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a D SI F D Z\ tLb HE OLD FROMTIIER How Crow Scout, Only Man of Custer's Column Who Escaped Death at Hands of Sioux, Carried Tidings of the Disaster to Waiting River Steamer, Far West \ V Drawing by THE most famous of all the fleet of steamers that plied the waters of the Upper Missouri river in the last cen tury was the Far West, which in 1876 carried supplied for the army in the campaign against the Sioux that ended with Cus ter 's tragic defeat on the Little Big Horn, and which carried the wounded survivors of Reno's command down the riv er to Bismarck in one of the fastest trips ever made on the Missouri. The Far West was piloted during the Custer campaign by Captain Grant Marsh, most noted of the Upper Missouri boatmen, who prior to 1876 had acquired an intimate knowledge of the Yellowstone river. The previous year he had piloted another boat, the Josephine, to a point 40 miles above where the city of Billings stands. Be cause of this General Sheridan selected him to command the supply boat attached to Cus ter's command, and requested him to choose a suitable steam er for the purpose. Captain Marsh decided that of the several boats of the Coul son Packet company at his dis posal, the Far West would be the most suitable. She was not so comfortable nor commodious a craft as the Josephine, but she possessed ample freight carrying capacity, together with light draught, and the fact that she could accomodate but few passengers was one of his chief reasons for selecting her. He knew that he was set ting out upon a summer of arduous work during which the boat would be obliged to re main in close touch with the troops in the field and he did not wish to be burdened with many passengers for whose safety and comfort he would have to be responsible. From previous experience he knew that more or less wounded men would probably have to be ac comodated from time to time, whose presence would incon venience any idle pleasure seek ers on board. The absence of a large cabin furthermore ren dered the Far West a very manageable boat in the high winds which often prevailed in northern Dakota and Montana during the summer months, for it had no "Texas" and its short upper works offered little re sistance to the wind. The Far West had been built for the Coulsons at Pittsburg in 1870. She was 190 feet long, 33 feet beam and her draught, when loaded to her full capacity of 400 tons, was four feet, six inches, while unloaded she drew 20 inches. Thirty passengers were all her cabin could ac comodate. Her motive power çonsisted of two fifteen-inch diameter engines of five-foot piston stroke, built by the Her bertson Engine Works of Brownsville, Pa., and she car ried three boilers. She was al so provided with two steam capstans, one on each side of the bow, being the first boat ever built with more than one, although afterward all Mis souri river steamers were sim ilarly equipped. Light, strong and speedy, she was eminently a vessel for hard and continu ous service. During her long tour of duty that summer the government paid $360 per day for her use. At Yankton, where the Far West had spent the winter, she began loading with government stores for Fort I '"ncoln and the troops in the field as soon as she could be brought to the levee after the ice went out, and with a full cargo she left Yankton about the middle of May. Officers who remained with the boat throughout the summer were as follows: Grant Marsh, captain and pilot ; Dave Campbell, pilot ; Ben Thomp son, mate ; George Foulk and} John Hardy, engineers ; and Walter Burleigh, clerk. The trip to Fort Lincoln was quick and uneventful, and she reach ed the post on May 27, to find that the expedition had started for the Yellowstone ten days before. rz /A / 4 // : * ßjcs // 3% §0 / /. * • 32 m n / n « m 4 ? 4 % ft m & % » / % r/A / a %. A 7/ SJv. a. % J J* "SP r~Tr r' I § WW» m y#* w V-» fr' £ «s • ♦ a » » • CI V T.: Copyrighted 1922 by the Cheely-Raban Syndicate CURLEY REACHES THE FAR WEST WITH THE STORY OF THE CUSTER FIGHT. At Fort Lincoln, Mrs. Custer and the wife of another officer lunched with Captain Marsh on the boat, and they asked that they might be allowed to ac company the Far West to the Yellowstone, Mrs. Custer stat ing that her husband had au thorized her to do so if Captain Marsh was willing. In spite of their repeated pleas, he refused to allow them to go, pointing out the dangers and discom forts, and it was well that he remained firm, for had he yielded, all the heart-breaking suspense and horror of the days soon to follow would have been experienced by them. Tidings of Disaster Captain Marsh was engaged in transfer work until June 21st, when a final conference was held between Generals Terry, Gibbon and Custer, and the Jatter set out with his com mand on the expedition that ended so tragically . Terry and Gibbon left to rejoin their com mands, and the little crew of the Far West were left with two army officers, Captain Stephen Baker and Lieutenant P. S. Kirtland, at the con fluence of the Big Horn and the Little Big Horn, for Captain Marsh had managed to push his boat that far up the Big Horn river, and had orders to await there with the supplies. A day or two went by and on a Sunday afternoon, June 27, IN POLITICS Mrs. Despard, sister of Field Mar shal Lord French, has announced her candidacy for parliament. Captain Marsh, the two army officers and the engineer and pilot took fishing poles and strolled to a point opposite the mouth of the Little Big Horn on the island to which the Far West was tied. There was no fear in the hearts of these men that Cus iter would have a serious time jwith the Sioux. Smoke col umns, noticed