The Sand Creek Massacre | Rebellion Records
Governor John Evans Warns Curtis of Impending Disaster - June 1864
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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
IV.Excerpts relevant to the Sand Creek Massacre.
Territorial Governor John Evans sends a wire to General Samuel Curtis, requesting more military assistance to defend Denver
City against hostile Indian attacks on supply trains coming to the city.
Governor Evans believed that the six Plains Indians tribes had formed an alliance for the purpose of waging war in Kansas,
Nebraska and Colorado, based on information he received from Robert North, an Arapaho squaw man (read Evans report on North).
By the early summer of 1864, Indian depredations near Colorado seemed to confirm Evans' fears. Although North's allegation of a
widespread Indian alliance never materialized, Denver was indeed under siege, its supply trails cut off by Cheyenne Dog Soldiers
and Arapaho and Sioux warrior clans.
Shortly after Evans wrote this letter to Curtis, a family of four was brutally murdered by Indians just 30 miles from Denver (read the
Hungate Massacre), which set off a chain reaction of panic and fear along the entire region of eastern Colorado. The incident would
prompt General Curtis to realign districts under his command, and to order Colonel John M. Chivington to focus his attention on
bolstering the defense of Denver. The General's action would create an ambiguous chain-of-command for soldiers in the
southeastern region of Colorado, who began receiving sometimes conflicting orders from Chivington and Curtis' commanders in
Page 206 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter XLVI.
EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, COLORADO TERRITORY,
Denver, Colo. Ter., June 3, 1864.
Commanding Department of Kansas:
DEAR GENERAL: I inclose copies of correspondence in relation to defense against hostile Indians. It will be destruction and death
to Colorado if our lines of communication are cut off, or if they are not kept so securely guarded as that freighters will not be afraid to
cross the plains, especially by the Platte River, by which our subsistence comes. We are now short of provisions and but few trains
are on the way. I would respectfully ask that our troops may be allowed to defend us and whip these red-skin rebels into submission
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Governor of Colorado Territory.
[Inclosure. No. 1.] EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, COLORADO TERRITORY, Denver, June 3, 1864.
Colonel J. M. CHIVINGTON,
Commanding District of Colorado:
SIR: I inclose for your consideration a copy of a letter received from H. M. Fosdick. I have no doubt of the correctness of the
statements therein made, and of the propriety of the request; and I hope that the exigencies of the service will permit the presence of
an adequate military force in his neighborhood while the present danger from Indian hostilities exists.
Your obedient servant,
Governor of Colorado Territory.
BOONEVILLE, COLO. TER., May 29, 1864.
Hon. JOHN EVANS,
SIR: May I beg of you, in behalf of my own family and others in this settlement, if not incompatible with the public interest, to allow the
present military or an adequate force to remain at Camp Fillmore for defense of our border. It is at this point the Indians cross to and
from the Ute fights, and it is here that women have been
Page 207 Chapter XLVI. CORRESPONDENCE,ETC.-UNION.
grossly abused, cattle killed, farmers driven from their lands, and fear and danger have run riot. Had I the honor of Colonel
Chivington's acquaintance I would write him, but Shoup advises me to lay the matter before you, and views it as I do, a matter of
importance. Leaving my family here alone, as I am forced to, I am in constant dread that they may be abused by the Indians that
pass and repass at this season of the year. I am not naturally timid, nor would I thus plead did I not know whereof I affirm. In this I
am expressing the views of the whole settlement, and I am, faithfully, yours,
H. M. FOSDICK.
[Inclosure No. 2.] HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF COLORADO, Denver, Colo. Ter., June 3, 1864.
Gov. JOHN EVANS,
Territory of Colorado:
GOVERNOR: I am in receipt of your letter of this date, inclosing letter of Mr. Fosdick, on subject of protection from apprehended
Indian troubles on the Arkansas River, near Booneville, in reference to which I now have the honor to state in this formal manner the
same I have verbally mentioned to you, that as a soldier I am compelled to obey the orders of my superior officers. These orders are
to concentrate all my available forces on the extreme southeast corner of this district, from which you will readily perceive, what I write
with regret, that I cannot comply with the above-named request.
Since my assuming the command here it has always been my aim to protect all our population from all possible danger, and from
the orders under which I am acting, part of which are above quoted, you will readily see that I cannot keep the company now in the
neighborhood of Booneville at its present station and obey my orders to send it to the extreme southeast part of the district. I inclose
herewith copy of a letter from Lieutenant Shoup, commanding Camp Fillmore, which may serve to show you that there is not all the
cause to fear that Mr. Fosdick apprehends. Yet, sir, believe me I am not insensible to the hourly danger of our outsettlements from
the Indians, and shall always, as heretofore, do all in my power to protect them.
I am, Governor, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. M. CHIVINGTON,
Colonel First Cavalry of Colorado, Commanding District.
Page 353 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION. Chapter XLVI.
FORT LEAVENWORTH, KANS., June 13, 1864.
Governor JOHN EVANS:
I send orders to Colonel Chivington as requested. You must act on your own authority and discretion in calling out militia. I hope you
will do so and allow the Federal troops to come forward soon.
S. R. CURTIS,
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