Friday, August 31, 2012

American Escadrille in France World War I


By James R McConnell

Insignia of American Escadrille
On the 12th of October, twenty small airplanes flying in a "V" formation, at such height that they resembled a flock of geese, crossed the River Rhine, where it skirts the plains of Alsace, and, turning north, headed for the famous Mauser works at Oberndorf. Fol­lowing in their wake was an equal number of larger machines, and above these darted and circled swift fighting planes. The first group of aircraft was flown by British pilots, the second by French, and three of the fighting planes by Americans in the French aviation. It was a cosmopolitan collection that effected that successful raid.

We American pilots, who are grouped into one escadrille, had been fighting above the battlefield of Verdun from the 10th of May until orders came in the middle of September for us to leave our airplanes for a unit that would replace us, and to report at Le Bourget, the great aviation center at Paris. The mechanics and the rest of the personnel left, as usual, in the escadrille's trucks with the material. For once the pilots did not take the aerial route and they boarded the Paris express at Bar-le-Duc with all the enthusiasm of school boys off for a vacation. They were to have a week in the Capital! Where they were to go after that they did not know, but presumed it would be to the Somme. As a matter of fact, the escadrille was to be sent to the town of Luxeuil, in the Vosges, to take part in the Mauser raid.

Besides Captain Thenault and Lieuten­ant de Laage de Mieux, our French officers, the following American pilots were in the escadrille at this time: Lieutenant Thaw, who had returned to the front, even though his wounded arm had not entirely healed; Adjutants Norman Prince, Hall, Lufbery, and Masson; and Sergeants Kiffin Rockwell, Hill, Pavelka, Johnson, and Rumsey. I had been sent to a hospital toward the end of August, because of a lame back resulting from a smash-up in landing, and couldn't follow the Escadrille until later.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

West Point United States Military Academy Before the Civil War


By General S. W. Ferguson (C. S. A).

Mortars at West Point
The reminiscences which follow are among the most valuable that have been written of a period in many ways the most romantic in our country's history, in spite of the gathering cloud of civil war. General Ferguson was a cadet at West Point during the years when Gen. Robert E. Lee was superintendent of the academy, and was the room­mate of Fitzhugh Lee, General Lee's nephew. Afterward he was William Henry Fitzhugh Lee's groomsman at his wedding to Miss Carter, and had opportunity to observe Robert E. Lee in his home. These reminiscences are doubly valuable, then, as they describe intimately the life and customs at West Point before the war, and at the same time bring us close to that remarkable man who led the Confederate army, the personal side of whom has so strangely slipped our historians.—EDITOR.

Of my class which en­tered the Military Academy at West Point in 1852, about one hun­dred and fifteen strong, some thirty odd were graduated; of these only a few are still alive. Should any of them see these lines, I trust that they will awaken in them pleasant memories of those times and of the writer.

I chanced to be the first of the class to report for duty, and this soon made me acquainted with one of the traditions of the Point. "Plebe, you were the first man in your class to report?"

"Yes."

"My God, plebe! I am sorry for you; you will be found deficient sure!"

Jose Santos Zelaya President of Nicaragua

Jose Santos Zelaya and his family
by Arthur Stringer.

The home of this reputed leader of a united Central America is in that dirty, dusty, disorderly, little sun-baked city of Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. It is a capital that lies hidden away on the far side of the mountains, for, like all seats of gov­ernment in the revolutionary belt, it must not stand too easy of access on the part of the possible invader. The name of this Managuan leader is Jose Santos Zelaya, and he is to-day known officially as the President of Nicaragua.

But this Zelaya, it must be conceded, has an anachronistic touch of the Napoleonic in his make-up. A character of intense energy, of illimitable ambition, of calm and judicial clear-headedness when advancing, of primordial and ruthless savagery when necessary, of undisputed courage and equally undisputed cruelty, sly and circuitous in his inner and uncompromised pertinacities, sophisticated in his use of auxiliaries, truly Castilian in his preparedness, Olympian in his absence of earthly scrupulosity, cynical through his knowledge of life, and sinister in his dogged exactions of vengeance, he stands to-day a menace and a promise to all Central America.

Both the man and the movement he represents can be divided into two distinct phases, one the romantic, and the other the malignant. Like all martial reorganizers, he puzzles us with his admixture of Hyde-­and-Jekyll incongruities. To his enemies — and he has many — he is an opportunist, a tyrant and an autocrat; a demagogue, thief, sensualist, fratricide, wading through shame and blood to a short-lived political notoriety. To his supporters he is a pene­trating and dispassionate-minded statesman, a courageous and determined liberator, a builder and organizer of inspired adroitness, lending his gifts to the bitter but determined struggle for some ultimate peace in Central America.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tanks, Caterpillar Tractor in World War I


By Reginald T. Townsend

A British tank
From the chrysalis of a peaceful agricultural "caterpillar" farm­ing tractor there has suddenly burst forth a most formidable offensive weapon of warfare, a death-dealing juggernaut that climbs over trenches, crawls in and out of shell craters, and knocks down anything which it may perchance encounter.

