Friday, August 27, 2010

More on Arizona Apache Raids.

I got an email from a person that belongs to a barbershop singing group that does music about historical events, The OK Chorale. He read my post about my ancestors, the Middletons. Allen Fosenkemper wrote to me to say that their group sings music about the raids that the apaches did at the Battle of Big Drywash.

Ernie:
I was reading with interest the story of your family in the 1880's and especially the part about the battle with the Apaches who left San Carlos and attacked the Middleton home in Pleasant Valley in July 1882.
I am a member of a singing and story telling group called the OK Chorale. We created this group as a way of telling the stories of Arizona of the 1800's and keeping the history alive. Are songs and stories are very accurate (as accurate as you can be from 125 years away) and family archives like you posted are very important to maintaining that history and we applaud you.
Most recently we have focused on the Battle of Big Dry Wash that, as you know, took place between the Army and the same group of Apaches that attacked the Middleton home. We have created a song about the one Trooper in the battle who was killed. Pvt. Joseph Mc Lernon and the fact that he was buried on the site of the battle and his grave was lost to history for 95 years. It was re- discovered in the 1970s and the Army issued a head stone to be placed on it.
An interesting point we discovered in researching the battle and the Cavalry is that, around 1850's a legend/Myth developed about a place called "Fiddler's Green." this myth and the story telling about it was so prevalent that the US Army finally noted the myth in their 1929 Field Manual and reprinted the poem that had been created in the 1850's. There are still places in the US Cavalry (Afghanistan for one) where there is an officer's club called Fiddler's Green also an area in Arlington Cemetery.
The myth says that when a Trooper (Cavalry) is killed in battle and "If he don't go to heaven," he will go to "Fiddler's Green." There he will meet his fallen com rads and spend the eternity in this beautiful meadow that is filled with Wine, Whiskey and Women.
We've written a song about this and about Joseph McLernon and his forgotten grave. We do our show for historical societies, service clubs, etc. Any money we make we give to the high school music department in Fountain Hills who is hurting for funds in today's budget cut world.
As an obvious lover of history I thought you might like to read the following and hear the song by our group.
Thanks for a great website.

Allen Fossenkemper
THE OK CHORALE QUARTET (link toi the OK Chorale Website)
(480) 837 4697

I didn't know how to link to this story, so I cut and pasted it here


The Death of Pvt Joseph McLernon.
TRP E, 6 REGT US CAV,
History

On the Mogollon Rim above Payson Arizona winds the “Gen Crook Trail” which was created as the Cavalry’s route between Fort Bowie Arizona and Fort Whipple at Prescott.

Along this road on July 17th 1882 the US Army fought the last battle of the thirty year war with the Apache Indians. The battle of Big Dry Wash was intense and resulted in four Medal of Honor winners among the troopers who fought there. Most of the Apaches were killed but only one US soldier died in this fight. An Irish immigrant named Private Joseph McLernon struck down by a single bullet. He was buried along the Crook Trail in a grave that was forgotten and lost until it was rediscovered in 1990’s and properly marked. We are quite sure his comrades spoke of him going to Fiddler’s Green when they laid him to rest on that mountain trail.

Marker of the Battle of Big Dry Wash – Mogollon Rim Gen. Crook Trail Directions:

Drive north on Highway 87 through Pine and Strawberry to the top of the Rim. Continue past the Camp Verde turnoff (Highway 260) a few miles to Forest Road 300 on your right. Drive east to the end of this well-maintained gravel road, until you reconnect with Highway 260. En route you will find picnic grounds, the Crook Military Road, (which plays tag with your road), numerous views from the edge of the Rim, a monument to the Battle of Big Dry Wash (Arizona's last major battle of the Indian War), isolated graves of pioneers, wildlife and magnificent forest, by-ways to Rim lakes, and trails to hike.

The Grave of McLernon
(aka, Fiddler’s Green)

Words By Allen Fossenkemper©2010 – Music by John Connolly

Sometime in the *1800’s the troopers in the US Cavalry began referring to a place called Fiddler’s Green. This mythical place was their “heaven” where Troopers would spend eternity with their fallen comrades who’d fallen in battle. Filled with endless supplies of whiskey, beer and women this mythical place has continued to be referred to, even in today’s modern cavalry.

