Colonel Richard Irving Dodge: The Life and Times of a Career Army Officer



Colonel Richard Irving Dodge: The Life and Times of a Career Army Officer
Few soldiers saw more of the late-nineteenth-century West and its peoples or made more friends and acquaintances, civilian and military, than the energetic and sociable Col. Richard Irving Dodge. In this first biography of the soldier-author, Wayne R. Kime describes Dodge’s early years, experiences as a writer, and forty-three-year career as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army, setting his life story in a rich historical context.
Between 1848 and 1891 Dodge participated in the Great Sioux War, explored the Black Hills, commanded infantry regiments, and served as an aide-de-camp to General William Tecumseh Sherman. He was personally engaged in the ongoing power struggle between the army and the Bureau of Indian Affairs over how best to solve the country’s so-called Indian problem.
Dodge was a paradox. He admired Plains Indians and lamented the end of their way of life brought on by confinement on reservations and the slaughter of buffalo. Yet he also considered Indians to be “savages” who could be “civilized” only by threat of force. As Kime reveals, the contradictions in Dodge’s life and thought mirrored the ambivalence that many Americans felt about Indian policy and westward expansion.
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