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The Sand Creek Massacre
Incident at Fremont's Orchard - April 12, 1864
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9.11.01
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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Vol. XXXIV, Part I.

Page 883 Chapter XLVI. SKIRMISH NEAR FREMONT'S ORCHARD, COLO.
  

APRIL 12, 1864. - Skirmish near Fremont's Orchard, Colo.

REPORTS.
Numbers 1. - Captain George L. Sanborn, First Colorado Cavalry.
Numbers 2. - Lieutenant Clark Dunn, First Colorado Cavalry.
Numbers 1. Reports of Captain George L. Sanborn, First Colorado Cavalry.

CAMP SANBORN, April 12, 1864.

SIR: Receiving information from W. D. Ripley, of the Bijou, that the Indians had been taking stock and committing depredations on the
ranchmen on that creek, I this morning sent Lieutenant Dunn, with 40 men of Companies H and C, to recover the stock, also to take
from them their fire-arms and bring the depredators to this camp. This evening an expressman arrived from Lieutenant Dunn, who
states that after a hard ride they came up with a party of some 15 or 20 Indians, who, on seeing the soldiers approach, drew up in line
of battle and made all preparations for a fight, but finally sent forward one of their party to shake hands, and at the same time began to
drive their stock back into the bluffs. They soon all came up and wished to shake hands. Lieutenant Dunn then demanded the stock
and commenced disarming the Indians, when they turned and ran, turning and firing, wounding 4 of Lieutenant Dunn's party, 2
mortally and 2 severely. Lieutenant Dunn had previously divided his party, sending a part of them across the country to intercept the
Indians, and at the time of the skirmish had with him but 15 men. This much I have learned from the messenger verbally.

The skirmish occurred on the north side of the Platte, 3 miles below Fremont's Orchard. The Indians were going north. It will be well to
telegraph to Laramie that they may be ready, for this may be the signal of the uprising. Excuse my suggestion; will send an
expressman with further news as soon as we get it.

Lieutenant Dunn has just arrived and reports that none of the men were killed; several of the Indians were seen to fall from their
horses, but being freshly mounted, succeeded in getting them away, as the horses ridden by Lieutenant Dunn's men were tired by
their long hunt after the Indians, having traveled nearly 80 miles. Lieutenants Dunn and Chase will proceed in the morning on their
trail. I have sent for Gerry to act as guide, also to McWade to hurry forward our arms. These Indians were armed with a riffle, a Colt
revolver, and bows and arrows each, and were evidently on the war-path, as they did not talk anything but fight. Send down at least
8,000 more cartridges for the carbines for this command.

Major Downing was here when the information was received and fully concurs in the action taken.

I am, sir, in haste, yours, respectfully,

GEO. L. SANBORN,

Captain, First Colorado Cavalry, Commanding.

Colonel JOHN M. CHIVINGTON,

Commanding District of Colorado.

P. S. - Lieutenant Dunn says they represented themselves (the Indians) to be Cheyennes; they also had carbine pistols.

G. L. S.


Page 884 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter XLVI.   

CAMP SANBORN, April 13, 1864.

SIR: Will your order a surgeon down at once, for 2 of the wounded men are unable to be moved, and I think they will not recover unless
speedy relief is given them. One of them has an arrow-head remaining in his back; his name is J. G. Brandly. R. E. McBride has two
severe wounds from arrows in the back, one opposite the right lung. Both were extracted. A. J. Baird wounded in the right shoulder; the
arrow-head still remaining in. John Crosby, pistol wound, breaking the right arm between shoulder and elbow; the ball still in the arm.
All the men behaved in the best manner, and only from the fact that a portion of our men were on the ground at the time of the fight and
the tired state of the horses, is to be laid the fact that every Indian of the party was not killed or taken prisoner. Lieutenants Dunn and
Chase are on the route, having started at 7 this morning, with Gerry as guide, to take the trail; they have four days' rations; shall keep a
strong picket out up and down the Platte to protect the route and ranchmen.

I am, sir, with much respect, your obedient servant,

GEO. L. SANBORN,

Captain, First Colorado Cavalry, Commanding.

Colonel JOHN M. CHIVINGTON,

Commanding District of Colorado.


Numbers 2. Report of Lieutenant Clark Dunn, First Colorado Cavalry.

CAMP SANBORN, Colo. Ten., April 18, 1864.

In pursuance of Special Orders, Numbers 9, dated headquarters Camp Sanborn, April 12, 1864, to take from the Indians stock
consisting of horses stolen by them from ranchmen in the vicinity of Camp Sanborn, & c., started at daylight, crossing the Platte,
dividing my command, and searching the bluffs on the south side a greater part of the day, till about 3 p. m. I discovered their trail
running in northwesterly direction toward the Platte River, when, about 4 p. m., on coming out of the sand hills, I discovered the Indians
on the north side of the river, evidently intending to steal a herd of horses and mules grazing near Fremont's Orchard, which belonged
to the quartermaster at Denver. Though during the day my command had marched about 75 miles over sandy hills, deep ravines, and
most of the time without water, the whole country being an arid waste, I immediately ordered the gallop and soon intercepted them
from the herd, when, upon approaching them, I discovered a herd of horses, which they detached men to drive into the sand hills
toward the north, and placed themselves in a threatening attitude. When near enough to speak to them, Mr. Ripley, a ranchman, who
had lost all the stock he had, and who had informed us of their depredations, said that they were the Indians, and pointing to the herd
said there was his stock. Feeling the great responsibility that was resting upon me, and not desiring to bring about an Indian was by
being the first aggressor, I dismounted, walked forward to meet their chief, and tried to obtain the stock without any resort to violence.
After requesting the chief to return the stock, who replied only by a scorn

Page 885 Chapter XLVI. EXPEDITION UP MATAGORDA BAY, TEX.   

full laugh, I told him I would be compelled to disarm his party, at the same time reaching forward as if to take the arms from one of the
Indians, when they immediately commenced firing. I ordered my men to return the fire, and after a short time they fled, and I pursued
them about 15 miles, when, finding that my horses would soon be worthless in the pursuit, I started toward Camp Sanborn, which I
reached toward midnight, when, obtaining fresh horses and Mr. Gerry for a guide, whose experience for twenty-five years with the
Indians we deemed invaluable, I started again at daylight, following the trail till about noon, when it commenced storming violently,
snowing and blowing, till the hills appeared to be wrapped in one volume of dust; still I pursued the trail. Though before the storm it
had become almost obliterated, it now soon became totally so, when, being unable to discover any further indication of their course, by
the advice of my guide I turned toward, about sunset, and reached camp before daylight the next morning.

My command with me and engaged in the skirmish with the Indians numbered only 15 men, of whom 4 men were wounded, 2
mortally and 2 severely. My men were armed with the Whitney pistol, caliber.36, and sabers. The Indians were about 25 strong when
the skirmish commenced and were re-enforce by about 20 more. They were all well armed with rifles, navy and dragoon pistols, and
the carbine pistol, carrying an ounce ball, besides their bows and arrows. My men during the engagement behaved with great
coolness, and evinced a degree of courage deserving more than ordinary credit. If my horses had been fresh, I am confident that this
band would never again have troubled the settlers in this vicinity.

