They might have put their tents and horses in the circle—as the History Channel and Narcissa Whitman recognized, horses were a temptation to the Native Americans, though they didn’t pursue oxen very often. There were two principal stages of the battle using the wagon fort: defensive and counterattack. A Simpler World Before the Pandemic.

The wagons would normally form a square, and inside the square would usually be the cavalry. Thanks so much!!Diane. And note that they slept outside the circle and only their horses (not the cows) were inside: “We encamp in a large ring, baggage and men, tents and wagons on the outside, and all the animals except the cows, which are fastened to pickets, within the circle. You will also receive my monthly newsletter. A prairie schooner (the type of wagon most emigrants used), was about 23 feet long from the front tongue of the yoke to the rear of the wagon. When the enemy would come close to the wagon fort, crossbowmen and hand-gunners would come from inside the wagons and inflict more casualties on the enemy at close range. It can also indicate an individual or group of people such as a family who intend to stop communicating with outside society as they deal with their own personal crisis. At night, or when threatened during the day, these wagon trains would stop moving and form into a circle on the frontier prairie as a means of protection against attack by local Native Americans or outlaw gangs. When wagon trains saw a raid of Cherokee or Sioux coming, they would "circle the wagons" to form a defense perimeter -- and to this day, "circle the wagons" is … “Circle the wagons” is an idiom that usually suggests that a group of people have to work together to protect themselves from some kind of external danger.

For the humorous term "Wagenburg" for trailer parks, see. I hope to find it again on a bigger screen than my phone. His latest book is 2018’s Arizona Oddities: A Land of Anomalies and Tamales .

It was first used in Battle of Nekmíř. I don’t identify everyone who had a horse, so I’ll assume here that each wagon came with one saddle horse, though several families had two or three—let’s say another 22 animals. Thank you.L. The families are from different cultures and backgrounds but they have meshed to make it this far but there are always last minute issues that crop up such as Heather Browne who needs a C-section but the only doctor is afraid to perform it and an old dying man who wants Chris to ensure his last wishes are followed. Men with swords, flails, and polearms would come out and attack the weary enemy. The meaning of idioms generally alters as time passes, but sometimes the original meaning is also based on a false premise.

Laagers were extensively used by the Voortrekkers of the Great Trek during the 1830s. The English word laager comes from the obsolete Afrikaans word lager (now laer), which comes from the German word Lager ("camp" or "lair").

Old West: Wild Bill Hickok - What Newspapers Wrot... Old West: Wild Bill Hickok - A Coward Meets His End. The idea of Indians attacking a Wagon train circle is an iconic western myth not doing it takes away so much. Another use of this tactic would be very similar to the infantry squares used by Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo and the South African laager. From Coraline to ParaNorman check out some of our favorite family-friendly movie picks to watch this Halloween. Any expedition into "injun" territory came with the warning that you'd better go well-armed. It’s amazing how much I still have to learn about the era I’m writing about. (as Sharyn Dillon). Moreover, there are believable first-hand stories of life on the Oregon Trail that do describe wagon circles, so the emigrants must have used them often enough to provoke these accounts.

What Does "Barking up the Wrong Tree" Mean? Newspapers sensationalized Indian attacks on wagon trains crossing the country on the Overland Trail, but they were actually much rarer than their portrayal in popular culture. NO! Was it for protection from Indian attacks? After the Hussite Wars, foreign powers such as the Hungarians and Poles who had confronted the destructive forces of Hussites, hired thousands of Czech mercenaries (such as into the Black Army of Hungary). It is dropped from its team (the teams being inside the circle), the team unyoked and the yokes and chains are used to connect the wagon strongly with that in its front. Wagon trains banned together to have strength in numbers because there was a real and present danger that a wagon train would be attacked by Indians. The grass inside any circle would be tramped down and covered with several inches of manure in a matter of hours.”. Theresa Hupp, Author will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.

Sometimes they camped strung out along a creek or a relatively flat ridge of land. Ammianus Marcellinus, a Roman army officer and historian of the 4th century, describes a Roman army approaching "ad carraginem" as they approach a Gothic camp.

