The Bookshelf

Members are encouraged to submit reviews on publications pertaining to the Indian Wars of North America. Reviews will be published on website for the enjoyment of Hereditary Companions and visitors. Furthermore, members are encouraged to respond to the reviews listed.

Each review may be accessed by clicking on the title of each respective article.

Dade's Last Command!
Indian War Sites
Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars
The Wagon Box Fight
Crimsoned Prairie

James Fennimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales

Struggle for the Gulf Borderlands
The Indian Wars of Pennsylvania
Indian Wars, the Campaign for the American West
Bourland in North Texas and Indian Territory during the Civil War:  Fort Cobb, 
     Fort Arbuckle & the Wichita Mountains
The Blue, the Gray & and the Red; Indian Campaigns of the
     Civil War
Indian War Veterans, Memories of Army Life and Campaigns in
     the West 1864-98
A Conquering Spirit, Fort Mims and the Redstick War of 1813-
Indian Wars of the American South 1610-1858; A Guide for
     Genealogists & Historians
Special Notes:   Three Cavalry Huzzahs for Jack Hale Hansel!
Three Cavalry Huzzahs for Nicolas Ignacio Quintana, Esq.





Analysis of Dade's Last Command!
by Hon. Richard Bender Abell

Laumer, Frank, Dade's Last Command!  Florida:  University Press of Florida, 1995, (This publication may be obtained from the Dade Battlefield Society, Inc., 35247 Reynolds Road, Dade City, Florida 33523; 352-583-2974 or 352-793-4781.  Please access the official website for more information.)

This is the definitive study of the march and annihilation of Brevet Major Francis Langhorne Dade’s column of 108 United States regulars on 28 December 1835 - an act precipitating the Second Seminole War, 1835-1842.  The author has conducted extensive and exhaustive research on the soldiers in this command, the Seminoles, and the terrain of the battle and massacre.  He has personally hiked the entire march in period uniform as a re-enactor.

This detailed, vivid, historically accurate account of this
United States military defeat rivets the attention of the reader.  Major Dade and his command were composed prin-

cipally of artillerymen and one six-pounder cannon with with train. They wereen route from Fort Brooke, Tampa Bay to Fort King (today Ocala, Florida) - a distance of about 100 miles in order to re-enforce the troops therein.  An outbreak of hostilities was foreseen. It was hoped that war could be averted by a demonstration of force. Ruefully, a force of a hundred artillerymen armed with only one six-pounder and infantry muskets was too little, too late.  It should be mentioned that these men were well trained as artillerymen; they were essentially inadequately trained in infantry tactics and the use of the musket!  The Seminoles under Chief Micanopy overwhelmingly outnumbered the troops, knew the terrain, and in fact had superior fire power via their rifles - accurate at a range of 100 yards, a distance that the notoriously inaccurate muskets could not even reach with any ability of inflicting damage. The Seminole ambush was well placed killing Major Dade and almost one-half of his command with the opening shots.  The ambush, attack, and ultimate massacre of Dade’s column was coordinated with the warrior Osceola who personally killed Seminole Indian Agent, Wiley Thompson, at Fort King on this same day. 

This work is strongly recommended by your reviewer.  The research is impeccable.  The detail of action is noteworthy.  There will never be a finer book on this topic.

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Indian War Sites
by Hon. Richard Bender Abell

Rajtar, Steve, Indian War Sites, A Guidebook to Battlefields, Monuments, and Memorials - State By State with Canada and Mexico  North Carolina:  McFarland & Company, Inc., 1999

The sites of both major and minor conflicts between Indians and our pioneer progenitors have been often difficult for researchers and history enthusiasts to locate. Information on these battles is frequently vague and unclear. This reference work to the battlefields, monuments and memorials provides most needed information on the sites of these conflicts form the colonial period to the Indian Wars' conclusions in the 1890s. A chronological listing of battles and indexes to battle locations are made available. Each entry concludes with a list of sources which are keyed by serial number to the published works in the bibliography. This is a truly bodacious undertaking and long needed. Mr. Rajtar is to be commended.

Withal, there are some bothersome defects. It would appear to this reviewer that the author did not actually visit each site or his prose detail would have been more specific in many instances. Many entries in fact present the directions to the sites that one wishes. Ruefully, others are at best vague. For example, this reviewer has visited the Alabama State Historical Site of the Fort Mims Massacre of 1813 wherein almost 400 men, women and children were killed by Creeks. This massacre precipitated the Creek War. This is an
Alabama state park/site. The directions are available. However, it is a difficult remote rural site to find but clearly marked when you do find it. The author woefully does not tell us how to get there. This pattern is repeated elsewhere. He has assumed a challenge but does not always rise to meet it. Some states are assiduously detailed and researched; others are adumbrated at best. The quality of his research presentation is inconstant. He details many small unit conflicts (this is good) but the misses innumerable ones that all of us would be acquainted with via our own familial stories and traditions. Further, the very topic of this work lends itself to the copious use of cartography. Regrettably, there are no maps presented at all.

These caveats aside, the work is of great value and should be considered for acquisition for your Indian Wars library. To the author's credit, he is not addicted to the politically correct. He does not use the term "Native American" but concludes that this reference term is nonsensical; he parses out this term and surgically reveals its innate hypocrisy. He prefers the terms Indians, natives, warriors, or identification by their tribal identity. He is fair and objective to all belligerents.

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Analysis of Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars
by Hon. Richard Bender Abell

Remini, Robert V., Andrew Jackson And His Indian Wars  New York: Viking Penguin, 2001

The author has previously written no less than eight books on Andrew Jackson; he is the unquestioned scholar on Jackson. His topic of Jackson's Indian wars is a most controversial one in our current politically correct environment. Nonetheless his analysis and conclusions are balanced, insightful, and bodacious. Let us not forget that Jackson personally negotiated a series of treaties with the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Seminole, Creek, and Cherokee that added immense acreage to our United States. He personally led the military expeditions of 1813-1814 against the Creeks in Alabama and that of 1817-1818 against the Seminoles and Creeks in Florida - both to unheralded success. Further, he set in motion the pieces for the Cherokee removal of 1838-1839. His first and foremost priority was that of U.S. national  security;  he was duly con-

cerned with the Spanish, French, and British imperial ambitions in our South and Southwest and how these ambitions came into play utilizing the Indians as their pawns on the international chessboard. From these legitimate issues flowed all of his handling of the Indian wars, negotiations, treaties, and removals. He was neither anti-Indian not insensitive to their continued existence. Although Jackson is currently excoriated in some circles by the usual malcontents uttering their facile nostrums of latter-day liberal ideology, the author in his final peroration in this highly recommended work concludes, "To his dying day On June 8, 1845, Andrew Jackson genuinely believed that what he had accomplished rescued these people [the five civilized tribes of Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Seminoles, and Creeks] from inevitable annihilation. And although no one in the modern world wishes to accept or believe it, that is exactly what he did. He saved the five Civilized Nations from probable extinction.

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Analysis of The Wagon Box Fight
by Hon. Richard Bender Abell

Keenan, Jerry,  The Wagon Box Fight  Pennsylvania:  Savas Publishing Company, 2000

This is the definitive history on one of those now obscure Indian Wars’ battles that the succeeding centuries have forgotten but were of first news importance when they occurred. The Wagon Box Fight occurred 2 August 1867
in the Wyoming Territory near Fort Kearny just south of Montana pitting some 32 soldiers and civilian woodcutters against an estimated 3,000 Indians putatively under Red Cloud - odds of about 100 to 1! The American forces lost six killed and two wounded. It is thought that the Indian casualties ranged from a low of 180 (60 KIA and 120 WIA) to as high as 1300! We will never know inasmuch as the Indians removed their casualties and ever after did not wish to discuss their losses! The eight hour continuous fight from an encircled wagon train along the Bozeman Trail included the Indian tribes of Cheyennes under Little Wolf, Oglala Sioux under Crazy Horse, Miniconjous under High Back-bone, and a few Sans Arcs under Little Wolf. It is thought that Red Cloud himself was also present but this cannot be verified.

Of interest, the Indians thought that this fight would be a repeat of the Fetterman Massacre of 21 December 1866 where the entire American command of 81 soldiers were killed ... also near Fort Kearny on a woodcutting detail. However, the Wagon Box Fight of some nine months later within a few miles of the Fetterman Massacre included an important tactical difference. The soldiers were no longer firing muzzle loading .58 calibre War Between the States Springfields. They had literally just received (a few days before) the new Springfield-Allin Model 1865 breech-loading .50-70-450 rifles. These rifles shot center-fire primed cartridges manufactured in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the Frankford Arsenal. This increased fire power ability drastically altered the tactical situation leaving the Indians puzzled as to why the soldiers did not stop to muzzle reload with the laborious traditional ramrods. They understood that they should charge immediately subsequent to a volley while the troops were reloading. This time when they charged they were met by near continuous fire and they received high casualties as the result.

This small volume reads well, is meticulously researched, and explains in detail all that we know of this fight to include the recent archaeological excavations. In many ways the Wagon Box Fight was the American precursor to the British Battle of Rorke’s Drift (Zulu War of 1879)! This book deserves a high grade.

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Analysis of Crimsoned Prairie
by Hon. Richard Bender Abell

Marshall, S.L.A.  Crimsoned Prairie, The Indian Wars on the Great Plains  New York: Charles Scribner’s and Sons, 1972

This superb opus was passed on to me for consideration of review by one of our Official Board members. Kudos to Alexander Clarke Magruder, Sr.!

Authored by renowned historian Brigadier General S. L.A. Marshall, this work is currently out of print. It may not be easily obtained. After all, Russell Kirk endorsed this book! But if you look around in the “pre-owned” book stalls and find one, you will be well rewarded. This book is a MUST READ.

