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.



Condition:  
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

don't miss

an opportunity to bid. You can't win if you're not in.

sign up to bid

what's it worth?

ask the experts

sell your item

start selling
Boudoir Photographs of Mojave Women,
Lot # 364 - Boudoir Photographs of Mojave Women,
lot of 2 albumens, one with H.W. Wyman's Curiosity Store backmark, other unidentified but with Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in negative. > Item Details
Capt. Josiah Shaylor ALS 179[2],
Lot # 249 - Capt. Josiah Shaylor ALS 179[2],
to unnamed officer, Fort Washington, July 27, 179[2]. A veteran of the Connecticut Line during the Revolution, Josiah Shaylor returned to military service in 1791, first as a Captain in the 2nd Infantry and then in various roles in the Legion of the United States. This letter stems from the period ... > Item Details
Photographs of <i>Red Bird's Squaw</i> and <i>Kiowa Charlie and Squaw</i>,
Lot # 1202 - Photographs of Red Bird's Squaw and Kiowa Charlie and Squaw,
lot of two prints on Carbona Self Toning Paper, each 6.625" x 4.625", photos by Horace E. Wolcott, Hobart, Okla., information penciled on verso of each print. The subjects all posed, wearing clothing typical of the period. > Item Details
Destruction of the Washington Arsenal  Manuscript Archive,
Lot # 145 - Destruction of the Washington Arsenal Manuscript Archive,
lot of 3, including an 8pp manuscript letter written on two folded letter sheets with printed heading Washington Arsenal/Washington, D.C., dated June 20th, 1864 and written by Lt. William Prince, 159th N.Y. Infantry, who was detailed to the Ordnance Department Feb. 12, 1864. Lot also includes an 8" ... > Item Details
Receipt Signed By Mat Duggan Plus Western Gold Mining and Cattle Stock Certificates,
Lot # 1716 - Receipt Signed By Mat Duggan Plus Western Gold Mining and Cattle Stock Certificates,
lot of 13, includes a receipt signed by M. Duggan the first Sheriff of Leadville, dated 1878, for four dollars, 3" x 8", PLUS 9 different stock certificates for the following companies; Homestake Mining Co., 1934; XT Land & Cattle Co., N.M., 1890; The Bighorn Land and Cattle Co., Denver, 1907; Cochi... > Item Details
Two Early Books on Slavery,
Lot # 1609 - Two Early Books on Slavery,
includes The History of the Slave Trade and Slavery, Ancient and Modern. The Forms of Slavery That Prevailed in Ancient Nations, Particularly in Greece and Rome. The African Slave Trade and the Political history of Slavery in the United States, by W.O. Blake, 1857, Columbus, Ohio, J. & H. Miller, 8v... > Item Details
Large Group of Political Campaign Letters from the 1884 Election.
Lot # 1574 - Large Group of Political Campaign Letters from the 1884 Election.
Lot of 22, most on lettersheets issued by various Blaine/Logan regional offices, and illustrated with jugates of the candidates. All letters addressed to various members of the Republican National Committee, H.B. Jones, J.D. Chaffee, Samuel Fessenden, or to the Presidential Candidate James Blaine, s... > Item Details
Cased CDV Sized Tintype of Tinted Zouave Private,
Lot # 71 - Cased CDV Sized Tintype of Tinted Zouave Private,
unidentified early war Zouave private wearing collarless jacket trimmed on either side with ball buttons and elbow length cuffs lightly tinted red. He sports a chasseur style kepi without visible insignia or numerals and red waist sash, likely Pennsylvania. Portions of the studio backdrop delicate... > Item Details
Three Early Montana Mining Photographs,
Lot # 1821 - Three Early Montana Mining Photographs,
each by anonymous photographers, each mounted on cream or grey cardstock Includes a circa 1890, 7.5 x 9.5" albumen image of miners posing in the snow around a shaft and hoist, identified on verso in pencil as "Glasgow, Montana, Jefferson County"; a ca. 1910, 6 x 8" silver gelatin image, identified o... > Item Details
<i>Infanterie greift an. Erlebnis und Erfahrung</i>, by Fieldmarshal Rommel,
Lot # 1173 - Infanterie greift an. Erlebnis und Erfahrung, by Fieldmarshal Rommel,
1942, Potsdam, Ludwig Voggenreiter Verlag, 12mo in illustrated boards with blue cloth spine, 399pp with frontis portrait of Edwin Rommel. > Item Details
