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The Diaries of John Gregory Bourke Volume 1

November 20, 1872--July 28, 1876

Edited and Annotated by Charles M. Robinson III

Publication Year: 2003

John Gregory Bourke kept a monumental set of diaries beginning as a young cavalry lieutenant in Arizona in 1872, and ending the evening before his death in 1896. As aide-de-camp to Brigadier General George Crook, he had an insider's view of the early Apache campaigns, the Great Sioux War, the Cheyenne Outbreak, and the Geronimo War. Bourke's writings reveal much about military life on the western frontier, but he also was a noted ethnologist, writing extensive descriptions of American Indian civilization and illustrating his diaries with sketches and photographs. Previously, researchers could consult only a small part of Bourke’s diary material in various publications, or else take a research trip to the archive and microfilm housed at West Point. Now, for the first time, the 124 manuscript volumes of the Bourke diaries are being compiled, edited, and annotated by Charles M. Robinson III, in a planned set of six books easily accessible to the modern researcher. Volume 1 begins with Bourke’s years as aide-de-camp to General Crook during the Apache campaigns and in dealings with Cochise. Bourke’s ethnographic notes on the Apaches continued with further observations on the Hopis in 1874. The next year he turned his pen on the Sioux and Cheyenne during the 1875 Black Hills Expedition, writing some of his most jingoistic comments in favor of Manifest Destiny. This volume culminates with the momentous events of the Great Sioux War and vivid descriptions of the Powder River fight and the Battle of the Rosebud. Extensively annotated and with a biographical appendix on Indians, civilians, and military personnel named in the diaries, this book will appeal to western and military historians, students of American Indian life and culture, and to anyone interested in the development of the American West.

Published by: University of North Texas Press

The Diaries of John Gregory Bourke VOLUME 1

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas T. Smith, U.S.A., garrison commander, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, and a notable historian in his own right, and Frances Vick, retired director of the University of North Texas Press, endorsed the significance of this project when it was still in the early stages of an idea, and promoted it with the UNT Press’ academic advisors. Thanks also go to two very special people...

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Introduction: John Gregory Bourke: The Man and His Work

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pp. 1-14

John Gregory Bourke was one of the most prolific and influential authors to write about the nineteenth century American West. An officer of the 3rd Cavalry, he is most famous as Brig. Gen. George Crook’s aide-de-camp for fourteen years, serving in every major campaign in Arizona and on the Northern Plains. His memoir, On the Border With Crook, written...

Part 1 Arizona 1872–1875

maps of camps upgraded to forts in 1879-81

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pp. 16

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pp. 17-26


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Chapter 1 • Crook’s Offensive

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pp. 27-54

Left Beaver Creek northeast along the Creek until we joined the New Mexico Road at the cross[in]g—then north x east for 15 miles passing through a juniper country and up grade all day—passed over an open grass country about north—then rather more east for 2 miles up grade and in pine woods. Camped at Stoneman’s Lake on left side of...

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Chapter 2 • Meeting Cochise

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pp. 55-66

twenty days’ Rations. Left Camp McDowell, A.T., Monday, January 6th 1873 travelled South South East x South for 2 miles, South South East x East for half a mile, crossed Rio Verde, flowing at this point South South East, passed down the river and camped on its right bank in an open flat. Country passed through today was an open plain, covered with brush. We brought with...

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Chapter 3 • Mopping Up

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pp. 67-82

Thursday Feb 27th. Moved back on our trail, going West North West for (12) miles, when we halted for a few moments at entrance of a little ca

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Chapter 4 • Reservation and Ruins

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pp. 83-100

On October 29, 1873, Lt. Col. Crook was jumped two grades and appointed to the active rank of brigadier general, at the behest of President Grant. Up until this time, he had held command by his Union Army brevet of major general, but with the active rank of lieutenant colonel of the 23rd Infantry. The appointment created hard feelings in the army...

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Chapter 5 • The Hopi Villages

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pp. 101-122

Monday, October 12th, 1874. Camp aroused before dawn, but as two of our pack mules had wandered off during night, search for them retarded our departure until after day break. Left camp about 5.45 a.m. Trail 347

Part 2 Department of the Platte 1875–1876

map of departments

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pp. 124

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pp. 125-132

In March 1875, General Crook was ordered to relieve Brig. Gen. E.O.C. Ord as commander of the Department of the Platte.1 The department was headquartered at Omaha Barracks, Nebraska, and included that state, Iowa, Wyoming, Utah, and southern Idaho, and was one of four departments within the Military Division of the Missouri, a vast jurisdiction...

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Chapter 6 • Farewell to Arizona

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pp. 133-144

General Crook received telegraphic notification from Adjutant General Townsend,1 of his assignment to duty as Commanding General of the Department of the Platte, with Headquarters at Omaha: also congratulatore [sic] telegrams from Maj. G. M. Randall, Colonel Coppinger and other officers of his old Regiment, the 23d Infantry. Colonel A.V. Kautz, 8th Infantry...

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Chapter 7 • Southern California and the Mormon Zion

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pp. 145-157

Sunday, April 4th. When we awoke this A.M., a heavy sea-fog overspread the whole face of the country, obscuring the Cucamongo and San Bernardino Mountains nearby which we saw yesterday covered with snow. The pass in which this ranch is situated is called Cajon Pass and through it the R.R. to Arizona is to be built. Passed along through a territory, gorgeous in emerald green...

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Chapter 8 • A Scientific Expedition

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pp. 158-174

Thursday, May 13th, Left Omaha at midday, in the Pullman car “Wyoming”, with the following party bound for Cheyenne: General Crook, Captain Nickerson, General Perry and Lieutenant Stevens. Mr Chico Forster also was one of the party. Reached Cheyenne, the next day at 1.30 P.M. and proceeded to Fort Russell,1 about 3 miles out from town, where we passed...

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Chapter 9 • Into the Black Hills

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pp. 175-192

June 1st. Opened cold and damp with dark clouds obscuring the sky. A short journey of 9 1/4 miles, over ground demanding little or no labor in road making, brought us to the Beaver Creek, a stream about 30 feet wide, of turbid water, one half sediment, besides being so salty and alkaline as to almost occasion nausea. Grass good...

Part 3 The Great Sioux War 1876–1877

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pp. 195-205

The remaining Bourke manuscripts in this volume deal with the Great Sioux War of 1876-77, a brutal conflict most famous for the destruction of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and five companies of the 7th Cavalry at the Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876. The war was an outgrowth of many factors. The Indians were increasingly disillusioned with reservation life,...

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Chapter 10 • The Big Horn Expedition

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pp. 206-215

Found the pack-train of the Expedn. ready to take the field, and well equipped under the experienced management of Tom. Moore. The proposed expedition is to consist of ten (10) companies of Cavalry, five of 2d and five of the 3d under the command of Gen. J.J. Reynolds, Colonel of the 3d Cavalry. Those to start from Fort Russell...

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Chapter 11 • The March North

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pp. 216-230

March 1st. The command moved off in fine style this morning, officers and men in good spirits and horses champing on their bits as if eager for the journey. The snow storm of last night has ceased and upon the serene sky not a trace of cloud could be seen. The weather promised to be all we could desire; perhaps if it were a little bit more severe our purpose would be better served. Last night,...

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Chapter 12 • The Soldier's Routine

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pp. 231-244

.Remained in Camp all day, busy in writing up notes and making the necessary preparations for our movement. At night, about 7 O’clock, by the light of a very fine three quarters moon, commenced our march, which lay to the West for two miles and then moved towards the North star for the remainder of the distance which summed up thirty-five...

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Chapter 13 • The Powder River Fight

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pp. 245-262

Slept very comfortably[.] Our animals enjoyed very superior grazing on the foot-hills overlooking camp. Breakfasted at 5 a.m. this morning under a clear bright sky filled with bright stars. Mercury standing at 7 a.m. at (-8

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Chapter 14 • A Trip to the Indian Agencies

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pp. 263-283

I. By direction of the Department Commander, the Big Horn Expedition organized by General Orders, No. 1. Fort Fetterman, W[yoming].T[erritory]., February 27th, 1876, is hereby dissolved. The companies comprising the expedition will return to their posts, by easy marches, under their respective Company...

