The Sand Creek Massacre
Reports and Dispatches - September 1864
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DENVER, September 7, 1864.
Hon. EDWIN A. STANTON, Secretary of War:
Pray give positive orders for our second Colorado cavalry to come out. Have notice published that they will come in detachments to
escort trains up the Platte on certain days. Unless escorts are sent thus we will inevitably have a famine in addition to this gigantic
Indian war. Flour is forty-five dollars a barrel, and the supply growing scarce, with none on the way. Through spies we got
knowledge of the plan of about one thousand warriors in camp to strike our frontier settlements, in small bands, simultaneously in
the night, for an extent of 300 miles. It was frustrated at the time, but we have to fear another such attempt soon. Pray give the order
for our troops to come, as requested, at once, as it will be too late for trains to come this season.
JOHN EVANS, Governor

“Massacre of the Cheyenne Indians” p. 66


Denver, September 14, 1864.
Commanding District of Colorado:
SIR: I herewith inclose for your information a copy of a letter received from Major Colley, U. S. Indian agent, Upper Arkansas Agency,
dated September 4, 1864, Fort Lyon, stating the location of the Arapahoes and portions of other tribes of Indians, and inclosing a
proposition for peace from Black Kettle and other chiefs. A copy of the letter from Black Kettle referred to by Major Colley has, I
presume, been furnished to you by the officer in command of Fort Lyon.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Governor of Colorado Territory.

Sunday, September 4, 1864.
Honorable JOHN EVANS,
Superintendent of Indian Affairs:
DEAR SIR: Two Cheyenne Indians and one squaw have just arrived at this post. They report that nearly all of the Arapahoes, most of
the Cheyennes, and two large bands of Ogallala and Brulé Sioux are encamped near the "Bunch of Timbers" some 80 to 100 miles
northeast of this place; that they have sent runners to the Comanches, Apaches, Kiowas, and Sioux requesting them to make peace
with the whites. They brought a letter purporting to be signed by Black Kettle and other chiefs, a copy of which is here inclosed. They
say that the letter was written by George Bent, a half-breed son of W. W. Bent, late U. S. Indian agent for this agency. They also state
that the Indians have seven prisoners. One says four women and three children, the other states three women and four children.
Major Wynkoop has put these Indians in the guard-house, and requested that they be well treated in order that he may be able to
rescue the white prisoners from the Indians.
U. S. Indian Agent, Upper Arkansas.

“War of the Rebellion” (LIII, Part III, pp. 195-196)


Via Lawrence, Kansas, September 16, 1864.
Major General HALLECK, Chief of Staff:
I struck this river near 100th parallel; sent scouts south to head of Saline, finding no large body of Indians. Divided command; sent
large portion up valley, to strike Ofallon's bluff; with remainder, two hundred and eighty-five, came down, scouring the country on all
sides, Buffalo plenty. Indians only in small parties, escaping south. Shall reach settlements on Smoky Hill river to-morrow. No signs
of great concentration of Indians. Bands of hunters steal and scalp, but can be routed by small armed force. Stage stations,
ranches, and settlements must have enclosures for themselves and stock, and a few troops, carefully distributed, can protect
settlements and lines of commerce.
S. R. CURTIS, Major General

“Massacre of the Cheyenne Indians” p. 67


FORT LYON, COLO, TER., September 18, 1864.
Lieut. J. E. TAPPAN,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Dist. of Upper Arkansas:

SIR: I have the honor to report for information of the major-general commanding that on the 3rd instant three Cheyenne Indians
were met a few miles outside of this post by some of my men en route for Denver, and were brought in. They came, as they stated,
bearing with them a proposition for peace from Black Kettle and other chiefs of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Nations. Their
propositions were to the effect that they, the Cheyennes and Arapahoes, had in their possession seven white prisoners whom they
offered to deliver up in case that we should come to terms of peace with them. They told me that the Cheyennes, Arapahoes, and
Sioux were congregated for mutual protection, at what is called "Bunch of Timber," on headwaters of the Smoky Hill, at a distance of
140 miles northeast of this post numbering altogether about 3,000 warriors, and desirous to make peace with the whites. Feeling
anxious at all odds to effect the release of these white prisoners, and my command having just been re-enforced by a detachment
of New Mexico infantry sent by General Carleton, commanding Department of New Mexico, to my assistance, I found that I would be
enabled to leave sufficient force to garrison this post by taking 130 men, including one section of the battery with me, and concluded
to march to this Indian rendezvous for the purpose of procuring these white prisoners above mentioned, and to be governed by
circumstances as to the manner in which I should proceed to accomplish the same object. Taking with me under a strict guard the
Indians I had in my possession, I reached my destination and was confronted by from 600 to 800 Indian warriors drawn up in line of
battle and prepared to fight. Putting on as bold a front as possible under the circumstances, I formed my little command in as good
order as possible for the purpose of acting on the offensive, or defensive, as might be necessary, and advanced toward them, at the
same time sending forward one of the Indians I had with me as an emissary to state that I had come for the purpose of holding a
consultation with the chiefs of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Nations; to come to an understanding which might result in mutual
benefit, and that I had not come desiring strife, but was prepared for it, if necessary, and advised them to listen to what I had to say
previous to making any more warlike demonstrations.

