General George Crook served on many posts in the frontier west. Although well-known for his attempts to capture the Apache, Geronimo, among Western historians Crook’s defeat at the Rosebud just days before the Little Bighorn was a turning point in Frontier history. This week’s excerpt is from J.W. Vaughn’s With Crook at the Rosebud. His account was written in 1952, decades after the battle; here he quotes a legendary text, Mari Sandoz’ Crazy Horse.
Revisiting the Rosebud Where George Crook met Crazy Horse
The night was thinning in the east when Crazy Horse stopped his Oglalas for a little resting. They were not far from the Rosebud now, and once a little wind brought a smell of water that stirred the tired horses and once the sweetness of the roses blooming so thick in that valley. But soon there was the soft owl hoot of another war party coming, so they rode in closer, for the soldiers must not escape them now. Daylight came upon the warriors behind the ridge north and west of the bend of the Rosebud. Stopping there they ate of their wasna and made ready for the fight.
If your ancestor served in the frontier Army (as many Civil War soldiers did), is it possible he was with George Crook when the general met the most famous of Sioux warriors, Crazy Horse? After the battle on the Rosebud, Crook turned his army south instead of north to meet with the columns coming from the East (Custer) and the West (Terry). Had Custer known about Crook’s defeat it’s possible the Little Bighorn battle might never have happened.