Two one-pounder mountain guns, single loading, firing percussion shell, and commanded by me, did not open fire until this first phase was over and the Indians in full retreat.
After mowing down the surprised soldiers in their immediate front, the Indians, passed among their herd, men, women, and children, except a number who dropped into the dry bed behind the tepees, where they kept up a hot fire to cover the passage of the pony herd.
Hawthorne (pictured), who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery at the Wounded Knee shootout.
AS A PARTICIPANT in the engagement at Wounded Knee Creek, I will quote freely from a report made by me in 1931 to the Historical Division of the War Department.
They sat down in the open space within their camp and during the talk, details from the cavalry passed among the tepees looking for their arms.
This resultless search proved that the Indians had their rifles with them and they were called upon to give them up as a preliminary to terms of surrender.Big Foot, lying on a litter, had been brought out of his tepee at the first gathering of his men and was present among them during the entire scene.While waiting for a decision by the Indians their Medicine Man began a dance and chant.In this engagement my station was on a low hill overlooking the camp occupied by the Indians, and from which I could view the disposition of our troops, and every detail of events which led up to the opening of the fight, and the final dispersion and pursuit of the Indians.The disposition of the troops at Wounded Knee Creek and that of the captured Indians were such as to place us at a fatal disadvantage.which prompted them to make their dash for the open country, and encouraged them to hope for success.To this thought is added the fact that the day before, with a much smaller force opposed to them, their surrender to Major Whitside with two battalions, 7th Cavalry, and a detachment of artillery at Porcupine Creek was meek and quiet and combined with expressions of friendliness and peace.Edgerly’s troop was mounted near the foot of this hill and took no part in the fight in the initial stages.The mounted troops beyond the camp did not fire a shot at this time.He was suffering from pneumonia and was attended by our surgeon several times during the night.The Indian men had been summoned to a powwow and leaving their tepees they appeared wrapped in their blankets, with their arms concealed under them, a fact unknown to our Commanding Officer at the time.