Our party consisted of Kenk, Stuart, Roberts, Foller, Weikart, Duncan, Detrich, Wilkie, Ben. Stone, the colored cook, and myself, and were on our way to visit the Geyser Basins. Yesterday we were encamped near Sulphur Mountain, and during the afternoon one of the boys said he had seen either a herd of buffalo or elk, or a band of Indians, about five or six miles above us on the other side of the Yellowstone river. Duncan took a spyglass and went up on the mountain to determine if possible, what they were. He soon returned and said they were Indians, and proposed that we get out of that as soon as possible. We accordingly packed up and moved back three or four miles, when one of the boys proposed that we go no farther, as Howard was after the Indians, and by tomorrow they would be gone, and we pitched our tents there. We camped for the night, but some of the boys wanted to go back home, but the majority was of the mind to go ahead to the geysers, as we had come thus far, and the journey was almost completed.
We finally agreed to wait until the next day when two of us would go and ascertain if the camp had moved, and if so, which way, &c. We then went to bed. Duncan, not feeling safe, took his blankets and made his bed half a mile from camp in the timber, all of us laughing at him....
September 6, 1877
1 know one that did not close his eyes, and that was your humble servant. I felt as though someone ought to stay awake; if the truth was known, I felt pretty nervous.
We got up about six or seven o'clock this morning, and Andy Weikart and Wilkie took their horses and went out on a scout. They were to fire their guns if they saw Indians, and we waited three or four hours for them to return. It was nearing dinner time and I left the camp for the purpose of getting wood, leaving some of the boys asleep, and the remainder sitting about the camp fire. I was busy getting wood when all of a sudden, pop, pop, went the guns and I heard the Indians' yip! yip! I looked around and saw the camp full of Indians with the boys jumping and going in every direction. I saw two of the boys coming towards me and I lit out for the river. I reached the river and on looking back heard two shots and some one exclaim, "O, my God!" I don't know who these two were but think it was Jack Stuart and Kenk.
Pfister and Detrich jumped over an embankment and started for the Yellowstone River. Pfister jumped the creek at or near the camp, but Detrich was not so fortunate but fell in, and it happened to be in a hole so he laid quite still. The grass was high on either side. He stayed in the water for about four hours. The Indians did not see him, so he made good his escape after they, the Indians, had left the camp. Roberts and Foller did some tall running, according to their own account, while the Indians were blazing away at them most every jump, but finally got away all safe. They struck out for Virginia City which was about 150 miles. The first night they camped in the timber, they laid down beside a big log. One of the boys had a coat on and the other hadn't, so the one with the coat had to lay on the outside. They traveled the next day; they were getting pretty hungry, so they tried fishing. Caught two little fishes. They build a fire and roasted one, the other they saved for another meal. Those two fishes were all they had to eat for nearly three days. They met some soldiers in the afternoon of the third day, they got what they wanted to eat and got enough to last them to Virginia.... Duncan, he lit out from the camp like a scared wolf, and got where the timber was the thickest and stayed until dark ... then struck out for the Mammoth Springs.
|Tree markings found in Yellowstone Park|