I have not yet been able to learn to what tribe these Indians belong, though their lances, shields, bows, and arrows which were left
upon the field are said by those most intimate with the Indians' character to be such as are used by the Cheyennes, though their
peculiar method of traveling is not at all like them. We omitted to mention that we killed some 8 or 10 of the Indians and wounded
about 12 or 15 more.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

CLARK DUNN,

Second Lieutenant, First Colorado Cavalry, Commanding Detach.

____________


Page 887 Chapter XLVI. EXPEDITION TO BEAVER CREEK, - KANS.


APRIL 14 - 18, 1864. - Expedition from Camp Sanborn, Colo., to Beaver Creek, Kans.

Report of Lieutenant Clark Dunn, First Colorado Cavalry.

CAMP SANBORN, COLO. TER., April 18, 1864.

In pursuance of Special Orders, Numbers 11, dated headquarters Camp Sanborn, April 14, 1864, ordering me to pursue the Indians
committing depredations on the Platte, & c., at 12 o'clock Thursday night, April 14, 1864, I started from Camp Sanborn, being about
twenty minutes from the time of receiving the order, with Lieutenant Chase and 30 men of Companies C and H, went to Bijou Ranch,
then to Dry Creek, and finally to the Junction Ranch, where the stock had been stolen, when, learning their course and procuring a
guide, we soon discovered their trail, and about noon reached the ranch on Beaver Creek, where some ranchmen were supposed to
have been murdered. Found no dead, nor any indication of there having been a struggle. Toward night we recovered about 40 head of
cattle, and after securing which we followed the trail in a southeasterly direction, up the left fork of Beaver Creek to its headwaters,
where, about 4 o'clock the following morning, we reached a point where the Indians had camped about two days before, when my
guide (Asbreuft) informed me that the Indians must have gone to the Arkansas River, as the trail was at least 15 miles too far up
Beaver Creek to strike the Republican, and, as they were evidently traveling at the rate of 60 miles a day, I considered that before we
could reach them they would be on the Arkansas River, and probably in the camp of their tribe, among whom it would be impossible to
identify them; and not having sufficient rations with us to last another day, while two days' constant riding had greatly exhausted our
animals, we, with great regret, were compelled to return to Camp Sanborn. Lieutenant Chase and the men of Companies C and H,
though compelled to remain constantly in the saddle for sixty hours, marching about 250 miles, with regret relinquished the pursuit.
Too much credit cannot be awarded them.

In pursuing the Indians we have experienced great difficulty in learning to what tribe they belonged, though every evidence in our
possession goes to prove that they are Cheyennes from the Arkansas River. Great difficulty has been experienced in not having pack
saddles; this is now about being remedied, as we learn that there

Page 888 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter XLVI.   

are a few that will be here this evening; therefore, hoping that if it again be necessary to pursue the Indians that, properly equipped, I
will be able to render a report of not only a pursuit but a capture,

I remain, yours, very respectfully,

CLARK DUNN,

Second Lieutenant, First Colorado Cavalry, Commanding Detach.



The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Vol. XXXIV, Part III.

Page 151 Chapter XLVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.
  

HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF COLORADO, Denver, Colo. Ter. April 13, 1864.

Lieutenant G. W. HAWKINS:

1st Cav. of Colo., Commanding Officer, Camp Collins, Colo. Ter.:

SIR: I am instructed by the colonel commanding to direct that you send out a strong detachment to intercept a band of Cheyenne
Indians who had a fight with a detachment of Companies C and H, under Lieutenant Dunn, on 12th instant, near Fremont's Orchared.
They had stolen stock, and refused to give it up. In the fight referred to several Indians were killed, and 4 men of Company C wounded.
Be sure you have the right ones, and then kill them. If you carbines have not arrived send out and meet them. Arm your men with
carbines and pistols; leave sabers in camp. You had better move in the direction of Laramie. Will telegraph to Colonel Collins at
Laramie. Dunn and Chase are after them. We send you more carbine cartridges by to-morrow's coach.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. H. STILWELL,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.


_________________

Page 166 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI.

HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF COLORADO, Denver, Colo., April 15, 1864.

Governor JOHN EVANS,

Territory of Colorado, Denver, Colo.:

SIR: I have the honor to report that Mr. Ripley, who lives on Bijou Creek, on the evening of the 11th instant came into Camp Sanborn,
and reported that his stock and the stock of all the ranches in his neighborhood had been driven off by a warlike party of Indians, and
requested Captain Sanborn, commanding camp, to send with him troops to recover his stock. On the morning of the 12th instant
Lieutenant Dunn, with 40 men, left camp, and after traveling about 60 miles came up with the Indians on the north side of the Platte
River, near and below Fremont' Orchard. The Indians on seeing the troops formed line of battle, under which they ran off the stock into
the bluffs. Lieutenant Dunn drew up the men now with him, being only 15, he having sent the balance of this command in two squads
to look for the Indians in another direction.

Lieutenant Dunn dismounted and advanced about 200 yards and met the chief of the band, of whom he demanded the stock, but the
chief informed him he would fight him before he would give it up. The lieutenant told him that if they did not stop running it off he would
have to disarm them, to do which the chief defied him, and giving the signal the Indians opened fire on the troops. The troops returned
the fire. The fight lasted about one hour, when the Indians began to give way, Lieutenant Dunn and his command following up, and a
running fight ensued for about 15 miles, when owing to the tired condition of his horses, the lieutenant ceased the pursuit and
returned to Camp Sanborn, now about 10 or 12 miles distant.

In this fight Lieutenant Dunn had 4 men badly wounded, 2 of them thought to be fatally. The los of the Indians is supposed to be about
20 killed and wounded. The whole number of Indians engaged in this fight is estimated to be 60 or 70. On the morning of the 13th
instant Lieutenant Dunn, with a fresh command of 60 men and a competent guide, with four days' cooked rations, pursued the

Page 167 Chapter XLVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.   

Indians, being better armed than the day before, having only Whitney pistols and sabers on the 12th. These facts I glean from a hastily
written letter by Captain Sanborn, and from Major Jacob Downing, who was at Camp Sanborn when Lieutenant Dunn came in. I have
strong hopes that these red robbers will be overtaken and cut off. This may be matter of concern to you as superintendent of Indian
affairs for this Territory.

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

J. M. CHIVINGTON,

Colonel First Cavalry of Colorado, Commanding District.


HEADQUARTERS, Camp Sanborn, April 15, 1864.

