Weston Arthur Goodspeed.

The province and the states, a history of the province of Louisiana under France and Spain, and of the territories and states of the United States formed therefrom (Volume 4) online

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to Denver. Minor depredations were common all through the
fall of 1863, and during the winter an alliance of severaf tribes
was formed to break the treaty and drive the whites from the
country in the siif-ing.

Hostilities began with the approach of warm weather in 1864.
It was not an open warfare l)ut, true to their traditions, the savages
attacked those whose destruction was certain with little risk to
themselves. The Sioux, some of whom were fresh from the out-
rages in Minnesota, the I\i(nvas, the Gomanchcs, the Arapahoes
and Ihi nuvnin.s all eiiga-rd in coinmitliiig- depre.latioiis on tlie
lieipK'- .^^lagvs wire uavlaid and robbed; mad bags were cut
open and ihcir contents scilleicd over tln' i)lains; waron trains



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COLORADO TERRITORY TRIOR TO 1H70. 3^7

were assailed, the drivers killed and the vehicles plundered. All
along the route down the Platte valley there was a reign of terror
and communication was almost entirely suspended. About the
middle of June a war party stampeded the stock in tlie settlements
on liox Elder creek within a few miles of Denver. The llungate
family, consisting of tlu- husband, wile, and two children, was
brutally murdered. The raitl caused great excitement in Denver.
The armory was opened, anub and ammimition distributed to the
citizens and guards organized for the protection of the city.

( )ue of the hostile parlies was led l)y a chief named Spotted
Horse, and the dein-edatious of this baiK-l were particularly annoy-
ing. i'\)r a lime he had the communication with Denver cut ol'f
and Ihe city practically in a state of siege. Appeals to the com-
manding officer at Fort Kearney were made in vain and it began
to look like either the pioneers or Spotted Horse must go. At
this juncture the First Colorado returned from New I\Iexico.
Major Downing, with sixty-five men, was sent to open up the
road. He proceeded down the Platte without adventure until he
reached the American ranch, one hundred and forty-five miles
from Denver. Throngli his glass he saw an Indian, dressed as a
wiiile man, standing on an eminence some distance away, watch-
ing ihe movements of the troops. Scouts were sent out to cap-
ture the Indian. Tiiey succeetled and the jjrisoner pnjved to be
i\onc other than the re(loid)lable Spoiled liorse himself. Major
Dowmng ortlered him to surrender his i)and, but the proi^osilion
was contemptuously refused. Without more ado the major
ordered some of his nun to drive ,1 stout slake in the ground and
collect the m.iUri.ils lor a liie. Spoiled Horse looked at the \nc-
paralions as il ulterl) uueoucerned. W'lieii everything was ready
Major Downing said to ihc Indian: "You have seen many a
white man die this horrible death, now we propose to let you know
liow it is yourself." This was too much for Spotted Horse. His
bravado gave way and he offered to lead the soldiers to his camp,
wiiieh he said was in Cedar canon a few miles away. Major
Downing brolve camp a little vshile before midnight and with the
ca{)tive chief tied on a horse set out for the Indian camp. They
arrived at the canon just at daylight ami opened fire on the Indi-
ans who promptly relurned the volley. The fight lasted but a
short time when the Indians, seeing their leader in the hands of
the whites, surrendered. This was tlie first battle with the Indians
in Colorado. In it the red men lost .[o killed, lOO wounded, and
(he chief Sp.. 1..I Horse was a pris.ui.i. He was sent to Wash-



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398 THE PROVINCE AND THE STATES.

inglon, and while there made an engagement witli a bliowman to
go to Euro])e. Downing lost one man.

June 14 Governor Kvans askcil the war department for per-
mission to eall out the militia, and at tlie same time called upon
Alajor-Ceneral Curtis, cummanding the department, Brigadier-
General Mitchell, of .\\l)ra^l;a. and I'.rigadier-Gieneral Carletnn,
of New ^Mexico, for trorjps to aid in suppressing the insurrection.
No troops were sent to his assistance and the department refused
to allow him to call out the territorial militia. The department
did consent however lo his issuing an order for the friendly Indi-
ans to go lo certain tlesignated places of safety. Governor Evans
accordingly ordered the Arapahoes and Cheyennes on the Arkan-
sas to go to Fort Lyon, the Sioux tn Fort Laramie, the Kiowas
and Comanches to I'^ort Larned. and the Cheyennes and Arapahoes
on the Upper Platte to Camj:) Collins.