Wagon trains followed several trails in the American West, with virtually all originating at Independence, Missouri. In fact, however, many Native American tribes were friendly to the settlers, and initially welcomed their presence. I'm always amazed to find that I've missed something here and there from when I read it the first time. "Laager" redirects here. Within ten minutes from the time the leading wagon halted, the barricade is formed the teams unyoked, and driven out to pasture.”. These were traditionally used by 19th century American settlers travelling to the West in convoys of Conestoga wagons. Other groups have taken on the phrase as well, such as a business which can be said to “circle the wagons” when it is losing its competitive edge and needs to reevaluate its products and advertising strategy. Why did pioneers circle their wagons I have heard conflicting ideas about why wagon trains would circle up. One is that they circled their wagons to defend against Native American raids and the like, another is that wagons were circled at night to keep livestock corralled in. As the train nears Sacramento it prepares to disband. Sometimes not knowing the whole truth can be more enjoyable. Together with the infantry, the cavalry in the square would come out and attack. The wagon company I wrote about in Lead Me Home (and am writing about again in my current work-in-progress) consisted of 22 wagons.

One commentator has pointed out the logistical difficulties with placing everything within a wagon circle at night: “A wagon train of say one hundred wagons would have at least four-to-six hundred oxen or more, milk cows, draft horses, and saddle horses. The Hussite artillery was a primitive form of a howitzer, called in Czech a houfnice, from which the English word howitzer comes. However, the anti-Hussite German forces, being inexperienced at this type of strategy, were defeated. Which Would I Rather Be—a Recluse or a Hermit. Steve, And note that they slept outside the circle and only their horses (not the cows) were inside: “We encamp in a large ring, baggage and men, tents and wagons on the outside, and all the animals except the cows, which are fastened to pickets, within the circle.

Was it for protection from Indian attacks? Haney, Great article! You will also receive my monthly newsletter. The tactics were later copied by various armies of Central Europe, including the army of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The emigrants would also have needed ground for several campfires (though some families might have cooked together), as well as space to prepare a meal and to wash up afterward, and places to sit to eat. You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter. When a wagon train was formed into a circle, the most common reason for this was one that was seldom portrayed in popular cinematic representations of the period. If they feared Indians might raid their livestock—the Plains tribes valued the horses, though generally ignored the oxen—they would drive the animals into the enclosure.”, “Why did the wagon trains form a circle overnight or during rest periods? The protection of a wagon circle often became a luxury. Each wagon follows in its track, the rear closing on the front, until its tongue and ox-chains will perfectly reach from one to the other, and so accurate the measure and perfect the practice, that the hindmost wagon of the train always precisely closes the gateway, as each wagon is brought into position.

Narcissa Whitman also described how their missionary party camped in the middle of a circle during their journey west in 1836, though they had only a few small wagons. This information was all very useful. their names are FRED AND CHRISTINA BORROW.William Taylor, I enjoyed reading this page -- especially the original guide. In the 16th and 17th centuries, these tactics were also mastered by the Cossacks, who used their tabors for the protection of marching troops as well. about 1880. Imagine the continual drone of clomping feet and the hollow sound of the wagons bouncing through the ruts. When have you read a book or seen a movie and wondered whether a scene is factual, or even logistically possible? This tactic was popularly known as "circling the wagons",[12] and this is still an idiomatic expression for a person or group preparing to defend themselves against attack or criticism. Wagon placement at night was extremely important as well, and yes wagons would make a circle. A wagon fort, wagon fortress, or corral, often referred to as circling the wagons, is a temporary fortification made of wagons arranged into a rectangle, circle, or other shape and possibly joined with each other to produce an improvised military camp.It is also known as a laager (from Afrikaans), especially in historical African contexts.

It really means circle the wagons to keep livestock in. Now, why they chose those areas, which today are fairly out of the way, makes much more sense. Please try again. While pioneer trains did circle their wagons at night, it was mostly to keep their draft animals from wandering off, not protect against an ambush. Indians did, indeed, frequently steal horses and mules which often were tethered outside of the circle. You must be a registered user to use the IMDb rating plugin.

But remember the logistics when you read or watch Westerns. The wagon train has survived births, deaths, marriages, and seven Indian attacks.

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