(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Children's Library | Advanced Microdevices Manuals | Linear Circuits Manuals | Supertex Manuals | Sundry Manuals | Echelon Manuals | RCA Manuals | National Semiconductor Manuals | Hewlett Packard Manuals | Signetics Manuals | Fluke Manuals | Datel Manuals | Intersil Manuals | Zilog Manuals | Maxim Manuals | Dallas Semiconductor Manuals | Temperature Manuals | SGS Manuals | Quantum Electronics Manuals | STDBus Manuals | Texas Instruments Manuals | IBM Microsoft Manuals | Grammar Analysis | Harris Manuals | Arrow Manuals | Monolithic Memories Manuals | Intel Manuals | Fault Tolerance Manuals | Johns Hopkins University Commencement | PHOIBLE Online | International Rectifier Manuals | Rectifiers scrs Triacs Manuals | Standard Microsystems Manuals | Additional Collections | Control PID Fuzzy Logic Manuals | Densitron Manuals | Philips Manuals | The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly Debates | Linear Technologies Manuals | Cermetek Manuals | Miscellaneous Manuals | Hitachi Manuals | The Video Box | Communication Manuals | Scenix Manuals | Motorola Manuals | Agilent Manuals
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The Indians of the Pike's Peak region, including an account of the battle of Sand Creek, and of occurrences in El Paso County, Colorado, during the war with the Cheyennes and Arapahoes, in 1864 and 1868"

[C-NRLF 




Pike's Peak 

From a painting by Charles Craig 



The Indians 

of the 

Pike's Peak Region 

Including an Account of the Battle of Sand 

Greek, and of Occurrences in El Paso 

County, Colorado, during the War 

with the Cheyennes and Arapa- 

hoes, in 1864 and 1868 

By 

Irving Howbert 



Illustrated 



iknicfeerbocfeer press 

New York 
1914 



COPYRIGHT, 1914 

BY 
IRVING HOWBERT 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

THE TRIBES OF THE PIKE'S PEAK REGION . i 
TRAILS, MINERAL SPRINGS, GAME, ETC. . 27 
THE INDIAN TROUBLES OF 1864 ... 75 

THE THIRD COLORADO AND THE BATTLE OF 

SAND CREEK 93 

A DEFENSE OF THE BATTLE OF SAND CREEK 114 

A DEFENSE OF THE BATTLE OF SAND CREEK 

CONTINUED . . ... 147 

THE INDIAN WAR OF 1868 . . . .187 



295714 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



FACING 
PAGE 



PIKE'S PEAK . . . Frontispiece 

OURAY .60 

COLONEL JOHN M. Cm VINGTON . . . 117 
GOVERNOR JOHN EVANS .... 123 



INTRODUCTION 

COR the most part this book is intentionally 
local in its character. As its title implies, 
it relates principally to the Indian tribes that have 
occupied the region around Pike's Peak during 
historic times. 

The history, habits, and customs of the Ameri- 
can Indian have always been interesting subjects 
to me. From early childhood, I read everything 
within my reach dealing with the various tribes 
of the United States and Mexico. In 1860, when 
I was fourteen years of age, I crossed the plains 
between the Missouri River and the Rocky 
Mountains twice, and again in 1861, 1865, and 
1866; each time by ox- or horse- team, there being 
no other means of conveyance. At that time 
there were few railroads west of the Mississippi 
River and none west of the Missouri. On each of 
these trips I came more or less into contact with 
the Indians, and during my residence in Colorado 
from 1860 to the present time, by observation and 

vii 



viii Introduction 

by study, I have become more or less familiar 
with all the tribes of this Western country. 

From 1864 to 1868, the Indians of the plains 
were hostile to the whites; this resulted in many 
tragic happenings in that part of the Pike's Peak 
region embracing El Paso and its adjoining counties, 
as well as elsewhere in the Territory of Colorado. 
I then lived in Colorado City, in El Paso County, 
and took an active part in the defense of the settle- 
ments during all the Indian troubles in that section. 
I mention these facts merely to show that I am 
not unfamiliar with the subject about which I am 
writing. My main object in publishing this book 
is to make a permanent record of the principal 
events of that time. 

So far as I know, the public has never been given 
a detailed account of the Indian troubles in El 
Paso County during the years 1864 and 1868. 
At that time there was no newspaper published in 
the county and the few newspapers of the Terri- 
tory were small affairs, in which little attention 
was given to anything outside of their immediate 
localities. The result was that news of tragic 
happenings in our part of the Territory seldom 
passed beyond the borders of our own county. 

I have thought best to begin with a short 
account of the tribes occupying the Pike's Peak 



Introduction ix 

region prior to the coming of the white settler, 
adding to it extracts from the descriptions given 
by early explorers, together with an account of 
the game, trails, etc., of this region. All these 
facts will no doubt be of interest to the inhabitant 
of the present day, as well as of value to the future 
historian. 

I took part in the battle of Sand Creek, and 
in many of the other events which I mention. 
Where I have no personal knowledge of any par- 
ticular event, I have taken great pains to obtain 
the actual facts by a comparison of the statements 
of persons who I knew lived in the locality at the 
time. Consequently, I feel assured of the sub- 
stantial accuracy of every account I have given. 

In giving so much space to a defense of the 
battle of Sand Creek, I am impelled by an earnest 
desire to correct the false impression that has gone 
forth concerning that much maligned affair. 
Statements of prejudiced and unreliable witnesses 
concerning the battle were sent broadcast at the 
time, but except through government reports, 
that only few read, never before, to my knowledge, 
has publicity been given to the statement of the 
Governor of the Territory, telling of the conditions 
leading up to the battle, or to the sworn testimony 
of the colonel in command at the engagement, or 



x Introduction 

of the officer in command of the fort near which it 
was fought. That the battle of Sand Creek was 
not the reprehensible affair which vindictive 
persons have represented it to be, I believe is 
conclusively proven by the evidence which I 

present. 

I.H. 

COLORADO SPRINGS, 
November i, 1913. 



The 

Indians of the Pike's Peak 
Region 



CHAPTER I 

THE TRIBES OF THE PIKE'S PEAK REGION 

IT would be interesting to know who were the 
occupants of the Pike's Peak region during 
prehistoric times. Were its inhabitants always 
nomadic Indians? We know that semi-civilized 
peoples inhabited southwestern Colorado and 
New Mexico in prehistoric times, who undoubt- 
edly had lived there ages before they were driven 
into cliff dwellings and communal houses by sav- 
age invaders. Did their frontier settlements of 
that period ever extend into the Pike's Peak re- 
gion? The facts concerning these matters, we 
may never know. As it is, the earliest definite 



2 ' The Tribes of 

information we have concerning the occupants of 
this region dates from the Spanish exploring ex- 
peditions, but even that is very meager. From 
this and other sources, we know that a succession 
of Indian tribes moved southward along the east- 
ern base of the Rocky Mountains during the two 
hundred years before the coming of the white 
settler, and that during this period, the principal 
tribes occupying this region were the Utes, Co- 
manches, Kiowas, Cheyennes, Arapahoes, and 
Sioux; and, further, that there were other tribes 
such as the Pawnees and Jicarilla Apaches, who 
frequently visited and hunted in this region. 

The Jicarilla Apaches are of the Athapascan 
stock, a widely distributed linguistic family, 
which includes among its branches the Navajos, 
the Mescalaros of New Mexico, and the Apaches 
of Arizona. Notwithstanding the fact that they 
were kindred people, the Jicarillas considered the 
latter tribes their enemies. However, they always 
maintained friendly relations with the Utes, and 
the Pueblos of northern New Mexico, and inter- 
marriages between members of these tribes were 
of frequent occurrence. The mother of Our ay, 
the noted Ute chief, was a Jicarilla Apache. 

From the earliest period, the principal home of 
the Jicarilla Apaches was along the Rio Grande 



The Pike's Peak Region 3 

River in northern New Mexico, but in their wan- 
derings they often went north of the Arkansas 
River and far out on the plains, where they had an 
outpost known as the Quartelejo. By reason of the 
intimate relations existing between the Jicarillas 
and the Pueblo Indians, this outpost was more than 
once used as a place of refuge by members of the 
latter tribes. Bancroft, in his history of New 
Mexico, says that certain families of Taos Indians 
went out into the plains about the middle of the 
seventeenth century and fortified a place called 
"Cuartalejo, " which undoubtedly is but another 
spelling of the name Quartelejo. These people 
remained at Quartelejo for many years, but finally 
returned to Taos at the solicitation of an agent 
sent out by the Government of New Mexico. 
In 1704, the Picuris, another Pueblo tribe, whose 
home was about forty miles north of Sante Fe, 
abandoned their village in a body and fled to 
Quartelejo, but they also returned to New Mexico 
two years later. Quartelejo is frequently men- 
tioned in the history of New Mexico, and its 
location is described as being 130 leagues north- 
east of Santa Fe. In recent years the ruin of a 
typical Pueblo structure has been unearthed on 
Beaver Creek in Scott County, Kansas, about two 
hundred miles east of Colorado Springs, which, in 



4 The Tribes of 

direction and distance from Santa Fe, coincides 
with the description given of Quart ele jo, and is 
generally believed to be that place. 

Aside from the Jicarilla Apaches, the Utes, 
living in the mountainous portion of the region 
now included in the State of Colorado, were the 
earliest occupants of whom there is any historical 
account. They were mentioned in the Spanish 
records of New Mexico as already inhabiting the 
region to the north of that Territory in the early 
part of the seventeenth century. At that time, 
and for many years afterward, they were on peace- 
able terms with the Spanish settlers of New Mexico. 
About 1705, however, something occurred to dis- 
turb their friendly relations, and a war resulted 
which lasted fifteen to twenty years, during which 
time many people were killed, numerous ranches 
were plundered, and many horses stolen. Al- 
though the Utes already owned many horses, it is 
said that in these raids they acquired so many 
more that they were able to mount their entire 
tribe. During that time various military expedi- 
tions were sent against the Utes as well as against 
the Comanches, who had first appeared in New 
Mexico in 1716. In 1719, the Governor of New 
Mexico led a military force, consisting of 105 
Spaniards and a large number of Indian auxiliaries, 



The Pike's Peak Region 5 

into the region which is now the State of Colorado, 
against the hostile bands. The record of the expe- 
dition says that it left Santa Fe on September I5th 
and marched north, with the mountains on the 
left, until October loth. In this twenty-five days' 
march the expedition should have gone far beyond 
the place where Colorado Springs now stands. 
Although the expedition failed to overtake the 
Indians, the latter ceased their raids for a time, 
but their subsequent outbreaks showed that their 
friendship for the New Mexican people could not 
be entirely depended upon, although they mingled 
with them to such an extent that a large portion of 
the tribe acquired a fair knowledge of the Spanish 
language. 

The Utes were an offshoot of the Shoshone 
family, the branches of which have been widely 
distributed over the Rocky Mountain region 
from the Canadian line south into Mexico. It 
is now generally conceded that the Aztecs of 
Mexico and the Utes belong to the same linguistic 
family. It is probable that in the march of the 
former toward the south, many centuries ago, the 
Utes were left behind, remaining in their savage 
state, while the Aztecs, coming in contact with the 
semi-civilized nations of the South, gradually 
reached the state of culture which they had 



6 The Tribes of 

attained at the time of the conquest of Mexico 
by the Spaniards. I am firmly of the opinion that 
these Indians, and in fact all the Indians of 
America, are descendants of Asiatic tribes that 
crossed over to this continent by way of Bering 
Strait at some remote period. These tribes may, 
however, have been added to at various times by 
chance migrations from Japan, the Hawaiian and 
South vSea islands. It is known that in historic 
times the Japanese current has thrown upon the 
Pacific Coast fishing-boats, laden with Japanese 
people, which had drifted helplessly across the 
Pacific Ocean. It is, therefore, fair to assume 
that what is known to have occurred in recent 
times might also have frequently occurred in the 
remote past, and if this be so, the intermarriage 
of these people with the native races would un- 
doubtedly have had a decided influence upon the 
tribes adjacent to the Pacific Coast. There seems 
to be no reason why the people of the Hawaiian 
Islands should not have visited our shores, as those 
islands are not much farther distant from the 
Pacific Coast than are certain inhabited islands in 
other directions. These same conclusions have 
been reached by many others who have made a 
study of the question. 

The National Geographic Magazine of April, 



The Pike's Peak Region 7 

1910, contained an article written by Miss Scid- 
more on "Mukden, the Manchu Home," in which 
she says: 

When I saw the Viceroy and his suite at a Japanese 
fte at Tairen, whither he had gone to pay a state visit, 
I was convinced as never before of the common origin 
of the North American Indian and .the Chinese or 
Manchu Tartars. There before me might as well have 
been Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, and Rain-in-the-Face, 
dressed in blue satin blankets, thick-soled moccasins, 
and squat war-bonnets with single bunches of feathers 
shooting back from the crown. Manchu eyes, Tartar 
cheek-bones, and Mongol jaws were combined in 
countenances that any Sioux chief would recognize 
as a brother. 

The Ute Indians were well-built, but not nearly 
as tall as the Sioux, Cheyennes, Arapahoes, or 
any of the tribes of the plains. Their type of 
countenance was substantially the same as that 
of all American Indians. They were distinctly 
mountain Indians, and that they should have 
been a shorter race than those of the plains to the 
east is peculiar, as it reverses the usual rule. 
Might not this have been the result of an infusion 
of Japanese blood in the early days of the Sho- 
shones when their numbers were small? And 
possibly from this same source came the unusual 
ability of the Utes in warfare. 



8 The Tribes of 

As Indians go, the Utes were a fairly intelligent 
people. They had a less vicious look than the 
Indians of the plains, and as far as my observation 
goes, they were not so cruel. They ranged over 
the mountainous region from the northern boun- 
daries of the present State of Colorado, down as 
far as the central part of New Mexico. Their 
favorite camping-place, however, was in the beauti- 
ful valleys of the South Park, and other places in 
the region west of Pike's Peak. The South Park 
was known to the old trappers and hunters as the 
Bayou Salado, probably deriving its name from 
the salt marshes and springs that were abundant 
in the western part of that locality. 

Game was to be found in greater abundance in 
the South Park and the country round about 
than in almost any other region of the Rocky 
Mountains, and for that reason its possession was 
contended for most strenuously year after year 
by all the tribes of the surrounding country. For 
a time in the summer season, the Utes were 
frequently driven away from this favorite region 
by the tribes of the plains who congregated in the 
South Park in great numbers as soon as the heat 
of the plains became uncomfortable. However, 
the Utes seldom failed to retain possession during 
most of the year, as they were remarkably good 



The Pike's Peak Region 9 

fighters and more than able to hold their own 
against equal numbers. 

In point of time, the Comanches were the next 
tribe of which we have any record, as inhabiting 
this region. These Indians also were a branch of 
the Shoshone nation. They led the procession of 
tribes that moved southward along the eastern 
base of the Rocky Mountains during the seven- 
teenth and the first half of the eighteenth centuries. 
When first heard of, they were occupying the 
territory where the Missouri River emerges from 
the Rocky Mountains. Later, they were driven 
south by the pressure of the Sioux Indians and 
other tribes coming in from the north and east. 
For a while they occupied the Black Hills, and 
then were pushed still farther south by the Kiowas. 
They joined their kinsmen the Utes in raids upon 
the settlements of New Mexico in 1716, and it was 
to punish the Comanches as well as the Utes, that 
the Governor of New Mexico, in 1719, led the 
military expedition into the country now within 
the boundaries of Colorado. In 1 724, Bourgemont , 
a French explorer mentions them under the 
name of the Padouca, as located between the 
headwaters of the Platte and Kansas rivers, 
but later accounts show that before the end of 
that century they had been pushed south of the 



io The Tribes of 

Arkansas River by the pressure of the tribes to 
the north. 

During the stay of the Comanches in this 
region, they were for a time friendly with the Utes, 
and the two tribes joined each other in warfare and 
roamed over much of the same territory, but later, 
for some unknown reason, they for a time engaged 
in a deadly warfare. The old legend of the 
Manitou Springs mentions the possible beginning 
of the trouble. The incident around which the 
legend is woven, may be an imaginary one, but it 
is a well-known fact that long and bitter wars 
between tribes resulted from slighter causes. It 
is said that a long war between the Delawares 
and Shawnees originated in a quarrel between 
two children over a grasshopper. 

The Comanches were a nation of daring warriors, 
and after their removal to the south of the Arkan- 
sas River, they became a great scourge to the 
settlements of Texas and New Mexico, finally 
extending their raids as far as Chihuahua, in 
Mexico. As a result of these operations, they 
became rich in horses and plunder obtained in 
their raids, besides securing as captives many 
American and Spanish women and children. One 
of their most noted chiefs in after days was the son 
of a white woman who had been captured in Texas 



The Pike's Peak Region n 

in her childhood, and who, when grown, had 
married a Comanche chief. The Government 
arranged for the release of both the American and 
Spanish captives, but in more than one instance 
women who had been captured in their younger 
days refused to leave their Comanche husbands, 
notwithstanding the strongest urging on the part 
of their own parents. 

