Skip to main content
Please contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections for assistance with accessing these materials.

B. W. Butler Papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: GTM-180519

Scope and Contents

The B.W. Butler Papers, in the University Archives prior to 1970, consist of a single item, the autobiography of George Bent, born in 1843 to a Cheyenne mother, Owl Woman, and a St. Louis fur-trader William Bent. While an account of Bent's remarkable life was eventually produced by one of the editors of this work, it remained unpublished for nearly 50 years (Life of George Bent: Written from his Letters. George E. Hyde, editor. University of Oklahoma Press, 1968) while this manuscript was nearly forgotten.

Fifty Years Among the Cheyennes, by George Bent. Edited by B.W. Butler and G.W. Hyde

The Bent family - Charles and William Bent on the Upper Missouri - Expedition to the Upper Arkansas - Meeting with the Hevhaitanio chiefs - The building of Bent's Old Fort - Smallpox in the Mexican stockade- Kit Carson' s fight with the Crows - The family at the fort - Mexican captives among the Indians - The wagon-train - The cholera of '49 - War with Mexico - Kearny's army at Bent's Fort. - The march to Santa Fe - Charles Bent appointed first American governor of New Mexico - He is murdered by the Indians of Taos - Col. Price storms the Taos pueblo - Decline of the fur-trade - My father blows up Bent's Old Fort - A winter among the Indians at the Big Timbers - The building of Bent's New Fort.
Changing conditions - First trouble with the whites - The "Ox War" - The Cheyennes in trouble - Colonel Sumner's campaign - Gold discovered - The Pike's Peak rush - Denver established - The opening of the Civil War - I enlist in the Confederate army - The Battle of Wilsons' Creek - Death of Lyon - Elkhorn Tavern - Corinth - Captured - Paroled - I rejoin the Cheyennes - Attitude of the whites - The Indians under suspicion - The Colorado troops attack the Cheyennes - The fight at Fremont's Orchard - Attack on Crow Chief's camp - Chief Coon's band escapes - Major Downing and the 'big scare' on the Platte - Ayre's second expedition - The murder of Lean Bear - We move south - The Kiowas in trouble at Fort Larned - Nawat fired on - War at last.
The raids along the Platte - The Sioux at Cottonwood - The Cheyennes return north - The big village on the Solomon - A brush with the cavalry - The Indians block the Overland Road - Panic in Colorado - General Mitchell's failure - Black Kettle's peace proposals - The chiefs go to Denver - The fight with Blunt's column - Outcome of the Denver council - We encamp near Fort Lyon - The Arapahos surrender at the fort - Major Anthony and his plans - Colonel Chivington collects a force in Bijou Basin - His march - The beginning of the massacre - What I saw - Little Bear's story - Black Kettle and White antelope - The fight at the pits - Withdrawal of the troops - The murder of young Jack - Terrible scene in the creek bed - That night - We go to the Smoky Hill - Our losses in the massacre - Chivington fails to strike the Arapaho - The victory celebrated in Denver.
After the massacre - The Cheyennes send a war-pipe to the Sioux - I visit my father's ranch and rejoin the Indians again - The march to Julesburg - The fight with the 7th Iowa Cavalry - Plundering the station - The Indians move to White Butte Creek - The great raids on the South Platte - The burning of Julesburg - Pole Creek Crossing and Mud Springs - The fight with Colonel Collins - The march through the Sand Hills - Unseen River - We reach the Black Hills.
The runners - Strange appearance of the Northern Cheyennes - We move to Powder River - The death of the Crow men - Dancing the scalps - The buffalo herds - Camp police - Cheyenne camp circle - Our first spring raid - Watching Platte Bridge - The bell-mare and the mules - How the Sioux broke away - The great war party - On the march - The fight at Platte Bridge and the wagon-train fight.
General Connor's campaign - Delays and setbacks - Colonel Cole's column marches - Walker's column joins Cole - Connor's column on Powder River - The Pawnee Scouts - The capture of the Arapaho village - Connor's march down Tongue River - A brush with the road-builders - Cole and Walker reach Powder River - The scout toward Panther Mountain - Combat with the Sioux - The signal smoke - Forced-march down the Powder - A disastrous storm - Beginning of the retreat - Indian attacks - Roman Nose's fight, September 5th - Another bad storm - General Connor fears disaster - The Pawnee Scouts find Cole and Walker - End of the campaign - General Dodge's report - Movements of the Cheyennes - A meeting with strange Indians - We part from the Northern Cheyennes - Pitting antelope - The homeward march - Arrival at Black Kettle's camp.
Chapter 7
Remnant of Black Kettle's band moves South. Meet the Kiowas, Comanches, and Prairie Apaches. Kit Carson's attack on the Kiowa camp. Treaty of the Little Arkansas. More Cheyennes come South in the Fall. The camp on Bluff Creek. I marry Black Kettle's neice. Fox Tail and the Mexican. How wars were made. General Hancock takes the field. Night Council at Fort Larned. March to the Dog Soldier and Sioux village. Hancock and Roman Nose. Stampede of the women and Children. Soldiers enter the village. Flight of the Indians and the pursuit by Custer. Fails to overtake the Indians. The fight at Cimarron Crossing. Collapse of Hancock's campaign.
Chapter 8
