The Battle of Beecher Island and the Indian War of 1867-1869

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Overview


During the morning hours of September 17, 1868, on a sandbar in the middle of the Republican River in eastern Colorado, a large group of Cheyenne Dog Soldiers, Araphaho, and Sioux attacked about fifty civilian scouts under the command of Major George A. Forsyth. For two days the scouts held off repeated charges before the Indian warriors departed. For nine days, the scouts lived off the meat of their horses until additional forces arrived to relieve them. Five scouts were killed and eighteen wounded during the encounter that later came to be known as the Battle of Beecher Island.

Monnett's compelling study is the first to examine the Beecher Island Battle and its relationship to the overall conflict between American Indians and Euroamericans on the central plains of Colorado and Kansas during the late 1860s. Focusing on the struggle of the Cheyenne Dog Soldiers warrior society to defend the lands between the Republican River valley and the Smoky Hill River valley from Euroamerican encroachment, Monnett presents original reminiscences of American Indian and Euroamerican participants. Unlike many military studies of the Indian Wars, The Battle of Beecher Island also includes in-depth examinations of the viewpoints of homesteaders and the views of western railroad interests of the late nineteenth century.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Not only does Monnett give us the best, minutely detailed account of the Beecher Island fight, but he puts the engagement in full context, delineating the reasons for its occurrence and evaluating its impact. . . . This is an excellent piece of work."
John D. McDermott
Booknews
Draws on the reminiscences of the Indians, the Army scouts, and the neighboring homesteaders involved in an 1868 battle in eastern Colorado, to explore the attempts of Cheyenne Dog Soldiers and other Indians to resist white expansion into their territory. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870813474
  • Publisher: University Press of Colorado
  • Publication date: 5/28/1994
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 236
  • Sales rank: 729,042
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author


A native of Kansas City, John H. Monnett has long been intrigued with the Battle of Beecher Island. He first wrote about the Indian Wars when he was professor of history at Cochise County Community College in Arizona. He now teaches Western and Colorado history at the Metropolitan State College of Denver. This is his fourth book on the history of the American West. He lives in Boulder, Colorado, with his wife, Linda and son, Darren.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Forsyth Scouts, American Indians, and Writing Western History 1
1 The Road to War 19
2 Roman Nose 39
3 The Settlers' War 55
4 Hancock's War and the Battle of Prairie Dog Creek 75
5 Steel Rails and a Failed Peace: The Cheyennes' War 93
6 The Trail to the Arickaree 111
7 Forsyth's War: The Battle of Beecher Island 131
8 The Scouts' War 151
9 Relief and Retribution 163
10 Conclusions: The Last Days of the Dog Soldiers 181
Notes 201
Bibliography 223
Index 231
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