American, or to be exact Yankee—for the inventor is a straight New Englander—inventive genius in inventing the cater­pillar tractor in connection with British adaptability in improving on this model and encasing the tractors in bullet-proof armor and mounting guns upon them (and the distinction for this idea has also been claimed by an American although official recognition has been given to Colonel Win­ston Churchill for the device) has given to the Entente Powers a new weapon of offen­sive warfare.

And the credit for inventing these ma­chines belongs to Benjamin Holt—the Cyrus McCormick of the Pacific Coast, as he is called—who has done more than any other one man to promote scientific farm­ing throughout the coastal states of the West by his inventions of modern scientific farming machinery.

Lewis Machine Gun in World War I


By Reginald T. Townsend

Mounted on a British Airplane
And the Allies are indebted to American inventive genius for yet another deadly weapon. "The Hose of Death" and "The Belgian Rattlesnake" are the descriptive titles bestowed by the men in the trenches upon the Lewis machine gun, the inven­tion of Colonel Isaac Newton Lewis, a re­tired United States Army officer.

"The weapon that is the envy of all Europe" is the way Lord Cecil describes the Lewis machine gun.

"Easily the best machine gun I have ever seen," adds General Leonard Wood, and Lieutenant William Robinson of His Britannic Majesty's air corps, demon­strated his opinion in a more striking manner last September by bringing a giant Zeppelin crashing down over London with well-directed fire from the gun.

But it is in the trenches and on the bat­tlefields of Europe by night and by day that the Lewis machine gun is undergoing the ordeal by fire, and emerging successful, to add new laurels to the genius of American inventors, although the Ordnance Department of the United States Army has steadily refused to adopt the Lewis gun even in the face of expert testimony and despite the fact that each week a thousand of these guns are supplied to the Allies.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Church Call at West Point United States Military Academy


By William  Roe.

In the olden time there was nothing in the bugle call to worship for a cadet at the Mil­itary Academy that was in the slightest degree devout or rev­erent. To the classes of the middle of the nineteenth century those stirring strains meant no more than, candidly, another, and unusually irksome, military duty. In those days Sunday mornings brought the extremely exacting weekly inspection. From reveille to the first drum it was for all of us, especially for the heedless and unmilitary, a time of hard work, of the week's hardest work—cleaning guns, polishing accouterments, setting ourselves and our quarters in camp or barracks in such order as we could, to avert "demerits" and con­sequent extra tours of punishment guard duty.

Too often we were unsuccessful, the keen eye of tactical officer or command­ant discerning something lacking, to be followed by a merciless "Report Mr. —" for this, that, or the other fault or failure. No wonder that, inspection over, we found attendance at chapel burdensome. But the time had come. Old Bentz, the bugler, appeared upon "Professors' Row," at first in the far distance, then near and nearer, trilling out the notes of " Church Call."

Unless—as happened, happily, some­times, to a convalescent just out of hos­pital—excused from "all military duty," we fell into ranks again, answered "Here!" to the first sergeant's glib rattle of names, and, in full dress with side arms, marched to services. It was thus for the majority of the corps of cadets. For a few others the matter of attend­ance upon public worship was arranged differently, The Federal Government, painfully paternal in most matters, pru­dently declined to coerce the conscience of even a "plebe." A cadet might avoid attending chapel, but only that "on honor " he pleaded scruples. In those days—chiefly for the benefit of the en­listed men—Methodists and Roman Catholics had a little church of their own down under the hill in Camp Town. It speaks well for men of such diversity of opinion that these two dwelt together under the same roof in utmost harmony, though the Methodists, for afternoon service, carefully covered and boarded over such "papistical” things as altar and candle, cross or crucifix, and a few not very artistic pictures.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

American Emigrants from the Isle of Capri


By Bertha Poole

In a Capri town
The cathedral bell tolled eleven. Market was over in the Italian village square, and the women, grumbling over their scanty sales, packed away their vegetables, waiting a more propitious morrow. From under the medieval arch that led to the quay a long file of heavily laden figures, their bare feet firm on the smooth stones, slowly wound their way. It was an ill-assorted line. The young and strong moved swiftly with rhythmic step, great barrels of wine balanced with ease on bright-kerchiefed heads; others, older, more sedate, walked with slower, longer stride, their muscles trained by long years to the heavy weight; last of all, staff in hand, came the aged, tottering, staggering under crushing hempen sacks of charcoal, their bent figures hardly dis­tinguishable from those of the stooping, panting children moving by their side. Women all, these beasts of burden.

"Where are the men of the village?" I asked, as the hand-organ ceased its creaking two step and the musician, cap in hand, stood by my table at the corner cafe.

