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Battle At Wounded Knee

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On the morning of December 29, 1890, the Sioux chief Big Foot and some 350 of his followers camped on the banks of Wounded Knee creek. Surrounding their camp was a force of US troops charged with the responsibility of arresting Big Foot and disarming his warriors. The scene was tense. Trouble had been brewing for months. The Battle at Wounded Knee was in part result of the growing support if the Ghost Dance religion. Founded by, a Paige Indian religious leader, the religion rapidly gained many followers though the Plains Indians. The belief of the Ghost Dance religion was the hope of returning to the ?old days?. It was taught that God would restore the Indian world to the way it was before the Americans arrived. With this praise, the Indians felt as though they were bring back there ancestors and the buffalo which were killed some of the Americans.

The army leaders feared that this religion would lead to upraising with the Indians so they called in troops to kept things under control. To control that area of the Indians, the Americans sent in General Nelson A. Miles and Agent James McLaughlin with an army of over 5,000 soldiers. Agent McLaughlin was [mistakenly] reporting that ?this new religion was reported from the beginning and that it seem impossible that any person, no matter how ignorant, could be brought to believe such absurd nonsense?. On Dec 14,1890 having received word that Sitting Bull was determined to visit the Pine Ridge Agency south of standing rock, McLaughlin had him arrested immediately. During the arrest, Siting Bull began to protest. His followers, having heard his shouts began to act. One of them fired a shout a officer arresting Sitting Bull. As the shot began to fell in death he was able to fire one shout hitting Sitting Bull. Gunfire erupted, taking the lives of Sitting Bull, 6 policemen and eight of Sitting Bulls followers. When he heard of Sitting Bull?s death, Chief Big Foot led his people south to seek protection at the Pine Ridge Reservation. At the same time, authorities had decided that Chief Big Foot was a troublemaker who needed to be arrested. When Col E.V Sumner intercepted the band, Big Foot gave his oath that their intent was peaceful and lawful. Sumner questioned his motives for sheltering ?hostels? from Sitting Bull?s camp. Big Foot replied that he had found 38 men and women who where hungry, footsore and nearly naked in midwinter. Anybody with a heart would have done the same thing he told the colonel.

Sumner nevertheless ordered Big foot?s followers, numbering more than 300, to accompany him to Camp Cheyenne, where they would be kept under watchful eye. They obeyed the orders without protest until they had traveled back to their own village. The Indians then announced that would not go any father. Big Foot advised the colonel that they intended to return home and that they had done nothing to justify their removal. But during the night, alarmed by some reports of additional troops that were coming from the east, Big Foot?s people fled toward refuge in the Badlands. Orders to pursue and apprehend the fugitives. Another cavalry unit caught up with them on December 28. Carrying a white flag, Big Foot approached Major Whitside to parley. Whitside demanded surrender, and Big Foot, whose band was in no condition to fight, gave in. The troops hurried the band southwest to Wounded Knee Creek and took up neighboring positions as the Indians set up camp. Four more cavalry troops arrived under the command of Col. James Forsythia, bringing the escort to 470. Big Foot was now ailing with pneumonia, and Col. Forsythia provided him with a camp stove. In the morning, Forsythia prepared to disarm his captives. To secure the field, his troops were disposed on all four sides



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