By the first of May sentiment had begun to crystallize in favor of some form of action by the Territorial legislature looking toward the rescue of the captives. Before such action could be taken, Mrs. Marble was brought in. This only increased the interest in the welfare of those yet remaining in the hands of the Indians somewhere on the Dakota plains. An insistent popular demand arose for immediate action; and this demand was met by an appropriation of ten thousand dollars. But the news of this action had not reached Agent Flandrau at the time he sent his Indians to the rescue. The Territory willingly honored all obligations contracted by him for the purpose of the ransom, even paying the principal and interest upon the ingeniously contrived but extra-legal bond. In securing the release of Abbie Gardner and Mrs. Marble somewhat more than three thousand dollars were expended out of the ten thousand appropriated.
As soon as Agent Flandrau had outfitted his Indians and had seen them off on their journey for the rescue of Mrs. Noble and Abbie Gardner, he went to Fort Ridgely to confer with Colonel Alexander as to the best plan of operating against Inkpaduta. In any event the plan was to be put in operation only on receipt of word that the captives were safe from further harm. Colonel Alexander was very enthusiastic over the suggested punishment of Inkpaduta's band, and he signified his willingness to detail no less than five companies to proceed to the Skunk Lake region and close in upon the Indian outlaws from as many directions. This plan, it was believed would, destroy all possibility of escape. But before arrangements had been fully matured, Colonel Alexander was ordered by the War Department to get his forces under way immediately and unite with those under General Albert Sidney Johnston who was marching west to quell the Mormon disturbances in Utah. Unfortunately the successor to Colonel Alexander had but little interest in the matter, and Agent Flandrau's scheme had to be given up, at least for a time.
Following quickly upon the order received by Colonel Alexander was one sent by the Secretary of the Interior to Agent Flandrau "to investigate and report the facts in the case, and the measures" which in his judgment would be most effective in ferreting out and punishing the marauders. This order somewhat irritated the agent as he had already reported fully upon the facts and had suggested the best measures to be taken in dealing with the outlaws. In commenting upon this incident the agent wrote some years later that he "had become so thoroughly convinced of the imbecility of a military administration, which clothed and equipped its troops exactly in the same manner for duty in the tropical climate of Florida, and the frigid region of Minnesota, that I took advantage of the invitation, to lay before the authorities some of my notions as to what was the proper thing to do".
Agent Flandrau does not appear to have considered the request for a report as being urgent, since he sent no reply until August twenty&dashseventh, nearly two months later. In the report he took occasion to suggest a remedy for the causes of the failure of Captain Bee's detail to capture Inkpaduta's band before it made the attack on Springfield. As has already been stated the slow progress of the detail was not alone due to the depth of the snow, but also to the unwieldly character of the men's equipment. Concerning this situation the agent observed that "the ordinary means of transportation in the army is, as you well know, by heavy wagons drawn by mules. In the winter these wagons are placed upon sleds, and where there are roads for them to go upon. they can do well enough. But, as I have before said, it will be very seldom if ever, that troops will be called upon to act in a country where there are roads of any kind made in the snow, consequently these sleds and mules are useless." In lieu of this sort of equipment, he recommended that troops, to be effective in winter, should be equipped with snow shoes. In concluding he asked that men be placed on the frontier "who will at all times and under all circumstances, be superior to the enemy they have to contend with, and I would have no fear of a recurrence of the difficulties of last spring.
The annuities due the Sioux Indians in accordance with the treaties of Traverse des Sioux and Mendota were customarily paid them at the upper and lower agencies during the closing week in June of each year. Upon such occasions the Indians flocked to these points by the thousands from Minnesota and Dakota. They came prepared to celebrate; and this they commonly did for several days both before and after the payment was made. It was not alone the annuity Indians who assembled, but the undesirable whites of the frontier also came to pick up whatever money might be obtainable. At this particular time‐ late in June, 1857‐3in addition to about six thousand annuity Indians, many such desperate characters had gathered at the agencies and may be considered responsible for much that happened.