When it became known that tlie war department had refused
to allow the governor to call out the troops, or to send assistance
to the territory, the settlements from the Cache la Poudre to the
Purgatory river were tlesertcd. Those living near Denver went
there and the others handed together and built block houses for
protection. August <S a general attack was made on all the stage
lines and travel became more dangerous than before. Another
effort was made by the governor to get the consent of the war
department to his calling out the territorial troops but again he
failed. The militia was then organized as home-guards and
pl.ici'd under the command of Henry M. Teller, .\ugust II the
mnenior issued a prorlainalion lo (he people of Colorado, calling
on ihem to organize lor self-proleclion, and "to go in pursuit of
all hostile Indians on the plains, scrupulously avoiding those who
have responded to my call to rendezvous at the points indicated;
also to kill and destroy as enemies of the cotintry, wherever they
may be found, all such hostile Indians; and further, as the only
reward 1 am audiorized to offer for such services, I hereby
emjjower such citizens, or parlies of citizens, to take captive and
hold to their own jirivate use and benefit, all the property of said
hostile Indians that they may capture, and to receive for all stolen
property reccjvered from said Indians such reward as may be
deemed proper and just therefor."

He furilur offeretl arms and amimmition (o all wIk) would
regular!' orj;anize as nn'lilia, ;md promised to recommend (h.'it
accouDiN l>.r pay as regular soldiers be paid, i'ursuanl lo this
procIamalioM sever.'d cr)m|);inies were org.inized but the force was
still ina(le(juale lo the demand. (Jn the i»t!i Governor hWans



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COLORAliO TEKKirORY I'KlOR TO 1S70. 399

sent the following tclcj^ram to Secretary Stanton : "Extensive
Indian depredations, with niurilcr of famihes, occurred yesterday
tliirty miles south of i^enver. Our lines of communication are
cut, and our crops, our sole dependence, are all in exposed local-
ities, and can not lie c;athered hy our scatteretl population. Large
hodies of Indians are undouhtedly near Denver, and we are in
danger of tlestruction both from attack of Indians and starvation.
I earnestly request Coli^nel Ford's regiment of Second Colorado
volunteers he immediately sent to our relief. It is impossible to
exaggerate our danger. We are doing all we can for our
defence."

No troops were sent in reply to this appeal, but the department
reluctantly consented to the recruiting of a regiment for a term
of one hundred days. The next da)' after the above message was
sent to the war dei)artment two friendly Cheyennes gave notice
to the trailing post of lilbridge (>erry, about fifty miles below
Denver, that a raid oi" the i'lalte valley was intended, and to
remove to stime place oi safety. A messenger was sent to Denver,
with the information, 'fhe intention of the Indians was to divide
into small jjarties and strike at various points along the Platte
simultaneously, ^\'heu the messenger from Gerry's place arrived
at Denver the governor lust no time in disposing such troops as
he liad at his connn;md in a way l(^ protect, as well as [jossible, the
tlirealmed sellleiiienls. .\n alleinpl wa:^ madi' to carry out the
raid as planned but when the Indians found the places they had
marked for destruction guarded they retired.

Still nothing was done by the war department for the protec-
tion of the cili/eiis k>\ Colorado, and on v'>e|itend)er 7 Ciovernor
l".\ans made another a|>peal. In this comnuniication he said:
"Flour is fort}-live de)llars a barrel, and the sup|)ly is growing
scarce, with none on the way. . . . I'ray give the order
for our troops to come as requested, at once, or it will be too late
for trains to come this season."

