The Sand Creek Massacre
Report of the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War
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THIRTY-EIGHTH CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION.
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, January 10, 1865.
On motion of Mr. Orth,
Resolved, That the Committee on the Conduct of the War be required to inquire into and report all the facts connected with the late
attack of the third regiment of Colorado volunteers, under Colonel Chivington, on a village of the Cheyenne tribe of Indians, near Fort
Attest: ------ -------, Clerk.
The Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War submit the following report:
In the summer of 1864 Governor Evans, of Colorado Territory, as acting superintendent of Indian affairs, sent notice to the various
bands and tribes of Indians within his jurisdiction that such as desired to be considered friendly to the whites should at once repair
to the nearest military post in order to be protected from the soldiers who were to take the field against the hostile Indians.
About the close of the summer, some Cheyenne Indians, in the neighborhood of the Smoke Hills, sent word to Major Wynkoop, the
commandant of the post of Fort Lyon, that they had in their possession, and were willing to deliver up, some white captives they had
purchased of other Indians. Major Wynkoop, with a force of over 100 men, visited those Indians and received the white captives. On
his return he was accompanied by a number of the chiefs and leading men of the Indians, whom he had invited to visit Denver for
the purpose of conferring with the authorities there in regard to keeping peace. Among them were Black Kettle and White Antelope
of the Cheyennes, and some chiefs of the Arapahoes. The council was held, and these chiefs stated that they were friendly to the
whites, and always had been, and that they desired peace. Governor Evans and Colonel Chivington, the commander of that military
district, advised them to repair to Fort Lyon and submit to whatever terms the military commander there should impose. This was
done by the Indians, who were treated somewhat as prisoners of war, receiving rations, and being obliged to remain within certain
All the testimony goes to show that the Indians, under the immediate control of Black Kettle and White Antelope of the Cheyennes,
and Left Hand of the Arapahoes, were and had been friendly to the whites, and had not been guilty of any acts of hostility or
depredation. The Indian agents, the Indian interpreter and others examined by your committee, all testify to the good character of
those Indians. Even Governor Evans and Major Anthony, though evidently willing to convey to your committee a false impression of
the character of those Indians, were forced, in spite of their prevarication, to admit that they knew of nothing they had done which
rendered them deserving of punishment.
A northern band of the Cheyennes, known as the Dog Soldiers, had been guilty of acts of hostility; but all the testimony goes to prove
that they had no connexion with Black Kettle's band, but acted in despite of his authority and influence. Black Kettle and his band
denied all connexion with or responsibility for the Dog Soldiers, and Left Hand and his band of Arapahoes were equally friendly.
These Indians, at the suggestion of Governor Evans and Colonel Chivington, repaired to Fort Lyon and placed themselves under
the protection of Major Wynkoop. They were led to believe that they were regarded in the light of friendly Indians, and would be
treated as such so long as they conducted themselves quietly.
The treatment extended to those Indians by Major Wynkoop does not seem to have satisfied those in authority there, and for some
cause, which does not appear, he was removed, and Major Scott J. Anthony was assigned to the command of Fort Lyon; but even
Major Anthony seems to have found it difficult at first to pursue any different course towards the Indians he found there. They were
entirely within the power of the military. Major Anthony having demanded their arms, which they surrendered to him, they conducted
themselves quietly, and in every way manifested a disposition to remain at peace with the whites. For a time even he continued
issuing rations to them as Major Wynkoop had done; but it was determined by Major Anthony (whether upon his own motion or at
the suggestion of others does not appear) to pursue a different course towards these friendly Indians. They were called together
and told that rations could no longer be issued to them, and they had better go where they could obtain subsistence by hunting. At
the suggestion of Major Anthony (and from one in his position a suggestion was equivalent to a command) these Indians went to a
place on Sand creek, about thirty-five miles from Fort Lyon, and there established their camp, their arms being restored to them. He
told them that he then had no authority to make peace with them; but in case he received such authority he would inform them of it.
In his testimony he says:
"I told them they might go back on Sand creek, or between there and the headwaters of the Smoky Hill, and remain there until I
received instructions from the department headquarters, from General Curtis: and that in case I did receive any authority to make
peace with them I would go right over and let them know it. I did
not state to them that I would give them notice in case we intended to attack them. They went away with that understanding, that in
case I received instructions from department headquarters I was to let them know it."
And in order, as it were, to render these Indians less apprehensive of any danger, One Eye, a Cheyenne chief; was allowed to
remain with them to obtain information for the use of the military authorities. He was employed at $125 a month, and several times
brought to Major Anthony, at Fort Lyon, information of proposed movements of other and hostile bands. Jack Smith, a half-breed son
of John S. Smith, an Indian interpreter, employed by the government, was also there for the same purpose. A United States soldier
was allowed to remain there, and two days before the massacre Mr. Smith, the interpreter, was permitted to go there with goods to
trade with the Indians. Everything seems to have been done to remove from the minds of these Indians any fear of approaching
danger; and when Colonel Chivington commenced his movement he took all the precautions in his power to prevent these Indians
learning of his approach. For some days all travel on that route was forcibly stopped by him, not even the mail being allowed to
pass. On the morning of the 28th of November he appeared at Fort Lyon with over 700 mounted men and two pieces of artillery. One
of his first acts was to throw a guard around the post to prevent any one leaving it. At this place Major Anthony joined him with 125
men and two pieces of artillery.
On the night of the 28th the entire party started from Fort Lyon, and, by a forced march, arrived at the Indian camp, on Sand creek,
shortly after daybreak. This Indian camp consisted of about 100 lodges of Cheyennes, under Black Kettle, and from 8 to 10 lodges
of Arapahoes under Left Hand. It is estimated that each lodge contained five or more persons, and that more than one-half were
women and children.
Upon observing the approach of the soldiers, Black-Kettle, the head chief, ran up to the top of his lodge an American flag, which had
been presented to him some years before by Commissioner Greenwood, with a small white flag under it, as he had been advised
to do in case he met with any troops on the prairies. Mr. Smith, the interpreter, supposing they might be strange troops, unaware of
the character of the Indians encamped there, advanced from his lodge to meet them, but was fired upon, and returned to his lodge.
And then the scene of murder and barbarity began--men, women, and children were indiscriminately slaughtered. In a few minutes
all the Indians were flying over the plain in terror and confusion. A few who endeavored to hide themselves under the bank of the
creek were surrounded and shot down in cold blood, offering but feeble resistance. From the sucking babe to the old warrior, all
who were overtaken were deliberately murdered. Not content with killing women and children, who were incapable of offering any
resistance, the soldiers indulged in acts of barbarity of the most revolting char-
acter; such, it is to be hoped, as never before disgraced the acts of men claiming to be civilized. No attempt was made by the
officers to restrain the savage cruelty of the men under their command, but they stood by and witnessed these acts without one
word of reproof if they did not incite their commission. For more than two hours the work of murder and barbarity was continued,
until more than one hundred dead bodies, three-fourths of them of women and children, lay on the plain as evidences of the
fiendish malignity and cruelty of the officers who had so sedulously and carefully plotted the massacre, and of the soldiers who had
so faithfully acted out the spirit of their officers.
It is difficult to believe that beings in the form of men, and disgracing the uniform of United States soldiers and officers, could
commit or countenance the commission of such acts of cruelty and barbarity as are detailed in the testimony, but which your
committee will not specify in their report. It is true that there seems to have existed among the people inhabiting that region of
country a hostile feeling towards the Indians. Some of the Indians had committed acts of hostility towards the whites; but no effort
seems to have been made by the authorities there to prevent these hostilities, other than by the commission of even worse acts.
The hatred of the whites to the Indians would seem to have been inflamed and excited to the utmost; the bodies of persons killed at
a great distance--whether by Indians or not, is not certain--were brought to the capital of the Territory and exposed to the public gaze
for the purpose of inflaming still more the already excited feeling of the people. Their cupidity was appealed to, for the governor in a
proclamation calls upon all, "either individually or in such parties as they may organize," "to kill and destroy as enemies of the
country, wherever they may be found, all such hostile Indians," authorizing them to "hold to their own private use and benefit all the
property of said hostile Indians that they may capture." What Indians he would ever term friendly it is impossible to tell. His testimony
before your committee was characterized by such prevarication and shuffling as has been shown by no witness they have examined
during the four years they have been engaged in their investigations; and for the evident purpose of avoiding the admission that he
was fully aware that the Indians massacred so brutally at Sand creek were then, and had been, actuated by the most friendly
feelings towards the whites, and had done all in their power to restrain those less friendly disposed.
The testimony of Major Anthony, who succeeded an officer disposed to treat these Indians with justice and humanity, is sufficient of
itself to show how unprovoked and unwarranted was this massacre. He testifies that he found these Indians in the neighborhood of
Fort Lyon when he assumed command of that post; that they professed their friendliness to the whites, and their willingness to do
whatever he demanded of them; that they delivered their arms up to him; that they went to and encamped upon the place
designated by him; that they gave him information from time to time of acts of hostility which were meditated by other and hostile
bands, and in every way conducted
themselves properly and peaceably, and yet he says it was fear and not principle which prevented his killing them while they were
completely in his power. And when Colonel Chivington appeared at Fort Lyon, on his mission of murder and barbarity, Major
Anthony made haste to accompany him with men and artillery, although Colonel Chivington had no authority whatever over him.
As to Colonel Chivington, your committee can hardly find fitting terms to describe his conduct. Wearing the uniform of the United
States, which should be the emblem of justice and humanity; holding the important position of commander of a military district, and
therefore having the honor of the government to that extent in his keeping, he deliberately planned and executed a foul and dastardly
massacre which would have disgraced the veriest savage among those who were the victims of his cruelty. Having full knowledge
of their friendly character, having himself been instrumental to some extent in placing them in their position of fancied security, he
took advantage of their inapprehension and defenceless condition to gratify the worst passions that ever cursed the heart of man. It
is thought by some that desire for political preferment prompted him to this cowardly act; that he supposed that by pandering to the
inflamed passions of an excited population he could recommend himself to their regard and consideration. Others think it was to
avoid the being sent where there was more of danger and hard service to be performed; that he was willing to get up a show of
hostility on the part of the Indians by committing himself acts which savages themselves would never premeditate. Whatever may
have been his motive, it is to be hoped that the authority of this government will never again be disgraced by acts such as he and
those acting with him have been guilty of committing.
There were hostile Indians not far distant, against which Colonel Chivington could have led the force under his command. Major
Anthony testifies that but three or four days' march from his post were several hundreds of Indians, generally believed to be
engaged in acts of hostility towards the whites. And he deliberately testifies that only the fear of them prevented him from killing
those who were friendly and entirely within his reach and control. It is true that to reach them required some days of hard marching.
It was not to be expected that they could be surprised as easily as those on Sand creek; and the warriors among them were almost,
if not quite, as numerous as the soldiers under the control of Colonel Chivington. Whatever influence this may have had upon
Colonel Chivington, the truth is that he surprised and murdered, in cold blood, the unsuspecting men, women, and children on
Sand creek, who had every reason to believe they were under the protection of the United States authorities, and then returned to
Denver and boasted of the brave deeds he and the men under his command had performed.
The Congress of the United States, at its last session, authorized the appointment of a commission to investigate all matters
relating to the administration of Indian affairs within the limits of the United States. Your committee most sincerely trust that the
result of their
inquiry will be the adoption of measures which will render impossible the employment of officers, civil and military, such as have
heretofore made the administration of Indian affairs in this country a byword and reproach.
In conclusion, your committee are of the opinion that for the purpose of vindicating the cause of justice and upholding the honor of
the nation, prompt and energetic measures should be at once taken to remove from office those who have thus disgraced the
government by whom. they are employed, and to punish, as their crimes deserve, those who have been guilty of these brutal and
B. F. WADE, Chairman.
NOTE.--See journal of committee, May 4, 1865.
Testimony of Mr. Jesse H. Leavenworth.
WASHINGTON, March 13, 1865.
Mr. JESSE H. LEAVENWORTH sworn and examined.
By the chairman:
Question. Where do you reside?
Answer. My home is in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; but I am the Indian agent of the Kiowas, Camanches, and Apache Indians,
who roam over the plains between Fort Larned, on the Santa Fé road, and the borders of Mexico, through the western part of Texas.
Question. What do you know about the band of Indians said to have been massacred by a force of troops under Colonel Chivington,
Answer. I am perfectly acquainted with them. I have known them intimately since 1862. Being in command of that southwestern
frontier, I have constantly had occasion to come in contact with them.
Question. What is that band called?
Answer. That band is called the Cheyennes; but there were also ten lodges of Arapahoes with them. Their reservation is on the
Arkansas river, commencing at the Big Timbers and extending up the river ninety miles, and bounded on the north by the Big Sandy.
Fort Lyon is situated upon their reservation.
Question. Is this in the Territory of Colorado?
Answer. Yes, sir. Fort Lyon was my headquarters for nearly two years, and I had occasion to meet these Indians almost daily. The
chiefs Black Kettle, White Antelope, and Big Jake have travelled with me hundreds and hundreds of miles. Left Hand, the second
chief of the Arapahoes, and Little Raven, the first chief of the Arapahoes, have been with me on scouts and in my camps for months
together. Left Hand was killed by Chivington; so I am told by the agent and by others. His lodge happened to be one of the ten. A
year ago Little Raven requested me to try and get the military removed from his reservation, which I did, through Mr. H. P. Bennet.
You will see the correspondence in the report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs for 1864. I can say that they were always
friendly. They have often stated to me that they would not fight the whites under any circumstances. Left Hand particularly has said
that the whites might murder their men and do anything they pleased to them, but they would never fight the whites.
Question. What caused our troops to make this attack upon them?
Answer. I do not know the immediate cause of Colonel Chivington attacking this village. I know that a year ago this spring Major
Waller, of the regular army, crossed the plains and passed the reservation of the Cheyennes and Arapahoes; and he
communicated to the Indian department that if Colonel Chivington was not stopped in his course of hunting down these Indians it
would get us into a war that would cost us millions of dollars. I also saw from the reports in the papers that Lieutenant Ayres was
hunting these Indians from camp to camp. Knowing their disposition, and knowing Lieutenant Ayres, having
appointed him myself as a lieutenant, I stated to the Indian department that if Colonel Chivington was not stopped in his course of
sending Lieutenant Ayres after these Indians we should get into a general Indian war on the frontier.
Question. What was their object in hunting these Indians? what cause was there for it?
Answer. I could tell you the ostensible cause, but the real cause is beyond my knowledge. Colonel Chivington was ordered by
General Curtis to rendezvous his forces last spring in the southeast part of Colorado for the ostensible purpose of making a raid
into Texas. But, as they claimed, the Indian difficulties prevented him from doing so, and he kept his troops there hunting these
Question. You say that these Indians were of a remarkably friendly disposition?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. And inoffensive towards our people?
Answer. There never were two bands of Indians more friendly to the whites than Black Kettle's band and White Antelope's band, and
One Eye, who was also killed in this massacre.
Question. Where were you when this massacre took place?
Answer. I was between Fort Leavenworth and the Camanche country, trying to meet the wild tribes of which I was appointed the
agent. I found it very difficult to get to them. Little Raven had escaped from the massacre and got into the Camanche country. He
was half a Camanche himself, speaking their language well, and is now with the Camanches with his band, and is one of the best
men there. I am begging protection for him, if I can get to him.
Question. Can you state anything more in regard to this massacre?
Answer. I do not know anything positively, because I was not there; but I have my information from persons who were present. One
of them, Captain Smith, is in this city now. He was there trading under the authority of Major Anthony; and I think Major Anthony is
also in this city. He was second in command in that expedition. From them you can get more reliable information than I can give you,
for mine is hearsay. I only know that these Indians were of a most friendly disposition. Mr. D. D. Colley is also here; he has been a
trader in their camp for two years. His father, Major Colley, is their agent, and knows them intimately; better, if anything, than I do.
Question. Do you know whether these Indians had ever committed any depredations upon the whites?
Answer. I was not aware that they had; not this particular band.
Testimony of Mr. John S. Smith.
WASHINGTON, March 14, 1865.