"I am they, Signora," he replied, pocketing my coin and replacing his tattered cap on his sable, silvered hair. "The men are in America. The land of the illustrious lady perhaps? Yes? That one can see with closed eyes. Ah, Signora, I should like to go to America. Those who go have it good. Only for the women left behind is it hard. Work and trouble, work and trouble, that's the song here."

"But surely," I questioned, "women cannot do their own work as well as that of men?"

President Grover Cleveland

By George B. McClellan

Grover Cleveland and his family
It is difficult to speak at the grave of a friend. It may be that the last word about Grover Cleveland can­not be spoken until all are dead who fought with him or against him. Yet so has the bitterness of the political strug­gles of which he was the center been dissolved that friend and foe alike, those who revered and loved him for what he was, and those who, whether agreeing with him or not, respected and honored him for what he did and tried to do, are practically in accord in their estimate of the man.

No President ever assumed office with greater partisan acclaim none ever left it so abused by his own party. None in so short a time regained the respect and admiration of his former as­sociates. Jefferson, Madison, and Jackson retired from office certain of the continuance of their policies in the hands of successors they had named. John Quincy Adams left the Presidency embroiled with most who knew him, and only regained the confidence of his party associates after years in the House of Representatives.

When Cleveland left the Presidency, it is doubtful if he could have had a nomination for constable from the Dem­ocratic leaders in any part of the coun­try. His last veto that of an insignifi­cant pension bill was overridden by an almost unanimous vote. Yet in little more than a decade a miracle was wrought, and the man who had been whipped and pilloried by his own died the generally recognized first citizen of our country. This doer of miracles was neither apostle, saint, nor prophet. The miracle was worked not so much by what he did as by what he was. That those who had abused him most, news­papers and men, were eager to honor his memory when he died, was not be­cause they had seen the error of their ways, but because they discovered, some­what late, it is true, that they had mis­understood their public, while he had always believed in that public and the American people had put faith in him. There was an intimate relation between them, a union of hearts and of hopes and of purposes that began when they first learned to know him, and that lasted unbroken to the end. And this was only possible because of the manner of man he was.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Finding the Tyrannosaurus Hell Creek Wyoming W. T. Hornaday

Tyrannosaurus.  Note the bird-like feet.

By Barnum Brown

Man written records are the chronicles of events that are confined to the later chapters of the earth's history. In comparison they are no more than a page of the unwrit­ten history found in the rocks. This earth book is accurate in its descriptions. In many places, however, leaves are torn out and sometimes translators disagree, but it is always due to faulty interpreta­tion. One of the most interesting of the geologic stories is that of animal life.

Conditions have been favorable for the preservation of animal remains, dur­ing the different geological periods, in only a few restricted areas where they were covered by wind-drifted matter, river and lake mud, ocean ooze or volcanic ashes. Such places are found most abundant in the Western United States east of the Rocky Mountains, where the accumulated sediments are weathered into sculptured "bad lands." Some of these bad-lands have been thor­oughly explored and all surface fossils col­lected, for the present at least, until more are uncovered by the action of rain and wind.

Many of the most interesting of the prehistoric animals are known only from fragments, consequently news of an un­explored region is received by scientists with delight; new fields invariably turn out a few or many forms new to science, and the pleasure of discovering an un­known fossil animal is greater than vouchsafed to a successful gold pros­pector, for each new discovery means one more brick added to the structural knowledge of life.

An American Ambulancier at Verdun World War I


By W. Kerr Rainsford

American Ambulance Service in France
[The following is taken from the diary of Mr. W. Kerr Rainsford, a Harvard graduate, one of the many young Americans who have served France as," Ambulanciers" on the western front. Mr. Rainsford spent seven months in this work, his duties taking him to the battlegrounds in Alsace, in Lorraine, and finally, in June, to Verdun. These extracts from his diary take up the narrative from the time he was ordered to this great battlefield.—THE EDITORS.]

