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The Great Sioux War of 1876–77 began at daybreak on March 17, 1876, when Colonel Joseph J. Reynolds and six cavalry companies struck a village of Northern Cheyennes—Sioux allies—thereby propelling the Northern Plains tribes into war. The ensuing last stand of the Sioux against Anglo-American settlement of their homeland spanned some eighteen months, playing out across more than twenty battle and skirmish sites and costing hundreds of lives on both sides and many millions of dollars. And it all began at Powder River. Powder River: Disastrous Opening of the Great Sioux War recounts the wintertime Big Horn Expedition and its singular great battle, along with the stories of the Northern Cheyennes and their elusive leader Old Bear. Historian Paul Hedren tracks both sides of the conflict through a rich array of primary source material, including the transcripts of Reynolds’s court-martial and Indian recollections. The disarray and incompetence of the war’s beginnings—officers who failed to take proper positions, disregard of orders to save provisions, failure to cooperate, and abandonment of the dead and a wounded soldier—in many ways anticipated the catastrophe that later occurred at the Little Big Horn. Forty photographs, many previously unpublished, and five new maps detail the action from start to ignominious conclusion. Hedren’s comprehensive account takes Powder River out of the shadow of the Little Big Horn and reveals how much this critical battle tells us about the army’s policy and performance in the West, and about the debacle soon to follow.
In writings about the Great Sioux War, the perspectives of its Native American participants often are ignored and forgotten. Jerome A. Greene corrects that oversight by presenting a comprehensive overview of America's largest Indian war from the point of view of the Lakotas and Northern Cheyennes.
In spring 1876 a physician named James Madison DeWolf accepted the assignment of contract surgeon for the Seventh Cavalry, becoming one of three surgeons who accompanied Custer’s battalion at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Killed in the early stages of the battle, he might easily have become a mere footnote in the many chronicles of this epic campaign—but he left behind an eyewitness account in his diary and correspondence. A Surgeon with Custer at the Little Big Horn is the first annotated edition of these rare accounts since 1958, and the most complete treatment to date. While researchers have known of DeWolf’s diary for many years, few details have surfaced about the man himself. In A Surgeon with Custer at the Little Big Horn, Todd E. Harburn bridges this gap, providing a detailed biography of DeWolf as well as extensive editorial insight into his writings. As one of the most highly educated men who traveled with Custer, the surgeon was well equipped to compose articulate descriptions of the 1876 campaign against the Indians, a fateful journey that began for him at Fort Lincoln, Dakota Territory, and ended on the battlefield in eastern Montana Territory. In letters to his beloved wife, Fannie, and in diary entries—reproduced in this volume exactly as he wrote them—DeWolf describes the terrain, weather conditions, and medical needs that he and his companions encountered along the way. After DeWolf’s death, his colleague Dr. Henry Porter, who survived the conflict, retrieved his diary and sent it to DeWolf’s widow. Later, the DeWolf family donated it to the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. Now available in this accessible and fully annotated format, the diary, along with the DeWolf’s personal correspondence, serves as a unique primary resource for information about the Little Big Horn campaign and medical practices on the western frontier.
A Cycle of the West rewards its readers with a sweeping saga of the American West and John G. Neihardt’s exhilarating vision of frontier history. It is infused with wonder, nostalgia, and a keen appreciation of epic history. Unquestionably the masterpiece of the poet who has been called the “American Homer,” A Cycle of the West celebrates the land and legends of the Old West in five narrative poems: The Song of Three Friends (1919), The Song of Hugh Glass (1915), The Song of Jed Smith (1941), The Song of the Indian Wars (1925), and The Song of the Messiah (1935). This unforgettable epic of discovery, conquest, courage, and tragedy speaks movingly and resoundingly of a unique American experience. The new introduction by former Texas poet laureate Alan Birkelbach and annotations by Joe Green present fresh views of Neihardt’s iconic work.
General George Crook's controversial “Horsemeat March” culminating in the battle at Slim Buttes is considered the turning point of the Sioux Wars. After Lieutenant General George A. Custer's shocking defeat at the Little Big Horn River, Montana Territory, in 1876, General Crook and the men of this Big Horn and Yellowstone Expedition were given orders to pursue and subjugate restive tribes of the Northern Cheyenne and Teton Sioux Indians in the area. General Crook, an able and experienced Indian campaigner, insisted that his men travel light and fast. This tactic nearly proved disastrous. Provisions ran out, and, with the nearest settlements still far away in the Black Hills, Crook's troops were forced to abandon, and later to devour, their exhausted and stringy mounts. When a detachment under Captain Anson Mills was dispatched to bring provisions from the settlements ahead, Mills accidentally came across a large Indian village at Slim Buttes. Lured as much by supplies of food in the village as by a desire to subjugate the Indians, Mills attacked, Crook arrived with reinforcements, and by the evening of the second day, September 9, 1876, the battle was over. The climax of General Crook's career and of one of the most arduous military expeditions in American history, this battle was the first of a series of blows that ultimately broke the Indians' resistance and forced their submission. The victory was not without irony. Crook's starvation march, his troops' nearly unanimous criticism of his command, Mill's account of an Indian child's tears over her mother's corpse, and doubts about whether the Indians involved had indeed had anything to do with Custer's defeat combined to steal most of the glory from the victor. Slim Buttes, 1876 presents in vivid detail the grisly realities of the Indian Wars and the suffering experienced by both sides. For the troops who campaigned in the lonely hinterlands of America, it was bloody, dangerous, and exhausting warfare fought, as General Crook said, “without favor or hope of reward.”

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