By John Vance Lauderdale, Jerry Green
The Wounded Knee bloodbath of December 29, 1890, recognized to U.S. army historians because the final conflict in "the Indian Wars," used to be in fact one other tragic occasion in a bigger development of conquest, destruction, killing, and damaged provides that proceed to this present day. On a chilly winter's morning greater than a century in the past, the U.S. 7th Cavalry attacked and killed greater than 260 Lakota males, girls, and youngsters at Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota. within the aftermath, the damaged, twisted our bodies of the Lakota humans have been quickly lined by means of a blanket of snow, as a snowfall swept in the course of the geographical region. a couple of days later, veteran military physician John Vance Lauderdale arrived for accountability on the within reach Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. stunned via what he encountered, he wrote various letters to his closest relatives detailing the occasions, aftermath, and way of life at the Reservation less than army career. He additionally handled the wounded, either Cavalry infantrymen and Lakota civilians. What distinguishes After Wounded Knee from the big physique of literature already to be had at the bloodbath is Lauderdale's frank value determinations of army existence and a private statement of the tragedy, untainted by means of self-serving memory or adorned newspaper and political reviews. His feel of frustration and outrage towards the army command, specially about the strategies used opposed to the Lakota, is vividly obvious during this intimate view of Lauderdale's lifestyles. His correspondence offers new perception right into a normal topic and used to be written on the top of the cultural fight among the U.S. and Lakota humans. Jerry Green's cautious enhancing of this gigantic assortment, a part of the loo Vance Lauderdale Papers within the Western Americana assortment in Yale University's Beinecke Library, clarifies Lauderdale's stories on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
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Their editorial skills and tireless effort added much needed polish to my research. Special thanks are due to some remarkably special people. R. Eli Paul, of the Nebraska State Historical Society in Lincoln, Nebraska. He first made me aware of the Lauderdale papers, and it was at his urging that I undertook the editing of this volume. Without his support, editorial advice, and encouragement this work would not exist. Dr. and Mrs. James W. Wengert of Omaha, Nebraska offered me their friendship and hospitality.
With much gratitude and undying love, I dedicate this work to her. Page xv Editor's Notes The journals and correspondence of John Vance Lauderdale are preserved in the Western Americana Collection of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. The collection totals twenty one boxes of material, covering the period 18381931. The preponderance of material spans the years 18521916. The letters presented here are his entire correspondence from 1 January 1891 to 3 March 1891.
The spoils system was deeply entrenched within the federal government, and on most reservations the agent and his staff changed with each change of the administration in Washington. The men appointed as agents were rarely qualified for the position. Agency traders and contractors in collusion with the agent frequently profited at the expense of the Indians. 4 In agreement with popular opinion of the time, Lauderdale believed that the best way to eliminate corruption would be to give the army control of Indian affairs.
After Wounded Knee by John Vance Lauderdale, Jerry Green