Hunting for Big Foot, part 7: 29 December 1890.

I have a great many rumors of a fight with Big Foot’s party but nothing authentic.
–Brig. Gen. J. R. Brooke

This day 125 years ago… disarming Big Foot’s band led to bloody carnage.  (click to open Hunting for Big Foot homepage)

The time displayed, e.g. (9:30 a.m.), at the beginning of each message reflects when that information was sent from or received at General Brooke’s headquarters, unless otherwise indicated.  Most of the messages were transmitted via telegraph. Those messages that were delivered by other means such as couriers or heliograph are so annotated in parenthesis at the end of each respective message.  Hover the mouse over the names displayed in Red to display the full identity of the individual mentioned.  Bold Red will also indicate location of the individual.  Blue underlined texts are hyperlinks to other pages or cites.  Click on photos of individuals to see an enlarged version of the source photograph in a new tab.  Similarly, clicking on maps will open a new tab with an enlarged view of each map that can be zoomed in for greater detail.

Monday, Dec. 29, 1890.

(Click to enlarge) Inset depicting approximate location of U.S. troops and Big Foot's band at noon on 28 Dec. 1890.

(Click to enlarge) Inset depicting approximate location of U.S. troops and Indian bands as Col. Forsyth prepares to disarm Big Foot’s band on 29 Dec. 1890.

Lt Fayette W. RoeRoe to Wheaton: The Commanding General directs that you move with your headquarters and four companies of your regiment to Rushville, Neb., where you will find a train in waiting, proceed to Gordon, Neb., and receive from Major Whitside, 7th Cavalry, about 370 Indians of Big Foot’s band. You will then proceed to Fort Omaha, Neb., where you will encamp the Indians in some suitable place and securely guard them. Major Whitside will inform you for how long a time the Indians are rationed and you will arrange to subsist them at Fort Omaha. It is desirable that you take special care that none of these Indians escape en-route, and also that they are reasonably comfortable. If it should be found that the shelter they have is not adequate you will put them in conical wall tents which will be furnished you by the Chief Quartermaster of the Department. (courier) {630}

Lt Fayette W. RoeRoe to Whitside (7 a.m.): The Commanding General directs that you proceed with your battalion and the Indian prisoners to Gordon, Neb., where you will transfer the Indians to Colonel Frank Wheaton, 2nd Infantry, on December 30th if possible. The ponies and wagons will not accompany the Indians further than Gordon and you will bring them with you on your return to this place which will begin as soon as you transfer the Indians to Colonel Wheaton. (by courier) {632}

Lt Fayette W. RoeRoe to Wheaton: Referring to letter of instructions sent you from these headquarters, dated December 29, 1890, directing you to march to Rushville, Nebraska, with a battalion of your regiment, the Commanding General directs that instead of proceeding to that place you march to Gordon, Nebraska. (in person) {631}

Thomas_H__RugerRuger to Brooke (7:40 a.m.): Am glad you have Big Foot and people. He has been talking fight and has had bad influence but think his main idea has been to avoid capture and arrest, but since his escape from Sumner his capture was more necessary than before. I presume the Division Commander, when you report the capture, will give you direction as to disposition of Big Foot and following. There are about thirty Cherry creek young men, best probably of his following, who joined Big Foot with some Sitting Bull fugitives, between thirty and forty of the latter including women and children. Low Dog may be with Big Foot. He properly belongs to Standing Rock. Big Foot and Low Dog are two of the Cheyenne river reservation whom I intended to have sent away from reservation after arrest.
Captain Wells reported yesterday evening that Lieut. Byron who had just come in from scout saw Short Bull’s party moving toward agency; that they camped that afternoon on Grass creek or White river. Hope you of course had this information before I did. {611}

Lt Fayette W. RoeRoe to Whitside (8:30 a.m.): I am directed by the Commanding General to tender you and the officers and men of your command his congratulations on the successful accomplishment of the capture of “Big Foot” and his band.
This capture simplifies the settlement of the Indian difficulties in the section and will aid materially in doing so. (by courier) {629}

