Monday, January 17, 2022

Review of "Fort Hays: Keeping Peace on the Plains," by Leo E. Oliva

Review of

Fort Hays: Keeping Peace on the Plains, by Leo E. Oliva ISBN 9780877260202

Five out of five stars

 Brief history of a key strong point

 As the people of European extraction moved westward, the Native Americans recognized the consequences and often fought back. Although it was an unequal fight, the Native Americans were able to do significant damage to the encroachers. Particularly vulnerable were the work crews that were laying down additional railroad track. The Native Americans clearly understood that when the railroad came, the number of people of European extraction that would follow would be overwhelming.

 As a consequence, many of the forts built for U. S. Army units were along the rail lines. Fort Hays was such a fort and for some time it was the major strong point in that area of Kansas. The soldiers were generally understrength and had to do other tasks such as building the structures of the fort. Some very well known names of the west were at some time stationed at Fort Hays. People such as George Custer. James Hickok, Philip Sheridan and William Cody were there at some point in their careers.

 Although brief, this is an excellent summary of a critical component of the process of the people of European extraction taking control of the western lands. While violent and with occasional local victories by the Native Americans, the ultimate victory was never in doubt.

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