Scouting with Sheridan
By August both Will Cody and Wild Bill Hickok were employed as scouts, this time for Brevet Major General (regular rank Major) George Armes of the Tenth Cavalry at Fort Hays. Major Armes recorded in his journal for August 21 that his rival, Major M. H. Kidd, had “failed to pay attention to the advice of Wild Bill our scout and guide, in regard to the course we should take when we left camp yesterday, he appearing to know more about the country than those who have lived here for years.” Major Kidd found himself ten miles off course with no sign of Indians. Kidd was later relieved of his command and discharged from the army at his own request in 1870.
On August 24 Major Armes wrote in his diary: “We marched out at sunrise, met Lieutenant Colonel Frederick W. Benteen, Seventh Cavalry, en route to [Fort] Harker. He was relieved in the field by Colonel L. H. Carpenter, who marched twenty-five or thirty miles and has discovered quite a number of Indian signs.
“Bill Cody (Buffalo Bill), ” Armes continued, “one of our scouts and one of the best shots on the plains, keeps us well supplied with plenty of buffalo and deer. He gets $60 per month and a splendid mule to ride, and is one of the most contented and happy men I ever met.”
Eight years later Colonel Benteen became a prominent player in the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
On the day Major Armes recorded his appreciation of Buffalo Bill's prowess as a hunter, General Sheridan augmented his forces by direct/ ing his assistant inspector-general, Brevet Colonel George A. Forsyth, to enroll “fifty first-class hardy frontiersmen to be used as scouts against the hostile Indians, ” with Lieutenant Fred H. Beecher as second-in-command. Within five days this company was organized at Fort Hays and Fort Harker and took the field, scouting across the headwaters of the Solomon River and along Beaver Creek.