When General Winfield Scott Hancock led a military expedition across Kansas, Colorado, and Nebraska in 1867, his purpose was a show of force that would curtail Indian raiding sparked by the Sand Creek massacre of 1864. But the havoc he and his troops wrought on the plains served only to further incite the tribes and inflame passions on both sides, disrupting U.S.-Indian relations for more than a decade.
William Y. Chalfant has devoted years of research to produce a detailed narrative covering the entire scope of Hancock's "Expedition for the Plains." This first thorough scholarly history of the ill-conceived expedition offers an unequivocal evaluation of military strategies and a culturally sensitive interpretation of Indian motivations and reactions.
Chalfant explores the vastly different ways of life that separated the Cheyennes and U.S. policymakers, and argues that neither side was willing or able to understand the needs of the other. He shows how Hancock's efforts were counterproductive, brought untold misery to Indians and whites alike, and led to the wars of 1868.
One of the most significant Indian campaigns in American history, Hancock's War is in many ways a microcosm of all the wars between Indians and whites on the high plains. Chalfant's sweeping narrative forms the definitive history of a questionable enterprise.