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The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, October 13, 1901, Image 1

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around inside the tree so that he was quite
invisible, and there he blazed away
through the crack with his telescope rifle
as easily as from a porthole. He was a
deadly shot, too, that fellow: he killed
thirty-five or forty of our men and came
out himself with a whole skin.
The cause of that battle lay with a
bunch of outlaws. They were whites, but
they had acted in a way that would have
disgraced Indians. They had Jellied, mas
sacred thirty-five squaws, poor, helpless
things who were camped on Bear Creek.
So the bucks started on the warpath, no
blame to them, but they killed a lot of
good men instead of the outlaws. They
made for the first white man's house they
came to; It belonged to a man named Har
ris. It was a double-storied hewed house,
pretty good for thereabouts. Harris and
his wife and the little 2-year-old girl wera
at home. The woman, with the Judgment
that women have, tried to eet her hus
band to stay inside; but no. he was going
out to fight those thirty-five Indians. As
he opened the door they shot him down.
©V course. The same fire that killed him
wounded the little girl. Mrs. Harris picked
up the child in her left arm; a pistol was
grasped in the right hand. For two days
and nights that woman" stood off the In
dians from her home and her baby, and
was still standing them off when we ad
vanced and took up their attention. That's
the kind of stuff that women of the West
were made of in early days.
It was later on after much more trouble
that we returned to Big Bend and \u25a0 tried
to make a treaty. While we were camping
one night a friendly squaw stole through
the close trees and bushes to our camp
fire, and she warned us that attempt at a
treaty was in vain; but we persisted and
held our camp. The result was that nine
men were killed on guard and we had the
dickens of a time until Captain Ord was
relieved. Then we licked them, and in the
end the conquered Indians helped carry
our wounded to the hospital at' Port Or
ford, and. we conducted the Indians safely
to the reservation In tha Willamette Val
ley.
Presently a big Indian, a sulky looking
brute, came into the' camp with a paper,
which he handed to';' the --colonel. His
squaw was along with -him. When the
colonel looked at the paper he discovered
that it was a neatly made out death war
rant for the bearer. We never knew for
certain who made out that warrant and
the others that followed, but we always
supposed it was the old priest. Father da
Bmet, who was in the confidence of Spo
kane Gerry. At -any rate, none of tho
bearers knew the contents, but had evi
dently been given some fictitious explana
tion; of them \ by their chief, who had
picked- those he considered. the most easily
dispensed with. ..'• \u25a0"\u25a0\u25a0'
No sooner had the colonel read the war
rant than hs . ordered us, his men who
When; we retreated from" Steptoes Butte
no one followed. : That was the' end of
that battle to those of us who escaped.
There was another end to. those whom the
red devils had captured. ; Sergeant Wil
liams was. put. to death— we never- knew
how, but wo supposed he was tortured
by being burned at the "stake. That was
the favorite ,method. Snichster, a Nor
wegian, was made to run the gauntlet by
swimming across the river while his tor
mentors stood : on the bank and fired at
him. Her was. a good swimmer and he
escaped. \
It was when Colonel Wright took hold
of -matters that- there: was a grand -set
tling. He said that the Indians woull
have to pay for a life with a life, and he
told old Spokane Gerry, the bif chief, so.
Spokane Gerry began to realize at last
that the colonel .meant business and he
went about seeing that the thing was
carried out, I for- the- colonel . informed, him
that he, would hold three families as host
age for every murder.
tain Taylor. We dug a grave there and
we buried' Taylor and three soldiers— the
others had fallen by the way— and near by
we burled two mountain howitzers; the
kind that are packed by. mules. There was
nothing else to 'do with them.
: Colcnel Stestoe was In charge of the ex
pedition that left Walla Walla on the 17th
I of Mav,|lSD8. an expedition of 150 men.
Part of 1 us under Lieutenant. \u25a0 Gaston
crossed [the Snake River In canoes and
swam our horses over. When we were
within two clays of Spokane River we met
forty or I fifty mounted Indians. .
"We have killed* two beeves," their
spokesman told us, "and the first beef was
for peace and the second beef was for
war."
