns.





Author Notes Did you know that a King snake will kill a poisonous snake and swallow him. Very true. It is why it gets the name King.
------------------------

Though I am personally a Choctaw breed I try to see both sides of the coin as JB does. I like who I am and gratefully appreciative toward Jesus Christ for removing the scales of darkness from my eyes. Some of the tribes also come to this understanding and I will name a few later who you would never think would ever come to know Jesus, but they did.
My blessings to you. Thanks for reading.


Chapter 57
Amitola

By Ben Colder

Previous Post.

While I was a prisoner in the Crow camp, Carrington was leading more than a thousand-foot soldiers and 200 wagons up the Oregon trail along the Platte near Nebraska.
The tribes found the ordeal to be comical and had it not been for "Blanket"- Jim Bridger scouting the move, a fight could have happened but instead the warriors found it amusing watching marching soldiers cross the open prairie pot shooting coyotes and pronghorns.

NEW POST.

He had failed miserably in getting Red Cloud or any others to agree to a peace signing at Fort Laramie and almost felt Red Clouds' knife across his throat.

The Army wanted to build forts all along the Bozeman Trail to accommodate the travelers, but Red Cloud and other chiefs gave their rebuttal in such away war would continue and with more impact.

The chiefs were plain with their threats and left the meeting promising they would fight for their land with every warrior.

The following days, we marked the area where I felt the fur bearing animals were plentiful.

I left the traps and much of the things I would need for winter trapping hidden in a hollow tree not far from my lodge. I took the mule and a few other items I felt I would need and rode Star alongside Ma-Toosh toward his home.

We were a long way from Powder River country, but it was where the Cheyenne were camped alongside the Arapaho and Sioux. I was told Red Cloud was also there along with Spotted Tail and a few more I really cared not to see.

Two Strikes and I had an old score to settle but with weakness in my thigh and wrist I suspected I would most likely finish second. I could only hope meeting some I knew would be cordial and Two Strikes would push aside the past and think about the future.

The journey started out peaceful and with nature granting two clear and beautiful days. The first night we camped on a tributary and fought mosquitoes all night. With humor I told Ma-Toosh the Mosquitoes were so determined to eat us alive that I heard one tell another they should eat us here before the big ones come and take us away.

He never thought it to be funny and pulled a blanket over his head and stayed like that until dawn. I got little rest and glad when leaving all the blood suckers behind. I could only feel compassion for the animals as they endured the ordeal throughout the night.

It was a cloudy misty morning when approaching Ma-Toosh's home. Our arrival was nothing of a surprise. Hidden sentries had sent warning before we were one day away from the camp.

Ma-Toosh's oldest son riding a white welsh pony was the first to greet us. He rode proudly before us shouting in Cheyenne his father was home and had returned from a great battle.

I was not about to interfere or say anything but rode beside Ma-toosh as though it was true.

Women and children stood smiling with pride as though seeing heroes as we stopped in front of Ma-Toosh's lodge.

Before entering, he spoke words to the group I did not understand but evidently it was something which caused the people to leave.

I was a guest in his home and was treated with the utmost respect. I admired him for having a large family and how he provided for each of them. I loved Ma-Toosh like a brother and would do most anything for him and his family, but I knew in days to come tranquility for them would be a thing of the past. The Army was dead set on eliminating the tribes as they would termites.

The man had more pride to ever become what the Army described as loafers. He would take his family and go into Canada before living near the forts and beg for food.

It never took long for word to reach the chief about my presence. I had just sat down to a morsel of food when I was summoned to attend the council. I suspected they wanted information concerning white culture and the Army's strength but I knew as much as they did and doubted I could add anything other than I wanted to be left alone and would be living on the Platte and trapping out the winter.

I explained most of this and the chief found it humorous. He spoke, "J B, your words are weak. We know you and if the white man's Army give you money, you will scout,"

Ma-Toosh came to my rescue, "No, he be not scout for Army no more. He come here, he is my guest and friend."

Grey Fox, who sat before the council spoke, "Let him talk, let him say."

It was a chance to explain the truth and the real threat facing the tribes. I could hope for ears of acceptance. "A few weeks ago, I was in Dull Knife's camp with a young white man's Army officer. We came in peace seeking peace with hope of stopping the war. Dull Knife wants peace for all the tribes and willing to listen to the great white father who send words from far away."

This stirred the meeting into a loud conversation among themselves. One young warrior I did not know spoke, "Maybe Dull Knife does not want peace now. Red Cloud says white man wants all tribes' land. He will fight. Will J B fight for Cheyenne or white man?"

I remained quiet not knowing what to say. Another warrior spoke, "Beaver", he is white and Cheyenne too, he fights for Cheyenne."

I knew George Bent and knew he supported the tribes with as much weaponry as possible. I had seen him on a beautiful steed the day Big Crow attacked Fort Rankin.

I stood as ready to depart saying, "Loving the Cheyenne is loving my mother. The white man can do what he cares to do, and the Cheyenne can do what the Cheyenne cares to do. I will live on the Platte where my Mother gave me birth in peace."

Ma-Toosh led the way out of the council lodge. He whispered, "J B, He speaks wisely."

As we walked to Ma-Toosh's lodge, I noticed two young crow women being treated like pack horses by Cheyenne women. They were kicked and beaten with sticks until I stopped it. "Have the women of the Cheyenne forgotten the ways of the old ones? Is it not better to lead the horse to the water than to beat him into submission?"

Ma-Toosh signaled for us to go and leave things as they were. One of the young crow women spoke, "Has J B forgotten the one who healed his wounds?"

I was stunned to see Amitola (Rainbow.)

I spoke, "I did not recognize you; I am sorry. I will try and buy your freedom. Do what they say for now. I promise you will hear from me."

Ma-toosh and I left the women doing as they were and continue walking to the lodge. I remained wordless and thinking what I had to barter with for her freedom.

Ma-Toosh spoke, "J B take Crow woman as his woman, yes? She is pretty and young. She gives J B many children."

I never said a word as we entered his lodge. During a fine meal of venison killed and dressed by his sons, the subject of me taking a Crow captive for my woman became the main subject.

It was a teaser, but I was serious. I had no intentions of letting her stay a prisoner and be mistreated when I owed her so much.

It never took long for word to spread my intentions toward Amitola. She was Grey Fox's property, and it would take some doings to buy her freedom. I was old enough to be her father and having her for a wife would be far from either of our minds.

Author Notes George Bent was known as Beaver and was a Cheyenne who became a Confederate soldier during the American Civil War and waged war against Americans as a Cheyenne warrior afterward. He was the mixed-race son of Owl Woman, daughter of a Cheyenne chief, and the American William Bent, founder of the trading post named Bent's Fort and a trading partnership with his brothers and Ceran St. Vrain. Bent was born near present-day La Junta, Colorado, and was reared among both his mother's people, his father and other European Americans at the fort, and other whites from the age of 10 while attending boarding school in St. Louis, Missouri. He identified as Cheyenne.


Chapter 58
Continue -Amitola

By Ben Colder

Note. I have about 15 what I would describe interested readers. Others are pop in and pop out always finding fault.
Note, My writing style may or may not be something you care to read so to save you time, if you wish to change the write into your style of writing, just hit skip. Those who wish to help by finding spgs, I appreciate you and welcome your thoughts and help.

Previous Post.

It never took long for word to spread about my intentions toward Amitola. She was Grey Fox's property, and it would take some doings to buy her freedom. I was old enough to be her father and having her for a wife would be far from either of our desires.

New Post.

There was much excitement in the camp. Ma-Toosh's brother accompanied by several other Dog Soldiers had returned from a skirmish with a company of black soldiers some when on Wilson Creek near Fort Harker Kansas.

There intentions were to take all the Railroad stock and as many supplies they could carry but was repelled costing the lives of a few braves and several ponies.

I listened clearly because I had heard about the black soldier from Sgt. O'Riley. Though I had never seen one, the warriors who had, said they were no cowards and good fighters.

Rumors had them with hair like the Buffalo and some had facial features much different from the white eyes. (White culture)

The event stirred all the children into playing games acting out parts of the story pretending to be a buffalo with sticks as rifles charging the enemies.

I must say it was hilarious until Ma-Toosh stopped it. He growled, "No soldier be Buffalo and solder too. They make funny story. No get horses, make story for chief."

I never wished to interrupt the correcting of his children but in private I told him I never doubted the report. There were soldiers like they said and though I had never seen one I believed it to be true.

During the week I stayed, I felt a closeness to my Cheyenne traditions. Just seeing the children playing games I had once played when their age brought fond memories.

Ma-Toosh and I had voiced our opinions toward Amitola, and I could only think of promising future winter pelts for her release. I already knew others were offering much more, but only for sex and slavery.

I suspected, had it not been for her diligent care for my recovery, I would have been counted among the others who died at the hands of the enemy.

Ma-Toosh knew this and without my knowledge he had bargained for her and to be released into my care. For two days he kept it a secret and, on the morning, I was to leave, Amitola sat mounted on a beautiful painted horse and ready to go.

I knew she was eager to get back to her people and could only hope good for her friends who were also prisoners.

There was nothing I could do about it so we rode on toward my lodge.There, we could spend time getting acquainted and if possible, I would take her to her tribe.

We had much to talk about and I hoped she could tell me what happened to O'Riley and his men, but for now, I would leave it for another day.

The first night into our journey we camped fireless for much of the time. Earlier a Pawnee war party crossed before us no doubt returning home from a raid.

Amitola kept our animals quiet as they passed while I sat with my old breach loader cocked.

It was tension for a few moments and then the sound of the last rider's horse snorting in the far distance released the pressure.

We both knew our lives had been in jeopardy and neither of us needed to say anything. Sometimes, before morning she built a small fire and prepared food Ma-toosh's wife had sent.

We were leaving the mouth of the Yellowstone River in Montana and traveling toward the South Platte River across Colorado's northeastern plains which would be not far from Julesburg, a place filled with memories of Lottie and little Norm.

Traveling slow and cautious, we would be a few days before reaching my lodge. Amitola was pretty and a soft-spoken individual whom any young warrior would cherish to have.

At night, we slept feet apart and near the fire but on one occasion neither of us were sleepy. Earlier, we had seen several large bears in the meadow and the horses were jittery.

As we sat across from each other, she spoke something I was not sure of. She asked, "Does J.B. think Crow woman pretty?"

Not knowing her meaning, I was reluctant at first toward answering her question. "Yes, I think Amitola is pretty and much too young for an old trapper like me. I'm sure there is a young Crow warrior who waits with hope for your return."

She never responded and for the next few days as we traveled,hardly a word was spoken from either of us.

The terrain was much like the area I had traveled when scouting for the Jefferies.

Though my responsibility was not getting 200 horses safely to a military fort, the risk was still the same.

In places, slippery rocks could easily be the cause of our death but as I slowly eased Star along the narrow ridges, Amitola kept her horse close behind.













Author Notes Thank you Google for the photo. it is found in Public Domain. Wilson Creek- Ft. Harker, Kansas.
Special orders-N.113. June, 24 -1867. Two non-commissioned Officers and 10 men of Co. K 38th U.S. Infantry. The report,Capt. We had a very large fight last night and the night before and it was luck we had a box of ammunition. We were lucky none of the boys were killed. We killed 10 Indian ponies that we found here this morning. We don't know if we killed the riders or not. The sentinels was shot at, but the balls went through the tents.
See Frank N. Schubert' book. "VOICES OF THE BUFFALO SOLDIERS."



Chapter 59
The First Visitor.

By Ben Colder

FOR YOU SANDY! LOL.


Previous Post.

The terrain was much like the area I had traveled when scouting for the Jefferies. Though my responsibility was not getting 200 horses safely to a military fort, the risk was still the same.

In places, slippery rocks could easily be the cause of our death but as I slowly eased Star along the narrow ridges, Amitola kept her horse close behind.

New Post.

The following day as we reached our destination; other than a small amount of wind damage, the dwelling was still in fair shape.

Not far, a skunk had taken up residence. The thing had given us a hardy welcome. I soon removed the critter from our midst but still endured its presence for the next day.

Amitola considered it to be funny and found a clump of wild mint growing nearby. She rubbed it under both of our noses while laughing." Soon it will go away. Maybe rain will come and make smell stay away."

My response was silent as knowing if rain came then it would make things worse but for sure, it never mattered what either of us wanted; during the night the heavens opened and the rain fell in such a way it almost washed our lodge down the mountain..

Moreover, we spent most of the night trying to stay dry and secured from a might be flooded river.

It was said by tribal elders when bad things come good things follow.

I must agree with them as watching Amitola take control of putting things back in order, she presented something I would hold dear in my heart throughout my life.

Her sleeping quarters were drenched causing her to find rest beside me. Like most male and female species, nature's romantic life was tempting but it was me who held the fatherly feelings.

The following morning the sun beamed across my eyes quickly bringing me to my feet. Sometimes during the night, the storm had passed through the area leaving a beautiful morning.

I let her sleep as I built a fire and made the remainder of coffee I had purchased when leaving Julesburg. As I sat sipping the hot brew, my thoughts went back to the moment I learned about Lottie and John.

I knew Amitola felt I never wanted her but in our conversations, she mentioned being promised to a young warrior who I suspected was among the dead my friend Solly had found. Though I never knew it to be certain, still I made excuses not to be passionate.

We spent the day repairing the lodge and digging trenches in case the rain came again. Amitola hung her wet bedding across nearby bushes allowing them to dry. She was quiet for most of the day as I watched her walk to the river and stroll along its bank looking for a plant used for soap.

I turned my head as she stood nude while washing her hair. I quickly found other things to do and spent time getting the traps ready. I had two fish snares in the water upstream and I knew they needed to be emptied.

Late evening and during the meal of fish and rabbit, we sat close with her intentionally bumping my leg. Her dark penetrating brown eyes was like looking into the face of an innocent motherless fawn.

She never said a word as she moved about and prepared our bed. Nature was working, the great spirit who created all things was now at hand. Male and female, the challenge, the purpose for reproduction, all made its way into reality.

At dawn, I let her sleep while I thought about how fortunate I was to have someone who really cared. Not only had she been my nurse but now my woman.

Days rapidly slipped by as we labored making a better lodge. Fondness had become a new meaning.

Now, I was understanding what Norman Hamilton meant when he tried describing his feeling toward Lottie.

For the first time in my life, I was in love. Not an obligation to a friend or trying to be something for Lottie I could never be. True, I loved her and the boy but in a different sort of way.

Amitola was like a fresh breath of air on a spring day; Just knowing she was there and hearing her voice created a strength I never knew I had. Day by day, She and I became intimate with non-explainable connection.

For weeks we cut and trimmed logs with the intentions of creating a small cabin. She would laugh and sometimes poke fun for not wanting to make more room. She would rub her belly and say, "we make more room, maybe little J B someday."

I grinned with pride while asking, "Are you?" Sadly, she answered "No."

It was summer, hot August and a good time for the tanning of animal skins. Trapping for winter pelts would be three months away and from the signs seen when Ma-Toosh and I were exploring along the riverbanks, my hope ran high for a successful season.

Amitola showed signs of happiness. At times I would hear her hum songs in her language. Never in my life had I ever been treated with such integrity. Nothing I needed or wanted went lacking but I knew it was but a matter of time before our little utopia would be interrupted.

I was cautious not to create fear, but I knew if her people or any other tribe knew she was Crow and me a half breed Cheyenne it was certain our lives would be threatened.

Every day when the temperature was unbearable hot, we would walk to the river for our daily bath. With nothing but nature as an audience bathing in the nude became beholden.

It was on one of those days when we had our first visitor. Near the river we were concealed behind a group of thick Junipers as we hurried to slip on our clothes.

I could tell they were white men but not sure how many. Knowing Colorado Governor Evans had placed a bounty on the heads of every dead Indian was still valid, we remained still. My old breach loader lay near, but it was only good for one shot. I put my finger to my lips and signaled to her to be still.

One of the men dismounted and went inside our dwelling and within minutes he came out carrying something. We remained hidden and listened for them to fade from hearing.

Though they were gone I still allowed almost an hour to pass before easing toward the dwelling. I made Amitola to stay hidden as I entered the structure to see what he took. I was glad they never torched the place and whatever they took could be replaced.

As our days continued learning more about each other. I thought of something my mother had told my sister concerning love. "Love runs like a river, sometimes shallow, sometimes deep but still it's a river."

I admired Amitola for keeping her innocence. Though we were twenty-seven years apart in our ages, she never let me react though it mattered. Many of my trapper friends considered me an old man, and at one time I overheard Captain O'Brien say he suspected he had gotten too old for a promotion, but I was glad when hearing he made Major.

One evening just before sunset, Amitola sat making me a pair of buckskin trousers. I waited until thinking she was nearly finished before asking, " when you took care of me while a prisoner in your village, did the white soldier with Red Hair die?"

She continued with what she was doing and then put it aside. "All, white soldiers die, but he does not die. He goes, much snow like you. J.B, he lives, maybe soldier lives too. Maybe he dies. Not no."

I sat watching her continue with her work not knowing anymore than I did.








Author Notes I hope you find this story to be wholesome and not vulgar. Love has a way to answer most of life's questions no matter the culture.


Chapter 60
Continue-Part 2-First Visitor

By Ben Colder

Previous Post.

She continued with what she was doing and then put it aside. "All, white soldiers die, but he does not die. He goes, much snow like you. J.B, he lives, soldier lives too. He dies. Not no."

I sat watching her continue her work not knowing any more than I did.

New Post.

By late fall, the one-bedroom log home was livable. For now, it was all we needed. A child was not in the making and I could tell it saddened Amitola.

October was warmer than usual, and it made me to consider a few changes. The Fox pelts were normally primed by November but with such warmth it would be later.

I only had eight steel traps and several snares I had made from willow branches. The decision for using the metal traps would be for larger critters such as the Lynx or Puma.

Ma-Toosh and I had made the agreement to share our catch, but I was starting to think about it. If he did show, then together we could make our trap line shorter and not leave Amitola more than a day.

For a few more days I had waited long enough. Experience had taught I should have all the traps in place by the first snow. November was at hand and so was nature's threat of freezing weather.

Amitola had decked me out in warm clothing with high top moccasins lined with rabbit fur. Even my coat was lined with fur and my cap. I even had fur lined mittens with a rawhide string attached.

My plans were to leave the following morning when the bumping sound of a wagon coming down the trail had my full attention.

Ma-Toosh had brought his entire family in a wagon driven by a team of mules branded U.S. Army.

I never asked any questions but was glad to see him. From one tribe to hate another, you would never suspect it to be true the way Little Doe and Amitola acted when seeing each other. With happiness, they embraced as though they were sisters.

Amitola never said it, but I could see it in her eyes of I told you we should have made more rooms.

Though none of that mattered I knew the women would make things comfortable for all especially the children. For sure our little cabin would be packed but having the crowd meant we men could spend more time away attending to our traps.