Following the Comanches came the Kiowas, a 
tribe of unknown origin, as their language seems 
to have no similarity to that of any of the other 
tribes of this country. According to their mythol- 
ogy, their first progenitors emerged from a hollow 
cottonwood log, at the bidding of a supernatural 
ancestor. They came out one at a time as he 
tapped upon the log, until it came to the turn of a 
fleshy woman, who stuck fast in the hole, and thus 
blocked the way for those behind her, so that 
they were unable to follow. This, * they say, ac- 
counts for the small number of the Kiowa tribe. 

The first mention of this tribe locates them at the 
extreme sources of the Yellowstone and Missouri 
rivers, in what is now central Montana. Later, 
by permission of the Crow Indians, they took up 
their residence east of that tribe and became allied 
with them. Up to this time they possessed no 
horses and in moving about had to depend solely 



12 The Tribes of 

upon dogs. They finally drifted out upon the 
plains; here they first procured horses, and came 
in contact with the Arapahoes, Cheyennes, and, 
later, with the Sioux. The tribe probably secured 
horses by raids upon the Spaniards of New Mexico, 
as the authorities of that Territory mention the 
Kiowas as early as 1748, while the latter were still 
living in the Black Hills. It may not be generally 
known that there were no horses upon the American 
continent prior to the coming of the Spaniards. 
The first horses acquired by the Indians were those 
lost or abandoned by the early exploring expedi- 
tions, and these were added to later by raids upon 
the Spanish settlements of New Mexico. The 
natural increase of the horses so obtained gave the 
Indians, in many cases, a number in excess of their 
needs. Previous to acquiring horses, the Indians 
used dogs in moving their belongings around the 
country. As compared with their swift move- 
ments of later days this slow method of transporta- 
tion very materially limited their migrations. 

By the end of that century, the Kiowas had 
drifted south into the region embraced by the 
present State of Colorado, probably being forced 
to do so by the pressure of the Sioux, Cheyennes, 
and Arapahoes, who were at that time advancing 
from the north and east. As the Kiowas advanced 



The Pike's Peak Region 13 

southward, they encountered the Comanches; 
this resulted in warfare that lasted many years, in 
the course of which the Comanches were gradually 
driven south of the Arkansas River. When, 
finally, the war was terminated, an alliance was 
effected between the two tribes, which thereafter 
remained unbroken. In 1806, the Kiowas were 
occupying the country along the eastern base of 
the mountains of the Pike's Peak region. From 
Lieut. Zebulon Pike's narrative, we learn that 
James Pursley, who, according to Lieutenant 
Pike, was the first American to penetrate the 
immense wilds of Louisiana, spent a trading season 
with the Kiowas and Comanches in 1802 and 1803. 
He remained with them until the next spring, 
when the Sioux drove them from the plains into 
the mountains at the head of the Platte and Arkan- 
sas rivers. In all probability their retreat into the 
mountains was through Ute Pass, as that was the 
most accessible route. In the same statement 
Lieutenant Pike mentions Pursley 's claim to 
having found gold on the headwaters of the Platte 
River. By the year 1815, most of the Kiowas had 
been pushed south of the Arkansas River by the 
Cheyennes and Arapahoes, but not until 1840 did 
they finally give up fighting for the possession of 
this region. 



14 The Tribes of 

The Cheyennes and Arapahoes were of the Al- 
gonquin linguistic family, whose original home was 
in the New England States and southern Canada. 
When first heard of, about 1750, the Cheyennes 
were located in northern Minnesota. Later, 
about 1790, they were living on the Missouri, near 
the mouth of the Cheyenne River. Subsequently 
they moved west into the Black Hills, being forced 
to do so by the enmity of the Sioux. Here they 
were joined by the Arapahoes, a tribe of the same 
Algonquin stock, and from that time on the two 
tribes were bound together in the closest relations. 

Beginning about 1800, these two federated 
tribes, accompanied by some of the Sioux, with 
whom they had made peace, gradually moved 
southward along the eastern base of the Rocky 
Mountains. Dr. James, the historian of Long's 
expedition which visited the Pike's Peak region 
in 1820, mentions the fact that about four 
years previous there had been a large encamp- 
ment of Indians on a stream near Platte Canon, 
southwest of Denver, which had assembled for 
trading purposes. It appears that the Cheyennes 
had been supplied with goods by British traders 
on the Missouri River, and had met to exchange 
these goods for horses. The tribes dwelling on 
the fertile plains of the Arkansas and Red rivers 



The Pike's Peak Region 15 

always had a great number of horses, which 
they reared with much less difficulty than did the 
Cheyennes, who usually spent the winter in the 
country farther to the north, where the cold 
weather lasted much longer and feed was less 
abundant. After many years of warfare with the 
Kiowas, the Cheyennes and Arapahoes were vic- 
torious, and by a treaty, made in 1840, secured 
undisputed possession of the territory north of the 
Arkansas River and east of the mountains. As 
this was only eighteen years before the coming of 
the whites, the Cheyennes and Arapahoes could not 
rightfully claim this region as their ancestral home. 
The country acquired by the Cheyennes and 
Arapahoes, through their victory over the Kiowas, 
embraced a territory of more than eighty thousand 
square miles. As in those two tribes there were 
never more than five thousand men, women, and 
children, all told, the area was out of all proportion 
to their numbers. 

Early in 1861, the Government made a treaty 
with the Cheyennes and Arapahoes by which 
these tribes gave up the greater part of the lands 
claimed by them in the new Territory of Colorado. 
For this they were to receive a consideration of 
four hundred and fifty thousand dollars, to be 
paid in fifteen yearly installments, the tribes 



1 6 The Tribes of 

reserving for their own use a tract about seventy 
miles square located on both sides of the Arkansas 
River in the southeastern part of the Territory. 

From the time of their first contact with the 
whites, the Cheyennes and Arapahoes were 
alternately friendly or hostile, just as their temper 
or whim dictated upon any particular occasion. 
With the old trappers and hunters of the plains, 
the Cheyennes had the reputation of being the 
most treacherous and untrustworthy at all times 
and in all places, of any of the tribes of the West. 
The Arapahoes, while occasionally committing 
depredations against the whites, were said to be 
somewhat different in temperament, in that they 
were not so sullen and morose as the Cheyennes, 
and were less treacherous and more open and 
trustworthy in their dealings. This estimate of 
the characteristics of the two tribes was fully 
confirmed in our contact with them in the early 
days of Colorado. 

The Cheyennes were continuously hostile during 
the years 1855, 1856, and 1857, killing many whites 
and robbing numerous wagon-trains along the 
Platte River, which at that time was the great 
thoroughfare for travelers to Utah, California, 
Oregon, and other regions to the west of the Rocky 
Mountains. In 1 857 , the Cheyennes were severely 



The Pike's Peak Region 17 

punished in a number of engagements by troops 
under command of Colonel E. V. Sumner of the 
regular army, and as a result, they gave little 
trouble during the next five or six years. 

In the early days, the Arapahoes came in touch 
with the whites to a much greater extent than 
did the Cheyennes. The members of the latter 
tribe usually held aloof, and by their manner 
plainly expressed hatred of the white race. Horace 
Greeley, in his book describing his trip across the 
plains to California in 1859, tells of a large body of 
Arapahoes who were encamped on the outskirts of 
Denver in June of that year, because of the protec- 
tion they thought it gave them from their enemies 
the Utes. I saw this band when I passed through 
Denver in June of the following year. 

The Sioux were one of the largest Indian nations 
upon the American continent. So far as is known, 
their original home was upon the Atlantic Coast 
in North Carolina, but by the time Europeans 
began to settle in that section they had drifted 
into the Western country. Their first contact 
with the white race occurred in the upper Missis- 
sippi region. These white people were the French 
explorers who had penetrated into almost every 
part of the interior long before the English had 
made any serious attempt at the exploration of 



1 8 The Tribes of 

the wilderness west of the Allegheny Mountains. 
The friendly relations between the French and the 
Sioux continued for many years, but when the 
French were finally supplanted by the English in 
most localities, the Sioux made an alliance with 
the latter which was maintained during the Rev- 
olutionary War, and continued until after the 
War of 1812. Subsequent to the year 1812, the 
Sioux gradually drifted still farther westward, and 
not many years later their principal home was 
upon the upper Missouri River. The recognized 
southern boundary of their country was the North 
Platte River, but on account of their friendly rela- 
tions with the Cheyennes and Arapahoes, the 
Sioux often wandered along the base of the moun- 
tains as far as the Arkansas River, and, being at 
enmity with the Utes, they frequently joined the 
Cheyennes and Arapahoes in raids upon their 
common enemy. 

While the Pawnees seldom spent much time in 
this region, they often came to the mountains in 
raids upon their enemies the Sioux, Cheyennes, 
Arapahoes, and Kiowas and upon horse-stealing 
expeditions. The Pawnees were members of the 
Caddoan family, whose original home was in the 
South. In this they were exceptional, since almost 
every other tribe in this Western country came 



The Pike's Peak Region 19 

from the north or east. From time immemorial 
their principal villages were located on the Loup 
Fork of the Platte River and on the headwaters 
of the Republican River, about three hundred 
miles east of the Rocky Mountains. The Paw- 
nees were a warlike tribe and extended their raids 
over a very wide stretch of country, at times 
reaching as far as New Mexico. They carried on 
a bitter warfare with the Sioux, Cheyennes, and 
Arapahoes, and at times were engaged in warfare 
with almost every one of the surrounding tribes. 
They were a courageous people, and were generally 
victorious, where the numbers engaged were at 
all nearly equal. The Spaniards of New Mexico 
became acquainted with this tribe as early as 1693, 
and made strenuous efforts to maintain friendly 
relations with them; with few exceptions these 
efforts were successful. 

In 1720, the Spanish authorities of New Mexico 
learned that French traders had established trad- 
ing stations in the Pawnee country, and were 
furnishing the Indians with firearms. This news 
greatly disturbed the Spaniards and resulted in a 
military expedition being organized at Santa Fe, 
to visit the principal villages of the Pawnees for 
the purpose of impressing that tribe with the 
strength of the Spanish Government, and thus to 



20 The Tribes of 

counteract the influence of the French. The 
expedition started from Santa Fe in June of that 
year. It was under the command of Lieutenant- 
Colonel Villazur, of the Spanish regular army, and 
was composed of fifty armed Spaniards, together 
with a large number of Jicarilla Apache Indians 
as auxiliaries, making the expedition an imposing 
one for the times. The route taken, as nearly as I 
can determine from the description given in Ban- 
croft's history of New Mexico, was northerly 
along the eastern base of the mountains, passing 
not very far from where Colorado Springs is now 
located. After reaching the Platte River, at no 
great distance east of the mountains, the expedi- 
tion proceeded down the valley of that stream 
until it came in contact with the Pawnees, but 
before a council could be held, the latter surprised 
the Spaniards, killed the commanding officer, and 
in the fight that ensued almost annihilated the 
party. The surviving half-dozen soldiers, who 
were mounted, saved themselves by flight. Not 
yet having acquired horses, the Pawnees could not 
pursue them. These survivors, after untold hard- 
ships, reached Santa Fe a month or two later to 
tell the tale. Another instance of a Spanish 
force visiting the Pawnees occurred in 1806. 
When Lieutenant Pike on his exploring tour visited 



The Pike's Peak Region 21 

the Pawnees on the Republican River in Septem- 
ber of that year, he found that a Spanish military 
force had been there just ahead of him. This 
force had been dispatched from Santa Fe to pre- 
vent him from exploring the country north of the 
Arkansas River, to which the Spanish Government 
insistently laid claim. However, the expedition 
failed of its purpose, inasmuch as it marched 
back up the Arkansas River to the mountains, 
and returned to Santa Fe without having seen or 
heard of Lieutenant Pike. 

When Colonel Long on his exploring expedition 
visited this tribe in 1819, he found the Pawnees 
mourning the loss of a large number of their war- 
riors who had been killed in an encounter with the 
Cheyennes and Arapahoes in the region adjacent to 
the Rocky Mountains. It seems that ninety-three 
warriors left their camp on the Republican River 
and proceeded on foot to the mountains on a horse- 
stealing expedition. The party finally reached a 
point on the south side of the Arkansas River, 
having up to that time accomplished nothing. 
Here they were discovered and attacked by a 
large band of Cheyennes and Arapahoes. During 
the fight that followed, over fifty of the Pawnees 
were killed; but the attacking party suffered so 
severely that after the fighting had continued for a 



22 The Tribes of 

day or more, they were glad to allow the surviving 
Pawnees, numbering about forty, to escape. Most 
of the latter were wounded and it was with diffi- 
culty that they succeeded in reaching their 
homes. 

All the tribes that I have mentioned were 
purely nomadic, and, aside from the Pawnees, 
depended entirely upon game for a living. 

The Pawnees were the only tribe that engaged 
in agriculture. Their summer camps were 
generally located at some favorable spot for 
growing corn, beans, pumpkins, and other vege- 
tables. They usually remained at such place 
until their crops were harvested, when they made 
large excavations in the ground in which they 
stored their grain and vegetables for future use. 
After covering the excavation they carefully 
obliterated all evidence of it, in order to prevent 
discovery. They would then go off on hunting 
expeditions, returning later in the winter to enjoy 
the fruits of the summer's toil of their squaws 
for the warrior never degraded himself by doing 
any labor which the squaw could perform. Their 
habitations, when staying any length of time in 
one locality, were made of poles, brush, grass, and 
earth, and were more durable structures than the 
lodges used by the other tribes of the plains. 



The Pike's Peak Region 23 

The Utes, Comanches, Kiowas, Sioux, Chey- 
ennes, and Arapahoes used the conical wigwam, 
which was easily erected and quickly taken down. 
The conical wigwam consisted of a framework of 
small pine poles about two and one-half inches in 
diameter and twenty feet in length. In its erec- 
tion, three poles were tied together about two or 
three feet from the smaller end; the three poles 
were then set up, their bases forming a triangle 
sufficiently far apart to permit of a lodge about 
twenty feet in diameter. The remaining sixteen 
to eighteen poles used were then placed in position 
to form a circle, their bases about four feet apart 
and their tops resting in the fork of the three 
original poles. Among the plains Indians, where 
buffalo were plentiful, the covering for this frame- 
work consisted of buffalo skins which had been 
tanned and sewed together by the squaws. It 
was so shaped that a flap could be thrown back 
at the top, leaving an opening through which the 
smoke could escape, and another at the bottom 
for use as a door. The bottom of this covering 
was secured by fastening it to small stakes driven 
into the ground. All of the bedding, buffalo 
robes, and other belongings of the Indians were 
taken into the wigwam and piled around the sides ; 
a small hole was then dug in the center of the 



24 The Tribes of 

earthern floor, in which the fire was built. In 
taking down the tents, preparatory to moving 
about the country, the squaws removed the 
covering from the framework, and folded it into 
a compact bundle; they took the poles down and 
laid them in two parallel piles three or four feet 
apart, and then led a pony in between them. The 
upper end of each pile was fastened to the pack- 
saddle, leaving the other end to drag upon the 
ground. Just back of the pony's tail the covering 
of the tent was fastened to the two sets of poles, 
on top of which the babies and small children 
were placed. In this way the Indians moved 
their camps from place to place. The squaws 
did all the work of making these tent cover- 
ings, procuring the poles, setting up the tents, 
and taking them down. The warrior never 
lifted his hand to help, as it was beneath the 
dignity of a warrior to do any kind of manual 
labor. 

Among the favorite camping-places of the 
Indians in El Paso County, Colorado, the region 
extending along the west side of Cheyenne Creek 
just above its mouth was probably used most fre- 
quently. There were evidences of other camping 
places at different points farther up the creek, 
that had been used to a lesser extent. Their tent- 



The Pike's Peak Region 25 

poles, in being dragged over the country, rapidly 
wore out, and for that reason the Indians of the 
plains found it necessary to come to the moun- 
tains every year or two to get a new supply. The 
thousands of small stumps that were to be seen on 
the side of Cheyenne Mountain at the time of the 
first settlement of this region gave evidence that 
many Indians had secured new lodge poles in that 
locality. It is probable that this was the reason 
why their tents were so often pitched in the 
valley of Cheyenne Creek, and undoubtedly this 
is the origin of the name by which the creek is 
now known. 