Colonel JOHN M. CHIVINGTON,
Commanding District of Colorado:

SIR: One of my scouts returned last evening from below the Junction and reported that the party of Indians the Lieutenant Dunn had
the fight with came back on the Platte and took a herd of cattle, and killed two of the herders and wounded the owner, Mr. Bradley, in
the neck with an arrow. Upon the receipt of the intelligence I dispatched 30 men under Lieutenants Dunn and Chase, with one wagon,
to cross over to the cut-off to take the trail this morning; they started at 12 o'clock last night. Lieutenant Dunn returned from his second
from his second trip, being unable to follow the trail, as it snowed most of the day, and Gerry said it would be an impossibility to follow;
so returned to camp the same day, having traveled about 60 miles. They had one day's rest and will now be prepared to follow for
several days, and, should they come up with them, will give them a lesson they will remember. They all have their carbines and
pistols, also sabers.

Lieutenant Dunn has not as yet had time to make a report of the fight, but says, tell the colonel they will fight, and understand the
skirmish drill to perfection, and that they were more than a match man to man on account of their arms, but now he feels confident he
can whip twice his number. Private Brandly died this morning from his wounds, and Dr. Tolles thinks 2 more of them are dangerous,
but may save them. Your communication of the 13th was received at 11 o'clock on the 14th. Cartridges came all right this morning.

I am, sir, with much respect, your obedient servant,

GEO. L. SANBORN,

Captain First Cavalry of Colo., Commanding Camp Sanborn.

Inclosed I send you copy of a note received from Mr. Gerry yesterday.

[Inclosure.]

GERRY'S RANCH, April 14, 1864.

Captain SANBORN:

SIR: Two lodges of Indians came here yesterday from the North Platte (Cheyennes). They don't know anything about the war party that
you were after. There are also 3 Indians here from the south that came from the main village, which is camped on the headwaters

Page 168 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter XLVI.   

of Beaver Creek. They say that no war party has left the village that they came from. There are also ten lodges of Sioux camped at the
month of Beaver Creek, and thirty lodges at Valley Station, all Sioux.

The above is the report of the Indians that are camped here.

Respectfully,

E. GERRY.

________________________

Page 188 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter XLVI.

LEAVENWORTH, April 16, 1864. (Received 10.30 a. m., 18th.)

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

Chief of Staff:

Colonel Chivington reports Lieutenant Dunn, First Colorado, had a fight with party of Cheyenne Indians on Platte River, near Fremont'
Orchard, on the 12th; killed a number of Indians; we had 4 men badly wounded. The Indians were stealing stock from Government
contractors.

S. R. CURTIS,

Major-General.



BOONEVILLE, COLO. TER., April 16, 1864.

Colonel J. M. CHIVINGTON:

SIR: A party of gentlemen and a Government expressman passed our place this (Sunday) morning, and reported troubles with the
Sioux on the Platte, and said you had ordered the troops to concentrate at some point on the Platte. I trust, sir, that you will not

Page 189 Chapter XLVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.   

take from us the only protection to our women and children we have taking away Company L.

Should this be the case I am sure that you will have a remonstrance sent you as long as the moral law, headed by.

Your obedient servant, fraternally,

A. G. BONNE.


HEADQUARTERS, Camp Sanborn, Colo. Ter., April 16, 1864.

Colonel JOHN M. CHIVINGTON,
Commanding District of Colorado, Denver, Colo. Ter.:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that I have received an express from Lieutenant Dunn, First Cavalry of Colorado, in charge of
detachment First Cavalry of Colorado in pursuit of band of Indians. He had arrived with his command at Bijou Station at daylight
yesterday morning. The Indians were then twelve hours ahead; the report was they were near 100 strong, but I think the report was
exaggerated. Privat Baird, of Company C, died yesterday about 3 p. m. McBride and the other wounded man of same company are
doing very well, and will soon be around again unless their wounds prove to be worse than they appear.

I am, colonel, with much respect, your obedient servant,

GEO. L. SANBORN,

Captain, First Cavalry of Colorado, Commanding Camp Sanborn.


HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF COLORADO, Denver, Colo. Ter., April 16, 1864.

Major JACOB DOWNING,
First Cavalry of Colorado, Denver, Colo. Ter.:

SIR: The colonel commanding directs me to say that you will proceed without delay to Camp Sanborn, and take charge of and give
directions in person to the movements against the Indians, and see to it that they are appropriately chastised for their outlawry. You
will daily communicate with these headquarters. If more troops are needed report that fact, and all others promptly.

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

GEO. H. STILWELL,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.


HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF COLORADO, Denver, Colo. Ter., April 16, 1864.

First Lieutenant G. L. SHOUP,

First Cavalry of Colorado, Commanding Escort to Commissary Train from Denver to Fort Union:

LIEUTENANT: The colonel commanding directs that you return with your command to Camp Fillmore without delay. You will forward by
one of your men the accompanying dispatch to the commanding officer, Fort Union, N. Max., who is therein requested to send out a
detachment to meet and escort the train to that post. The Indian troubles have reached a climax. On 12th instant

Page 190 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter XLVI.   

Lieutenant Dunn, with a small party, had a fight with a band of Cheyennes near Fremont' Orchard, and had 4 men badly wounded (1 of
them has since died and 2 others are expected to). A number of Indians were killed. They are stealing stock in every direction, and
refusing to give it up. Carbines with ammunition are en route to Camp Fillmore.

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

GEO. H. STILWELL,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.


HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF COLORADO, Denver, Colo. Ter., April 16, 1864.

COMMANDING OFFICER,
Fort Union, N. Max.:

SIR: I have the honor to request that you will send out a detachment from your command to meet and escort to your post the train of
commissary stores now en route from Denver, Colo. Ter. The long anticipated difficulties with the Indians in this Territory appear to
have reached a crisis. A fight has already occurred between a small detachment of my troops and the Cheyennes, with some loss on
both sides. All my troops are now required for service, and I have ordered Lieutenant Shoup, who, with a detachment of 35 men, has
been escorting said train, to return with his command to Camp Fillmore, Colo. Ter.

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

J. M. CHIVINGTON,

Colonel First Cavalry of Colorado, Commanding District.

______________________


Page 242 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter XLVI.

INDIAN RANCH, April 20, 1864.

Colonel J. M. CHIVINGTON,

Commanding District of Colorado:

DEAR COLONEL: Last night about 1 a. m. a messenger arrived at Camp Sanborn stating that the ranches on the Platte had been
attacked, and at this ranch every person had been driven away and their lives threatened, which I have found to be true; the Indians
having taken, in addition, all they wanted. I started for this place with 60 men about an hour after I received the news and arrived here
at 1 p. m., the horses of my command almost jaded out. Saw one Indian on the opposite bluffs, about 4 miles off, upon my arrival, but
he immediately disappeared. Intend to take the trail to-night, as they only started from here this morning, and hope to catch some of
them. Will follow the trail as long as my horses will stand it.

Every person with whom I have talked concurs in the opinion that they are Cheynnes, which I now firmly believe. More troops will be
needed to wipe them out, as the marches are necessarily so long that the horses will not endure it. More horses are also required.
There was a man who lived at this ranch murdered about 10 miles from here last Wednesdaay. The Indians are evidently so alarmed
by the soldiers that they go night and day to escape us. The only way will be to arrange troops with good guides along the road, so that
their marches will be short, that when they meet the Indians their horses will be fresh and vigorous. If anything occurs will write you.

