The Diaries of John Gregory Bourke, Volume 3: June 1, 1878, to June 22, 1880

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John Gregory Bourke kept a monumental set of diaries beginning as a young cavalry lieutenant in Arizona in 1872, and ending the evening before his death in 1896. As aide-de-camp to Brigadier General George Crook, he had an insider's view of the early Apache campaigns, the Great Sioux War, the Cheyenne Outbreak, and the Geronimo War. Bourke's writings reveal much about military life on the western frontier, but he also was a noted ethnologist, writing extensive descriptions of American Indian civilization and illustrating his diaries with sketches and photographs.

Previously, researchers could consult only a small part of Bourke's diary material in various publications, or else take a research trip to the archive and microfilm housed at West Point. Now, for the first time, the 124 manuscript volumes of the Bourke diaries are being compiled, edited, and annotated by Charles M. Robinson III, in a planned set of eight books easily accessible to the modern researcher.

Volume 3 begins in 1878 with a discussion of the Bannock Uprising and a retrospective on Crazy Horse, whose death Bourke called “an event of such importance, and with its attendant circumstances pregnant with so much of good or evil for the settlement between the Union Pacific Rail Road and the Yellowstone River.” Three other key events during this period were the Cheyenne Outbreak of 1878–79, the Ponca Affair, and the White River Ute Uprising, the latter two in 1879. The mistreatment of the Poncas infuriated Bourke: when recording the initial meeting between Crook and the Poncas, he wrote: “This conference is inserted verbatim merely to show the cruel and senseless ways in which the Government of the United States deals with the Indian tribes who confide in its justice or trust themselves to its mercy.”

Bourke's diary covers his time not only on the Plains and Midwest, but also digresses to his time as a young junior officer, fresh out of West Point, and experiencing his first introduction to the Southwest. He comments on issues in the military during his day, such as the quirks and foibles of the Irish soldiers who made up a large part of the frontier army, and also on the problems of Johnson Whittaker, who became West Point's only black cadet following the graduation of Henry Flipper in 1878.

Extensively annotated and with a biographical appendix on Indians, civilians, and military personnel named in the diaries, this book will appeal to western and military historians, students of American Indian life and culture, and to anyone interested in the development of the American West.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781574412314
  • Publisher: University of North Texas Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2007
  • Series: Diaries of John Gregory Bourke Series
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 1,054,378
  • Product dimensions: 6.33 (w) x 9.29 (h) x 1.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles M. Robinson III, a fellow of the Texas State Historical Association, is a history instructor at South Texas College. He has written more than fifteen books, including Bad Hand: A Biography of General Ranald S. Mackenzie (T.R. Fehrenbach Award) and The Court Martial of Lieutenant Henry Flipper (Spur Award finalist). Robinson has appeared on television documentaries for the Public Broadcasting System and the History Channel. He lives in San Benito, Texas.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction to Volume 3     1
The Life of a General's Aide
Background     15
Nostalgia, a Society Wedding, a Day at the Races, and a Parting     19
The Bannock Uprising     35
Retrospective on the Sioux War and Crazy Horse     53
The Death of Crazy Horse     65
The Developing Frontier     79
Sojourn in the Mountains and a Visit to Denver     97
The Cheyennes and the Poncas
Background     113
Cheyenne Life     117
Hunting the Refugees     144
Misery on the Trail     160
The Ponca Affair     177
Americanizing the Frontier
Background     205
Of Irish Lords and Irish Soldiers     208
"It Is of Such Stuff that Good Commonwealths Are Made"     225
Fort Craig to Camp Grant     249
Back to the Present     276
The White River Ute Uprising
Background     291
Merritt's Ride     294
Camp Under Fire     317
From Field to Staff     338
Staff Duties and Nostalgia
Background     364
Procuring Mules and Mounts     366
Phil Reade and Old Jerry     388
More Horses, More Nostalgia, and Miscellaneous Rambling     400
Persons Mentioned in the Diary     420
Authorities. Personal notes of the Campaigns Conducted by Brig. General George Crook     503
Bibliography     518
Index     529
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