(As sung by the OK Chorale)
On the rim above Payson, there’s a trail in the sky
And the grave of a solider, who fought there and died.
His grave is forever, though his war long forgot,
Struck dead by a bullet from hostiles he fought.
Bury him with his Saber and Kepi
No more at the fort he’ll be seen
Just tell his old bunk mates
He’s taken the trip mates
And they’ll see him someday in Fiddlers Green
They didn’t tell Mother the ground of his grave.
Did he die for his comrades? her son was he brave?
Now thousands of miles from his Ireland he lays,
On rim above Payson so far far away.
Bury him with his Saber and Kepi
No more at the fort he’ll be seen
Just tell his old bunk mates
He’s taken the trip mates
And they’ll see him someday in Fiddlers Green
Now Fiddler’s Green is a place they all go.
These soldiers of fortune who bartered their soul.
There’s barrels of whiskey and bottles of brew.
And some beautiful ladies a wait’n there too.
Bury him with his Saber and Kepi
No more at the fort he’ll be seen
Just tell his old bunk mates
He’s taken the trip mates
And they’ll see him someday in Fiddlers Green
From lands far away these men traveled west,
Had lost their life’s purpose, been put to the test.
Now many a troop will no longer be seen,
Til they all hoist a glass on Fiddler’s Green

 The Grave of McLernon

Origin of Fiddler’s Green

The origin and author of Fiddlers' Green is unkown. It was believed to have originated in the 1800's and was composed as a song sung by the soldiers of the 6th and 7th Cavalry. Its first known appearance in published form was in a 1923 Cavalry Journal.

Halfway down the trail to Hell,
In a shady meadow green
Are the Souls of all dead troopers camped,
Near a good old-time canteen.
And this eternal resting place
Is known as Fiddlers' Green.
Marching past, straight through to Hell
The Infantry are seen.
Accompanied by the Engineers,
Artillery and Marines,
For none but the shades of Cavalrymen
Dismount at Fiddlers' Green.
Though some go curving down the trail
To seek a warmer scene.
No trooper ever gets to Hell
Ere he's emptied his canteen.
And so rides back to drink again
With friends at Fiddlers' Green.
And so when man and horse go down
Beneath a saber keen,
Or in a roaring charge of fierce melee
You stop a bullet clean,
And the hostiles come to get your scalp,
Just empty your canteen,
And put your pistol to your head
And go to Fiddlers' Green

The Battle of Big Dry Wash

During the spring of 1882 a small group of White Mountain Apache warriors, sixty at the most, came out of their wilderness hiding and by early summer coalesced under the leadership of a man called Na-tio-tish. (below left)

In early July some of the warriors ambushed and killed four San Carlos policemen, including the police chief. Following the ambush Na-tio-tish led his band of warriors northwest through the Tonto Basin, raiding as they went. Central Arizona residents were greatly alarmed and demanded protection from the army which immediately sent out fourteen companies of cavalry from forts surrounding the Tonto Basin.

In the middle of July Na-tio-tish led his band up Cherry Creek to the Mogollon Rim, intending to reach General Springs, a well-known water hole on the Crook Trail. The Apaches noticed that they were trailed by a single troop of cavalry and decided to lay an ambush seven miles north of General Springs where a fork of East Clear Creek cuts a precipitous gorge into the Mogollon Rim. The Apaches hid on the far side and waited.

The cavalry company was led by Captain Adna R. Chaffee. Unbeknown to Na-tio-tish, Chaffee was guided by the famous scout Al Sieber who soon discovered the Apachesí trap and warned the troops. Also unbeknown to Na-tio-tish, during the night Chaffee’s lone company was reinforced by four more from Fort Apache under the command of Major A. W. Evans.

Early in the morning of July 17 one company of cavalry opened fire from the rim facing the Apaches. Meanwhile Chaffee sent two companies upstream and two downstream to sneak across the canyon and attack the Apaches. Na-tio-tish failed to post lookouts and the troops crossed over undetected. From sixteen to twenty-seven warriors were killed, including Na-tio-tish.

The Battle of Big Dry Wash was the last battle fought between the Apaches and army regulars. It was also one of the few times that army soldiers fought and bested Apaches in actual battle but this was mainly because, as one historian noted, it was one of the few instances in which Apaches allowed themselves to be drawn into conventional battle.

Pvt. Joseph McLernon was the only white soldier killed at the famous 1882 Battle of Big Dry Wash, north of Payson on East Clear Creek. He was 28 years old when he died, with gray eyes, fair complexion, 5-feet, 7-inches tall. One cannot help but think of a mother and father who never knew what happened to their boy after he immigrated to America. He was wrapped in a blanket and the soldiers dug a shallow grave using their mess kits.

The gravesite was visited in subsequent years by local pioneers, hunting or herding cattle, and by soldiers returning to the site of their famous battle. One of these was C.P. Wingfield, a local man who had been a packer for the Army, and during the battle he was one-half mile behind the line of fighting. In a 1929 letter, he wrote that they took the wounded to Camp Verde and then on to Fort Whipple, but "the troop that was killed on the battlefield was buried there, the grave was marked with stones. I was there the summer of 1886, four years after; saw the grave. Also found the skeleton of an Indian in a cave..." (Letter in archives of the Coconino National Forest archaeologist, Flagstaff, Arizona, dated August 18, 1929).

Author Stan Brown reclines on the supposed grave of Joseph McLernon. Is the soldier's body really here?

