and the Medal of Honor
February of 1872 was the perfect time for Buffalo Bill to take advantage of his invitation to visit the East. There were only two companies of cav/ alry at Fort McPherson, making it unlikely there would be any Indian expeditions until the arrival of the Third Cavalry, which was exchanging posts with the Fifth. Cody was given a month's leave of absence with pay.
His wife, Louisa, being pregnant (“a beautiful little reason why I could not accompany him” is how she expressed it), he would travel alone. Wanting to make sure that he was properly dressed when he mixed in eastern society, Lulu set to work. “We procured some blue cloth at the commissary and, sewing day and night, I made Will his first soldier suit, with a Colonel's gold braid on it, with stripes and cords and all the other gingerbread of an old-fashioned suit of 'blues.'”
Cody's first stop was in Chicago, where he was met at the depot by Colonel M. V. Sheridan, the general's brother, who told him that he would be a guest at their house. “I spent two or three days very pleasantly, ” he said. General Sheridan provided him with a dress suit at Marshall Fields, and his buffalo-hunting friends took him to a ball in Riverside, a Chicago suburb. “On this occasion I became so embarrassed that it was more diffi/ cult for me to face the throng of beautiful ladies than it would have been to confront a hundred hostile Indians. This was my first trip to the East, and I had not yet become accustomed to being stared at.” His embarrass/ ment would soon wear off.
On the train to New York he ran into Professor Henry A. Ward of Rochester, whom he had first met while Ward was collecting fossils in Nebraska. Ward showed him Niagara Falls, and he also got his first look at Rochester, which was to be his family's home some years later. In New York Cody was met at the station by J. G. Hecksher and Schuyler Crosy,