That was what we had expected and we
were pleased enough. When we had rid
den a mile further we came to three or
four hundred, and they all wanted to fire.
We went right on and-paid no attention
to them at first; they followed along near
us, and when we had pitched camp, on the
lake they began in earnest. They kept
firing right into the camp all night and we
barelv held out. •
Early [in the morning we started out,
they- aft^r.us. We. got into a canyon; its
sides' were perpendicular and we looked up'
to see abo/ve a great row of savage faces.
They had us, had us tight, and they.didn't
mean to /waste;thelr opportunity. We were
penned in- like sheep and they were firing
as fast as they could load, straight into
us/ Lieutenant Gaston sent word to Step
toe that he had to have help; he couldn't
hold out any longer. - .
Word <:ame from Father d e . Smet : .''I
have dorje all I can; my resources are at
an'end." He was the old French priest
and a good man he was; he had a tre-'
mendoua influence over the Indians and he
had used it as far as possible to avert thii
massacri that they were attempting.;
Help from the colonel came in time to
prevent Its being carried out in full. With
a reinforcement we managed to make our
way out of the canyon and we stood off :
2000 Indians in the timber. We retreated
fighting ill the way to Steptoes Butte.
Our m;n.had fallen until there were
hardly, any left to report the battle. Lieu
tenant G aston was killed and so was Cap-
Lately I've had a taste of a new pro
fession. What do you think of taking uj>
a new profession at 66? I am In San Fran
cisco just now on a sort of vacation, and
the other day as I was sitting in the park
one of the art -students came along and
looked at me from all sides and kept
walking around me and looking at me,
and I asked him what the dickens was
the matter.
"Want to come to the studio and pose?"
he said.
So I'm an artist's model now. They're
not leaving that Job to the pretty *irii
nowadays. * •***»
It seems a wonder that I have dodged
bullets the way I have; f Seven wounds
are all, and most of them were slight. I
was struck by a spent ball several times,
and I call that getting off easy.
At the close of tne war, in '65, I went
back to Indian fighting, and .1 quit twelva
years later. I had enlisted when I was a
boy of 18. and I had kept on in the army
until I was getting toward middle age.
and I thought it was about time to quit.
So I drifted back to the mines and I've
been there ever since, except when I taka
it into my head to go off hunting for a
spell. . \u25a0'^"
I : rode with Pherldan; too, on "Sheri
dan's Ride." I was with him when h»
started, ar.d rode to where the army had
been demoralized by Early. -I've always
been proud that I -was, under Sheridan,
and I served under, a lot more big men
besides. There were Generals Stoneman,
Buford, Merritt. Pleasanton, Palmer. Mc-
Clellan, Burnside and Hooker. In Indian
warfare I served under Generals Crook
and Miles.
When it came to the real fighting It was
so hot and heavy that %e just fought
straight ahead, and we hardly knew what
we were doinj. I remember how w«
charged up against a stone wall and th«
rebs were behind It blazing away. They
had the best 7tird of a chance, but their
fire wa3 hoodooed. ; They couldn't hit on»
of us. Only, one horse got hurt.
were in waiting, ;to seize and hang this
man. I'll never forget the way that squaw
looked when : she saw her lord and master
- violently borne away. 'She. gave one wild
shriek, then she took a firm grasp of tho
spear she carried! It was a beautiful
•spear.-' so. remarkable that I had been
•looking at it all the'time. It was stained
a deep red, set with brilliant stones anil
' decorated about the handle with rare
feathers. She took a perfect at the
colonel and whizz went the spear. By
" dodging he got only a slight wound. The
•weapon shot past: him and stuck in tlie
tent. \u25a0
One after one Indians bearing death
.warrants filed in and were promptly
seized, much to their surprise. One after
"one we bumped them — strung them up,
you know. At one time we had thirty
five hanging to various trees, and the
. place has gone by the name of Hangmans
' Creek ever since. "Before we got througn
with the business we hanged as many
270 in different "camps. ,
Nevertheless Indian outbreaks were far
from finished when, the Civil War arose,
and I was sent off to the other side of the
continent. .