SUNDAY, June 18th. Some of us went in last night to Verdun and on to Bras, learning the roads. As we left Souhesme the whole west was a sheet of crimson clear to the zenith and in the heart of it a flash­ing cloud of shrapnel about a Taube. The guns in front were firing slowly; through the blind dust of the highway the varying procession roared by, camions, artillery, staff-cars, and ambulances, crowding and dodging in endless array. We passed through two little villages, at the entrance of which gendarmes forced the traffic into single columns—through the dust and fall­ing darkness it was hard to see if they had suffered any damage—then across the narrow-gauge tracks the half-demolished suburb of Glorieux. It is an insignificant collection of modern brick villas and gar­dens suddenly raised to the dignity of tragedy. We had left the main artery and were traveling now alone and, of course, without lights. The road, swing­ing in a wide curve, crossed the main tracks on a viaduct with a sudden pano­rama of the valley. Opposite and very close rose the dark ridge of St. Michel along whose crest the white flashes of the cannon, stabbing the darkness, rippled back and forth like running scales on some Titan keyboard. One's blood sang with the sheer beauty and thrill of it. The next moment we had plunged amid a blackness of trees, through a gate in a moated wall, and into Verdun. In the grayness of night it stretched about us, empty of any life, wrecked, demolished beyond belief, its lanes of tumbled ruins echoing and reechoing with the crashing thunder of the guns. It seemed only a moment and then, as we passed through the farther gate, I looked back from the bridge—a tranquil river shaded by trees, a medieval gateway dark against the sky, and the moon just creeping over the ridge. We quickened our pace for Dead Man's Corner, swinging in beside a galloping battery in a hurricane of dust, and drew up in the long street of the Faubourg Pave. The noise was deaf­ening, but of the dozen or so men standing about the poste de secours no one seemed to heed it. In a few moments the first contingent of us started on. I could tell very little of Belleville save a general atmosphere of wreckage and a smell of half-buried decay—our fears of living here were certainly unnecessary. The fire of the guns had slackened; the river battery under whose muzzles we passed was silent; and on the hill by the quarries we could give our attention to noting the position of the larger shell-craters in the road. On the upper plateau, save for the moving soup-kitchens distributing to their throngs of soldiers, the road was unex­pectedly clear—of how long it was I could form no idea. Then came a little wood of broken trees and Bras. Two great shell holes like Scylla and Charybdis guarded the entrance, and beyond opened a vista of huddled ruins, formless heaps of debris, and tip-tilted roof-beams; the ground was every­where plowed and cratered; the reek of carrion was in the air; and over it all, be­tween the tangled rafters and reflected in the rain-filled shell-holes, the pure-white floating star bombs shone and flickered and died. By an angle of masonry against a sandbag barricade sat some hastily ban­daged wounded, awaiting their ambulance, and across the way lay two dead horses in a heap.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

At a Medicine Dance with the Navajos Isleta


By Sidney H. Riesenberg

In the narrow cool shadow, before his little round-cornered adobe house, my friend Pablo sat smiling.  Just outside of the shadow, in the dust of the sun baked road, Pablo’s youngest son was involved with an endless game with the household's youngest puppy. The puppy, languid but not wholly incurious, suffered the attentions of the little brown cupid, but concerned himself more immediately with the pursuit of such flies as ventured within his reach; the flies, completing the circle, gave their efforts to the entertainment of Pablo and me. Altogether, the child and the puppy had the best of it.

Pablo's face did not change when two Navajo bucks and a squaw rounded the corner of the old Isleta church and rode up to us. He reached out a firm brown hand and swept the dog and the baby out of the way of the ponies and through the door at a single movement. The child made no outcry. The Navajos said "How," and without dismounting, talked for a while in Spanish, frequently looking in my direction. After some minutes of rapid conversation, Pablo bethought him­self of the hospitalities, and turned to me.

Girls' Rowing Clubs of San Diego Bay ZLAC Club


By Waldon Fawcett

Sailor maids of the Pacific Coast
Globe Trotters are wont to agree that no­where else in the world is aquatic sport pre­sented in such alluring form as on San Diego Bay, he beautiful sheet of water which forms our most southerly port on the Pacific Coast. Not only is this landlocked sheet of water, with an area of twenty-two square miles, exceptionally attractive from every standpoint, but the fact that this section of Southern California enjoys the most equable, climate on earth makes it possible to indulge in water pastimes every month in the year in this region of per­petual spring.

Aside from its fame as the ideal marine playground San Diego Bay has gained world-wide distinction through several unique features of life on the waves as here presented, the most notable of which is the extent to which young women par­ticipate in these health-giving exercises and particularly in rowing. Whether it is the climate or the surpassing beauties of the Bay or some other magnet which attracts them might he difficult to deter­mine, but certain it is that nowhere else on the globe is there presented the inspir­ing spectacle of several hundred pretty young oarswomen rowing regularly twice or thrice a week the year round with a stroke that would put to shame many a masculine crew.

Women Under Oriental Civilization Algeria India


By Sarah Parker

Dancing girl of Algeria
Woman’s position in and out-side of Harems is an interesting subject for Christians to investi­gate and discuss. Different denomin­ations of our creed, both in the United States and Europe, annually spend thousands of dollars and thousands of pounds in sending missionaries to for­eign lands for the purpose of converting the so-called "heathen." The desirability of these efforts of prose­lytism is queried by the writer; while the following incident will serve to point out the amount of success at­tending at least one of these undertak­ings.

Last June the writer was returning to London from Algeria, and entered into conversation with a missionary and his wife who had spent eight years in the same country. On being asked how many converts they had made, the wife ingenuously replied that there was just one Arab of whom there was some hope of gathering into the fold. The husband was more cautious, and instead of supplying information launched off into a long harangue.

In India and Egypt under English rule the natives are more sensitive to conversion; but it is a conversion of convenience and not one bearing the true stamp. Christianity for the stomach's sake and Buddhism for the soul's sake is the principle on which the converted in Hindoostan act. In Egypt also conversion is convenient on the same principle. In California the follower of Confucius, if you gain his confidence, will tell you that he goes to Melican man's church because he gets "heap washing, heap washing." These philosophers of the labor class know well how to adjust the balance between exoteric and es­oteric principles.

