The Sand Creek Massacre
Eayer's Campaign, April - May 1864
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,  Series I, Vol. XXXIV, Part I


APRIL 8 - 23, 1864. - Expedition from Denver, Colo., to the Republican River, Kans.

Report of Lieutenant George S. Eayre, McLain's Independent Colorado Battery.

CAMP WELD, COLO. TER., April 23, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor herewith to submit the following report: Agreeably to Special Orders, Numbers --, dated Camp Weld, Colo. Ter., April
7, 1864, I reported to headquarters District of Colorado for


orders, and received instructions to proceed with a detachment of men in pursuit of some cattle purporting to have been stolen by the
Cheynne Indians. Absence of transportation prevented my starting until the 8th instant, when, at 4 p. m., my command, consisting of 54
men and two 12-pounder mountain howitzers of Independent Battery Colorado Volunteer Artillery, Lieutenant Burdsal commanding, and
26 men of Company D, First Cavalry of Colorado, Lieutenant Phillips commanding, was put in motion. On the 9th, I encamped on
Running Creek, 30 miles southeast from Denver, at which camp Lieutenant Burdsal was recalled and Lieutenant Beach took command,
agreeably to special orders dated headquarters Camp Weld, April 9, 1864. On the 11th, I camped on Beaver Creek, 80 miles southeast
from Denver, where I was joined by one Routh (who had been herding the stolen cattle) in the capacity of guide. On the 12th, I crossed the
dividing ridge between the waters of the Platte and Arkansas and encamped on the Big Sandy, a confluent of the latter. Forced to remain
in camp on the 13th from a prevailing snow-storm. On the 14th, moved 20 miles down Sandy and encamped, having at this point struck a
broad and distinct Indian trail directly northwest, evidently having with them, from the numerous tracks, at least 100 head of cattle. I
followed this trail on the 15th until I reached the headwaters of the Republican, a tributary of the Kansas River, when I was informed by
one of my scouts that an Indian village was on a defile about 1 mile in advance of me. I immediately halted my command and dispatched
Lieutenant Phillips with 2 men to make inquiry of the Indians in relation to the stolen cattle. Ten minutes had not elapsed after their
departure when one of the men came galloping up and informed me that the squaws were all mounted and leaving the village and that
the warriors were approaching the command. I immediately put the column in motion, and when passing through a defile an Indian was
descried standing about 50 yards from the command. I ordered 2 men to take him prisoner and bring him to he, and while advancing so
to do, the Indian shot 1 of the men through the body, inflicting a very dangerous if not a mortal wound.

At this point I ordered the artillery back to the transports, the nature of the ground being such as to prohibit its farther advance, and divided
my forces into squads of 10 men each, with instructions to scour the country for a distance of 10 miles. Taking 3 men with me I proceeded
to the village and found it entirely deserted, but containing immense supplies of beef and buffalo, dried and packed in the manner
peculiar to the Indians; also a quantity of undressed buffalo robes, cooking utensils, powder, lead, beads, and all the paraphernalia of a
completely supplied Indian village, all of which I burned, except such articles essential for the use of the command, and encamped upon
the ground. On the 15th, I continued my course northwest. During the day my transportation animals, which had been showing evident
signs of exhaustion for four days past, almost entirely failed, 1 mule dropping dead in the harness and others lying down. I was
compelled at all ravines to attach a rope to the tongue and draw the wagons over by hand, but succeeded in getting 15 miles, when,
coming to another village which had been deserted but a short time, I encamped and sent squads in pursuit on the trail. After following
about 4 miles robes, dried meats, lodges, lodge poles, and all the various articles found at a first-class village were found strewn along
the trail, and ascertaining that the Indians had gone



down the Republican the scouts returned, bringing with them 19 head of cattle, which the guide identified as being a part of those which
had been stolen. On the morning of the 16th, I went with a party and collected and burned all the property which the Indians had thrown
away in their hasty flight. My transportation consisted of ten Espenchied's iron-axle freighters, weight 2,000 pounds each, and the
condition of my mules were such that it was impossible to follow with it, and the entire absence of grass forbade me following with my
horses without some forage. I therefore deemed it prudent to return at once to Denver, make this report, and submit the following: That the
Cheyenne Indians are the ones who stole the cattle; that they meditate hostilities against the whites, from the fact of their having first fired
upon the command; that they are now encamped upon the Republican, some 200 miles east of Denver; that the distance can be greatly
lessened by going other than the usually traveled route; that light thimble-skein wagons are best adapted to transport supplies through
that portion of the country.