General Marshall wrote over thirty works of history about the American soldier in combat and the art of war, including PORK CHOP HILL, BASTOGNE, SINAI VICTORY, and NIGHT DROP.  He was one of the founders of the War Department Historical Division and a pioneer in the area of battle field research and he became Chief Historian of the European Theatre of Operations in World War II. His military service began during World War I. He has written for such reputable newspapers as the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. He has a writing style with an ability of word command in English that is powerful, glib, and opinionated. This book is worth the read if for no other reason than his word construction and usage. Your attention will be riveted to the subject matter!

Marshall places the various Plains’ wars superbly within their historical context explaining their inevitability and their inevitability of result. His use of irony and occasional opera bouffe is both insightful and entertaining. From the Cheyenne Wars in the 1860s through the Sioux Wars in the 1870s to the Nez Perce War and the final tragic denouement of the Battle of Wounded Knee, he has your attention. He is fond of removing the sugar coatings and explains how many of the United States Army commanders were less than sterling in their performance. George Armstrong Custer takes a blistering. Likewise, he does not view our opponents as noble savages living in a state of communal euphoria with nature. The Indians were crude, brutal, primitive, uncivilized peoples that could from time to time be courageous and honorable. And, in fact, on several occasions they had equity on their side. Marshall greatly admires Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce. Withal, like the rest of us, they too were tainted with original sin. They ultimately lost because that was their role. Their result in history was irrefragable. His concluding chapter on the Battle of Wounded Knee (he makes the point that this was a battle) is a spellbinder. This sad battle occurred because the Indians forced the issue. They duplicitously attempted the appearance of peaceful intent that in fact revealed malice aforethought for violence. They were hoisted by their own petard.

Marshall, who is part Indian himself, has little truck with the nonsensical Rousseau-istic romantic blather still so common in our society. He is no bleeding heart. He is a realist with a surprising approach of objective equipoise. This book is refreshing. And, as stated earlier, a must read!

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Three Cavalry Huzzahs for Jack Hale Hansel!

Three earsplitting cavalry “Huzzahs” for Compatriot Jack Hale Hansel of Platte City, Missouri! Our new Order of Indian Wars stand of colors is off to an auspicious beginning with our first acquisition to our vexillological fund. Compatriot Hansel has graciously donated a sum sufficient to cover the costs for a replication of one of the 7th United States Cavalry swallowtail guidons/flags used at the Battle of Little Big Horn in June of 1876.

It should be noted that the Order has received several other contributions for our vexillological acquisitions. These will be listed in a future edition of The Scalp Dance.

Our specially manufactured swallowtail guidon will be of then regulation Cavalry requisites used after 1 January 1862 and continued in use until the 1880s – 2’3” on the lance by 3’5” on the fly with a sleeve to fit on the standard issue pike which was 1¼” in diameter. It will have a leather tab sewn into the top of the sleeve so that a nail could be inserted through the leather and into the pike. This red, white, and blue flag will be 100% silk body and with gold painted stars on both sides of the canton.

The actual surviving flag from the 7th Cavalry that is being used as our paradigm has thirty-five stars. Thirty-five stars, because it was one of the surplus guidons left over after the War of 1861-1865. These continued in use until 1883 at which point the Cavalry reverted to the standard red and white guidons. The Custer Battlefield has a 7th Cavalry thirty-five star guidon presumably carried at the battle. Our flag will have thirteen red and white stripes and the thirty-five gold stars painted on the canton in the then standard arrangement of two circles, twelve inner circle, nineteen outer circle, and one star in each corner. Our flag is being manufactured by Gideon Flags of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Analysis of Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales
by Barry Christopher Howard

As is often the case with fictional literature placed in an historical context, an accurate and balanced perspective of the people, places, events and ideals addressed in the work is difficult to obtain.  Generally skewed by the inevitable biases and myopic worldviews of the author, fiction enjoys (or rather suffers from) a freedom which historical writings do not; a freedom often weakening the literature.  Rarely is this phenomenon more prevalent than in fiction dealing with cultural minorities or underdeveloped civilizations.  In this context, the works of James Fenimore Cooper stand apart from their contemporary counterparts.  Cooper managed to accomplish what others could not, in his efforts to accurately depict the true character and culture of various Northeastern American Indian tribes and individuals. 

James Fenimore Cooper was born in 1789, in Burlington, New Jersey.  Son of the wealthy landowner, Judge William Cooper, he grew up privileged, and subject to the common perspectives of enlightened American culture.  He and his wife lived abroad from 1826 - 1833, and during that time he vigorously defended American democracy in his writings.  Upon his return to the United States he was so disgusted by what he saw as the tyranny of the majority, or even mob rule, he acquired conservative and aristocratic views which made him unpopular as a social commentator. However, it was his Leatherstocking Tales, which boldly reflected the virtues and vices of two distinct cultures that eventually secured his place among the great writers of the English language. 

