With the QM gates now closed behind them, the Sioux warriors inside the QMY quickly realize that they are cut off from reinforcements. Likewise, the much larger contingent of Sioux still outside the stockade see their pathway into the fort extinguished. Both groups continue the fight with renewed fury. With the cavalry troopers now intermingled with the Sioux, the usefulness of the mountain howitzer is ended; however, it has played a critical role in preventing the incursion from overwhelming the troops and civilians in the QM Yard.
A few Sioux from outside succeed in making it to the palisade wall where they are met on the parapet with infantry troops and civilians in desperate hand-to-hand fighting ensuing. Down in the QMY, Captain Fetterman has ordered one of the three cavalry platoons to “Dismount and fight on foot” under Capt Powell while he and the two remaining cavalry platoons remain mounted and fight with sabers and revolvers. While the issue is still in doubt, being able to get the QM gate closed has obviously tilted the advantage back toward the troops, at least temporarily.
As the wounded continue to pour into the make-shift hospital, Surgeon Horton joins Surgeon Hines there working on the wounded. With the threat seemingly now contained within the QM yard, Horton requests that the officer wives that had been moved to the underground magazine be allowed to leave there to assist in caring for the wounded. Colonel Carrington agrees to this and several of the wives arrive to assist with the wounded.
At this point, Captain Tenedore Ten Eyck orders his two platoons that have been firing from just in front of the wagon barricade to advance with bayonets fixed.
Gradually, the Sioux are compressed into a smaller and smaller circle. A few try to break through the closing ring of troops, infantry on one side and the cavalry troop on the other.
Only three or four succeed in mounting the ramparts where all but one are killed. This single warrior succeeds in passing over the palisade wall and joining the braves outside where he informs sub-chiefs of the pending demise of his fellow warriors. Meanwhile, seeing the hopelessness of their situation, the remaining Sioux in the QMY start to put down their arms, hoping to be able to surrender.
- Part 1: click here
- Part 2: click here
- Part 3: click here
- Part 4: click here
- Part 5: click here
- Part 6: click here