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Egstad, H. M. (ed.) / The Wisconsin alumni magazine
Volume 35, Number V (Feb. 1934)

Lindow, Lester W.
He fought Indians,   p. 126


Page 126


                                                         He F~ou1ct Indians
                 l~~~~~~~~~~~~a ok te 1rntrj - k~it. 6fisd
 Lester W. Lindow '34
                                                             Union Pacific,
and to give you an idea of how crude trans-
                                                             portation was
in those days, here is how we moved from
                                                             Wyoming to our
post in Arizona.
                                                                "We
left our horses at the post and marched to the
                                                             railroad, taking
it to San Francisco. There we got on a
                                       SGT. POST             boat and sailed
down the California coast and up into
                                       Oldest in the Army  the head of the
Gulf of California. At that point we got on
                                                             barges and went
up the Colorado river as far as we could,
                                                             then disembarked
and marched on foot over the swelter-
        HEN A STRANGER enters the outer office of       ing deserts to our
post. I expect it would be a trip of a
        the Reserve Officers' Training Corps headquarters  few hours by airplane
now. It took weeks then."
        in the Old Red Armory, the first person he sees is
a white haired, dignified appearing old gentleman sitting  FROM  1872 to
1874 he stayed in Arizona fighting the
at a desk which bears the name plate, "Sgt. Frederick   -   hostile
Apache Indians. In the summer of 1876 the
Post." The visitor's first impression is that Sergeant Post  Sioux Indians
broke out of their reservation in the north-
has been doing office work all his life, but that guess  western part of
Nebraska, and Sergeant Post's unit was sent
would be far from true. Life has been anything but dull  up there to try
and hold some of the remaining Indians on
and quiet for him.                                           the reservations.
The unit later joined General George
  In June Sergeant Post will be 84 years old, and ever  Crook, one of the
greatest Indian fighters in history. It
since 1871 he has been in active service with the United  was at this time
that Post made a life-long friendship with
States Army or else attached to army posts. He fought   the late General
Charles King of Milwaukee who was
against rebelling Indian tribes during the last quarter of  only a lieutenant
at the time. Custer's famous "Last
the 19th century, and in the Spanish-American War. Dur-  Stand" happened
during this campaign, and it was imme-
ing the World War he was too old for active duty over-  diately after that
event that Post's unit was encamped at
seas, but he was an assistant to the commandant at the  the mouth of the
Powder river facing 8,000-10,000 hostile
University of Illinois. He has been at the University of  Indians. Engagements
were frequent, and the men spent
Wisconsin ever since 1919. He is one of the oldest, if not  an entire week
in the open without tents or shelters of any
the oldest man on duty in the Army today.               kind under skies
that were continually pouring down rain,
  The old sergeant has innumerable stories about expe-  living in the constant
fear of concentrated attack by the
riences during various phases of his military career, but  natives who greatly
outnumbered them.
the ones he likes to tell the best concern incidents of the  At the completion
of the campaign the troops were
Indian campaigns. Perhaps the hardest things to get out  moved east towards
the Dakotas with the purpose of clean-
of him are tales about himself. He'll talk readily about  ing out hostile
Indians in the Black Hills. They marched
the exploits of his comrades, but any question about him-  for days, and
even their guides weren't exactly sure where
self results only in the statement that he never did any-  the Black Hills
were. The prairies that they marched
thing worth talking about. However, the officers in the  over were barren,
having been burned over by great
military department say that he has a wealth of such stories,  prairie fires.
No game was available, and one day the
but that he is too modest to tell them.                 unit found itself
with only rations for two days for its
   Although he was finally retired and relieved from ac-  2,000 men, and
no apparent chance of replenishing the
tive duty by the Army in 1929, the Regents of the Uni-  supply. "There
was only one thing to do, and we did
versity appointed him as an assistant to the corps com-  it," Sergeant
Post said. "We started to kill our extra
mandant, and he has served in that capacity ever since.  horses and eat them.
That wouldn't have been so bad,
Sergeant Post just wouldn't feel right if he wasn't in an  but we had a hard
job finding enough wood for fires, and
Army environment after all these years, and don't think  we didn't have any
salt or other seasoning. To top it
for a minute that he doesn't do his full share of the office  off we didn't
have any utensils to cook the meat in.
work; he does.                                               So we hacked
our canteens in half and used them for
   He enlisted in the Army in 1871 with Troop C of the   pans, the salt peter
in our ammunition served as seasoning.
5th U. S. Cavalry. The unit was stationed in Wyoming,   Finally all the horses
we could spare were disposed of,
and they received orders to exchange places with a cav-  but luck was with
us, and our advance guard ran into a
alry post in Arizona. "You know," the sergeant says, "the
 band of Indians. The main body made a forced march,
West was a pretty wild country in those days, settlements  and we succeeded
in getting the horses from  the In-
were few and far between. The whites lived in constant  dians. So we went
back to our diet of horse meat, and it
fear of Indian attacks, because the natives were frequently  tasted mighty
good at that time."
dissatisfied with conditions on the reservations, and would  During the winter
of 1879, the Ute Indians in Colo-
break loose, and go on a tear until they were stopped.  rado felt that the
Indian Agent, a man by the name of
There was only one railroad line to the west coast, the                 (Please
turn to page 145)
                                                      Page 126


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