The Unpublished Manuscript of Major L. S. McCormick, 7th Cavalry

The Indians broke in the general direction of their village and endeavored to penetrate the line of Troops “B” and “K”, but the soldiers stood their ground and returned the fire to the best of their ability.

Note: In December 1890, Loyd Stone McCormick was serving as a First Lieutenant and the 7th Cavalry’s Regimental Adjutant, at Wounded Knee. McCormick wrote this unpublished manuscript in 1904 while serving as a Major in the 7th Cavalry. Some years after writing this manuscript McCormick stated, “I did this more to get the result of the investigation of General Forsyth (then Colonel of the regiment) in a tangible shape than for any other reason.” Based on that statement McCormick likely had access to and used the reports and correspondence associated with the investigation as the basis of his manuscript. However, as he did not cite sources, did not publish the manuscript in any professional journal or magazine, and wrote it fourteen years after the battle, I have categorized this account as Reminiscences. I originally posted McCormick’s account in three parts in January 2014. It is posted now in its entirety.

First Lieutenant Loyd S. McCormick, Regimental Adjutant, 7th Cavalry, at Pine Ridge Agency, 16 Jan. 1891. Cropped from John C. H. Grabill’s photograph, “The Fighting 7th Officers.”

First Lieutenant Loyd S. McCormick, Regimental Adjutant, 7th Cavalry, at Pine Ridge Agency, 16 Jan. 1891. Cropped from John C. H. Grabill’s photograph, “The Fighting 7th Officers.”

December 29th and 30th, 1890

An account of the conditions and events which precede the collecting of United States forces at several places in South Dakota during the fall and winter of 1890-91, will be necessary in order that the reader may understand the peculiarities of the problem which was presented for solution, and the difficulties to be encountered in a real effort to meet the emergency.

During the late summer and fall of 1890, the Indians throughout the country, but particularly those at the agencies in North and South Dakota, had shown signs of unrest. In many cases they had refused to obey their agents and, generally, had adopted a very arrogant bearing. The cause of this change was not at first apparent, and the authorities, as a rule, were puzzled to account for it. Although it was known in a general way that the Indians were engaging in some unusual ceremonies, it was well into the fall before the more serious aspects of the matter appealed to the military authorities. By this time fanatic zeal had so possessed a large number of Indians that there was a general belief that a Messiah was soon to appear, and that with him would be a return of the buffalo, a resurrection of dead Indians, and the annihilation of the white man. A feverish excitement pervaded most of the agencies, and different Medicine Men took advantage of this condition to so play on the feelings of the savages as to convince a large percentage that the rule of the white man could easily be terminated. Such a desirable change appealed strongly to their superstitious natures, and when the Indians had been worked up to the top notch of ardor, the announcement was made that the bullets of the white men could not harm them if they would wear the “Ghost Shirt.” The material of which these were made was the unbleached muslin issued to the Indians at the agencies; but the shirt must be made up by certain squaws designated by the Medicine Men of each band. These shirts sold for five dollars each, and it was thought by not a few that the trade in shirts was sufficient stimulae to unusual efforts in convincing the deluded savages that by means of the shirt alone could they hope to reap the benefits to accrue as soon as the Messiah should appear.

With such a sentiment prevailing, it is not to be wondered at that agents, who had had little or no experience in handling Indians should be amazed at their surly and impudent demeanor; and that some of them should jump to the conclusion that a general war was to be proclaimed by the Red Man. A few of the agents had the nerve to meet the emergency in a partly effective manner, but many of them seemed helpless and at a loss to institute any measures to counteract the tendencies. And it is a question whether these could have been wholly overcome, and a more or less serious conflict averted. The religious element was the most potent factor in this fanatic zeal and ardor; and it is well known that, from the earliest times, such a disturbance has been the most difficult to overcome.

Although this feverish unrest had, to a certain extent, taken possession of the Indians at all the agencies of the country, those in the northwest had been much more generally affected than those south of the Union Pacific Railroad–due possibly to the less interrupted communication. There is kept up between all of the northern agencies an almost continual connection by means of Indian runners, and so-called hunting parties. This disaffection was rapidly reaching an acute stage, when the agent at Pine Ridge, South Dakota, deserted his post and asked for military protection, asserting that the Indians at his agency had become intractable. This was one of the largest agencies, and was located about thirty miles north of Rushville, Nebraska. The Indians here were Sioux, and a more unfavorable place for the agent to fall down could not have been selected, as the Sioux is a warlike and turbulent tribe, more easily aroused than quieted.

The forces at several military posts had, in the meantime, been directed to hold themselves in readiness for field duty, so we were not surprised when the telegraphic order arrived at Fort Riley, Kansas for the Headquarters and eight troops of the Regiment, stationed at that post, to proceed at once by rail to Pine Ridge and report for duty to Brigadier General John R. Brooke, who had arrived a few days before and was personally in charge of the military preparations. The officers who accompanied the command were:–

Colonel James W. Forsyth, 7th Cavalry, Commanding,
Major Samuel M. Whitside,         ”            Commanding 1st Squadron,
Captain Charles S. Ilsley,             ”            Comdg. Troop E & 2s Sqd.
1st Lieut. L. S. McCormick,         ”            Regimental Adjutant,
Capt. & Asst. Surgeon J. Van R. Hoff, Med. Dept., Surgeon,
1st Lt. & Asst. Surgeon James D. Glennan, Med. Dept.
1st Lieut. Joseph E. Maxfield, Signal Dept., Signal Officer,
Capt. Myles Moylan,           7th Cavalry, Comdg. Troop A,
1st Lieut. Ernest A. Garlington,   ”           with           ”
Capt. Charles A. Varnum,             ”           Comdg. Troop B,
1st Lieut. John C. Gresham,         ”           with           ”
2nd Lieut. Edwin C. Bullock,        ”            with          ”      and acting Quartermaster
Captain Henry Jackson,                ”           Comdg. Troop C,
1st Lieut. Luther R. Hare,            ”            with           ”
2nd Lieut. T. Q. Donaldson, jr.,    ”            with           ”
1st Lieut. W. W. Robinson, jr.,     ”            Comdg. Troop D,
2nd Lieut. S. R. H. Tompkins,      ”            with           ”
1st Lieut. Horatio G. Sickel,         ”            with Troop E,
2nd Lieut. Sedgwick Rice,            ”            with Troop E,
Capt. Winfield S. Edgerly,            ”             Comdg. Troop G,
1st Lieut. William J. Nicholson,   ”             with Troop I,
1st Lieut. Edwin P. Brewer,         ”             with Troop G,
Capt. Henry J. Nowlan,                ”             Comdg. Troop I,
2nd Lieut. John C. Waterman,    ”             with           ”
Capt. George D. Wallace,              ”             Comdg. Troop K,
1st Lieut. James D. Mann,           ”             with Troop K.

Veterinary surgeon Daniel Lemay, 7th Cavalry, accompanied the command. 1st Lieutenant Ezra B. Fuller, Regimental Quartermaster, was left back a few days to turn over the public property at the post, but joined and relieved Lieutenant Bullock of his duties as Quartermaster before the first fight. Captain Edward S. Godfrey joined from detached service soon after we arrived at Pine Ridge, and was present in command of his troop (D) in both fights. 2nd Lieutenant Herbert G. Squiers joined from detached service, but was ordered to appear for examination for promotion before a board sitting at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. 2nd Lieutenant J. F. Bell joined from detached service. Lieutenants Hare and Bullock were sent back to Fort Riley, Kansas on account of sickness. The four last named officers were unfortunate in not being able to take part in the fights. From Fort Riley also went as part of the command, Light Battery “E” 1st Artillery, with the following officers: Captain Allyn Capron, 1st Lieutenant Albert Todd, and 2nd Lieutenant Harry L. Hawthorne.

The railroad trip from Fort Riley to Rushville, Nebraska, was noteworthy only in the poor service rendered by the company, both as to speed and accommodations for men and animals. After many and unaccountable delays we reached Rushville about daybreak on the 24th of November, detrained, and marched about eight miles and went into camp. While on the way to the agency next day almost continual firing was suddenly heard to the right front. This firing was at a distance, and the only explanation seemed to be that a fight was in progress between the Indians and the few troops already at the agency; although the absence of any word from General Brooke, who had been apprised by telegraph of our approach, left this in doubt. Two troops were sent at a gallop in the direction of the firing, and the remainder of the command took the trot. After marching nearly two miles at these gaits, word was received from the two troops in advance that the firing was caused by the Indians killing the cattle as they were issued to them. This information was a great relief, as every one knew that the small force at the agency could not hold out very long, if hostilities had begun.

We arrived at the agency about noon, November 25th without further incident, and by General Brooke’s direction went into camp in the bottom south of the agency. There remained in and around the agency a large number of Indians, but a great many bucks had left and were camped in the Bad Lands about thirty miles north; and with these Bucks, General Brooke had been negotiating. Their camp was known as “the hostile camp,” and in it were also several disaffected bands from other points. The Indians who had remained at the agency were not considered, by officers who had had much experience in such matters, any more inclined to peace than those in the hostile camp; and this belief was confirmed, when the first actual conflict occurred later at Wounded Knee, by nearly every Indian hastily leaving for the hostile camp; and firing into the agency as he went. However, these negotiations were continued by General Brooke with a view to getting all the Indians to come from the hostile camp to the agency–the idea apparently being that this would settle the question. Almost daily communication was kept up, but with true Indian cunning, very little was accomplished toward committing the Indians to a peaceful acquiescence. One day the report would be very favorable, the next, matters would be at a standstill.

This backing and filling continued until the killing of Sitting Bull near Standing Rock Agency, December 15th 1890. Sitting Bull was a chief and the head Medicine Man of the Sioux, who had for years devoted himself in every possible way to stirring up discontent. To curb this dangerous influence, his arrest was ordered, and accomplished; but within a few moments thereafter, he uttered a signal shout to which his band at once responded, and in the fight which followed, he, with several others on each side, was killed. This event, however beneficial it ultimately proved to be, caused a suspension of Brooke’s negotiations, and for a few days it looked as if nothing short of force would accomplish any desired results. The negotiations were, however, soon resumed.

There were several bands of Indians out from the Missouri River agencies, and troops from different posts were in the field watching them. One of these bands was under Big Foot, a very surly and treacherous Indian. His camp was on the Cheyenne River, and after Sitting Bull’s death his following was very much increased by small parties of bucks from different points. During the night of December 22d, Big Foot and his band escaped from the force whose duty it was to control him. to prevent his joining the hostile camp north of Pine Ridge was of the utmost importance; and for this purpose General Forsyth, under orders from General Brooke, sent Whitside on December 26th, with his squadron (Troops A, B, I, K) and two Hotchkiss guns under Lieutenant Hawthorne, to the Wounded Knee Post Office to intercept Big Foot if possible. Assistant Surgeon Glennan accompanied this command.

Major General Nelson A. Miles, Commanding the Division, was at Rapid City, South Dakota, exercising command of all the forces in the field. He had more than once, since Big Foot’s escape, forcibly reminded Brooke of the danger attending his freedom, and of the absolute necessity of again having him under control. This was the tenor of all the orders and instructions given regarding Big Foot. Whitside captured Big Foot December 28th, about six miles from Wounded Knee, and brought the entire party in to his camp. He sent a request to Brooke at Pine Ridge for the remainder of the 7th Cavalry, and the battery. This request was complied with, and at 8:45 that night the entire Fort Riley Contingent (excepting a small camp guard) and a Company of Indian Scouts under 1st Lieutenant Charles W. Taylor and 2nd Lieutenant Guy H. Preston, 9th Cavalry, were at Wounded Knee Post Office, eighteen miles from the agency. Whitside had already located the Indian village on the flat about one hundred and fifty yards southwest of his camp; he had counted the band and two hundred and thirty women and children, and one hundred and twenty bucks, and issued rations to them. He had detailed Troops “A” and “I” as guard for this night, dividing them into three reliefs with an officer in charge of each relief. The two Captains divided the night in the duties of Officer of the Day. Forsyth’s force joined Whitside’s with as little commotion as possible, and as it had no baggage of any kind it bivouacked for the night and no change was made in Whitside’s dispositions.

Brooke’s order to Whitside was to “find Big Foot move on him at once and with rapidity, capture him, and if he fought, to destroy him.” Those elements of the order without condition, had been completely executed. Capture by United States forces had never inspired Indians with very much terror. It is always followed by an issue of rations, which is repeated at regular intervals, and finally terminated, as a rule with liberty and forgiveness for all crimes and disorders, no matter how serious have been the consequences. On Forsyth, as will be seen, was imposed the ticklish business of disarming this band of fanatics; and this has always been the critical stage in dealing with captured Indians—even when not inflamed to the point of insanity by religious zeal. In fact, complete disarmament has been so rare that the rules of chance have not yet presented any variety of results. A fight will always take place, and it is absurd, to even hope for the contrary. To the Indian a gun is the most cherished of all earthly possessions. The cost almost precludes the possibility of any one Indian buying more than one gun during a lifetime. How persistently would the civilized white man cling to any of his treasures if he saw no prospect of replacing them! The Indian recognizes the superiority of the white man’s gun over his own bow and arrow for hunting purposes; and as his hunting is for subsistence alone, and is not for the mere fun of seeing animals die, it is not hard to understand this intensity of feeling. It would be instructive to see the workings of a law (assuming that it would be constitutional) requiring the citizens of this country to surrender their sporting guns; and to note the protestations, concealments, lies, and even forcible resistance which those executing such a law would encounter. The noble Red Man himself could pick up points; yet we like to consider him as the culmination of all that is troublesome, unreliable, and treacherous. And this band did possess all of these attributes in a marked degree.