With these suggestions and an ardent desire, the district commander approving, to be ordered on a similar expedition.

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


Lieutenant, Commanding Detachment in the Field.


Commanding District of Colorado.


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


Denver, Colo. Ter., May 23, 1864.

Major E. W. WYNKOOP,

Commanding Fort Lyon:

MAJOR: I have the honor to furnish you with the following copy of a telegram received at these headquarters to-day:

COTTONWOOD, May 23, 1864.


Is there any of your command out after the Cheynnes? Reports here are that a whole company are engaged fighting 180 miles south of
this post; nearly all killed.


Major Seventh Iowa Cavalry, Commanding Post.

The colonel commanding directs that if you have not heard anything from Lieutenant Eayre's command you will send out a party, say, of
about 30 men, to ascertain his whereabouts. Report at once what you know of Lieutenant Eayre's command and such action as may be

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


Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

Denver, Colo. Ter., May 23, 1864.


Cottonwood Springs:

Yes; Lieutenant Eayre, 100 men, two mountain howitzers, one breech-loading carbine. Last report was on head Smoky Hill. Will order
scout immediately from Lyon. Can you send scout and report?


Colonel, Commanding District.



Denver, May 28, 1864.

Major C. S. CHARLOT,

Asst. Adjt. General, Dept. of Kans., Fort Leavenworth, Kans.:

MAJOR: I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of a letter received from Lieutenant George S. Eayre, Independent Battery, Colo-


rado Volunteer Artillery, of the 1st instant; also a dispatch from Major O'Brien, commanding at Cottonwood. I have some fears that the
latter has reference to Lieutenant George S. Eayre, First Independent Battery, Colorado Volunteer Artillery, with one section of the battery,
two mountain howitzers, and 40 men, Company D, First Cavalry of Colorado, who went out from here on the 24th day of April, 1864, in
pursuit of Indians (Cheyennes) who stole Irwin, Jackman & Co.'s cattle.

I instructed him to report by couriers until he was near to Lyon or Larned which he did up to the 1st day of May, since which time I have
heard nothing from him, but felt no uneasiness until now, for the reason that high water has caused great irregularity of mails, particularly
from the south. I telegraphed to Major O'Brien to give any information he could, also send by courier to Fort Lyon for any information they
had of the whereabouts of Lieutenant Eayre's command. These Indians I fear are going to give our out settlements a bad time this
season. Most of the First Cavalry of Colorado are now on the march for the southeast corner of this district, and all but two companies are
under orders for the same destination. One company is left at Fremont's Orchard and one at Fort Garland.

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


Colonel, Commanding District.

[Inclosure Numbers 1.*] CAMP 160 MILES SOUTHEAST OF DENVER, May 1, 1864


Commanding District of Colorado:

SIR: After having examined the country adjacent to my former scout and ascertaining that the Indians had not been in the vicinity since my
departure I pursued a southeast course, being persuaded that the Indians had taken that direction when to-day, May 1, being on one of
the branches of the Smoky Hill, I had incontestible evidence of the correctness of my impressions from the fact that a large trail (some
100 lodges) had preceded me but a few days, having come direct from the Republican. I am convinced that the Cheyennes have not yet
banded together, but are roaming the prairies in detachments. The trail of one I think I am on and will follow with the greatest possible
dispatch. My animals are all in good condition and the command is in perfect state of health. From your special instructions I consider it
imperative to send messenger and only regret that I have nothing definite to communicate, but trust my next will be of a more interesting
character. I design following the trail, let it lead where it will; can therefore not conjecture where I will be three days hence, but expect
ultimately to put in at Fort Larned.

Withi this very unsatisfactory report, I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Lieutenant, Commanding Detachment.


*Inclosure Numbers 2. embodied in Maynard to Wynkoop, May 23, p. 14.




Lieutenant J. S. MAYNARD,

A. A. A. G., Dist. of Colorado, Denver City, Colo. Ter.:

SIR: I have the honor to inform you that I have just received from Major Wynkoop an order for this company to march without delay and
report to the commanding officer at Fort Lyon for duty. The major says:

I have received information that Lieutenant Eayre's command have nearly all been killed by the Cheyenne Indians at some place over on
Smoky Hill Fork. I have already used all the means in my power to ascertain the correctness of the report and know not what moment I
may be obliged to start with a large command to his assistance.

