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Seven minutes
after the bursting of the dam, the head of the resistless flood was
eighteen miles down the valley. A man on horseback had started, at a
dead-run, some minutes before the catastrophe, shouting a warning to the
inhabitants, some of whom, by instantly taking to flight up the
mountain side, were able to save themselves, but the majority waited too
long.


A FURIOUS TORRENT.

Imagination cannot picture the awful power of this prodigious torrent.
Trees were uptorn or flattened to the earth, houses, locomotives, and
massive machinery were tumbled over and over and bobbed about like so
many corks, and the flood struck Johnstown with the fury of a cyclone,
sweeping everything before it, as if it were so much chaff. Tearing
through the city and carrying with it thousands of tons of wreckage of
every description, it plunged down the valley till it reached the
railroad bridge below Johnstown. There, for the first time, it
encountered an obstruction which it could not overcome. The structure
stood as immovable as a solid mountain, and the furious torrent piled up
the debris for a mile in width and many feet in depth. In this mass were
engines, houses, trees, furniture, household utensils, iron in all
forms, while, winding in and out, were hundreds of miles of barbed wire,
which knit the wreckage together. In many of the dwellings people were
imprisoned, and before a step could be taken to relieve them fire broke
out and scores were burned to death.

[Illustration: INDIAN MOTHER AND INFANT.]

How many people lost their lives in the Johnstown flood will never be
known. The remains of bodies were found for months and even years
afterward. The official list, when made up, was 2,280, of which 741
bodies were unidentified; but there is little doubt that the loss was
fully twice the number given. Nothing of the kind has ever before
occurred in the history of our country, and it is to be hoped that such
a disaster will never be repeated.

Again the calamity awoke an instant sympathetic response. Provisions,
tents, and money were sent to the sufferers from all parts of the Union,
and nothing that could relieve them was neglected. Johnstown was soon
rebuilt, and to-day there are no signs of the fearful visitation it
received, only a comparatively short time since. On November 14, 1892,
at the payment of the annuity provided for the orphans of Johnstown, the
sum of $20,325 was distributed.

We came very near to having a war with Chili in the latter part of 1891.
On the 16th of October of that year, some forty men, attached to the
American warship _Baltimore_, lying in the harbor of Valparaiso,
obtained leave to go ashore. Sailors at such times are as frolicksome as
so many boys let out for a vacation, and it cannot be claimed that these
Jackies were models of order and quiet behavior. They were in uniform
and without weapons.

They had been in the city only a short time, when one of them became
involved in a wrangle with a Chilian. His companions went to his
assistance whereupon a native mob quickly gathered and set upon them.
The Chilians detest Americans, and, seeing a chance to vent their
feelings, they did so with vindictive fury. They far outnumbered the
sailors, and besides nearly every one of them was armed. The boatswain's
mate of the _Baltimore_, Riggin by name, was killed and several
seriously wounded, one of whom afterward died from his injuries.
Thirty-five of the Americans were arrested and thrown into prison, but
as they could not be held upon any criminal charge they were released.

The captain of the _Baltimore_ was the present Rear-Admiral Schley, who
rescued the Greely party of Arctic explorers, and gave so good an
account of himself, while in command of the _Brooklyn_, during the
destruction of Cervera's fleet off Santiago, July 3, 1898. When our
government learned of the affair, it directed Captain Schley to make a
full investigation. He did so, and his report left no doubt that the
Chilians had committed a gross outrage against our flag.

The next act of our government was to demand an apology from Chili and
the payment of an indemnity to the sufferers and to the families of
those who had been killed by the attack of the mob. Chili is a fiery
nation, and her reply was so insolent that preparations were set on foot
to bring her to terms by force of arms. At the moment, as may be said,
when war impended, she sent an apology and forwarded a satisfactory
indemnity, whereupon the flurry subsided.


A GREAT INDIAN WAR THREATENED IN 1890-1891.

A still greater danger threatened the country in the winter of
1890-1891, when we were menaced by the most formidable Indian uprising
that has ever occurred in the history of our country.

