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 Photograph of Geronimo By A.F. Randall,
Lot # 337 - Boudoir Photograph of Geronimo By A.F. Randall,
of Wilcox, Arizona Territory, c. 1884, albumen photograph, with A.F. Randall Willcox, A.T. backstamp over F. Parker, El Paso, Tex. marked cardstock and the following verso manuscript Geronimo Head War Chief of the Chiricohua Apaches. > Item Details
Seven Superior Cyanotypes of Apaches,
Lot # 350 - Seven Superior Cyanotypes of Apaches,
lot of 7, ca 1890 and possibly by Charles Lummis; beautifully executed casual outdoor images of young Apache men and women likely taken at Fort Apache, Arizona. Images include two views of young Apache girls dressed in gingham dresses and cactus kicker moccasins; PLUS three women resting with their... > Item Details
Large Lot of 20th Century Writers ALsS & ANsS,
Lot # 1276 - Large Lot of 20th Century Writers ALsS & ANsS,
lot of 13, a Jack London clipped signature (1876-1916) author of Call of the wild; an ALS from Edwin Markham (1852-1940) dated Dec. 26, 1907 along with a print by him; an ALS and an autographed poem by Joaquin Miller (1839-1913); a TLS by Compton Mackenzie (1883-1972) in German and dated 1927; the f... > Item Details
Salesman's Case of Underwood Stereoviewers,
Lot # 1431 - Salesman's Case of Underwood Stereoviewers,
stained pine carrying case made to hold 12 hand held Underwood & Underwood stereoviewers, currently with 6 original aluminum mounted stereoviewers with original finish and brass top mounted carrying handle, 4.75" x 32.5" x 15.25" high. These viewers are fairly easy to come by, so filling out the cas... > 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
Group of Gold & Plated Masonic Jewelry,
Lot # 1463 - Group of Gold & Plated Masonic Jewelry,
lot of 10, includes an enameled gold filled Past Grand Master 3 part medal in case with Grand Lodge Arkansas and engraved on reverse Brethren be mindful with each passing day of the obligations you have voluntarily assumed, 2.5" x 5" long with case marked Mark P. Olney and lower medallion marked on ... > Item Details
Life Speeches and Public Services of Abraham Lincoln,
Lot # 1332 - Life Speeches and Public Services of Abraham Lincoln,
Barrett, Joseph H. Life of Abraham Lincoln, Presenting His Early History, Political Career, and Speeches in and Our of Congress;....and a History of His Eventful Administration, and of the Scenes Attendant Upon His Tragic and Lamented Demise. Cincinnati: Moore, Wilstach & Baldwin, 1865. 8vo, half le... > Item Details
Boxed Set of Napoleonic Era Magic Lantern Slides,
Lot # 1398 - Boxed Set of Napoleonic Era Magic Lantern Slides,
in black painted dovetailed wood box (4.5" x 16.5" x 6" high) with divided interior holding ca 100 3.5" x 4.75" colored lantern slides of the Napoleonic Era. Features various slides of paintings depicting Napoleon on the battlefield with his soldiers as well as images of him and Josephine at their e... > Item Details
Fine 47 Star Hand-Sewn American Flag,
Lot # 240 - Fine 47 Star Hand-Sewn American Flag,
48" x 86". Constructed of worsted wool. With canton pattern having 8-8-8-8-8-7, hand-sewn cotton stars sewn to each face of canton, with canvas hoist and 2 brass grommets, with machine-sewn fly. Introduced with the admission of New Mexico as the 47th State on Jan. 6, 1912. > Item Details
Civil War Orders to Test Performance of U.S.S. <i>New Ironsides</i>,
Lot # 1067 - Civil War Orders to Test Performance of U.S.S. New Ironsides,
12.5" x 16.5" pre-printed letterhead from Com’dts Office, U.S. Navy Yard, Philadelphia and dated August 19, 1862. Manuscript letter states: You will proceed in the “New Ironsides” as far as Fortress Monroe, to see to the working of her engines and report upon the performance of the machinery, in al... > Item Details