Sanford to Truitt (8:30 a.m.): Dispatch received. Will draw in my patrols except officer and two men vicinity of Cascade creek, who cannot return before the 30th. Will move to north of White Clay Tuesday 30th and to Pine Ridge Wednesday 31st. Have fifteen days’ rations from first January en-route, which will probably arrive to-day. Shall I leave the Infantry company here to guard stores now here and to arrive? {619}

Brig. Gen. John R. BrookeBrooke to Asst Adj Gen Dept Platte (9:10 a.m.): Have arrangements made for entire train, including cars for four companies Second Infantry, go to Gordon, where troops and Indians will embark. {616}

Maj Gen Nelson A. MilesMiles to Brooke (10 a.m.): Telegraph me the latest information from Big Foot’s band and those that were in the Bad Lands.  Take every precaution against escape of either bodies.  Big Foot’s band surrendered, and after receiving rations seized their weapons and stood them off.  Big Foot has done this twice.  Before starting they cut up their wagons and harness, indicating that they were going to war. {633}

Maj Gen Nelson A. MilesMiles to Brooke (11 a.m.): Carr’s command is to be on White river between Porcupine creek and Wounded Knee, headquarters near Wounded Knee, to-morrow night. Offley’s command on White river near mouth of White Clay same day.  First Infantry marches from Hermosa to-day to a point about sixteen miles from your agency on White river, reporting to you by courier.  Should be there to-morrow night or Wednesday morning.  If I felt sure that you had both of these bodies entirely within your control I would go across country, being at Daly’s ranch to night, White river to-morrow and agency next night, otherwise I hesitate about leaving telegraph line. {624}

Brig. Gen. John R. BrookeBrooke to Miles (11:15 a.m.): I have a great many rumors of a fight with Big Foot’s party but nothing authentic.  Will hear in a short time.  Would suggest you do not start till you hear further from me. {600}

The Fighting 7th's OfficersForsyth to Brooke (rec’d 11:30 a.m.): On attempting to disarm the persons of the bucks they made a break, which resulted in a hot fight lasting from about 9:15 until about 9:45.  About fifteen soldiers are wounded and a few killed.  The number of Indians killed and wounded not known, but believed to exceed the loss on our side.  The ones who escaped have fled up the ravines to the west, pursued by three troops. Lieut. Garlington is shot through the arm, not a dangerous wound.  This dispatch is indefinite, but is as accurate as I can give, as we are still engaged in cleaning out the adjacent ravines.
Later: Captain Wallace is killed. (by courier) {634}

Brig. Gen. John R. BrookeBrooke to Miles (11:30 a.m.): Forsyth reports that while disarming Big Foot’s party he had a hard fight this morning and a few soldiers killed and about fifteen wounded. Captain Wallace killed, Lieut. Garlington wounded.  The Indians are being hunted up in all directions, none are known to have got their ponies.  The hunt is still going on.  Will advise you further. {636}

Brig. Gen. John R. BrookeBrooke to Henry (sent before noon): It is probable that your command will be attacked to-morrow morning to to-night by a large body of Indians.  The fight Forsyth had to-day has put all the Indians on the war path.  Send word to Carr’s troops as soon as you get this.  The impression that I have of your whereabouts is that you are on White river still.  If so you will endeavor to have some of Carr’s troops join you or you join them.  The road is favorable for a surprise and you must avoid this.  If you are attacked it will be likely to be in large force and you are not as strong as I could wish.  It will be wise therefore for you to unite with some other troops. Casey’s Cheyenne scouts are somewhere on White river above you.  Use every endeavor to collect enough force to make you strong enough.  The Indians from the Bad Lands are now enemies and any escaping from Big Foot’s party are doubtless with them as are all the young bucks of Two Strike’s band and probably many of the young bucks from these here.
It might be better for you to lie over where you are until you are sure all the troops anywhere near you are warned of the present situation, which is not a pleasant one.  It is not known how many of Big Foot’s band got away, but some must have done so. Sanford is now on his way down White river.  I sent after him to stop him and have him look out for Indians passing west to the south of White river.  Take every precaution and do not allow your command to be scattered.  Use your scouts and be sure to avoid disaster.
P.S.  General Miles says headquarters of Colonel Carr’s command will be on White river near mouth of Wounded Knee to-morrow night; Offley’s command on White river near mouth of White Clay, should be there Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. (by courier) {645-646}