Mr. JOHN S. SMITH sworn and examined.
By Mr. Gooch:
Question. Where is your place of residence?
Answer. Fort Lyon, Colorado.
Question. What is your occupation?
Answer. United States Indian interpreter and special Indian agent.
Question. Will you state to the committee all that you know in relation to the attack of Colonel Chivington upon the Cheyenne and
Arapahoe Indians in November last?
Answer. Major Anthony was in command at Fort Lyon at the time. Those Indians had been induced to remain in the vicinity of Fort
Lyon, and were promised protection by the commanding officer at Fort Lyon. The commanding officer saw proper to keep them
some thirty or forty miles distant from the fort, for fear of some conflict between them and the soldiers or the travelling population, for
Fort Lyon is on a great thoroughfare. He advised them to go out on what is called Sand creek, about forty miles, a little east of north
from Fort Lyon. Some days after they had left Fort Lyon, when I had just recovered from a long spell of sickness, I was called on by
Major S. G. Colley, who asked me if I was able and willing to go out and pay a visit to these Indians, ascertain their numbers, their
general disposition toward the whites, and the points where other bands might be located in the interior.
Question. What was the necessity for obtaining that information?
Answer. Because there were different bands which were supposed to be at war; in fact, we knew at the time that they were at war
with the white population in that country; but this band had been in and left the post perfectly satisfied. I left to go to this village of
Indians on the 26th of November last. I arrived there on the 27th and remained there the 28th. On the morning of the 29th, between
daylight and sunrise--nearer sunrise than daybreak--a large number of troops were discovered from three-quarters of a mile to a
mile below the village. The Indians, who discovered them, ran to my camp, called me out, and wanted me to go and see what
troops they were, and what they wanted. The head chief of the nation, Black Kettle, and head chief of the Cheyennes, was
encamped there with us. Some years previous he had been presented with a fine American flag by Colonel Greenwood, a
commissioner, who had been sent out there. Black Kettle ran this American flag up to the top of his lodge, with a small white flag
tied right under it, as he had been advised to do in case he should meet with any troops out on the prairies. I then left my own camp
and started for that portion of the troops that was nearest the village, supposing I could go up to them. I did not know but they might
be strange troops, and thought my presence and explanations could reconcile matters. Lieutenant Wilson was in command of the
detachment to which I tried to make my approach; but they fired several volleys at me, and I returned back to my camp and entered
Question. Did these troops know you to be a white man?
Answer. Yes, sir; and the troops that went there knew I was in the village.
Question. Did you see Lieutenant Wilson, or were you seen by him?
Answer. I cannot say I was seen by him; but his troops were the first to fire at me.
Question. Did they know you to be a white man?
Answer. They could not help knowing it. I had on pants, a soldier's overcoat, and a hat such as I am wearing now. I was dressed
differently from any Indian in the country. On my return I entered my lodge, not expecting to get out of it alive. I had two other men
there with me: one was David Louderback, a soldier, belonging to company G, 1st Colorado cavalry; the other, a man by the name of
Watson, who was a hired hand of Mr. D. D. Colley, the son of Major Colley, the agent.
After I had left my lodge to go out and see what was going on, Colonel Chivington rode up to within fifty or sixty yards of where I was
camped; he recognized me at once. They all call me Uncle John in that country. He said, "Run here, Uncle John; you are all right." I
went to him as fast as I could. He told me to get in between him and his troops, who were then coming up very fast; I did so; directly
another officer who knew me--Lieutenant Baldwin, in command of a battery--tried to assist me to get a horse; but there was no
loose horse there at the time. He said, "Catch hold of the caisson, and keep up with us."
By this time the Indians had fled; had scattered in every direction. The troops were some on one side of the river and some on the
other, following up the Indians. We had been encamped on the north side of the river; I followed along, holding on the caisson,
sometimes running, sometimes walking. Finally, about a mile above the village, the troops had got a parcel of the Indians hemmed
in under the bank of the river; as soon as the troops overtook them, they commenced firing on them; some troops had got above
them, so that they were completely surrounded. There were probably a hundred Indians hemmed in there, men, women, and
children; the most of the men in the village escaped.
By the time I got up with the battery to the place where these Indians were surrounded there had been some considerable firing.
Four or five soldiers had been killed, some with arrows and some with bullets. The soldiers continued firing on these Indians, who
numbered about a hundred, until they had almost completely destroyed them. I think I saw altogether some seventy dead bodies
lying there; the greater portion women and children. There may have been thirty warriors, old and young; the rest were women and
small children of different ages and sizes.
The troops at that time were very much scattered. There were not over two hundred troops in the main fight, engaged in killing this
body of Indians under the bank. The balance of the troops were scattered in different directions, running after small parties of
Indians who were trying to make their escape. I did not go to see how many they might have killed outside of this party under the
bank of the river. Being still quite weak from my last sickness, I returned with the first body of troops that went back to the camp.
The Indians had left their lodges and property; everything they owned. I do not think more than one-half of the Indians left their
lodges with their arms. I think there were between 800 and 1,000 men in this command of United States troops. There was a part of
three companies of the 1st Colorado, and the balance were what were called 100-days men of the 3d regiment. I am not able to say
which party did the most execution on the Indians, because it was very much mixed up at the time.
We remained there that day after the fight. By 11 o'clock, I think, the entire number of soldiers had returned back to the camp where
Colonel Chivington had returned. On their return he ordered the soldiers to destroy all the Indian property there, which they did, with
the exception of what plunder they took away with them, which was considerable.
Question. How many Indians were there there?
Answer. There were 100 families of Cheyennes, and some six or eight lodges of Arapahoes.
Question. How many persons in all, should you say?
Answer. About 500; we estimate them at five to a lodge.
Question. 500 men, women, and children?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. Do you know the reason for that attack on the Indians?
Answer. I do not know any exact reason. I have heard a great many reasons given. I have heard that that whole Indian war had been
brought on for selfish purposes. Colonel Chivington was running for Congress in Colorado, and there were other things of that kind;
and last spring a year ago he was looking for an order to go to the front, and I understand he had this Indian war in view to retain
himself and his troops in that country, to carry out his electioneering purposes.
Question. In what way did this attack on the Indians further the purpose of Colonel Chivington?
Answer. It was said--I did not hear him say it myself, but it was said that he would do something; he had this regiment of
three-months men, and did not want them to go out without doing some service. Now he had been told re-
peatedly by different persons--by myself, as well as others--where he could find the hostile bands.
The same chiefs who were killed in this village of Cheyennes had been up to see Colonel Chivington in Denver but a short time
previous to this attack. He himself told them that he had no power to treat with them; that he had received telegrams from General
Curtis directing him to fight all Indians he met with in that country. Still he would advise them, if they wanted any assistance from the
whites, to go to their nearest military post in their country, give up their arms and the stolen property, if they had any, and then they
would receive directions in what way to act. This was told them by Colonel Chivington and by Governor Evans, of Colorado. I myself
interpreted for them and for the Indians.
Question. Did Colonel Chivington hold any communication with these Indians, or any of them, before making the attack upon them?
Answer. No, sir, not then. He had some time previously held a council with them at Denver city. When we first recovered the white
prisoners from the Indians, we invited some of the chiefs to go to Denver, inasmuch as they had sued for peace, and were willing to
give up these white prisoners. We promised to take the chiefs to Denver, where they had an interview with men who had more
power than Major Wynkoop had, who was the officer in command of the detachment that went out to recover these white prisoners.
Governor Evans and Colonel Chivington were in Denver, and were present at this council. They told the Indians to return with Major
Wynkoop, and whatever he agreed on doing with them would be recognized by them.
I returned with the Indians to Fort Lyon. There we let them go out to their villages to bring in their families, as they had been invited
through the proclamation or circular of the governor during the month of June, I think. They were gone some twelve or fifteen days
from Fort Lyon, and then they returned with their families. Major Wynkoop had made them one or two issues of provisions previous
to the arrival of Major Anthony there to assume command. Then Major Wynkoop, who is now in command at Fort Lyon, was ordered
to Fort Leavenworth on some business with General Curtis, I think.
Then Major Anthony, through me, told the Indians that he did not have it in his power to issue rations to them, as Major Wynkoop had
done. He said that he had assumed command at Fort Lyon, and his orders were positive from headquarters to fight the Indians in
the vicinity of Fort Lyon, or at any other point in the Territory where they could find them. He said that he had understood that they had
been behaving very badly. But on seeing Major Wynkoop and others there at Fort Lyon, he was happy to say that things were not as
had been represented, and he could not pursue any other course than that of Major Wynkoop, except the issuing rations to them. He
then advised them to go out to some near point, where there was buffalo, not too far from Fort Lyon, or they might meet with troops
from the Platte, who would not know them from the hostile bands. This was the southern band of Cheyennes; there is another band
called the northern band. They had no apprehensions in the world of any trouble with the whites at the time this attack was made.
Question. Had there been, to your knowledge, any hostile act or demonstration on the part of these Indians, or any of them?
Answer. Not in this band. But the northern band, the band known by the name of Dog soldiers of Cheyennes, had committed many
depredations on the Platte.
Question. Do you know whether or not Colonel Chivington knew the friendly character of these Indians before he made the attack
Answer. It is my opinion that he did.
Question. On what is that opinion based?
Answer. On this fact, that he stopped all persons from going on ahead of him.
He stopped the mail, and would not allow any person to go on ahead of him at the time he was on his way from Denver city to Fort
Lyon. He placed a guard around old Colonel Bent, the former agent there; he stopped a Mr. Hagues and many men who were on
their way to Fort Lyon. He took the fort by surprise, and as soon as he got there he posted pickets all around the fort, and then left at
8 o'clock that night for this Indian camp.
Question. Was that anything more than the exercise of ordinary precaution in following Indians?
Answer. Well, sir, he was told that there were no Indians in the vicinity of Fort Lyon, except Black Kettle's band of Cheyennes and Left
Hand's band of Arapahoes.
Question. How do you know that?
Answer. I was told so.
By Mr. Buckalew:
Question. Do you know it of your own knowledge?
Answer. I cannot say I do.
Question. You did not talk with him about it before the attack?
Answer. No, sir.
By Mr. Gooch:
Question. When you went out to him, you had no opportunity to hold intercourse with him?
Answer. None whatever; he had just commenced his fire against the Indians.
Question. Did you have any communication with him at any time while there?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. What was it?
Answer. He asked me many questions about a son of mine, who was killed there afterwards. He asked me what Indians were
there, what chiefs; and I told him as fully as I knew.
By Mr. Buckalew:
Question. When did you talk with him?
Answer. On the day of the attack. He asked me many questions about the chiefs who were there, and if I could recognize them if I
saw them. I told him it was possible I might recollect the principal chiefs. They were terribly mutilated, lying there in the water and
sand; most of them in the bed of the creek, dead and dying, making many struggles. They were so badly mutilated and covered with
sand and water that it was very hard for me to tell one from another. However, I recognized some of them--among them the chief
One Eye, who was employed by our government at $125 a month and rations to remain in the village as a spy. There was another
called War Bonnet, who was here two years ago with me. There was another by the name of Standing-in-the-Water, and I supposed
Black Kettle was among them, but it was not Black Kettle. There was one there of his size and dimensions in every way, but so
tremendously mutilated that I was mistaken in him. I went out with Lieutenant Colonel Bowen, to see how many I could recognize.
By Mr. Gooch:
Question. Did you tell Colonel Chivington the character and disposition of these Indians at any time during your interviews on this
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. What did he say in reply?
Answer. He said he could not help it; that his orders were positive to attack the Indians.
Question. From whom did he receive these orders?
Answer. I do not know; I presume from General Curtis.
Question. Did he tell you?
Answer. Not to my recollection.
Question. Were the women and children slaughtered indiscriminately, or only so far as they were with the warriors?
Question. Were there any acts of barbarity perpetrated there that came under your own observation?
Answer. Yes, sir; I saw the bodies of those lying there cut all to pieces, worse mutilated than any I ever saw before; the women cut
all to pieces.
By Mr. Buckalew:
Question. How cut?
Answer. With knives; scalped; their brains knocked out; children two or three months old; all ages lying there, from sucking infants
up to warriors.
By Mr. Gooch:
Question. Did you see it done?
Answer. Yes, sir; I saw them fall.
Question. Fall when they were killed?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. Did you see them when they were mutilated?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. By whom were they mutilated?
Answer. By the United States troops.
Question. Do you know whether or not it was done by the directions or consent of any of the officers?
Answer. I do not; I hardly think it was.
By Mr. Buckalew:
Question. What was the date of that massacre?
Answer. On the 29th of November last.
Question. Did you speak of these barbarities to Colonel Chivington?
Answer. No, sir; I had nothing at all to say about it, because at that time they were hostile towards me, from the fact of my being
there. They probably supposed that I might be compromised with them in some way or other.
Question. Who called on you to designate the bodies of those who were killed?
Answer. Colonel Chivington himself asked me if I would ride out with Lieutenant Colonel Bowen, and see how many chiefs or
principal men I could recognize.
Question. Can you state how many Indians were killed--how many women and how many children?
Answer. Perhaps one-half were men, and the balance were women and children. I do not think that I saw more than 70 lying dead
then, as far as I went. But I saw parties of men scattered in every direction, pursuing little bands of Indians.
Question. What time of day or night was this attack made?
Answer. The attack commenced about sunrise, and lasted until between 10 and 11 o'clock.
Question. How large a body of troops?
Answer. From 800 to 1,000 men.
By Mr. Gooch:
Question. What amount of resistance did the Indians make?
Answer. I think that probably there may have been about 60 or 70 warriors who were armed and stood their ground and fought.
Those that were unarmed got out of the way as they best could.
Question. How many of our troops were killed, and how many wounded?
Answer. There were ten killed on the ground, and thirty-eight wounded; four of the wounded died at Fort Lyon before I came on east.
Question. Were there any other barbarities or atrocities committed there other than those you have mentioned, that you saw?
Answer. Yes, sir; I had a half-breed son there, who gave himself up. He started at the time the Indians fled; being a half-breed he
had but little hope of being spared, and seeing them fire at me, he ran away with the Indians for the distance of about a mile. During
the fight up there he walked back to my camp and went into the lodge. It was surrounded by soldiers at the time. He came in quietly
and sat down; he remained there that day, that night, and the next day in the afternoon; about four o'clock in the evening, as I was
sitting inside the camp, a soldier came up outside of the lodge and called me by name. I got up and went out; he took me by the arm
and walked towards Colonel Chivington's camp, which was about sixty yards from my camp. Said he, "I am sorry to tell you, but they
are going to kill your son Jack." I knew the feeling towards the whole camp of Indians, and that there was no use to make any
resistance. I said, I can't help it." I then walked on towards where Colonel Chivington was standing by his camp-fire; when I had got
within a few feet of him I heard a gun fired, and saw a crowd run to my lodge, and they told me that Jack was dead.
Question. What action did Colonel Chivington take in regard to that matter?
Answer. Major Anthony, who was present, told Colonel Chivington that he had heard some remarks made, indicating that they were
desirous of killing Jack; and that he (Colonel Chivington) had it in his power to save him, and that by saving him he might make him
a very useful man, as he was well acquainted with all the Cheyenne and Arapahoe country, and he could be used as a guide or
interpreter. Colonel Chivington replied to Major Anthony, as the Major himself told me, that he had no orders to receive and no advice
to give. Major Anthony is now in this city.
By Mr. Buckalew:
Question. Did Chivington say anything to you, or you to him, about the firing?
Answer. Nothing directly; there were a number of officers sitting around the fire, with the most of whom I was acquainted.
Question. Was there any business to transact at Chivington's camp when you were brought there?
Answer. None with me; except that I was invited to go there and remain in that camp, as I might be considered in danger of losing
my life if I was away from there.
By Mr. Gooch:
Question. Were there any other Indians or half-breeds there at that time?
Answer. Yes, sir; Mr. Bent had three sons there; one employed as a guide for these troops at the time, and two others living there in
the village with the Indians; and Mr. Gerry had a son there.
Question. Were there any other murders after the first day's massacre?