I can't name anywhere near all the bat
tles I was in between '61 and '65. There
was Antletam and the seven days' fight,
and McClellan's retreat and Chancellors
ville, and, worst of all, there was Gettys
burg.
;That was fighting for you. For twenty
three days while we -were in the Gettys
burg region .we never ,- -unsaddled our
horses. For twenty-three days we never
took our clothes oft. "We rode night
and day, with an- hour's stop now
and then to feed our horses or our
selves. Then "boots and saddles" would
be sounded and off we would go again.
"Vta had plenty to eat. but little enough
time to eat it. We had pork, coffee and
crackers, for rations. The crackers were
about >four~4nches square and we had
twelve of them a day. The horses had
plenty, of grain but no hay. -
IT took me twenty years pf hard fight
ing to live through 165 battles and
skirmishes. Those years are over now
— I'm glad enough of that — and there's
nothing left to tell the tale of them
except seven scars and my name — "Old
Trailer."
I've been Old Trailer so long that I have
to 6top and think and take a pull or two
et my pipe before I can remember my
other name, the or.e I got back in Massa
chusetts sixty-six years ago. It is Arthur
S. Kitchen— yes, that's it; but I don't
think much of it as a name. I never have
any particular use for it. Old Trailer's
good enough for me.
I sot that name 0:1 account of the Indian
•wars I've been through. There was a
plenty of them; counting skirmishes and
battles together it comes to an even sixty
eeven. I had more tights in the Civil War
— ninety-eiprht battles and skirmishes be
tween '61 und '65; but somehow they never
made fo much repression on me as the
Indian fights did. They weren't so horri
ble. 1 began Indian lighting- in 'Z2 and I
kept it up until '77, barring the four years
it took 10 put down the Kebs. So it's no
\u25a0wonder, is it, that 1 see Indians being
bumped now and then when I'm asleep,
and that I sometimes wa.ke yelling that
they're going to make me run the gaunt
let or burn me at the stake?
They never did either of those things to
me, but they came j:r£tty near it plenty
of times. I must have l:ad some kind of a
mascot that brought n-.e through all right.
I ocn't know what it was, but you can't
deny I've been lucky. . .
la '49 1 carre wtst from Boston, where
1 v.'as born. I'm a pioneer all right. I had
the gold lever and I came with the crowd,
but I never made much oui of mining.
Just enough to keep me honest, that's all.
I fooled around in the mining country
until '»3, then I enlisted in the. regular
ermy end west out to tackle the Indians
of the north. It was up there, all around
Oregon and, that country, that I was kept
busy with the reduMns.
My first fight was on Hungry Hill, near
Cow Creek, in Oregon. There thirty-five
of those good for nothing Indians defeated
600 American soldiers, and 133 of them
were regulars, too. It was lack of disci
pline that was responsible for the whole
trouble. I was a green one mfaself, .and J
can realize it Plainly enough now. I guest
a gcod manv of us were ashamed of thai
Hungry Hill defeat, but I lived to help
make up for It later on.
We regulars were under Captain A. J.
Smith ar.d Colonel Ross had charge of the
volunteers. The whole thing was a mix
up; a lot of raw recruits who had no idea
how to obey orders. The Indians were for
tified and had every advantage of posi
tion; we were away ahead in numbers, but
\u25a0we retreated In the end. a handful of
ecared and wounded men.
There were as many as four tribes rep
resented. The Rogue Rivers and the Ap
plegates (they got their name from Apple
gate Creek, were the fiercest. We realized
this fact In many following battles. They
were the most excitable, the ones that
stirred others to fighting, and they., -were
the most dangerous to meet
It was a horrible battle. There was that
little group of devils protected behind
their fortifications, dead sure of their own
cafety; we, a lot of greenhorns, hardly
knowing how to hold a rifle, not grasping
the fact that an order was to be obeyed,
ell out in the cpen field and as easily shot
down as ducks in the marsh— we fell 111*
Came before the good huntsman's aim.
I remember one half-breed, Venus, ha
was called; he bad himself ensconced In
a hollow pine tree that almost hid him.
He had crawled In through the smallest
kind of a crack, had twisted himself
Sunday
Call
Magasine
Section
HOW I CAME TO BEN
165
BATTLES

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