On account of its close tproximity to the country 
of the Utes, the Indians of the plains must neces- 
sarily have had to come to this locality in very 
considerable force and must at all times have 
kept a very sharp lookout in order to avoid disas- 
ter. It is known that the Utes maintained pickets 
in this vicinity much of the time. In the early 
days, any one climbing to the top of the high sand- 
stone ridge back of the United States Reduction 
Works at Colorado City might have seen numer- 
ous circular places of defense built of loose stone, 
to a height of four or five feet, and large enough 
to hold three or four men comfortably. These 
miniature fortifications were placed at intervals 



26 Pike's Peak Indians 

along the ridge all the way from the Fountain to 
Bear Creek and doubtless were built and used 
by the Utes. From these small forts, the Indian 
pickets could overlook the valley of the Fountain, 
the Mesa, and keep watch over the country for a 
long distance out on the plains. At such times as 
the Utes maintained sentinels there it would have 
been difficult for their enemies to reach this region 
without being discovered. 



CHAPTER II 

TRAILS, MINERAL SPRINGS, GAME, ETC. 

THE principal Indian trail into the mountains 
from the plains to the northeast of Pike's Peak 
came in by way of the Garden Ranch, through 
what used to be known as Templeton's Gap. It 
crossed Monument Creek about a mile above Col- 
orado Springs, then followed up a ridge to the 
Mesa; then it went southwest over the Mesa and 
across Camp Creek, passing just south of the Gar- 
den of the Gods; from there it came down to the 
Fountain, about a mile west of Colorado City, and 
there joined another trail that came from the 
southeast up the east side of Fountain Creek. 
The latter trail followed the east side of the 
Fountain from the Arkansas River, and crossed 
Monument Creek just below the present Artificial 
Ice Plant in Colorado Springs, from which point 
it ran along the north side of the Fountain to a 
point just west of Colorado City, where it crossed 
to the south side, then up the south side of the 

27 



28 Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 

creek to the Manitou Springs. From this place it 
went up Ruxton Creek for a few hundred yards, 
then crossed over to the west side, then up the 
creek to a point just below the Colorado Midland 
Railway bridge; thence westward up a long ravine 
to its head; then in the same direction near the 
heads of the ravines running into the Fountain and 
from a quarter to a half of a mile south of that 
creek for two miles or more. The trail finally came 
down to the Fountain again just below Cascade 
Canon and from there led up the Fountain to its 
head, where it branched off in various directions. 
The trail I have described from Manitou to 
Cascade Canon is the famous old Ute Pass trail 
which undoubtedly had been used by various tribes 
of Indians for hundreds of years before the dis- 
covery of America. We know it was used later 
for many generations by the Spanish explorer, 
the hunter, the trapper, and the Indian until the 
white settler came, and even after that by occa- 
sional war-parties, up to the time the Indians 
were driven from the State of Colorado. Marble 
markers were placed at intervals along this trail 
by the El Paso County Pioneer Society in the 
summer of 1912. This trail and those leading 
into it from the plains were well-traveled roads 
and gave indication of long and frequent use. 



Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 29 

Dr. Edwin James, botanist and historian of 
Long's expedition, who visited the Pike's Peak 
region in 1820, says: 

A large and much frequented road passes the springs 
and enters the mountains running to the north of the 
high peak. 

He says of the principal spring at Manitou: 

The boiling spring is a large and beautiful fountain 
of water, cool and transparent and aerated with car- 
bonic acid. It rises on the brink of a small stream 
which here descends from the mountains at the point 
where the bed of this stream divides the ridge of sand- 
stone, which rests against the base of the first granitic 
range. The water of the spring deposits a copious 
concretion of carbonate of lime, which has accumulated 
on every side, until it has formed a large basin over- 
hanging the stream, above which it rises several feet. 
The basin is of snowy whiteness and large enough to 
contain three or four hundred gallons, and is con- 
stantly overflowing. The spring rises from the bottom 
of the basin with a rumbling noise, discharging about 
equal volumes of air and of water, probably about 
fifty gallons per minute, the whole kept in constant 
agitation. The water is beautifully transparent, has 
a sparkling appearance, the grateful taste and ex- 
hilarating effect of the most highly aerated artificial 
mineral water. 

In the bottom of the spring a great number of beads 
and other small articles of Indian adornment were 
found, having unquestionably been left there as a 
sacrifice or present to the springs, which are regarded 



30 Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 

with a sort of veneration by the savages. Bijeau, 
our guide, assured us he had repeatedly taken beads 
and other adornments from these springs and sold 
them to the same savages who had thrown them in. 

Mr. Rufus B. Sage, who describes himself as a 
New Englander, after passing through this region 
in 1842, published a book giving his experiences 
and observations. In speaking of the Fontaine 
qui Bouille Creek, now known as the Fountain 
and of the Manitou Springs, he says : 

This name is derived from two singular springs 
situated within a few yards of each other at the 
creek's head) both of which emit water in the 
form of vapor, with a hissing noise; one strongly 
impregnated with sulphur and the other with soda. 
The soda water is fully as good as any manufactured 
for special use and sparkles and foams with equal 
effervescence. The Arapahoes regard this phenome- 
non with awe, and venerate it as the manifestation 
of the immediate presence of the Great Spirit. They 
call it the "Medicine Fountain" and seldom neglect 
to bestow their gifts upon it whenever an opportunity 
is presented. These offerings usually consist of robes, 
blankets, arrows, bows, knives, beads, moccasins, etc., 
which they either throw into the water, or hang upon 
the surrounding trees. 

Sometimes a whole village will visit the place for 
the purpose of paying their united regard to this 
sacred fountain. 

The scenery in the vicinity is truly magnificent. 
A valley several hundred yards in width heads at the 



Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 31 

springs, and overlooking it from the west in almost 
perpendicular ascent tower the lofty summits of 
Pike's Peak, piercing the clouds and reveling in 
eternal snow. This valley opens eastward and is 
walled in at the right and left at the mountain's base 
by a stretch of high table-land surmounted by oaks 
and stately pines, with now and then an interval dis- 
playing a luxuriant coating of grass. The soil is a 
reddish loam and very rich. The trees, which skirt 
the creek as it traces its way from the fountain, are 
generally free from underbrush, and show almost as 
much regularity of position as if planted by the hand 
of art. A lusty growth of vegetation is sustained 
among them to their very trunks, which is garnished 
by wild flowers during the summer months, that invest 
the whole scene with an enchantment peculiar to itself. 

The climate, too, is far milder in this than in 
adjoining regions, even of a more southern latitude. 
'"Tis here summer first unfolds her robes, and here the 
longest tarries " ; the grass, continuing green the entire 
winter, here first feels the genial touch of spring. 
Snow seldom remains upon the ground to exceed 
a single day, even in the severest weather, while the 
neighboring hills and prairies present their white 
mantlings for weeks in succession. 

As the creek emerges from the mountains, it in- 
creases in size by the accession of several tributaries, 
and the valley also expands, retaining for a con- 
siderable distance the distinguishing traces above 
described. 

The vicinity affords an abundance of game, among 
which are deer, sheep, bear, antelope, elk, and buffalo, 
together with turkeys, geese, ducks, grouse, mountain 
fowls, and rabbits. Affording as it does such magnifi- 



32 Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 

cent and delightful scenery, such rich stores for the 
supply of human wants both to please the taste and 
enrapture the heart; so heavenlike in its appearance 
and character, it is no wonder the untaught savage 
reveres it as a place wherein the Good Spirit delights 
to dwell, and hastens with his free-will offerings to the 
strange fountain, in the full belief that its bubbling 
waters are the more immediate impersonation of Him 
whom he adores. 

And there are other scenes adjoining this that 
demand a passing notice. A few miles from the 
springs, and running parallel with the eastern base 
of the mountain range, several hundred yards removed 
from it, a wall of coarse, red granite towers to a varied 
height of from fifty to three hundred feet. This wall 
is formed of an immense strata planted vertically. 
This mural tier is isolated and occupies its prairie 
site in silent majesty, as if to guard the approach to 
the stupendous monuments of Nature's handiwork, 
that form the background, disclosing itself to the 
beholder for a distance of over thirty miles. 

Lieut. John C. Fremont, who visited the springs 
in 1843, while on his second expedition, was just 
as enthusiastic about them. He says : 

On the morning of the i6th of July we resumed our 
journey. Our direction was up the Boiling Springs 
River, it being my intention to visit the celebrated 
springs from which the river takes its name, and 
which are on its upper waters at the foot of Pike's 
Peak. 

Our animals fared well while we were on this stream, 



Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 33 

there being everywhere a great abundance of grass. 
Beautiful clusters of flowering plants were numerous, 
and wild currants, nearly ripe, were abundant. On 
the afternoon of the I7th, we entered among the 
broken ridges at the foot of the mountain, where the 
river made several forks. 

Leaving the camp to follow slowly, I rode ahead in 
the afternoon, in search of the springs. In the mean- 
time, the clouds, which had been gathering all the 
afternoon over the mountains, began to roll down their 
sides, and a storm so violent burst upon me that it 
appeared I had entered the store house of the thunder 
storms. I continued, however, to ride along up the 
river until about sunset, and was beginning to be 
doubtful of finding the springs before the next day, 
when I came suddenly upon a large, smooth rock about 
twenty feet in diameter, where the water from several 
springs was bubbling and boiling up in the midst of a 
white encrustation, with which it had covered a portion 
of the rock . As it did not correspond with the descrip- 
tion given me by the hunters, I did not stop to taste 
the water, but dismounting, walked a little way up the 
river, and passing through a narrow thicket of shrub- 
bery bordering the stream, stepped directly upon a 
huge, white rock at the foot of which the river, already 
becoming a torrent, foamed along, broken by a small 
fall. 

A deer which had been drinking at the spring was 
startled by my approach, and springing across the 
river bounded off up the mountain. In the upper 
part of the rock, which had been formed by the deposi- 
tion, was a beautiful, white basin overhung by currant 
bushes, in which the cold, clear water bubbled up, 
kept in constant motion by the escaping gas, and over- 



34 Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 

flowing the rock which it had almost entirely covered 
with a smooth crust of glistening white. 

I had all day refrained from drinking, reserving 
myself for the springs, and as I could not well be more 
wet than the rain had already made me, I lay down by 
the side of the basin and drank heartily of the delight- 
ful water. 

As it was now beginning to grow dark, I rode 
quickly down the river on which I found the camp a 
few miles below. The morning of the 1 8th was beauti- 
ful and clear, and all of the people being anxious to 
drink of these famous waters, we encamped immedi- 
ately at the springs and spent there a very pleasant day. 

On the opposite side of the river is another locality 
of springs which are entirely of the same nature. The 
water has a very agreeable taste, which Mr. Preuss 
found very much to resemble that of the famous 
Selter spring in the Grand Duchy of Nassau, a 
country famous for wine and mineral waters. 

Resuming our journey on the morning of the iQth, 
we descended the river, in order to reach the mouth 
of the eastern fork which I proposed to ascend. The 
left bank of the river is here very much broken. There 
is a handsome little bottom on the right, and both 
banks are exceedingly picturesque, a stratum of red 
rock in nearly perpendicular walls, crossing the valley 
from north to south. 

Lieut. George F. Ruxton, an officer of the 
British Army, who was seeking the restoration of 
his health by roughing it in the Rocky Mountains, 
camped at the Manitou Springs for a number of 
months in the early part of 1847. 



Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 35 

Writing of his trip from Pueblo up the Fontaine 
qui Bouille in the month of March of that year, 
and of his stay at the springs afterwards, he says : 

The further I advanced up the creek and the nearer 
the mountains, the more advanced was the vegetation. 
As yet, however, the cotton woods and the larger trees 
in the bottom showed no signs of life, and the currant 
and cherry bushes still looked dry and sapless. The 
thickets, however, were filled with birds and resounded 
with their songs, and the plains were alive with prairie 
dogs, busy in repairing their houses and barking 
lustily as I rode through their towns. Turkeys, too, 
were calling in the timber, and the boom of the prairie 
fowl at rise and set of sun was heard on every side. 
The snow had entirely disappeared from the plains, 
but Pike's Peak and the mountains were still clad in 
white. 

On my way I met a band of hunters who had been 
driven in by a party of Arapahoes who were encamped 
on the eastern fork of the Fontaine qui Bouille [Monu- 
ment Creek]. They strongly urged me to return, 
as, being alone, I could not fail to be robbed of my 
animals, if not killed myself. However, in pursuance 
of my fixed rule never to stop on account of Indians, 
I proceeded up the river and camped on the first fork 
for a day or two, hunting in the mountains. I then 
moved up the main fork on which I had been directed 
by the hunters to proceed, in order to visit the far 
famed springs, from which the creek takes its name. 
I followed a very good lodge-pole trail which struck the 
creek before entering the broken country, being that 
used by the Utes and Arapahoes on their way to the 



36 Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 

Bayou Salado. Here the valley narrowed considerably, 
and turning an angle with the creek, I was at once shut 
in by mountains and elevated ridges which rose on 
each side of the stream. This was now a rapid torrent 
tumbling over the rocks and stones and fringed with 
oak and a shrubbery of brush. A few miles on, the 
canon opened into a little shelving glade and on the 
right bank of the stream, raised several feet above it, 
was a flat, white rock, in which was a round hole where 
one of the celebrated springs hissed and bubbled with 
its escaping gas. I had been cautioned against drink- 
ing this, being directed to follow the stream a few 
yards to another, which is the true soda spring. 

I had not only abstained from drinking that day, 
but with the aid of a handful of salt, which I had 
brought with me for the purpose, had so highly 
seasoned my breakfast of venison, that I was in a most 
satisfactory state of thirst. I therefore proceeded 
at once to the other spring, and found it about forty 
yards from the first and immediately above the river, 
issuing from a little basin in the flat, white rock, and 
trickling over the edge into the stream. The escape 
of gas in this was much stronger than in the other, 
and was similar to water boiling smartly. 

I had provided myself with a tin cup holding about 
a pint, but before dipping it in I divested myself of 
my pouch and belt, and sat down in order to enjoy 
the draught at my leisure. I was half dead with thirst, 
and tucking up the sleeves of my hunting shirt, I 
dipped the cup into the midst of the bubbles and raised 
it, hissing and sparkling, to my lips. Such a draught ! 
Three times without drawing a breath was it replen- 
ished and emptied, almost blowing up the roof of my 
mouth with its effervescence. It was equal to the very 



Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 37 

best soda water, but possesses that fresh, natural 
flavor which manufactured water cannot impart. 

The Indians regard with awe the medicine waters 
of these fountains, as being the abode of a Spirit who 
breathes through the transparent water, and thus 
by his exhalations causes the perturbation of its sur- 
face. The Arapahoes especially attribute to this water 
god, the power of ordaining the success or miscar- 
riage of their war expeditions, and as their braves 
pass often by the mysterious springs when in search 
of their hereditary enemies, the Utes, in the "Valley of 
Salt, " they never fail to bestow their votive offerings 
upon the water sprite, in order to propitiate the 
Manitou of the fountain and insure a fortunate issue 
to their path of war. Thus at the time of my visit, 
the basin of the spring was filled with beads and wam- 
pum and pieces of red cloth and knives, while the 
surrounding trees were hung with strips of deer skin, 
cloth, and moccasins; to which, had they been service- 
able, I would most sacrilegiously have helped my- 
self. The signs, too, around the spring, plainly showed 
that here a war dance had been executed by the 
braves, and I was not a little pleased to find that 
they had already been here and were not likely to 
return the same way; but in this supposition I was 
quite astray. 

The large spring referred to by Dr. James, Sage, 
Fremont, Ruxton, and the other writers whom I 
have quoted, is the one now enclosed and used by 
the bottling works at Manitou. Ruxton says the 
two springs were intimately connected with the 
separation of the Comanche and the Snake, or 



38 Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 

Ute tribes, and he gives the following legend 
concerning the beginning of the trouble : 



Many hundreds of winters ago, when the cotton- 
woods on the Big River were no higher than an arrow, 
and the red men, who hunted the buffalo on the plains, 
all spoke the same language, and the pipe of peace 
breathed its social cloud of kinnikinnik whenever 
two parties of hunters met on the boundless plains 
when, with hunting grounds and game of every kind 
in the greatest abundance, no nation dug up the 
hatchet with another because one of its hunters 
followed the game into their bounds, but, on the 
contrary, loaded for him his back with choice and 
fattest meat, and ever proffered the soothing pipe 
before the stranger, with well-filled belly, left the vil- 
lage, it happened that two hunters of different 
nations met one day on a small rivulet, where both 
had repaired to quench their thirst. A little stream 
of water, rising from a spring on a rock within a few 
feet of the bank, trickled over it and fell splashing 
into the river. To this the hunters repaired; and 
while one sought the spring itself, where the water, 
cold and clear, reflected on its surface the image of 
the surrounding scenery, the other, tired by his exer- 
tions in the chase, threw himself at once to the ground 
and plunged his face into the running stream. 

