From The Indian Country

Bismarck, Dakota Territory
August 18, 1876

Truthful Language from Sitting Bull
Estimates of the Indian Forces

The steamer Key West was fired into a few miles below Fort Buford, on Tuesday, by a party of about fifty Indians.  No damage was done.

A body of well armed Indians recently run off a herd of 400 beef cattle from the Black Hills, killing all but one.  A large number of horses have also been run off.  One Indian was killed.  His head has been preserved in alcohol, and will be sent to Washington.  Gray Eagle's scalp was taken by Dave Campbell, and was sent to the Bismarck Tribune by the steamer Josephine.  Medicine Cloud and his party belonging to the Fort Peck Agency whom Major Mitchell, Indian agent at Fort Peck, sent to Sitting Bull with a message, on May 27, last, has returned to the agency.  The message was to the effect that he desired him to come and visit Fort Peck, hoping such a step would result in his retiring upon the reservation and ceasing hostilities.

Sitting Bull replies, July 27, thus:  "Tell him I am coming before long to his post to trade.  Tell him I did not commence it.  I am getting old.  I did not want to fight, but the white rush on me and I am compelled to defend myself.  But for the soldiers stationed on the Rosebud, I, with my people, would have been there before.  If I was assured of the protection of the Great Father I would go to Fort Peck for the purpose of making peace.  I and the other chiefs want the Black Hills abandoned and we will make peace."

Medicine Cloud numbers the hostiles as consisting of the Brules, Unapapas, Teatons, Minneconjas, Sarasacs, Ogalallas, Cheyennes and Blackfeet.  Of the latter there are but thirty lodges.  He says he does not remember the names of many of the leading chiefs.  Four Horns and Black Moon are Unapapas.  Each nation has two or three chiefs present and they all insist that they did not intend to fight the white, but the Santas commenced the trouble.

Some years ago the whites crowded them back on to them so that they took it up.

SITTING BULL'S ESTIMATES;

He says also that there are no Yanktonites now with him.  He estimates the hostiles as consisting of from 8,000 to 10,000 fighting men.  The Saranacs and Cheyenne's are the most numerous.  There are no white men co-operating with them.  They have plenty of guns and pistols.  He thinks they get their ammunition from a place called the Burning Grounds, beyond the Black Hills.  The Blackfeet  Indians made many presents consisting of horses, etc. to the warriors, in order to induce them to retire from the conflict, but after accepting the offering the request was not allowed.  They  watch continually for the whites, and will fight hard in their own defense.  They are living entirely on meat, which they find very hard to procure, owing to the close proximity of the whites.  Their camp is now on the Tongue River, South of the Yellowstone one and a half days' ride.  The Indians are in a constant state of alarm.  There is no sleep in the camp.

In the fight of the Little Big Horn, he states that the total number of Indians killed was 31.  The estimate of our loss corresponds with what has been heretofore published.

The letter concludes:  While I am writing, a large party of hostile Indians has just arrived upon the opposite bank of the river, including the sons of the Chief, Four Horns and Black Moon, and are now engaged in telegraphing across the river by signs to the Indians on this side, but what their object is has not yet transpired."

THE MEETING OF THE ARMIES OF GENERAL CROOK AND GENERAL TERRY

Capt. Collins, of the Seventh Infantry, arrived at Bismarck, from Ft. Buford, last night.  He fails to confirm the Squaw's report of a recent battle between the Indians and Gen. Terry's force.  Scouts from Gen. Terry's columns two days out arrived at Buford Monday evening.  The carriers who arrived at the supply depot at the mouth of the Rosebud on the 11th inst. report that Gen. Terry's command met the head of Gen. Crook's command early on the 10th.  Gen. Crook's men were following a large Indian trail in the direction of Powder River.  Upon a short consultation between Gens. Terry and Crook the commands were united and proceeded on the trail, Gen. Crook was following.  The Fifth Infantry was detached from Terry's column  and ordered back to the stockade with instructions to take 40,000 rations, embark on the steamer for West and patrol the Yellowstone River as far as the mouth of Powder River and ascertain whether Indians had succeeded in crossing the Yellowstone.  If not they are to prevent them.  In the meantime Terry will come down on them with their combined commands and force a battle.  It is not positively known whether the Indians are on the Tongue River or the Powder River.

Five hundred Crows have volunteered to join Gen. Terry.  They were at once retained and forwarded to him.  They will be sent down the North side of the river with Gen. Miles' command of the Fifth Infantry.

PAWNEE SCOUTS

Washington, August 18 -- The Commissioner of Indian Affairs has given permission to Gen. Sheridan to raise 1,000 Pawnee scouts for the Sioux war.

A TREATY COMMISSION

Secretary Chandler has appointed the following gentlemen as a commission to treat with the Sioux as provided for in the Indian Appropriation Bill passed by Congress:  H. C. Bulis, Iowa; George W. Manypenny, Ohio;  A. G. Boone, Colorado;  Newton Edmunds, Dakota;  Bishop H. B. Whipple, Minnesota;  A. S. Gaylord, Michigan.   Assistant attorney general of the Interior Department; interpreter, Charles > Hindly, Washington.  Secretary  Gaylord will act as legal adviser to the Commission, and represent the Interior Department.  The Commission will start at once and will meet in Omaha on the 28th inst.


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