When all had gathered in at the two agencies, the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, W. J. Cullen, called a conference at the Upper Agency. This council, attended by representatives from all bands of the Upper Sioux and a few from the lower tribes, was addressed by Superintendent Cullen. He told them plainly that they would be held responsible for the conduct of the lawless characters of their nation, and that in view of this responsibility they should without delay devise some means of apprehending Inkpaduta. Leaving them to deliberate and report later, he proceeded to the Lower Agency, where he called a like council of the Mdewakanton and Wahpekuta bands to meet on July twelfth. At this meeting he made the same demands as at the Upper Agency and with like result.
Within a brief time Cullen received deputations from both branches of the Sioux informing him that they neither could nor would comply with his demands unless United States soldiers were sent with them. He communicated the demand to Major Sherman, then commanding at Fort Ridgely, who replied that soldiers could not be furnished for such an undertaking since there was not a sufficient number then at the post to make it advisable to spare any; and "the policy of sending soldiers to co-operate with Indians .... would only expose troops to treachery on the part of the Indians." Then, too, "a body of Indians on an expedition of that kind would rely on troops to do the work of capturing and killing .... in case they should have an engagement with the party they were seeking'V-^ Admitting the soundness of this answer Superintendent Cullen informed the Indian envoys that United States troops could not be furnished for such a purpose, and he stated that unless the Indians decided to undertake such an expedition alone and unaided, other measures than those already taken would be resorted to from necessity. No further action coming from the Indians, Superintendent Cullen determined to withhold the annuities.
On the thirteenth the Indians again declined to go in pursuit of Inkpaduta without the aid of United States troops. On the fourteenth they began consolidating their bands and it became evident to all that trouble was afoot. Matters were growing more critical every day. The whites became alarmed and began to leave their farms. Many fled to the post or left the country altogether. The situation reached a climax on the evening of the fifteenth when a Sisseton, without provocation, stabbed a soldier of Major Sherman's command. The Indian escaped and fled to the Sisseton camp where he was received and protected. This incident evidenced the determination of these Indians to protect rather than punish law‐breakers.
The crisis was made more acute by the demand for the release of the Indian to the military authorities. Major Sherman made the demand and was refused. The officer sent by him was received "with two hundred of their guns pointed towards him". Delivery of the culprit was, however, promised for the next morning. At that time "they came down from their lodges, numbering about twenty‐five hundred warriors, all armed and painted, evidently prepared for fight. Many surrounded and came into the camp; they asked a council. They were told that their request could not be granted until they surrendered the culprit and laid their guns aside. By deceit they then sought to draw out the Indian agents and army officers one by one to talk, with the intention of killing them when they had been drawn into a council. In this plan they were frustrated, and on the following day they surrendered the culprit. The Indians were probably emboldened by the panic which then existed throughout the whole of southern and western Minnesota. They construed the situation as "an open confession of cowardice, fear and weakness" upon the part of the Indian and military authorities, and they were ready to flout both at any opportunity.
At this time Little Crow appeared and tendered his best offices in quieting the disturbance and expelling the malcontents. While these rebellious proceedings were taking place at the Upper Agency, he had been at the Redwood Agency. Owing to his intercession and influence, the Indians at the Lower Agency sent word within a day or two that they were willing to undertake the pursuit and punishment of Inkpaduta. In this resolve they were also joined by the Sissetons. Because of Little Crow's undoubted influence in bringing his tribesmen to terms, it was decided to place him in command of the expedition if such an appointment was acceptalile to its members‐which proved to be the case. But the Indians were in no condition to embark on such an expedition, since they were without food or supplies of any kind. Upon their assurance of good faith in the prosecution of the expedition they were promised the needed supplies.
Thus equipped the Indian expedition started in pursuit of Inkpaduta on the nineteenth day of July. To hold them to the faithful performance of their promise, Superintendent Cullen sent his interpreter, Joseph Campbell, and six half-breeds along to report upon operations. One hundred and six warriors under Little Crow made up the personnel of the company, in addition to Campbell and the halfbreeds. The membership came from the whole Sioux nation represented at the agencies, being recruited from the seventeen bands of the Upper Sioux and the eight bands of the Lower Sioux. After an absence of sixteen days the Little Crow expeditionary force returned to the Upper Agency on the fourth of August. They reported that on July twenty-eighth, on arriving at Skunk Lake, they found six lodges of Inkpaduta's people. These were divided into two encampments of three lodges each, about three miles apart. Prior to the arrival of the expedition the lodges were deserted by their occupants who fled to the Big Drift Wood Lake, twenty miles away. They had evidently fled to this lake for the better protection it would afford, owing to the rank growth of reeds in its shallow waters. When the pursuers came up with the fleeing Indians fighting began at once, but it had continued only a half hour when darkness put an end to the conflict.
In the morning three prisoners were taken, two squaws and a boy, and three men were found killed and one wounded. Of those killed one was identified as Mak-pi-a-pe-ta or Fire Cloud, a twin son of Inkpaduta. It was also learned from the captives that a defection had arisen in Inkpaduta's band, as a result of which Inkpaduta and a few followers had broken away and gone to the Snake Creek camp of the Yanktons. Not feeling strong enough to make demands upon a camp of over a thousand Yankton friends of Inkpaduta the expedition had returned to report.
But Superintendent Cullen was not satisfied with what had been done and he plainly spoke his mind. His insistence irritated not only Little Crow, but other leaders of the Sioux at both agencies. Cullen, however, was determined and he called a council of the Sissetons and Wahpetons at the Upper Agency on August tenth. The Indian representatives were sullen and Superintendent Cullen was tactless, with the result that many sharp replies were exchanged to the disadvantage of both parties. Wahpuja Wicasta accused the Superintendent of being dissatisfied because they, the Indians, had failed to bring back a piece of Inkpaduta that he. Superintendent Cullen, might taste of it and thus pronounce upon its genuineness and prove their good faith in the pursuit of the outlaw. Ma-za-ku-ta-ma-ni, representing the soldier lodge which had been formed, spoke bitterly concerning the wrongs done the Indians and accused Superintendent Cullen of breaking faith in his relations with the soldiers and in his failure to reward the efforts which they had honestly put forth. Superintendent Cullen failed to accomplish his purpose and in the end had to admit the need for action upon the part of the military arm of the government. Such action he now recommended, as well as the payment of the annuities long overdue. It is a reflection upon the effectiveness of the military to note that no further action was taken to punish the outlaw and his band.
For a few years Inkpaduta was lost sight of. Apparently he had ceased his activities along the frontier. For five years he remained in seclusion. In the summer of 1862 a portion of the band appeared at the Yellow Medicine Agency, hoping to share in the annuities of that year. Agent Galbraith, hearing of their presence, sent Lieutenant T. J. Sheehan with a few soldiers to drive them away from the agency. But their friends had warned them; and when the detail surrounded the camp to the south of Lake Benton the Indians were gone. The trail was followed for some distance, but it suddenly ended leaving not a trace of its continuance. It must not be supposed, however, that Inkpaduta contented himself with a life of complete inactivity. He is presumed to have joined with Little Crow in a plan for the expulsion of all whites from the Dakota country which was to culminate in the massacres of 1862. During the progress of this revolt his presence was several times reported, and toward its close he is said to have gone westward and united with the Santees of the Missouri. In a few years he succeeded in uniting this tribe with the Yanktons and then secured the leadership.
But he had now grown too old to be aggressive, and so his leadership was more nominal than real. According to Holcombe "Inkpadoota's last appearance in an historical scene was at the Custer massacre, in the Little Big Horn, in Eastern Montana, in June, 1876. On the morning of the day that General Custer made his ill‐fated ride upon the Indian camp, Inkpaduta, then seventy-five years old, and stone blind, was sitting on the banks of the Little Big Horn .... with two of his grandsons, and the three were fishing in the stream. The little boys were the first to see Major Reno's command as it came riding up the valley to hold the Indians on the south, while Custer should come upon them from the north. They ran as fast as they could encumbered with their blind and decrepit grandsire, and gave the alarm in time for Gall and Grass to come down and drive back Reno, and then hasten back and exterminate Custer and his force. At this time, and for ten years before, Inkpadoota had been blind, and no longer regarded as a leader of any body, for he could not walk without a guide. He and his two surviving sons fled with Sitting Bull to Canada, finally locating at the Canadian Red Pipestone Quarry, in Southwestern Manitoba. Here, in 1894, Dr. Charles Eastman, the well‐known Indian authority, found the descendants of Inkpadoota .... However, the bloody-minded old savage himself had died miserably some years before ". Thus ended the life of an implacable foe of the white race, who for nearly forty years had terrorized the northwestern frontier from the Mississippi River in Iowa to the far away Rockies of Canada.
