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The Sand Creek Massacre | Rebellion Records
Major Scott Anthony Reports Conditions at Fort Lyon - Nov 6, 1864
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"Rebellion Records"
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,
Series I, Vol. XLI, Part I  -  Excerpts relevant to the Sand Creek Massacre

In early November 1864, General Samuel Curtis relieved Major Edward Wynkoop of his command at
Fort Lyon after hearing rumors that Wynkoop had disobeyed Field Order No. 2, which expressly forbid
post commanders from allowing Indians to camp near, or enter a military fort.  Major Scott Anthony
replaced Wynkoop and immediately reported to General Curtis.

Wynkoop, acting on the initiative set at the Camp Weld Council, in which Governor John Evans and Colonel John Chivington directed
Black Kettle and other Cheyenne and Arapaho leaders to arrange terms of surrender at Fort Lyon, had indeed allowed several
hundred Arapaho Indians to camp near the post.  The majority of these Indians had taken refuge under the terms of the
Camp Weld
agreement, and Wynkoop had issued them rations and allowed them to trade with locals in preparation for winter.  Black Kettle and
other Cheyenne chiefs were also gathering non-combative tribal members and moving them toward Lyon, under the terms of
surrender set by Evans and Chivington.

As was the case so often during the summer and fall of 1864, Wynkoop was caught between the policy makers of Colorado and his
district commanders in Kansas.  Apparently unaware of the Camp Weld proceedings in Denver, General Curtis believed Wynkoop
had once again overstepped his authority, first when he took the initiative to meet with Black Kettle at the
Smoky Hill Council without
permission, and now by feeding Indians and allowing them into Fort Lyon.  Irritated that he was losing control of his aggressive
subordinate, Curtis finally had enough and ordered Wynkoop to come to Kansas and explain himself.  Curtis ordered Major Scott
Anthony to leave Fort Larned and relieve Wynkoop of his Fort Lyon command.  Anthony arrived on November 2, and after meeting
with Wynkoop, agreed to keep him there for a time so Wynkoop could bring him up to speed on the latest developments at the fort.  
Wynkoop would leave for Kansas later that month, just days before Chivington and the Colorado Third Regiment would arrive and
execute an attack on Black Kettle at Sand Creek.



Page 912 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter LIII.

HEADQUARTERS FORT LYON, COLO. TER.,
November 6, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to report that I arrived at this post and assumed command November 2, in obedience to
Special Orders, Numbers 4, headquarters District, October 17 1864. Major E. W. Wynkoop, First Cavalry of
Colorado, was in command of the post; 113 lodges of Arapahoe Indians, under their chiefs Little Raven, left-hand,
Nevah, Storms, and Knock-knee, and numbering in men, women, and children 652 persons, were encamped in a
body about two miles from the post, and were daily visiting the post and receiving supplies form the commissary
department, the supplies being issued by Lieutenant C. M. Cossitt, acting commissary of subsistence, under
orders from Major E. W. Wynkoop, commanding post. I immediately gave instructions to arrest all Indians coming
within the post until I could learn something more about them. Went down and met their head chiefs half-way
between the post and their camp, and demanded of them by what authority and for what purpose they were
encamped here. They replied that they had always been on peaceable terms with the whites, had never desired
any other than peace, and could not be induced to fight. That other tribes were at war, and therefore they had
come into the vicinity of a post in order to show that they desired peace, and to be where the traveling public
would not be frightened by them, or the Indians be harmed by travelers or soldiers on the road. I informed them
that I could not permit any body of armed men to camp in the vicinity of the post, nor Indians to visit the post
except as prisoners of war. They replied that they had but very few arms and but few horses, but were here to
accept any terms that I proposed. I then told them that I should demand their arms and all stock they had in their
possession which had ever belonged to white men.

They at once accepted these terms. I then proceeded with a company of cavalry to the vicinity of their camp,
leaving my men secreted, and crossed to their camp; received their arms from them and sent out men to look
through their herd for United States or citizens' stock, and to take all stock except Indian ponies. Found ten mules
and four horses, which have been turned over to the acting assistant quartermaster.

Page 913 Chapter LIII. AFFAIRS AT FORT LYON COLO. TER.   

Their arms are in very poor condition and but few, with little ammunition. Their horses far below the average grade
of Indians' horses. In fact, these that are here could make but a feeble fight if they desired war. I have permitted
them to remain encamped near the post unarmed as prisoner until your wishes can be heard in the matter. In the
interval, if I can learn that any of their warriors have been engaged in any depredations that have been committed,
will arrest them and place all such in close confinement. I am of the opinion that the warriors of the Arapahoes who
have been engaged in war are all now on the Smoky Hill or with the Sioux Indians, and have all the serviceable
arms and horses belonging to the tribe, while these here are too poor to fight, even though they desired war. Nine
Cheyenne Indians sent in to-day wishing to see me. They state that 600 of that tribe are now thirty-five miles north
of here coming toward the post, and 2,000 about seventy-five miles away waiting for better weather to enable
them to come in. I shall not permit them to come in, even as prisoners, for the reason that if I do shall have to
subsist them upon a prisoner's ration. I shall, however, demand their arms, all stolen stock, and the perpetrators of
all depredations; am of the opinion that they will not accept this proposition, but that they will return to the Smoky
Hill. They pretend that they want peace, and I think they do now, a they cannot fight during the winter, except
where a small band of them can find an unprotected train or frontier settlement. I do not think it is policy to make
peace with them now until all perpetrators of depredations are surrendered up, to be dealt with as we may
propose. The force effective for the field at the post is only about 100 and one company (K, New Mexico
Volunteers) sent here by order of General Carlton, commanding department of New Mexico; were sent with orders
to remain sixty days, and then report back to Fort Union. Their sixty days will expire on the 10th November instant.
Shall I keep them here for a longer period or permit them to return? The Kiowas and Comanches, who have all the
stock stolen upon the Arkansas routes, are reported south of the Arkansas River and toward the Red River. The
Cheyennes are between here and the Smoky Hill. Part of the Arapahoes are near this post, the remainder north of
the Platte. With the bands divided in this way one thousand cavalry could now overtake them and punish some of
them severely, I think; but with the force here it can only be made available to protect the post. I shall not permit
the Cheyennes to camp here, but will permit the Arapahoes now here to remain in their present camp as prisoners
until your action is had in the matter.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

SCOTT J. ANTHONY,

Major First Cavalry of Colorado, Commanding Post.

ACTING ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL,

District of Upper Arkansas, Fort Riley, Kans.

[Indorsement.]


HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF UPPER ARKANSAS,
Fort Riley, November 22, 1864.

Respectfully forwarded for the information of the general commanding, respectfully asking for instruction in regard
to the Arapahoe Indians, kept and fed as prisoners at Fort Lyon.

Major Anthony has been instructed to carry out General Field Orders, Numbers 2, July 31, 1864, fully until further
instructions from department

58 R R-VOL XLI, PT I

Page 914 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter LIII.   

headquarters. I would also state that I lave learned, unofficially, that on Saturday, the 12th instant, 2 white men
were killed and 5 wagons destroyed near Fort Larned by a party of Indians numbering about thirty. Have written to
commanding officer at Fort Larned in reference to it, and instructed him to report all cases of Indian depredations
that may come to his knowledge.

B. S. HENNING,

Major Third Wisconsin Cavalry, Commanding District.


