By Wayne R. Kime

Few infantrymen observed extra of the late-nineteenth-century West and its peoples or made extra buddies and pals, civilian and army, than the full of life and sociable Col. Richard Irving keep away from. during this first biography of the soldier-author, Wayne R. Kime describes Dodge’s early years, stories as a author, and forty-three-year profession as an infantry officer within the U.S. military, surroundings his lifestyles tale in a wealthy historic context.Between 1848 and 1891 avoid participated within the nice Sioux warfare, explored the Black Hills, commanded infantry regiments, and served as an aide-de-camp to normal William Tecumseh Sherman. He used to be for my part engaged within the ongoing energy fight among the military and the Bureau of Indian Affairs over how top to resolve the country’s so-called Indian problem.Dodge used to be a paradox. He fashionable Plains Indians and lamented the top in their lifestyle caused by confinement on reservations and the slaughter of buffalo. but he additionally thought of Indians to be “savages” who will be “civilized” merely through probability of strength. As Kime unearths, the contradictions in Dodge’s lifestyles and suggestion reflected the ambivalence that many american citizens felt approximately Indian coverage and westward enlargement.

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32 This was in the heart of Comanche country, and since the European American settlements were pushing further into territory the Indians regarded as their own, from time to time violence broke out. It was understood that the bands of Comanches and other tribes that visited the fort were at best fickle friends. Nevertheless, shortly after his arrival at the post, Dodge set aside his prudent caution and allowed himself to be hoodwinked. A party of Lipan Apaches camped near the post and gave every evidence of friendly feeling.

He was a good duty officer—a faithful subordinate who, without sacrificing the respect that was due him officially, worked energetically and with good judgment to comply with orders. 70 The adjutant—whether of a post, a regiment, a department, or the entire army— was the individual through whose office all official communications relating to the work of that military unit passed. Orders issued by the commanding officer—in the case of the Eighth Infantry in 1854, Lieutenant Colonel Seawell71—were promulgated through his adjutant.

Dodge thus developed a wary distrust of the “friendly” Indians he encountered. He knew that as potential enemies they deserved his respect, for they were expert horsemen, wily tacticians who avoided battle except on their own terms, and heartless victimizers of those who fell into their hands. Noble savages, à la Rousseau and Chateaubriand, they were assuredly not. Still, some of the Indians who served as guides and scouts at Fort Martin Scott were natural gentlemen—honest, faithful, and courageous.

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