Indian wars hitherto had been confined to certain localities, where, by
the prompt concentration of troops, they were speedily subdued; but in
the instance named the combination was among the leading and most
warlike tribes, who roamed over thousands of square miles of the
Northwest. A fact not generally suspected is that the red men of this
country are as numerous to-day as they ever were. While certain tribes
have disappeared, others have increased in number, with the result that
the sentimental fancy that at some time in the future the red man will
disappear from the continent has no basis in fact. The probability is
that they will increase, though not so rapidly as their Caucasian
brethren.

The strongest tribe in the Northwest is the Sioux. It was they who
perpetrated the massacres in Minnesota in 1862. If necessary they could
place 5,000 warriors in the field, with every man a brave and skillful
fighter in his way. It was they, too, who overwhelmed Custer and his
command on the Little Big Horn in June, 1876. When it is added that the
squaws are as vicious fighters as their husbands, it will be understood
what a war with them means, especially since they have the help of
neighboring tribes.

For a long time there have been two classes of Indians. The progressives
favor civilization, send their children to Carlisle and other schools,
engage in farming, and, in short, are fully civilized. They remain on
their reservation and give the government no trouble. Opposed to them
are the barbarians, or untamable red men, who refuse to accept
civilization, hate the whites, and are ready to go to war on a slight
pretext, even though they know there can be but one result, which is
their own defeat.

The Indians are among the most superstitious people in the world. When,
therefore, a number of warriors appeared among them, dressed in white
shirts, engaging in furious "ghost dances," and declaring that the
Messiah was about to revisit the earth, drive out the white men, and
restore the hunting grounds to the faithful Indians, the craze spread
and the fanatical promises of the ghost dancers were eagerly accepted by
thousands of red men.


SITTING BULL.

The most dangerous Sioux Indian was the medicine man known as Sitting
Bull, already referred to in our account of the Custer massacre. He
always felt bitter against the whites, and had caused them a good deal
of trouble. He saw in the ghost dance the opportunity for which he
longed, and he began urging his people to unite against their hereditary
enemies, as he regarded them.

It soon became apparent that, unless he was restrained, he would cause
the worst kind of trouble, and it was determined to arrest him. The most
effective officers employed against the men are the Indian police in the
service of the United States government. These people did not like
Sitting Bull, and hoped they would have trouble in arresting him, since
it would give the pretext they wanted for shooting him.

Sitting Bull's camp was forty miles northwest of Fort Yates, North
Dakota, whither the Indian police rode on the morning of December 15,
1890, with the United States cavalry lingering some distance in the
rear. The taunts of Sitting Bull's boy Crowfoot caused him to offer
resistance, and in a twinkling both parties began shooting. Sitting
Bull, his son, and six warriors were killed, while four of the Indian
police lost their lives, among them the one who had fired the fatal shot
at the medicine man.

The remaining members of Sitting Bull's command fled to the "Bad Lands"
of Dakota, but a number were persuaded to return to Pine Ridge Agency.
There were so many, however, who refused to come in that the peril
assumed the gravest character. The only way to bring about a real peace
was to compel the disarming of the Indians, for so long as they had
weapons in their hands they were tempted to make use of them.

[Illustration: INDIAN AGENCY.]

It was the time for coolness, tact, and discretion, and the American
officers displayed it to a commendable degree. They carefully avoided
giving the Indians cause for offense, while insisting at the same time
upon their being disarmed.

On December 28th, a band of malcontents were located near Wounded Knee
Creek, by the Seventh Cavalry, who had been hunting several days for
them. They were sullen, but, when ordered to surrender their weapons,
made a pretense of doing so. Emerging from their tepees, however, they
produced only a few worthless weapons. Being sharply ordered to bring
the remainder, they suddenly wheeled and began firing upon the soldiers.
In an instant, a fierce fight was in progress, with the combatants
standing almost within arm's reach of one another.


SQUAWS AS VICIOUS AS WILDCATS.

Twenty-eight soldiers were killed and thirty wounded, while fully as
many of the Indians were shot down. In the fighting, the squaws were as
vicious as wildcats, and fought with as much effectiveness as the
warriors. A wounded officer was beaten to death by several of them
before he could be rescued. Finally, the Indians fled and joined the
malcontents, already assembled in the Bad Lands.

This affair made the outlook still darker. The Seventh Cavalry had just
reached camp on the morning of December 30th, when a courier dashed up
to Pine Ridge, with word that the Catholic Mission building was on fire
and the Indians were killing the teachers and pupils.



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