That year, 1929, brought a new flurry of interest in the battleground. With urging from participants like Lt. George Morgan and Will C. Barnes, the National Forest Service obtained an appropriation to build a monument to the battle. However, by this time, 47 years after the fact, the location of the battleground had been obscured. Two local ranchers, William Wingfield Jr. and Charles Callaway, made a 10-day search of the area, and by finding shell casings, the stones of McLernon's grave, and using their recollections of local lore, they identified the battle scene.

Wingfield and Callaway reported the rediscovered battleground location to the Coconino National Forest ranger's office, and they checked the findings to verify the site. Plans proceeded for the monument, which was soon placed and can be seen today. It is an imposing structure of stone and brass near the edge of the East Clear Creek canyon. On one side the brass plates name each company of cavalry and the men who were engaged in the battle, as well as the Indian scouts. The other side of the monument tells the story of the battle. Not far away, back from the edge of the canyon in a slight depression where, presumably, the battle weary units camped the night of July 17, 1882, is the marked grave of Private Joseph McLernon. However, that grave had remained unmarked for 94 years after the battle.

Another flurry of interest brought attention to the site when retired forest ranger, 88-year-old Fred W. Croxen and his friend Harry H. Martin were sharing stories of the old days as they hiked along the Mogollon Rim. They reviewed their knowledge of the Battle of Big Dry Wash, and there conceived the idea of a military marker for the McLernon grave. Croxen had been stationed by the Forest Service in the Coconino National Forest from 1911 to 1921, and in the Tonto National Forest at Payson until 1930. During these years he had collected oral history accounts from eyewitnesses of the previous century who were left to tell the tale. He wrote a number of papers, informally circulated in mimeograph form, about people and events, including one on the Battle of Big Dry Wash and the circumstances leading to it.

Croxen remembered how Payson pioneer William Craig had spoken of the McLernon grave near the rim of the Clear Creek canyon. When he and Harry Martin revisited the battlefield in the autumn of 1975, they found the semblance of a grave outlined in stones. It was 100 yards southwest of the monument, in an open grassy space. Similar stones were scattered about the site. Passing back and forth over the grave with a metal detector they traced what they believed to be the outline of the buttons on a uniform and the nails in the boots. They felt convinced that this was the grave of Private Joseph McLernon, and proceeded to gather the scattered stones. They mounded them over the long neglected grave, and took a picture of it.

The following January, 1976, Fred Croxen Sr. mounted a campaign from his Tucson home to secure a military marker for the isolated McLernon grave. He wrote a letter to Senator Barry Goldwater, with copies to other persons in positions of influence.[1]

In response to appeals from Rep. Sam Steiger and Senator Paul Fannin, the director of Monument Service, National Cemetery System of the Veterans Administration, sent the proper forms to be filled out, and by March 10, 1976, the upright marble headstone had been ordered.[2] It would read, Joseph McLernon, Pvt TRP E, 6 REGT US CAV, Indian Wars, July 17, 1882.

The 230-pound stone was shipped to Fred Croxen in Tucson early in May, and he began making plans to have it placed 94 years to the day of McLernon's death, July 17, 1976. He invited those he knew would be interested and who could give it publicity. Mr. and Mrs. Jess Goddard of Camp Verde would write up the event for The Independent of Cottonwood.[3] Don Schellie was present and would write an article, which appeared in the Tucson Daily Citizen.[4]

A group of 28 solicitous people gathered at the remote location, around noon on the clear day. They had come from Camp Verde, Phoenix, Flagstaff, Winslow, Sedona, Lake Montezuma and Tucson. A hole had been dug at the head of the grave in which the marble stone was planted. Two bags of premixed concrete were poured around the base of the marker and in among the mound of stones by Fred Croxen III, the old ranger's grandson from Flagstaff. Water was added to set the cement, hoping this would discourage potential vandals. While this was going on, others pulled the grass that had grown up among the rocks.

Then a worn copy of the book "Al Sieber, Chief of Scouts," by Dan L. Thrapp, was produced, and a history professor, Andrew Wallace, read aloud the author's chapter on the Battle of Big Dry Wash. It included quotes from Thomas Cruse's firsthand experience, along with the mistaken reference to McLernon being from Scotland.

After the reading Fred Croxen stepped forward to fill in a few details, and then he said, "Well, I suppose that's it."

The loose circle of history buffs informally mingled, and went for the picnic lunches they had brought to this isolated place. Fred Croxen and Harry Martin lingered long enough to gather several bunches of summer wildflowers and lay them on the mound of rocks. After living so many months with this project, the long dead soldier had become very much part of their lives.

While the Indian wars were pretty much over in in California the 1860's, the wars raged on in Arizona. Geronimo's Apache warriers didn't want to give in and be put on a reservation. I'm not familiar with Arizona history to know why the Apaches thought they might win their battle, but I did hear a tid-bit in history that they thought that the "Garmets" (shirts) that they wore would protect them from bullets. An idea that they got from the Mormons. It seemed to work for Geronimo.




