The Red River War of z874- z 875: Selected
Correspondence between Lieutenant Frank
Baldwin and His Wife, Alice
ROBERT H. STEINBACH*
THE RED RIVER WAR OF 1874- 1875 TOOK PLACE MAINLY IN THE PAN-
handle region of Texas and pitted the United States Army against
the Southern Cheyenne, Kiowa, and Comanche Indians. Col. Nelson
Appleton Miles led one of the military expeditions that marched into
the Red River country and with him he took an extraordinary number
of soldiers and guides who wrote personal accounts describing one
facet or another of the struggle. Scout Thompson McFadden kept a
diary in which he noted the daily progress of the campaign, and from
mid-August 1874 to mid-February 1875, scout J. T. Marshall, reporter
for the Topeka Kansas Daily Commonwealth, sent home newspaper ar-
ticles that gave his personal views about events at the front. Miles's regi-
mental adjutant, Lt. George W. Baird, wrote an official diary of his
colonel's movements during the campaign and saved it among his
papers. Baird's diary made few personal observations, but it has pro-
vided scholars with a chronological record against which other docu-
ments can be checked.
Years after the war, scouts William (Billy) Dixon and Lemuel (Lem)
Wilson narrated their experiences in the Panhandle. Dixon's story
found a publisher through the efforts of his wife, Olive; Wilson's con-
tinues to languish unpublished among the papers of William Cary
Brown. Nelson Miles wrote informative letters home from the front to
his wife, Mary Sherman Miles, and years later discussed the war in two
* Robert H. Steinbach is Senior Editor of Social Studies at Addison-Wesley Publishing Com-
pany, Menlo Park, Cahfornia. He is the author of A Long March: The Lives of Frank and Alzce
Baldwin (1989) and has contributed articles to the revised Handbook of Texas and to Essays and
Monographs in Colorado History.
'Robert C. Carriker (ed.), "Thompson McFadden's Diary of an Indian Campaign, 1874,"
Southwestern Historical Quarterly, LXXV (Oct., 1971), 198-232; J. T. Marshall, The Miles Expedi-
tzon of 1874-1875: An Eyewitness Account of the Red River War, ed. Lonni J. White (Austin: Encino
Press, 1971); George W. Baird Papers (Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka, Kansas).
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 May 29, 2016.