The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

theme is repeated again and again: the army failed to develop any stra-
tegic plan for dealing with the Indians. Wooster admits that there were
forces that the military could not control, which made their work diffi-
cult if not impossible-the anti-army pressure of the humanitarian In-
dian reformers and the insensitivity of Congress to the needs of the
army, for example. But he lays much of the blame at the door of the
military themselves-petty feuding among the officers, incompetent
enlisted men, and officers ill-trained for the task at hand. He writes, in
a typical indictment, "Even the most well-intentioned individuals pre-
ferred the politics of promotion and transfer to the thankless task
of formulating and promoting an enlightened or effective Indian pol-
icy" (p. 192).
The theme is pursued through the two parts of the book. The first
part, chapters 1-3, deals directly with the character of the army after
the Civil War and the problems the army faced in its Indian policy. The
second part, chapters 4-6, narrates the story of military encounters
with the Indians from 1865 to 1903, to show the army's weaknesses,
failures, and lack of a fundamental strategy.
Wooster's charges are based on extensive archival sources, but his
overall indictment seems too harsh. One needs to see not only the prob-
lems facing a conventional army dealing with an unconventional foe-
to borrow Robert Utley's useful concept-but to understand the result
in the perspective of the times. I got the impression that Wooster would
like to have seen a highly efficient army pursue its own Indian policy,
free of hindrance from Congress or humanitarians. But I wonder if
that was a historically feasible alternative.
Wooster is not entirely clear whether he is writing about the army's
influence on United States Indian policy in the period or whether he
intends to trace simply the army's own Indian policy (or lack thereof).
The title and some spots in the book seem to suggest the former, but
most of the book is about the latter. The book, in fact, is weak in its
consideration of civilian Indian policy and the forces behind it.
Nevertheless, the book has much useful data and some consciously
revisionist interpretations. It is a worthwhile supplement to the classic
works of Robert Utley.
Marquette University FRANCIS PAUL PRUCHA
Red Fox: Stand Watie and the Confederate Indian Nations during the Civil
War Years in Indian Territory. By Wilfred Knight. (Glendale, Calif.:
Arthur C. Clark Co., 1988. Pp. 320. Prologue, preface, illustra-
tions, notes, bibliography, index. $27.50.)

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101213/. Accessed August 1, 2014.