Harvest of Barren Regrets


Harvest of Barren Regrets

The Army Career of Frederick William Benteen, 1834-1898

Charles K. Mills
Introduction by James Donovan

440 pages
45 illustrations, 14 maps, 9 appendixes


October 2011


$24.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Frederick William Benteen (1834–98) was a military officer during the Civil War and the Black Hills War against the Lakotas and the Northern Cheyennes. He was in command of a battalion at the Battle of Little Bighorn, and some say that his controversial actions during the battle may have contributed to Custer’s disastrous defeat.

In Harvest of Barren Regrets, Charles K. Mills explores Benteen’s complex personality and life as a career army man during one of the most violent and compelling periods in U.S. military history. He views Benteen as misjudged by history, a man forced to shoulder much of the blame for events far beyond his influence or control. As Mills says at the end of this wonderful biography, “There are no monuments to Frederick William Benteen today. He remains as he lived: a rather obscure supporting actor who appeared briefly on center stage in a well-known American history drama and then quietly faded away. It was his misfortune to live largely unknown and to die largely misunderstood.”

Author Bio

Charles K. Mills is a historian and the author of the novel A Mighty Afternoon. He lives in Tucson, Arizona. James Donovan is the author of A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn—the Last Great Battle of the American West and Custer and the Little Bighorn, both main selections of the Military Book Club.


“Charles K. Mills is a diligent researcher and a thoughtful historian. He knows the Civil War and frontier armies intimately, and he expertly places his subject in accurate context. He has sized up Benteen as well as anyone can and laid out his appraisal clearly, objectively, and unequivocally. . . . This is a major contribution to the literature of the Little Bighorn.”—Robert M. Utley, Montana: The Magazine of Western History

“This is the one book to get for the fullest picture of a complex officer who rose to brevet colonel during the Civil War before joining the 7th Cavalry at Fort Riley, Kansas, in 1867. . . . Author Charles Mills largely sees Benteen as a flawed common man who became the hero of an American tragedy.”—Wild West

"In Harvest of Barren Regrets, Charles K. Mills, a historian who lives in Tucson, Arizona, has written an excellent account of Benteen's twenty-seven-year career."—Roger D. Cunningham, Journal of America's Military Past

Table of Contents

1. Virginia to Missouri
2. Wilson's Creek
3. Bowen's Battalion
4. The Fair Play Incident
5. The 9th Missouri Cavalry
6. The 10th Missouri Cavalry
7. Winslow's Brigade
8. Wilson's Raid
9. The Atlanta Year
10. The 7th Cavalry in Kansas
11. The Scrap at Elk Horn
12. The Battle of the Washita
13. Occupation Duty
14. Dakota Territory
15. The 1876 Campaign
16. Thursday, 22 June 1876
17. Friday, 23 June 1876
18. Saturday, 24 June 1876
19. Sunday, 25 June 1876
20. Monday 26 June 1876
21. After the Battle
22. The 1877 Campaign
23. Fallout from the Little Big Horn
24. The 9th (Colored) Cavalry Regiment
25. Fort "DuShame"
26. The Final Atlanta Years

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