On the Border with Crook: General George Crook, the American Indian Wars, and Life on the American Frontier
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After serving over fifteen years with General George Crook, John Gregory Bourke, his right-hand man, sat down to write of his time with the legendary US Army officer in the post–Civil War West. On the Border with Crook is a firsthand account of Crook’s campaigns during the American Indian Wars. Observant and inquisitive, Bourke brings to life the entire American frontier. In sharp descriptions and detailed anecdotes, he sketched vivid pictures not only of Crook and his fellow cavalrymen but also of legendary Native American leaders such as Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, and Geronimo. Combining strength and compassion, Bourke argues, Crook carved out an important legacy for himself in American history.
On the Border with Crook has long been regarded as one of the best firsthand accounts of frontier army life. More than simply an account of General Crook, Bourke writes with unparalleled detail of the landscape of the Southwest, impressions on the forts and communities in Arizona Territory, and the hardships of frontier service, in addition to the exciting and honest accounts of combat. What is most impressive about Bourke’s work is the equal time he gives to both soldier and Native American alike, making On the Border with Crook the essential book for those interested in the history of the American frontier.
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to being put in the same vehicle with a dead man. We made the best arrangement possible for the comfort of our wounded friend, for whom it seemed that the ambulance would be the proper place. But the jolting and the upright position he was compelled to take proved too much for him, and he begged to be allowed to recline at full length in one of the wagons. His request was granted at once; only, as it happened, he was lifted into the wagon in which the stiff, stark corpse of Israel was glaring
C. Hayes, and Mr. George H. Harries. The escort consisted of two companies of cavalry, commanded by Major Carpenter, Captain George S. Anderson, Captain Parker, and Lieutenant Baird.
Arizona prior to the arrival of General Crook, as by no other means can the arduous nature of the work he accomplished be understood and appreciated. It was a cold and cheerless day—March 10, 1870—when our little troop, “F” of the Third Cavalry, than which a better never bore guidon, marched down the vertical-walled cañon of the Santa Catalina, crossed the insignificant sand-bed of the San Pedro, and came front into line on the parade-ground of Old Camp Grant, at the mouth of the Aravaypa. The
intimately associated in all the changing vicissitudes which constituted service on the “border” of yesterday, which has vanished never to return. It is not my purpose to write a biography of my late friend and commander—such a task I leave for others to whom it may be more congenial; speaking for myself, I am compelled to say that it is always difficult for me to peruse biography of any kind, especially military, and that which I do not care to read I do not care to ask others to read. In the
younger just learning to walk and to climb. Crook never ceased to be a gentleman. Much as he might live among savages, he never lost the right to claim for himself the best that civilization and enlightenment had to bestow. He kept up with the current of thought on the more important questions of the day, although never a student in the stricter meaning of the term. His manners were always extremely courteous, and without a trace of the austerity with which small minds seek to hedge themselves in