Lot 491    

Indian Wars Archive of Lieut. William E. Reed,
2008, Historic Americana Auction, Dec 4 & 5
1865-1891. 50th Wisconsin Infantry. 5 items (including one ALS).

In the last days of the Civil War, William Boardman Reed, a veteran of the famed 2nd Wisconsin Infantry, was commissioned as Lieutenant of Co. I, 50th Wisconsin Infantry, the last full regiment raised in the state. After performing duty in northern Missouri, “restoring civil government,” the regiment was sent to Fort Rice, Dakota Territory, in October 1865, where they replaced a regiment of “Galvanized Yankees.” Although posted in hostile territory, the regiment suffered losses primarily to desertion and disease before being mustered out in June 1866.

The Reed collection consists of only five items, but two are noteworthy. In addition to a large MOLLUS certificate (1891?) and two handsome cartes de visite -- one signed carte of William B. Reed in Civil War uniform, April 1865 (photo by Outley, St. Louis), and one of a highly whiskered Reed dated April 1870 (photo by Wenderoth, Taylor & Brown, Philadelphia) -- the collection includes an interesting list of Dakota words and phrases. Apparently recorded during service at Fort Rice, the list suggests that Reed was well educated and had some knowledge of linguistics.

The most important item in the collection, however, is a closely written 20p. letter from Reed to his father dated at Fort Rice on Jan. 14, 1866, much of which describes a great buffalo hunt, “one of the remarkable events of my life.” Stuck in winter quarters and weary of the monotony, Reed writes that he jumped at the opportunity for a hunt when it was proposed. With ten fourteen offices and 33 or 34 men, the party was joined by a party of about 80 Yankton “Sioux,” each with two or more horses, one designated as a “buffalo horse” for its running abilities. “It was a motley looking crowd, we of the pale faces with our buffalo skin caps, mittens, pants, and moccasins, rivaling even the Indians in grotesque attire, and I remarked to some our townsmen, that I would give a considerable sum to have the party ride through Lancaster looking as it then did…”

At their first encounter with a straggling herd, twenty Indians were dispatched to the kill, using bow and arrow so as not to disturb the larger herds. “These hunts are conducted in a very systematic manner by the Indians, and are affairs of the greatest importance to them, for by means of such a general hunt as this one, they supply themselves with their winter’s meat and a supply of skins with which to make their clothing, bedding, and houses, and to trade for little articles of luxury. This detachment killed five of the eleven buffalo above mentioned and brought them in soon after…” After two days too cold to hunt, the party then rode onto a larger herd: “we started out, riding at a smart trot or gallop in an easterly direction. The Indians made frequent halts to scout ahead in the fog. Presently they seemed much excited urged their horses faster, and soon they rode suddenly to their pack horses standing just behind the brow of a hill. They rushed around these in an excited manner, hurriedly stripped off the saddles and chopped them all the atoms -- then took the horses and rushed on again. After going a short distance further those in advance uttered a kind of suppressed yell, suddenly swooped around into a little ravine and pounced upon two or three Indians, who were skinning a buffalo there. They stripped of their robes which they (the two or three) were wearing and cut them in pieces. Then each of the party struck them (the Indians) a blow with his whip or bow. The whole thing was at first a mystery to the balance of us, and some started the rumor that it was a party of hostile Sioux (Santes) which they had come upon, but we soon learned that these were some of the Indians composing our party, who becoming impatient, had rushed on ahead, and run into the herd of buffalo, killing one or two, and driving the rest further off -- a dastardly trick, for which they were none too well punished…”

The account goes on in great detail about Indian hunting techniques: “The whole herd consisting of one hundred or more buffalo came charging over a little eminence directly towards us, closely followed by the detachment of thirty or forty Indians, many of whom were right in the midst of the herd, shooting right and left, into the buffalo all around. We hastily deployed ourselves into line and charged against the herd, turning the living stream of animals to the left. The firing was now brisk on all sides. The Indians guiding their ponies by the motion of their bodies, dashed hither and thither in the midst of the herd, silently slipped their iron pointed arrows into the shaggy beasts on all sides, while we, the representatives of the 50th Wis. generally each selected his buffalo, following closely after him, and firing as opportunity offered…”

Reed stayed out hunting as much of his party returned the next day, hauling a herd of carcasses with them, and during another blood orgy, describes getting separated from the other hunters after facing off with a heifer and skinning her and making his way back to the fort in an arduous wandering course.

