Publication: Typed & Signed By E A Brininstool, 1932, 1933, 1934, Los Angeles
An archive of six original typewritten and signed letters from E. A. Brininstool to Luther Hedden North, Captain of the Pawnee Scouts, plus an advertising post card for Frederick F. Van de Water’s book “IN GLORY-HUNTER – A LIFE OF GENERAL CUSTER CUSTER. Custer De-bunked!. Read the Facts! Learn The Truth About Custer! All of the letters and the postcard are addressed to Captain L. H. North who had been Captain of the Pawnee Scouts. The letters are between one and three pages in length and contain a great deal of important information about Custer and the Little Big Horn as well as other men of military importance.
E. (Earl) A. (Alonzo) Brininstool (Oct. 11, 1870 – July 28, 1957) was an American poet and a prolific author on the Indian Wars and especially on the Little Big Horn. He is best known for his books TRAIL DUST OF A MAVERICK (1918) and BOZEMAN TRAIL (1922).
L. (Luther) H. (Hedden) North ( Jan. 1, 1846 – December 31, 1935) joined the famed Pawnee Scouts which had been organized by his brother Frank, in 1866. In 1867 he became a captain and the Pawnee Scouts patrolled the Union Pacific Railroad through 1868. He was mustered out of the Scouts for the last time in 1876 after General Crook’s campaign.
Selections From The Letters As Follows:
1). Jan. 7th, 1932 – 3 pages. To Capt. North from E. A. Brininstool. No transmittal envelope. For the most part discusses life in Los Angeles and its lawlessness.
2). Mar. 23, 1933. - 2 page typewritten letter to Captain L. H. North at 2118 15th Street, Columbus, Nebraska from E. A. Brininstool, Box 1072, Station C. Los Angeles, California. Transmittal envelope present.
My dear Capt. North:-
“….Well, we had to lose good old General King at last. Too bad; he was a mighty fine man, I knew him well, and thought a lot of him. I see the papers stated that he ‘was the first officer to arrive on the field after the Custer fight.’ More baloney! He never saw the Custer battlefield in his life. He was with Crook’s forces, which got a licking the week before the Custer fight, down on the Rosebud, by Crazy Horse’s crowd. Crook then went back to his base on Goose Creek (present site of Sheridan, Wyo) and stayed there for 5 weeks, doing nothing but hunting elk and deer, waiting for reinforcements and he had just twice as many men as were in the entire 7th Cavalry. I have often wondered just WHY Crook did that retreat of his, instead of pushing on north to join Terry, Custer and Gibbon, as outlined and EXPECTED of him? If Crook HAD joined the 7th before Custer made his famous “badbreak” and they had then waited for Terry and Gibbon, back out of sight a few miles, there would have been a whale of a big fight on the Little Big Horn instead of what did happen. King was a lieutenant of the 5th Cavalry at that time. In September, Crook started for the Black Hills to the relief of the miners, said to be cooped up by the Sioux. Enroute, he struck Crazy Horse again at Slim Buttes and they had another little tussle, with some losses on both sides, but Col. Anson Mills had the fighting all done by the time Crook came up, as he had been sent on ahead with several troops, to get supplies at Deadwood and hustle them back to Crook’s starving command. You know that was known as the “starvation march”, as they had to live on their played-out horses before supplies got to them. King was also there at Slim Buttes. But whoever said he was the first officer on the Custer field, knew about as much of the Custer fight as I do of the moons of Jupiter. I am quite sure that Gen. King was NEVER on the Custer field, before or after the battle. Or in that part of the country. Certainly not with any Indian expeditions.” “Yes you wrote me about the Dull Knife story, and it was a mighty interesting letter. I wish you had got busy about 35 years ago, and wrote all that up which you and your brother went through. Gosh, what a book it would have made!. You should read that fool yarn by Owen White In the Feb. 18th issue of Collier’s Weekly. It was terrible, It was about the surrender of Geronimo, and White says that Tom Horn was the one man who induced the chief to surrender to Miles. Tom Horn wasn’t there at the time, and the one man who DID induce Geronimo to come in, was Lieut, Chas Gatewood, and nobody else – not even Lawton. Miles tries to grab all the glory himself, but Geronimo didn’t know him and refused to have anything to do with him in person; so Miles had to send Gatewood, as Geronimo said he would talk to nobody else or trust anybody else. Gatewood knew every man, woman and child in his band, having had personal charge of them for a long time, and they knew and trusted him implicitly. But Miles tries to grab all the glory in his “Recollections” and hardly mentions Gatewood’s name. White’s story was plainly just stolen from that “Life of Tom Horn” written by himself and finished close to the day he was hung in Wyoming. Colliers has been getting letters from all over the country giving White the ha-ha for his idiotic yarn. Jim Cook was especially all worked up about it, as he scouted with Gatewood and knew him intimately, and all the circumstances of Geronimo’s surrender. Gatewood’s son lives in San Diego, and he wrote me yesterday that he is now trying to get Collier’s to give HIM a chance to run his father’s own account of the affair. I have a copy of the story he gave me years ago, The two Apache scouts who accompanied Gatewood into Geronimo’s camp, are yet living on the Mescalero reservation, and I also have their stories of it. What a log of HOOEY some of those would-be historians can invest.
E. A. Brininstool
3). March 28, 1933. 1 page typewritten letter with transmittal envelope from E. A. Brininstool to Capt. L. H. North.