The latter had been unsuccessful in the chase, and 
perhaps his bad fortune and the sight of the fat deer, 
which the other hunter threw from his back before he 
drank at the crystal spring, caused a feeling of jealousy 
and ill-humour to take possession of his mind. The 
other, on the contrary, before he satisfied his thirst, 



Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 39 

raised in the hollow of his hand a portion of the water, 
and, lifting it towards the sun, reversed his hand and 
allowed it to fall upon the ground, a libation to the 
Great Spirit who had vouchsafed him a successful 
hunt, and the blessing of the refreshing water with 
which he was about to quench his thirst. 

Seeing this, and being reminded that he had 
neglected the usual offering, only increased the feel- 
ing of envy and annoyance which the unsuccessful 
hunter permitted to get the mastery of his heart; 
and the Evil Spirit at that moment entering his body, 
his temper fairly flew away, and he sought some pre- 
tense by which to provoke a quarrel with the stranger 
Indian at the spring. 

"Why does a stranger," he asked, rising from the 
stream at the same time, "drink at the spring-head, 
when one to whom the fountain belongs contents 
himself with the water that runs from it?" 

"The Great Spirit places the cool water at the 
spring, " answered the other hunter, "that his children 
may drink it pure and undefiled. The running water 
is for the beasts which scour the plains. Au-sa-qua 
is a chief of the Shos-shone; he drinks at the head 
water." 

"The Shos-shone is but a tribe of the Comanche, " 
returned the other; "Waco-mish leads the grand 
nation. Why does a Shos-shone dare to drink above 
him?" 

"He has said it. The Shos-shone drinks at the 
spring-head; other nations of the stream which runs 
into the fields. Au-sa-qua is chief of his nation. 
The Comanche are brothers. Let them both drink 
of the same water. " 

"The Shos-shone pays tribute to the Comanche. 



40 Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 

Waco-mish leads that nation to war. Waco-mish 
is chief of the Shos-shone, as he is of his own people." 

"Waco-mish lies; his tongue is forked like the 
rattlesnake's; his heart is black as the Misho-tunga 
[bad spirit]. When the Manitou made his children, 
whether Shos-shone or Comanche, Arapahoe, Shi-an, 
or Pa-ne*, he gave them buffalo to eat, and the pure 
water of the fountain to quench their thirst. He said 
not to one, Drink here, and to another, Drink there; 
but gave the crystal spring to all, that all might 
drink." 

Waco-mish almost burst with rage as the other 
spoke ; but his coward heart alone prevented him from 
provoking an encounter with the calm Shos-shone. 
He, made thirsty by the words he had spoken for the 
red man is ever sparing of his tongue again stooped 
down to the spring to quench his thirst, when the 
subtle warrior of the Comanche suddenly threw 
himself upon the kneeling hunter, and, forcing his 
head into the bubbling water, held him down with all 
his strength, until his victim no longer struggled, his 
stiffened limbs relaxed, and he fell forward over the 
spring, drowned and dead. 

Over the body stood the murderer, and no sooner 
was the deed of blood consummated than bitter 
remorse took possession of his mind, where before had 
reigned the fiercest passion and vindictive hate. With 
hands clasped to his forehead, he stood transfixed 
with horror, intently gazing on his victim, whose head 
still remained immersed in the fountain. Mechan- 
ically he dragged the body a few paces from the water, 
which, as soon as the head of the dead Indian was 
withdrawn, the Comanche saw suddenly and strangely 
disturbed. Bubbles sprang up from the bottom, 



Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 41 

and rising to the surface, escaped in hissing gas. A 
thin vapoury cloud arose, and gradually dissolving, 
displayed to the eyes of the trembling murderer the 
figure of an aged Indian, whose long, snowy hair and 
venerable beard, blown aside by a gentle air from his 
breast, discovered the well-known totem of the great 
Wan-kan-aga, the father of the Comanche and Shos- 
shone nation, whom the tradition of the tribe, handed 
down by skillful hieroglyphics, almost deified for the 
good actions and deeds of bravery this famous war- 
rior had performed when on earth. 

Stretching out a war-club towards the affrighted 
murderer, the figure thus addressed him : 

"Accursed of my tribe! this day thou hast severed 
the link between the mightiest nations of the world, 
while the blood of the brave Shos-shone cries to the 
Manitou for vengeance. May the water of thy tribe 
be rank and bitter in their throats." Thus saying, 
and swinging his ponderous war-club (made from the 
elk's horn) round his head, he dashed out the brains 
of the Comanche, who fell headlong into the spring, 
which, from that day to the present moment, remains 
rank and nauseous, so that not even when half dead 
with thirst, can one drink the foul water of that 
spring. 

The good Wan-kan-aga, however, to perpetuate 
the memory of the Shos-shone warrior, who was re- 
nowned in his tribe for valour and nobleness of heart, 
struck, with the same avenging club, a hard, flat rock 
which overhung the rivulet, just out of sight of this 
scene of blood ; and forthwith the rock opened into a 
round, clear basin, which instantly filled with bubbling, 
sparkling water, than which no thirsty hunter ever 
drank a sweeter or a cooler draught. 



42 Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 

Thus the two springs remain, an everlasting 
memento of the foul murder of the brave Shos-shone, 
and the stern justice of the good Wan-kan-aga; and 
from that day the two mighty tribes of the Shos-shone 
and Comanche have remained severed and apart; 
although a long and bloody war followed the treacher- 
ous murder of the Shos-shone chief, and many a scalp 
torn from the head of the Comanche paid the penalty 
of his death. 

In telling of the great quantities of game in this 
region, Ruxton says: 

Never was there such a paradise for hunters as this 
lone and solitary spot. 

Game abounded on every hand. Bear, elk, 
deer, mountain sheep, antelope, and grouse were 
in abundance in the surrounding mountains and 
valleys. Of buffalo there were few except in 
the valleys west of Pike's Peak and in the Bayou 
Salado, or South Park, as it is now known. 

Ruxton further says : 

It is a singular fact that within the last two years 
the prairies, extending from the mountains to one 
hundred miles or more down the Arkansas, have been 
entirely abandoned by the buffalo ; indeed, in crossing 
from the settlements of New Mexico, the boundary 
of their former range is marked by skulls and bones, 
which appear fresher as the traveler advances west- 
ward and towards the waters of the Platte. 

The evidences that Ruxton here mentions were 



Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 43 

still apparent twelve or fourteen years later, when 
the first settlers of this region arrived. Buffalo 
skulls and bones were scattered everywhere over 
the plains, but live buffalo could seldom be 
found nearer than one hundred miles east of the 
mountains. 

The reason for this has been variously stated, 
some claiming that a contagious disease broke 
out among the buffalo in the early forties, which 
virtually exterminated those along the eastern 
base of the mountains. Others say that about 
that time there was a tremendous snowfall in 
the early part of the winter which covered the 
whole country along the eastern base of the 
mountains to a depth of six to eight feet, and that 
as a result all the buffalo within the region of the 
snowfall starved to death during the following 
winter. It is very possible that the latter reason 
may have been the true one, as a heavy fall of 
snow in the early part of the winter is not unknown. 
In the winter of 1864-1865 the antelope of this 
region nearly starved to death, owing to a two- 
foot fall of snow, on the last day of October and 
the first day of November, 1864, which covered the 
ground to a considerable depth for most of the 
winter. 

While it is true that there were no buffalo in 



44 Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 

this immediate region at the time Ruxton was here, 
nor afterwards, it is well-known that they had 
been fairly plentiful in earlier years. Lieuten- 
ant Pike tells of killing five buffalo the day he 
reached the present site of Pueblo in 1806, and a 
day or two afterwards he killed three more on 
Turkey Creek, about twenty miles south of where 
Colorado Springs now stands, and saw others 
while climbing the mountains in his attempt to 
reach the "high point," as he calls it, now known 
as Pike's Peak. 

In 1820, Long's expedition, on its way from 
Platte Canon, killed several buffalo on Monument 
Creek, a few miles south of the Divide ; and later, 
while camped on the Fountain a short distance 
below the site of the present city of Colorado 
Springs, killed several more. 

Sage says that in 1842, during a five days' stay 
at Jimmy's Camp (ten miles east of the present 
city of Colorado Springs), he "killed three fine 
buffalo cows. " 

After Ruxton had been camped near Manitou 
Springs for two or three weeks, while out hunting 
one day, he ran across an Indian camp, which 
startled him very much. No Indians were in 
sight at the time, but later he got a glimpse of 
two carrying in a deer which they had killed. The 



Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 45 

next morning Ruxton concluded that as a matter 
of safety, he had better remove his camp to some 
more secluded spot. The following day a fire 
was started on the side of the mountain to the 
south of the springs, which rapidly spread in every 
direction. He says: 

I had from the first no doubt that the fire was caused 
by the Indians who had probably discovered my 
animals, and thinking that a large party of hunters 
might be out, had taken advantage of a favorable wind 
to set fire to the grass, hoping to secure the horses 
and mules in the confusion, without risk of attacking 
the camp. 

In order to be out of reach of the fire, Ruxton 
moved his camp down the Fontaine qui Bouille 
six or seven miles. He says: 

All this time the fire was spreading out on the 
prairies. It extended at least five miles on the left 
bank of the creek and on the right was more slowly 
creeping up the mountainside, while the brush and 
timber in the bottom was one mass of flame. Besides v 
the long, sweeping line of the advancing flame the 
plateaus on the mountainside and within the line 
were burning in every direction as the squalls and 
eddies down the gullies drove the fire to all points. 
The mountains themselves being invisible, the air 
from the low ground where I then was, appeared a 
mass of fire, and huge crescents of flame danced as 
it were in the very sky, until a mass of timber blazing 



46 Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 

at once exhibited the somber background of the 
stupendous mountains. 

The fire extended towards the waters of the 
Platte upwards of forty miles, and for fourteen 
days its glare was visible on the Arkansas River 
fifty miles distant. 

The testimony of Ruxton bears out information 
I have from other sources, that a large portion of 
the great areas of dead timber on the mountain- 
sides of this region is the result of fires started by 
the various Indian tribes in their wanderings to 
and fro. Old trappers say that the Utes fre- 
quently went out upon the plains on horse-stealing 
expeditions; that when they had located a camp 
of their enemies, they would stealthily creep in 
among their ponies in the night, round them up, 
and start off towards the mountains with as many 
as they could hastily gather together. They were 
sure to be pursued the following morning when the 
raid had been discovered, and often the Utes with 
the stolen herd would find their pursuers close 
after them by the time they reached the moun- 
tains. In that case, they knew that if they fol- 
lowed up Ute Pass they were likely to be overtaken, 
but by crossing over the northern point of Cheyenne 
Mountain and on to the west along a trail that 
ran not very far distant from the route now fol- 



Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 47 

lowed by the Cripple Creek Short Line, they could 
much more easily elude their pursuers. If, when 
west of Cheyenne Mountain the Utes found their 
enemies gaining upon them, they would start a 
timber fire to cover their retreat. These fires 
would, of course, spread indefinitely and ruin 
immense tracts of timber. This is doubtless on e 
of the principal reasons why our mountainsides 
are so nearly denuded of their original growth 
of trees. These horse-stealing raids were no un- 
common occurrence. Colonel Dodge, in his book 
Our Wild Indians, tells of one made by the Utes 
in 1874, which was daring as well as successful. 
He says : 

A mixed band of some fifteen hundred Sioux and 
Cheyennes, hunting in 1874, went well up on the head- 
waters of the Republican River in search of buffalo. 
The Utes found them out and a few warriors slipped 
into their camp during the night, stampeded their 
ponies at daylight, and in spite of the hot pursuit 
of the Sioux, reached the mountains with over two 
hundred head. 

Ruxton frequently mentions the Ute Pass, and 
states that it was the principal line of travel to 
and from the South Park for all the Indian tribes 
of this region at the time of his arrival, as well as 
previous thereto. 



48 Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 

There was another much-used trail into the 
South Park which entered the mountains near the 
present town of Canon City. It led in a north- 
westerly direction from the latter place, and 
reached the South Park proper near Hartsell 
Hot Springs. This route was used by the Indians 
occupying the country along the Arkansas River 
and to the south of it. In addition to the two 
principal trails, there were others of lesser note, 
as, for example, that over the north end of Chey- 
enne Mountain, and one west of the present 
town of Monument; but these were difficult and 
were not used to any great extent. 

In 1806, Lieutenant Pike attempted to lead his 
exploring expedition over the Canon City trail, 
but evidently had a very poor guide, and, as a 
result, lost his way very soon after leaving the 
Arkansas River. They wandered about through 
the low mountains west of the present mining 
camp of Cripple Creek, and finally reached the 
Platte near the west end of Eleven-Mile Canon 
where the river emerges from the South Park. 
He mentions having found near that point a 
recently abandoned Indian camp which he esti- 
mates must have been occupied by at least three 
thousand Indians. 

Thomas J. Farnham, on his way to Oregon in 



Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 49 

1839, passed through the South Park, reaching it 
from the Arkansas River by the trail already de- 
scribed. He tells of his trip, in a rudely bound 
little book of minutely fine print, published in 
1843. In recounting his journey from the Arkan- 
sas River to the South Park, he frequently men- 
tions James Peak as being to the east of the route 
he was traveling. Previously, when encamped on 
the Arkansas River, below the mouth of the Fon- 
taine qui Bouille, he speaks of the latter stream as 
heading in James Peak, eighty miles to the north- 
west; he also states that one of the branches of 
the Huerfano originates in Pike's Peak, seventy to 
eighty miles to the south. This brings to mind the 
fact that previous to about 1840 the peak that we 
now know as Pike's Peak was known as James 
Peak. Major S. H. Long, who was in command 
of the expedition that explored the Pike's Peak 
region in 1820, gave it this name in honor of Dr. 
James, who is supposed to have been the first 
white man to ascend it. After about 1840, this 
name was gradually dropped and Pike's Peak was 
substituted. 

Parnham was very much pleased with the South 
Park, and says of it, after describing its streams, 
valleys, and rocky ridges: 

This is a bird's-eye view of Bayou Salado, so named 



50 Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 

from the circumstance that native rock salt is found 
in some parts of it. We were in the central portion 
of it. To the north and south and west its isolated 
plains rise one above another, always beautiful and 
covered with verdure during the months of spring and 
summer. A sweet spot this, for the romance of the 
future as well as of the present and past. The 
buffalo have for ages resorted here about the last days 
of July from the arid plains of the Arkansas and 
the Platte; and hither the Utes, Cheyennes and 
Arapahoes, Black Feet, Crows and Sioux of the north, 
have for ages met and hunted and fought and loved, 
and when their battles and hunts were interrupted 
by the chills and snows of November, they separated 
for their several winter resorts. 

How wild and beautiful the past, as it comes up 
fledged >with the rich plumage of the imagination! 
These vales, studded with a thousand villages of 
conical skin wigwams, with their thousands of fires 
blazing on the starry brow of night ! I see the dusky 
forms crouching around the glowing piles of ignited 
logs, in family groups, whispering the dreams of their 
rude love, or gathered around the stalwart form of 
some noble chief at the hour of midnight, listening to 
the harangue of vengeance or the whoop of war that 
is to cast the deadly arrow with the first gleam of 
morning light. 

Or, may we not see them gathered, a circle of old 
braves, around an aged tree, surrounded each by the 
musty trophies of half a century's daring deeds. The 
eldest and richest in scalps rises from the center of 
the ring and advances to the tree. Hear him ! 

"Fifty winters ago when the seventh moon's first 
horn hung over the green forests of the Ute hills, myself 



Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 51 

and five others erected a lodge for the Great Spirit 
on the snows of the White Butte and carried there our 
wampum and skins, and the hide of a white buffalo. 
We hung them in the Great Spirit's lodge and seated 
ourselves in silence till the moon had descended the 
western mountain, and thought of the blood of our 
fathers that the Comanches had killed when the moon 
was round and lay on the eastern plains. My own 
father was scalped, and the fathers of five others were 
scalped, and their bloody heads were gnawed by the 
wolf. We could not live while our father's lodges were 
empty and the scalps of their murderers were not in 
the lodges of our mothers. Our hearts told us to 
make these offerings to the Great Spirit who had 
fostered them on the mountains, and when the moon 
was down and the shadows of the White Butte were 
as dark as the hair of a bear, we said to the Great 
Spirit: 'No man can war with the arrows from the 
quiver of thy storms. No man's word can be heard 
when thy voice is among the clouds. No man's hand 
is strong when thy hand lets loose the wind. The 
wolf gnaws the heads of our fathers and the scalps of 
their murderers hang not in the lodges of our mothers. 
Great Father Spirit, send not thine anger out. 
Hold in thy hand the winds. Let not thy great voice 
drown the death yell while we hunt the murderers 
of our fathers.' I and the five others then built 
in the middle of the lodge a fire, and in its bright light 
the Great Spirit saw the wampum and the skins and 
the white buffalo hide. Five days and nights I and 
five others danced and smoked the medicine and beat 
the board with sticks and chanted away the powers 
of the great Medicine Men, that they might not be 
evil to us and bring sickness into our bones. Then 



52 Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 

when the stars were shining in the clear sky, we swore 
(I must not tell what, for it was in the ear of the Great 
Spirit), and went out of the lodge with our bosoms 
full of anger against the murderers of our fathers whose 
bones were in the jaws of the wolf and went for their 
scalps, to hang them in the lodges of our mothers." 
See him strike the aged tree with his war- club; again, 
again, nine times. "So many Comanches did I slay, 
the murderers of my father, before the moon was round 
again and lay upon the eastern plains. " 

Farnham, continuing, says: 

This is not merely an imaginary scene of former 
times in the Bayou Sal ado. All the essential incidents 
related happened yearly in that and other hunting- 
grounds, whenever the old braves assembled to cele- 
brate valorous deeds of their younger days. When 
these exciting relations were finished, the young men of 
the tribe who had not yet distinguished themselves 
were exhorted to seek glory in a similar way ; and woe 
to him who passed his manhood without ornamenting 
the door of his lodge with the scalps of his enemies. 