About this time the the organization of tlie one hundred days
regiment was completed, =" but the war department was again
seized with a fit of inactivity, and it was fully a month before the
men received their arms and equipments. Early in September
some Cheyennes in the Smoky Hills sent word to Maj. E. W.
Wynkoop, in command of Fort Lyon, that they desired to hold
a council with a view to making peace. The messengers also
informed Major Wynkoop that the Indians had a number of white



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captives ill the viilaso. Wyukooi), with about 150 nicii marched
to the Cheyenne viihige to demand the release of the prisoners.
After some opposition and several da)S delay the Indians gave
up the captives and some of the chiefs aj^reed to go to Denver
for the purpose of holding- a council. lUit Governor Evans
refused to treat witli them. He told them of the way they had
ran away from him the year before, and of their refusal to avail
themselves of his order to jjlace themselves under the protection
of certain designated agents, ami advised them to surrender to the
military authorities. Tlien a council could be held with some
satisfaction. For this course the governor was criticised by the
commissioner of Indian affairs, who believed in the adoption of a
conciliatory policy. On the other hand I\l a jcM"- General Curtis,
commanding the de[)artment, and who was thoroughly familiar
with cwery phase of the existing situation, tool': a different view.
In a dispatch to Colonel Chivington he saitl : "I \vant no peace
until the Indians have sufi'ered more. I fear the agent of the
Interior Department will l)e ready to make presents too sotjn. It
is better to chastise before giving anything but a little tobacco to
talk over. No peace must be made without my directions." It
was the old story of the conflict between the civil and the military
authorities with regard to the Indian question. The Indians were
not slow to learn that they had nothing to fear from the depart-
ment at Washington, and had General Curtis been given full
control of the whole business much of the trouble with the Indians
at this time might have been averted.

Under the order of Governor Kvans, issued in June, several
hundred Arapahoes, under tlir chief Kilile I\a\en, repaired to Fort
l.yon wlu-re they were sub^isU'd for some time at government
expense. They claimed to be friendly, but it is an open question
that Little Raven had been hostile. November 2 Maj. Scott J.
Anthony succeeded Major Wynkoop in command at Fort Lyon.
Not long after taking charge of the post he concluded to quit
maintaining the Indians in idleness. Giving them the arms that
had been taken from them he ordered them to go and hunt for
tiiemselves. Tliere is some dilYereiice of ojiinion as to whether
they strictly obeyed orders, or whether, ofifended at having their
rations cut off, they offered aid and encouragement to the hostilcs.

November 6, in a IcKer to head(|uarters, Major Anthony said:
"Nine Chevemie Indi.ins today sent in, wishing (o see me. They
state thai -iv hundred of that tribe are now thirl v live miles north
of here, .iiiing toward (he posi, ;md (wo tlu.ii.an.l al.oul seventy-
five mi! ■ away, wailing for beder wtalher to enable (hem to come



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COLORADO TERRITORY PRIOR TO 1S70. 401

in. I shall not pemiit them to come in, even as prisoners, for tlie
reason that if I do 1 shall have to suhsist thenii upon a prisoner's
rations. I shall, however, demand their arms, all stolen stock,
and the perpetrators of all dei)redations. I am of the opinion that
they will not accept this proposition, but that they will return to
the Smoky Hills. They pretend that they want peace, and I think
they do now, as they can not fight during- the winter, except where
a small band can find an un])rotected train or a frontier settle-
ment. I do not think it is policy to make peace with them now,
until all perpetrators of depredations are surt-endered up, to be
dealt with as we may propose."

The six ■hundred Cheyennes came on to Fort Lyon to claim
the protection offered by Governor Evans's order of five months
before. Rather tardy in accepting the friendly overtures of the
governor, but they probably proceeded on the theory that it was
better late than never. They were not allowed to camp near the
fort, but were told to go over on Sand creek, forty miles away,
and find a camping ])lace, and if the commandant of the fort
received any orders to treat with them he would send a messenger
to the camp. About sunrise on the morning of November 29
this camp was attacked by a force of some seven hundred and
fifty men under the command of Col. John M. Chivington, who it
is presumed was carrying out the idea of General Curtis that the
Indians ought to be punished mure. The Indians were alarmed
by a squaw who, hearing the tread of the horses' hoofs, raised the
cry that a l.erd of buffaUi was conung. The Indians sprang to
their arms and as soon as the forms of the while men became
\i>ibU' began liring. One Clie\emie chief hurrieilly ran up the
.stars and stripe> o\ci liis tepee, with a Hag of truce above it. lUit
it was too late. .A herd ol al)out eleven Inmdred ponies was on
the farther side of the camp, and a detachment was sent to cut
them oflf to prevent th.e escape of the Indians. The ponies grew
frightened and ran toward the camp so that the move was only a
partial success. The ponies that reached the camp were caught by
some of the now thoroughly panic stricken savages who mounted
and rode away. Meantime the white men pushed forward, pour-
ing a galling fire into the ranks of the enemy. Above the din of
the fight could be lieard the voice of the stalwart conimander as
he rode along the line calling out "Remember our wives and chil-
dren murdered on the Platte and the Arkansas !" The main body
of the Indi: iis retreated up the bed of the creek firing as they
went. In a hille while the fighting became desultory. Part of
tile troops iMii iuhI the liKh'ans who were going up the creek, and
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402 Tim I'KOllSCli AND Tim ST.iriiS.