HEADQUARTERS,
Fort Lyon, Colo. Ter., November 16, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to report that since my last report on the 7th [6th] instant the Cheyenne Indians, numbering
about 200, under their head chief, Black Kettle, have sent into the post a request to meet me for a council. I met
them and had a talk. They profess friendship for the whites, and say they never desired war, and do not now.
They were very desirous of visiting the post and coming in with their whole band. I would not permit this, but told
them they might camp on Sand Creek, twenty-five miles northeast of the post, until the pleasure of the
commanding officer of the district could be learned. They appear to want peace, and want some one authorized to
make a permanent settlement of all troubles with them to meet them and agree upon terms. I told them that I was
not authorized as yet to say that any permanent peace could be established, but that no war would be waged
against them until your pleasure was heard. I am satisfied that all of the Arapahoes and Cheyennes who have
visited this post desire peace, yet many of their men of these bands are now on the Smoky Hill and Platte, having
in their possession a large amount of stole stock. I have been trying to let the Indians that I have talked with think
that I have no desire for trouble with them, but that I could not agree upon a permanent peace until I was
authorized by you, thus keeping matters quiet for the present, and until troops enough are sent out to enforce any
demand we may choose to make. It would be easy for us here to fight the few Indian warriors that have come into
the post, but as soon as we assume a hostile attitude the travel upon the road will be cut off, and the settlements
above and upon the different streams will be completely broken up, as we are not strong enough to follow them
and fight them upon their own ground. Some of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians can be made useful to us.
Some have already given us valuable information, and one Cheyenne (One Eye) has engaged to visit the Sioux
camp and inform us of their movements and intentions. The Arapahoe Indians that I found here upon my arrival
are perfectly harmless while here, but I do not consider it policy for them to remain here. Shall talk with them again,
and I think will send them between this and the Sioux camp, where they can kill game to subsist upon. Neither of
these tribes are satisfied with me for not permitting them to visit the post, and cannot understand why I will not
make peace with them. My intention, however, is to let matters remain dormant until troops can be sent out to take
the field against all the tribes. Will write more particulars by next mail.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

SCOTT J. ANTHONY,

Major First Cavalry of Colorado, Commanding Post.

Lieutenant A. HELLIWELL,

Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, District of Upper Arkansas.

Page 915 Chapter LIII. SCOUT TO SEARCY AND CLINTON, ARK.   

[Indorsement.]

HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF UPPER ARKANSAS,
Fort Riley, Kans., December 7, 1864.

Respectfully forwarded to Major C. S. Charlot, assistant adjutant-general, Department of Kansas, for the
information of the general commanding, with a copy of letter of instructions from these headquarters to Major
Anthony in regard to the Cheyennes mentioned herein.

It is presumed that Major Anthony has received these instructions by this time, and will act upon them.

B. S. HENNING,

Major Third Wisconsin Cavalry, Commanding District.

[Inclosure.]


HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF UPPER ARKANSAS,
Fort Riley, November 5, 1864.

Major SCOTT J. ANTHONY,

Fort Lyon, Colo. Ter.:

MAJOR:

* * * *

Field Orders, Numbers 2, dated July 31, is still in force, and the general expects that it will be carried out faithfully.

* * * *

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

B. S. HENNING,

Major Third Wisconsin Cavalry, Commanding District.


                    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Notes:

General Field Order No. 2 of July 31, 1864, was issued in response to the Dog Soldiers and Sioux warrior declaration of war on
white settlements in Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado.  The order directed fort commanders to step up protection of both private and
military lives and property.  The directive also ordered post commanders to forbid all Indians and their allies from approaching forts
unless they were intercepted and blindfolded before proceeding.  This added measure was intended to prevent Indians from
ascertaining troop strength.  
Read the full text of General Field Order No. 2 on page 76 of the Joint Committee Report on the Conduct
of the War (Massacre of the Cheyenne Indians).

Major Anthony’s dispatch clearly presents evidence that would soon be used against Chivington in the controversy of Sand Creek.  
Anthony, who had been fighting hostile warrior clans in Kansas, was clearly skeptical of the intentions of the Indians moving toward
Fort Lyon.  He clearly implies some confidence, however, in the stated peaceful intentions of these Cheyennes and Arapahos,
among them One Eye, who helped initiate Wynkoop’s successful Smoky Hill Council, and who was providing information about
Sioux warrior strengths.  Anthony, however, was another strong Chivington loyalist from the days of Apache Canyon, leading to
speculation as to why he so quickly turned to Chivington’s side when the Colorado Third Regiment attacked Black Kettle at Sand
Creek.  (One Eye was among the many Cheyennes killed in that battle.)

Sources:

Hoig, Stan.
The Sand Creek Massacre

Roberts, Gary L.  Sand Creek: Tragedy and Symbol

Go to Bibliography for citation
9.11.01
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