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33 comments:

Anonymous said...

I like the Chorales...
You said you weren't familiar with Arizona history Ernie but maybe the Apache didn't think they would win but it isn't too much of a stretch that they thought their land was worth dying for.

Oregon

Ernie Branscomb said...

Very good point Oregon. Or... killing for.

Anonymous said...

Same thing..

Oregon

Anonymous said...

I commented about the circus on Aug. 16th post.
Cousin

Dave Kirby said...

There were very few "indian wars"in California. In the 20 years between 1849 and 1869 80 to 90 % of California indians died. The majority of disease and starvation. Massacres similar to the infamous Sand Creek Massacre took place all over California without much notice back east. The miners who swarmed into tribal areas were far more ruthless than the later wave of settlers.

spyrock said...

i dont't know where you are getting your facts, but i've never read anything similiar to what happened at sand creek happening in california. the 800 colorado and new mexico militia at sand creek had just battled with some texas southerners during the civil war which was still going on. the spanish had already killed or caused the death of most of the indians in california by disease and starvation before the americans took over in 1846. there were raids by both sides during the time you mentioned. the victories by indians have been consistently been ignored by historians except custers last stand. but the modoc war which was really going on before the end of your time period was so embarrasing to the u s military you never hear about. as was bluejackets victory in ohio when over 800 men women and chilren were killed and only around 30 shawnee warriors died. we had our eel river rangers and others and our share of men like those at sand creek. but what happened at sand creek has to go down as one of the most dishonerable moments in us military history. killing indians under a flag of truce who wanted peace and then most of them women and children and then they scalped them and paraded body parts. give me a break. the spanish weren't up in cheyene country very much. that was all on them. they heard about it back east because the witnesses to it were so outraged that they told everyone they knew and i'm sure there were lots of good people in california who would have done the same if it happened like it did at sand creek

Dave Kirby said...

You've got to be kidding...you never heard of Indian Island or Natural Bridge? How about when the whites on the upper sacramento invited the Wintu to a peace pow wow and poisoned their food? And thats just some local stuff. I suggest you read Ray Raphael and Freeman House's " Two peoples one place." After you read that you might try to get a copy of PBS American Experience " The Gold Rush" and watch it.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thanks Kirby.
Read the following:

The Bridge Gulch Massacre . . .

In 1852, a well-known citizen of Weaverville, J.R. Anderson, was killed and a small herd of his cattle were driven off by a band of Wintu Indians. A few hours later, Sheriff Dixon and a number of men were in pursuit.

After several days of tracking through the rugged mountains, Dixon's party set up camp on Hayfork Creek while scouts were sent out to locate the Indians.

Late that afternoon, a scout reported sighting an Indian Rancheria a few miles from Dixon's camp. From a vantage point on Natural Bridge, the scout could see smoke from their campfires a short distance upstream, and even described children playing.

Under cover of darkness, the party quietly made their way up the narrow draw known as Bridge Gulch and surrounded the encampment. When the morning sun broke through the trees, the camp began to stir. As men, women and children of the tribe gathered to hear their leader speak, a shot rang out and he dropped to the ground. Chaos broke out as Sheriff Dixon's men began firing at anyone they could line up in their gun sights.

Soon, however, the shooting ended as Dixon's men ran out of targets. When all was quiet, the party cautiously made their way down the mountainside and into the Wintu camp where smoke from burning tepees curled toward the sky and the smell of gunpowder hung in the morning air. All that remained of the 150 Wintus were three children (accounts vary).

The band that had killed Mr. Anderson and driven off his cattle were not among those who had died in the camp.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Indian Island (Humboldt Bay) Massacre:
1860 Wiyot Massacre
On February 26, 1860, about one hundred Wiyot men, women and children were massacred during a World Renewal Ceremony. The massacre was carried out by European immigrants who had settled in the area since 1850 as part of the California Gold Rush. The massacre was particularly grisly because the men who paddled over to the island only used hatchets, clubs and knives to murder their victims. They purposefully avoided using their guns so that local residents in the nearby town of Eureka (several hundred yards away across Humboldt Bay) could not hear the slaughter. There were few survivors.

The island was known as "Bloody Island" for a significant period of time because of the massacre.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Sand Creek Massacre
The Sand Creek massacre (also known as the Chivington massacre, the Battle of Sand Creek or the Massacre of Cheyenne Indians) was an incident in the Indian Wars of the United States that occurred on November 29, 1864, when a 700-man force of Colorado Territory militia attacked and destroyed a village of friendly Cheyenne and Arapaho encamped in southeastern Colorado Territory, killing and mutilating an estimated 70–163 Indians, about two-thirds of whom were women and children. The location has been designated a National Historic Site and is administered by the National Park Service.

olmanriver said...

