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11/20/2019 5:07:11 PM
Posted: 7/21/2010 10:44:42 AM EST
in the Regular Army, oh!

This line from one of the Duke's cavalry flicks has been running through my head. So I looked it up and found this.....


Forty Miles a Day on Beans and Hay: The Enlisted Soldier Fighting the Indian Wars

Between the end of the Civil War and the War with Spain that effectively opened the 20th century, the Regular Army –– the "Old Army" –– had as its primary business the suppression of the Indians on the Great Plains and in the western mountains and deserts. There was no conscription and all the rank and file were volunteers –– but that didn't mean the Army was getting the cream of the American crop of young men. Enlisting was seen by the majority of civilians (most of whom had never met a Regular) as the last attempt at survival by society's failures.

The government, while aware of the need for a small standing army to defend settlers filling up the west, begrudged the expense until well into the 1880s, when a military management revolution began to turn the U.S. Army into a profession at all levels.

Dr. Rickey, a long-time employee of the National Park Service, was a leading expert on the military history of the American West and this volume has become the standard work on the role of the enlisted man. The treatment is generally topical rather than chronological, with chapters devoted to recruitment and enlistment, the distinctions between the ranks, military administration and organization, the routine of garrison duty, the material side of life on a post, discipline and the desertion problem (which was huge throughout this period), crime and punishment, recreation and relaxation, preparing for campaigns, the enlisted man's weapons and equipment, the nature of field service and combat in the West, cowardice and heroism, and discharge and re-enlistment.

Besides official reports and Congressional testimony, which provide useful context, Rickey makes use of a very extensive array of soldiers' diaries and letters, both published and in archival collections, as well as a large number of surveys which he mailed to surviving veterans of the Indian Wars during the early 1950s. Some of the latter led to extended correspondence with veterans, some of whom became officers in the War with Spain and in World War I.

The most notable thing about the Regular Army in the West was the appalling degree of hardship it underwent in all sorts of conditions –– and not just when campaigning at forty degrees below zero or a hundred above. Disease was rife, supplies were usually short, rations were barely edible, and some members of the officer class were uncontrolled. Today's volunteer soldier would find himself hard put to survive. The style of the book is straightforward and anecdotes crowd every page as examples of the points the author makes. This is a work unlikely ever to be replaced.


After I finish Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire this looks like a good one.


Link Posted: 7/21/2010 11:30:54 AM EST
[Last Edit: 7/21/2010 11:31:50 AM EST by raf]
Link Posted: 7/21/2010 2:05:00 PM EST
I read it several years ago. Very good book. Lots of information on how the Soldiers in that era stationed in the West lived.
Link Posted: 7/21/2010 2:11:06 PM EST
Originally Posted By raf:
Originally Posted By callgood:
in the Regular Army, oh!

This line from one of the Duke's cavalry flicks has been running through my head. So I looked it up and found this.....

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51S8TMKWP5L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg
Forty Miles a Day on Beans and Hay: The Enlisted Soldier Fighting the Indian Wars

Between the end of the Civil War and the War with Spain that effectively opened the 20th century, the Regular Army –– the "Old Army" –– had as its primary business the suppression of the Indians on the Great Plains and in the western mountains and deserts. There was no conscription and all the rank and file were volunteers –– but that didn't mean the Army was getting the cream of the American crop of young men. Enlisting was seen by the majority of civilians (most of whom had never met a Regular) as the last attempt at survival by society's failures.

The government, while aware of the need for a small standing army to defend settlers filling up the west, begrudged the expense until well into the 1880s, when a military management revolution began to turn the U.S. Army into a profession at all levels.

Dr. Rickey, a long-time employee of the National Park Service, was a leading expert on the military history of the American West and this volume has become the standard work on the role of the enlisted man. The treatment is generally topical rather than chronological, with chapters devoted to recruitment and enlistment, the distinctions between the ranks, military administration and organization, the routine of garrison duty, the material side of life on a post, discipline and the desertion problem (which was huge throughout this period), crime and punishment, recreation and relaxation, preparing for campaigns, the enlisted man's weapons and equipment, the nature of field service and combat in the West, cowardice and heroism, and discharge and re-enlistment.

