The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996 Page: 502
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
records in the Adjutant General's Office, Heitman compiled data on
every action fought by the regular army from 1790 to 1902. For this
study, I have fleshed out Heitman's data with various other sources, such
as original reports in the National Archives; the annual Reports of the Sec-
retary of War; published primary accounts; and additional information
provided by secondary sources, usually on particular forts, units, or army
The data base has a number of inherent biases. It is extracted from re-
ports representing the army and thus is one-sided. The Indian version of
minor actions lacks documentation, although I have used the few Indian
accounts of major campaigns such as the Red River War. A second prob-
lem is skewed estimates of Indian opponents and casualties from the sol-
diers writing the primary accounts. However, there are several factors
that tend to mitigate wild exaggeration. The army in the nineteenth cen-
tury, as it does today, maintained a strict code of honor, particularly in
official reports to superiors, which includes most of the combat reports.
Even if the unit leader wanted to inflate the numbers in the public
record he would face correction from other soldier-witnesses, often vet-
erans with a keen eye for detail. Nevertheless some bias must be as-
sumed and the specific problem of accurate numbers is discussed in the
section on the army count of Indian casualties.
The methodology of this analysis breaks the record of each engage-
ment into component parts such as date, season, unit, parent fort, Indi-
an tribe, Indian strength, weapons, army unit task-organization, type of
operation, type of combat action, force ratio, results of engagement, lo-
gistics, and casualties. The statistical analysis for this study is not the so-
phisticated, computerized system of the cliomatician, but a simple
stubby-pencil drill on a legal pad using basic math and percentage calcu-
S To list the sources for the details of each of the 219 U.S. Army-Indian skirmishes associated
with Texas would require a footnote of many pages, but they include the following: letters and
combat reports in Report of the Secretary of War for the years 1849-1881 as found in House of Rep-
resentatives Executive Document 1 for each session of Congress; Returns from United States Mil-
itary Posts, 1800-1916, Records of the United States Army Adjutant General's Office,
1780-1917, RG 94, Microfilm Publication M617 (National Archives; cited hereafter as NA);
Records of United States Army Commands, 1784-1821, Letters Received, Department of Texas,
RG 98 (NA), and Records of United States Army Continental Commands, 1821-1920o, Depart-
ment of Texas and the 8th Military Department, Letters Received, 1866-1868, 1868-1870, Tab-
ular Statements of Expeditions and Scouts 1869-1890, RG 393 (NA); General Orders No. 14,
Headquarters, United States Army, Nov. 13, 1857, RG 94 (NA); General Orders No. 22, Head-
quarters, United States Army, Nov. io, 1858, ibid.; Capt. Robert G. Carter, On the Border with
Mackenzie; Or, Winning West Texas from the Comanches (Washington, D.C.,: Eynon, 1935), 349-372;
Robert G. Carter, The Old Sergeant's Story: Fighting Indians and Bad Men in Texas from 1870 to 1876
(1926; reprint, Mattituck, N.Y.: John M. Carroll, 1982), 72, 82-87, 97, 104-110o; John Bell
Hood, Advance and Retreat: Personal Experiences in the United States and Confederate States Armies
(New Orleans: G. T. Beauregard, 1880), 11; Brig. Gen. Richard W. Johnson, A Soldier's Remizns-
cences in Peace and War (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippencott Co., 1886), og9-111, 125-126; Gen.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996, periodical, 1996; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101217/m1/580/: accessed April 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.