FORT PHIL KEARNY by Dee Brown

FORT PHIL KEARNY

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Although the story of Fort Phil Kearny and the Fetterman Massacre of 1866 has been fictionalized many times, often inaccurately, it has been largely neglected by formal historians. This meticulously documented and exciting book should stand as the definitive account. The chief protagonists in this tale of heartbreak and heroism, personal enmities and over-confidence, are Col. Henry B. Carrington, the cautious and conscientious commander of the fort, and Capt. William J. Fetterman, a brilliant officer ignorant of Indian warfare, whose recklessness led to his own death and that of 80 officers and men. Carrington, who had never before seen active service, was ordered to build two forts on the Bozeman Trail which led to the Montana goldfields through lands guaranteed forever by treaty to the Indians as closed hunting grounds. The Indians, chiefly Sioux, were infuriated by the invasion and warred on the whites under Chief Red Cloud. Phil Kearny, compact and strongly built, was their chief target. Lacking men, horses and rifles, his requests for help ignored, Carrington did not dare risk meeting the Indians in battle; his officers, led by Fetterman, accused him of cowardice. Finally on December 21, 1866, Fetterman disobeyed orders and led his men into a planned ambush from which not one white man escaped... Based on army records and first hand accounts, often shattering traditions, this is for Western historians, devotees and obligatory for Americans collections.

Publisher: Putnam