Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Obama's Not Looking Out For People Like Me...

I remember it like it was just yesterday. Well, six months ago anyway. Obama had just been elected president. During his inaugural address, he spoke to people like myself. You know, the fifty-six-million of us who didn’t vote for him. He said he’d work to gain our support and assured us he’d be our president too.

It‘s funny, but I did take a little comfort in that statement. I was hoping that maybe, just maybe, he wouldn’t be the far left zealot I was afraid he’d be. I hoped he govern more as a centrist and that we’d be okay.

Well, it’s not exactly working out that way, is it? Was he working to gain our support as he trotted around the globe blaming America for pretty much everything that’s wrong in the world today? How much support did he gain from us as he bowed down to the Saudi Arabian King and then lied about doing so?

How about the whole global-warming con he’s promoting? How much support from us has he gained with his “Cap and Trade” fraud that’ll do nothing what-so-ever to slow down the Co2 emissions the global-warming crowd is so scared of? How’s much support is he going to get from us once thousands more people begin to lose their jobs because of this fiasco?

How about the health care thing he’s trying to force down our throats? If he thinks he’s looking out for people like me, he’s out of his mind. If you use the numbers he keeps throwing out there, there are approximately 47 million Americans without health care insurance. Okay, but that also means there’s somewhere around 250 million of us who are insured, and most of those are pretty happy with the health care they receive. Why in the hell should the health care of so many be drastically altered to accommodate so few? I guess it’s kind of like he told “Joe the Plumber,” he likes to spread the wealth around.

How about this idea? How about just doing something for the one’s who aren’t insured and leave the rest of us the hell alone. How about doing something like a temporary medicare for those who’ve fallen on hard times because of a loss of their job or whatever.

I say temporary because it should be handled just like unemployment benefits, it should be there only as a safety net until you can find another job. I’m sure it’d mean a tax increase for the rest of us, but I think most Americans are willing to help their fellow man as long as he’s willing to help himself.

How about when he chose sides in a racial dispute the other day? I’m talking about when he took sides in the racially charged, dispute between his buddy, Cambridge professor, Henry Gates before he even knew all the facts in the case. He just automatically assumed because it was a white police officer arresting a black man, it just had to be a case of racial profiling. How much support did he gain from us over that one?

You left-wing loons can rant and rave all you want. And just for the record, I love the “Flat-Earth Society” label you’ve tried to pin on us because we refuse to fall for this, end of the world global-warming crap you get so worked up about. And it amuses us when you have the nerve to call us selfish for expecting people who are able bodied to stand on their own two feet and support their own families. It amuses us because since that’s what we’ve done all our lives, we know it can be done.

Obama’s approval ratings are falling like a rock and it’s because people are finally waking up and seeing his true colors. He’s as far left as you can get, and we’re not going to let him shove his socialist agenda down our throats.

Oh, one more thing. You libs had better enjoy your brief time in power. Because sooner or later the adults will take charge again. And we will take our country back.

I know some of you have something to say. What are you waiting for? Jump right in there and let us know what's on your mind.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Beecher Island Part Five: The Conclusion...

You know, the more I learn about the Battle of Beecher Island, the more I want to talk about it. But I did promise to wrap it up this week and like they say, a deal’s a deal.

The rest of the story is a little sketchy. What I mean is that I’ve read several different versions of it by several different authors. So I’m just going to go with the version they inscribed on the monument in 1905. I figure if that’s the story they’re sticking to, it’s good enough for me.

Lieutenant, Forsyth knew if they were going to survive he’d have to send for help. On the first night, J.S. Stillwell and P. Trudeau escaped by crawling past the Indian’s lines on their hands and knees. Their assignment was to reach Fort Wallace, some 60 miles to the southeast any way they could and send help.

Because of all the Indians in the area, Stillwell and Trudeau were forced to travel by night and spend their days in hiding. On the 5th day, they flagged down a stagecoach and rode it the rest of the way to Fort Wallace.

On the third night, Forsyth sent two more men named, J. Donovan, and A.G. Pilley in the direction of Fort Donovan. They followed the south fork of the Republican River and eventually reached Fort Donovan, but because the soldiers were out in the field, the place was mostly deserted. They were able to round up four men and immediately headed back toward Beecher Island. Finally, once they had gotten within about twenty miles from the island, they ran across Captain Louis H. Carpenter and his Company of about 60 “Buffalo Soldiers,” who were out on patrol. Captain Louis was a good friend of Forsyth’s from the Civil War, and as soon as the two scouts told him of their situation, Donovan and Pilley led them on a twenty mile, mad dash.

Meanwhile, back on the island, Forsyth and his men’s situation was getting desperate. The only food they had was the putrid, rotting meat of their dead horses. The injuries of the wounded had become infected and many of them were literally on the verge of dying. They had no way knowing whether the two teams they’d sent for help even got past the Indians, let alone whether or not they were coming back.

