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The Third Regiment Returns to Denver
After the Sand Creek Massacre
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9.11.01
We'll never forget
Denver's Rocky Mountain News article, written after the Sand Creek Massacre, detailing the return of
the Colorado Third Regiment to Denver.



Rocky Mountain News, December 22, 1864

Arrival of the Third Regiment – Grand March Through Town

The return of the Third regiment boys from the victorious field of Indian warfare was the grand feature of today.  
Those ten companies, (the Eleventh and twelfth of the regiment being stationed at the Junction Valley Station,
on the Platte, protecting that route, and for a few months past,) who have stood the severity of the season, the
snow storms of Bijou Basin, the fatigues of forced marches, and the deprivation of all comforts both by day and
night – camping where the hostile savage was expected to be met, or following the red assasins (sic) to their
strongholds in the interior of the desert – were the admired of all observers, on their entry into town this morning.

Headed by the First Regiment Band, and by Colonels Chivington and Shoup, Lieut. Col. Bowen and Major Sayr,
the rank and file of the “bloody Thirdsters” made a most imposing procession, extending, with the transportation
trains, from the upper end of Ferry street, through Larimer, G and Blake, almost back to Ferry street again.  As
the “bold sojer boys” passed along, the sidewalks and the corner stands were thronged with citizens saluting
their old friends: and the fair sex took advantage of the opportunity, wherever they could get it, of expressing
their admiration for the gallant boys, who donned the regimentals for the purpose of protecting the women of the
country by ridding it of red skins.  Although covered o’er with dust, and suffering from the hardships of the
tended field, the boys looked bully, and the general appearance of the whole was soldierly and service-like.

COMPLIMENTARY ORDER.

Head Quarters, District of Colorado, Denver, C. T. Dec. 21, 1864.
General Field Order No. (?)

The savages who for the past year been committing depredations on the property of our citizens; who have
attacked and destroyed the trains conveying our supplies; who have robbed and murdered our peaceable
citizens, and by their determined hostility, most seriously retarded the growth and prosperity of our Territory,
have been surprised, routed, and almost annihilated.

To the troops of this command are due the thanks of the authorities, and of the people.

Upon the banks of the Big Sandy on the 29th day of November, 1864, a victory was achieved by you which is
unparalleled in the history of Indian warfare.

With but about six hundred men, after a forced march of over three hundred miles in ten days, through snows
that were impassible to any but the bravest troops, you surprised and routed a force of one thousand hostile
Indians, slaying more than half the forces of the savage foe, and capturing and destroying all of their lodges,
and securing between five and six hundred horses, ponies and mules.

To Colonel George L. Shoup, who by his unflagging perseverance and industry, so effectually (sic) aided in
equipping and getting in readiness for the field, his 3rd Regiment of Colorado Volunteer Cavalry (100 days men)
and to the officers and men of that regiment, who were participants in this eventful campaign, the Colonel
commanding desires thus publicly to express his thanks.

Your privations and gallantry deserve the highest commendations, and the success of the campaign in which
you have so gloriously participated must entitle you to the thanks of your government and the gratitude of the
loyal people of your country.

To the Officers and men of the 1st Cavalry of Colorado, who were participants in this campaign, thanks are also
due.  Their record has ere this been made, and the Colonel commanding would only say, that their conduct upon
this occasion was fully worthy of their reputation.  By order of

J. M. Chivington,
Col. 1st Cavalry of Colorado
Commanding District.

J. S. Maynard.
Acting Assistant Adjutant General.


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Related Articles:













Rocky Mountain News Editorials After the Sand Creek Massacre, including:
The Battle of Sand Creek – praises the Colorado third regiment. December 17, 1864.
The Third – 3rd Regiment soldiers not paid for their service at Sand Creek.  December 29, 1864.
The Fort Lyon Affair – Indignation over criticism of the Sand Creek attack.  December 30, 1864.
Its Effect – The consequences of a congressional investigation.  December 31, 1864.

High Officials Checkmated – Letter to editor criticizes “High Officials” rumored to be pushing for an investigation into the Sand
Creek Massacre.   Rocky Mountain News, January 4, 1865.

Scenes at Sand Creek – Interview of Captain John McCannon in 1881, detailing his experiences and opinions regarding the Sand
Creek Massacre.  Rocky Mountain News, January 26, 1881.


Rocky Mountain News archives available at the Denver Public Library Western History Dept.
Two Articles:
Appeal to the People, authorizing the organization of civilian militias, under the rules of militia law, to fight hostile Indian bands;
Rocky Mountain News, August 10, 1864.
Proclamation – After receiving approval from the War Department, Governor Evans calls for volunteers to join the Colorado Third
Regiment to fight Indians for a period of 100 days; Rocky Mountain News, August 13, 1864.

To Fight Indians – Rocky Mountain News editorial urges Colorado citizens to form militias at the request of Governor Evans; to
organize under the rules of militia law, and fight hostile Indian bands, Rocky Mountain News, August 10, 1864.

The Reynolds Band – Editorial defends the killing of five members of the notorious James Reynolds Gang by Colorado soldiers;
Rocky Mountain News, September 9, 1864.