Chinese Gambling Lotteries Fan Tan Game


By Henry Rawson Cutter

Chinese Gambling Den
Numerous definitions of man have been sup­plied by eminent writ­ers, distinguishing him by habits peculiar to himself from all other species of the animal kingdom. One author has defined him as "a cooking animal," another as "a spit­ting animal," and a third as "a laugh­ing animal.” We propose to add to the list of definitions by calling him "a gambling animal."

The propensity to gamble has pre­vailed in all known ages of the world and in all known races of mankind, and it is a curious fact that it owes its origin, at least in Europe and Asia, to religious ceremonies, derived from a faith in divine indications which left the decision of important matters to chance, fortuitous results being re­garded in ancient times as the expres­sion of the will of the deity.

In the archaic records of Asiatic monarchies; in the biblical annals of the Hebrew theocracy; in the Homeric accounts of events that occurred at the siege of Troy; and in the history of ancient Rome we find the same prevailing practice of invoking an appeal to the deity by casting lots and by other such moves of learning his will. By lot nine and a half tribes of Israel obtained their respective posses­sions in the land of Canaan; by lot Nebuchadnezzar decided whether he should first attack Rabbath, the city of the Ammonites, or Jerusalem; and by lot Christ's garments were divided among the Roman soldiers. The chance number of a flight of birds decided the question as to who was to be the founder of Rome, and the ancient augurs ob­tained their divinations from instruc­tions derived from the dictates of chance. The mightiest monarchs of antiquity had recourse to this method of decision for the guidance of their action, and the vicissitudes of a na­tion's existence not infrequently de­pended upon the controlling influence exercised by it over the movements of great military leaders.

Contortionist Boyston Marinelli Kate Weber

Contortionist position of Boyston

It may easily be imagined that the profession of a con­tortionist requires an early start and a long apprenticeship. Yet there are certain contortionists in whom the gift has suddenly revealed itself in later life. Boyston, of whose extraordi­nary exploits the pictures accompanying this article give such a striking and startling idea, started life as a tailor.

These pictures give such a vivid impression of Boyston's feats that further description of them is unnecessary. He may be called one of the kings of his profession. But without attaining quite such marvelous results, there are many methods by which a contortionist can produce a sensation. One startling exploit which sent a thrill through the whole audience happened a few weeks ago at a theatre in Berlin. A gentleman in a dinner jacket and a tall hat ap­peared upon the stage. He was walking backwards, but never­theless his head was facing the audience and looking at them. When he had almost reached the footlights the gentleman, without moving his head, slowly turned his back into its natural position. Then he saluted the spectators and retired.  It is impossible to imagine what a strange impression this, phe­nomenon produced.

The acrobats of the music-halls have no end in view except to cause amusement. But suppose one should meet them in ordinary life! Mr. Berkeley, the pro­prietor of a London hotel, was in his office about six o'clock one evening when he heard a knock at his door, while a voice, which seemed to express pain, cried "Open!" Mr. Berkeley obeyed, but a cry of horror escaped him. and he almost fell backwards. He saw before him, rolling on the ground, topsy-turvy, a kind of human ball, which was walking upon its hands, with the head twisted round, eyes protruding, and neck contorted.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Gall Sioux Indian Chief

by Charles Eastman.

Gall
Chief Gall was one of the most ag­gressive leaders of the Sioux nation in their last stand for freedom. The westward pressure of civilization during the past three centuries has been tremendous. When our hemisphere was "discovered", it had been inhabited by the natives for untold ages, but it was held undiscovered because the original owners did not chart or advertise it. Yet some of them at least had developed ideals of life which included real liberty and equality to all men, and they did not recognize individual ownership in land or other prop­erty beyond actual necessity. It was a soul development leading to essential manhood. Under this system they brought forth some striking characters.

Gall was considered by both Indians and whites to be a most impressive type of physical manhood. From his picture you can judge of this for yourself.

Let us follow his trail. He was no ten­derfoot. He never asked a soft place for himself. He always played the game ac­cording to the rules and to a finish. To be sure, like every other man, he made some mistakes, but he was an Indian and never acted the coward.

The earliest stories told of his life and doings indicate the spirit of the man in that of the boy.

When he was only about three years old, the Blackfoot band of Sioux were on their usual roving hunt, following the buffalo while living their natural happy life upon the wonderful wide prairies of the Dakotas.

Spotted Tail Brule Sioux Chief

 by Charles Eastman.

Spotted Tail
AMONG the Sioux chiefs of the "tran­sition period" only one was shrewd enough to read coming events in their true light. It is said of Spotted Tail that he was rather a slow-moving boy, preferring in their various games and mimic battles to play the role of councilor, to plan and assign to the others their parts in the fray. This he did so cleverly that he soon became a leader among his youthful con­temporaries; and withal he was apt at mimicry and impersonation, so that the other boys were accustomed to say of him, "He has his grandfather's wit and the wisdom of his grandmother!"