Good condition except for considerable fading, staining, and evidence of water on the MOLLUS certificate, which strongly affects its appearance
Sold: $1,762.50
Price includes
Buyer's Premium
      Ask a Question

All Images

Two 1804-05 Plymouth, Ct. Sheriff's Orders,
Lot # 1358 - Two 1804-05 Plymouth, Ct. Sheriff's Orders,
both on 6.5" x 8" laid paper partially-printed documents, including a summons for Aaron Warner of Plymouth to appear before the Justice of the peace on May 16, 1805 and pay the sum of four dollars to Ephraim Camp also of Plymouth; and 2nd, a summons for William Leavenworth of Waterbury to appear in ... > Item Details
[ENGLISH LAW] Fitz-Gibbons, John,
Lot # 1852 - [ENGLISH LAW] Fitz-Gibbons, John,
Reports of Several Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Court of King's Bench at Westminster; With Some Special Cases in the Courts of Chancery, Common Pleas and Exchequer. In the I, II, III, IV, and V Years of his Present Majesty King George II. Savoy: Printed by E. and R. Nutt, and R. Gosling for J. W... > Item Details
General Anthony Wayne 1796 Manuscript Letter,
Lot # 242 - General Anthony Wayne 1796 Manuscript Letter,
to Capt. James Taylor, May 28, 1796. Written from Philadelphia, and possibly a draft (the letter includes a number of corrections), Wayne orders Capt. Taylor to travel to Pittsburgh, gather a crew of flatboatmen, and head to Fort Massac, Ill. to deliver orders to the commandant, Capt. Pike. An old ... > Item Details
Autograph Document Signed by Sheriff Patrick Garrett ,
Lot # 429 - Autograph Document Signed by Sheriff Patrick Garrett ,
1p, 8" x 12.5" legal sheet with two binding holes punched in top, blindstamp over clerk's signature, Lincoln County (NM), 2 April 1883, with docketing on verso. Disposition of the estate of Richard Smith, signed by Garrett as Administrator of the estate. It seems as though Garrett was not able to f... > Item Details
Rosewood Table Top Stereoviewer,
Lot # 1427 - Rosewood Table Top Stereoviewer,
rosewood with applied brass corner ornaments, maple eye-pieces with stereo optics and 6" diameter magnifying glass, marked on interior Marque De Fabrique, 7" x 10.75" x 3.25" high when closed. Lot includes 5 Keystone and chromolithographed views and cabinet card portrait. > Item Details
Rare Cabinet Card of Frederick Douglass & Son, Joseph H. Douglass,
Lot # 55 - Rare Cabinet Card of Frederick Douglass & Son, Joseph H. Douglass,
with elderly Douglass seated in claw foot armchair, holding a paper with his handsome young son standing at his side. Imprint of Notman Photo Co., Boston. AUCTIONEER'S NOTE: We have been alerted to the fact that it is Douglass' grandson. > Item Details
American Naturalist John Burroughs' ALsS, Photographs, and Manuscript Group,
Lot # 275 - American Naturalist John Burroughs' ALsS, Photographs, and Manuscript Group,
this archive of letters and photographs highlights the relationship between George Clyde Fisher and John Burroughs. Burroughs, born in 1835 on the family farm in the Catskills, would spend most of his early life out-of-doors, either on the farm or on the slopes of Old Clump Mountain. Although he sta... > Item Details
Seven Pre-Civil War U.S. Political & Military History Books, Plus,
Lot # 1156 - Seven Pre-Civil War U.S. Political & Military History Books, Plus,
lot of 8, including the following titles; The Pride of Britannia Humbled; or, The Queen of the Ocean Unqueenei by The American Cock Boats..., by Wm. Cobbett, 1817, Williams & Mason, Cincinnati, 12mo in printed boards, 216pp; Sketches of Western Adventure..., by John A. M'Clung, 1847,. Ells, Claflin ... > Item Details
Stereoview of California Indians By Watkins,
Lot # 373 - Stereoview of California Indians By Watkins,
on regular size yellow mount; with Watkins' credit line and title At the Rancherio, Mendocino County, California on recto; verso with Watkins' backmark noting his photography award received at the Paris International Exposition, 1868. Image shows a Pomo woman weaving a basket and her son holding a ... > Item Details
GAR Membership Medals Plus,
Lot # 203 - GAR Membership Medals Plus,
