Frontier Infantry 1866-91

Posted on: February 2nd, 2014 by Will Rodriguez 114 Comments
Protecting the wagon train by Frederic Remington

Essay by Yankee Papa (all rights reserved)

In June of 1866 700 men of the 18th Infantry Regiment were marching out of Fort Laramie heading up the new “Bozeman Trail…” This would save hundreds of miles from the old route to the mines in Montana.

The weather was splendid and the troops were marching towards some of the most beautiful country in North America…at least in June. They were also marching into the hunting grounds of the Lakota, the Northern Cheyenne and the Arapaho.

That wasn’t supposed to be a problem. Peace Commissioners were meeting with the chiefs at Fort Laramie as they marched past. Unfortunately some of the chiefs were deeply opposed and nothing had been agreed upon when the troops showed up to build three forts in their territory. A couple of the most fierce, including Red Cloud called foul and rode off pledging war.

As they were too often wont to do, the commissioners decided to ignore the hostile or no show chiefs and just get the signatures of the ones present… even though it might not be their territory at issue. More than one war started this way.

But the word from the brass was that there would not be war… just some hotheaded chiefs… maybe some livestock raids on the posts. The high brass did not understand that as many as 4000 warriors might wish to dispute the matter with them.

The 18th had a proud record in the Civil War, but most of those lads had mustered out. Officers (who often had held higher rank during the war) and NCOs had seen combat… but not most of the common soldiers.

But… the brass indicated that there would be no major fighting. So many raw recruits and almost no training… just what little their NCOs could give them on their way. Drill and musketry not even scheduled until into the next year after the forts built.

The 18th was something new… it was not just made up largely of post-war men… but was among the first of the new blood on the frontier.

The remnants of the old marched past them as they neared Fort Laramie. The last of the “Galvanized Yankees”, former Confederates who volunteered to join the Union infantry to get out of the prison camps. Promised that they would fight Indians on the frontier, not their kin in the South.

Many were signed up for three years, and that meant that many were not discharged upon the end of the war. The last of the six regiments marched past the 18th on their way home to be discharged.

The Galvanized Yankees by Dee Brown

The soldiers of the 18th found that interesting, but were more concerned with their boots. Loss of weapons…illness and wounds… and bad feet could cripple an infantry unit.

Unless you paid a private boot maker, you bought “off the shelf…” In 1818 “lasts” were developed to enable production of specific left and right shoes… but this only came into common usage in the late 1850s… and with some minor exceptions, infantry in the Civil War and for some years thereafter (until Civil War stocks used up) had shoes with no left foot-right foot differentiation.

Prior to the march most NCOs would have shown the recruits how to fully soak the “boots” (up to the ankle and 4 sets of eyelets) and then let them dry on their feet before attempting to cover any distance in them. Easier to break in the boots than the feet.

Just as well that no fighting was expected…Colonel Carrington… well, everybody liked him, but he had never been in battle. Commissioned a Colonel from a law practice at the start of the war and handed the 18th Regiment… he was placed on “detached duty” for the entire war… staff duty in Washington.

If some of the officers thought that there might be a fight, they could not be happy at the Regiment’s strength… A new Civil War regiment contained 1000 men… the 18th only had 700… and of those all but 400 would be going to two forts… one at either end of the trail.

Actually they were lucky. A decade later and infantry companies on the frontier would not be at 70 like the 18th instead of the Civil War standard of 100… but down to a normal of 37.

And of course the rifles. The Ordnance Department had plenty of breech loading rifles in storage after the war… but chose to let the 18th head into the Powder River country with muzzle loading rifles (see http://gruntsandco.com/u-s-ordnance-rogue-fiefdom/  ) But then again, there was not supposed to be any fighting.

Only real Indian fighter around here, the Colonel’s guide… Jim Bridger. Even the recruits had heard stories about this old mountain man.

Bridger had his own assessment of what was going on. He thought that Red Cloud and some others would do more than just “steal some livestock…” A lot of horses, mules, and cattle that would have to be grazed outside the fort… Firewood to be cut some miles from the fort…something that required peace…

And then there were the women and children that the brass encouraged the Regiment to take with them. Total including workers of 400 civilians. Most would be at the fort in the middle of the trail… right in the heart of the Powder River hunting grounds. Colonel Carrington listened to Bridger… but the high brass assured Carrington that there would be no major hostilities…

[…The 18th had detachments build forts at both ends of the trail and built Fort Phil Kearny in the middle. Livestock indeed stolen and soldiers and woodcutters killed. On December 21, 1866, a Captain Fetterman… (had commanded the 18th at times during the war in higher brevet rank) put the seal on his disrespect to the Colonel and arrogantly disobeyed his orders.

Sent in relief of a wood chopping party, he instead rode after a party of Lakota to a ridge line. Ordered not to go past it, he did… with a mixed force of Infantry and Cavalry… 80 men. Just the number that he had boasted about… “With 80 men I can run roughshod over the whole Sioux nation.” Instead the Cavalry bolted to the front leaving the infantry panting behind… then more than 1000 Sioux rose up and caught them all in the open. It was over in a couple of minutes…

There would be other fights in the area, but the high brass in Washington decided what they should have in the first place… the soldiers could not guard the trail… only their own forts. Besides, Infantry needed to guard the trans-continental railroad that was being built.  A treaty was signed… the troops pulled out by 1868 and the Sioux burned the forts behind them. It was the last war that Indians would win in North America…]

“Good Marksmanship and Guts”  DA Poster 21-45 Near Fort Phil Kearney, Wyoming, 2 August 1867. The Wagon Box Fight is one of the great traditions of the Infantry in the West. A small force of 30 men on the 9th Infantry led by Brevet Major James Powell was suddenly attacked in the early morning hours by some 2,000 Sioux Indians. Choosing to stand and fight, these soldiers hastily erected a barricade of wagon boxes, and during the entire morning stood off charge after charge. The Sioux finally withdrew, leaving behind several hundred killed and wounded. The defending force suffered only three casualties. By their coolness, firmness and confidence these infantrymen showed what a few determined men can accomplish with good marksmanship and guts.

“Good Marksmanship and Guts” DA Poster 21-45
Near Fort Phil Kearney, Wyoming, 2 August 1867. The Wagon Box Fight is one of the great traditions of the Infantry in the West. A small force of 30 men on the 9th Infantry led by Brevet Major James Powell was suddenly attacked in the early morning hours by some 2,000 Sioux Indians. Choosing to stand and fight, these soldiers hastily erected a barricade of wagon boxes, and during the entire morning stood off charge after charge. The Sioux finally withdrew, leaving behind several hundred killed and wounded. The defending force suffered only three casualties. By their coolness, firmness and confidence these infantrymen showed what a few determined men can accomplish with good marksmanship and guts.

These days you mention the Old West and the Indian Fighting Army and people immediately picture Cavalry. Usually John Ford Cavalry. West had wide open spaces and the Indians had horses… so troops had to have horses… right? Oh, maybe some Infantry to guard the forts, but otherwise…

History tells a far different tale. There were never enough Cavalry… there never could be. The gigantic Union Army was mustered out and in the end, only 25,000 soldiers were left in the entire Army… many in the South enforcing Reconstruction.

A Cavalry regiment cost twice as much to raise as an Infantry regiment… and a lot more to keep running each year. And in spite of Hollywood… Infantry had a major role to play.

While mounted forces had played a role in every war from the Revolution on, there were no permanent regiments until the 1850s. Even then the mission a bit “fuzzy…”

Cavalry proper was supposed to fight almost exclusively on horseback. Dragoons were supposed to be able to fight some on horseback and some on foot. We had both, but at the start of the Civil War it was decided to call them all “Cavalry…”

Immediately after the Civil War a lot of regular and volunteer regiments were thrown into Kansas to put down Indian raids.  Thousands of soldiers tracked endless miles and only killed two hostiles.  Something else would have to be tried… and with a lot less soldiers… most of these were going to be demobilized.

Infantry would be needed for far more than to guard the forts.  Wagon trains and supply trains would need escorts. While some Cavalry with the trains were handy… too many and they became a logistic nightmare.

American stock, unlike Indian ponies could not subsist on grass… Cavalry remounts needed oats and the like…a lot of them.

Even “all Cavalry” offensives had a limited range… In 1882 the assistant Quartermaster of the Army reported: “Unless cavalry operate in a country well supplied with forage, a large amount of wagon carriage must be furnished for forage and in such cases, cavalry is of little value except to guard its own train… and to do that in the presence of an enterprising enemy it will need the addition of infantry…”

Covering the Cavalry's Withdrawl by Frederic Remington

Covering the Cavalry’s Withdrawl by Frederic Remington

Horses are, for all their size, relatively fragile.  They can drop from a number of diseases and if worn out require an extended amount of time to recover.  At the end of the day men are tougher than horses.

One officer who served in large expeditions in the Sioux and Nez Perce campaigns involving major units of Cavalry and Infantry, Sixth Infantry’s Col. William B. Hazen wrote “After the fourth day’s march of a mixed command, the horse does not march faster than does the foot soldier, and after the seventh day the foot soldier begins to out-march the horse, and from that time on the foot soldier has to end his march earlier and earlier each day to enable the cavalry to reach the camp the same day at all. Even with large grain allowances horses quickly deteriorated under extended exertion…”

In 1876 a 50 man Cavalry troop dismounted had less firepower on the line than an Infantry company of 37 men. Every fourth trooper had to take four horses to the rear and hold them there until the engagement was over. In addition the Cavalry was using shorter range carbines while the Infantry was using longer range (and more reliable) rifles.

The image of the “Cavalry riding to the rescue…” could not have been farther from the truth.  In most cases, by the time that the Cavalry found out about a raid, the Indians could be fifty miles away… one hundred if they were Comanches.

Comanches might make a raid… then join up some miles off with couple of boys holding spare ponies… Alternate between them making distance.  Cavalry, even an hour away would never catch up with them… just wear out their mounts. Cavalry had to dismount and walk their horses for a while every couple of hours to give them a breather.  Meanwhile the Comanches kept swapping ponies.

One thing that cost the Cavalry was riding exhausted mounts into contact with Indians who were up for a fight… Reno almost lost his squadron when he had to retreat with blown horses (and exhausted, sleep-deprived troopers) at the Little Big Horn.

Map  from “Winning the West The Army in the Indian Wars, 1865-1890” Army Historical Series

Map from “Winning the West The Army in the Indian Wars, 1865-1890” Army Historical Series

The only feasible military solution was to hit the hostiles in their villages… preferably in the winter when their mounts were scrawny.  There were a number of problems with that strategy.

In the first place, during the Civil War a regiment of Colorado volunteers (enlisted for 100 days only) under a fanatic named Chivington had murdered many Southern Cheyennes at Sand Creek.  Most of his men were bar sweepings and acted accordingly… rape, beheadings, “trophies” taken… slaves. 

These Indians had followed the directive to camp by the nearest fort… but were ordered away by militia officers as a cynical prelude to slaughter.  Other Indians were making the trouble… but these were closer… and both Chivington and the Governor of Colorado were looking for a cheap victory. 

By the time that the people back East figured out what had happened, the regiment was paid off and the Army could do nothing.  One regular officer who was going to testify was murdered in Denver. 

So raids even into actual hostile Indian villages… though not as barbaric as Chivington’s would raise holy hell with people back East and their Congressmen.

And just what was a hostile village?  Custer’s assault on Black Kettle’s village on the Washita, while not the insanity of Sand Creek was bad enough and raised troubling questions.

Black Kettle himself was an honorable chief who wanted peace.  But war parties drifted in and out of his camp…some with hostages.  He was not keen to have them rest up in his village… but tribal custom prevented him asking them to leave so long as they did not cause major trouble. He had no actual *authority*… as with most Plains chiefs, he led by his personality.

The Eastern media learned that Black Kettle had attempted to speak with the soldiers before the first shots were fired.  He was shot and too many of the soldiers fired at anything that moved.  It was a “victory” that would cost the Army in political support and in the unending enmity of both major branches of the Cheyenne people.

The biggest problem was identifying hostiles.  Generally back when the Indian wars fought East of the Mississippi, a chief’s word would bind his tribe.  On the Plains it was different. 

A chief might sign a treaty with every intention of honoring it.  But on the Plains both the war chiefs and the peace chiefs led by their personality and influence…not by compulsion.

Some members or clans of his tribe might decide to go their own way and raid.  This caused reprisal raids (often by civilians) against the nearest members of that tribe regardless of any possible innocence.  This of course led to those victims raiding the nearest whites… regardless of any possible innocence.

The reservation system was supposed to clear all this up.  Those on the reservations would be labeled as “peaceful” and those off would be considered hostile. 

But not all Plains Indians treaty bound to live on reservations. Some clans might…other might not.  And some hostiles came to the reservations (mostly come winter) to rest up for new raids in the Spring. Some reservation occupants had permission to go off reservation on long hunting trips… Some were just that… others…

Shortly before the Little Big Horn campaign the government decided to reshuffle the deck.  Indian tribes would no longer be treated as “sovereign nations” but as wards of the government.  Certain tribes including the Sioux and Cheyenne were ordered (in winter) to report to a reservation or be considered hostile. 

It is doubtful that many got the order…or would have considered moving in that weather… or even in the Spring.  They saw no reason to give up their way of life.

The Army moved…and bungled the entire campaign…Custer’s blunders just one part of a bad set of events. But from this point the role of the Infantry would increase.

Like other troops on the frontier, the Infantry had some real problems.  Their authorized strength too low… and usually could not meet that.  Something like 37% of all troops on their first enlistment deserted each year. 

Not just the low pay.  Army preferred to pay in paper money at isolated posts.  Counterfeiting so rampant for some years that most merchants would only take at a discount.

New troops got very little training. Most years no more than 16 rounds of ammunition per man for target practice. Often used on endless details having little to do with soldiering.  If infantry present at a fort, they got most of the endless chores… most troopers work time centered around their mounts.

While officers preferred “Iowa farm boy” type recruits…they usually didn’t hang around.  Many of the best soldiers were the Irish and Germans… at least those who made it into the NCO ranks.

Many people have heard of the two regiments of black soldiers in the Cavalry.  But there were also two regiments of Buffalo Soldier Infantry on the plains.  On average they were a better investment than many of the white recruits.

Lot of drunks and loafers and other types likely to get into trouble and/or desert joined the white regiments… But there was a surplus of good quality men wanting to join the black regiments.

Desertion was a very small problem.  Training took longer because of their background (this happened in Rhodesia with the Rhodesian African Rifles as well), but once trained up, these men proved superb soldiers. 

Most white officers outside the black units looked down on the regiments…prejudice… nothing more.  At the end of the Civil War Custer had refused the rank of full Colonel with a black regiment and chose to be a Lt. Colonel of a white one. (Actual commander, Colonel Sturgis always on temporary duty in Washington until after Custer’s death.)

Whether in garrison, or even in the field, the Buffalo Soldiers often looked smarter than their white counterparts.  Some of that was their desire, and that of their officers to look like proper soldiers.  Initially, part was because by the time that the black post-war regiments formed, the Army was out of their stocks of poorly made Civil War uniforms (bad contractors) and only had the later quality stuff left.

Company B of the 25th Infantry was stationed at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, from 1883-1888.  They pose here in their full dress uniforms. U.S. Army Signal Corps photo

Company B of the 25th Infantry was stationed at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, from 1883-1888.
They pose here in their full dress uniforms. U.S. Army Signal Corps photo

After Custer’s famous luck ran out, the Army got orders to clean up the plains once and for all.  The Infantry now would show what they could do. 

The Infantry did whatever it took… The Fifth Infantry’s Colonel… Nelson Miles… put some of his troops on confiscated Indian ponies to help run the hostiles ragged and keep them from assembling in mass numbers. 

But the real mission for the Infantry was a foot job… Hitting the Indian camps in the winter.  The idea was not to win a big battle to the finish… Too often women (who often fought) and children caught up in the gun play and too many warriors would escape.

And a desperate fight for a village would often result in heavy casualties among the troops.  At Big Hole later against the Nez Perce, troops from another Department would learn that the hard way.

The object was to cause the hostiles to flee… leaving their winter camps behind them… their shelter… massive food stores… and often most of their spare ponies.  The best would be used and later sold… the rest shot.

The Indians would stagger into another village of the same or allied tribe… but they too could be hit by the “walks-a-heaps” tomorrow. One winter of the Infantry doing this broke the backs of the Sioux (many of whom fled to Canada…where only the Royal Navy prevented the U.S. Army from crossing after them…)and the Northern Cheyenne.  The foot sloggers could hold up better in appalling weather than Cavalry remounts.

US Infantry in the Indian Wars

There were other campaigns on the plains… the Nez Perce battles that often involved Infantry… including their final one.  Then in Northern California the Modocs in the lava beds where only the Infantry could operate. Others…

A Dose of Frontier Soldiering

Against the Apache the Infantry had its work cut out for it.  If Wyoming and Montana cold in the winter… the heat of the Southwest could be hell on earth.  And the Apaches liked it just fine…

Other than the expedient of the Indian ponies, there were two primary ways that the Army could mount Infantry.  European mounted infantry rode horses but always fought on foot and carried rifles… not carbines.

But it takes time to get Infantry used to the bone breaking gait of a Cavalry remount.  Besides, especially in Apache country horses prone to dying even when cared for by specialists.

The answer was to mount the Infantry on mules.  Mules can be stubborn…but once one accepts the rider, their easy walking gait far easier for a novice to handle.  Add to that that other than camels (used for a time in the 1850s) they were the hardest critters to kill off in the desert. Unfortunately (from a Cavalryman’s standpoint) most mules will not charge into gunfire.  Smarter than horses… and maybe their riders.

An elephant’s main strength is in pushing and pulling, but it can still handle a lot on its back.  A properly packed Army mule could carry two thirds of the load (weight, not size) on its back that an elephant could.    

One of the better Generals was a Colonel named George Crook who had worn stars in the Civil War and after dazzling victories in Idaho and Oregon was promoted to Brigadier General over a great many heads.

“Crook refined the science of organizing, equipping and operating mule trains … selection of mules civilian attendants preferred… proper design  mounting and packing of pack saddles…” (Utley)

But the best partnership was Infantry on foot… with pack mules (no wagons that could not go into nasty country)and Apache scouts from the same tribe… day or two out in advance. 

This partnership was put to the test in Mexico in the Geronimo campaign.  After the Apaches surrendered, they said that this combination gave them the most trouble.  They could always mount up and ride away from their hideouts… but American and Mexican Cavalry all over the place… sudden moves dangerous… Meanwhile the Infantry and mules would be maybe a day behind the scouts…as persistent as the scorching sun. 

Grant’s troops in Virginia would not have recognized one of these companies.  No bugles on the march…bayonets left in barracks.  No glorious dark blue tunic over sky blue trousers. 

Like Captain Henry Lawton’s company out of Fort Huachuca, they marched in white long underwear and campaign hats.

These companies marched without the drunks and the slackers.  They had some of the roughest on the job training on the frontier…that produced hard-bitten professionals.  They were a world away from the green 18th Infantry lads marching up the Bozeman Trail in 1866.

 

This period of the “Dark Ages” of the United States Army lasted from 1866-98.  But these Infantry companies in Mexico would not have been out of place in many Twentieth Century campaigns… from the Philippines to Nicaragua…

US Postage Stamp of Remington’s “Protecting the Wagon Train”

US Postage Stamp of Remington’s “Protecting the Wagon Train”

-YP-

Suggested Reading

 

http://www.amazon.com/Crimsoned-Prairie-S-L-Marshall/dp/0684130890/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1390888130&sr=1-1&keywords=crimsoned+prairie

 

http://www.amazon.com/Frontiersmen-Blue-United-States-1848-1865/dp/0803295502/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1390887589&sr=1-1&keywords=frontiersmen+in+blue

 

http://www.amazon.com/Frontier-Regulars-United-States-1866-1891/dp/0803295510/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390887935&sr=8-1&keywords=frontier+regulars+utley

 

http://www.amazon.com/Dose-Frontier-Soldiering-Corporal-1877-1882/dp/0803242328/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1390887799&sr=1-1&keywords=soldiering+american+southwest

 

[CORRECTION UPDATE:  The above version of YP’s essay is an updated version.  The editor (me) originally published an earlier and slightly shorter version.  Apologies to all.]

Be Respectful, Candid and Pertinent. No Posers, No Trolls…
  • YP has a gift for making often forgotten history memorable.   
    The role of the Infantry, the horse vs. mule, the tactics and many of the individuals were highly educational for me (as was much more).  I’m sure many that read your essay will have a similar enriching experience.  
    I hope it gets the widest dissemination.

    Thanks for the contribution YP.

  • ArcticWarrior

    The Dragoons who tried to fight an unconventional war against the Comanche, lesson learned. 
    The genesis of the original SOF, the original 2d Cavalry. No expense spared, choice of the best soldiers from within the Army, long range patrols and bringing UW to the enemy….the Comanche.
    Custer was a hack….Mackenzie was the real deal.
    Been on the Gen Crook trail often …always wonder what ghosts are running around.

    Great article YP

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    I really enjoyed this article, YP, I hope you can do more articles in this time frame or further back. I just re-watched Ken Burns’ “the West”, at least the first couple episodes, so all this is still very fresh. The below two subjects are less covered:

    —- “Most of his men were bar sweepings and acted accordingly… rape, beheadings, “trophies” taken… slaves.”

    At least during the Gold Rush and as corporations took over mining ops in the northern Sierra Nevadas and southern Cascades. The taking of orphaned Indian children was officialized in CA, thus grew a still rarely studied economy which rendered Indian children orphans, boys sold to slavery and girls as sex slaves.

    Other tribes went on offensive, the state stood up more companies/BNs to exterminate. It was only in CA that the default strategy, was all out extermination–there was no more West.  Of interest too, were the myriad of responses by CA Indians, from Chief Truckee (town names 30 mins west of Reno, NV), full out offense and those just caught up not knowing the world outside was at war, the Ahwahnees, etc.

    —- “Something like 37% of all troops on their first enlistment deserted each year…  But there were also two regiments of Buffalo Soldier Infantry on the plains.  On average they were a better investment.”

    What’s interesting, for me at least, was how the blacks from these 2 infantry regiments were the ones famous, not only for desertion, but for changing sides, a generation after. Although I haven’t come across actual numbers or percentages of desertions.

    With all this Mormon, porn stories in Afghanistan, you think you can next cover the Mormon Battalion in the Mexican-American War (1846-47) and http://www.fortrossstatepark.org/stevebeck-sutterpaper.htm (sporting Russian uniforms, no less), YP? Great Sunday reading.

  • YankeePapa

    TeufelshundeUSMC,
    .
    …The guide for the Mormon Column during the Mexican American War was the son of Sacajawea.
    .
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Baptiste_Charbonneau
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa

    ArcticWarrior,
    .
    …The story of the 2nd Cavalry reads like something out of Hollywood… “Ok, who do we get for XO of the 2nd… how about Robert E. Lee…?  Large number of future high ranking officers in Civil War came from the ranks of the 2nd.  
    .
    …There is (Warning, book acquisition Alert) a book about the 2nd Cavalry from its inception into the Civil War.   Unfortunately, ignoring the proud tradition… the Army renumbered the mounted regiments at the start of the war and the 2nd became the 5th Cavalry.
    .
     http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-media/product-gallery/0471333646/ref=cm_ciu_pdp_images_0?ie=UTF8&index=0
    .
    -YP-

  • ArcticWarrior

    YankeePapa ArcticWarrior The 1855ish version of the 2d Cav is a whos who. Robert E. Lee, John Bell-Hood, Kirby Smith, Hardy, Van Dorn, Field, Stoneman. Remarkable at the talent that was hand picked.

    Big Army borrowed the TX Rangers approach of UW and made a go of it just prior to the Civil War. Most of the lessons were lost to prior 1870. But then you get US Grant, Sherman, Crook etc at high levels and they get UW. Think the Army was never comfortable doing constable work on the plains and out west. Tended to have the Infantry “Fort Up” until they got the hint they needed to hit the trail…..sound familiar?????

    I am going to add to your book list as this was a fave of mine about your AO and the Snake Wars 1866 in SW Idaho…..   http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0870044605/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

  • MrCharles13

    YP
    Thanks for the very extensive info.  I will have to read some of the books you listed.  

    Charlie Mike

  • YankeePapa

    ArcticWarrior YankeePapa,
    .
    “… Think the Army was never comfortable doing constable work on the plains and out west…”
    .
    …That, of course, was part of the Army’s problem until late in the Indian wars.  Except for the big campaigns that assumed full military dimensions… a very large amount of the Army’s work was more properly that of a “constabulary…”  No sabers, no bugle calls on the march.  
    .
    …Indeed, Custer was a hack.  Like Paris Hilton, on the frontier he was largely famous for being famous.  His Civil War efforts more deserving of respect… though he took wild chances… Charging over a hill with cavalry… not knowing if the infantry on the other side formed up or not… Had they been formed, his troopers would have been shot to pieces to absolutely no purpose. 

    .
    …Much better officers on the frontier… MacKenzie and Miles.  And Crook, who though he did not do well on the Rosebud… had done splendidly in Idaho and Oregon… and truly understood that to fight the Apache… not just Apache scouts… but fighting units.  And not just any Apaches… but whenever possible, from the same tribe.  Really crushed hostiles’ morale to know their own people on their trail.
    .
    …Those who might think that Apaches who would fight other Apaches were somehow “without honor…” somehow managed to overlook the recent American Civil War.
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa

    Correction:  Stamp is Remington’s “Protecting the wagon train…”
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa

    MrCharles13…
    .
    …For a couple of reasons, I will be getting back to you on this…
    .
    -YP-

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    YankeePapa TeufelshundeUSMC 
    I passed by Mission San Luis so many times, not knowing this bit of history. This is awesome! I always wondered what happened to that kid Sacajawea carried around in those paintings in my hs history book.

  • YankeePapa

    MrCharles13,
    .
    …In error a rough draft was published.  Majrod has fixed… please revisit…
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa

    TeufelshundeUSMC,
    .
    …In error a rough draft was published… corrected… please revisit…
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa

    ArcticWarrior,
    .
    …In error a rough draft was published rather than the finished article… Please revisit…
    .-YP-

  • ArcticWarrior

    YankeePapa ArcticWarrior Mackenzie was an odd cat but he understood what it was like to venture into no mans land that was Comancheria. I think B Co. 2d Cav ( or maybe it was 5th Cav???) would pull 600 mile Long Range Patrols at a time. Custer…. dude brought embeds with him to report on his greatness….not to mention the stunt he pulled in the Black Hills regarding gold. Shame Mackenzie didn’t really ever get his due from history.

    Apacheria was its own bed of thorns, and of course extended into Mexico. I think it was Crook who decided UW had no boundaries and pursued deep across the border without DC’s consent.

    Im very glad you covered some of the Army, and especially Infantry’s  “Dusty Blue” era. Good to see someone with an appreciation for what both soldier and native had to endure in what has striking parallels to other insurgencies and UW that we would later stumble into.

    As usual YP great article, glad you mentioned Crook a favorite of mine from the era.

  • YankeePapa

    ArcticWarrior YankeePapa,
    .
    …Scene in “They Died With Their Boots On” (Errol Flynn) Custer, newly promoted Brigadier shows up near Gettysburg to take command of the Michigan Brigade… In iron voice announces “An order is a thing to be obeyed…”
    .
    …Both in the film and in history, Custer had a previous record of being a loose cannon… but… “Do what I say, not what I do…”
    .
    …On the Plains at one point he unlawfully had a number of deserters shot out of hand.  He then took a troop from the regiment and in violation of regulations abandoned the column to ride hundreds of miles to visit his wife who was mildly ill…  
    .
    …He got a slap on the wrist… some time suspended from duty… and they recalled him to service early.  
    .
    …His worst enemies would concede that he was brave.  He was also seemingly immune to exhaustion… which is not a good thing in a commander who has to be able to figure just how far he can push his men…
    .
    … But beyond that he relied far too much on luck… which ran out in 1876.  There is a massive Custer “cult” out there that can’t seem to understand that he was (at least in the Indian wars) one of the worst officers that ever led men into danger… (The admirers of the 7th Cavalry itself are of a more rational order…)

    .
    …In an effort to upstage other units, he mercilessly pushed his troopers into a zombie like state caused by exhaustion and sleep deprivation… and nearly floundered his mounts in the effort to violate orders and arrive a day early.  He was not the only officer in the Indian wars to do just that… but he was definitely the poster boy…

    .
    -YP-

  • ArcticWarrior

    YankeePapa ArcticWarrior No doubt he had balls, but Gall had seen his tricks one time too many and correctly guessed his course of action…

    7th INF Rgt saw lots of action out that way, 25 mile road marches were not uncommon and as you mentioned, the Cavalry, due to the “Wild West” shows and later Hollywood took almost all of the press. Leg Infantry and Mounted Infantry saw plenty of action during the Plains Wars. Hope you continue the history series of really an underappreciated era for US Infantry.  1866 -91 covers a lot of hard earned miles ……

  • dickftr

    ArcticWarrior YankeePapaHaving lived in the center of the old Comanche lands (Pitchfork  and 6666 ranches in TX) I studied the land and all old books I could get my hands on. Found a few really good artifacts and can take you straight to 4 Comanche camps. One really big camp where the Little Croton creek (fresh water) runs into Croton creek (gypsum and salt water) Named Dark canyon by Capt. Makenzie, high Red Hill to SW and high ridges both sides of the canyon all   on the Pitchfork country I was cowboy over.
    Large camp on the 6666 ranch, so much more…….Thanks YP and AW for sharing. This is right down the trail where I like to cut sign.     Dick

  • ArcticWarrior

    dickftr ArcticWarriorYankeePapa Im very envious! As a big fan of the Comanche and Kiowa I can appreciate the history you get to walk and ride on!

  • dickftr

    majrod Will, I have ridden many miles on a lot of good horses and have ridden a few priceless mules.
    If i was caught in a bad situation, I would like to have at least one good mule.
    A mule will not kill itself and a mule will run fast behind a horse to get out of the shit.
     I could go on and on about horses and mules.
     BTW, I have worn out more saddle blankets than bar room cowboys (emphasis boys) have worn out socks.    Dick

  • ArcticWarrior

    dickftr majrod “You see my mule don’t like people laughing. He gets the crazy idea you’re laughing at him.”
    I run into the occasionally hunter packing in with his mule during Elk season, amazing what they can carry

  • dickftr

    ArcticWarrior Read a lot of good history about Mackenzie and the skirmish’s he encountered while on the survey expedition on the Llano Estacado.  Saw the location in the Palo Duro canyon where the winter camp and horse slaughter took place.

  • ArcticWarrior

    dickftr ArcticWarrior There is something to seeing in person places from history that you study. That entire era is nearly forgotten by history. A lot of those expeditions and surveys went into true no mans land. The Spanish, then Mexicans, then us rarely ventured into those areas, again everyone would “Fort Up” out of fear of who was out riding that way. That’s what I liked about Jack Hays and later Mackenzie. They knew UW required you to constantly pursue no matter the hardship. It was the only way. You live in great country out that way full of history….

  • dickftr

    YP, thank you very much Sir. I really like this history and have read much about the Comanche and most all the North American tribes especially the Plains tribes.
    I believe in there style of fighting.
     Did you know the Comanche rode with there knee’s inside a horse hair rope that went around the girth?
     Another rope braided into the mane that enabled the rider to hang on the side of the horse and control the horse with a single rope drawn snug around the lower jaw, all horse hair ropes.    dick

  • dickftr

    ArcticWarrior dickftrYeah Bro, I would catch myself trying to cut sign and looking, what would I do if I was a Comanche.
    I could not ride by a spot that looked good without dismounting and scratching the dirt.

  • ArcticWarrior

    dickftr ArcticWarrior I do the same on the Apache AO. Glad I am not the only one doing that….lol….

  • YankeePapa

    dickftr,
    .
    …The best horse breeders were the Nez Perce… but the all-time best Indians for pure horsemanship were the Comanche.  Every Indian on the Plains would tell you that. 
    .
    …However, the best riflemen that the U.S. Army ever went up against were the Nez Perce… and the Army proved it a number of times… to include the last battle.
    .
    -YP-

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    ArcticWarrior dickftrYankeePapa 
    Fellas, I just want to thank you for the above discussion, very enlightening. Here in CA our Indians were less boisterous, although we had some colorful bandits that puts Zorro to shame.

