Colonel Richard Irving Dodge: The Life And Times of a Career by Wayne R. Kime

By Wayne R. Kime

Few squaddies observed extra of the late-nineteenth-century West and its peoples or made extra acquaintances and friends, civilian and army, than the full of life and sociable Col. Richard Irving evade. during this first biography of the soldier-author, Wayne R. Kime describes Dodge’s early years, reports as a author, and forty-three-year occupation as an infantry officer within the U.S. military, atmosphere his existence tale in a wealthy historic context.Between 1848 and 1891 ward off participated within the nice Sioux conflict, explored the Black Hills, commanded infantry regiments, and served as an aide-de-camp to basic William Tecumseh Sherman. He used to be in my opinion engaged within the ongoing strength fight among the military and the Bureau of Indian Affairs over how most sensible to unravel the country’s so-called Indian problem.Dodge was once a paradox. He favourite Plains Indians and lamented the tip in their lifestyle as a result of confinement on reservations and the slaughter of buffalo. but he additionally thought of Indians to be “savages” who should be “civilized” in simple terms by way of hazard of strength. As Kime unearths, the contradictions in Dodge’s lifestyles and suggestion reflected the ambivalence that many americans felt approximately Indian coverage and westward enlargement.

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He was gaining distance on his pursuers when his horse stumbled and fell, breaking its neck and trapping him beneath it. 62 Dodge later learned more about this incident from a Mexican youth who had been made to interpret for the murderous Comanches when they interrogated the one surviving member of the luckless party, a drummer boy about twelve years old. His answers convinced the Indians that their plan to attack the new post would surely result in disaster to them. Angered, they turned over their informant to the squaws, who now sustained the reputation of their sex among Indians as experts at inflicting prolonged torture.

Whether the mental lapse of this tenderfoot became an object of general amusement at the time it occurred is doubtful, but on other occasions Dodge “rallied” his fellow officers when they made themselves fair targets. In later life, for example, he joked with a captain under his command about the doubtful courage of the soldiers in that officer’s company. 53 Ribbing of this sort was the spice of comradeship, and those who engaged in it could expect to receive as well as to give. Once when Dodge was lost and alone on the Texas plains, he caught sight of smoke from a fire that he feared might indicate an Indian camp.

Seated comfortably one night in his ramada, Dodge unwittingly had a narrow brush with death. With his dog lying at his feet, he was filling out quartermaster’s papers when suddenly the dog made a furious rush at the door, as if to thwart an intruder. Startled, Dodge opened the door and looked out into the darkness. He called to the sentinel, who had seen and heard nothing. It appeared his dog had given a false alarm, so he scolded it, closed the door, and soon after went to bed. Later that night some Mexicans from the nearby ranch rushed into camp with the news that Indians had stolen all their horses, and the next morning Dodge sent out a guide to find the trail of the thieving party and work out the facts of the case.

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