Legends Of America
Since 2003

 Tip Jar

Legends Facebook Page    Legends on Pinterest    Legends on Twitter


George Crook - Fighter and Friend to the Indians

Bookmark and Share

General George C. Crook, about 1870. George C. Crook (1828-1890) - A career United States Army officer, Crook is most noted for his distinguished service during the Civil War and the Indian Wars. During the 1880s, the Apache nicknamed him Nantan Lupan, which means "Grey Wolf."


Crook was born to Thomas and Elizabeth Matthews Crook on September 8, 1828 on a farm near Taylorsville, Ohio. He was nominated to the United States Military Academy by Congressman Robert Schenck and graduated in 1852, ranking near the bottom of his class.


He was assigned to the 4th U.S. infantry as brevet second lieutenant, serving in California from 1852 to 1861. He served in Oregon and northern California, fighting against several Native American tribes. In 1856 he was promoted to first lieutenant and the following year, commanded the Pitt River Expedition and, in one of the several engagements, was severely wounded by an Indian arrow. He established Fort Ter-Waw in what is now Klamath, California.


He was promoted to captain in 1860 and ordered east in 1861. With the beginning of the Civil War, he was made colonel of the 36th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He married Mary Tapscott Dailey, from Virginia.


On September 7, 1862, he was promoted to brigadier general, and commanded a brigade of regiments from Ohio during the Battles of South Mountain and Antietam during the Maryland Campaign. Following the campaign, George Crook was assigned to the command of the Kanawha Division which was detailed to the Army of the Cumberland in the Western Theater, where Crook fought in the Battle of Chattanooga in Tennessee and the Chickamauga Campaign.


Appomattox Court House, 1865Returning to the East in the spring of 1864, Crook led a raid on the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad and in the Valley Campaign battles of Third Winchester, Fisher's Hill and Cedar Creek, shortly after which he was promoted to Major General.


In February, 1865, Crook was captured by Confederate raiders at Cumberland, Maryland, and held as a prisoner until exchanged on March 20th. He was assigned command of a division of cavalry in the Army of the Potomac for the Appomattox Campaign, with notable service at Five Forks, Sayler's Creek and the final battle at Appomattox Court House.


After the Civil War, Crook was assigned to the 23rd U.S. Infantry, on frontier duty in the Pacific Northwest and served with distinction through the Indian Wars. He fought the Paiute in the rugged desert of eastern Oregon, pacifying the region within a year. When President Ulysses S. Grant sent him to Arizona to fight the Apache, he reorganized his command, employed Indian scouts, and put constant pressure on the roving war parties. In two years most of the Apache were on reservations. General William Sherman said the greatest Indian fighter of them all was General Crook.


As commander of the Department of the Platte, Crook led the Powder River and Yellowstone expeditions against the Sioux. Defeated by Crazy Horse at the Battle of Rosebud, he failed to link up with General Alfred Terry, a circumstance that may have played a part in the massacre at the Little Bighorn.


Crook returned to Arizona in 1881 when the Apache rose again. After eight months of hard campaigning, Crook had the Apache back on reservations. The Apache went on the warpath two years later, and Crook's last campaign ended in the surrender of Geronimo. After leaving the army, he worked with the U.S. government to uphold its promises to the conquered tribes and for better treatment of the Indians


General Crook died suddenly in Chicago, Illinois on March 21, 1890 while serving as commander of the Division of the Missouri. Crook was originally buried in Oakland, Maryland. In 1898, Crook's remains were transported to Arlington National Cemetery where he was re-interred on November 11th. At Crook's death, his old adversary, Red Cloud, said "He never lied to us. His words gave my people hope."




Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated May, 2017.





Also See:


Fort Apache - Warring with the Indians

Indian War Campaigns and Battles

The Civil War

The Union in the Civil War


All the tribes tell the same story. They are surrounded

 on all sides, the game is destroyed or driven away;

 they are left to starve, and there remains but one

 thing for them to do - fight while they can.


-- General George Crook


Philip Sheridan's generals of the Civil War

Generals Wesley Merritt, Philip Sheridan, George Crook, James William Forsyth, and George Armstrong Custer  around a table examining a document. This image available for photographic prints & downloads HERE!


From Legends' General Store

Civil War Books, Maps, and DocumentsCivil War Books, Maps & Documents - Dozens of antique books, historical documents, Image collections, old films, sketches, and maps on CD and DVD. Read about the strategies of Union and Union soldiers, bloody battles, generals and leaders, and lots more.


Civil War Books, Maps, and Documents 


  About Us      Contact Us       Article/Photo Use      Guestbook      Legends Of Kansas      Links      Photo Blog      Site Map     Writing Credits     

Copyright 2003-Present, Legends of America