Archives of United States Government Appointments Relating to Arapahoe Chief Little Raven,
Lot # 426 - Archives of United States Government Appointments Relating to Arapahoe Chief Little Raven,
lot of 7. Includes six vellum partially printed 7.5 x 10" military appointments for Little Raven as an Indian Scout with the 5th Cavalry at Fort Reno, I.T. for private and corporal for six month intervals between 27 July 1885, 28 Jan 1886, 28 July 1886, 28 Jan 1887, 30 July 1887, and 30 Jan. 1888,... > Item Details
Boudoir Card of Sluice Mining in Idaho,
Lot # 1783 - Boudoir Card of Sluice Mining in Idaho,
entitled in negative Sluicing and showing four men with tools in an open pit into which the sluice descends, above are a group of frame and log buildings, crudely constructed with tree stumps for foundation posts, sign above door of largest reading Blacks Mining. Reverse with period inked inscriptio... > Item Details
B.F. Upton Stereoview of Ottodun, An Indian Chief,
Lot # 1206 - B.F. Upton Stereoview of Ottodun, An Indian Chief,
on a regular-sized yellow mount; Upton's pasted Minneapolis, Minnesota label and penciled title Ottodun (Plenty) on verso; from his Series of Indian Portraits and Views. > Item Details
Autographed Cabinet Card of W.W. Dillingham the Cowboy,
Lot # 447 - Autographed Cabinet Card of W.W. Dillingham the Cowboy,
4.8" x 5.5" on original card stock mount (6.75" x 8.5"), of Dillingham seated in a carved armchair with one leg over arm and large pipe in mouth, reverse with pencil inscription From W.W. Dillingham/To his Friend Bee Ho G(ray)/4-6-1914/Florence SC. W.W. Dillingham also called Dillie or Dilly was a ... > Item Details
Diary of Voyage to Brazil, 1863 Nov.-1864 Feb.,
Lot # 1472 - Diary of Voyage to Brazil, 1863 Nov.-1864 Feb.,
Goodwin Gardner Williams, 102pp diary and 40pp of narrative, notes, and accounts. On November 19, 1863, 42 year old Goodwin Gardner Williams departed Baltimore with a drunken crew aboard the ship Grey Eagle, bound for Rio de Janeiro on a long, slow voyage, arriving only on the last day of the year.... > Item Details
Photograph of Paul Robeson as Othello & Other African American Theatre People,
Lot # 1602 - Photograph of Paul Robeson as Othello & Other African American Theatre People,
all 8” x 10” silver gelatin promotional stills, including one stamped on reverse The Theatre Guild Presents Paul Robeson in The Margaret Webster Production of Othello Shubert Theatre with both Robeson and Uta Hagen, imprint of Vandamn Studio, N.Y., PLUS autographed photo of Stump & Stumpy, an Africa... > Item Details
CDV of George Armstrong Custer,
Lot # 460 - CDV of George Armstrong Custer,
as Major General with imprint of Brady Washington. Illustrated in Katz' Custer in Photographs [K-78], dated May 23, 1865. Verso includes Brady & Co. backmark and a 2 cent U.S. Internal Revenue Proprietary stamp. > Item Details
Four Boudoir Photographs of American Indians by W.E. Hook,
Lot # 331 - Four Boudoir Photographs of American Indians by W.E. Hook,
albumen; each with W.E. Hook Wholesale View Company/ Colorado Springs, Col. imprint on mount; images include Arlee, Sons & Grandsons, Chief of Flatheads, Mont., Assinnaboine Indian Lodge, White Swan, Chief of Nez Perces Indians, and Woli Velei(?), Gros Ventre who wears a tacked knife sheath and hold... > Item Details
Scarce Patriotic Union Sixth Plate Photograph Case,
Lot # 1378 - Scarce Patriotic Union Sixth Plate Photograph Case,
with gold decorated reverse of U.S. ten dollar gold piece in center with scrolled surround. > Item Details
Novelty Tintype of a Pair of Western Wannabes,
Lot # 1782 - Novelty Tintype of a Pair of Western Wannabes,
unidentified subjects, approximately 2.5" x 3.5" thin metal plate, ca 1890s. Two "cowboys" wearing wide-brimmed hats, matching silk sashes and brand new, expensive leather boots. > Item Details
ITEMS 1-20 of 20
SKIP TO PAGE: