JAMES "WILD BILL" HICKOCK
Civilian Scout (Was not at Pea Ridge)
James Butler Hickock was born May 27, 1837 in Troy Grove, Illinois. In the years prior to the Civil War, he worked as a hunter, a muleskinner, a bodyguard for a St. Louis abolitionist and as a wagonmaster on the Santa Fe trail. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Hickock became a civilian scout at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Throughout the war, he was employed as both a scout and a wagonmaster.
At the end of the war, Hickock went to Springfield, Missouri, where he was involved in the famous July 21, 1865 shootout with David Tutt, in the "Wild West's" first classic street shootout. Between 1867 and 1871, Hickock would serve in various positions as a lawman and army scout. He served with Custer's 7th Cavalry and the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry, and starred in Buffalo Bill's "Scout of the West" show as well.
During this period, Hickock faced many men who were trying to make a name for themselves by killing him in a gunfight. During one such encounter, in October, 1871, in Abilene, Kansas, Wild Bill accidentally shot and killed his own deputy. After this, Hickock left town and became a professional gambler.
On August 2, 1876, Hickock was killed at Nuttall & Mann's No. 10 saloon in Deadwood, South Dakota, while he played poker with three other men. Instead of sitting with his back to the wall as he always did, Hickock sat with his back to the door. A 25-year old drifter, Jack McCall, walked in and shot Wild Bill in the back of the head. The cards that Hickock was holding, two black eights, two black aces and the Jack of diamonds, is now known as the "dead man's hand".
According to legend, Hickcock was a civilian scout working on General Curtis' staff who posed as a Confederate soldier, learned of Van Dorn's plans, then slipped away to warn Curtis that the Confederates were moving. Contrary to the myth, which has found its way into a number of publications and articles on the battle, James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickcock was not present at Pea Ridge, nor was involved in any way with the Army of the Southwest.