Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Attack Came Unexpectedly

(Found this brochure on the floor of Tom's car, who'd visited the Washita Battlefield on his way back from OK. Seemed relevant in light of events. Change the scenery, the time, but the unexpecting victims of violence remain the same. As Bill Moyers reminds us (and least we forget), violence and the "reliance on arms" was the way our country began. It's all here in this surprise attack that took place in 1868— the guns, the violence, the innocent fleeing...a crazy man leading the way.)


The attack came unexpectedly at morning's first light when the village was most vulnerable. It began with a rifle shot, a bugle sounding "Charge!" and a band playing the opening strains of "Garry Owen." In a moment all was tumult as the charging troopers of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer's 7th U.S. Cavalry came splashing across the frigid Washita River into the sleeping Cheyenne camp of Chief Black Kettle. They came in four battalions. Custer led the largest straight into the village... 

The soldiers drove the Cheyenne from their lodges barefoot and half-clothed and pursued them in all directions. Some of the warriors fought and died in the village; others took up positions behind trees and in ravines and returned fire; many of them escaped. The village's leader, Black Kettle, and his wife, Medicine Woman Later, were killed by soldiers while trying to cross the Washita River. When the firing ceased two hours later, approx 30 to 60 Cheyenne lay dead in the snow and mud.

—National Park Service brochure for Washita Battlefield, Cheyenne, OK

No comments:

Post a Comment