This valley is still frequented by these Indians as 
a summer haunt, when the heat of the plains renders 
them uncomfortable. The Utes were scouring it 
when we passed. Our guide informed us that the 
Utes reside on both sides of the mountains, that 
they are continually migrating from one side to the 
other, that they speak the Spanish language, that 
some few half-breeds have embraced the Catholic 
faith, that the remainder yet hold the simple and 
sublime faith of their forefathers, in the existence of 
one great, creating, and sustaining Cause, mingled 



Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 53 

with the belief in the ghostly visitations of their de- 
ceased Medicine Men, or Diviners ; that they number 
one thousand families. 

Pie also stated that the Cheyennes were less brave 
and more thievish than any of the other tribes living 
on the plains. 

Farnham's description of the incantations 
practiced by the Utes is in the main probably 
true; the information on which it was based was 
doubtless obtained from his guide. 

Ruxton tells of the use of the trail west of the 
present town of Monument by a war-party of 
Arapahoes on their way to the South Park to 
fight the Utes. In the night the band had sur- 
prised a small company of trappers on the head of 
Bijou Creek, killing four of them and capturing 
all of their horses. The following morning two 
of the trappers, one of whom was slightly wounded, 
started in pursuit of the Indians, intending if 
possible to recover their animals. They followed 
the trail of the Indians to a point in the neighbor- 
hood of the present town of Monument where they 
found that the band had divided, the larger 
party, judging from the direction taken, evidently 
intending to enter the mountains by way of Ute 
Pass. The other party, having all the loose ani- 
mals, started across the mountains by the pass to 



54 Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 

the west of Monument, probably hoping to get 
the better of the Utes by coming in from two 
different directions. The trappers followed the 
latter party across the first mountains where they 
found their stolen animals in charge of three 
Indians. The trappers surprised and killed all 
three of them, recaptured their animals, and 
then hurried on to the Utes, giving such timely 
warning as enabled them to defeat the Arapahoes 
in a very decisive manner. 

The battles in the South Park and on the plains 
between the contending tribes were seldom of a 
very sanguinary nature. If the attacking Indians 
happened to find their enemies on level ground, 
they would circle around them just out of gunshot 
at first, gradually coming closer, all the time 
lying on the outside and shooting from under the 
necks of their ponies. These ponies were gener- 
ally the best that the tribe afforded and were not 
often used except for purposes of war. While 
engaged in battle, the Indians seldom used saddles, 
and in place of bridles had merely a piece of 
plaited buffalo-hide rope, tied around the under 
jaw of the pony. If the defending party was 
located in a fairly good defensive position, the 
battle consisted of groups of the attacking party 
dashing in, firing, and then dashing out again. 



Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 55 

This was kept up until a few warriors had been 
killed or wounded and a few scalps had been 
taken; then the battle was over, one side or the 
other retreating. With an Indian, it was a waste 
of time to kill an enemy unless his scalp was taken, 
as that was the evidence necessary to prove the 
prowess of the warrior. Engagements of the 
kind I have mentioned have occurred in almost 
every valley in and around the South Park at 
some time during the hundreds of years of warfare 
that was carried on in that region. 

Fremont, on his return trip from California, 
during his second exploring expedition, crossed 
the Rocky Mountains by way of Middle Park, 
then across South Park, reaching the Arkansas 
River near the present town of Canon City. On 
his way through the South Park he witnessed one 
of these battles, in describing which he says : 

In the evening a band of buffalo furnished a little 
excitement by charging through our camp. On the 
following day we descended the stream by an excellent 
buffalo trail along the open grassy bottom of the river. 
On our right, the Bayou was bordered by a mountain- 
ous range crested with rocky and naked peaks, and 
below it had a beautiful parklike character of pretty, 
level prairies, interspersed among low spurs, wooded 
openly with pine and quaking asps, contrasting well 
with the denser pines which swept around on the 



56 Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 

mountainous sides. Descending always the valley 
of the stream, towards noon we descried a mounted 
party descending the point of a spur, and judging them 
to be Arapahoes who, defeated or victorious, were 
equally dangerous to us, and with whom a fight would 
be inevitable we hurried to post ourselves as strongly 
as possible on some willow islands in the river. We 
had scarcely halted when they arrived, proving to be 
a party of Ute women, who told us that on the other 
side of the ridge their village was fighting with the 
Arapahoes. As soon as they had given us this 
information, they filled the air with cries and lamen- 
tations, which made us understand that some of their 
chiefs had been killed. 

Extending along the river directly ahead of us was 
a low piny ridge, leaving between it and the stream 
a small open bottom on which the Utes had very 
injudiciously placed their village, which, according to 
the women, numbered about three hundred warriors. 
Advancing in the cover of the pines, the Arapahoes, 
about daylight, charged into the village, driving off a 
great number of their horses, and killing four men, 
among them the principal chief of the village. They 
drove the horses perhaps a mile beyond the village to 
the end of a hollow where they had previously forted 
at the edge of the pines. Here the Utes had instantly 
attacked them in turn, and, according to the report of 
the women, were getting rather the best of the day. 
The women pressed us eagerly to join with their 
people, and would immediately have provided us with 
the best horses at the village, but it was not for us to 
interfere in such a conflict. Neither party were our 
friends or under our protection, and each was ready to 
prey upon us that could. But we could not help feel- 



Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 57 

ing an unusual excitement at being within a few 
hundred yards of a fight in which five hundred men 
were closely engaged, and hearing the sharp cracks 
of their rifles. We were in a bad position and subject 
to be attacked in it. Either party which we might 
meet, victorious or defeated, was certain to fall upon 
us, and gearing up immediately, we kept close along 
the pines of the ridge, having it between us and the 
village, and keeping the scouts on the summit to 
give us notice of the approach of the Indians. As we 
passed by the village which was immediately below 
us, horsemen were galloping to and fro, and groups of 
people were gathered around those who were wounded 
and dead and who were being brought in from the 
field. 

We continued to press on, and crossing another 
fork which came in from the right, after having made 
fifteen miles from the village, fortified ourselves 
strongly in the pines a short distance from the river. 

During the afternoon Pike's Peak had been plainly 
in view before us and from our encampment bore 
north 87 east by compass. This was a familiar object, 
and it had for us the face of an old friend. At its 
foot were the springs where we had spent a pleasant 
day in coming out. 

In 1859, a battle between the Utes on the one 
side, and the Cheyennes, Arapahoes, and Sioux on 
the other, was fought six miles north of Colorado 
City, in the valley now occupied by the Modern 
Woodmen's Home. There were several hundred 
warriors on each side and the battle was of unusual 



5$ Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 

duration, continuing for almost an entire day. 
The Utes were finally victorious and drove their 
enemies back to the plains. 

Until 1864, every spring after the white settlers 
came into this region, war-parties of Cheyennes, 
Arapahoes, and Sioux would come trailing in from 
the plains, pass through Colorado City, stopping 
long enough to beg food from the families living 
near the line of their march and then go on to the 
soda springs; here they would tarry long enough 
to make an offering to the Great Spirit who was 
supposed to be manifest in the bubbling waters, 
and then follow, in single file, up the Ute Pass 
trail into the South Park, where they would scout 
around until they had found a band of Utes. If 
they succeeded in surprising the latter, they would 
probably come back with a lot of extra ponies and 
sometimes with captured squaws and children, in 
which case they would exhibit a jubilant air; but 
at other times on their return, they would present 
such a dejected appearance that one could readily 
surmise that they had suffered defeat. These 
annual visits were discontinued after the tribes 
became involved in warfare with the whites. 

Referring again to the mineral springs at Mani- 
tou, I quote from Col. R. B. Marcy, of the United 
States Army, who, with his command, camped 



Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 59 

there during the whole of the month of April, 
1858. He tells not only of the springs and the 
game of that neighborhood, but of a frightful 
snowstorm that delayed them, near Eastonville 
in El Paso County, for several days at the begin- 
ning of the following month. He says: 

Having accomplished the objects of my mission to 
New Mexico, by procuring animals and other supplies 
sufficient to enable the troops at Fort Bridger to make 
an early march into Salt Lake Valley, I, on the I5th 
day of March, left Fort Union on my return for Utah, 
intending to pass around the eastern base of the 
mountains near Pike's Peak and the headwaters of 
the Arkansas and Platte rivers, following the Cherokee 
trail from the Cache la Poudre. The command was 
well organized, and we made rapid progress for about 
two hundred and fifty miles, when, on the 27th of 
March, I received an order from the General in 
Command in New Mexico, to halt and await rein- 
forcements. I was obliged to obey the order and went 
into camp upon the headwaters of a small tributary 
of the Arkansas, called Fontaine qui Bouille, directly 
at the foot of Pike's Peak and near a very peculiar 
spring which gives the name to the stream. 

This beautiful fountain issues from the center of 
a basin, or rather bowl, about six feet in diameter, 
and throws out a column of water near the size of a 
man's arm. The receptacle, which is constantly 
filled but never runs over, seems to have been formed 
by the deposit of salts from the water, and is as 
perfectly symmetrical and round as if it had been cut 



60 Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 

out with a chisel. As the fountain is constantly 
playing and never overflows, it of course has a sub- 
terranean outlet. The most remarkable feature, 
however, in the Fontaine qui Bouille, is the peculiar 
taste of the water. It is pungent and sparkling and 
somewhat similar in taste to the water from the Con- 
gress spring at Saratoga, but sweeter, and to my 
palate pleasanter. We drank it every day in large 
quantities without perceiving any ill effect from it, 
and the men made use of it instead of yeast in raising 
their bread, which induced the belief that it contained 
soda or some other alkali. 

The Indians believe it to possess some mysterious 
powers, the purport of which I could not learn, but 
there were a great many arrows, pieces of cloth, and 
other articles that they had deposited in the spring, 
probably as an offering to the Big Medicine Genius 
that presided over it. We remained at this place a 
month, during which time we amused ourselves in 
hunting elk, mountain sheep, and blacktail deer, all 
of which were very abundant in the surrounding 
country, and our larder was constantly supplied with 
the most delicious game. 

I remember that one morning just at daybreak, I 
was awakened by my servant, who told me there was 
a large herd of elk in close proximity to the camp. I 
ran out as soon as possible and saw at least five hun- 
dred of these magnificent animals, drawn up in line 
like a troop of cavalry horses, with their heads all 
turned in the same direction, and from the crest of a 
high projecting cliff, looking in apparent wonder and 
bewilderment directly down upon us. It was to me 
a most novel and interesting spectacle. The noise 
made in the camp soon frightened them, however, 




Ouray 
Chief of the Utes 



Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 61 

and they started for the mountains. They were pur- 
sued for some distance by our hunters, who succeeded 
in killing six before they escaped. 

On the 3Oth day of April, our reinforcements having 
joined us, we gladly resumed our march for Utah, and 
at about one o'clock encamped upon the ridge that 
divides the Arkansas from the Platte rivers. The day 
was bright, cheerful, and pleasant, the atmosphere soft, 
balmy, and delightful. The fresh grass was about six 
inches high. The trees had put forth their new leaves 
and all nature conspired in giving evidence that the 
somber garb of winter had been cast aside for the more 
verdant and smiling attire of spring. Our large herds 
of animals were turned out to graze upon the tender 
and nutritious grass that everywhere abounded. Our 
men were enjoying their social jokes and pastimes 
after the fatigues of the day's march and everything 
indicated contentment and happiness. This pleasant 
state of things lasted until near sunset, when the wind 
suddenly changed into the north. It turned cold and 
soon commenced snowing violently, and continued to 
increase until it became a frightful winter tempest, 
filling the atmosphere with a dense cloud of driving 
snow, against which it was utterly impossible to ride 
or walk. Soon after the storm set in, one of our 
herds of three hundred horses and mules broke furi- 
ously away from the herdsmen who were guarding 
them, and in spite of their utmost efforts, ran at full 
speed directly with the wind for fifty miles before they 
stopped. Three of the herdsmen followed them as 
far as they were able, but soon became exhausted, 
bewildered, and lost on the prairie. One of them 
succeeded in finding his way back to camp in a state 
of great prostration and suffering. One of the others 



62 Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 

was found frozen to death in the snow, and the third 
was discovered crawling about upon his hands and 
knees in a state of temporary delirium, after the 
tempest subsided. This terrific storm exceeded in 
violence and duration anything of the kind our eldest 
mountaineer had ever beheld. It continued with 
uninterrupted fury for sixty consecutive hours and 
during this time it was impossible to move for any 
distance facing the wind and snow. One of our em- 
ployes who went out about two hundred yards from 
the camp, set out to return, but was unable to do so 
and perished in the attempt. Several antelope were 
found frozen upon the prairie after the storm. . . . 
At the termination of this frightful tempest, there 
was about three feet of snow upon the ground, but 
the warm rays of the sun soon melted it, and after 
collecting together our stampeded animals, we again 
set forward for Utah and on the third day following, 
struck the South Platte at its confluence with Cherry 
Creek. There was at that time but one white man 
living within one hundred and fifty miles of the place, 
and he was an Indian trader named Jack Audeby, 
on the Arkansas. 

A year later, after the Pike's Peak mining excite- 
ment had started, Marcy issued a handbook for 
overland expeditions, in which he says, referring 
to a point at the mouth of Monument Creek, 
which he calls the forks of the Fontaine qui 
Bouille: 

The road to Cherry Creek here leaves the Fontaine 
qui Bouille and bears to the right. There is a large 



Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 63 

Indian trail which crosses the main creek and takes a 
northwesterly course towards Pike's Peak. By going 
up this trail about two miles, a mineral spring will be 
found which gives the stream its name of "The Foun- 
tain that Boils. " This spring, or rather these springs, 
for there are two, both of which boil up out of the 
solid rock, are among the greatest natural curiosities 
that 1 have ever seen. The water is strongly impreg- 
nated with salts, but is delightful to the taste and 
somewhat similar to the Congress water. It will well 
compensate one for the trouble of visiting it. 

Marcy claims that while waiting at the mouth of 
Cherry Creek for a ferry-boat to be constructed 
to take them over the Platte River, which was 
very high at the time, one of his employees washed 
a small amount of gold dust from the sands of 
Cherry Creek. This employee was discharged soon 
after and went direct to St. Louis, where he told 
of his discovery, and Marcy claims that this was 
the beginning of the mining excitement in the 
Pike's Peak region. This is different from other 
versions of the event, the most probable of which 
is that the discovery of gold was first made by the 
semi-civilized Cherokee Indians on their way to 
California. 

What was known as the old Cherokee trail 
came up the Arkansas River to a point about 
twelve miles below the mouth of the Fontaine 
qui Bouille. From that place it ran in a north- 



64 Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 

westerly direction across the hills, striking that 
creek about eight or ten miles above its mouth; 
thence up the valley of the Fontaine to a point 
near the present town of Fountain; turning 
northerly by the way of Jimmy's Camp to the 
head of Cherry Creek, and down Cherry Creek to 
its mouth, where Denver now stands. From this 
place, after running northerly along the base of the 
mountains for a considerable distance, it struck 
across the mountains through Bridger's Pass, 
and then turned westerly along the usual traveled 
road to California. This trail was used by the 
first gold-seeking parties which came to the present 
State of Colorado in 1858. The first of these 
parties arrived at Cherry Creek only about two 
months after Marcy left. The second party 
followed a week or two later, and the third party, 
of which Anthony Bott, of Colorado City, was a 
member, was close behind it. Members of this 
third party explored the region around where 
Colorado City now stands, and later, with some 
others, returned and laid out the town. 

In 1859, occurred the memorable visit of Horace 
Greeley to the Pike's Peak region. He arrived 
in Denver, June i6th, having come by the Smoky 
Hill route. Writing from Denver, he says, among 
other things : 



Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 65 

I have been passing, meeting, observing, and trying 
to converse with Indians, almost ever since I crossed 
the Missouri River. Eastern Kansas is checkered with 
their reservations, Delaware, Kaw, Ottawa, Osage, 
Kickapoo, Potawatamie, while the buffalo range and 
all this side belong to, and are parceled among 
the Cheyennes, the Arapahoes, and the Apaches, 
or perhaps among the two former only, as Indian 
boundaries are not well defined. At all events, we 
have met or passed bands of these three tribes, with 
occasional visitors from the Sioux on the north, and 
the Comanches on the south, all these tribes having 
for the present a good understanding. The Utes 
who inhabit the mountains are stronger and braver 
than any one of the three tribes first named, though 
hardly a match for them all, are at war with them. 
The Arapahoe Chief, Left Hand, assures me that his 
people were always at war with the Utes; at least 
he has no recollection, no tradition, of a time when 
they were at peace. Some two or three hundred 
lodges of Arapahoes are encamped in and about this 
log city, calculating that the presence of the whites 
will afford some protection to their wives and chil- 
dren against a Ute onslaught, while the braves are off 
on any of their fighting that is stealing expedi- 
tions. An equal or larger body of Utes are camped 
in the mountains some forty or fifty miles west, and 
the Arapahoe warriors recently returned in triumph 
from a war party on which they managed to steal 
about one hundred horses from the Utes, but were 
obliged to kill most of them in their rapid flight so 
that they only brought home forty more than they 
took away. They are going out again in a day or two, 
and have been for some days practicing secret in- 

5 



66 Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 

cantations and public observances with reference 
thereto. Last midnight they were to have had a great 
war dance and to have left on the warpath to-day, but 
their men sent out after their horses reported that they 
saw three Utes on the plain, which was regarded as 
premonitory of an attack, and the braves stood to their 
arms all night and were very anxious for white aid in 
case of the Ute foray on their lodges here in Denver. 
Such an attack seems very improbable and I presume 
the three Utes who caused all this uproar were simply 
scouts or spies on the watch for just such marauding 
surprise parties as our Arapahoe neighbors are con- 
stantly meditating. I do not see why they need to 
take even this trouble. There are points on the 
mountain range west of this city, where a watchman 
with sharp eyes and a good glass could command the 
entire plain for fifty miles north, south, and east of him, 
and might hence give intelligence of any Arapahoe 
raid at least a day before a brave entered the mountains ; 
for though it is true that Indians on the warpath travel 
or ride mainly by night, I find that the Arapahoes do 
this only after they have entered on what they con- 
sider disputed or dangerous ground; that they start 
from their lodges in open day and only advance under 
cover of darkness after they are within the shadows 
of the mountains. Hence the Utes, who are con- 
fessedly the stronger, might ambush and destroy any 
Arapahoe force that should venture into their Rocky 
Mountain recesses, by the help of a good spy-glass 
and a little "white forecast"; but the Indians are 
children. Their arts, wars, treaties, alliances, habita- 
tions, crafts, properties, commerce, comforts, all be- 
long to the very lowest and rudest ages of human 
existence. Any band of schoolboys from ten to fif- 



Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 67 

teen years of age are quite as capable of ruling their 
appetites, devising and upholding a public policy, 
constituting and conducting a state or community, as 
the average Indian tribe. 

I have learned to appreciate better than hitherto, 
and to make more allowance for the dislike, aversion, 
and contempt wherewith Indians are usually regarded 
by their white neighbors, and have been since the 
days of the Puritans. It needs but little familiarity 
with the actual, palpable aborigines, to convince 
anyone that the poetical Indian the Indian of 
Cooper and Longfellow is only visible to the poet's 
eye. 

The Utes seldom visited Colorado City and the 
region round about in the early days, except in the 
winter, which was the only time they could do 
so with a fair degree of safety. A majority of 
the tribe had been on friendly terms with the 
English-speaking people from the time of their 
earliest contact with that race. It is true that 
straggling bands of Utes occasionally committed 
acts of depredation, and such bands on one or 
two occasions killed white people, but these acts 
were not approved by the majority of the tribe. 

One of these exceptions occurred on Christmas 
day, 1854, at Fort Napesta, on the present site 
of the city of Pueblo. It is said that the men who 
occupied the fort were celebrating the day with 
the liquid that both cheers and inebriates, and in 



68 Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 

the midst of their jollity, a band of wandering 
Utes came by and was invited to join in the revelry. 
The Indians, nothing loath, partook of the white 
man's Taos lightning, the product of a distillery 
at Taos, New Mexico, and the natural consequence 
was an attack upon the whites which resulted in 
all the latter being killed. 

In 1866, a small band of Utes began a raid 
upon the settlers on Huerfano Creek, but when the 
news reached Ouray, the head chief of the tribe, 
he sent runners out at once to warn the settlers 
and then went to the scene of action with a band 
of his faithful warriors. He soon afterwards took 
the hostile Indians prisoners and compelled them 
to go to Fort Garland and remain there, in this 
manner quickly ending the trouble. Ouray was 
always the friend of the whites, and is entitled to 
the very greatest credit for the able manner in 
which he held the Utes under control up to the 
time of his death, in 1881. 

Ouray was born at Taos, New Mexico, in 1833. 
His father was a Tabeguache Ute and his mother 
a Jicarilla Apache. His boyhood was passed 
among the better class of Mexicans, chiefly as a 
herder of sheep. He learned Spanish and always 
preferred it to his native tongue. When eighteen 
years of age, he joined the band of Utes of which his 



Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 69 

father was leader, then located in southwestern 
Colorado. From that time until about 1860, 
he led the life of a wild Indian, passing his time 
hunting in the mountains and on the plains, 
varied by an occasional battle with the hereditary 
enemies of his people, theKiowas, Sioux, Cheyennes, 
and Arapahoes of the plains, in which he acquired 
the reputation of a courageous and skillful warrior. 
In 1859, he chose a wife, named Chipeta, from 
among the Tabaguache maidens, to whom he was 
always devotedly attached, and who bore him a 
son. This child was captured by the Cheyennes 
in 1863, they having surprised a hunting camp of 
Utes under Ouray's command, near the present 
site of Fort Lupton on the Platte River. The 
boy was never recovered and, indeed, was never 
heard of afterwards. 

In person Ouray was of the almost invariably 
short stature which distinguishes his people from 
those of the plains tribes. He stood about five 
feet seven inches high and in his later years became 
quite portly. His head was strikingly large and 
well-shaped, his features were regular, bearing an 
expression of dignity in repose, but lighting up 
pleasantly in conversation. In his ordinary bear- 
ing his manner was courtly and gentle, and he was 
extremely fond of meeting and conversing with 



70 Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 

cultivated white men, with whom he was a genial 
companion, compelling their respect and favor 
by the broad enlightenment of his views. In his 
habits he was a model, never using tobacco, 
abhorring whiskey, and taking only a sip of wine 
when in company with those who were indulging, 
and then merely as a matter of courtesy to them. 
He never swore nor used obscene language, was a 
firm believer in the Christian religion, and about 
two years before his death united himself with 
the Methodist Church. 

When in active command of his men, his word 
was law, and disobedience meant death. In the 
summer of 1874 at Bijou, while returning from 
Denver to their camp in the south, one of his men 
decided to build a fire and started to cut some wood 
for that purpose within the enclosure of "a white 
settler. Ouray, discovering his intention, ordered 
him back, reminding him that they must not 
trespass upon the property of the white man. The 
obstinate Ute replied that he must have firewood 
and that he would cut it anyway. Ouray an- 
swered that if he did, he would kill him, whereat 
the other observed that two could play at that 
game. Instantly both started for their guns, 
reaching them at about the same time, but Ouray 
was quicker than his adversary and shot him. 



Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 71 

On another occasion he shot and broke the arm of 
Johnson, a member of his tribe, who afterwards 
caused much of the trouble at the White River 
Agency. Johnson was given to gambling, horse- 
racing, lying, and trickery of all kinds. In the 
present case, he had stolen some horses from white 
men, and refused to return them when commanded 
to do so, thereby, in Ouray's opinion, bringing 
disgrace upon the Ute nation, for which he had to 
be punished. 

In the foregoing, I have quoted freely from 
General Frank Hall's History of Colorado. 
General Hall had unusual opportunities for know- 
ing Ouray and of his dealings with the whites. 

It was through the prompt and decisive action of 
Ouray that the leaders of the massacre of Meeker 
and others at the White River Agency, in 1879, 
were surrendered to the authorities for punishment. 
The early settlers of Colorado owe to Ouray a 
debt of gratitude, and a monument to his memory 
should at some time be erected by the people of 
this State. Ouray frequently came to Colorado 
City in the early days, and sometimes his visits 
were of considerable duration. 

In the winter of 1865-1866, a large body of 
Ute Indians camped for several months on the 
south side of the Fountain, opposite Colorado 



72 Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 

City. On departing in the spring, they abandoned 
a squaw who had broken a leg, leaving her in a 
rudely constructed tent, or tepee. Had not the 
women of Colorado City taken her in charge she 
would have starved. After the Indians left, she 
was moved into a log cabin in Colorado City and 
provided with all she needed until her death, which 
occurred a few months later. The Utes seemed to 
think nothing of this heartless act, and even the 
abandoned squaw did not seem to resent it. It 
was a very common occurrence for the Indians 
of most of the tribes to abandon the aged and 
disabled, as in moving around, they did not wish 
to be burdened with those who were incapable of 
taking care of themselves. 

In the winter of 1866-1867, a thousand or more 
Utes camped for several months below Manitou, 
between the Balanced Rock and the Fountain. 
Game was very scarce in this region during that 
winter and the Indians suffered for want of food. 
Finally, they reached such a strait that their chiefs 
made a demand upon the citizens of Colorado 
City for twenty sacks of flour, and intimated that 
unless it was produced forthwith, they would be 
compelled to march into town and take it by force. 
The citizens, realizing their utter helplessness in 
the matter, obtained the flour without delay and 



Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 73 

turned it over to the Indians. This was the only 
time in all the early period that Colorado City 
suffered from the presence of the Utes. 

Chaveno and Colorow were the principal chiefs 
of this band. Chaveno was an Indian of a good 
deal of intelligence. When visiting the whites he 
always went about dressed in an army officer's uni- 
form of dark blue which had been given him by 
an officer at Fort Garland. Chaveno was always 
strutting around, and seemed very proud of him- 
self in his uniform, of which he took the greatest 
possible care. In the matter of dress, Colorow 
was the reverse. He seemed to have no liking 
whatever for the white man's costume. His 
physique was like that of Ouray, short, but of 
powerful build. He had been a noted warrior in 
his early days and delighted in telling of his 
exploits in the various battles with the Cheyennes 
and Arapahoes in which he had taken part. 
Colorow was treacherous by nature and his friend- 
ship for the whites was not always to be depended 
upon. 

In the winter of 1874-1875, Ouray, with a band 
of six hundred Utes, camped at Florissant for 
several months. One day a Mr. Marksberry, 
living on Tarryall Creek, rode up to the Post Office 
at Florissant, tied his horse, and went into the 



74 Trails, Mineral Springs, Game 

building. The pony attracted the attention of an 
Indian named Antelope, who claimed the animal 
as his own; he slipped off the saddle and bridle, 
and, jumping on the pony's back, rode away. 
Marksberry and a friend, being determined to 
recover the pony, followed the band to their camp 
in Beaver Park, south of Pike's Peak. Marksberry 
found his pony with the Indian herd, caught it, 
and was turning away, when Antelope, hidden 
behind a tree, shot and instantly killed him. Chief 
Ouray, always ready to " travel the white man's 
road," gave up Antelope to justice. Upon trial 
of the case in the courts of Arapahoe County, 
some months later, he was acquitted. 

The Utes, by treaties made in March, 1868, 
April, 1874, an d March, 1880, ceded to the general 
government all the lands claimed by them within 
the boundaries of the present State of Colorado, 
except a small reservation retained for their own 
use in the southwestern part of the State. 



CHAPTER III 

THE INDIAN TROUBLES OF 1864 

A S I have before mentioned, war parties of 
^* Cheyennes and Arapahoes continued to 
make occasional trips through the Ute Pass to the 
mountains in search of their enemies, the Utes, 
until 1864. As these war parties seldom tarried 
long in this vicinity, their presence was not 
seriously objected to during the first two or three 
years, but after rumors of impending trouble with 
them became current, their visits were looked 
upon with a good deal of apprehension. From the 
year 1859 to the beginning of 1863, the wagon 
trains that brought supplies from the Missouri 
River to Colorado came and went without 
molestation, but it was noticed, from the latter 
part of 1862 on, that the Indians of the plains 
were anxious to secure guns and ammunition, and 
were acquiring more than was necessary for their 
ordinary hunting. Early in 1863, they began to 
attack and rob wagon trains, steal horses, and 

75 



76 Indian Troubles of 1864 

threaten exposed settlements, but nothing occurred 
to cause any great alarm in the immediate Pike's 
Peak region, until the spring of 1864. During a 
very considerable portion of the next four years, 
however, the people of El Paso County experienced 
all the horrors of Indian warfare. 

My story of the Indian troubles of that period 
will necessarily be much in the nature of a personal 
narrative. At the time hostilities began, I was 
little more than eighteen years old, and as fond of 
excitement and adventure as boys at that age 
usually are. I had a part in many of the occur- 
rences which I shall mention, and was personally 
familiar with the details of most of the others. 

About the 2Oth of June, 1864, word reached 
Colorado City that a day or two previously, the 
Hungate family, living on Running Creek about 
forty miles northeast of Colorado City, had been 
murdered by the Indians. The father and mother 
had been shot down and mutilated with horrible 
brutality, and the children who had tried to escape 
had been pursued and killed, so that not one of the 
family was left alive. This news made the people 
of Colorado City, and the settlers along the Foun- 
tain and on the Divide, very uneasy, and of course, 
after that, they were constantly on the lookout, 
not knowing where the savages might next appear. 



Indian Troubles of 1864 77 

Two or three weeks after the murder of the Hun- 
gate family, some cattle herders came into Colora- 
do City late one evening and told of having seen 
near Austin's Bluff, a half a dozen mounted 
Indians who seemed to be acting mysteriously. 
Following the killing of the Hungate family, and 
other acts of hostility at various places on the 
plains, this was indeed alarming news. Conse- 
quently, early the following morning an armed 
party went to the place where the Indians had 
been seen, found their trail, and followed it. In 
this way it was discovered that, some time during 
the previous night, the Indians had been on the 
hill that overlooks Colorado City on the north, 
and that the trail from that point led into the 
mountains. The direction from which these 
Indians came, their mysterious movements after 
they were discovered, taken in connection with the 
recent acts of hostility, and the knowledge that 
the tribes of the plains had been attempting during 
the previous winter to make a coalition for the 
purpose of annihilating the settlements along the 
eastern base of the mountains, seemed convincing 
proof that this band was here for no good purpose. 
At that time I was living with my father on the 
west side of Camp Creek, about half-way between 
Colorado City and the Garden of the Gods. I 



78 Indian Troubles of 1864 

had been in town during the forenoon and had 
heard the alarming news, and as a result, after 
that father and I kept a sharp lookout for the 
savages. However, the day passed without any- 
thing further having been seen or heard of them. 
Shortly after sundown, my brothers Edgar and 
Frank, who were small boys, brought our cattle in 
from the neighborhood of the Garden of the Gods, 
and while I was helping to drive them into the 
corral adjacent to our house, I happened to look 
up the valley of Camp Creek, and there, about 
three-quarters of a mile away, I saw six mounted 
Indians leading an extra horse. They were 
going easterly along the old Indian trail, which 
I have heretofore described, that ran just south of 
the Garden of the Gods. As soon as I saw these 
Indians, I was sure that they were the party which 
had been trailed into Colorado City the night 
before. Without delay I strapped on a revolver, 
took my gun, and rode to Colorado City as fast 
as my pony could travel, to report what I had seen. 
The people had been greatly agitated during the 
day and, consequently, the news I brought caused 
much excitement. 

It was at once decided that the Indians must be 
followed, and if possible the purpose of their visit 
ascertained. In less than three-quarters of an 



Indian Troubles of 1864 79 

hour, ten mounted and well-armed men were 
ready for the pursuit. Those forming the party 
were Anthony Bott, Dr. Eggleston, William J. 
Baird, A. T. Cone, Ren Smith, myself, and four 
others whose names I cannot now recall. By a 
quarter of eight we were traveling along the trail 
taken by the Indians across the Mesa east of the 
Garden of the Gods. We appreciated the neces- 
sity of making as little noise as possible, and all 
talking was carried on in an undertone. The trail 
led from the Mesa down to Monument Creek, 
about a mile above the present site of Colorado 
Springs, and then crossed the stream over a bed of 
gravel that extended to the bluff on the eastern 
side. Thick clumps of willows enclosed the trail 
on both sides. It was a starlight night without 
clouds, but not light enough for us to see an object 
any distance away. 