Answer. There was none, except of my son.
Question. Were there any other atrocities which you have not mentioned?
Answer. None that I saw myself. There were two women that white men had families by; they were saved from the fact of being in my
lodge at the time. One ran to my lodge; the other was taken prisoner by a soldier who knew her and brought her to my lodge for
safety. They both had children. There were some small children, six or seven years old, who were taken prisoners near the camp. I
think there were three of them taken to Denver with these troops.
Question. Were the women and children that were killed, killed during the fight with the Indians?
Answer. During the fight, or during the time of the attack.
Conclusion – Benjamin F. Wade
Testimony of Jesse H. Leavenworth
Testimony of John S. Smith
Testimony of Capt. Samuel M. Robbins
Testimony of Dexter D. Colley
Testimony of Maj. Scott J. Anthony
Testimony of Maj. Samuel G. Colley
Testimony of Governor John Evans
Testimony of US Marshal A. C. Hunt
Evans 2nd Proclamation
Reports & Dispatches
Evans 1st Proclamation
John Smith Deposition
Lt. James Cannon Deposition
Capt. R. A. Hill Deposition
Lt. William P. Minton &
Lt. Chauncey M. Cossitt Deposition
Col. Samuel G. Colley Deposition
Pvt. David Louderback &
R. Watson Clark Deposition
Col. Thomas Moonlight/Sand Creek aftermath
Testimony of Colonel John M. Chivington
I - V
THIS PAGE: Section 1
“Massacre of the Cheyenne Indians”
United States, Congress, House of Representatives.
“Massacre of the Cheyenne Indians,” Report on the
Conduct of the War, 38 Cong., 2 sess., Washington,
Government Printing Office, 1865
We'll never forget
|Sand Creek also
Question. Did you see any women or children killed after the fight was over?
Question. Did you see any Indians killed after the fight was over?
Answer. No, sir.
By Mr. Buckalew:
Question. Were the warriors and women and children all huddled together when they were attacked?
Answer. They started and left the village altogether, in a body, trying to escape.
By Mr. Gooch:
Question. Do you know anything as to the amount of property that those Indians had there?
Answer. Nothing more than their horses. They were supposed to own ten horses and mules to a lodge; that would make about a
thousand head of horses and mules in that camp. The soldiers drove off about six hundred head.
Question. Had they any money?
Answer. I understood that some of the soldiers found some money, but I did not see it. Mr. D. D. Colley had some provisions and
goods in the village at the time, and Mr. Louderback and Mr. Watson were employed by him to trade there. I was to interpret for
them, direct them, and see that they were cared for in the village. They had traded for one hundred and four buffalo robes, one fine
mule, and two horses. This was all taken away from them. Colonel Chivington came to me and told me I might rest assured that
he would see the goods paid for. He had confiscated these buffalo robes for the dead and wounded; and there was also some
sugar and coffee and tea taken for the same purpose.
I would state that in his report Colonel Chivington states that after this raid on Sand creek against the Cheyenne and Arapahoe
Indians he travelled northeast some eighty miles in the direction of some hostile bands of Sioux Indians. Now that is very
incorrect, according to my knowledge of matters; I remained with Colonel Chivington's camp, and returned on his trail towards Fort
Lyon from the camp where he made this raid. I went down with him to what is called the forks of the Sandy. He then took a due
south course for the Arkansas river, and I went to Fort Lyon with the killed and wounded, and an escort to take us in. Colonel
Chivington proceeded down the Arkansas river, and got within eleven miles of another band of Arapahoe Indians, but did not
succeed in overtaking them. He then returned to Fort Lyon, re-equipped, and started immediately for Denver.
Question. Have you spent any considerable portion of your life with the Indians?
Answer. The most of it.
Question. How many years have you been with the Indians?
Answer. I have been twenty-seven successive years with the Cheyennes and Arapahoes. Before that I was in the country as a
trapper and hunter in the Rocky mountains.
Question. For how long time have you acted as Indian interpreter?
Answer. For some fifteen or eighteen years.
Question. By whom have you been so employed?
Answer. By Major Fitzpatrick, Colonel Bent, Major Colley, Colonel J. W. Whitfield, and a great deal of the time for the military as
guide and interpreter.
By Mr. Buckalew:
Question. How many warriors were estimated in Colonel Chivington's report as having been in this Indian camp?
Answer. About nine hundred.
Question. How many were there?
Answer. About two hundred warriors; they average about two warriors to a lodge, and there were about one hundred lodges.
Testimony of Captain S. M. Robbins.
WASHINGTON, March 14, 1865.
Captain S. M. ROBBINS sworn and examined.
By Mr. Gooch:
Question. What is your position in the army?
Answer. I am a captain of the 1st Colorado cavalry.
Question. Were you with Colonel Chivington at the time of the attack on the Cheyenne Indians, in November last?
Answer. I was not.
Question. Have you any knowledge relating to that attack?
Answer. I have no personal knowledge of anything that transpired at Sand creek.
Question. Have you any knowledge in relation to matters connected with that massacre?
Answer. I know about the Indian difficulties in that country, but nothing with regard to that particular difficulty.
Question. What do you know about that campaign?
Answer. I only know that a campaign was organized against the Indians.
By Mr. Loan:
Question. What Indians?
Answer. The Cheyennes and Arapahoes, and all others that were hostile, or were supposed to be hostile.
By Mr. Gooch:
Question. Do you know under what orders Colonel Chivington was acting?
Answer. No, sir. I never saw any orders. I suppose that he acted under the authority of the department commander, General Curtis;
but I know nothing positively about that.
Question. Where were you at the time of this attack?
Answer. In the city of Denver, Colorado.
By Mr. Loan:
Question. Who was the district commander at Denver?
Answer. Colonel Chivington was.
Question. You were on his staff?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. In what capacity?
Answer. Chief of cavalry.
Question. What was the character of these Cheyenne Indians on Sand creek?
Answer. I do not know.
Question. Do you know whether they were hostile or friendly?
Answer. I saw a portion of their chiefs in the city of Denver, some two months before this action, or massacre, or assault took
place. They came there under an escort furnished by Major Wynkoop. They came for the purpose of holding a consultation with the
governor, who I believe is acting superintendent of Indian affairs there. They were all the tribe I ever saw.
Question. What bands were killed there?
Answer. The Cheyennes and Arapahoes?
Question. What particular bands of these Indians?
Answer. I merely know from hearsay the names of those chiefs.
Question. As chief of cavalry, on Colonel Chivington's staff, do you know anything of the orders General Curtis sent him in regard to
Answer. No, sir.
Question. Do you know anything about the organization of the force that went out under Colonel Chivington?
Answer. I do.
Question. State it.
Answer. It was organized by direction of the Secretary of War, for the purpose of operating in that country against the Indians. It was
a hundred-days regiment.
Question. Was Colonel Chivington the colonel of it?
Answer. No, sir; Colonel George H. Shoup was the colonel of it. There was great difficulty in furnishing the horses and ordnance
stores necessary to mount and equip the regiment. Two months of their time had expired before they were ready to move. They
moved from that point about the first of November. And on the 29th of November, I think, this action was fought, or this massacre
was made, at Sand creek.
Question. At what time did Colonel Chivington join this command, and what other troops had he with him?
Answer. He joined the command in person, I should think about the 15th of November, and had with him part of six companies of
the 1st regiment of Colorado volunteers.
Question. What was his whole force?
Answer. I should judge about 700 men.
Question. The regiment of hundred-days men, and the battalion of 1st Colorado volunteers?
Answer. The whole of the hundred-days regiment were not there. They were not all mounted.
Question. Will you state a little further about the Indians that came into Denver with Major Wynkoop? What was the object of their
Answer. For some time previous there had been massacres of whites, in the vicinity of Denver, by Indians, as we supposed, and
prisoners were taken. Some time in August or September Major Wynkoop, commanding at Fort Lyon, received information from
the Indians in the vicinity of Smoky Hill that they had some white prisoners whom they were anxious to give up, or exchange for two
Indians that were with one of our companies as scouts. At all events, this communication from the Indians induced Major
Wynkoop to take 150 men and two or three pieces of artillery and go out there. He went out there, and, as I understood, when he
came back he brought the white prisoners the Indians had held, and a number of their principal chiefs came with him to
Denver--out of the district in which Major Wynkoop was serving into the district of Colorado. There they had a consultation with
Governor Evans, of Colorado, Colonel Chivington, and other prominent and leading men. The Indians made statements, which I
heard interpreted by Mr. Smith, in regard to their friendly feelings towards the whites. Whether their acts justified them or not was
rather an open question. They stated their desire for peace. My recollection is that the governor told them they had levied war
against the United States, or what amounts to that, and that soon the white soldiers would cover the plains. He said that if they
were friendly, as they had said, they must seek the protection of the military posts, for the whites could not discriminate between
Indians on the plains. That their going on the military reservations would afford the best evidence of their friendly feelings towards
the whites; and my understanding is
that a portion of those Indians, if not all of them, sought the military reservation at Fort Lyon with that understanding.
By Mr. Gooch:
Question. Were they on that military reservation when this attack was made on them?
Answer. No, sir. I suppose it was found inconvenient to have so many of them in the vicinity of the post, on account of their natural
thieving propensities, and they were ordered off on this Sand creek, about thirty-five miles from the fort, on their own reservation,
where they could hunt.
Question. They were where they had been directed, by the military authorities, to go?
Answer. So I understand. Major Anthony, who is here, was a portion of the time in command at Fort Lyon, and he could tell about
For the information of the committee, I should like to say a friendly word, under the circumstances, in the Chivington interest. For a
year and a half past there has been a state of war existing between the Indians and the whites, as far as the opinion of the Indians
was concerned; whether by the authority of the head chiefs or not we cannot tell. At all events, the interruption of communication on
the Arkansas route and on the Platte route raised the price of everything consumed by the people out here. And the people
emphatically demanded that something should be done. The point I wish to make is, that perhaps Colonel Chivington might have
been forced into this by the sentiment of the people.
Question. Would the sentiment of the people lead a man to attack Indians who were known to be friendly, and who were known to
be trying to avert hostilities?
Answer. I should say it would. They wanted some Indians killed; whether friendly or not they did not stop long to inquire.
Testimony of Mr. D. D. Colley.
WASHINGTON, March 14, 1865.
Mr. D. D. COLLEY sworn and examined.
By Mr. Gooch:
Question. Where is your place of residence?
Answer. At Fort Lyon.
Question. What is your occupation?
Answer. I have been trading with the Indians more or less for the last three years.
Question. Will you state what you know in relation to the attack on the Cheyenne Indians by Colonel Chivington, on the 29th of
Answer. I was in St. Louis at that time. But I was at Fort Lyon when two Indians came in and told Major Wynkoop that they had
some white prisoners. They rode in and rode up to the major's headquarters. The major, as well as the balance of us, felt like
using them a little rough, for we were all feeling a little hard towards the Indians. I went out and saw they were two Indians with
whom I was well acquainted, and who I knew had been trying to keep peace between the Indians and the whites. Just as I went up
to them the major came up and spoke very harsh to them, and told them to get down off their horses. I told the major that I knew
them, and that they were both friendly. They then got down off their horses and went into the major's room, and told
him that they had some white prisoners, and that he could get them by going after them.
The major took his command of 125 or 150 men, and was gone about two weeks, and brought the white prisoners. Some
Indians, I do not know how many, 20 or 30 of them, came back with him, and went to Denver with him. I went there also. There they
had a council with Colonel Chivington and Governor Evans, and promises were made to them. There was also a council held with
them by Major Wynkoop. Major Anthony, after he took command at Fort Lyon, also held a council with them. It was thought best to
have them come in at Fort Lyon. Major Wynkoop promised them protection if they would come in, and they came in on the strength
of those promises. I talked with them several times after they had brought their families in. The major promised them protection
until he could hear from General Curtis. Then if they proposed to make a treaty, all right; if not, he would let them go in time to get
out of the country.
Shortly after that, Major Anthony took command of Fort Lyon by order of General Curtis. He said he was ordered to kill these
Indians and drive them away. I told him what promises had been made them. They were called together, and they told him that
they considered themselves prisoners of war, and that they would not fight under any circumstances. I know that a number of the
chiefs present there had been laboring over a year to keep peace between the Indians and whites. They told Major Anthony that he
could take them out and kill them if he saw fit. He told them he was sent there to fight Indians. But he would ask them to give up
their arms, and some stock they had which belonged to the government; and if they did so he would issue to them prisoners'
rations until such time as he had other orders. And they were living there and getting these rations until I left Fort Lyon to come to
Question. Did they comply with the terms proposed by Major Anthony?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. Do you know whether Colonel Chivington was informed of this arrangement?
Answer. I know that he was.
Question. How do you know that?
Answer. Because the Indian agent told me he had informed him.
Question. Informed him before he made his attack?
Answer. Yes, sir. When he came down there to make the attack he was told that the Indians were out there under promise of
protection. They had been at the post until a short time before, when they had moved out on the Big Sandy at the request of Major
Anthony. The Sioux, and a party of Cheyennes called the Dog soldiers, were at war with the whites. And these Indians on the Big
Sandy would come in occasionally and report what the other Indians were doing.
Question. Do you know what induced Colonel Chivington to attack these Indians?
Answer. I do not know; I have my opinion.
Question. Can you think of any reason which induced him to make the attack?
Answer. I have thought for more than a year that he was determined to have a war with these Indians. That has been the general
belief of men in our part of the country. I was acquainted with all the chiefs who were there, and I know they had all tried hard to
keep peace between the Indians and whites. I was with a portion of this same village a year ago last winter, when the first talk of
an outbreak commenced. All the chiefs who were killed by Colonel Chivington have labored as hard as men could to keep peace
between the whites and Indians. They could not control the band called Dog soldiers, who had undoubtedly committed
Question. Do you know anything else in connexion with this matter that is important, which you have not stated?
Answer. I do not know that I do.
By Mr. Loan:
Question. What is the distinguishing name of this band of Indians upon which the attack was made?
Answer. They were known as Black Kettle's band. Black Kettle was the chief of the whole Cheyenne nation; but this was the band
that was always with him. The other chiefs that were there were also with him.
Question. There must have been a chief to have led the hostile Indians?
Answer. Yes, sir. But this band was the one always with Black Kettle.
Question. About what number do you suppose were killed on Sand creek?
Answer. I should judge there were between 100 and 150. What I judge from is this: the inspector of the district went with me to Fort
Lyon, and he went out to the battle field. The bodies were lying there then. They spent half a day on the battle-field, and found 69
Question. Were there any women and children killed?
Answer. The inspector told me that about three-fourths of them were women and children.
Testimony of Major Scott J. Anthony.
WASHINGTON, March 14, 1865.
Major SCOTT J. ANTHONY sworn and examined.
By Mr. Loan:
Question. What is your place of residence?
Answer. Fort Lyon, Colorado Territory.
Question. Do you hold any position in the military or civil service of the government?
Answer. None at present.
Question. Have you held any at any time?
Answer. I was major of the 1st Colorado cavalry from the 1st of November, 1862, until the 21st of January, 1865.
Question. Were you present at the killing of the Cheyenne Indians, on their reserve, not far from Fort Lyon, on Sand creek?
Answer. It was not an Indian reserve. I was present at the time.
Question. State what force was organized, under what orders it acted, under whose command it was, and what was done.
Answer. The command reached Fort Lyon on the morning of the 28th of November last, under command of Colonel Chivington. It
consisted of a portion of the 1st regiment of Colorado cavalry, and about 600 men of the 3d regiment of Colorado cavalry;
numbering in all in the neighborhood of 700 men, with two pieces of artillery. I joined them there with 125 men and two pieces of
artillery. We left on the night of the 28th, for Sand creek, and reached there on the morning of the 29th at daybreak. We found an
Indian camp of about 130 lodges, consisting mostly of Cheyennes; there were a small band of Arapahoe Indians with them. The
Indians were attacked by us, under command of Colonel Chivington, about sunrise in the morning. Detachments from the
command took position on two sides of their camp. There had been a little firing before that. When I first came up with my
command, the Indians, men, women, and children, were in a group together, and there was firing from our command upon them.
