Wounded Knee

Stand-Your-Own-Ground not Applicable on Indian Reservations

Click thumbnails to open zoomable images.

585. [WOUNDED KNEE MASSACRE]. Two maps and archive with contemporary newspaper accounts of Wounded Knee, plus related ephemera. 1890-1891:

[Map 1] UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. CLOMAN, Lt. S.A. Map No. 3 Scene of the Fight with Big Foot’s Band. December 29, 1890, Showing the Position of the Troops When First Shot Was Fired. From Sketches Made by Lt. S.A. Cloman. Acting Engineer Officer Division of the Missouri. [above top neat line] Sioux Campaign, Winter 1890-’91. Maj. Gen. Nelson Miles. U.S.A. Commanding. [below lower neat line, at right] Heinze, del. [Washington, 1891]. Lithograph map of battleground, neat line to neat line: 28.2 x 32 cm; overall sheet size: 36.5 x 46 cm. Professionally conserved, deacidified, and backed with archival tissue to consolidate splits at folds.

[Map 2] UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. Map No. 1. To Illustrate the Recent Sioux Indians of Dakota Showing the different positions of Troops from the Beginning to the surrender in January 1891. [above neat line] Sioux Campaign, Winter 1890-’91. Maj. Gen. Nelson A. Miles, U.S.A. Commanding. [below lower neat line, at right] Eng’r Off. Hd’qrs Dep’t. Mo. [key below title and scale, indicating by colored flags sequence of positions of troops and uncolored teepees indicating positions of Native Americans, boundaries of reservations indicated by dash-lines]. [Washington, 1891?]. Lithograph map with yellow shading of Standing Rock and Rosebud Reservations; neat line to neat line: 82.2 x 56.1 cm; overall sheet size: 91.5 x 61.5 cm. Clean split at one fold with no losses, otherwise very fine.

     With the map are two telegrams completed in ink: [1] Dallas Bache, dated at Pine Ridge Agency, South Dakota, December 28, 1890, to Mrs. W.J. Nicholson at Fort Riley, Kansas, informing “Whitesides Battalion captured Big Foot’s band this afternoon. Second battalion just gone. All well”; [2] T.P. Fenlon, dated at Leavenworth, January 27, 1891, to M.J. Nicholson, stating: “Your dispatch just received one thousand happy congratulations upon your safe return God bless you all.” Also present are several contemporary newspaper accounts of Wounded Knee (some with maps), including the January 24, 1891, issue of Harper’s Weekly with an account and illustrations of the battle by Frederic Remington; and Farny illustrations from another periodical.

     Howard R. Lamar, The Reader’s Encyclopedia of the American West, pp. 1288-1289:

Wounded Knee Massacre 1890. On December 29, 1890, the Seventh Cavalry under Colonel James Forsyth was attempting to disarm the Miniconjou Sioux under Big Foot, who were camped on Wounded Knee Creek on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Having heard of the killing of Sitting Bull a week earlier, the Indians were reluctant to comply, and firing broke out. Witnesses, both white and Indian alike, violently disagree on which side fired first. In the midst of the confusion, bitter hand-to-hand fighting took place before the Indians broke through the surrounding troops and exposed themselves to the rapid-firing Hotchkiss guns. Scattered fire fights occurred in the village and nearby ravines before the conflict ended. The Indians suffered 146 known dead (including 44 women and 18 children) and 51 known wounded. The army had 25 killed and 39 wounded, The campaign brought the concentration of 3,500 troops in the vicinity of Pine Ridge and ended with more than 350 deaths and a total expense of nearly $1.2 millions.

The Wounded Knee Massacre ended the long history of the Indian wars. It, as well as the many other conflicts, was the result of a complex chain of events that included the destruction of the Indians’ old way of life, the failure of Congress to meet its obligations to them, and the appointment of unskilled Indian agents. Specifically, the spread of the Ghost Dance religion and the death of Sitting Bull, contributed to the Sioux’s final psychological and military defeat at Wounded Knee.

The battle was particularly tragic. It is unlikely that the Indians precipitated the fight, since Big Foot’s band was surrounded by well-armed soldiers and artillery. Cooler heads and wiser officials probably could have prevented the crisis from developing. And finally, many lives were lost. Historians have charged the soldiers with brutality, citing, among other reasons, that they were from Custer’s seventh Cavalry and thus wanted revenge.

See also Dee Brown, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (1971) and Robert Utley, The Last Days of the Sioux Nation (1963).


Sold. Hammer: $600.00; Price Realized: $735.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

Click thumbnails to open zoomable images.

DSRB Home | e-mail: