The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992 Page: 270
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Southwestern Hzstorzcal Quarterly
This comprehensive guide will be of great value to scholars interested in re-
searching Native American history. Only a few items have been omitted such as
the Indian-related Elmer Thomas Papers. Especially useful is the synopsis of
each collection and the inclusion of photographic collections, sound record-
ings, microforms, newspapers, and periodicals not found in standard guides to
University oJ Texa.s, Arlington KENNETH R. PHILP
Cheyennes and Horse Soldzers: The 1857 Expedition and the Battle of Solomon's Fork.
By William Y. Chalfant. Foreword by Robert M. Utley. Illustrations by Roy
Grinnell. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989. Pp. xvii+415.
Foreword, acknowledgments, prologue, maps, illustrations, black-and-
white photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index. $24.95.)
Sagebrush Soldzer. Pnuvate William Earl Smith's Vzew of the Szoux War of 1876.
By Sherry L. Smith. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989.
Pp. xvili+ 158. Preface, illustrations, black-and-white photos, epilogue, bib-
liography, index. $18.95.)
The past twenty years have witnessed a marked renewal of interest in the
Indian-fighting army, and a series of excellent studies have stripped away the
layers of myth and romance that once gilded a troubled and erratic organiza-
tion. While Custer cultists still engage in frivolous and redundant debates over
the Battle of the Little Big Horn, scholars possessing a broader vision are busily
plowing new furrows and reaping rich harvests.
William Y. Chalfant and Sherry L. Smith have published books that place them
among the more perceptive students of the regular army in the West. Each au-
thor avoids the twin pitfalls of ethnocentrism and white guilt by treating Indian
warriors and blue-clad troopers with equal sensitivity and respect. This difficult
balancing act invests the works reviewed here with added credibility.
Chalfant's Cheyennes and Hoise Soldiers is an old-fashioned, drum-and-bugle
account of the expedition the U.S. Army sent onto the Central Plains to chastise
the Cheyennes in 1857. The effort culminated in the Battle of Solomon's Fork,
July 29, 1857, when Col. Edwin V. Sumner led 300 First Cavalrymen against an
equal force of hostile braves. Assured by their religious leaders that they would
be protected from white bullets, the Cheyennes held their ground until Sum-
ner's troopers drew their sabers. Realihzming their gods had deserted them, the
Indians chose the most sensible option open to them and fled.
In addition to crafting the definitive recreation of a minor but dramatic en-
gagement, Chalfant, a lawyer and a director of the Kansas Historical Society,
skillfully describes the events leading up to the battle. Largely a travelogue trac-
ing white and red movements, the text skillfully portrays the prodigious logis-
tical challenges involved in tranIsporting and sustaining an army column in a
wild and remote country.
Sherry L. Smith, a historian at the University of Texas at El Paso, based Sage-
brush Soldier on the diary of her great-grandfather, William Earl Smith, a pri-
vate in the crack Fourth Cavalry who served in the final stages of the Sioux War
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992, periodical, 1992; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117153/m1/316/: accessed May 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.