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Give Me Eighty Men : Women and the Myth of the Fetterman Fight - Shannon D. Smith

Give Me Eighty Men

Women and the Myth of the Fetterman Fight

Paperback Published: 1st November 2010
ISBN: 9780803234253
Number Of Pages: 264

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“With eighty men I could ride through the entire Sioux nation.” The story of the Fetterman Fight, near Fort Phil Kearney in present-day Wyoming in 1866, is based entirely on this infamous declaration attributed to Capt. William J. Fetterman. Historical accounts cite this statement in support of the premise that bravado and contempt for the fort’s commander, Col. Henry B. Carrington, compelled Fetterman to disobey direct orders from Carrington and lead his men into an ambush by an alliance of Plains Indians. In the aftermath of the incident, Carrington’s superiors positioned him as solely accountable for the “massacre” by suppressing exonerating evidence. In the face of this betrayal, Carrington’s first and second wives came to their husband’s defense by publishing books presenting his version of the deadly encounter. Although several of Fetterman’s soldiers and fellow officers disagreed with the women’s accounts, their chivalrous deference to women’s moral authority during this age of Victorian sensibilities enabled Carrington’s wives to present their story without challenge. In this fascinating book, Shannon D. Smith reexamines the works of the two Mrs. Carringtons in the context of contemporary evidence. Fetterman emerges as an outstanding officer who respected the Plains Indians’ superiority in numbers, weaponry, and battle skills. Give Me Eighty Men both challenges standard interpretations of this American myth and shows the powerful influence of female writers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Industry Reviews

"Smith's depth of research and her ability to present clear and concise information will add significant resources for historians of nineteenth-century women."-Michele Nacy, Western Historical Quarterly -- Michele Nacy * Western Historical Quarterly *
"Well-written and thoroughly documented, Give Me Eighty Men offers important new interpretations of the Fetterman Fight and how the myth developed. It is a significant contribution to the literature on the fight and the first months at beleaguered Fort Phil Kearny."-Susan Badger Doyle, South Dakota History -- Susan Badger Doyle * South Dakota History *
"Thoroughly researched and very well written, Shannon D. Smith's book joins the works of other recent writers, such as Sherry L. Smith, who have found in the writings of officers' wives not only important chronicles of the post-Civil War West, but the testimony to the growing importance of women in the American public sphere."-Ronald Schultz, Great Plains Quarterly -- Ronald Schultz * Great Plains Quarterly *
"[Smith] updates our understanding of [the Fetterman Fight] by applying the fresh perspective offered by women's and gender scholarship. . . . Readers who might not necessarily pick up a book on gender history will see the value and importance of applying it to all avenues of scholarship, even-perhaps especially-military history."-Journal of Military History
-- Journal of Military History * Journal of Military History *
"Give Me Eighty Men is essential for anyone interested in the Fetterman event. . . . More broadly, Give Me Eighty Men offers valuable insight into how historical narratives are constructed and maintained and reminds historians of the importance of questioning conventional wisdom."-Jeffrey Ostler, Annals of Wyoming -- Jeffrey Ostler * Annals of Wyoming *

Prelude to Disaster
To the Frontier
Ladies of the Regiment
Officers and Gentlemen
Hard Lessons Learned
The Battle of the Hundred-in-the-Hands
Blazing a Paper Trail
Women's Work
The Rest of the Story
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780803234253
ISBN-10: 0803234252
Series: Women in the West
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 264
Published: 1st November 2010
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.59 x 13.34  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.34