That which follows was written by William Carey Brown for the newspaper, Winners of the West, and appeared in their issue of October 30, 1933 (vol. X, no. 11). It accompanied and introduced an address given to the Order of Indian Wars by Camp in 1920. [See box 7, folder 59 and Custer in ‘76, pp. 10-25.] It is reproduced here because it sheds additional light on the provenance of the Camp Papers. In particular, it implies that Brown (and possibly Ellison took even greater liberties in sorting, classifying and researching the papers than is suggested in the note on provenance above, and it suggests the possibility that Camp had finished hundreds of pages of the manuscript for his projected history of the Seventh Cavalry.
THE W.M. CAMP RECORDS OF INDIAN WAR HISTORY
by Brigadier General William C. Brown, U.S.A. Retired
The avocation of W.M. Camp, Editor of the Railroad Review, Chicago, who died in August, 1925, was the study of Indian War History of the great Western Plains. As a result of his firsthand investigations for more than twenty summers, he was preparing at the time of his death to write and publish a book on our conflicts with the Red Man. While originally Mr. Camp intended writing, “A History of the Seventh U.S. Cavalry,” this plan seems to have been dropped as his inquiries and notes cover a far wider scope.
His address at the Annual Meeting of the Order of Indian Wars, (Washington,) in 1920 affords a fair index of his labors, as well as the wide geographical range of his investigations. These extended from the White Bird affair of Northern Idaho to Miles’ Expedition of 1874 on the Red River, Texas. Chronologically his researches covered such operations and engagements as the Grattan Massacre of 1854, the Connor-Cole Powder River Expedition, The Red Buttes Indian fight in which Sergeant Custard and some twenty soldiers were killed near the present site of Casper, Wyoming in 1865, the Fetterman Massacre of 1866, the Hayfield and Wagon Box fights of 1867, the Beecher Island fight and Battle of Washita in 1868. Likewise the battles of Adobe Walls and Lyman’s fight of 1874 come in for a share of attention. There is a detailed map of line of march of troops in the Dept of Dakota in the Sioux Campaign of 1876.
The Reynolds court martial of January, 1877, gets attention to the extent of over one hundred pages.
He devotes especial attention to the Custer fight, going into the matter in great detail, and securing rosters of the various troops of 7th Cavalry. He made a map of the terrain of the battle of June 25, 1876, and also made copious notes of interviews with a large number of the survivors of those with Reno, including officers, scouts, soldiers, and Indians. There are about one hundred thirty pages devoted to the Reno Court of Inquiry. In some cases diaries of participants in this and other campaigns have been copied.
He gives the exact location of the Slim Buttes fight which had been lost, but through the persistent efforts on the part of Camp and General Anson Mills was accurately located and marked at the latter’s expense.
His researches included General Miles’ fight at Cedar Creek, Montana, Mackenzie’s destruction of Dull Knife’s Village, Baldwin’s destruction of Sitting Bull’s camp at the head of Redwater, the Battle of Wolf Mountain (including map of the field) the Lame Deer fight (a map of this field had already been found with Baldwin’s papers) Clearwater, Idaho, Joseph’s surrender at the Battle of Bear Paw Mountain ( 1877), the escape of the Ceyennes under Dull Knife in Nebraska, Frank D. Baldwin’s fight ( 1880) on the Little Porcupine, down to and including the death os Sitting Bull and battles of Wounded Knee (with map) and Drexel Mission, December 30, 1890.
Over forty battlefields were personally visited and where possible data as to township and section of Land Office map have been secured so that the sites might subsequently be marked. The records include about one hundred photos and in many cases negative of prominent officers, scouts, and Indians, who had been participants, and the work had progressed to such extent that over eighty cuts had been made. The weight alone of a thousand of more pages of manuscript is nearly fifty pounds. The value of these records lies in the fact that the data were obtained largely from active participants and in nearly every case these are dead.
Camp preferred to secure his information as near to the source as possible and acquired to a limtied extent a knowledge of the Sioux tongue. He was a keen investigator and indefatigable. He knew what questions to ask and thus extract from those interviewed the maximum amount of information.
The undersigned is now engaged in classifying the material in order to determine to better advantage than has heretofore been possible its exact scope and extent. He acquired the collection in July last for Mr. R.S. Ellison, formerly chairman of the Historical Landmark Commission of Wyoming.
Taken all in all the rescue of these valuable historical records from practical oblivion will be a source of congratulation to those interested in the history of the Great West.
W.C. Brownlink - Addendum to Provenance Statement - Register of the Walter Mason Camp Papers, 1905-1925, MSS 57
L. Tom Perry Special Collections - Brigham Young University - 1981 - linkHarold B. Lee Library
Last Edit: Mar 13, 2017 18:15:32 GMT -5 by moderator
If it walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, and looks like a duck ~ it is probably a goose.