They consented to meet me in council, and I then proposed to them that if they desired peace to give me palpable evidence of their
sincerity by delivering into my possession their white prisoners. I told them I was not authorized to conclude terms of peace with
them, but if they acceded to my proposition I would take what chiefs they might choose to select to the Governor of Colorado Territory
and state the circumstances to him, and that I believed it would result in what it was their desire to accomplish, viz, peace with their
white brethren. I had reference particularly to the Cheyenne and Arapahoe tribes. The council was divided, undecided, and could not
come to an understanding among themselves. Finding this to be the case, I told them I would march to a certain locality, distant
twelve miles, and await a given time for their action in the matter. I took a strong position in the locality named and remained three
days. In the interim they brought and turned over into my possession four white prisoners, all that was possible at the time being for
them to turn over, the balance of the seven being, as they stated, with another band far to the northward. The released captives that I
have with me now at this post consist of one female named Laura Roper, aged sixteen, and three children (two boys and one girl),
named Isabella Eubanks, Ambrose Asher, and Daniel Marble; the three first mentioned all being taken on the Blue River, in the
neighborhood of what is known as the Liberty Farm, and the latter captured somewhere on the South Platte with a train of which all
the men were murdered. I have the principal chiefs of the two tribes with me, and propose starting immediately to Denver City, Colo.
Ter., to put into effect the proposition made aforementioned by me to them. They agreed to give up the balance of the prisoners as
soon as it is possible to procure them, which can be better done from Denver City than it can from this point.

Hoping my action may meet the approval of the major-general commanding. I respectfully submit the above report.
I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major First Cavalry of Colorado, Commanding Post.

“War of the Rebellion” (LIII, Part III, pp. 242-243)


September 19, 1864.


Major S. G. Colley,
U.S. Ind. Agent
Ft Lyon, C. T.

I have received your letter of the 4th instant informing me of the arrival of three Indians at Fort Lyon with a letter from "Black Kettle"
proposing peace, and enclosing a copy of the same.

I have learned unofficially that Major Wynkoop has started with a party of Soldiers to proceed to the camp from which these Indians
came and I do not deem it advisable to take any steps in the matter until I hear the results of his expedition.

Very Respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
Jno. Evans,
Governor & Superintendent Indian Affairs.


Fort Leavenworth, September 19, 1864.
I am in receipt of a copy of letters from the honorable Secretary of the Interior and Commissioner of Indian Affairs, with your
indorsement to take such action as I may "deem best." It is stated that I have ordered the Indians not to make their usual hunt. This
is erroneous. I may have suggested that it would be dangerous for our friendly Indians to go, but I have desired the Pawnees to
follow and operate when I had driven away the hostile bands. Yet I see great difficulty in discriminations, and also fear that some
bands of our friendly Indians might mingle with foes if they come in proximity. If the friendly Indians could be united for the purpose
of hunting and fighting with our troops, it would be easy to organize and so equip them as to avoid difficulty. In my recent
reconnaissance I took about seventy-five Pawnees with me as scouts, and, to avoid mistakes, dressed them with a blowse and
hats. It gave them a distinctive and graphic appearance, which could not be mistaken. Any other than an associate arrangement
seems almost impossible.

I appreciate the importance of allowing or aiding the friendly Indians to hunt buffalo; but any general movement by them would lead
to confusion and difficulty, not only with my troops, but with the border settlements; for the people, being terribly alarmed, would
make very little difference in their resentment and raids.

I will do all I can to favor the friendly Indians in any rational arrangement to hunt the buffalo, and believe, with the honorable
Secretary, that, properly associated with the troops, they would strengthen our efforts to suppress the hostile tribes.
I have the honor to be, general, your obedient servant,
Major General.
Major General H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff, Washington.