  • dickftr

    YankeePapa dickftrYes Sir, I worked one Winter on a ranch in the Bear Paw mtns And a Nez Perce battle on the north slope of those mtns was an historical site, south of Haver MT.
    Had to go to the library again and go to the Milk river bluff where they crowded buffalo over the bluff.
     Recall the good horses but had forgotten ’till you’re reminder.
     Is there still a Nez Perce tribe in Canada or USA?
     Love this topic!    Dick

  • MrCharles13

    Some you may have already been to the location but if you haven’t and you’re in the area you need to visit the location of the Battle of the Little Big Horn.  They have a small museum with actual Sioux and Cavalry Weapons and a large topo map/sand model laid out showing the battle. They also have CD’s that you use in your car and drive to an overlook of where each battle was fought and an explanation of what occurred.  I haven’t been there in over 15 years but I think it is still open.  Also there was a book (Unknown Name) written about ten years ago, after a prairie fire burned through the area and uncovered hundreds of artifacts. The national park service allowed this group to collect and catalogue all of the recovered cartridges.  They used forensic techniques to ID individual rifles and followed those rifles around to each location where they were fired.  It changed a lot of historian’s ideas of how the battle had ensued and confirmed that Custer was out gunned and out maneuvered by the Sioux and other tribes that were at the battle. 

    Charlie Mike

  • YankeePapa

    dickftr YankeePapa
    .
    “…Is there still a Nez Perce tribe in Canada or USA…?”
    .
    …Yes indeed.  A small handful of Nez Perce escaped from Bear Paw and made it the last 30 miles into Canada.  Most of the rest surrendered at Bear Paw after having crossed from Oregon into Idaho, across the Lolo Trail into Montana (Army played hell following them through that terrain) down into Wyoming and up into Montana… just thirty miles short of Canada…
    .
    …Those captured in the U.S…. as they were conveyed through the West were largely treated as heroes by the American people.  Their struggle had been so gallant and (relatively) clean… their cause so just… that Colonel Miles and General Howard both lobbied the administration to settle the Nez Perce survivors with the rest of the tribe in Idaho.  
    .
    …The government ignored them and sent them to Oklahoma where many died… including all of Chief Joseph’s children.  Years later the survivors sent to Idaho.
    .
    …The Nez Perce have done better than some tribes at adjusting.  They were always “odd ducks…”  They traded with coastal tribes, but once a year would ride the Lolo Trail onto the Plains to hunt buffalo and often to fight the Sioux…  In spite of provocations they were reputed to have never killed a white prior to 1877.  
    .
    …Their reservation is in beautiful country.  They have fewer problems than some tribes.  And their casino/loan businesses have produced not just cash… but wise investments… including putting poor students through medical school who later return to “pay back” the investment by serving a number of years on the reservation.   
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa

    MrCharles13,
    .
    …I prepared the long answer promised.  Trying to get it to you in one piece… if not, will be in a couple of parts…
    .
    …As to fire… Yes!  Some months after the archeologists crawled all over the site, their was a PBS special on the subject… The on-site host… (of all people) was Dick Cavett.. in jeans and a Levis jacket… Uh, ok… bright guy… asked very good questions, but couldn’t figure out why they picked him… an East Coast sophisticate… but enjoyed the documentary.
    .
    …Many years later found out that he had a house in Montana and was a big historical booster in the area.  He naturally latched onto the project and made it easy to get funding for documentary. 
    .
    …The sad news is that in hours of searching the internet it seems that the documentary is not on YouTube… and not available on DVD.  Some University has it and only making it available to other Universities.  If it ever makes it to DVD, it is worth buying.  
    .
    …There have been some books written about the once in a lifetime study…
    .
    -YP-

    …Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. A rough draft got printed in error but the editor quickly corrected the problem…then posting too long to go out in one shot… editor got that handled too…
    .
    …In answer to your original question. No, I can not recommend any books dealing with the government’s plan to dispossess the American Indians in the 1800s. There are no responsible books dealing with that topic. Because essentially there was no plan… for *any* coherent policy. From Lewis and Clark until 1875 it was all a patchwork… often one part at odds with another.
    .
    …President Thomas Jefferson was content that it would take Americans centuries to fill in most of the lands between the Mississippi and the Pacific Ocean. It would take slightly less than 90 before the frontier disappeared. He pictured a narrow belt of settlement along the Pacific coast. And a thin belt of settlements maybe a dozen miles West of the Mississippi…
    .
    …In the meantime there were rational and irrational policies… and some that reeked of injustice. None more so than when a couple of Southern states announced that all Indians in their states who functioned as members of a tribe had to pack up and move out.
    .
    …The Cherokee (many of whom by the 1830s owned white type farms and even plantations… including slaves…) went to the Supreme Court. The Court found for the Cherokee. President Andrew Jackson ignored the Court’s finding… (“Chief Justice Marshall has made his finding… now let him try to enforce it…”) He sent in Federal troops to carry out the directive… and the “Trail of Tears” was under way…
    .
    …It is stunning that such a blatantly Unconstitutional military action could take place. But the Court was the last of the branches of government to find its proper place in the scheme of things.
    .
    …Jackson included in his action essentially the majority of the Indians East of the Mississippi including tribes that fought as his allies against the Creeks. Many of their descendants to this day have signs in the windows of their businesses saying that they do not accept $20. bills.
    .
    …Many of the treaties between the end of the Mexican-American War and the start of the Civil War were seemingly generous. Even then it was not understood just how fast settlement would fill in the open spaces.
    .
    …The Indians were at a massive disadvantage. The first step in defending land is making a claim of ownership. But most Plains Indians did not understand how the land could be “owned” any more than someone claiming a stretch of sky… Hunting rights they could understand…
    .
    …One of the few claims of what might be viewed as “ownership” involve the Sioux and the Black Hills. The United States guaranteed it to them by right of treaty… But gold was found… at a time when the U.S. in a bad Depression… No way short of mass executions from keeping miners (and urban support structures) from occupying the land.
    .
    …At long last the government came up with a policy that did not contain massive contradictions and that anybody could understand. American Indians would no longer be treated as “sovereign nations” but would rather be treated as wards of the State. Most Plains Indians were to no longer wander around at will… but report to a reservation and stay put without special permission… even if their bands not hitherto subject to being on a reservation. Any not so reporting on time would be considered as “hostile” and dealt with accordingly. It created a “free fire zone…” Easy to understand… but in many circumstances unethical.
    .
    …The notice was sent out, but given that it was the winter of 75-76 and the reporting date was before Spring… there was little chance that most tribes would hear of it… none that they would move before the ponies had fattened up… and precious little that “non-treaty (re reservations) Indians would have any interest in complying.
    .
    …When the Sioux and Cheyennes were defeated or driven into exile the government decided to force Indians on the reservations to sign away the Black Hills. But some things had changed… and while it is true that wars can invalidate treaties… the Sioux had not started the hostilities… the government did… and courts would so note many years later.
    .
    …While in 1980 the U.S. courts would determine that the rights of the Sioux to the Black Hills had been crassly violated… there was no sympathy among the Arikara, the Crow, the Kiowa, and the Pawnee… all of whom had been driven from the Black Hills by the Sioux in the late 1700s.
    .
    …The Sioux used military conquest to take what they wanted. They claimed the area and called it “HeSapa” (Black Mountains). In signing a treaty with the Sioux regarding the Black Hills, the United States was not recognizing the “right of conquest” by the Sioux… but rather the “fact of conquest” by them. Most worthwhile pieces of real estate on the planet have changed hands in such a manner more than once.
    .
    …One thing that is often overlooked in the story of the conflicts between the whites and the Indians… is that the Indians had their own wars going against other tribes. Some find this “politically inconvenient” and prefer to concentrate on the “peace, love, and maize” angle.
    .
    …Indian tribes drove other tribes off hunting grounds that they coveted. They routinely stole each others horses. Slaves were taken from other tribes (though some eventually were adopted into the captor tribe…)
    .
    …One study was done of the effect of the gun (coming from the East) and the horse (from the Southwest). It shows what inter-tribal warfare on the Plains was like from early pre-horse, pre-gun days. The Apache had spread well onto the Plains… but by the time Americans had arrived had already been driven back into the mountains and deserts.

    http://www.amazon.com/Changing-Military-Patterns-Indians-Century/dp/0803292090

    …The Comanches… once mounted… had raided as far South as the edge of the jungle in Yucatan and as far North as Hudson Bay. They had what amounted to an empire.
    .
    …All who fought them… Americans, Mexicans… and other tribes knew them to be powerful and ruthless. Like the Mongols of Genghis Khan, they could leave utter devastation in their wake… yet within their “empire” they had peace between their clans. Increasingly their numbers came from assimilating captives of all races and their children into the tribe. The best two recent volumes on the subject:

    http://www.amazon.com/Comanches-History-People-T-R-Fehrenbach/dp/1400030498

    http://www.amazon.com/Comanche-Empire-Series-Western-History/dp/0300151179

    …The Plains and desert Indians never let up on each other even as thousands of American troops closed around them. The first thing that some Sioux bands did after the Little Big Horn victory was to launch a raid into a Crow village. Nez Perce envoys going to Sitting Bull in Canada were murdered by Blackfeet who had “no dog in the fight…”
    .
    …There was one band of Apaches that actually stayed out longer than Geronimo. You never hear about them because they wandered into Yaqui territory in Mexico and were exterminated.
    .
    …The scene in Dances With Wolves where the Pawnee attempt to launch a murder raid into a Lakota village… Such raids were rare, but they did happen. Some of the most violent fighting with the highest casualties in the pre horse era.

    …One area where few Americans indeed know much about the conflict was in the Comanche and Apache raids into Mexico… and the Yaquis who fought exclusively in Mexico. They only quit fighting the whites ca. 1930 (airplanes and such a bit too much…)

    http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Shadows-Apaches-States-Mexico-1876-1911/dp/0826321461

    …If some of these high priced… be sure to check out the used book area there… sometimes can be obtained for a song and shipping…
    .
    -YP-

  • MrCharles13

    This is the book I mentioned in my last post.  I don’t get a kick back so buy it or don’t buy it! Charlie Mike

    Archaeological Perspectives on the Battle of the Little Bighornhttps://play.google.com/store/books/author?id=Douglas+D.+Scott https://play.google.com/store/books/author?id=Richard+A.+Fox https://play.google.com/store/books/author?id=Melissa+A.+Connor https://play.google.com/store/books/author?id=Dick+Harmon – May 1, 2013University of Oklahoma Press – Publisher$24.95 $14.72 Buy https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=iSUA23jOi1sC&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&hl=en Add to Wishlist (1) DescriptionEver since the Custer massacres on June 25, 1876, the question has been asked: What happened – what REALLY happened – at the Battle of the Little Bighorn? We know some of the answers, because half of George Armstrong Custer’s Seventh Cavalry – the men with Major Marcus Reno and Captain Frederick Benteen – survived the fight, but what of the half that did not, the troopers, civilians, scouts, and journalist who were with Custer?Now, because a grass fire in August 1983 cleared the terrain of brush and grass and made possible thorough archaeological examinations of the battlefield in 1984 and 1985, we have many answers to important questions.On the basis of the archaeological evidence presented in this book, we know more about what kinds of weapons were used against the cavalry. We know exactly where many of the men fought, how they died, and what happened to their bodies at the time of or after death. We know how the troopers were deployed, what kind of clothing they wore, what kind of equipment they had, how they fought. Through the techniques of historical archaeology and forensic anthropology, the remains and grave of one of Custer’s scouts, Mitch Boyer, have been identified. And through geomorphology and the process of elimination, we know with almost 100 percent certainty where the twenty-eight missing men who supposedly were buried en masse in Deep Ravine will be found.

