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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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George Crook

CROOK, George, soldier, born near Dayton, Ohio, 8 September 1828. He was graduated at the U. S. military academy in 1852, and was on duty with the 4th infantry in California in 1852-'61. He participated in the Rouge River expedition in 1856, and commanded the Pitt River expedition in 1857, where he was engaged in several actions, ill one of which he was wounded by an arrow. He had risen to a captaincy when, at the beginning of the civil war, he returned to the east and became colonel of the 36th Ohio infantry. He afterward served in the West Virginia campaigns, in command of the 3d provisional brigade, from 1 May till 15 August 1862, and was wounded in the action at Lewisburg. He engaged in the northern Virginia and Maryland campaigns in August and September 1862, and for his services at Antietam was brevetted lieutenant colonel, U. S. army. He served in Tennessee in 1863, and on 1 July he was transferred to the command of the 2d cavalry division. After various actions, ending in the battle of Chickamauga, he pursued Wheeler's Confederate cavalry from the 1st to the 10th of October defeated it, and drove it across the Tennessee with great loss. He entered upon the command of the Kanawha district in western Virginia in February 1864, made constant raids, numerous actions. He took part in Sheridan's Shenandoah campaign" in the autumn of that year, and received the brevets of brigadier-general and major general in the U. S. army, 13 March 1865. General Crook had command of the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac from 26 March till 9 April during which time he was engaged at Dinwiddie Court-House, Jettersville, Sailor's Creek, and Farmville, till the surrender at Appomattox. He was afterward transferred to the command of Wilmington, N. C., where he remained from 1 September 1865, till 15 January 1866, when he was mustered out of the volunteer service. After a six weeks' leave of absence he was assigned to duty on the board appointed to examine rifle tactics, was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the 23d infantry, U. S. army, on 28 July 1866, and assigned to the districts of Boise, Idaho, where he remained until 1872, actively engaged against the Indians.

In 1872 General Crook was assigned to the Arizona district, to quell the Indian disturbances. He sent an ultimatum to the chiefs to return to their reservations or "be wiped from the face of the earth." No attention was paid to his demand, and he attacked them in the Tonto basin, a stronghold deemed impregnable, and enforced submission. In 1875 he was ordered to quell the disturbances in the Sioux and Cheyenne nations in the northwest, and defeated those Indians in the battle of Powder River, Wyoming. In March another battle resulted in the destruction of 125 lodges, and in June the battle of Tongue River was a victory for Crook. A few days later the battle of the Rosebud gave him another, when the maddened savages massed their forces and succeeded in crushing Custer. (See CUSTER, GEORGE ARMTRONG.)

Crook on receiving re-enforcements, struck a severe blow at Slim Buttes, Dakota, and followed it up with such relentless vigor that by May 1877, all the hostile tribes in the northwest had yielded. In 1882 he returned to Arizona, forced the Mormons, squatters, miners, and stock-raisers to vacate the Indian lands on which they had seized, encouraged the Apaches in planting, and pledged them the protection of the government. In the spring of 1883 the Chiricahuas in-trenched themselves in the fastnesses of the mountains on the northern Mexican boundary, and began a series of raids. General Crook struck the trail, and, instead of following, took it backward, penetrated into and took possession of their strongholds, and, as fast as the warriors returned from their plundering excursions, made them prisoners. He marched over 200 miles, made 400 prisoners, and captured all the horses and plunder. During the two years following, he had sole charge of the Indians, and in that time no depredation occurred. He set them all at work on their farms, abolished the system of trading and paying in goods and store orders indulged in by contractors, paid cash direct to the Indians for all his supplies, and stimulated them to increased exertion. The tribes became self-supporting within three years.

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM

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