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Braver Deeds

The West has been won.

Or so Corporal Matt Davys has been told. A black cavalryman, a buffalo soldier, he has made a good life for himself in the peacetime Army. Then word comes of trouble among the Sioux, and he finds himself marching north, possibly to fight.

The Ghost Dance, a peaceful new religion, has swept through the starving Lakota Sioux, and young Comes-Running flees with her family from the evil blue-shirt devils whom she knows will kill them.

Their lives are forever entwined beside a frozen creek, a place called Wounded Knee. Braver Deeds is the epic story of the 1890’s, from Wounded Knee to San Juan Hill.

“I recommend this book to all. Thank you, John.”

Joe HotWing Tillmon, President, Buffalo Soldiers Historical Society


Chapter 1 — Fort Robinson
November 13, 1890

Corporal Matt Davys pressed his ear against the heaving chest of the sick cavalry horse, his eyes closed in concentration. The horse’s breaths sounded like the wind rushing through the sagebrush, whooshing and whistling, changing direction and timbre every second or so. There was another sound, ominous and barely audible: a harsh, dry murmur.

“Yes, sir, I hear it,” Matt said to Lieutenant Harding as he straightened up next to Molly, his regular mount for the past eighteen months. At twenty-five, Matt was young for his rank, having made corporal after only eight years in the peacetime Army. He was tall and slim; his skin was darker than many of the other colored enlisted men in Troop K, so dark that his friend Jim claimed he was a menace when they were together on night guard duty.

Next to him, Molly stood shivering in the clean straw of the horse stall, her eyes closed and her breath swirling around them in the cold of the Nebraska early winter. Lieutenant Harding and the gouty old veteran, Stable Sergeant Johnson, looked on. Like all the officers in the regiment, Harding was white. His small moustache was peppered with gray, and he stooped slightly, the result of an injury acquired at Shiloh, twenty-eight years before.

“She gonna be okay, sir?” Matt asked. 

“Hard to say. My guess is lung fever.”

“Lung fever,” Matt repeated carefully. “Yes, sir.” He leaned against Molly’s shoulder, feeling the heat of her fever through his woolen uniform shirt and overcoat. She didn’t respond, but he hoped that she took some comfort from his presence.