along the south ern horizon on two previous days, had disappeared and this was taken as evidence that the Indians had been encountered and driven off. Nevertheless, as they sat there, Foulk noticed how close they were to the dense willows on the main shore and remark ed to the others that it would be very easy for Indians to creep up and fire on them. They were still idly discussing the suggestion when, without the least warning, the green thick ets at which they were looking parted, and a mounted Indian warrior, of magnificent physi que and stark naked save for a breech-clout, burst through and jerked up his sweating pony at the Wink of the wa ter. The fishwnen leaped to their feet with startled excla mations, but before they could run back the Indian held aloft his carbine in sign of peace. They then paused and, upon scrutinizing him more closely, recognized from his erect scalp lock that he was a Crow and then, to their surprise, that he was Curley, one of the scouts who had gone with Custer. They had expected to hear from Terry and Gibbon, but not from Custer. Motioning to him to come to the boat they hurried there themselves while he forded the stream and join ed them . As soon as he was on board he gave way to the most vio lent demonstration of grief. Throwing himself down« upon a medicine-chest on deck he be gan rocking to and fro, groan ing and crying. For a time it was impossible to calm him. When at length he had to some extent regained his self-control, the question arose as to how to communicate with him, for no one on board could understand the Crow language, while he spoke no English, so that all efforts at conversation failed. Finally »Captain Baker produc ed a piece of paper and a pencil and showed the Indian how to use them. Curly grasped the pencil firmly in his fist and dropping flat on his stomach on the deck, began drawing a rude diagram, while about him the army and steamboat officers gathered closely, waiting in silent sus pense for his disclosures, for everyone guessed from his ac tions that he brought impor tant news. The Crow drew first a circle and then, outside of it, another. Then between the in ner and outer circles he began making numerous dots, re peating as he did so in despair ing accents : "Sioux! Sioux!" When he had quite filled the intervening space with dots, he glanced up at the intent faces around him and then slowly commenced filling the interior circle with similar marks, while his voice rose to a yet more dis mal tone as he reiterated : "Absaroka! Absaroka!" "Heavens !" exclaimed Cap tain Marsh, "I know what that means. It means soldiers. That Englishman, Courtney, who runs the woodyard at the head of Drowned Man's Rapids, told me so. One time when I was there some Crow Indians start ed down river from the wood yard and Courtney told me they were going to see the Absaroka at Camp Cooks." He was interrupted by Curly, who sprang to his feet, faced the listeners and flung his arms wide. Then, swinging them back he struck his breat re peatedly with his fingers, ex claiming at each blow, in imita tion of rifle shots: "Poof! Poof! Poof! Absar oka!" The white men stood in tense silence, searching each other's faces. For a moment no one dared confess that he under stood . Captain Baker was the first to speak : "We're whipped!" h% said, hoarsely. "That's what's the matter." And he turned away. Curley continued his panto mime by grasping his scalplock with one hand while with the other he described a circle around it, then made as if to jerk it off and hang it at his belt, meantime executing a Sioux war dance. But his ab sorbed observers already real Jized that they were receiving the first news of a great battle, in which many soldiers had been surrounded, slain and scalped by the Sioux. Having learned so much as a beginning, they were able to bring the sign language into use for acquiring further particulars. It was a very slow process but, by it, in the course of hours, they grad ually gathered details from Curley, each one of which added to the appalling nature ;of the news. Curley Tells of His Escape According to Curley, General Custer was killed and every man who had gone into action with him, excepting the Crow himself He did not tell of the dividing of the regiment before the battle and evidently knew nothing of Reno's survival. So far as they could understand, he was trying to tell them that the whole Seventh cavalry had been annihilated. He declared he had been in the thick of the fight, while the soldiers, sur rounded by thousands of yell ing foes, were falling in scores, the survivors struggling for ward blindly in vain search for some spot among the waste of broken ravines, where .they might make a successful de fense. Some of them had used their dead horses for barricades and the remnant of one troop, E, under Lieutenant A. E. Smith, had tried to cut it way out but was utterly destroyed. At last, Curley said, he had seen that the battle must inev itably end in the annihilation of his white friends. He picked up two blankets and, going to Custer, who was still unhurt and fighting in the center of his little band, implored him to throw one of the blankets over his head and, thus concealed, attempt under Curley's guid ance to escape in the confusion through the madly circling masses of the Sioux. The sol dier rejected the proposal scornfully. He had no desire save to die with his men. But he bade Curley escape if could, and the latter, with bitter grief, looking his last upon the great white chief whom he loved and honored, tossed one of the blankets over his own head to conceal his own Crow scalplock, and, watching an opportunity, sprang into a melee of Sioux warriors as they