Spotted Tail was an orphan, reared by his grandparents, and at an early age com­pelled to shift for himself. Thus he was somewhat at a disadvantage among the other boys; yet even this fact may have helped to develop in him courage and in­genuity. One little incident of his boy life, occurring at about his tenth year, is char­acteristic of the man. In the midst of a game, two boys became involved in a dis­pute which promised to be a serious one, as both drew knives. The young Spotted Tail instantly began to cry, "The Sho­shones are upon us! To arms! to arms!" and the other boys joined in the war whoop. This distracted the attention of the com­batants and ended the affair.

Upon the whole, his boyhood is not so well remembered as is that of most of his leading contemporaries, probably because he had no parents to bring him frequently before the people, as was the custom with the well-born, whose every step in their progress toward manhood was publicly announced at a feast given in their honor. It is known, however, that he began at an early age to carve out a position for himself. It is personal qualities alone that tell among our people, and the youthful Spotted Tail gained at every turn. At the age of seven­teen, he had become a sure shot and a clever hunter; but, above all, he had already shown that he possessed a superior mind. He had come into contact with white people at the various trading posts, and according to his own story had made a careful study of the white man's habits and modes of thought, especially of his peculiar trait of economy and intense desire to accumulate property. He was accustomed to watch closely and listen attentively whenever any of this strange race had deal­ings with his people. When a council was held, and the other young men stood at a distance with their robes over their faces so as to avoid recognition, Spotted Tail always put himself in a position to hear all that was said on either side, and weighed all the arguments in his mind.

Cheyenne Indian Chief Little Wolf

by Charles Eastman.

Little Wolf, Cheyenne Chief
If any people ever fought for liberty and justice, it was the Cheyennes. If any ever demonstrated their phys­ical and moral courage beyond cavil, it was this race of purely American heroes, among whom Little Wolf was a leader.

I knew the chief personally very well. As a young doctor, I was sent to the Pine Ridge agency in 1890, as government physician to the Sioux and the Northern Cheyennes. While I heard from his own lips of that gallant dash of his people from their southern exile to their northern home, I prefer that Americans should read of it in Doctor George Bird Grinnell's book, "The Fighting Cheyennes." No account could be clearer or simpler; and then too, the author cannot be charged with a bias in favor of his own race. At the time that I knew him, Little Wolf was a handsome man, with the native dignity and gentleness, musical voice, and pleasant address of so many brave leaders of his people. One day when he was dining with us at our home on the reservation, I asked him, as I had a habit of doing, for some reminiscences of his early life. He was rather reluctant to speak, but a friend who was present con­tributed the following:

"Perhaps I can tell you why it is that he has been a lucky man all his life. When quite a small boy, the tribe was one winter in want of food, and his good mother had saved a small piece of buffalo meat, which she solemnly brought forth and placed before him with the remark: 'My son must be patient, for when he grows up he will know even harder times than this.'

Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce


by Charles Eastman.

Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce
THE Nez Perce tribe of Indians, like other tribes too large to be united under one chief, was composed of several bands, each distinct in sovereignty. It was a loose confederacy. Joseph and his people occupied the Imnaha or Grande Ronde valley in Oregon, which was con­sidered perhaps the finest land in that part of the country.

When the last treaty was entered into by some of the bands of the Nez Perce, Joseph's band was at Lapwai, Idaho, and had nothing to do with the agreement. The elder chief in dying had counseled his son, then not more than twenty-two or twenty-three years of age, never to part with their home, assuring him that he had signed no papers. These peaceful non-treaty Indians did not even know what land had been ceded until the agent read them the government order to leave. Of course they refused. You and I would have done the same.

When the agent failed to move them, he and the would-be settlers called upon the army to force them to be good, namely, without a murmur to leave their pleasant inheritance in the hands of a crowd of greedy grafters. General 0. 0. Howard, the Christian soldier, was sent to do the work.

He had a long council with Joseph and his leading men, telling them they must obey the order or be driven out by force. We may be sure that he presented this hard alternative reluctantly. Joseph was a mere youth without experience in war or public affairs. He had been well brought up in obedience to parental wisdom and with his brother Ollicut had attended Missionary Spaulding's school where they had listened to the story of Christ and his religion of brotherhood. He now replied in his simple way that neither he nor his father had ever made any treaty dis­posing of their country, that no other band of the Nez Perces was authorized to speak for them, and it would seem a mighty injustice and unkindness to dispossess a friendly band.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

General Custer's Last Fight, Battle of the Little Big Horn



General Custer's last battle, or the Battle of the Little Big Horn, took place June 25th, 1876, on the bluffs and ridges immediately north of the Little Big Horn River, about three miles west of where the agency of the Crow Reservation is now located, and about ten miles west of Fort Custer. Neither of these stations existed at that time, and the country thereabouts was almost wholly unknown to the white man.

