Dog Soldiers

Violent conflict didn’t suddenly manifest itself upon native people at the moment Europeans arrived in the Americas.  Native Americans (Indians) have been at war with one another for thousands of years before the white man appeared, and if you happened to have spoken with any modern-day Indians, then you know that tribal groups continue to regard one another with caustic disdain.  When European settlers first arrived, they found a stone-aged people who marveled at their technologies, but beyond using such things as fire sticks on whites and other Indians, they had little interest in modernization until it was forced upon them.

There are presently 574 federally recognized Indian “nations,” which are variously referred to as tribes, nations, bands, pueblos, and villages.  The word “nation” and “tribe” are synonymous.  Indian bands, however, are subsets of tribes.  The words band, clan, and village also have identical meanings.  Anthropologists tell us that it was common among stone age people to limit the size of their social groups, necessary as a tool for being able to house, feed, and/or control the group.  Variously, tribal bands usually consisted of from 40 to 50 people.  Whenever the population grew beyond that, which is to say that whenever the birth rate exceeded the death rate, clan or band members were sent away to form new groups of their own.

The work of Indian men was to hunt for meat and protect the village.  Indians often had polygamous relationships which resulted in relatively high birth rates, but infant mortality rates were also high — which might explain polygamy.  The traditional role of women (also, squaw) was birthing, raising children, cooking, making or mending clothes, gathering firewood, hauling water, and tending to agricultural interests.  There was nothing easy about living in the wilderness, sheltered by little more than leather tents, or having to depend on migrating herds of animals as a food staple.

The leadership within these structures included the so-called chiefs, of which there were often several.  One perhaps, with domestic responsibilities, another to organize and lead hunting parties, and another to lead war parties.  Indian leaders were chosen within a governing council of elders; a head chief presumably led this council.  There were also influential medicine men or women whose wisdom and influence often rivaled those of the tribal or clan chiefs.  Together, Indian leaders supervised activities that achieved the will of the council of elders, maintained traditions, made judicial determinations.

The role of the war chief may seem self-evident, but it is important to note that there was no fixed territory for Indian groupings.  They were stone-age people; they were hunters and gatherers.  Indian tribes followed their migratory sources of food.  They did not respect the claims of other tribes — and if the survival of the tribe depended on taking control of another tribes’ territory — so be it.

There was also no obligation for any male Indian to comply with any ruling of the tribal council or any chief.  The Indian brave was independent-minded; he had no moral obligation to do anything that he didn’t want to do.  A war chief, for example, could not force any brave to join a war party; it was more on the order of young men wanting to join the war party as a demonstration of his manliness and his courage.  On the other hand, if an Indian brave believed that his chief was weak, unwise, or dishonest, he was free to challenge the chief, free to pursue a separate agenda.  The only consequence imposed on an Indian brave who did not wish to participate in various tribal activities was that he (and his women, if he had any) had to leave the band.  Tribal exile was the primary consequence of male independence and it was understood by everyone from a young age. 

Within this (general) structure, American Indians farmed, hunted, and raised their families.  Relatively speaking, native American populations were small — fewer than one person per square mile, overall— but competing tribes would still encounter one another.  It may have been for trade or celebration, or it may have been to right a wrong.  Conflict might involve something as important as establishing territorial dominance, protecting hunting grounds, or the theft of a horse.  Once these conflicts began, no matter what the reason, they could (and often did) last for decades.

Survival of weaker tribes often led to the formation of confederations — doing so was quite often the only way they could defend themselves from dominant/stronger tribes.  There are numerous examples of these coalitions in every Indian region of North America.  The Arikara, for example, joined with the Mandan to confront their common enemy, the Sioux.  In this vein, some Indian bands accepted white settlers as potential allies, while other Indian groups viewed the whiles as interlopers.  Friendliness with whites was another source of conflict among Indian tribes/bands.