crowded up to kill and mutilate some of the fallen. The last man of the soldiers whom he saw to recog nize had been Lieutenant W. W. Cooke, the regimental adjutant, whose tall form and long flow ing beard were plainly visible as he stood above his fellows, firing into the faces of the foe. Gradually working to the outer edge of the Sioux hordes, Cur ,ley had ridden northward into the sheltered valley of the Little Big Horn. Here he was partially concealed and was able, by using great caution, to make his way toward the mouth of the river, where he arrived 44 hours after the bat tle, though the distance was only 11 miles. The people on the boat could scarcely believe that the Crow's story was true in all its dread ful particulars, though his grief was too genuine. Captain Ba ker, after the first shock of the intelligence, was far from being convinced and endeavored to persuade the scout to return to Custer with a dispatch telling where the supply boat lay. But Curley refused to leave the steamer, refused to take food, and retiring to a corner of the deck, he squatted on his haunches and began mourning for the dead after the manner of his tribe. There was noth ing to be done, therefore, but wait for the arrival of someone else from the columns with the news and orders, and the men on the Far West passed the remainder of the day in un easy discussion of the possibili ties suggested by Curley's story. Some few historians have sought to cast discredit upon Curley's story, assuming that he did not participate in the fighting at all, but secreted himself in a ravine before it began and escaped after night fall, when it was over. Among these is Dr. Cyrus Townsend Brady, in his generally admi rable account of Custer's last campaign, in his Indian Fights and Fighters. There is no more warrant for doubting Curley than there would be for doubting the story of any raan whose assertions have no witnesses to support them. Curley's reputation for veracity, both before and since the battle, has been excellent. Lieutenant Bradley had found him a reliable scout and had as signed him to duty with Gen eral Custer as one of his six best men. The account of the fight which he gave on board the Far West was subsequently borne out fully in all its main features. It was the first and for a long time the only account of Custer's battle given to white men by an eye-witness. Curley, as he declared at the time, was the sole survivor of the defending force, and the only other eye-witnesses were hostiles, whose stories were not gathered until years later. Joseph Mills Hanson, in The Conquest of the Missouri, says : "The Crow had been abso lutely alone from the time he left the battlefield until he reached the Far West, and had therefore had no opportunity for comparing notes with any one else and thus concocting a story. He was certainly pres ent at the fight, else he would not have known facts, which, at the hour when he must have left the vicinity of the battle field in order to reach the boat when he did, were still unknown to either Reno's survivors or to Terry's column. "Lieutenant Bradley says in his journal that the Crow scouts from Reno's command, whom he, with Terry's advance, encountered on the morning of June 27th, reported that Curley HAPPY Jacqueline Lebaudy Mme. Marguerite Lebaudy What may be the final chapter In the stirring drama that for years has been spun about the millions of the late Jacques Lebaudy, Emperor of the Sahara, has been written. Mme. Lebaudy has married Henri Charles Sudreau, otherwise known as Harris, private detective. At the same time the daughter's previous civil marriage to Roger Sudreau, son of Harris, was consecrated by a church ceremony. had been with Custer and was undoubtedly among the killed. He was, in fact, at that moment approaching the mouth of the Little Big Horn, where he ar rived at 11 o'clok a. m. "The sketch drawn by Curley on a piece of paper with Cap tain Baker's pencil, showing how Custer and his men were surrounded and killed by the Sioux, was extremely crude. But it presented the crucial features of the battle accurate ly, and antedated by more than 18 years the drawing made by Rain-in-the-Face on the back of a hunting shirt, in August, 1894, which has been frequent ly heralded as the first and only map of the field of the Little Big Horn ever drawn by an Indian participant." "After reading the above re garding Curley's story, General Godfrey, who was with Reno, wrote: "Chief Gall pooh-poohed Cur ley's story of escape, said it was impossible for him to dis guise and escape in the fight, and that he probably saw the fight from the high ridge north and made up his story. "Such may, of course, have been the case. But it must be remembered that Gall was a Sioux and hated the Crow as the hereditary foes of his peo ple. He would naturally be loath to credit one of them with any act of bravery ; savages are prone to voice contempt for their enemies whether they feel it or not. Moreover, of the three Crow scouts who were with Custer in the battle. Lieu tenant Bradley states that Cur ley's two comrades, White Swan and Half Yellow Face, were killed with Custer's men, while the other three who were with Reno, remaind with him and fought throughout the en gagement, according to General Godfrey's Century article, though the twenty-odd Arika ree scouts fled ignominiously at almost the first fire of the Sioux and did not stop running until they reached Major Moore's camp at the mouth of the Powder. It seems reasona ble to suppose that Curley was at least as resolute as his five companions, and that he went into the fight as they did and stayed in it until he saw that his only chance for life lay in escaping quickly.