We suspected nothing, as we believed the Indians 
to be far ahead of us. But just as we came up on 
the first rise out of the willows on the east side of 
the creek we were startled to see them huddled 
together on the left of us, under the bank, appar- 
ently getting ready to start a small camp-fire, 
while to the right were their ponies, which had 
been turned out to graze. The Indians were 
just as much surprised as we were, and for an 



80 Indian Troubles of 1864 

instant the situation was extremely tense. As we 
refrained from firing, the Indians, knowing that 
they were at a disadvantage in not being able to 
reach their ponies, evidently with the hope of 
making us believe that they were friendly, began 
calling out "How! How!" as Indians usually do 
on meeting the whites. We then questioned 
them, hoping to ascertain the object of their 
presence in this locality. Some of our people had a 
slight knowledge of Spanish, with which the 
Indians seemed somewhat conversant, and in this 
way and by signs, we told them that we were there 
only for the purpose of ascertaining their object in 
visiting this region, and not to do them harm ; that 
if they could show that they were here for no 
hostile purpose, we would permit them to go on 
their way unmolested, but in order to establish 
this fact it would be necessary for them to go with 
us to Colorado City, where competent interpreters 
could be found, and meanwhile we should require 
them to give up their arms. They apparently 
assented to this proposition, and at once surren- 
dered such of their arms as were in sight. Six of 
us then dismounted, and each took an Indian 
in charge while he was securing his pony. The 
Indian I had in charge was a tall, slim fellow, fully 
six feet in height and probably not much over 



Indian Troubles of 1864 81 

twenty years of age. He appeared to take the 
situation quietly and I had no reason to apprehend 
any trouble with him. I allowed him to lead his 
pony to the camp, where he put on the saddle and 
bridle and mounted the animal, as all were per- 
mitted to do. We then formed the Indians in 
ranks of twos, placing a file of our men on each 
side of them, each white man having charge of the 
Indian next to him, which left two extra whites 
for the front and two to guard the rear. I was in 
charge of the Indian on the left side of the rear 
rank and had hold of his bridle with my right 
hand. The order was given to march and we 
started east towards the plateau on which Colorado 
Springs is now built. We had proceeded only 
eight or ten feet when the Indians suddenly halted. 
From the time they mounted they had been talking 
animatedly with one another in their own language. 
Just then someone happened to see that one of the 
Indians had a knife in his hand. This was taken 
from him and then we made a systematic search 
of the others and found that most of them had 
knives, and one a spear concealed under his blan- 
ket. It was with great difficulty that we twisted 
these weapons from their hands, but finally, as we 
thought, secured everything of that nature. The 
order was again given to march. Immediately 



82 Indian Troubles of 1864 

following this, the Indians gave a tremendous war- 
whoop, shook their blankets, and were out from 
between us before we realized what was happening. 
The bridle rein in my hand was jerked away before 
I knew it. We were all so dazed that the Indians 
probably were seventy-five to one hundred feet 
away before our people began shooting. Mean- 
time, my pony, which was of Indian breed, had 
become almost unmanageable. He seemed to be 
determined to go off with the other Indian ponies 
and I had the greatest difficulty in restraining him. 
Before I succeeded, I was so far in front that I was 
in great danger of being shot by our own people. 
By the time I could get my pony under control, 
the Indians were too far away for me to shoot with 
hope of doing any execution, but during this time 
the others had been making such good use of their 
weapons that in a few minutes the affair was over, 
and five of the Indians had fallen from their 
ponies. Whether they had been killed or wounded 
we did not know until some years later. We only 
knew that their ponies were running riderless over 
the plains. It was now about ten o'clock, and 
quite dark ; consequently we made little effort to 
locate the dead and wounded. We rounded up 
the ponies, there being six of them, one a pack 
animal, and after gathering up such of the belong- 



Indian Troubles of 1864 83 

ings of the Indians as they had dropped in their 
flight, we started on our return to Colorado City. 

The whole occurrence made one of the weirdest 
scenes that it has ever been my fortune to witness. 
First the sudden discovery of the Indians in 
the darkness of the night ; the group formed of the 
Indians with the whites surrounding them; the 
mounting of the ponies ; the shrill war-whoop of six 
savages ringing out in the solitude, followed by the 
shots, and then the riderless horses running hither 
and thither over the plain. The dramatic scene 
was completed a few minutes later by the rounding 
up of these riderless ponies and the beginning of 
the march back to Colorado City over the present 
town site of Colorado Springs, the only inhabitants 
of which at that time were the antelope and the 
coyotes. Our road led us over the present College 
reservation, down what is now Cascade Avenue to 
a ford crossing the Monument Creek, just west of 
the present Rio Grande freight station. 

On the way home, the thought came to us 
whether we could have done differently under the 
circumstances. We knew the tribes to which these 
Indians belonged were at war with the whites, and 
that, unless they were on their way to fight the 
Utes, they were here on no peaceable errand so far 
as our people were concerned. Their course in 



84 Indian Troubles of 1864 

going only to the foot of the mountains, showed 
that they were not seeking the Utes, and their 
actions under cover of the previous night, and 
afterward, up to the time they were captured, 
proved conclusively that they were here as scouts 
of a larger party, to ascertain and to report the 
strength of the town and its surrounding settle- 
ments. When first discovered, they were in an 
out-of-the-way spot, and from that time on until 
their capture, they traveled over abandoned roads 
and trails, probably hoping in this way to fulfill 
their mission without detection. These things 
convinced us that we had accomplished an import- 
ant work, and the only regret we had was that we 
had not been able to bring the captives into town. 
Early the following morning several of our 
party returned to the scene of the occurrence of the 
night before, hoping to find the bodies of the 
Indians who unquestionably had been killed in 
the melee, but there was nothing to indicate the 
struggle excepting a few articles of clothing and 
personal adornment, and marks upon the ground 
showing where the dead and wounded had evi- 
dently lain. Several years afterward, we learned 
from the Cheyennes that three of this scouting 
party had been killed outright, one was so seriously 
wounded that he died shortly afterward, another 



Indian Troubles of 1864 85 

was slightly wounded, and one had escaped unhurt. 
The last, with the aid of the one slightly wounded, 
had carried off and buried the dead during the 
night. 

News of our evening's experience spread rapidly 
and created intense excitement in Colorado City 
and throughout the county. The people of El 
Paso County now realized that they were face to 
face with Indian troubles of the most serious 
nature, and that arrangements for the defense of the 
town and surrounding country must immediately 
be made. The righting strength of the Pike's 
Peak region was exceedingly limited, as compared 
with the great horde of savages that occupied our 
eastern frontier. Probably there were not over 
three hundred men of all ages in El Paso County 
at that time. And, as further showing the pre- 
carious position of the community, I wish to call 
attention to the fact that the frontier settlements 
of the United States at that time extended but 
little west of the Missouri River, leaving the narrow 
belt of settlements along the eastern base of the 
mountains in Colorado separated from the nearest 
communities to the east by a stretch of plains at 
least four hundred miles in width, inhabited only 
by wild and savage tribes of nomadic Indians. 
The same condition existed on the north to the 



86 Indian Troubles of 1864 

British possessions, and to the west the Ute Indians 
held undisputed sway to the Great Salt Lake 
valley. To the south, with the exception of a 
small part of New Mexico sparsely settled by 
feeble and widely scattered communities of 
Spanish-speaking people, wild tribes roamed over 
every portion of the country for hundreds of miles. 
From the foregoing, it will be seen that the settle- 
ments of Colorado were but a small island of 
civilization in a sea of savagery. Our settlements 
were at times completely cut off from civilization 
in every direction by this cordon of savage tribes ; 
their very existence was now threatened, with no 
hope of assistance from the National Government, 
because of the civil war which was then at its most 
critical stage, demanding every resource of the 
nation. Threatened as they were by hordes of 
hostile savages and under conditions that would 
have had a disheartening effect upon a people not 
inured to frontier life, our settlers had no thought 
of allowing themselves to be driven out or 
overwhelmed. 

Warning was at once sent to every family living 
down the Fountain and on the Divide, the result 
being that within a day or two almost every ranch 
in the county was abandoned. The people for 
fifteen miles down the valley below Colorado City 



Indian Troubles of 1864 87 

came to that town. Those living below gathered 
at the extreme lower edge of the county and there 
built a place of defense. In Colorado City the 
work of constructing a fort around an old log hotel 
was started at once. Green pine logs, ten to 
fifteen inches in diameter and about fifteen feet 
long, were cut on the adjacent mountains, brought 
in, and set in the ground close together, entirely 
surrounding the building, making a defensive 
structure about twelve feet high. At intervals 
through these logs portholes were made for use in 
repelling an attack. During the next month or 
two all the women and children of the town as 
well as those who had congregated there from 
the country slept at night in this fortification. 
Throughout this time a picket force of three or 
four mounted men was maintained night and day 
on the flat east of the town, and out on the present 
site of Colorado Springs. There was scarcely a 
day during this period in which Indians were not 
seen at various points in the country to the east of 
Colorado City, and on the borders of the settle- 
ments along the Fountain, but as the people 
everywhere were watchful, the savages had little 
opportunity of catching any one unawares. 

About two weeks after the occurrence on Monu- 
ment Creek, a messenger arrived at Colorado City, 



88 Indian Troubles of 1864 

sent by Governor Evans to warn the people of an 
impending attack upon the settlements of the 
Territory by the Cheyennes, Arapahoes, and other 
hostile Indians. It appears that the Governor 
had received information from Elbridge Gerry, 
one of his secret agents, that eight hundred war- 
riors belonging to the Cheyenne, Arapahoe, and 
other hostile Indian tribes, were in camp at the 
Point of Rocks near the head of Beaver Creek in 
eastern Colorado, and had planned a simultaneous 
attack upon the frontier settlements of Colorado 
extending from a point in the valley of the Platte 
River one hundred miles below Denver, to the 
Arkansas River at the mouth of the Fontaine qui 
Bouille. According to the program agreed upon 
by the Indians, one hundred warriors were to go 
to the valley of the Platte, two hundred and fifty 
to the head of Cherry Creek, and the remainder 
of the eight hundred to the valley of the Fountain 
and Arkansas rivers. On reaching the appointed 
localities, these parties were to be divided into 
small bands, each one of which was to attack a 
farmhouse, kill the occupants, loot the property, 
and run off the stock. 

Elbridge Gerry, from whom the information of 
the proposed raid was received, was the grandson 
of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, 



Indian Troubles of 1864 89 

and although an educated man, had lived with the 
Indians for a good many years and had married 
a Cheyenne woman. At this time, he was living 
with his Indian wife on a stock ranch in the valley 
of the Platte River, sixty to seventy miles below 
Denver. It was here that the information reached 
him, through two Cheyenne chiefs, who came to 
warn him of the impending danger. Gerry re- 
ceived the word about midnight and early next 
morning started on horseback for Denver to notify 
Governor Evans, arriving there about eleven 
o'clock that night, having ridden the sixty or 
seventy miles without resting. As the date set 
for the raid was but a day or two off, Governor 
Evans at once dispatched messengers in every 
direction to notify the people. The one sent to 
Colorado City reached that place the next after- 
noon, and warning was immediately sent by 
messengers to the few ranchmen down the Foun- 
tain and east of Colorado City, who for urgent 
reasons had been compelled temporarily to return 
to their homes. 

The following day, small bands of Indians 
appeared along the entire frontier of El Paso 
County, but their raid was a failure, as the warn- 
ings given through the occurrence on Monument 
Creek, and that of the Governor, had put every one 



90 Indian Troubles of 1864 

on guard; consequently the savages found that 
the settlers at every point had either fled, or were 
fully prepared to defend themselves. 

That the information given by Gerry was abso- 
lutely correct, was shown by the fact that at the 
appointed time the Indians appeared along the 
entire frontier of Colorado, from the Platte to 
the Arkansas River. However, in almost every 
locality, as in El Paso County, they found the set- 
tlers on the lookout, consequently, the wholesale 
slaughter planned did not take place. After 
killing one man near Fort Lupton, below Denver, 
two or three near the head of Cherry Creek, 
and stealing many cattle, the larger part of the 
Indians returned to their rendezvous out on the 
plains, leaving a few warriors along the borders to 
harass the settlers during the remainder of the 
summer. 

The Point of Rocks on Beaver Creek, where the 
eight hundred Indians were in camp, is about one 
hundred miles northeast of Colorado City. It is 
practically certain that the Indians we captured 
on Monument Creek two or three weeks previous 
were from that camp and had been sent out to 
secure information concerning the settlers of this 
region, preparatory to the raid they were then 
planning. There is every probability that an 



Indian Troubles of 1864 91 

awful calamity would have befallen the settlers of 
this county had not the discovery, capture, and 
escape of these scouts aroused our people to a full 
realization of their impending danger. Had the 
news brought by the messenger from the Governor 
been our first warning, it would have been im- 
possible after his arrival to have brought any 
considerable portion of our scattered settlers into 
Colorado City before the appearance of the 
Indians. 

Governor Evans, in telling of this incident in his 
evidence before the Committee on the Conduct of 
the War, in March, 1865, expressed the opinion 
that had the plan of the Indians been carried out 
without previous notice having been given to the 
settlers, it would have resulted in the most whole- 
sale and extensive massacre that has ever been 
known. It was most fortunate for our people that 
timely notice was given in such an effective man- 
ner, because in those days news traveled slowly. 
Weekly mails were then the only method of dis- 
seminating news, as telegraph lines had not yet 
reached this part of the Territory, nor was there a 
newspaper published in the county ; consequently 
news of Indian raids and outbreaks in other parts 
of the Territory often was a week or more in reach- 
ing El Paso County. Early realizing that they 



92 Indian Troubles of 1864 

must depend upon their own resources, so far as I 
can see, the people of El Paso County took all 
necessary precautions, and acted wisely in every 
emergency. 

One day early in September, 1864, a company of 
the First Colorado Cavalry on its way from one 
of the forts in New Mexico to Denver stopped for 
the noon meal at Jimmy's Camp, about ten miles 
east of Colorado City. Not having seen any 
Indians on the march, both officers and men were 
exceedingly skeptical as to there being any in this 
region, and had made sport of the settlers for being 
so unnecessarily alarmed. Upon making camp, 
the soldiers turned their horses, numbering from 
seventy-five to one hundred, out to graze, placing 
only one trooper in charge of them. The horses in 
their grazing gradually drifted farther and farther 
away from camp, until finally when they were 
almost half a mile distant, a band of Indians 
suddenly came tearing out of the timber just above 
and almost before the soldiers realized it they had 
rounded up the herd and were off over the hills, 
yelling back taunts as they rode away. The 
soldiers came marching into Colorado City on foot 
the next day, a dejected lot, and as they passed, it 
gave the settlers great pleasure to jeer at them. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE THIRD COLORADO AND THE BATTLE OF 
SAND CREEK 

IT may be asked why we did not receive protec- 
tion from the territorial authorities. The 
reason for this was that the Territory was without 
funds or a military organization. The Governor 
had repeatedly called the attention of the General 
Government to the helpless condition of our settle- 
ments, and asked that government troops be sent 
to protect them from the raids of the Indians ; but 
at this time the entire military force of the nation 
was employed in suppressing the Rebellion, and 
little aid could be given. It is true that the com- 
panies of the First Regiment of Colorado Cavalry 
were distributed along the frontier, seldom more 
than one company in a place. Scattered in this 
way over a wide extent of country, they were of 
little or no use in the way of defense. 

Meanwhile, the Indians were in virtual posses- 
sion of the lines of travel to the east. Every coach 

93 



94 The Third Colorado and 

that came through from the Missouri River to 
Denver had to run the gauntlet. Some were 
riddled with bullets, others were captured and 
their passengers killed. Instances were known 
where the victims were roasted alive, shot full of 
arrows, and subjected to every kind of cruelty the 
savages could devise. Finally, after many urgent 
appeals, the Governor of Colorado was permitted 
to organize a new regiment to be used in protect- 
ing the frontier settlements and in punishing the 
hostile Cheyennes and Arapahoes. The term of 
service was to be one hundred days ; it was thought 
that by prompt action signal punishment could 
be inflicted on the savages in that time. Lieut. 
George L. Shoup, of the First Colorado, was 
commissioned as Colonel of the new regiment, 
which was designated as the Third Regiment of 
Colorado Volunteer Cavalry. Colonel Shoup had 
already proved himself to be a very able and effi- 
cient officer. He was afterward for many years 
United States Senator from the State of Idaho. 
From the day he received his appointment, he 
proceeded with great activity to organize his 
command. Recruiting officers had already been 
placed in almost every town in the Territory, and 
in less than thirty days eight or nine hundred men 
had been enlisted. Eight or ten others from El 



The Battle of Sand Creek 95 

Paso County besides myself joined the regiment 
at the first call. Among them were Anthony 
Bott, Robert Finley, Henry Coby, Samuel Murray, 
John Wolf, A. J. Templeton, Henry Miller, and a 
number of others whose names I do not now 
remember. The recruits from El Paso County 
were combined with those from Pueblo County 
and mustered in as Company G at Denver on the 
29th day of August, 1864. Our officers were O. 
H. P. Baxter of Pueblo, Captain; Joseph Graham 
of the same county, First Lieutenant; and A. J. 
Templeton of El Paso County, Second Lieutenant. 
Within a short time after we had been mustered 
in at Denver, we marched back through El Paso 
County and south to a point on the Arkansas 
River, five miles east of Pueblo, where we remained 
for the next two months, waiting for our equipment. 
Meanwhile, we were being drilled and prepared 
for active military duty. 

