Map of Wounded Knee and Its Maker – Second Lieutenant Sydney Amos Cloman, 1st Infantry Regiment

Lieutenant Sydney A. Cloman's original map of the Wounded Knee BattlefieldAs Major General Miles contemplated an investigation of Colonel Forsyth and the 7th Cavalry Regiment’s actions at Wounded Knee, he knew he needed a detailed map depicting the location of the troops, the Indian council and their village, and the surrounding terrain, particularly the ravine.  Late on 2 January 1891 he ordered Major Samuel M. Whitside back to the scene of carnage along with an engineer.  In a letter to his wife, Whitside described his task.

Monday, January 5th, ‘91.–At midnight Friday, I received instructions to proceed at day light Saturday A.M. with a burial party to the battle ground of Wounded Knee for the purpose of assisting in making a complete map of the ground locating thereon the exact position the Troops occupied from the commencement to the end of the battle.[1]

General Miles similarly ordered Captain Folliott  A. Whitney to the battle ground to count the number of Lakota casualties.  Whitney also mentions a map maker present on the battlefield on the 3rd and 4th of January, “I have not furnished a sketch or map of camp or vicinity, as Major Whitside arrived about noon to-day and informed me had an officer with him for this purpose.”[2]

2nd Lieut Sydney A. Cloman at the Pine Ridge Agency on 13 January 1891.

Second Lieutenant Sydney A. Cloman at the Pine Ridge Agency on 13 January 1891.[3]

The map maker was a young second lieutenant just over eighteen months out of the Military Academy. Twenty-three-year-old Sydney Amos Cloman served several roles during the course of the Pine Ridge campaign.  He was the most junior officer in the 1st Infantry Regiment serving in G Company.  His regiment’s commander was Colonel William R. Shafter, and his company commander was Captain Frances E. Pierce.  The regiment departed from Angel Island, California, on 4 December and slowly made their way by train from the Pacific Ocean.  On 10 December newspapers reported, “Colonel Shafter, with headquarters band and the entire regiment, has been ordered to take station at Fort Niobrara,” Nebraska. For the purposes of making a map of the Wounded Knee battlefield, General Miles appointed Lieutenant Cloman acting engineer of the Division of the Missouri.[4]

Perhaps the most well known photograph of Sydney A. Cloman is of him sitting astride a horse on the killing fields of Wounded Knee surrounded by dead Lakota members of Big Foot's Band.[9]

Perhaps the most well known photograph of Sydney A. Cloman is of him sitting astride a horse on the killing fields of Wounded Knee surrounded by dead Lakota members of Big Foot’s Band.[5]

Cloman’s completed map was one of the principal pieces of evidence during the Wounded Knee Investigation, and was used as a reference by most every officer that testified. The sketches that Cloman made at the beginning of January formed the basis of a detailed map that General Miles used in his annual report to the secretary of war that he rendered in fall of 1891.

Lieut. S. A. Cloman's map of Wounded Knee depicting the scene of the fight with Big Foot's Band, Dec. 29th 1890.

Lieut. S. A. Cloman’s map of Wounded Knee depicting the scene of the fight with Big Foot’s Band, Dec. 29th 1890.

Lieutenant Cloman’s role during the campaign was not limited to that of an engineer.  He later was given command of a company of Indian Scouts.  Cloman gained recognition during the campaign when he made the arrest of the Lakota youth responsible for killing Captain Edward W. Casey on 7 January 1891.  Cloman caught up with the alleged murderer, Plenty Horses, almost five weeks after Casey’s killing, and almost a month after the campaign officially ended.  The infantry lieutenant provided a detailed account of the arrest in the following report.

Feb. 19, 1891.