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Chapter 15 • The Big Horn and Yellowstone Expedition

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pp. 284-299

We camped by the springs on White Earth shortly after passing the mail wagon and remained long enough to partake of a cold lunch; had our sense of hearing been a little more acute, we might have heard the death cry of the poor mail driver. That night we reached the ranch on the Niobrara. It surprises me to think that the Agent would suffer these ranches to be constructed...

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Chapter 16 • Camp Life

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pp. 300-318

June 6th. Our camp to-night is on a tributary of Goose Creek,* one of the head waters of the Tongue river, 17 3/4 miles from the site of last night’s bivouac. Owing to the sultriness of the day and the bad road running over steep grades, this march has told upon both men and animals. Country during morning was extremely well-grassed, the...

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Chapter 17 • The Battle of the Rosebud

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pp. 319-335

The tribal hatreds rampant among Plains Indians, that long predated white contact, are evident. The Crows and Shoshones, ancient enemies of the Lakota, served as scouts, and were active and ruthless participants in the battle. These Indians were useful, but exasperating. They knew the country, and they knew the enemy. Often, however, they appeared to be more interested in hunting buffalo, and...

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Chapter 18 • Hunting and Fishing on the Tongue

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pp. 336-356

This chapter is the chronicle of a camping trip. Indeed, it hardly seemed like a war zone, and if there was any concern over the possibility of Indian attack, Bourke did not mention it. The reader might well wonder how they felt they could spend this time in the mountains with their attentions devoted almost entirely to...

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Chapter 19 • The War Resumes

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pp. 357-372

July 7th. Gen’l Crook, accompanied by Lieut. Schuyler, Maj. Burt. Col. Van Vliet, Major Wells and others started for the summit to hunt, expecting to be absent four days. Major Randall, Lieut. Bubb, Mr. Stevens and self arranged a fishing excursion. The site selected was not much over a mile from camp. There we found all that fishermen could desire: shady pools, cool water...

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Chapter 20 • A Case of Nerves

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pp. 373-388

Much of this chapter contains copies of dispatches between Crook and other officers, and copied by Bourke into the diary. These dispatches, the originals of which can be found in the Special File, Military Division of the Missouri, Sioux War, in the National Archives, show a different Crook from the man commonly perceived...

Appendix 1 • Persons Mentioned in the Diary

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pp. 389-450

Appendix 2 • Orders of particular importance to Bourke's narrative—Arizona

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pp. 451-455

Appendix 3 • Names of Indian tribes in Arizona Department

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pp. 456-457

Appendix 4 • Names of Indian agents and agencies in Arizona

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pp. 458

Appendix 5 • Posts in the Department of Arizona

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pp. 459

Appendix 6 • Table of distances between Prescott and the following points

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pp. 460-461

Appendix 7 • Command of Maj. Brown which left Mt. Graham, February 15, 1873

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pp. 462

Appendix 8 • Tables of distances between Fort Yuma and Various Points

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pp. 463

Appendix 9 • Table of routes to posts in southern Arizona

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pp. 464

Appendix 10 • Names of chiefs who assisted Crook in the Apache Campaign

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pp. 465-466

Appendix 11 • Names of hostile chiefs in the Apache Campaign

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pp. 467

Appendix 12 • Interview between Major W. H. Brown and Cochise

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pp. 468-470

Appendix 13 • Letter from Bourke regarding Lieutenant Jacob Almy's Death

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pp. 471-472

Appendix 14 • Extraneous notes of Hopi life

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pp. 473-474

Appendix 15 • Orders of particular importance to Bourke's narrative—Dept. of the Platte

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pp. 475-476

Appendix 16 • New York Herald coverage of Crook's Big Horn and Yellowstone Expedition New York Herald

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pp. 477-488


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pp. 489-497


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pp. 499-518

E-ISBN-13: 9781574414264
Print-ISBN-13: 9781574411614

Page Count: 528
Illustrations: 18 b&w illus., 2 maps
Publication Year: 2003