The Cheyenne

The Cheyenne nation originally consisted of two tribes: the Suhtai and Tsitsista.    In the early 1600s, Cheyenne people inhabited an area that extended from present-day Minnesota to Colorado.  Suhtai and Tsitsista groups merged in the eighteenth century — possibly to strengthen the Cheyenne against other powerful Indian groups.  But if there is one thing we can say with certainty about the American Indians, it is that they lived in harmony within their natural environments.

The distribution of Indian groups was always governed by the availability of food sources needed to sustain them.  When tribal groups realized that their increased population produced a greater demand for wild game than was available to them, tribal bands split off into smaller groups and found settlement areas where food sources were more readily available — where the balance of nature could be restored.  In the nineteenth century, the Cheyenne once again split into two groups.  Today we refer to the Cheyenne as belonging to either the Northern or Southern Cheyenne tribal groups.

Meanwhile, back east, the arrival of Europeans produced several effects upon Indian populations; the first and greatest of which may have been the disturbance of the natural balance in nature.  Suddenly, there were more human beings hunting for limited numbers of wild game as food sources.  The choices available to native populations in dealing with this sudden influx of European settlers were limited.

There were, at least initially, sincere attempts by some Indian groups to find ways of living peacefully alongside white settlers — but over time, the numbers of European arrivals defeated these efforts.  Simply stated, there evolved too many humans looking for limited numbers of wild animals as sources of food.  Indian options were reduced to only two: they could resist white encroachment (and many did resist), or they could withdraw further west away from white settlements.  Both of these options produced unimaginable hostility: the Indians either fought with Europeans, or they tangled with Indian groups already occupying the western territories.  In either case and on both sides of the issue, it became a quest for survival.

Western migration was never an easy matter for eastern tribes — and no matter how they finally resolved the problem, doing so demanded cultural changes that are always difficult to achieve.  Westward moving tribal groups either gave up their identity to join western tribes and bands, or they maintained their identity by forming mutually beneficial confederations — accommodations through which splintered groups could stand up to larger, more powerful, western Indian tribes.

As an example of the foregoing, the Cheyenne were variously allied with the Lakota Sioux, and at war with them.  After migrating west into the Dakotas, the Cheyenne adopted the horse culture of the Comanche.  Anthropologists believe that it may have been the Cheyenne who introduced horse mobility to the Sioux.  Cheyenne power and dominance pushed out the less-populated Kiowa, a people who ended up allying themselves with the Comanche.  The Cheyenne were themselves forced into westward migration because of the eventual strength of the Sioux.  At one time, the Cheyenne tribe included ten separate bands — all of which regularly fought with neighboring Crow, Blackfeet, Sioux, Kiowa, and ultimately, with the U. S. Army.  The Southern Cheyenne eventually merged with the Southern Arapaho.  Initially, Southern Cheyenne/Arapaho groups were somewhat ambivalent about the arrival of white settlers; the Northern Cheyenne less so.

The Dog Soldiers

Cheyenne Dog Soldiers (also, Dog Men) were one of six military societies.  In the 1830s, the Dog Men evolved into a distinctive warrior band who fiercely resisted the westward expansion of whites into Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming.  This was their territory and they had every intention of defending it.

Before the peace council at Bent’s Fort in 1840, the Algonquian-speaking Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho were allied against the Comanche, Kiowa, and Plains Apache.  There were no cultural or linguistic ties between these groups.  In fact, the hostility that existed between these groups was so palpable that someone from the Southern Cheyenne might have observed that the only good Comanche is a dead Comanche.

In 1837, 48 members of the Southern Cheyenne bowstring society [Note 1] were caught trying to steal horses from the Comanche/Kiowa near the Red River.  Stealing horses is what Indians did back then, and it was great fun — unless (or until) they were discovered.  In this case, all 48 warriors were either killed outright by their Comanche/Kiowa enemy, or they were later tortured to death, which was yet another Indian proficiency.

