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Tracking By Night

On another occasion some American troops were following up a number of Red Indians, who had been raiding and murdering whites. They had some other Red Indian scouts to assist them in tracking.

In order to make a successful attack, the troops marched by night, and the trackers found the way in the darkness by feeling the tracks of the enemy with their fingers. They led on at a fairly good pace for many miles; but suddenly they halted and reported that the track they had been following had been crossed by a fresh track. When the commanding officer came up, he found the Indians still holding the track with their hands, so that there should be no mistake.

A light was brought and it was found that the new track was that of a bear which had walked across the trail of the enemy! The march continued without further incident, and the enemy was surprised and caught in the early hours of the morning.

The American Scout, Frederick Burnham, who was with Wilson's men in South Africa when they were massacred on the Shangani River in Matabeleland, was sent away with a dispatch shortly before they were surrounded. He traveled during the night to escape the observation of the enemy. He found his way by feeling for the tracks left in the mud by the column when it marched up there in the morning

I myself led a column through an intricate part of the Matopo Hills in Rhodesia by night to attack the enemy's stronghold which I had reconnoitred the previous day. I found the way by feeling my own tracks, sometimes with my hands and sometimes through the soles of my shoes, which had worn very thin. I never had any difficulty in finding the line.


Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell (Chief Scout, London, UK)

Date of Creation


Learn A Continuation:

to the next page: The Importance Of Tracking

Back in The Past:

to the previous page: Spooring

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