The Forty-Day Scout

A trooper’s firsthand account of an adventure with the
Indian-fighting army in the American Southwest

In the early summer of 1872, Kiowa or Comanche Indians killed and scalped two white ranchers to steal their sixteen-shot Henry rifles. The Indians spared one man’s Mexican wife and a servant boy, and the survivors reported the murders to the authorities at Fort Bascom, New Mexico. The U.S. Army, including the 8th Cavalry, Colonel John Irvin Gregg commanding, was bugled off on a punitive expedition into the Staked Plains of West Texas, the homeland of the warlike tribesmen. Read more »

The Revolution Remembered

Newly Discovered Eyewitness Accounts of the War for Independence

Shortly before the fighting began in 1775 a British officer based in Boston watched the local militia stumble through its paces and wrote home about it. “It is a Masquerade Scene,” he said, “to see grave sober Citizens, Barbers and Tailors, who never looked fierce before in their Lives, but at their Wives, Children or Apprentices, strutting about in their Sunday wigs in stiff Buckles with their Muskets on their Shoulders, struggling to put on a Martial Countenance.Read more »

Dear Boss:

Unpublished letters from Dean Acheson to Ex-President Harry Truman

Dean Acheson, who served as Secretary of State under Harry S Truman from 1949 to 1953, kept up a lively and unusual correspondence with the former President after the two men left office. Acheson's letters were lively because their author was a witty and elegant writer; they were unusual because he was no sycophant. The letters reflect Acheson s respect and affection for his chief, along with a readiness to assert his own views that mixed inquiry, mischief, advice, and admonition, befitting a correspondence between two retired statesmen in a democracy.Read more »

Love And Guilt: Woodrow Wilson And Mary Hulbert

On the afternoon of September 18, 1915, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States and a widower, wrote a brief note that he knew might change the rest of his life. The note, sent by messenger, was for Edith Boiling Galt, to whom he was secretly engaged. The President asked her to cancel her plans to have dinner that evening at the White House, and to allow him the unusual liberty of coming to her home to discuss a matter of grave importance.Read more »

My Room Mate… Is Dwight Eisenhower…”

“My room mate (tent mate, rather) is Dwight Eisenhower of Abilene, Kansas.…” On JuIy 30, 1911, Paul A. Hodgson thus informed his mother of the beginning of a close friendship, about which General Eisenhower commented in December, 1942: “The four years we spent in the same room more than a quarter of a century ago are still one of my most treasured memories.” Read more »

The Notorious Affair Of Mrs. Reynolds

According to Alexander Hamilton, he was with his family in Philadelphia on a certain summer day in 1791 when a young woman called at the door and asked to speak with him in private. He led her into a room apart from the rest of the house, where she introduced herself as Maria Lewis Reynolds of New York —Mrs. James Reynolds, a sister of a Mrs. G. Livingston of that state. Her husband, she said, had for a long time treated her very cruelly and now had left her and their young daughter for another woman.Read more »

What Made Maury Run

In December, 1936, Oswald Garrison Villard, longtime liberal editor of The Nation, wrote his friend Representative Maury Maverick ( 1895-1954), of San Antonio, Texas, that he wanted to inform the public of the congressional burdens caused by the New Deal’s economic emphasis. He asked that Maverick’s secretary send him a statistical breakdown of a week in the life of a congressman.
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Addressee Unknown

The British commander felt the rebels didn't a real army. But letters he addressed to "George Washington, Esq." were returned to sender.

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The Paper Trust

To begin with, the Presidential libraries do not look like what they are. Each one is, in fact, a miniature Office of Public Records. And scholars who frequent such offices know that they are found in capital cities, in buildings that are heavy, ornamented, slowly discoloring monuments to bureaucrats dead and gone. The National Archives of the United States—America’s public records—are, to give one example, housed in an oversized Greek temple near the intersection of Constitution and Pennsylvania avenues in Washington, D.C. Read more »