Previously: It was then they heard distinctive “KRACK” report of a Henry Rifle, followed closely by three more reports.
With no hesitation, Lieutenant-Colonel Phineas Cooper gave the command “Gray Wolf! All scouts are under your command, deploy NOW!” Turning to his cavalry officers, “Ride to the high ground—let’s make difficult for them!”
“Colonel, the scouts are already deployed.”
“Very well Gray Wolf—and thank you!”
Cooper’s cavalry climbed a low hill at the end of a natural defile (think “funnel”) that prevented their attackers from forming a wide front of two lines advancing abreast. Instead they were compressed into a narrower front of six lines.
Even so, they outnumbered Cooper and his allies by nearly ten to one.
This does not look good.
Chapter 6—Loco Part III—Fort Savage—Episode 9… “First platoon dismount and engage with rifles, second platoon hold position!”
While they didn’t have the long-range Henrys, and they hadn’t trained as sharpshooters, they were still effective marksmen. They began firing and along with their native allies, began to take a toll on the advancing enemy cavalry.
When the 1st Platoon exhausted their 16-round magazine, 2nd Platoon took their place and began firing into the now completely disorganized and stalled enemy cavalry.
The 1st Platoon barely finished reloading their Henrys when the enemy broke and were completely routed—galloping headlong back through the gauntlet of fire from the native sharpshooters.
Of the nearly 100 enemy cavalry troopers who began the attack, only ten made it out of the trap unhurt.
Lieutenant-Colonel Cooper ordered a cease-fire, as did Gray Wolf. In addition, there would be no scalp-taking by Cooper’s scouts (the Eagle-Point Ojibwe had no such tradition).
The enemy wounded would be cared-for, not killed (there was no such tradition of that as well).
But there was but one survivor, Captain Obediah McMillan, the commander. With the first volley by the 1st platoon, he dove for cover and struck his head on a rock—and when they found him he was just coming to, “Greetings, Captain, it appears your attack failed.”
Cooper’s men quickly disarmed McMillan and bound his hands, “But—how?”
Cooper replied, “We fought you Indian-style. We forced you through a defile and engaged your troops from long range—on both your flanks and from cover in front of you—too far away for your carbines, and certainly too far for your sabres.”
“That ain’t fair.”
“Combat is not supposed to be fair, you outnumbered us by nearly 10:1, that’s not fair either.”
To be Continued…