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A Tribute To General Miles
IN view of the success achieved by my brother, it is remarkable that he excited so little
envy. Now for the first time in his life he felt the breath of slander on his cheek, and it
flushed hotly. From an idle remark that the Indians in the "Wild West" exhibition were
not properly treated, the idle gossip grew to the proportion of malicious and insistent
slander. The Indians being government wards, such a charge might easily become a
serious matter; for, like the man who beat his wife, the government believes it has the
right to maltreat the red man to the top of its bent, but that no one else shall be allowed to
do so.
A winter campaign of the "Wild West" had been contemplated, but the project was
abandoned and winter quarters decided on. In the quaint little village of Benfield was an
ancient nunnery and a castle, with good stables. Here Will left the company in charge of
his partner, Mr. Nate Salisbury, and, accompanied by the Indians for whose welfare he
was responsible, set sail for America, to silence his calumniators.
The testimony of the red men themselves was all that was required to refute the notorious
untruths. Few had placed any belief in the reports, and friendly commenters were also
As the sequel proved, Will came home very opportunely. The Sioux in Dakota were
again on the war-path, and his help was needed to subdue the uprising. He disbanded the
warriors he had brought back from Europe, and each returned to his own tribe and
people, to narrate around the camp-fire the wonders of the life abroad, while Will
reported at headquarters to offer his services for the war. Two years previously he had
been honored by the commission of Brigadier-General of the Nebraska National Guard,
which rank and title were given to him by Governor Thayer.
The officer in command of the Indian campaign was General Nelson A. Miles, who has
rendered so many important services to his country, and who, as Commander-in-Chief of
our army, played so large a part in the recent war with Spain. At the time of the Indian
uprising he held the rank of Brigadier-General.
This brilliant and able officer was much pleased when he learned that he would have
Will's assistance in conducting the campaign, for he knew the value of his good
judgment, cool head, and executive ability, and of his large experience in dealing with
The "Wild West," which had served as an educator to the people of Europe in presenting
the frontier life of America, had quietly worked as important educational influences in the
minds of the Indians connected with the exhibition. They had seen for themselves the
wonders of the world's civilization; they realized how futile were the efforts of the
children of the plains to stem the resistless tide of progress flowing westward. Potentates
had delighted to do honor to Pa-has-ka, the Long-haired Chief, and in the eyes of the