Yours,

J. DOWNING,

Major First Cavalry, Colorado.

P. S. - Everything indicates the commencement of an Indian war. Active measures should at once be adopted to meet them on all
sides, or the emigration will be interrupted. The people along the Platte are generally very much terrified.

Have the quartermaster send a train of corn to Camp Sanborn immediately, as it will be needed. Another camp should be established
lower down the Platte, and commanded by some active man.

Yours,

J. D.

There is no pen or ink here, consequently I have to use a pencil.


HEADQUARTERS,
Camp Sanborn, April 20, 1864.

Colonel J. M. CHIVINGTON,

Commanding District of Colorado:

SIR: This afternoon I forwarded to you, per Messrs. Kinney and Smith, a spear, some arrows, and a pistol taken from the battle

Page 243 Chapter XLVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.   

ground, as Major Downing informed me you wished them. The pistol was taken by Brandly, since dead, and was given by him to
Acting Hospital Steward Mead, who wishes to keep it, by your permission.

Information reached camp on the evening of the 18th that a party of Chevennes had taken possession of a ranch this side of Moore
and Kelley's and were despoiling property, getting drunk, and raising the mischief generally.

Major Downing called for 60 men and Lieutenant Dunn, and they were soon in the saddle and off, major accompanying them. I heard
from them to-day. Kinney and Smith met them yesterday, 8 miles this side of Beaver Creek and about 12 miles from where the Indians
had left the river, going north toward the North Platte. I send this by express, and with it consolidated provision returns for the next
month.

We are unable to send teams for our rations. Those here were sent after corn left on the road and, with following the command, have
become nearly worked down, so we shall have to have transportation for rations furnished in Denver.

I am, sir, with much respect, your obedient servant,

GEO. L. SANBORN,

Captain, First Cavalry of Colorado.


HEADQUARTERS,
Camp Sanborn, April 20, 1864 - 5 p. m.

Colonel J. M. CHIVINGTON,

Commanding District of Colorado:

SIR: Major Downing has returned, having traveled about 140 miles.

The command did not come up with the Indians, but learned that they were Cheyennes, and from information of Sioux Indians thinks
there are some Kiowas among them, and also thinks the party that Lieutenant Dunn had the fight with were with them. Major D. will
write more fully to-morrow and send by coach.

I am, sir, with much respect, your obedient servant,

GEO. L. SANBORN,

Captain, First Cavalry Colorado, Commanding Camp Sanborn.

_____________________


Page 250 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter XLVI.

Camp Weld, April 21, 1864.

Colonel J. M. CHIVINGTON,

Commanding District of Colorado:

SIR: I have the honor to report to you that a messenger has just arrived from Lieutenant Eayre with a verbal message to the effect that
he will arrive in Denver to-morrow afternoon. He is returning for lighter transportation. The teams he has with him have given out.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. D. MCLAIN,

Captain, Commanding Camp.



CAMP SANBORN, April 21, 1864.

Colonel J. M. CHIVINGTON,

First Colorado Cavalry, Commanding District:

COLONEL: Arrived here Monday and immediately commenced work. Monday night a messenger arrived here stating that the Indians
were committing depredations at Morrison's ranch, having driven out the occupants by threats of violence, & c., and were taking all they
could find on the premises; that they were Cheyennes, and that there were ten lodges near by. One hour after the messenger's arrival I
had 60 men in the saddle and on the march. Found the inhabitants on our route along the Platte very much frightened, many of them
stating that they had seen ten Cheyenne lodges. At about 1 o'clock the next day we reached the ranch, having marched about 55 miles,
where I could not find any person who had seen any Cheyenne lodges or any other lodges near this ranch, but that 7 miles below
there were several Sioux lodges, which I did not wish to disturb, as I was informed they did not countenance the depredations of the
Cheyennes.


HEADQUARTERS,

Page 251 Chapter XLVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.   

On the arrival of my guide and our soldiers, who preceded the command a short distance, I learned that an Indian had been seen on
the hills on the north side about 7 miles distant, evidently watching the approach of the command. I immediately sent the guide with
our soldiers to examine the hills, and upon their return learned that they had found a fresh trail, evidently made by about 3 or 4 Indians,
and after following it several miles the guide returned and informed me that the believed they were going to the Indian camp about 30
miles distant on Dry Creek, as the trail led in that direction; that there was only one place on the creek where they could camp, and
thought we could reach them by daylight the next morning; that the Indians would not expect us, knowing that we had traveled all day.
Therefore, a little after 8 o'clock that night, I started for Dry Creek, and reached there about daylight. Found an old trail, but nothing
fresh. Marched then toward Poll Creek and Cedar Bluffs. Found no Indian signs.


Then marched in a southwesterly direction till we reached a point almost north of Camp Sanborn, and about 20 miles from it, when,
finding no trail and having no lariats, without which I could not safely let our stock graze, I took a circuitous route and reached Camp
Sanborn yesterday afternoon, having marched about 140 miles, but caught no Indians. Whose fault it is that this command is without
lariats is for you to determine. Everything goes to corroborate the fact that the depredators are Cheyennes. Believing now from what I
have learned that these depredations have been perpetrated by the Cheyennes, and possibly a few Kiowas, as they are together in
almost everything, and that the other tribes are peaceably disposed, and that this party cannot consist of more than 40 or 50 men, I
have determined to divide my command and increase the chances of meeting them. I have sent Lieutenant Chase with 25 men to
Murray's ranch, 7 miles below the Junction, where he can procure forage, &c., and stabling, with orders to keep his command
concealed, he making the march by night, and ascertain by scouts, or otherwise, if the Indians are in that vicinity; if so, to go them,
reporting all that he does to me.

Intend sending to-morrow Lieutenant Dunn with 30 men to Kelly's ranch, 27 miles below, with the same orders, and then take a
detachment and go into the bluffs after them myself, leaving Captain Sanborn in command of the camp. This is the only way by which I
can do anything with them, or have a single chance to meet them, though with more men larger detachments could be left at the
different points while I thus could pursue them in the sand hills. About 100 men more, I think, wold make it certain with pack animals,
&c., as the other Indians already think the cause is assuming rather a serious aspect and that we are in earned. Most of our marched
have been made at night, and when it is possible I intend they all shall be, as I think by that means we will be more likely to find them.

I have inclosed with this a list of articles actually needed to render this command efficient, which, if they are on hand, you will order the
proper officers to forward immediately and oblige me.

It has been stated that the Cheyennes as a tribe discountenanced the depredations of these men. However that may be, I have as yet
been unable to find any of them, and if I find any will punish them for the depredations already committed by members of their tribe,
until further orders from you. I will station a messenger at the

Page 252 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter XLVI.   