The Indians attempted to escape, the women and children, and our artillery opened on them while they were running. Quite a party
of Indians took position under
the bank, in the bed of the creek, and returned fire upon us. We fought them about seven hours, I should think, there being firing on
both sides. The loss on our side was 49 men killed and wounded; on theirs I suppose it was about 125.
Question. Under what chief was that band of Indians?
Answer. Black Kettle, I think, was the principal chief. There were several chiefs in the camp, but Black Kettle, I think, was the head
Question. Were there any warriors in that camp?
Answer. There were.
Question. What number, do you suppose?
Answer. I would not be able to tell very accurately. There were a great many men who fought us; I should think there were in the
neighborhood of a hundred men who were fighting us while we were there. Perhaps there were not quite so many as that, but as
near as I could judge there were from 75 to 100 Indians returning our fire. I was in command at Fort Lyon, and had held a council
with these Indians before; had talked with them, and had recognized Black Kettle as their head chief.
Question. What was the result of the conference you had with them?
Answer. The circumstances were about these: I was in command at Fort Larned, 240 miles east of Fort Lyon, which place the
Indians had attacked in the spring, stealing all the stock at the post, burning the bridges, and damaging the post considerably.
Major Wynkoop, who had been in command at Fort Lyon, had had some difficulty with the Indians at that point. He had proposed
terms of peace with the Indians, which action was not approved at the headquarters of the department or district.
Question. Were there any military orders issued disapproving his arrangements?
Answer. There were.
Question. Can you give the numbers of these orders, and by whom issued?
Answer. I have copies of them, I think. One was Special Order No. 4, paragraph No. 7, from headquarters of the district of Upper
Kansas. There were several orders in regard to the same matter.
Question. What I want is the order of department headquarters disapproving of what Major Wynkoop had done, and also the order
of district headquarters.
Answer. I do not think I have those orders in the city.
Question. Do you know who has them?
Answer. I do not. General Curtis was the commander of the department at the time this difficulty took place between Major
Wynkoop and the Indians at Smoky Hill, and Major General Blunt was in command of the district. I was out with Major General
Blunt in a campaign against the Indians.
Question. Did you ever see those orders from the department headquarters disapproving of Major Wynkoop's action in regard to
Answer. Only so far as it related to his unmilitary conduct.
Question. I mean his attempt to pacify the Indians?
Answer. I have never seen those orders; I have heard of them.
Question. Now, to return to the point when you were in command at Fort Lyon.
Answer. I took command there on the second day of November.
Question. You say you held a conference with the Indians? State what occurred.
Answer. At the time I took command at the post there was a band of Arapahoe Indians encamped about a mile from the post,
numbering, in men, women, and children, 652. They were visiting the post almost every day. I met them and had a talk with them.
Among them was Left Hand, who was a chief among the Arapahoes. He with his band was with the party at that time. I talked with
them, and they proposed to do whatever I said; whatever
I said for them to do they would do. I told them that I could not feed them; that I could not give them anything to eat; that there were
positive orders forbidding that; and that I could not permit them to come within the limits of the post. At the same time they might
remain where they were, and I would treat them as prisoners of war if they remained; that they would have to surrender to me all
their arms and turn over to me all stolen property they had taken from the government or citizens. These terms they accepted. They
turned over to me some twenty head of stock, mules, and horses, and a few arms, but not a quarter of the arms that report stated
they had in their possession. The arms they turned over to me were almost useless. I fed them for some ten days. At the end of
that time I told them I could not feed them any more; that they better go out to the buffalo country where they could kill game to
subsist upon. I returned their arms to them, and they left the post. But before leaving they sent word out to the Cheyennes that I
was not very friendly towards them.
Question. How do you know that?
Answer. Through several of their chiefs; Neva, an Arapahoe chief; Left Hand, of the Arapahoes; then Black Kettle and War Bonnet,
of the Cheyennes. A delegation of the Cheyennes, numbering, I suppose, fifty or sixty men, came in just before the Arapahoes left
the post. I met them outside of the post and talked with them. They said they wanted to make peace; that they had no desire to fight
against us any longer; that there had been difficulty between the whites and Indians there, and they had no desire to fight any
longer. I told them I had no authority from department headquarters to make peace with them; that I could not permit them to visit
the post and come within the lines; that when they had been permitted to do so at Fort Larned, while the squaws and children of
the different tribes that visited that post were dancing in front of the officers' quarters and on the parade ground, the Indians had
made an attack on the post, fired on the guard, and run off the stock, and I was afraid the same thing might occur at Fort Lyon. I
would not permit them to visit the post at all. I told them I could make no offers of peace to them until I heard from district
headquarters. I told them, however, that they might go out and camp on Sand creek, and remain there if they chose to do so; but
they should not camp in the vicinity of the post; and if I had authority to make peace with them I would go out and let them know of it.
In the mean time I was writing to district headquarters constantly, stating to them that there was a band of Indians within forty
miles of the post--a small band--while a very large band was about 100 miles from the post. That I was strong enough with the
force I had with me to fight the Indians on Sand creek, but not strong enough to fight the main band. That I should try to keep the
Indians quiet until such time as I received re-enforcements; and that as soon as re-enforcements did arrive we should go further
and find the main party.
But before the re-enforcements came from district headquarters, Colonel Chivington came to Fort Lyon with his command, and I
joined him and went out on that expedition to Sand creek. I never made any offer to the Indians. It was the understanding that I was
not in favor of peace with them. They so understood me, I suppose; at least I intended they should. In fact, I often heard of it
through their interpreters that they did not suppose we were friendly towards them.
Question. What number of men did you have at Fort Lyon?
Answer. I had about 280 men.
Question. What was the number of Indians around Fort Lyon at any one time when you were talking to them?
Answer. I do not think there were over 725 Indians--men, women and children--within the vicinity of the post.
Question. At the time you held the conference with the Arapahoes, Left Hand, and others, how many men were present above the
age of eighteen?
Answer. I should suppose from 80 to 100.
Question. Why did you not capture those Indians at that time?
Answer. I might say I did. I did not take them because I had instructions from district headquarters, as I construed them, to go and
fight them wherever I met them. While they were there at the post I did intend to open fire upon them, in accordance with my
Question. Why did you not do it?
Answer. They were willing to accede to any request I might make. They turned over to me their arms and the property they had
stolen from the government and citizens.
Question. What property did they turn over?
Answer. Fourteen head of mules and six head of horses.
Question. Was it property purporting to have been stolen by them?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. From whom?
Answer. They did not say. Yet some of it was recognized; some of it was branded "U. S." Some was recognized as being stock that
belonged to citizens. It was generally understood afterwards--I did not know it at that time--that the son of the head chief of the
Arapahoes, Little Raven, and I think another, had attacked a small government train and killed one man.
Question. What had Little Raven to do with Black Kettle's band?
Answer. He was not with them at the time; Left Hand was.
Question. These Indians surrendered to you, and you took their arms from them?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. Did you issue rations to them?
Answer. I did.
Question. What authority had you for returning their arms to them and ordering them off?
Answer. I had no orders in the matter. My instructions were to act upon my own judgment. At the same time there were orders
issued that they should not be fed or clothed at the post.
Question. Who issued those orders?
Answer. General Curtis.
Question. Were those orders issued after you had received the arms of the Indians?
Answer. Before that.
Question. Then why did you receive those arms, and feed those Indians in violation of General Curtis's orders?
Answer. I received the arms and told the Indians I could only issue them rations as prisoners. I fed them while there as prisoners,
but afterwards released them.
Question. That is what I want to get at. Where did you get authority for releasing the prisoners that were captured?
Answer. I had no written authority for it.
Question. You did it upon your own judgment.
Answer. Yes, sir. That was my instructions, to act upon my own judgment in the matter. I thought we could not afford to feed them
at the post; and they were in the buffalo country where they could subsist themselves.
Question. If they were dangerous to the government, why did you release them?
Answer. I did not so consider them then. They were most all women and children, this Arapahoe band.
Question. Who was the chief of that band?
Answer. Little Raven was the chief of those I held as prisoners.
Question. Was Black Kettle with his band at the fort at any time you were in command?
Answer. No, sir, not at the fort; they passed by it.
Question. Did you ever hold any conference with them?
Answer. I did.
Question. At what place?
Answer. At the commissary building, about a half a mile from the fort.
Question. What number of men were with Black Kettle at that time?
Answer. I should think not far from sixty.
Question. State what passed at that conference, so far as you can remember.
Answer. They came in and inquired of me whether I had any authority to make peace with them. They said that they had heard
through the Arapahoes that "things looked dark"--that was the term they used--that we were at war with them; that they had come
in to ascertain whether these bad reports they had received were correct or not. I stated to them that I had no authority to make
peace with them. That their young men were then out in the field fighting against us, and that I had no authority and no instructions
to make any peace with them. I told them they might go back on Sand creek, or between there and the headquarters of the Smoky
Hills, and remain there until I received instructions from the department headquarters, from General Curtis; and that in case I did
receive any authority to make peace with them I would go right over and let them know it. I did not state to them that I would give
them notice in case we intended to attack them. They went away with that understanding, that in case I received instructions from
department headquarters I was to let them know it. But before I did receive any such instructions Colonel Chivington arrived there,
and this affair on Sand creek took place.
Question. Why did you not arrest Black Kettle and his band there, or attack them when you had them at your mercy?
Answer. I did not do it, because I did not consider it a matter of policy to do it.
Question. Why not?
Answer. Because within 100 miles of us was a party of 2,500 or 3,000 Indians. Black Kettle's band belonged to the same tribe of
Indians, and I believed that so soon as I made any attack upon Black Kettle's party, this whole tribe of Indians would rise and cut
off our communication on both routes.
Question. How did you know that that party of 3,000 Indians were within 100 miles?
Answer. Black Kettle told me so himself. Jack Smith, the son of the Indian interpreter there, a half-breed, told me the same. One
Eye, a Cheyenne chief, told me the same. On two different occasions One Eye told me when small raiding parties were going to
start out from the main Sioux and Cheyenne camp to commit depredations on the road, and depredations were committed just
about the time they said they would be, yet too soon for us to prevent it. I was satisfied in my own mind that if I had attacked Black
Kettle there, although I might have taken his entire camp at any time, it would be the cause of opening up a general Indian war,
and I was not strong enough to defend the settlements in case they commenced again.
Question. I understood you to say that the Indians were already at war with the whites.
Answer. Yes, sir. That is, they were sending out their raiding parties. Their men came there on Smoke Hill, and every little while a
raiding party would make an attack on some train or some ranch, yet there was no large party at that particular time.
Question. Were there any other Indians at Sand creek, except Black Kettle's band and the Arapahoes of whom you have spoken?
Answer. There were none but Black Kettle's band, and, as I have since ascertained, a few lodges of Arapahoes, under Left Hand.
Question. Little Raven's band was not there?
Answer. No, sir. There was but a small portion of Black Kettle's band there. He was the chief of all the Cheyennes.
Question. There was a particular band that went with him, of which he was the immediate chief, notwithstanding he was also the
chief of the whole nation?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. And it was the subordinate chiefs who were at war with the whites.
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. Black Kettle had a band which were always with him?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. Now, what I want to know is, what other Indians were at Sand creek when you advised Black Kettle and his band to go
Answer. I think there were only a very few Arapahoes under Left Hand.
Question. Did they have their women and children with them?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. How long were they at Sand creek before Colonel Chivington came along with his force?
Answer. I should think about twelve days.
Question. Did you receive any communication from those Indians on Sand creek during those twelve days? Did they furnish you
with information of any kind?
Answer. I received some information; I do not know that it came from that band. I had employed at that time, on a salary of $125 a
month and a ration, One Eye, who was a chief of the Cheyennes. He was to remain in this Cheyenne camp as a spy, and give me
information from time to time of the movements of this particular band, and also to go over to the head of the Smoke Hill to the
Sioux and Cheyenne camp there, and notify me whenever any movement was made by those Indians; but he had gone only as far
as Sand creek when Colonel Chivington made this attack on the Indians at Sand creek, and he was killed there.
Question. Then you cannot tell whether you had any communications during those twelve days from the Indians on Sand creek?
Answer. They would send in to the post frequently. General Curtis had issued an order that no Indian should be permitted to visit
the post. I had ordered them away, and the guard had fired upon them when they refused to obey that order--fired upon them
several times. I told them they could not come in, and that if they had any communication to make with me I would meet them
outside of the post and talk with them. They sent to me several times, but they were always begging parties.
Question. Did they give you any information whatever of the movements of any of the hostile Indians?
Answer. Yes, sir; One Eye did, and I think Jack Smith did. He came in at one time and stated that a party of Indians were going to
make an attack on the settlements down in the vicinity of the mouth of Walnut creek. I reported the matter to the district
headquarters, stating that there would be an attack made about such a day. The attack was made at about that time, so that the
information he gave was correct.
Question. Were the women and children of this band of Black Kettle in camp with him?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. About what number of souls were in that camp when you attacked it?
Answer. I thought at the time there were a thousand or more; but, from in-
formation I have received since, I am satisfied that there were not so many as that; probably in the neighborhood of 700 men,
women, and children.
Question. Did you send any word to Black Kettle that you intended to attack him or his band at any time?
Answer. None, whatever. It was a surprise, made without any notice whatever to them.
Question. What number of women and children were killed there?
Answer. I do not know. I made a report to Colonel Chivington the next day. I made it partly upon information I had received through
the men who were with me, and partly from observation. I stated to him that there were 300 Indians killed, including women and
children. I have ascertained since that there were not so many killed; at least I am satisfied that there were not over 125 killed. At
one time I sent out a scouting party and told them to look over the ground. They came back and reported to me that they had
counted 69 dead bodies there. About two-thirds of those were women and children.
Question. Was your command a mounted command?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. How did the remainder of the Indians escape?
Answer. On foot.
Question. What kind of country was it?
Answer. Prairie country, slightly rolling; grass very short.
Question. Do you say that Colonel Chivington's command of 700 mounted men allowed 500 of these Indians to escape?
Answer. Yes, sir; and we ourselves lost 49 in killed and wounded.
Question. Why did you not pursue the flying Indians and kill them?
Answer. I do not know; that was the fault I found with Colonel Chivington at the time.
Question. Did he call off the troops?
Answer. No, sir. The Indians took a position in the bed of the creek, which was from 200 to 500 yards wide. The banks upon the
side of the creek were two or three feet high, in some places as high as ten feet; the bed of the creek was of sand, and perfectly
level. The Indian warriors took their position right along the bank, dug holes in the sand in which to secrete themselves, and fired
upon our men in that way. We fought them there. While the women and children were escaping, the men stood under the bank
and fought us all day.
Question. How many pieces of artillery did you have?
Answer. We had four pieces.
Question. And the Indians held you in check there for seven hours?
Answer. I think fully seven hours. I was ordered back eighteen miles on the road before the firing ceased.
Question. Did you capture any prisoners?
Answer. Before I left I saw two prisoners in the Indian lodges, in their camp, where our men were quartered.
Question. Did you ever see those prisoners after Colonel Chivington returned?
Answer. Only one of them, Charles Bent.
Question. What became of the other?
Answer. I only ascertained from common report. I went to Colonel Chivington and told him that Jack Smith was a man he might
make very useful to him; that he could be made a good guide or scout for us; "but," said I to him, "unless you give your men to
understand that you want the man saved, he is going to be killed. He will be killed before to-morrow morning, unless you give your
men to understand that you don't want him killed." Colonel Chivington replied, "I have given my instructions; have told my men not
to take any prisoners. I have no further instructions to give." I replied to him that he could make that man very useful, and I thought
he had better give the men to understand that he did not want him killed. The colonel replied again, "I said at the start that I did not
want any prisoners taken, and I have no further instructions to give." I then left him. I learned afterwards that Jack Smith was killed
in the camp, in an Indian lodge.
Question. Jack Smith was a half-breed?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. And an interpreter?
Answer. I had never met him but once. He spoke English and Indian.
Question. Where was Jack Smith's father at that time?