For the following reasons I cannot comply as promptly as I could wish with the foregoing order, viz: I have not a single team or wagon with
which to transport the company and its stores, but am advised by Captain Backus that the company teams would leave Denver on the
25th instant. I will march as soon as transportation arrives unless orders are received to the contrary. Two sections of the battery left this
camp on Wednesday, 25th instant, for Lyon.

Your obedient servant,


First Lieutenant, First Cavalry of Colorado.



Denver, Colo., Ter., May 29, 1864.

Major C. S. CHARLOT,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Dept. of Kansas:

Received no information from Lieutenant Eayre since 1st instant. He was to reach Larned about 25th. Rumored here he had a fight with
Cheyennes on Smoky Hill, and badly cut up. Don't credit, but may be true. Have sent detachments from Lyon and Fillmore to see. Scouts
returned from Red River; no rebels. Have pickets and scouts out and well posted.


Colonel, Commanding District.

Denver, Colo., Ter., May 29, 1864.

Major E. W. WYNKOOP,

Fort Lyon, Colo., Ter.:

MAJOR: You had better send a company or two to Wilson's camp, whenever re-enforcements are in reach of you, and instruct the officer in
command not to be surprised; also instruct him to break up


whisky selling to Indians, and to do this last if he has to break the neck of the offender. A train of supplies ordnance, &c., left yesterday for
your post.

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


Colonel First Cavalry of Colorado, Commanding District.

Denver, Colo. Ter., May 29, 1864

Major E. W. WYNKOOP,

Fort Lyon, Colo. Ter.:

MAJOR: Yours 26th instant is received and its contents noted, and the colonel commanding directs me to state that he cannot believe yet
that Lieutenant Eayre with his command is cut to pieces. Your letter only indicates surely that you had information from Larned too the
18th instant. If that given by Indian Agent Colley was later you failed to state it, and I think likely the 18th was your latest the from Larned. If
so, the case is very hopeful, as that would come up to the date at which he was expected to be there. I shall not feel very uneasy until I find
that he has not arrived there on the 25th. Again, I cannot see how it would be possible for his entire command, to be cut off; and yet, again,
I think it impossible for the Indians to be in such force as to whip him with the arms and men he had, unless he first allowed his
command to lie down and go to sleep without any sentinels out, which I think impossible under the instructions I gave him; but, after all, I
am somewhat fearful for his safety.

Companies A and E are en route for your post. B, C, and G are under marching orders and will leave in a day or two. In view of this fact,
and because Company D will reach you before Company L's transportation can reach there, it being no in Denver for rations, I think best
not to move L at present.

You will send the two sections of the battery right on to Larned, as they are to receive their armament at that post. If there is danger on the
route you will have to outfit them the best you can. I several weeks since called for a report from your acting assistant quartermaster and
acting commissary of subsistence, also about ordnance stores. You will see that a report of what is on hand is made out and forwarded
at once; also whether any stores and what kind they are. Keep me fully and frequently posted. Send at least one messenger each week-
say, three days after coach passes. Direct your messenger to deliver the message to relays at Bent's Fort, Camp Fillmore, and Colorado
City, and to return with first dispatches going in your direction.

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


Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.


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


Numbers 2. Report of Lieutenant George S. Eayre, McLain's Colorado Battery.

FORT LARNED, KANS., May 19, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to inform you that on the 16th instant, when within 3 miles of the Smoky Hill, I was attacked by the Cheyenne Indians,
about 400 strong, and after a persistent fight of seven and one-half hours succeeded in driving them from the field. They lost 3 chief and
25 warriors killed; the wounded I am unable to estimate. My own loss is 4 men killed and 3 wounded. My animals are exhausted. I will
remain at this post until further orders.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Lieutenant, Commanding Detachment.


Commanding District of Colorado.


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


Denver, Colo. Ter., May 29, 1864.

Lieutenant G. L. SHOUP:

LIEUTENANT: You will not move your company for the present. If you have the means of sending out, say 15 men to the Smoky Hill, to
obtain what information may be had, do so, and report to


these headquarters. Be careful that the whole country is not filled with rumors. Since messenger arrived this town is all on fire of rumors,
and not from what was contained in dispatches. You will forward documents to Major Wynkoop. If you send party to Smoky Hill inform
them that it is indispensable to be vigilant. I cannot see now Lieutenant Eayre could have been injured unless he was caught napping or
fast asleep. Teams are en route to your camp; must be in very nearly as soon as this reaches you. Captain Backus will leave in the
morning. I cannot believe that Lieutenant Eayre's command is cut off. Major Wynkoop's letter only shows that he was not at Larned on the
18th instant, and it was not expected he would be in there before the 25th.