  • dickftr majrod  You do realize the “lowly mule” is the Army’s mascot?

  • ArcticWarrior

    TeufelshundeUSMC ArcticWarriordickftrYankeePapa Its a great era, a great study in UW/COIN, and is just filled with various character’s and players. Seems that everyone also gravitates towards a specific band – Comanche, Kiowa, Cheyenne, Blackfeet, Dakota, Nez Perce, Apache etc.

    66-91 was an awkward time for the Army. Budget cuts, troop reductions, a job being the policemen of the Plains/West that they didn’t really want, having to learn to fight like the enemy in UW, rotten politicians. Its got it all. Hopefully @YankeePapa can blow the dust off some of these long forgotten campaigns and battles in future articles.

  • YankeePapa

    ArcticWarrior YankeePapa,
    .
    …The film that perhaps best shows the constabulary nature of the Army’s role as the Indian wars started to wind down was “Ulzana’s Raid” This is excellent both as film making and as history.
    .
    …No glory, just a sense of being in a disaster.  While the Apache actions on their raid are harsh and bloody in the extreme… they were not the actions of fiends… This was how their tribe waged war… other tribes would do the same to them…  The Mexicans had often done the same to their people.

    .
    …What makes this raid so depressing is that it is one of the very last.  Most Apaches had accepted by then that the wars… with any chance of any kind of victory… lost… over… Indians, settlers, and soldiers would die as last victims for no purpose.  
    .
    …In some ways the film has application to some of our anti-terrorist actions. The lieutenant is green, but not a hater of his enemy.  His troops are disciplined, but the veterans know that they are against a tough and wily enemy.
    .
    …The small  raiding party of Apaches know the land intimately and know exactly what they are doing every moment.  The Army’s only hope lies in an aging superb scout… and a loyal, competent and brave Apache scout… who disturbingly shares the same world view as the hostiles.  He knows the wars are over… and this is his only chance to be a warrior instead of a reservation Indian.
    .
    …The lieutenant is bright enough to obey the orders of his commanding officer… He is in full command, but on all matters pertaining to the hostiles is to seriously weigh any advice from the scout.  What he learns sours him… and not just the Apache victims.  Watching many of his soldiers rushing to scalp a dead warrior is not something that his preacher father or West Point prepared him for.   
    .
    …Not a John Ford western.
     http://www.amazon.com/Ulzanas-Raid-Burt-Lancaster/dp/B00000I1KD
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa

    .
    …Re the Wagon Box fight.  After the Fetterman Massacre, the Army managed to get the Ordnance department to send breech loading rifles to the Bozeman troops.  
    .

    http://gruntsandco.com/u-s-ordnance-rogue-fiefdom/
    .
    …It was decided to send prototype Allin Conversion rifles that would later evolve into the 45.70 Springfield rifle.  Muzzle loader had hole cut and trap door type kit inserted.  You could then load standard rifle cartridge…  with all the advantages that went with it… faster rate of fire, no awkward loading under fire… no accidental double loading… 
    .
    …At the Wagon Box the Indians closed in.  Their idea was to get the troops to fire and then overwhelm them before they could reload… as they had with Fetterman’s troops.  Big shock when less than three seconds later another fusillade, and another… and another… 
    .
    …At this point the Indians did not have a lot of modern rifles.   They would be better prepared not very far away in the Valley of the Greasy Grass along the Little Big Horn river less than a decade later…
    .
    -YP-

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    YankeePapa ArcticWarrior  
    ” The Army’s only hope lies in an aging superb scout… and a loyal, competent and brave Apache scout… who disturbingly shares the same world view as the hostiles.  He knows the wars are over… and this is his only chance to be a warrior instead of a reservation Indian. ”
    This sounds familiar. I read somewhere awhile back that the Lone Ranger was based on a real guy and so was Kimosabe.

  • ArcticWarrior

    Look at it in the modern context, change some terminology and the maps. Now you have FOB Leavenworth, FOB Laramie, FOB Omaha etc …. COP Bridger, COP Defiance, COP Abraham Lincoln etc out in the tribal areas, some restive, others downright hostile. Major installations that are the hub of troop movements and civilian agencies who meddle with the Army,  smaller outposts out in the uncontrolled frontier staffed with soldiers in dusty blue uniforms and beards doing patrols, dealing with everything from squirters to full on assaults. ROE that changes constantly. An Army fighting a war where few understand the enemy back in DC and are fighting the last war, a small but bright core of officers who bring the fight that is unconventional out in the field. A war that most enlisted men (or politicians for that matter)couldnt find on a map prior to deployment. New weapons, weapon systems and technology that help turn the tide.Many parallels to the GWOT.

  • MrCharles13

    AW, great analogy. The problem is that the Army in particular and the DOD/politicians in general don’t retain or remember all of those valuable lessons that were bought with sweat and blood.  SF and the some of the Marine Special Ops had a good record of building out post or living in the Vil with their indigenous troops and their families. That way the troops had a method to feed and most important defend their families and their Vil.  The US troops became part of the family and conducted themselves accordingly.  

    As AW stated most of the line troops didn’t know or for that matter didn’t care about tribal traditions and were just looking for a fight. The problem being that if you can’t separate the good guys from the bad guys then you have to assume their all bad guys!

    The other problem is that the US has a poor record of leaving and not taken care of all of the indigenous forces that helped us. Like what happened to the Yards in Vietnam and Hmong in Cambodia!

    Charlie Mike

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    ArcticWarrior  
    Nice touch of relevance, man! 

    Now I’m wondering if we can add the whole Ghost Dance revival to the mix to match Islamic martyrism over there. But the whole Ghost Dance movement came later. Do you see anything from your readings that match the type of other worldly fanaticism early on that makes these types of wars more difficult to prosecute?

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    MrCharles13  ” The US troops became part of the family and conducted themselves accordingly. ”

    You know this is what pisses me off about the Lone Survivor story, at least the way it was written, I understand it happened to a specific group of individuals, but when it came time to the how or why Luttrell was saved, on further disection, it wasn’t nanawati or pashtunwali, it was the troops on the ground prosecuting a good counter-insurgency strategy, that allowed certain tribes and villages to think that it was a good idea to side with us. Give that credit and open up the story to a wider lesson learned.

  • YankeePapa

    MrCharles13,
    .
    “The other problem is that the US has a poor record of leaving and not
    taken care of all of the indigenous forces that helped us. Like what
    happened to the Yards in Vietnam and Hmong in Cambodia…”
    .
    …And the Karens and Kachins and others in the back country of Burma… and maybe next the Kurds in Iraq?  But with the Apache scouts, we did not abandon them… we did far worse…
    .
    …So Geronimo surrendered for the last time.  Scouts from his tribe who loyally served us are disarmed and shipped of to Florida with the hostiles.  To make it even more dishonorable… they were regularly enlisted in the United States Army… some with the rank of Sgt.  The Army didn’t even bother to discharge them.
    .
    …Ca. 1939 the few surviving scouts met with the Secretary of the Army…  He admitted that they were due back pay and other benefits… but shrugged and said, “… there is no authorization in the budget for it…”  
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa

    MrCharles13,
    Part 1
    .
    … …Sorry for the delay in getting
    back to you.  A rough draft got printed in error but the editor quickly
    corrected the problem…then posting too long to go out in one shot…
    editor working on that… for now breaking it into as many parts as it takes…
    .
    …In
    answer to your original question.  No, I can not recommend any books
    dealing with the government’s plan to dispossess the American Indians in
    the 1800s.  There are no responsible books dealing with that topic. 
    Because essentially there was no plan… for *any* coherent policy. 
    From Lewis and Clark until 1875 it was all a patchwork… often one part
    at odds with another. 
    .
    …President Thomas Jefferson was
    content that it would take Americans centuries to fill in most of the
    lands between the Mississippi and the Pacific Ocean.   It would take
    slightly less than 90 before the frontier disappeared.  He pictured a
    narrow belt of settlement along the Pacific coast.  And a thin belt of
    settlements maybe a dozen miles West of the Mississippi… 
    .
    …In
    the meantime there were rational and irrational policies… and some
    that reeked of injustice.  None more so than when a couple of Southern
    states announced that all Indians in their states who functioned as
    members of a tribe had to pack up and move out. 
    .
    …The
    Cherokee (many of whom by the 1830s owned white type farms and even
    plantations… including slaves…) went to the Supreme Court.  The
    Court found for the Cherokee.  President Andrew Jackson ignored the
    Court’s finding… (“Chief Justice Marshall has made his finding… now
    let him try to enforce it…”)  He sent in Federal troops to carry out
    the directive… and the “Trail of Tears” was under way…
    .
    …It
    is stunning that such a blatantly Unconstitutional military action
    could take place.  But the Court was the last of the branches of
    government to find its proper place in the scheme of things. 
    .
    …Jackson
    included in his action essentially the majority of the Indians East of
    the Mississippi including tribes that fought as his allies against the
    Creeks.  Many of their descendants to this day have signs in the windows
    of their businesses saying that they do not accept $20. bills. 
    .
    …Many
    of the treaties between the end of the Mexican-American War and the
    start of the Civil War were seemingly generous.  Even then it was not
    understood just how fast settlement would fill in the open spaces. 
    .
    …The
    Indians were at a massive disadvantage.  The first step in defending
    land is making a claim of ownership.  But most Plains Indians did not
    understand how the land could be “owned” any more than someone claiming a
    stretch of sky…  Hunting rights they could understand…

