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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 Forty photographs, many previously unpublished, and five new maps detail the action from start to ignominious conclusion.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.
This volume offers accounts of the many battles and skirmishes in the Great Sioux War as they were observed by participating officers, enlisted men, scouts, surgeons, and newspaper correspondents. The selections-some rendered immediately after the encounters and some set down in reminiscences years later - are important and little-known sources of information about the war. By their personal nature, they give a compelling sense of immediacy to the actions. The editor's introduction and commentary on each of the accounts help readers understand the interrelationship of events and appreciate the entire spectrum of the conflict.
Waged over the glitter of Black Hills gold, the Sioux War of 1876-77 transformed the entire northern plains from Indian and buffalo country to the domain of miners, cattlemen, and other Euro-American settlers. Keyed to official highway maps, this richly illustrated guide leads the traveler to virtually every principal landmark associated with the war, from Fort Phil Kearny where the Sioux besieged soldiers sent to guard the Bozeman Trail in the 1860s to Fort Buford, the site of Sitting Bull's surrender in 1881.
Lasting nearly two years, the Great Sioux War pitted almost one-third of the U.S. Army against Lakota Sioux and Northern Cheyennes. By the time it ended, this grueling war had played out on twenty-seven different battlefields scattered across five states, resulted in hundreds of casualties, cost millions of dollars, and transformed the landscape and the lives of survivors on both sides. It also entrenched a view of the army as largely inept. In this compelling sourcebook, Paul Hedren uses extensive documentation to demonstrate that the American army adapted quickly to the challenges of fighting this unconventional war and was more effectively led and better equipped than is customarily believed. While it lost at Powder River and at the Little Big Horn, it did not lose the Great Sioux War. In the first part of this volume, Hedren considers concepts of doctrine, training, culture, and mat riel to aid understanding of the army's structure and disposition. In part two he dissects the twenty-eight Great Sioux War deployments in chronological order, including documentation of command structures, regiments, and companies employed. In the concluding section, the author addresses how an otherwise sound American army was defeated in two battles and nearly lost a third. The book also features seven helpful appendices, a glossary, and an oversized map showing forts, encampments, and battle sites. By expanding his purview to encompass all of the war's battles-along with troop movements, strategies, and tactics-Hedren offers an authoritative account of the conduct of U.S. forces in a campaign all too frequently misunderstood. The leather-bound collector's edition is limited to fifty numbered and signed copies.
Monnett takes a closer look at the struggle between the mining interests of the United States and the Lakota and Cheyenne nations in 1866 that climaxed with the Fetterman Massacre.
Between 1876 and 1877, the U.S. Army battled Lakota Sioux and Northern Cheyenne Indians in a series of vicious conflicts known today as the Great Sioux War. After the defeat of Custer at the Little Big Horn in June 1876, the army responded to its stunning loss by pouring fresh troops and resources into the war effort. In the end, the U.S. Army prevailed, but at a significant cost. In this unique contribution to American western history, Paul L. Hedren examines the war’s effects on the culture, environment, and geography of the northern Great Plains, their Native inhabitants, and the Anglo-American invaders. As Hedren explains, U.S. military control of the northern plains following the Great Sioux War permitted the Northern Pacific Railroad to extend westward from the Missouri River. The new transcontinental line brought hide hunters who targeted the great northern buffalo herds and ultimately destroyed them. A de-buffaloed prairie lured cattlemen, who in turn spawned their own culture. Through forced surrender of their lands and lifeways, Lakotas and Northern Cheyennes now experienced even more stress and calamity than they had endured during the war itself. The victors, meanwhile, faced a different set of challenges, among them providing security for the railroad crews, hide hunters, and cattlemen. Hedren is the first scholar to examine the events of 1876–77 and their aftermath as a whole, taking into account relationships among military leaders, the building of forts, and the army’s efforts to memorialize the war and its victims. Woven into his narrative are the voices of those who witnessed such events as the burial of Custer, the laying of railroad track, or the sudden surround of a buffalo herd. Their personal testimonies lend both vibrancy and pathos to this story of irreversible change in Sioux Country.
From a recognized authority on the High Plains Indians wars comes this narrative history blending both American Indian and U.S. Army perspectives on the attack that destroyed the village of Northern Cheyenne chief Morning Star. Of momentous significance for the Cheyennes as well as the army, this November 1876 encounter, coming exactly six months to the day after the Custer debacle at the Little Bighorn, was part of the Powder River Expedition waged by Brigadier General George Crook against the Indians. Vital to the larger context of the Great Sioux War, the attack on Morning Star’s village encouraged the eventual surrender of Crazy Horse and his Sioux followers. Unbiased in its delivery, Morning Star Dawn offers the most thorough modern scholarly assessment of the Powder River Expedition. It incorporates previously unsynthesized data from the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the U.S. Army Military History Institute, and other repositories, and provides an examination of all facets of the campaign leading to and following the destruction of Morning Star’s village.

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