Up the Yellowstone
The following account by Texas Jack appeared in the Sunday issue of the New York Herald newspaper on September 17, 1876. Texas Jack was accompanying one of the Herald's correspondents to join General Terry in pursuit of Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, and the various bands of Sioux after the Battle of Little Bighorn / Greasy Grass.
"On the afternoon of the 21st I left Buford on board the steamboat Josephine, which steamed out in company with the steamboat Yellowstone. They traveled together up the Yellowstone River without accident until the morning of the 22nd, when we met a little Mackinaw boat with a sergeant and six soldiers, who reported Indians scattered along the banks of the river for thirty miles on either side. We encountered no signs of hostile Indians until about eleven A.M. on the 23rd, when we were about 100 miles from the mouth of the river."
"We had given up all idea of meeting with Indians, and I had gone on shore in pursuit of a deer which I saw on the north bank, when suddenly I heard firing, and rushing to the bank of the river, I saw some Indians firing on the steamboat Yellowstone, which was some half mile behind us. The Indian fire killed one man, named Dennis Shields, belonging to the Sixth regiment of infantry. At this time our boat was taking in wood. I immediately went aboard the Josephine and reported what I had seen. In a few minutes the Yellowstone came alongside. Just then the Indians appeared on the opposite bluff, and fire was opened on them from both boats. They disappeared almost immediately and no further loss was suffered on either boat, but there was quite an excitement on board the boats."
"Baggage of all kinds was used to form barricades, but we had no further use for them, though we saw Indians on the banks at several places along the river as far as Glendive, where we arrived the next morning. Here we found one company of infantry encamped under Colonel Rice. The Indians ad been all round them for some days, but had made no general attack on the post. Glendive is some eighty miles below the mouth of Powder River. Our next excitement, after leaving Glendive, was to find a small boat tied upon the south bank near some high bluffs. There were some fresh tracks about the boat, a scalp and some Indian trinkets in the boat; a few hundred yards further up we heard a shot fired ahead and saw a man coming out of the brush looking back at every step as if afraid that some one was following him. We all sprang for our rifles, but soon saw it was a white man and took him aboard."
"He was the most pitiful looking specimen I ever saw. He was muddy all over, barefooted, bareheaded and badly wounded in the right arm, and so footsore that he could scarcely walk. He proved to be a packer from Terry's command, and had left the mouth of Powder River in company with one Henry Pique, a deserting soldier. When near the point where we picked him up they had seen Indians on the bluff, and attempted to cross. Seeing a small boat on the opposite side, one of them swam across and brought it over. They started to get their mule and camp outfit they had left behind. They had got only a few yards when they were fired into, and the deserter was killed and Pickens was struck in the arm, but gained the bluff. He was chased by Indians back into the brush, and there remained until we picked him up. No more Indians were seen until late in the afternoon, when a few appeared on the north side of the river. They were evidently pickets; and nothing further of importance occurred until we met the steamboat Carroll coming down from General Terry's headquarters."