Whitside hoped to so overawe its members by numbers as to convince them that resistance, to the demand that was to follow, would be useless; and thus accomplish the purpose without loss of life. Believing as they did, that their ghost shirts would protect them from the bullets of the soldiers, he might as well have tried to overawe so many lions. Forsyth’s orders from Brooke were “to disarm the Indians where they were camped, to, under no circumstances, allow any of them to escape, and to destroy them if they resisted.” The difficulties coincident with the execution of this duty have been partially explained; and no subordinate ever had a more delicate service to perform. In this connection it must be remembered that Forsyth could not take the initiative in actual conflict with the Indians. Had such a course been in accord with the policy of the government, he could have announced his ultimatum of immediate surrender of arms, or destruction, and governed himself accordingly. Instead, by the limitations of this policy, he was chiefly occupied in an endeavor to obey his order “to disarm,” without resorting to the alternative “to destroy”—though at the same time taking the necessary precautions to meet what all feared would follow.

Early in the morning of December 29th, Forsyth made his dispositions for the coming contest in diplomacy, it was hoped; but in force, it was feared. Whitside’s sentinels from Troops “A” and “I”, and the remainder of the guard, were left as morning found them—one third on post around the village, and the other two thirds stationed at suitable points from which to support the sentinels in case of necessity. Troops “B” and “K” were held in reserve, to be used as occasion demanded. These four Troops remained dismounted, their horses being left at the picket lines in camp. Troops “C”, “D”, “E”, and “G” were mounted and stationed at such sheltered positions as were available around and at some distance from the flat on which the village was located. The artillery was placed on a rise of ground north of and over looking and controlling the flat, with Troop “E” near at hand. All were cautioned to avoid doing anything to excite suspicion on the part of the Indians. When these arrangements were completed, Forsyth called a council, and took his place on the flat between Whitside’s camp and the village. Only a part of the bucks responded, and, after showing themselves, they returned to the village. This constant moving back and forth continued for half an hour or more, the bucks paying no attention to Forsyth’s instructions to listen to what he had to say. Finally, Big Foot, who was ill with pneumonia, was brought from the tent which had been pitched for his comfort and treatment, and in front of which Forsyth stood, and was persuaded to cause his bucks to assemble. Even then they paid little or no attention to the purpose of the council, and many of them returned to the village in defiance of every effort to restrain them. It then became necessary to adopt some method by which they could be held until Forsyth could explain what he had been ordered to demand of them. For this purpose, Troops “B”, and “K” were moved to the flat between the village and the place of council, and placed in effective position. Several bucks, at different times, tried to push themselves through these lines toward the village, and it required the greatest forbearance on the part of the officers and men to prevent an outbreak.

After the placing of these two troops to hold the bucks, Forsyth plainly told them that he was ordered by higher authority to secure their arms; and tried to impress them with the fact that the government would deal fairly and kindly with them. Just here is where the real trouble began. His announcement was received with the sullen defiance so often displayed by strikers during labor troubles—with this effective difference, that the Indians believed themselves to be absolutely safe from all attacks by white men. It was surprising to see the perfect confidence they had in their ghost shirts. Big Foot gave some instructions, and as a result a few broken and worthless guns were brought over from the village. He was then informed that those few guns could not be taken as a compliance with the orders of the government. He [Big Foot] replied that his people had no more guns, that they had been burned by the troops on the Cheyenne River. His statement was not believed, and it was apparent that to get any serviceable arms we would have to find and take them. Forsyth then ordered Whitside to have the village searched. The Captains of Troops “B” and “K” (Varnum and Wallace) with small details, were designated for this duty—Wallace starting on the flank of the village farthest from our camp, and Varnum on the other flank, each working toward the center. The Indians had evidently expected this search, and had taken every possible precaution. Several tepees on each flank had been searched without result, when someone noticed a squaw sitting on the ground with her clothes spread out more than usual. She would not get up when told to do so, and it was necessary for two soldiers to take her by the hands and raise her to her feet, disclosing two guns which had been very cleverly concealed. The search was resumed, and. under nearly every squaw and child was found some sort of a weapon. Wallace and Varnum were cautioned against allowing their details to use any more force than necessity demanded in making these searches. A number of knives, war clubs, and about forty guns, many of which were unserviceable, were taken out of the village. Forsyth was satisfied that full results had not yet been obtained, and again demanded from Big Foot a compliance with the orders, calling his attention to the fact that every buck had a gun at the surrender the day before. Big Foot simply repeated his former assertions about having been deprived of his guns on the Cheyenne River. Every place had been searched except the persons of the bucks, and Forsyth could not feel that he had fully executed his orders to disarm this band, if any place was left unsearched; so, instructions were given for each buck to be examined. To properly accomplish this, the Indians were told to return to their village by passing through the interval between Troops “B” and “K”, and to allow the details at that point to search them for arms and ammunition.

It was then about half past nine o’clock in the morning, and the Medicine Man of the band had been indulging in an almost continuous harangue. Little attention had been given to this by Forsyth until Interpreter P. F. Wells of Lieutenant Taylor’s company of Scouts, who had been acting as interpreter in the council, informed him that the Indian had suddenly changed the tenor of his address, and was then trying to induce his comrades to resist the personal search, claiming that they could not be harmed by the bullets of the soldiers. Forsyth had a great deal of trouble in causing this man to cease his efforts in this direction, but finally he sat down although his manner plainly indicated that he was still determined to carry his point if possible. Father F. M. J. Craft, a Catholic priest from the agency, had been present at the council doing all he could to persuade the Indians to submit. The personal search began, and about half a dozen of the older Indians had passed through the interval designated , and allowed the details to search under their blankets, when the Medicine Man reached down, gathered a handful of dust, and threw it into the air. Captain Varnum, although some little distance away assisting in the search, saw this sign, recognized it, and called—“Look out! they’ve broken.”

Although the blankets fell from the Indians as suddenly as a fireman is deprived of his bedding when an alarm is turned in, and every buck began to use his gun as rapidly as possible, Captain Varnum’s warning no doubt brought to many a young soldier a realization of the fact that he was in his first fight, and gave him a bracer in the knowledge that all of his comrades had heard the warning and were with him to the end. The Indians broke in the general direction of their village and endeavored to penetrate the line of Troops “B” and “K”, but the soldiers stood their ground and returned the fire to the best of their ability. It should be remembered that every shot fired by the Indians at this stage, was toward their own village in which were their women and children, and that not a single soldier was so placed as to fire in that direction, but exactly the opposite.

About the time the order was given to prepare for the personal search, it was noticed that the squaws and children were saddling ponies, hitching their teams and loading considerable plunder in their wagons. When asked for an explanation of this the bucks said they were simply getting ready so that they would not delay the command. At the first shot the squaws leaped in the wagons and drove out of their village and took an old road leading along the base of the hill on which the artillery had been located. The bucks soon scattered around the flanks of Troops “B” and “K” and endeavored to follow their families, some of which had been unable to reach the old road and had then crossed a deep ravine which was the southern limit of the flat. No wagons escaped in this direction, and the number of bucks was not large, although several followed up the ravine and in that way tried to reach the foot hills. Those Indians who were not killed in the first clash and who succeeded in getting in rear of their women and children, necessarily now drew our fire in their direction. Troops “B” and “K”, in order to allow the other Troops to open fire, gradually changed their position to the hill where the Artillery was. Troops “A” and “I” (these were the Troops that furnished the sentinels and supports) held the positions they occupied, and on them the sentinels assembled. The Artillery had not yet had a chance to take part without endangering our own men, but was ready and watching for the first opportunity. The Indian Scouts disappeared early in the action. The mounted Troops (“C”, “D”, “E”, and “G”) dismounted at the first shot, and after placing their horses as safely as possible, waited for orders. The Troop Commanders allowed a few of their sharpshooters to fire at certain Indians, but the rest of the men were kept ready for any call.

This fight on the flat was very hot, and by the time Troops “B” and “K” had changed their positions to the hill, not many bucks were possessed of motive power; and a number of those who had escaped around the flanks of the line had been killed by the sharpshooters of Troops “C”, “D”, “E”, and “G”. Several had, however, succeeded in reaching the foot hills and the dense brush growing in the ravines. Whitside’s squadron had borne the brunt of the fight and had, in less than an hour, permanently disposed of most of the bucks. Forsyth sent orders to Troops “C”, and “D”, and “G” of the other squadron to pursue those Indians who had escaped and, to capture and kill the men, and to capture the women and children. The three troops mounted and set out at a gallop, and a running fight took place with these Indian bucks for two or three miles, when all who had not been killed were captured. During this time, the killed and wounded were being collected, and the latter attended to in the best possible manner by Captain Hoff and Lieutenant Glennan. The results of Captain Hoff’s continued and efficient instructions of the company bearers of the regiment were so marked as to produce general praises. He received several bullets through his clothing while dressing wounds on the field.

Instead of fleeing to the hills, two or three bucks had secreted themselves in the brush near the head of the deep ravine south of the flat, and by moving about had escaped destruction, although a Hotchkiss gun under Lieutenant Hawthorne, and detachments of Troop “H” had been trying to dislodge them. It was while on this duty with his gun advanced to short range in order to get better control of the brush, that Lieut. Hawthorne received a severe [wound] in the groin. Earlier in the action Captain Wallace had been killed, and Lieutenant Garlington severely, and Lieutenant Gresham slightly wounded. 1st Lieutenant John Kinzie, 2nd Infantry, present but not on duty of any kind, was shot through the heel. Father Craft had been stabbed through the body from behind; and Interpreter Wells’ nose had been almost severed from his face. Capt. and Assistant Surgeon C. B. Ewing was present but not on duty with any organization.

In the meantime Captain Jackson’s Troop had captured a number of Indians, principally women and children, in the foot hills, when he was confronted by a about a hundred bucks who had come out from the agency (whom the authorities had supposed to be peaceful Indians) and had, sent back for reinforcements. Troops “D” and “G” were ordered to move from their work in the adjacent hills to Jackson’s assistance; and Troop “H” was assembled and was about to go to the same point when Jackson sent word that the agency Indians had retired. A counting of dead bucks had been going on for some time, and as all but two or three of Big Foot’s band were accounted for, every effort was directed towards the care of our dead, and the wounded of both sides. About this time a train of ten or fifteen wagons appeared on the scene loaded with rations and forage from the agency, and intended for Whitside’s squadron in escorting Big Foot’s disarmed band, to a station on the railroad, whence they were to be taken to some reservation at a distance.

Up to this time the transportation present was so limited that moving the dead and, wounded was an impossibility; and a beginning had been made to construct temporary entrenchments on the hill north of the flat, as it seemed a foregone conclusion that we would have to remain there until such time as means for moving the wounded were sent to us. The hostile camp was not a great distance west of us, and an attack from that quarter was not at all unlikely, as soon as news of our fight could reach it; and the temper of the agency Indians was very apparent from Jackson’s encounter in the hills. The arrival of this train offered a solution. The wagons were unloaded and a layer of sacked oats placed in the bottom, over which was spread a thick layer of hay; and in these wagons the dead and wounded were taken to Pine Ridge that night, in order to get them where they could be properly cared for. After all our wagons were loaded there were four or five wounded Indians not provided for. One of the Indian wagons was secured for these, and by gathering pieces of harness from different parts of the field, we finally had all ready for the terrible ride of eighteen miles. There were two ambulances, and in one of them Lieutenants Garlington and Hawthorne were placed; and in the other Father Craft and a non-commissioned officer. The transportation for these four was bad enough, but it was heavenly when compared with the springless jolts of the freight wagon. It took us from five o’clock until a about half past eleven to march in—the rate being regulated by that of the wagons.

To recapitulate, we started with the bodies of one officer and twenty-four enlisted men of the 7th Cavalry, and one hospital Steward; and of wounded, one officer and thirty three enlisted men of the 7th Cavalry, one officer of the 1st Artillery and one of the 2nd Infantry, one interpreter, and one civilian. Three of the wounded enlisted men died in the wagons, and five afterwards as a result of their wounds. As it was impossible to bury the dead Indians, they were left on the field; but all wounded Indians were given the best attention possible and taken with us to the agency. A party was sent out in a few days and buried one hundred and forty-six on the field. With very few exceptions all the bucks were still there.