The Spring of 1867. Traders in the Indian camp. News of Hancock's expedition. Flight of the traders. Indians move south to avoid the troops. In Black Kettle's village. Runners bring news of the burning of the Dog Soldier and Sioux villages. News of the fight at Cimarron Crossing. The Indians go to war. Raiding with Lame Bull's war-party. Lean Bear's drunken warriors. Movements of the troops. Custer's futile march. Fate of Lieutenant Kidder's party. Cheyennes fight tbe cavalry at Fort Wallace. Turkey Leg's band derails a train. The fight at Plum Creek bridge. Sylvester the Mexican. Black Kettle anxious for peace. The journey to confer with Leavenworth. Buffalo thick as grass. Friendly meeting with the Osage and Keokuk's band of Sacs. The Wichita village. Engaged by Leavenworth. Sent out with Cheyenne Jennie to notify the tribes. The great council at Medicine Lodge Creek. Peace again.
Chapter 9
Changed Conditions on the frontier. Wanton slaughter of the buffalo. A raid on the Kaws. Dog Soldier war-party goes against the Pawnees. Trouble with the whites. The Solomon Valley raid. Issue of annuities at Fort Larned. Stone Calf's passage with General Sherman. The Cheyennes go south. Leave the Cheyennes at the Arkansas to visit my people in Colorado. Call on Kit Carson just before bis death. - War again. Spies in the Cheyenne camp. The killing of William Comstock. The spread of hostilities. The wagon-train fight at Cimarron Crossing. Cheyennes never tortured prisoners. Battle customs. Prisoners among the Cheyennes. Discovery of Forsyth's scouts. Starving Elk's party. The fight on the Arickaree. The charge by Wolf Belly. Death of Roman Nose. Bringing off the dead and wounded . Names of the Indians killed. Discovery of the bodies by Carpenter's troops. Sketch of the great Roman Nose and how he came to be killed. The medicine-man and the Bull-Robes. Failure of Wolf Man's medicine. Death of Broken Arrow and Bobtailed Porcupine. Skirmishing with General Carr's troops. Little fights in the Fall.
Chapter 10
Sheridan decides on a winter campaign. Custer takes the field. Chiefs hold council with General Hazen. Black Kettle's little village. The fight on the Washita. Black Kettle's death. Story of the destruction of Major Elliott's party. Custer falls back to Camp Supply. Story of Black Kettle's life. Indian chiefs and customs. The five tribes move to the Red River. Peace overtures by the Indian leaders. Custer visits the Indian camp. Shooting of Indian prisoners. Peace again.
Chapter 11
The Spring of 1869. Skirmishes with General Carr. The night-flight with the soldiers. Howling Magpie and his cousins. Cheyennes and Sioux move North. High water at the South Platte. A fatal decision. battle at Summit Springs. Fighting for the women and children. Killing of Tall Bull's party. Story of the Dog Soldiers. The warrior societies of the Cheyennes . Dog ropes. Decline of the power of the Dog Soldiers band.
Chapter 12
Discovery of gold in Montana. The Bozeman Trail. Opposition of the Indians. Two Moons' Story of the killing of the Fetterman party. How Swift Hawk died. The Government backs down. The new agencies. The Northern Indians. Indian delegations in Washington. Conference with President Grant. Gold discovered in the Black Hills. Negotiations with the Indians.
Chapter 13
The new agency. Trouble with horse-thieves and hide- hunters. Failure of government protection. Raiding Little Robe's herd. Buffalo hunters invade the Indian hunting-grounds. Irritation of the Comanches. Isatai persuades the Cheyennes to join the war-party. The fight at Adobe Walls. The killing of Patrick Hennessy. The war of 1874. The fight with Miles' troops. Fighting in the staked plains. The Germaine girls. The affair on the Kingfisher. Surrender of the Cheyennes. Punishing the prisoners. Black Horse breaks from the guard. Little Bull's party. The fight on Sappa creek.
Chapter 14
Campaigns in the north in 1876. Colonel Reynolds attacks Maple Tree's village. Troops driven off. The northern Cheyennes and Sioux combine. General Crook takes the field. The fight on the Rosebud. Coming in Sight and his sister. General Crook falls back. The great Indian camp moves west to the Little Big Horn. The leaders in the camp. General Terry's column moves out. Custer attacks the Indian village. What the Indian boys saw. Major Reno's bloody repulse. How Curly escaped. Custer's troops wiped out. Brave Bear's story. Yellow Nose, the bravest in the Custer fight. Reno again attacked. The Indians break camp.
Chapter 15
Sioux and Cheyennes separate. Cheyennes cross the Big Horn Mountains. Fight with the Shoshones. General Mackenzie's scouts. Dull Knife's village near Crazy Woman creek. The troops attack at daybreak. The fight. The camp destroyed. The Cheyennes join Crazy Horse. Cheyenne women captured by Crow scouts. Fights with Miles. Forty lodges of Cheyennes surrender. Dull Knife's band surrenders in April. The killing of Crazy Horse. Dull Knife's band sent south. Distress of the Northern Indians in their new home. The break for the north. Fighting off the soldiers. Red Berry's story. Dull Knife's party go in to Fort Robinson. The fight around the barracks. Little Wolf's party surrenders. New conditions. The Ghost Dance trouble. Two Cheyenne boys fight two troops of cavalry. The end.


  • 1905 - 1925


Conditions Governing Access

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of the materials being used, establishing who the copyright owner is, locating the copyright owner, and obtaining permission for intended use.


.25 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



B. W. Butler Papers
Ted Jackson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057