Fun with Source Materials

One might assume that after 140 years, there would be little left to say or read about the battle of the Little Bighorn. Yet books continue to be written, letters and artifacts continue to be uncovered, and the audience never seems to wane. For anyone who has read a...

Shocking Frontier Fun

John Bourke, soldier-scholar and Indian Wars campaigner, was a great admirer of Native Americans and befriended many. His classic work, On the Border with Crook, is one of the best of the period and includes a great deal of humor. Men on the isolated frontier posts of...

Who Was S.W. Cushing?

The individuals pictured here evoke a range of ideas and emotions. They seem to have a world of experiences written across their sullen faces and they probably did have many a story from many a port. They were Victorian sailors and part of United States Navy history....

Washita Media War 1868

In the 1970 film, Little Big Man, General Custer and the 7th Cavalry are depicted charging into the Cheyenne camp on the Washita River at dawn to the tune of "Garryowen," an old Irish drinking song that Custer loved and which he made the regimental anthem. We know...

Indian Fighters and Indian Policy

What did the soldiers who fought against Native Americans in the 19th century think about what they were doing? It's a question we might ask of any war, not just the Indian Wars, but I think it's often assumed Indian fighters of the Old West were enthusiasts for the...

Racing Down the Yellowstone

Before the dominance railroads in America, rivers were the byways with the longest reach for moving people and goods. With the advent of the steamboat, shallow-draft engine-powered travel was possible over thousands of miles of waterways. River navigation was a tricky...
Uncle Bobby Lee

Grant and Lee in the Civil War

One thing about being a publisher of historical works, a passionate consumer of the same, and having an interest in psychology, is that I can't help viewing with fascination the way we view historical figures. Grant and Lee in the Civil War are a prime example. Victor...
Frederick Benteen

Frederick Benteen: Many Sided Warrior

I confess a weakness for Frederick William Benteen, the senior captain of the 7th United States Cavalry under Lieutenant-Colonel George Armstrong Custer. I find him fascinating for a number of reasons, not the least of which was his marvelous wit. His actions at the...
Battle of Rosebud Creek

The Fighting Irish Pencil Pusher

“Let no easy-going journalist suppose that an Indian campaign is a picnic. If he goes out on such business he must go prepared to ride his forty or fifty miles a day, go sometimes on half rations, sleep on the ground with small covering, roast, sweat, freeze, and make...
Major General George A. Custer

Custer’s Wolverines in the Civil War

"Come on, you Wolverines!" With this spirited shout, young General George A. Custer led his Michigan cavalry into the Battle of Gettysburg in the Civil War. After his death at the Little Bighorn, Custer was at first lionized as a heroic martyr. In the early 20th...
Love and Romance

Sealed with a Yankee Kiss

The desperate times of the American Civil War spawned many a romance. One of the most popular songs of the day was "The Girl I Left Behind Me," which is referred to in nearly every Civil War memoir and regimental history. Many a soldier boy had his heart broken by the...
Edward Curtis photo of Indian Woman

General Custer’s Arikara Scouts

Why would any Native Americans help the whites to hunt the Sioux? It seems strange, perhaps, that General George Armstrong Custer went to the Little Bighorn with Indian scouts in his entourage. In fact, there were many. And they had good things to say about Custer...
Grace Barclay's British Major

Grace and Her British Major

"Is [the Revolution] a war of aggression, of cupidity, of conquest, of fierce passion, for tyranny and despotic sway? No—it is the noble endeavor, the strong purpose, founded in inalienable right, to throw off a galling yoke unjustly and perseveringly imposed."...
Mood at the Little Bighorn

Custer’s Mood at the Little Bighorn

Lieutenant-Colonel George Armstrong Custer was not given to asking for advice. This characteristic was so pronounced that one of his officers remarked upon the fact that he DID solicit ideas from his officers before the fight at the Little Bighorn. An Emotional Man...
Ulysses S. Grant and Cincinnati

U.S. Grant as Horse Lover

The human scale of history It's history at the human scale that I find so compelling. When I get to peer behind the frozen images created by the mythology around historic people and events, they come alive in a way I can relate to; in a way that stirs my emotions and...