Historical Details

Hat Creek Dateline: 1877/05/01

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 06/06/1990

Chief Crazy Horse surrenders
by Ed Cook, Contributing Writer

A Messenger from Chief Crazy Horse arrived here today with the long-awaited word from the chief that he was ready to surrender. The message was telegraphed over the newly completed line between Hat Creek and Camp Robinson. The great Chief of the Sioux said that he and his band would be at the Red Cloud Agency on May 6. His camp just north of here contained 146 teepees - about 900 men, women, and children. They also had over 2,200 horses. His people and their horses were near starvation.

The war conducted against the northern Indians, by Nelson Mile's Montana troops, had seriously eroded the strength of the villages. Within the last several weeks many bands, large and small, had surrendered at the Indian Agencies. Chief Setting Bull's midwinter decision to quit the war and lead his Hunkpaps to Canada left Crazy Horse's Oglalas as the last large group of the Teton Sioux still fighting. General Crook had tried unsuccessfully to get Crazy Horse to give up through his nephew Chief Spotted Tail. Finally Chief Red Cloud said he would try to get Crazy Horse to surrender, and left on this task April 11 with 64 well-equipped followers. Finally on April 27, Crook received word that Red Cloud had spoken to Crazy Horse and that he too at last would be coming in to the agency.

General Crook however, was called to Washington, D.C. on April 28 so he was not present for Crazy Horse's surrender. As soon as Camp Robinson received the message they sent Second Lt. J. Wesley Rosenquest with 50 scouts and a large issue of beef and hard-crackers to the camp. On meeting the great Sioux leader Rosenquest shook his hand; he is alleged to be the first white man ever to do so.

On May 6, as Crazy Horse and his camp neared the Red Cloud Agency, First Lt. William P. Clark, Second Cavalry, General Crook's emissary at Camp Robinson went to meet him. They also shook hands, smoked the peace pipe and exchanged gifts as tokens of good will Then Crazy Horse and his people came into the agency. The procession was impressive, they came with their weapons and shields in full view. Crazy Horse and his chiefs Little Big Man, Little Hawk, He Dog, Old Hawk, and Big Road led the parade. They were followed by the various warrior societies with each man dressed in his best, then came the old men, women and children, 899 in all, and their horses.

Over 2,000 of Crazy Horse's extended camp had already returned to the agency. Now the surrender of this group concluded the Great Sioux War. Just as significant, their last triumphant entry on May 6, 1887, signaled the end of the old lifestyle for these Plains Indians and marked the beginning of a new age for them.

(Information source: Fort Laramie in 1876, by Paul L. Hedren; Hat Creek and Hard Times, by Edward C. Bryant.)

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