Give Me Eighty Men: Women and the Myth of the Fetterman Fight (Nonfiction)

Shannon D. Smith, University of Nebraska Press, $39.95, Hardcover.
Shannon D. Smith, University of Nebraska Press, $39.95, Hardcover.

While legend and lore surround the Fetterman Fight, Smith attempts to unravel the myth. She tracks down the threads of the folklore, perpetuated by the wives of Col. Henry B. Carrington, who became the fall guy for the 1866 disastrous battle between the Army and the Plains Indians. Smith shines in uncovering the women’s web of deceit in an effort to exonerate “their man.” “With eighty men I could ride through the entire Sioux nation,” says Capt. William J. Fetterman; a quote many officers, writers and historians have based as the failure of the Fetterman Fight. Smith presents a compelling argument that the Carrington women perpetuated a myth of their own, presenting Carrington in the best light, while advancing the “alleged” arrogance of Fetterman. The research is extraordinary, and the conclusion is an amazing read.

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