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    Fetterman Massacre of 1866: Period Manuscript Account. 3 p. ALS, Fort Casper, Dakota Territory, Head Quarters Company E 2nd Cavalry, April 16, 1867, signed by Fred W. Mixer, written on 7.75" x 9.75" bifolium stationery. The letter refers to the massacre of eighty-one soldiers under the command of Captain William J. Fetterman on December 21, 1866. The attackers were Red Cloud and his allies of the Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes. Up until this time, the massacre was the largest loss of soldiers suffered in the Indian Wars, resulting in a temporary withdrawal of troops from the contested area. Mixer claims that Surgeon Hine's account (he being the only surviving eyewitness), as published in "Harper's Weekly", is the most accurate and truthful. "I have conversed with a respectable young man of Harvey's Company who was his bedfellow... It seems that Harvey had a sort of presentiment that his end was near frequently speaking of his dear Mother and regretting the course he had taken... he... participated conspicuously in the engagement with the savages on the day previous (Dec. 20) and was highly complimented for bravery. He and one other man were separated from the commend and were pursued by two savages. They were armed with (at that time) Enfield Rifles not very effective weapon mounted. The Indians tried to throw their Bows over his head (Harvey's) being all out of arrows. Harvey turned in his saddle struck the savage to the ground, dismounted, shot the other one, rode on to the Post.... poor Harvey we were great friends last winter but I have deeply regretted since the course we pursued..." Mixer goes on to advise the recipient (likely a Harvey family member or friend) how to obtain Harvey's back pay and personal effects. It is interesting to note the soldier's lack of enthusiasm for their assignment and posting. They were likely volunteers and did not realize the hardships or dangers involved.

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    December, 2016
    3rd Saturday
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