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An Indian Massacre

An Indian Massacre image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

Looking ilp the Missouri river to a poiut abont eight miles above the fort, oiio secti a litÜe islaud, 01' sniicl-laïi wliicli is known as Bimtt-l3oat island, StóaÜge as it niay appéaf; tliiS ituügtliflcnut ftoiidbar was the scène of one of the bloodiest tragedies tliat ever stained the pages of our frontier history. A recital of tlie details even now chills the niarrow of my bones. It was in the year 18fi8 that a party of eighteen persons, embracing men, women, and children, loft the Territory of Montana, well supplied with gold-dust, whieh tlioy had been fortúnate enongh to eolleot in the mines during theiï ojouni of several years in that Teïritory. They littd in the party nbout $150,000., Ëittbiitkilig itl & Mitckiüatt bont at Fort Ëcnton, they fioated down the muddy torrent called the Missouri river to Fort Berthold, an Indian trading-post and ageney. Here theylanded, and remained severa! days for the purböSe óf refitting, aild also becnltse they hád been advised tiiat With the Sioü'x was beiilg waged bV the Government, which rendered it dangerous to pass down the river. Bilt they lieeame inipatient of the delay at Berthold, and also were suspicious of the motives of the t nulcis who advised them not to proceed. It was intimated to them that the traders wislied them to reniain in order that they might make money out of them, their cuatom being yaluable. They launched their boat agaill. lívcl'y Ulan was Hrmed, uiid i good ïnarksmiiii. A siilall bfass camión, called a swivel, Was placed ih the bow of the bont. The gold-dust was put away into little drawers and boxes, built in tho boat under the seats aud in the bow and stern. During the first night and day all went well, and no Indiana were seen. The party camped on shore, and hauled up the boat on dry land. On the second day, in the afternoon, they liad passed the raouth of the Squaro ButtAe cïeekj twelre mile abote Fort Lincoln. The curreut is very rapid here, as everywhel'e on the Missouri. A mile or two lower down a horseman was seen olí a bluff on the east bank of the river, which circumstance aroused the party in the boat to attention. Tliere seemed to be nothing for them to do, however, but to float on down tlie river and to keop their powder dry ; and this thoy did. They had now arrived abreast of a strip of wood from which was poiu-ed a volley of rifle-bullete, and from which issuod tlie the yells of a party of j Iudians. Some of these shote stntck the i boat, but nobody was killed or seriously hurt, in conscqucnce of the distance of tlie boat from shore. It was not intonded by the Indiaas that this volley shonld have any other effect than tliat of driving the boat over toward the sand-bar and western bank of the rivor, whieh, unhap2DÍly, was effected with the precisión and thoroughness of all Indinn stratagems. The boat was rowed rajMdly over toward the sand-bar, on which not a living thingcould be seen. It seemed to be but a few inches above the level o the river, and I am told that the Indians who lay thero in ambush were almost entirely covered with sand, and, consequently, invisible. The boat had arrived within a few yards of the sand-bar, and the party probably had the intention of landing and repairing any damage to the boat that may havo been inflicted by the volley from the eastern bank. "When they had approached so near the bar that to recede or sheer off was impossible, the Sioux who were covered with smul ntised their heads, aimed their rifles, and fired a fatal volley into tlie passengers on the little Mackinaw boat. Nearly all were killed or wounded at the first volley. The men in the boat succeeded in fiiüng off tlie swivel once or twice, and those who were not too badly wounded kept at the figlit as long as sh-cngtli lasted, but they were finally killed to the last soul - not one remained to teil the story. Thé boat was dragged ashore by the Indians, and all that they considered valuable was taken from the bodies and the boat.


Old News
Michigan Argus