"Wooden Leg- Northern Cheyenne"
Acrylic, Alcohol based ink, vintage area map, digital print on baryta photographic rag on canvas.
This work is also available @Coeur D'Alene Galleries
On the morning of the June 25, 1876, while sleeping under a tree after a feasting night, Wooden Leg and his brother Yellow Hair were awakened by the cries of the old men claiming the arrival of U.S. soldiers. Wooden Leg ran to his tent. He quickly prepared himself for the battle, then moved himself to the melee with his brother. At first, he fought with soldiers under Major Marcus Reno hidden and surrounded in the woods near the river. Defeating these enemies, he went towards the river, where he found a rifle and ammunition. Then, he attacked the soldiers on the hills, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer. Wooden Leg had just fought in the Battle of Little Bighorn, one of the bloodiest battles of the American Indian Wars.
After the victorious battle, the Northern Cheyenne wandered for some time in the region of the Little Bighorn River. In late 1876, General Crook led another force out of Cantonment Reno, a staging area, and north up the Powder River. Crook's Indian Scouts, Pawnee, Sioux, Shoshone and others found a large Cheyenne encampment at the Red Fork of the Powder River, on the east side of the Big Horn Mountains. Mackenzie's raiders, (the 4th U.S. Cavalry) were dispatched to attack and destroy the camp. After a long and difficult overnight march over icy and treacherous terrain, the 4th came upon the camp of Morning Star (Dull Knife) in the early morning of November 25, 1876. The Cheyenne had been dancing most of the night and most of the camp was awake, rather than asleep as some accounts indicate. Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie's troops and scouts attacked the camp, killing many of the inhabitants, and driving off the rest, including Wooden Leg and Little Wolf. The camp itself was burned and the food provisions were taken by the scouts and troops. Because of the flight, Wooden Leg was forced to abandon his flute, which was destroyed in the destruction of the camp. One company with Colonel Mackenzie, K of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry, had fought with Colonel Reynolds against Wooden Leg and his village during the previous March, and on that cold November in 1876 fought Wooden Leg again, in the Dull Knife Fight.