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Featured Collections:
         William Carey Brown Papers

Colonel Wesley Merritt (center bottom row) and officers, 5th US Cavalry, Black Hills, Dakota Territory, 1876, William Carey Brown Collection, 52_16_1
Colonel Wesley Merritt (center bottom row) and officers, 5th US Cavalry, Black Hills, Dakota Territory, 1876, William Carey Brown Collection, 52_16_1

William Carey Brown, once a refugee with his family during the Sioux uprising of 1862 in Minnesota, received his US Army Commission, with honors, as Second Lieutenant at the US Military Academy in 1877. During his early career he served in the Bannock War (1878), the Sheep-eater Expedition (1879) for which he was brevetted to First Lieutenant for conspicuous gallantry, attended Infantry and Cavalry School, served as Adjutant at West Point (1885-1890). Subsequently he served on the Dakota frontier, toured Europe as a military observer, and commanded Troop E, 1st Cavalry during the Spanish American War. He was part of the Rough Rider assault on San Juan Hill, during which he made a lifelong friendship with Theodore Roosevelt. In 1899, he was commissioned a Major in the 45th Infantry, US Infantry, serving during the Philippine Insurrection (1899). After several command and staff positions, LTC Brown was given command of the 10th Cavalry (1914) during the siege of Naco, Arizona, and during Pershing’s Punitive Expedition into Mexico (1916) commanded an independent cavalry column which engaged and defeated Beltran’s band at Aguas Calientes. During World War I, Brown served with the Rainbow Division with Douglas MacArthur. During his career, Brown was awarded the War Department Commendation, the Silver Star, and the Distinguished Service Medal. He retired in 1918, after 41 years of active service. William Carey Brown was appointed Brigadier General during his retirement. In retirement, Brown returned to his early career and engaged in historical research, writing, and advocacy about the Indian Wars of the late 19th century. His efforts were aimed at the recognition of the battlefields and veterans of that conflict.


Troop C, 1st US Cavalry, San Carlos Agency, c1890s. William Carey Brown Collection, 52_16_2
Troop C, 1st US Cavalry, San Carlos Agency, c1890s. William Carey Brown Collection, 52_16_2

General Brown’s papers include a variety of material: family and personal papers; military records; historical files on military campaigns and engagements in the West, the Philippines and New Mexico; documents and memorabilia concerning West Point and military fraternal orders; reports and papers on technical military subjects; printed mater, maps and photographs. Brown’s military and research correspondence (1870s-1938) is voluminous, especially the historical communications with veterans regarding their campaigns and battles on the Plains. Considerable information regarding the Indian Wars can be found in the records, diaries and reports of General Brown’s own military career, and in his historical research, correspondence, photographs and maps. There is also material about the United States Military Academy, the Spanish American War, the Philippine Insurrection and World War I in his military records. General Brown also traveled widely, an experience that his collection carefully documents in his writings and photographs. These travels included Japan, China, Manchuria, Russia and Australia, as well as those regions where his military campaigns took him.

 

The William Carey Brown Papers have been used by a number of graduate students and scholars of the American West: academic historians, military historians, US National Park historians, ethno-historians and anthropologists. The Collection has attracted research on western scouts, the Sioux wars, the Red River War, plains wars weapons, Army decorations, nineteenth century uniforms, the Bannock War and Sheepeater Campaign. Among those who have published work using the Brown Papers are: Robert H. Steinbach, A Long March: the Lives of Frank and Alice Baldwin; Jerome A. Greene’s many publications on the Sioux and Nez Perce wars; John W. Bailey, The Life and Works of General Charles King, 1844-1933; George F. Brimlow, Cavalryman Out West; Life of General William Carey Brown and many articles and papers. The Brown Papers is one of the most important archival collections on the US Army during the late 19th and early 20th century.