Colonel Forsyth received, opened, and read this message meant for Major Henry around 2:00 p.m., which served to strengthen his, Forsyth’s, resolve to return to the Agency as soon as possible.  Forsyth wrote a message to Henry and sent the courier on with both messages to Henry’s camp.

Brig. Gen. John R. BrookeBrooke to Miles (12 p.m.): A large number of the Rosebud Indians have gone down White Clay creek and many young bucks have gone towards Forsyth.  I have sent to Henry and told him to inform every one within reach.  The troops should be on White river without delay.  All the Indians belonging to this agency are still quiet as far as I can learn. {668}

Lt Fayette W. RoeRoe to Sanford (12:25 p.m.): Move down White river with all speed, with your command, looking out for Indians who have left here. Forsyth has had a fight. {658}

Lt. Charles W. TaylorTaylor to Brooke (12:30 p.m.): Big Foot’s band is practically destroyed. Captain Wallace killed. Lieut. Garlington wounded.  20 soldiers killed and wounded.  Indians fired in troops while being disarmed. (by courier) {635}

Brig. Gen. John R. BrookeBrooke to Asst Adj Gen Dept Platte (12:45 p.m.): Suspend train. Forsyth had a fight with Big Foot’s party this morning while disarming them.  A great many killed.  Some soldiers killed and wounded. Captain Wallace killed and Lieut. Garlington wounded in arm. {665}

Sanford to Roe (12:55 a.m.): Dispatch just received.  Will get off in an hour or less.  Move as fast as possible.  Shall I come into the agency or may expect orders en-route.  What was the result of Forsyth’s fight?  In which direction are Indians heading? {659}

Lt Marion P. MausMaus to Brooke (1 p.m.): Colonel Sumner says a white man made a false report to the Indians which, he thinks, was one reason for Big Foot’s action.  Take every precaution against this.  Allow no persons of any character to have any communication with them or go near them except the troops and your authorized subordinates. {637}

Lt Charles M. TruittTruitt to Sanford (1:30 p.m.): Indians are heading down White Clay.  But few Indians have probably escaped Forsyth.  Be careful, as the Indians are frightened at all this.  Try to quiet them if you meet them, but be sure you are not deceived.  Acknowledge. {660}

Lt Charles M. TruittTruitt to Sanford (1:45 p.m.): After reaching White Clay come into the agency as rapidly as possible.  Cover the country well to the west on your way.  Many of Two Strike’s people seem to be running that way. {661}

Brig. Gen. John R. BrookeBrooke to Miles (1:45 p.m.): The Indians here are terribly frightened.  Many of Two Strike’s people have started away.  A few moments ago two shots were fired by some one and quite a number were fired in return.  I have quieted the excitement for the present and am trying to get hold of those who are running away.  As far as I know all the Indians belonging to this agency are excited but not hostile in their attitude. {638}

The Fighting 7th's OfficersForsyth to Henry (2:10 p.m.): While disarming the persons of the bucks of Big Foot’s band (after taking arms from their Camp) they made a break and this was followed by a hot fight lasting about half an hour. The Indians fled south-west, followed by three troops, they were overtaken, and twenty-three captured, when five Indians came from the direction of the agency and had the appearance of being Indian police. These five Indians shook hands with all the officers, and (riding back about fifty yards) gave a signal at which about 150 Indians opened fire from concealment, our two, of the three, troops, then together in the running fight which followed, the captured Indians were lost. Am now preparing to move to the Agency.  Estimate the killed Indians at about fifty, with about twenty wounded.  Our loss is Captain Wallace, and about fifteen killed, Lts. Garlington and Hawthorne wounded–the latter seriously–about thirty men wounded. (by courier){1053}

Major Henry produced this message in the March 1891 stating that he received the correspondence from Colonel Forsyth along with General Brooke’s message–sent about noon–directing him to remain in place and join forces with Colonel Carr or Lieutenant Casey.  Henry indicated that Forsyth wrote on the Brooke’s original note, since lost, telling him to come to the agency or Wounded Knee Creek.  Henry broke camp later that night and returned to the agency arriving shortly after dawn the next morning.