When we arrived at the agency Forsyth stopped and made a verbal report to General Brooke. The regiment and battery went to their camps, cared for their horses, and speedily sought their blankets. A great many of the Indians, who had been living at the agency and who had by some been considered as friendly, had disappeared in the direction of the hostile camp. Just when they would appear again, and whether as an attacking force or as ration receivers, was a question; and there was necessarily considerable excitement among the troops, which prevented much sleep. Immediately after reveille next morning, December 30th, we were summoned to go to the help of the train of a squadron of the 9th Cavalry, which was following that squadron to its camp at the agency. Major Guy V. Henry, Commanding, had come in ahead with three of the Troops, leaving one troop as a guard to the train. It had been attacked by Indians, and one corporal had been killed. This squadron had made quite a long march, and the 7th Cavalry was considered in better condition for the work. After a gallop of about three miles, we found the train and escorted it to the agency.

Within an hour the 7th Cavalry and Light Battery “E”, 1st Artillery, were again called for to go to the Drexel Mission, about four miles away, on the report that Indians were burning the Mission. Arriving there we found the report a mistake, although they had fired a log school house, located at a little distance from the Mission. An interview with those in charge convinced Forsyth that the Mission was in no danger, and he had given orders to return to the agency, when a report came in from the advance guard that one of the scouts claimed that he heard the firing of heavy guns from the direction of the hostile camp. Forsyth had already executed the orders under which he had been sent to the Mission, but could not well turn back in the face of this report, particularly as it was quite possible that a fight was in progress in his front between the forces known to be in that direction and the unknown number of Indians. Deciding to investigate matters a little more, he sent a report to General Brooke with request for the 9th Cavalry squadron to join him, and continued his march down the valley. The advance guard developed and drove back a small party; but soon afterwards a very much larger force was opposed to us. Proper dispositions were made on commanding ground about two miles below the Mission. There was nothing to indicate that there was any fight in our front, and as Forsyth was not expected to bring on an unnecessary engagement, and, as our men had practically been without food for forty-eight hours, he gave orders for the return to camp, withdrawing Whitside’s squadron and the Artillery first, and leaving Ilsley’s squadron in position until Whiteside could occupy one in rear, when Ilsley was to withdraw to the rear of Whitside.

Whitside’s squadron was approaching its position when a sharp fire was directed against it from the hills on its right flank. Part of the squadron was formed toward the right and occupied a crest which controlled the situation. As Ilsley’s squadron retired it was so utilized as to aid in the withdrawal. About this time Henry’s squadron of the 9th Cavalry arrived from the Agency, and under Forsyth’s direction was used for the same purpose. One enlisted man was killed in this affair, and 1st Lieutenant James D. Mann and six enlisted men were wounded. Lieut. Mann afterwards died as a result of this wound. The loss to the Indians was never known. The command arrived at the agency about four o’clock in the afternoon.

As a sequel to these two fights, Colonel Forsyth was relieved from command of his regiment by General Miles and subjected to an investigation of his conduct of the two engagements. The following endorsements show the action taken by the Major General commanding the Army, and the Secretary of War, on the reports of the investigation.

February 4, 1891.
Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War.
The interests of the military service do not, in my judgment, demand any further proceedings in this case, nor any longer continuance of Colonel Forsyth’s suspension from the command of his regiment.
The evidence in these papers shows that great care was taken by the officers and generally by the enlisted men to avoid unnecessary killing of women and children in the affair at Wounded Knee, and shows that the conduct of the 7th Cavalry, under very trying circumstances, was characterized by excellent discipline, and in many cases, by great forbearance. In my judgment the conduct of the regiment was well worthy of the commendation bestowed upon it by me in my first telegram after the engagement.
Signed J. M. Schofield,
Major General, Commanding.

War Department,
Office of the Secretary,
Washington, February 12, 1891.
Respectfully returned to the Major general Commanding.
From the testimony taken by Major Kent and Captain Baldwin, two officers of General Mile’s Staff, ordered by him to investigate the fight at Wounded Knee, it appears that before the action, Big Foot’s band had been joined by Sitting Bull’s following, and these bands embraced the most fanatical and desperate element among the Sioux. They surrendered because of the necessities of their situation rather than from submissive spirit. It was the sullen and unwilling yielding of a band of savage fanatics, who were overmatched and out of food, to superior force. It was not in good faith on the part of the younger braves, at least, but yet not with any definite prearranged plan of treachery.
It was manifestly an imperative necessity to prevent the escape of any of these desperadoes during the process of disarming or as a consequence of the attempt to disarm them, for such escape would probably have resulted in a destructive raid upon the settlements. The troops appear to have been well disposed to prevent an outbreak which was not and could hardly have been anticipated by any one, under the circumstances, even in dealing with Indians, and the dispositions made appear to have had the desired effect of convincing at least a majority of the Indians of the futility of any attempt to escape. If treachery was premeditated by any of the Indians, which seems extremely improbable, the majority of them were deterred from attempting to execute it, until incited by the speech of the ghost dancer.
The disarmament was commenced and it was evident that the Indians were sullenly trying to evade the order. To carry out this order the men had been ordered out from their camp, to separate them from their women and children, and were formed about a hundred yards away, and Troop “K” and “B” were posted midway between them and their tepees. When ordered to surrender their arms they produced two broken carbines and stated that was all they had, but when the partial search of the tepees was made before the firing commenced, about forty arms were found, the squaws making every effort to conceal same by hiding and sitting on them, and in various other ways evincing a most sullen mien. The disarmament was much more thorough than they expected, and when they found that the arms were to be taken from their tepees, and those they had concealed under their blankets were to be taken away also, they were carried away by the harangue of the ghost dancer, and, wheeling about, opened fire. Nothing illustrates the madness of their outbreak more forcibly than the fact that their first fire was so directed that every shot that did not hit a soldier must have gone through their own village. There is little doubt that the first killing of women and children was by this first fire of the Indians themselves. They then made a rush to break through and around the flanks of Troop “K”, commanded by the gallant Captain Wallace, and reached their tepees, where many of them had left their arms with the squaws, and they continued the firing from among their own women and children, and when they started from their camp, their women and children were mingled with them. The women and children were never away from the immediate company of the men after the latter broke from the circle. Many of the men and women got on their ponies, and it is impossible to distinguish buck from squaw at a little distance when mounted. The men fired from among the children and women in their retreat. Cautions were repeatedly given by officers and non-commissioned officers not to shoot squaws or children, and the men were cautioned individually that such and such Indians were squaws. The firing by the troops was entirely directed on the men in the circle and in a direction opposite from the tepees until the Indians, after their break, mingled with their women and children, thus exposing them to the fire of the troops, and as a consequence, some were unavoidably killed and wounded, a fact which was universally regretted by the officers and men of the Seventh Cavalry. This unfortunate phase of the affair grew out of circumstances for which the Indians themselves were entirely responsible. Major Whitside emphatically declares that at least fifty shots were fired by the Indians before the troops returned the fire. Several special instances of humanity in the saving of women and, children were noted.
That it resulted in the loss of the lives of many good soldiers and the wounding of many others, as well as the almost total destruction of the Indian warriors, was one of the inevitable consequences of such acts of insane desperation.
The bodies of an Indian women and three children who had been shot down three miles from Wounded Knee were found some days after the battle and buried by Captain Baldwin, of the 5th infantry, on the 21st day of January; but It does not appear that this killing had any connection with the fight at Wounded Knee, nor that Colonel Forsyth is in an way responsible for it. Necessary orders will be given to insure a thorough investigation of the transaction and the prompt punishment of the criminals.
No doubt the position of the troops made it necessary for some of them to withhold, their fire for a time in order that they might not endanger the lives of their comrades, but both Major Kent and Captain Baldwin concur in finding that the evidence “fails to establish that a single man of Colonel Forsyth’s command was killed or wounded by his fellows.” This fact, and, indeed, the conduct of both officers and men through the whole affair demonstrates an exceedingly satisfactory state of discipline in the 7th Cavalry. Their behavior was characterized by skill, coolness, discretion and forbearance, and reflects the highest possible credit upon the regiment, which sustained a loss of one officer, and twenty-four enlisted men wounded.
The situation at Wounded Knee Creek was a very unusual and a very difficult one, far more difficult than that involved in an ordinary battle, where the only question is of gaining a victory without an effort to save the lives of the enemy. It is easy to make plans when we look backward, but in the light of actual conditions, as they appeared to the commanding officer, there does not seem to be anything in the arrangement of the troops requiring adverse criticism on the part of the Department.
I therefore approve of the endorsement of the Major General Commanding, that the interests of the military service do not demand any further proceedings in this case. By direction of the President, Colonel Forsyth will resume the command of his regiment.
Signed Redfield Proctor,
Secretary of War,

Source: Maj. Loyd S. McCormick, “Wounded Knee and Drexel Mission Fights. December 29th and 30th, 1890,” (Fort Leavenworth: unpublished manuscript, 1904) pp. 1-6. On file at Newberry Library, Chicago, IL, Special Collections, 4th Floor, Call Number: Ayer 228 .C922.
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Sergeant Emanuel Hennessee and Private Frank Mahoney, G Troop, 7th Cavalry, Conspicuous Bravery

For conspicuous bravery and good conduct in front of the skirmish line in action against hostile Sioux Indians at
White Clay Creek, S.D.

Not all recommendations for Medals of Honor from the Pine Ridge Campaign of 1890-1891 were approved. Lieutenant Hale was one such example of a recommendation for a Medal of Honor that was disapproved. In the case of Captain Fechét, the recommendation for his actions to rescue the Indian police besieged in Sitting Bull’s camp following that chief’s death was viewed by the Commanding General of the Army as not worthy even of honorable mention in general orders. In the 7th Cavalry Regiment, there were at least two recommendations for Medals of Honor that ultimately were approved for lesser recognition.

During the fight on 30 December 1890 near the Catholic Mission on White Clay Creek, Captain W. S. Edgerly and his troop were in a precarious position while his battalion was attempting to withdraw from the field. Lieutenant W. W. Robinson several years later described the situation, in which G Troop suffered that day’s only fatality among the U.S. troops.

It seems now that the retirement of the 1st Battalion encouraged the Indians in the belief of their strength, and caused them as the 2nd was about to retire, to make quite a vigorous attack upon its left flank. Just as I mounted my horse to retire with the line, I found myself quite fully exposed to the fire of, as I judged, about a dozen Indians on the hills to our left and front, and by one of these shots, Private Clette [sic: Franceschetti] of troop G was killed about ten feet from me.[1]

It likely was during this stage of the engagement that two troopers took the initiative. G Troop was apparently in a defilade position, somewhat protected from the Indians’ direct small arms fire. This also meant the troopers could not put direct fire on the Indians. Sergeant Emanuel “Gus” Hennessee and Private Frank Mahoney moved up in front of the skirmish line to the crest of the ridge covering the unit, exposing themselves to the shots of the Sioux Indians firing on the retiring formations. The two soldiers remained in that exposed position for at least ten minutes, each man “doing good service with his carbine,” according to their commander. It was the sergeant’s twenty-seventh birthday.

In March 1891, Captain Edgerly recommended four of his troopers each be recognized with a Medal of Honor, First Sergeant Toy and Private Hamilton for actions at Wounded Knee, and Sergeant Hennessee and Private Mahoney for actions at the Mission fight.

18910318 - Edgerly recommendation of Hennessee and Mahoney

(Click to enlarge) Two letters written by Captain W. S. Edgerly, commander of G Troop, 7th Cavalry, recommending Medals of Honor be awarded to Sergeant Emanuel Hennessee and Private Frank Mahoney.[2]

These two recommendations are a unique example of the awards process within the War Department in 1891. Captain Edgerly wrote both letters on 18 March. As with several of the award recommendations of the 7th Cavalry that month, the letters were endorsed the next day by the regiment’s adjutant, Lieutenant McCormick, upon consultation with Major Whitside. No mention is made in the correspondence that Colonel Forsyth was on leave and, thus, unable to endorse them himself. McCormick sent the letters by mail from Fort Riley, Kansas, to St Louis, Missouri.[3]

On 21 March, just three days after Edgerly signed the letters, the commanding general of the Department of the Missouri, Brigadier General Wesley Merritt, forwarded the correspondence to the Adjutant General’s Office in Washington, D. C., without making a recommendation, likely because he had no role in the campaign. The A. G. O. wrote up a summation of both award recommendations on 25 March, just a week after the troop commander penned them, and submitted each recommendation to the “Major General Commanding the Army.”[4]

Unlike in the case of the E Troop recommendations, where they were all returned to the regiment for additional detail and endorsement by Colonel Forsyth, Major General John M. Schofield felt he had enough information to make a final determination on both recommendations: that Hennessee and Mahoney would receive honorable mention in general orders rather than be awarded Medals of Honor. Schofield signed the endorsements on 4 April. The entire process from the troop and regiment at Fort Riley, through the Department of the Missouri at St Louis and the Adjutant General’s Office in Washington, to the Commanding General of the Army, took just seventeen days.[5]

Hennessee Medal of Honor recommendation endorsements

(Click to enlarge) Endorsements on the recommendation of Sergeant Emanuel Hennessee for the Medal of Honor.[6]

Unlike in today’s Army, in 1891 there was no 220-page regulation governing the process for awards. There were, instead, just five paragraphs in the Army’s sole regulation, one paragraph for the Medal of Honor and four for the Certificate of Merit. For the Pine Ridge Campaign, Medals of Honor were approved by the Acting Secretary of War, Lewis A. Grant, ostensibly for President Benjamin Harrison on behalf of the Congress. However, General Schofield clearly believed he had the authority to approve a lesser form of recognition in the case of Hennessee and Mahoney, without forwarding the request to the War Department, what, in today’s parlance, would be called downgrading a Medal of Honor recommendation.