Finally, at 10:00 AM on the ninth day (September 26th, 1868) since their ordeal began, the men trapped on the island saw movement on the prairie. Within an hour they could see it was a Cavalry unit coming their way. The Indians were also watching this movement. They knew they had failed to starve the white men to death like they wanted and reluctantly decided to moved on.

Captain Louis and his Buffalo Soldiers fed the men who were able to eat and began trying to stabilize the wounded as best they could. One scout’s injuries were so severe, Captain Louis’ surgeon decided the only way to save the man’s life was to amputate his left leg.
You need understand just how brutal this must have been. It’s not like they had a clean, sterilized operating room to work in. It took place on a filthy sand bar in the middle of a river, surrounded by the stench of fifty dead and rotting horses that were laying everywhere. Somehow, civilian scout, Lewis Farley lived through the surgery but didn’t make it through the night. A few hours before sunrise on the morning of the 27th, he became the fifth and final casualty in the battle of Beecher Island.

About noon the next day, a full twenty-six hours after Captain Louis and his Buffalo Soldiers from Fort Donovan arrived, civilian scouts, Stillwell and Trudeau arrived with help from Fort Wallace in Kansas. To say they were relieved to find that help had already arrived would be an understatement. The rescue they had planned had turned into an evacuation and they loaded the weak and wounded into Government wagons for the two day trip back to Fort Wallace.

Today, one hundred-forty-one-years later, you can safely stand on the exact spot the island was. You can see the ravine, Roman Nose led his attacks from. And you can walk a mile long trail around the battle field. The first stop on this trail is the top of the hill, Roman Nose led his last charge from. It’s a very moving experience. Anyway, it was for me.

It was pointed out to me that this whole thing didn’t happen along the Republican River after all. So for a point of clarification, it took place on the Arickaree Fork of the Republican River. Hope that helps clear things up.

It’s also been suggested I provide references to back up my story. Fair enough. Just do like I did before I even took the trip. Google it.

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading the story of Beecher Island and I hope one day you can make the trip to Wray Colorado to see it for yourself. I’m still looking for a historian out there who would like to take part in the online discussion at: www.rm235.blogspot.com

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Beecher Island, Part Four: Impossible Odds

Let’s see now, where were we? Oh yeah, when we last talked, Lieutenant Forsyth and his fifty-one scouts had barricaded themselves on a small sand bar (Beecher Island) in the middle of the Republican River. They had survived the initial attack with only two casualties. Second in command, Lt. Beecher and civilian scout, George W. Culver had both been killed. Lt. Forsyth had been shot in the leg, and acting surgeon, Dr. JH Moores had been shot in the head, but for some reason or another, was still alive. They were now bracing themselves for an all out assault on their position from a band of approximately 300 Indian warriors led by the well known, Cheyenne Warrior, Roman Nose.

Because of the way the ravine Roman Nose had decided to attack from was situated, the men could hear the Indians coming before they ever saw them. Forsyth shouted out a few last minute orders. He told them this was it, there was no more time to prepare. He directed them to look out for one another, to hold their fire until the Indians reached the edge of the river, and to make every shot count. It probably wasn’t politically correct, but he also told them he’d personally kill any man who tried to desert his post.

The attack was classic, Roman Nose. There he was, fearless, and like always, front and center. But because of the narrow ravine he had chosen to attack from he and his men had become easy targets for Forsyth and his men.

As they emerged, the Indians were only two or three abreast and with the new Spencer Seven-Shooter, one after another fell. The attacks came wave after wave and the results were all pretty much the same. Every Indian who came within range was met with another, deadly accurate bullet.

Roman Nose called off the attack long enough to regroup. It was decided they’d break up into several smaller groups and try to surround the men on the sand bar. Maybe if they’d tried this tactic from the beginning, things would have turned out different. Who knows?

Roman Nose led his group from the top of a hill just west of Forsyth’s position. By now he was full of rage. He was driven by his hatred of the white man and had become frustrated by his inability to slaughter this small group of men. Maybe he had become careless by making himself such an easy target. But this would be Roman Nose’s last fight.
As he reached the river’s edge, Roman Nose was met with a fatal shot. He struggled to stay on his horse for a while. But finally, death overtook him and he fell where he was. His death had an immediate, demoralizing effect on the warriors and the attack was called off.

Because of a good, last minute plan, and superior fire power, Forsyth and his men had won the battle against what seemed like impossible odds.

But it wasn’t over. The battle had now become a siege. The Indians decided if they couldn’t beat the white men in this battle, they’d keep them pinned down on their sand bar and simply starve them to death. And so it began.

