The American Soldier, 1866–1916

The Enlisted Man and the Transformation of the United States Army


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SKU: 9781476667256 Categories: , ,

About the Book

In the years following the Civil War, the U.S. Army underwent a professional decline. Soldiers served their enlistments at remote, nameless posts from Arizona to Alaska. Harsh weather, bad food and poor conditions were adversaries as dangerous as Indian raiders. Yet under these circumstances, men continued to enlist for $13 a month.
Drawing on soldiers’ narratives, personal letters and official records, the author explores the common soldier’s experience during the Reconstruction Era, the Indian Wars, the Spanish-American War, the Philippine-American War and the Punitive Expedition into Mexico.

About the Author(s)

John A. Haymond is a conflict historian researching the history of the U.S. Army, military law and the impact of war on society. He retired from the U.S. Army in 2009 and lives in San Antonio, Texas. He can be contacted at

Bibliographic Details

John A. Haymond
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 341
Bibliographic Info: 59 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6725-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3208-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Preface 1
Introduction: History and Heritage 5
1. After Appomattox: The Army in Decline 9
2. Fetterman’s Chance: The Fight on Lodge Trail Ridge 17
3. Joining Up: Enlisting in the Army 23
4. Against the Odds: The Hayfield and Wagon Box Fights 31
5. Drill and Marksmanship: Learning the Soldier’s Trade 41
6. Soldiering on the Frontier: “Bring enough money to pay your own funeral expenses” 51
7. Shoulder Straps and Chevrons: Privates, NCOs and Officers 70
8. Books and Baseball: Soldiers’ Entertainments 89
9. Bacon, Bread and Coffee: Army Rations 102
10. “The curse of the army”: Alcohol and the Soldier 124
11. Hard, ­Horse-Killing Marches: Campaigning on the Frontier 137
12. Crime and Punishment: “A 24-pound ball on a ­six-foot chain” 151
13. Patrol, Pursuit and Skirmish: The Nature of Combat in the Indian Wars 170
14. The Desertion Problem: “Giving the army the grand bounce” 180
15. The Color Line: The Army and Race 186
16. “Mr. Lo”: The Soldier and the Indian 200
17. Politics and a Massacre: The Army’s Quest for Control of the Indian Bureau 209
18. “A damned big fight”: The 7th Cavalry at the Little Big Horn 223
19. The End of an Era: The Pine Ridge Campaign and Wounded Knee 231
20. The War with Spain: A Different Army for a Different War 239
21. Waiting in the Wings: The ­Spanish-American War in the Training Camps 247
22. Scandal and Reform: The Aftermath of the ­Spanish-American War 255
23. “A diabolical threat”: The ­Anti-Canteen Campaign 259
24. Soldiers of Empire: The Army in the Philippines 270
25. The War in the Philippines: “Battles we never enlisted for…” 276
26. Into Mexico: The 1916 Punitive Expedition 291
Conclusion: The Gathering Storm 299
Appendix: Major Campaigns and Combat Engagements of the Indian Wars, 1866–1890 305
Chapter Notes 307
Bibliography 321
Index 331

Book Reviews & Awards

“Haymond focuses on the daily lives of enlisted personnel, who did their service in frontier outposts in the US and the Territory of Alaska…. a rewarding study…recommended”—Choice