  • YankeePapa

    MrCharles13,
    Part 2
    .
    … …One of the few claims of what
    might be viewed as “ownership” involve the Sioux and the Black Hills. 
    The United States guaranteed it to them by right of treaty… But gold
    was found… at a time when the U.S. in a bad Depression… No way short
    of mass executions from keeping miners (and urban support structures)
    from occupying the land.
    .
    …At long last the government came up
    with a policy that did not contain massive contradictions and that
    anybody could understand.  American Indians would no longer be treated
    as “sovereign nations” but would rather be treated as wards of the
    State.  Most Plains Indians were to no longer wander around at will…
    but report to a reservation and stay put without special permission…
    even if their bands not hitherto subject to being on a reservation.  Any
    not so reporting on time would be considered as “hostile” and dealt
    with accordingly.  It created a “free fire zone…”  Easy to
    understand… but in many circumstances unethical.
    .
    …The
    notice was sent out, but given that it was the winter of 75-76 and the
    reporting date was before Spring… there was little chance that most
    tribes would hear of it… none that they would move before the ponies
    had fattened up… and precious little that “non-treaty (re
    reservations) Indians would have any interest in complying. 
    .
    …When
    the Sioux and Cheyennes were defeated or driven into exile the
    government decided to force Indians on the reservations to sign away the
    Black Hills.  But some things had changed… and while it is true that
    wars can invalidate treaties… the Sioux had not started the
    hostilities… the government did… and courts would so note many years
    later. 
    .
    …While in 1980 the U.S. courts would determine that
    the rights of the Sioux to the Black Hills had been crassly violated…
    there was no sympathy among the Arikara, the Crow, the Kiowa, and the
    Pawnee… all of whom had been driven from the Black Hills by the Sioux
    in the late 1700s. 
    .
    …The Sioux used military conquest to take
    what they wanted.  They claimed the area and called it “HeSapa” (Black
    Mountains).   In signing a treaty with the Sioux regarding the Black
    Hills, the United States was not recognizing the “right of conquest” by
    the Sioux… but rather the “fact of conquest” by them.  Most worthwhile
    pieces of real estate on the planet have changed hands in such a manner
    more than once. 
    .
    …One thing that is often overlooked in the
    story of the conflicts between the whites and the Indians… is that the
    Indians had their own wars going against other tribes.  Some find this
    “politically inconvenient” and prefer to concentrate on the “peace,
    love, and maize” angle. 
    .
    …Indian tribes drove other tribes
    off hunting grounds that they coveted.  They routinely stole each others
    horses.  Slaves were taken from other tribes (though some eventually
    were adopted into the captor tribe…)
    .
    …One study was done of
    the effect of the gun (coming from the East) and the horse (from the
    Southwest).  It shows what inter-tribal warfare on the Plains was like
    from early pre-horse, pre-gun days.  The Apache had spread well onto the
    Plains… but by the time Americans had arrived had already been driven
    back into the mountains and deserts.
    http://www.amazon.com/Changing-Military-Patterns-Indians-Century/dp/0803292090
    …The
    Comanches… once mounted… had raided as far South as the edge of the
    jungle in Yucatan and as far North as Hudson Bay.  They had what
    amounted to an empire. 
    .
    …All who fought them… Americans,
    Mexicans… and other tribes knew them to be powerful and ruthless. 
    Like the Mongols of Genghis Khan, they could leave utter devastation in
    their wake… yet within their “empire” they had peace between their
    clans.  Increasingly their numbers came from assimilating captives of
    all races and their children into the tribe.  The best two recent
    volumes on the subject:
    http://www.amazon.com/Comanches-History-People-T-R-Fehrenbach/dp/1400030498
    http://www.amazon.com/Comanche-Empire-Series-Western-History/dp/0300151179
    …The
    Plains and desert Indians never let up on each other even as thousands
    of American troops closed around them.  The first thing that some Sioux
    bands did after the Little Big Horn victory was to launch a raid into a
    Crow village.  Nez Perce envoys going to Sitting Bull in Canada were
    murdered by Blackfeet who had “no dog in the fight…” 
    .
    …There
    was one band of Apaches that actually stayed out longer than Geronimo. 
    You never hear about them because they wandered into Yaqui territory in
    Mexico and were exterminated. 
    .
    …The scene in Dances With
    Wolves where the Pawnee attempt to launch a murder raid into a Lakota
    village… Such raids were rare, but they did happen.  Some of the most
    violent fighting with the highest casualties in the pre horse era. 
    …One
    area where few Americans indeed know much about the conflict was in the
    Comanche and Apache raids into Mexico… and the Yaquis who fought
    exclusively in Mexico.  They only quit fighting the whites ca. 1930
    (airplanes and such a bit too much…)
    http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Shadows-Apaches-States-Mexico-1876-1911/dp/0826321461
    …If
    some of these high priced… be sure to check out the used book area
    there… sometimes can be obtained for a song and shipping…
    .
    -YP-

  • ArcticWarrior

    TeufelshundeUSMC ArcticWarrior
    The whole tribal dynamic. We dont get the whole tribal dynamic. Not so much the religious aspect but the cultural aspect.  Whether it is AfPak or the Tetons, same problems. Look at the Ft. Laramie Treaty of 1851. That treaty was a joke. We actually thought we could get all those tribes, who remembered slights from 50,60 years ago to all make nice.
    As for other worldly fanaticism Comanche weren’t real spiritual compared to the Lakota but were more fanatical when it came to forming a war party. The Ghost Dance was indeed later on and kind of a cult. T
    We didn’t really wholesale engage in “Total War” against the Plains Tribes and bands until late. It took US Grant, Sheridan, Sherman to apply the Total War philosophy they used in the Civil War before we really started to get the upper hand. Harsh and cruel with lots of women and children as casualties but in the end it worked, the cultures were smashed and the fight was gone. Could you imagine rolling into Herat with a BCT and targeting every community with absolute destruction and hunting down every last survivor?
    I can foresee the WOT lasting about as long as the Indian Wars of 1830-1891. WOT will be/is multi generational.

    This and images like this were equivalent to the images of the PMCs battered and burned bodies hanging off the bridge over the Tigris.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/19/Victim_of_Indians_-_NARA_-_517708.jpg

  • YankeePapa

    ArcticWarrior TeufelshundeUSMC,
    .
    …Colonial incursion upon cultures that are significantly behind in technology sometimes has a major impact on those societies.  Many fought and almost all lost.   
    .
    …What happened next… depended on how adaptable the culture was.  In India most of the population submitted… but eventually the British left.  The Indians adopted much from the British… government, railroads, telegraph, military structure.  While they have many problems to this day… most have origins in their own culture (caste system, etc.)  Their culture was far too resilient for the British to make a permanent dent in it.
    .
    …The Vietnamese and the Algerians also remained resilient and with far more effort than India… forced the French out.  Their culture absorbed some French influences… but at the end of the day their basic culture remained intact.
    .
    …But some cultures, especially nomadic ones proved fragile.  They often reacted with spiritual responses such as the Amerind Ghost Dance and of some ritual that would turn away bullets (the founder of the Ghost Dance did not preach violence… but others who picked it up did…)  This could be seen in other New World Amerind cultures, and in some tribal African ones.
    .
    …One of the greatest shocks is when the old culture has lost its vitality… its ability to enlist its younger generations.  These younger people sometimes reject their elders as “losers” and are attracted by the dominant culture… unfortunately they often find the worst of the new culture… and bring along the worst of theirs… finding the virtues of neither.  
    .
    …The experience of the Kikuyu in Africa showed this problem.  Below is my Amazon.com review of (Warning, book acquisition Alert) “Something Of Value…”
    .
    http://www.amazon.com/Something-Value-Robert-Ruark/dp/1571572805/ref=cm_cr-mr-title

    by Robert Chester Ruark
    Edition: Hardcover
    Price: $30.03
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/1571572805/ref=cm_cr-mr-used-new from $24.73

    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful

    Read SOMETHING OF VALUE, July 31, 2012

    This review is from: http://www.amazon.com/Something-Value-Robert-Ruark/dp/1571572805/ref=cm_aya_orig_subj 
    .
    “…Like the reviewer from Kenya, I lived
    through an African horror show… but in Rhodesia (present day
    Zimbabwe…) While set in Kenya, the novel has application to most of
    Africa South of the Sahara…
    .
    …Most Americans have not the
    slightest clue about the history and tragedies of Africa… What little
    they know is usually wrong. Mostly they have no understanding of
    tribalism and the (still very much present) superstition that clouds
    everything.
    .
    …SOMETHING OF VALUE (and the later UHURU) are the
    best primers for those who would want to understand the roots of many of
    the problems. A lot of pre-conceptions will fall by the wayside…
    .
    …The
    title comes from the fact that tribal cultures kept the peoples
    centered. Some practices were (certainly by our lights) “unenlightened”
    (killing of 2nd twin out of the womb… female circumcision) but all too
    often “…the baby was tossed out with the bathwater…”
    .
    …African
    tribal societies were suddenly exposed to dynamic European cultures
    that pulled the rug out from under their “place in the sun…” Younger
    members often turned their backs on tribal values and the societies
    collapsed… Many sought “something of value” to replace it… but
    often wound up with a mix of the worst of tribal culture and the worst
    of European culture… and little of the best of either. Education of
    the children is the best way back into the sunlight… but between
    extreme poverty and terrorists/gangs burning schools and killing
    teachers… the outlook is not good.
    .
    …I have heard many of my
    fellow Americans spout the silliest comments about African events and
    history. For those who are serious, there is no better primer than
    SOMETHING OF VALUE…”
    .
    -YP-

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    ArcticWarrior TeufelshundeUSMC  
    Agreed on the total annihilation strategy, as opposed to the ‘let’s give them money and hope they like & become like us’ campaign.

    I had a buddy that had this tattooed on his back (absolutel Bible thumper, but a guy you’d want with you in a bar fight, much less in combat):

    [So go now and strike down the Amalekites.] “Destroy everything that they have. Don’t spare them. Put them to death–man, woman, child, infant, ox, sheep, camel, and donkey alike.”

    It might be unpalatable in today’s standards, but in the end, probably more cost-effective, kinda like the two a-bombs in Japan.

    Agreed. With fanaticism not really necessitating a religious/other worldly component, but usually these types of martyrisms come just before defeat like the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juramentado of S. Philippines and kamikazes at the end of WWII.

  • ArcticWarrior

    YankeePapa ArcticWarriorTeufelshundeUSMC YP- remarkably insightful

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    MrCharles13
     
    ” The US troops became part of the family and conducted themselves accordingly. ”

    You know this is what irks me about the Lone Survivor story, at least the way it was written, I understand it happened to a specific group of individuals, but when it came time to the how or why Luttrell was saved, on further disection, it wasn’t nanawati or pashtunwali, it was the troops on the ground prosecuting a good counter-insurgency strategy, that allowed certain tribes and villages to think that it was a good idea to side with us. Give that credit and open up the story to a wider lesson learned.

  • ArcticWarrior

    TeufelshundeUSMC ArcticWarrior Great point on martyrisms showing up just before defeat. That is an interesting concept.

  • dickftr

    ArcticWarrior TeufelshundeUSMCI’m surprised the dick is still attached.

  • ArcticWarrior TeufelshundeUSMC 
    Replace “culture” with “radical Islamic ideology” and you have another “woulda, coulda, shoulda” moment.
    There are successful historical precedents of what it takes to destroy an idea…

  • MrCharles13

    I never understood why the Crusades occurred, but the picture is starting to clear up! 

