Fetterman Fight

 “They made us many promises, more than I can remember. But they kept but one–They promised to take our land…and they took it.”

Red Cloud, Lakota Chief

 

 

Next to the battle of the Little Big Horn, the worst defeat of the US Army in the wars against the Plains Indians was the Fetterman Fight of December 21, 1866.  Fort Phil Kearney was built by the Army in the summer of 1866 to safeguard passage for settlers in Wyoming and Montana over the Bozeman Trail. This touched off what the Army called  Red Clouds War with an alliance of Northern Cheyenne, Lakota and Arapaho fighting to maintain the last hunting ground of the northern plains largely untouched by white settlement.   Skirmishing was constant between the Indians and the garrison at Fort Phil Kearney.

Captain William J. Fetterman arrived at the Fort in November.  He had an extensive combat record in the Civil War, rising to the brevet rank of Lieutenant Colonel of volunteers, but no experience fighting Indians.

On December 21, 1866 Red Cloud, leading a force of Indians, perhaps 1,000 in total, decided to stage an ambush.  Attacking a wagon train sent out from the Fort to cut timber, Red Cloud successfully ambushed a relief force, infantry and cavalry, of 81 men set out from the Fort under Captain Fetterman, completely wiping them out.  The Indians stripped and mutilated the corpses of the soldiers.  Here is the report of Colonel Henry Carrington who commanded the Fort: (more…)

Published in: on November 13, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Fetterman Fight  
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The Rising of the Moon

Something for the weekend.  I feel in the mood for a little Irish rebel music, and nothing fits the bill better than The Rising of the Moon sung by the Clancy Brothers.  The song, written around 1865, celebrates the Irish rising of 1798, when Protestant and Catholic Irishmen, with the help of a small French invasion force, launched a rebellion, probably the largest and most hard fought revolt against English rule in the history of Ireland.  Like all such Irish revolts, except for the last one, it was defeated and drowned in blood.  However, the Irish have ever celebrated their defeats even more than their victories, and the Rising of the Moon is a fitting tribute. (more…)

Published in: on November 13, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on The Rising of the Moon  
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