Maj Gen Nelson A. MilesMiles to Brooke (2:22 p.m.): I have sent several precautionary orders regarding that desperate band under Big Foot and I hope the officers have not been deceived the second time.  If they succeed in breaking away it will be very serious.  I presume Sanford and all the other troops are on the march to-day and you can use these Rosebud troops if necessary. Casey, in command of the Cheyenne scouts, reports met some of Taylor’s scouts; marched up White river, one hundred and fifteen lodges located on crossing of Flour road, and is in camp about two miles from Sioux camp.  They are Short Bull and Kicking Bear’s people and are on their way to the agency and are peaceably disposed, so he says.  But all commands should be directed to use every precaution against the escape of any.  You can give any necessary orders to troops arriving along the White river to act upon any information you have.  What command had Whitside with him and where was Big Foot’s party at last report? {639}

Brig. Gen. John R. BrookeBrooke to Miles (2:30 p.m.): Whitside had four troops cavalry and held the Indians until Forsyth reached him with four more troops last night at 8:30.  This morning while disarming them the fight commenced.  I think very few Indians have escaped.  I will inform you when I get full particulars.  I have given all directions possible to troops on White river, through Henry, and have hurried Sanford down to do all he can.  I think we will have the matter in hand as soon as all are in position.  There was no precaution omitted with Big Foot’s party as far as I can learn.  The affair occurred near head of Wounded Knee.  I have just seen many of the Indians who went out towards Forsyth this morning coming back. {640}

Maj Gen Nelson A. MilesMiles to Brooke (3:45 p.m.): I believe Forsyth’s command will hold its own until other troops arrive.  Report just where he is.  If the warriors have left that camp on White Clay creek.  What orders have you sent Sanford? {641}

Lt Charles M. TruittTruitt to Sanford (3:45 p.m.): Halt where you are and patrol to the south.  Indians are moving from here to branch of White river west of White Clay creek.  Acknowledge receipt. (telegram and by courier from Oelrichs) {662}

Brig. Gen. John R. BrookeBrooke to Miles (3:50 p.m.): Forsyth is on Wounded Knee. Sanford was ordered down to mouth of White Clay.  I have ordered him to halt and patrol to the south.  Many Indians from here are moving to branch of White river west of White Clay creek. {642}

The Fighting 7th's OfficersForsyth to Brooke (4:15 p.m.): Captain Jackson, in pursuing the escaping Indians, overtook them and captured twenty-three.  Almost immediately after, five Indians approached from the direction of the agency, and had the appearance of belonging to the agency police.  After shaking hands with all the officers they rode back a short distance and, evidently at a signal, about 150 Indians opened fire on him and in the running fight the captured Indians escaped.  He then returned to the command.  Am preparing to start for the agency now.
P. S. If some ambulances could be sent out to meet us it would make the moving of the wounded more easy to them. (by courier) {647}

Brig. Gen. John R. BrookeBrooke to Miles (4:15 p.m.): A dispatch received from Forsyth, written at 1:30, says he is on his way in.  I will have the particulars then. {648}

Brig. Gen. John R. BrookeBrooke to Miles (5 p.m.): If First Infantry is available it should be sent to protect settlers between Oelrichs and Rushville north of the railroad.  This is now an exposed section.  Beaver creek, north from Chadron, is the point most exposed.  Indian scouts tell me they think but few bucks are living of Big Foot’s party.  About one hundred and fifty Indians from here attacked one of Forsyth’s troops.  These Indians are of the Rosebuds. {649}