In 1837, Porcupine Bear was chief of the Southern Cheyenne Dog Soldier society.  In response to the Comanche/Kiowa killing of members of his society, he lit the war pipe and drummed up support from other Cheyenne and Arapaho villages for revenge against their enemy.  With his force assembled, Porcupine Bear moved to an encampment adjacent to the South Platte River.  Along the way, his war party encountered a trading group of the American Fur Company operating out of Fort Laramie.  What interested Porcupine Bear most in this encounter was the white man’s firewater.  Later, while encamped, Porcupine Bear engaged in a copious amount of drinking (along with everyone else) and, Indians being fun-loving guys, two of them managed to get into a knife fight.  

Both contestants in this fight were cousins of Porcupine Bear.  When one of the cousins got the better of the other, the brave on the losing side of the evening’s entertainment called for help.  Porcupine Bear intervened, and in the process of helping, killed one of the cousins.  We don’t know which one was killed, of course, but the killing was bad juju among the Cheyenne.  Any brave who murdered or accidentally killed another member of the tribe was stained with blood — and no matter what his station was within the tribe, the murderer was expelled from tribal society.

Porcupine Bear’s punishment was dismissal as a chief within the society of Dog Men.  He and his relatives were thereafter shunned by the Cheyenne.  The second consequence of Porcupine Bear’s drunken behavior was that the Cheyenne high chiefs forbade any expedition against the Kiowa.  However, Porcupine Bear was a prideful man and remained steadfast in his desire for revenge.  Despite being tossed out of the tribe, he reorganized his bowstring group and recruited additional warriors who found no fault in his killing of a miscreant cousin.  It was the Southern Cheyenne’s rejection of Porcupine Bear that led to the transformation of the Cheyenne Dog Soldier.  Henceforth, the society would no longer operate as a loose society of warriors — it instead became a distinct military band within the Cheyenne nation.

Wherever white settlers went, they took with them their advanced technology — which included a superior collection of weapons dangerous to Indian populations.  But no modern weapon was more dangerous to the American Indian, however, than the white man’s diseases: cholera, smallpox, measles, chickenpox, and gonorrhea.  Within roughly twelve months (1848-49), nearly half of the Southern Cheyenne died from infectious diseases passed along to them through their contact with white settlers.

As a consequence of the epidemic, many Southern Cheyenne survivors joined Porcupine Bear’s Dog Men, which transformed the Dog Men society into an influential, powerful, lethal, and dominant Cheyenne band.  In effect, the Dog Soldiers became the hawkish arm of the Cheyenne and it led tribal elders to dispense with their traditional matrilineal social system [Note 2].  No longer did recently married men join their wives’ clans.  Instead, young warriors took their wives into the Dog Soldier camp.  One further development expanded the Dog Soldier’s population even more.  After Colonel John Chivington and the 3rd Colorado Cavalry massacred large numbers of non-combatants of the Wutapai, Hevhaitaniu, Oivimana, and Hisiometranio clans (known as the Sand Creek Massacre), surviving clan members joined the Dog Soldiers in droves.

Cheyenne Dog Soldiers occupied the territory between the Northern and what remained of the Southern Cheyenne groups, an area extending from the headwaters of the Republican and Smokey Hill rivers in southern Nebraska to northern Kansas, and northeast Colorado territories [Note 3].  The Dog Soldiers allied themselves with the Lakota and Brulé Sioux.  In time, the Cheyenne began to intermarry with the Sioux — which in time produced young men with familial ties to both tribes.  Many Dog Soldiers were half-Sioux, including noted leaders Tall Bull and White Horse, both of whom invited the Northern Cheyenne war chief Roman Nose [Note 4] to lead Dog Soldier strikes against white civilian and military settlements.

