Handwritten partial manuscript, 8.5 x 13.75, permanently affixed by its top third onto a blank front flyleaf of a hardcover Daniel Boone edition (#64 of 200) of Volume I of The Winning of the West, New York & London: Knickerbocker Press, 1900.
Roosevelt’s manuscript reads, in part, with his crossed out words in brackets: “The Indians fought with [outstanding] the utmost boldness and ferocity, [but] and [also] with the utmost skill and caution. Under cover of the smoke of the heavy but harmless fire from the [troops] army they [advanced close to the lines, and] came up so close that they shot the troops down as hunters slaughter a herd of standing buffalo. Watching their chance, they charged again and again with the tomahawk, making [gliding] in to close quarters, while their bewildered foes were still blindly firing at the into the smoke-shrouded woods…in a moment, without warning, dark faces frowned through the haze, the war-axes gleamed, and…on the frozen ground the weapons clattered as the soldiers fell…while the steady singing of the Indian bullets never ceased, and on every hand the bravest and steadiest fell [lifeless], one by one. [dead or wounded].…The officers behaved very well, cheering and encouraging their men; but they were the special targets of the Indians, and fell rapidly.” Manuscript is in fine condition, with horizontal folds and some scattered light toning.
While living as the ‘Cowboy of the Dakotas’ in the mid-1880s, Roosevelt began writing his ambitious, four-volume narrative of the conquest of the American West. A sweeping drama, illustrating heroism and deceit among white settlers, American Indians, British, French, and Spanish forces alike, he approached the rapidly shifting history of the developing nation with complexity and action. This passage from the first volume of The Winning of the West highlights his view of the tribes defending their lands as ferocious and skilled warriors, and illustrates the inadequacy with which the new American soldiers approached the western frontier. Published a year before Roosevelt took his place as president and began defining America’s complicated relationship with the Native Americans, this is a wonderful handwritten piece of the frontiersman’s epic work. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.