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Crazy Horse


Crazy Horse Genealogy
by Kingsley M. Bray
Part 1 ~ Part 2


Crazy Horse was enlisted as a scout in May 1877, a week or two after the surrender at Red Cloud Agency. He was enrolled as a First Sergeant, which placed him on an equal footing with Red Cloud and Spotted Tail - surely a factor in the 'jealousy' which poisoned relations at the two agencies. Army enlistment records show his service, and a number of newspaper accounts noted the enlistment. Oglala eyewitnesses also recounted the enlistment - in his 1931 interview with Eleanor Hinman, Crazy Horse's brother-in-law Red Feather states that he helped "coax" a reluctant Crazy Horse to enlist.

You're right about Crazy Horse's resistance to fighting after the surrender. He and the other enlisted scouts, drawn from both non-treaty and agency-resident bands, defined their service as maintaining order at the agencies and serving as peace envoys to those bands (Lame Deer) still out in the hunting grounds. When the army asked the scouts to serve against the Nez Perces (last week of August 1877), both Crazy Horse and Touch the Clouds (First Sergeant Co. E) expressed their reluctance to "put blood on their faces" again. The tensions and misunderstandings arising from this situation tragically concluded in the arrest and death of Crazy Horse a week later. — Kingsley Bray

As Kingsley noted, Crazy Horse did in fact enlist in the Indian scouts. Together with 25 other recently surrendered northern Oglala, he was sworn in as a scout on May 12, 1877 for a 3 month term. See his enlistment paper attached below (from the National Archives).

Crazy Horse re-enlisted on July 1, 1877 and was made First Sergeant of Company C Indian Scouts. Sergeants included Big Road, Little Hawk, Jumping Shield and Little Big Man. Corporals were Iron Hawk, He Dog, Four Crows and No Water.

Crazy Horse's second enlistment record shows that he was discharged to date from August 31, 1877, the date of his council with Touch the Clouds and Lieut. W. P. Clark during which the supposed mistranslation took place. The discharge however was actually processed on September 5, while Crazy Horse was enroute to Camp Robinson from Camp Sheridan with Lieut. Jesse M. Lee. In a telegram to General Crook, Lieut Clark wrote (Sept. 5): "If you approve, will complete arrangements for payment of scouts, discharging Crazy Horse to date August thirty-first, and let the chiefs who are to take charge of this band designate men to replace those whose arms have been taken away. These chiefs are doing even better than I anticipated." Lieut. John G. Bourke, Crook's aide-de-camp, responded to Clark's telegram later that day: "General Crook says to keep up pursuit of those Indians until the last one is captured [referring to members of Crazy Horse's band who had fled when the army moved to arrest the Oglala leader.] He approves your suggestions about Crazy Horse's discharge and the enlistment of other scouts." — Ephriam Dickson

This is from Neihardt's interview with Eagle Elk in 1944:

Crazy Horse had an organization. I refer to a sort of organization where they don't feast and dance, but they were just followers of [him and consisted of] more than forty selected warriors. This organization was called the Last Child [Society] (Ho-ksi-ha-ka-ta). They were all very brave warriors and always went out with him and fought with him. He picks the last child in the family. If they did get deeds or something very brave, then they would have greater honor than the first child. They were always making themselves greater. I had three older sisters, an older brother and a young brother. The older brother was killed in a war.

One day a crier for the Last Child came around and picked certain people from different families. The crier called my name, but I did not know it [then}. That is how I joined the Last Child.

— Ephriam


The following publications contain information about Crazy Horse:

Article: "Crazy Horse" by Ephriam D. Dickson III • The Oglala leader played a key role at the Little Big Horn, only to die at Camp Robinson, Nebraska, the next year. Who actually wielded the bayonet that killed him? • Greasy Grass, Journal of the Custer Battlefield Historical & Museum Association Vol. 12 May 1996.

Article: "Crazy Horse" by Tom Buecker  The author recounts the search for the elusive photo of the famous Oglala chief. • Greasy Grass, Journal of the Custer Battlefield Historical & Museum Association, Vol. 14, May 1998.

Book: Crazy Horse: A Lakota Life (The Civilization of the American Indian Series) by Kingsley Bray • University of Oklahoma Press • 2006.


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