Once it became clear the battle was over Forsyth and his men slowly crawled out of their holes in the sand to take stock of themselves and each other. They had lost two more men in the battle. Civilian Scouts, William Nelson and Lewis Farley had both been killed. When they went to check on the surgeon, DH Moorse, they discovered he had also died of the gun shot wound to the head he had suffered earlier in the day. On top of all that, there were 18 more men wounded, some of them critically.

All the food and medical supplies the men had were loaded on the four pack-mules they brought with them. All four mules had been killed and were laying some hundred yards to the north of them. They might as well have been on the moon. There was no way the Indians were going to allow the men to retrieve any of their supplies. They tended to the wounded as best as they could and tried not to think about having no food.

As night fell, they buried their dead on the battlefield and Forsyth explained their situation to his men. He told them it looked like the Indians intended to starve them out and asked for volunteers to break through the Indian‘s lines and head some sixty miles away to Fort Wallace for help. Four men stepped forward.

Okay, I promise to wind this story down by next week. I’m still looking for someone who knows how this story will end though. How about it, how about joining me on the blog to talk about it at: www.rm235.blogspot.com Surely there’s a historian out there somewhere.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Spencer Seven-Shooter

Beecher Island, Part Three: The Battle

Last week we left off with Lt. Forsyth checking on the men he had stationed as sentries on the hills overlooking their camp, to make sure they knew what he expected from them.

Satisfied, he rode back to camp to make his final preparations for tomorrow’s battle. He knew they were outnumbered by something like three to one and knew their only real chance in defeating the enemy was to launch an attack while they were still asleep. With that in mind he had decided to have his men up and ready to go by 4:00 the next morning.

What he didn’t know, was that he had fallen into a trap. The 150 or so Cheyenne warriors he and his men had been following were joined overnight by warriors of the Northern Cheyenne, Arapaho, and the Ogala Souix tribes, making a combined force of around 750.

It was still a couple hours before daylight on the morning of Sept. 17, 1868, the men were already busy breaking camp, saddling up their horses, and making final preparations for the battle that lie ahead, when out of nowhere came the first rifle shot from one of the sentries posted on the hills surrounding the camp.

Eight or nine warriors had managed to sneak past his position and into camp in an effort to stampede the their horses and leave Forsyth and his men abandoned, making them easy targets. Once it became clear that wasn’t going to work, the warriors disappeared back into the night just as fast as they had appeared.

It was all quiet for the next hour or so. Then just as the sun started to rise, shots rang out from the rest of the sentries. The men came riding into camp as fast as their horses could carry them and reported they were being surrounded on all sides by more hostile Indians than they’d ever seen at one time.

In no time at all it was apparent just how much trouble they were really in. The Indians had started to crest the hills overlooking their camp. They were lined up on both sides of the river as far as the eye could see.

Forsyth knew if he and his men were going to have any chance at all of surviving they had to find some kind of cover, and quick. He ordered them to retreat to a small sandbar (island) in the middle of the river about a hundred yards just south of their position. It was a pretty good size sandbar with one lone Cottonwood tree and a large growth of Willows growing around it. It wasn’t much, but he knew it was the only chance they had.

They made a mad dash toward the island. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds either. The river back then was a lot wider and deeper than it is today. There were parts where the water came up to the men’s chests but they all made it.

Just as they made it to the island, the Indians started their attack. It was vicious. The air was filled with hot lead and arrows and it didn’t let up. Right off the bat, Forsyth was shot in the leg, and his second in command, Lieutenant Fredrick H. Beecher was killed. Most of the horses were killed and fell where they stood. Struggling to stay alert, Forsyth ordered his men to use the dead horses for cover and to start digging holes in the soft sand (think foxholes) with their tin plates, rifle butts, or their bare hands.

The plan worked, and after an hour the Indians became frustrated and called off the initial attack and retreated back over the hills they had come from to regroup. The men on the sandbar realized they were getting good cover and used this time to re-enforce their holes in the sand and to tend to the wounded as best they could. Lt. Forsyth used the time to dig the lead ball that been buried deep in his thigh out.

It was somewhere around noon that day when Forsyth and his men watched as the Indians gathered again. They knew they were making plans for another attack. They also noticed that in the middle of the gathering was a big, tall Indian who seemed to be doing most of the talking. They knew at once it was none other than Roman Nose himself.
They didn’t have to wait long for the plan to unfold. Roman Nose led a party of about three hundred warriors in a direct assault on their position from a small ravine to the west, as the rest of their war party tried to sneak in from both sides of the river using the tall grass for cover.

What Roman Nose and his warriors didn’t know, was that Forsyth and his men were all armed with a new type of rifle, the .56 Cal. Spencer Seven-Shooter. The Indians were well aware of the damage a single shot rifle was capable of but this was the first time they’d ever came up against a repeating rifle. To say the least, the results were devastating.

Stop by the blog this week to join in on the conversation at: www.rm235.blogspot.com I’d love to hear from anyone and everyone who thinks they know how this story ends.