Hennessee and Mahoney honorable mention

(Click to enlarge) Draft narrative for honorable mention of Hennessee and Mahoney in General Orders.

At the end of 1891, the Adjutant General’s Office circulated drafts of citations for honorable mention to be published in general orders. The original draft for Hennessee and Mahoney contained the verbatim narrative provided in Captain Edgerly’s letters, but was eventually edited down to a more concise write up devoid of detail. The two G Troop soldiers were commended by General Schofield in General Order No. 100 for, “conspicuous bravery and good conduct in front of the skirmish line in action against hostile Sioux Indians, near the Catholic Mission, on White Clay Creek, South Dakota.” The soldiers’ names appeared in newspapers across the country as among those accorded such accolades, but, unlike recipients of Medals of Honor or Certificates of Merit, whose deeds were published annually in the Army Register, those merely receiving honorable mention were soon forgotten.[7]

Armies engaged in warfare have for millennia brought men of disparate back grounds together, where they engage as comrades in arms, or enemies, in bloody battle, and then go their separate ways to live lives that, but for combat, would never have intersected. Such it was for Sergeant Gus Hennessee and Private Frank Mahoney.

Burton Honey and Theresa Gieber Honey.

Burton Honey with his second wife, Theresa Gieber Honey. Burton Honey was active in the Grand Army of the Republic in Kansas.[9]

Born on 27 March 1861 at Roseville, Illinois, Frank Marian Honey was the eldest child of Burton and Prudence Lucinda (Underwood) Honey. Five months after the birth of his first son, Burton Honey enlisted as a private in the 36th Illinois Infantry Regiment. He was wounded in the battle of Stone River in 1862, and his injuries prevented him from returning to his regiment. He later served as a corporal in the 17th Veteran Reserve Corps, also known as the invalid corps. Following the war, the Honey family relocated to Clyde, Kansas. Prudence bore five boys and a girl, but died in 1875 just months after the birth of her daughter. Burton married Theresa Gieber the following year, and she bore him four daughters and a son. The Honeys moved several times within Kansas from Cloud to Shirley and Strawberry to Ogden.[8]

Catherine Virginia Mitchell Honey

Catherine “Jenny” Mitchell married Frank M. Honey in Manhattan, Kansas in 1885.[11]

Ogden was a small town adjacent to Fort Riley, east of Junction City and west of Manhattan, Kansas. It was while at Ogden that Frank Honey met and married Catherine Virginia “Jenny” Mitchell on 12 May 1885 in Manhattan. She was the third of four children of Robert and Martha (Bower) Mitchell, native Marylanders that had settled in Riley County, Kansas, by 1880. In June 1886, Frank and Jenny’s daughter, Ida, was born, the first of ten children, eight girls and two boys.[10]

Perhaps seeking a steady paycheck to support his new family, Frank Honey went to Fort Riley on 4 June 1888 and enlisted in the 7th Cavalry. Having a wife and child living in the local area at the time of his first enlistment made Frank an oddity in the Army of his day. It is perhaps this reason that he enlisted under the alias “Frank Mahoney.” Standing five foot nine, he had grey eyes, brown hair, and a fair complexion. Four months later, Frank’s younger brother, George, followed his brother’s lead and enlisted in the 7th Cavalry where he served alongside Frank in G Troop. George also listed his last name as Mahoney. However, he did not participate in the Pine Ridge Campaign in 1890, as he was in confinement at Fort Riley facing a court martial. While Frank went where the Army sent him, Jenny remained in Ogden, where all of their children were born.[12]

Frank completed his first enlistment in 1893 at Fort McIntosh, Texas, near the border town of Laredo. He returned to Ogden, where Jenny was raising three daughters; a fourth girl, having died as an infant, was buried in the Fort Riley Post Cemetery. War with Spain brought Frank back to the military in 1898, this time with the 14th Infantry Regiment. He was a corporal in August 1899 when he reenlisted in Manila, Philippines. However, he ran afoul of military discipline and was dishonorably discharged as a private three months later.[13]

Frank returned to Ogden where he and Jenny raised their ever growing family. In addition to raising ten children, seven of whom survived childhood, Frank and Jenny also raised at least two of their grandchildren. The middle daughter, Esther, was unable to care for her two children after her first marriage ended in divorce. Frank and Jenny raised their daughter’s kids, Evelyn and Chester, as their own. In 1942, Frank’s eighteen-year-old grandson enlisted in the Army and went to England where he was commissioned as a navigator on a B-17 crew. In July 1944, Frank received word that his grandson, Second Lieutenant Chester B. Stoupe, assigned to the 525th Bomber Squadron, was missing in action; his B-17 and crew disappeared over the North Atlantic on their maiden flight. A month later Frank Marian Honey passed away at the age of eighty-three. He was laid to rest at Fort Riley, not far from his infant daughter who had been buried there fifty-four years earlier. His wife, Jenny, died eight years later and was buried next to Frank.[14]

Frank, Jenny and Baby Honey headstones

Frank, Jenny, and their infant daughter are buried in the Fort Riley Post Cemetery.[15]


Corporal Emanuel A. Hennessee, Sr., C.S.A., is buried in the Gilboa Methodist Cemetery next to his wife, Elizabeth, in Morganton, North Carolina.[16]

Emanuel Augustus Hennessee, Junior, was born on 30 December 1863, at Morganton, North Carolina. His father, “Manuel” Hennessee, Sr., then serving as a corporal in Company D, 11th N. C. Regiment, was able to return home on furlough the following month to meet his namesake before returning to his regiment in February. Manuel Hennessee had married Elizabeth Caroline Johnson in March 1854, and Emanuel, Jr., was their second son and sixth child. After serving in his regiment for over two and a half years, Corporal Hennessee’s luck ran out when he was shot in the head at the battle of Jones’ Farm during the siege of Petersburg. His comrades carried him from the field certain that the ghastly wound in his forehead was fatal. Miraculously, Manuel Hennessee survived his wound, and after months in a Richmond Hospital, he returned home to his family in Burke County. He was handicapped for the rest of his life, partially deaf and dumb, and paralized on one side of his body. Following the war, Manuel and Elizabeth had four more boys, but unable to provide for his family, the Hennessees struggled in poverty raising their ten children, all of whom survived to adulthood. Elizabeth Hennessee died in 1889 when her youngest was fourteen. The combat disabled Confederate veteran survived the war by four decades, dying in 1903.[17]

At the age of nineteen, the younger Emanuel “Gus” Hennessee, had located to Cincinnati working as a farm hand. He decided to join the Army. His recruiter was Captain Edgerly, his future troop commander. Hennessee indicated he was sixteen, three years younger than his actual age; he likely had permission from a guardian to enlist under the age of twenty-one. He stood five feet seven inches, had grey eyes, brown hair, and a fair complexion. He was a bright young man and quickly earned his sergeants stripes. Hennessee enlisted again in Troop G in 1888 at Fort Riley, still a sergeant, the same rank and position he held at the Wounded Knee and White Clay Creek fights in December 1890. About the time he and Frank Mahoney were being recognized for honorable mention in general orders, Gus Hennessee left the Army early under an 1890 provision. He took a two-and-a-half-year break from the military and began studying medicine at the U. S. Grant University in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In 1885, Hennessee enlisted again indicating his profession as a student and went on to serve in the Hospital Corps and the 1st Artillery. He served a final enlistment, again with D Battery, 1st Artillery, leaving the Army for the final time in September 1899 at Jackson Barracks, Louisiana, with the rank of sergeant and an ‘excellent’ characterization of service.[18]


(Click to enlarge) Dr. E. A. Hennesse in front of his home, The Aerie, in Glen Alpine, N. C., circa 1910.[19]

In 1892 during his break in military service while studying in Chattanooga, Gus Hennessee married Mary “Mollie” Emily Merritt of Carter County, Tennessee. She was the twenty-four-year-old daughter of James and Mary Ann (Garrison) Merritt. The young couple was blessed with their first child, a daughter, at the end of that year. When the former cavalry sergeant turned student reentered the Army, his wife remained in Tennessee, where she bore him three sons during the 1890s until he returned to that state to complete his medical degree, graduating in 1900. Taking Mollie and their four boys–their first born daughter died of diptheria in 1896–he moved back to his native county, Burke, North Carolina, to begin his medical practice. Passing the medical examination in June 1902 and obtaining his license, Dr. E. A. Hennessee settled into the small town of Glen Alpine, six miles west of Morganton. With the success of his practice, Dr. Hennessee constructed a magnificent home in 1905 for his growing family, by then six boys. Hennessee became one of the more affluent members of the community, and regularly enjoyed the company of the wealthiest family in Glen Alpine, William Darby “W.D.” Pitts, owner of the town’s largest general store. Unfortunately, the relationship soured over a disputed $1.50 bill that the doctor believed one of the Pitts boys owed him; the Pitts believed Dr. Hennessee owed them 50 cents for transportation during a hunting trip. The seemingly trivial matter took on great significance as the two families began feuding.[20]

At the end of July 1912, Mollie died a few days after delivering their tenth son. Dr. Hennessee was devastated, but for practical reasons needed a caregiver for his boys who ranged in ages from a newborn to eighteen. At the end of December, that same year he married nineteen-year-old Linnie Raye Brinkley; she was a teacher from the neighboring town of Lovelady and the daughter of James Marshall and Sophia (Rowe) Brinkley. The doctor and his new young bride had less than a month together, when the sleepy town of Glen Alpine became a literal battleground between the Pitts and the Hennessees. Dr. Hennessee entered the Pitts’ general store and was accosted by two of the Pitts boys, twenty-five-year-old Gorman and twenty-one-year-old Garfield. According to Hennessee, Gorman pinned him to the counter and Garfield struck him twice in the face with a two-pound scale weight, breaking the doctor’s jaw in two places. Hennessee staggered from the store, returned to his home, applied some bandages, and secured a number of weapons, including firearms, and even his scalpel. Returning to the store, the Pitts and Hennessee family members spilled out onto the streets of quaint Glen Alpine and a melee ensued. According to one paper, The doctor stabbed nineteen-year old Ervin Pitts “several times in the back” before opening “fire on Gorman, who quickly fired back a round of five shots, four taking effect in Hennessee’s body and the fifth grazed his shoulder.” In the end about a dozen men lay injured and bleeding, ten reported to have suffered mortal wounds, including the doctor.[21] The physician that treated Dr. Hennessee stated that:

He was the worst beaten man I ever attended. Dr. Hennessey was shot near the left eye, there were two bullet wounds in the left shoulder, a ball had entered the left hip, his lower jaw was fractured in two places, a knife wound on the back of his hands had severed the tendons, a bone was broken in his left hand, his scalp was lacerated to the bone in 14 places, the left ear was cut and bruised and his right ear was hanging by a shred of skin.[22]

Just as his father, Corporal Manuel Hennessee, miraculously recovered from a near fatal head wound in the Civil War, Dr. Gus Hennessee rallied back from his grievous injuries. When Gorman Pitts succumbed to his wounds a month later, Dr. Hennessee was arrested for murder. His trial was delayed until August that year in order to allow him to more fully recover from his injuries. Just as details of the feud were carried in papers across the country, so too, the trial was front page news. Hennessee gained sympathy in the middle of the trial when word was brought to him that his infant son had died unexpectedly, just a year after the doctor’s first wife, Mollie, had died giving birth to the same boy. The trial was recessed long enough for the doctor to accompany the funeral procession to the graveside. After a week of testimony, Dr. Hennessee was acquitted of the charge of murder based on self-defense. The judge stated that he hoped enough blood had been spilt to quench the feud between the Pitts and the Hennessees. But, that was not to be.[23]

dr-e-a-hennesseeJust over five years after the bloodletting in the streets of Glen Alpine, Dr. Hennessee was returning by train on the evening of 31 January. Almost immediately after stepping off the car, a man stepped up behind him and, with two revolvers, shot the doctor ten times in the back and side, seven bullets passing through Hennessee’s torso. Dr. Gus Hennessee was killed almost instantly. Two Pitts brothers were arrested for the murder, tried, and acquitted. Some said the jury applied an “eye for an eye” to the scales of justice. One of the state’s witnesses was immediately arrested after the Pitts trial, when he was identified by two other witnesses as resembling the figure that fired the two revolvers. Aaron Wiseman was later convicted and sentenced to die in the electric chair. However, the eyewitness testimony was so dubious that the governor commuted the death sentence and reduced it to a life in prison. Ten years later a subsequent governor pardoned Wiseman.[24]


Dr. Emanuel Augustus Hennessee, was survived by his second wife, nine boys from his first marriage, and son and daughter from his second marriage. His widow was unable to provide for such a large family, and the minor children from the first marriage were sent to relatives, while she relocated to Baltimore with her two children, essentially scattering the patriarch’s family. Dr. Hennessee was buried in the Glen Alpine Cemetery next to his first wife, Mollie.[25]

It was the Army that brought Frank M. Honey, the son of a disabled Union veteran, and Gus Hennessee, the son of a disabled Confederate veteran together during the Pine Ridge Campaign of 1890-1891. On the day following Wounded Knee, these two troopers voluntarily stood shoulder to shoulder in a valley near the White Clay Creek, and provided critical suppressing fire from exposed positions on a ridge enabling their squadron to break contact and withdraw. The Commanding General of the Army recognized their conspicuous bravery with honorable mention in general orders, and following their enlistments, the two troopers went their separate ways. They were two men from different backgrounds and different futures who courageously fought together on 30 December 1890 as comrades in arms in the 7th Cavalry.


