54^ The Book of Woodcraft On the twentieth, Captain Wessells'scommand was joined by Lieutenant Dodd and a large band of Sioux scouts. Tuesday, the twenty-first (January, 1879), saw the finish. At a point on the Hat Creek Bluffs, near the head of War Bonnet Creek, forty-four miles a little to the south of west of Fort Robinson, the Cheyennes lay at bay in their last entrenchment, worn out with travel and fighting, and with scarcely any ammunition left. They were in a washout about fifty feet long, twelve feet wide, and five feet deep; near the edge of the bluffs. Skirmishers were thrown out beneath them on the slope of the bluff to prevent their escape in that direction, and then Captain Wessells advanced on the washout, with his men formed in open skirmish order. A summons through the interpreter to surrender was answered by a few scattering shots from the washout. Converging on the washout in this charge, the troopers soon were advancing in such a dense body that nothing saved them from terrible slaughter but the exhaustion of the Cheyennes' ammunition. Charging to the edge of the pit, the troopers emptied their carbines into it, sprang back to reload, and then came on again, while above the crash of the rifles arose the hoarse death chants of the expiring band. The last three warriors alive — and God knows they de- serve the name of warriors if ever men deserved it — sprang out of their defences, one armed with an empty pistol and two with knives, and madly charged the troops! Three men charged three hundred! They fell, shot to pieces like men fallen under platoon fire. And then the fight was over. The little washout was a shambles, whence the troops removed twenty-two dead and nine living, and of the living all but two (women) were badly wounded!
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