The Sand Creek Massacre | Rebellion records
Governor John Evans Pleads for Military Protection - June 14, 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.
After the brutal Indian attack on the Hungate family near Denver, Territorial Governor John Evans steps up his urgent pleas for
more military protection and requests authorization to organize an army-sanctioned volunteer militia.
Page 381 Chapter XLVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.- UNION.
DENVER, COLO. TER., June 14, 1864.
(Received 11.45 p. m.)
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
Indian hostilities on our settlements commenced, as per information given you last fall. One settlement devastated 25 miles east of
here; murdered and scalped bodies brought in to-day. Our troops near all gone. Can furnish 100-days' men, if authorized to do so,
to fight Indians. Militia cannot be made useful unless in the U. S. service, to co-operate with troops. Shall I call a regiment of 100
days' men or muster into U. S. service the militia?
Governor of Colorado Territory.
Page 421 Chapter XLVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.
EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Denver, Colo. Ter., June 16, 1864.
DEAR SIR: I am sorry to inform you that there is a defect in our militia law, and it is difficult to act under it. I have a few good, small
companies organization, but they will not do for other than home
Page 422 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter XLVI.
defense. The Indian alliance is so strong that I am sure our settlement on our lines of communication cannot be protected without
more force. I have applied for authority to raise a regiment of 100-days' men. I have also asked General Carleton to aid on the
Arkansas and below. It is very important that Colonel Chivington operate with his command on these infernal Indians, and the
troops under General Mitchell at Laramie, Cottonwood, and Kearny ought to be brought into service.
I have ordered camps for friendly Indians at Fort Lyon, Fort Larned, and on the Cache la Poudre, and hope all the friendly bands of
the Sioux may come to Fort Laramie; then, as we whip and destroy, others will join them, and we will bring it to a close. This
requires vigorous war, and it can be effected soon. You will please telegraph if you approve of my plan of taking care of the friendly
Indians, and of bringing those now hostile in. I inclose copies of letters to show you that this is the programme set fourth in my
communications last fall, and that it is daily becoming more and more formidable. As we are at home power less but to defend, and
almost so even for that purpose, we rely upon you to pour down this hostile alliance of the infernal barbarians. We of course, only
having a part of the country involved, cannot, except under your orders, go out to fight the Indians. I appeal to you to consider our
situation, and to protect our lines of communication and our settlements by whipping these Indians.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Governor of Colorado Territory.
[Inclosure Numbers 1.]
JUNE 15, 1864.
Robert North, the same who made statement last autumn, now on file, reports that John Notnee, and Arapaho Indian, who was here
with him and Major Colley last full, spent the winter on Box Elder. He was mad because he had to give up the stock that he stole
from Mr. Van Wormer last fall. He thinks he was with the party who murdered the family on Mr. Van Wormer's ranch and stole the
stock in the neighborhood last Saturday, but thinks that the most of the party were Cheyennes and Kiowas. He says that the
last-named tribes, and doubtless some of the Comanche tribe, are engaged in the war.
The Cheyennes moved their families to the salt mines (salt plains), on the Cimarron Creek. Their plan is to run their plunder off to
the Cimarron, where there is good buffalo hunting; they will keep the stock at the salt plains, or those Mexicans who are in alliance
with them will run them off to New Mexico. The Minneconjou Sioux have been among the Arapahoes and Cheyennes during the
winter, and he saw them. They swore that the whites should not make a road thorough the Yellowstone or Powder River country.
Little Raven, Arapaho chief, advised them, when several were talking of this war last fall, to wait until they got their guns and
ammunition. He feels confident that the programme he reported last fall is being carried out now.
He has heard the Indians of several of these tribes talking the matter over, and that they have great confidence that they will drive the
whites all out of the country, and take their land back. They
Page 423 Chapter XLVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.
will not listen to argument. They have been cheated by a few traders and will not listen to reason. That is their claim, and they
propose to treat all of the Indians who refuse to join them just as they do the whites. They are now doing their best to get all the
Indians combined against the whites.
[Inclosure Numbers 2.]
Jack Jones, alias William McGaa, mountaineer and Indian trader, has been in the country for twenty years, living among the Indians
all that time; has a Sioux half-breed wife and two children; says Cheyennes have been familiar at this house for many years. He
knows all their leading men; they have been depredating on trains of immigrant for eight years, in small banks, for the plunder they
took. They have murdered men, and ravished and then murdered women and children in six or eight instances that he knows of.