The weather was turning colder and soon the entire region would be covered in snow. Sometimes in places snowshoes would be required. Ma-Toosh and I were equipped with such. Earlier I had made four pairs out of willow branches and laced them with deer skin.

There was plenty of firewood stacked not far from the cabin door and food that would probably last until we returned. Besides what our guest had brought the families would make out for weeks.

Ma-Toosh and I used the mules for pack animals and walked the terrain on foot. Trapping was nothing new and the environment was something we both was born knowing

The first day out we parted company with him trapping downstream and me upstream. He had brought several older steel traps which I assumed some poor trapper surrendered unwillingly.

I never questioned anything he or any tribal member had, knowing all the time who may have owned it.

We were living during war on both sides. The tribes, trying to defend what was theirs and white culture wanting to take it.

Within days I had set all my traps in places I thought would be generous. Strange as it may seem to the white culture we always gave thanks to the great spirit for success.

On the third day, Ma-Toosh and I met where we had agreed. We spent the night mostly seated near the fire catching up on the past and latest events.

He noticed my weapon was the old breech loader and spoke, "You like, I get you white man Army gun like mine."

I suspected he would probably lose his life trying so I spoke, "No, thanks anyway, I will trade my pelts for one. Maybe Ma-Toosh no fight soldier no more."

He chuckled, "Ma-Toosh always fight soldier. I kill, maybe he kills Ma-Toosh."

"And then what will your family do? Have you thought about that?"

He spoke softly, "Ma-Toosh think about family much."

We were three weeks into our task of trapping and nature had been good. For most of the time the weather was pleasant, and the catch was exceptional.

During leisure time, I carved Amitola a ring from hard- wood, not anything as compared to what Jeanie Collins wore on her finger but the meaning was the same.


Hardly a day passed by without thinking about home and if everything was alright. I knew they had plenty of wood and plenty of food and besides, both women were excellent shots with guns and bows. Small horse, Ma-tosh's boy was also good with his bow and knew how to catch rabbits and other needs.


On the night before the morning we were to pull our traps and go home. We sat around the fire discussing our success. We both had ideas of trading for things needed and for certain something for our women.

I am not sure how the conversation started but the name Two Strikes was mentioned. Ma-Toosh commented Two Strikes had once asked him if I would fight for the Cheyenne or the whites?

George Bent a Cheyenne breed like me who had fought with the whites for the south during the war in the east and had come back to where he was born and took up arms against all intruders.

I made excuse not to say anything and readied for sleep. I never said what I wanted to say but George had fought with a bunch of failures and I hoped for something better for the Cheyenne.

In my mind I summed it all up to be a big double cross. Spotted Tail would trade his own mother for most anything of value, when Red Cloud wanted nothing but to rid all whites from his territory for the sake of ancestry.

Two Strikes was like all the rest who wished to show bravery and superiority which never impressed me.

I remembered when Lottie at one time described the times of being days of the future, but I called it the days of fools, who wanted nothing but to kill each other and leave the remains to the wolves.

To the educated people I suppose the word progress meant taking away someone's livelihood and destroying sacred things which meant nothing but only to them. Either way, the entire west was in for a war without remorse.


I had no intentions of ever scouting for the white man ever again and I planned to live out my days with a good woman and maybe a family. Both cultures would make it simply fine without my presence or anything I had

We left the area with the mules carrying an abundance of pelts. Perhaps the great spirit had seen the need and knew our circumstances. I think Ma-Toosh and I were both amazed at how the women had managed warm sleeping arrangements. They had removed the cabin door and joined two wickiup as rooms heated by a fire-pit in each.

Ma-Toosh's children slept very warm while the women occupied the cabin. Never once could the children go unattended or do things without the women's knowledge.
Little Doe was truly a good mother and no doubt a good wife for my friend.

It was obvious when morning came, I would be making plans for spring chores. Two more rooms would be on the agenda but for now the makeshift hallway made from canvas would serve the purpose.

I asked, "who had the wisdom to do this?" Amitola pointed toward Little Doe. She spoke," much snow, we put small tree under, good now."

I marveled at such wit. "Who cut the tree and trimmed it for the brace?"

"Amitola fixed it. It is good, yes?"

I smiled, "Yes, you did good. I am proud of you. All of you have managed to stay warm and that's all it matters."

She asked, "J B do good? Got many furs, yes?"

I pulled her to my chest and then placed the wooden ring on her finger. As I suspected, it was much too large, but she understood the meaning. Slipping it off her hand and on to a rawhide string, she placed it around her neck while looking up at me.

She grinned saying, "Amitola wear ring next to heart, no finger, it falls off."

While Ma-Toosh and I rested for a few days, we made plans to trap much further upstream than I had done. I never questioned his judgment or the fact we could get lucky and come home with some buffalo pelts as well.

We had brought much dried meat knowing the women knew what to do. Ma-Toosh had killed an Elk and we had packed much of the animal home on one of the mules.

We had everything ready for departure by dawn the next morning, we said our parting words to each.

Amitola stood mute just looking at me as though to bid a pleasant journey and a successful task.

Neither Ma-Toosh or I was concerned about their well-being, they had proven their skills of survival very well. This time our plans were to be out two weeks or as long it took to satisfy the need.

We had only gone less than a mile when seeing in the distance several white men on horses making their way through the snow angling toward the dwelling.

At the time I never knew they were Colorado Militia hunting Indians for bounty.

We both knew they could get to our place before we could.

















Author Notes When living with the Navajo in my thirties, I trapped the canyons and streams and even the Rio Grand River area. I was an independent missionary and no support from anyone but God.


Chapter 61
The second visitor.

By Ben Colder

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.

I LEFT YOU A LITTLE BITTER-SWEET.

Previous Post.

We had only gone less than a mile when seeing in the distance several white men on horses making their way through the snow and angling toward the dwelling. At the time I never knew they were Colorado Militia hunting Indians for bounty.

New.

Ma-Toosh quickly recognized who they were and hurried his animal to a place where he could shoot in their direction. He and I both knew they were out of range for his Spencer, but the idea was to get their attention from our family.

It worked, and between the deep snow slowing down their movement, and finding the shooter, it gave me range and time to put my old breach loader to work. I knew the thing was good for 1000 yards and I used it to that effect.
I dropped the lead rider from the saddle and had the ability to fire two round per minute. I dropped another as they came in range of the Spencer.

Ma-Toosh quickly took advantage of his rifles' rapid firing ability and dropped two more from their saddles.

There were nine in total and not knowing what they were up against, they spurred their mounts into the same direction they had previously come.

I never interfered with the way Ma-Toosh treated the dead men. I wanted nothing they had or even care to look at them. I was thankful we had done what we did knowing all the time they would have killed our entire family and traded their scalps for money.

The event made a drastic change in our plans. We both suspected when the others reached their camp then most likely they would return with more men.

When we arrived back at our dwelling, the women were already aware of what happened. They could see some of the happening from their prospective and suspected it was us doing all the shooting.

Ma-Toosh handed me a deerskin pouch with a few pieces of jerky inside. He spoke, "Crow signs, they kill Crow Indian maybe?"

I could not believe my eyes. "No, this was made by my Amitola, he must have been the one who took it from our place that day."

Amitola examined the item, "Yes, me make this."

Since things had happened costing four lives, I suspected it would be but a matter of time before more so -called militia would be coming with vengeance.

We all knew what was at hand and none of our lives would be spared.

The women went to work packing things we would need for survival while Ma-toosh and his son worked preparing other things for a long and rugged journey.

We had the dead men's four horses with two tied to each other and connected to the rear of the wagon. Ma-Toosh and his son rode lead as the loaded wagon made its way through the deep snowy terrain.

Amitola and I rode our mounts behind the wagon and at times I would catch up with Ma-Toosh and send his son back to be with the women.

Our destination was one of many caves along the Platte facing the river. Neither of the caves were strangers to either of us except Amitola.

There was one both Ma-toosh and I knew was large enough to house all our supplies and the family, but it required leaving the wagon and carrying everything on horseback.

By the end of the day, we had removed all the supplies into the cave and camouflaged the wagon very well. The animals were secured in another cave with fodder I suspected the white man's army had once owned.

Food and shelter wise, we were equipped to last for days, but the animals needed to make do with what they had.

In the snow we had left a trail a blind man could have followed, and it gave me deep concern however, the worry soon erased as the night brought the appearance of a blinding snowstorm.

We were warm and cozy with all the light we needed to see and at times, the children would play near the entrance causing Little Doe sometimes to scold them away in fear.

We men suspected our stay would be for several days. I was personally depending on the weather and a few other things to hinder the pursuers' search.

We had no way of knowing the happenings far or near, but we certainly were aware of our surroundings. I could only hope they would not torched our place but if they did, then Amitola would get her three-bedroom cabin from scratch.

In time, I learned how Ma-toosh had obtained the Spencer. He was in the fight at Fort Phil Kearney when Fetterman was killed.

He made it known all tribes thought Carrington was crazy for sending foot soldiers out to meet warriors on horseback.

Without giving much detail of what happened, he did say the big guns at the fort sounded and scattered the warriors but Red Cloud held him and the others in reserve to face a small group of white soldiers on horses. It was in that fight he obtained the rifle.

Now I knew both sides of the story. The white soldiers report verses someone who was in the fight and lived to enjoy his spoils of war.

For the next several days, nature was kind and sent sunny warmth which melted enough snow to accommodate the animals in their search for grass.

I wanted to know if our place was still standing and if the militia was still in the area. Allowing Ma-Toosh to come alone was out of the question. If he were seen he would be killed at once, and as for me, hopefully I could pass myself off as a scout out of Fort Laramie and satisfy the issue.

It was settled, I would leave later in the day riding Star through an area I suspected had melted to the point of safe travel. Star was a good horse and was surefooted but not above having accidents.

Amitola and I said our farewells with my promising to return in a couple of days. Having Ma-Toosh and his family there I thought little about her safety.

It was near dusk when reaching our dwelling. I could tell nothing had been disturbed and as I tied star to a shrub a foot away, I knew my suspicion was correct. It was just we had left it and no signs of anyone or anything had been within yards of the place.

Darkness had overtaken by the time I had a fire. I later hobbled Star near the canvas hallway thinking she would enjoy the warmth.

I must say, she gave me a fright, I had made my bed near the fireplace and during the night, she stuck her head around the cabin entrance allowing the flickering firelight revealed the star on her face. It looked something weird and it almost caused me to shoot her.

At daybreak I stirred the embers into flames and sat awhile thinking about the overall situation. I suspected when weather permitted the militia would return and no doubt burn everything to the ground. We had taken all that was useful with us and with the way things seemed to be, we would find somewhere else to rebuild.

I was partially acquainted with the Black Hills and at one time explored some of the Bad Lands. The Sioux occupied much of the area and for most of the people we had no problems. It was a few self-egotistic warriors who were always looking for a fight. They were the ones who would try and make life miserable especially for Amitola.

I quickly forgot about that idea and decided we would be better off trying to make our home somewhere in the Big Horn mountains
.
By late evening when reaching the caves, it was all settled. Big Horns, here we come.

As I entered the mouth of the cave, I found Ma-Toosh lying on his back with a grin on his face. The smell of whiskey explained it all. Evidently, the source had come from the dead men who he had searched.

I stepped over the man leaving him smiling in his dreams and walked inside where the women sat near the fire making crafts. The children were amusing themselves with various games.

I could tell Little Doe was angry as I asked about Ma-Toosh and the condition he seemed to be in.

She was sharp with the reply, "He drink fire-water- he acts crazy man, I hit him on head with stick. He sleeps now."

I wanted to burst with laughter but Amitola spoke, "All gone, J B no drink. No act like crazy man."


Author Notes Written at a 7th grade level. I left a little something for you to correct.
In real history some of the caves become sealed graves for some of the Cheyenne when the white man's artillery fired upon them. Killing innocent women and children.
But America does not genocide.

Thank you Google for the photo.


Chapter 62
Continue

By Ben Colder

Previous Post.


I could tell Little Doe was angry as I asked about Ma-Toosh and the condition he was in.

She was sharp with the reply, "He drink fire-water- he acts crazy man, I hit him on head with stick. He sleeps now."

I wanted to burst with laughter but Amitola spoke, "All gone, J B no drink. No act like crazy man."

NEW.

The next couple of days my Cheyenne friend and I had extraordinarily little to say to each other. He knew my feeling toward his drinking in the presence of the families. Little Doe had proved her feelings about the subject.

Had the situation not been so drastic and for him to be alert, it would have not bothered me as much. I left him in charge to protect the families not to get stupid drunk.

During a late meal while Little Horse stood guard, we had a chance to speak. He was apologetic but I scolded it was his family he should apologize to and not me.

Ma-Toosh could be gentle as a lamb when it came to making up with Little Doe. She knew him very well and stood listening knowing if he ever found any whiskey, he would do it again.

Within the week, the weather had warmed enough to melt much of the area leaving a muddy environment.

Returning to our old dwelling was now pushed to the back of our minds. We crossed the river and traveled further north sometimes following trails made by the tribes in the past.

The Big Horn mountains were at least 500 miles from our location and it meant traveling through much of Nebraska.

When I left Fort Phil Kearney, I left the Collins hoping Jeanie would talk the Lieutenant into resigning his commission and go back east and leave Carrington to the stupidity he portrayed.


According to Ma-Toosh, Red Cloud knew every thought the man was thinking.

He was right and on some occasions. When I was at Fort Laramie during the time Nick tricked me into escorting a mixed bunch of tame Indians as they were called, my friend old Gage (Jim Bridger) was scouting for Carrington and his 700 men to build Fort Phil Kearney.
Jim never liked the location, but Carrington built it anyway.

From what Ma-Toosh had said, had it not been built where it was, things would have been different in the wood gathering event. Fetterman was trying to take to higher ground to fight but was defeated before getting anywhere close to his goal.

Into our third night of travel, we camped fireless. Earlier we had crossed paths with several Crow warriors. Though to avoid a fight we remained hidden from sight until knowing it was safe to travel.
Yet, the fact Amitola was Crow it would have never mattered. Her life was in danger just as ours.

Ma-Toosh and I disagreed on several subjects, he was wanting to cross from where were and find the Cheyenne camped somewhere in the Powder River area.
I was totally against the idea knowing Amitola would not be welcomed by many and to prolong the meeting of Two Strikes' and my differences.

I suspected word had already reached Red Cloud of my not scouting for the Army but regardless, the man was a person of bravery and no doubt, he would expect me to do as George Bent and fight for the Cheyenne.

It was obvious, if Amitola and I were to live in peace and raise a family, then it would never happen in our present status.

My thoughts, I expressed to Ma-Toosh about Canada and how we could trade our pelts at Fort Rice.

I knew the fort and at one time been one of three scouts for General Sully when having trouble with the Sioux killing hundreds of whites mostly women and children in Wisconsin.

Sully was much like Red Cloud when it came to leading an Army. It was his fort and it had been three years since I visited the place.

As I could remember, it was busy with several hundred soldiers who no doubt was isolated away from the pleasure of women. I consider this to the point of leaving Ma-Toosh and the women camped miles away and going in alone.

It was mostly Sioux country with much unrest among the tribes, but I had it all worked out in my mind and shared everything in general with Ma-Toosh.

He replied, Tatanka Lyotake, (Sitting Bull) "he no like us, maybe?"

I had never met the man but heard much about him. I chuckled, "Maybe we no see him, trade furs, then we go to Canada, yes?"

"J B say fire-water make Ma-Toosh crazy, J B, he no drink, and J B, crazy. ALL Sioux mad, Cheyenne too, maybe we go to Red Cloud and fight with Cheyenne."

I could never blame my friend for wanting to fight for the things he held dear and for sure the land where we were born.

The weapons he had taken from the four dead men could be useful but much like his Spencer, without ammunition what good were they? We could only hope to trade for more.

The idea for gold found in the Black Hills had cause panic among much of the white culture but it was not so much the gold, it was everything in general.

Not only did the white man's lust for various metals continue their coming by the thousands but they were destroying hunting lands and bringing diseases never experience by any tribe.

Not to be educated in their culture's conversations, I still had insight toward knowing we were all in for an awakening.
I knew nothing about Canada, but I did know my birth father was said to be from Montreal.

When I was at Fort Rice, my days had been cut short. I left with another mixed breed scout for other opportunities. Our plans were to leave the Missouri River before winter.

Like Amitola, the other scout had married into the Crow tribe and we left the fort two days later.

My journey took me south toward Fort Rankin. It was there when seeing Nick that day barely get back into the fort before losing his life.

I had old Dan then and had I known how things would have turned out, I would have never left him that day in care of Nick.

As I pondered upon the past, Ma-Toosh was making plans of his own. He and his family would find comfort among their kindred so I could never blame him for wanting to be there.

What I did remember most about Fort Rice was the white soldiers were much like George Bent. They had fought for the losing side and were in prison but was given freedom if they would promise to come west and fight the tribes. The officers called them Galvanized troops.


After a couple of days of wavering opinions Ma-Toosh and I decided after we reached Fort Rice we would trade our pelts for things needed and then he and his family would travele to where Red Cloud was thought to be.

My plans were for Amitola and I to stay the course of going into Canada and making our home there. Everything was agreed and the following day we approached the fort with every intention of following our decisions.

Knowing the Army would confiscate the mules and wagon, we left them, and our families camped secluded a couple of miles away. We used two of the dead men's horse as pack animals leaving one with the women and Ma-Toosh riding the other.

Star and I was in the lead pulling our pack horse as Ma-Toosh followed in like manner.

As our approach was seen by the tower guard, I could hear someone shout our presence and the front gate opened.

I was amazed at the way the place had changed. I hardly recognized anything. It was well fortified with more soldiers and several wagons filled with white settlers bound for everywhere.

At the post store, we were met by the proprietor even before we dismounted. The first thing he said was, "Looks like you and your Injun friend trapped out the Missouri. They look good, bring em inside and see if we can trade."


I could tell Ma-Toosh was fascinated with all the things he saw. I will admit, it was much better than the one at Fort Phil Kearney or it seemed that way to me.

The man personally examined each bundle of our furs not showing approval or disapproval in his facial features.

A table stacked with imported bolts of cloth had my attention. The man saw my interest. He remarked, "All the way from France. Just got em!"

Ma-Toosh was mesmerized with almost everything. The proprietor asked me, "Would you like a jug of good corn whiskey? I can let you have one, but not your Injun friend."

I looked at Ma-Toosh and smiled saying, "No, I think I'll pass on that idea."









.

Author Notes I would like to thank each of you for reading my little tribute to how the west was stolen. If you look real close, you will see how silver tongue politicians with vain swelling words commits genocide. President Reagan once said , "You can put the Rep- Dem- in a bag, shake them up and roll them out and you could not tell one from the other."
Actions speak louder than words.


