Showing posts with label Indians. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Indians. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Letter of the Day: August 24

Fort Bridger, Utah

August 24th 1868.




In reply to your communication dated January 14th 1868, concerning specimens for the Army Medical Museum, I will state that opportunities of observing the results of “injuries + surgical diseases of the lower animals” at this post are very limited + nothing has come under my observation since the date of your letter that could be contributed to the section of the Museum illustrative of the subject.


Large wild game such as buffalo, elk, deer, antelope +c, are not found in this immediate vicinity + such is very seldom indeed brought to the post.


As a consequence of the scarcity of game no bands of Indians camp near hear except during a short time in the early summer when they collect to receive annuities, + are soon off for their fishing and hunting grounds again. I have not known of the death of an Indian in this locality since I have been stationed at the post – hence have had no opportunity of collecting crania.


During the present summer I have obtained specimens of bows + arrows from three tribes that have passed through the post – the Shoshone, Bannack + Ute – the weapons will be sent to the museum by Express + it will be observed that there is much similarity in those of the three tribes – all of them roving over the country in different direction within 200 miles of the post. The bows of all are usually made of the bow of oxyokes obtained along the several emigrant routes through the country. When first obtained they are soaked in hot water until they become pliable, + are bent into their present shape, reversing the curve as found. The component curve in the middle of the bow is thus easily obtained. The front or outer part of the bow is then curved with shreds of tendons obtained from along the spine of their game – either deer or buffalo. This is securely fastened on, as will be observed, by glue, which the Indian makes from the hoof or horn of the game. The elasticity of the bow is increased in this way.


The strings they make of tendons also.


The specimen of the Shoshone bow is one of the finest I have ever seen both as regards finish and springs. The remark about the similarity of the bows will apply also to the arrows. Those of the Utes are shorter than the arrows of either of the other tribes + the feathers extend along a greater proportionate length of the arrow. The grooves along the arrows are not made of a uniform curvature, but with these three tribes, they will be found much more tortuous than on the arrows of the Sioux, Cheyenne + Arapahoes, who roam on the Eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. The grooves in their arrows are nearly straight. The object of these grooves is to facilitate the escape of blood while the arrow remains in the body of the animal.


The feathers on the arrows in these specimens, it will be seen, are fastened only at the extremities. On the arrows of some tribes they are attached the entire length of the feathers by glue.


The base of the arrow heads of these tribes are never bearded, + in some instances, as in the forwarded specimens of the Ute arrow, the slope of the base is in the opposite way, as if to facilitate its removal from the body. The Sioux, I am informed make their arrow heads more or less bearded. The round pointed arrows are used in shooting small games such as rabbits, birds, prairie dogs +c


The tomahawk sent is a weapon not often carried by the tribe from which I obtained it + the buck who had it, displayed it from his quiver more as an ornament than otherwise. These instruments are made in the East and sold to the Indians by traders. The specimen I forwarded is made to be used as a pipe, but it is of doubtful utility in that respect + seems not to have been used as such by the owner.


I send also a specimen of a Navajo arrow said to have been poisoned. A dark substance may be observed adhering to the arrow just above the head.


This description of the articles sent may not be desired but as it may not be entirely devoid of interest to yourself or to others, I have thought it best to give it.


The articles I have forwarded were purchased of Indians for cash to the amount of twenty-seven dollars. This may be regarded as an unreasonable expenditure for things of so little intrinsic value, but in consequences of the liberal prices they always obtain for every thing they sell at this post, I was unable to get them at a lower rate.


In the same package I send the bones of a fractured elbow joint from the accidental discharge of a gun loaded with eleven buckshot, the muzzle being within a few inches of the part at the time of the discharge of the piece. If a report of the case is desired I will be very happy to furnish it.


Very Respectfully

Your Obt. Servant

W. E. Waters,

Asst. Surg. U.S. Army


Bvt. Lt. Col. Geo. A. Otis

Asst. Surg. U.S. Army

Surgeon General’s Office

Washington, D.C.




Sunday, August 1, 2010

Letter of the Day: August 1

Fort Union, N.M. August 1st 1867

Dear Doctor,

I received on my return your very kind letter dated July 10th, for which accept my thanks. I was with Genl. Getty at Nascruces (?) Ranch, some 50 miles from here, holding an Indian council of Utes + Apaches when an express brought news of the death of Dr. + Mrs. McGill and of the cholera in a Battalion of the 38th U.S. Inf. En route for N.M. and thus near Fort Syon some 250 miles from this post. The Genl, at my request gave me an order to prevent the spread of the disease and to care for those sick. I got safely at this camp near Iron Springs, C.T. riding night + day, found that the report of the deaths of poor McGill + wife was only too true. There had been 29 cases with 9 deaths, poor McGill’s being among the last. He lost his wife, carried her remains back over 30 miles to a Fort (Fort Paulford) to bury there, returning the command had moved on 20 miles, and he stayed with his escort at the camp of the day before. In the morning as the officer in charge of the party was about moving, he told him “he was sick, he thought he had the cholera, and that it would kill him to move him.”

The next day at illegible he was dead. He died, poor fellow in an army wagon with only his servant and a Sergt + 3 colored soldiers with him. His last words the Sergt. told me was “Bury me by my wife’s side.” He had lost all interest in life after the death of his wife and seemed glad to die. I have told you what I was able to collect while I remained with the command which was only a few days – only long enough to know its condition with enough to report the proper means to be taken to prevent the spread of the disease – or danger of contagion. Dr. Kimble as act asst surg is with it now. I saw while there a prolapsed anus which I think would measure 10 inches across. The mass would not go in a large hat. If possible I will make a cast of it and send it to you. I will send in a day or two some specimens put up in cotton and small bottles, by mail, and also the cases you desire. I am very busy having turned over to Dr. Peter, and getting ready to leave. Setting out +c I saw in a Washington Chronicle that my leave had been granted. If so I shall leave for France from New York in November. I have been thinking of resigning but not quite made up my mind. I have got many friends and some surgical influence in New York and Drs. Bush DuBuois Snidely + Matts all advise me to settle there at once and offer me on my fathers ack[nowledged?] many favors. Still life is short and I do not care to take the trouble of settling without my constitution gets somewhat illegible. Please excuse the illegible of the above. Drs. McKee, P?, Huntington, are well. On Sunday I am off on a trip of two or three hundred miles thro’ the mts to look at a copper mine + some gold diggings with Genl. Carlton and will illegible + put in quarantine the donkeys and then arrive illegible 20 miles of the post. Remember me to Dr. Crane, Woodward, illegible, Curtis and any other friends and believe me with kind regards

Yours Sincerely,
H.A. DuBois

Bvt. Lt. Col. Geo A. Otis

PS If you have been abroad please give me your advice. I go for health and to study surgery, medicine, + chemistry. Would it not be well for me to get Dr. Barnes to give me a letter of introduction. Is such a thing usual. I forgot to say that the cholera stopped in the negro command just after crossing the Arkansas.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Letter of the Day: July 14

Smithsonian Institution,
July 14, 1869

Dr. G.A. Otis,
Army Med’l. Mus’m.

Dear Sir:

We have lately selected from our alcoholic collections a number of human foetuses, animal monstrosities, entozoa, etc, which we shall be happy to deliver to your messenger, together with a human skull [AMM No 623 Anatomical Sect.] from the mounds of Indiana.

Please send us the label of the Indian Cerement lately forwarded by you to this Institution,

Yours very truly
Joseph Henry