Answer. He was in the Indian camp, trading with the Indians by my permission; and at the same time I had sent him there partly
as a spy upon the camp. I wanted to know what movements they were going to make. When I was about to send him out there he
said he wanted to take some goods out there to trade with the Indians, and I gave my permission.
Question. What property was captured there?
Answer. About 700 horses, I should think; quite a large number of buffalo robes. I do not know how many, though I think I saw 150
buffalo robes. There were a great many lodges, which were all burned. There were a great many blankets; some few bows and
arrows, and I saw some few guns. However, outside of horses, the value to the white man of the whole would be very little.
By Mr. Buckalew:
Question. Were there any mules?
Answer. Yes, sir, there were some mules; I saw a few mules branded "U. S.," that were being driven away.
By Mr. Loan:
Question. What was done with that property?
Answer. I have never learned since.
Question. Did you have possession or control of any of that property?
Answer. Colonel Chivington instructed me to order my quartermaster to receive the stock, and feed them full rations of corn and
hay while they remained at Fort Lyon. But there were only 407 head received at Fort Lyon, as I afterwards ascertained. As to the
balance, I received information that led me to believe that 225 head of the stock was run off into New Mexico by a portion of Colonel
Chivington's command; 60 more driven up the river nearly 100 miles, were there met by an officer who was coming down, and he
brought them back to Fort Lyon. When Colonel Chivington's command left Fort Lyon he took away all of this stock that was there,
and I have never heard of it since.
Question. Who issued the order to your quartermaster directing him to deliver this property over to Colonel Chivington?
Answer. There was no written order. A verbal order was given me by Colonel Chivington, which I turned over to the quartermaster.
Question. To whom was that stock delivered?
Answer. To Colonel Shoup.
Question. What position did he hold as an accounting officer?
Answer. There was no quartermaster, I think, that ever had it in charge, with the exception of the acting assistant quartermaster at
Fort Lyon, who took it in charge for a few days, by verbal order from Colonel Chivington, and turned it over again in the same
Question. Do you know of any acts of hostility committed by Black Kettle or any of his band that were encamped on Sand creek?
Answer. I do not, except this: I was out with Major General Blunt in an engagement with the Indians on Pawnee fork. There was
one man there at that time whom I afterwards recognized as being of Black Kettle's party, and who fought us at Pawnee fork; that
was War Bonnet. He was at Pawnee fork, and was very active there. He apparently had charge of a small band of Indians. It was
on the 26th of August that we fought them there.
Question. How long had you been acquainted with War Bonnet?
Answer. I had met him but twice, with the exception of that fight I had with him on Pawnee fork.
Question. You had met him twice previous to that?
Answer. Since that.
Question. Where did you first meet him after that?
Answer. At Fort Lyon.
Question. Why did you not then arrest him and punish him for fighting at Pawnee fork?
Answer. I thought if I did so it would enrage the balance of the Indians, who were then encamped at Smoke Hill, and I was trying to
keep them quiet, until such time as a sufficient number of troops had arrived to enable us to go out and fight the whole party.
Question. If you had reason to think that Black Kettle, or any of his party, intended to fight against the United States, or the whites,
state what that reason was.
Answer. I had no reason to suppose it further than my general knowledge of the Indian character. I have been there for upwards of
two years, and during that time it has been the constant complaint of travellers upon the road that the Indians were annoying their
trains, even when they did not profess to be at war at all. It had always been a source of constant annoyance to us there. Trains
came into the post and complained that the Indians were taking their property from them.
Question. How far from Fort Lyon were Black Kettle and his people encamped when you made the attack?
Answer. Between 30 and 40 miles.
Question. Why was not Mr. Smith, the trader, also killed?
Answer. As I came up with my command, my men formed in line very close to the Indian camp; among the first persons I saw was
John Smith. I had not given any instructions to my men to fire. Firing was going on on both sides of me, a portion of Colonel
Chivington's command on the right and another portion on the left were firing. I did not give any instructions to my men to fire. I saw
John Smith, who appeared to be frightened, and I rode out in front of my men and called out to him to come to me. I held up my
hands, called him by name, and swung my hat at him. He started towards me, and as he started, I supposed he imagined some
one was firing at him. Whether they were or not I do not know; I did not see any shots fired at him. I am sure no man of mine fired.
At that time all the command, with the exception of my men, were firing. As I was calling out to him to come to me, he turned and
started to run the other way. Just at that time one of my men rode out and said, "Major, let me bring him out." The man rode past
me, and as he rode around Smith, to take hold of him and lead him out of the Indian camp, he was shot; at least I thought so from
his motions in the saddle. He passed on by again, and his horse was shot down. After his horse was shot down he attempted to
get up, and some Indian ran up to him, snatched his gun from him, and beat him over the head and killed him. That was the first
man of our command I saw killed. The Indians at that time commenced firing upon me, and then my men commenced firing.
By Mr. Buckalew:
Question. What became of Smith?
Answer. I did not know what became of him; I did not see him for three or four hours afterwards. The next I saw of him he was
coming down the bank of the river, with some of our soldiers.
By Mr. Loan:
Question. What became of the buffalo robes that were taken there?
Answer. I do not know. I had some buffalo robes, my own bedding, which went at the same time, and we have never been able to
ascertain what became of them. I went to Colonel Chivington and reported to him that John Smith had lost all his buffalo robes; I
wanted them recovered. He said to me, "You go to John Smith and tell him that he need have no fear at all about the matter; I will
give an order confiscating that property for the use of the hospital." I afterwards ascertained that I had lost all my own bedding and
buffalo robes, and also provision for ten men for thirty days, that I had taken out there. The colonel said, "Well, we will give you an
order confiscating that for the use of the hospital, and you can be reimbursed; you shall not lose a cent." However, the order never
was issued, confiscating the property.
Question. Do you know by what authority the 225 head of stock were taken off to New Mexico?
Answer. I do not. Captain Cook told me he knew how many men there were, and he knew who had them in charge; but he never
gave me the names.
This is the way in which we have been situated out there. I have been in command of a body of troops at Fort Larned or Fort Lyon
for upwards of two years. About two years ago in September the Indians were professing to be perfectly friendly. These were the
Cheyennes, the Camanches, the Apaches, the Arapahoes, the Kiowas, encamped at different points on the Arkansas river
between Fort Larned and Fort Lyon. Trains were going up to Fort Lyon frequently, and scarcely a train came in but had some
complaint to make about the Indians. I recollect that one particular day three trains came in to the post and reported to me that the
Indians had robbed them of their provisions. We at the post had to issue provisions to them constantly. Trains that were carrying
government freight to New Mexico would stop there and get their supplies replenished on account of the Indians having taken
theirs on the road.
At one time I took two pieces of artillery and 125 men, and went down to meet the Indians. As soon as I got there they were
apparently friendly. A Kiowa chief perhaps would say to me that his men were perfectly friendly, and felt all right towards the whites,
but the Arapahoes were very bad Indians. Go to the Arapahoe camp, they would perhaps charge everything upon the Camanches,
while the Camanches would charge it upon the Cheyennes; yet each band there was professing friendship towards us.
These troubles have been going on for some time, until the settlers in that part of the country, and all through western Kansas and
Colorado do not think they can bear it. When these troubles commenced upwards of a year ago I received information that led me
to believe that the Indians were going to make a general war this last spring. I supposed so at the time. They were endeavoring by
every means to purchase arms and ammunition. They would offer the best horse they had for a revolver, or a musket, or a little
This last spring it seemed to have commenced; I do not know how. I know, however, that at the different posts they were
professing friendship. They were encamped in pretty large numbers in the vicinity of the posts, and while their women and
children were dancing right alongside the officers' quarters, the Indians secreted themselves in a ravine in the neighborhood of
the post, and at a signal jumped out and run off the stock, firing at the guards; at the same time the women and children jumped
on their ponies, and away they went. They burned down the bridges, and almost held the post under their control for three or four
days. About the same time they commenced depredations on the road. The mails could not pass without a pretty large escort. At
least, whenever we sent them without an escort the Indians attacked them, and the people considered it very unsafe to travel the
When the Indians took their prisoners (in fact, however, they generally took no prisoners) near Simmering spring, they killed ten
men. I was told by Captain Davis, of the California volunteers, that the Indians cut off the heads
of the men after they had scalped them, and piled them in a pile on the ground, and danced around them, and kicked their bodies
around over the ground, &c. It is the general impression among the people of that country that the only way to fight Indians is to
fight them as they fight us; if they scalp and mutilate the bodies we must do the same.
I recollect one occasion, when I had a fight on Pawnee fork with the Indians there, I had fifty-nine men with me, and the Indians
numbered several hundred. I was retreating, and they had followed me then about five miles. I had eleven men of my party shot at
that time. I had with my party then a few Delaware Indians, and one Captain Fall-Leaf, of the Delaware tribe, had his horse shot;
we had to stop every few minutes, dismount and fire upon the Indians to keep them off. They formed a circle right around us.
Finally we shot down one Indian very close to us. I saw Fall-Leaf make a movement as though he wanted to scalp the Indian. I
asked him if he wanted that Indian's scalp, and he said he did. We kept up a fire to keep the Indians off, while he went down and
took off his scalp, and gave his Delaware war-whoop. That seemed to strike more terror into those Indians than anything else we
had done that day. And I do think, that if it had not been for that one thing, we should have lost a great many more of my men. I think
it struck a terror to them, so that they kept away from us.
It is the general impression of the people of that country that the only way to fight them is to fight as they fight; kill their women and
children and kill them. At the same time, of course, we consider it a barbarous practice.
Question. Did the troops mutilate the Indians killed at Sand creek?
Answer. They did in some instances that I know of; but I saw nothing to the extent I have since heard stated.
Question. State what you saw.
Answer. I saw one man dismount from his horse; he was standing by the side of Colonel Chivington. There was a dead squaw
there who had apparently been killed some little time before. The man got down off his horse, took hold of the squaw, took out his
knife and tried to cut off her scalp. I thought the squaw had been scalped before; a spot on the side of the head had evidently been
cut off before with a knife; it might possibly have been done by a grape-shot, or something of that kind. I saw a great many Indians
and squaws that had been scalped; I do not know how many, but several. There have been different reports about these matters. I
heard a report some twenty days after the fight--I saw a notice in Colonel Chivington's report--that a scalp three days old, a white
woman's scalp, was found in the Cheyenne camp. I did not hear anything about that until after Colonel Chivington had reached
Denver. I was with him for ten days after the fight, and never heard a word about a white woman's scalp being found in the camp
On the other hand, on the day I left Fort Lyon to come east, on the 30th of January, I saw an official report from Major Wynkoop,
together with affidavits from different men; among them was one man who was my adjutant at that time; he speaks in his affidavit
about the bodies of the Indians having been so badly mutilated, their privates cut off, and all that kind of thing. I never saw anything
of that; and I never heard it until I saw it in those affidavits at Fort Lyon, two months after the fight. Yet it was a matter of daily
conversation between us at the posts. I, however, did myself see some bodies on the ground that were mutilated.
Question. Anything further than you have stated?
Answer. No, sir. I saw what convinced me that, in attempting to escape with two children, one squaw had been mortally wounded,
and had drawn her knife, gathered her two children near her, and cut both of their throats. That was not done by our men. I did not
see any one mutilating any Indian, with
the exception of the one man I have spoken of, while Colonel Chivington was standing by the side of him.
I saw one instance, however. There was one little child, probably three years old, just big enough to walk through the sand. The
Indians had gone ahead, and this little child was behind following after them. The little fellow was perfectly naked, travelling on the
sand. I saw one man get off his horse, at a distance of about seventy-five yards, and draw up his rifle and fire--he missed the child.
Another man came up and said, "Let me try the son of a bitch; I can hit him." He got down off his horse, kneeled down and fired at
the little child, but he missed him. A third man came up and made a similar remark, and fired, and the little fellow dropped.
By Mr. Buckalew:
Question. Those were men of your command?
Answer. Of Colonel Chivington's command.
By Mr. Loan:
Question. Had the officers control of their men at that time?
Answer. There did not seem to be any control.
Question. Could the officers have controlled their men, or were the men acting in defiance of the orders of their officers?
Answer. I did not hear any orders given but what were obeyed. As a general thing the officers and men were doing just what they
saw fit to do.
By Mr. Gooch:
Question. Did you communicate to Colonel Chivington, when he came to Fort Lyon, the relations you had had with those Indians?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. Did you, under the circumstances, approve of this attack upon those Indians?
Answer. I did not.
Question. Did you not feel that you were bound in good faith not to attack those Indians after they had surrendered to you, and after
they had taken up a position which you yourself had indicated?
Answer. I did not consider that they had surrendered to me; I never would consent that they should surrender to me. My
instructions were such that I felt in duty bound to fight them wherever I found them; provided I considered it good policy to do so. I
did not consider it good policy to attack this party of Indians on Sand creek unless I was strong enough to go on and fight the main
band at the Smoke Hills, some seventy miles further. If I had had that force I should have gone out and fought this band on Sand
Question. The Arapahoes had surrendered to you?
Answer. I considered them differently from the Cheyennes.
Question. They were with the Cheyennes, or a part of them were?
Answer. I understood afterwards that some six or eight or ten lodges of the Arapahoes were there.
Question. Did you not know at the time you made this attack that those Arapahoes were there with the Cheyennes?
Answer. I did not. A part of the Cheyennes had left; a part of them said they did not believe we at the post felt friendly towards them;
and I have since learned that a part of them had left.
Question. These very Indians had come in and held communication with you, and had taken up the position you had directed them
Answer. No, sir; I told them they should not remain on the road, but they might go back on Sand creek, or some place where they
could kill game.
Question. You advised them to go there?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. Did you not suppose that they understood from you that if they went there and behaved themselves they would not be
attacked by you?
Answer. I do not think they thought so. I think they were afraid I was going to attack them. I judge so from words that came to me
like this: "That they did not like that red-eyed chief; that they believed he wanted to fight them."
Question. You say you did not approve of the attack upon them by Colonel Chivington. Did you remonstrate with Colonel
Chivington against making that attack?
Answer. I did.
Question. You felt that you ought not to make the attack under the circumstances?
Answer. I did. I made a great many harsh remarks in regard to it. At the same time I did not so much object to the killing of the
Indians, as a matter of principle--merely as a matter of policy. I considered it a very bad policy, as it would open up the war in that
whole country again, which was quiet for the time. I am very well satisfied the Indians intended a general outbreak as soon as the
weather would permit.
Question. You think the attack made upon those Indians there, in addition to the other characteristics which it possesses, was
Answer. I do, very much so. I think it was the occasion of what has occurred on the Platte since that time. I have so stated in my
report to the headquarters of the district and of the department. I stated before Colonel Chivington arrived there that the Indians
were encamped at this point; that I had a force with me sufficiently strong to go out and fight them; but I did not think it policy to do
so, for I was not strong enough to fight the main band. If I fought this band, the main band would immediately strike the
settlements. But so soon as the party should be strong enough to fight the main band, I should be in favor of making the war
general against the Indians. I stated to them also that I did not believe we could fight one band without fighting them all; that in
case we fought one party of Indians and whipped them, those that escaped would go into another band that was apparently
friendly, and that band would secrete those who had been committing depredations before. As it was with Little Raven's band; his
own sons attacked a train a short distance above Fort Lyon, killed one soldier, took a government wagon and mules, some
horses, and took some women prisoners. One woman they afterwards outraged, and she hung herself; the other one, I think, they
still hold. Some of the Indians have married her, as they call it, and she is still held in their camp, as I have understood; not now in
the camp of those who took her prisoner, but she has been sold to the Sioux and Cheyennes. The instructions we constantly
received from the headquarters, both of the district and the department, were that we should show as little mercy to the Indians as
By Mr. Loan:
Question. Could you furnish us copies of those instructions?
Answer. I have in the city some private letters, and I think I have also some confidential communications, that go to show
something of that nature.
Question. I should be glad to have copies of some of them.
Answer. I think I have some of them. I have copies of some letters I wrote to department and district headquarters. My reports were
always approved; they sent back word every time that my reports were approved. I stated that I would hold on to those Indians; let
them remain dormant until such time as troops enough arrived to fight the main band. They always approved my action in the
matter. When Colonel Chivington arrived there with his command, I immediately reported to headquarters that he had arrived.