Chapter 63
Winter at Fort Rice

By Ben Colder

The proprietor had experience with the art of trapping. He had married into the Sioux tribe and was an asset in getting some of the tribes to sign a peace treaty earlier in the year. The treaty involved much of the land in the Dakotas, parts of Wyoming, including the Black Hills. It was thought the Red Cloud war would be over, but it could never be further from reality.

Ma-Toosh and I both knew the irony of the matter was nothing but a camouflaged stronghold. Chief Sitting Bull may have presented a domestic attitude, but in time the opposite would mostly surface.

The Sioux tribes were already angry over setting up Fort Buford two years earlier. I knew this because I traded my winter furs to the American Fur Company, "Fort Union."

The tribes had much to be angry about. Forts were popping up everywhere after promising otherwise. I think other trappers like myself thought much toward the situation. Fort Buford did nothing but agitate the tribes into attacking more whites and especially the wagon trains coming out of Minnesota heading toward the hills of Montana.
After a raid, reservations never mattered, many young warriors would store their plunder and sneak back to their lodges at night.

When leaving Fort Rice, Ma-Toosh and I had been fortunate to get much of the things needed. Though the man was reluctant in giving us Ammo for the Spencer but with me telling him I had scouted for General Sully at one time seemed to have clinch the deal.

The man was smart, and now had a reason for letting us have the ammo. If the Army questioned the trade, he could always lay the blame on that lying, J B Wright.

The Dakota weather was like always in November. Heavy snow in places and light snow in others. A person just had to chance travel but where we had left our families it was not too bad.

The women had made the wagon canvas into a makeshift tent also using the wagon to their advantage. The animals were tied to a rope line yards away shielded from the cold north winds.
The smell of evergreen burning in a fire-pit gave a pleasant odor as Ma-Toosh gave a certain shout. In seconds, it was answered which granted permission to enter.

Over the fire a Dutch oven simmered with mulligan stew. Neither of the women wasted time serving their men. Little horse and the other children for the first time in their lives would taste candy while each of our wives would have the luxury of looking at themselves in a handheld mirror instead of seeing their reflections in a clear stream of water.

I knew Ma-Toosh and his family were miserable. I never claimed to be a smart man, but I knew our lives were in danger. During the time of the Sand Creek massacre the words of what Nick had once told me about a Washington Senator making a speech in Denver still lingered.
He gave his audience an ultimatum by questioning what to do with the Indians. The entire audience shouted, "eliminate, eliminate!"

I watched Ma-Toosh's children as they enjoyed the candy. Little Horse said he thought it was much like eating honey without getting stung.

I gave my friend the Spencer ammunition and asked. "Just how did you come by the rifle? Was you really in the fight or trade for it?"

He was quiet for a minute but as he loaded the weapon he spoke, "I no take rifle from soldier. Soldiers take many mules, tie them to rope near big trees. They wait for Red Cloud to get warriors take them, Red Cloud say no, we take cattle from white men, leave soldiers all night wait for warrior, but we no go. Red Cloud, he laughs, say soldiers not wise. Walking soldiers have gun like you, shoot one time, put bullet in, shoot again. No good, I shoot arrow before bullet in gun."

I sat looking at embers in the fire as they slowly burn into grey ash. Remembering something the store owner had said had my thinking confused.

The treaty called for the Bozeman Trail to be closed and the forts were to be removed. Not once did he give credit to the tribes for their stalwart of defense but talked about how the railroad was complete and people would be going on west riding as passengers.

This was beyond my understanding and for sure Ma-Toosh would never believe. I had seen a change in much of the ways of the Army and if it were true and the treaty was kept on both sides then it would be, but a matter of time Fort Rice would also be done away with.

Despite the weather, my friend and his family were certain to leave and join the Cheyenne thought to be camped in the Powder River area.
As for me and Amitola, we would try wintering inside the fort. There were already two other mixed marriages living there I knew of so another would hardly make a difference.

During a bright sunny morning, Ma-Toosh and I said our farewells. He and his family I let have everything to sustain them on a long and unfaithful journey. The Army would have seized everything stenciled U, S, including the mules.

They left traveling the terrain not visible by the fort. I could tell Amitola was saddened for the family, but knew it was a way of life.

Later in the day, we entered the fort and found a place to shield us from a heavy snow bound to come. The soldiers who allowed us to stable our mounts seemed receptive as one spoke with a kindness in his voice. "You can sit your camp up under the roof in the back. Nobody should bother you there and you will not be far from your animals. There's grain in the big wooden box, and plenty of hay where you'll be staying."

We did as the man suggested and used some of the hay for bedding. With what we had, Amitola made a comfortable place for us to rest. It would only be until I could acquaint myself with the current events. Our food we had could last for several days and by then I hoped to make our stay rewarding.

The stables were outside of the stockade near the blacksmith shop. Across the way and not far from the store where we had traded our furs were the scout quarters. My hope in time was to occupy one and keep Amitola and myself in and out of the weather.

I'm sure it would take my signing on as a scout but for the sake of things , I was willing.










Author Notes The story moves onward into 1870s touching on few historical points and the dissipating lives of many. Still within drama and hardships, I will attempt to hold your interest.


Chapter 64
Continue - Winter at Fort Rice.

By Ben Colder

Previous.
The stables were outside of the stockade near the blacksmith shop. Across the way and not far from the store where we had traded our furs were the scout quarters. My hope in time was to occupy one and keep Amitola and myself in and out of the weather.

I'm sure it would take my signing on as a scout but for the sake of things , I was willing.

New Post.

We had just settled to where Amitola had made our living quarters. Canvas that once covered our supplies now had become a makeshift wall. Another, she had strung for our privacy and I must say, we were very warm and comfortable.

We had just got settled when the soldier who had treated us kindly called out, "Mr. Wright, J B Wright, if that's your name, out post commander wishes to see you."

I looked at Amitola before responding.

Perplexed, she stared at me.

I answered, "Yes, I'm J B. Tell your commander, I'll meet with him, but I have something to do first."

His response was sharp, "No, sir, my orders is to take you to him now. The man doesn't like waiting."

In broken English, Amitola spoke, "J B go. Soldier chief be mad, maybe."

I went with the young man being assured she would be safe and cared for. I had no idea what I was walking into but prepared for about anything. I suspected the store owner told who I was and more than likely he was the one who sent the tongues flapping.

I was beginning to think I should have taken Amitola and went on into Canada but understanding the weather would be unkind, I settled to hear what the man had to say.

Apparently General Sully remembered me and the days I served him three or more years ago.

I was received very affably and even offered a cigar. I turned the offer down but could not help thinking about my old friend Nick and how he kept his office smelling like cigar smoke.

The man seemed pleased that I was at his post and made remarks toward my signing on as one of his three scouts however, I never responded either way until hearing what he had to offer.

In Kansas, the scouts were being paid a hundred dollars per month plus twenty-five more for the use of his private animal. Those people were active toward the Solomon River area when my old friend Solly Solomon I thought to be was staying.

It would be only a temporary task if I hired on but having warm quarters for Amitola and myself, I certainly would listen with an open mind.

If I took the offer, I would be issued a Spencer rifle and several rounds of ammunition just like Ma-Toosh had but my biggest concern was Amitola and her safety however, the man had also taken that into consideration. His wife needed help with keeping their quarters clean and sometimes preparing the meals.

He walked to a large map hanging on a wall and pointed to a vast location and began reciting articles of the recent treaty saying that two of the treatises had changed the boundaries for the tribal lands. He drew a large circle explaining the Sioux Reservation. It was like what the store owner had said. All of South Dakota west of the Missouri River including the Black Hills with a stiff warning for whites not to enter.

I could see the deal was taking more land away from the tribes, and as I recalled, Red Cloud had once said it was white culture being the cause of the war for lying and taking more land than promised. I understood why the Oglala, and others decided to fight.

With tribes now moving on to the reservation my suspicions were the man was keeping something in the dark.

The reservation had formed a police force of its own, but I suspected some were turning a blind eye toward warriors leaving for raids and returning unmindful.

I was not pressured to decide then, but to mull it over and give the man my decision within a day.

Later, words of trying to explain to Amitola came hard. She had feelings too and to hire her services to be a house cleaner for his wife was something to consider.

Tracking renegades would come easier than me trying to explain to Amitola about money. She would be paid well and protected but she had no idea what money was or its value. Her life was to care for her mate, repair and make new clothing, cook, gather wood, and keep things tidy. If we were blessed with children, she was to care for them while I hunted and supplied food.

That night as we lay beneath the covers talking about various things, I mentioned some of what the commander and I spoke about. I tried hard to explain what being a house cleaner meant and what their jobs mostly consist of.

I was surprised as she said, "Me know, I do this for J B, yes?"

I never wanted her to do it for me, but I wanted her to do it for the money and herself however, I found it exceedingly difficult to explain without her thinking something otherwise.

The next morning, out of the corner of my left eye, I could see our animals and the stable guard. I could also see and feel the weather change, Outside, we were having a blizzard. Nothing was moving except the guard at times putting more wood inside the old Ben Franklin stove.

It was one of those times when leaving the warmth of a bed and your partner still sleeping cozy. I was awake for now, but it would not take much for me to stay beneath the covers feeling the contentment of love.

I knew the Commander needed an answer but with the way the weather was acting I had no plans of going anywhere but to help the guard drink the coffee I smelled brewing.


Author Notes This post housed several companies of infantry also a fort where Custer and his men once stayed. Later as you may or may not know Custer and more than two hundred soldiers will be killed. Sitting Bull was in on the fight. Hopefully if you are interested I will lead you into the happening.


Chapter 65
Part 2- Wintering at Fort Rice.

By Ben Colder

Thank you Google;
MORE CAN BE FOUND IF INTERESTED.

The 150th anniversary of the signing of the Fort Laramie treaty was commemorated earlier this year in Wyoming, and gained national media attention.

However, not every band of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Great Sioux Nation signed the treaty in Wyoming.

This is an overview of the Council of the Indian Peace Commission which took place over three days, from July 2-4 in 1868. The Fort Rice meeting was the largest meeting ever to be held on the Missouri River.

Fort Rice is located 13 miles north of present-day Cannon Ball, ND. This is an excerpt of "History of Fort Bennett" by Harry H. Anderson:

"In order to speed up the negotiations, the commission divided into smaller groups. Leaving a representative at Laramie, one portion left to deal further with the southern plains tribes. Another part, consisting of Generals Terry and Harney and Mr. Sanborn, proceeded up the Missouri to Fort Rice... Lasting three days, the Fort Rice meeting was the largest to be held on the Missouri. Representatives from the Sans Arc, Blackfeet, Two Kettle, Hunkpapa, Upper and Lower Yanktonais, Cut Head and Santee bands were all in attendance. The treaty signed here was the same that had been accepted by the Sioux at Fort Laramie.

On the first day of the meeting, Long Dog (Oohenumpa) spoke. "Creator says today look at my face. It is poor. I am not a chief; I am nobody. What you have said today it is hard for me to assent to."

Only July 3, Long Mandan (Oohenumpa) spoke: "We had a great council at Fort Rice, but I did not say anything. We only now that you are sent here by the President, but I want to know if there are to be any chiefs amongst us, and if the young men are to obey that.... We chiefs no longer control our young men."

The Treaty of 1868 was signed at Fort Rice only July 2, 1868.

New.

Despite the cold windy atmosphere, it never kept one of three Pawnee scouts from coming to get my answer. At the time I never knew I would be working with a Pawnee who was in the Tongue River fight with the Arapahos.

Like all Pawnees I had met, the man was stern and right to the point. "You scout or no scout?"

I stood looking at him knowing he and all the Pawnees were enemies to the Cheyenne but because of the situation and Amitola' s safety, I responded, "tell the commander, yes and he can find me here."

"He says, you come. You tell him. You sign paper."

It was near noon before I made it to the man's office. The smell of lunch being prepared sent my taste buds soaring. Using my friend Solly's wording, I was ready to eat the rear- end of north bound mule.

The commander was not there but left everything for me to sign with the desk sergeant. His orders were for me and my woman to move into the scout quarters and meet with him the following morning.

After making my mark on three long sheets of paper, I asked if he thought I could take some food to my present dwelling.
As all Irish soldiers I had met, he was stern with the reply, "Go ask the mess sergeant, but I must warn, he's a cranky sort, but when he gets to know you, he can be a little more gentle."

I could hear the man cursing and raising all sorts of angry wording at his kitchen help. He looked at me though he had seen a ghost. He spoke, "I heard, but on my mother's grave I would have sworn it was a lie. J B, it is true? You are alive!"

I recognized the man to be someone related to my friend Sergeant O'Riley. I was lost for words as he ushered me to a place in the rear of the kitchen where we sat and drank coffee.

The first question came out of his mouth, "Do you know for sure if my cousin Tim was really killed or not? Some say he lived and made it back to Ireland? What say you?"

I never knew what to say. O'Riley' s existence was still a mystery to me. Amitola said he escaped in a blizzard the same way I did and if he were still alive, I could only hope so.

Thornton was the man's name, Sergeant Thornton, and he made it well known. I think the entire infantry regiments was well familiar with the man.

I was glad he remembered, and our old acquaintance had earned a pail of hot stew which Amitola and I enjoyed for most of the day.

Visiting with Thornton, the man had granted a sense of welcome, but I was still uneasy toward working with the Pawnee scouts. The last one I worked with was killed and mutilated by the Sioux.

The following morning, I met with the post commander and was given my first assignment. The telegraph line was down and a crew of four men plus me and a Pawnee scout would escort the men to find the break and fix it.

In weather not fit for man or beast, we had rations for three days and the equipment in a wagon drawn by two of the largest mules I had ever seen in my life.
The wagon driver claimed they were Missouri Jacks and that his folks used teams like them faithfully to pull stumps and clear land.

I must admit, with the height and size they exposed, it would be extraordinarily little problems moving through deep snow and for sure strength enough to pull the wagon.

I was fascinated with the size of the animals but rode my horse Star a few hundred yards in front of the wagon. The Pawnee was a least a mile before me and often we followed his tracks in the snow.

Perhaps being my first trip out with reason ability, the men kept things on edge however, it never seemed to bother anyone except me. To the others, it was nothing but routine. Two men had bets where the break would be while the wagon driver and his assistant sat chewing and spitting tobacco.

My experience taught most likely any tribe or renegade would be using common sense and probably would be somewhere near a fire staying warm. Only the United States Army would be moving about in such weather looking for a miracle.

The Pawnee was leaving his tracks easy to follow and for most of the day we did. At the bottom of a hill where the snow was thinner, I saw where he had killed a deer. I was assigned to stay in view of the wagon but within the hour we approached a dell where the man had built a fire and was skinning his kill.

I could only smile at such tracking skill and his ability to secure safety. The man knew his job and the taste of venison would be much more appreciated than anything the army had sent.

Though we camped a mile from where the deer was slain, echoes from the growls of wolves fighting over the remains sometimes sounded close.

Each of us had two hours shifts for guard duty including the Pawnee. In addition to the pain in my wrist and thigh, I got little rest and was glad to see daylight.

The Pawnee was up and gone before any of us had our first cup of coffee.

I suspected the man knew the repetitive of the trip and would be somewhere on the trail waiting. I could still hear the men arguing about the break and willing to double their bets and the location.

All of this was new to me. My association with foot soldiers was limited. Fort Laramie was my first time of seeing them, but I must say they seemed ready and willing to fight.

It was late evening before entering an area where several large trees had fallen. The Pawnee sat on his horse as we approached. Not saying a word, he pointed at a large cottonwood tree that the chilling wind had uprooted. He had found the break.

The men had about two hours for chopping and clearing away tree limbs before dark. Within the hour, two men made camp while the Pawnee and I rode in opposite directions to encircle the area.

The following day and by the time our breakfast had digested, the line was repaired and working.
Though the man in charge sent a message to Fort Rice confirming the restoration; much time was still spent on clearing away other troubled areas.

It would be the following morning before leaving. The Pawnee and I were mounted and was ready to take the lead when seeing a six-man Sioux hunting party.

With weapons loaded, everyone was ready to fight however to our surprise, they rode past in feet of us in a friendly manner.

The Pawnee and I were amazed. He removed a leather pouch filled with venison and offered it to the last rider as he passed by. The rider paused long enough to take the gift and continued riding.

"Boys, young braves, no warrior, hunt food."

I knew, but I was wondering if he did.








Author Notes I have created this story from the pages of true American History and from the lives of those who lived to share their moments.

According to tradition, in 1822, William Becknell of Howard County led the first trading party over the Santa Fe Trail and returned with a herd of Mexican mules and donkeys. Missouri breeders, quick to recognize the need for a hardy animal to endure the rigors of the 900 mile journey, developed the large, intelligent draft mule that efficiently pulled the wagons west. By 1840, the mule industry flourished, and Missouri, the "jumping-off" place, funneled hundreds of thousands of pioneers to the great frontier. Thanks Google.

The Pawnee scouts were used often including the fight at Custer's last stand.


Chapter 66
Part 3- Wintering at Fort Rice

By Ben Colder

The photo is White Eagle of the Pawnee tribe. He is holding a Spence Rifle. This should help you to understand the character mentioned.Remember, this is Historical Fiction.
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Previous.

The Pawnee and I were amazed. He removed a leather pouch filled with venison and offered it to the last rider. The rider paused long enough to take the gift and continued riding.

"Boys, young braves, no warrior, hunt food."

I knew, but I was wondering if he did.

New.

Slowly, I was warming up to accept the man as someone trustworthy. In the past the Pawnee was known to be otherwise, and for sure my Cheyenne friends would think I was crazy.

The man had shown merit and helpful not begrudging his duties but eager to assist, something unusual for many scouts.

The day we returned to the fort, our reports were made, and I gave my mark for approvals.

Much had happened since we had left. Amitola was doing great with her new task, but most of all, the commander's wife really liked her. In private she told me Amitola was the cleanest Indian she had ever seen. She bragged, "Her hair shines and looks so clean. She has no lice and that I am very thankful."

I chuckled, "No mam, she would wash water if she could get it any cleaner. I sometimes feel uneasy around her knowing I was about to get a bath and that red stuff in my beard and hair."

She asked, "Why the red stuff?"

"Body lice, mam, it works. She grinds a root into a powder, not sure what it is, but it works."

The woman chuckled, "Perhaps we can get her to make a lot so we could distribute it among the men."

Our living quarters were hygienic and neat. I felt to be careful not to track mud or anything into the rooms knowing Amitola would be on her hands and knees cleaning away my tracks.

I was fortunate to have such a person who really cared for my well-being. In all my days, I had never known such attention.

I was glad not to have traveled into Canada and if we could manage to stay the winter as we were, then come spring we could think about building a future elsewhere.

It was less than a week after returning from repairing the telegraph line when word came, Crazy Horse was thought to have raided a white settlement and killing all the men and taking women hostages.

Because of my knowledge toward several of the tribes I was asked to assist a detail of men to investigate the report.

Curly Hair, some called him, a light skin Sioux from the Brule tribe. He was much like his father also called Crazy Horse; a person impossible to negotiate with.

