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Soldier's Story of the Battle
NARRATIVE. BY SOLDIER
SOLDIER SAID: "I had a very poor horse and was one of those left far behind in the charge. While the other scouts are telling what they did, I sit crying in my heart because I was not in the fight. I feel that if I had owned a good horse I would have been killed because I would have been in the hard fighting."
Soldier caught up with the scouts at the lone tepee but his horse was behind from the start. They started to go very fast from just beyond the lone tepee. As the charge went on, the poor horses trailed out far behind. As he started on he heard a whistle behind him and he saw Stabbed coming up. He had been detailed to follow up a trail off toward the left and had not gone on with the rest of the scouts. He handed Soldier a nose-bag with some cartridges and dried meat in it. He said: "I give you these cartridges and if we retreat I will come right for you and get them for I see you are not going to keep up." At this point he heard the firing begin, it was about two miles away.
At this point he heard the firing begin, it was about two miles away. Soldier first caught up with White Eagle and the two rode on together until they caught up with Bull. Stabbed rode on ahead to the end of the ridge east of the river and the three scouts followed him. At the ridge they began to see signs of Custer's march off to the east. They could see the trails through the grass. Here they found a white soldier trying to get his horse up, he was cursing and swearing, pounding his horse's head with his fists and kicking him under the belly. [Note Here's an anonymous Ree's description of soldiers kicking their exhuasted horses.] Here the grass was much trodden down and the trails were very plain. Soon a little farther up the ridge, they found another white soldier with his horse down. This soldier indicated by signs that he belonged to Custer's command. From the ridge they saw the whole Dakota camp and the battlefield. At this point Soldier was riding very hard. He saw Bob-tailed Bull far out at the end of the line and many Dakotas riding behind the ridge at the left. He met on the ridge some of the Arikara scouts driving off the Dakota horses from between the ridge and the river. He saw some shooting at the end of the ridge over which the Dakotas were to charge later on down upon Bobtailed Bull and the rest of the scouts. Strikes Two was one of the first he saw, and he gave him a horse. Soldier turned here and went along with Strikes Two. Then Red Star came up and said to him "Uncle, you can have that mouse-colored horse with a spot underneath. Take that horse to ride, it is strong and you are heavy."
Just at the point of the ridge where the horses came over, they met Red Wolf and Strikes-the-Lodge. [Note: Strikes The Lodge was also known as Red Bear.] Stabbed now came back and joined the party. Soldier saw many Dakota tents go down and many of the Dakotas swarming back and forth at the end of the village nearest where the fighting was going on. Now the Arikara scouts, Stabbed, Strikes-the-Lodge, Red Wolf, White Eagle, Soldier, Red Star, and Strikes Two, headed the horses some distance from the ridge.
The Arikara Narrative of Custer's Campaign against the Hostile Dakotas, June 1876, edited by Orin Grant Libby, State Historical Society of North Dakota 1920 p 115 - 118
Here is another account by Soldier.
For more information on Custer's scouts, please see The Twisted Saga of the Unsung Seventh Cavalry Scouts.
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