Question. Who was the district commander?
Answer. Major Henning.
Question. How did a major command a colonel?
Answer. Colonel Chivington was in entirely another district. The district I was in was in upper Arkansas, and was commanded by
Major Henning. Colonel Chivington commanded the district of Colorado.
Question. Then Fort Lyon was not in Colonel Chivington's district?
Answer. No, sir.
Question. By what authority did you act in concert with Colonel Chivington?
Answer. By the authority of the instructions I had received from my own district commander, that I should fight the Indians wherever
I met them. When Colonel Chivington came down I talked with him; he told me where he was going, and asked me if I wanted to
go with him. I told him if he was going to make a general war with the Indians I did. He gave me to understand that he was going
to make it general.
Question. Can you furnish us a copy of those instructions that authorized you to go under Colonel Chivington when he was out of
Answer. I had no instructions to go under him at all. I have, however, some papers to show the feeling in regard to the district. I told
Colonel Chivington, several times on that march to Sand creek, that One Eye was there, employed by me; that Black Kettle was
there, and that I considered Black Kettle friendly towards us; that Left Hand was there; that, probably, John Smith was there by my
permission; that there was a soldier there with Smith whom I had sent off as a sort of spy, too; and that I wanted, if he did fight
those Indians, by all means to save those parties; that if he did fight them he should give notice beforehand in order to get them
out. I advised him to surround the camp, and not let one escape, and then push right forward and fight the main band; that he was
strong enough for them. I believed at the lime that if we should attack the main band, it would put an end to all our Indian troubles
there. And I supposed he was going to do it; that was the understanding at the time we left Fort Lyon. I took twenty-three days'
rations for my men, with the understanding that we were to be gone at least that length of time.
Testimony of Major S. G. Colley.
WASHINGTON, March 14, 1865.
Major S. G. COLLEY sworn and examined.
By Mr. Loan:
Question. Where do you reside?
Answer. At Fort Lyon.
Question. Do you hold any official position, civil or military?
Answer. I am an Indian agent.
Question. Will you state what you know of the Indians out there, their disposition towards the whites, &c., and what you know about
the massacre at Sand creek?
Answer. I was not present at that fight.
Question. How long have you been agent for those Indians?
Answer. My appointment was in July, 1861.
Question. Were you intimately acquainted with the character and conduct of Black Kettle and his band of Indians?
Answer. I think I was.
Question. What do you know about Left Hand's band of the Arapahoes?
Answer. I know nothing bad about them. I have been with them hundreds of times.
Question. What has been their general character for peace and good conduct towards the whites? Have they been guilty of any
acts of hostility, theft, or anything of the kind?
Answer. Nearly a year ago I heard of some troubles on the Platte with some Cheyenne Indians. When the treaty was made with
those Indians in 1860, before I went out there, there was claimed to be two bands of Cheyennes and Arapahoes; the one of the
North Platte, and the one of the South Platte. This North Platte band was not a party to that treaty, and were dissatisfied with it.
There was an effort made to get those Indians to join the southern band, as it was called, but the effort was never successful. The
governor, myself, and another man met the northern Indians to see if we could not get them to unite with the southern Indians,
and all go on a reservation. But we failed in that. Early in the spring of last year I understood from Denver, perhaps from Governor
Evans himself, that there had been a collision between the soldiers and Indians. I did not know what effect it would have upon our
Indians below. I immediately went out and found all the Indians I could, and communicated with them, and told them there had
been trouble on the Platte, and asked them if they knew anything about it. They said they had heard of it, but supposed it was
some of the Dog Soldiers over there, as this northern band is called. They said they themselves did not want to have any trouble,
but if the soldiers followed them up they supposed they would have to fight. I told them I wished they would come in on the
Arkansas as close as they could and stay there, and be out of trouble. Previous to this, for two years, we have been satisfied that
there was an effort being made by the Sioux Indians to induce these Indians to join them and make war upon the whites. We have
labored for two years to keep it down. The Sioux Indians, many of them from Minnesota, are there in that country, and have been
endeavoring to unite these Indians for the purpose of making a general war upon the whites. These Indians said the Sioux had
been there with the war-pipe, but they did not mean to go to war with the whites.
There were a great many depredations committed below our place, at Larned, by some Indians. It was sometimes reported that
all the bands were engaged in them; then it was reported that they were committed by the Sioux. It was impossible to ascertain
what Indians were engaged. But so far as I met the Cheyennes and the Arapahoes on the Arkansas, they disclaimed it, and
pretended to be friendly.
In June last I received a circular from Governor Evans, requesting me to invite any of the Indians that had not been at war with the
whites to Fort Lyon; the Cheyennes and Arapahoes of the North Platte to Fort Collins; the Cheyennes and Arapahoes of the
Arkansas at Fort Lyon; the Kiowas and Camanches at Larned, and tell them if they would come in and behave themselves, they
should be fed and cared for. I immediately sent Mr. Smith, Jack Smith, who was killed, and Colonel Bent, to all these Indians to
carry them this information. During this time occurred this trouble at Fort Larned, by the Kiowas running off the stock. Orders were
then issued that no Indians should come to that post, as I understood it. After One Eye had come back and said he had seen
Black Kettle, who said he would bring in his Indians, I sent him out again to see what was going on.
During this time orders were issued, I understood from General Curtis, that no Indians should visit a military post; but it was a
long while before One Eye got in; he did not get in until the 4th day of September, and he got in then by accident. If he had been
met by a soldier he would have been shot; but he happened to meet some other soldiers, who took him prisoner and brought
him in then. Major Wynkoop took him and kept him in the guard-house that day.
He told us that there were some white prisoners with the Cheyennes whom they had brought, and whom they were willing to
deliver up, if we would go out for them. Major Wynkoop went out with one hundred men, had a conversation with the Indians, and
brought in four prisoners, one girl and three children.
Black Kettle and his principal men, some twenty or thirty of them, came in with Major Wynkoop, and went to Denver and had a
conference with Governor Evans. The governor declined to make any peace with them, but turned them over to the military. Black
Kettle went out and brought in quite a number of lodges, and the young men came in to the post.
Before this time, General Curtis, through representations from some quarter, was apparently led to believe that the Indians were
behaving very badly at Fort Lyon; and Major Wynkoop was relieved of his command by Major Anthony. At that time the Arapahoes
were there, being fed by Major Wynkoop. When Major Anthony came, he said he was ordered to fight those Indians; but he found
things different from what he expected, and he did not think it policy then to fight them; that there was no danger from those
Indians; they could be kept there, and killed at any time it was necessary. He told them that he did not feel authorized to give them
any rations, and that they better go out a piece where they could kill buffalo.
After Major Wynkoop had brought those Indians in, and until after this fight, I do not know of any depredations having been
committed in our country. There may have been some committed below in the vicinity of Fort Larned; but during that time, two
months or over, the Indians in our country did not commit any depredations.
Question. Have you any means of knowing the number of Indians in that camp on Sand creek?
Answer. I have no personal knowledge of the number of lodges there. But there were about one hundred lodges of the Arapahoes
at the post at the time Major Anthony took the command there. Left Hand's band had gone out to Sand creek, and Black Kettle's
band of the Cheyennes.
Question. How many were in Left Hand's band?
Answer. About eight lodges.
Question. How many to a lodge?
Answer. About five.
Question. About how strong was Black Kettle's band?
Answer. I do not know of my own knowledge. I only know from what men told me who had counted them. At one time when One
Eye was out, we did suppose, from what we had heard, that the Indians were all going to unite against us.
Question. Judging from all your information as Indian agent, have you any reason to believe that Black Kettle or Left Hand had
been guilty of or intended any hostility towards us?
Answer. I have no reason to believe that of either of them.
Question. Have you any reason to know that they desired to remain at peace, and were opposed to fighting the people of the
Answer. Left Hand, who speaks English, told me that he never would fight the whites. He said that some of his boys got mad after
he was fired at at Fort Larned. Left Hand had come in there and offered to assist in the recovery of some stock that had been
stampeded there. He was fired on by the soldiers at Fort Larned. He said, "I was not much mad; but my boys were mad, and I
could not control them. But as for me, I will not fight the whites, and you cannot make me do it. You may imprison me or kill me;
but I will not fight the whites."
Question. What was the feeling of Black Kettle?
Answer. He himself always appeared to be friendly.
Question. Did you ever know of his committing any act of hostility towards the whites, or sanctioning it in others?
Answer. I never did.
Question. What relation did he bear to the Cheyenne tribe of Indians?
Answer. He was acknowledged as the head chief of the southern bands of Cheyennes. There were subordinate chiefs who were
heads of bands.
By Mr. Buckalew:
Question. What has become of Black Kettle?
Answer. I have seen a half-breed who was there with Mr. Smith, and could not get back to the soldiers, and ran off with the
Indians, and was with them for fourteen days after they got over to the Sioux Indians. From what he told me--and I could rely upon
it--Black Kettle was not killed, but Left Hand was wounded, and died after he got over there.
Question. Of the fight itself you know nothing?
Answer. No, sir; I was not there; I was at Fort Lyon at the time.
Question. The Jack Smith who was killed there was the son of a white man?
Answer. Yes, sir; of John Smith.
Question. He was an interpreter?
Answer. He interpreted for me; he spoke both English and Indian.
Question. Had you any reason to think that Mr. Smith or his son entertained any hostility to the whites?
Answer. The old gentleman was always our main man there, communicating with the Indians, for he had lived with them so long.
Nobody doubted his fidelity to the government.
Question. Was there any reason to doubt that of the son?
Answer. Captain Hardee informed me, when he went out there on the stage, that he thought Jack Smith was one of the party that
attacked the stage. When Jack came I told him what I had heard. He said he had rode up to the stage and wanted to know if his
father was in the coach; and he wanted to know what the trouble was that he had heard of in the east; that they then fired upon
them, and then the Indians returned the fire.
Question. Was there any other act of Jack denoting hostility?
Answer. I never heard of any. He was at Fort Lyon at work haying there for some men. In July last, I think, Colonel Chivington was
at Fort Lyon. This One Eye was near about the fort, and wanted to go out and see the Indians, but was afraid of the soldiers.
Colonel Chivington wrote out a certificate of his good character, stating that he was a friendly Indian, and then told him if he came
across any soldiers to show that to them; if they shot before he got to them to show a white flag, and that would protect him. He
was an Indian we relied upon a great deal for information. He was killed at Sand creek. I asked Colonel Chivington if there was
any way these Indians, Black Kettle, Left Hand, and some others, could be treated with. He said his orders from General Curtis
were that it could be done on these conditions: that they must give up their stolen property, make restitution for any damage they
had done, &c., and I supposed he was going to do that.
Testimony of Governor John Evans.
WASHINGTON, March 15, 1865.
Governor JOHN EVANS sworn and examined.
By Mr. Loan:
Question. What is your present official position?
Answer. Governor of Colorado Territory, and superintendent of Indian affairs.
Question. Do you know anything of a band of Indians under the lead of a chief of the name of Black Kettle?
Answer. There is a band of Cheyenne Indians under a chief of that name, roaming over the plains.
Question. In what part of the country were they located, relative to the other bands of Indians?
Answer. The Indians that were with Black Kettle--I do not know that he was the leader of them entirely, but the Indians he went
with, and was the chief among, were mainly roaming in the neighborhood of the Smoke Hill and Republican fork, and down on
the south Arkansas. Sometimes they went up as far as the Platte.
Question. How many other bands were there?
Answer. There is a band up in the neighborhood of Fort Laramie, some of whose chiefs, the Shield and Spotted Horse, were with
Question. Was there any other band of the tribe of Cheyenne Indians than those on the Platte and those on the Arkansas?
Answer. Yes, sir; I think so. How far they were divided into bands it is rather difficult to say; and where each band is located is very
difficult to say, because they range from away below the Arkansas to above Fort Laramie, or to Powder river. For years they have
been in the habit of roaming back and forth over the plains.
Question. Will you give us the names of the head chiefs of the Cheyennes that you, as superintendent of Indian affairs,
Answer. There was Black Kettle, White Antelope, and Bull Bear among them.
Question. Having the supreme control of the Cheyenne nation?
Answer. No, sir; I do not think there was any such chief recognized. They had a party of about forty young men, called the Dog
soldiers, who several years ago took the control of the tribe mainly out of the hands of the chiefs. They were clubbed together as a
band of braves, and the chiefs could not control them.
Question. What part of the country did Black Kettle and the Indians with him occupy during last summer?
Answer. From information which I have received I think they were mainly on the head of the Smoke Hill.
Question. How far from Fort Lyon?
Answer. Sometimes nearer, sometimes farther off. As I stated before, they are entirely nomadic, and they pass from one part of
the country to another. The most precise information I have of their precise locality, at any particular time, is the report of Major
Wynkoop, who went out and saw their camp, in the latter part of August, or in the early part of September last.
Question. Where were they then?
Answer. At what is called Big Timbers, on the head of Smoke Hill.
Question. Have you any knowledge that they were north of Denver at any time during last summer? If so, state at what places they
Answer. I have the information from the chiefs that during the summer they were on the Platte, in the neighborhood of Plum creek,
a little west of Fort Kearney; and on the Blue, east of Fort Kearney. They ranged away down into Kansas and Nebraska there
during the summer.
Question. From whom did you derive this information?
Answer. It was either Black Kettle or White Antelope who told me so.
Question. At what time?
Answer. At the time of the depredations on the trains that were perpetrated in August last.
Question. I mean at what time did they tell you this?
Answer. They told me so on the 28th of September.
Question. You say they were down on Plum creek at the time these depredations were committed?
Answer. They said the Cheyennes committed them.
Question. What I want to know is whether you have information that Black Kettle, or any of the band that travel with him, had been
north of Denver last summer. Did Black Kettle tell you that either he himself, or any of the band under his immediate control, had
Answer. I inferred they had from his saying that the Cheyennes had committed those depredations. As a matter of course I told
him they had committed them, because they had some white prisoners who had been captured there, and whom they claimed as
theirs. He did not answer to that proposition. He said the Cheyennes committed the depredations east of Kearney. He did not say
directly that they had been on the Blue. They gave up to Major Wynkoop the prisoners that were captured on the Little Blue, and
then he said that the Cheyennes committed the depredations.
Question. Did Black Kettle say that his band had done it?
Answer. He did not say which band of Cheyennes. I inferred that they were his band because they did not speak of any other
bands. These Cheyennes that range on the head of the Smoke Hill and Republican seem all to band together.
Question. What is the distance from their location about Fort Lyon to Fort Kearney, and from there to Little Blue?
Answer. I should have to guess at the distance.
Question. You have travelled that country frequently, have you not?
Answer. Not across in that direction.
Question. You have a general knowledge of that country and the bearing of it, and can estimate it from the route you have
Answer. From the Big Timbers on the head of the Smoke Hill.
Question. Or about Fort Lyon?
Answer. It is at least from ninety to one hundred miles from Fort Lyon, and from Big Timbers to Fort Kearney would probably be
150 miles. I may be mistaken as to that.
Question. How far east of Denver is Fort Lyon?
Answer. It is southeast.
Question. How far east?
Answer. Something like 100 miles.
Question. What distance is Fort Lyon from Denver by a right line?
Answer. I suppose about 200 miles. It is about 250 miles the way they travel. It must be quite 200 miles on an air line.
Question. Where was it that Black Kettle was telling you about this?
Answer. At Denver.
Question. State the circumstances under which that conversation arose.
Answer. He with other chiefs and headmen----
Question. Please name them.
Answer. I cannot give all their names.
Question. State as many as you can remember.
Answer. Black Kettle, White Antelope, and Bull Bear, of the Cheyennes; Neva and two or three others of the Arapahoes. They were
brought to Denver for the purpose of council by Major Wynkoop, after he had been out to their camp, brought there for the purpose
of making a treaty of peace.
Question. You were acting as superintendent of Indian affairs?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. What propositions did you make to them, and what was the conclusion of that conference?