Amitola and I never said goodbyes, but I always pulled her to my chest saying something positive. We both knew the danger and talked about her going to her people if I failed to return.







Author Notes My intentions are to take the reader into the times once existed in America. Body lice ran rapidly among most frontier people. It is true, some tribes fought the body lice thing with various remedies. My grandmother was much like Amitola. She was Choctaw.


Chapter 67
Continue-Part three.

By Ben Colder

Previous Post.

Because of my knowledge toward several of the tribes I was asked to aid a detail of men to investigate the report. Curly Hair, some called him, a light skin Sioux from the Brule tribe. He was much like his father also called Crazy Horse; a person impossible to negotiate with.

Amitola and I never said goodbyes, but I always pulled her to my chest saying something positive. We both knew the danger and talked about her going to her people if I did not return.

New.

We left the fort with the weather in our favor. The bright sun brought a warmth of appreciation, but the terrain at times was still unforgiving. The captain in charge was informed the event was thought to have happened just outside the reservation near the Wyoming border.

We traveled for two days not seeing anything out of the ordinary. The Pawnee and I had conclude the report could have been false or the location given incorrectly.

On the third day out, we found what could be the answer. Our finding was different than the report given.

There had been several tracks and evidence they were Sioux, but it never meant a war party, they could have been a hunting group much like the young boys we met while repairing the telegraph line.

The Captain and we scouts sat near the campfire during much of the night discussing plans for the next day. Though the finding would lead us into the Black Hills my suspicion was if the report were half true then we would most likely find the Sioux had caught someone digging for gold on their land and dealt harshly with them.

Late evening the following day we saw my hunch was right. A small makeshift miner's camp consisting of three men had been killed and scalped. We looked for signs showing female presence but found none.

The Captain and me summed the report to be what lay before us and the Pawnee thought the same. The dead's personal items were gathered and a burial detailed summoned.

Again, we searched the area entirely and found no traces of a woman ever being in or near the camp.

That night as the men rested as though we had carried out the mission, my gut feeling was saying something different. I was glad the Captain was feeling the same.

Something was not adding up. Why would women be mentioned as being captured and who sent the message.

I was glad the Captain was bothered with the same thought. The following morning as we prepared to return to the fort, he asked, "J B what do you think? Do you feel we have found our report or go on with the search?"

I asked, "How about our rations? If we go on to where I think could be the area described in the report, we could be out another week."

I never liked being the center of information when the Pawnee wore a blue jacket with the rank of a private.

He was considered in charge of the scouts and I must say he was well knowledgeable of the entire ordeal. However, we both worked well together, but he knew I never placed much trust in him.

The entire detail thought the same as the Captain and me. We had stumbled upon a situation where three men had broken the treaty and was dealt with hostility.

Our mission still lay before us. Why we were chosen to see to the matter remained a mystery. It could have been handled easier from Fort Laramie and I thought the Captain felt the same.

The following three days we gave our mission the highest attention of finding where the incident was to have happened. The Pawnee and I used all our abilities we knew and still not finding the location.

We even traveled into the Yellowstone basin and searched much of the upper Missouri River area finding nothing that would describe our report.

I was glad when given orders to scout the way home. Our one-week out had turned into two weeks with not finding anything that would satisfy the report.

Disappointment showed in the Captain's attitude. He sounded harsh with his words and sometimes yelled at the sergeant.
I was hesitant with my wording but during the last night before arriving back at the fort, I tried soothing things by reminding about the bodies of those we found who dared to break the treaty.

The man had considered the same and had we not been where we were, then relations of the dead men would never know.

When arriving back to the fort our horses was near jaded. In my estimation, we had traveled more than two hundred miles in circumference, but not in vain. Finding the dead men in the Black Hills gave awareness to the commander and we would be investigating more.

The sweet smell of pine gave a sense of ease as the sound of hammers echoed in the distance. The fort was expanding which meant more troops would be arriving.

I never went to my quarters, Amitola was there at the stables the moment I dismounted.

With gladness, I picked her up in such away her moccasins slipped from her feet. Our kisses were long and at times I had to push her away. With deep dark brown eyes and the warmth of a smile that could melt snow, she spoke, "We go home now, yes?" Gently, I held her where she could slip back into her moccasins.

"Yes, we go home now.

J B Wright is 6'3'', Amitola is 4'11''.


Author Notes Thank you for reading my little story. I know my style of writing for some is hard to accept, but it is me and the way I write. Readers have had to put up with my scribbling for almost fifty years. One of these days I will learn how to write.
Thanks again. We still have a lot of drama before us. Very long novel.


Chapter 68
Pawnee Scout.

By Ben Colder

Previous.

With gladness, I picked her up in such away her moccasins slipped from her feet. Our kisses were long and at times I had to push her away. With deep brown eyes and the warmth of a smile that could melt snow, she spoke, "We go home now, yes?" Gently I held her where she could slip back into her moccasins

"Yes, we go home now."

New.

Coming from the fort's bakery, the aroma of fresh baked bread brought me to my feet the next morning. I reached for Amitola, but she had left early to help the commander's wife.

Inside our dwelling, over a small flame in the fireplace, a mulligan simmered. On the rod next to the Dutch oven a small pot of water heated in wait of my placing coffee inside.

Amitola had learned my morning habits and things were waiting for help.

I smiled as I prepared the coffee. The intentions were for me to sleep, but I was up and ready to meet the day.

Outside, nature was being unkind. During the night abundance of snow had fallen and continuing. I noticed Amitola had taken her warm buffalo skin robe and high-top moccasins.

My thought pattern was filled with uncertainty. Why would she go out in such weather and what could be so important to the Commander's wife to want her to come in such weather?

I dismissed the thoughts knowing it could lead to anger and channeled them toward questions about the report. I was satisfied in one sense but troubled in another.

My thoughts went to the time I was hired by German immigrants to find their loved one whom taken by Two Strikes.
I quickly erased the thoughts knowing they would settled on remembering Lottie and the boy. I sat sipping the coffee and at times I would smile remembering their faces.

Though two years had passed, it seemed like yesterday hearing little Norm's voice asking questions about his father. I pushed away the thoughts of Lottie and the kindness in her Quaker wording of Thee, Thou, Thy. I was happy with Amitola and hoped Lottie and the boy were also the same.

I sat considering having a bowl of warm mulligan when the door opened and Amitola walked inside carrying a package. The Commander's wife had sent two loves of fresh baked bread. Something I had forgotten existed.

"J B no sleep? I bring bread, we eat, yes?"

I sat amazed as she placed her robe back to where it normally stayed. She sat across from me while removing her moccasins and spoke, "Commander's woman, she nice, she gives bread."

I noticed how she was learning more English and how to use the words fitting the subject. For me, I was raised speaking Southern Cheyenne and it seemed so difficult at times. My foster-father, a German who would slam his hand down on a table with anger and growl," No! No! It is this or it is that, and then gently tell me the meaning.

I never said anything about the subject and knew the more she was around those who spoke good English then she would absorb and the understanding. I could only hope she would never hear soldier's profanity.

For two days we stayed snowbound inside the dwelling. We were warm with plenty of food. I cleared a path in the snow from the door to an area near the stables.

It was the first time since leaving our place on the Platte, Amitola and I could spend more time learning things about each other. In times past when I was in captivity and she would attend my wounds, I wanted to know things, but she was forbidden to speak.

We were cozy and a time for making memories. Our special moments belonged to nobody but us, but it all ended the following morning.

I was summoned to the Commander's office for a briefing. Though the messenger never said what it was about, I soon learned. Our earlier mission concerning a raid and women captives was true. Fort Laramie had sent a detail of men to investigate the situation causing the Pawnee and me to scout the way to join them.

The Pawnee and I was to leave the following morning at daybreak. An hour later, the patrol was to follow, and I was to overtake them before they reached a certain point.

I had no problem with the order, but it was at place perfect for an ambush. The Pawnee went on with his task as I rode toward mine.

The entire region was covered in a white blanket of snow and if troubled existed it would come from above. There were no tracks of any kind. Not even an animal.

The Patrol was having a bite to eat when I met them. I could smell coffee boiling before I came within a hundred yards from the camp.

I had not seen the Pawnee, but he knew we were all to meet where the patrol was camped. I was glad to see the men were mounted soldiers and not infantry.

The Lieutenant in charge I could tell was green to the area and fresh out of the Army's schooling. I thought of my friend, Lieutenant Collins and the first time we met.
Collins proved to be a good man and an excellent soldier. I could only wish the same for this man. We had a cordial meeting and talked much about weather and its conditions to travel.

Within the hour, the Pawnee entered the camp. Much like my report, he had seen nothing out of the ordinary but thought much like I did when construing the subject. We were to meet up with the patrol out of Fort Laramie sometimes the following day and if the weather were kind we could camp with comfort and make contact earlier than expected.

It was cold and hard to stay warm. Beside their winter garments the men tried every way possible some using their army blankets as an outside covering.

An old dead tree with its dry insides supplied the necessary firewood. The Pawnee and I both made use of our Buffalo skin robes and the fur- lined footwear.

The weather made changes during the night but at dawn, a heavy overcast still blocked out any thought of sunshine.
The Pawnee and I left before the men began stirring. Later as he and I went our separate ways, I doubled back to meet the patrol. There was nothing to report so I rode about three hundred yards before them.

Not knowing the particulars and with neither party finding any clues of who had the captives, the only way I could be of any help was to scout the terrain and look for trouble. However, the answer came before dusk. The Pawnee returned with unpleasant news.

Before making his report, he called me aside and showed a few items with his culture's markings. They spoke words neither wished to hear. The Sioux was not the guilty party but his own culture. The worse, one of the items he recognized to be someone he personally knew.

We shared our thoughts before saying anything to the officers. It was true there were female captives involved but worse, he had found body parts of a woman who was mostly devoured by wild animals.

A piece of garment thought to be a dress or undergarments brought confidence to the find.

We both made our way to the officers and gave the report. He was having difficulties explaining.

The Fort Laramie officer asked, "J B what is the man saying?"

I gave the officer the cloth. "He is telling you; he found the remains of a woman that the wolves had almost eaten, and it is not the Sioux to blame but his own people, the Pawnee."

Things were silent for a moment. The officer in charge of our group called the Pawnee scout aside and asked, "Do you think you can lead us back to those remains? I wish to give what we can find a decent burial. How about others, the report says there are three women, did you find anything supporting that?"

The scout tried explaining there were others but not sure about their fate. I waited until being asked my opinion. The Pawnee and me had discussed the matter off and on in sign language. I spoke, "Sir, he thinks maybe there are some young white girls with the warriors, and it could have been the mother whose body he found."

None of this was causing good feelings among the troops. One or two wanted to shoot the Pawnee but I made it clear the man had nothing to do with it no more than me when the Cheyenne did something wrong.

No matter how the officers growled things in order, still, you could feel the distension among the men.

The following day as the column trailed the Pawnee and me northward. We approached a higher terrain as I looked back and saw the column struggling their way through a snowy area which we had come.

I was starting to feel sorry for my associate knowing the pressure he must feel. Not only was it hard for him to accept the fact it was his own people who had committed the atrocious act, but it was his wife's brother who had done it. This we kept secret.

I had worked with this man for over a month not knowing his name. I had always addressed him as scout. I was amazed when he told me about how a white Holy man gave him the name Luke, someone whom he seemed to have liked.

I could tell he never cared and never used it but always answered as Pawnee scout.

I tried addressing him once using Luke, but he smiled and quickly responded, "Pawnee scout, no like Luke."

I never blamed him, not sure if I would have answered to it either. I too hated it when people called me Mr. Wrong trying to be right.

We were two days reaching the scene of where he had found the remains. My officer in charge ordered the men to search the area for more of the body. That found was gathered and buried properly with a cross made from two pine sticks tied together and used as a grave marker.

We were near to the Canadian line. That night as we sat near the fire discussing the situation, the officers talked about not having the authority to continue but only to the border.

It was obvious the hostiles had the advantage and if any of the girls survived then we would never know.

The Pawnee and I sat near the fire listening to the officers' chat about things of less importance. I suspected we would be going back come morning with not ever knowing of what really happened.

I could tell the Pawnee was troubled about something and while most of the men slept, he came to where I lay. He took his blue uniform shirt off his body and gave it to me. "J B give shirt to my woman, yes?"

I knew what he was going to do, and I sliced a hole in my blanket and gave it to him. "Put you head through this hole and wear it over your robe, it will be colder in Canada."

I offered him the knife my good friend Solly gave me, but he declined. We never exchange another word as I watched him disappear into the night.

Author Notes It is a little longer than I normally post but I wanted to finish the chapter. I hope you enjoyed. Will the Pawnee be successful in bringing the captivities back?
More drama coming if you want it.


Chapter 69
The Twins

By Ben Colder

Previous Post.

I knew what he was going to do, and I sliced a hole in my blanket and gave it to him. "Put you head through this hole and wear it over your robe, it will be colder in Canada."

I offered him the knife my good friend Solly gave me, but he declined. We never exchange another word as I watched him disappear into the night.

The young Lieutenant that oversaw our patrol wanted to know what was going on. The man had the right to know so in a whispering voice, "Canada, Lieutenant, he's gone to Canada."

Knowing we could not legally cross into that country, at daylight both patrols were riding back south toward the forts. I think we all were ready to get out of the cold and enjoy a good warm bed and hot food.

Mr. Shiver, a scout for the other patrol never asked about the Pawnee or why he left. I suspected he was ready to guide his group back to his fort and I was ready to see Fort Rice.

On the way back to our fort, my officer in charge asked why the Pawnee had deserted. I spoke, "Lieutenant, he never deserted, and you have a lot to learn about things out here. It is called pride; this is not your big city in the east. The man did what most men I know would do. His brother-law has shamed him and if the captives are alive, he will bring them to the fort."

We rode for most of the day not saying a word but enjoying the warmth of the sunshine, something we had not see for three days. We made camp that evening in the same place we had camped before and the following morning, the other patrol left us heading south toward home.

Lady Nature was good for most of the way but on the last night before reaching our destination, she had a different idea. The warmth we had known was gone. It snowed the whole time we rode and never let up.

At the stables I looked for Amitola, but she was not there. The snow continued as the Lieutenant and me walked to the Commander's office. He had much to report and the absence of the Pawnee would be hard to explain.

The man never deserted but went to finish the task the laws prohibited us to do. I was called upon to clarify the happenings and to verify the Lieutenant's report.

The commander sat quietly listening to every word as I told him the truth about the Pawnee and the challenge that laid before him. The man asked the Lieutenants' opinion and he agreed with my statement.

The commander spoke, "Lieutenant, you know if the Canadian government learns about this, we will have a lot of explaining to do and Washington will be furious."

Things got quiet. I broke the silence, "Sir, may I ask a question?"

"Sure, what is it.?"

"Let say the Pawnee gets lucky and brings the captives here to the fort, would Washington still be furious?"

The man showed wisdom by speaking, "We will forget the part about the scout for now and accept the report as finding one of the deceased and the burial location and as for you J B , I wish to thank you for a job well done and oh, by the way, you have a fine women and my wife and I are pleased to have her in our home."

Nothing could have made my day brighter than to hear good tiding about Amitola. I left the man's office eager to get home.


Though the snow continued falling it never mattered. just seeing her in the doorway brought a warmth hard to explain.

Our intimacy for next few days were indescribable and news that would last a lifetime had me captivated. The month of July would offer more than the white man's Independence Day; I was going to be a father.

I felt ten feet tall and gloated with pride. I reached to pick her up and swing her around in the room as I normally did, but wisdom overruled the moment. I never knew what to do or how to embrace her without feeling I would cause problems.

She was all smiles and could see I was elated. I never wanted her to do anything, not even clean the house but I could tell that was a losing battle. She chuckled, "Amitola do good, Little J B do good. I make good, yes?"

I was immensely proud, and with her having morning sickness, she never complained but went about doing things she felt needed.

It never took long before the word spread among the officers' wives and of course some of the men knew. Despite his grumpy ways, the mess sergeant always had hot food either at the mess hall or at our quarters.

Amitola was liked among all and thanks to the Commander's wife, some of the officers' wives had started knitting things for the new arrival.

Just her smile and a pleasant spirit to be near, caused some of the men to remark how nice it would be if all Indians were like her.

I had taken the Pawnee's shirt to his woman as he requested. She was a quiet individual and lived with her two daughters who also were withdrawn.

I suppose my days of captivity with the Crow had circulated among many. I would never swear who spread the story, but I suspect a person named Thornton was to blame.

During a time when eating with the troops, a person who worked with the medical staff asked if it was true Amitola had nursed me back to health? My reply, "Yes, had it not been for the care she gave me I would have died."

The following day Amitola was asked with my permission if she would work with him in the infirmary.

She was excited but working two days a week for the commander and other times on call for the infirmary which meant out time together would go wanting.

Amitola, (Rainbow) was everything her mother had named her. She had made many friends and at time she would make soldiers assorted items out of leather or other elements. By request, she had made two crosses and easily worn around the neck.

Among those who knew her she would always be greeted with a smile. In most cases, I felt a sense of pride when seen in public. The only thing I wanted differently was her learning English. I knew some of the wives were teaching it proper and the results showed often especially words I would never pronounce or know the meaning.

One night as we lay talking, I asked if she thought our little one would grow up learning English or her language. The response was absorbing, "Little J B, he speaks all. He like big J B he speaks all."

I knew what she meant, and I supposed he would.

There was a change in the weather. It was getting warmer with clear blue skies, something we had not seen for the past month or so.

The Canadian geese, high above in their migration flight, honked their way out of visibility. Occasionally, some would fly low enough to assure spring was on its way.

One morning while grooming my horse, an excitement inside the fort had everyone's attention. I never had asked the reason as one of the soldier's yell, "Hey fellows, that Indian scout is back and has two little white girls with him.!"

I walked to where they were and watched the girls be ushered inside the infirmary. Amitola was summoned to assist two other women as the girls were examined, bathed, and given warm clothing.

I was asked to be present when the scout gave his report. The commander needed to know every little detail of what happened. His biggest concern was if the Canadian government knew of his presence.

The scout was stern with his answers. "Not know me there. I give J B Army shirt, I Pawnee go, bring white girls to fort."

Tough it was not necessary; I was later called upon to witness the fact the man had no identification of ever representing the army. Out of all the questions asked, I learned the Pawnee's tribal name. He was Tarecawawaho- Man Chief.

I was glad to see him released from all the questions and allowed to go to his family. The white girls would now be under the physician 's care and later be questioned about their identity.

Thanks to the Pawnee, our mission was almost completed. If possible, the deceased we found needed identified and we hoped the girls knew who she was.

For the next several days the sound of reconstructing the fort echoed in the distance. More troops were coming, and the fort needed more room.