"The idea, strange as it may appear, never occurred to them (the Indians) that they were suffering for the great cause of civilization, which, in the natural course of things, must exterminate Indians."
- Special Agent J. Ross Browne, Indian Affairs
[note: I was asked to cross-post this diary here.]
midtowng :: The Great California Genocide California was one of the last areas of the New World to be colonized.
It wasn't until 1769 that the first mission, Mission San Diego de Alcalá, was built in California at present-day San Diego. It was the first of 21 missions, which would become the primary means for the Spaniards to subjugate the natives. The leader of this effort was Franciscan monk Junípero Serra.

Despite whatever the movies portray, the missions were coercive religious, forced labor camps. Through bribes, military intimidation, and the eventual onslaught of European diseases (that usually targeted children), the colonizers ensured that eventually sick and desperate indians would come to the missions for help.
The indians that wound up there had their children taken from them, and harsh, manual labor was the rule. Beatings and filthy living conditions were common. The death rate at the missions was appalling. By 1818 the percentage of Indians who died in the missions reached 86 percent. Over 81,000 indian "converts" eventually managed to successfully flee the missions.
Soon there were indian revolts.
The San Diego Mission was burnt down in 1775 during the Kumeyaay rebellion. Mohave Indians destroyed two mission in a dramatic revolt in 1781. Military efforts to punish these indians and reopen the route to the pueblas of New Mexico failed.
San Gabriel Mission indians revolted in 1785, and suffered because of it. The Santa Barbara and Santa Inez Missions were destroyed in the Chumash revolt of 1824. Some time after 1810 a large number of guerrilla bands arose that raided the missions and kept them in a virtual state of siege. This led to draconian laws to restrict the movement of indians and forced them to carry papers proving their employment.
In 1834, Mexican Governor Jose Figueroa freed the indians from the mission system and stripped the padres of their power. More than 100,000 indians had died because of the mission system, out of over 300,000 indians that lived in California before the Catholic church arrived.

olmanriver said...

Part 1)
"The idea, strange as it may appear, never occurred to them (the Indians) that they were suffering for the great cause of civilization, which, in the natural course of things, must exterminate Indians."
- Special Agent J. Ross Browne, Indian Affairs
[note: I was asked to cross-post this diary here.]
midtowng :: The Great California Genocide California was one of the last areas of the New World to be colonized.
It wasn't until 1769 that the first mission, Mission San Diego de Alcalá, was built in California at present-day San Diego. It was the first of 21 missions, which would become the primary means for the Spaniards to subjugate the natives. The leader of this effort was Franciscan monk Junípero Serra.

Despite whatever the movies portray, the missions were coercive religious, forced labor camps. Through bribes, military intimidation, and the eventual onslaught of European diseases (that usually targeted children), the colonizers ensured that eventually sick and desperate indians would come to the missions for help.
The indians that wound up there had their children taken from them, and harsh, manual labor was the rule. Beatings and filthy living conditions were common. The death rate at the missions was appalling. By 1818 the percentage of Indians who died in the missions reached 86 percent. Over 81,000 indian "converts" eventually managed to successfully flee the missions.

olmanriver said...

Part 2)
Soon there were indian revolts.
The San Diego Mission was burnt down in 1775 during the Kumeyaay rebellion. Mohave Indians destroyed two mission in a dramatic revolt in 1781. Military efforts to punish these indians and reopen the route to the pueblas of New Mexico failed.
San Gabriel Mission indians revolted in 1785, and suffered because of it. The Santa Barbara and Santa Inez Missions were destroyed in the Chumash revolt of 1824. Some time after 1810 a large number of guerrilla bands arose that raided the missions and kept them in a virtual state of siege. This led to draconian laws to restrict the movement of indians and forced them to carry papers proving their employment.
In 1834, Mexican Governor Jose Figueroa freed the indians from the mission system and stripped the padres of their power. More than 100,000 indians had died because of the mission system, out of over 300,000 indians that lived in California before the Catholic church arrived.

olmanriver said...

Part 3) (same link)
The government paid about $1.1 Million in 1852 to militias to hunt down and kill indians. In 1857 the California legislature allocated another $410,000 for the same purposes.
In 1856 the state of California paid 25 cents for each indian scalp. In 1860 the bounty was increased to $5.

The most famous of these massacres was the Clear Lake Massacre of 1850, in which between 80 and 400 Pomo indians were slaughtered. A marker placed there in the 1960's which called the event "The Battle of Bloody Island" was destroyed by vandals in 2002.
To put this into perspective, around 200 indians were killed at the much more well-known Sand Creek Massacre of 1863, and just over 300 were killed in the famous Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890. Yet you would be hard pressed to find a single person living around Clear Lake today that even knew a massacre had taken place there.
The scale of the genocide in California absolutely dwarfs anything that happened to the Great Plains indians, and is even larger and more complete than the fate of the eastern indians.

