Bruce Brown's 100 Voices...
White Swan's Story of the Battle
WHITE SWAN'S STORY OF THE BATTLE
IN SPITE of a steadily mounting assault against his position, Reno had lost only one man aside from the Arikara scouts, most of whom were dead or missing. Sergeant Heyn of G Company had been shot through the chest during the change of front. Now the major saw he was about to lose another man-through desertion. A trooper was defying orders to hold fast and was making a run for it through the timber. "Stop that man!" shouted Reno. "No man leaves this line, dead or alive, until I give the order!"
White Swan, one of the two Crows with Reno, may have misunderstood. Or perhaps Bloody Knife, next to Reno, misinterpreted the major's words as an order for the Crow to overtake and kill the deserter, and passed it along as such in sign talk. At any rate, White Swan got up quickly and took after the trooper. Snaking his way through timber and brush, it did not take the scout long to run down the fugitive. The trooper's death cry as White Swan's knife plunged into him was lost in the din of battle. In a little while, the Crow quietly resumed his place in the line. Reno had his hands too full to notice what had happened...
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