“My dear Capt. North:
….I am glad to have your comment on my Dull Knife story. As I understand the matter, Little Wolf was sent back to the Indian TY., after the final surrender of what was left of those Cheyennes, but Dull Knife escaped into Canada and joined Sitting Bull, and remained there until Bull returned to the States in 1881 or 1883, I forget which. Anyway , he died at the Tongue River reservation in ‘83.”
“…. I’ll be on edge till I get that story of that happening at Court House Rock that you say you are going to write for me. I know it will be mighty interesting without any further discussion on THAT point. Did you get a copy of the Hunter-Trader Trapper for March, with my story of the escape of Lieut. DeRudio in the Custer fight?”
4). June 1, 1933. 1 page typewritten letter with transmittal envelope from E. A. Brininstool to Capt. North.
“….Strahorn may be all right in his surmises, but he sure wants the world to believe that Crook wasn’t knocked out in the Rosebud fight. According to everybody who has written on it, he got plenty, and was glad enough to let those Indians alone, Another thing, I can’t understand, He claims HE and Crook were riding down that canyon at the head of the troops, en-route toward the Indian village, when Crook signaled a halt, and about-faced the command, and kept going right to Goose Creek.”
“That is ENTIRELY DIFFERENT from any other version – which is as follows: That Crook ordered Col. Anson Mills to take certain detachments and attack the village at the lower end of the Rosebud Canyon; that shortly after Mills had left, Crook evidently changed his mind, for he dispatched Capt. Nickerson post haste after Mills ALONE and Nickerson rode 5 miles down the canyon before he overtook Mills, with orders to debouch and file out of the canyon and hurry back to the support of other battalions of the command, which were getting just a little more than they wanted.” “….I have never read ANY account of the Rosebud fight which states that Crook personally started down the canyon after those Indians---have you? It was apparently a darn good thing that Nickerson overtook Mills before he reached the village, else there might have been a “lost command” right there.”
“Speaking about the possibility of Crazy Horse gobbling your wagon train 20 miles or so south of Fetterman, makes me say right here – that it was a darn good thing for Benteen’s outfit that those Indians didn’t know there was a packtrain in his rear, guarded by only 125 men, and 20,000 rounds of ammunition on some of the mules! They wouldn’t have done a thing but whooped it up stream and gobbled THAT whole outfit, and without that ammunition where would Reno’s and Benteen’s outfits have landed? Oh, BOY! What a crazy fool idea it was of Custer to divide up his puny force as he did, when he knew mighty well that there were thousands of Indians right ahead of him, and they would have licked him anyhow, even if he HAD kept them together – so it may have been best for Reno’s outfit that he DID divide the command. I think Custer was the very essence of swell-head, BIG ME, sarcasm and MATTINET combined.”
5). 2 page July 15/33 letter written to Capt. North. No transmittal envelope.
“...Cook wrote me some things about you that would make your ears burn, so guess I better not repeat them, or you wont be able to get your hat on your head, he was so enthusiastic in his praise of you. I knew you two old timers would have to be pried loose with a crow-bar if you ever got together.
“My Benteen pamphlet will be out in about 6 days and will send you a copy right away.”
6). June 20, 1934. 2 page typewritten letter with transmittal envelope from E. A. Brininstool to Capt. North.
“My dear Capt. North:
Have you ever heard if the report that I heard some time ago, as to the mental condition of George Bird Grinnell, is true? I heard that he had lost his mind. In that event—as he is already pretty well along in years – he will likely do no more writing.”
“…. There is no denying the fact that a book about he Pawnee Scouts (of which there is none so far) would make one of the most thrilling, interesting and TRUTHFUL historical books that could ever be brought out. You certainly must not let more years pass without such a book being brought out. Publishers would, I am sure, jump at the chance to print it. Look at all the tommyrot books like histories of Billy the Kid, that have been brought out—a new one came out just this last month; the biography of George Coe, a member of the Kid’s gang – now a respectable and prosperous rancher in New Mexico. I’ll bet his book will sell like hot cakes, because it is most excellently written by a women writer of Roswell, N,M.” “Yet YOU are a man who has seen more thrills and Indian fights than any living man today --- and here you are hiding your lamp ‘under a bushel,’ so to speak.”
“I only hope that after you have gone over the Long Trail that some darned idiot will not write up a lot of stuff just from HERESAY about the Pawnee Scouts, but that you will have left enough material behind you so that whoever does write the story of the Scouts will get it RIGHT and TRUE. However, it generally happens that some enthusiastic newspaper reporter, who does not give a dam about the TRUTH, gets hold of stuff and writes up a thriller without caring a whoop whether it is true or not, just so it is a THRILLER, with a killing on every page.”
7). Jan. 24, 1935 post card advertising Frederick F. Van de Water’s book “IN GLORY-HUNTER – A LIFE OF GENERAL CUSTER CUSTER ‘DE-BUNKED!’ Read the Facts! Learn The Truth About Custer! The obverse of the post card is the critique of the book by E.A. Brininstool. “He (Custer) was the ‘Glory-Hunter par excellence’, making ruthless sacrifices of men and animals, in a desperate ‘last effort’ to bolster his already-faded ruputation. He gambled his all at the Little Big Horn, and died disobeying his commander’s written orders – all for personal aggrandizement.”
A wonderful archive of correspondence from E. A. Brininstool to the famous Captain L. H. North, With the exception of folds to the letters, they are in fine condition and housed in a sturdy three-ring binder for easy reference.
Inventory Number: 47066