[1] William W. Robinson, Jr., to Brigadier General James W. Forsyth dated 1 March 1896, James W. Forsyth Papers, 1865-1932, Series I. Correspondence, Box 1, Folder 1 – Box 2, Folder 49, The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Libraray, Yale University Library.
[2] Adjutant General’s Office, Medal of Honor file for Emanuel Hennessee and Frank Mahoney, 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.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.
[7] War Department, Regulations for the Army of the United States 1889 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1889), 18.
[8] Jordan Dodd and Liahona Research, comp, Illinois, Marriages, 1851-1900 (Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005), County Court Records, Film # 1377920 – 1377922;, United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009), Year: 1860, Census Place: Monmouth, Warren, Illinois, Roll: M653_234, Page: 392, Image: 392, Family History Library Film: 803234; Year: 1870, Census Place: Shirley, Cloud, Kansas, Roll: M593_430, Page: 226B, Image: 217927, Family History Library Film: 545929; Year: 1900, Census Place: Ogden, Riley, Kansas, Roll: 498, Page: 11B, Enumeration District: 0110, FHL microfilm: 1240498;, Kansas State Census Collection, 1855-1925 (Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009), Topeka, Kansas; 1875 Kansas Territory Census, Roll: ks1875_4, Line: 26;, Kansas, Grand Army of the Republic Bound Post Records, 1866-1931 (Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012), Post Name: Manhattan Post No. 271; N. Sharlene Kent, “Burton Honey,” (, posted 26 Jan 2011, accessed 5 Sep 2016; Janice Reed, “Prudence Lucinda Underwood Honey,” (, posted 24 May 2014, accessed 5 Sep 2016.
[9] B. Gieber, “Burton Honey & wife, Theresa Gieber,” (, posted 17 May 2016, accessed 5 Sep 2016.
[10], United States Federal Census, Year: 1870, Census Place: Liberty, Frederick, Maryland, Roll: M593_587, Page: 341A, Image: 392837, Family History Library Film: 552086; Year: 1880, Census Place: Grant, Riley, Kansas, Roll: 395, Family History Film: 1254395, Page: 396A, Enumeration District: 262, Image: 0216; Year: 1900, Census Place: Ogden, Riley, Kansas; Roll: 498, Page: 10B, Enumeration District: 0110, FHL microfilm: 1240498.
[11] Pennell and Zellner, Junction City, Kan., “Jenne, (Mitchell) Honey,” (, posted by Lisa Jackson 12 Aug 2012, accessed 5 Sep 2016.
[12], U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914 (Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007), Years: 1885-1890, Last Name: L-Z, Page: 109, Line: 320; National Archives and Records Administration, U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 (Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000), State Filed: Kansas, Roll Number: T288_224, Comments: Indian Wars; Adjutant General’s Officer, “7th Cavalry, Troop G, Jan. 1885 – Dec. 1897,” Muster Rolls of Regular Army Organizations, 1784 – Oct. 31, 1912, Record Group 94, (Washington: National Archives Record Administration).
[13], U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914 (Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007), Years: 1898, Last Name: L-Z, Page: 101, Line: 1177; Years: 1899, Last Name: L-Z, Page: 127, Line: 3062.
[14], United States Federal Census, Year: 1900, Census Place: Ogden, Riley, Kansas, Roll: 498, Page: 10B, Enumeration District: 0110, FHL microfilm: 1240498; Year: 1910, Census Place: Fort Riley Military Reservation, Geary, Kansas, Roll: T624_440, Page: 11A, Enumeration District: 0060, FHL microfilm: 1374453; Year: 1920, Census Place: Junction Ward 2, Geary, Kansas, Roll: T625_533, Page: 10B, Enumeration District:57, Image: 119; Year: 1930, Census Place: Junction, Geary, Kansas, Roll: 702, Page: 3A, Enumeration District: 0005, Image:313.0, FHL microfilm: 2340437; Year: 1940, Census Place: Junction, Geary, Kansas, Roll: T627_1232, Page: 3A, Enumeration District: 31-6; National Archives and Records Administration, World War II and Korean Conflict Veterans Interred Overseas (Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000), Name: Chester B Stoupe, Inducted From: Kansas, Rank: Second Lieutenant, Combat Organization: 525th Bomber Squadron 379th Bomber, Death Date: 9 Jul 1944, Monument: Normandy, France, Last Known Status: Missing, U.S. Awards: Purple Heart MedalAir Medal; National Cemetery Administration, U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006 (Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006), Cemetery: Fort Riley Post Cemetery, Cemetery Address: Huebner Road Fort Riley, KS 66442, Buried At: Section I Site 137.
[15] L. A. Osborne, photo., “Frank Marian Honey,” (, posted 26 Apr 2013, accessed 5 Sep 2016; Ibid., (, posted 26 Apr 2013, accessed 5 Sep 2016; Ibid., (, posted 20 May 2013, accessed 5 Sep 2016.
[16] Armantia, photo., “Emanuel Augustus Hennessee,” (, posted 1 Aug 2010, accessed 10 Sep 2016.
[17], United States Federal Census, Year: 1850, Census Place: McDowell, North Carolina, Roll: M432_636, Page: 289A, Image: 212; Year: 1860, Census Place: Burke, North Carolina, Roll: M653_889, Page: 428, Image: 404, Family History Library Film: 803889; Year: 1870, Census Place: Morganton, Burke, North Carolina, Roll: M593_1126, Page: 368A, Image: 372522, Family History Library Film: 552625; Year: 1880, Census Place: Silver Creek, Burke, North Carolina, Roll: 954, Family History Film: 1254954, Page:307D, Enumeration District: 045, Image: 0618; The Daily Conservative (Raleigh, NC: 10 Oct 1864), 2; The News-Herald (Morganton, NC:
28 May 1903), 3; National Cemetery Administration, U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006 (Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006), Cemetery: Gilboa Meth Cem; Armantia, “Elizabeth Caroline Johnson Hennessee,” (, created 31 Jul 2010, accessed 10 Sep 2016.
[18], U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914, Years: 1878-1884, Last Name: H-O, Page: 101, Line: 673; Years: 1885-1890, Last Name: A-K, Page: 200, Line: 564; Years: 1893-1897, Last Name: A-K, Page: 192, Line: 148; Years: 1898, Last Name: A-K, Page: 158, Line: 151Yearbook Announcement: U. S. Grant University (Athens and Chattanooga, TN: Methodist Advocate Journal, 1893-1894), 63 and 71.
[19] Gene & Dreama Hennessee, photo., “Family Home of Dr. Emanuel Hennessee, II,” The Hennessee Family Genealogy Pages (, accessed 11 Sep 2016.
[20], United States Federal Census, Year: 1900, Census Place: Silver Creek, Burke, North Carolina, Roll: 1185, Page: 2A, Enumeration District:0017, FHL microfilm: 1241185; Year: 1910, Census Place: Silver Creek, Burke, North Carolina, Roll: T624_1100, Page: 1A, Enumeration District: 0012, FHL microfilm: 1375113; “Sad Death,” The Comet (Johnson City, TN: 17 Dec 1896), 3; Transactions of the Medical Society of the State of North Carolina: Forty-Ninth Annual Meeting Held at Wilminton, N.C. (Charlotte, NC: Osmond L. Barringer, 1902), 277; “Quarrel Over Fifty Cents Began Deadly Pitts-Hennessee Feud,” Charlotte Daily Observor (Charlotte, NC: 11 Mar 1914), 1.
[21] “Sad Death at Glen Alpine: Mrs. E. A. Hennessee Passes Away Suddenly on Sunday, Leaving a Large Family,” The News-Herald (Morganton, NC: 1 Aug 1912), 3; “Married,” The News-Herald (Morganton, NC: 2 Jan 1913), 3; “Pistol and Knife Duel: Feud in North Carolina Community in which Seven Men are Wounded,” The Greenville News (Greenville, SC: 19 Jan 1913) 3; “Bloody Fight at Glen Alpine: Dr. Hennessee and Two Pitts Boys Seriously Hurt,” The News-Herald (Morganton, NC: 23 Jan 1913), 3.
[22] “Feudists Fined But Old Fight Goes On,” The Carroll Herald (Carroll, IA: 10 Jun 1914), 3.
[23] “Gorman Pitts Dead,” Marion Progress (Marion, NC: 27 Feb 1903), 4; “Hardest Fought Case in History,” The Lincoln County News (Lincolnton, NC: 19 Aug 1913), 1; “Dr. E. A. Hennessee Is Found Not Guilty,” The Concord Daily Tribune (Concord, NC: 19 Aug 1913), 1; “Fined and Told to Be Good,” The Lincoln County News (Lincolnton, NC: 17 Mar 1914), 1.
[24] “Dr. Hennessee Killed,” The Messenger and Intelligencer (Wadesboro, NC: 7 Feb 1918), 7; “Dr. E. A. Hennessee of Burke Killed as He Leaves Train,” Greensboro Daily News (Greensboro, NC: 1 Feb 1918), 1; “‘Not Guilry’ Verdict of Burke Country Jury in Pitts Trial,” Greensboro Daily News (Greensboro, NC: 23 Mar 1918), 1; “Aaron Wiseman Is Charged With Brutal Murder of Dr. Hennessee,” The Asheville Citizen, (Asheville, NC: 18 Jan 1919), 3; “Wiseman Convicted Murder Charge Dies,” The Index-Journal (Greenwood, SC: 29 Dec 1930), 1; Southeastern Reporter, vol. 101 (St. Paul: West Publishing Co., 1920), 629-640.
[25], United States Federal Census, Year: 1920, Census Place: Lovelady, Burke, North Carolina, Roll: T625_1287, Page: 25A, Enumeration District: 15, Image: 722; Year: 1920, Census Place: Glen Alpine, Burke, North Carolina, Roll: T625_1287, Page: 13B, Enumeration District: 24, Image: 998; Year: 1920, Census Place: Tanners Creek, Norfolk, Virginia, Roll: T625_1900, Page: 6A, Enumeration District:144, Image: 981; Year: 1930, Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois, Roll: 471, Page: 1B, Enumeration District: 2742, Image:619.0, FHL microfilm: 2340206; Nita H. Shepard, “Houk Hennessee Brinkley, Linnie Raye,” The Hennessee Family Genealogy Pages (, accessed 11 Sep 2016; Armantia, “Dr Emanuel Augustus Hennessee, Jr,” (, posted 23 Jun 2003, accessed 11 Sep 2016.

Citation for this article: Samuel L. Russell, “Sergeant Emanuel Hennessee and Private Frank Mahoney, G Troop, 7th Cavalry, Conspicuous Bravery,” Army at Wounded Knee (Carlisle, PA: Russell Martial Research, 2015-2016, posted 12 Sep 2016, accessed date __________.

Posted in Enlisted, Official Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sting of the Bee: A Day-By-Day Account of Wounded Knee and the Sioux Outbreak of 1890 – 1891 as Recorded in the Omaha Bee

Honey is sweet, but the bee stings.
Gnomologia: Adagies and Proverbs, 1732


Sting of the Bee is available now on and on Amazon in both print and Kindle editions. Click the photograph for purchase details.

I am proud to introduce my first publication, Sting of the Bee: A Day-By-Day Account of Wounded Knee and the Sioux Outbreak of 1890 – 1891 as Recorded in the Omaha Bee, from Russell Martial Research.

Following is the back cover description and an abridged version of my introduction to the compilation.

Wounded Knee, as it was first reported, and, as you’ve never read it.
A sensational contemporary view of the events surrounding the Sioux outbreak of 1890 and 1891 that violently climaxed at Wounded Knee, South Dakota.
These articles from the Omaha Bee represent some of the most widely read and published correspondence of that sanguinary winter. Until now, Will Cressey’s on-scene dispatches have never appeared under a single cover.
Step back 125 years into the past and experience the exhilaration and anguish that was the sting of the Bee.