The Leatherstocking Tales are comprised of five books written between 1823 and 1841.  The titles in the set include (in order written, not fictional chronology) The Pioneers, Last of the Mohicans, The Prairie, The Pathfinder, and The Deerslayer.  Common throughout the books is the progressive life of their primary character, Natty Bumpo.  A rugged, yet sincere frontiersman, Bumpo serves Cooper's efforts to systematically express the weaknesses, strengths, and general variances of late eighteenth century Colonial and Native American culture.  His undeniable honesty and frank commentary provide an astounding look at true American Indian belief systems and practices.  Void of any political or social agendas, Cooper eloquently crafts his books in a manner few non-fictional, historical analyses have rivaled. 

The crossing of Colonial European and native Indian cultures, alone, is a complex issue to address.  Cooper was successful in, not only expressing the nature of the cultural variances and interchanges, but also in crafting excellent literature while adhering to impeccable historical accuracy.  His own life and early geographical placement provided the extensively descriptive backdrop to his works, while his passion to accurately depict the nature of the individuals and groups in the Leatherstocking Tales served as the catalyst for the remarkably balanced perspective he provides us. 

One of the unique qualities evident in the Leatherstocking Tales, and the one most relevant to an article composed for the Order of the Indian Wars of the United States, is the honest depiction of the American Indian.  While era literature often rides the popular, social tide of its day, Cooper chose brutal honesty instead.  For this we are most grateful.  

Unlike the often white-washed history espoused in modern society regarding the ethos of the American Indian and his relations with white Colonists (later Americans), Cooper spared no detail and compromised very little, if any.  His graphic depiction of the Massacre of William Henry stands unrivaled to this day.  Although some contemporary historians have attempted to downplay the severity of the massacre, as described in Last of the Mohicans, even these same historians can put the death toll no lower than 70-180.  Other accounts leave the death toll near 1,500.  Regardless of the precise number of individuals killed at William Henry, Cooper’s grisly account of the event is a sample of his unwavering commitment to an accurate depiction of the vices in Indian culture. 

More impressive was the fact that, conversely, Cooper had no apprehension about attributing noble and virtuous qualities to the American Indian when applicable. Throughout the Leatherstocking Tales, Chingachgook, Natty Bumpo’s wise and loyal Mohican comrade, is universally depicted with stronger character, and a higher level of integrity than most of the Colonial characters in the books.  Furthermore, Bumpos’s numerous, insightful, philosophical commentaries addressing each aspect of the humanity and inhumanity of the eastern American Indian is priceless.  Through Natty Bumpo, Cooper provides a unblemished, unbiased depiction of the American Indian at his best and worst.  In an era of general animosity toward the American Indian, coupled with an intense national adherence to policies of manifest destiny, the fact that American society so strongly embraced Cooper’s impartial writings is something quite remarkable. 

The thematic bond tying each of Cooper’s books together is the interracial tension between Indian and Eurocentric culture.  That tension is the fodder which makes Bumpo’s relationship with his Delaware friend so astounding, and which make the activities of the ‘Mingo’ or Huron tribes so ghastly.  Cooper deals with this dichotomy bluntly, correlating variance in Indian culture to similar moral variance in Colonial American culture.  The synergistic result of Cooper’s efforts is the construction of a model we can surmise to be surprisingly accurate for its time. 

While Cooper was doubtlessly encumbered by certain contemporary biases of his day, his work expresses a view of native American Indian lives, beliefs and social interaction which serves, to this day, as a measuring rod for other fiction dealing with similar ethnic groups.  The author recommends Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales without hesitation, and hopes new readers will enjoy them as much as he has.

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Analysis of Struggle for the Gulf Borderlands
by Hon. Richard Bender Abell

Owsley, Frank Lawrence, Jr., Struggle for the Gulf Borderlands, The Creek War and the Battle of New Orleans 1812-1815 Alabama: The University of Alabama Press, 1981

For decades to come this will be the standard reference work on this topic.  Superbly researched utilizing not only the usual American sources, but the previously untapped archives of
Spain and Great Britain.  Owsley has integrated the Creek War into the larger framework of the War of 1812 causing the reader at some point to pronounce “Eureka” as you begin to acquire a whole new perspective on Andrew Jackson and the conflict with Great Britain. 

This may easily be the best history on the Creek War of 1813-1814.  What could have been a completely altered history of the United States - if Andrew Jackson had not been in command, if he would have hesitated only weeks from the crucible campaign concluding at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, if the British would have landed the state-of-the-art muskets, artillery, military advisors/trainers, and cavalry accoutrements several weeks earlier than they did, if the Spanish had been more pro-active than they were for the Creeks, etc. - would have prevented us from our Manifest Destiny! I never before have read all of this with such fervor, explanation, and detail.  Owsley makes the point that too many of our historians have belittled our accomplishments in these two interrelated wars and downplayed their significance.  Often we have been led to believe that the War of 1812 was a “draw.”  He makes the point that it was on balance a resounding victory.