Junction, from which you can telegraph me whenever you wish-Dividing my command in this manner it is actually necessary that we
have another officer, as Lieutenant Dunn will not be able to make his reports, &c., and be on a scout all the time, he being the only
officer in Company C.

I have just learned that there are a few lodges of Cheyennes at Gerry's. Though he says they discountenance these transactions, I
have, through Captain Sanborn, sent him word to notify these Cheyennet to leave immediately, as well as all others who may be on
the river, as I intend punishing them for depredations committed by members of this tribe if found on the river. My object is to protect
the immigration and get as many together as possible, when, if you think proper, a command can go to their village and compel them
to surrender the depredators, or clean them out. Horses are greatly needed. Would you allow me to suggest the propriety of
immediately obtaining a sufficient number to prepared for all emergences, as you will see by accompanying report that this command
is not all mounted, though all the men are needed and horses are constantly becoming unserviceable? Captain Sanborn informs me
that yesterday he sent by Messrs. Smith and Kinney a lance, arrows, pistol, &c., and that they would inform you of the origin of this
trouble and corroborate the statement made by Mr. Ripley, which I understand has been contradicted.

Hoping that this will prove satisfactory, I remain, your obedient servant,

J. DOWNING,

Major First Cavalry of Colorado.

P. S.-The pack-saddles Captain Mullin let me have had no packing ropes upon them. The ropes he supposed were packing ropes
were lariats attached to the neck halters. Please inform him, that others may be sent to me. There are a number of men here acting as
teamsters, as all our men are needed. Will you request Captain Mullin to send down about 8 citizen teamsters; if he cannot get
anything else, send negroes. We can then use them for expressmen,

&c.

J. DOWNING,


DENVER, COLO, TER., April 21, 1864.

Lieutenant-Colonel COLLINS,

Fort Laramie:

I think Cheyennes. About 60 turned up Beavere Creek. Gone to Republican. We are after them.

J. M. CHIVINGTON,

Colonel, Commanding District of Colorado.

_________________________


Page 407 Chapter XLVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.   


MURRAY AND KELLEY'S AMERICAN RANCH,

May 2, 1864

Colonel J. M. CHIVINGTON,

First Cavalry of Colorado, Commanding District.

COLONEL: Since my last we have been busily engaged scouting, &c., endeavoring to ascertain the whereabouts of the enemy.
Yesterday we took an Indian prisoner, whom I at first ordered shot, but upon learning from one of my men that he was half Sioux and
had received his annuities from Government with the Sioux, I concluded to spare him if he would lead me to a Cheyenne camp or give
me information of their whereabouts, which he has consented to do, and we are about starting in pursuit. Besides, all concurred that if
I killed him it would involve us with the Sioux, which, as I understand, the policy is to avoid a war with them. If, though, I obeyed my own
impulse, I would kill him. Should he attempt to escape will settle him.

We have experience considerable difficulty in obtaining rations, which has delayed us several days, as some mistake was made by
the sergeant at Camp Sanborn, and only about three days' rations sent us. This, hereafter, I will try to correct, though the delay has
improved our horses wonderfully, as they were almost played out. We will be gone about five days, a I wish to know what there is north
of us.

I have not heard anything yet of Company B, and will not wait for them, but upon my return will immediately start after the Indians with
them. Your telegram informed me that two guns of the battery and Company B were coming down, though Captain Mc Lain passed
here. He said he knew nothing of it. Our movements here may appear slow to you, but I can assure you that none have been idle, and
with so small a command and so large a country to march in it requires time to accomplish much, unless we could go on to the
Republican or North Platte, when I would be compelled to leave the road unprotected, which, in case of any depredation, would create
more alarm and do the Territory more damage than ten times the trouble in some other quarter. I will leave a small detachment of 10
men at the Junction and about the same number, under Lieutenant Chase,at this ranch, which will make some show of force and
probably keep everything safe until my return. If anything occurs, and I am able, will send you the news.

Hoping this will prove satisfactory, I remain, yours, &c.,

J. DOWNING,

Major, First Cavalry of Colorado.

__________________________

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,  Series I, Vol. XXXIV, Part I


Page 907 Chapter XLVI. SKIRMISH AT CEDAR BLUFFS, COLO.

MAY 3, 1864.-Skirmish at Cedar Bluffs, Colo.

Reports of Major Jacob Dowing, First Colorado Cavalry.

AMERICAN RANCH, May 3, 1864,

(Via Junction Station, 4th.)

Had a fight with the Cheyennes to-day. Killed about 25 Indians, wounded about 35 or 40 more. Lost 1 man killed and 1 wounded.

Captured about 100 head of horses, &c. Send me more troops; I need them. The war has commenced in earnest. Will write
particulars. Send me 5,000 cartridges immediately. Howitzers are needed.

J. DOWNING,

Major, First Colorado Cavalry.

Colonel J. m. CHIVINGTON.


MURRAY AND KELLEY'S RANCH, May 3, 1864.

COLONEL: On the 1st instant I captured an Indian in this vicinity when I supposed to be a Cheyenne spy, and ordered him shot, but
upon being informed that he was half-breed and part Sioux, concluded to spare him upon condition that he lead me to an
encampment of Cheyennes, whom I had previously learned had camped near me and committing depredations on the whites, which
he promised to do. On the 2nd instant, about 2 p. m., I started with about 40 men. Marched about 15 miles and rested till 10 p. m., then
again

Page 908 Chapter XLVI. LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI.   

started and marched all night. At about 6 a. m. reached their camp in a canon near Cedar Bluffs. Found them prepared for a fight, and I
immediately commenced business by intercepting them from their stock, horses, &c., and then detailing 10 men to take charge of it,
then dismounting Companies Second, Third, and Fourth, to fight on foot, while Company First held the horses, my fighting command
then being only about 25 men. After a few shots the Indians retreated to a canon, naturally fortified, and while holding it had great odds
against us. I attempted by skirmishing to drive them from it, but my command was too small and their position and numbers greatly
against us. I then directed the men to confine their efforts to killing as many Indians as possible, which, after a fight of about three
hours, they succeeded in killing about 25 Indians and wounding about 30 or 40 more, when the carbine ammunition getting rather
scarce, and the Indians so concealed that after 50 shots I could scarcely get a men, I coulded to return to this place with the horses,
&c., and, when more troops arrived, try them again. If in this affair i had two mountain howitzers I could have annihilated the entire
band. I think artillery will be necessary in all future operations against a party [so] camped, as lately they have selected such places
only for their camps. The sacrifice necessary to be to successfully charge their camps is entirely too great, and I wish, if possible, to
avoid it. I have not heard anything of Company B yet. In this affair I lost 1 man killed, Insert, of Company C, and 1 would, Wilcow, of
Company C. I want to go back to this place if you can furnish me with two mountain howitzers, and if you cannot, when I get more
troops, will it again any way.