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


Colonel First Cavalry of Colorado, Commanding District.



Denver, Colo. Ter., May 31, 1864.

Major E. W. WYNKOOP,

First Cavalry of Colorado:

MAJOR: Inclosed please find copy of dispatch from General Curtis, bearing date yesterday, which explains itself. You will caution all in
command to the greatest vigilance. See that herds of public stock are properly guarded. The Cheyennes will have to be soundly whipped
before they will be quiet. If any of them are caught in your vicinity kill them, as that is the only way. Take their stock and turn it in to the
quartermaster, Caution Wilson, down the river, the Kiowas and Comanches may be in with them. Charge Lieutenant Baldwin's command
not to be caught off their guard en route to Larned. Suppose this dispatch accounts for the rumor about Lieutenant Eayre. Evidently
dispatch refers to Lieutenant Eayre's fight.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel, Commanding District.

(Copy to Captain William H. Backus, First Cavalry of Colorado.)

Denver, Colo. Ter., May 31, 1864.

Lieutenant GEORGE S. EAYRE,

Independent Battery, Colorado Volunteer Artillery:

SIR: I am directed by the colonel commanding to say that it will be necessary for you to make out a detailed report of the campaign which
you have the honor to have so successfully commanded against the Cheyennes, and forward to these headquarters as nearly as
practicable. If a part of the transportation which you took is retained at Larned or elsewhere out of this district, you will see that the
quartermaster who gets charge of it receipts to Captain Mullin. If any mules were killed, died, or lost, and so of any other property for which
Captain Mullin was responsible, you will report these facts to him over your official signature, as commanding detachment against
Cheyennes. The colonel commanding district is highly gratified at the conduct of yourself and command, and will so speak of you in his
report to department headquarters.

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


Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.



FORT LARNED, KANS., June 15, 1864.

Major C. S. CHARLOT,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of Kansas:

I have the honor to report, after making all necessary arrangements for the defense of Saline, I moved with 40 men for Smoky Fork
Crossing, where I arrived on the evening of the 9th; distance,l 35 miles. I found the ranch entirely deserted. This being one of the most
important and dangerous points on the road, as it is thought the Denver mail will now travel this route, I proceeded on the following
morning to erect a block-house form timbers which I found already cut, and which were already hewed on two sides, but it was found
necessary to hew the other two sides on account of the crookedness of the logs. On the 13th, having one story of the building up, left it
with instructions, in charge of Lieutenant Ellsworth, of the Seventh Iowa Cavalry, to finish, and escorted the stage to Walnut Fork, a
distance of 40 miles, and camped at a point where the road intersects the old Santa Fe road, and where the Leavenworth and Kansas
City mails are due at the same time. I found this ranch entirely deserted, and the owner, who is here, says some of his stock was run off
by the Cheyennes. I intend to build a block-house here on my return.

By delaying the first stage until the next arrives, our escort will answer for both stages to Larned. Arrival at Fort Larned on the evening of
the 14th, during a very heavy thunder storm, and found the command of the post with about half the garrison on a scout


after Indians, but they got no Indians but lenity of buffalo. Captain Parmetar, of the Twelfth Kansas Infantry, in command here, is reported
by every officer and man that I have heard speak of him as a confirmed drunkard. Fort Larned is only a fort in name, as there are no
defenses. An attempt has been made to thrown up breast-works around it, or one-third of it, as the Pawnee Creek, on which it is built,
defends the other two-thirds. This breast-work averages about 20 inches high, with the ditch on the inner side. The huts are built of
adobe, of a very inferior guality, the sod being sandy, and they are covered by little crooked poles, with dirt and grass thrown on the same,
and I do assure you the sight presented in the huts occupied for quartermaster and commissary stores was awful. The water had been
steaming down amongst the corn, flour, beans, and everything else, and by this rain alone over 100 sacks of flour were ruined; besides, I
saw over 1,000 bushels of corn, according to Lieutenant Crocker's (the assistant quartermaster) estimate, which was ruined. He assured
me that over $5,000 worth has been lost in the last twelve months. I thinks this loss might have been materially lessened by proper
attention of officers responsible, and I think the men's time could be much better employed in the erection of stone buildings, instead of
going every few days on fruitless scouts, as there is good building stone within 3 miles of the place.

