while I was gone

I’d thought of pasting, and will at the end of this post, Soule’s testimony to an Army inquiry about Colorado’s Sand Creek Massacre, which he answers in classic soldier’s understatement.

Were these families, women and children, scalped and mutilated?

Yes, sir. They were.

Soule was far less understated in a letter to a fellow soldier: “I tell you Ned it was hard to see little children on their knees have their brains beat out by men professing to be civilized. One squaw was wounded and a fellow took a hatchet to finish her, and he cut one arm off, and held the other with one hand and dashed the hatchet through her brain ” He had already told his friend about his own refusal to participate in the carnage. “I was then ordered with my whole company to Major A- with 20 days rations. I told him I would not take part in their intended murder….”

After recovering from the news enough to write about, it was time to jump 30 years to the blessed end of the century. An easy project, what with the Spanish-American War, the Jackson Barracks riots, and Americans nosing around China’s Boxer rebellion …. you get the point.