Material Study featuring Morning Star, aka, Apsáalooke War-Scout White-Man-Runs-Him, the Great-Great Grandfather of the Artist, Ben Pease
White Man Runs Him "enlisted on April 10, 1876, at the Crow Agency, Montana Territory, for six months in the 7th United States Infantry." On June 21, 1876, he was transferred to Custer's Seventh U.S. Cavalry as part of a contingent of six Crow warrior/scouts, including Goes Ahead, Curly, Hairy Moccasin, White Swan, and Half Yellow Face, the leader of the scouts. He scouted for Lt. Charles Varnum's column in the days preceding the battle. In the early morning hours of June 25, 1876, he and other Crow scouts accompanied Varnum and Custer to the Crow's Nest, a high point on the Little Bighorn/Rosebud Creek divide, from which the Little Bighorn valley could be viewed at a distance of about seventeen air miles. The scouts could see indications of a large horse herd and the smoke of many morning fires, though the encampment itself was hidden from view on the valley floor. The Crow scouts advised Custer that the encampment was very large. Custer prepared to attack, however. Custer was concerned that during the morning of June 25, Sioux/Cheyenne warriors had detected the presence of his 650-man force, and if he did not promptly attack, the villagers would scatter, thus denying the army the confrontation it sought with the Sioux/Cheyenne forces.
Convinced they were about to die in battle, the scouts took off their uniforms and donned Crow war clothing. When Custer demanded to know why they responded that they wished to die as warriors rather than soldiers. Custer was angered by what he perceived as fatalism and relieved them from further service about an hour before engaging in the final battle. White Man Runs Him retired to a ridge along with Goes Ahead, Hairy Moccasin, and Strikes That Bear (an Arikara scout) to join Major Marcus Reno. They were engaged briefly in battle but would survive the engagement. He then joined Colonel John Gibbon's column.
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