    Charlie Mike

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    dickftr ArcticWarriorTeufelshundeUSMC 
    LOL! I noticed that too. The Mexican’s would’ve had it in the deceased’s mouth or better yet, this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8gS0w3KNfw by the French.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    MrCharles13  
    Like every war, it’s economics. Same reason there was a race to get to China, India, the Spice Islands in the 1500s, the Silk Road.

  • Txazz

    YP; my offering after reading of Little Big Horn  incomments  – This is the archeological field study and inventory finished in 2004 -5, a pdt download and printable 207 pages. 
    http://www.nps.gov/mwac/publications/pdf/tech124.pdf  date on this publication is 2010
    UNCOVERING HISTORY:THE LEGACY OF ARCHEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONSAT THE LITTLE BIGHORN BATTLEFIELD NATIONAL MONUMENT, MONTANA
    ByDouglas D. Scott
    The archeological evidence of the Battle of the Little Bighorn contributed much to understanding the particulars of the fight, and added to the historical significance of the battle and its aftermath. Clearly the remaining archeological deposits, which are substantial, are likely to yield additional significant information about the battle and the individual participants which will further refine understanding of the events of June 25-26, 1876. Beyond the particularistic results is the significance of the archeological study of the battlefield within the context of anthropological theory. At one level the result of the archeological studies at the Little Bighorn have shown that individual and unit movement and composition can be revealed in the most chaotic of human endeavors, a pitched battle. Opposing force deployment can be discerned and the flow of the battle followed. Details lost to history can be discovered and interpreted in respect to the cultural conditioning and training received by the opposing forces. The Little Bighorn archeological investigations generated a model of battlefield behavior that was based on empirical evidence and has subsequently been tested in other situations. That model was predicated upon an axiom basic to archeological investigation. Human behavior is patterned. Behavioral patterns are expressed through individual behaviors constrained by the norms, values, sanctions and statuses governing the group within which the individual operates. War tactics, which represent patterned behavior, include establishment of positions and the deployment and movement of combatants. The residues of tactics in warfare; artifacts, features and their contextual relationships, have been shown to be patterned and reflect details of battlefield behavior. The Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument archeological investigations were the first battlefield study to be reported that went beyond the particularistic and placed the results of a hostile cultural conflict situation in the context of a theoretical model of anthropological behavior. The Battle of the Little Bighorn archeological work added significantly to the theory of the anthropology of war, and has become a signal event in the development of new methods to study battlefields and fields of conflict, and in turn the work has developed and influenced new theoretical constructs that are now at the heart of battlefield archaeology and conflict archaeology studies worldwide.

  • Txazz

    Fascinating article and same of comments, YP.  My favorite history era I think as I grew up in Western heritage and closer to Geronimo than Crazy Horse but, keen interest.  I read a book long time ago after author interviewed last original Sioux scouts at Little Big Horn.
    Who Killed Custer by Bruce Brown
    http://www.astonisher.com/store/wkc_store.htm
    more recent 2010
    Adapted from The Killing of Crazy Horse, by Thomas Powers. Copyright © 2010. With the permission of the publisher, Alfred A. Knopf.
    How the Battle of Little Bighorn was Won
    Accounts of the 1876 battle have focused on Custer’s ill-fated cavalry, but, a new book offers a take from the indian’s point of view. Thomas Powers, The Killing of Crazy Horse 2010 

    Smithsonian Magazine 
    (8 pages – page at the bottom)
    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/how-the-battle-of-little-bighorn-was-won-63880188/?page=1 
    apologies YP for hogging the top but, I got lost at the bottom.  🙂

  • YankeePapa

    Txazz ,
    .
    …Geronimo never went back home.  Closest that he could get was Fort Sill, Oklahoma.  He died there in 1909.  I was born there in 1949…
    .
    -YP-

  • ArcticWarrior

    Txazz Outstanding Smithsonian Mag link Tx!  When you are using the guidon as a weapon its probably not ending well. Whats lost to history is that the Natives were tacticians and not all forget the x’s and o’s and hit them. Gall arguing for expecting the envelopment and drawing a sand table is every bit as important as Crazy Horse’s charges.
    I had forgotten about the Cheyenne women and that story with the sewing kits…..

  • ArcticWarrior

    YankeePapa Txazz The DUI of the 501st was the Thunderbird with the motto “Geronimo”. Our companies were Apache, Blackfoot, Comanche and Delaware. In a small way honoring the tenacity of the tribes and bands.

    One day I have to make it up to the Ft Sill Landmark Museum

  • dickftr

    ArcticWarrior YankeePapaTxazzThe Ft Sill museum is awesome. I was stationed there’76-’78 and the old post, museum and Geronimo cell all worth the time to stop and look.

  • Txazz

    Thoroughly enjoyed your article YP and I always learn something new.  I never knew the boots were not left or right during the Civil War.  I might have heard something about that eons ago but, certainly not still by the time of the Civil War.  It was rare they got a new pair of boots through that awful time. And the photo of the black company of soldiers – they did look sharp and found out why.  Really enjoyed it all.

  • dickftr

    Txazz Thank you for the link.

  • Txazz

    dickftr TxazzYou sure are welcome, Dick.  Guess you are still running up and down that road to the Homestead.  At least you should have enough water in the ground for wheat farming next season.  Drought here and in CA, too

  • Txazz

    ArcticWarrior YankeePapaTxazzI get that, AW…. Geronimo!

  • dickftr

    Txazz dickftrYes Mam, I go to the homestead saturday after work and go eat supper with Patti on wednesday. Found baby calf frozen on the ice of a creek, damnit.

    It has been VERY COLD here. Have you not gotten any rain yet?
      take care.

  • ArcticWarrior

    Txazz ArcticWarriorYankeePapa Yeah the native American theme is big in the 501st and 509th. The whole Geronimo yell story of course involved some hungover troopers back in WWII and the phrase stuck. Me I preferred the Pathfinder Mohawk and warpaint over the yelling, I was a quiet jumper.

  • Txazz

    dickftr Txazzno rain although they said some was around today.  poor lil calf.

  • MrCharles13

    Txazz,
    Do you live in Montana or Wyoming? I was raised on a ranch in South Dakota until i graduated from high school and joined the green machine in 1967. 

    We raised beef cattle only and so I know the routine of chasing down calfs and putting a big pill down their throat to keep them from getting pneumonia, etc.

    Charlie Mike

  • Txazz

    MrCharles13 I grew up in Texas but, presently live in Arizona (thus the reference to Geronimo).  My first calf I named Geronimo and raised him for beef.  I don’t know how my dad pulled that one off.

    Always wanted to get to Wyoming and Montana as the wide open spaces for me.  The winters, not so much.  I did spend some time in South Dakota during the winter.  brrrrr  give me sunshine!

  • Txazz

    Found a new search engine this morning and would you believe I found out nearly the entire museum is temp being held (restored and catalogued) right here in my home town, thousands of miles from Montana.  Not really open to public but, perhaps to researchers.  Would I ever love to see all that huge collection.  Am thankful it is protected as it was degrading daily.

    Nat’l Parks
    http://www.nps.gov/libi/historyculture/msueumcollection.htm

  • Txazz

    Archeology at The Battle of the Littlehorn 
    Midwest Archeological Center

    http://www.nps.gov/mwac/libi/bibliography.html

    quite fascinating with how what when and artifacts – a pic of ol McClellan saddle, sample of bullet types

  • KineticFury

    ArcticWarrior YankeePapaTxazz Been there. Plan a camping trip because of the Wichita Mountains wildlife refuge right there in the Lawton area – animals everywhere. Several camping spots. Hiking, site-seeing, fishing, scuba, etc.

    Plus you can go to sleep listening to the coyotes and US Army artillery overhead. Fighters overhead by day. Fun family trip.

    My dad used to go on runs and pass by Geronimo’s grave.

  • ArcticWarrior

    KineticFury ArcticWarriorYankeePapaTxazz See now that sounds like my kind of place……

  • KineticFury

    ArcticWarrior KineticFuryYankeePapaTxazz Yep it’s fun cause you got small mountains you can trek up, Mt. Scott you can drive up. Just a nice area. This is my preferred spot. Haven’t been in 3 or 4 years http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Wichita_Mountains/activities/camp/doris.html

  • dickftr

    KineticFury ArcticWarriorYankeePapaTxazzKF, do not forget to drive to the top of Mt. Scott. Beautiful!!

  • KineticFury

    dickftr KineticFuryArcticWarriorYankeePapaTxazz Is nice indeed! Sometimes it’s closed due to winds…but a nice place to have lunch.

  • KineticFury

    YankeePapa Little late here but good history. Biggest lessons in here

    1. Raiders have the initiative, especially in native country where opposing force is spread thin.
    1. (also #1) need good, reliable intel from boots on ground….if it’s not comprehensive it’s not good (e.g. mood and condition of all villages, tribes and leaders)
    1. Be careful around and scrutinize your politicians.
    1. Never take good boots for granted.

    I especially appreciate how you stressed the advantages infantry has over cavalry.

    This time period is overlooked easily, maybe because “cowboys” had the hearts of Hollywood. And it was like you said “dark age,” between the Civil War and 20th century wars. Back in the day
    Have you heard the song “Jim Bridger” by Johnny Horton?

  • YankeePapa

    KineticFury YankeePapa,
    .
    “… Have you heard the song “Jim Bridger” by Johnny Horton…?”
    .
    …Elsewhere on the site some weeks back in discussing tribal peoples I quoted from the next lines in the above song… “Sit in on their war councils… don’t laugh away their pride…”  (But Custer didn’t listen… at Little Big Horn Custer died…)
    .
    …I was just a kid when I got that album.  Wasn’t “White Snake” or “Nine Inch Nails”, but I thought that it had something to say…  (Yeah, I know, ancient references… Beach Boys not even out yet… when Horton recorded… but I lost track decades ago… As I close in on 65, I spend much of my time watching Winter turn into Spring… If I get the chance I might watch women turn into bars…)
    .
    -YP-

  • ArcticWarrior

    KineticFury YankeePapa The Generals still dead ….

  • ArcticWarrior

    KineticFury YankeePapa One instance I came across involved mixed Mexican Infantry and Dragoons. They had holed up some Kiowa who were dismounted up near a water basin. Kiowa had no choice but to fort up after the horses ran off in the gunfire and hold the only trail up. The Apache scouts the Mexicans used basically yelled to the Kiowa in Comanche so the Mexicans wouldn’t understand “Be strong and wait them out” Kiowa were of the Real Dogs sect, surrender wasn’t happening. One of them found a way out, 10 days later, only if you climbed a cedar tree a slot barely big enough for a man was available and was a way out. So up they climbed in the dark. The Mexicans never thought to secure areas of the “impossible” and the Kiowa were able to creep to the area the horses were being kept in. Someone made a noise and it was on. A fire fight erupts after the Kiowa grab the horses but they are able to break out. Next morning the Apache scouts the Mexicans used get a good laugh.
    As the Kiowa rode on they had to leave behind on of there wounded. Thinking he cashed his final check he told them just leave him by the creek and save themselves. So they did. The Kiowas eventually run into a Comanche raiding party and tell them they left behind one, can they secure his body? The Comanche find him but he isn’t dead yet but very much alive and healed up. Amazed they fed him and gave him a spare horse. He rides home and becomes a legend. The Mexican patrol being too heavy and slow never follows. The story ties into the Sun Dance and the medicine stick eventually.