Brig. Gen. John R. BrookeBrooke to Miles (5:30 p.m.): This afternoon the Indians returning from the attack on Forsyth fired into the agency.  There has been a great deal of excitement.  If you can reach Carr I suggest that he make his line on White river.  The Indians who went to the Bad Lands are coming in to-night and I shall try to have them go out and bring in their bands who ran away this afternoon.
Will telegraph you again soon. {651}

Maj Gen Nelson A. MilesMiles to Brooke (5:52 p.m.): Did Indians escape?  If so, in what direction?  Reply at once.  Send information to Carr. {643}

Brig. Gen. John R. BrookeBrooke to Miles (6 p.m.): Some Indians escaped to west.  I have informed Henry and directed him to inform Carr. {644}

Lt Charles M. TruittTruitt to Poland (6:10 p.m.): Big Foot’s band, while being disarmed this morning by 7th Cavalry began firing.  In the fight a great many Indians were killed and wounded. Captain Wallace and five soldiers killed, Lieut. Garlington and fifteen soldiers wounded.  A few Indians may have escaped in your direction.  Send your cavalry with one company of infantry to this place.  Move as rapidly as possible, taking forage enough for the march, a sharp look out being kept en-route for any of Big Foot’s band or others who cannot account for themselves.  Acknowledge receipt. {657}

Maj Gen Nelson A. MilesMiles to Brooke (6:50 p.m.): First Infantry is one long day’s march from Hermosa. Carr’s and Offley’s commands, including Wells and Casey’s scouts have been directed to be on White river to-morrow, but Offley will not move so rapid as he was directed to drive everything toward the agency, also to put three companies of infantry on the high table land. Carr ought to be on or near White river to-night and Offley on Flour road crossing of White river. {650}

Lt Charles M. TruittTruitt to Sanford (6:55 p.m.): Move down White river to White Clay, rapidly as possible, taking care to cover the country to the south.  You will find infantry under Offley near mouth of White Clay to-morrow night or Wednesday morning. Carr’s headquarters will be on White river near mouth of Wounded Knee. Casey’s scouts somewhere between them.  You must look out for couriers from me. (telegram to Oelrichs care of Captain Burns) {663}

Lt Charles M. TruittTruitt to Sanford (8 p.m.): Many Indians moved from here to a branch of White river west of White Clay creek.  You must not leave them in your rear.  Have this especially in your mind.   Your best means of communication at present will be via Oelrichs. (telegram to Oelrichs care of Captain Burns) {664}

Brig. Gen. John R. BrookeBrooke to Asst Adj Gen Dept PlatteSome Indians of the Rosebud camp went out to attack one of Forsyth’s troops to-day and on their return fired into the agency, which caused a skirmish in which two of our men were wounded.  The Indians who where [sic] camped in the vicinity of the skirmish moved west to a creek near here.  We are likely to be annoyed till the cavalry returns.  It is looked for every moment.  Indian scouts say but few of Big Foot’s men are alive.  Will know more when Forsyth comes in.  Everything perfectly safe here. {666}

Brig. Gen. John R. BrookeBrooke to Ruger (8:30 p.m): Forsyth went out to Whitside’s assistance last night.  This morning, while disarming Big Foot’s party, a break was made and a fight occurred.  I have not got full particulars.  Twenty-five soldiers were killed and about thirty-five wounded. Captain Wallace killed and Lieutenants Garlington and Hawthorne wounded.  Many Indians were killed and more wounded.  Will give you more particulars as soon as I get them. Forsyth is on his way in.  When the news of the fight reached the Indians here, all the young Brules, about one hundred and fifty, went out.  They attacked Captain Jackson’s troop and in the fight Captain Jackson lost twenty-three prisoners he had gathered up.  Indians scouts say very few men escaped.  After the Brule bucks returned they fired into the agency which was replied to by the police.  All the Indians on that side of the agency were scared away and are now camped on a stream west of White Clay creek.  During the firing two soldiers were wounded.  Everything seems now quiet.  I shall try to get the Pine Ridge Indians away from the Rosebud Indians and get them back to their camps.  The Brule chiefs could not hold their young men.  I am told they tried hard to do so.  This will delay the final settlement for some time.  The Brules are Rosebud Indians.  Those from the Bad Lands were some distance down White Clay and may now be regarded as hostile.  It may be possible to draw away the well disposed among them but the task seems hopeless now. {669}

