Cheyennes and Horse Soldiers: The 1857 Expedition and the Battle of Solomon's Fork

William Y. Chalfant, Author, Roy Grinnell, Illustrator University of Oklahoma Press $39.95 (415p) ISBN 978-0-8061-2194-9
The product of meticulous archival research and terrain study, this chronicles an early punitive expedition by the First U.S. Cavalry against the Cheyennes, climaxing in a skirmish on July 29, 1857 in what is now northwestern Kansas. The military aspect is central to the book, but much else is offered to interest lovers of Western lore. Worked smoothly into the narrative are rich chunks of material about cavalry traditions and routine, about Cheyenne religion, folkways and war-making, and descriptions of incidents bearing only indirectly on the campaign, such as the account of a close call by one of the cavalry columns when an immense herd of buffalo stampeded directly toward their encampment. Much of the story deals with the First Cavalry's difficulties in finding the nomadic Indians. The actual battle featured a wild saber charge followed by scattered chases, a few of which ended in face-to-face duels. Chalfant, director of the Kansas Historical Society, writes admiringly of the warriors on both sides and brings an air of vivid immediacy to his historically valuable narrative. Illustrations. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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