the remainder divided into liule squads, riilin^' here and there,
looking after the stragglers. No i)risoners were taken, and men,
women and children were shot down indiscriminately. After
retreating for aljout a mile tlie Indians made a stand at a point
where the banks of the creek were high enough to afford some
protection from tiie terrific Tire tlial was rajiidly decimating their
ranks. All efforts of the cavalry to dislodge them proving futile
the two howitzers were ordered up and in a short time they drove
the Indians from co\'er. Tb.c conllict now became a running fight
which lasted until late in the afternoon, when the whites gave up
the pursuit and returned to the site of the Indian camp. In this
engagement tiie Indians lost 300 killed, about one half of whom
were women and children. The loss of the whites was 7 killed
and 47 wounded. Seven of the wounded afterward died.'^^ The
affair has been called both the "Sand Creek Massacre," and the
"Battle of the I'.ig Sandy;" it all depends on the point of view.

Colonel Chivington was charged with unwonted cruelty and
brutality, and congress ordered an investigation. The manner in
which that investigation was conducted would make it appear to
the impartial observer that the oliject was to sustain the charges
rather than to get at the facts. Chivington was not allowed to
testify nor to introduce witnesses to show that the Indians at
Sand creek were hostile, and that a number of fresh white scaljjs
were found in the camp. In the report of the committee Gover-
nor Evans came in for a share of the ojiprobrium. In order that
the public might hear both sides of the question the governor
issued a pamiihlel calling allemiim l(> a number of palpable errors
in llie report. b\lra\ag.uU ^laleuients were made by some to
the elVect that the Sand creek massacre had aggravated the con-
ditions and maile tiie Indians worse. Cjcneral Curtis does not say
so. When ordered, in lamiar\'. iMf)^, to investigate Colonel Chiv-
ington's action he replied: ".Mlhough the colonel may have
transgressed my field orders concerning Indian warfare, and
otherwise acted very much against my views of propriety in his
assault at Sand Creek, still it is not true, as Indian agents and
traders are representing, that such extra severity is increasing
the Indian war. On the contrary, it lends to reduce their numbers
and bring them to terms."

A few weeks later, in a letter to Governor Kvans, he said :
"Let me say, too, that T see nothing new in all this Indian move-

•V!iri()iis ..I .' Micnts liavts Im.-i, iii.uin .v,rai.lhu; lli(^ I.ismi-^ at .Sin, I crc.K-, m,i.io plal•i..^,'
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COLORADO THRRJTORV PRIOR TO 1S70. 403

meiit since the Chivington alTair, cxcejA that Indians are more
frightened and keep farther away." The niihtary investigation
was conducted by a commission of which Colonel Tappan was
chairman. It will be remenil)ered that Chivington was promoted
to be colonel of the First Colorado over Colonel Tappan. If they
were not avowed enemies there was at least no friendship between
them. Fancy a fair and impartial investigation under such cir-
cumstances.

