(Wyoming) Engagement with Sioux Dec. 1866

Mapmaker: Manuscript

(Wyoming) Engagement with Sioux Dec. 1866

c. 1875

  • ~Holiday~2016
  • (Fetterman - Sioux Indian Battle) Engagement with Sioux Dec. 1866

    The Swan Ranch was a vast endeavor that covered over a million acres in early territorial Wyoming, and its founders were a family that came from back east, settled into ranching and became successful and powerful, quickly. One of the older patriarchs, A.H. Swan was the first to introduce Hereford cattle to the U.S., and had a career in Wyoming territorial politics, as well as handling the family's business endeavors.

    Some of the last remaining heirs of the Swan dynasty now live locally, and in a time of jointly reviewing the papers of the family, their correspondence, business papers and more, this map surfaced. A hand drawn map of a fateful encounter between the U.S. troops, and the Lakota under the leadership of Crazy Horse.

    This encounter is documented in Stanley Vestal's book, "Jim Bridger - Mountain Man" where a constant hen-pecking between sides had never culminated in a victory that would end the friction, but rather a constant back and forth, where U.S. troops would entice the natives, and the natives would bait the U.S. troops to entrap them. On the morning of December 6 of 1866, the wagon train with the wood supply was surrounded, and gave signal for help to come from the nearby fort. And at that moment, the trap was set. On this day, Crazy Horse saw that you could get small detachments of soldiers that would break loose in pursuit of vulnerable targets, almost impulsively, not thinking about where these escaping natives might be leading them to... such as Crazy Horse's warriors, waiting.

    His scheme worked, Crazy Horse teased the reactionary from the ranks and once separated from the rest, he did them in, and in so, set the stage for another battle days later on December 21, where he could expand this approach, and he did, killing 80 U.S. troops in a day.

    This rare map is the only reference we know of for how this initial battle occurred and what the paths were for the parties involved. While we don't know the author and artist of the map, its perhaps the best provenance we could imagine, and is a palpable piece of history.

    Condition is very good with blank verso. Overall size is approximately 10.75 x 8 (inches)