In response to a Reader’s Question as to whether Rough Enough documents atrocities against Native American Indians during this period of time, the simple answer is, no. But let me elaborate on what it does cover a bit more in case it can lead you to references that might hit topics you find interestingon Montana or Dakota history as well as the Civil War.
Killings of soldiers and travelers: During the period 1867 – 1870, Rough Enough documents and refers to several Indian attacks, most generally associated with the raids that were conducted to take horses and cattle at Fort Buford, a direct attack on Ft. Shaw, by Blackfoot Indians and an attack in the Gallatin/Yellowstone drainage on soldiers from Ft. Ellis. Richard Clow’s letter to his sister in 1869 documents the killing of several civilians in Ft. Buford’s vicinity and his reaction to that particular killing. The 13th Infantry in Montana and Dakota Territory at that time was tasked with building all of these fortifications which were poorly manned (under 100 – 200 soldiers) and could only patrol or follow up small bands of Indians, let along protect themselves in remote areas with virtually no supply lines. The book contains information as to the recorded deaths at Fort Buford during a 10 year period and you will note that soldiers were more generally dying from things other than Indian attacks despite what the rumors and trade books would lead us to believe. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Indian_massacres for a full accounting of massacres, references and dates. By comparison to other times, this period was generally more peaceful.
Killings of Native American Indians-The Marias River Massacre: The only documented massacre of Indians in this section of the country during this particular time period was the Marias River Massacre in western Montana in 1870 in which 200 + older men, women and children were killed by Maj. E. Becker, under the command of Gen. Sheridan. See full account: https://www.legendsofamerica.com/na-mariasmassacre/ . This particular massacre has been described as one of the most atrocious killings of innocent civilian Native Americans and gives one good reason to understand why after this time, a lot of Native Americans Indians developed a strong hatred for soldiers and intruders into their territories. In Rough Enough, there are descriptions of small confrontations and killings but no other massacres initiated by the military or civilians of Native American Indians.
The next massacre incident in this part of the United States was the Big Hole Massacre of Chief Joseph’s women and children in 1877. This is an equally despicable attack on a sleeping non-military camps under Col. Gibbon in the running battle which occurred as Chief Joseph tried to lead his people to Canada to escape further persecution. See: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/nez-perce-fight-battle-of-big-hole .
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