Colonel Chivington, who was a jMethodist minister, returned to
his former home in Ohio, and in 1883 was nominated for the
legislature. In the campaign ihe Sand creek massacre was used
to defeat him. In tlie midst of the canvass he received an invita-
tion to address an old sctlUrs mcding in Colorado, on the occasion
of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the settlement of the state, and
withdrew from the political race to accept the invitation. In
introtlucing him to the old settlers meeting the chairman said :
"We all remember the Indian wars of 1864 and '65, and with what
joy we received the news that some of them at least had met the
reward (.h\(^ to their treachery and cruelly. The man who can
tell you all about tiio-,e A\ars, who can tell you all you want to
know of the Indians, antl wIid can give } ou the true story of
Sand Creek is here. I have the honor, ladies and gentlemen, to
introduce Colonel Chivington, onv of Colorado's 'I'et l.cmibs.' "

Tile Rocky Mountain Scics, in the next day's issue, in a report
of the meeting, said: ■"Colonel Chivinglon's si)eech was receiveil
with an applause from eviTV pioneer which indicated that they,
to ;i man, liearlil\- appio\ed the course of the colonel twenty years
ago, in the famous aliair in which many of them took part, and
the man who applied the scalpel to the ulcer which bade fair to
destroy the life of the new colony, in those critical times, was
beyond doubt the hero of the hour."

Colonel Chivington said, in closing his speech : "I say here as
I said in my own town, in the Quaker county of Clinton, State of
Ohio, one night last week, I stand by Sand Creek." At no time
did Colonel Chivington try to excuse himself, or to throw the
blame on others, as he might have done, but under all the accusa-
tions that were made against him he stood by Sand creek. The
general assemlily of Colorado ga\e him a vote of thanks for the
way in which he conducted the campaigns against the Indians,
and many of the Miople of the state looked upon him as an avenger
of their wToH:, ,i!m1 a saviour of their homes.

in Jul)', ic'^oj. a hand of guerrillas from Texas, led by Jim
Re)nolds, made a raid itUo Colorado and robbed a coach between



.404 THE PROVINCE AND THE STATES.

Denver and Buckskin Joe. Tlie express box was broken open,
the mail robbed and the coach demoHshed. W. C. McClcllan, the
proprietor of the hne, was on tlie box with tlie driver at the time
the assault occurred, lie hurried back to Buckskin Joe, organ-
ized a posse and started in pursuit. Near tlie jiresent town of
Webster the gang- was found encamped in a ravine. At the first
fire one was killed and Reynolds severely wounded. The rest
fled but were followed by a company of soldiers under Lieutenant
Shoup, and two days later all but two were captured. They were
taken to Denver and lurneil cncr to C'oloncl Chivington, who
ordered Caiit. John Crce to escort them, under guard, to Fort
Lyon. On the way they tried to escape and were all killed.*

The Indians of tlie plains renewed hostilities in the spring of
1865, but the war department adopted a dilYerent ])olicy from that
of the preceding year, and stationed ten thousand troops along the
route leading from the Missouri river to Salt lake, for the i)rotec-
tion of immigrants and freighters. A boom followed, aiul during
the summer there was a large, influx of population, while from
fifteen thousand to twenty thousand teams were employed in the
overland freight trafifiic. By autumn the Indians realized that they
were conducting a losing warfare, and sued for peace. Octo-
ber 14, a treaty was made at a camp on the Little Arkansas river
with the Cheyenne and Arapahoe tribes. The Indians agreed to
let the government select a reservation for them, clear removed
from the wiiilc people, and ceded the reservation between the
Arkansas and tlie Big vSandv. estahlislietl by the treaty of Febru-
ary 18, iS()i, to the rnilcd Stales. iMuir days later, at the same
j)lace, a treaty was conchuled with tiie Kiowas and Comanches
by which the Indian title was extinguished to all part of Colorado
lying south and east of the Arkansas and Purgatory rivers.
Nearly forty thousand dollars was allowed as indemnity for the
losses sustained by the Indians on account of the Sand creek
afifair, and an annuity of one hundred and twelve thousand dol-
lars given to the tribes for fort)' years, but with the understanding
that only one half of it was to be paid until they were on the
new reservation. They were afterward removed to the Indian
territory leaving the white people in undisputed control of all
that part of Colorado lying east of tlie divide.

Although Governor Evans's administration of territorial affairs
was nMil.i'd by wisdom and patriotism he made opponents, who



they 111.. I coiMiiilllril.
rcpuit liicka eijri:(il>oi



Online LibraryWeston Arthur GoodspeedThe province and the states, a history of the province of Louisiana under France and Spain, and of the territories and states of the United States formed therefrom (Volume 4) → online text (page 43 of 53)