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From the Battle of the Big Hole

They Said It…………

“About early morning I was awakened. My father and Chief Yellow Bull were standing, talking low. They thought they saw soldiers across the creek. Next instant we heard shots from above the creek across the canyon, maybe a quarter mile away. I heard the loud call, “We are attacked!’......After these two or three shots there broke a heavy fighting. Soldiers soon came rushing among the tepees. Bullets flying everywhere.”

The Nez Perce, Red Elk, commenting on the beginning of the Battle of the Big Hole

Col. John Gibbon

“ Hastily dismounting and holding my horse’s rein, I stood looking at the scene around me, when an officer close by called my attention to the fact that my horse was wounded, and glancing around, I discovered that the poor beast had his foreleg broken near the knee. I had, in a dim way, realized the fact that I had received a shock of some kind, but it took me a second or two to discover that the same bullet which broke my horse’s leg had passed through mine; but I was more fortunate in the fact that it had not broken the bone. It is said that frequently the first impulse of a man when shot is to run away. I am not very clear as to whether this was true of me or not. I can only say that what I did was to run or hobble back a few steps and plunge into the cold water of the stream over my boottops. If I had any intention of running away farther, the cold water must have recalled me to my senses, and made me realize the fact that my little force was in what is said to have been ‘the ideal position’—surrounded” (a Civil War joke).

- Colonel John Gibbon, Commander of the 7th U.S. Infantry at the Big Hole, describing his wounding in the battle and the threatened state of his force

Tom Sherrill

“Just at dark we saw three bright lights go up, south of us, about a mile away on the bank, in the direction the squaws had taken the wounded. Immediately after we saw the three lights, there were twelve shots fired. The shots reached us, but did no damage, except wounding one horse in the foot, and stampeding all the horses that were not fastened. That was the last shot fired at us, and the last of the Indians around here.”

-Tom Sherrill, Civilian Volunteer, describing the official end of the battle on the evening of the August 10, 1877

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