It is my opinion that these scouts tend to run horses down, with no prospect whatever of meeting the Indians; and that the commanders of
these little posts should be instructed to adhere to their escort duties, improving their defenses, and to drill, and if the Indians are to be
fought a sufficient force should be sent to crush them out. I have had several accounts of the battle or skirmish that took place between
the Colorado troops and the Cheyennes. Fifteen wagons were purchased on the steeds of Denver City, and Lieutenant Eayer, with two
mountain howitzers and 84 men, all told, went in search of Indians, with instructions to burn bridges and kill Cheyennes whenever and
wherever found. With his 84 men and only 15 wagons he wandered off out of his distrait, within 50 miles of this place. The Indians, finding
his command well scattered, his wagons being behind without any rear guard, artillery in the center 1 1\2 miles from them, and the cavalry
1 mile in advance, made an attack, killing 3 instantly and wounding 3 others, 1 dying two days afterward, the Colorado troops retreating to
this place. Lieutenant Burton, who was in the fight, is my authority.

I have met La-hor-san, a venerable Indian chief of the Liowa tribe, who professes (and no doubt is in earnest) great friendship for the
whites; he has about a dozen lodges with him, and they are principally old men, women, and children. He exercises great influence with
his tribe, and it is thought will yet prevent many from joining the Cheyennes, as he is very eloquent and earnest in his appeals to them. He
asked many questions as to where I came from and what was my business. I told him, through an interpreter, that the great general
commanding all this country was much pleased with him, and that he was known far and wide as a great and good chief. The old man is
mourning for a near relative, and has lately cut off one of his fingers, and burned his fine lodge, 19 fine robes, and a wagon, and killed 3
horses, besides destroying other favorite things. I next visited the principal chief of the Arapahoes, Little Raven, and went into his lodge,
which, together with its contents, was a great curiosity, and could it be transported just as it is, would be a valua-


ble accession to one of our sanitary fairs. Little Raven and Thunder Stone jointly presented me with a bow and quiver of arrows, the quiver
being made out of a panther skin. I told him it was customary in our country to give a lock of their hair to friends; he laughed and replied
that all the money I could give him would not tempt him to give me a particle of it.

I regard to these Indian difficulties, I think if great caution is not exercised on our part there will be a bloody war. It should be our policy to
try and conciliate them, guard our mails and trains well to prevent theft, and stop these scouting parties that are roaming over the country
who do not know one tribe from another, and who will kill anything in the shape of an Indian. It will require but few murders on the part of
our troops to unite all these warlike tribes of the plains, who have been at peace for years and intermarried amongst one another. I do
wish that some prudent, good man could be placed in command of the troops along the roads from Smoky Fork, on the Leavenworth
road, to Walnut Creek, and from Cow Creek thorough to Fort Lyon, on the Kansas City or old Santa Fe road.

The arrangements I have made in regard to escorting the mails are as follows: The officer at Saline, who has 20 men, will escort to
Smoky Hill Fork, and wait for return mail. The officer at Smoky Hill Fork, who has 40 men, will escort to Walnut Creek, and wait for return
mail. Officer at Walnut Creek will require the Kansas City or Leavenworth mail to await the arrival of the one behind time, and escort to Fort
Larned; he will have 40 men at this passes the eastern boundary mail guarded by Fort Lyon troops. this arrangement gives both escorts
nearly a week to rest, the one at Lyon and the other at Larned. I have made no arrangement from Walnut Creek to Council Grove, but
intend Council Grove to furnish escort to that point and back. In regard to the numerous individual and Government trains passing, the
commanding officers of posts at the commencement of the Indian country should require both inward and outward bound trains to wait
until a number are collected, so that they might ber able to defend themselves.

The inclosed is a copy of orders given to commanders of posts to govern escorts. I found something of this kind absolutely necessary to
prevent escort from running their horses down after buffalo, also as a check to the several stage companies, who care not a cent how
many Government horses ar broken down as they keep up their reputation for the benefit of the Government that a one story stone house
be built at this point for commissary and quartermaster's stores, also one for a hospital; for could you but see the miserable excuse for a
hospital that our sick soldiers are obliged to stay in, I know the heart of the general commanding would be moved to compassion. I
further, as a duty, must report the sutler, Jesse H. Crane, appointed by Government, as a duty, must report the sutler, Jesse H. Crane,
appointed by Government, as selling whisky without stint, contrary to act of Congress, which says, "A sutler shall not see intoxicating
spirits." He is also reported by many as selling revolvers to the Indians.

