Hero of Beecher Island: The Life and Military Career of George A. Forsyth
George A. Forsyth took a determined stand against Sioux and Cheyenne Indians at the Battle of Beecher Island in 1868 and in the process transformed this minor frontier skirmish into a legendary symbol of the American West. This engagement helped mold popular conception of Indian warfare and provided Forsyth with the reputation of being an intrepid Indian fighter like George Custer and Buffalo Bill. Although this image of Forsyth is not necessarily incorrect, it is certainly incomplete. In addition to serving as an instrument of government Indian policy, the army carried out other important missions designed to foster internal development in the United States. These activities included exploring and mapping the remnants of the uncharted West: escorting railroad survey and construction crews and building forts along the major lines of commerce. As a staff officer, George Forsyth played an important part in all of these activities and more. Therefore, while this biography chronicles the life and military career of a remarkable soldier, it also provides fresh insight into the role that the United States Army played during the post-Civil War period.
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List of Figures ix
adjutant Apaches April Arikaree Arizona army attack Beaumont Beecher Island Beecher Island Annual Beecher Island Fight Black Hills brigade buffalo camp campaign Canyon Captain Cavalry Corps charge Cheyennes Chicago Tribune Civil Colonel Forsyth command Confederate Court-Martial Creek Custer division Dragoons duty Eighth Illinois Emory Upton expedition fire forces Forsyth to Sheridan Forsyth wrote Fort Huachuca Fort Wallace Fourth Cavalry frontier George Forsyth Geronimo Goldwater Grover History horses Ibid Indian infantry J. E. B. Stuart Kansas later letter Lieutenant Colonel Lincoln Louisiana Major Forsyth March McClellan Medill Mexico Michael Sheridan miles military Natalie ordered party Phil Sheridan Philip H plains Pleasonton Potomac Press railroad rebel regiment Report Republican Republican River River scouts September served Shenandoah Sherman Sioux soldiers staff officers trail troopers troops Tupper's Union Cavalry Upton Valley vouchers Wallace warriors Washington West White League William William Medill Wood wounded Yellowstone York