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768 pages. Hardcover with dustjacket. Brand new book. MILITARY HISTORY. "The drums they roll, upon my soul, for that's the way we go, " runs the chorus in a Harrigan and Hart song from 1874. "Forty miles a day on beans and hay in the Regular Army O! " The last three words of that lyric aptly title Douglas C. McChristian's remarkable work capturing the lot of soldiers posted to the West after the Civil War. At once panoramic and intimate, Regular Army O! uses the testimony of enlisted soldiers&emdash; drawn from more than 350 diaries, letters, and memoirs&emdash; to create a vivid picture of life in an evolving army on the western frontier. After the volunteer troops that had garrisoned western forts and camps during the Civil War were withdrawn in 1865, the regular army replaced them. In actions involving American Indians between 1866 and 1891, 875 of these soldiers were killed, mainly in minor skirmishes, while many more died of disease, accident, or effects of the natural environment. What induced these men to enlist for five years and to embrace the grim prospect of combat is one of the enduring questions this book explores. Going well beyond Don Rickey Jr. 's classic work Forty Miles a Day on Beans and Hay (1963), McChristian plumbs the regulars' accounts for frank descriptions of their training to be soldiers; their daily routines, including what they ate, how they kept clean, and what they did for amusement; the reasons a disproportionate number deserted occasionally, while black soldiers only rarely deserted; how the men prepared for field service; and how the majority who survived mustered out. In this richly drawn, uniquely authentic view, men black and white, veteran and tenderfoot, fill in the details of the frontier soldier's experience, giving voice to history in the making. 26 black-and-white Illustrations, 768 pages, 6.125" x 9.25". Douglas C. McChristian is a retired research historian for the National Park Service and a former National Park Service field historian at Fort Davis and Fort Laramie National Historic Sites and at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. He is the author of numerous books, including Fort Bowie, Arizona: Combat Post of the Southwest, 1858-1894 and Fort Laramie: Military Bastion of the High Plains. Robert "Bob" Utley served for 25 years in various capacities with the National Park Service and other federal agencies. Since his retirement from the federal government in 1980, he has devoted himself full time to historical research and writing. His specialty is the history of the American West. Ten of Bob's books have been selections of the History Book Club, eight of the Book of the Month Club. Bob was born in Arkansas October 31, 1929, but reared in Indiana. He attended Purdue and Indiana Universities (BS 1951, MA 1952). Bob spent six collegiate summers as a ranger-historian at Custer Battlefield National Monument, Montana, now Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. He first pinned on the silver park ranger badge (not the present gold one) in June 1947 and took it off in September 1952 to be drafted into the U.S. Army. Bob also served four years, both as an enlisted man and an officer. Although trained as an infantryman, he served the final two years (plus one as a civilian), as a historian for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon. Bob returned to the National Park Service in permanent status in September 1957 and served, successively, as Regional Historian of the Southwest Region in Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1957-64; as Chief Historian in Washington DC, 1964-72; as Director, Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation, 1972-73; and as Assistant Director of the National Park Service for Park Historic Preservation, 1973-76. From 1977 to 1980 he was Deputy Executive Director of the President's Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. One of the founders of the Western History Association, Bob served on its governing council 1962-74 and as...
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