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
Civil War Tintype of Corporal Riley Cady, 11th New Hampshire Volunteers,
Lot # 1130 - Civil War Tintype of Corporal Riley Cady, 11th New Hampshire Volunteers,
oversized quarter plate in original mat with attached printed text below reading Corporal Riley B. Cady, Company G, 11th New Hampshire/Volunteers; died April 11th 1864; aged 25 years and 6 months, with poem below, 5.75" x 7.5". Cady died of disease at the U.S. Hospital in Baltimore and was buried in... > Item Details
Seven Early English Vellum Documents,
Lot # 1288 - Seven Early English Vellum Documents,
all are approximately 25" x 30" with wax and impressed paper seals, dates include 1785, 1832 (2), 1836, 1844, 1865, and 1866, some are two and four part indentures, all being various types of legal contracts. > Item Details
<i>The Poet Scout</i> Signed By Captain Jack Crawford,
Lot # 1735 - The Poet Scout Signed By Captain Jack Crawford,
New York (NY): Funk & Wagnalls, 1886. 12mo, green illustrated cloth boards with gilt lettering, 181pp, 6pp of advertising. Signed on front free end paper by Crawford: To Comrade F.S. Ketchum,/ Dear Comrade Ketchum, this boquet [sic] of wild flowers culled along the way, Are simple sonnets, gathered ... > 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
Seven Shaw Chicago Fire Stereoviews,
Lot # 1418 - Seven Shaw Chicago Fire Stereoviews,
five are 3.5" x 7" flat views on tan card stock entitled Ruins of Chicago Fire, Oct, 8th, 9th, 10th & 11th 1871, one with great view of the photographers wagon with ruins in background, lettered sign on side reading Shaw's/Stereoscopic Views/Public Buildings/Private Residences...; and the last two a... > Item Details
Four Stacy Cabinet Cards of Buffalo Bill's <i>Wild West </i> Performers,
Lot # 1844 - Four Stacy Cabinet Cards of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Performers,
include two portraits of John H. Krantz, Jr., one in Western outfit and one in suit, PLUS Mexican in cowboy outfit with saddle at feet, autographed inked inscription on reverse in Spanish, dated Brooklyn, N.Y., Julio de 24-1894, signed Epifanio P. Martinez, AND fourth unidentified cowboy with hand r... > Item Details
<i>Nouveau Plan De Paris</i> 1873 Fold-out Map,
Lot # 1325 - Nouveau Plan De Paris 1873 Fold-out Map,
Bechet, Bernardin. Nouveau Plan De Paris, ou Guide Etrangers. Paris, 1873. 16mo, with red cloth boards and lithographed paper label, containing a folded, 24" x 34.75", large Paris street map, hand-colored, with architectural vignettes including: the Arc de Triumph, Pantheon, government establishment... > Item Details
Group of GAR Membership Medals and Ribbons Including Two Officer Medals,
Lot # 208 - Group of GAR Membership Medals and Ribbons Including Two Officer Medals,
lot of 6, bird Colonel, Lt.; three different versions of members medals, all ca 3.5" long; and 6" ribbon from 1872 National. > Item Details
N.Y. Civil War Broadside <i>Rally To Avoid the Draft!</i>,
Lot # 159 - N.Y. Civil War Broadside Rally To Avoid the Draft!,
with bold heading as above and A Meeting will be held at/Osgood's Hall, in Ilion,/On Saturday Evening, February 4th, 1865,... with 7 other lines of text, dated Feb. 3, 1865, 10" x 13", matted and framed (15.25" x 18.25"). The Civil War saw mass resistance to the draft, particularly in New York. Weal... > Item Details
Mammoth Plate Photograph of 130-Year-Old Chippewa Indian,
Lot # 1205 - Mammoth Plate Photograph of 130-Year-Old Chippewa Indian,
warm, sepia-toned silver gelatin print, 30" x 40", copyright and title printed in lower right T.J. Rice Oberlin, Ohio/ "Wa Ba Ne Gwe Wis"/ Chippewa Indian 130 Years Old 1918, framed, 36" x 46". > Item Details
Signed Note from Adolf Stoecker,
Lot # 1160 - Signed Note from Adolf Stoecker,
