Fort Keogh was named after Col Keogh who was killed at the Battle of the Little big Horn in 1876.

The picture on the right shows a later visit to the battle site.

About half the captured Nez Perce, consisting of the wounded, aged, and several women and children, were sent down the Yellowstone River by boat. The remainder of the adult men, women, and children were escorted overland by the military. The story of one boatload of prisoners was told very engagingly by its boatman.

There was also a fleet of flat boats tied up at Miles City ... I looked the boats over and found there was some fourteen of them large and small. Being the first to select my choice from this flat bottom fleet, I picked out one that appeared to be the swiftest runner... After picking out my boat I reported to the quarter master who told me to make out a list for rations for 23 persons also a cooking and serveing ouffit. The rations list was composed of dried saltpork, Rio green coffee, Brown sugar, Hard tack, Rice, Navy Beans, Flour, Baking powder. Everything was now ready to start on a 400 mile trip. 22 Nez Perce Indian prisoners was turned over to be delivered to ... Fort Buford, Dekota.... The Nez Perce prisoners was devided all those that was stong was to go our land by wagon train. The sick[,] wounded[,] woman[,] and children was to go by river in the flat bottom boats.... Having much surply's and Indian baggage aboard, and was gliding along with fair speed till we came in view of the Buffalo rappids just a few miles below Miles City. The fall season had been a very dry one and the water in the river very low making it appear very dangerous to shoot the rapids but I had been over them befor and I knew where the deep water channel was....

We had arrived about half-way down the rapids, I noticed Gen. Miles and the Doctor looking back up the rapids. I glanced up that way just in time to see one of our fleet boats comming over the rim of the rapids sideways and I said God "help them' for I knew they would perish.... We soon overtook the overland wagon train party that had halted and had formed a correll. ... I made a touch and go landing. Gen. Nelson Miles and Doctor Reed ... sprang ashore with a hasty good bye. . . .

I whent in camp about a mile run after sun set, camping on the south side of the river just arround a bend of the river were there was an Island hid our camp from view form the north shore. The reason I did so was to be hid from any scout or Indian runner that may be sent out by Gen. Miles with some new order's.... I handed to the aged Chief [Washington] my gun also an extra cairadge and pointing to the fringe of bush along the river I said we must eat.... The aged Chief had not been goen long before we heard the gun report and the aged Chief came along the river shore towards our Camp. The indians who by now was making coffee and frying dried salt pork look up at me so I sign three of the women to go, meet him and he pointed back the way he came. He came into camp and wipped out the gun and handed it to me with the unused caretiridge.... Soon the Indian women returned with a fine three year old male white tail deer that was skined and ready for cooking quicker than meat was made ready in old Washington market in New York City.

Just at the streak of dawn the Indians now my people began to move arround. Coffee Hardtack with a peice of boiled salt pork was the food for our breakfast. The evening befor I had them place stones filled between with sand to build a fire on the bottom of the boat to cook at any time and keep coffee hot for the weather was cool showing that winter was near... Each day at mid sun I tied up for an hour giving my people time to releive their limbs my mooving around on mother earth. The boy's shaped bows and arrows from the young groth of ash to shoot bank beaver that was plenty-full....

We had now been running six suns and I found we was running a little over four miles per hour by water pressure only, so we was making about forty miles per sun on an avage....

Fred G. Bond



The Nez Perce Flight to Canada - An Introduction

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