includes five 2-part bronze and flag ribbon members medals, all 3.25" long; two different Bird Colonels GAR pinbacks with enameled backs; a gold oak leaf pinback GAR bar; two brass GAR collar buttons; and a 1" GAR cello pinback. > Item Details
1828 West Point Register For Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Joseph Johnston,
Lot # 1065 - 1828 West Point Register For Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Joseph Johnston,
full title being Register of the Officers and Cadets of the U.S. Military Academy. June, 1828., small 12mo in self wraps, 22pp, with Davis listed as No. 23 in first class, Lee listed as No. 2 in second class, Johnson as 17 in same class. > Item Details
1860 Campaign Version of Lincoln/Douglass Debates,
Lot # 1537 - 1860 Campaign Version of Lincoln/Douglass Debates,
with the full title being Political debates between Hon. Abraham Lincoln and Hon. Stephen A. Douglas, in the celebrated campaign of 1858 in Illinois; Including the Preceding Speeches of Each, at Chicago, Springfield, Etc.; Also the Two Great Speeches of Mr. Lincoln in Ohio, in 1859, as Carefully Pre... > Item Details
Indian Reservation Broadside Warning of <i>Trachoma</i>,
Lot # 1201 - Indian Reservation Broadside Warning of Trachoma,
13.75" x 17.5", printed on linen, matted and framed, overall 14.5" x 18.75". Published August 15, 1913, shortly after Cato Sells took over as Commissioner of Indian Affairs. This broadside warns of Trachoma, a contagious disease of the eyelids, dangerous to the eyesight, and describes symptoms, trea... > Item Details
Stereoview of R.E. Lee and Staff on Richmond Porch,
Lot # 120 - Stereoview of R.E. Lee and Staff on Richmond Porch,
with his son and another CSA officer, all in uniform entitled 2088 Gen. Robert E. Lee. Gen. G.W. Lee, Col. Walter Taylor., mounted on 4" x 7" orange card stock and published by Taylor & Huntington, Hartford, Ct. > Item Details
Two Civil War CDVs and Cased Tintype of a Union Soldier,
Lot # 1128 - Two Civil War CDVs and Cased Tintype of a Union Soldier,
includes an E. & H.T. Anthony cdv of General Burnsides; a cdv engraving of General Q.A. Gilmore; and a cased 6th plate tintype of an unidentified young Union soldier wearing 9-button shell jacket, with kepi in lap and eagle breast plate. > Item Details
Stacy Cabinet Card of Buffalo Bill Cody,
Lot # 444 - Stacy Cabinet Card of Buffalo Bill Cody,
full length portrait of Cody with lariat in hand and standing beside his saddle and other gear. Imprint of Stacy, N.Y. and stamped on verso Dr. L.A. Frost Collection with inked inscription below reading Property Custer Estate. Larry Frost purchased the Custer Estate. > Item Details
Group of European Writers Autographed Notes & Photographs,
Lot # 1272 - Group of European Writers Autographed Notes & Photographs,
lot of 8, includes two manuscript pages by Alma Mahler-Wefel in German, in broad flowing calligraphic script and signed at end of each Alma Maria Mahler, both are double sided and on 8.75" x 11.25" plain letter sheet. One in black ink is stamped on front Kuhn, Loeb & Co. Jun 4 1920 Filing Department... > Item Details
Magnus Illustrated Sample Song Book,
Lot # 1080 - Magnus Illustrated Sample Song Book,
a very rare, ca 1863 Charles Magnus sample booklet of hand-colored, illustrated Civil War handbill song sheets with catalog list of other Magnus publications. This 12mo sized (5.25” x 8”) card stock accordion-fold booklet contains 6 panels with illustrated heading and text of each song below includi... > Item Details
F.B. Carpenter Engraving of Abraham Lincoln, 1866,
Lot # 1544 - F.B. Carpenter Engraving of Abraham Lincoln, 1866,
sheet just under 18 x 23", facsimile signature below image. Notes in corners From life by F. B. Carpenter 1864 to left of image, with engraver's note to right. Copyright by Carpenter in 1866 in the Southern District of New York. Probably a memorial piece, but definitely not one of Abe's better hair ... > Item Details
Land Grant for Isaac Mop, Service During Black Hawk War,
Lot # 1177 - Land Grant for Isaac Mop, Service During Black Hawk War,
10" x 16" partially printed document dated July 20, 1863. Mop was a private in the service of Captain Mathew's Company of Illinois Militia during the Black Hawk War. With Stoddard signed secretarial Lincoln signature. Framed, 12.5" x 16.5". > Item Details
ITEMS 1-20 of 20