Thought I think we have punished them pretty severely in this affair, yet I think we have punished them pretty severely in this affair, yet I
believe now it is but the commencement of war with this treble, which must result in exterminating them. The detachment was
composed of 10 men of Company H and the balance of Company C, First Colorado Cavalry. Lieutenant Dunn was with me, and he, as
well as all ended in this affair, behaved with great gallantry, evening a coolness and daring which would call a complimentary order
from even a major-general.

Hoping, colonel, that you will approve what has been done in this matter, I remain, with great respect, your obedient servant,

J. DOWNING,

Major, First Colorado Cavalry.

Colonel J. M. CHIVINGTON,

First Colorado Cavalry, Commanding District.

P. S.-Cedar Bluffs is about 60 miles distant. We started yesterday about 2 o'clock and returned this evening.

J. D.

_________


Page 916 Chapter XLVI. LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI.   


MAY 9-10, 1864.-Scout from American Ranch to Cedar Bluffs, Colo.

Report of Major Jacob Dowing, First Colorado Cavalry.

AMERICAN RANCH, May 11, 1864.

COLONEL: My scouts having reported on the 9th instant that a body of Cheyennes had again taken possession of the canon at Cedar
Bluffs, where a few days since I reported to you that i had skirmished with them, and that several war parties had seen in the vicinity of
the Platte, and in one instance having attacked a ranch and were driven off, I immediately prepared a command to go again to the
canon, feeling that in that manner only could I drive them from the river and remove the danger. Therefore, on the 9th instant, at 2 p. m.
with about 80 men. I marched 20 miles down Platte to Moore & Chesby's ranch when, after halting toll 6 p. m. of the same day, started
for the canon, about 40 miles distant, and reached it about daylight in the morning; but the Indians, determined not to be surprised this
time, decamped, leaving all their lodges, fourteen in number, cooking utensils, about 130 saddles, and in fact everything belonging to
them, not even excepting their dried meats, &c., all of which I destroyed. Shortly afterward I discovered a large encamped of Sioux
Indians, who informed me that they were desirous of place, and that the Cheyennes, having abandoned everything, the believed
before the y stopped for any time would go to Powder River; that they (the Cheyennes) had applied to the Sioux for assistance to fight
the soldiers, and that they (the Sioux) had refused to join them, when the Cheyennes in their fright determined to seek safety in flight.
The Sioux thought that a war party of the Cheyennes, about 25 in number, had gone to the Platte to steal horses in order to make their
escape more certain.

In order to stop their depredations on the river, after halting two hours, I determined to reach the river as soon as possible, when, after
a rapid march, reached the Platte about 8 p. m. on the evening of the 10th instant, where I learned that Indians had been seen during
the afternoon, and that the settlers apprehended trouble. I immediately ordered out patrols, and to the present time everything is quiet
as far I have been to learn. I can no estimate of the time it will take to entirely subdue these deprecators, but think that everything thus
far is favorable to a speedy adjustment of this difficulty, provided the pursuit is, for a short time hence, vigorously maintained.

I intend ordering Lieutenant Chase with his detachment to report for duty to Camp Sanborn, and Lieutenant Murrell with his
detachment to the Junction station, 34 miles up the river, when I think the road to Denver from this will be comparatively safe. I intend
starting to-morrow morning for Danver to talk you regarding this affair, if it meets you approval. If you should not approve my coming,
telegraph me at the Junction.

Hoping, sir, that what I have done will wee your approval, I remain, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. DOWING,

Major, First Colorado Cavalry.

Colonel J. M. CHIVINGTON,

First Colorado Cavalry, Commanding District.

_____________________________



Statements provided during later inquiries into the Sand Creek Massacre regarding the incident at
Fremont’s Orchard:

“The Chivington Massacre” – United States Congress, Senate.  Reports of the Committees, 39 Cong., 2 sess.  Washington
Government Printing Office, 1867.

Page 72-73
(Affidavit of “Mr. Bouser,” a squaw man and Indian interpreter employed by Governor Evans.)

Mr. Bouser sworn:

The first difficulty between the Cheyennes and Arapahoes and whites occurred on the 11th day of April, 1864. A white man came into
Camp Sanborn and reported that he had cattle stolen. A detail of twenty men was sent after the Indians to get the cattle. The
commander of the detail, Lieutenant Clark Dunn, had orders to disarm and fetch in
p. 73
the Indians; if they refused, to sweep them off the face of the earth. A fight occurred, and some Indians were wounded, also four
soldiers, two of whom afterwards died. There was no interpreter along with the detail. The Indians, so Lieutenant Dunn told me, shook
hands, and appeared as though they wanted to say or do anything. I know an Indian named Spotted Horse, part Cheyenne and part
Sioux; he is now dead; he told me that he was in the affair with Lieutenant Dunn. He said the Indians took three head of cattle; there
were 100 warriors. There was snow on the ground, and the Indians were hungry and took the cattle; they would have come into Denver
if their horses had been in condition. They went south of the river with the cattle, intending if the soldiers came after them to settle for
the cattle by giving some of their ponies. Before they had time to cross the river and kill the cattle the soldiers overtook them. The
soldiers had no interpreter, held no talk with the Indians, gave them no time even to deliver the cattle, but pitched into them. He also
told me that had he been up in time, as he speaks English, or had there been an interpreter, the whole matter might have been settled
without a fight. As it was, the Indians rode up close to the soldiers, dismounted, and shook hands with them. Lieutenant Dunn's men
then took hold of some of the Indians' weapons and tried to wrest them away. The Indians did not know what it meant, and refused to
give up their arms, when they were fired upon by the soldiers. Spotted Horse, seeing that there was going to be a war, threw up his
chieftainship, and with it some one hundred head of ponies, and came in to Governor Evans. I acted as interpreter, and he told
substantially to Governor Evans the above. This same chief traded four of his ponies to ransom a white woman--Mrs. Kelly. The next
collision was under Major Downing, at Cedar cañon. I have a Brulé Sioux woman for a wife. I am of opinion that a lasting peace could
be made with all the southern Sioux without any more fighting.


Page 68
(Affidavit of Major Jacob Downing)

DENVER, July 21, 1865.
Jacob Downing sworn:

I have resided in Colorado since the spring of 1860; am a native of Albany, New York, a lawyer by profession, and about thirty-three
years of age. I was major of the first cavalry of Colorado; was in service from August, 1861, to January, 1865. A portion of the time I
acted as inspector of the district of Colorado. The first collision between the troops and the Indians was at Fremont's orchard, near
Camp Sanborn, on the north side of the South Platte river, about the twelfth of April, 1864. I was at Camp Sanborn, inspecting troops.
In the evening, about 9 o'clock, a man by the name of Ripley, a ranchman on the Kioway creek, came into Camp Sanborn and stated
that the Indians had taken from him all his stock, and that he had narrowly escaped with his life. He did not know what tribe of Indians,
and said that they were driving the people off from the Kioway, Bijout, and other creeks. He requested Captain Sanborn, the
commander of the post, to give him the assistance of a few troops, stationed there, to recover the stock, saying that he knew the
Indians; that they would go north, and he thought he could find them. Captain Sanborn consented. Next morning Lieutenant Dunn, with
about forty men, was ordered to go in pursuit and recover the stock, if possible, taking Mr. Ripley as guide; with instructions also, as I
understood, to disarm the Indians if he found them in possession of the stock, but to use every means to avoid a collision with them.
He started that morning and returned about ten o'clock that evening, stating that he had had a fight with the Indians; that they first fired
upon him. After marching until four o'clock in the afternoon he came in sight of the Indians, near Fremont's orchard. He was then on
the south side of the Platte; the Indians were crossing to the north side, some of whom were driving a herd of stock--horses, mules,
&c. In the river he halted his command to allow the horses to drink, they not having had water since morning, when Mr. Ripley and a
soldier went ahead of the command to see what the Indians were driving, and to see if they could see Ripley's stock in the herd of the
Indians. They soon returned, when Ripley stated that he recognized the Indians as those who drove off his stock, and had seen his
horses in their herd, which they were rapidly driving towards the bluffs. The soldier stated that he thought the Indians intended to fight;
that they were loading their rifles. When Lieutenant Dunn arrived on the north bank of the Platte, where he could see the Indians, he
found them with their bows strung and their rifles in their hands. He directed
Page 69
Mr. Ripley and four soldiers to stop the herd the Indians were driving, halted his command, and alone rode forward to meet the
Indians; talked with them, endeavoring to obtain the stock without any difficulty, and requested one or two of the Indians to come
forward and talk with him. They paid no attention to him, but together and in line rode towards him. Finding them determined not to talk
with him, he rode slowly back to his command, and when the Indians were within about six or eight feet, he ordered his men to
dismount and disarm the Indians. As soon as his men had dismounted the Indians fired upon them, and a fight commenced, which
lasted about an hour. He succeeded in driving them into the bluffs, and followed them that night about twenty miles. He had four
wounded, two of whom afterwards died. He thought he killed a number of Indians. The Indians, being greatly superior in numbers,
succeeded in getting their dead and wounded away. At the commencement of the fight a small party of Indians drove the stock into the
bluffs, and Ripley's stock was never recovered. He afterwards learned they were southern Cheyennes. He learned it from spears,
bows, arrows, and other things left on the ground where the fight occurred, and by statements of some of the Indians of the
Cheyennes; this is hearsay. Major Whitely took the statement of Indians at Camp Welles. Lieutenant Dunn had separated his
command, and had only sixteen men with him. He thought there were from eighty to one hundred Indians. He returned to camp, and
next morning, having obtained a man named Geary as a guide, with a fresh mount, he started in pursuit. It having snowed in the night,
the trail was obliterated so they could not follow it. The next was a fight I had with them at Cedar Bluffs. I came to Denver and
requested Colonel Chivington to give me a force to go against the Indians. He did so. I had about forty men. I captured an Indian and
required him to go to the village, or I would kill him. This was about the middle of May. We started about eleven o'clock in the day;
travelled all day and all that night. About daylight I succeeded in surprising the Cheyenne village of Cedar Bluffs, in a small cañon
about sixty miles north of the South Platte river. We commenced shooting; I ordered the men to commence killing them. We soon
found a cañon on the edge of the brinks, occupied by warriors with rifles. I arranged my men the best, as I thought, under the
circumstances, and commenced shooting at them, and they at us. The fight lasted about three hours. They put their dead under the
rocks. They lost, as I was informed, some twenty-six killed and thirty wounded. My own loss was one killed and one wounded. I burnt
up their lodges and everything I could get hold of. There were fifteen large lodges and some smaller ones, but I was informed that
there were some warriors who had no lodges. I took no prisoners. We got out of ammunition and could not pursue them. There were
women and children among the Indians, but, to my knowledge, none were killed. We captured about one hundred head of stock,
which was distributed among the boys. The stock consisted of ponies, for which I would not have given $5 per head. They were
probably worth in this market $15 per head. I distributed the stock among the men for the reason that they had been marching almost
constantly day and night for nearly three weeks, and with the understanding that if Major General Curtis, commanding the department,
would not consent to it, they would turn the stock over to the government--having seen such things done in New Mexico, under the
command of General Canby, commanding the department. General Curtis would not allow this to be done, and I ordered the men to
turn the ponies over to Lieutenant Chase, acting battalion quartermaster, which, to the best of my knowledge and belief, was done;
and by Lieutenant Chase, as I was informed, the ponies were turned over to the government. About the same time I heard Lieutenant
Ayres had a collision with the Indians. I made my attack on the Indians from the fact that constant statements were made to me by the
settlers of the depredations committed by the Indians on the Platte, and the statements of murders committed; and I regarded
hostilities as existing between the whites and Cheyennes before I attacked them at Cedar Bluffs, and before Lieutenant Dunn had a
collision with them; and continue up to the present time . . .


______________________



“Sand Creek Massacre” – United States Congress, Senate.  Report of the Secretary of War, Sand Creek Massacre, Sen. Exec.
Doc. No. 26, 39 Cong., 2 sess.  Washington, Government Printing Office, 1867

Testimony of Lieutenant Clark Dunn:

Page 180
Question. Do you know anything of the origin and history of the Indian difficulties in this Territory and Kansas? State what you know of
your own knowledge.
Answer. On the 12th day of April, 1864, I was stationed at Camp Santono, Colorado Territory. On the morning of that day I was ordered
out by Captain Sanborn, then in command of camp, with forty men of companies C and H, first Colorado cavalry, in pursuit of a party of
Indians, who it was said, had stolen stock, and driven people from their ranches on Bijou creek. It was also reported that they had torn
down portions of the telegraph wire. I left Camp Sanborn about nine o'clock that day with a man by the name of Ripey; I think he was
the man that had reported about the Indians, and said that they had stock that belonged to him. Shortly after leaving Sanborn I divided
my command, and sent half of them direct to Bijou ranch, on Bijou creek. I went with the balance of the command down the Platte to
the junction. Hearing nothing of the Indians, I then went in the direction of the Bijou ranch, on Bijou creek, in order to meet the balance
of my command. I joined them about 2 p. m. Shortly afterwards I discovered the trail of the Indians. They were going north towards the
Platte river. I followed their trail to within about three miles of the river. I discovered a smoke to the right of the trail and about three or
four miles further down the Platte; there the course of the trail would intercept the river. Thinking that the Indians had, perhaps,
changed the course of their trail between that point and the river, I again divided my command, sending half of them in the direction of
the smoke, and I followed the trail with the balance. When I got to the brink of the river I discovered a party of about
Page 181
thirty Indians crossing the river about one mile below me. There was also another small party of Indians, in advance of those, driving
stock. The party of Indians with the stock were across the river. When I discovered them I crossed the river at that point. In crossing the
river I stopped to water my horses, as they had been a long time without water. Mr. Ripey and one of my men crossed in advance. They
came back and met me as I was getting across. Mr. Ripey stated that it was his stock, and the soldier stated the Indians were going to
fight, as they were drawn up in line, and loading their rifles. When I got across the river into open ground where I could see the Indians,
the party that I had seen crossing the river had halted, and were drawn up in line on the bank of the river. My orders from Captain
Sanborn were to recapture the stock taken by them, disarm the Indians, and bring them prisoners to Camp Sanborn. The party of
Indians that were driving the stock were driving it very rapidly towards the bluffs when I came in sight of them again, after crossing the
river. I started then in pursuit of the party of Indians with the stock, intending to get the stock first. The party of Indians on the banks of
the river started in the direction of the stock at the same time, when I halted my command, and wheeled into line towards the Indians.
The Indians also formed in line. They were then about five hundred yards from me down the Platte. I then detailed four men to go with
Mr. Ripey in pursuit of the stock, with instructions to get the stock if they could and bring it back without making a fight. I then rode out
about one hundred and fifty (150) yards in front of my command and requested that one or two of the Indians come out that I might talk
with them. They paid no attention, but marched forward in line to where I was, with their bows strung. My men called to me to come
back, that the Indians would kill me; I returned to my command, as the Indians came up to me. The Indians came up to my command
with me. I found that my men had their revolvers drawn. I ordered them to return them and dismount, and endeavor to take the arms
from the Indians. As soon as they were dismounted the Indians fired upon us. I immediately ordered my men to fire on them in return
and mount. We had an engagement there; it must have lasted between half and three quarters of an hour. I had four men wounded,
and killed quite a number of the Indians. I saw four fall from their horses at the first fire. I could not tell the exact number of Indians,
because they packed their dead Indians away as fast as they were killed. While the engagement was going on, Mr. Ripey, with the
men I had detailed to go along with him, had returned. The party of Indians with the stock, to the number of fifteen or twenty, also joined
the Indians who were fighting me. I finally succeeded in driving the Indians back about half or three quarters of a mile, to a bluff. I then
ordered my command to load their revolvers, which were empty, when I again started in pursuit of the Indians; the balance of my
command having joined me. I pursued them about sixteen miles; night coming on, and it having commenced storming. I abandoned
the pursuit and returned to Camp Sanborn, a distance of about twenty miles. The Indians were armed with bows and arrows, rifles,
revolvers, and horse-pistols. My men were armed with cavalry sabres and Whitney revolvers, navy size, and of a very inferior quality. I
started on the trail again the next day, with Geary as guide, but it having stormed that night and snowed the next day we were unable to
follow their trail. I afterwards made repeated scouts after them for that and other depredations, but did not find them.
________________

Testimony of Lieutenant Joseph A. Cramer, relating his conversation about Fremont’s Orchard with Black Kettle during the
Smoky Hill Council:

Page 31

. . . He then gave an account of the first difficulties that occurred last winter

Page 32

or spring. At first a good deal of stock was stolen from the Indians by the whites, over on or out near the Platte country. Previous to the
fight with the soldiers in the vicinity of the Platte, (by description supposed to be the command of Lieutenant Dunn,) that they were
travelling from the Smoky Hill country and found some loose stock, I think, on the Beaver or Box Elder, and took it with them to leave at
Geary's ranch, and on arriving there found no one at home and took the stock with them. Soon after this they were overtaken by a party
of soldiers who appeared to be friendly, but demanded the stock which they had in their possession----

Commission adjourned until 2 p. m. this day.

Two p. m.--Commission met pursuant to adjournment. Present, all members and recorder.
Examination of Second Lieutenant Joseph A. Cramer, veteran battalion first Colorado cavalry continued.

By the COMMISSION:
-----which they were willing to give up, and offered to do so with the exception of one horse or mule, which they stated to the chief of the
soldiers one of the Indians had off on a hunt and would be back in a day or two, and as soon as he returned, the mule or horse should
be given up. The chief of the soldiers still demanded the mule or horse, at the same time taking from the Indians their arms, which the
Indians supposed were merely to look at. One of the Indians refused to let him take his arms, when he undertook to take them by
force. I am not positive that the Indians fired first, but my impression is that he said the Indians fired first after the attempt to take the
arms by force. I think that the Indians stated that there were three killed or wounded. The Indians then went to the Cedar Bluffs
immediately after this occurrence. Soon after they were attacked by another party of soldiers. Before the attack and while in camp at or
near Cedar Bluffs, one of their herders, a boy, was killed, and another captured--I do not know whether it was a boy or not--and a
number of their herd of stock; I think he said near a hundred head. It may have been more or less; but my impression is that it was
about a hundred. The Indians then became convinced the whites were going to make war on them and prepared to go to the Arkansas
valley; had left a good deal of their property; had rolled up what they could and hid them in the rocks, and while preparing to start were
attacked by a party of soldiers, killing one. I do not recollect that he said any were wounded or not; that he thought the soldiers were
firing on the buffalo-robes in the rocks, and not at the Indians; that they immediately after started for the Arkansas valley, or words to
that effect.


Affidavit of John Smith, extract regarding Fremont’s Orchard:

Page 126

Black Kettle, the head chief of the Cheyenne nation, replied as follows: That the Cheyenne and Arapahoe nations had always
endeavored to observe the terms of their treaty with the United States government; that some years previous, when the white
emigration first commenced coming to what is now the Territory of Colorado, the country which was in the possession of the
Cheyenne and Arapahoe nation, they could have successfully made war against them; (the whites.) They did not desire to do so; had
invariably treated them with kindness, and never, to his knowledge, committed any depredations whatever; that until within the last few
months they had gotten along in perfect peace and harmony with their white brethren; but while a hunting party of their young men
were proceeding north in the neighborhood of South Platte river, having found some lost stock belonging to white men, which they
were driving towards a ranch to deliver up, they were suddenly confronted by a party of United States soldiers and ordered to deliver up
their arms. A difficulty immediately ensued which resulted in killing and wounding several on both sides. A short time after this
occurrence took place, a village of squaws, papooses and old men, located at what is known as "Cedar Cañon," a short distance
north of the South Platte, who were perfectly unaware of any difficulty having occurred between any portion of their tribe (Cheyenne) and
the whites, were attacked by a large party of soldiers and some of them killed and their ponies driven off.
The Incident at Fremont’s Orchard – April 12, 1864

Some historians point to the skirmish at Fremont’s Orchard as the
beginning of the 1864 Indian War in the Colorado Territory.  While the
incident was indeed an ominous portent of things to come, hostilities
between Union soldiers and warrior clans had in reality been brewing
since the
1862 Sioux uprising in Minnesota.   By April 1864, a full scale
war was inevitable, and many innocent white settlers and peaceably
inclined Indians in the middle Plains would pay with their lives.  The most
notorious of these battles was the Sand Creek Massacre.

The incident at Fremont’s Orchard remains a subject of controversy, for
both the Union soldiers and Indians involved told different stories, each
accusing the other of initiating the fight.  The following official transcripts
provide some insight from the military perspective.  Indian accounts of the
incident, of course, were never officially documented, but some soldiers
did provide information about the incident, as told to them by the Indians.
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