Answer. Major Wynkoop's report is published in my report to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.
Question. That may be; but you can state it?
Answer. In brief, he reported that he had been out to their camp, and found them drawn up in line of battle. He sent in an Indian he
had with him to get them to council instead of to fight; and he held a council in the presence of their warriors with their bows and
arrows drawn. They agreed to allow these men to come to see me in reference to making peace, with the assurance that he
would see them safe back again to their camp, as he states in his report or letter to me in regard to it.
Question. When you saw the Indians, what occurred?
Answer. The Indians made their statement, that they had come in through great fear and tribulation to see me, and proposed that
I should make peace with them; or they said to me that they desired me to make peace. To which I replied that I was not the
proper authority, as they were at war and had been fighting, and had made an alliance with the Sioux, Kiowas, and Comanches to
go to war; that they should make their terms of peace with the military authorities. I also told them that they should make such
arrangements, or I advised them to make such arrangements as they could, and submit to whatever terms were imposed by the
military authorities as their best course.
Question. What reply did they make to that?
Answer. They proposed that that would be satisfactory, and that they would make terms of peace. The next day I got a despatch
from Major General Curtis, commanding the department, approving my course, although he did not know what it was. But the
despatch contained an order that no peace should be made with the Indians without his assent and authority; dictating some
terms for them to be governed by in making the peace.
Question. Have you a copy of that despatch with you?
Answer. It is published in my annual report.
Question. Did you communicate that fact to the Indians?
Answer. It was after the Indians had left that I received a despatch. The despatch came to the commander of the district; and a
copy was sent to me for the purpose of giving me notice.
Question. Was anything further said in that conference with the Indians?
Answer. I took occasion to gather as much information as I could in regard to the extent of hostile feelings among the Indians,
and especially in regard to what bands had been committing the depredations along the line and through the settlements, which
had been very extensive.
Question. What did Black Kettle say in regard to his band; and what did the other Indians say in regard to their bands?
Answer. Black Kettle said he and White Antelope had been opposed all the time to going to war, but they could not control their
young men--these Dog soldiers; they have been very bad.
Question. These Dog soldiers were on the Blue?
Answer. They were in his camp; they were his young men; Black Kettle was an old man.
Question. Where was his camp?
Answer. At the Big Timbers.
Question. Where Major Wynkoop found them?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. How do you know that fact?
Answer. By the statement that their warriors were there.
Question. Did Major Wynkoop make that statement to you?
Answer. Yes, sir; in his letter to me giving the circumstances under which he brought these Indians to me.
Question. Did Major Wynkoop report to you that the Dog soldiers, of the Cheyennes, were in Black Kettle's camp?
Answer. He did not mention the Dog soldiers; but the Dog soldiers are warriors of the Cheyenne tribe.
Question. I understand that; but you say there is no head chief that you recognized as such. I wanted to know if these Dog
soldiers belonged to the band under the lead of Black Kettle?
Answer. The Dog soldiers belonged to the bands commanded by Black Kettle, White Antelope, and Bull Bear, which all run
together. There is no known separation among them.
Question. Do I understand you, then, to say that the Indians indiscriminately occupy that country from below the Arkansas to the
Answer. The Cheyenne Indians, the Sioux Indians, the Arapahoe Indians, roam indiscriminately through there.
Question. Then there was no particular band that made their homes about the head of the Smoky fork?
Answer. There were a number of bands and tribes that hunted through there indiscriminately.
Question. What I want to know is the usual locality of Black Kettle's band?
Answer. It was like all the rest. He goes where he thinks there is the best hunting; he ranges from one part of the country to the
Question. Do you know that the Indians known as Dog soldiers ever were in Black Kettle's camp; and if so, at what time, and how
do you know the fact?
Answer. I will not name them as Dog soldiers.
Question. I mean the warriors known as the Dog soldiers of the Cheyennes Indians. Have they ever been in his camp at any time
that you know of?
Answer. Bull Bear, who was to see me, was the head of the Dog soldiers himself, the head one of that band, a sub-chief. They
said they left nearly all their warriors at this bunch of timbers.
Question. Where Black Kettle's camp was?
Answer. Black Kettle was in the camp. You have the idea that Black Kettle had some particular camp. The distinction between
White Antelope and Black Kettle, as an authority among the tribes, has varied at different times. The government has never
recognized either of them as head chief that I know of.
Question. You have omitted to answer the question whether you know of these Dog soldiers, at any time or at any place, being in
Black Kettle's camp or under his control?
Answer. I know the answer that Bull Bear gave when he came to Denver. He was recognized as the leader of the Dog soldiers.
He, with Black Kettle and White Antelope, said that they left their warriors down at the bunch of timbers; and Major Wynkoop
reports the same thing.
Question. You inferred that the warriors referred to were the Dog soldiers?
Answer. I did.
Question. At this conference, when Bull Bear told you this, what did he say in regard to war and peace?
Answer. He said he was ready to make peace. They spoke of some of their warriors being out. Their war is a guerilla warfare.
They go off in little bands of twenty or thirty together and commit these depredations, so that there is scarcely ever more than that
many seen in any of these attacks. They reported that some of their young men were out upon the war-path, or had been out, and
they did not know whether they were in at the time. That, I think, was stated at that time, or in a communication that came from
them a short time before this. I got a letter from Black Kettle through Bent; it was sent up to me. Upon which Major Wynkoop went
out to their camp, and either that or their statement at the conference gave me the information that a portion of their warriors were
Question. How did Major Wynkoop know in regard to this letter or its contents.
Answer. It was brought in to Major Colley, at Fort Lyon, where Major Wynkoop was in command, by two or three Indians; and
immediately upon their coming in Major Wynkoop took these Indians, and went with them, as guides.
Question. That was before you saw the letter?
Answer. Yes, sir; and they immediately sent me a copy of the letter.
Question. Did these Indians propose to do anything that you, as their superintendent, directed them to do in this matter, for the
purpose of keeping peace?
Answer. They did not suggest about keeping peace; they proposed to make peace. They acknowledged that they were at war, and
had been at war during the spring. They expressed themselves as satisfied with the references I gave them to the military
authorities; and they went back, as I understood, with the expectation of making peace with "the soldiers," as they termed
them--with the military authorities.
Question. Why did you permit those Indians to go back, under the circumstances, when you knew they were at war with the
Answer. Because they were under the control and authority of the military, over which I, as superintendent of Indian affairs, had no
Question. Did you make application to the district commander there to detain those Indians?
Answer. No, sir.
Question. Why did you not do it?
Answer. Because the military commander was at the council.
Question. What was his name?
Answer. Colonel Chivington. I told the Indians he was present and could speak in reference to those matters we had been
Question. Were any orders given to Major Wynkoop, either by yourself or by Colonel Chivington, in regard to his action towards
Answer. I gave no orders, because I had no authority to give any.
Question. Did Colonel Chivington give any?
Answer. He made these remarks in the presence of the council: that he was commander of the district; that his rule of fighting
white men and Indians was to fight them until they laid down their arms; if they were ready to do that, then Major Wynkoop was
nearer to them than he was, and they could go to him.
Question. Do you know whether he issued any orders to Major Wynkoop to govern his conduct in the matter?
Answer. I do not. Major Wynkoop was not under his command, however. I understood that Fort Lyon was not in the command that
Colonel Chivington was exercising at the time. It was a separate command, under General Blunt, of the military district of the
Arkansas, as I understood it.
Question. Were the Indian chiefs sent back to their homes in pursuance of any orders given to Major Wynkoop, that you know of?
Answer. No, sir. I will say further, in regard to my course, that it was reported to the Indian bureau, and approved by the Indian
bureau as proper, not to interfere with the military, which will appear in my annual report. I have no official knowledge of what
transpired after this council, so far as these Indians are concerned, except that I notified the agent that they were under the military
authority, and I supposed they would be treated as prisoners.
Question. How long have you been superintendent of Indian affairs there?
Answer. Since the spring of 1862.
Question. Have you any knowledge of any acts committed by either of those chiefs, or by the bands immediately under their
control--any personal knowledge?
Answer. In 1862, a party of these Dog soldiers---
Question. I am not asking about the Dog soldiers, but about Black Kettle's band.
Answer. They are the same Indians. The Dog soldiers were a sort of vigilance committee under those old chiefs.
Question. I understood you to say, a few minutes ago, that the Dog soldiers threw off the authority of the old chiefs, and were
independent of them?
Answer. That they managed the tribe instead of the chiefs.
Question. What act of hostility was committed by the Dog soldiers, in pursuance of the authority of any of the chiefs of the nation?
Answer. That I could not say, for I have no way of ascertaining what authority they have--only what I gather from the agent, who was
intimate with them.
Question. What is the name of that agent?
Answer. Colley. He is familiar with those Indians, and said that the Dog-soldiers were to blame for their ugly conduct.
Question. That is what I understand; and I wanted you, as superintendent of Indian affairs, to tell us if these Dog soldiers were
under the command of any chief that had control of them, and the name of that chief, if you know it.
Answer. The identification of the chief that commands them is what I am not able to do, because they have in that band, or tribe,
the chiefs that I have mentioned. Which of them is superior in authority I am not advised.
Question. What was the general reputation of Black Kettle, as a hostile or a friendly Indian, during your control there as
superintendent of Indian affairs?
Answer. Black Kettle has had the reputation of being himself a good Indian.
Question. Peaceably inclined, and well disposed towards the whites?
Answer. Yes, sir; and White Antelope more particularly. But I was going on to state in regard to their conduct. In the summer of
1862 a party of warriors of the Cheyennes came to Denver and called on me, and wanted something to eat.
Question. Can you designate what particular band they belonged to?
Answer. They were of the same band we are fighting about the Blue--Black Kettle, White Antelope, and Bull Bear's Indians, that
range mainly down in the neighborhood of Smoke Hill. They came to Denver on a war expedition against the Utes. I advised them
to cease their hostilities. When I went there I had an idea of trying to get everybody to live without fighting, the Indians among the
rest. The Indians on the mountains and on the plains spent their time in chasing one another. I was in this delicate position: the
Utes, who are a very warlike and dangerous tribe, had got a jealousy of the Indians on the plains, and the whites who live on the
plains also. The whites were constantly giving presents to the begging portion of the plains Indians. The superintendency and the
agency were constantly giving goods to them; and the Utes complained that the whites were fitting out the plains Indians in their
war parties against the Utes, which was true to some extent. The Utes said that when they chased the Cheyennes and
Arapahoes, which run together almost constantly, and the Sioux--there are parties of Sioux with the Arapahoes and Cheyennes in
nearly all their war parties--when the Utes would chase them down into the plains, they had to stop because the whites interfered,
and they did not dare to go down into the plains. They were of the opinion that the whites were taking the side of the Indians of the
plains; and they were on the point of going to war with us.
I suggested to these Indians that it was better for them to make peace. I went with Colonel Leavenworth down to the camp of the
Sioux, Arapahoes, and Cheyennes, at a subsequent period, and tried to arrange with them. I had a Ute agent with me to make the
arrangement to quit fighting. When this party came, in 1862, I mentioned these things, showing the advantages, and
they promised me they would go back; I gave them some bacon and flour, and other things, for subsistence. They started under a
promise that they would go back, and not go up to the Utes, and jeopardize our safety with them. Instead of that, they started for
the South Park, the Ute battle-ground, where they usually fight, and the next day or two afterwards messengers came in from the
settlers on the road, saying that the Indians were committing depredations; that they had cleaned out and outraged one landlord;
had insulted a woman; had gone in and taken possession of several of these sparsely settled places; had made one woman
cook for the whole party, and I think they had sent in for protection. Some six soldiers went up to protect the neighborhood; but
when they got there, these Indians had gone back on the plains by another route.
Question. What was the name of the chief in command of that party?
Answer. I do not know; that was their first visit.
Question. Was it Black Kettle, or White Antelope, or Bull Bear?
Answer. I could not say it was not them, nor that it was. It was a party of warriors from the same party that Black Kettle, White
Antelope and Bull Bear ranged with.
Question. Although you had a conversation with them, and furnished them with supplies, and induced them to return, you do not
know the name of the chief?
Answer. There were several chiefs.
Question. Can you name any one of them?
Answer. I cannot give the name; I might get it if I were in my office.
Question. As governor of Colorado Territory, did you have any troops organized there last summer?
Answer. Yes, sir; I organized a regiment.
Question. For what term of service?
Answer. For one hundred days.
Question. Who was the colonel of that regiment?
Answer. George L. Shoup.
Question. Did you ever issue any orders to that regiment, or to any part of it?
Answer. No, sir.
Question. Were they organized as United States troops?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. Were they placed under the control of the district commander as soon as organized?
Answer. Before they were organized, for this reason: while the regiment was being raised, there was information come in of a
camp of about 500 of these Indians; a report of which will be found in my annual report to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. It
came in in this way: Little Geary, a grandson of the signer of the Declaration of Independence, lives on the Platte, sixty miles
south of Denver. In the night two Cheyenne chiefs came to him.
Question. What were their names?
Answer. It seems to me one of them was Crooked Neck. The statement I was going to make was this: these Indians came in
and notified Geary to get out of the way. He was living on ranch with a large amount of stock, and with a Cheyenne wife. He had
Spotted Horse there with him under protection. Spotted Horse, a Cheyenne Indian of Fort Laramie, had been friendly all the time,
and was there under protection. These Indians made these statements to him, as you will see in the printed copy of my report to
the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.
I think about 800 Indians were camped at the head of Beaver, at the Point of Rocks on the Beaver, which is about 120 miles east
of Denver, composed of Arapahoes, Cheyennes, Sioux, Kiowas, Camanches and Apaches. They said
that their plan was, in two or three nights, to divide into small parties of about 200, going in the neighborhood of _______, which
was about 40 miles below Geary's; 100 going just above Geary's to Fort Lumpton; about 250 to the head of Cherry creek, which is
25 or 30 miles south of Denver; and the remainder of them to go to the Arkansas, at Fountaine que Bonille. That these parties
were to be divided into little bands, and each take a farm-house, clean it out and steal the stock, and in this way commit the most
wholesale and extensive massacre that has ever been known. I have no doubt it would have been so, but for the vigilance that
was taken to prevent it.
Geary, who is an educated and sensible man, immediately took Spotted Horse, who heard these Indians give their account; it
was done confidentially by them. Geary, who has been in my employ as a spy over the Indians, who has been out among them
as a messenger, started the next morning--they got to his house about midnight, or 2 o'clock. Geary started immediately in the
morning with Spotted Horse, and got to my house at 11 o'clock; riding between 60 and 70 miles during the day, for the purpose of
giving me this information. I immediately notified the district commander, and put the recruits which were supposed to be subject
to my command under his command, by an order; and any militia that might be organized was subject to his command for the
purposes of defence. He sent express in every direction to notify the settlers. I telegraphed, and also sent messengers. It so
happened that a militia company had gone down there, and were near that, and that a militia company had gone to Fort Lumpton,
or near there.
The Indians came in at these different points on the second night, skulking along under the bluffs, where their trails were seen.
They found the settlements all alarmed, and went back again, except at the head of Cherry creek, where they killed two or three
and took quite a large number of cattle; and at Fort Lumpton they killed one man. And before Geary got back they stole some of
his horses and the horses of one or two of his neighbors, and ran them off.
Question. At what time was this?
Answer. It must have been early in August.
Question. At what time was this hundred-days regiment organized?
Answer. Early in September.
Question. At what time was it mounted?
Answer. Some companies were mounted before the regiment was full; others were mounted subsequently, as they could get
Question. How were horses obtained, and from whom?
Answer. The quartermaster of the department.
Question. Do you know anything further than you have stated in connexion with this attack upon Black Kettle and his band on
Sand creek? Did you issue any orders, or take any part in any transaction having in view any such attack?
Answer. I did not know anything about it. After I got here, I got a letter from the secretary of the territory, saying it was rumored they
were going there.
Question. Whom did "they" refer to?
Answer. Colonel Chivington and his force. I think he said it was surmised that they were going to Fort Lyon. It is proper for me to
say that I understood they were going to make an expedition against the Indians. But I had no knowledge of where they were
Question. After Major Wynkoop left you in September, do you know what was done with these Indians?
