Thursday, September 12, 2013

Yellow Horse's Narrative Of The Apple Creek Conflict

Sitting Bull's own pictographic record placed him at Big Mound, where he stole a mule and counted coup on one of Sibley's men.
Yellow Horse’s Narrative Of Running Battle
From Big Mound To Apple Creek, 1863
By Dakota Wind
BISMARCK, N.D. – On February 25, 1921, Yellow Horse, an Iháŋktuwaŋna Huŋkpáti (a member of the Huŋkpáti band of the Yanktonai Dakota) gave his narrative account of the 1863 Sibley arm of the Punitive Campaign to Lucille Van Solen, an interpreter, at the Cannonball Ranch on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation. Yellow Horse was seventy-five years old.

The narrative which Yellow Horse shared is of the running conflict which began on July 24, 1863 near present-day Jamestown, ND and concluded where Apple Creek converges with the Missouri River near present-day Bismarck, ND five days later.

Here is an excerpt of Colonel A.B. Welch’s Oral History Of The Dakota Tribes, 1800’s-1945, Story No. 37, Yellow Horse Talks About Battle On James River, 1863.

I was born where Jamestown is now.  We called that place Itazipa Okaksi (Bows cut with axe).  We got good bow wood there.  Not on any branch which flows in but on the river, itself, we found the wood.

...a runner came in saying that the soldiers were on the way coming.

I want to tell you something about the soldiers:  Some distance above where Jamestown now is, there is a big bend in the river and a sort of “Square Butte.”  A large camp of us were there one time.  There was a lake east of that place, too.  I was about seventeen years old then (1863). One time a runner came in saying that the soldiers were on the way coming.  We pulled down our tipis quickly and got away.  We went east from that place.  All of a sudden we were surrounded with soldiers.  Soldiers on white horses were on the north of us; soldiers on bay horses were on the south and others in front of us.  They started to march us back again.  It was almost night time and that night the soldiers stayed all around us. We could not get away.  We thought they were going to shoot us.  A young man started to sing about his bravery and, to do it right, he shot off his gun.

That seemed to be a signal for all the soldiers to shoot at us and they fired among us then and killed eleven of us there.  I got away and got away up north somewhere, and I thought that I was the only one left alive.  But, after a time, I found another man who had got away and we found some more after that, too.  We went down to the place where the fight had taken place.  Our skin tipis and all our buckskin clothes and everything else was burned.  All we found there was some iron we had to make fire with a stone.  We gathered all these irons up and went away.

My father and I came to the waterway about where the Bismarck penitentiary is now and then we went south from there.  We heard that Two Bears was having some trouble with some soldiers down there, so we went to see about that.  My father was killed down there and since then I have been an orphan.