Jackson’s being in the right place at the right time for the Battle of New Orleans would not have occurred but for his role in the Creek War and the overwhelming victory achieved.  We would not have had the experienced and trained troops in place under his command but for the Creek War.  And, inasmuch as the British did not recognize the validity of the
Louisiana Purchase, if they had won the Battle of New Orleans then the Treaty of Ghent signed in December 1814 would not have applied to any claims that they would have asserted over New Orleans, Louisiana, and their planned buffer states under the Creek Indians and their allies.  The frontier would have been inflamed and we would have had strong buffer Indian states with which to contend and two mutually supportive European powers. All of this was prevented by Andrew Jackson and his juggernaut victory at Horseshoe Bend. The sheer quantum of international intrigue taking place at Pensacola and throughout the Gulf area is enlightening.

This book is highly recommended by this reviewer.  You will receive a whole new perspective on  Andrew Jackson and his brave
Tennessee and Georgia troops in the Creek War.

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Analysis of The Indian Wars of Pennyslvania
by Hon. Richard Bender Abell

Sipe, C. Hale,  The Indian Wars of Pennsylvania  Maryland:  Heritage Books, 1929 reprinted 2000

This comprehensive historical work is an account of the Indian events in Pennsylvania from the time of William Penn to the French & Indian War, Pontiac’s War, Lord Dunmore’s War, the War of American Independence, and the Indian uprisings from 1789 to 1795.  This is definitely the ne plus ultra of historical writing in one volume on the eighteenth century  Indian Wars in Pennsylvania.  The author uses exhaustive detail drawing on both primary and secondary sources.  For his place and time the author is surprisingly objective, perhaps at times bordering on the politically correct.  He provides explications for the inter and intra politics of the Indian tribes, cultural attitudes and misunderstandings, and for pages describes the atrocities conducted by all parties but principally the Indians.  Women and children were hardly spared by the scalping knife, torture, and mutilation. For those numerous captives that were not immediately scalped, killed or tortured, he explains their forced adoption into the tribes or their entering into the status of slavery and the occasional trade in white slaves to Canada.  His descriptions of actions, depredations, and wanton murder generally include full names of the victims, ages, and geography and often their eventual denouement.  Ergo, this book is a genealogical goldmine for those seeking their principally Scots-Irish or Pennsylvania German ancestors. There is a caveat, however.  This superbly detailed work is marred by a most inadequate name index for the book.  Most of those frontiersman and their family members  mentioned in great detail with their fates are not listed in the index. 

Sipe generally furnishes detailed biography on the many characters on the colonial Pennsylvania frontier to include the various Indian chiefs.  The complex interrelationships of the Indian leaders and the frontiersmen is fascinating. 

Topics include: Indian religious beliefs and tribal structure, the early treaties with William Penn, the numerous land disputes, the several expeditions to Western Pennsylvania, George Washington’s personal role in both the colonial and revolutionary wars, an excellent detail of the French & Indian War in this part of the world, General Braddock’s Defeat, the successful General Forbes’ expedition and the fall of Ft. Duquesne, Pontiac’s War and the Battle of Bushy Run, various incidents of Lord Dunmore’s War and the Battle of Point Pleasant, the scorched earth Indian warfare during the American Revolution with great emphasis on General Sullivan’s campaign, and eventually describing the post-revolutionary war campaigns concluding with the Battle of Fallen Timbers. Of great scholarly and genealogical interest are the appendices which include a chronological table of incidents from 1570 to 1843, lists of the monuments erected in honor of the sesqui-centennial celebration of General Sullivan’s expedition against the Iroquois with a listing of the Indian towns destroyed in that expedition, a listing of the officers of the Colonies of the Delaware before Penn, and the governors of the Province of Pennsylvania from 1681 to 1799. Also listed are the names and locations of the principle Indian towns and the names and locations of the various Pennsylvania forts and blockhouses.

This work is of great utility for those readers seeking exhaustive detail.  It is strongly recommended.

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Analysis of Indian Wars, the Campaign for the American West
by Hon. Richard Bender Abell

Yenne, Bill,  Indian Wars, the Campaign for the American West  Pennyslvania:  Westholme Publishing, LLC, 2006

For a one volume primer this book cannot be beat.  Yenne does an excellent job explaining what occurred over the time period involved from the perspective of the combatants rather than current political correctness.  The Indian Wars remain the most misunderstood campaigns ever waged by the United States Army.  There is much misinformation.  Likewise we have a tendency to view these wars as separate incidents rather than as part and parcel to a single campaign stretching over decades. Yenne patiently explains that the whites were initially seen as just another tribe by the Indians albeit a potentially powerful tribe.  Further, he goes into the motivating factors for the manifest destiny of the  American pioneers that occurred; these wars fought over some five decades across a landscape as expansive as Europe were part of a long-term American strategy to control the West as well as extensions of  conflicts between the Indian peoples that pre-dated contact with the whites.  

