Red Cloud’s War: The History and Legacy of the Only 19th Century War Won by Native Americans against the United States

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Even before the American Revolution, Americans traveled west. From the narrow strip of the 13 colonies, across the Appalachians, ever westward they journeyed, and by the end of the 19th century, the United States of America stretched from sea to shining sea. Of course, just because the names on the borders changed, it did not tame the land or its previous residents. Americans desired California and Oregon, going to war for one and nearly going to war for the other. Once acquired, it now fell to the salt of the earth to settle these claimed lands, and everything in between. To do this meant crossing terrain unused to the heavy traffic of Westerners on the move. 
Though Indian trails followed rivers, hills, and valleys across the plains, Westerners often needed to create new paths capable of handling the heaver traffic and bulky covered wagons. At the same time, safety often required avoiding the natives. Though sometimes co-opting Indian trails for this purpose, oftentimes pioneering settlers worked to avoid such routes as well, especially when the natives took exception to their new neighbors. 
The Bozeman Trail ran through the Powder River country, which included the traditional hunting grounds of Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho peoples. Attempts by the natives to prevent encroachment and armed defense of settlers along the trail led to conflicts in short order. Shortly after the Civil War, the U.S. found itself engaged against the Sioux in what came to be known as Red Cloud’s War. Among the Oglala Lakota, one of the most famous bands of the Native American Tribe known as the Sioux, Red Cloud led the group for 40 years, in war, in peace, and on a reservation, becoming so esteemed and influential that Americans began to mistakenly take him for the leader of the entire Sioux tribe. 
In the summer of 1866, Colonel Henry B. Carrington set out from Fort Laramie to establish a series of forts along the Bozeman Trail with the goal of protecting migrants moving along the trail. The Bozeman Trail ran through the Powder River country, which included the traditional hunting grounds of Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho peoples. Carrington had about 1,000 people in his column, of which about 700 were soldiers and 300 were civilians, likely soldiers’ families and migrants. 
The ongoing hostilities, which included the notorious Fetterman's Massacre, ultimately convinced American officials to head back to the negotiating table with the Native Americans, and as a result, Red Cloud has often been labeled the only Indian chief to win a war against the Americans. After that, however, Red Cloud continued to lead his people to reservations first near the Black Hills and later westward after the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Though he was respected as a war chief, it was his political functions as a spokesman of the Oglala that truly allowed Red Cloud to leave his mark over the last several decades of his life. Whereas Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse suffered premature deaths, Red Cloud outlived the other important leaders of the Sioux until dying in 1909 at 87 years old. Near the end of his life, he reportedly said, “They made us many promises, more than I can remember. But they kept but one -- they promised to take our land...and they took it.” 
Red Cloud’s War: The History and Legacy of the Only 19th Century War Won by Native Americans against the United States analyzes the seminal moments that brought about the war, the war’s most famous battles, and the aftermath. Along with pictures depicting important people, places, and events, you will learn about Red Cloud’s War like never before.

*Includes pictures 
*Includes accounts of the fighting 
*Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading 

 

Product details

  • Paperback: 58 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 20, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1986673758
  • ISBN-13: 978-1986673754
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces