Monday, January 31, 2011

Letter of the Day: January 31

Fort Abercrombie D.T. [Dakota Territory]
January 31st, 1868


Your letter of January 14th concerning Specimens for the Army Medical Museum, is recieved [sic]; in reply I would respectfully state, that I have a Bow and Arrow of the Sioux and one of the Chippewas which I will shortly forward to the Museum. These I consider typical weapons of the respective tribes. I would also have procured Knives and Tomahawks but those which I have seen here have been of such various materials and patterns, that they would be almost valueless as specimen weapons.

I have made arrangements to procure for the Anatomical section of the museum, the skeletons of such of the smaller feral animals as can be obtained in this section of country, and hope when the trappers return from their winter's hunt, to be able to report my success, and forward the specimens procured.

Specimens of Indian Crania can not be obtained here. During the past two years but one death has occurred in the vicinity among the aboriginal inhabitants which has come to my knowledge- That of a Chippewa "half-breed" who was killed by the Sioux Indians on Elm River about 50 miles from here- his body was removed to Pembina and buried in the Catholic Cemetery there. Crania of "half breeds" Sioux and Chippewa I should imagine would present some interesting features for study and I will use every legitimate endeavor to procure specimens of these, for the museum.

In conclusion Doctor I assure you, of my interest in the museum; and of my hearty cooperation in carrying out its purposes, to any extent in my power.

Very Respectfully
You Obedient Servant
W.H. Gardner
Asst. Surgeon and Bvt. Major USA

Bvt Sr Col George A Otis
Asst Surgeon U.S. Army

Medical Director
Department of Dakota

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