The author evaluates with equipoise both the leaders of the various military units and of the tribes. Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph, Geronimo, George Armstrong Custer, George Crook, and Nelson Appleton Miles all receive apropos attention.  Of particular interest to our membership is his meticulous attention to detail in his footnotes to each and every Medal of Honor recipient during these hot and cold conflicts.  Yenne has examined the documents supporting these awards and details each.  I found at least two of our membership’s ancestors mentioned when they received their Medals of Honor explaining why they received this highest and most coveted of American decorations. This in itself is a noteworthy item that values this work. 

This book places the people and the battles within the context of the overall history of the nineteenth century and the Indian Wars in the West so that their place in American history will be better understood and their names not forgotten.  Of special interest for our readers will be his attention to the myriad small campaigns, wars, and incidents, e.g., the Yakima War, Red River War, Red Cloud’s War, Rogue River War, Paiute War, Modoc War, Coeur d’Alene War, etc.  Additionally, his detailed maps are of great service to understanding the larger picture of the Indian Wars in the West.  This work shows all of the major battles and many of the minor ones with their locations and dates on his maps.  Many of the campaigns are shown trailed out.  The maps also localize all of the Indian reservations.  His appendices show the evolution of the Oklahoma Indian Territory, the Bureau Heads during the Western Indian War period (Heads of the Indian Affairs Office, Commissioners of Indian Affairs), the Commanding Generals of the U.S. Army during this period, and the Post-Civil War [sic] U.S. Army Organizations for 1868, 1875, 1884, and 1891.  

In short, I strongly recommend this brief history.  It is pithy, detailed, fair-minded, revealing, and places all within the larger picture of American history.

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Analysis of Bourland in North Texas and Indian Territory during
the Civil War:  Fort Cobb, Fort Arbuckle & the Wichita Mountains

by Hon. Richard Bender Abell

Adkins-Rochette, Patricia, Bourland in North Texas and Indian Territory During the Civil War:  Fort Cobb, Fort Arbuckle & the Wichita Mountains  Self-Published, 2006 

This 1,014 page tome is remarkable (which really is two volumes in one).  Little-studied, little-written, and little-researched are the Indian conflicts during the period 1861 through 1865 on the Southern frontier - the frontier of the Confederate States of America.  When the United States military forces withdrew in the face of the establishment of the new fledgling Southern republic, a partial defense vacuum was created in the areas contiguous to the Indian lands.  This book deals with the Texas-Oklahoma border area, the Red River area.  Texas had to contribute its sons not only to the struggle to maintain the nascent Confederate army in the War for Southern Independence but additionally to fill the need for border security with the many Indian tribes - the areas left vacant by the retreating United States military units. This need was filled by the Texas State Militia to maintain and protect its frontier from Indian depredations.  And, although many of the Indian tribes quickly established amicable relations with this new nation, others did not.  Treaties were signed inter alia with many of the Indian tribes such as the Cherokees, Seminoles, Creeks, Chickasaws and Choctaws.  She includes the actual text of many of these treaties not to mention the Camp Napoleon Compact of 26 May 1865. Withal many of these tribes were split asunder with their own civil wars regarding their perspectives on the two republics now formed; tribes contributed Indian troops to the armies of both warring nations.  There were now also the inevitable conflicts within the border areas between all ethnic affiliations.  Additionally many Indians saw the great War between the whites as an open invitation for mischief.  There were full scale battles, skirmishes, attacks, raids, etc., e.g., not only in the Northern states of Minnesota and Colorado which are well-documented, but also in Texas which has not been heretofore well-documented.

Our authoress has herein not only scoured existent published records, but has accomplished a prodigious amount of new research from primary sources which has never before been made public (she indicates that 70% of her study is from handwritten records).  She has made an impressive contribution to our knowledge of the local conflicts between the Indian nations and the Confederate Texas Militia as well as the Confederate Indian units themselves. Her compilations of the militia posts and hideouts, details on John Jumper’s Seminole Regiment, Stand Watie’s Cherokee Regiment, an immense amount of biographical material on Colonel Bourland’s life and military service, the Texas Ranging Companies, Indian Territorial Posts, deserters, frontier personalities and conditions from the 1840s through the 1860s, and the descriptions of several battles such as those of Elm Creek and Village Creek, and the many sanguinary raids (over 300,000 cattle were stolen or levied), and a set of invaluable maps. Several hundreds of new documents have been transcribed to include 43 letters to and from Colonel James G. Bourland and General H.E. McCulloch - documents not found in the Official Record that presumably should be therein- along with a myriad of muster rolls for north Texas Militia Brigades (to be specific, the militia listings for 34 Texas counties) and the associated brigade correspondence.  Mrs. Adkins-Rochette has detailed the Tonkawa Massacre of 1862.  Her appendices are of great value in this her magnum opus.  For those of you with Red River area antecedents, this work will be of great interest.

This hardback tome is self-published which means that you must purchase it directly from the authoress at: Mrs. Patricia Adkins-Rochette, 1509 Shadybrook Lane, Duncan, OK, 73533.  The price is $125.00 plus postage. Her phone number is 580-252-2094. E-mail address is She also has a website for this volume




The Blue, the Gray & and the Red;
Indian Campaigns of the Civil War
y Hon. Richard Bender Abell

Hatch, Thom, The Blue, the Gray & and the Red; Indian Campaigns of the Civil War Pennsylvania: Stackpole Books, 2003

This may be the first work dedicated solely to chronicling the numerous campaigns waged against the Indians in the West during the War Between the States, 1861-1865.  Perhaps more Indians - and possibly more Americans - were killed during this time period than any other comparable four year period of the Indian Wars in our history.  Yet most Americans are quite ignorant of all that transpired in these Indian campaigns no doubt due to the overarching dominance of that most sanguinary other War. Both Confederate and Federal soldiers had to maintain two front wars - against each other and the Indians.  In each nation manpower drains for the main war were such that all too often the campaigns for frontier survival were fought with untrained and inexperienced militia.  The Indians comprehended all of this and many acted with great mischief. 

Concomitantly the War Between the States also divided the loyalties of many tribes with organized units fighting for both the Confederacy (who had Indian nations’ representatives in their congress with the intention of eventually bringing them in as their own states) and the Union.  We must not lose sight of the fact that the last commissioned general in the Confederacy to surrender was Cherokee chief Brigadier General Stand Watie on 23 June 1865.

Although this well written eminently readable book fills in a much needed gap in understanding our history of the many campaigns with the various Indian tribes during this time period, it is woefully lacking more in its analysis and descriptions of the campaigns in the Confederacy.  There are only several paragraphs outlining these skirmishes and battles. The title of this work certainly suggests more than what is provided.  Much has yet to be researched and written hereon. And, we know that there were many fights worth relating with the Indians on the “Southron” frontier.  See, e.g., Book Review of BOURLAND IN NORTH TEXAS AND INDIAN TERRITORY DURING THE CIVIL WAR: Fort Cobb, Fort Arbuckle & The Wichita Mountains, by Patricia Adkins-Rochette (2006), reviewed 9 May 2006 on << >>.  For the open-minded researcher, this is a field of history still in dire need!

Nonetheless, those campaigns described are fascinating.  The author leads us through several of the bloody battles between partisan Indian tribes during the War Between the States explaining the politics of it all (this is well done - it can be most confusing) with the consequences to each side.  Even history enthusiasts for the War are frequently uninformed with reference to the fratricidal intra-Indian campaigns.  He then goes into the several Apache campaigns, the Great Sioux Uprising of 1862 in Minnesota wherein scores of quite innocent newly arrived German immigrants were massacred and worse, the Bear River Massacre, the Woolsey Expedition, Northern and Southern Plains vengeance, and ultimately the woeful Sand Creek Massacre.

Of note, the Sioux War of 1862 caused the burning of much of the town of New Ulm - 190 houses, and culminated after several set battles with the largest mass hanging under the colour of law in American history on American soil.  On 26 December 1862, after receiving approval by Union President Abraham Lincoln, 38 Indians were publicly hanged for their depredations in this war.

This book is excellent.  It is recommended - its noted blemishes aside - to the serious student of the Indian Wars.

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Three Cavalry Huzzahs for Nicolas Ignacio Quintana, Esq.!

Three earsplitting cavalry “Huzzahs” for Compatriot Nicolas Ignacio Quintana, Esq. of Atlanta, Georgia.   Mr. Quintana made a recent contribution to our Order in memory of his ancestor (great grandfather), CAPT Stephen Y. Seyburn of the 10th United States Infantry and an original companion of the Order, Badge No. 34.



Indian War Veterans, Memories of Army Life
and Campaigns in the West 1864-1898
by Hon. Richard Bender Abell

Greene, Jerome A., Indian War Veterans, Memories of Army Life and Campaigns in the West 1864-1898  New York:  Savas Beatie, 2007

This comprehensive compilation of essentially enlisted men’s reminiscences is a superb collection of actual anecdotes, recollections, and experiences by the men who were there. Being enlisted men, their stories are limited to their actual tactile hands-on encounters. In a sense this is thoroughly refreshing; this is quite different from the all to frequent recollections of those in command that tend to justify their actions and critique their colleagues. As a result there are few explanations as to why they were sent to do what they did, but intense detail on what they saw and felt as participants. This is a prime history of observations by those who were there. Many have never before been published, or were published in arcane publications over a century ago and for all practical purposes have been unavailable to the serious scholar or student. The emphasis is on the Plains campaigns but those against the Apache and the Southwest are not ignored. A chapter on the ill-fated Custer expedition is to be expected, but the first hand accounts are new. The details on the Rosebud and Powder River fights are excellent. Often overlooked campaigns and skirmishes are also included such as those of the Modoc War of 1873, Utah’s Black Hawk War of 1865, the Chippewa Uprising of 1898, etc.

It should be noted that not all the recollections are those of battles. There are several fascinating remembrances of the cuisine, climate (especially the winters), geography, the Indians themselves and their habitat, the buffalo, Christmas, military life as a cavalryman, and military life as an infantryman. All in all, these writings by the men who lived through these times are not to be missed.

