Harper's Weekly Magazine
27 July 1866


The war on the "Smoky Hill Route" through Kansas continues with great fury. On the 26th of June last a band of three hundred Cheyennes, under a chief called "Roman Nose," attacked a station two miles from Fort Wallace, and ran off the Overland Stage Company's stock. They then advanced toward the fort, when Company G of the Seventh United States Cavalry, under command of Captain Barnitz, went out of meet them. The Indians fell back to the brow of a hill two miles from the fort, then turned and awaited the attack. The cavalry charged at a gallop, and were met by a counter charge. The Indians, with lances poised and arrows on the string, rode at them with great speed, and a hand-to-hand fight followed, in which the savages displayed unlooked-for daring. With their overwhelming numbers they succeeded in driving the cavalry back to the fort, with a loss of seven men killed, several wounded, and half the horses captured or killed. "Roman Nose" was very conspicuous in the fight, dashing into the midst of the fray on his powerful gray horse. He carried a spear, with which he unhorsed a soldier, and was about to spear him as he lay on the ground, when Corporal Harris struck the savage with his sword, which he had in his left hand. "Roman Nose" turned upon him, but as he did so Harris placed the muzzle of the Spencer rifle which he carried in his right hand at the breast of the savage and fired. With the blood spouting from his wound the Indian fell forward on his horse.

The Indians committed unheard of atrocities. A powerful warrior was seen to pick up the bugler, Charles Clark, who had been pierced by three arrows, and strip him as he rode along; after taking off all his clothing he mashed the head to a jelly with his tomahawk, and then threw the body under his horse's feet. The body of Sergeant Frederick Wyllyams was also fearfully mutilated. His scalp was taken, two balls pierced his brain, and his right brow was cut open with a hatchet. His nose was severed and his throat gashed. The body was opened and the heart laid bare. The legs were cut to the bone, and the arms hacked with knives. We give an engraving of the body from a photograph. We also give an illustration of the fight and a view of Fort Wallace, near which the engagement occurred. They are from sketches by Major A. R. Calhoun and Dr. Bell, who are associated with General Wright, now en route to make surveys in New Mexico, Arizona, and California for the Union Pacific Railroad. Major Calhoun describes Fort Wallace as being beautifully located on the North Fork of the Smoky River. Buildings are being erected of a beautiful pink-colored magnesian limestone, which can be cut with a saw and plane, and hardens on exposure.

Our other illustrations refer to an outrage perpetrated on Plum Creek, 14 miles west of Fort Harker, on June 16, in which two men named Carley and Doherty were attacked. A band of Indians approached and shook hands with them, and the next moment fired upon them. Carley was mortally wounded, but managed, with Doherty's aid, to get into the hut, where they fought the Indians for some hours, and finally drove them off. When they were gone Doherty swam Smoky Hill River, and going to the town of Ellsworth, gave the alarm. A party was sent in a boat to Carley's assistance, but he was dead. The body was taken to Ellsworth, and there buried.