My job that morning was to scout the way to the wood cutting area. We were more cautious about things since the Fetterman massacre. I felt at ease knowing the Sioux and others had signed the treaty with accepting the terms about the reservation. However, it never meant others would agree.

Dealing with the Army and the tribes, I had learned, both were full of surprises. For three days the men worked at completing their task without one speck of trouble or even see a hostile.

I was glad when my work was finished. It gave Amitola and me a chance to catch up on our love life and what was happening in in the way of current events at the fort.

One morning I was called to the Commander's office. He and I had spoken just the day before with him granting me some leisure time at home.

I suspected something had happened which would need my assistance. I was amazed when walking inside his office. There before me sat two beautiful little twin white girls who looked identical. The commander introduced," Mr. Wright, I would like to present Eliza, and this is Beth."

I was speechless. What the wives had done for these girls was beyond words. I could not tell one from the other but spoke, "I am pleased to meet you and I must say you are the pretty's girls on post."

I was startled as they both stood and did a curtsy. One spoke, "We are thy servants and pleased to meet thee."

My mind raced toward Lottie and the Quaker language. I remarked, "I see you are Quakers. How old are you?"
Before they could answer, the commander remarked, "They are 10 and the Quaker church have been notified. Someone is on their way from Denver with relatives. I just wanted you to meet them before they leave."

Days after the girls were on their way to Denver, I learned from the commander, it was their mother whose body parts that we had found. Her name was Elizabeth. The girl's father, Mr. H.W. Burr and two brothers were also killed in the raid

Though it was a sad thing and a tough life the girls would now be experiencing, but somehow, I was glad the mystery was over. Just knowing their safety and needs would be met created the assurance far beyond an explanation.



Author Notes This wraps up the first book.


Chapter 70
The Culprits

By Ben Colder

Previous Post.

It was near dawn when Amitola shook me from my sleep. Pretty Eagle wished to speak with me, and she would interpret the best she could.

I had no idea what the man wanted but I hurried to meet with him. I could hear several horses traveling by the front of our dwelling, but it was hard to tell what all the tumult was about.

New Post.


It was not long before I knew. A hunting party made up of mostly young boys were mistaken for a hostile group of Sioux and had outran an Army patrol but not before losing one of the boys and another wounded.

Amitola went to help the wounded young man while I went to see what Pretty Eagle wanted. However, before I reached the chief's lodge another young brave came riding into camp shouting the Army patrol was coming!

I stopped and went to speak with the officer in charge to let him know they were chasing some young boys from the Crow tribe and they were on a hunting trip.

The officer was a seasoned soldier but had built hatred toward all Indians and he was not about to be wrong. I asked, "Where are you out of, Captain? I am J.B. Wright I scout for Genera Sully out of Fort Rice. My wife and son are Crow and I know what I am talking about."

The man spoke, "You are a long way from Fort Rice, but to answer your question, we're out of Fort Laramie. Three days ago, three white families close to here were killed and butchered and we were following the signs of who did it when coming across those young bucks and we gave chase. I'm sorry to say we killed one and wounded another but Mr. Wright if you going to vouch for these people then we will try and find those who we are looking for."

"Captain, I assure they are innocent. If you need my services, I will go with you and we'll find the guilty party."

"Mr. Wright, I would be delighted to have you with us. Have you met our scout Mr., Shivers?"

Shivers responded, "we met last winter up in the Dakotas when we were sent to find three women taken in a raid. If my memory serves me well, you were with a Pawnee scout. How did all that turn out?'

I spoke, "Bittersweet, Mr. Shivers, I will tell you about it someday,"

I spoke to the Captain. "Captain, all I ask is let me get my things together and tell my woman where I'm going, and I will catch up with you along the way."

I spent more time than I planned at getting things together, but I stopped to check on Amitola and the young wounded brave.

She seemed a little upset with herself for not being able to do more. The old witch-doctor and his chanting were useless as a saddle on a hog. The boy lay dying and nothing she was doing seemed to be working.
I kissed her on the cheek and went on to catch up with the column.

It was already dusk when the patrol camped on high ground near a small overflowing creek. The sentry recognized me and let me pass as I dismounted and tied my mount to a rope line that secured the horses.

The Captain invited me to the fire where he and Mr. Shivers sat discussing the day. "Mr. Wright, I see you had no problems finding us,"

"No sir, you left a trail a blind man could follow."

I was given a cup of hot coffee and asked if I wanted something to eat. I responded no that I had eaten some jerky on the way.

Mr. Shivers was quiet with not much to say as I asked, "Have you seen anything of those you were trailing before chasing those boys.?"

I could tell my words hit a sore spot with the Captain causing him to get up and go check on things.

Mr. Shivers spoke, "J B, he's somewhat of a hard fellow to get to know. I tried to tell him we were chasing the wrong party, but he insisted on catching those youngsters. With all the excitement, one of these greenhorns shot and killed one of those boys and wounded another. J B, the man won't listen."

Before daylight the following morning, Shivers and I rode about a mile in the direction we thought the culprits could have gone. At the mouth of the creek where our horses could cross without making us swim for safety, he followed the north bank and me the south. We were to go about a mile before doubling back and meeting near where we crossed.

The Patrol was to wait on us at the crossing after we made our investigation. Had the hostiles left anything noteworthy the two-day rain must have washed it away. I never seen anything out of the usual and I suspected Shivers did the same.

When we two met at the agreed location, we rode to the column with not finding anything of interest. The Captain was cordial and asked Shivers his advice of which way he thought we should go.

I never said a word knowing Shivers oversaw the scouting. He looked at me perplexed knowing trying to find clues after a two-day heavy rain was next to impossible.

I wanted to smile but held a straight face when hearing the man say, "Follow me Captain, we might find something of interest somewhere on up ahead."

I rode with Shivers for a mile before reaching an area of decision. A vast opening at the base of a mountain offered an opportunity to either continue traveling onward or for one of us to search the lower part of a dell.

I followed what looked like a trail made by animals, deer or larger when seeing old half washed away hoof prints made by either wild horses or the culprits.

I followed for about a half-mile when smelling wood smoke, I suspected it was coming from a camp of some sort. I dismounted and tied my horse to a bush and ease to where I could see two makeshift lodges and four Sioux warriors sitting near the campfire eating. Two war lances were leaning against one of the lodges.

Human scalps dangling from one of the lances gave hint I may have found the enemy. I was about to turn and ease away to my horse when a young woman came out of the lodge and sat next to one of the warriors.

I watched for a few more minutes. The woman took some food and returned inside the dwelling.

On the wrist of the warrior who gave the woman the food, I noticed a shiny object I assume to be either a bracelet or some sort of jewelry.

I waited a few minutes more before returning to my horse hoping I could see something more convincing of who they were. I knew they were warriors and had killed some white people by their plunder and by the looks of things, they were in no hurry to leave.

It was hours later when I found the patrol at the edge of a ravine. I could tell the Captain was perturbed he was growling at his sergeant, but all that quickly vanished when I gave him my report.

Shivers had not returned as then but within the hour he did. His finding was naught but smiled when the Captain told him my report.

The man seemed at ease knowing the enemy showed no signs of leaving and it gave us time to create strategy. informing a complete layout of the area, we would be entering a terrain with not many difficulties.

The only thing of question was the woman taking food inside the lodge. We never knew what was inside but for certain we would be dealing with four and a woman.

I described the color of the scalps with suspicion they were female. The Captain knowing one of the white women who were scalped had blond hair. He spoke, "Mr. Wright, I think we may have found our guilty party. Now all we need to do is put out plan in action and we can end this affair for the lives those devils unmercifully took."

Author Notes The photo is 8th Calvary of the times. I served with the 8th in 1956-58 in Germany during the Russian Nuclear threats. I am privileged to have discovered this old photo. Remember, Custer was of the 7th.


Chapter 71
Continue- The Culprits.

By Ben Colder

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.

Previous Post.

The only thing of question was the woman taking food inside the lodge. We never knew what was inside but for certain we would be dealing with four and a woman.

I described the color of the scalps with suspicion they were female. The Captain knowing one of the white women who were scalped had blond hair. He spoke, "Mr. Wright, I think we may have found our guilty party. Now all we need to do is put out plan in action and we can end this affair for the lives those devils unmercifully took."

New.

Approaching the lodges where the battle scene was to happen, everyone took their rightful positions. The Captain and a few men attacked from the east and me and two others from the west. Shivers and the rest charged head on with guns a blazing. I shot one of the warriors as he tried slipping away to the rear of the lodge while the others fell in battle.

There were no more in the lodge but the woman and an old man who lay dying. The woman was escorted out of the lodge under guard but with a concealed knife, she tried stabbing a soldier and was killed. One of the soldiers was going to shoot the old man but I stopped him.

I remarked to the Captain, "Sir, killing that old man would be useless. It will take something special if the old fellow sees another day of life anyway!"

The Captain agreed and we left him food and water, but I doubted if he ever touched it.

With finding weapons and much ammunition along with jewelry and certain items only the Captain knew the guilty took, we were convinced we had had caught the right party.

One of the men buried the scalps near where we buried all the bodies. I never knew for certain, but I suspected the old man was the woman's father or grandfather.

After things settled and the Captain was satisfied to know we had done justice to the cause, I left the column feeling the same. I rode to a hillside and stopped. I could see clearly as Shivers led the men across a valley going south toward Fort Laramie.

It was hours before I could dismiss the incident from my mind and I continued riding onward in hope of seeing my family. Little Shirt and my woman were more than a day's ride.

Star was proving to be what I thought she would be. I was proud of her. As one or two of the soldier's horses were hard to manage during the battle noises, Star never flinched but performed very well.

My return to the Crow camp was one day late for burying the wounded boy. Amitola had lost her fight with trying to save him. She tried not showing grief when seeing me, but I could tell it troubled her.

It felt good to be back with my family and just being near those who loved you somehow erased memories of all the happenings.

I never got a chance to meet with Pretty Eagle before leaving but I suspected if he wished to speak with me, then word would come.

For now, all I cared to do was sit cozy, play with little shirt, and let him know his Poppa loved him. Though the moments were priceless and enjoyable, I was tired, my body was tired, but I dared not to show it. My arthritic wrist hurt so often I had learned to turn off pain.

Amitola never inquired about anything. She had learned when and when not to ask. The past events I cared not to speak of. She and the boy were all I had on my mind.

It was obvious things were thickening toward more raids on white settlers especially, for gold seekers in the Black Hills.
General Sully was right, there is no way to stop the overflow of people wishing to get rich or have land they can call their own. All the treaties ever promised were nothing but smokeless clouds of lies. Washington's Generals knew this and could only pledge a certain amount of protection but even that was failing.


General Sherman was determined to cut off the tribe's main food source by exterminating the Buffalo while other leaders made promises toward ethnic purging.

The following day Pretty Eagle and I spoke. Amitola was a jewel at helping our understanding. I was right about thinking the young man wished to become an Army scout, but I was not sure if I could help.
His motives were valid in one sense but questionable on the other. He, like many were tired of fighting his own culture especially the Sioux and my mother's people.

The Blackfeet were also enemies and the thought of killing each other meant taking away the power from one and giving it to the victor was wrong. There was no power to be taken but only his possessions.

I understood the man's desire to get even with his enemies by scouting against his adversaries, but I had seen this reason before and normally it developed into death and it was always theirs.

I had become aware of the white man's word for progress, something Nick had drilled into my mind. I could see this thing called civilization as being a new life for the tribes and including myself.

Whereas all of us did live a Nomad life, the white man settled to one place and raised crops and cattle. In our conversation this was mentioned, and the thought of Pretty Eagles' corn crop would yield for only a year and then gone forever seemed to register. Why should it be for only one crop why not every year in the same place?

Nick had told me it was for the good of the native tribes to live on reservations and learn to farm for themselves and be educated into the society of a new future, but it would not be easy for both parties.

The more I thought along these lines I could see and hear Amitola struggling to learn this new language and customs and I had to admire the way she went about it. Not only had she won favor with several of the elite in the White circle of leadership but among the medical staff as well. She wanted to learn how to help her people medically wise. She was bold toward rebuking witchcraft the old witch-doctor chanted claiming there were certain roots and cures she wanted to try and to do away with the chanting.

I told her she had a fight on her hands, but she was right, and I would stand with her.

Leaving the old man to die alone in that lodge crossed my mind a few times. I compared the incident to the overall tribal nations. I was not big on them living on reservations and at the mercy of crooked schemes done mostly by agents who like stealing from the government and the people. However, I did like the idea of education for a new way of life that could enhance a brighter future.

When dealing with honesty, I thought about what my old friend Solly Solomon said concerning Army leadership and Indian agents. "When it comes to dealing with liars, you can put all the Army generals and Indian agents in one bag, shake them up and roll them out and you cannot tell one from the other."

Perhaps the saying could be true, but I had met some who had a touch of remorse toward the tribes, but it never stood in their way of performing their duties.

Among Red Cloud and others who showed wisdom, they knew the Great Spirit was creating something new for all tribes. The white man was only a tool he was using to make it happen. They also realized it was but a matter of time for both parties to settle within the happenings. But until then, some would fight for survival while others accepted the steps of change by living on reservations.

Within the youth who were ignorant to the spiritual understanding, many would rise to be honored as heroes and continued fanning the flames of war and these were what the Army called troublemakers.

Not far from our dwelling another lodge was erected for the purpose of attending the sick and hurt. Amitola had won favor with Pretty Eagle toward using her skills she had learned from the white culture.

At first it was a battle between the old Witch doctor and his methods but finally he came to an agreement and realized some of the things she was doing worked. Especially, when it come to certain roots and common sense. She even had a head washing event and most everyone went with red streaks in their hair, but it killed the lice. Even the Chief and all his cronies reflected a touch of redness in the sunlight.





Author Notes My Grandmother, 100% Choctaw believed in certain roots and plants and even tree bark for healing and blood control. Did you know you have something normally kept in your kitchen will lower blood sugar 15% . Did you know peanuts will do the same. AMA does not wish for you to know this but it works. Many things out there growing in your yard could help you but you need to learn what and how to use it. The native Americans survived knowing this.
Just thought you may wish to know.


Chapter 72
Part One- Nurse Amitola

By Ben Colder

Previous.

At first it was a battle between the old Witch doctor and his methods but finally he came to an agreement and realized some of the things she was doing worked. Especially, when it come to certain roots and herbs. She even had a head washing event and most everyone went with red streaks in their hair, but it killed the lice. Even the Chief and all his cronies reflected a touch of redness in their hair.

Amitola was feeling needed and not just another squaw who did all the work for keeping their household chores completed or while the man either went hunting or sat around smoking a pipe and telling stores.



New.

It was hearing one of these stories when I learned about a red-haired white man who had married into the Blackfoot tribe. I was very attentive when the storyteller said the man spoke with funny English and taught the young braves many ways to defend themselves from their enemies.

The first thing I thought was, O'Riley, Tim, your Irish has revealed your secret, but wisdom overcrowded the excitement.

Could it be true? if so, with all your hatred for the Crow, and though we were once close friends, would you accept the fact I had married into your enemy?

I pushed away these thoughts and refused to accept the story as truth. However, as I lay for the night, my sleep seemed to have vanished.

It was near dawn before sleep did arrive, but it was to late. I had things to get ready for our departure. I had promised the general I would return before the fall of the year and nature was telling the world it was on its way.

I could see Amitola was wanting to stay, but as a wife and a good woman she prepared to leave the same as me. I saw her standing not to far away from the little makeshift infirmary as to say, farewell.

She had our things ready and Little Shirt tucked into his pouch. Our pack horse was loaded and her mother and sisters stood watching as we prepared to leave.

I could feel the sadness and see it in their eyes as Amitola sat motionless on her horse allowing them to kiss Little Shirt for the last time.

The feeling was like a burial ceremony as we rode pass several dwellings heading eastward toward our purpose.

We rode totally wordless until Little Shirt needed fed. We stopped and made a temporary camp beneath several aspens allowing nature to run her course.

The boy had gotten use to attention and was letting us know he no longer wished to ride in the pouch but only strapped against his mother's back.

As we rested, I told Amitola about what I had heard concerning a red-haired white man living among the Blackfeet.

At first, she acted as though she never heard me but later spoke," Old one, he smokes pipe, make crazy words. No think so."

I suspected she was talking about loco weed that grew wild in certain places. I thought about the stuff and how it could cause hallucination, so I dismissed the old man's tale for now.

It was a beautiful fall day with all the leaves turning an assortment of colors, the sign of winter was not far away.
My goal was to reach Fort Rice before the first snow but at the percentage of distance we traveled per day we could get a taste of the white substance.

We knew to ride in lower elevation to avoid this possibility but sometimes nature caused hindrance forcing us to stay on higher ground with much cooler temperature.

Tough the ride was peaceful and the scenery beautiful, we were at least a week away from our destination at our rate of travel, but it gave us time to share things we had trapped inside our hearts.

Despite the hidden awareness we both felt toward danger at night we all three stayed warm and took turns sleeping. Little Shirt made sure his mother was alert by moving and at time would whimper.

In was almost dawn when the sound of my Spencer cracked the silence with two shots back-to-back. A large Grizzly had decided to investigate the intruders of his domain but was greeted with an unfriendly method. Amitola was a crack shot with my rifle; I had taught her well. "I no soot him, make him go away, no come to fire."

I hid the grin on my face but thought," Mr. Grizzly, for now, you are one lucky bear."

Into our ride the following morning, the bear followed for a while but later turned and disappeared into the hills. I must admit it was tempting at times to stop and kill the thing, but we were already running behind schedule and could not offer another lost day.










Author Notes Marijuana grew wild, some refereed to it as ditch weed, loco weed, if a horse or any animal eat it, the animal went total out of control and in most cases were killed.

Dedicated to All Native American tribes who fought so hard to remain a people. I try and take the reader into the struggle against the enviable.
I hope my little story will enlighten you toward those moments. The Photo is a young Crow Indian mother. Thank you Google. It may help you focus toward Amitola. The Crow people were like others (Misunderstood) and hated for defending what was theirs.


Chapter 73
Continue -Nurse Amitola.

By Ben Colder

Previous.

Though the ride was peaceful and the scenery beautiful, we were at least a week away from our destination, but it gave us time to share things we had trapped inside our hearts.

Despite the hidden awareness we both felt toward danger, at night we three stayed warm and took turns sleeping. Little Shirt made sure his mother was alert by moving and at time would whimper.

It was dawn when the sound of my Spencer cracked the silence with two shots back-to-back. A large Grizzly had decided to investigate the intruders of his domain but was greeted with an unfriendly method. Amitola was a crack shot with my rifle; I had taught her well. "I no soot him, make him go away, no come to fire."

I hid the grin on my face but thought," Mr. Grizzly, for now, you are one lucky bear."

The following morning, the bear followed for a while but later turned and disappeared into the hills. I must admit it was tempting to stop and kill the thing, but we were already running behind schedule and could not offer another lost day.