Cheyenne and Sioux war chiefs repudiated those among them who urged peace with the white-eyes.  They were hawkishly anti-white.  The last thing a white farmer would want to see at sunrise was a war party of Cheyenne Dog Soldiers peering down at him from an overlooking bluff.  No matter what followed would be pleasant for the farmer.  The Dog Soldier was highly aggressive, completely ruthless, and deadly efficient in the art of war.

Among those of us today who cannot imagine what it was like living on the hostile frontier in the mid-late 1800s, Mr. S. P. Elkins’ journal may help fill in the gaps to our understanding about life on the Great Plains:

“Those that were on the frontier had much to endure.  They did not know at what time they were going to be killed by the Indians, so they had to do the best they could.  The ranches had stockades built around the houses and would have portholes cut on all sides of the house so when the Indian attacked them, they could protect themselves and their families.”  [Note 5]

“When a man left his family he didn’t know whether he would find them alive when he returned.  There was a family killed in 1870 in Brown County, I have forgotten the name; the man was in the woods making rails when he heard his family screaming and he started to them.  He saw the house surrounded by Indians.  He had to stand and hear them scream their last screams because he had no arms with him, as he thought of no danger on leaving home.  The whole family was killed, the children’s brains knocked out.”

“The people in those days had something to think of.  There were no neighbors near to lend a helping hand.  Some places where the neighbors were close enough they would have preaching, maybe once a month.  Everybody went armed all the time.  The men wore their pistols the same as their clothes.  They would take their families and go to a meeting, take their guns along and stack them in one corner of the house until after the meeting.  They were glad to see each other and would shake hands when they met, and also when they parted, thinking maybe for the last time.  When a stranger came about, he was welcomed in and made to feel at home, no charges, glad to see anyone.”

“When a man left his family he didn’t know whether he would find them alive when he returned.  There was a family killed in 1870 in Brown County, I have forgotten the name; the man was in the woods making rails when he heard his family screaming and he started to them.  He saw the house surrounded by Indians.  He had to stand and hear them scream their last screams because he had no arms with him, as he thought of no danger on leaving home.  The whole family was killed, the children’s brains knocked out.”

While native Americans didn’t understand the American Civil War, that didn’t prevent them from taking advantage of the withdrawal of Army troops from the western territories.  What the Indians did understand is that white settlers no longer had Army protection.  The Army’s withdrawal from the West was a de facto death warrant for many white settlers.

In time, Cheyenne Dog Soldier bands — being far less tolerant of white encroachments, became estranged from Northern and Southern Cheyenne tribal councils — their militarism providing a substantial counter-weight to the Cheyenne tribal council’s leadership position, which favored finding a common ground with the whites.  It is likely that most US officials did not know who they were dealing with (standard Cheyenne tribal groups, or Dog Soldiers) whenever they attempted to arrange treaties — although, in fairness, history seems to prove the Dog Soldiers’ distrust of American officials was justified.  As principled men, Dog Soldier leaders refused to sign any treaty that limited their hunting grounds or restricted their movements to government reservations.  The campaigns of General Philip Sheridan frustrated these efforts, of course, and after the battle of Beecher’s Island [Note 6], many of the Dog Soldiers retreated south of the Arkansas River.

Between 1866-68, renewed conflicts developed in Wyoming between the Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, and Northern Arapaho on one side, and the United States Army on the other.  This series of engagements is remembered today as Red Cloud’s War, the Bozeman War, and the Powder River War — which, while comparatively small engagements, were extremely deadly.  The largest of these was the Fetterman Fight [Note 7].  Fetterman was also the worst US defeat against native Americans (with 81 Americans killed) until the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876.   The area of these battles, by tradition and the Treaty of 1851) were Crow Indian lands; the Lakota Sioux seized the territory for their use in violation of an agreement signed by Red Cloud himself [Note 8].