From the accounts of various Indians that the lived with he knows they tell the truth. Some other tribes have joined them, but the
Cheyennes have been the ringleaders. This war has been brewing or two or three years, during which time they have been trying to
get other tribes to join in an alliance to war on the white settlements. They said the whites had robbed them of their country by
settling here, and given them nothing for it, and that they would stand by no treaty, or make on treaty, but wanted their country again.
Last October they commanded to gather ammunition, and made a league with the Arapahoes and Sioux, and said they would trade
for all they could get, and them plunder for more. The inducements were to get stock, and that they would make the white man's
heart bleed, and make him cry teams of blood. He is satisfied that the only way to put a stop to the war is to put strong forces in the
field, and pursue them wherever they can be found until they give it up. He says that every successful raid they make by which they
get sway with their plunder encourages others to join them from the various tribes. It uniformly has that effect among Indians; with
them plunder is the inducements. The Cheyennes argue that they will so impoverish the whites that will leave the country.
On this 13th day of June, A. D. 1864, personal appeared before me, John Evans, Governor of Colorado Territory, Jack Jones, alias
William McGaa, who, being duly sworn according to law, sayeth that he made and signed the foregoing statement, and that the
same is true, to the best of his knowledge and belief.
Governor of Colorado Territory.
Page 512 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter XLVI.
Denver, Colo. Ter., June 22, 1864.
SIR: I have information from various reliable parties, received since my last, of the running off of stock at different points on the line
of our settlements from the Arkansas to the Platte River. I inclose copy of letter, which is from a most reliable man 130 miles down
the Platte, which is a sample of and in correspondence with the other reports. All these hostile bands, as my scouts, from having
followed their trail as far as safe in that direction, and every other report received corroborates, run to the headwaters of the
Republican, where they doubtless have a hiding place or camp of protection against pursuit. I had supposed that the information I
have given you was sufficient to satisfy you that this Indian war is no myth but a terrible reality to a community situated as we are, so
exposed and so far from our base of supplies, with a scarcity of subsistence already.
Page 513 Chapter XLVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.
But your suggestions to Superintendent Lane, which he has communicated to me, leave me to doubt your realization of what I am
so thoroughly convinced of now, and of which I have been troubling you so often. I am quite sure that the Minnesota horrors have
only been spared a re-enactment by the timely notice we have had of this hostile alliance. A part of the evidence on file in my office,
and which has been forwarded to Washington and Saint Louis last winter, was not sent you as I supposed; what I did send, with
assurance of my confidence in it, would be sufficient. The carrying out of the plan then proposed, as reported in my letter of the 28th
day of May, satisfies me that the Indians mean war, and I again respectfully ask that Colonel Chivington may be ordered to put
forces after the hostile Indians from this side; that forces also be sent after them from the Kansas frontier, which is exposed; that
General Mitchell properly guard the line on the Platte River and overland stage route, for which I understand he has sufficient forces,
and then chastise and bring to terms these formidable foes. The Indians are doubtless co-operating with some Mexicans referred
to in accompanying papers to my letters of the 28th of May and 16th instant, on the Cimarron and Red Rivers.
If you have evidence that my information of Indian hostilities and alliances for war are not well founded, I shall be most happy to be
informed of it; yes, to satisfy me that I am mistaken will be the greatest favor you can confer upon me and the people of Colorado
generally. But how any evidence can disprove the facts which are furnished I am at a loss to perceive, and how the multiplied and
numerous assurances from friendly Indians, Indian traders, and people who suffer, and our troops, who have had several
engagements with them, being attacked in nearly every instance, can fail to prove out dangers, I am at a loss to understand. I write
earnestly, for until my interview with Mr. Lane I had no suspicions that you in any way doubted the assurances of our danger. As
requested, I shall from time to time furnish you with such reliable evidence only of either danger or its absence as may come to my
In the mean time, general, believe me to be, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Governor of Colorado Territory.
AMERICAN RANCH, COLO. TER., June 14, 1864.
His Excellency JOHN EVANS,
Governor of Colorado Territory:
DEAR SIR: Having finally become uneasy at the repeated presence of Indians near my place, I have thought proper to inform you of
the fact. I speak from personal observation, as I have been disposed to think the principal part of the seeing of Indians within 3 or 4
miles of here the result of frightened imagination. So yesterday started out, thinking to kill an antelope. When about 3 miles from
home, suddenly was about 16 Indians riding furiously toward me. I immediately started for home, they pursuing and firing upon me
repeatedly; but having a good horse, I made my escape unharmed.
Page 514 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter XLVI.
I think if there were troops stationed along the road it would give a feeling of greater security to both settlers and emigrants. Our lives
and property appear to be in great danger.
Hoping you will think of this, I remain, very respectfully, yours,
WM. A. KELLEY,
American Ranch, Colo. Ter.
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