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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1904, Part I

Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,   pp. 1-128 PDF (50.3 MB)

Page 126

however, was fruitless and the Indians without further parley con- 
tinued on their way to the agency, while the sheriff and his party took 
the road to Newcastle. 
The Indians traveled some 25 miles that night and went into camp. 
The next day, October 31, they traveled until noon, and after stop- 
ping for dinner again took the road home, and at 4 o'clock p. m., 
while they were traveling along Lightning Creek, in Converse County, 
about 25 or 30 miles north and east of Lusk, Wyo., they came to a 
fence built across the road. There were about 15 wagons in the 
train, which were strung along a distance of nearly a mile, and a boy 
about 11 years of age was driving the extra ponies a short distance in 
advance of the wagons. As they approached the fence an Indian girl 
ran forward and opened the gate to let the train through. The boy 
and ponies with two or three wagons had passed through when the 
Indians discovered ahead of them Sheriff Miller with a posse of 13 
men, all heavily armed. 
The story of just what happened at this time, and how the fight 
started and who fired the first shot, as told by the sheriff's party on 
the one hand and by the Indians on the other, is altogether different. 
The former state that they were stationed just outside of the fence 
and that as soon as the Indians saw them they began to get out of 
their wagons and prepare to fight, whereupon the sheriff's party moved 
back about 50 yards and took a position in the dry bed of the creek, 
where they were sheltered by a bank about 5 or 6 feet high. As the 
Indians came on they were called on to halt and surrender, whereupon 
the Indians began firing from the back part of the train, and then the 
fight became general. The firing lasted from three to five minutes, at 
the end of which time the Indians had all disappeared and most of the 
wagons and their other effects were scattered along the road. The 
sheriff was found to be mortally wounded and one of his deputies had 
been killed; four of the Indians were killed and two were wounded. 
The Indians' story-and all of them practically give the same version 
of the affair-is that they were traveling along the road down Light- 
ning Creek, most of them in their wagons, with their few guns put 
away under bedding and tents, and not anticipating any trouble what- 
ever. When they came to the gate in the wire fence the girl in the 
lead opened it and two or three wagons had passed through, when the 
boy who was driving some of the ponies at the head discovered the 
armed party and immediately turned his ponies around and shouted as 
he ran back to the wagons, " Look out! white men with guns going to
shoot." About that time they were fired upon by the whites, the boy
and pony being killed at the first volley. There could not possibly 
have been more than two or three of the Indians who returned the fire 
of the whites, probably Black Kettle and Smith, who were in the front 

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