On the Border with Crook: General George Crook, the American Indian Wars, and Life on the American Frontier
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After serving over fifteen years with General George Crook, John Gregory Bourke, his right-hand man, sat down to write of his time with the legendary US Army officer in the post–Civil War West. On the Border with Crook is a firsthand account of Crook’s campaigns during the American Indian Wars. Observant and inquisitive, Bourke brings to life the entire American frontier. In sharp descriptions and detailed anecdotes, he sketched vivid pictures not only of Crook and his fellow cavalrymen but also of legendary Native American leaders such as Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, and Geronimo. Combining strength and compassion, Bourke argues, Crook carved out an important legacy for himself in American history.
On the Border with Crook has long been regarded as one of the best firsthand accounts of frontier army life. More than simply an account of General Crook, Bourke writes with unparalleled detail of the landscape of the Southwest, impressions on the forts and communities in Arizona Territory, and the hardships of frontier service, in addition to the exciting and honest accounts of combat. What is most impressive about Bourke’s work is the equal time he gives to both soldier and Native American alike, making On the Border with Crook the essential book for those interested in the history of the American frontier.
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Fourteenth Infantry to guard supply trains, was employed in furnishing the requisite protection to the geologists, and in obtaining such additional information in regard to the topography of the country, the best lines for wagon roads, and sites for such posts as might be necessary in the future. This was under the command of Colonel R. I. Dodge, of the Twenty-third Infantry, and made a very complete search over the whole of the hills, mapping the streams and the trend of the ranges, and opening
our poor, unfortunate friend, Kennedy. He was in the full possession of his faculties and able to recognize every one whom he knew and to tell a coherent story. As to the first part of the attack, he concurred with Domingo, but he furnished the additional information that as soon as the Apaches saw that the greater number of the party had withdrawn with the women and children, of whom there were more than thirty all told, they made a bold charge to sweep down the little rear-guard which had taken
The welcome extended these representatives was none the less cordial because they had brought along with them a most acceptable present of butter, eggs, and vegetables raised in the Hills. Despatches were also received from General Sheridan, informing Crook that the understanding was that the hostiles were going to slip into the agencies, leaving out in the Big Horn country “Crazy Horse” and “Sitting Bull,” with their bands, until the next spring. To prevent a recurrence of the campaign the next
and twenty-five men wounded; the enemy’s loss was unknown; at least thirty bodies fell into our hands, and at times the fighting had a hand-to-hand character, especially where Wirt Davis and John M. Hamilton were engaged. The village was secured by a charge on our left in which the companies of Taylor, Hemphill, Russell, Wessells, and the Pawnees participated. The Shoshones, under Lieutenant Schuyler and Tom Cosgrove, seized a commanding peak and rained down bullets upon the brave Cheyennes, who,
complicated with homesickness, depleted their numbers, and made them all anxious to return to the old land. Application for permission to do this was refused, and thereupon a portion of the band tried the experiment of going at their own expense across country, walking every foot of the way, molesting nobody, and subsisting upon charity. Not a shot was fired at any one; not so much as a dog was stolen. The western country was at that time filled with white tramps by thousands, whose presence