In the summer and fall of 1868, Cheyenne and Arapaho continued their raiding activities between the Arkansas and Platte rivers — which was also the best area for buffalo hunting.  The memory of the Sand Creek massacre [Note 9] was fresh on the Indian’s minds, and the icing on that cake was the westward movement of the railroad, which facilitated the arrival of even more white settlers.  Whether the Indians realized it or not, many Americans back east sympathized with their situation, particularly after it was revealed that Major General Winfield Hancock burned down Cheyenne villages as a strategy to force the Cheyenne into compliance with his policies.

Major General Sheridan replaced Hancock as Commanding General, Department of Missouri.  Sheridan moved against the Cheyenne after repeated Indian raids on farms, ranches, way stations, and travel routes resulted in the deaths of 79 white settlers.  Sheridan concentrated his effort in areas south of the Arkansas River during the winter campaign season, but he also remained active in patrolling the Arkansas River, and the areas between the Republican and Smokey Hill rivers.

Generally, the Cheyenne fought their battles over widely scattered areas with small bands of warriors (usually between 25-50 warriors).  The size of Sheridan’s military force was insufficient to patrol such a large area, which led him to develop a plan to raise a company of fifty frontiersmen for service as scouts against the Cheyenne.  The scouts were assigned “search and destroy” missions; they ostensibly sought out “hostile” bands.  That would have included nearly every Indian group in the region of Wyoming and Colorado.  Major George Alexander Forsyth was appointed to command these frontier scouts, assisted by First Lieutenant Frederick H. Beecher [Note 10].

On 10 September 1868, Cheyenne Dog Men attacked a freighter’s train 13-miles east of Fort Wallace.  Forsyth led his company to investigate the incident and determined that the war party consisted of an estimated 25 hostiles.  Forsyth tracked the Indians to a dry fork on the Republican River, arriving on 16 September, and made camp along the South bank of the river.  Unknown to Major Forsyth, his bivouac was approximately 12-15 miles downstream from a large Lakota village, another medium-sized village of Dog Soldiers, and a few lodges of Arapaho.  Also unknown to Forsyth was the fact that the Indians were aware of his presence.

Forsyth was known for having a sixth sense of danger.  Early on 17 September, Forsyth believed something was amiss.  He accordingly reconnoitered his immediate defensive areas and, while doing so, spotted the silhouette of an Indian against the skyline near the place where the Army’s horses were tethered.  Forsyth’s well-aimed shot killed the Indian and spooked his companions, who were attempting to steal the Army’s horses.  Forsyth’s scouts moved quickly to prevent the loss of their animals, suffering only the loss of a few pack mules.  Stealing Forsyth’s horses was part of Chief Roman Nose’s plan to surround and overwhelm the white soldiers. Forsyth’s keen eye foiled the Indian’s surprise attempts.

Seeing no escape from an overwhelming number of hostiles, Forsyth ordered his men to take cover on a sand bar in the middle of the Arikaree River.  The number of hostiles involved in this engagement depends on who is telling the story.  Estimates of the number of hostiles range between two-hundred and a thousand.  Forsyth’s Spencer rifles staggered the Indian’s initial assault and prompted the Sioux and Cheyenne to re-think their plan of attack.  On the first day, the Cheyenne used several strategies for dislodging Forsyth’s scouts, including a direct assault on horseback, a double envelopment, a low crawl through tall grass, sniper fire, and fanatical assaults from all directions.

Chief Roman Nose was fatally wounded in one of these engagements and the number of Indian fatalities was substantial.  At the end of the first day, Forsyth lost Lieutenant Beecher and three others with fifteen soldiers wounded — including Forsyth.  Before dawn on the second day, Forsyth asked for volunteers to go to Fort Wallace for relief — seventy miles distant.  Simpson E. “Jack” Stilwell [Note 11] volunteered to go for help and selected Pierre Trudeau to accompany him.  The two scouts low crawled for three miles to avoid being spotted by the Cheyenne.  After four days, taking cover during daylight hours, Stilwell and Trudeau reached Fort Wallace and requested reinforcements for the Forsyth Expedition.

