Squint Eyes: Artist and Indian Scout

Frontispiece. The introductory paragraph pasted into the book was probably typed by Colonel Bliss on his personal typewriter. A portion of his five volume memoirs was reportedly typed while he was posted to Fort Supply living in the extant Commanding Officer's Quarters. Major John Dunlop, to whom the drawings were sent, has not yet been found in official military records. He was probably an old friend of Bliss's, perhaps from the Civil War, who visited him at Fort Supply.

Captain Gilmore and White Man find antelope. Capt. Gilmore and the scout have stalked two pronghorn antelope. Gilmore is dressed in civilian hunting clothes and cavalry boots. He is sporting a Springfield rifle as opposed to the scout's carbine, as indicated by the two bands on the barrel. White Man is wearing the canvas sack coat adopted in 1884. However, the artist has neglected to color the six hard, black rubber buttons. These coats were intended for work details but were also worn in the field, especially in warm climates.

Bob checks on a deer. The scout Bob has dismounted to check a dropped deer for life, or to symbolically touch an animal he has downed to "count coup." His saddle is the only one in the drawings that appears to have a horn on the pommel. The fenders and hooded stirrups indicate that it is a McClellan. All of the scouts would likely have been issued the same saddle. If it does have a horn, it would probably have been the regulation mule driver's saddle used by teamsters and packers.

Necklace takes a big risk. There must have been a good story associated with this picture. It is difficult to determine if the scout is fending off the skunk or clubbing him with his carbine. Either way is not an appropriate use for the weapon. The skunk's tail is raised in readiness for spraying.

Nibbs kneels to aim. Nibbs is aiming at an unidentified animal with claws and a long tail, perhaps a wolf. He has on the mounted trousers with the NCO stripe but no chevrons on his coat. This was not uncommon practice for the NCO of the period.

Nibbs wounds a buck. Nibbs is shown in somewhat different dress in each of the three drawings in which he is depicted, implying three separate days or hunts. This drawing may be by a different artist, who attempted to emulate Squint Eye's kneeling figures but with less assurance of hand.

Sole Leather finds two antelope.  Although dressed in standard issue, Sole Leather's hair does not appear to be regulation length.

Macht Sachta takes aim. The private has a buck lying down on a rise in front of him.

Little Man finds two turkeys. The scout has the brown canvas fatigue coat and wears his hair long.

Turkey hunt. Squint Eye is shooting turkeys out of a roost, which was a common practice during the period when gathering food was often more important than sport.

White Skunk and White Bird bring down a deer. Both scouts were evidently involved in bringing down this deer, which shows three wounds. Both men are dressed in the same manner as most of the other scouts in the field.

Fat Wolf gets a deer. The mounted scout has shot a deer. He has on the black Bracher ventilated hat and canvas sack coat. His belt is shown as black rather than the more popular light-colored woven cartridge belt.

Little Man has downed a deer. The scout appears here in the dark blue uniform coat, instead of the canvas fatigue coat of another image.

White Dog drops a deer. The scout, dressed in standard issue clothing, has dropped a deer with two shots.

Curly shoots a deer. The scout has on the dark coat and the canvas fatigue trousers.

Squint Eye gets a bear. The artist shows himself having dismounted from his horse and shot a black bear in the flank. He wears the black U.S. Army fatigue hat adopted in 1876 or the later model from 1882. The light area in the crown of the hat indicates the Bracher ventilator, a 2" diameter brass device to allow air movement in the hat crown (McChristian 1995:165-166).

 

White Man and an officer after turkey. The annotator was uncertain whether this picture represented Curtis Gilmore or "Zinnie" (Z.W. Bliss), although Gilmore wears this costume in other drawings. The scout is wearing the 1881-84 pattern caped greatcoat with cavalry yellow lining and three brass buttons. The light toned belt may also be a leather variation of the cartridge belt, but the absence of cartridge loops makes it difficult to determine. His trousers indicate an NCO rank, but no record has been found of promotion to that rank. He is apparently wearing shoes instead of cavalry boots as the belled pant legs are over the tops of the boots.

Orange and Osage meet over a deer. The image is unique in that the prey, the deer, is between two hunters. Orange appears to be counting coup (to claim?) the wounded animal. Osage has firm hold on one hind leg. Osage's cartridge belt is buckled with an "H "plate buckle common to the woven belts.

 

 

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