The number of massacres are too numerous to list here, but a short accounting include the Bridge Gulch Massacre, the ConCow Maidu Trail of Tears, and the Wiyot Massacre, just to name a few. I don't even have a name for the massacre of 400 Tolowa indians at the village of Yontoket in 1853, nor the massacre of hundreds more of the same tribe the following year.
What does it tell you about the state of American history in which massacres don't even have names?

olmanriver said...

Shoulda all been in quotes.

Ernie Branscomb said...

River, thanks.

The Wintu Indians, that escaped the Spanish Mission mayhem, had their own problems. The Lewis and Clark expedition had extensive contact with the Wintus. Many died of disease after that contact. As Kirby stated the Wintus were invited to a “Peace Dinner” where they were fed poisoned beef. The Wintus were also the butt of small miners raids. They were killed in mass at the land bridge incident. They were almost killed to extinction. I was reading a history of the Wintus where they related all of their families back to just two people. There were two basic families of Wintu that survived.

In the Sand Creek massacre, there were two Captains that refused to make their troupes fire upon the Cheyenne; “On the morning of November 29, 1864, Chivington ordered his troops to attack. Two officers, Captain Silas Soule and Lieutenant Joseph Cramer, commanding companies D and K, respectively, of the First Colorado Cavalry, refused to follow Chivington's order and told their men to hold [their]fire.“

Ernie Branscomb said...

From Wikipedia
Silas Stillman Soule (July 26, 1838 – April 23, 1865) was a Massachusetts abolitionist, Kansas Territory Jayhawker, and a soldier in the Colorado infantry and cavalry during the American Civil War. Captain Soule, as commander of Company D, 1st Colorado Cavalry, was present at the Sand Creek Massacre on November 29, 1864. He refused an order of his commander, Colonel John Chivington, to fire on defenseless Indians, primarily old men, women, and young children. Soule later testified against Chivington for the atrocities committed by him and his troops. He was shot and killed soon after, believed to be by Chivington loyalists.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Brett Harte
The 1860 massacre of between 80 and 200 Wiyots killed at the village of Tutulwat was well documented historically and was reported in San Francisco and New York by Harte. When serving as assistant editor for the Northern Californian, Harte editorialized about the slayings while his boss, Stephen G. Whipple, was temporarily absent, leaving Harte in charge of the paper. Harte published a detailed account condemning the event, writing, "a more shocking and revolting spectacle never was exhibited to the eyes of a Christian and civilized people. .....
After publishing the editorial, his life was threatened and he was forced to flee one month later. Harte quit his job and moved to San Francisco, where an anonymous letter published in a city paper is attributed to him, describing widespread community approval of the massacre.

Ernie Branscomb said...

As anyone can clearly see, protecting the Indian people was not healthy. There is also many detailed accounts of Covelo's Cattle King White killing, and running off, Indian sympathizers, but many people that protected the Indians stayed and stuck it out, including many of my family. That fact is something that I have always been very proud of.

But, alas, my family was also included in the killing of Indians. I know nothing of the details, but my family was present at the killing of Indians, and I can only assume that they took part. Some of my relatives are the descendants of the Indian raids where the white raiders adopted, raised, and educated the orphan Indian children.

I know a little intimate history about the South Fork of the Eel Canyon that forces me to conclude that we can’t place ourselves in the shoes of the folks that participated in the early “Indian Wars”. We have no idea the pressures and intimidation the early people were placed under. All that we know for certain is that there was some very evil people lived back then, and also, there were some very good people. All that we know for sure is that some survived and some didn’t.

Olmanriver said...

Ernie...thanks for new to me details about those companies that refused to shoot at Sand Creek.

Ernie Branscomb said...

“Ernie...thanks for new to me details about those companies that refused to shoot at Sand Creek.”

Thanks River, as you may know I always look for these kinds of people in history. There were incredible acts of heroism in history, sadly many of there stories end much as the brave Captain Soule’s story ended.

My 3G Grandfather Branscomb was a Sheriff in Missouri. He was bushwhacked by some ne’er do well brothers who didn’t like being kept from their life of crime by my badge wearing grandfather.

One of my all-time heroes was Captain Hugh Thompson Jr. who stopped the My Lai Massacre by landing his OH-23 Raven Helicopter between his own troops, that were firing on innocent Viet Nam civilians, and Lieutenant William Calley’s squad.

Can you even Imagine going against your own people, and protecting somebody that you don’t even know, from your friends???

spyrock said...