The relief force departed Fort Wallace in three separate columns.  Lieutenant Colonel Louis H. Carpenter [Note 12] led Troop H and Troop I of the 10th Cavalry (Buffalo Soldiers), with Captain Baldwin serving as second in command.  Major Brisbin led two squadrons of the 2nd Cavalry over a different route. Captain Bankhead departed Fort Wallace with 100 men of the US 5th Infantry, taking the third route.

Carpenter’s force relieved Forsyth on 25 September.  Forsyth had two serious wounds.  The battle site was littered with the rotting carcasses of fifty horses and millions of black, biting flies.  Carpenter immediately implemented good field procedures, erected tents away from the stench for the wounded, assigned burial details, and planned for the withdrawal of Forsyth and his surviving scouts on 27 September.  One officer serving under Carpenter opined that Forsyth’s fight may have been the greatest battle ever fought on the American plain.  The officer making this comment was George Armstrong Custer.  The Cheyenne remembered the battle as ‘The fight when Roman Nose was killed.’  In the larger view of the Plains Indian Wars, the Battle of Beecher’s Island was of minor significance to everyone except those who fought it.

In the spring of 1867, Cheyenne Dog Soldiers returned north to join Red Cloud on the Powder River.  After being attacked by General Eugene Asa Carr (1830-1910) [Note 13], the Dog Soldiers began a series of revenge attacks on settlements in the area of Smokey Hill River, but the Army was stepping up its search and destroy missions and confronted the Cheyenne at every opportunity.  After raiding in Kansas, Cheyenne Dog Soldiers came under attack by Major Frank J. North and his Pawnee Indian Scouts.  Of an estimated 450 Cheyenne in one war party, Major North killed 35 hostiles, including Chief Tall Bull, and took 17 prisoners.  Cheyenne Dog Soldiers never recovered from the loss of Tall Bull, Roman Nose, and Black Kettle and their threat to the Great Plains settlements was permanently diminished [Note 14].

In 1995, Hollywood produced a fictional tale about Cheyenne Dog Soldiers entitled Last of the Dogmen.  The film starred Tom Berenger and Barbara Hershey and native American actor Steve Reevis.  The action takes place in the mountains of Montana near the Idaho/Canadian borders.  While hunting for escaped convicts, Berenger’s character discovers a small band of Cheyenne that had been hiding out in an isolated region of the Northwest since the end of the Indian Wars.  Fiction, as I said —  but entertaining.

Sources:

  1. Berthrong, D. J.  The Southern Cheyenne.  Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1963
  2. Bourke, J. G.  Mackenzie’s Last Fight with the Cheyenne.  New York: Argonaut Press, 1966.
  3. Dixon, D.  Hero of Beecher Island: The Life and Military Career of George A. Forsyth.  Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994.
  4. Goodnight, C. And others.  Pioneer Days in the Southwest: From 1850-1879.  1909
  5. Grinnell, G. B.  The Fighting Cheyenne.  Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1956. 
  6. Monnett, J. H.  The Battle of Beecher Island and the Indian War of 1867-1869.  Boulder: University of Colorado Press, 1994.
  7. Yenne, B.  Indian Wars: The Campaign for the American West.  Yardley: Wetholme Publishing, 2005.

Endnotes:

[1] There were (and are) seven (7) Cheyenne military societies: Fox, Elk, Shield, Bowstring, Dog, Contrary, and Warrior Women — several of which changed their names as a reflection of shifts in how they viewed themselves.  Cheyenne of the bowstring society also referred to themselves as Owl Men, Wolf Warriors, and Crazy Dogs.  Within the Northern Cheyenne, the Dog Men society merged with the Wolf Warriors.  In all likelihood, these name changes reflected the personalities of social leaders.

