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.
Custer's Fall: The Indian Side of the Story by David Humphreys Miller, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE 1957 p 100 - 101
Bird Horse was Arikara scout White Swan's cousin.
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Although not born into the Teton Sioux, David Humphreys Miller was adopted late in life by both Iron Hail and One Bull, and like the other Sioux, Cheyenne and Crow chroniclers in 100 Voices (Ohiyesa, John Stands In Timber, William Bordeaux, Pretty Shield, Bird Horse, George Bird Grinnell), he had unique access to important particpants in the Battle of the Little Bighorn, some of whom left no other record, such as White Cow Bull and Drags The Rope.
Miller frequenlty made pastel sketches of the Sioux survivors of the Battle of the Little Bighorn whom he interviewed. Some of Miller's portraits are exceptionally fine evocations of the historic personalities in their own right, such as his portraits of Lazy White Bull and Old Eagle and Black Elk late in life.
Click here for information of David Humphreys Miller's sources among the Sioux, Cheyenne, Crow, Arikara and Apapaho.
-- Bruce Brown
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