The Diaries of John Gregory Bourke - Vol. 3

The Diaries of John Gregory Bourke - Vol. 3

The Diaries of John Gregory Bourke - Vol. 3

The Diaries of John Gregory Bourke - Vol. 3

Synopsis

Begins in 1878 with a discussion of the Bannock Uprising and a retrospective on Crazy Horse. This work also includes comments on issues in the military during his day, such as the quirks and foibles of the Irish soldiers who made up a large part of the frontier army, and also on the problems of Johnson Whittaker.

Excerpt

Volume 3 of this series covers John Gregory Bourke’s diaries from June 1, 1878, through June 22, 1880, and manuscript volume 23 to half-way through volume 34. During this period, the notebooks progressively deviate from the standard daily journal to a “stream-of-consciousness.” Increasingly, Bourke is aware that he is writing for posterity. He shifts from the word “journal,” referring more to his “note-books” and “scrapbooks.” This, in part, reflects more time on his hands. For almost the first time in the ten years since he graduated from West Point, Bourke was neither in the field nor preparing for a new field expedition. He could look back on events so far, which gives several interesting retrospectives on his early days in Arizona. He also was able to enjoy the amenities of the East and the urban Midwest, and when he did accompany General Crook, it was in the capacity of administrative inspection, as in the Bannock uprising and site selection for what became Fort Niobrara, Nebraska. in fact, Crook rarely appears in this volume; more often, Bourke is on his own.

1. Fort Niobrara was established in 1880 on the Niobrara River, to protect cattlemen and settlers from whatever roaming bands of Indians might remain, and as an additional control over the Indians at the Spotted Tail Agency. It was abandoned in 1906 and is now a national wildlife refuge. Frazer, Forts of the West, 89.

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