The Great Salt Lake Trail eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 486 pages of information about The Great Salt Lake Trail.
march, and was ever after known by his singular appellation.  Ta-ton-ka-ig-oton-ka, Sitting Bull, the most vindictive and determined enemy the whites ever had, was so named because once, after having shot a buffalo, he leaped from his horse astride of the animal to skin it, when with the Indian upon him the wounded bull sat up on his haunches.  The celebrated Sioux chief, Sin-ta-gal-las-ca, Spotted Tail, when young always wore a coon tail in his hair, hence his name.  Connected with the history of this famous warrior, there is a pathetic episode, which shows the better side of Indian character.

Spotted Tail had a daughter, who was very beautiful according to the savage idea.  She fell in love with an army officer stationed at Fort Laramie.  He did not reciprocate her passion, and plainly told the dusky maiden he could never marry her.  The poor girl visited the fort every day, and would sit for hours on the porch on her beloved’s quarters until he came out, and then she would quietly follow him about with the fidelity of a dog.  She seemed to ask no greater pleasure than to look at him, be near him, and was ever miserable when out of his sight.

Spotted Tail, who was cognizant of his daughter’s affection for the young army officer, remonstrated with her in vain, and when he found he could not conquer her foolish passion, sent her away to a remote band of his tribe.  She obediently went without murmuring, but, arrived at her destination, she refused food, and actually pined away until she became a mere skeleton.  Spotted Tail was sent for, to see her die.  He hastened to her bed of robes and found her almost gone.  With the little strength she had left, she told her father of her great love for the whites, and made him promise that he would ever after her death live at peace with them.  Then she appeared to be very happy, and closing her eyes said, “This is my last request, bury me at Fort Laramie,” then died.  The old chief carried her body to the fort, and interred it with the whites, where she wished to live.

The grave of the unfortunate maiden had been carefully marked, and as long as the fort was garrisoned it continued to be an object of great interest.

Spotted Tail, after the death of his daughter, never spoke in council with the whites without referring to her request, and declared it to be his wish to live at peace with the people she loved so well.

CHAPTER XV.  SIOUX WAR OF 1863.

In 1863, the Indians of the valley under the leadership of the celebrated Sioux war-chief, Spotted Tail, broke out, and the government determined to chastise them.  An expedition was organized, which was to rendezvous at North Platte, consisting of the First Nebraska Cavalry, Twelfth Missouri Cavalry, a detachment of the Second United States and Seventh Iowa Cavalry, Colonel Brown, the senior officer, commanding the whole.

Some of the operations of this expedition and personal adventures have been told by George P. Belden, then belonging to the First Nebraska Cavalry.[60] He was a famous trapper, scout, and guide, and was known as “The White Chief.”  He afterward became an officer in the regular army.  His account runs as follows:—­

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The Great Salt Lake Trail from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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