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.So, too, along the line of the Union Pacific.Officials were still nervous.Troops of cavalry camped at intervals of forty miles along the line between Kearney and Julesburg, and even beyond.At Washington and the great cities of the East, therefore, there was no anxiety as to the possible fate of those little garrisons, with their helpless charge of women and children away up in the heart of the Sioux country.But at Laramie and Frayne and Emory, the nearest frontier posts; at Cheyenne, Omaha and Gate City the anxiety was great.When John Folsom said the Indians meant a war of extermination people west of the Missouri said: "Withdraw those garrisons while there is yet time or else send five thousand troops to help them." But people east of the Missouri said: "Who the devil is John Folsom? What does he know about it? Here's what the Indian agents say, and that's enough," and people east of the Missouri being vastly in the majority, neither were the garrisons relieved nor the reinforcements sent.What was worse, John Folsom's urgent advice that they discontinue at once all work at Warrior Gap and send the troops and laborers back to Reno was pooh-poohed."The contracts have been let and signed.The material is all on its way.We can't hack out now," said the officials."Send runners to Red Cloud and get him in for a talk.Promise him lots of presents.Yes, if he must have them, tell him he shall have breech-loaders and copper cartridges, like the soldiers—to shoot buffalo with, of course.Promise him pretty much anything to be good and keep his hands off a little longer till we get that fort and the new agency buildings finished, and then let him do what he likes."Such were the instructions given the commissioners and interpreters hurried through Gate City and Frayne, and on up to Reno just within the limit fixed by Folsom.Red Cloud and his chiefs came in accordingly, arrayed in pomp, paint and finery; shook hands grimly with the representatives of the Great Father, critically scanned the proffered gifts, disdainfully rejected the muzzle-loading rifles and old dragoon horse-pistols heaped before him."Got heap better," was his comment, and nothing but brand new breech-loaders would serve his purpose.Promise them and he'd see what could be done to restrain his young men.But they were "pretty mad," he said, and couldn't be relied upon to keep the peace unless sure of getting better arms and ammunition to help them break it next time.It was only temporizing.It was only encouraging the veteran war-chief in his visions of power and control.The commissioners came back beaming, "Everything satisfactorily arranged.Red Cloud and his people are only out for a big hunt." But officers whose wives and children prayed fearfully at night within the puny wooden stockades, and listened trembling to the howls and tom-toms of the dancing Indians around the council fires in the neighboring valleys, wished to heaven they had left those dear ones in safety at their Eastern homes—wished to heaven they could send them thither now, but well knew that it was too late.Only as single spies, riding by night, hiding by day, were couriers able to get through from the Big Horn to the Platte.Of scouts and soldiers sent at different times since the middle of May, seven were missing, and never, except through vague boastings of the Indians, were heard of again."It is a treacherous truce, I tell you," said Folsom, with grave, anxious face, to the colonel commanding Fort Emory."I have known Red Cloud twenty years.He's only waiting a few weeks to see if the government will be fool enough to send them breech-loaders.If it does, he'll be all the better able to fight a little later on.If it doesn't he will make it his casus belli."And the veteran colonel listened, looked grave, and said he had done his utmost to convince his superiors.He could do no more.It was nearly three hundred miles by the winding mountain road from Gate City to Warrior Gap.Over hill and dale and mountain pass the road ran to Frayne, thence, fording the North Platte, the wagon trains, heavily guarded, had to drag over miles of dreary desert, over shadeless slopes and divides to the dry wash of the Powder, and by roads deep in alkali dust and sage brush to Cantonment Reno, where far to the west the grand range loomed up against the sky—another long day's march away to the nearest foothills, to the nearest drinkable water, and then, forty miles further still, in the heart of the grand pine-covered heights, was the rock-bound gateway to a lovely park region within, called by the Sioux some wild combination of almost unpronounceable syllables, which, freely translated, gave us Warrior Gap, and there at last accounts, strengthened by detachments from Frayne and Reno, the little command of fort builders worked away, ax in hand, rifle at hand, subjected every hour to alarm from the vedettes and pickets posted thickly all about them, pickets who were sometimes found stone dead at their posts, transfixed with arrows, scalped and mutilated, and yet not once had Indians in any force been seen by officers or man about the spot since the day Red Cloud's whole array passed Brooks's troop on the Reno trail, peaceably hunting buffalo."An' divil a sowl in in the outfit," said old Sergeant Shaughnessy, "that hadn't his tongue in his cheek."For three months that hard-worked troop had been afield, and the time had passed and gone when its young first lieutenant had hoped for a leave to go home and see the mother and Jess.His captain was still ailing and unfit for duty in saddle.He could not and would not ask for leave at such a time, and yet at the very moment when he was most earnestly and faithfully doing his whole duty at the front, slander was busy with his name long miles at the rear.Something was amiss with Burleigh, said his cronies at Gate City [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]