Besides official reports and Congressional testimony, which provide useful context, Rickey makes use of a very extensive array of soldiers' diaries and letters, both published and in archival collections, as well as a large number of surveys which he mailed to surviving veterans of the Indian Wars during the early 1950s. Some of the latter led to extended correspondence with veterans, some of whom became officers in the War with Spain and in World War I.

The most notable thing about the Regular Army in the West was the appalling degree of hardship it underwent in all sorts of conditions –– and not just when campaigning at forty degrees below zero or a hundred above. Disease was rife, supplies were usually short, rations were barely edible, and some members of the officer class were uncontrolled. Today's volunteer soldier would find himself hard put to survive. The style of the book is straightforward and anecdotes crowd every page as examples of the points the author makes. This is a work unlikely ever to be replaced.


After I finish Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire this looks like a good one.




I've read it, and it is a well-written, excellent book. I enjoyed the reading of it so much that I was sad when I completed it.


I had this same experience. Great book. Bought it at Ft. Laramie.
Link Posted: 7/21/2010 2:13:14 PM EST
Our church's book store carries that book. Our preacher read it and had it added to the inventory.
Link Posted: 7/21/2010 2:14:50 PM EST
Originally Posted By Giltweasel:
Originally Posted By raf:
Originally Posted By callgood:
in the Regular Army, oh!

This line from one of the Duke's cavalry flicks has been running through my head. So I looked it up and found this.....

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51S8TMKWP5L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg
Forty Miles a Day on Beans and Hay: The Enlisted Soldier Fighting the Indian Wars

Between the end of the Civil War and the War with Spain that effectively opened the 20th century, the Regular Army –– the "Old Army" –– had as its primary business the suppression of the Indians on the Great Plains and in the western mountains and deserts. There was no conscription and all the rank and file were volunteers –– but that didn't mean the Army was getting the cream of the American crop of young men. Enlisting was seen by the majority of civilians (most of whom had never met a Regular) as the last attempt at survival by society's failures.

The government, while aware of the need for a small standing army to defend settlers filling up the west, begrudged the expense until well into the 1880s, when a military management revolution began to turn the U.S. Army into a profession at all levels.

Dr. Rickey, a long-time employee of the National Park Service, was a leading expert on the military history of the American West and this volume has become the standard work on the role of the enlisted man. The treatment is generally topical rather than chronological, with chapters devoted to recruitment and enlistment, the distinctions between the ranks, military administration and organization, the routine of garrison duty, the material side of life on a post, discipline and the desertion problem (which was huge throughout this period), crime and punishment, recreation and relaxation, preparing for campaigns, the enlisted man's weapons and equipment, the nature of field service and combat in the West, cowardice and heroism, and discharge and re-enlistment.

Besides official reports and Congressional testimony, which provide useful context, Rickey makes use of a very extensive array of soldiers' diaries and letters, both published and in archival collections, as well as a large number of surveys which he mailed to surviving veterans of the Indian Wars during the early 1950s. Some of the latter led to extended correspondence with veterans, some of whom became officers in the War with Spain and in World War I.

The most notable thing about the Regular Army in the West was the appalling degree of hardship it underwent in all sorts of conditions –– and not just when campaigning at forty degrees below zero or a hundred above. Disease was rife, supplies were usually short, rations were barely edible, and some members of the officer class were uncontrolled. Today's volunteer soldier would find himself hard put to survive. The style of the book is straightforward and anecdotes crowd every page as examples of the points the author makes. This is a work unlikely ever to be replaced.


After I finish Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire this looks like a good one.




I've read it, and it is a well-written, excellent book. I enjoyed the reading of it so much that I was sad when I completed it.


I had this same experience. Great book. Bought it at Ft. Laramie.


lol i got mine at Ft Laramie to, good read
Link Posted: 7/21/2010 3:15:06 PM EST
Tagged so I can get a copy for my son.
Link Posted: 7/21/2010 3:19:28 PM EST
"and maybe horseflesh before this campain is over"

Your Duke quote is the very end of Fort Apache


Lesson learned: Never charge up a box canyon mounted by fours
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