New

Our trip was at least four hundred miles away and with us having to stop often for the boy's sake it would place us in harsh winter before arriving at the fort.

Experiencing what high altitude had to offer became our mentor. At times I would blaze a new trail in lower terrain, sometimes it worked, sometimes it did not.

Amitola followed close with the boy never saying a word and at times I would stop and ask if they were all right.

She would look at me with a blank expression and motion for us to go on.

We were crossing Pawnee country, the enemy to the Cheyenne and the Crow.

We stayed cautious and kept alert hoping not to see or hear anything out of the ordinary. I knew chances of sighting a hunting party was possible but with a little luck and a smile from the Great Spirit we might just make it across the area without problems.

Early one morning as we were about to cross from a narrow path angling through a group of tall trees into a wide opening, Star, my horse, balked and refused to go any further.

I dismounted and Amitola took the boy and did the same. We shielded our mounts behind some thick underbrush where I made her keep the boy quiet as I investigated the problem.

Star was proving to be more than another horse to ride. He was guessing things out for himself. How he knew danger lay ahead was mystery, but I am glad he did.

Across the dell and near the edge of another patch of woods camped an old enemy who would love nothing more but to have my hair on his war lance. Amitola and the boy would have no chance of survival. After they had their pleasure with her, she and the boy would be put to death.

My eyesight was not the best, but I could see Hump and a few of his warriors moving about. I suspected they had raided a Pawnee village and would be traveling onward or waiting for something.

It was not long before I saw what that something was.



Author Notes From the Crow Reservation to Fort Rice is about 450 miles. even in today's travel . You can tell how long it took traveling on horse back.


Chapter 74
The Journey

By Ben Colder

Previous.

We stayed cautious and kept alert hoping not to see or hear anything out of the ordinary. I knew chances of sighting a hunting party was possible but with a little luck and a smile from the Great Spirit we might just make it across the area without problems.

Early one morning as we were about to cross from a narrow path angling through a group of tall trees into a wide opening, Star, my horse, balked and refused to go any further.

I dismounted and Amitola took the boy and did the same. We shielded our mounts behind some thick underbrush where I made her keep the boy quiet as I investigated the problem.

Star was proving to be more than another horse to ride. He was guessing things out for himself. How he knew danger lay ahead was mystery, but I am glad he did.

Across the dell and near the edge of another patch of woods camped an old enemy who would love nothing more but to have my hair on his war lance. Amitola and the boy would have no chance of survival. After they had their pleasure with her, she and the boy would be put to death.

My eyesight was not the best, but I could see Hump and a few of his warriors moving about. I suspected they had raided a Pawnee village and would be traveling onward or waiting for something.

It was not long before I saw what that something was.
Four of Hump's warriors had three young Pawnee braves tied across their mounts and they were about to meet a slow death.

Hump took pleasure in cruelty and I could only hope their death came quickly. The agonizing screams could still be heard even after we left traveling in another direction.

I reached and patted my horse on the side of his neck whispering, "I owe you!"

In a canvas bag loaded on the pack horse was half of the grain I had originally brought from Fort Rice. My thoughts were to reward the animals come evening with double portions.

Though the event cost us a day, I suspected we could make it up by cutting through an area I had once trapped several years past.

It was still Pawnee country, and the risk was greater, but we had no choice. The Sioux were south, and they were just as bad if not worse.

That night as we camped with only a tiny fire hardly noticeable to anyone who might pass nearby.

I had to give credit to Little Shirt, he had been good about playing silently with items his mother would give him.

Amitola realized how close we had come to losing our lives but never said a word toward the subject.

It was in the fall season, a time when the tree leaves were changing colors and grass became a dingy brown with not much value to the animals.

Sugar Maples with their grayish-black branches curled through burnt orange leaves announced winter is near.

The yellowing Vine Maples cling tightly in the tops of evergreens overlooking the small tributary I once trapped for beaver.

Downstream along the high banks, orange again enhanced scarlet, as we made our way across the flowing water.

A trail made by deer or larger animals offered a clearer path as it ran between small delicate trees exposing the colors of red orange with paw prints on the ground in their search for the purple -black fruit.

Beyond my knowledge at the time, hostility toward both white and Indian had intensified.

Young braves I had once known among the Sioux and my mother's people were now grown warriors with some dead still in their late teens.

In one sense it was like the older soldiers on both sides were enjoying the challenge of leading youth against youth.

Among white leadership I found favor with very few. Though I had never met the man, In my opinion General Sherman was not a leader but nothing more than many of the warriors I had known much like Hump or Roman Nose.

Exterminating the Buffalo was not the way to bring harmony, but starvation toward the women and children.

These thoughts made me appreciate my family more and more and when my commitment was over with General Sully, my family and I would be living out our days either in Canada or somewhere trapping on the Colorado River.

I had every dime the Army had paid me and Amitola had all she had earned as well. Together, we could buy the things we would need and if it never happened the way I was planning then the money would help us to exist in the white man's world.




.









Author Notes Folks, we are traveling through dangerous country and many renegades both the white culture and the Indians are camped in various places and would like nothing better than to rob and kill J B and his family.


Chapter 75
Just an experience.

By Ben Colder

Previous.

I had every dime the Army had paid me and Amitola had all she had earned as well. Together, we could buy the things we would need and if it never happened the way I was planning then the money would help us to exist in the white man's world.

On our 7th day of the journey, I noticed the change in terrain and suspected we had entered the Dakotas and if our luck held, then Fort Rice would not be far.

Nature was kind and she seemed to have held back her first snow. However, my thoughts of praise must not have penetrated. Large flakes began falling that evening before we made camp.

It was yet to warm for the snow to accumulate but it presented a warring that old man winter was knocking on the door.

I suspected the Fort would come in sight in a day or so, but we still had some rough terrain ahead.

I could tell Amitola and the boy were tired, but they never gave hint of such. Little Shirt was as active as any child his age would be and loved it when his mother made faces to make him smile.

Our animals were doing good, but the grain I was feeding them was nearly gone.

We let them graze as often as time would allow but it was essential, we make better time.

Mother nature was serious with her threats and I think Amitola and me had learned this since our childhood and at the fort I suspected they were preparing for a harsh Dakota winter.

I was ignorant knowing Fort Rice was receiving more troops. I knew it had expanded but never to receive as many as thought.

We were two day from seeing these many troops when Amitola wished to stop and take care of Little Shirt's potty activity. In doing so I rode a few yards ahead to the edge of a vast opening.

It was the same opening we had crossed when coming. Visibility was good and it seemed nothing was moving about but as I turned my mount to ride back to the family the snorting of horses I vaguely overheard.

Someone was coming across the lower end almost hidden from view. I kept mounted and waited behind some trees to see who or what was coming.

About three hundred yards toward the east, I could see a small cavalry patrol making their way into the woodlands.
It was hard to see for certain who they were, but I suspected they were from Fort Rice.

The family caught up with me and Little Shirt was sound asleep. I shared what I had seen and encourage the fact we were near to our destination.

Early the following morning, we discovered what the patrol had done.

A small village used by mostly the old men and women with children had been burned and at least six months of their food supply destroyed.

None were killed but it was one of General Sherman's method of forcing them on to the reservation.

I stopped and watched as old men, some who could hardly walk as they tried to help the women salvage what they could.

They had no provisions and not anyway to travel to any part of the reservation and for sure if they tried rebuilding, they would never last out the winter.

Though they were Sioux and enemy to the Crow, Amitola was swift of wanting to help them.

What supplies we had left would never be enough, but we shared what we could.

Our departing from the place was a silent one. There was not much she or me could say. It was sad for all, especially the children. I pushed away the thoughts knowing winter was upon us all.

In a day or two we would arrive at the scout quarters. There we would have warmth and hot food. One could only surmise how those we had helped would shield themselves from cold north winds and at the same time recover food the soldiers may have missed.

We reached the fort the following evening and rode to our quarters. I left Amitola and the boy there while I unloaded the pack horse and took all the animals to the stable.

The scene was much the same when I left. The guard and the smithy were there; the same two people who had watched us ride away three months previously. Both were cordial and had little to say except the Smithy.

"Seems as if these animals have been through some tough terrain. I will need to shoe all of them and for sure feed them grain for at least two days."

The guard spoke, "Most of the command is not here but Major Dillion is in charge and you can find him in his office in the morning. Shall I tell him you're here?"

I responded, "Yes, tell the Major my family and I are staying in the scout quarters and I will report to him at 7."

When I returned to my family, our dwelling was semi warm. Amitola stood near the fireplace holding the boy and humming something in her native language.

I think every fiber in my body relaxed the moment I sat down in a chair. It was good having Amitola sitting in my lap and holding the boy while she made faces at him and
causing him to laugh aloud.

At times she would coach me to do the same. Little Shirt was becoming our play toy.

The room was cold and most of the heat went up the chimney causing us to rearrange our sleeping.

From the bottom of the window frame across the room to the back of a chair, we strung three wool Army blankets blocking the heat into a small area where all three of us rested on a mattress taken off the bed.
We were acquainted with various sleeping arrangements but having four walls and a roof over our heads offered much more in contrast.

Beside the fireplace a wood box filled with enough wood to last for at least two days made me erase that chore from my mind.

I was glad we did what we did as Amitola and the boy seemed to have rested very well.

The next morning, it was starting to snow as I walked upon the big wooden porch. I entered the head office and was greeted by the desk sergeant. He and I jested with each other but nothing serious.

I suppose our laughter created enough interest to bring the Major out of his office to join the humor.

He spoke, "I assume you are Mr. J B Wright?"

"Yes Sir, I thought I should let you know I was back, and I brought my family with me."

The Major spoke, "Good! Come into my office, we have much to discuss."

The man went at once to our purpose of meeting. "I'm Major Dillion, Mr. Wright. I have heard much about you and I must say it is all good. I read the report from Fort Laramie sent to General Sully about how you found the guilty party who had killed those settlers. My congregation to you Sir for a job well done."

I had forgotten all about that and would never suspect the news of such would have reached General Sully's ears. Mr. Shivers was also there, and he should have been recognized more than me.

Our conversation was brief and to the point. I was one of six scouts used by the Army and the only half-breed in the bunch. The others were Pawnee mostly a family team but excellent trackers.

Crazy Horse, a young Sioux warrior was quickly making a name for himself. I had previously met his father when I was in my twenties but not to the point of battle or any hostile action.

Though the man was an all-out leader and well respected, our meeting was during the time when Ma-Toosh and I were trapping the South Platte and If my memory served me well, he traded Ma-Toosh out of a few pelts and a bearskin for a nice Buffalo robe.

My friend was glad he made the trade, before the trapping season ended, it had come a bad whiteout, and we were snowed in for a week.

In one sense I was glad to be back at the fort. In my opinion, General Sully was a man who respected those who kept their word. He was a well-seasoned soldier, good to his men and known to accomplish his duties.

My scouting experience with the man was just as it is, (an experience.)








Author Notes Yep! You are right. Put your spurs on. I am getting the reader ready to ride into history and let you feel and hear the bullets zing past your ears.Hang in here with me and we learn together how the west was stolen. Never won, but much like the election, STOLEN.


Chapter 76
Continue - The Journey.

By Ben Colder

Overview from the last post. Written in first person.

Army Scout J B Wright tells of his life and experiences during the Indian wars of the 1800s in America.

STORY;
After finding and dealing with those who had raided a small white settlement, J B returned to the Crow camp and now he and his little family are on their way back to Fort Rice 450 miles through rugged terrain.

They will cross trough the Pawnee and Blackfoot land both sworn enemies of the Crow and other tribes.
J B is of the Cheyenne Breed. His wife, Amitola is of the Crow.

Taken from the manuscript, "A GRAIN OF WHEAT." Chapter 23.

---------------------------------------------------
Please Enjoy.

On our 7th day of the journey, I noticed the change in terrain and suspected we had entered the Dakotas and if our luck held, then Fort Rice would not be far.

Nature was kind and she seemed to have held back her first snow. However, my thoughts of praise must not have penetrated. Large flakes began falling that evening before we made camp.

It was yet too warm for the snow to accumulate but it presented a warning that old man winter was knocking on the door.

I suspected the Fort would come in sight in a day or so, but we still had some rough terrain ahead.

I could tell Amitola and the boy were tired, but they never gave hint of such. Little Shirt was as active as any child his age would be and loved it when his mother made faces to make him smile.

Our animals were doing good, but the grain I was feeding them was nearly gone.

We let them graze as often as time would allow but it was essential, we make better time.

Mother nature was serious with her threats and I think Amitola and me had learned this since our childhood and at the fort I suspected they were preparing for a harsh Dakota winter.

I was ignorant knowing Fort Rice was receiving more troops. I knew it had expanded but never to receive as many as thought.

We were two day from seeing these many troops when Amitola wished to stop and take care of Little Shirt's potty activity. In doing so I rode a few yards ahead to the edge of a vast opening.

It was the same opening we had crossed when coming. Visibility was good and it seemed nothing was moving about but as I turned my mount to ride back to the family,the snorting of horses I vaguely overheard.

Someone was coming across the lower end almost hidden from view. I kept mounted and waited behind some trees to see who or what was coming.

About three hundred yards toward the east, I could see a small cavalry patrol making their way into the woodlands.
It was hard to see for certain who they were, but I suspected they were from Fort Rice.

The family caught up with me and Little Shirt was sound asleep. I shared what I had seen and encourage the fact we were near to our destination.

Early the following morning, we discovered what the patrol had done.

A small village used mostly by old men and women whose daughters had children now had little to eat or a place to get in out of the cold.

Though none were killed, the results still laid in vain. General Sherman's method of forcing the people on to reservations meant little to those who had no way of traveling.

I stopped and watched as old men whom some could hardly walk as they tried to help the women salvage what they could.

They had no provisions and not anyway to travel and for sure if they tried rebuilding, they would never last out the winter.

Though they were Sioux an enemy to the Crow, Amitola was swift of wanting to help them.

What supplies we had left would never be enough, but we shared what we could.

Our departing from the place was a silent one. There were not much she or me could say. It was sad for all, especially the children. I pushed away the thoughts knowing winter was upon us.

When we arrived at Fort Rice and settled into the scout quarters, my job was already ordered before me.

I had heard rumors about the Northern Pacific Railroad sending survey crews into the Dakotas and I no more than got settled when summoned to the central office.

I was one week late to have been selected for the first escorting of the survey party but not too late to meet former Confederate General Thomas Rosser before he was called away and replaced by Col. Joseph Whistler.

It was during the next few weeks I spent much of the time away investigating what I thought could be problems for the survey team.

Chief Gall of the Sioux was sending bad signals and I knew he was problems and would do anything to stop the railroad from being built.

Before dawn, I was summoned to meet the new commander, Col. Stanley. I found him to be an interesting person who had the men's respect.

I was introduced to a new kind of weapon, the Gatling gun. I was amazed at seeing the thing shoot so many bullets at once and its quickness and reloading from a canister.

My thoughts went toward Gall and his reactions when facing such firepower. If it happened, then word would spread quickly throughout the tribes and things might settle down.

However, though the gun was respected as something of authority it never stopped the loss of lives on both sides.

One bright and humid day as we were returning from an encounter with the Sioux, Gall made his attack just as we entered a vast opening. Though the big gun rescinded the force it never stopped us from losing three men. One was said to be a cousin to President Grant. For myself, I was glad to get back to the fort alive.

When arriving, Amitola was helping at the infirmary. I stalled my mount at the stables and walked to the central office to confirm our report.

Fort Rice was overcrowded with soldiers and there were rumors toward building another fort to accommodate the issue and if so, I could be transferred but I hoped not.

Despite the speed and accuracy of the Gatlin, Gall and others were still determined to stop the railroad, but my ability was like the Pawnee scout, we could only track and read signs left by those who wished to hinder.

It was the following week when I experienced seeing the Gatlin once again in action but this time the enemy knew its range and ability.

At a rail workstation, piles of cross ties and iron railings lay in ruins after a surprise attack from the Sioux. Eight of the workers were dead with several injured. Our arrival had been three hours late, but the adversary left us noticeable trails.

If the culprits who did the attack was young chief Gall, (Low-Dog) then he was somewhere waiting in ensnarement.

The Pawnee and I agreed with this thought and did the scouting with much caution.

I never knew at the time Gall was in on the killing of the father and brother of Amitola but in later years from his own mouth he told of the incident.

It was in a misty rain as I followed what I thought to be the tracks of several of those who had attacked the rail camp but soon learn they were decoys.

The Pawnee was tracking the true signs and I could only hope he saw them before they did him.

I rode through an area thought to cross the Pawnee's route but realize by his tracks he had turned and backtracked to the rail station. The pursued knew of our presence and if a fight came then it lay waiting near the river.

Author Notes This post presents a refreshing of the last post but opens into dramatic events created form actual archives of American true history.
The scriptures says "GOD APPEARS TO THOSE WHO LOOK FOR HIM."
Lets see if you can find Him in this story.
Hint- Jesus talked about how to treat your enemies.


Chapter 77
Low Dog

By Ben Colder

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.

It was in a misty rain as I followed what I thought to be the tracks of several of those who had attacked the rail camp but soon learn they were decoys.

The Pawnee was tracking the true signs and I could only hope he saw them before they did him.

I rode through an area thought to cross the Pawnee's route but realize by his tracks he had turned and backtracked to the rail station. The pursued knew of our presence and if a fight came then it lay waiting near the river.

There was nothing for me to do but wait on the other scout to lead the patrol to where I sat dismounted with my back braced against the base of a tree holding on to my horse's bridle.

It was near three o'clock in the evening and time were of essence. I suspected it would be at least an hour or so before hearing the patrol, so I closed my eyes for a few short minutes of sleep. However, that thought was useless. Between being cautious and my horse wanting to move about, the word sleep meant only a word.

When the patrol did arrive, it was near dark and riding blindly into the unknown would-be self-destruction. The Captain in charge was another West Point by the book man and argued they should press on even though darkness was nearby.


It was about fifteen miles back to the rail head and if we returned and to get an early start, it was possible we could spoil the enemies' little trap and defeat them,

I was willing to spend the night and keep an eye on the adversary, but the Captain needed time to consider.

This was another moment having the Pawnee scout with me would be vital. The man used every means of his ability to speak enough English to confirm what I was saying made sense.

Though the officer seemed prudent toward safety, his lack of combat experience against the Sioux presented challenge. Gall would like nothing better than to get his hands on the Gatlin and would stop at nothing to make it happen.

The Captain called his sergeant to where we sat mounted talking about the situation. The man was a seasoned soldier and fought against the tribes on various occasions.

He was in total agreement with getting an early start and with his advice, the decision was made to return to the incident. The Pawnee and I were also made to go back, though I thought differently.

There were several campfires glowing across the way as we approached the rail- workers quarters. The small detail of men the Captain had left to help the wounded and bury the dead were mostly gathered in one group near a large fire.