“ I saw the bodies of those lying there cut all to pieces, worse mutilated than any I ever saw before; the women cut all to pieces ... With knives; scalped; their brains knocked out; children two or three months old; all ages lying there, from sucking infants up to warriors ... By whom were they mutilated? By the United States troops ... ”
—- John S. Smith, Congressional Testimony of Mr. John S. Smith, 1865[17]

“ Fingers and ears were cut off the bodies for the jewelry they carried. The body of White Antelope, lying solitarily in the creek bed, was a prime target. Besides scalping him the soldiers cut off his nose, ears, and testicles-the last for a tobacco pouch ... ”
—- Stan Hoig[18]

“ Jis to think of that dog Chivington and his dirty hounds, up thar at Sand Creek. His men shot down squaws, and blew the brains out of little innocent children. You call sich soldiers Christians, do ye? And Indians savages? What der yer 'spose our Heavenly Father, who made both them and us, thinks of these things? I tell you what, I don't like a hostile red skin any more than you do. And when they are hostile, I've fought 'em, hard as any man. But I never yet drew a bead on a squaw or papoose, and I despise the man who would. ”
—- Kit Carson[19]

united states troops attacked the indians at sand creek. vigilantees, possees, and mobs were the ones who participated in the california attacks that were mentioned some of which i never heard of and the number of dead varies greatly because there were no eye witnesses like there were at sand creek.
the state of california did finance the genocide of california indians and they still surpress this information. but sand creek was still worse.
my great great grandfather died in 1872 taking indians to the reservation at covelo to protect them from the civilians. we don't know if the indians killed him or the civilians. if you can find out what really happened, then you might impress me. i would love to see a major motion picture about what happened to the california indians. i'm getting tired of reruns of custer's last stand. just a little more about sand creek

After the smoke cleared, Chivington's men came back and killed many of the wounded. They also scalped many of the dead, regardless of whether they were women, children or infants. Chivington and his men dressed their weapons, hats and gear with scalps and other body parts, including human fetuses and male and female genitalia.[28] They also publicly displayed these battle trophies in Denver's Apollo Theater and area saloons.

sand creek was worse.

spyrock said...

“ I saw the bodies of those lying there cut all to pieces, worse mutilated than any I ever saw before; the women cut all to pieces ... With knives; scalped; their brains knocked out; children two or three months old; all ages lying there, from sucking infants up to warriors ... By whom were they mutilated? By the United States troops ... ”
—- John S. Smith, Congressional Testimony of Mr. John S. Smith, 1865[17]

“ Fingers and ears were cut off the bodies for the jewelry they carried. The body of White Antelope, lying solitarily in the creek bed, was a prime target. Besides scalping him the soldiers cut off his nose, ears, and testicles-the last for a tobacco pouch ... ”
—- Stan Hoig[18]

“ Jis to think of that dog Chivington and his dirty hounds, up thar at Sand Creek. His men shot down squaws, and blew the brains out of little innocent children. You call sich soldiers Christians, do ye? And Indians savages? What der yer 'spose our Heavenly Father, who made both them and us, thinks of these things? I tell you what, I don't like a hostile red skin any more than you do. And when they are hostile, I've fought 'em, hard as any man. But I never yet drew a bead on a squaw or papoose, and I despise the man who would. ”
—- Kit Carson[19]

united states troops attacked the indians at sand creek. vigilantees, possees, and mobs were the ones who participated in the california attacks that were mentioned some of which i never heard of and the number of dead varies greatly because there were no eye witnesses like there were at sand creek.
the state of california did finance the genocide of california indians and they still surpress this information. but sand creek was still worse.
my great great grandfather died in 1872 taking indians to the reservation at covelo to protect them from the civilians. we don't know if the indians killed him or the civilians. if you can find out what really happened, then you might impress me. i would love to see a major motion picture about what happened to the california indians. i'm getting tired of reruns of custer's last stand. just a little more about sand creek

After the smoke cleared, Chivington's men came back and killed many of the wounded. They also scalped many of the dead, regardless of whether they were women, children or infants. Chivington and his men dressed their weapons, hats and gear with scalps and other body parts, including human fetuses and male and female genitalia.[28] They also publicly displayed these battle trophies in Denver's Apollo Theater and area saloons.

sand creek was worse.

spyrock said...

i put this in there twice because you didn't believe me the first time when i was withholding all the graphic detail from eyewitnesses.
do you really think kit carson is lying about this?

olmanriver said...

Hey spy- not sure who you are addressing, but you are so right about local militias and Sand Creek being prominent on the military disgrace list.
What is up with mutilating bodies?
I found this scalping information site which mentioned the long history of bounties for scalps in America, including the same gruesome details about Sand Creek that you shared, and Andrew Jackson's scalping activities:
...Scalping and mutilation were hardly uncommon among the military in their interactions with the Indians. At the Battle of Tippecanoe, the Shawnee chief Tecumseh was stripped and -----
Abuses of this sort were not as isolated as one would hope. At the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, soldiers under Andrew Jackson (who once bragged that "I have on all occasions preserved the scalps of my killed") scalped and mutilated the bodies of the Indians killed, including pieces cut off in order to tan and make into reins or belts. When it came time to get a body count, it was decided that the most efficient way would be to cut off the noses of the slain and count them. Supposedly it was a general order not to partake in that kind of activity, but there is no record of punishment or reprimand for any involved."
I believe that I read somewhere that the Creek Indian losses were over 800. And, as has happened many times over time, Indians allied with, or hired by whites, fought against other Indian tribes.
Taunting other tribes with one of their members severed head was a one way that a few local tribes started a fights with other tribes.

olmanriver said...

