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Old 10-18-2011, 04:10 PM   #1
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Wounded Knee Creek ... December 1890

They were the only ones in that area, but about one hundred yards to the north, men, women and children were huddled at the bottom while soldiers stood above and shot down at them. Every once in a while he could here someone shout, “Remember the Little Bighorn.” The Seventh was getting its own back.

While that was going on at the ravine, the men behind the Hotchkiss guns continued to fire at anything that moved. Unfortunately for some of the soldiers before their guns that meant them also.

Not all the Lakota ran to the ravine. Some ran to the open prairie in an effort to escape death. None of them had weapons, they were just running for their lives. But some of the soldiers made for their horses, mounted and ran down the fleeing people as if they, the soldiers, were on a buffalo hunt. As they approached the people, mostly women and children, they would cock their guns and fire. If they missed they would turn their horse for another try. One trooper was heard to exclaim, “Great fun, I betcha I get more than you!” When the carnage was over some Lakota bodies were found as far away as five miles, which led some to speculate that the soldiers toyed with the Indians to prolong the hunt.

Back at the ravine, when targets became scarce, one of the soldiers on the rim started to make his way in Yellow Hair’s direction. His name was John Dinneen, a private in the Seventh. So far that morning he had killed fifteen unarmed people, ten of whom were women and children. And now he was looking for more turkeys. That is how he thought of the cowering Indians. At one point he yelled to his compatriots, “Come on boys, it’s just like an old fashion turkey shoot and I’m a gonna win me a prize!”

As Dinneen made his way toward Yellow Hair, he scoured the bush looking for Indians. He walked slowly and purposefully, he did not want to miss any turkeys. Because of his slow progress, the tension built within the woman and girl. Finally it became unbearable and the girl bolted from her hiding place.

When Dinneen saw her, he smiled to himself, and under his breath he said, “I outta git two points for this one. Them small ones is hard to hit when they’re movin’ so fast.” As he raised his rifle to his shoulder to take aim, Yellow Hair stood. It was his intention to draw Dinneen’s fire, but Dinneen was so intent on sighting the girl he did not see him. He thought to yell to get Dinneen’s attention, but with all the gun fire he did not think he could be heard. So, Yellow Hair did the only thing left to do, he sighted Dinneen and fired.

The bullet, though he aimed for the man’s heart, if he had one, plowed into his left shoulder before he could fire at the girl. With a shout of pain, Dinneen dropped his gun, and then he saw Yellow Hair. The look of astonishment on Dinneen’s face made Yellow Hair smile. He cocked his gun for another try at the man’s heart, but Dinneen turned and ran before he could sight him. Yellow looked for the girl, but she was nowhere to be seen. Looking down at the woman he said, “Do not worry, she got away, she is safe.” He did not know if it were true, but it was all he could say.

One last point on Private Dinneen. His wound was not life threatening, though because of nerve damage he did lose the use of his left arm. But other than that he lived a long, if not particularly fruitful, life. He, along with twenty-two other brave men of the Seventh, was given the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery at Wounded Knee. His citation read in full, “For conspicuous "bravery" in action against Indians concealed in a ravine.” It seems as though Private Dinneen did receive his prize for the turkey shoot.

Last edited by Yellowhair1850; 10-18-2011 at 04:12 PM..
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