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


Major and Inspector-General.



[Inclosure Numbers 1.] HEADQUARTERS, Fort Cottonwood, Nebr. Ter., June 8, 1864.

In pursuance [of] an invitation from these headquarters, dated May 31, 1864, the following Indian chiefs reported with their braves to hold a
council: O-A-Schu-Cha or Bad Wound, Con-qu-num-pa or Strike, Long Face. Little Thunder authorized Spotted Tail to represent him in
council, as he was sick and unable to attend.


Question. Do you propose to remain peaceable?

Answer. We have been peaceable since out treaty, and want to remain so. We will not fight with our white brothers.

Question. In case you had to fight, which side would you take, Cheyenne or white?

Answer. We cannot be forced to fight on either side; we do not want to fight the Cheyennes, and will not fight the whites, as the whites
could kill all of us. We want to be permitted to live and hunt our game where we can find it, as was stipulated with us in treaty, and in so
doing (remaining quiet and hunting) we want protection from our white brothers, as they are more numerous than we are.

The COMMANDER. Then, as you appear to want to remain peaceable, you must keep your people of the Platte Valley road, and not allow
them to interfere with emigrants, nor trade with them, but you may visit the road in small numbers and trade for clothing and provisions.
You must not remain long on the road in so trading. Also, you must not interfere with stock belonging to white people, in any way. Some of
your people have been in the habit of trading for whisky indirectly. This I insist on having stopped, and in case any white man offers to sell
our trade you whisky, either directly or indirectly, I require of you, the chiefs and head men, to report such immediately to these
headquarters. Also during this war with the Cheyennes you must not get up any war parties against the Pawnees, as it will have a
tendency to get you into war with the whites. You are also required to report to these headquarters any hostile movement in the direction of
the Platte Valley road, or otherwise, coming within your knowledge.

If you agree to these instructions, I want it districtly understood that in case you fail to comply with them you will be considered as
enemies, like the Cheyennes, and treated accordingly; but if you comply you will be considered as friends.

Reply. We agree to all, but want assurance that when you send out soldiers against the Cheyennes that we won't be molested. We are
afraid you soldiers will not know us and may take us for hostile Indians and kill us. We also want to be allowed to remain on the south
side of the Platte River to hunt our game. We cannot live without game, and there is none in the country north of the Platte, where we are
allowed to hunt. We also want a white man with us to show you we intend to do as we have agreed, and in order to prevent us from being
attacked by your soldiers, not knowing us. We now are gathering all our people together and will not allow any of them to scatter until this
war is over between the whites and Cheyennes. Tere were some of our young men among the Cheyennes, but we ordered them home.
All have now come, except 6 women who are married to Cheyenne men. We have not together 210 lodges and expect some more. We
want to be told from time to time what is wanted of us to do. We want our goods distributed to us on the north side of the Platte, about 10
miles above this point, as we are so poor and our horses so few we cannot go to Fort Laramile to receive them. It would not pay us for our
trouble, and if we do not go we are afraid you and our white brothers will think we mean to be hostile, which is not the case.


The COMMANDER. I cannot give you any assurance that your goods will be distributed where you want them, but will recommend it to be
done this time; however, you must not think that it will be done because I say I will recommend it. The government wants to do what is
best for you; they (Indians understand Government to mean the white people, acting together as one man) want you to live peaceably
among yourselves and with your white brothers. Occasionally you will find foolish and bad white men that may want to make trouble with
you. Do not mind them, but report them to these headquarters and they will be punished. I also want to warn you that any of your people
found committing any depredation will also be punished,a nd should you fail to give such as commit any crime up when demanded you
will be treated as enemies and punished as white men have been accustomed to punish you-for instance, as Harney treated you.

Reply. We have said we only wanted to know what to do and we would do it. We will do as you have said you want us.

We have some robes and pelties that we want to trade for food and clothes, and want traders allowed to go to our village, situated south
of Plum Creek. Our agent, Major Lord, would not let any but one man trade with us, and that man had only a little goods for so many
Indians, so we are bad off for many things; we were afraid to come on the road, as we heard you would kill us, so we now have ore to
trade than we want to bring on the road and want traders.

The COMMANDER. I have no objections for a few good men to go trade with you, providing I can be satisfied these men will not trade you


Question. State what you know about the Cheyennes.