And, as we have discussed a few years back, the largest recorded slaughter of Indians locally occurred when a group of "gun Wailakis" made off with a number of Round Valley horses. A posse of ranchers with the help of the Concows on the reservation tracked them to Horse Canyon, sort of stumbled into their camp and the slaughter was on. The Concows went out of control and started killing, instead of saving the women and children. The Concow chief felt horrible about this for a long time. Lt. Tassin placed the Indian losses at 240. His observations from his time in Round Valley often show up in Overland Monthly articles. This index will lead history buffs to some goooood readin'!

Anonymous said...

olmanriver, I just wanted you to know that you are the cause of me losing much time from my chores.
I am just getting started reading the Overland Monthly and enjoying it immensely. Thank you for including it on Ernie's site.

Oregon

olmanriver said...

You are most welcome Oregon...I have been lost in those articles for over a week.
One of my favorites was a travelogue about a few men who decided to go to Union/Arcata in the fall of 1861 from down south. On the mail ridge south of here they got a report from other travelers of recent Indian attacks, but they made it to the Spruce Grove mail station. At that time it was little more than a few corrals and a small building. After they leave the station they lost the trail going north and sent a few of their party back to the station for directions.
Unbeknownst to them, the Indians had attacked the mail station and had tried to set fire to the the place. They arrived during a break in the attack when the Indians were off having a mail horse barbecue. One heroic man returns to his friend waiting alone with their gear and they join the rest of group fleeing to the Wood ranch.
This attack pretty much closed down the mail north for the winter, leaving the Humboldt Bay with only "sailmail" packets.
The end of the article leaves us with the statement that the author had heard that the Wood ranch burnt down some months later, and Wood himself was killed.
Wood wasn't killed, but it sure makes me wonder if there was any truth to the burning of the Wood ranch. History has not left us with any confirmation.

Anonymous said...

Where do I go on this blog to find accounts of the many verified atrocities committed by the "native Americans" against European Americans?

The grisly details of those attacks also need to be told if we modern people are going to come to anything like a true understanding of the past.

Ernie Branscomb said...

I have made accountings of Indian attacks were it seemed necessary. But, I don’t feel that it is fair to make gratuitous comments here just to prove that the Indians were also evil. Most, just like the whites, only wanted to survive, and live in peace.

It seems especially unfair to malign the Indian people, in view of the fact that the whites seem to have won. I understand your frustration, but there is plenty of accountings of Indian attacks out there, and I feel that they should be read about and understood in context. Too many people have done that to the white people already.

I like to try to understand our history rather than make decisions based of superficial facts. The true accounting of history goes much deeper than most people want to find, but it can be immensely rewarding to do the research.

spyrock said...

love all the information river. i didn't know about them mutilating tecumseh. i couldn't follow your link so could you just paste it here. once in awhile i write about the other side of my family. my 5 or 6g grandfather on that side was adopted by the shawnee and lived with them when tecumseh was nine years old. he was adopted by black fish and cooked salt for them as he was a blacksmith for washington in the revolutionary war, captured at the battle of long island and given to the shawnee by their british allies. he lived with them for a year before he made his escape on a hunting trip and walked from scotia ohio back to carlisle pennslyvania. i've read that black fish had been called by several other names. but he later captured daniel boone and i think there is a good chance my ancestor knew tecumseh and may have been his step brother as black fish was the one who adopted him as well as tecumseh and his brother, the red one eyed prophet and sister. of course, i may be wrong about this, but the coincidence has made me very interested in tecumseh. thanks, spy

olmanriver said...

hey spy! http://www.everything2.com/user/sid/writeups/Scalping is the link, and it will finish the gruesome Tecumseh story, that I didn't feel to share.
Your history in that era is fascinating to me.

Ian Dial said...

I read with interest the account of the Battle of Big Dry Wash in AZ and the placing of the white marble headstone on the grave of Pvt.McLernon and the erection of the monument with bronze plaques in the 1970s. I have visited the site several times since the late 1970s. It is very overgrown with underbrush and jack pines due to poor forest management caused by the Bunnie Huggers. I understand from my family history that the forests of AZ were much more open in the 1800s. My mother's family came into the Tonto Basin and Mogollon Rim area from Utah with their cattle herd in the 1870s. I was always able to walk up the hill from the monument and find the grave. That is until today. We could find no sign of the headstone or grave. There are now several bullet holes and dents in the bronze plaques on the monument and a three foot diameter pine ten feet uphill from the monument has recently been cut down and left to rot. Counting the tree rings showed it to be over 300 years old. It appears nothing is sacred to today's vandals. Do you have any information as to if the Government has moved Pvt McLernon's remains and headstone to a National or Military Cemetery?