Pair of Die Cast Western Bookends, Colt Peace Maker Revolvers,
Lot # 1775 - Pair of Die Cast Western Bookends, Colt Peace Maker Revolvers,
unmarked white metal with original finish with cactus and real disarmed 45 caliber bullet on each, on cherry block base, 6.75" x 4.5" x 11.75" high. > Item Details
Albumen Group Portrait of Two Zouaves & Ladies,
Lot # 129 - Albumen Group Portrait of Two Zouaves & Ladies,
6 3/8” x 8 ¾” on slightly larger board, unidentified without photographer’s imprint or notations. Details of the uniform replete with ball buttons suggest that the two privates belong to an unknown immediate post-war New York National Guard or Philadelphia Zouave unit c.1865-70, rather than one of t... > Item Details
A Lemon Picked From a Tree Planted By George Washington,
Lot # 265 - A Lemon Picked From a Tree Planted By George Washington,
housed with a leaf in a mold-blown bottle, 6.5" high, with a partially covered name in relief on glass, EQUERU. Bottle covered by layers of cotton and linen, includes a manuscript label on the bottle that states Lemon from a tree planted by George Washington and picked by his old gardener at Mt. Ver... > Item Details
Alaskan WP & YRR and Gold Rush Archive,
Lot # 423 - Alaskan WP & YRR and Gold Rush Archive,
photographic archive with nearly 300 photos primarily of Skagway, Alaska. Includes 2 photo albums plus loose pages from two other albums and folder of ephemera. The photos were taken and assembled by Adelin Belle Caswell just after the turn of the century. She went to Skagway for a year, apparently ... > Item Details
<i>Notes of a Military Reconnoissance From Fort Leavenworth.....</i>
Lot # 1729 - Notes of a Military Reconnoissance From Fort Leavenworth.....
full title being Notes of a Military Reconnoissance from Fort Leavenworth in Missouri to San Diego in California, Including Parts of the Arkansas Del Norte and Gila Rivers by Lt. Col. W.H. Emory, 1848, Washington, Wendell and Van Benthuyen, 8vo in brown cloth wraps, 614pp, 64 plates and one folding ... > Item Details
Unmounted Albumen Cabinet Card of CSA General John B. Hood,
Lot # 105 - Unmounted Albumen Cabinet Card of CSA General John B. Hood,
half-length uniformed portrait with 2 stars on his collar and double-breast frock coat. John Bell Hood was a Confederate general during the American Civil War. Hood's reputation for bravery and aggressiveness bordered on recklessness. Nonetheless he was one of the best brigade and division commander... > Item Details
1885 ALS from A.W. Greely, CMOH, on His Arctic Expedition,
Lot # 1055 - 1885 ALS from A.W. Greely, CMOH, on His Arctic Expedition,
2pp manuscript ALS in Greely’s own hand, dated Washington D.C., July 14th, 1885. In this letter, written to a Mr. Charles L. Clark, ward of the four children of Greely’s second in command (Lt. Kislingbury) for the 1881 arctic expedition, Greely complains about the false rumors of incompetence on Gre... > Item Details
Group of GAR and WRC Badges and Ribbons,
Lot # 224 - Group of GAR and WRC Badges and Ribbons,
lot of 13, including early 2-part bronze members badge with flag silk hanger, 2.75" long; a rare 2-part bronze President badge with flag silk hanger, 3" long; a silver 2-part 28th & 147th P.V. Knapp's Artillery badge, 2.25" long; a 2-part ironstone badge from Stanton Relief Corps, 1891 Steubenville ... > Item Details
Scarce 1944 Army - Navy All Stars Program With Many Autographs,
Lot # 273 - Scarce 1944 Army - Navy All Stars Program With Many Autographs,
8vo pamphlet in green card stock wraps entitled Navy All-Stars Vs Army All-Stars Fourth Game in Central Pacific Area Championship Series, Naval Station Kaneohe..., 12pp with photo-mechanical prints of each player and several high ranking Naval officers, including Admiral Nimitz, printed by the Navy,... > Item Details
Fine Boudoir Photograph of a Tesuque Warrior,
Lot # 357 - Fine Boudoir Photograph of a Tesuque Warrior,
albumen; with J.L. Clinton's Colorado Springs, Colorado imprint and the Santa Fe Route series backmark; titled in negative Elias - Pueblo Indian/ Tesuque, N.M.; the man, seated against a pueblo wall backdrop, is wrapped in a late classic Navajo serape and holds his bow and arrows. > Item Details
ITEMS 1-20 of 20
SKIP TO PAGE: