One thing researching the black-powder sharpshooter taught me was to overcome my prejudice about reading books written by non-combatants who wrote contemporaneous to the time of the conflict. For my research on Gettysburg, I read material written by a 15 year old girl (Tille Alleman Pierce) and by some boys who lived in Gettysburg. A veteran loaned me Merrill Mattes book, "Indians, Infants and Infantry: Andrew and Elizabeth Burt on the Frontier
." Ranger Mattes annotated and edited Elizabeth Burt's diary. Elizabeth was married to Andrew Burt who was an infantry captain in the 18th U.S. Infantry in the Civil War. Post-war Burt and his command served on the frontier and fortunately for us, he took Elizabeth with him. She was witness to many incidents and her observations are well worth reading. I share one with you now. It concerns a Shoshone Indian Chief, Washakie who met Elizabeth Burt at Fort Bridger. They used his interpreter until Elizabeth mastered some Shoshone words along with Indian sign language.
Washakie was about to start on a hunting trip, to be absent a certain number of days. Before parting from his wife, he told her he wanted the camp to be moved in his absence, to a place designated by him, and he would meet her on a certain day. At the appointed time he arrived at the place but no camp was to be seen. The mighty chief was very angry. Instead of a good supper and a smiling wife to greet him in a new, clean camp, he must continue to ride to the place he had left and upbraid his squaw for her unheard of disobedience. What excuses, he demanded, had she for the neglect of her orders? Her reply was her mother would not allow her to move camp. Such misconduct was unheard of in his family; and Washakie at once and ever after ended such rebellion by raising his gun and taking the life of his mother-in-law. Now it was easy to understand how Washakie ruled both family and tribe, literally with a rod of iron.
This incident may be found on pages 84-85 of the book.