Campaign Letters of Sergeant Michael Conners, D Troop, 7th Cavalry

Army at Wounded Knee

I cannot describe in language the battle
but bullets sang home sweet home around our ears,
but I always said that Indian bullets were not made to kill me.

During the course of the Pine Ridge campaign, Sergeant Michael Conners of Captain Godfrey’s D Troop wrote seven letters to a young seventeen-year-old woman, Lillie Carlyon, from Junction City, Kansas, the town adjacent to Fort Riley. Like the campaign letters of Sergeant John B. Turney and Private Thomas McGuire, Conners’s letters provide an enlisted soldier’s unique perspective of that winter’s events.

At about twenty-six years of age, Sergeant Conners was nearing the end of this first five-year enlistment when the 7th Cavalry was ordered to Pine Ridge toward the end of November 1890. Writing on letterhead from The Northwestern Hotel, Conners wrote his first letter from Rushville, Nebraska, on 26 November.

My Dear Lillie,
I have just had time to write…

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