Brig. Gen. John R. BrookeBrooke to Miles (9:25 p.m.): Forsyth is just in and reports that Big Foot’s party has practically ceased to exist.  About seventy killed and wounded.  Particulars will be sent you in the morning. {652}

Maj Gen Nelson A. MilesMiles to Brooke (10 p.m.): Am waiting at telegraph office for definite report.  What number of Indians were killed?  What number brought in and what number escaped, and what does the move from near the agency imply?  Will have the First Infantry on train about seven o’clock to-morrow morning and can place it or any of the companies wherever wanted, as the Cheyenne line has been moved forward.  I may go down to Rushville or Chadron to-morrow.  Will telegraph you. {653}

Maj Gen Nelson A. MilesMiles to Brooke (10 p.m.): The report very indefinite.  Three hundred and seventy were reported last night.  What has become of the others?  This office will be open till late.  Do not understand that report.  What number are being brought in and what number have escaped? {655}

Brig. Gen. John R. BrookeBrooke to Asst Adj Gen Dept Platte (10:05 p.m.): General Forsyth just in.  Reports Captain Wallace and twenty-five enlisted men killed.  Lieutenants Garlington and Hawthorne and thirty-four enlisted men wounded.  Big Foot’s band practically wiped out. {667}

Brig. Gen. John R. BrookeBrooke to Poland (10:10 p.m.): Send word to cavalry that scouts from here have about forty Indians corralled on Medicine Root creek.  They must be disarmed and brought here. {670}

Brig. Gen. John R. BrookeBrooke to Miles (10:15 p.m.): The First should drop one company at Oelrichs and six to Chadron to go out to Beaver creek and cover that section to the north and east.  The move from here is largely the result of the scare to-day.  There were not over two hundred engaged in the attack on the agency, but the village was in the line of the firing.  I can say more as to this to-morrow, for I think some will come to talk to me. {654}

Brig. Gen. John R. BrookeBrooke to Miles (11:15 p.m.): Forsyth says there were one hundred and six bucks and about two hundred and fifty squaws and children.  The bucks were accurately counted, the squaws and children were estimated.  Six badly wounded bucks are here, six wounded bucks were with a party of twenty-three bucks and squaws which Captain Jackson had to drop when attacked by the Brules.  Sixty-two dead bucks were counted on the plain where the fight commenced and on other parts of the ground were eighteen more.  This does not include those killed in ravines where dead bucks were seen but not counted.  This accounts for ninety-two bucks without taking into consideration those which were not counted, and leaves but few alive and unhurt.  The squaws and children broke for the hills when the fight commenced and comparatively few of them were hurt and few brought in.  Thirty-nine are here, of which number twenty-one are wounded.  Had it not been for the attack of the Brules an accurate count would have been made, but the ravines were not searched afterwards.  I think this shows that there is little to apprehend from Big Foot’s band in the future.  A party of about forty of this party are reported as held by a party of scouts at the head of Medicine creek.  This counts all sizes and I have ordered the cavalry from Rosebud to bring them in if it is true.  It has required a little time to get these particulars to-night, which you can well understand.  I would say send all the First Infantry to Chadron for use in the section north and east of there. {656}

