Battle of the Slim Buttes - Buffalo, SD
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 45° 34.856 W 103° 32.775
13T E 613413 N 5048515
Quick Description: Another in Centennial Park, this about a battle just east of here.
Location: South Dakota, United States
Date Posted: 9/1/2015 4:59:23 AM
Waymark Code: WMPH9H
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 3

Long Description:

County of marker: Harding County
Location of marker: Canam Hwy (US-85/SD-20), Centennial Park, Buffalo
Marker erected: July 3, 2009
Marker erected by: Harding County Chamber of Commerce

Marker Text:
After the Battle of the Little Big Horn on June 25, 1876, General Terry and General Crook joined forces for the purpose of trying to locate and crush the Indian forces. They separated when they reached the mouth of Powder River in Montana and General Crook moved eastward toward the Little Missouri River where he expected to find the Indians. General Crook crossed the Little Missouri in western North Dakota and found that all the Indian trails seemed to lead toward the Black Hills. Although his command was practically out of provisions, his decision was to start the 200 mile trip south. The command, numbering 1,260 men, later became known as "Crook's Starvation March". It had been raining for several days, the prairie had been burned off, and consequently there was little feed for the horses. It was a hardship on the horses and especially the 200 men in the infantry. Approximately 25 to 35 miles a day were made in spite of the hardships. Many of the horses and mules were exhausted and would go down, then were killed and butchered to feed the men, who had almost no provisions

On September 7, 1876, they reached the Grand River and Gen. Crook decided to send 150 men under the command of Captain Anson Mills of the 3rd Cavalry to leave immediately for the Black Hills and bring back food and provisions for the remaining soldiers. He ordered them to attack any body of Indians they encountered tht they could defeat.

About 3:00 p.m. the following day, Frank Girard, the chief scout, returned to announce the discovery of an Indian village located in the Slim Buttes on both banks of a small stream called Rabbit Creek. The command hid in a ravine, planning to attack the Indians the next morning.

The pack train was left with 25 men, and the rest of the command under Lt. Bubb, came within 100 yards of the village when a small herd of ponies stampeded and ran through the village. The soldiers then charged, firing as they went. The Indians cut their way out of the back of some of their rawhide lodges, and after firing two volleys into the soldiers, took to the brush and ravines, carrying their dead and wounded with them. Two men of Company E were wounded, Lt. Von Ludwick, in the knee cap and Pvt. Currin in the thigh.

As soon as the Indians had taken care of their women and children, they returned and surrounded the soldiers. Under the constant firing many Indians, including women and children, were killed and wounded. When the firing subsided, Capt. Crawford ordered J.A. Kirkwood to take 5 men and go into all the lodges to see whether there wee any Indians left, but they were gone.

Meanwhile in a ravine nearby, Indians were firing at the troops on the skirmish line. John Wenzel, of Company E, was shot through the forehead and killed instantly. Pvt. Kirkwood and Pvt. Clevensky tried to get to the Indians from the west side but failed. Pvt. Kirkwood received a flesh wound in the side. Sgt. Glass had his arm shattered. Capt. Mills sent 3 soldiers back to Gen Crook with the message, "to come as he had captured an Indian village." Gen. Crook arrived about 11:30 a.m. the next day after which Scout White was shot in the forehead by the Indians.

That evening Chief Crazy Horse and his band came to take on the soldiers, but upon finding the entire force there, withdrew after a small skirmish during which 5 men were wounded, Pvt. Kennedy so badly he died during an amputation. The Indian Chief, American Horse, was shot in the stomach and died. The entire Indian loss was not known as their dead were carried away. The soldiers found where the squaws had dug a hole in the ravine with knives and here they found buried 4 braves, 6 squaws and 13 children.

The loss of men under Capt. Mills' command included 3 dead and 14 wounded. The next morning the three soldiers were buried and also Lieut. Von Ludwick's leg. The men made a large fire over the burial place to conceal it from the Indians. Then the command started on with Lt. Von Ludwick being carried on a stretcher. He kept insisting as they carried him that the Indians were cutting up his leg, and such proved to be the case. The next day Major Mason was sent back with 5 companies of the 5th Cavalry to investigate and the found that the soldiers had been dug up, cut to pieces and their bones crushed.

The soldiers confiscated a vast amount of provisions from the Indians including over 5,500 pounds of dried meat, large amounts of dried fruits, robes, ammunition, arms and 175 ponies.

In the summer on 1876, the Battle of Slim Buttes was the only skirmish between the Plains Indians and the United States Army in which the Army was victorious.

On August 15, 1920 the Slim Buttes Battlefield Monument was dedicated. A roadside historical marker was erected on the spot, which is located next to Hwy 20 in the Slim Buttes, and dedicated on August 19, 1956.

By the side of this monument stand three grave markers for the three military men who lost their lives:
   Edward D. Kennedy, Co. C 5th U.S. Cavalry
   Jonathan White, U.S. Scout
   John Wenzel, Co. A, 3rd U.S. Cavalry

Marker Name: Battle of the Slim Buttes

Marker Type: Other

Marker Text:
Please see long description, the space here will not hold the text of this marker


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