There were two men wearing white shirts and dressed as though they might have been railroad officials. Their actions showed they were glad we had returned. However, when they learned we had not engaged the culprits or destroyed those who had killed their workers, they became furious and threatened to have the Captain drummed out the Army.

I admired the officer for cleverness and not responding but instead order the sergeant to dismiss the men and bed down for the night.

In three large tents housed the Chinese rail workers, I could not help but watch the men seclude themselves into small groups while taking the liberty of having sentinels of their own.

I was amazed at the distance these people had brought the rail-tracks through miles of treacherous terrain to our then present location.

I thought about my first time of seeing the Chinese. It was when I was in Julesburg with Lottie and during the time the first laundry store was opened. I was satisfied to know they could do an excellent job with washing clothing, but now to see them in action laying track were beyond my expectation.

They had lost eight men to Gall's attack, but it seemed not to hinder their spirits. They were excellent workers and ready for work before we were up the next morning and ready to leave.

Later, we left with forty men leaving ten behind to help with the feeling of security. All ten were combat experience which needed to settled the railroad officials' worry.

The Pawnee and I were given orders to scout a mile or more before the column and ride back and report anything suspicious.

The Captain's main goal was to recover the stolen railroad livestock without having to engage the enemy using the Gatlin.

In his mind he pictured just our presence with the gun would create enough fear that the Indians would turn the animals loose and hightail it out of the area.

The man could have never been more wrong. We had not been but a few minutes before approaching the high banks of the river when fifty or more Sioux warriors encircled with others in reserve. We had entered Gall's trap!

In less than an hour after reaching the river basin we were in mortal combat with at least a hundred mixed warriors. The Captain gave orders to dismount and fight on foot while posting flankers out to secure our animals.

I sent Molly with the others and supported the troopers with firepower. Within seconds the small wagon made to carry the Gatlin was brought into the fight as hundreds of bullets tore through tree limbs and bodies which forced the enemy to change position.

This sent more than a hundred on foot at the same level we were and another hundred or more mounted on horses.

They made their attack in full force only to receive volleys of bullets into the faces of men and horses.

From the sound of guns, there was much noise as I never head the Pawnee when he tried getting my attention. Down the far bank of the river, hundreds of Arapaho were gathering to aid the Sioux. I got the Captain's attention and pointed toward their position.

The Gatlin met the first wave sending riderless horses scattering down the riverbank. The enemy's vision of seeing the results quickly changed their battle tactics.

To the east and high on the riverbank were more Sioux who had come to join the fight and to save the day.
The Captain gave an ordered for us to mount and head back to the rail camp and within minutes we were on our way and crossing a vast opening hoping the enemy would not engage.

Gall was smart knowing before he had depended on the high-banks of the river and the abundance of trees for the needed cover.

The Captain's strategy was working but it failed to produce the railroad stock which we had come for.

The Gatlin did as intended and the tribes were now aware of its power. It had proven its usefulness leaving more than fifty warriors and horses dead on the battlefield.

Our plans were to return to the fort leaving a detail of men for security. The rail officials wasted little time in wiring the commander and expressing their gratitude but insisted we stay and recover their livestock.

That night as we sat eating our supper, the Captain brought the Pawnee and me into knowing his plans. The biggest concern was supplies and the need for more ammunition for the Gatlin.

He asked my opinion about sending a small detail of four men to the fort so as to bring the needed items.

The Pawnee and I discussed the situation allowing our answer to dwell upon the fact that Gall was not aware of our need for ammunition and if he knew the gun would be out of commission then he would surly attack us in full force.

It was a gamble, but we would fake it hoping Gall would think we had lost interest in recovering the stolen livestock and head back to the fort.

The following morning, the Pawnee and I left as planned. He was to explore south of the river and me to the north. We both knew the enemy were still in the vicinity and their scouts prowling about.

I had not ridden far when hearing scores of drums beating. They were across the river which I assumed to be the Arapaho paying tribute to their dead. They had taken a blood bath from the rapid firing weapon and it was doubtful they would further their assistance with Gall.

The signs left by the Sioux and others revealed Gall and his bunch had gone south and probably crossing paths with the Pawnee.








Author Notes Did you know, Crow Chief -Pretty Eagle scouted for Custer? He was the only survivor. You can read this for your self on Google. Also Gall is interesting. You can also read his saying there as well.

This is more of the previous chapter and a little of the fight.
The end of this novel is near.


Chapter 78
Continue Low Dog.

By Ben Colder

I had not ridden far when hearing drums beating across the river which I assumed to be the Arapaho paying tribute to their dead. They had taken a blood bath from the rapid firing weapon and it was doubtful they would further their help with Gall.

From the signs left by the Sioux and others, Gall and his bunch had gone south and might cross paths with the Pawnee and if so, the man would have no chance of survival.

There were several large boulders near the bend in the river causing rapids which would offer challenge to anyone who would dare boating. Just below this, the river made another bend south-east where the Pawnee and I were to meet.

From there, riding further south would place us about where the new laid tracks would bring the work camp into view.

As I approached the meeting place the Pawnee was not there. I had suspected I had arrived early so I made a fireless camp.

I could still hear the Arapaho drums which gave the impression if trouble came then it would be most likely from the Sioux.

I suspected with the Arapaho's heavy loss due to the Gatlin, they would have given up the idea of assisting the Sioux, but I could have never been more wrong.

Not long after arriving, the Pawnee crossed the lower end of the river and headed my way. He had been there all the time and hidden from view waiting until I got settled.

We sat and discussed what we had seen and agreed that there were more coming to the fight. Gall or the Arapaho had no intentions of giving up the idea of getting the Gatlin and had called several chiefs into council.

The idea of destroying the railroad and the telegraph was mostly priority with the chiefs and capturing the Gatlin would be Galls' duty using only his warriors.



Author Notes Get ready. We will be fighting our way through rough times ahead. In some reports, Gatlin= or Gatling, either way, you get the message.


Chapter 79
The Bluff.

By Ben Colder

The idea of destroying the railroad and the telegraph was mostly priority with the chiefs and capturing the Gatling would be Galls' duty using only his warriors.

New.
The Pawnee and I knew we were in a tough situation and the lack of ammunition for the big gun would no doubt create challenge. It all depended upon our report and the Captain's decision.

When we did arrived back at the campsite, our report of seeing vast numbers of mixed warriors and the willingness to continue their fight. The Captain sat quietly thinking.

He never asked either of us our opinions or expressed his thoughts toward the predicament.

I had just rolled out my bedroll and was about to get some needed rest when a young trooper brought a message from the Captain. We had received orders; at daylight we were to leave for the fort and the Pawnee, and I was to leave an hour in advance. We would intersect the column near a wide opening stretching for nearly a mile before seeing the main trail toward the fort.

Both of us scouts knew Gall would follow and try his best to wear us down. He wanted us to know he was there and the number he had with him.
His intentions were to cause panic among the troopers and hope they became disorganized. It was an old Sioux trick something I had witnessed several times and used often by Spotted Tail and Hump.

The Pawnee and I split with me scouting a wooded area near the opening while he went further onward up the trail.

I could see what I thought to be several Sioux warriors waiting in hiding preparing to charge the column.

I rode swiftly to the Captain and explained what I thought would happen. I was only a few minutes returning when the Pawnee returned with the same report.

The Captain continued leading sending me back to ride with the men and keeping things calm.

Within minutes, Gall showed his presence with about fifty warriors ready to advance. The Captain suddenly stopped the column and had the Gatling brought into position.

All of us knew there were no ammunition for the big gun, but Gall had no clue. Every man readied his personal weapons as to receive the charge.

Gall rode in circles waving an Army Spencer rifle as to let us know he and his warriors were equipped with such firepower.

The Captain withdrew the test and sent the Gatling back into the column as though at any time he would use it if the challenge continued.

The officer had met the moment and had shown wisdom by continuing leading the column onward.

At one time there were young warriors who wished to be bragged about for touching their enemy and live. A few would dart in and out of the column showing bravery while swiftly riding away.

I could hear troopers making private bets among themselves on the number of those who would be knocked from their mounts when trying it again.

I knew what Gall was doing and spoke gently to the men," Easy now, they mean to scare you and hope you will come after them. Stay calm, nothing to be concerned about, we will make it to the fort simply fine."

For almost a mile the darting continued until a trooper knocked one of the young warriors from his horse sending him running to his friends on foot.

This started the shooting at us but not from any trooper. Not one arrow was used in the ordeal. They all were equipped with the same weaponry as we were but not skilled in accuracy.

I suppose there were five hundred or a thousand rounds fired at us never hitting their mark. However, we did lose two horses causing a couple of troopers having to ride double all the way to the fort

Later, after arriving, the Pawnee went to his family and I was made to assist the Captain with his report. The sergeant read everything back to me and asked if I agreed. However, there was a place in the write about me and how my coolness kept the men calm. This, I was not sure about and said so when making my signature.

When leaving the office, Amitola stood holding Little Shirt. Not one word needed to be said. Her deep brown eyes said it all as I reached for my son.

It was good to feel safe again and just the cooing of the boy and his slobbering on my arm made me feel ten feet tall. I felt deeply engulfed by love instead of someone wishing my death. I never said a word as she led the way to our quarters.

Amitola and I spent much time together creating air castles, (plans toward the future.) Neither of us knew anything of the white man's world but only what we had seen and heard militarily.

What little I knew was mostly hearsay from Lottie and how things and people went about in St. Louis.

I knew of the like and dislike of the women apparels told while staying at Mrs. Fletcher's boarding house but to see things in person would be an experience I never care to have.

The wife and I were happy just as the way things were. We had the white man's money, but had no clue of its value. The Army never failed paying me or the soldiers for our services and for the most parts Amitola kept it stashed away in a deer skin bag.

It was on a Sunday morning and while most of the troops were in their church worship when I was summoned to the head office.

I had no idea why the Commander wished to see me other than get my opinion about the tribes or a particular chief I may or may not have known.

I was amazed at seeing several officers inside the man's office wishing to make my acquaintance. In a chair directly in front of me sat none other than General Sherman, a man whom I had heard much about.

In the room two other high- ranking officers sat wishing to make my acquaintance.

A lump formed in my throat making it difficult to swallow, but I managed to reply that I was glad to meet them.

All sorts of thoughts ran though my mind. From no longer needing my services or scolding for something I did or did not do.

I braced to hear what the Commander had to say about his feelings toward Galls' attack and the events that took place on the way home.

I was relieved to hear General Sherman say how proud he was for my presenting calmness and gaining the confidence of the men.

I listened as the man continued with his wording and pausing with a question. He asked, "Mr. Wright, would you have any idea where those Indians got the Spencer's?"

I remained quiet not really knowing but I suspected George Bent had something to do with it.

I told what I suspected but was quickly told Bent was known to be in Kansas aiding Roman Nose.

.
















Chapter 80
Kansas

By Ben Colder


OK, START THE EDIT.

I was relieved to hear General Sherman say how proud he was for my calmness and gaining confidence of the men.

I listened as the man continued with his wording and pausing with a question. He asked, "Mr. Wright, would you have any idea where those Indians got the Spencer's?"

I remained quiet not really knowing but I suspected George Bent had something to do with it.
I told what I suspected but was quickly corrected. Bent was in Kansas fighting for Roman Nose.

The meeting continued cordially and later I was asked if I was acquainted with Kansas especially, the Solomon or Saline river basin.

At first, I was hesitant but then I let it be known I had trapped the Solomon years past but knew little about the Saline.

The other men were quiet as Sherman stared at the floor. He asked, "How do you feel about working with black troops?"

I smiled and stated, "General, I'm not sure. I have never rode with any. I've heard about them but its to my first time of seeing one."

I was not sure what the man was trying to say but hoping his thinking was not wanting to send me to Kansas when we had bigger problem with Gall.

The Sioux or any other tribes were far from calling it quits. From all indications, they were mounting up for a much bigger fight than the Army had yet endured.

General Sherman was seeking peaceful solutions, but he was creating more problems with some of his tactics. Using starvation as a tool to force people on to reservations was not the way to go and before leaving, I stated so.

Though the man never spoke in his defense, I could tell my words were like salt in an open wound.

Later I left the men with good standings and that evening as Amitola and I sat at the table eating, I told her about meeting Sherman and what I had said.
She never said a word but smiled as though she understood.

It was the questions about Kansas which caused my lack of sleep. I lay tossing and tumbling throughout the night deciding to quit scouting. I had twice before, and the third time would be no different.

We had provisions and money to buy more if needed and besides, Amitola wanted to help her people in the way of medical treatment.

Quitting lay heavy on my mind throughout the following day. I spent a few hours at the livery currying and working with my horse however, there were also times when troopers would come and personally care for their mounts as well.

The idea of having Sherman and other high-ranking officers visiting the fort seemed to be the highlights for the moment.

I think we all knew something was in the making yet to be seen what it was.

A day later we all learned that thirty-two miles south would be the new home for the Indian reservation at a new Army post, Fort Yates.

Hearing the news, I was not sure how Gall would react. The place would now serve as home for the Unkpapas and others.

The change I suspected no doubt place the entire Sioux nation with mixed emotions and for sure move the many troops from Fort Rice to there.

After hearing about the change, I quickly decided to remain scouting. Things were happening so fast that I wanted to stay to see what happened next.

Two days later when I was inside the mess area eating with my friend the mess Sergeant, I was surprised when he asked if I was leaving for Kansas?
Knowing office walls are sometime thin, I suspected he knew all about the general's questions.
I responded, "Since you already know then why ask?"

"Are you going?"

I finished with the meal, walked to the long counter, and left my used tin plate. I smiled and thanked him for the meal but before walking outside, I turned and spoke, "Sarge, Kansas is a long way from here and a fellow could get lost trying to find it."

The day was a good day. The weather was cordial, and the soldiers seemed busy getting things ready for their departure.

If my information were correct, the fort would be left with only a few men compared to what had been. Some of the foot soldiers would be staying but most would be going.

I was glad to know most of the horse soldiers were staying as I felt they would be leaving soon for another encounter with Gall.

The Railroad officials were still hot on the commander's back for recovery of their stolen property and I suspected we would be leaving to search out the same area we had before.

Amitola and I had a few special moments together and it was good seeing my son starting to grow and how quickly he was learning various things his mother would teach him.

She never once asked my decision toward Kansas but went with whatever I decided.

I think we both were getting tired of being confined to the military way of doing things and especially the absence of each other.

We were accustomed to being free living the way we wished and could come and go whenever we wanted; However, the commander placed a stop on those thoughts.

The officials for the railroad had arrived at the fort demanding the Army to do something about the attacks and recover their property.

The idea of Kansas quickly dissipated as I heard the commander ask if I thought Gall (Low Dog) was the main source of the problem.

I was trying to be honest, but I had no way of really knowing without scouting the area in hope of finding clues. The railroad crews were constantly being attacked from various bands, but Gall seemed the most likely source.



.

Author Notes This section of the write will move the saga into the climax stage. I hope you will stay the course and ride against all odds with us as I send J B on his way.


Chapter 81
The split tree

By Ben Colder

This photo is close as I can find for keeping the feel of the story. Hope it helps.

I was trying to be honest, but I had no way of really knowing without scouting the area in hope of finding clues. The railroad crews were constantly being attacked from various bands, but Gall seemed the most likely source.

At dawn, the following morning, I left Amitola sleeping near the boy. He had been cranky most of the night which hindered our sleep.

She already knew I would be leaving before daylight and disturbing her would be useless.

At the stable where my horse was stalled, the sentry sat propped in a straight back chair asleep but quickly came to his feet as I walked by.

We never exchanged words as I saddled Star and walked him out of the barn.

I had all that I would need for the next three days and hoped to be back inside the commander's office making my report.
Amitola knew what to do if something went wrong and I did not return. She and the boy would go to her people and live there with her family.

I never dwell on that subject but guided Star toward our intended. The Pawnee was at least a mile or so ahead with instructions for us to meet at a place we knew as split tree.

A false dawn had appeared as I reached a trail leading into an area the troops and I had come through only weeks before.

Gall was somewhere in the hills relishing his railroad plunder and it was up to me and the Pawnee to find its existence.

The terrain which lay before me was broken up with gullies, rocks, and canyons which would make flushing out the culprits less aggressive. They would have the advantage and the ability to dart in and out of rock formation shooting at us with little or not much success of stopping them.

Gall was smart and planned the ordeal to where the Gatling would be little or no use at all for dislodging his band or gain excess to the pillage.

I never knew for certain, but I suspected the stock would be grazing on the other side of a set of hills in a valley I once rode through. It would also be for his camp but getting through the area unseen would be challenging.

I was on foot when moving about in a patch of thick junipers. I had left Star concealed within a clump of high berry bushes. The smell of smoke from a campfire was present as I suspected the Sioux had posted sentries guarding the stock.

Slowly, as a snake, I moved crouched beside a low wall of a mountain which led to seeing an opening of a well-guarded dell. I suspected I had found our mission. Before me grazed at least forty or fifty head of cattle and two hundred mules and horses.

Across the way six hundred yards near the mouth of a fissure two Sioux warriors stood near a campfire while others slept.

Unseen, I went back to my horse and walked the animal through the same area I had come. The place where the Pawnee and I were to meet was a mile or more from my present location and if my luck held, then we could call the mission success and head toward the fort.

The split tree where we were to meet had an interesting history. My mother's people called it a sacred place because of its long life and size. At one time it was old enough to have seen the Louis and Clark expedition but over the years several lightning strikes caused the thing to split down the middle.

Not far into a line of mounds was a Sioux burial ground. At the edge of the first mound, long poles raised ten feet high and having slats made of animal skins held the remains of old deceased tribal leaders.

It was offensive for the Sioux or anyone else to enter the area without the witch-doctor's special anointing and it would be the curse of death without it.

Beneath the tree I sat mounted waiting for the Pawnee. An hour passed and then another. Something was wrong.
I pushed unpleasant thoughts aside with hope he was not discovered.

Suspecting if he had been killed then they would be searching for me. I had waited long enough and began to ease Star up the trail toward the fort when hearing a special bird call the Pawnee and I used to find ourselves.

Like a dull headache when gone, hearing the call was refreshing to the point I paused my horse in the middle of the trail and waited.

Moments later and from out of the brush he appeared riding his pinto pony. We wasted no time leaving the area and before reaching the fort we stopped and discussed what we had seen and what to report to the commander.

His delay was caused by being sandwiched between a movement of Arapaho and more Sioux warriors coming to aid Gall.

It was for sure there were a large gathering from all tribes with some from my mother's people.

Gall was determined to stop the railroad and destroy the singing wire (Telegraph lines.).

The Arapaho wanted more than anything to capture the Gatling and destroy it before losing another man. The others were merely coming just to fight an aggressor who wished to steal their land.

For ten months the Pawnee and I had worked together scouting for the Army. During this time, we had come to know each other very well and at times we would discuss why we did what we did.

His reason was to belong to something useful and mostly to get rid of the tribes who had fought his tribal way of life. Getting even with The Sioux as he put it and the Americans were the tools to make it happen.

