Thursday, January 31, 2013

Beecher Island

In 1868 Captain Forsyth led a small troop of federal cavalry into the country between the Platte and Arkansas Rivers in what is now Colorado along the Republican River. They ran into a war party of Cheyenne Dog Soldiers, amongst whom road the famous war chief, Roman Nose.

Roman Nose is everything you've heard about the warriors of the plains. Highly decorated warrior with a trailing war bonnet, marking his many battle honors. He was known for counting coup in the most dangerous situations, at one point riding into the midst of a holed up wagon train to strike the head of a dead man and shout "I have counted first coup upon this longest faced white man that ever lived." All this in a hail of gunfire. His medicine was strong, and so long as he ate his food with no metal implements he could not be killed.

Forsyth camped on the Republican River, but woke up to discover that the Indians had come down upon them. They quickly surrounded the troop and pinned them down with heavy fire. The cavalry fortified their position with logs and shallow trenches. In the resulting battle many of the troopers were killed or wounded. But Roman Nose held back for that morning he had eaten (or so the legend goes) with a spoon, so he remained aloof of the fighting. That is until one of his warriors chided him and he painted up and went to battle.

He road down to the river and charged the island. His warriors followed suite, encouraged by his bravery. They rode into the fire!

Roman Nose was hit however and fell in some tall weeds not far from the island where he slowly bled out and died.

1 comment:

Lightening Bolt said...

Do you know who is the artist of the Roman Nose painting?