For several months restless bands of Sioux Indians had been committing depre­dations along the frontier, killing many of the settlers, and stealing their cattle and horses. To put a stop to these outrages, early in the spring of 1876, Generals Terry, Crook and Gibbon were instructed to prepare their several commands for a lengthy campaign against these hostiles, with orders to break up their camps and drive them back into the reservations, if possible. The command of the first mentioned force was assigned to General Custer, but by subsequent orders it was transferred to General Terry, and General Custer assumed command of his own regiment.

Leaving the headquarters of their several departments, they were to search the country for marauders, and ultimately join their forces on the Yellowstone, near the mouth of the Tongue River.

On May 17th the troops under General Terry, General Custer commanding the 7th Cavalry, bade good-bye to their families and friends at Fort Lincoln, and pushed rapidly forward towards the Yellowstone, which they reached about the first of June. Here, shortly after, they were joined by the forces of General Gibbon. A scouting party, under Major M. A. Reno, was then sent out to look for signs of Indians, who were believed to be camping in the vicinity of the Powder or Little Big Horn rivers.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Grenville M Dodge How We Built the Union Pacific Railway

by General Grenville M. Dodge.

Meeting of locomotives at Promontory, Utah
In 1836 the first public meeting to consider the project of a Pacific railway was called by John Plumbe, a civil engineer of Dubuque, Iowa. Interest in a Pacific railway increased from this time. The explorations of Fremont in 1842 and 1846 brought the attention of Congress, and A. C. Whitney was zealous and efficient in the cause from 1840 to 1850. The first practical measure was Senator Salmon P. Chase's bill, making an appropriation for the explorations of different routes for a Pacific railway in 1853. Numerous bills were introduced in Con­gress between 1852 and 1860, granting subsidies and lands, and some of them appropriating as large a sum as $96,000,000 for the construction of the road. One of these bills passed one of the houses of Congress. The results of the explorations ordered by Congress were printed in eleven large volumes, covering the country between the parallels of latitude thirty-second on the south and forty-ninth on the north, and demonstrating the feasibility of building a Pacific railway, but at a cost on any one of the lines much larger than the Union Pacific and Cen­tral Pacific were built for. It is a singular fact that in all these explorations the most feasible line in an engineering and com­mercial point of view, the line with the least obstacles to over­come, of lowest grades and least curvature was never explored and reported on. Private enterprise explored and developed that line along the forty-second parallel of latitude.

This route was made by the buffalo, next used by the Indians, then by the fur traders, next by the Mormons, and then by the overland immigration to California and Oregon. It was known as the Great Platte Valley Route. On this trail, or close to it, was built the Union and Central Pacific Railroads to California, and the Oregon Short Line branch of the Union Pacific to Oregon.

Texas Jack John B. Omohundro

Texas Jack, Army Scout
John B. Omohundro, more familiarly known by the title of "Texas Jack," was a native of West Virginia, but the exact date of his birth I have never been able to learn.

At the early age of seven years, he ran away from home and shipped as a "general utility" boy on a sailing vessel bound for Australia. This voyage proved so de­lightful to the youthful adventurer that he remained at sea until he had developed into a seaman before the mast, in which service he visited nearly all the countries of the world, but in 1858 was wrecked off the coast of Texas, and after a hard struggle for life with the angry billows, was cast upon the shore near Corpus Christi.

After this rather "salty" experience, Jack resolved to remain a landsman until some desirable position should offer him for an easier life. He was not long idle, how­ever, for occupation was readily found among the large cattle herders of Texas, which service soon introduced him to the wild life found only on the plains, and in which there was a congeniality and fascination peculiarly suited to his disposition.

Jack was employed on a ranch in the Texas pan-han­dle, near the border line of the Indian Territory, where Indian cattle thieves were accustomed to make periodical depredations. On this ranch were also many head of horses, raised chiefly for herding purposes, and these animals required constant watchfulness from the herders to prevent them falling into the hands of covetous In­dians. In fact, many cow-boys were murdered by these pests of the ranch, so that the business of herder had become extremely hazardous in the pan-handle section.

Captain Jack John W. Crawford the Poet Scout

Captain Jack Crawford
by James William Buell.

Captain John W. Crawford, known to fame as Capt. Jack, the Poet Scout of the Black Hills, is a native of County Donegal, Ireland, where he was born in the year 1848, of prominent parents, his mother being a lineal descendant of Sir William Wallace. In 1852 the elder Crawford left Ireland for America, but shortly after his arrival in this country he fell into evil ways, and gave such license to a previously acquired appetite for strong drink that thenceforward he neglected all his duties as husband and father.

In 1856, however, Mrs. Crawford came over to Amer­ica and joined her husband at Minersville, Pennsylvania, where he was prosecuting his trade as tailor with indiffer­ent success. But a year of hard labor and economy enabled the mother to save sufficient from her scanty earnings to send for her children, four in num­ber.