The language of the day was harsh and reflects the strong views that many Americans held of the native tribes following more than two and a half centuries of persistent conflict with the indigenous communities that first occupied the continent. To our twenty-first century sensibilities, the articles and commentary are replete with racist and visceral remarks that provide an unvarnished perspective of life in the Midwest at the closing chapter of conflict with the American Indian. These news reports are provided to the western historian, Americana scholar, and Indian wars enthusiast as an unfiltered glimpse into an American tragedy that unfolded on the front pages of papers from the Atlantic to the Pacific a century and a quarter ago.

The headlines of 1890 newspapers demonstrate a progressive nation moving rapidly toward the twentieth century. The United States federal census that year revealed that the country had swelled to almost sixty-three million people, adding twenty-four million new residents over the previous decade, a sixty percent growth in just ten years. America’s population boom was due in large measure to emigration from Europe and Asia. Well over nine million people—almost fifteen percent of the total population—were foreign born in 1890. The nation’s eleventh census boasted, “A century of progress and achievement unequaled in the world’s history.” It went on to say, “The century has witnessed our development into a great and powerful nation; it has witnessed the spread of settlement across the continent,” and has seen lands redeemed “from the wilderness and brought into the service of man.”[1]

However, an undeniable reality was that the country’s native populations were in steady decline. By some estimates, American Indian numbers had dwindled from 600,000 at the beginning of the century to less than 230,000 by 1890, a period that saw the nation’s population explode from just five million to more than twelve times that number. The once dominant race of peoples on the continent was, under the reservation system, arguably the most marginalized minority.[2]

1890 saw Republican President Benjamin Harrison, who inaugurated the custom of displaying the American flag daily on all federal buildings, unfurl a new forty-three-star spangled banner on the Fourth of July, adding five white stars for the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, and Idaho. Wyoming entered the Union a week later as the forty-fourth state, the first with women’s suffrage. Patriotism also soared with the formation of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.[3]

In contrast, the Lakota peoples saw the renewed patriotic fervor in the form of further encroachment on their lands. In early 1890, President Harrison opened to settlement what remained of the Great Sioux Reservation in North and South Dakota, with boomers and townsite companies snapping up the choicest acreage. Many of the Northwestern tribes saw the Great Father continuing to take more of their lands, eliminating their way of life, and leaving little to sustain a basic existence.[4]

On the front of social and economic equality, 1890 saw the new Republican administration hire the first female White House staffer, Indiana stenographer Alice B. Sanger. New York City, home to more than one and a half million people, saw the formation of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs fostering the improvement of lives through volunteerism. Pennsylvania native and New York World journalist, Elizabeth Cochrane, gained fame under the pseudonym of Nellie Bly when she traveled around the world in seventy-two days, hailed as being eight days quicker than Jules Verne’s character, Phileas Fogg. In the District of Columbia, Susan B. Anthony headed up the newly unified National American Woman Suffrage Association. While at Chicago, Illinois, the National Afro-American League, a precursor to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was formed to promote racial solidarity and self-help. Columbus, Ohio, saw the formation of the United Mine Workers of America dedicated to adequate wages and safer working conditions for the nation’s coal miners.[5]

Meanwhile, in the Midwest, for the second consecutive summer, drought parched the plains between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains. The sun scorched what little crops the Lakota were able to grow in the alkali-tainted lands. Congress cut the Sioux appropriation by $100,000 that year after having reduced the beef issue by twenty percent the previous year, issuing a million pounds less from 1888 to 1889. According to the 1876 treaty with the Sioux, the Indians at the Standing Rock Agency alone were shorted over 485,000 pounds of beef, more than 760,000 pounds of corn, and over 280,000 pounds of flour in the fiscal year of 1890. Compounding the shortages, the hearty cattle raised in the southwest lost as much as forty percent of their body mass from the time they were sold to the government until they were issued to the Indians at the reservation agencies in the Dakotas. Failed crops, reduced rations, and fewer and smaller beef issues were leading the Lakota nation down a path to starvation.[6]

In late summer 1890, Congress took measures to restrict monopolies and cartels by passing the Sherman Antitrust Act. This law was aimed at some of the world’s wealthiest businessmen, the robber barons of the Gilded Age. They were men like Standard Oil’s John D. Rockefeller, steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, railroad tycoons Cornelius Vanderbilt and Jay Gould, and the timber industry’s Friedrich Weyerhauser.[7]

In the Dakotas, what few jobs that were available on the reservations were doled out mainly to white men that had connections to the Indian agents, who, appointed under the home-rule policy, were little more than local politicians rewarded with their appointment for garnering votes for the incumbent party. The progressive American way of life offered no progress to its original inhabitants. Facing starvation with no jobs, no income, and little hope for carving out a niche in the land of the free, the Lakota saw only a barren future. Many western Indian tribes turned to the belief in a messiah that would deliver them from their plight and restore them to their heyday.[8]

1890 headlines of American sports saw the Brooklyn Dodgers, known as the Bridegrooms, win the National League championship a year after they won the American Association title, the only club to win back to back titles in different leagues. John Owen, Jr., of the Detroit Athletic Club became the first man to run one hundred yards in under ten seconds, a record that stood for three decades. At West Point, New York, the Naval Academy’s midshipmen shut out the Military Academy’s cadets twenty-four to zero in the first ever Army–Navy football game. And, to the roar of 2,000 San Franciscan fans, Jack “Nonpareil” Dempsey successfully defended the world’s middle weight boxing title against Australian Billy McCarthy with a twenty-eighth-round technical knockout when Dempsey refused to continue pummeling the badly beaten McCarthy, who agreed to cede the fight.[9]

But as 1890 drew to a close, the headlines of newspapers across the country and around the world were dominated daily by enthralling reports of potential Indian outbreaks across the Dakotas, this, at a time when the nation thought war with the aboriginal peoples was a closed chapter. Americans were riveted by correspondents’ often unsubstantiated claims of horrific depredations, false reports of stunning military defeats, and ultimately the real and tragic destruction of almost an entire band of Miniconjou Lakota at the hands of the U.S. Army’s renowned 7th Cavalry Regiment along the Wounded Knee Creek. It was an event that came to define 1890 and the one-term presidency of Benjamin Harrison.

The impact of the events surrounding the Sioux reservations in November, December, and January of that winter were felt in small communities across the Dakotas and the border states of Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska. The farmers, ranchers, and settlers of the Northwest read with fascination of a mysterious Indian spiritual movement dubbed by the press as the Indian Messiah craze or the Ghost Dance religion, they read how its fanatical adherents danced themselves into a feverish pitch that could only be quenched when the white race was swallowed by the earth, and they read that those same Sioux warriors were arming themselves in greater numbers than during the height of the Great Sioux War. Those events were most widely and wildly reported in the major urban areas of the region, cities like Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bismarck, Des Moines, and Omaha.

Readers craved news of the apparent looming Indian war, and the newspapers readily obliged the public’s unquenchable thirst for any and all information from the Dakota region. The potential outbreak was front page news across the country. In Omaha, the Bee ran its first article on the new Indian religion on November 13 on page two, and followed up five days later with another report on the “New Christ” as the lead story on the upper fold of the front page. From November 18, 1890, until January 28, 1891, for all but three days, the Bee reported on the Ghost Dance religion and the Sioux outbreak. It was front page news on all but four of those days and the lead story for fifty-four days during the ten week period.

Founded by Edward Rosewater, a Jewish-Bohemian emigrant, by 1890 the Bee had been in circulation for two decades under Rosewater’s editorial management with a daily readership of just under 20,000. At forty-nine-years of age, Rosewater was in his prime as a newspaperman. He had settled in Omaha during the Civil War in 1863, four years before Nebraska became a state, when Omaha was little more than a village with a population of about 2,000. He had recently completed an enlistment with the telegraph corps in the nation’s capital, a position that saw him transmit to the world President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Rosewater was an ardent Republican, and his self-taught mastery of the English language coupled with his telegraphic experience provided the bedrock upon which he based the newspaper he launched in 1871.[14]

Amounting to little more than a political pamphlet, Rosewater titled his publication the Bee as it provided the sweetness of honey with political sting. The Bee grew steadily, thrived throughout the West, all but supplanted the city’s other papers, and eventually was recognized as one of the foremost newspapers in the Midwest, if not the country.[15]

As Omaha grew, so too did the Bee’s readership. Located between the Missouri and Platte Rivers and just north of the confluence of those two natural shipping lanes, Omaha’s population by 1880 had almost doubled from 16,000 in 1870 to 30,000. It grew again almost five fold by 1890 with over 140,000 residents, making it the twenty-first most populous city in the country and one of the largest between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains. In January 1890, the Omaha Bee had a daily readership of 19,300 with its Sunday edition reaching 22,300 Nebraskans. Reporting on the Sioux outbreak clearly increased the Bee’s circulation. By January 1891 the Daily Bee’s readership was reaching over 29,000 and the Sunday Bee more than 35,000 readers, almost a fifty percent increase in one year. There was a clear spike of copies sold in the weeks following the tragedy at Wounded Knee. The sting of the Bee reached far beyond Omaha with Rosewater’s paper serving as an Associated Press outlet. As such, many of the Bee’s articles from Pine Ridge were printed in papers across the country, even in those that had their own correspondents reporting from South Dakota.[16]

Rosewater retained and increased his circulation by providing world, national, regional, state, and local news. The Daily Bee ran eight pages in length, and the Sunday Bee anywhere from twelve to twenty. He staffed his newspaper with reporters who traveled across the state, had feature writers, and regular political correspondents in Chicago, New York, and Washington. Rosewater’s success was due largely to his ability to give his readers what they demanded: sensational news reporting with captivating narrative.[17]

Some contemporaries also viewed the Bee’s reporting during the troubles in the Dakotas in the winter of 1890 and 1891 as overly dramatic. In early December, “Buckskin Jack” Russell, a former army scout and interpreter for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, waxed poetic while taking a jab at the sensational reporting in Rosewater’s newspaper.

I have tramped the Bad Lands o’er and o’er,
And camped on Wounded Knee,
But my heart grows faint at the warriors’ paint,
And the lurid hue of the savage Sioux,
As they charge—in the Omaha Bee.[19]

The writing style in the pages of the Bee was reflective of the dime novel genre, and can be seen in the prose of papers across the country. Certainly the Bee can hardly be singled out for its sensationalism, and the fact that many of that paper’s articles in the winter of 1890 and 1891 were reprinted across the country demonstrated a shared view among editors of what news would sell. When targeted for criticism by competitors, the Bee often was paired with other papers that were equally complicit in the reporting of rumor and speculation with a flair for the melodramatic. “On Monday some of our citizens circulated for signature a protest to the Omaha Bee and World-Herald, asking them to discontinue the publication of sensational reports of the Indian troubles which have filled the columns of the Omaha papers for the past few weeks.”[20]

Rosewater provided editorial comment throughout the course of the outbreak, and early on addressed criticism that his correspondents were writing sensational stories to increase circulation. “There is more or less complaint that the reports of correspondents have given a too sensational aspect to the situation and exaggerated the danger. The best answer to this is the activity of the military authorities. General Miles, who is thoroughly familiar with the Indian character and has the best sources of information regarding the situation in the northwest, has shown by his course that he regarded the danger as very great.”[23]

The first correspondent that Rosewater dispatched to the Pine Ridge Agency, and the most widely criticized both by contemporaries and historians alike, was Charles Herbert Cressey, a thirty-three-year-old native of Cannon City, Minnesota. “Will” Cressey was the thirteenth and last child of an aging Baptist minister, Rev. Timothy R. Cressey, who died when the boy was barely a teenager. Five years younger than his closest sibling, there were only six children living at home by the time Cressey was born. During the war, his father, at the age of sixty-one, went off to serve for two years as a chaplain in the Second Regiment of Minnesota Volunteers. Later his pastorate took the family to various locations across Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa. Will Cressey spent his formative years in Des Moines where he graduated from high school, then attended the Chicago University for a couple of years before he began a profession as a newspaper correspondent in the early 1880s.[24]

Cressey’s ability to dig up a story where seemingly there was none was evident early in his career. A peer writing in 1891 of the then widely known Bee correspondent provided the following anecdote concerning Cressey’s start in the business when he first arrived in Omaha a decade earlier. Applying for a position at The Republican, the city editor charged Cressey with producing a story worthy of publication, a difficult job for someone unfamiliar with the city and what the paper had already covered.

Cressey saw some men digging a trench in the middle of a side street. On inquiry he found it was the beginning of Omaha’s cable car system. His news sense told him he had a good thing, and he hunted up the head of the enterprise, a kindly gentleman, who showed him the plans and filled him full of facts. The next morning his article appeared under a big head on the first page, and he has never had to ask for a position since.[25]

That Cressey could craft an engrossing article from something as mundane as men digging a trench was a skill he put to effective use at the Pine Ridge Agency in the fall and winter of 1890, particularly on days when there were few events that were newsworthy. His assignments at the Bee usually involved covering legal cases in Omaha’s courts, but that fall Rosewater sent Cressey to South Dakota to cover the potential Indian outbreak. It was Will Cressey’s pen that provided the Bee’s greatest sting that winter. His articles almost always ran on the front page and twenty-five times were the lead story of the day, reading more like a western dime novel than a serious news article. Because the Bee was an Associated Press outlet, Cressey’s stories made headlines in papers all across America making him perhaps the most published of the almost two dozen correspondents reporting from Pine Ridge.

