Monday, November 29, 2010
A Massacre In The West
Part of the Indian Wars, the Sand Creek Massacre was an attack on friendly Cheyenne and Arapahos by a 700 man force of the 1st Colorado Volunteers under the command of Union Colonel John Chivington. On November 29th 1864 the 1st Colorado destroyed a village, of mostly women and children, killing and mutilating about 160 Indians. The Cheyenne living under Chiefs Black Kettle and White Antelope were considered “Friendly Indians” and had been told to camp near Fort Lyon. They set up their camp about 40 miles north along Sand Creek. Once settled Black Kettle sent all but about 60 old men off to hunt for the camp. He flew the American flag; given to him by a Untied State officer, over his lodge to show he was friendly and prevent an attack.
Leaving from Fort Lyon on November 28th 1864, Colonel Chivington with the 1st and 3rd Colorado Cavalry, and the 1st New Mexico Volunteers, marched on Black Kettle’s camp. Chivington ordered the troops to attack on the early morning on November 29th 1864. The officers of companies “D” and “K” of the 1st Colorado, under Captain Silas Soule and Lieutenant Joseph Cramer refused the order and had their men hold their fire. The dead among the Indians were shot and trampled, many killed by cannon fire as they tried to escape up the creek. The bodies were grossly mutilated, from the youngest child to oldest person. After the killings Chivington and his men took horses, plundered and burned the tipies.
There were causalities among the Union solders, but they were low, with 24 killed and 52 wounded. There were roughly 133 Indians killed of who 105 were women of children.