Crazy Horse was enlisted as a scout in
May 1877, a week or two after the surrender at Red Cloud Agency.
He was enrolled as a First Sergeant, which placed him on an
equal footing with Red Cloud and Spotted Tail - surely a factor
in the 'jealousy' which poisoned relations at the two agencies.
Army enlistment records show his service, and a number of
newspaper accounts noted the enlistment. Oglala eyewitnesses
also recounted the enlistment - in his 1931 interview with
Eleanor Hinman, Crazy Horse's brother-in-law Red Feather states
that he helped "coax" a reluctant Crazy Horse to
right about Crazy Horse's resistance to fighting after the
surrender. He and the other enlisted scouts, drawn from both
non-treaty and agency-resident bands, defined their service
as maintaining order at the agencies and serving as peace
envoys to those bands (Lame Deer) still out in the hunting
grounds. When the army asked the scouts to serve against the
Nez Perces (last week of August 1877), both Crazy Horse and
Touch the Clouds (First Sergeant Co. E) expressed their reluctance
to "put blood on their faces" again. The tensions
and misunderstandings arising from this situation tragically
concluded in the arrest and death of Crazy Horse a week later.
— Kingsley Bray
Kingsley noted, Crazy Horse did in fact enlist in the Indian
scouts. Together with 25 other recently surrendered northern
Oglala, he was sworn in as a scout on May 12, 1877 for a 3
month term. See his enlistment paper attached below (from
the National Archives).
Horse re-enlisted on July 1, 1877 and was made First Sergeant
of Company C Indian Scouts. Sergeants included Big Road, Little
Hawk, Jumping Shield and Little Big Man. Corporals were Iron
Hawk, He Dog, Four Crows and No Water.
Horse's second enlistment record shows that he was discharged
to date from August 31, 1877, the date of his council with
Touch the Clouds and Lieut. W. P. Clark during which the supposed
mistranslation took place. The discharge however was actually
processed on September 5, while Crazy Horse was enroute to
Camp Robinson from Camp Sheridan with Lieut. Jesse M. Lee.
In a telegram to General Crook, Lieut Clark wrote (Sept. 5):
"If you approve, will complete arrangements for payment
of scouts, discharging Crazy Horse to date August thirty-first,
and let the chiefs who are to take charge of this band designate
men to replace those whose arms have been taken away. These
chiefs are doing even better than I anticipated." Lieut.
John G. Bourke, Crook's aide-de-camp, responded to Clark's
telegram later that day: "General Crook says to keep
up pursuit of those Indians until the last one is captured
[referring to members of Crazy Horse's band who had fled when
the army moved to arrest the Oglala leader.] He approves your
suggestions about Crazy Horse's discharge and the enlistment
of other scouts." — Ephriam
is from Neihardt's interview with Eagle Elk in 1944:
Horse had an organization. I refer to a sort of organization
where they don't feast and dance, but they were just followers
of [him and consisted of] more than forty selected warriors.
This organization was called the Last Child [Society] (Ho-ksi-ha-ka-ta).
They were all very brave warriors and always went out with
him and fought with him. He picks the last child in the
family. If they did get deeds or something very brave, then
they would have greater honor than the first child. They
were always making themselves greater. I had three older
sisters, an older brother and a young brother. The older
brother was killed in a war.
day a crier for the Last Child came around and picked certain
people from different families. The crier called my name,
but I did not know it [then}. That is how I joined the Last
The following publications contain information about Crazy Horse:
Article: "Crazy Horse" by Ephriam D. Dickson III • The Oglala leader played a key role at the Little Big Horn, only to die at Camp Robinson, Nebraska, the next year. Who actually wielded the bayonet that killed him? • Greasy Grass, Journal of the Custer Battlefield Historical & Museum Association • Vol. 12 • May 1996.
Article: "Crazy Horse" by Tom Buecker • The author recounts the search for the elusive photo of the famous Oglala chief. • Greasy Grass, Journal of the Custer Battlefield Historical & Museum Association, Vol. 14, May 1998.
Book: Crazy Horse: A Lakota Life (The Civilization of the American Indian Series) by Kingsley Bray • University of Oklahoma Press • 2006.
Book: The Killing of Crazy Horse by Thomas Powers • Alfred Knopf • 2010.
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