Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saturday Spotting - Snow Storm Affects the Seventh Cavalry

Published on Friday the 18th of April in 1873 in the Sioux City Journal in Sioux City, Iowa
A Terrific Snow Storm at Yankton
Snow Bound Trains – Suffering of the
Seventh Cavalry – Rumored Loss of
Life, Esc.
From all the facts we have been able
to gather concerning the recent snow
storm that seems to have made Yankton
its center, we conclude the like of it has
never been experienced in the North
est. The storm commenced as a light
rain on the morning of the 13th inst, but
soon turned into snow, which continued
to fall lightly until about noon, when
the wind changed from the west to the
northwest and finally to the north, and
blew a perfect gale, accompanied by an
avalanche of snow.
The snow did not seem to fall in
flakes, but seemed to come down in a
 body which was separated into particles
 and dashed furiously in every direction.
The air was darkened by the snow, and
persons could not see five feet in any di-
The Dakota Southern passenger train
which left Sioux City Monday morning,
after worrying through the storm for
some time above Vermillion, finally ran
into a snow drift one mile and a half
above Gayville and stuck fast. The
freight, which was at Yankton, went to
the passengers’ relief, and managed to
get stuck in the same drift, where they
both remained until Wednesday evening.
The Seventh Cavalry fared very badly.
They had not yet completed their camp
arrangements, when the storm burst
upon them. Their tents were blown
down, and drifts of snow formed so
rapidly, and the storm was so furious,
that the men could do nothing to pro-
tect themselves. Men and horses were
buried up in the snow, and general con-
fusion and not a little consternation
prevailed everywhere. The officers
sought shelter and the hotels, and some of
the men followed their example by
seeking the hospitalities of private
houses, indeed, protection from the storm
wherever they could find it. Many of
the soldiers, however, did not fare thus
fortunately. They remained buried in
the snow until relief came to them from
the town. They were dug out of the
snow and hauled to more comfortable
quarters on hand-sleds. Many of them
were exposed for thirty six hours, and
when rescued were weak and exhausted,
and wept like children. It is said that
these poor fellows presented a most
pitiable appearance, which was well
calculated to excite the sympathies of
the most indifferent heart. And many
kind and generous hands responded
promptly to their wants. Up to last
reports quite a number of men were
still unaccounted for, and it is
not known whether they have
perished or have wandered off
in the storm and are still suffering in
some snow drift. What has been said
of the sufferings of the men is reported
true of the horses. Some were removed
to stables by great effort, others re-
mained tied and were drifted under, and
some broke loose and wandered off and
had not been recovered at last accounts
General Custer, who is regarded as
good authority, said in the presence of
our informant, that it was the worst
storm in every particular, excepting in-
tensely Cold, that he ever experienced
in his life. This seems to be the testimony
of everyone who witnessed the storm. In
many places the drifts in and about
Yankton were twenty feet high. They
had to cut down and dig as into a cellar,
to get into some of the stores. To con-
vey some sort of correct idea of the
avalanche of snow that fell it need only
be stated that on the river, in less than
three hours after the real violence of
the storm set in, there were six inches of
snow and slush floating.
The southern limit of the heavy snow
 fall on the Missouri River was about
eighty rods below Vermillion, where the
line was as distinct as a ridge of snow
could make it.
We shall rejoice if the losses which are
 conjectured to have resulted from the
storm prove really less than one can
hardly hope for.
We endeavored to reach Yankton last
evening by telegraph in order to present
 in connection with this report any later
 developments that might have been
made since morning, but could get nothing.

(*above article located on the Genealogy Bank website)