  • dickftr

    ArcticWarrior KineticFuryYankeePapaGood story AW! Ever hear about the Texas ranger the Comanche’ trap on the side of Enchanted Rock ( a huge monolith in TX). The Comanche charged him after his first shot, not knowing about the new repeating Winchester. The Ranger survived.

  • ArcticWarrior

    dickftr ArcticWarriorKineticFuryYankeePapa That weapon added a completely new dimension. I fired a replica 1876 that the Mounties used as standard issue, it was a competent firearm to say the least.
    Those Texas Rangers were a breed apart

  • dickftr

    KineticFury YankeePapa Another great place to camp is old Ft. Davis in the Davis mtns. in the Big Bend of Texas. Beautiful country, Apache country.
    I worked for the 06 Kokernaught ranch while in that part of the state and found a few artifact’s.
    Carlsbad cavern’s an hour and half North.

  • KineticFury

    ArcticWarrior KineticFuryYankeePapa “and the General, well he dont’ ride anymore” – Johnny Cash has song from album “Bitter Tears”

  • KineticFury

    dickftr KineticFuryYankeePapa I’ve wanted to get out there for a long time…I’m Okie by birth but mainly raised in Tx, got more family roots northside of the red river.

  • KineticFury

    ArcticWarrior KineticFuryYankeePapa awesome story!

  • ArcticWarrior

    KineticFury ArcticWarriorYankeePapa Tough to beat Bitter Tears, that is an iconic classic

  • KineticFury

    ArcticWarrior dickftrKineticFuryYankeePapaIndeed, ever heard of TX Ranger “Big Foot” Wallace? http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/texas-ranger-big-foot-wallace-born

    http://www.texasranger.org/history/BriefHistory1.htm

  • KineticFury

    ArcticWarrior dickftrKineticFuryYankeePapa Even Mr. Colts revolvers were a big leap. Prior they had to dismount to reload while men w/ bows & arrows could draw them out then ambush while they were reloading.

    Started carrying 2-4 for good measure… 8th Tx Cav in Civil War would often carry shotgun, up to 4 revolvers, 2 on belt, 2 on saddle. Didn’t carry a saber, didn’t need it!

    Don Troiani (very good American milhist artist/painter, famed for his accurate representation of era accuracy) http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_fnOObkBYKHU/TTiCtICgdRI/AAAAAAAAF4U/PzDruVKq9XE/s1600/Wallcate.com+-+Don+Troiani-Paintings+%252814%2529.jpg

  • YankeePapa

    ArcticWarrior KineticFuryYankeePapa,
    .
    “… yelled to the Kiowa in Comanche…”
    .
    …Comanche was the “lingua franca” of the Great Plains.  
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa

    dickftr ArcticWarriorKineticFuryYankeePapa,
    .
    http://texfiles.com/enchantedrocktexas/enchantedrockhistory/index.htm
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa

    KineticFury ArcticWarriordickftrYankeePapa,
    .
    …Mosby’s partisan rangers thought that sabers just dead weight.  Went with extra revolvers instead.
    .
    …Cult of the saber dies hard.  In 1939 a British cavalry colonel issued an order at the start of the war that the men should sharpen their sabers.  This was a war that would see jet fighters and atomic bombs…
    .
    -YP-

  • ArcticWarrior

    YankeePapa ArcticWarriorKineticFury That and the chimera of French, English, Spanish that was spoken. Me, I would have found using plains sign language the best recourse, the Aztecan language the southern plains tribes and sects used is difficult to pick up.
    The Spanish then Mexicans just never seemed to care to wrap themselves around native culture for the benefit of themselves. The French traders did far better.

  • YankeePapa

    KineticFury YankeePapa,
    .
    “…need good, reliable intel from boots on ground….if it’s not
    comprehensive it’s not good (e.g. mood and condition of all villages,
    tribes and leaders)…
    .
    …Both the Army and most of the Indians came up short on intelligence operations and long range scouting.  Apaches might scout out target days or weeks in advance… but this was not the norm.  Most scouting by Indians short range and near term… though they were very good at it.

    .
    …The best scouting by the Indians was done by the Nez Perce.  On their run for Canada they sometimes had scouts back as far as 150 miles monitoring Howard’s forces.  But the complacence of Looking Glass combined with a lack of knowledge of Gibbon’s column from Montana caused them to be caught flat-footed at Big Hole.  .
    .
    …Again, when they were only 30 miles from Canada, they rested.  Howard’s column hopelessly far behind.  But Miles and Sturgis coming up hell bent for leather from another direction… Never had a clue until children saw Cheyenne scouts…
    .
    …As for the Army… their idea of using their Indian scouts was to have them out maybe half a dozen miles at most from the column… instead of having some one hundred miles out sending one of the team back as the situation changed.  In Mexico in the last Geronimo campaign that would change.  
    .
    …When three columns sent out in 1876 after the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho… no attempt at sending messages between Custer and Terry’s columns after their last parting.  No attempt at all between their columns and Crook.  They closed on the hostiles not even knowing that Crook had been in a hard fight on the Rosebud and was pulling back to supply base.  
    .
    …Both Crook and Terry were heard to remark on a number of occasions that they had heard nothing from the other… but neither sent dispatch riders.  Some claimed that it would be “certain death” which was far from the case… After the Custer fiasco, Army columns routinely communicated with each other…  If the route dicey, they sent Indian scouts who had no trouble at all.  
    .
    “…Shoot, move, and communicate…”  The Army pigheadedly decided in 1876 to act as if it did not need to communicate…
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa

    ArcticWarrior YankeePapaKineticFury,
    .
    …The Apache language not close to Plains tribes.  Their language root is Athabaskan… (Western Canada still has peoples with related tongue…)  Memory fading with age, but I believe that the Kiowa (who usually hung around with the Comanche) also had the same root language.
    .
    …Long before the whites arrived some Kiowa ran into Apache group… usual result might have been fight, but noticing similar language, they did not.  Rather *that* group hung around Apaches and would be known by whites much later as “Kiowa-Apaches…”
    .
    -YP-

  • ArcticWarrior

    YankeePapa ArcticWarriorKineticFury
    Comanche were always the odd tribe out, hated the Apache and would war on any one who traded or even gave an inkling they were friendly with Apache. Comanche spoke that odd uto aztecan and frequently used Kiowa as intermediaries while most others on the plains like you said used athabaskan based language.
    If you pick up words of Dine or Navajo, you can generally pick up the Apache variants. Not a whole lot of people speaking either out on the Rez’s anymore.

  • YankeePapa

    ArcticWarrior YankeePapaKineticFury,
    .
    …Navajo are an Apache offshoot, but split deep… many wars.  
    .
    …The Apache were well out into the Plains and holding their own against the Comanche… But the latter got horses first and their lifestyle full time road show… Apache settled some months… made them a target… Had to move off the plains and into what we now think of as Apache territory…
    .
    -YP-

  • ArcticWarrior

    YankeePapa ArcticWarriorKineticFury That was one of the many ridiculous aspects of a Reservation system, you forced tribes who were sworn enemies onto ridiculously small parcels and expected them to get along…even if by force if necessary.

    Chief Joseph saw the writing on the wall, saw what happened to the others. The Pierced Noses had peace with the Govt since Lewis & Clark and they still got screwed. Very shameful all around…lots of blame to go around…many of the famed Indian fighters within the Army were sympathetic to the plight.

  • YankeePapa

    ArcticWarrior YankeePapaKineticFury,
    .
    …Speaking of forcing people together, the British Army has shrunk massively.  So one regiment might hold the colours of two or more regiments.
    .
    …Sometimes when they merge these regiments, it works out… Other times they have (at best) a rivalry, sometimes going back centuries…
    .
    -YP-

  • ArcticWarrior

    YankeePapa ArcticWarriorKineticFury Some of that lineage goes back to Charles or Cromwell’s time. I can see the rivalry erupting at the pub on Friday nights.

  • BSchroe

    Interesting article YP.Beacou ideas.
      Any politician/ Army officer  who shod infantry with shoes that did not fit should be forced to wear  junk on a 20 mile hike. Damn the contempt !
       Horses not as tough as men . Hadn’t thought of that one. And hostiles had  plenty of remounts while cavalry did not. Really limits their range don’t it ?
        Sixteen rounds ? Good God the stupidity .
     I live in Wyoming and have visited Ft Phil Kearny , Ft Laramie and Ft Robinson in Nebraska . Excellent restoration of troop barracks.
     Wonder what the weight of field totaled ?

  • dickftr

    ArcticWarrior dickftrKineticFuryYankeePapaMy wife’s great grandfather 2x was a Texas Ranger, have 2 photos and documentation

  • dickftr

    YankeePapa dickftrArcticWarriorKineticFury  Yhank you for the link. I read somewhere, the Comanche said the rock would talk to them, as the granite heated and cooled it makes some kind of noise.
    Do you know of this, Sir?

  • dickftr

    KineticFury dickftrYankeePapaYeah, I’m an Okie too but lived in TX many year’s working on the big ranches. Now I’m back in OK working on a ranch in Osage co.

  • YankeePapa

    dickftr YankeePapaArcticWarriorKineticFury ,
    .
    …No sir, I fear that I do not.  On the other hand, I do remember the legend of the Meikles (‘mee-kels”) lions in Africa.
    .
    …In the mid 1970s one of the older hotels in Salisbury Rhodesia had been founded by the Meikles family.  They also had the largest grocery store in the city.
    .
    …In front of the elegant hotel were two stone lions.  The legend was explained to me thus… “If ever a virgin above the age of 18 passed by the lions… they would roar…”  I was told, that sadly, no one had ever heard them roar… 
    .
    -YP-

  • dickftr

    YankeePapa dickftrArcticWarriorKineticFury  LOL!!!

  • MartyStewart

    Fascinating Article.  A great perspective on the History of our Indian Wars and an interesting take on the comparison of capabilities of Infantry Forces and Calvary Forces of the time.

  • MartyStewart
    YP was a frequent poster on mil.com until the loons took over.  He writes fascinating stuff.  Another awesome essay on the way on bicycle infantry is in the works.

  • MartyStewart

    majrod MartyStewart

  • YankeePapa

    MartyStewart,
    .
    …Thanks.  If you like that one, you might try…
    http://gruntsandco.com/u-s-ordnance-rogue-fiefdom/
    .
    …Also, I have a new article being posted within the week.  
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa

    .
    …No place else really to post this.  This is as good a place as any…
    .
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-27708489
    .
    -YP-

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