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The Sand Creek Massacre
Reports and Dispatches - December 1864
We'll never forget

FORT LEAVENWORTH, December 1, 1864.
Major General H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff:
I am informed by telegraph from Neosho crossing, about one hundred and twenty miles below Fort Scott, that the train carrying
supplies to Fort Gibson is halted because of a large rebel force in front. This is beyond my department lines, and I am unable to do
much, but have ordered a regiment of my troops under Colonel Moonlight to support the escort commanded by Major Phillips in
going forward or back as circumstances seem to require. Indian troubles now demand all my force, and large numbers are
crowding into Fort Lyon as prisoners of war, while others in small bands are attacking stages and trains. Under these
circumstances, I cannot furnish escorts to carry provisions for Indians and troops beyond my department lines; and your attention is
called to the necessity of furnishing General Steele with forces sufficient and in position to guard the lines to Fort Gibson and Fort
Scott, or have the troops and Indians now there to fall back where they get provisions.
S. R. CURTIS, Major General.

“Massacre of the Cheyenne Indians” p. 72



Fort Leavenworth, December 2, 1864.
Major B. S. HENNING,
Fort Riley, Kans:
DEAR MAJOR: I am in receipt of many letters from you concerning your command which I cannot answer in detail I must generally
approve your exertions to keep matters right, and hope you will keep me advised. The treaty operations at Lyon greatly embarrass
matters, and I hope you have disposed of Major Wynkoop and directed a change for the better. Indians must be kept at arm's length.
Even if they come in as prisoners of war we are not obliged to receive them, or feed them, or allow them inside the forts. The old
and infirm and lazy will come in, while the wicked are allowed to go on with their devilment. I suppose Left Hand and some of the
Indians who have been in may be sincere, but they must evince their fidelity by strong proofs, such as turning over the culprits,
arms, horses, &c., and becoming the foes of hostile bands, ready and willing to fight them. I am going to send troops forward with a
view of further operations at the proper time, but do not desire the public to know my purposes, and therefore will not dilate upon
them. Of course, I have my eyes on the matter of Indian troubles.
I remain, major, very truly, yours,

“War of the Rebellion” (LIII, Part IV, p. 751)


FORT LEAVENWORTH, December 8, 1864.
Major General H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff:
Colonel Chivington, after a march of three hundred miles in ten days, on the 29th returned. He came upon a Cheyenne camp of one
hundred and thirty lodges at the south bend of Big Sandy, Cheyenne county, Colorado. He attacked at daylight, killing over four
hundred Indians and capturing the same number of ponies. Among the killed are chiefs Black Kettle, White Antelope, and Little
Robe. Our loss is nine killed and thirty-eight wounded. Our troops encountered snow two feet deep.
Major General Commanding.

“Massacre of the Cheyenne Indians” p. 72


Denver, C. T., December 16, 1864.

GENERAL: I have the honor to transmit the following report of operations of the Indian expedition under my command, of which brief
notice was given you by my telegram of November 29, 1864:
Having ascertained that the hostile Indians had proceeded south from the Platte, and were almost within striking distance of Fort
Lyon, I ordered Colonel Geo. L. Shoup, 3d regiment Colorado volunteer cavalry, (100-day service,) to proceed with the mounted men
of his regiment in that direction.

On the 20th of November I left Denver and Booneville, C. T.; on the 24th of November joined and took command in person of the
expedition which had been increased by a battalion of the 1st cavalry of Colorado, consisting of detachments of companies C, E
and H. I proceeded with the utmost caution down the Arkansas river, and on the morning of the 28th instant arrived at Fort Lyon, to
the surprise of the garrison of that post. On the same morning I resumed my march, being joined by Major Scott J. Anthony, 1st
cavalry of Colorado, with one hundred and twenty-five men of said regiment, consisting of detachments of companies D, G and H,
with two howitzers. The command then proceeded in a northeasterly direction, travelling all night, and at daylight of the 29th
November striking Sand creek about forty (40) miles from Fort Lyon.

Here was discovered an Indian village of one hundred and thirty (130) lodges, composed of Black Kettle's band of Cheyennes and
eight (8) lodges of Arapahoes, with Left Hand. My line of battle was formed with Lieutenant Wilson's battalion of the 1st regiment,
numbering about 125 men, on the right, Colonel Shoup's 3d regiment, numbering about 450 men, in the centre, and Major
Anthony's battalion, numbering 125 men, 1st regiment, on the left.

The attack was immediately made upon the Indian's camp by Lieutenant Wilson, who dashed forward, cutting the enemy off from
their herd, and driving them out of their camp, which was subsequently destroyed.

The Indians, numbering from 900 to 1,000, though taken by surprise, speedily rallied and formed a line of battle across the creek,
about three-fourths of a mile above the village, stubbornly contesting every inch of ground.

The commands of Colonel Shoup and Major Anthony pressed rapidly forward and attacked the enemy sharply, and the engagement
became general, we constantly driving the Indians, who fell back from one position to another for five miles, and finally abandoned
resistance and dispersed in all directions and were pursued by my troops until nightfall.

It may, perhaps; be unnecessary for me to state that I captured no prisoners. Between five and six hundred Indians were left dead
upon the field. About five hundred and fifty ponies, mules and horses were captured, and all their lodges were destroyed, the
contents of which has served to supply the command with an abundance of trophies, comprising the paraphernalia of Indian
warfare and life. My loss was eight (8) killed on the field and forty (40) wounded, of which two have since died. Of the conduct of the
3d regiment (100-day service) I have to say that they well sustained the reputation of our Colorado troops for bravery and
effectiveness; were well commanded by their gallant young Colonel, Geo. L. Shoup, ably assisted by Lieutenant Colonel L. L.
Bowen, Major Hal Sayre and Captain Theodore G. Cree, commanding 1st, 2d and 3d battalions of that regiment.