The first sentence of his first correspondence is a fitting introduction to Cressey’s melodramatic style in which he exaggerated the tension of an otherwise routine train trip to northwest Nebraska. “After supper at Long Pine I made a quiet canvas of all the male passengers on our train and found that nine out of every ten had not only one but two guns of extra size caliber, and making up a traveling arsenal of 100 large sized shooting weapons good for 700 shots without reloading.” Cressey later wrote a loathsome caricature of the reservation Indian, which was perhaps a better reflection of the animosity and disdain with which Cressey viewed the Lakota rather than an accurate portrayal of the local residents at Pine Ridge. “Without the trimmings and spirit given it by reflections from the ghost dance and military, life on an Indian reservation must be dull enough to cause the half animated, long haired, blanket-swathed musk bags that make up nine and three-quarters tenths of the inhabitants, swim their tepees in tears and then go blind.” But, despite his prejudices, even Cressey could recognize the root cause of the disaffection among the Lakota. After five days at Pine Ridge, he wrote, “The Indians are slowly starving to death. That is the real, the way down, deep cause of this war scare.”[26]

Cressey went to great lengths to obtain information that he deemed newsworthy. In addition to interviewing soldiers, scouts, guides, cowhands, friendly Indians, and just about anyone with an intriguing rumor, Cressey employed the services of the daughter of Chief Standing Elk to serve as an interpreter and an Indian named Rocky Bear—recently returned from the European tour with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show—who would bring back information from what were deemed to be hostile camps. Cressey described his efforts to obtain newsworthy items in a letter he sent to the Pittsburg Dispatch, “I secured the best scouts possible, and daily had them make secret trips into the camp of the Indians who were regarded as unfriendly. I myself obtained an interpreter and daily went up and down through the camp of the friendlies first-handed and kept up with every move of any importance that was contemplated.” Cressey indicated that at one point early in the campaign the senior military commander confronted him about the detailing of military movements in his articles and directed him to refrain from divulging such sensitive information in future dispatches. The lead Bee correspondent went so far as to offer up a dog to a group of “hostile” Indians for their supper in order to obtain an interview, the dog being brought along for just such a purpose.[27]

As the Bee received criticism, so too did Cressey. Charles W. Allen, publisher of the Chadron Democrat and one of the New York Herald’s correspondents at Pine Ridge, decades later recalled of Cressey, “This writer had a penchant for lurid, long-drawn-out stories—they seemed to please his managing editor and were a constant source of amusement to the rest of us.” Allen went on to say that Cressey enjoyed “grabbing thrilling rumors and converting them into something he considered a ‘scoop’ on his rival [Thomas H. Tibbles of the Omaha World-Herald], though to the balance of the bunch they more nearly resembled puffballs.” Interestingly, the New York Herald, for whom Allen wrote, was one of those newspapers that regularly printed copy from Cressey’s articles.[28]

Cressey’s ability to know where a good story may turn up led him to being one of only three reporters on the scene at Wounded Knee at a time when a veritable hoard of correspondents and photographers had descended on Pine Ridge. The other two were the aforementioned Allen of the New York Herald and William F. Kelley of the Nebraska State Journal. According to Allen, he and Cressey worked together on their copy while cataloguing and tabulating facts.[29] Cressey’s description of the carnage that unfolded on December 29 was one of the first accounts that brought the tragic news of that sanguinary event to the nation and was reprinted on front pages across the country from the Los Angeles Herald to the New York Times.[30]

With General Forsyth and Major Whitside, I stood, when the firing started, within touching distance of the treacherous devils. The only thing that saved all three of us from death was that the Indians had their backs turned towards us when they began firing.
Their first volley was almost as one man, so that they must have fired a hundred shots before the soldiers fired one.
But how they were slaughtered after their first volley![31]


Charles H. Cressey’s “Diagram of the Situation at the Battle of Wounded Knee” was published on the front page of the January 7, 1891, edition of the Omaha Bee.

Cressey, Kelley, and Allen had worked out a lottery system to determine whose reports would be sent over the wires first. The three correspondents found a daring and willing courier to ride—albeit for the exorbitant fee of $75—nearly forty miles to the closest telegraph operator on the Elkhorn railway. Fortune shined on Kelley that 29th day of December, 1890, as his report was the first telegraphed to the country. Cressey’s short initial report was received in time to make a special evening edition of the Bee and was reprinted the following morning. However, a quick search of key words from the three reporters’ articles reveals that Kelley’s report was published almost three times that of Cressey’s and more than tenfold that of Allen’s. On the most critical day of the campaign, Cressey had been scooped by one of his contemporaries. He more than made up for it with follow on articles that provided further detail of the battle and army casualties, which, again, were widely publicized.[32]

While many of Cressey’s competitors criticized his dramatic style, he was hailed by others as being one of the finest reporters at Pine Ridge. The Philadelphia Ledger often printed many of Cressey’s articles and subsequently sang his praises.


The Indian war near the Pine Ridge Agency has developed another war correspondent…. He writes for The Omaha Bee, which paper has been the chief source of information respecting the movements of the Indians. The Bee correspondent differs from more famous war chroniclers in that he simply relates facts as he sees or hears them and leaves criticism to others. He has been remarkably accurate in his statements, though sometimes twenty-four hours ahead of government reports, and he deserves honorable mention for keeping a cool head and sticking to facts, instead of glorifying himself after the usual fashion of war correspondents.[33]

In December, Rosewater sent a second correspondent to Pine Ridge, twenty-eight-year-old Charles H. Copenharve, a Pennsylvania native, who, along with two of his nine brothers, started at the Bee as a print setter in the mid-1880s. By 1891, he was working as the telegraph editor at the Bee. Charley Copenharve’s writing style was not as sensational as that of Cressey, but, like his fellow correspondent, he probably accompanied the soldiers on one of the more adventurous missions. Where Cressey headed to Wounded Knee with the 7th Cavalry, it was most likely Copenharve who rode out on Christmas Eve with the 9th Cavalry on their mission to ensure that Big Foot’s band did not reach the stronghold in the Badlands. The description of his two-day ride with the Buffalo Soldiers appeared in print a week later. “Crossing White river we entered the bad lands, whose curious formations in the moonlight were ghost-like. We reached Cottonwood creek at 3 a.m., having traveled fifty miles on the jump, with men, horses and pack mules in good order and at daybreak the hostile Indians looked down upon us from their Gibraltar and gained some idea how cavalry could travel when necessary.”[34]

A third correspondent for the Bee arrived at Pine Ridge, likely following the aftermath of Wounded Knee. Edward Ambrose O’Brien, aged thirty-five, was Rosewater’s city editor. The son of Irish immigrants, he was born in Vermont, grew up in Chicago, and settled in Omaha as a young man working as a teacher at the newly founded Creighton College. By 1885, O’Brien had left the teaching profession and begun work as a reporter. Four years later, he was working as the city editor of the Bee and two years after that was listed in the Omaha directory as a special correspondent to the Bee. Historians list O’Brien as an Associated Press reporter and overlook the fact that he was in the employ of Rosewater at the time. Whether working for the Associated Press or directly for the Bee while at Pine Ridge, at least one article that ran in that latter paper was attributed to O’Brien. At the end of the campaign, Ed O’Brien detailed the grand review of the army forces massed at Pine Ridge. “Then came the Seventh cavalry filled with heroes of Wounded Knee and mourners for the dead who had perished there and were sleeping in the little rude cemetery overlooking the agency. The magnificent bugle corps led and sounded, ‘Hail to the Chief,’ as they were marching past the station. Major Whitside, the officer whose command arrested Big Foot’s band, rode by with the air of a general veteran.” It was the only article in the Bee, during the course of the campaign, attributed to the name “O’Brien.”[35]

Similarly, only two articles were actually attributed to Copenharve in the pages of the Bee, with the simple close of “Cope.” Cressey, on the other hand, concluded his articles with his monogram, “C. H. C.” This, perhaps, caused some confusion when Copenharve arrived at Pine Ridge, as he had the same initials. Toward the end of December, the Bee’s lead correspondent spelled out his last name, “Cressey.” The numerous “Specials to The Bee” from Pine Ridge that were unattributed were likely from Copenharve and O’Brien, particularly in the latter part of January, as the last article attributed to Cressey was on January 6, while the Bee continued to receive specials by telegram into February.

2-The_Bee_Building-Omaha_Daily_Bee_Jan_1_1890Edward Rosewater’s success as a newspaper man could not be more demonstrable than in the magnificent edifice he constructed to house his enterprise: The Bee Building. Built for the princely sum of a half million dollars and opened in 1889, The Bee Building was advertised as the “Palace Office Building” of Omaha and claimed to be absolutely fire proof. It boasted of night and day elevator service, incandescent lighting, and perfect ventilation. Built prior to the new city hall and county courthouse that would sit adjacent to and across the street from The Bee Building, Rosewater’s palace dominated downtown Omaha in 1890. Constructed on the site of Rosewater’s former home, the building was seven stories of red granite accented with beehives carved on the exterior stonework and ornamenting each doorknob. The structure functioned as an office complex with the newspaper’s plant in the basement, and some of the most prominent businesses of the River City occupying its seven floors. When it opened, Rosewater could boast that the Omaha Bee was churning out its sting in the largest building of any newspaper in the country, save that of the New York World.[39]

Filling the offices of the entire fifth floor of The Bee Building was the headquarters of the U.S. Army’s Department of the Platte. The Bee provided a detailed accounting of its military occupants in the 1891 New Year’s edition. “The department of the Platte embraces the states of Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming… the territory of Utah and so much of the state of Idaho…. The headquarters of the department are at Omaha in The Bee building with Brigadier General John R. Brooke in command.” This accommodation made General Brooke a well-known face to the principle owner and editor of the Midwest’s most prominent newspaper. It also assured that the Bee staff was privy to the comings and goings of that military organization at the onset of the supposed Sioux outbreak, and that they were familiar with the general who would command the troops converging at the Pine Ridge Agency.[40]

After the outbreak had been resolved and the military departed Pine Ridge, the Bee’s correspondents returned to Omaha where their lives took divergent paths. Historians have recorded little concerning the careers of Cressey, Copenharve, and O’Brien.

Will Cressey’s life after Pine Ridge is difficult to trace. At the end of the 1890s, he met with some moderate success in Cincinnati writing at least two books which were known familiarly as “Cressey’s Unusual Zoo Stories.” The books were in essence pamphlets marketed toward children, the first being forty-eight pages and the second, an expansion of the first, to seventy-two pages. The pamphlets, popular with visitors to the Queen City’s zoo, were titled Original Stories, Exclusive Pictures, Unusual Gossip of the Wild-as-Ever Animals of Quality at The Zoo, and sold for ten cents, making each book a dime novel of a different sort. While other correspondents were covering America’s war with Spain, Cressey was writing of his two years of daily “hobnobbing with the wild-as-ever Kings and Queens and lesser of the jungle royalty at the Zoological Gardens.” In 1902, Cressey was mentioned as the editor and publisher of a new Indianapolis based monthly magazine, The Steno-Typer, devoted to the craft of typewriting and shorthand dictation. A decade later Cressey was working in St. Louis as a reporter and magazine writer. He remained in the Gateway to the West for seventeen years and died there in March 1926 at the age of sixty-eight, his death certificate listing him as a reporter by trade. Will Cressey never married, and was buried in the Valhalla Cemetery in Bel-Nor, St. Louis.[42]

Charley Copenharve continued for about six months as the telegraph editor for the Bee. In August 1891, he moved to Butte, Montana, began work with the Anaconda Standard, and continued with that paper for twenty-six years. He worked variously as the dramatic editor, mining editor, courthouse editor, city editor, and, ultimately, the managing news editor. In 1916, he was considered for a gubernatorial appointment as Montana’s commissioner of the bureau of publicity and agriculture. Copenharve did not pursue nor receive the position, and retired from the Standard as a relatively wealthy man in 1917. With his health failing, he relocated his family to Los Angeles where he died in October 1918 at the age of fifty-six. Charley Copenharve was survived by his wife, Cora, of thirty years, and his daughter, Helen, and son-in-law, Louis Lorenz.[43]

Ed O’Brien also left Omaha in the early 1890s and settled in Oakland, California, reporting for the Oakland Tribune and the Oakland Enquirer. O’Brien was instrumental in the taking of the Oakland census in the early 1900s, serving as the Census Marshal, and was commended by the city council in 1902 for his work. He was occasionally referred to by the military rank of major as early as 1901 and “promoted” to colonel by 1909, although there is no record of O’Brien ever having served in the regular or volunteer army. The military titles seemingly were a nod to his work as an Indian war correspondent in the winter of 1890 and 1891. O’Brien later covered state politics and the state legislature in Sacramento. He apparently never married, and, according to city directories, lived at various hotels over the course of two decades. All record of Ed O’Brien vanishes after 1914 when he was about sixty years of age. He likely died about that time period.[44]

