The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993

Book Reviews

magic. A female prophet pronounced the soldiers to be peaceful, and most
thoughts of alarm passed; the Comanches were betrayed by their own mysticism.
Comanche security in camp, always lax, was not increased. Van Dorn achieved
tactical surprise after a forced march, and won a hard-fought victory that saw
some seventy Comanche warriors slain. These were horrific losses for the fragile
Comanche bands.
A second expedition in 1859 pursued a band of Comanches to southwestern
Kansas, where on Crooked Creek the soldiers defeated them in a bitter, close-
quarters fight in a wooded creek bed, where the dismounted and doomed Co-
manches put up a bitter battle to the last warrior.
The exertions of the Second Cavalry had put the Southern Plains Indians on
the defensive by 1861, when the regiment was withdrawn for Civil War service.
These expeditions set the stage for the great cavalry campaigns which finally sub-
jugated the Indians after the Civil War.
This is a detailed yet readable book which gives much information about the
pre-Civil War army. It adequately conveys the "Big Picture" of events while exam-
ining specific incidents in detail. It is an important contribution to the literature
of the American Southwest, illuminating two little-known but important frontier
military actions in a balanced treatment fair to both red men and white.
Tulsa, Oklahoma ROBERT D. NORRIS, JR.
Jesse Chisholm: Ambassador of the Plains. By Stan Hoig (Niwot: University Press of
Colorado, 1991. Pp. xiii+226. Preface, prologue, map, black-and-white pho-
tographs, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. $28.oo.)
Stan Hoig took on a formidable task when he set out to write about the leg-
endary Jesse Chisholm. Almost nothing had ever been written about him, al-
though the Chisholm name is forever imbedded in the annals of the American
West through stories of his namesake trail. Precious little was ever known about
the man, even by his contemporaries. Furthermore, Chisholm left behind no
personal records, or at least none that have survived. Yet Chisholm was an eye-
witness to the formative years of the Southwestern frontier and apparently
played a major role as a trader, scout, peacemaker, and trailblazer.
Jesse Chisholm was more than just an itinerant Indian trader. Born to a Scot-
tish adventurer and a Cherokee woman, Chisholm grew up among the Chero-
kees in Arkansas. Although from time to time he joined with white adventurers
on the frontier, he soon won the respect of all the tribes of the Southwest and
subsequently became fluent in every Indian language of the area. A modest,
peaceful man, Chisholm took great pride in dealing fairly with both Indians and
whites, and apparently moved about freely, even among the feared Comanches.
He frequently served as emissary to the Indians and played an important role in
Sam Houston's attempts to bring peace to the troubled frontier of the Republic
of Texas.
If Hoig's book has a theme, it is Chisholm the peacemaker. Present at nearly
every major gathering of Indians for the purpose of making peace, Chisholm


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed July 22, 2014.