Official website of author Bruce Hampton

Snippets

Battle of the Big Hole (from Children of Grace)

Battle of the Big Hole (from <i>Children of Grace</i>)

A little more than a week before the Nez Perce arrived at the Big Hole in early August, Colonel (brevet General) John Gibbon could be seen tirelessly preparing his Seventh Infantry troops to depart their headquarters at Fort Shaw in northern Montana and commence the long march to Missoula. Although he occasionally still suffered from a severe left shoulder wound he had received at Gettysburg, the fifty-year-old Gibbon appeared to his soldiers as eager as always on the eve of a campaign. But they also thought there was little chance they would actually fight—their commander, many of the men believed, was simply too cautious. The previous summer, as his column hesitantly approached the Little Bighorn to join Terry, Custer, and Crook in what the army hoped would be the final crushing blow against the Sioux and Cheyenne, a young, newly-commissioned army surgeon mistook Gibbon’s reluctance for cowardice. “He is trembling […]

Read more

Voyage of the Silver Messenger (from Rivers of Life)

The snow has finally stopped falling. The night sky has begun to clear. A deep, white blanket lies softly over the earth, smothering the harsh angles of hill- and mountainside, forest and stream, rolling smoothly across the landscape in a single frozen undulating wave. It is cold, bitterly so, even for Alaska. In the dark silence of the winter solstice, the cells of some trees that venture above the snow can hold together no longer and split open with a resounding crack! Above, scudding clouds pull back to the horizon and stars glisten in the liquid blackness. It is now, say the Yup’ik, that the night sky of winter threatens to descend and steal whatever life the earth possesses. But beneath the sheltering snow, under the insulating ice of streams and lakes, millions upon millions of hearts beat. Clear, fresh water swirls in and around gravel worn smooth from the […]

Read more