To the Camp Adjutant.
In accordance with verbal orders from the Camp Commander, I broke camp at this place on the morning of the 7th inst., and marched down the White Clay Valley with my troop (“C”) of Ogalalla Indian Scouts.  From the nature of the roads, the wagons could be moved only at a very slow gait, so that while en-route we had time to visit all the Indian lodges in the valley as far as we went.  While going down I stopped at the lodge of Corn Man, whose grandson Plenty Horses or Plenty Little Bear, murdered Lieut. Casey some time since.  I found the lodge occupied by the aforesaid Plenty Horses and two other young bucks, who refused to come out of the tepee or hold any communication with us.  No arrest was attempted at this time. I camped for the night at a point near the mouth of No Water Creek, about six miles from the White River.  The stop here was imperative as the roads beyond were as yet unbroken and practically impassable for loaded wagons.  After making camp I rode down to the place where No Water was said to be living, but found no one there.  Early the next morning I left with a detachment of eight men and visited the Ogalalla and Brule villages on a small tributary of the White Clay and about one mile from it.  I was there told that No Water and his sons had formerly lived there, but had a few days before moved up the creek about two miles.  I then sent a messenger back to the troop with orders to break camp and follow us, while the detachment and myself went on up to No Water’s place.  We found this located in the vicinity of two log houses and two or three tepees in a thicket on the White Clay.  In reply to our questions, No Water’s wife stated that she had two boys, but that they were both at the agency getting beef.  About this time one of them stuck his head out of the tepee, I arrested him, but could not find the other one.  I afterwards found out that he is living in Red Cloud’s camp near the Agency.  This arrest was made without any trouble or excitement whatever.  The man said he did not know us, but when I showed him that I was an officer, he obeyed me implicitly.  By this time the company had come up, and we proceeded without further stop to Corn Man’s Lodge.  I had noticed that a great many bucks were absent at the beef issue, and after consultation with my older non-commissioned officers, I had determined to make the arrest of the murderer of Lieut. Casey at once if possible.  Leaving wagons and prisoner in the road with a guard of six men, I moved the company around in rear of the five tepees occupied by Corn Man’s band.  I then took six men, two of them dismounted beside myself and went around in front of the lodges.  I entered each lodge in succession with the other two men, and finally found Plenty Horses in the last tepee, telling him that we had to arrest him, but that he would not be hurt in any way if he would submit quietly.  He seemed surly, but promised to obey.  Leaving him with the other two men, I started to remount my horse, when the man broke away and started for his tepee.  We ran after him and caught him as he was going through the door.  He was then mounted on a horse belonging to one of the scouts, and brought with us to Pine Ridge Agency, where I turned both men over to the Camp Commander.  There were only three men besides Plenty Horses in the Indian camp at the time the arrest was made, and they looked on without showing any excitement or anger whatever.  The grandfather of Plenty Horses accompanied me to the Agency at his own request, and told me his grandson’s story of the murder.  It differs in several respects from the newspaper version.  Three men who were with Plenty Horses at the time he shot Lieut. Casey, are also in Corn Man’s camp.  Another man who was with him is a half breed, the son-in-law of Red Cloud, and is now in Red Cloud’s camp.

Lieut. Cloman's troop of Indian scouts P.R. Agency S.D.

Clarence G. Morledge’s photograph titled, “Lieu. Cloman’s troop of Indian scouts P.R. Agency S.D. 1891,” depicts Lieutenant Cloman with his horse mounted troops of Oglala Lakota scouts, during a drill in a snowstorm on the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota, according to the Denver Public Library digital collection.


I met no Indians on the trip who wished to enlist in the service as either scouts or foot soldiers.  Many of the young Brules said they wanted to get Short Bull’s advice on the subject, and would await his return from Washington.
Very respectfully, Your obedient servant,
S. A. Cloman, 2d Lt. 1st Infy.,
Com’g. Tr. “C”, I. S.[6]

Cloman’s report was forwarded through Colonel Shafter and Brigadier General Brooke to Major General Miles who endorsed the report commenting, “Lieutenant Cloman is entitled to great credit for the manner in which he executed my instructions.”  General Miles followed up by having his aide-de-camp, Captain M. P. Maus, forward a letter of thanks to Cloman.[7]

The Division Commander desire me to thank you for your excellent services in making the arrest of the murderers of Lieut. Casey and Mr. Miller.
He highly appreciates and commends the courage, fortitude and discretion displayed by you and your Scouts; and the difficulties that you must have experienced in making the arrests while exposed without shelter for several days to the storms of a Dokota winter.[8]

Commanding General of the Army Major General John M. Schofield concurred with General Miles and recognized Cloman in General Order No. 100 the following December.

2d Lieutenant Sydney A. Cloman, 1st Infantry, commanding Troop C, Ogallalla Indian Scouts: For the excellent judgment and discretion with which he executed the instructions of Major General Miles in the arrest, at White Clay Creek, South Dakota, of the Indian Plenty Horses.[9]

This photograph appeared in Sydney Cloman's book, Myself and a few Moros.

This photograph appeared in Sydney Cloman’s book, Myself and a Few Moros.[10]

Sydney Cloman, at fifty-five years of age, died shortly after World War I.  In his retirement he wrote a popular narrative of his service in the Philippines titled, Myself and a Few Moros, published shortly after his death.

Cloman’s official military record was recorded in the 1925 Annual Report of the West Point Association of Graduates.  It describes his unusual career as a military attache, his rare resignation of his commission, and his return to service during the Great War.

As a Major, U. S. Volunteers, in 1898, he sailed to the Philippines on the first expedition and remained until 1901. In 1903 he was appointed a member of the General Staff upon its organization, a selection which to all those who knew him seemed quite a matter of course. Then came an interesting mission to Venezuela, Columbia and Panama, followed by an assignment as Military Attache and Observer with the Russian Army in Manchuria in 1904-5 during the Russo-Japanese War. In 1907 he was appointed Military Attache to the United States Embassy in London, which gave him his opportunity for seeing the Turkish Counter Revolution of 1910 and, on a mission, of visiting Liberia and Sierra Leone.
His service in London over, he was placed in command of the Guard at the Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1912-14 in San Francisco and was appointed the War Department representative to it. This took him to Australia, New Zealand and the Malay States as a member of a commission. Garrison duty followed to his resignation in January, 1917, as a Major of Infantry.