Of the original band but little more remains to be said. While the excitement was at its highest in the closing days of June, 1857, incident to the non-payment of the annuities. Agent Flandrau, then at the Lower Agency, received a note from Sam Brown, a trader on the Yellow Medicine. The note brought the information that Inkpaduta and several of his band were then at the Upper Agency. The agent immediately sent a messenger to Fort Ridgely requesting help. He was given a detachment of fifteen men under Lieutenant Murry. While these troops were on the way from Fort Ridgely to the Redwood Agency, Agent Flandrau recruited a volunteer force of perhaps twenty-five men to assist in the operations against Inkpaduta. Among these volunteers was the well-known scout and interpreter, Joseph Campbell, who was almost an indispensable adjunct of any such expedition. When these preparations had been completed, the Indian messenger was sent back to the Upper Agency with the request that a guide be sent out to meet and lead them to the outlaw's camp.
At dusk the united forces started for the Yellow Medicine. About midway between the two agencies there was a high mound or butte which overlooked the whole of the surrounding country for miles. The trail being followed was that of the Sioux and according to their custom it passed over the summit of the elevation. When the party had reached the summit they found An-pe-tu-tok-cha or Other Day who had been sent by Brown to guide them to the camp. "When found he was quietly sitting by the side of the trail, engaged in his favorite pastime of smoking. Upon being accosted he gave not the slightest evidence of recognition or interest. When he finally replied to questions put to him he admitted that a few of Inkpaduta's Indians were near the Yellow Medicine, up the river about five miles, and numbered perhaps six lodges. Further than this he either did not have, or did not care to give, information. When questioned as to methods of attack he declared the best plan would be to charge down on the camp, and when they see the soldiers, they will know who they are after, and any of Inkpaduta's people that are there, will run or show fight, the rest will remain passive."
> This plan, after being confirmed by Campbell as best, was adopted. With Other Day as guide, the march was resumed. The party reached the river, about one mile below the camp, just at dawn. The camp was pitched on a plateau or open prairie about a quarter of a mile from the river. To reach the shelter of the river it would be necessary for one fleeing from the camp to pass across the open space and go down a precipitous descent of about fifty feet. When within a half mile of the camp, a charge was ordered by Lieutenant Murry. Nearly simultaneously with this command an Indian, leading a squaw, ran from one of the lodges toward the river. Other Day at once called out that there was the man, and rifles instantly cracked. Obviously the fugitive was not hit, for he safely made the shelter of the brush along the river in the face of a continued fire.
In his hurried flight the Indian was not unarmed, for he carried a double‐barreled shotgun. This fact made it extremely dangerous to go into the brush after him or even to attempt a reconnaissance. That he intended to defend himself was evident, for as soon as he reached the shelter of the brush he began firing on the attacking party. Each shot from him was greeted with a volley from the soldiers, which soon put an end to his firing. When found the body of the man was riddled with bullets. Upon investigation the individual proved to be none other than Roaring Cloud, son of Inkpaduta, the Indian who had so atrociously attacked and murdered Mrs. Noble.
The squaw whom he led at the beginning of his dash for the river was taken prisoner in the hope that she might assist in identifying the Indian who had been killed, as well as give information about other inhabitants of the camp. Taking her prisoner, however, proved most unfortunate, for it produced a great commotion at the Upper Agency which only added fuel to the excitement over the deferred annuities. On the return it was necessary to pass through the camps of over seven thousand Indians. According to Agent Flandrau "the excitement among them was terrible. The squaw kept up a howling such as a squaw in distress only can make. The Indians swarmed about us, guns in hand, and scowled upon us in the most threatening manner . . . . I then began to realize the desperate temerity of the enterprise. Our salvation was simply the moral force of the government that was behind us. We reached the Agency buildings in safety, and took possession of a log house, where we remained several days in a state of sleepless anxiety, until relieved by Major Sherman with the famous old Buena Vista battery .... We felt .... like the man who was chased by a bear, and finally seized his paws around a tree; he wanted somebody to help him let go." With the coming of the battery the Indians became quiet.