1-Edward_Rosewater_of_Nebraska-The_Inter_Ocean_Sun__Jan_13__1901_Edward Rosewater continued to run his expanding newspaper for another fifteen years, but in his lifetime the circulation of the Bee only occasionally reached the peak it attained in January 1891. Popular, if not controversial, within the Republican Party, Rosewater made an unsuccessful bid for one of Nebraska’s U.S. Senate seats in 1902, and again in his final year of life. He died on August 30, 1906, while working late at the Bee Building and was found the next morning sitting upright, as if deep in thought. Rosewater was active up to his last day, having delivered a speech that afternoon to the Grand Army of the Republic at their camp ground in Waterloo, Nebraska. Management of the Bee transferred to his thirty-five-year-old son, Victor, and the paper’s sensationalist style continued well into the twentieth century. In 1919, the yellow journalism of the Omaha Bee was viewed by many as inflammatory to racial tensions that erupted into riots that summer, resulting in a mob assault of Omaha’s mayor and the subsequent lynching of an African American man. The Rosewater family sold the newspaper the following summer. It was acquired by newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst in 1928, and he sold it in 1937 to Rosewater’s fiercest rival, the Omaha World-Herald, whose owners promptly terminated the Bee’s publication.[45]

The selection of articles for this compilation is but a fraction of the material recorded in the Omaha Bee covering the Sioux outbreak of 1890–1891. The compiler focused primarily on dispatches from Pine Ridge though the Bee received specials from across the region. The few articles presented here that were not from Pine Ridge provide context or critical details not otherwise reported, including the original first-hand account of the battle of Wounded Knee by an officer on the scene. Until now, Lieutenant John Kinzie’s description of the battle in the pages of the Bee has gone unnoticed by historians. The two non-Bee articles, one from the Pittsburg Dispatch and the other from the Detroit Free Press, provide a rare glimpse into Cressey’s retrospective view of that winter’s events and his only firsthand account of his actions during the battle, again, overlooked by historians. This compilation includes some minor editing of apparent typographical print errors, including the correction of frequent misspellings of names. Through exhaustive research, the compiler has determined the identities of most of the hundreds of individuals detailed in print and indexed many of them by their full names. The exception to these corrections concerns the Bee’s multiple listings of military casualties from the Wounded Knee and White Clay Creek fights, which displays the army and the press’s inability to compile and publish an accurate list of dead and wounded. Correct names of these casualties are provided in the footnotes and are also indexed.

Absent from this collection of news articles is anything remotely resembling an Indian perspective of the events that unfolded in the winter of 1890 and 1891. To be sure, it was a white man’s newspaper, with an overtly Republican political slant, presenting a white man’s viewpoint of an anticipated Indian war. There were no Lakota correspondents reporting from Pine Ridge. The only reporters that came close to resembling that description were Tibbles and his wife, Bright Eyes, who wrote for the Bee’s rival paper, the World-Herald, and nothing the Tibbles wrote ever appeared in the pages of the Bee. Notwithstanding the political leanings and white perspective, the Bee correspondents often went to great lengths to quote Lakota men and present their side of events, though always within the context of white reporters who were little more than reluctant visitors to the Dakota reservations. The only Lakota perspective of the tragedy at Wounded Knee in this compilation is the article reporting on the Sioux delegation to Washington detailing American Horse’s description of that catastrophic event, again, as recorded by a white correspondent. Even the placement of the monument, dedicated to Big Foot and his fallen people, was told from the white man’s view point. Nevertheless, the works of correspondents like Will Cressey, Charley Copenharve, and Ed O’Brien were a serious attempt to accurately portray events as they unfolded. Perhaps their reporting is best captured in Elmo Watson’s conclusions recorded fifty years after that bloody winter. “Despite all their violations of news-writing principles—rumor-mongering, exaggeration, distortion and faking—the corps of correspondents who covered the Ghost Dance troubles of half a century ago are entitled to some recognition in the history of American Journalism.”

These articles presented here are an important collection of period news reports, and represent some of the most widely published daily accounts of the Sioux outbreak. To be sure, Will Cressey’s specials were both criticized and acclaimed by his peers, and he was likely the most read war correspondent during that troubled time frame. The country’s collective memory of Wounded Knee and the events that unfolded in the winter of 1890 and 1891 have been formed and reformed through conflicting accounts and historical analysis of that American tragedy. Returning to the pages of the newspapers of the day provides a valuable perspective of the events as they occurred in one of the most read papers of the Midwest. The sting of Edward Rosewater’s Omaha Bee is a harsh, contemporary reflection of those events and their impact on a nation progressing toward the twentieth century.

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Sting of the Bee was meticulously compiled and edited by Samuel L. Russell, an Army Colonel with over 27 years of active service. He is currently assigned to the U.S. Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute at Carlisle Barracks, PA, and is the author of
Col. Russell graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. He holds a Masters of Military Art and Science in history from the Army’s Command and General Staff College and a Masters of Strategic Studies from the Army War College.


[1] U.S. Census Bureau, “Table 1. Nativity of the Population and Place of Birth of the Native Population: 1850 to 1990” ( www/documentation/twps0029/tab01.html), accessed 23 Feb 2015; Department of the Interior, Report on the Population of the United States at the Eleventh Census: 1890, part 1 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1895), xxvii.
[2] Michael R. Haines, Richard H. Steckel, eds., A Population History of North America (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 24.
[3] “History of the Flag,” San Francisco Morning Call (4 Jul 1890), 5; “The Deed Is Done,” Salt Lake Herald (11 Jul 1890), 1; “Daughters of the Revolution,” Los Angeles Herald (13 Oct 1890), 1.
[4] “Opened the Reservation,” Omaha Daily Bee (11 Feb 1890), 1.
[5] “She Knows Their Secrets,” Pittsburg Dispatch (6 Apr 1890), 20; “Club Women in Council,” New York Evening World (23 Apr 1890), 2; “Nellie Bly There,” Pittsburg Dispatch (26 Jan 1890), 1; “Woman’s Suffrage Association,” Salt Lake Herald (20 Feb 1890), 1; “Colored Men’s Rights,” Washington Evening Star (23 Jan 1890), 6; “Call for a Meeting of Miners,” Indianapolis Journal (2 Apr 1890), 1.
[6] “Prices of Food: The Cost of Living Increased by the Unprecedented Drought,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch (1 Aug 1890), 1; Nelson A. Miles, “Report of Major General Nelson Miles, Headquarters Department of the Missouri, Chicago, Ill., September 14, 1891,” from Annual Report of the Secretary of War (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1892), 132—140. Gen. Miles enumerated eleven major failings of the government to adhere to treaty obligations and directly correlated those failures as causes for disaffection among the Northwest tribes in the fall of 1890.
[7] “Applying the Anti-Trust Law,” Omaha Daily Bee (29 Sep 1890), 4.
[8] Heather Cox Richardson, Wounded Knee: Party Politics and the Road to an American Massacre, 170.
[9] “Brooklyn Wins Again,” New York Times (26 Oct 1890), 8; “It Was a Glorious Day,” Sunday Herald and Weekly National Intelligencer (12 Oct 1890), 1; “Uncle Sam’s Cadets Kick,” New York Sun (30 Nov 1890), 2; “Jack Dempsey Regains Prestige by Knocking Out Billy McCarthy,” New York Evening World (19 Feb 1890), 1.
[14] James W. Savage, John T. Bell, and Consul W. Butterfield, History of the City of Omaha, Nebraska and South Omaha (New York: Munsell & Company, 1894), 575—577; J. Sterling Morton, Illustrated History of Nebraska, vol. 1, 744—745; Albert Shaw, ed., The Review of Reviews. An International Magazine. vol. 13 (New York: The Review of Reviews Co., Jan–Jun 1896), 709—710; Charles A. Bates, ed., American Journalism (New York: Holmes Publishing Co., 1897), 270—271; Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, “Rosewater Family Papers” ( collections/ms0503/#top) accessed 17 Sep 2014.
[15] Morton, Illustrated History of Nebraska, 746.
[16] Circulation numbers were printed in the Sunday Bee on page 4. George R. Kolbenschlag, A Whirlwind Passes: News Correspondents and the Sioux Disturbances of 1890-1891, 16—17.
[17] Library of Congress, “About Omaha Daily Bee,” Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, ( sn99021999/) accessed 15 Sep 2014.
[19] John W. Russell, Chicago Inter-Ocean (11 Dec 1890), 6; also found in Kolbenschlag, A Whirlwind Passes, 1; and Charles W. Allen, From Fort Laramie to Wounded Knee: In the West That Was, 180.
[20] Roger L. Di Silvestro, In The Shadow of Wounded Knee: The Untold Final Story of The Indian Wars, 223, originally reported in the Chadron Democrat on 27 Nov 1890.
[23] “Situation in the Northwest,” Omaha Daily Bee (25 Nov 1890), 4.
[24] The Old Northwest Genealogical Society, The “Old Northwest” Genealogical Quarterly, vol. 7, no. 1. (Columbus: Press of Spahr & Glenn, 1904), 246—257.
[25] “The Life of a Reporter,” Logansport Pharos-Tribune (10 Apr 1891), 19.
[26] Charles H. Cressey, “A Squaw’s Warning,” Omaha Daily Bee (20 Nov 1890), 1; Cressey, “Life Among the Red Men,” Omaha Daily Bee (8 Dec 1890), 6; Cressey, “Hounded By Hunger,” Omaha Daily Bee (25 Nov 1890), 1.
[27] “Various Topics,” Capital City Courier (21 Mar 1891), 1; “A Sioux Inferno,” Detroit Free Press, (9 Aug 1896), 19; “From the Frontier,” Pittsburg Dispatch, (1 Feb 1891), 9.
[28] Allen, From Fort Laramie to Wounded Knee, 178.
[30] On December 30, 1890, the New York Times ran an earlier Cressey article on their front page in which Cressey described Big Foot’s surrender to Maj. Whitside and the 7th Cavalry.
[31] Cressey, “A Bloody Battle,” Omaha Daily Bee (30 Dec 1890), 1.
[32] “Various Topics,” Capital City Courier (21 Mar 1891), 1.
[33] “A Great War Correspondent,” Omaha Daily Bee as reported in Philadelphia Ledger (8 Jan 1891), 1.
[34] Charles H. Copenharve, “Henry’s Cavalry Dash,” Omaha Daily Bee (1 Jan 1891), 1. Kolbenschlag also indicates that the Bee correspondent traveling with the 9th Cavalry was likely Copenharve. The author of this article also may have been O’Brien, but there is no definitive way of determining which of the two Bee correspondents rode out with Henry and his Buffalo Soldiers. Cressey stated in his article “Captured Indians Escape,” on December 24, 1890, “No correspondents accompanied Colonel Henry, for the reason that he is going too wide of the seat of war and is to do simply scouting.” If Cressey was correct, the possibility exists that one of the three correspondents crafted this first person account based on later interviews with officers from the 9th Cavalry.
[35] J. M. Wolfe & Co., Omaha City and South Omaha City Directory for 1891, vol. 17, 653; Edward A. O’Brien, “The March of the Forces,” Omaha Daily Bee (26 Jan 1891), 2.
[39] Ed. F. Morearty, Omaha Memories: Recollections of Events, Men and Affairs in Omaha, Nebraska from 1879 to 1918, 165; Savage, Bell, and Butterfield, History of the City of Omaha, 160 and 169—170.
[40] “A Military Center” Omaha Daily Bee (1 Jan 1890), 14.
[42] Cressey, Original Stories, Exclusive Pictures, Unusual Gossip of the Wild-as-Ever Animals of Quality at The Zoo Together with an associate feature entitled Swans in a Quiet City (Cincinnati: Charles Herbert Cressey, 1899), iii; Jerome B. Howard, The Phonographic Magazine, vol. 16, no. 12 (Cincinnati: Dec 1902), 289.
[43] “Death Removes C. Copenharve,” Anaconda Standard (Butte, MT: 9 Oct 1918).
[44] “Good Work of Postmaster,” Oakland Tribune (16 Dec 1902), 2; “Major Edw. A. O’Brien Is Known at Vallejo,” Oakland Tribune (6 Aug 1901), 5; “Col. Ed O’Brien,” Oakland Tribune (16 Jan 1909), 10.
[45] “Edward Rosewater Dies Very Suddenly,” Omaha Daily Bee (1 Sep 1906), 1; “Edward Rosewater’s Last Speech,” Omaha Sunday Bee (2 Sep 1906), half tone section page 1; Library of Congress, “About Omaha Daily Bee,” Chronicling America.

Citation for this article: Samuel L. Russell, “Introduction,” Sting of the Bee: A Day-By-Day Account of Wounded Knee and the Sioux Outbreak of 1890 – 1891 as Recorded in the Omaha Bee , ed. Samuel L. Russell (Carlisle, PA: Russell Martial Research, 2016), xi-xxxiv.

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