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Sagebrush Soldier: Private William Earl Smith's View of the Sioux War of 1876

Smith, Sherry L.

ISBN 10: 0806122099 / ISBN 13: 9780806122090
Published by Univ of Oklahoma Pr, 1989
Used Condition: NF Hardcover
From K. L. Givens Books (Bella Vista, AR, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

The book is black cloth covered boards with gilt title. There are no defects to note on either the book or the DJ. Book appears to be unread. The book is an account of military life during the Indian Wars in the late nineteenth-century West. The book is SIGNED by the AUTHOR on first title page. Private William Earl Smith describes daily camp life, battle scenes, and the behavior of famous men - Ranald Mackensie and George Crook - in public and private poses. 158 pages with index, bibliography and black and white photos and illustrations. Bookseller Inventory # 005706

Bibliographic Details

Title: Sagebrush Soldier: Private William Earl ...

Publisher: Univ of Oklahoma Pr

Publication Date: 1989

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:NF

Dust Jacket Condition: NF

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First Edition

About this title


Sagebrush Soldier is an account of military life during the Indian Wars in the late nineteenth-century West. Private William Earl Smith describes daily camp life, battle scenes, and the behavior of famous men - Ranald Mackenzie and George Crook - in public and private poses. His diary covers the war from the enlisted men’s viewpoint, as he worries about what he will eat and how he will keep warm in freezing conditions, and how he will keep calm when bullied by the sergeant major, of whom he says he would give "five years of my life to [have] walked up to him and smacked him in the nose."

To complete the picture of the Sioux War, and particularly the Powder River Expedition, Sherry Smith frames Private Smith’s narrative with contemporary accounts written by other participants in these events. She assembles a balanced, comprehensive history by also incorporating the testimony of officers, their Indian scouts and allies, and their enemy, the Northern Cheyennes.

In camp on Christmas Eve, 1876, Smith bought a can of peaches, which cost him two dollars, to share with his bunkmate. Meanwhile, he sees another man give ten dollars for a bottle of whiskey. His own words best convey the feelings of a young man far from home at Christmas: "We had a regular Old Christmas Dinner, a little piece of fat bacon and hard tack and a half cup of coffee. You bet I thought of home now if ever I did. But fate was a gane me and I could not bee there. My Bunkey bought some candy and we ate it."

Christmas candy and thoughts of home; some things never change, as readers will learn in this picture of military life unique in its eloquent honesty.



About the Author:

Sherry L. Smith, great-granddaughter of Private William Earl Smith, is Professor of History at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. She is the author of The View from Officers' Row: Army Perceptions of Western Indians.

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