British Custeriana Series


Army Failures Against The Sioux in 1876: An Examination

 by Francis B. Taunton



The second of the series is Francis Tauntonís concise examination of the U.S. Armyís failings in the 1876 Sioux Campaign which was first published in April 1963. Yet despite the fact that many worthwhile books have been written since then, very few, with the exception of John Grayís Centennial Campaign: The Sioux War of 1876 first published in 1976, Wayne M. Sarf's The Little Bighorn Campaign March Ė September 1876, first published 1993 and Peter Panzeri's Little Big Horn 1876 - Custer's Last Stand Number 39 in the Osprey Military Campaign Series, have attempted to examine in any detail the complete campaign. Most writers have tended to concentrate on the events immediately before and after the defeat of Custerís 7th Cavalry on the Little Big Horn. Others have dealt with it as part of a general theme on the history of the white manís contact with the Native American Indian and the many wars that followed. Although it would be true to say that interest in the campaign worldwide would not have existed to the extent that it does had it not been for Custerís demise, it is fitting that this article should be updated and republished now as we approach the 125th Anniversary of the battle, because it will allow general readers and historians to take a much wider view of the campaign than just those events on that fateful June day in 1876. 

In Tauntonís examination is an attempt to set the events in context and he argues that war in 1876 had been inevitable ever since Red Cloudís war of 1866 had helped to persuade the U.S. Government to ultimately abandon the forts along the Bozeman Trail and attempt to negotiate a treaty. There were numerous factors, which all contributed to the U.S. Armyís failing during the initial stages of the 1876 campaign and Taunton eloquently makes these points. The militaryís eventual defeat of the hostiles was inevitable but owed much to luck and the fact that it was impossible for the tribes to remain concentrated due to the scarcity of game. The latter fact meant that they could only survive by breaking up into smaller groups, particularly with the onset of winter. Yet out of these adversities both Sherman and Sheridan were able to put in place the institutions that would make the U.S. Army a more professional body although it would not be until the beginning of the 20th Century that the changes that began after 1876 were to bear fruit. 

Price: £5.00 ($10.00) including Postage and Packaging to subscribing members of EWS and CAGB.

All others £6.50 ($13.00) excluding postage and packaging. 

Members of either EWS or CAGB should order from either Barry Corbett (EWS) or Kevin Galvin (CAGB). 


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