Answer. I do not.
Question. Do you know what action the Indians took afterwards?
Answer. I do not.
Question. Do you know where they were encamped?
Answer. I accidentally heard--I had no official knowledge of the fact--that there were several hundred of them at Fort Lyon. The
next day after this council I started for a place about 300 miles off, to hold a treaty with the Utes down on the Rio Grande, and was
gone nearly a month.
Question. At what time did you start to come east?
Answer. I think I started on the 15th of November.
Question. Is Colonel Shoup yet in service?
Answer. No, sir; when I came away he was encamped at Bijou Basin, about 75 miles east of Denver, where they had been for a
considerable length of time.
Question. How did he get out of the service?
Answer. His time expired, and he was regularly mustered out, so I understand.
Question. You have not been back since?
Answer. No, sir.
Question. Was there any property accounted for to you, or to any officer of the government, so far as you know, that was taken at
Black Kettle's camp?
Answer. Not any. I would say, however, that any property the army captured they would not be likely to turn over to me.
I was asked if I knew of any depredations committed by these Indians, and I stated what was done in 1862. Before going further, I
will say, that Black Kettle told me in that council that he and White Antelope had been opposed to depredations all the time, but
could not control their tribes. They admitted that their tribes, that the Arapahoes and Sioux, had made a large number of attacks,
and told me where each depredation I inquired about had been committed by the different tribes.
I gave to the committee of investigation on Indian affairs, the other day, a sketch of the minutes kept of that council. There was
quite a large number of these depredations referred to and inquired of in that council, but not by any means all the depredations
that were committed last summer.
The Cheyennes commenced their depredations early in the spring with the Arapahoes, Kiowas, Comanches, and Sioux.
Agreeably to a previous treaty or council held by them in the winter of 1863 and 1864--which treaty was the consummation of an
arrangement that the Sioux tried to make with our Indians in 1863, which I reported to the Indian bureau, and they sent me out
authority to treat with them--I went to the head of the Republican, and spent about a month there trying to get them together,
having my messengers out. Little Geary went to the camp of Bull Bear, Black Kettle, White Antelope, and a large number of
others. The report of this attempt is published in my annual report for 1863.
The result of that failure was, that they told Mr. Geary, after agreeing first to come and see me, that they had made up their minds
to have nothing more to do with us; that they did not want any more of our goods; that they might as well be killed as starved to
death; that they were being driven out of their country by the whites; that they repudiated the treaty of Fort Wise, under which we
were making preparations to settle them, as you will see by looking into my report, in which I give Geary's sworn statement.
After coming back a portion of these Indians ran together. You will observe that they made the treaty of 1861 together. A portion of
them commenced committing depredations that fall. They stole a lot of horses, a portion of which we recovered in the autumn. A
man who was present at their "big medicine" on the Arkansas, by the name of North, came to me privately and secretly from this
band of Indians that committed depredations in November, 1863, within about twenty miles of Denver; he came to me from their
camp, and made a statement which I forwarded to the War Department and to the Indian bureau, which is also in my annual
report for this year.
North told me that the Kiowas, Comanches, Apaches, Cheyennes, a portion of the Arapahoes, and the Sioux, had held a council,
at which he was present, and shook hands over it. That they would pretend to be friendly with the whites until they could get
sufficient ammunition; then in the spring they would divide into little parties and commence a war on the whites. Early last spring
the first depredation they committed was to steal one hundred and seventy-five head of cattle, which was done by the Cheyennes,
from Irwin & Jackman, government contractors, for transportation across the plains. Irwin & Jackman's men followed them about
twenty miles down Sand creek, until they struck off to the head of the Republican. They then came to Denver and reported to the
military commander, Colonel Chivington, and requested a force to go with them to recover their cattle. That force was sent out,
and after being gone a week or two they returned, having recovered about a dozen of the cattle, one soldier having been
wounded. He returned for the want of subsistence, and was sent again, and went through to Fort Larned on the route. That was
Lieutenant Ayres, and during the time he was gone he had a battle with the Indians, in which they drove him. They attacked him
as he was passing through with his battery to Fort Larned, which is in Kansas. At that battle one of the Indians, who was said to
be a very friendly Indian to the whites, was killed. He was said to be in favor of making peace, and preventing the battle, and was
in the act of trying to pacify the Indians when he was shot. But Lieutenant Ayres's report has never been furnished to me, and
consequently I cannot give the details of it; but this was the statement the lieutenant made when he got back. He got away from
the Indians without being captured. They were in very large force. He got away and got to Fort Larned. That is the end of the effort
to get back these cattle. He and the rest of his battery--he had a section of a battery, I think, two guns--was at Fort Larned for
some time. But the commander there, who was said to be an intemperate man, was not on the alert; and the Kiowas and some
other Indians, mainly Kiowas, captured the whole of the battery's horses, one hundred and forty, and ran them off right from the
fort. While Satant, the commander of the Indians, was talking with the officer in command, making great professions of friendship
at the time, they made this raid upon the battery's horses and got away with them.
I would say still further, that to give a description of all the depredations that were committed during the summer, and fall, and this
winter, would require a statement which would be very extensive. I would like this, as there is an impression in the minds of
people here that the Indian war out there has not amounted to much--I would like this, that this committee, for the purpose of
ascertaining, would deputize somebody to gather the reports of the attacks, the number of people killed, and the amount of
property destroyed during the past year.
By Mr. Gooch:
Question. With all the knowledge you have in relation to these attacks and depredations by the Indians, do you think they afford
any justification for the attack made by Colonel Chivington on these friendly Indians, under the circumstances under which it was
Answer. As a matter of course, no one could justify an attack on Indians while under the protection of the flag. If those Indians
were there under the protection of the flag, it would be a question that would be scarcely worth asking, because nobody could say
anything in favor of the attack. I have heard, however--that is only a report--that there was a statement on the part of Colonel
Chivington and his friends that these Indians had assumed a hostile attitude before he attacked them. I do not know whether that
is so or not. I have said all I have had to do with them. I supposed they were being treated as prisoners of war in some way or
I had a letter from General Curtis, after I got here, saying he was troubled to know what to do with so many nominal prisoners of
war, as they were so expensive to feed there. The subsistence of the fort was short, and it was a long way to get subsistence,
and through a hostile country, and he was troubled to know what to do with them.
Question. But from all the circumstances which you know, all the facts in relation to that matter, do you deem that Colonel
Chivington had any justification for that attack?
Answer. So far as giving an opinion is concerned, I would say this: That the reports that have been made here, a great many of
them, have come through persons whom I know to be personal enemies of Colonel Chivington for a long time. And I would rather
not give an opinion on the subject until I have heard the other side of the question, which I have not heard yet.
Question. I do not ask for an opinion. Do you know of any circumstance which would justify that attack?
Answer. I do not know of any circumstance connected with it subsequent to the time those Indians left me and I started for
another part of the country. It is proper for me to say, that these attacks during the summer, and up to the time I came away, were
of very frequent occurrence. The destruction of property was very great. Our people suffered wonderfully, especially in their
property, and in their loss of life. They murdered a family some twenty-odd miles east of Denver. The attacks by hostile Indians,
about the time I came away, were very numerous along the Platte. There was an attack as I came in, about the month of
November. It was in the evening, about sundown, and I passed over the ground in the night in the stage with my family, and a few
days afterwards a party of emigrants, returning from Colorado, were murdered near the same ground, which was near Plum
creek; and for a considerable length of time, immediately after I came in, the attacks were very numerous and very violent, until
the stage was interrupted so that it has not been running since, until within a few days.
I started home and could not get there because there was no transportation. I came back here and shall return in a few days
again. I mention this in order to do away with the impression that might exist that hostilities had ceased, and that this attack of
Colonel Chivington had excited the recent hostilities.
These Indians told me, when they were there, that the Sioux were in large force on the head of the Republican, and would make
an attack about the time I expected to come in. I delayed my coming in a short time on account of what they told me, and when I
did come in I found some Indians commencing their depredations, which they continued about the month following, both before
and after the attack made by Colonel Chivington. General Curtis wrote to me that he did not think Chivington's attack was the
instigation of the hostilities perpetrated along the Platte.
Testimony of Mr. A. C. Hunt.
WASHINGTON, March 15, 1865.
Mr. A. C. HUNT sworn and examined.
By Mr. Loan:
Question. Where do you reside?
Answer. I reside at Denver, Colorado.
Question. What is your official position?
Answer. I am United States marshal for the district of Colorado. I have been in Denver since 1859.
Question. Do you know anything in connexion with the killing of the Indians at Sand creek, about the last of November, 1864?
Answer. I do not suppose I know anything that would be admissible as evidence. All I know is from general rumor, not being on
the ground at all. I was in Denver when the regiment returned.
Question. Did you hear anything about it from Colonel Chivington, or any one of his command?
Answer. I heard an immense sight from soldiers in his command.
Question. State what they told you.
Answer. I also talked a long time with the guide, James Beckwith, after they returned.
Question. State anything that was said by any one connected with that transaction in regard to what was done.
Answer. I talked longer with Melrose, a private in Captain Baxtor's company, under Colonel Shoup. He gave me quite a history of
the fight, and everything pertaining to it. He enlisted from the Arkansas. There is a general disposition, on the part of those who
enlisted from that neighborhood, to cry down the whole transaction as being very badly managed, and very murderous. They
made no secret of telling what had been done, but made no boast of it at all. They said they were heartily ashamed of it.
Question. State what they said was done.
Answer. According to their understanding, when they started out, they were enlisted for the purpose of fighting hostile Indians,
there being any quantity of them on the plains. They knew nothing of their whereabouts. They went under the orders of Colonel
Chivington, who led the command. They came within 80 miles of Fort Lyon, where they were halted for some days, and all
communication stopped. No person, not even the United States mail, was permitted to go down the road for quite a length of
time, until the forces which had been straggling back had all been collected together. When they did march to Fort Lyon they went
very rapidly, taking every person about the fort by surprise, no person anticipating their coming at all. Their first movement was to
throw a guard around the fort. That surprised the soldiers very much; they said they did not know the object of it. That night they
were ordered to march again in a northeast direction. I think that and perhaps the next night they marched some 35 miles to fall
upon this camp of Indians on Sand creek. None of the soldiers were posted as to what Indians they were fighting, or anything
about it, until they got an explanation, after the attack was made, from various white men in the camp. Those white men told the
soldiers that they were Black Kettle's band, who had been there for some time; a part of the time had been drawing rations from
the fort--were, to all intents and purposes, friendly Indians. Beyond that I know that the colonel, as soon as the fight was over,
came back to Denver. I met him the day he came in. The command afterwards returned in marching time. They had evidences of
what they had been doing--among the rest, White Antelope's medal; I think they had about 20 of Black Kettle's scalps--quite that
many, I think, were exhibited; they had White Antelope's commission, or something like that, from Commissioner
Dole--something like a recommend; they had a thousand and one trophies in the way of finely worked buffalo robes, spurs, and
bits, and things of that kind; all of which, I suppose, was contraband of war--they were taken on the field of battle.
Question. Did they say anything about how the attack was made, at what time, and under what circumstances?
Answer. I understood them to say it was made just at daylight. The Indians that were not armed almost all fled and escaped. The
impression of the men I talked with was that they had killed over 100 of them; the impression of some others was that they had
killed 400 or 500.
Question. Was anything said about killing women and children?
Answer. Yes, sir; they killed everything alive in the camp that they could get at. I believe that was part of the understanding, that
none should be spared. I believe it is generally the understanding that you fight Indians in that way.
Question. What were those ornamented buffalo robes worth in the market?
Answer. They are very valuable--worth from $20 to $50 each.
Question. In whose possession did you see them?
Answer. They were mostly in private hands--in the hands of the men who were in the fight; by permission, I suppose. I do not
suppose there was any demand made for them by any person. I suppose each man who had one of them thought he was
entitled to it.
Question. Is that the rule out there, that the soldiers of the United States are entitled to all they capture?
Answer. That is the only battle they have ever had; so that I do not know as there is any particular rule about that matter.
Question. How long did they say the fight continued?
Answer. I am under the impression now that they said it continued some two or three hours. That is my impression from the
representations made by the parties engaged in the fight.
Question. How many Indians did they say were engaged in the fight?
Answer. It has been estimated that there were from 500 to 3,000 there. I suppose the agent knows almost exactly how many
there were of them. They judge from the lodges, and there are from five to six in a lodge, so far as my experience goes. From the
best information I could get there were from 100 to 120 lodges there.
Question. Was there anything said about the number that escaped?
Answer. A large proportion of them escaped; that was the supposition of the soldiers I talked with.
Question. In what way, on horseback or on foot?
Answer. Those of the warriors who had horses that they could get hold of escaped on horseback. The women and young ones,
who had no horses, went on foot.
Question. Did they take any prisoners in that fight?
Answer. I never heard of any prisoners being taken that were brought in.
Question. Do you know whether they captured any property from the Indians?
Answer. I think they were possessed of no property except what I have mentioned.
Question. Did they have no horses, ponies, and mules?
Answer. Yes, sir; I saw a great many ponies. A New Mexican company was mostly mounted on ponies that they had captured. I
saw them come in on Indian horses; they were poor, thin horses.
Question. Did you hear Colonel Chivington himself say anything about that transaction?
Answer. No, sir, except in a public speech he made afterwards, and in that he did not say much about it.
Question. Did he assign any reason why, under the circumstances, he attacked that band of Indians?
Answer. He said all the time that they were hostile Indians, and was very wroth with any of the community who knew anything
about the Indians, who had been in the country a long while, who knew something about Black Kettle and White Antelope, and
who denominated them friendly Indians, and who differed with him as to the policy of bringing those Indians down upon us at that
time. He was very wroth with me particularly, and one or two others; and I suppose that was what brought forth the remarks that
Question. What was his policy?
Answer. To exterminate the Indians.
Question. To kill them all?
Answer. Yes, sir, I should judge so; and that seemed to be quite a popular notion too.
Question. Did you have any means of knowing the reputation of Black Kettle and White Antelope?
Answer. We have always regarded Black Kettle and White Antelope as the special friends of the white man ever since I have
been in the country.
Question. Do you know of any acts of hostility committed by them, or with their consent?
Answer. No, sir; I do not.
Question. Did you ever hear any acts of hostility attributed to them by any one?
Answer. No, sir.
By Mr. Gooch:
Question. Is there a general feeling among the whites there in favor of the extermination of the Indians?
Answer. That feeling prevails in all new countries where the Indians have committed any depredations. And most especially will
people fly off the handle in that way when you exhibit the corpse of some one who has been murdered by the Indians. When they
come to their sober senses they reflect that the Indians have feelings as well as we have, and are entitled to certain rights; which,
by the by, they never get.
Question. Had there been any such acts committed by the Indians at that time?
Answer. No, sir; not for months. But last summer there were exhibitions that were horrid to tell, and there were terrible
imprudences in consequence. Persons killed thirty or forty miles off were brought into Denver and exhibited there.
Question. There had been nothing of that kind for some time previous to this attack by Colonel Chivington?
Answer. No, sir.
Question. Do you know of any motive which actuated Colonel Chivington in making this attack?
Answer. It may be invidious in me to give my idea of his motive. I was entirely satisfied that his motive was not a good and
virtuous one--so much so, that when I was where he stopped his command I wrote a letter to Judge Bennett, giving him my views
about the matter, and telling him what I thought was his object. We regarded those Indians on the reservation as safe, and ought
not to be attacked. That opinion, perhaps, was not shared by the community, though I presume the great majority of the
command were aware of the Indians they were going to kill.
Question. If you have no objection, I would like you to state what you think was his motive.
Answer. I think it was hope of promotion. He had read of Kit Carson, General Harney, and others, who had become noted for their
Indian fighting. I have no objection to state that.
Mr. Gooch. The reason why I ask these questions is, that this attack seems to us to be of such a character that we are anxious to
ascertain, if possible, what could have been the motive which actuated an officer to make such an attack under the
The witness. I have no doubt that what I have stated was one motive.
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