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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 Forty photographs, many previously unpublished, and five new maps detail the action from start to ignominious conclusion.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.
The Battle of the Rosebud may well be the largest Indian battle ever fought in the American West. The monumental clash on June 17, 1876, along Rosebud Creek in southeastern Montana pitted George Crook and his Shoshone and Crow allies against Sioux and Northern Cheyennes under Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. It set the stage for the battle that occurred eight days later when, just twenty-five miles away, George Armstrong Custer blundered into the very same village that had outmatched Crook. Historian Paul L. Hedren presents the definitive account of this critical battle, from its antecedents in the Sioux campaign to its historic consequences. Rosebud, June 17, 1876 explores in unprecedented detail the events of the spring and early summer of 1876. Drawing on an extensive array of sources, including government reports, diaries, reminiscences, and a previously untapped trove of newspaper stories, the book traces the movements of both Indian forces and U.S. troops and their Indian allies as Brigadier General Crook commenced his second great campaign against the northern Indians for the year. Both Indian and army paths led to Rosebud Creek, where warriors surprised Crook and then parried with his soldiers for the better part of a day on an enormous field. Describing the battle from multiple viewpoints, Hedren narrates the action moment by moment, capturing the ebb and flow of the fighting. Throughout he weighs the decisions and events that contributed to Crook’s tactical victory, and to his fateful decision thereafter not to pursue his adversary. The result is a uniquely comprehensive view of an engagement that made history and then changed its course. Rosebud was at once a battle won and a battle lost. With informed attention to the subtleties and significance of both outcomes, as well as to the fears and motivations on all sides, Hedren has given new meaning to this consequential fight, and new insight into its place in the larger story of the Great Sioux War.
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.
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.
Blood Song Terry C. Johnston Frontier Scout Seamus Donegan is heading for Montana Territory with his new bride when war erupts in the Black Hills of Dakota. Sitting bull and Crazy horse have defied the federal Government and refused to lead the wild tribes of the Northern Plains onto the reservation, and Washington decides to end the Indian problem once and for all. Donegan joins us with General George Cook who is leading the 2nd and 3rd Cavalry and a rough-and-tumble band of scouts and interpreters into the bloody battle. For Seamus Donegan and the men on the front lines, the long fight in the bitter cold of winter will be one of loneliness and fear--a struggle for survival that will not end, even with the swift and successful assault one the enemy stronghold. For in the ashes on the snow, in the fury of defeated warriors, the seeds are sown for a new and even bloodier chapter in the Indian Wars.
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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