Answer. Cheyennes, Arapahoes, Kiowas, and Comanches had a fight with soldiers on Island Wood Creek; killed 2 officers and 1 soldier,
and wounded 2 more that since died. Cheyennes lost 2 chiefs and 1 brave. Soldiers fought two days, then went south (fighting as they go)
to Fort Lyon. There may have been more Indians. Cheyennes have killed 2 ranchmen on the Santa Fe road, and say they will kill all the
whites on both the Platte Valley and Santa Fe roads, and we believe they will try to do so. They will fight as long as they can, then go south
of the Arkansas River and escape.

Question. What do you think of the Cheyennes in making war on the whites?

Answer. We think they are fools, and will all be killed.

Question. Have you any more to say? I am done.

Answer. We are happy and glad to meet you and shake hands with our white brothers in token of friendship, to show them that our hearts
are good. We wanted to come and see you long ago, but were afraid. When we got your invitation it made us all glad. Our wives and
children and our head men cried for joy. So now we all shake hands with you as a token of our friendship and good felling.

[Here shaking of hands and, after that, smoking.]

The above is the substance of the conversation. There was much unimportant talk not deemed essential.


Indian Interpreter.

[Inclosure Numbers 2.] FORT COTTONWOOD, June 10, 1864.

Major GEORGE M. O'BRIEN, Commanding:

In accordance with instructions from you, delivered on the 2nd instant, to proceed forthwith into the country of the Cheyenne and


Sioux Indians, and gather all information which would be of service to the Government in regard to impending hostilities between the
whites and Cheyennes and other Indians, and, further, to collect a delegation of Indians from the Ogalalla and Brule tribes of Sioux, and
bring them to this post for the purpose of holding a council, we herewith make the following report, which is respectfully submitted:

Our course from Fort Cottonwood was due south to Medicine Lake Creek, a distance of 30 miles, to a Sioux village, consisting of 40
lodges, where we secured the services of 3 braves as companions on the scout. From thence down Medicine Lake Creek (southeast) 65
miles, to its confluence with the Republican River; thence down the Republican River (east) 40 miles, to a point immediately opposite
mouth of Plum Creek (on Platte), where the main Sioux village, consisting of 210 lodges, was found; thence north to the Platte, 40 miles;
thence west 50 miles to Fort Cottonwood. The first day out, between this post and Medicine Lake Creek, we discovered Indians at a
distance whose actions were suspicious.

The following day we proceeded down Medicine Lake Creek 30 miles, when we were suddenly surrounded by a party of about 20
Cheyennes, not, however, without us observing them first, but supposed them to be Sioux. Their actions were very hostile, they
threatening and at the same time making efforts to kill us, but the interference of our Sioux friends, who assured them that we were not
soldiers, but men who had had Sioux wives and lived in the country, saved us. We were allowed to depart, but strictly watched for the
following night and day, when we reached the main Sioux village, and were well received, the Sioux expressing their indignation at such
treatment to their friends.

We presented your letters of invitation to council to the principal chiefs, and the following day was fixed for their departure to the post. It is
the impression of the Sioux generally that the Cheyennes and their allies will attack the settlements on the Platte at an early day,
destroying all who may come within their reach, and at the same time supply themselves with horses, arms, and ammunition in order to
prosecute the war more vigorously. The hostile Indians are camped on Island Creek, about 50 miles north of Fort Larned, and are
supposed to number 1,200 lodges include Cheyennes, Arapahoes, Comanches, and Kiowas. They are generally well armed (the
Cheyennes particularly) with good rifles and revolvers. For the past five yards the Cheyennes have been trading revolvers to fight the
Pawnees. They procure large quantities of ammunition front he Mexicans on the Arkansas River. They design to divide, half going to the
Platte River to destroy ranches, murder immigrants, ant take horses and mules; the other half of them doing the same on the Arkansas
River. Then, if hard pressed, they will take their plunder and cross the Arkansas River, going south into the Apache and Comanche
country. They have their spies out in every direction; they are met on the Platte traveling as Sioux, watching the movements of troops, that
they may warn their friends of danger. Their scouts are on almost every creek. They are in the Sioux camp and are determined not to be

The Colorado Battery, in charge of Lieutenant Eayre, is supposed to have reached either Fort Larned or Fort Wise with the loss of only 6
men. When last heard from they were retreating south,


keeping up a running fight. The large guns are reported to have done no execution, none of the shells having exploded. They were loaded
repeatedly with bar lead, cut into small pieces, and fired. The battery corralled on a plateau or high level prairie, 2 miles from water, where
the Sioux report hem having fought two days. Were supposed to be short of ammunition. Two Cheyenne chiefs were killed and 1 brave.
When the fight commenced runners were dispatched to the camps of the Arapahoes, Kiowas, and Comanche Indians, who were not far
off. They have since consolidated. The Sioux were also sent for, but refused to join them. It is reported by many Indians that the Arapahoes
also refused to join them. Nothing has been heard from any other expeditions that may be in the country.