Of distinct note for the true aficionado of the Indian Wars is the lengthy introduction which details the sundries Indian Wars veterans associations, their histories, decorations (previously almost impossible to find photographs of many of their medals are provided), leaders, and their lobbying efforts before Congress for pension benefits and recognition for their noteworthy achievements as soldiers “winning the West.” The only criticism one can proffer at all, and it is a minor one, is that the information furnished regarding the Order of Indian Wars of the United States is less than currently accurate. This sodality may have gone into partial hibernation from the 1940s and into the 1990s, but it never actually ceased to function; it continued to have an annual luncheon for its members. It reinitiated full functioning in the 1990s and is alive and well today. This reviewer strongly endorses this work to anyone sincerely interested in the Indian Wars of the second half of the nineteenth century and the intrepid men who fought them.

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A Conquering Spirit, Fort Mims and the Redstick War of 1813-1813
by Hon. Richard Bender Abell

Waselkov, Gregory A., A Conquering Spirit, Fort Mims and the Redstick War of 1813-1813  Alabama:  The University of Alabama Press, 2006

This must be lucidly the ne plus ultra for this fascinating conflict. The research is indefatigable, thorough, and multi-faceted. The author has utilized the skills of historian, archaeologist, anthropologist, ethnologist, and genealogist. It is only after his melding these elements all together that the trees become clearly delineated from the woods. His explication of family relationships and interactions sheds light on otherwise difficult to understand actions by the participants. His explanation of the clan and kinship systems used by the Creeks and the inevitable cultural conflicts that arose with the Americans are invaluable.

Probably few Americans grasp that the Ft. Mims Massacre of 30 August 1813 was presumably the greatest massacre of cultural non-Indians of the many Indian Wars in our four hundred years of history. Even fewer grasp that of the hundreds killed, many were not white but included large numbers of cross-breeds of Indian and white (the author interestingly refers to them as métis which is a French derived word for "mixed" similar to the Spanish mestizo) and blacks - not to mention that these included numerous women and children. Ultimately the fight descended into a massacre of civilians by the Creek Indians many of whom themselves were métis and therefore related to those whom they were killing. There is great academic debate on exactly how many were killed but most historians agree that the number is between 350 and 530. It was not pretty.

This exhaustively endnoted volume details the story of this fierce fight at the fortified plantation home of Samuel Mims in the Tensaw District in what is today Baldwin County, Alabama, north of Mobile. Essentially this massacre triggered the Creek War of 1813-1814 that had been incubating for some time with the many social forces that conflated to spark the massacre and war. Ultimately it was Andrew Jackson that terminated this sanguinary war with his historic victory at Horseshoe Bend. The Creeks never really recovered after this war that they initiated with the great massacre at Samuel Mims plantation.

This magnus opus of the Ft. Mims massacre in the Redstick War is strongly recommended. It presents the many different perspectives of the protagonists with equity.

20 June 2008

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Indian Wars of the American South 1610-1858; A Guide for Genealogists & Historians

A Review by Hon. Richard Bender Abell


Ports, Michael A., Indian Wars of the American South 1610-1858; A Guide for Genealogists & Historians Baltimore: Clearfield Company, 2017.

A great deal is poured into these pages of critical interest to both the genealogist and the historian. This is a comprehensive research work long needed. Beginning with the Three Powhatan Wars of 1610-1646 and concluding with the Third Seminole War of 1855-1858, this work presents all to the reader in a concise and understandable fashion.

The first section presents a narrative of each of the twenty seven separate and distinct Indian wars in or including the American South (which includes Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, and West Virginia). A narrative is presented to include a discussion of the background issues, the campaigns, and the aftermath/consequences. He presents the names and ranks of as many of the commanding officers and military units with battle locations and dates as the author can. Then is presented a section with the known current historical sites giving their addresses and photos of the sites or campaign signs thereat today. This is invaluable for those who intend to visit the sites. Further, he concludes each war with a bibliography of books, articles, journals, etc., for further study. This, too, is invaluable for both the genealogist and the armchair historian.

For those who seek more detail the author then gifts the reader with a detailed listing and explanation of contents of repositories of information on the Indian Wars starting with the Federal archives, to include military pension records, military bounty land warrant records, and Native American records by tribe. He gets very specific with microfilm rolls and further bibliographies and details the assets of the Library of Congress. At the conclusion of the section on Federal records he initiates a detailed listing of state archives and records. For the researcher who is a non-resident of these locales this is more than inestimable. A section is then provided with the various Indian records in their many locations. He concludes with a section on other (generally private) significant repositories and sources state by state.

All in all this is a Herculean effort of great purpose to the genealogist and/or historical researcher.

My one critical observation, however, is that no maps are presented. These would be of immense assistance. Withal I must give this work a strong approval rating. I found it personally fascinating. It placed many Indian conflicts in perspective outlining a lucid picture of several hundred years of Southern history.

27 August 2018


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