Daughter of the Regiment: Memoirs of a Childhood in the Frontier Army, 1878-1898

Daughter of the Regiment: Memoirs of a Childhood in the Frontier Army, 1878-1898

Daughter of the Regiment: Memoirs of a Childhood in the Frontier Army, 1878-1898

Daughter of the Regiment: Memoirs of a Childhood in the Frontier Army, 1878-1898

Synopsis

"For children, who didn't know they were living under hardship, life on a western military post was exciting. . . . This account records a child's view of the military's last hurrah in the West."-Denver Post. "Written in 1944-45, the book offers Mary Leefe Laurence's eyewitness account, from ages six to 26, of life at a series of frontier forts, including Fort Dodge and Fort Leavenworth. . . . Laurence offers rare glimpses of Western life and of a handful of historic figures, including Geronimo."-Publishers Weekly. "The only known book-length memoir of childhood in the post-Civil War army . . . This rare memoir deserves a wide audience."-Kansas History.The young daughter of an English-born U. S. infantry officer on the post-Civil War frontier, Mary Leefe Laurence had the childhood of an army nomad, accompanying the regiment from south Texas to the Canadian border. In faithfully recording her travels, she offers extensive and unique insight into life as a child and adolescent in the twilight of the Indian-fighting army.Thomas T. Smith is a Regular Army Major of Infantry on assignment to the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He is the editor of A Dose of Frontier Soldiering: The Memoirs of Coporal E. A. Bode, Frontier Regular Infantry, 1877-1882.

Excerpt

MARY LEEFE LAURENCE, called "Mamie" by her family, offers the reader a rare view into the domestic and family aspects of the post--Civil War frontier army. Her memoirs are the most extensive and detailed recollections of an army child of the nineteenth century, focusing on the period of her sixth to twenty-sixth year, roughly 1878 to 1898.

In 1944 she began the original manuscript, entitled "A Rainbow Passes," at Port Washington on Long Island, New York, completing it just prior to her death in the summer of 1945. Her friend, Major General Guy V. Henry Jr., wrote the preface to the manuscript. Like her, Henry spent his childhood in the frontier army, the son of a famous cavalry officer of the Indian Wars. Like her, he left his own vivid memoirs, although in much briefer form.

The odyssey of the manuscript written by Mary Leefe Laurence offers an insight to the sometimes oddly circuitous path of the historical process. Shortly after her death, Stanley Vestal began to edit the typescript for publication. Vestal, professor of writing at the University of Oklahoma . . .

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