Maj Guy V. HenryHenry to Asst Adj Gen Dept Platte: Major Adam, 6th Cavalry, came into my camp this p.m. [28th] and stated he had moved his camp towards me.  His orders were to close in on the Indian stronghold, going in by Cottonwood creek, which my guide says is impossible, the only trail this way being the one I am on.  He was surprised to hear the Indians had gone.  He says Christmas eve “Big Foot” crossed the White river at Pass creek, so I send a detachment to cut the heads of those streams between here and there and get his trail, a road running that way, the one further south I understand Baptiste is on.  If Mr. Foot is not moving in he has gone into the Bad Lands of Corn creek, where he can get a strong place, there to await future actions of Indians.  That is the view of some of my scouts; also that he may be waiting for a chance to go into “Bad Lands”.  In the mean time he may be with you at the agency. Major Adam says though Colonel Sumner had three troops, scouts and two Hotchkiss guns, he failed to follow, but wrote for reinforcements, and is red hot over Colonel Sumner’s report of his (Adam’s) allowing the Indians to flank him.  Perhaps the statement in one case may be balanced by the feelings in the other. Captain Wright scouted Porcupine, but no Mr. Foot.  Why should he leave one place to go to another?  Some think after striking road at Pass creek he headed for Rosebud agency, to which road runs.  If he has crossed as stated his trail will be soon followed. Major Adam has been east beyond Corn creek, and no trail.  Report of crossing at Pass creek coming from Colonel Carr. Lieut. McAnaney left this a.m. for mouth of Medicine Root creek, thence to Corn, Pass &c.  I gave Major Adam a map such as you gave me.  He said he knew nothing about the country from the blue prints furnished and was much pleased at yours.
7 a.m., December 29th.–Dispatches received announcing capture of B. F. and orders to move camp on 30th, watching country to east and west and stragglers from bands of Messrs. B. F. and Short Bull.  Will go into Bad Lands to-day for any stragglers there and send them on and carry out above order.
[P.S.] Xmas eve night, on our march out, a party of Indians, knowing of our coming in “Bad Lands”, rushed out by north trail, and were induced to come back by others.  I don’t believe those Indians would have given us a fight. (by courier – no indication as to when Brooke’s A. A. G. received this message, likely afternoon or evening of Dec. 29) {627-628}

Tomorrow Forsyth and Henry clash with Two Strikes and Short Bulls’ Indians.

(click to open Hunting for Big Foot homepage)

Source: John R. Brooke, Sioux Campaign 1890-91, vols. 1 and 2 (Philadelphia: Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1919). These documents were typed and certified as true copies by 1st Lieut. James T. Dean who served as aide-de-camp to General Brooke from February 1893 to May 1895. These original certified copies appear to have been bound into two volumes and an index likely by Lieut. Dean during that same time frame. A label in the front of each volume indicates that they were presented by General Brooke to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania on 21 May 1919. The messages were not bound in chronological sequence, but rather grouped by similar material. The messages presented here have been reordered chronologically and represent only a portion of all the documents. Numbers inside the braces ‘{666}’ at the end of each message denote respective page numbers from the bound volumes. A select few of these documents–145 of over 1,080 pages–are also available online from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania under the title, “Correspondence, Sioux Campaign (vol. 2),” ( accessed 8 Sep 2015.  Maps and insets are from William F. Kelley, Pine Ridge 1890: An Eye Witness Account of the Events Surrounding the Fighting at Wounded Knee, edited and compiled by Alexander Kelley & Pierre Bovis (San Francisco: Pierre Bovis, 1971), fold out map attached to back of book.

Citation for this article: Samuel L. Russell, “Hunting for Big Foot, part 7: 29 December 1890,” Army at Wounded Knee (Carlisle, PA: Russell Martial Research, 2015-2016, posted 29 Dec 2015, 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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One Response to Hunting for Big Foot, part 7: 29 December 1890.

  1. Lawrence F. Nirenberg says:

    Sam, if I may;
    Only one word comes to my mind describing these articles you’ve written. That word is “Outstanding”. Your Great-great-grandfather was certainly a man to be proud of. A fine soldier. I still have my doubts as far as Colonel Forsyth’s abilitys were concerned, but we can argue that forever. I’m still searching as to who owned the Winchester Carbine in the photo you sent me. Photographer or dead Indian? Perhaps one day I’ll find out. In any case we all owe you a debt of gratitude for the work you’ve put into these articles. Thank you, Larry N.

    Liked by 1 person

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