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

Excerpt from affidavit of Asbury Bird, regarding Eayer’s campaign:

Page 72
Asbury Bird, company D, 1st Colorado cavalry, sworn:

I was present at the engagement between Lieutenant Ayres and the Indians, composed of Cheyennes, Arapahoes, and some Kioways.
There was some cattle stolen on the head of Beaver creek. We were sent to recover it; encountered a band of five lodges; two of the
Indians came towards us armed with rifles; when about sixty yards off we hollered "how" to them, and they to us; before we got clear up to
them they saw the command about half a mile in rear of us coming up on a lope, and put off to their village and took their squaws and left.
Lieutenant Ayres took round a hill to catch the Indians. On our left there was one Indian, and Lieutenant Ayres sent two men to capture
him; but the Indian shot one of the men and the other ran off. The ground being too rough to get the artillery up, we returned to the Indian
camp, took all the meat, &c., and burned the lodges. We got on the Indian trail the next morning and pressed them so close they
abandoned many things, and we recovered twenty of the stolen cattle. We then returned to Denver. We were ordered out again; met some
Indians of the Sioux tribe; held a talk with them; they said they did not wish to fight; did not feel strong enough; they stayed in our camp that
night, we sharing our provisions with them. The next morning, about 9 o'clock, we were attacked by about seven hundred Indians, and
fought them until dark; we lost four men killed. We had no interpreter along with us. When the two Indians came to meet me they
appeared friendly, but when they saw the command coming on a lope, they seemed frightened and ran off. No effort was made by
Lieutenant Ayres to hold a talk with the Indians . . .

Excerpt from affidavit of Major Edward Wynkoop regarding Eayer campaign:

Page 75

. . . Lieutenant Ayres, of the Colorado battery, had the next conflict with the Indians. He had been ordered by Colonel Chivington, as he
stated to me, to kill all Indians he came across. He marched from Fort Larned, about forty miles, until he came to Lean Bear's band of
Cheyennes, a few of whom were some distance from the column, hunting buffalo. Sergeant Fribbley was approached by Lean Bear, and
accompanied by him into our column, leaving his warriors at some distance. A short time after Lean Bear reached our command he was
killed, and fire opened upon his band. I am not aware of any hostilities committed by Lean Bear's command previous to this time. A
running fight for a couple of hours ensued, in which we lost several killed, the Indians getting possession of the bodies. My information
has been derived from information received and reports made to me, also from the Cheyennes . . .
Lieutenant George Eayer’s campaign, and the killing of Lean Bear.

On April 7, 1864, a band of Cheyenne warriors reportedly stole 175 head of cattle from government
contractors Irwin and Jackman near the Sand Creek reservation.  
Colonel John M. Chivington ordered Lt.
George S. Eayer to take a detachment from Denver and hunt down the perpetrators.  Thus began a
perilous month-long ordeal for Eayer and his men, who disappeared for a lengthy period and were feared
dead.  Eayer eventually reemerged with a report of a fight with Cheyenne Dog Soldiers near the Smoky Hill
River in Kansas, in which the prominent Dogman Chief Lean Bear  (aka “Starving Bear”) was killed.  As was
the case in many Indian fights during this era, military descriptions of this battle were in direct conflict with
Indian accounts.  Eayer claimed the battle was initiated by Lean Bear’s warriors, while Indians claimed Lean
Bear was killed in an unprovoked attack.  Nevertheless, the death of Lean Bear ended any hope of
bringing the Dog Soldiers to the bargaining table.  Lean Bear’s brother Bull Bear remarkably was the only
Dogman leader who continued to support Black Kettle’s efforts to make peace with the whites.  Lean Bear
had previously visited President Lincoln in Washington and vowed to help in the effort to bring peace to
the Plains.  Although angered by his brother’s death, Bull Bear would honor Lean Bear’s promise and make
several vain attempts to stop the Dog Soldier’s advance on white settlements until the attack at Sand
Creek.  Thereafter, Bull Bear resigned himself to war.

The following dispatches and reports were issued during Lt. Eayer’s campaign.
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