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Encyclopedia > Isaiah Dorman

Isaiah Dorman (c 1820? – June 25, 1876) was a former slave who served as an interpreter for the United States Army during the Indian Wars. He perished at the Battle of Little Bighorn, the only black man killed in the fight. June 25 is the 176th day of the year (177th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 189 days remaining. ... 1876 (MDCCCLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Saturday. ... The United States Army is the largest branch of the United States armed forces and has primary responsibility for land-based military operations. ... Combatants Native Americans USA Indian Wars is the name used by historians in the United States to describe a series of conflicts between the United States and Native American peoples (Indians) of North America. ... The Battle of the Little Bighorn, also called Custers Last Stand, was an engagement between a Lakota-Cheyenne combined force and the 7th Cavalry of the United States Army that took place on June 25, 1876 near the Little Bighorn River in the eastern Montana Territory. ...


Not much is known of Dorman's early life. Records suggest that he was a slave in the 1840s in Louisiana to the D'Orman family and may have escaped and went out West. By 1850, he was living with the Lakota tribe as a trapper and trader. He was married to a young woman of Inkpaduta's band of the Santee Sioux, and settled near Fort Rice in the Dakota Territory, where he supported himself by cutting wood for the garrison. There is a story that his wife was a god-daughter of Sitting Bull and that the two were friends. Official language(s) English and French Capital Baton Rouge Largest city New Orleans at last census; probably Baton Rouge since Hurricane Katrina Area  Ranked 31st  - Total 51,885 sq mi (134,382 km²)  - Width 130 miles (210 km)  - Length 379 miles (610 km)  - % water 16  - Latitude 29°N to 33... Eddie Plenty Holes, a Sioux Indian photographed about 1899. ... The Sioux (also: Lakota) are a Native American people. ... Dakota Territory was the name of the northernmost part of the Louisiana Purchase of the United States. ... Sitting Bull Sitting Bull Monument, Fort Yates, North Dakota. ...


He was hired in November 1865 to carry the mail on a 360-mile round trip between Forts Rice and Wadsworth for $100 a month- good pay at the time for even a white man. It is said that he had no horse and walked the entire distance with his sleeping bag over his shoulder and the mail in a water-proof pouch. He did this for about two years.


In September 1871, he served as a guide and interpreter for a party of engineers making the Northern Pacific Railroad Survey. He may have accompanied the 7th Cavalry on the 1874 Black Hills Expedition; there are references to Custer's servant 'Isa', which may have been him mistaken by people who didn't know who he was. Northern Pacific Railway Categories: Stub | Defunct railroad companies of the United States | Idaho railroads | Minnesota railroads | Montana railroads | North Dakota railroads | Oregon railroads | Washington railroads | Wisconsin railroads ...


In the late spring of 1876, George Armstrong Custer hired Dorman as an interpreter for his expedition to the Little Bighorn Country. (At least one report says that Dorman had not started out with the rest of the Montana Column, but had caught up with it at the Rosebud with a message and when he attempted to return to Fort Lincoln, Custer ordered him to remain. However, Custer's request for his assignment still exists and is dated May 14.) He accompanied the detachment of Major Marcus Reno in the valley fight, where he was pinned under his dead horse and left behind when Reno retired across the river to high bluffs. His body was found just out of the timber, near Charley Reynolds's. Eyewitness accounts from survivors record that Dorman died a slow, painful death, tortured by squaws who pounded him with stone hammers, slashed him repeatedly with knives, and shot his legs full of buckshot. One odd detail reported is that his coffee pot and cup were filled with blood. A report that he had been 'sliced open' may be a translator's error, near his body was that of one of the Ree (Arikara) scouts, which had been slashed open and a willow branch stuck in the opening. (To the Indians, mutilations were characteristic of different tribes and particular marks meant certain things. As for the torture, the Indians considered him a traitor which had led the Army to them.) George Armstrong Custer George Armstrong Custer (December 5, 1839 – June 25, 1876) was a United States Army cavalry commander in the American Civil War and the Indian Wars. ... The Little Bighorn River The Little Bighorn River is a tributary of the Bighorn River in the United States in the states of Wyoming and Montana. ... Marcus Reno Marcus Albert Reno was a career military officer in the American Civil War and in the Black Hills War against the Lakota (Sioux) and Northern Cheyenne. ... Lonesome Charley Reynolds was a scout in the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment who was killed in the Battle of the Little Bighorn in the Montana Territory. ... A shotgun shell is a self-contained cartridge loaded with shot or a slug designed to be fired from a shotgun. ... Arikara refers to a group of Native Americans that spoke a Caddoan language. ...


His body was recovered after the fight and buried on the Reno battlefield. It was reinterred in 1877 in the Little Bighorn National Cemetery.


In Quartermaster Nowlan's official report on the 7th's 1876 Campaign, an item of $62.50 is listed as being owed to Dorman for services rendered in June 1876. A man named Isaac McNutt, who was a handyman at Ft Rice, attempted to claim the wages; but his claim was dismissed for lack of proof of connection. Dorman's widow could not be found and the account may be still drawing interest somewhere in the Army bureaucracy. Quartermaster is a term usually referring to a military unit which specializes in supplying and provisioning troops, or to an individual who does the same. ...


The Sioux called him 'Azinpi', which translates to '(Buffalo's) Teat', perhaps because his black skin and curly hair reminded them of one. Or perhaps his name, Isaiah, sounded like it to them. There are no known photographs of him, and the only descriptions we have is that he was "very big" and "very black".


References


 
 

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