- Powder River Expeditions
The Powder River Expedition may refer to either of two 19th Century military expeditions by the
U.S. Armyagainst the Indians of the Wyoming Territoryand the Montana Territory.
Major General Grenville M. Dodgeordered the first Powder River Expedition as a punitive campaign against the Sioux, Cheyenneand Arapahofor raiding along the Bozeman Trail. It was led by Brigadier GeneralPatrick E. Connor, and is sometimes referred to as the Connor Expedition. One of the guides for Connor's forces was the legendary frontiersman Jim Bridger. The expedition encountered only minor skirmishing until it reached the camp of Arapaho Chief Black Bearalong the Tongue River. The Battle of the Tongue Riverwas the only major engagement of the expedition and was a victory for the army. The battle ended Arapaho attacks on the overland trails for a while, but overall, the campaign did little against the Sioux. The fighting in the Powder River Countryeventually grew into Red Cloud's War.
Brigadier General George Crookled an expedition along the Powder River in concert with the movements of Alfred Terryin Montanaand George Custer. Collectively, these movements were known as the North Plains Campaign during the Black Hills War, in which the Powder River Expedition was a small part. The U.S. Army suffered a setback after the Battle of the Powder Riverwhen blizzard conditions forced a retirement, but Crook mounted a second larger expedition and fought the Battle of the Rosebud, where he was stopped in southern Montana. Crook's civilian contract surgeon Dr. Valentine McGillycuddyarrived at Little Bighorn battlefield shortly after Custer's defeat, but his main force returned to its supply base on Big Goose Creek, enabling the Lakota and Cheyenne to defeat the U.S. forces in detail.
Battle of the Little Bighorn, Crook led a failed expedition in pursuit of Crazy Horsethat was known as the Horsemeat March, and which ended in Deadwood, SD. Crook then ordered Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie's 4th Cavalry into Wyoming. Mackenzie initiated the Dull Knife Fight, bringing about the end of Cheyenne resistance in the North Plains, which helped lead to the eventual surrender of Sitting Bull.
Red Cloud's War
Black Hills War
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