By Jerry Green
The Wounded Knee bloodbath of December 29, 1890, identified to U.S. army historians because the final conflict in "the Indian Wars," was once actually one other tragic occasion in a bigger trend of conquest, destruction, killing, and damaged provides that proceed to this day.
On a chilly winter's morning greater than a century in the past, the U.S. 7th Cavalry attacked and killed greater than 260 Lakota males, girls, and youngsters at Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota. within the aftermath, the damaged, twisted our bodies of the Lakota humans have been quickly lined by means of a blanket of snow, as a snowstorm swept throughout the geographical region. a couple of days later, veteran military medical professional John Vance Lauderdale arrived for accountability on the close by Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. stunned via what he encountered, he wrote a variety of letters to his closest kin detailing the occasions, aftermath, and lifestyle at the Reservation less than army career. He additionally handled the wounded, either Cavalry squaddies and Lakota civilians. What distinguishes After Wounded Knee from the big physique of literature already to be had at the bloodbath is Lauderdale's frank value determinations of army existence and a private commentary of the tragedy, untainted via self-serving memory or decorated newspaper and political experiences. His experience of frustration and outrage towards the army command, particularly in regards to the strategies used opposed to the Lakota, is vividly obvious during this intimate view of Lauderdale's existence. His correspondence offers new perception right into a wide-spread topic and used to be written on the peak of the cultural fight among the U.S. and Lakota humans. Jerry Green's cautious modifying of this massive assortment, a part of the toilet Vance Lauderdale Papers within the Western Americana assortment in Yale University's Beinecke Library, clarifies Lauderdale's reports on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
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Additional info for After Wounded Knee: Correspondence of Major and Surgeon John Vance Lauderdale while Serving with the Army Occupying the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, 1890-1891
The Ninth Cavalry, under the command of Colonel Guy V. Henry, had ridden fifty miles that day to the Bad Lands to scout the area near the Stronghold and look for signs of the Lakota. The Buffalo Soldiers were successful in driving off the wagon train's attackers. These Lakota then proceeded to the Drexel Mission near White Clay Creek. Colonel Henry returned with his men to the agency, having ridden over one hundred miles in the preceding 24 hours. Later that morning General Brooke ordered Forsyth to the Catholic Mission, where hostile Lakotas had been reportedly seen.
Plenty Horses had recently returned from the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania and some of his peers looked upon him with disdain, calling him white. The whites would not accept him either, because although he was educated, he was still an Indian. To prove himself to his people, he shot Lieutenant Casey. Such attacks became more isolated and hostilities were winding down. Surrender of the remaining hostiles seemed imminent. On 31 December 1890 General Miles moved his headquarters from Rapid City to Pine Ridge, where he assumed direct control of the situation.
95 News of the massacre soon spread to the bands who had started to return to Pine Ridge. Fear and panic swept through the villages. They fled either toward the Bad Lands or moved to White Clay Creek, farther away from the troops. On hearing the news of Wounded Knee, the Lakota who were returning to the agency to surrender turned back. 96) Small groups of young men sought revenge and staged attacks on remote parts of the reservation. A force of Lakota under Chief Two Strikes rode to Wounded Knee Creek and attacked the troops who had just massacred their kinsmen.
After Wounded Knee: Correspondence of Major and Surgeon John Vance Lauderdale while Serving with the Army Occupying the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, 1890-1891 by Jerry Green