Join Date: November 2, 1998
Stalking is not an art to be taken lightly.
Death of “Buffalo Chips”
Buffalo Bill Cody had a sidekick, Jim White, who followed him on the plains. Unlike Buffalo Bill who served the Union during the Civil War, White fought for the Confederacy under Jeb Stuart. Like Bill, White was a capable scout and Indian fighter who idolized Cody and went so far as to imitate his “dress, his gait, his carriage, his speech - everything he could copy; he let his long yellow hair fall low upon his shoulders in wistful imitation of Bill’s glossy brown curls.” He took care of Cody’s guns, horses and Cody. When Buffalo Bill declined accompanying the 5th Cavalry to Arizona, Jim White decided to remain with the regiment as its scout. One night he decided to be known as something other than Jim White and a wag of a quartermaster dubbed him “Buffalo Chips.” The name stuck.
Under General Carr, the 5th Cavalry and Jim White rode to assist of Maj. Mills who trapped some Indians in a ravine but couldn’t extract them. Furthermore, ahead of the ravine was a cave in which several Indians had hidden themselves. As the soldiers attempted to maneuver around the cave’s entrance, they were attacked by those in the ravine. Capt. Charles King described what followed:
“The misty air rang with shots, and the chances looked bad for those redskins. Just at this moment, as I was running over from the western side, I caught sight of ‘Chips’ on the opposite crest. All alone, he was cautiously making his way, on hands and knees, towards the had of the ravine, where he could look down upon the Indians beneath. As yet he was protected from their fire by the bank itself - his lean form distinctly outlined against the eastern sky. He reached a stunted tree that grew on the very edge of the gorge, and there he halted, brought his rifle close under his shoulder in readiness to aim, and then raised himself slowly to his feet, lifted his head higher, higher, as he peered over. Suddenly a quick, eager light shone on his face, a sharp movement of his rifle, as though he were about to raise it to the shoulder, when, bang! - a puff of white smoke floated up from the head of the ravine, ‘Chips’ sprang convulsively in the air, clasping his hands to his breast, and with one startled, agonizing cry, ‘Oh, my God, boys!’ plunged heavily forward, on his face, down the slope - shot through the heart.
‘Two minutes more, what Indians were left alive were prisoners, and that costly experiment at an end. That evening, after the repulse of the grand attack of Roman Nose and Stabber’s warriors, and, ‘twas said, hundreds of Crazy Horse’s band, we buried poor ‘Chips’ with our other dead in the dead ravine. Wild Bill, California Joe, and Cosgrove have long since gone to their last account, but, among those who knew them, no scout was more universally mourned that Buffalo Bill’s devoted friend, Jim White.”
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt. Molon Labe!