Lieutenant Colonel Sydney Amos Cloman, circa 1919.

Lieutenant Colonel Sydney Amos Cloman, circa 1919.

Upon the entrance of the United States in the World War, he returned to the army as a Lieutenant Colonel. After organizing and commanding the 159th Depot Brigade, he served in the St. Mihiel campaign as an Assistant Chief of Staff of the 1st Corps, and during the campaign in the Argonne, and the Heights of the Meuse he was Chief of Staff of the 29th Division. With the Armistice he was assigned as Assistant Finance Officer, Member of the Board of Contracts and Adjustments, and Chief of the Administrative Liaison Bureau until May, 1919, when he returned to the United States and, at his own request, was placed on the retired list as a Lieutenant Colonel.
He received the Distinguished Service Medal, the Croix de Guerre, the Order of St. Michael and St. George, the Order of Stanislaus of Russia, the Order of Danilo of Montenegro and was an officer of the Legion of Honor.[11]

Following his death on 12 May 1923, his widow, Mrs. Flora Clement Cloman, held a memorial service at their residence in Burlingame, California.  Then, per the colonel’s wishes, his body was taken to the Fort Mason dock and out to sea for burial.[12]

Update: In June 1930, the U.S. Congress saw fit to posthumously promote Syndney Amos Cloman to the rank of colonel to date from 12 May 1923.[13]


[1] Samuel L. Russell, “Selfless Service: The Cavalry Career of Brigadier General Samuel M. Whitside from 1858 to 1902,” Masters Thesis, (Fort Leavenworth: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 2002), 144.
[2] Foillet A. Whitney, report dated 3 Jan 1891, from National Archives “Sioux Campaign, 1890-91,” 824.
[3] Denver Public Library Digital Collection, “Gen. Miles & staff during late Indian War at Pine Ridge Agcy.” ( accessed 27 Sep 2014.
[4] Omaha Daily Bee, “Another Disposition of Troops,” 11 Dec 1890.
[5] Richard Erodes, Wounded Knee, Crazy Horse [9 of 33 Slides], Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University ( accessed 27 Sep 2014.
[6] Sydney A. Cloman, reported dated 19 Feb 1891, from .National Archives “Sioux Campaign, 1890-91,” 1165-1168.
[7] Ibid., 1170.
[8] M. P. Maus, letter to Lieut Cloman dated 26 Feb 8191, Headquarters Division of the Missouri, Chicago, Ill., Adjutant General’s Office, Case of Honorable Mention for Sydney A. Cloman, Principal Record Division, file 3466, Record Group: 94, Stack area: 8W3, Row: 7, Compartment 30, Shelf: 2. Research conducted by Vonnie S. Zullo of The Horse Soldier Research Service.
[9] Adjutant General’s Office, “General Order No. 100, Headquarters of the Army, December 17, 1891,” General Orders and Circulars – 1891, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1892), 9.
[10] Sydney A. Cloman, Myself and a Few Moros (Garden City, N. Y.: Double Day, Page & Company, 1923), ii.
[11] John R. M. Taylor, “Sydney A. Cloman,” from Fifty-sixth Annual Report of the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, June 11, 1925 (Saginaw, Mich.: Seaman & Peters Printers and Binders, 1925), 109.
[12] San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records, 1895-1985, “N and Gray Company,” Microfilm publication, 1129 rolls, Researchity.,San Francisco, California.
[13] George W. Cullum, Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates  of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, since its establishment in 1802, vol. 7, 292,.

Citation for this article: Samuel L. Russell, “Map of Wounded Knee and Its Maker – Second Lieutenant Sydney Amos Cloman, 1st Infantry,” Army at Wounded Knee (Sumter, SC: Russell Martial Research, 2013-2015,, updated 12 Dec 2014, accessed date ___________.

About Sam Russell

I am a fifth-generation retired Army officer with twenty-nine years of commissioned service. I have been researching the frontier Army for over eighteen years and am interested in documenting the lives of the soldiers that participated in the battle of Wounded Knee using primarily official reports, diaries, letters, newspaper articles and other primary source documents. My interest in Wounded Knee stems from my kinship to one of the principal participants. I am the great-great-grandson of Samuel M. Whitside, who was a major and battalion commander at the battle. I welcome and encourage comments on posts and pages and am always interested in any new primary sources. If you have copies of letters, diaries, etc, from participants and are willing to share, please contact me. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are strictly my own, and should in no way be construed as official Army or U.S. Government positons.
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