autographed note on 4.4” x 7” plain half letter sheet in German and dated 1894.Adolf Stoecker (1835-1909) was an early and notorious anti-Semite, who formed the first anti-Semitic party in Germany, the Christian Social Party. He was also court Chaplain to Kaiser Wilhelm. > Item Details
Rare Ca 1870 Complete Polar Outfit in Seal, Buffalo and other Furs,
Lot # 505 - Rare Ca 1870 Complete Polar Outfit in Seal, Buffalo and other Furs,
the leopard seal skin coat is lined with buffalo hide, and has military-type piping button mounts in faded green with hand carved wooden buttons. This coat has buttons behind the collar to attach the hat, which has corresponding button holes. The trousers are also in leopard seal exterior and buffal... > Item Details
Allan Brown's Fort Pitt Ledger Book,
Lot # 251 - Allan Brown's Fort Pitt Ledger Book,
Lot of 2. 1764-1819. 37pp of receipts and accounts, 1764-1770; ca 30pp of accounts, 1815-1819. According to a note written in the journal in 1912, the Irish-born Allan Brown emigrated to Path Valley, Pa. in about 1755, an area then on the western edge of white settlement in Pennsylvania. Brown b... > Item Details
<i>In Memoriam Frederick Douglass</i>,
Lot # 1617 - In Memoriam Frederick Douglass,
Philadelphia: J. C. Yorston, 1st edition, 1897. Frontis portrait of Douglass, 8vo in gray cloth boards with gilt title on spine and cover, gilt top edge and untrimmed other edges, 350p. Includes tributes delivered at "Obsequies" at Washington, D.C., and at Rochester, N.Y. with other tributes, resolu... > Item Details
1872 <i>Atlas Map of Jersey County, Illinois</i>
Lot # 1494 - 1872 Atlas Map of Jersey County, Illinois
anonymous, 1872, Davenport, Iowa, Andrew, Lyter & Co., large folio in embossed green cloth boards, 95pp with 17 colored maps and all engravings of farmsteads and villages. > Item Details
J.M. Watkins, 38th OVI Civil War Discharge,
Lot # 1044 - J.M. Watkins, 38th OVI Civil War Discharge,
a 10" x 13.5" partially printed document presented to J.M. Watkins on the first of May, in 1866, for his discharge of service from the Ohio National Guard in the 38th Reg't OVI. Above, a spread-winged eagle is viewed in front of a 30 star flag, To Whom It May Concern. is printed above. Included are ... > Item Details
Autograph Letter from Henry Wilson, Grant's Vice President,
Lot # 1300 - Autograph Letter from Henry Wilson, Grant's Vice President,
being on lined embossed Congress letter sheet addressed to Gen. Arthur Collector of New York, dated April 9, 1873 and recommending the appointment of Mrs. Kate E. Lincoln to a position in the Customs House, signed in bold strong signature H. Wilson. > Item Details
Lincoln & Grant Biography & Memoirs
Lot # 1530 - Lincoln & Grant Biography & Memoirs
3 vols., includes The Life and Times of Abraham Lincoln Sixteenth President of the United States, Including His Speeches, Messages, Inaugurals, Proclamations, Etc., Etc., by L.P. Brockett, 1865, Jones Bros. & Co., Philadelphia and Cincinnati, 8vo in full calf with marbled paste-downs and end papers,... > Item Details
Civil War CDV of African American <i>Contraband</i>,
Lot # 46 - Civil War CDV of African American Contraband,
with inked manuscript title on recto Opeloussas and Uncle Tom and spurious title in pencil on verso Slave boys Savanna 1863. This is one of a series of images taken by McPherson and Oliver in Louisiana after the fall of Port Hudson. > Item Details
Rare 1830 Illustrated Pamphlet on the Slave Trade,
Lot # 1641 - Rare 1830 Illustrated Pamphlet on the Slave Trade,
full title being The Iniquity of the Slave Trade! An Account of the Murder of a Female Negro Who was Flogged to Death by Order of an Unmerciful Captain, and of the Distress occasioned by Remorse of Conscience, to the Seaman whom he employed to execute his horrid Purpose., anonymous, ca 1830, London ... > Item Details
ITEMS 1-20 of 20
SKIP TO PAGE: