Buffalo Bill Cody: The Man behind the Legend

By Robert A. Carter | Go to book overview

8
The Battle of
Summit Springs

When Cody left the Fifth Cavalry to travel to St. Louis to see his fam/ ily, he was allowed to take a horse to ride and a mule to carry his per/ sonal belongings. He was told to leave the animals at the quartermaster's corral at Fort Wallace. Instead of following orders, Cody, in typical fash/ ion, decided to leave them with his friend Dave Perry, a hotelkeeper in Sheridan; he then took a train to St. Louis. While Will was gone, a quartermaster's agent at Fort Wallace reported to Brevet Brigadier Gen/ eral Henry C. Bankhead, Captain Fifth Infantry, who commanded the fort, that Cody had sold government property to the hotelkeeper. The animals were seized by the quartermaster, Captain Samuel B. Lauffer, and taken to Fort Wallace.

When Cody returned to Sheridan, Perry told him what had happened. “I immediately went over to the office of the quartermaster's agent, ” said Will, “and had Perry point him out to me. I at once laid hold of him, and in a short time had treated him to just such a thrashing as his con/ temptible lie deserved.”

Cody then went to the fort and demanded the horse and mule, which were the property of the quartermaster at Fort Lyon, who had let Will take them. Both General Bankhead and Captain Lauffer accused the scout of lying and ordered him off the fort. Will went back to town, found the government clerk again, and gave him a second beating. That night, while sleeping at the Perry House, Cody was awakened by soldiers from the Thirty-eighth Infantry, under Captain Israel Ezekiel, an old friend. The soldiers' guns were pointed at him, and he was told he was under arrest. He protested to Ezekiel that he could have made the arrest without bringing the Negro regiment with him, but Ezekiel, according to Cody,

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