10 July 1997

Day 27 - Broken Bow, NE (day of rest)

Days Corp laid off: July 9 [Moss's chart claims it was the 10th] – 1 day at Broken Bow, NE

Out of Sand Into Mud
BROKEN BOW, Neb., July 11-- The army bicycle corps arrived here last night, water soaked and tired. The run through the sandhills was completed without serious mishap and better wheeling is hoped for on the eastern runs. Heavy rain, however, is now falling and may seriously impede the progress of the corps.
- Falls City Journal, [Falls City, NE] Friday, July 17, 1897

Wheel Corps of the 25th Infantry Spend a Day in Broken Bow.

The wheel corps of the 25th infantry, enroute from Fort Missoula, Montana, to St. Louis, arrived in Broken Bow last Friday evening, just as a rain was beginning to fall, and took up quarters by invitation of the Holcomb Guards in Armory Hall. The troop consists of twenty colored soldiers from several different companies, under command of Second Lieutenant Jas. Moss, of the 25th Infantry. Surgeon J.M. Kennedy and official correspondant , E. H. Boos accompany the party, the last three named being white. The corps had a hard trip through the sandhills of northwest Nebraska, as well as over the mountains of Wyoming and Montana. Lots of mud was also encountered, and on reaching this haven of good roads, the troopers concluded to rest up a day and overhaul their wheels. A certain make of wheel is used, fitted especially for the trip, a gear case of oil cloth being used to cover the chain. The wheels weigh thirty pounds each and equipments carried average about sixty pounds. Each carries an army rifle, slung across his back, 100 rounds of ammunition in his belt, a blanket, one-half tent and tent pole strapped in front of the handle bars and in the leather case between the frame, rations, cooking utensils and necessaries of all kinds. Several of the cases are of sheet iron, which when taken off and apart are two large pans, used for cooking in. One of the soldiers acts in the capacity of repair man and when a puncture or break occurs trades wheels and makes the repairs by the roadside, catching up with the squad as best he can, taking a train if too far in the rear. A supply of rims, handle bars, pedals and tires are carried along. Very few breaks or punctures have occurred, however, for so large a party and those have usually been from carelessness. The costumes worn are rather plain, blue cotton shirts, brown canvas pants, brown leggings, shoes, hats and blue coats, the latter being strapped with the handles. The marching is done in single file, and when compelled to walk long distances on account of mud or sand, they usually take the railroad track. While the greater number are experienced wheelmen, several are beginners, one soldier having had two days experience before starting. All are standing the trip well however, and one of the party stated that an average of fifty-six miles per day had been made. The trip is being made at the instance of the government, to demonstrate the feasibility of the bicycle for military use, and its advantages—if any—over horses. It will be a journey of 2,000 miles, over all kinds of roads, 1,300 miles having been passed over when this place was reached. All day Saturday was spent here by the company, leaving at 5:30 a.m. Sunday, greatly refreshed. They expect to reach St. Louis about July 25th and do not yet know whether they will return awheel or on the train.

- Custer County Chief [Broken Bow, NE] July 16, 1897

"At Broken Bow [Friday night] just as the men reached their shelter the storm broke in all its fury, thoroughly drenching a couple of men who were unable to reach the camp in time. The Nebraska National Guard, under Capt. Painter, took the corps in charge on their arrival and quartered them in their barracks, where a gasoline stove was provided for cooking purposes and a quantity of hay for bedding. Saturday was a wet day, the roads were muddy, and as the men were very wet and the machines needed overhauling, it was decided to stop over and take a day for general overhauling."
- E.H. Boos, Daily Missoulian The Sand Abundant, July 31, 1897

"SOLDIERS ON WHEELS. – Bicycle Corps of Regulars Will Probably Reach Lincoln Today. James A. Moss, second lieutenant, Twenty-fifth United States Infantry, will probably arrive in Lincoln this evening in command of twenty-three soldiers, who are making a trip by wheel from Ft. Missoula, Mont., to St. Louis. The soldiers are known as the bicycle corps. The object of the trip is to test the wheel as a means of covering great distances. Light camping equipment is carried. The corps reached Grand Island yesterday and will probably camp on the capitol lawn tonight.
Lieutenant Moss wrote from Broken Bow to Major E.G. Fechet, Sixth U.S. cavalry, special aid to the governor, that the corps reached that place July 9 after an exceedingly hard and trying trip through the sand hills. He decided to rest one day at Broken Bow. He said in the letter that he expected to reach Lincoln Tuesday evening.
J.G. Painter, captain of the company of Nebraska national guardsmen at Broken Bow, wrote that Lieutenant Moss reached Broken Bow at 7:30 p.m. with twenty-three men after covering a distance of 1,300 miles in twenty-five days. Captain Painter says of the corps:
“In their travel of 178 miles from Alliance, Neb., a distance of fifteen miles was ridden on their wheels, the balance of the distance they walked and led their wheels through the sand hill country. The intense heat and bad water told severly on the men and many became prostrate and they longed for that Eldorado, Broken Bow. The last thirty hours before they reached Broken Bow they were drenched with rain and they wheeled into town soaking wet. In anticipation of their coming the armory was put in shape to receive them, a good fire was built and they were put through the drying process, and gasoline stoves were provided for their cooking and straw for bedding, and with a good warm supper the men retired early for a well earned rest.”
- Nebraska State Journal, Tuesday morning, July 13, 1897

["In 1888 Sitting Bull rejected a new offer to sell Sioux land. The American government became increasingly frustrated by Sitting Bull's refusal to negotiate a deal and orders were given for his arrest. On 15th December, 1890, Sitting Bull was killed while being arrested..."
- http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/WWsittingB.htm

"Major Fechet moved his command at night some thirty miles to the close proximity of Sitting Bull's camp, and sent his Indian police forward to arrest the great war chief. They proceeded to Sitting Bull's lodge and, entering it, informed him that he was a prisoner, and that he must go with them. He protested, but to no avail. They had proceeded but a few steps when he raised the war cry which aroused his followers, who rushed to his rescue. Then occurred a short, desperate Indian combat, in which Sitting Bull and quite a number of his immediate followers were killed, as well as five of the principal friendly Indian police who had made the arrest. The remainder, however, held their position until the prompt arrival of the troops, who dispersed the hostile Indians in every direction. It is a little singular that the last real encounter of this greatest of Indian chieftains should have been a tragedy in which he was to fall by the hands of men of his own
race. He was the strongest type of the hostile Indian that this country has produced. His reputation had been made by courage, energy, and intense hostility to the white race in his early days. He had gradually risen to leadership until he became the great organizing or controlling spirit of the hostile element. None of the other Indians possessed such power to draw and mold the hearts of his people to one purpose, and his fall appeared to be the death-knell of the Indian supremacy in that western country."
- Nelson Miles, Personal Recollections and Observations (1896)

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