NATIVE AMERICANS AND THE WAR

NATIVE AMERICANS AND THE WAR.
Because the Americas, from the beginning of settlements, alliances with indigenous could only be provisional. North American mythology is that the first settlers survived by adopting farming techniques of Native Americans. They did more: they also adopted and adapted themselves, their techniques wars.

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New England of the seventeenth century, settlers discovered that working with Native Americans, scouts, allies in combat, intelligence officers and tactical instructors are the best prevention against the military disaster. The board of Connecticut suggests that the Bay Colony "grant (the Indian allies) all the booty, give them food, ammunition and balance while they are on a mission." But in New England, some prejudices make life hard against indigenous peoples, accused of selling their gunpowder, to prevent their Indian brothers of the approach of a column to fight without rigor and discipline, to which is added the belief, firmly rooted, that the ambush is dishonorable war. Unlike their cousins "Yankee", the English settlers in the South do not hesitate be detachments of thousands of men to fight the Spanish Empire and the French on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico or the turbulent tribes. In exchange for their support, the Indian allies receive freedom of the many prisoners ransom or sell them as slaves.

But the Indians have their limits as soldiers and allies. Headquarters, battles and sea power decide the outcome of the imperialist war, not guerrilla tactics of ambush and raid. The 1200 Indians who serve under the French in Quebec in 1759 does not save the city or New France. Colonial leaders are likely to agree that the Indian allies cause more difficulties they are useful, and encourage the development of fighter units to French horse.

Expeditionary forces conflicts involving French and Indians from the Seven Years' War in North America, is an unstable mixture of European regular troops, volunteers settlers and Native American warriors sharing or political issues or tactical methods nor the basics of discipline. However, Native Americans often have additional utility, as well as advocates supporting the action of the regular armed forces in a European war. If he had bothered to recruit Indian scouts, maybe Edward Braddock would he avoided the massacre of his troops by a detachment of French and Indians twice less important, on the trail of Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh) in July 1755. Fewer on the North American scene, the French, more than the British, the Indians need. Dependency is created and sometimes fatal as the total absence of Indian auxiliaries. The disaster of Braddock is partially offset by the failure of the French counter-offensive against Fort Edward in September 1755. The French commander, Baron Dieskau, finds that his Indian allies reluctant to invade British territory and categorically refuse to storm against the British fortifications. The Europeans preferred strategy for the seat seems useless to the Indians, and incompatible with the real aims of the war according to them, the exaltation of the individual honor and wealth conferred scalps and prisoners. Conventions governing war European them unintelligible, if grotesque. When, in 1757, the Marquis de Montcalm given the honors of war to the garrison of Fort William Henry, the 2000 Indians who attended the seat spectators throw themselves on the British prisoners, and  massacred more than 200 of them.

It does not escape the Indians that contact with Europeans causes fever and mortality. They keep away from French expeditions during periods of smallpox - from 1756 to 1758 - a factor which helps to keep the French on the defensive. Among other things, the Franco-British wars have the effect of reducing the fighting between tribes. It seems that, after 1755, the Amerindian allies on both sides have reached a tacit agreement to cease all tribal fighting. In the short term, the French suffer more than the pact between British Indians, which are added diseases. More than the British colonies, in fact, New France is dependent on the help of Native Americans.

 

DIVISION AND RECRUITMENT OF NATIVES BY SETTLERS.

 

The "democratic" nature of primitive native american societies, if he often pugnacious opponents eventually devote their resistance to failure. Few of them present a united front against the invader. They do not perceive that it is better for them to wage a war of survival, it makes it extremely random unified whole resistance movement, each group or clan deciding for himself if he is to his interest to fight or make peace. Hampered by geographical divisions, rivalries tribe, clan or family, the fragility of the common cultural link, the few attempts concerted response, inspired by a common concern, rarely resist the first military failure.

 

The best interests of their recruitment is not tactical but political and psychological. Native American resistance is actually a succession of weak and ad hoc coalitions between tribes that cooperation appears as a condition of survival. In recruiting among them, Americans, Canadians and Mexicans undermine the cohesion of the Indians, and demoralize the fiercest.

 

Thus in the 1830s, the United States get the submission of Seminole, in part through the recruitment of allies in the tribe and the Creeks and encouraging slaves, joined the Indians in revolt, to enter the U.S. Army against the promise of their freedom. The warlord Osceola is thus deprived of part of its military power, blacks (runaway slaves were mixed tribes of the region) are among the best chefs. From 1836, former slaves became scouts guide General Thomas Sidney Jesup to the Seminole villages, destruction and unfair to Osceala capture and other Seminole leaders classified under the white flag.

Determined opponents, such as U.S. General Crook and Miles, methodically exploit these divisions incorporating Indians to their troops. The major effects of this approach are more psychological and political and operational. "Nothing falls like to see their own people turn against them, Crook writes about his successful pursuit of Geronimo. It is less to capture more easily with the Indians as to achieve a more sustainable ambitious goal: their disintegration. "Crook and Miles show strong supporters of the use of Indians as agitators charged to sow dissension among the fiercest to continue the fight, aided by the most individual and collective response of Indians against the Western invasion .

 

For the warrior, the battlefield is the site of a personal quest for glory and loot. Neither reward or discipline the collective effort. The American historian John M. Gates noted that "the Indians were only able to spot violence, guerrillas if they showed flashes of tactical genius, were devoid of any strategic thinking." Any rational demonstration on their part would have revealed, in any case, the reality of a sealed fate. The great historian of the Indian Wars Robert Utley argues that the continued pressure of immigration in the Americas, more surely than the armed forces, has deprived the Indians of their land and all means of livelihood, leaving them no choice but to submission.

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