John Gregory Bourke

John Gregory Bourke

Infobox Military Person
name=John Gregory Bourke
born= Birth date|1843|6|23
died= Death date and age|1896|6|8|1843|6|23
placeofburial= Arlington National Cemetery

caption=John Gregory Bourke
placeofbirth=Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
placeofdeath=Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
allegiance= United States of America Union
branch= United States Army Union Army
unit=15th Pennsylvania Cavalry Third U.S. Cavalry
commands=Chief of Scouts during the Apache Wars
battles=Stones River Chickamauga
awards=Medal of Honor

John Gregory Bourke (23 June 1843 – 8 June 1896) was a captain in the United States Army and a prolific postbellum diarist and author focusing on the Old West. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions while a cavalryman in the Union Army during the American Civil War.


John G. Bourke was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Irish immigrant parents, Edward Joseph and Anna (Morton) Bourke. His early education was extensive and included Latin, Greek, and Gaelic. When the Civil War began, John Bourke was fourteen. At sixteen he ran away and lied about his age. Swearing that he was nineteen, he enlisted in the Fifteenth Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry, in which he served until July 1865. He received a Medal of Honor for "gallantry in action" at the Battle of Stones River, Tennessee, in December 1862. He later saw action at the Battle of Chickamauga.

His commander, Major General George H. Thomas, nominated Bourke for West Point. He was appointed cadet in the United States Military Academy on 17 October 1865. He graduated on 15 June 1869, and was assigned as a second lieutenant in the Third U.S. Cavalry. He served with his regiment at Fort Craig, New Mexico Territory, from 29 September 1869 to 19 February 1870.

He served as an aide to General George Crook in the Apache Wars from 1870 to 1886. As Crook's aide, Bourke had the opportunity to witness every facet of life in the Old West—the battles, wildlife, the internal squabbling between the military, the Indian Agency, settlers, and Native Americans. An avid diarist, he wrote in sequential journals throughout his adult life. It is from these notes that his later monographs and writings originated. No less than Sigmund Freud wrote the preface for his work: "Scatologic Rites of Nations".

He was recognized in his own time for his ethnological writings on various indigenous peoples of the North American Southwest, particularly Apachean groups.

Bourke married Mary F. Horbach of Omaha, Nebraska, on 25 July 1883. The couple later had three daughters.

Bourke died in the Polyclinic Hospital in Philadelphia on 8 June 1896, and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. His wife is buried with him.


*"On the Border with Crook"
*"MacKenzie's Last Fight with the Cheyennes"
*"An Apache Campaign in the Sierra Madre: An Account of the Expedition in Pursuit of the Hostile Chiricahua Apaches in the Spring of 1883"
*"The Medicine-Men Of The Apache"
*"Scatalogic Rites of All Nations"
*"The Snake-Dance of the Moquis of Arizona Being a Narrative of a Journey from Santa Fe to the Villages of the Moqui Indians"
*"The Urine Dance of the Zuni Indians of New Mexico"
*"The Diaries of John Gregory Bourke: November 20, 1872, to July 28, 1876" —edited by Charles M. Robinson III
*"The Diaries of John Gregory Bourke: July 29, 1876 to April 7, 1878" —edited by Charles M. Robinson III
*"The Diaries of John Gregory Bourke: June 1, 1878 to June 22, 1880" —edited by Charles M. Robinson III

ee also

*List of Medal of Honor recipients


* [ John Gregory Bourke] by F. W. Hodge in the "American Anthropologist" journal Vol. 9, No. 7 (Jul., 1896), pp. 245-248 accessed 7 July 2007

External links

Primary Sourceworks --
* [ "On the Border with Crook"] , available in PDF, TXT, Flipbook, DjVu, and FTP at [ Internet Archive]
* [ "An Apache Campaign in the Sierra Madre"] , available in PDF, TXT, Flipbook, DjVu, and FTP at [ Internet Archive]
* [ "The Medicine-Men Of The Apache"] , available in PDF, TXT, Flipbook, DjVu, and FTP at [ Internet Archive]
* [ "The Urine Dance of the Zuni Indians"'] , available in PDF, TXT, Flipbook, DjVu, and FTP at [ Internet Archive]

Other --
* [ Tlaçolteotl is Dead: The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Captain Bourke's "Scatalogic Rites of All Nations"]

Further reading

*Bell, William G. (1978). "John Gregory Bourke: A soldier-scientist of the frontier". Washington: Potomac Corral, The Westerners.
*Bourke, John G. (1958 [1886] ). "An Apache campaign in the Sierra Madre: An account of the expedition in pursuit of the hostile Chiricahua Apaches in the spring of 1883". New York: Scribner.
*Bourke, John G. (1891). "Scatologic Rites of All Nations". Lowdermilk (Washington, D.C.)
*Bourke, John G. (1971 [1891] ). "On the Border with Cook". Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press .
*Bourke, John G. (2003). "The diaries of John Gregory Bourke". Robinson, C. M. (Ed.). Denton, TX: University of North Texas Press.
*Bourke, John G; & Condie, Carol J. (1980). "Vocabulary of the Apache or 'Indé language of Arizona & New Mexico". Greeley, CO: Museum of Anthropology, University of Northern Colorado.
*Porter, Joseph C. (1980). "John Gregory Bourke: Biographical notes". Greeley, CO: University of Northern Colorado, Museum of Anthropology.

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