The following incident, which I have taken the liberty to copy from a prefatory life sketch of Capt. Jack, pub­lished in his recent book of poems, entitled, “The Poet Scout," will illustrate the disadvantages of his early youth, the incentive of his future actions, and the domes-tie sufferings of his beloved mother:

It was at the close of a hard day's march during Custer's campaign on the Yellowstone, and the command had toiled through long miles of rough country, in the midst of a rain storm such as is known only in the Rocky Mountains The officers were seated around the camp­fire trying to extract some warmth from the smoldering buffalo chips, when one of them produced from his sad­dlebags a canteen of whisky, and taking a long draught, with the remark, this is the soldier's best friend,' passed it to Captain Jack Crawford.

Sitting Bull Lakotah's Account of the Custer Massacre

by James William Buell.

Sitting Bull
It has been more than seven years since the tragic but heroic death of Gen. Custer and his brave band on the Little Big Horn River. The remembrance of that dire­ful day brings a tear to almost every eye, and such heart­aches to the friends of the two hundred and forty-six heroes who lay down in death together upon the wild hill­sides of a remote country. The story of how they died, fighting like the Lacedaemonians, has been told a thousand times, but never by a survivor, for of all those who stood like a rampart about their commander, not one lived through the savage hail-storm of bullets and arrows; they left their bleeding corpses, piled one upon another, with faces always toward the foe, and thus made their sacrifice complete, hallowing a spot fit for the yew tree's shade. History after history has been compiled, and commissioners have visited the battle ground to secure reliable facts concerning the fight. A court of investiga­tion was held to examine charges preferred against Major Reno, for whose coming and assistance Gen. Custer looked so anxiously on the fatal day. But with all these efforts many important facts were necessarily omitted from all histories and reports, because they could not be gathered from inferences.

Applications have been time and again made to the In­dians who participated in the fight, for particulars of the battle, but by Sitting Bull's advice they all refused to talk on the subject, believing that any admissions regard­ing the fight would incriminate themselves and lead to their condign punishment. I have striven hard to procure re­liable incidents of the massacre, seeking all sources, and beyond what is recorded in previous editions of this work failed to receive anything of additional interest until the occasion which I am now about to report.

After some correspondence with Buffalo Bill, several government interpreters, and commanders at various posts in the West, I decided to visit Ft. Yates—Standing Rock Agency—where Sitting Bull and his tribe are stationed, and make a last endeavor to learn how Custer died. This visit was made in August (1883) and so well did my en­terprise succeed that I have deemed the information then gathered of sufficient importance to add it as an appendix to “Heroes of the Plains."

Captain Jack Modoc Indian Wars of 1872 - 1873


By Cyrus Townsend Brady.

Captain Jack
The most costly war in which the United States ever engaged, considering the number of op­ponents, occurred in the winter of 1872-73 in the lava-beds of Oregon. Fifty Modoc Indians, under the leadership of one Kientpoos — com­monly known as Captain Jack, held that pedregal against overwhelming numbers of regular soldiers upon whom they inflicted defeat after defeat with little loss to themselves. They were not captured until treachery had played its maleficent part. To understand this tre­mendous drama a knowledge of the first act is essential.

In September, 1852, an emigrant train, comprising six­ty-five men, women and children, was making its way northward into the lake region of southern Oregon.

The California-Oregon trail led between Lower Kla­math and Tule Lakes. Huge bluffs several hundred feet high approached nearly the shore of Tule Lake, leaving a narrow road between the cliffs and the water. There the emigrant party mentioned was overwhelmed by Modoc Indians led by old Schonchin. The Modocs closed both ends of the trail and attacked from the bluffs. The settlers fought bravely, but to no avail. Those not killed were captured and tortured to death with every device of savage malignity. One man desperately wounded, and left for dead, escaped to tell the tale. Two girls of twelve and fourteen were spared. The massacre of Bloody Point long remained a ghastly memory on the frontier.

This affair was the culmination of a series of unpar­alleled atrocities. The magnitude of this latest massacre, however, begot stern determination for revenge. One Ben Wright, a man of influence and standing in Cali­fornia, led a body of volunteers in pursuit of the Modocs. The Indians eluded him, and he was unable to bring them to a stand in order to crush them. Failing that he resorted to a stratagem — which was treachery of the deepest dye. He sent messengers to the Modocs with propositions of peace. They agreed to his proposition, that Schonchin and his principal warriors should meet the settlers for a peace conference at a point on the shore of the lake across from Bloody Point, both sides being unarmed. There was to be an armistice, each party was to come and go freely, unharmed of the other. It is al­leged that Wright mixed strychnine with food which he prepared for a peace feast, hoping to poison the whole party. Two reasons are given for the failure of this en­terprise. One, the Modocs refused to eat; two, the strychnine proved to be innocuous.