Of the conduct of the two battalions of the 1st regiment I have but to remark that they sustained their reputation as second to none,
and were ably handled by their commanders, Major Anthony, Lieutenant Wilson and Lieutenant Clark Dunn, upon whom the
command devolved after the disability of Lieutenant Wilson from wounds received.

Night coming on, the pursuit of the flying Indians was of necessity abandoned, and my command encamped within sight of the field.

On the 1st instant, having sent the wounded and dead to Fort Lyon, the first to be cared for, and the latter to be buried upon our own
soil. I resumed the pursuit in the direction of Camp Wynkoop on the Arkansas river, marching all night of the 3d and 4th instant, in
hopes of overtaking a large encampment of Arapahoes and Cheyennes, under Little Raven, but the enemy had been apprized of my
advance, and on the morning of the 5th instant, at 3 o'clock, precipitately broke camp and fled. My stock was exhausted. For one
hundred miles the snow had been two feet deep, and for the previous fifteen days--excepting on November 29 and 30--the marches
had been forced and incessant.

Under these circumstances, and the fact of the time of the 3d regiment being nearly out, I determined for the present to relinquish
the pursuit. Of the effect of the punishment sustained by the Indians you will be the judge. Their chiefs Black Kettle, White Antelope,
One Eye, Knock Knee, and Little Robe, were numbered with the killed and their bands almost annihilated. I was shown the scalp of
a white man, found in one of the lodges, which could not have been taken more than two or three days previous. For full particulars
and reports of the several commanders I respectfully refer you to the following copies herewith enclosed, of Colonel George L.
Shoup, 3d regiment, December 6, 1864; Colonel Shoup, 3d regiment, December 7, 1864; Colonel L. L. Bowen, 3d regiment,
November 30, 1864; Major Hal Sayr, 3d regiment, December 6, 1864; Captain Theodore G. Cree, 3d regiment, December 6, 1864;
Major Scott J. Anthony, 1st regiment, December 1, 1864; Lieutenant Clark Dunn, 1st regiment, November 30, 1864; Lieutenant J. J.
Kennedy, November 30, 1864.

If all the companies of the 1st cavalry of Colorado and the 11th Ohio volunteer cavalry, stationed at camps and posts near here,
were ordered to report to me, I could organize a campaign, which, in my judgment, would effectually rid the country between the
Platte and Arkansas rivers of these red rebels.

I would respectfully request to be informed, if another campaign should be authorized from here, whether I could employ one or two
hundred friendly Utes, (Indians,) furnishing them subsistence, arms and ammunition for the campaign.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. 1st Cavalry of Colorado, Commanding District of Colorado

“Massacre of the Cheyenne Indians”  pp. 48-50


Fort Leavenworth, December 30, 1864.
Several papers have been referred to me concerning irregularities charged on General Blunt and others before I came in this
command, and entirely outside. Yet, as some of the parties are in my command, I may do something if I can get men disconnected
with Kansas affairs and worthy of credence. There is so much political and personal strife in our service, it is almost impossible to
get an honest, impartial determination of facts.

A shift of troops, so as to put officers and men out of their own home localities, would greatly improve my command, and I wish
especially that some of my Kansas regiments may be sent to the front and troops of other States sent to me. I have ordered the 11th
Kansas to Colorado, far enough from their homes, but the 15th and 16th Kansas might well be changed.

The 1st Colorado, the 3d Colorado, and many companies of other regiments, have to be mustered out under the provisions of
Circular No. 36.

I am also informed that Fort Smith and Fayetteville, in the department of Arkansas, are being evacuated. Fort Gibson, in the same
department, is garrisoned with dismounted Indian troops, so that my southern border is more exposed than formerly.

The Indians on the plains continue to act in bands of fifty or one hundred at various points, and I desire to make new efforts to crush
them during the latter part of winter. Under these circumstances, I feel it my duty to urge the sending of more troops of other States
to aid in keeping open the overland lines, escort trains, put down the Indians, and strengthen the defences which overlook the
enemy's approaches from Texas.
I have the honor to be, general, your obedient servant,
S. R. CURTIS, Major General.

“Massacre of the Cheyenne Indians” pp. 72-73


No. 42.          Fort Riley, Kans., December 31, 1864.


7. Company D, Second Colorado Cavalry, is hereby relieved from duty at Fort Riley, Kans. The commanding officer will report in
person to these headquarters for orders.
8. Company F, Second Colorado Cavalry, is hereby relieved from duty at Fort Riley, Kans. The commanding officer will report in
person to these headquarters for orders.


13. Maj. E. W. Wynkoop, First Colorado Cavalry, is hereby relieved from duty at Fort Riley, Kans., and will proceed without delay to
Fort Lyon, Colo. Ter., and upon his arrival at that post will assume command. Maj. E. W. Wynkoop, upon his arrival at Fort Lyon, will
make a thorough investigation of the recent operations against the Indians in that part of the District of Upper Arkansas, and make a
detailed report of the same to these headquarters, with as little delay as possible.

By order of Col. James H. Ford:
Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

“War of the Rebellion” (LIII, Part IV, p. 971)
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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
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Go to
Massacre of the Cheyenne Indians for complete Joint Committee report
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