The Reynolds Band | Rocky Mountains News Editorial, Sept. 1864
Sand Creek Massacre
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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.
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.
Five members of the notorious James Reynolds gang of Confederate raiders were captured by
citizens and Colorado soldiers near Canon City, Colorado, in September 1864. Citing authority
granted him by Colorado’s militia law, Colonel John M. Chivington ordered Captain Theodore
Cree to take the criminals to Fort Lyon to stand in military trial for crimes committed in the
state, including robbery and assault. The gang members, including Jim Reynolds himself, were
killed by Cree’s company en route, raising speculation in some political camps that an
execution without proper trial occurred. Chivington’s political opponents claimed this incident
was another example of the controversial Colonel’s heavy-handed rule over the Colorado
Territory. The Rocky Mountain News, a supporter of both Chivington and Governor John
Evans’ candidacy in the upcoming elections, published the following editorial in defense of the
Rocky Mountain News, September 9, 1864
THE REYNOLDS BAND.
We probably shall never again have occasion to mention the Reynolds Guerilla band except as a thing of
the past. Of the nine that originally formed it, six have gone to their last accounts. Stowe (some say
Singletary) was killed in the Platte Canyon when they were first dispersed and five were afterwards taken
prisoner and brought to Denver. Here they had a military examination and though we know not what was
its proceedings, we have been informed that the prisoners were very impudent and defiant, Jim Reynolds
particularly openly boasting that he had intended to destroy Denver and that he expected yet to lay the
city in ashes. He boasted of his lawless acts and that he was (illegible) to emulate Quantrile (sic).
Last Saturday morning, the prisoners were placed in charge of Co. A, 3rd Col. Cav. for removal to Fort
Lyon. On the road, we learn that they were impudent and insulting to the soldiers and abused all the
Colorado volunteers. At California Ranch they were especially abusive and insolent. Captain Cree was
obliged to interfere and send his men away, after which he warned the prisoners that they must treat his
soldiers with respect or he would not answer to the consequences; that they had already made them so
angry that he could hardly control them.
Beyond the point named a few miles at the old Russellville townsite, the wagon containing the prisoners
and its guard had fallen fifty or sixty rods behind the command when they halted to water their horses.
Whilst doing so, the prisoners made a concerted attempt to escape when they were fired upon by the
guard and all immediately killed. So we learn from various sources, and publish to quiet the thousand and
one reports, rumors and surprises respecting the matter that have been rife in our community since
But few will regret their end, and many will breathe easier that they are gone. Their acts of robbery,
rapine and murder are avenged, and some more of the actors in the Lawrence masacre (sic) have gone
to their last account.
The three who escaped were pursued by Captain (Charles) Kerber away into the mountains of New
Mexico before he lost their trail. He followed them with his command two hundred and twenty miles in two
Attorney S.E. Browne letter to General Curtis Regarding the Reynolds Gang
Chivington and the Reynolds Gang