Lt. Charles Gatewood & His Apache Wars Memoir

(University of Nebraska Press, 2005)

Edited and with additional text by Louis Kraft

25feb13_GatewoodMemoir300The above byline is key to this volume. As editor, I pulled apart Gatewood’s passive and never-ending sentences and paragraphs that were in incomplete and unfocused chapter drafts (mostly single drafts, but once or twice additional drafts) and moved the edited words to chapters where they were better suited (all moves and combinations of his text are documented in the notes). As his manuscript wasn’t close to becoming a first draft there were a lot of holes in it. I filled in the holes with additional text (approximately two-thirds of the text, including the notes, was written by me and not Gatewood). I state this because good friend Greg Lalire (editor of Wild West magazine called me one day and said a writer had submitted article on Gatewood and his Gatewood quotes didn’t match this book. “Greg, did you read the ‘Editorial Approach’ in the Introduction?” “Oh no,” he replied, “I did, and I forgot.” If you want to read Gatewood’s passive and rambling sentences, you need to see his papers at the Arizona Historical Society in Tucson, for you’ll not find them in this book.

Dust jacket blurb

Lt. Charles B. Gatewood (1853-1896), an educated Virginian, served in the Sixth U.S. Cavalry as a commander of Indian scouts. Gatewood was largely accepted by the Native peoples with whom he worked because of his efforts to understand their cultures. It was this connection that Gatewood formed with the Indians, and with Geronimo and Naiche in particular, that led to his involvement in the last Apache war and his work for Indian rights.


Portrait of Gatewood © Louis Kraft 2004. I’ve been lucky with this image—it’s been published three times. With luck it’ll see print again, … as there are more Apache articles in draft form, and they may lead to more stories about Gatewood.

Realizing that he had more experience dealing with Native peoples than other lieutenants serving on the frontier, Gatewood decided to record his experiences. Although he died before he completed his project, the work he left behind remains an important firsthand account of his life as a commander of Apache scouts and as a military commandant of the White Mountain Indian Reservation. Louis Kraft presents Gatewood’s previously unpublished account, punctuating it with an introduction, additional text that fills in the gaps in Gatewood’s narrative, detailed notes, and an epilogue. Kraft’s work offers new background information on Gatewood and discusses the manuscript as a fresh account of how Gatewood viewed the events in which he took part.


“Louis Kraft writes sensational books; my first knowledge of him came from Gatewood & Geronimo (University of New Mexico Press, 2000), which was also a History Book Club selection. … For being an “independent historian” he has turned out several very good books of history, this being one.”
— Semper Fi on (October 12, 2006)

“Until fairly recently, Charles B. Gatewood was one of the forgotten figures in the Chirichaua Apache campaigns of the late-nineteenth century. With Lt. Charles Gatewood & His Apache Wars Memoir, editor Louis Kraft helps rectify this omission by publishing the army officer’s writings for the first time. … What emerges from Gatewood’s own words is an exciting, if often sad, tale of one officer’s efforts to protect Indian rights. The entire narrative serves as an allegory of the consequences sometimes paid for upholding minority rights against majority opinion.
—Mark Edwin Miller, Western Historical Quarterly (vol. 38, no. 1, Spring 2007)

“Louis Kraft does exactly what you’re supposed to do with a memoir—he illuminates Gatewood’s own words and Gatewood’s life. Gatewood’s description of meetings with the Apache, of life trying to manage the reservation, is absolutely priceless but Kraft puts the lieutenant into the broader context of his time and circumstance. Gatewood is a man worth knowing, and Kraft does an excellent job of introducing him to us. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.”
— Deb Goodrich, Publisher, Kansas Journal of Military History, on (July 3, 2006)

“Kraft has written several other books on the Indian Wars period and has a strong interest in U.S. Army officers of the 19th century who treated the Western tribes humanely and with compassion, including Edward W. Wynkoop. This latest work is a treasure trove of information on the Apache Wars.”
— Charles Bennett, New Mexico Magazine (March 2006)

“Louis Kraft thoroughly researched Lt. Charles Gatewood before setting pen to paper. [He] carefully researched genealogical records, the Arizona State Historical Society archives, Gatewood’s papers and military records and many other sources. The result is a dense book on a previously underexposed topic.”
— Megan R. Rooney, Daily Nebraskan (September 27, 2005)

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