DENVER, September 19, 1864.
Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:
Train with ordnance and ordnance stores en route to New Mexico, with mules, stolen by Indians at Fort Lyon, Colorado. We need
such stores for 3d regiment Colorado volunteers, cavalry, one hundred day men, now full. Authorize me by telegraph to take them.
Will not be used, if reach New Mexico, before next year. Indian warriors congregated eighty miles from Lyon, three thousand strong.
Colonel Commanding, District Colorado.

Washington, D. C., September 20, 1864.
Colonel CHIVINGTON, Denver City:
The chief of ordnance objects to the diversion of the train sent to New Mexico. You must make requisition for your wants in the usual
Major General, Chief of Staff

DENVER CITY, September 22, 1864.
Major General HALLECK, Chief of Staff:
I have regiment 100 days men ready for field. Train on the way from Fort Leavenworth, but cannot get here in time because of the
Indian troubles on the Platte route. Are four hundred miles back, and laid up. The time of this regiment will expire and Indians will
still hold road. This is no ordinary case.
Colonel Commanding.

Washington, D. C, September 23, 1864.
Colonel CHIVINGTON, Denver City:
You will communicate your wants to your superior officer, General Curtis, at Fort Leavenworth.
Major General, Chief of Staff.

Washington, D C., September 24, 1864.
Major General Curtis, Fort Leavenworth:
General Rosecrans has been directed to give you the regiment of Colorado cavalry at or near Kansas city. All your available forces,
not required against western Indians, should be thrown south on the Fort Scott route. Large re-enforcements have been sent to the
Arkansas river to cut off the enemy's retreat.
Major General, Chief of Staff.

“Massacre of the Cheyenne Indians” pp. 67-69


DENVER, September 26, 1864.

Major C. S. CHARLOT:

I have been informed by E. W. Wynkoop, commanding Fort Lyon, that he is on his way here with Cheyenne and Arapaho chiefs and
four white prisoners they gave up. Winter approaches. Third Regiment is full and they know they will be chastised for their outrages
and now want peace. I hope that the major-general will direct that they make full restitution and then go on their reserve and stay
Would like to hear by telegraph.

Commanding District

“War of the Rebellion” (LIII, Part III, p. 399)


FORT LEAVENWORTH, September 26, 1864.
Major General HALLECK:
Despatch received. Had already begun moving troops and supporting my southeast. But a full regiment of hundred-days men and
part of the 1st Colorado going out this week. My main dependence must be in militia. If Price's forces come westward the militia are
notified to be ready.
S. R. CURTIS, Major General.

“Massacre of the Cheyenne Indians” p. 69


DENVER, September 29, 1864.
Major-General CURTIS:
A party of the most reliable chiefs of Cheyennes and Arapahoe tribes, brought in by Major Wynkoop, say a very large party of
Minneconjou and other Sioux Indians from the north are now on the Republican, nearly opposite the Cottonwood; that they soon will
strike the Platte and make for the settlements of Colorado. General Sully has doubtless driven them down upon us. We must have a
strong force after them at once or we will be destroyed by their cutting off our communication.


Denver, September 29, 1864.
Major S. G. COLLEY,
U. S. Indian Agent:
SIR: The chiefs brought in by Major Wynkoop have been heard. I have declined to make any treaty with them, lest it might embarrass
the military operations against the hostile Indians of the plains. The Arapahoe and Cheyenne Indians being now at war with the
United States Government must make peace with the military authorities. Of course this arrangement relieves the Indian Bureau of
their care until peace is declared with them, and as their tribes are yet scattered, and all except Friday's band are at war, it is not
probable that it will be done immediately. You will be particular to impress upon these chiefs the fact that my talk with them was for
the purpose of ascertaining their views and not to offer them anything whatever. They must deal with the military authorities until
peace, in which case alone they will be in proper position to treat with the Government in relation to the future.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Governor Colo. Ter. and ex-officio Supt. of Indian Affairs.

“War of the Rebellion” (LIII, Part III, pp. 494-495)
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“War of the Rebellion” - United States War Dept.  The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the
Union and Confederate Armies.
 Four series, 128 volumes.  Washington: Government Printing Office. 1880-1901

"Massacre of the Cheyenne Indians" - United States Congress, House of Representatives Joint Committee Report on the
Conduct of the War
, 38 Cong., 2 sess., Washington, Government Printing Office, 1865.

Go to
Sand Creek Documents for links to sites containing the complete Rebellion Records
Go to
Massacre of the Cheyenne Indians for complete Joint Committee report
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