[2] A matrilineal social system is a system of kinship in which ancestral descent is traced through maternal, rather than paternal lines.  On the surface, it may appear to be a minor shift, but it is actually quite important because familial influence, marriage, postmarital residence, and rules that prohibit sexual relations between certain categories of kinship, descent, and terms used to label kin are all affected.  Matrilineal societies are often associated with group (polygamous) marriages where men have somewhat ambiguous roles and dual loyalties.  The formation of the Dog Soldiers in Cheyenne culture change this.

[3]  The territory of Kansas (1854-1861) extended from the Missouri border west to the summit of the Rocky Mountains, and from the 37th to the 40th parallel, north.  Much of present-day Colorado was part of the Kansas Territory.

[4]  Not to be confused with Henry Roman Nose, this Indian, also known as Roman Nose (also, Hook Nose) lived from around 1823 to 1868.  In the Cheyenne language, he was known as Woquini.  He was one of the most influential warriors of the Plains Indians War in the 1860s.  Roman Nose thought of himself invulnerable to injury in combat.  He was so fierce, so prominent, that U. S. Military leaders mistook him as the chief of the entire Cheyenne nation.

[5] Mr. Elkins doesn’t waste our time with suggestions about what might happen; he speaks to in terms of WHEN it happens.

[6]  So-named in honor of Lieutenant Frederick H. Beecher, who was killed during the battle.

[7]  Captain William J. Fetterman (1833-1866) was the son of Lieutenant George Fetterman (West Point Class of 1827).  George resigned his commission a year after the death of his wife in 1835.  William Fetterman joined the Union Army during the Civil War; he was twice brevetted for bravery in combat and advanced to the rank of lieutenant colonel of U. S. volunteers.  After the war, Fetterman transferred to the regular army in the grade of captain, U. S. infantry.  Fetterman was everything undesirable in a combat leader.  He was insufferably arrogant, boastful, over-confident, dismissive of the fighting skill of the Indian, and foolishly let his men to their death.  In my opinion, there was little difference between the ineptness displayed by Fetterman and Custer.

[8] Much is written about the propensity of US officials violating treaties and agreements with native Americans — which is altogether true, but in fairness to both sides, the Indians violated as many treaties as did US officials.

[9] The Sand Creek Massacre (also Chivington massacre) occurred on 29 November 1864 when a 700-manned expedition of the Third US Cavalry descended upon a village of Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians, killing up to 500 people, two-thirds of whom were women, children, and elderly men.  

[10]  Beecher, Infantry, was a decorated veteran of the Battle of Gettysburg.

[11] “Comanche Jack” Stilwell (1850-1903) was one of Forsyth’s scouts who also served as a lawman and judge in the Old West.  He was the older brother of Frank Stilwell, a member of the Cochise County Cowboys who participated in the assassination of Morgan Earp in Tombstone, Arizona on 18 March 1882.  Stilwell was shot and killed by Wyatt Earp on 20 March 1882.

[12]  Colonel (later Brigadier General) Carpenter (1829-1916) was a Civil War veteran of 14 campaigns while assigned to the 6th U. S. Cavalry.  While in command of the 10th U. S. Cavalry during the Indian Wars, Carpenter was awarded the Medal of Honor for gallant and meritorious conduct.

[13] General Carr was awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry and distinctive service at the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas on 7 March 1862.  Even though severally wounded, (then) Colonel Carr held his position against an overwhelming enemy force.

[14] As a Cheyenne society, the Dog Men/Soldiers continue to exist today.  Something to think about before deciding not to purchase trinkets from the trading posts in Wyoming and Colorado, offering genuine Indian artifacts made in China :-).  In 2015, the US population of Cheyenne Indians numbers approximately 12,000; 25% of these men and women speak the Cheyenne language.   

About Mustang

US Marine (Retired), historian, writer.
This entry was posted in American Indians, Cheyenne, Civil War, History, Indian Territory, Indian War, Kansas, Minnesota, Pioneers. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Dog Soldiers

  1. Andy says:

    One of the more informative essays deal with the organizations of Native Americans, yet. Very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

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