Concerning my thoughts toward the subject, I had no ax to grind with either tribe. It was time for all the tribes to realize, the American had entered their lives with more wisdom and firepower and it would be to their advantage to learn a new way of life other than fighting among themselves and continuing the same barbarism.

I had seen the white man clear land and turn it into something useful toward growing food and raising cattle. Some had planted fruit trees I never knew existed. To me, they were educational and like my friend Solly once said, "It will come a day when the Indian will be better off in the white man's world than trying to kill each other in the name of bravery."

I suppose Nick's words would always echo in my mind about change, "At first, nobody likes change and it takes time for it to happen and I suppose the idea shows in the way the Indian killed his enemy."

The man's words were true. There had been times when officers would ask me why the Indians were so cruel with the way they killed. I never had a clear answer but sometimes used the example of an eraser. It was a sign of wishing to erase all white people from their lands forever.

The sun was heading downward behind a mountain when the Pawnee and I rode through the fort's front gate.
We never stalled our animals but tied them at the front hitching post near the big wooden porch leading to the main office.







Author Notes Fan Story has a bad habit of removing the photos I place to help guide the theme of the write.


Chapter 82
Continue- The split tree.

By Ben Colder

The sun was heading downward behind a mountain when the Pawnee and I rode through the fort's front gate.

We never stalled our animals but tied them at the front hitching post near the big wooden porch leading to the central office.

A lamp light barely visible could be seen through the office window as we approached the office.

The desk sergeant sat folding papers and getting ready to stop for the day as we entered.

He spoke, "The commander has gone to his quarters for the night shall I have someone to get him or can it wait until 0600 in the morning?"

The Pawnee and I were both tired and knew Gall was not about to leave, not while others were coming to join what he hoped to be the death of every soldier the Army could assemble.

I could tell the sergeant also wanted to stop for the day as I told the Pawnee we should go to our quarters and give our report the following morning.

He liked the idea as much as I did. He and his family lived in the scout quarters not far for where Amitola and I stayed.

It was one of those cloud covering moonless nights but just enough light to see to walk.

I had stalled Star for the evening and was making my way toward the quarters when hearing a recognizable voice.

In broken English and with a touch of Irish dialect, "J B, would you care for a night-cap before turning in for the nigh?"

The pain in my wrist and the hurting in my thigh said yes but home said no. I responded, "But only one, my woman and boy awaits."

I walked to where Thornton stood barely visible in the light of a lantern resting on a corral post near the stable pouring a liquid from a bottle.

From a tin cup I pampered the moment by saying, "Here is to you my friend Thornton, may you be in your heaven a day before the Army knows you're dead."

I was surprised when tasting the beverage. "This is real Irish whiskey! How did you come by it?"

"Oh, my friend, J B, you know its not nice to ask the host where things come from, but I will tell you. He was a little fellow not bigger than your finger, he was, and I swore not to say a word about where I got it."

He poured me another and I sipped while thinking that little person must have given him that bunch of malarkey as well.

He offered another but I refused knowing I needed to get home. He asked, "Would that be you reason standing there in the dark?"

I turned to see the outline of Amitola holding our son. I responded, "Yes, and my reason seems to have found me."

Amitola handed me the boy and we walked to our quarters and readied the night. It was good just to sit in a chair and let her remove my footwear.

I could tell she was happy I was home and how she knew I was near the corral drinking with a friend I have yet to learn.
It was one of those women things my mother spoke about when feeling danger or something was not right, but either way we were together and for the first time in days I was assure a restful night.

Early the following morning, I awakened to see an old iron vat once used as an animal watering trough stationed near the fireplace. It was filled with warm water as I considered it to be a hint. Amitola would wash water if she could get it any cleaner. I never questioned how she got the heavy thing inside our little dwelling but later found out she had paid the Smithy and a few of his friends to make the thing and bring it inside.

While I was away the first-time chasing Gall, she had gone to the banks of the Missouri river and brought home a few special weeds used to make soap. It was odorless and made her jet-black hair shine like a crow's wing.

As the morning got underway, I was at the commander's office feeling clean and wearing a new set of buckskin clothing. The ordeal made be feel comfortable as I took my time telling what the Pawnee and I saw. The Pawnee was present and would shake his head in agreement when asked if he agreed.

I spoke, "Sir, I think the stock could be captured if you sent three hundred or more soldiers along with the Gatling but to send anything less could make things not to turn out so well."

The commander was quiet for a moment and then asked, "Well, there is not that many I could send. Do you think the Gatling could make the difference?"

"It could under normal circumstances, but Gall and the others are positioned in certain places and know how to outsmart the gun and besides, the Arapaho would like nothing better than to capture and destroy it."

The commander asked the Pawnee his thoughts. "J B, he speaks truth, Arapaho want gun, Kill many warriors."

Our report was finished, and I went to the mess area to meet with my friend Thornton as the Pawnee went about his business.

It never surprised me to hear the cook say Thornton was not feeling well and was on sick call. I could only smile and be grateful that Amitola had found me or I would have been in the same condition.

When I arrived at the quarters, I found Amitola dipping out the bath water with a metal feed bucket. She had also bathed Little Shirt and herself while I was gone.

I quickly relieved her from the task which allowed time to make breakfast and during the meal, I tried telling her about what the Pawnee and I had discussed with the commander, and as usual, she listened never saying a word.

It felt good to once again be in the presence of my family. I suppose our report had given the Army something to think about. For the next three days I was home enjoying my son and the pleasantness of being alone with someone who cared if I lived or died.

Rumors were, we would be leaving within a day or so with five hundred men and the Gatling, but I knew better. We never had five hundred men on post and for sure the Army would never leave the fort unguarded.

There was no doubt the Railroad was still screaming about the raids and the loss of their property, but the troops were spread thin and I had my doubts toward the commander doing anything without having enough men to punish the guilty.

However, the following day I was proved wrong.
I was summoned along with two other scouts with the Pawnee being one of them. We were made to sit and listen as the commander explained the strategy.

We would be leaving with eighty men and three wagons, the small wagon to carry the Gatling, another carrying medical needs, the other, ordnance and supplies.

While the Pawnee and I were enjoying leisure, the commander was making plans like our report said but involving another fort nearby and the use of their men.

We were to meet about the split tree and enter Galls domain just south of the Sioux burial grounds.

During the trip, I learned the small wagon never carried the Gatling but 14 infantry troops who were all sharpshooters. The Gatling was in wagon marked as medical while the other carried our ordnance.

The Commander suspected Gall would recognize the small wagon as the one carrying the Gatling, but he was in for a massive surprise.




























Author Notes Fort Rice was built on the high banks off the Missouri River.


Chapter 83
The fight

By Ben Colder

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.

During the trip, I learned the small wagon never carried the Gatling but 14 infantry troops who were all sharpshooters. The Gatling was in the wagon marked as medical while the other carried our ordnance.

The Commander suspected Gall would recognize the small wagon as the one with the big gun, but he was in for a massive surprise.

Near an area where we were to meet another column of troops, the Pawnee and I met with three other scouts in route to join another patrol.
They had the same impression as we did. Gall was receiving hundreds of reinforcements made up mostly of the southern Cheyenne, my mother's people.

It was for certain; we were in for a big fight, but my orders were to find the other patrol and have them to join the main column.

The other scouts went about their duties of scouting the hills with the intentions of finding Gall's exact location.

We met a small militia group made up of settlers who wished to secure safety for their farms and families and in total they numbered eighteen. They too were also looking for the other column with intention of joining them.

I took lead with the Pawnee riding about a hundred yards in front of me. Within minutes we approached a gully leading to a tributary connected to a creek I knew about.

As we approached, the sound of gunfire could be heard sending the Pawnee riding fast to us.
He yelled, "Arapaho, they fight soldiers from other fort!"

Our group quickly sprang into action as we began riding hard toward the enemy firing torrents of bullets into their ranks and faces.

The patrol was pinned down and out numbered. The Captain in charge waved us into their defense causing each of us to quickly take positions and get ready for another charge.

The Pawnee had been right. They were Arapaho with much aid from the Cheyenne. Together they looked to have had two hundred or more.

The Captain and the group had been hit hard. There were less than a dozen of his men able to fight and at least twenty or more either dead or wounded. With the eighteen-man militia and the the others our defense number thirty-two counting the Pawnee and myself.

Without saying a word the Pawnee mounted his horse and rode to find the main column and bring help.

Darkness was about an hour away. The Captain had used wisdom by saving their mounts and holding them in the gully while creating a makeshift corral using dirt walls as blockers.

However, he was less fortunate, his mount was killed just as the ruckus started.

Though we had lost several people, the Arapaho had done the same. Where we had our wounded and dead within reach, they had to retrieve theirs on an open battlefield.

I never had a clue who any of the war chiefs were. Our only hope was the Pawnee's ability to find the column and bring help by morning.

All of us knew we would be hit hard come daylight and with no more men than we had, it would be a gift from the Great Spirit if any of us would survive the day.

We spent the night fireless and listened to war drums. Some of us stood guard while seeing the enemies' campfires which created a glow no doubt could be seen for miles.

From some of the young soldiers who were still prepared to fight, I could hear them speaking low to each other. Some would tell of their desires and what they planned to do if Providence were on their side.

For the first time in years, I thought about Lottie and little Norm and hoped they were happy. I tried hard pushing away the remembrance of Little Shirt and his smiling face as Amitola would hand him to me.

The Captain and I had little to say to each other, but I could tell he was deeply concerned about what we would face come morning.

It was in the early hours when the drums stopped. I had no idea what was going on. I knew if they had continued, we would be facing an early morning charge.

The Captain asked, "What do you make of it?"

I responded, "Captain, I'm not sure. It could be a good sign or perhaps they have received an important visitor and making changes for their morning attack. Your guess is good as mine, but either way, stay ready."

During the night, the Captain had informed me that he was to have met up with a Major Moore and his column somewhere near the creek when the Arapaho made their attack.

This information to me was vital and had I known earlier, I would have sent the Pawnee to find them instead of the main column.

Our hope now lay upon the Pawnee's ability to bring help. The dead animals were already smelling and earlier, two of our wounded had died. We had buried 12 men with three wounded in question.

With only a handful of fighters left to face overwhelming odds we stood gallantly ready.

A quietness hovered like a cloud and not one sound from anything or anyone.

A small break of dawn tried appearing through the tops of nearby trees as a tip of the sun in the eastern shy offered a glimpse of the morning light.

I was surprised to recognize the dead enemy were still lying where they fell.

Nature was calling; flocks of turkey vultures, some circling overhead while others perched in trees waiting for the moment.

Several times the soldiers would shoo them away.

Almost a hour into the morning, the enemy had not attacked. The Captain and I both thought it to be strange. It was mystery why the enemy's dead still lay where they fell.

The ordeal was something I had never witnessed and the only thing we could do for the moment was wait.


Author Notes This fight was created from the archives of a real battle.


Chapter 84
The Fight continues.

By Ben Colder

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.

I never knew what to say but tried building hope toward finding the Major. I lay trying to remember how the creek flowed and how it made a fork to the east forming another small branch. The more I thought about it, the more I was convinced the other would be where the man could be.

Before dawn, I saddle Star and left word with the sentry where I was going and tell the Captain we would meet near the mouth of the creek and if I was not there when he arrived then to wait.

It was just enough light to travel to see where I was going. I rode slowly as I could hear drums beating somewhere in the distance.

I approached the creek and followed it away from where I searched the day before. The small branch flowed east as I remembered but found it winding into a much larger stream.

From my position I could smell wood smoke and see the column moving about. I rode to where the sentry could hear me.

"I'm J B Wright, a scout from Captain Lucas's patrol. Hold your fire!"

The man waved me into their defense, and I was immediately ushered to the Major.

They too had been hit hard with the loss of several with their scout being one of them, this explained why the column never met where we thought they would be.

They were lost and the enemy knew it. Gall's strategy was to wipe us out or kill as many as he could and then take out the Major's column.

Killing the scout would keep everything in check while he finished us off.

It was a brilliant plan, but it quickly fell apart with the loss of so many Arapaho warriors that they gave up the fight leaving not enough to take us down.

Providence, Great Spirit, or plain luck, the Major still had thirty good fighters and together our numbers presented a much larger resistance.

Later in the day I led the column to where we were to meet our group. Together, we made up a 58-man fighting force, but we still had three wounded from the major's bunch and luckily, none of them were of a serious nature and if necessary, they could be made to help.

It was late evening, near 4 pm when the Pawnee showed up leading the main column. Together we now numbered 121 fighting men assisted by the Gatling.

Gall was being reinforced as well. The southern Cheyenne, my mother's people made up the difference when the Arapaho left. He was now numbered more than three hundred.

The main column swung into position as we joined their ranks forming a skirmish line with the Gatling in the center. The medical wagon with the sharpshooters were to our right flank which our commander thought Gall would hit us first.

Before the first wave of the enemy's assaults, I could see two or three mounted war chiefs with each monitoring the charge.

As we revoked the first attack, we readied a much furious action as a hundred mixed warriors lunged in full force only to meet with such penetrating results.

The death toll of the many horses and men were so staggering, the chiefs came out from their positions waving a white flag.

I could see and hear Gall and the two other chiefs as Gall shouted with a tearful voice. "No, more, we fight no more. In a weeping voice he cried. "We will go to the white man's reservation, no more, our young men dead, so many, dead! We fight no more."

Like a dark cloud a sadness hoovered over the entire battlefield, the officers accepted their surrender.

I rode next to the captain as we passed several dead Cheyenne warriors when noticing someone I knew. I dismounted and despite the war paint, I knew who he was.

With a heavy heart I brushed away the debris from the side of his face as I heard the Captain ask, "Did you know this man?"

At first, I was silent but responded, "Man? You mean young warrior. He was called spotted owl. Yes, I knew him, he is the son of a dear friend. Captain, with your permission, I would like to take him home to his people."

I wrapped his bullet pierced body inside two Army blankets sealed within a canvas and strapped him down across a painted pony who had been fortunate to survive the battle.

Before leaving, Gall was kind enough to tell me the Cheyenne were somewhere in the Powder River basin.


I left the Army that day as still hearing the weeping voice. " No more, we fight no more!"

It was a sad scene as I gazed at the evening sun going down behind a mountain.

In a voice buried deep inside my mind, I could hear my mother's words. "The white man comes to kill and take our land. One day the Indian will be no more."

Author Notes I sincerely thank each of you for riding back into American History with me. This is the last post of the series of J B Wright.
It has been a pleasure doing research for this novel and knowing I have few readers who actually liked the story. As you know it is refreshing when a reader shows an interest with encouraging comments.
I bid you farewell to all who have been so kind to have endured me and my style of writing.
I leave you with my blessings.


Chapter 85
epilogue

By Ben Colder

To all who has asked me for an epilogue.
Here you go Earl.




LOST RIVER REST HOME.,
The year, 1909.

Seated on a bench beneath a large Elm, J B Wright hears the gentle voice of his nurse saying, "Mr. Wright, you have a visitor."
The Lost River home for the elderly housed the eighty-seven-year-old, former trapper and Army Scout, J B Wright.

He wiped his eyes with a handkerchief to clear his vision as a well-dressed man approach. He strained to focus the visitor's face while trying to understand who he was.
He questioned, I have seen this face before, but not sure?

The man stood silently while staring knowing J B was having trouble seeing.

An invitation to sit was offered as the host scooted over on the long bench.

They sat apart as J B asked, "What can I do for you?"

With a questionable voice the man responded, "You do not know who I am, do you?"

J B grinned and then spoke, "I'm trying hard to place you, your face is familiar, but no, I suppose not."

The man spoke, "Think back to 1865, I was ten years of age and Lottie Hamilton was my Mother."


The moment was like standing on the summit of a mountain inhaling the coolness of fresh air as J B spoke, "Are you little Norman Hamilton?"

The man chuckled and patted his large belly, "Yes, sir, but not so little anymore. City life and owning a newspaper has spoiled me. Last week, I had my fifty first birthday and seeing you one more time was my wish."

J B asked, "How did you know where I was?"

Norman chuckled, "We newspaper people have ways. No, I am kidding. I'm doing a story on some of the old forts and came upon your name at Fort Rice, so I began asking questions and was told you were still alive and living here."

J B was silent before asking. "How are your mother and John?"

Norman responded, "They are both gone, John died Christmas day in 99 and mother passed away last year. You know, I am not sure if you ever knew but Mother was very fond of you and sometimes talked about my real father and how you and he grew up as boys. I suppose she never knew what really happened to you before learning a few years later about your capture."

J B sighed, "Well, all that is now water running down the mountain. How about you? Do you have a family?"

"Yes, I would like to bring them here to meet you. I have spoken often about the times we had together and how you taught me how to ride."

J B sat trying to remember that day while asking do you still ride?"

"No, much to busy but someday, maybe if I ever find the time. We have automobiles now."

"Yea, I have seen them, a doctor here has one. Too much smoke and they make too much noise. They'll never out do a well, gated horse not in a million years."

Norman remarked, "I read where you were involved with that big fight with Gall and helped with settling things, would you care to talk about that? I would like to do a story and honor you. "

"Honor me? There were more than me there that day. No, I need no honor and if you really want people to know the truth of the matter, I was one of five scouts there to be part of another massacre. Tell your readers this. If they are looking to blame the Indians then they should sweep out their own house, the tribes were only trying to hang on to their lands which the Great Spirit had given them."

Norman realized the conversation was causing anger and quickly changed his line of questioning. "Did you ever find time to get married?"

"Yes, to a pretty little thing. She was of the Crow nation. I had a son too, I called him Little Shirt."

"What ever happened to them? Are they living somewhere on the reservation? I would like to meet them."

J B remained silent until his nurse appeared wanting to take him back inside, but before leaving he remarked, "Son, the white man's sickness took them. They called it an epidemic of Indian cholera."

It was noon and time was fading. The nurse interrupted asking Norman if he would visit another time. He complied and promised to bring his family the following week.

That evening as J B sat in the parlor reminiscing the day and relishing the seeing of Little Norm, he leaned his head back in the Chip & Dale chair and closed his eyes for the last time.

A few days later, the obituary section in the Denver Star announced. "TODAY A SPECIAL FRIEND HAS DEPARTED THIS EARTH FOR A MORE PEACEFUL EXISTENCE.
J B Wright, A HALF BREED CHEYENNE, TRAPPER, AND U.S. ARMY SCOUT DEPARTED THIS WORLD INTO THE PEACE PROMISED FROM His PERSONAL BELIEF. AMERICAN HISTORY WILL ALWAYS BARE HIS NAME AND I AM HONORED TO HAVE BEEN HIS FRIEND."

August, 11th, 1909.

Owner, and Editing Chief.
Norman L. HAMILTON.

The End

Author Notes In the wee hours, I threw this together. My thanks to all. I used a winter scene for the photo but the story is in Aug.


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