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Buffalo Bill Cody. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-111880).

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Cody, William Frederick (26 February 1846–10 January 1917), frontiersman and entertainer, better known as “Buffalo Bill,” was born in Scott County, Iowa, the son of Isaac Cody and Mary Ann Bonsell Laycock. Cody’s father managed several farms and operated a state business in Iowa. In 1854 the family moved to the Salt Creek Valley in Kansas, where Cody’s father received a government contract to provide hay to Fort Leavenworth. After his father died in 1857, Cody went to work as an ox-team driver for fifty cents a day. Shortly thereafter, the firm of Majors and Russell hired him as an express boy. Cody attended school periodically, although his formal education ended in 1859 when he joined a party heading to Denver to search for gold. He prospected for two months without any luck. He arrived back in Kansas in March 1860 after a trapping expedition. He rode for a time for the Pony Express during its short lifetime (Apr. 1860–Nov. 1861). After the start of the Civil War he joined a group of antislavery guerrillas based in Kansas. Later the Ninth Kansas Volunteers hired him as a scout and guide. On 16 February 1864 Cody enlisted into Company F of the Seventh Kansas Volunteer Cavalry. He saw quite a bit of action in Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, and Kansas during his one year and seven months of duty. He was mustered out of the army as a private on 29 September 1865....

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Crawford, John Wallace (04 March 1847–28 February 1917), army scout and playwright, known as “Captain Jack, the Poet Scout,” was born in Donegal, Ireland, the son of John Austin Crawford, a tailor, and Susie Wallace. In 1854 his father moved to the United States and found work in the coal mines of Minersville, Pennsylvania. He was joined by his wife in 1858 and by his children in 1860. Three weeks after their arrival he enlisted in the Union army, and his boys had to go to work in the coal mines....

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Ingraham, Prentiss (28 December 1843–16 August 1904), writer and soldier, was born in Adams County, Mississippi, the son of Joseph Holt Ingraham, a minister and writer, and Mary Brooks, the daughter of a wealthy southern planter. Ingraham attended Jefferson College (Miss.) and Mobile Medical College until the Civil War ended his academic career. At the age of seventeen, Ingraham enlisted in Colonel William Temple Withers’s Mississippi Regiment; he later served as a scout commander in a Texas cavalry brigade. At the siege of Port Hudson, Ingraham was wounded in the foot and captured, but he escaped while being transported to a northern prison....