On the last day of October and the first day of 
November of that year there was a tremendous 
snow-storm all over the region along the eastern 
base of the Rocky Mountains. The snowfall at 
our camp was twenty inches in depth ; at Colorado 
City it was over two feet on the level, and on the 
Divide still deeper. All supplies for the company 
had to be brought to our camp by teams, from the 



96 The Third Colorado and 

Commissary Department at Denver. The depth 
of the snow now made this impossible; conse- 
quently, in a few days we were entirely out of food. 
As there seemed to be no hope of relief within the 
near future, our Captain instructed every one who 
had a home to go there and remain until further 
notice. Half a dozen of us from El Paso County 
started out the following morning before daylight, 
and tramped laboriously all day and well into the 
night through deep snow along the valley of the 
Fountain. For a portion of the way a wagon or 
two had gone over the road since the storm, making 
it so rough that walking along it was almost 
impossible. As a result, we were so tired by dusk 
that we would have traveled no farther could we 
have found a place where food and shelter were to 
be obtained; but it was eleven o'clock that night 
before we could get any accommodations at all, 
and by that time we were utterly exhausted. 
We resumed our tramp the next morning, but I 
was two days in reaching my home in Colorado 
City, twenty-five miles distant. Two weeks later 
we were notified by our Captain that provisions 
had been obtained and that we should return to 
camp at once. We had already been clothed in 
the light blue uniform then used by the cavalry 
branch of the United States Army. Soon after 



The Battle of Sand Creek 97 

our return to camp we received our equipment of 
arms, ammunition, and the necessary accouter- 
ments. The guns were old, out-of-date Austrian 
muskets of large bore with paper cartridges from 
which we had to bite off the end when loading. 
These guns sent a bullet rather viciously, but one 
could never tell where it would hit. A little later 
on, our horses arrived. They were a motley 
looking group, composed of every kind of an equine 
animal from a pony to a plow horse. The saddles 
and bridles were the same as were used in the 
cavalry service and were good of the kind. I had 
the misfortune to draw a rawboned, square-built 
old plow horse, upon which thereafter I spent a 
good many uncomfortable hours. If the order 
came to trot, followed by an order to gallop, I had 
to get him well underway on a trot and he would 
be going like the wind before I could bring him 
into the gallop. Meanwhile his rough trot would 
be shaking me to pieces. From what I have said, 
it will be seen that our equipment, as to arms and 
mounts, was of the poorest kind. 

The main part of the regiment had been in 
camp near Denver during all this time. This 
inactivity had caused a great deal of complaint 
among the officers and enlisted men. For the 
most part, the regiment had been enlisted from the 



98 The Third Colorado and 

ranchmen, miners, and business men of the State, 
and it was the understanding that they were to be 
given immediate service against the hostile Indians. 
The delay was probably unavoidable, being caused 
by the inability of the Government to promptly 
furnish the necessary horses and equipment, as the 
animals had to be sent from east of the Missouri 
River. The horses and equipment were received 
about the middle of November. A few days later, 
under command of Colonel Shoup, the main part 
of the regiment, together with three companies of 
the First Colorado, started on its way south, to- 
wards a destination known only to the principal 
officers. The combined force was under command 
of Col. John M. Chivington, commander of the 
military district of Colorado. The company to 
which I belonged joined the regiment as it passed 
our camp, about the 25th of November, and from 
that time on our real hardships began. We 
marched steadily down the valley of the Arkansas 
River, going into camp at seven or eight o'clock 
every night, and by the time we had eaten supper 
and had taken care of our horses, it was after ten 
o'clock. We were called out at four o'clock the 
next morning and were on the move before day- 
light. In order that no news of our march should 
be carried to the Indians, every man we met on 



The Battle of Sand Creek 99 

the road was taken in charge, and, for the same 
purpose, guards were placed at every ranch. 

About four o'clock in the evening of November 
28th, we arrived at Fort Lyon, to the great 
surprise of its garrison. No one at the fort even 
knew that the regiment had left the vicinity of 
Denver. A picket guard was thrown around the 
fort to turn away any Indians that might be 
coming in, and also to prevent any of the trappers 
or Indian traders who generally hung around there 
from notifying the savages of our presence. 

Soon after our arrival at camp, we were told 
that the wagon train would be left behind at this 
point, and each man was instructed to secure from 
the commissary two or three pounds of raw bacon 
and sufficient "hardtack " to last three or four days, 
which he was to carry in his saddlebags. At eight 
o'clock that night, the regiment took up its line of 
march across the prairie, in a direction almost due 
north from Fort Lyon. Each company was formed 
into fours, and we pushed on rapidly. All night 
long it was walk, trot, gallop, dismount and lead. 
I had had very little sleep for two or three nights 
previously, and, consequently, this all-night march 
was very exhausting. During the latter part of 
the night, I would willingly have run the risk of 
being scalped by the Indians for a half -hour's 



ioo The Third Colorado and 

sleep. Some time after midnight, our guide, 
intentionally as we thought, led us through one of 
the shallow lakes that are so plentiful on the plains 
of that region. He was understood to be more 
friendly to the Indians than to the whites, and 
perhaps he hoped our ammunition would get wet, 
and thus become ineffective in the anticipated 
engagement. During the night, in order to keep 
awake, we had been nibbling on our hardtack, 
which in the morning, much to our disgust, we 
found to be very much alive. 

It was a bright, clear, starlight night; the air 
was crisp and uncomfortably cool, as might be 
expected at that time of year. Just as the sun 
was coming up over the eastern hills, we reached 
the top of a ridge, and away off in the valley to the 
northwest we saw a great number of Indian tents, 
forming a village of unusual size. We knew at 
once that this village was our objective point. Off 
to the left, between us and the village, was a 
large number of Indian ponies. 

Two or three minutes later, orders came direct- 
ing our battalion to capture the herd. Under 
command of a Major of the regiment, we immedi- 
ately started on the run in order to get between 
the ponies and the Indian camp before our pres- 
ence was discovered. We had not proceeded 



The Battle of Sand Creek 101 

any great distance before we saw half a dozen 
Indians coming toward the herd from the direction 
of the camp, but, on seeing our large force, they 
hesitated a moment and then started back as fast 
as their ponies could take them. We were not 
long in securing the herd, which consisted of be- 
tween five and six hundred ponies. The officer 
in command placed from twenty to thirty men 
in charge of the ponies, with instructions to drive 
them away to some point where they would be in 
no danger of recapture. The remainder of the 
battalion then started directly for the Indian 
camp, which lay over a little ridge to the north 
of us. Meanwhile, the main part of the com- 
mand had marched at a rapid rate down the 
slope to Sand Creek, along the northern bank of 
which the Indian camp was located. Crossing 
the creek some distance to the eastward of the 
village, they marched rapidly westward along the 
north bank until near the Indian village, where 
they halted, and the battle began. At the same 
time our battalion was coming in from the south. 
This left an opening for the Indians to the west- 
ward, up the valley of Sand Creek, and also to 
the northward, across the hills towards the Smoky 
Hill River. Before our battalion had crossed the 
low ridge which cut off the view of the village 



102 The Third Colorado and 

at the point where we captured the ponies, and 
had come in sight of the village again, the firing 
had become general, and it made some of us, my- 
self among the number, feel pretty queer. I am 
sure, speaking for myself, if I hadn't been too 
proud, I should have stayed out of the fight 
altogether. 

When we first came in sight of the Indian 
camp there were a good many ponies not far away 
to the north of it, and now when we came in sight 
of the camp again, after we had captured the 
other herd, we saw large numbers of Indians, 
presumably squaws and children, hurrying north- 
ward on these ponies, out of the way of danger. 
After the engagement commenced, the Indian 
warriors concentrated along Sand Creek, using 
the high banks on either side as a means of de- 
fense. At this point, Sand Creek was about two 
hundred yards wide, the banks on each side be- 
ing almost perpendicular and from six to twelve 
feet high. The engagement extended along this 
creek for three or four miles from the Indian 
encampment. Our capture of the ponies placed 
the Indians at a great disadvantage, for the 
reason that an Indian is not accustomed to fight- 
ing on foot. They were very nearly equal to us in 
numbers, and had they been mounted, we should 



The Battle of Sand Creek 103 

have had great difficulty in defeating them, as 
they were better armed than we were, and their 
ponies were much superior for military purposes 
to the horses of our command. 

From the beginning of 'the engagement our 
battery did effective work, its shells, as a rule, 
keeping the Indians from concentrating in con- 
siderable numbers at any one point. However, 
at one place, soon after getting into the fight, I 
saw a line of fifty to one hundred Indians receive 
a charge from one of our companies as steadily as 
veterans, and their shooting was so effective that 
our men were forced to fall back. Returning 
to the charge soon after, the troopers forced the 
Indians to retire behind the banks of the creek, 
which they did, however, in a very leisurely man- 
ner, leaving a large number of their dead upon 
the field. Our own company, Company G, 
became disorganized early in the fight, as did 
many of the other companies, and after that 
fought in little groups wherever it seemed that 
they could be most effective. After the first few 
shots, I had no fear whatever, nor did I see 
any others displaying the least concern as to their 
own safety. The fight soon became general all 
up and down the valley, the Indians continuously 
firing from their places of defense along the banks, 



104 The Third Colorado and 

and a constant fusillade being kept up by the 
soldiers, who were shooting at every Indian that 
appeared. I think it was in this way that a good 
many of the squaws were killed. It was utterly 
impossible, at a distance of two hundred yards, 
to discern between the sexes, on account of their 
similarity of dress. 

As our detachment moved up the valley, we 
frequently came in line of the firing, and the bul- 
lets whizzed past us rather unpleasantly, but 
fortunately none of us was hurt. At one point 
we ran across a wounded man, a former resident 
of El Paso County, but then a member of a 
company from another county. A short time 
previously, as he passed too near the bank, a 
squaw had shot an arrow into his shoulder, in- 
flicting a very painful wound. He was being 
cared for by the members of his own company. 
A little farther up the creek we crossed over to 
the north side, and then moved leisurely up the 
valley, shooting at the Indians whenever any were 
in sight. By this time, most of them had bur- 
rowed into the soft sand of the banks, which 
formed a place of defense for them from which 
they could shoot at the whites, while only slightly 
exposing themselves. 

Soon after, we joined a detachment which was 



The Battle of Sand Creek 105 

carrying on a brisk engagement with a considerable 
force of Indians, some of whom were hidden behind 
one of the many large piles of driftwood along the 
banks of Sand Creek, while others were sheltered 
behind a similar pile in the center of the creek, 
which was unusually wide at that point. Our men 
were posted in a little depression just back from the 
north bank, from which some of them had crawled 
forward as far as they dared go, and were shooting 
into the driftwood, in the hope of driving the 
Indians from cover. Soon after I reached this 
point, a member of the company from Boulder, 
who had stepped out a little too far, and then 
turned around to speak to one of us, was shot in 
the back, the bullet going straight through his 
lungs and chest. Realizing at once that he was 
badly wounded, probably fatally so, he asked to 
be taken to his company. I volunteered to ac- 
company him and, after helping him on his horse, 
we started across the prairie to where his com- 
pany was supposed to be. With every breath, 
bubbles of blood were coming from his lungs and 
I had little hope that he would reach his com- 
rades alive. Just as we reached the company, he 
fainted and was caught by his captain as he was 
falling from his horse. I returned immediately 
to the place that I had left and found the bat- 



io6 The Third Colorado and 

tie still going on. During my absence, our little 
force had been considerably increased by soldiers 
from other parts of the battlefield. It was now 
decided to make it so hot for the savages by con- 
tinuous firing, that they would be compelled to 
leave their places of cover. Soon two or three 
of the Indians exposed themselves and were in- 
stantly shot down. In a short time, the re- 
mainder started across the creek towards its 
southern bank. They ran in a zigzag manner, 
jumping from one side to the other, evidently 
hoping by so doing that we would be unable to 
hit them, but by taking deliberate aim, we dropped 
every one before they reached the other bank. 

About this time, orders came from the com- 
manding officer directing us to return at once to 
the Indian camp, as information had been received 
that a large force of Indians was coming from the 
Smoky Hill River to attack us. Obeying this 
order, we marched leisurely down the creek, and 
as we went we were repeatedly fired at by Indians 
hidden in the banks in the manner I have described 
heretofore. We returned the fire, but the savages 
were so well protected that we had no reason to 
think any of our shots had proved effective. At 
one place, an Indian child, three or four years of 
age, ran out to us, holding up its hands and crying 



The Battle of Sand Creek 107 

piteously. From its actions we inferred that it 
wished to be taken up. At first I was inclined 
to do so, but changed my mind when it occurred 
to me that I should have no means of taking care 
of the little fellow. We knew that there were 
Indians concealed within a couple of hundred 
yards of where we were, who certainly would take 
care of him as soon as we were out of the way; 
consequently we left him to be cared for by his 
own people. Every one of our party expressed 
sympathy for the little fellow, and no one dreamed 
of harming him. 

As we neared the Indian camp, we passed the 
place where the severest fighting had occurred 
earlier in the day, and here we saw many dead 
Indians, a few of whom were squaws. At the 
edge of the camp, we came upon our own dead 
who had been brought in and placed in a row. 
There were ten of them, and we were informed 
that there were forty wounded in a hospital 
improvised for the occasion. Among the dead 
I expected to find the Boulder man whom I had 
taken to his company, but, strange to relate, he 
survived his wound, and I saw him two or three 
years afterwards, apparently entirely recovered. 
The number of our dead and wounded showed 
that the Indians had offered a vigorous defense, 



io8 The Third Colorado and 

and as I have before stated, if they had been 
mounted, it is questionable whether the result 
would have been the same had they remained 
to fight. 

We reached the Indian camp about four o'clock 
in the afternoon, the battle having continued 
without cessation from early morning until that 
time. The companies were immediately placed 
in position to form a hollow square, inside of 
which our horses were picketed. I was so utterly 
exhausted for want of sleep and food, as were 
many others of our company, that I hunted up 
a buffalo robe, of which there were large numbers 
scattered around, threw myself down on it, and 
was asleep almost as soon as I touched the ground. 
The next thing I remember was being awakened 
for supper, about dusk. We were told that we 
must sleep with our guns in our hands, ready for 
use at any moment. Near midnight, we were 
awakened by a more than vigorous call of our 
officers, ordering us to fall into line immediately to 
repel an attack. We rushed out, but in our sleepy 
condition had difficulty in forming a line, as we 
hardly knew what we were doing. In the evening, 
by order of the commanding officer, all the Indian 
tents outside of our encampment had been set on 
fire and now were blazing brightly all around us. 



The Battle of Sand Creek 109 

We heard occasional shots in various directions, 
and in the light of the fire saw what looked to be 
hundreds of Indian ponies running hither and 
thither. We saw no Indians, but we knew that 
savages in an encounter always lie on the side of 
their ponies opposite from the enemies they are 
attacking. From the number of what seemed to 
be horses that could be seen in every direction, 
we thought that we should surely be overwhelmed. 
After forming in line, and while waiting for the 
attack, we discovered that what in our sleepy 
condition we had imagined to be ponies, was 
nothing but the numerous dogs of the Indian 
camp, which, having lost their masters, were 
running wildly in every direction. Nevertheless, 
it was evident that Indians were all around us, as 
our pickets had been fired upon and driven in 
from every side of the camp. After remaining 
in line for a considerable length of time, without 
being attacked, the regiment was divided into 
two divisions, one of which was marched fifty 
feet in front of the other. We were then instructed 
to get our blankets, and, wrapping ourselves in 
them, with our guns handy, we lay down and 
slept the remainder of the night. 

In the Indian camp we found an abundance of 
flour, sugar, bacon, coffee, and other articles of 



no The Third Colorado and 

food, sufficient for our maintenance, had we needed 
it, for a time. In many of the tents there were 
articles of wearing apparel and other things that 
had been taken from wagon-trains which the 
Indians had robbed during the previous summer. 
In these same tents we found a dozen or more 
scalps of white people, some of them being from 
the heads of women and children, as was evi- 
denced by the color and fineness of the hair, 
which could not be mistaken for that of any other 
race. One of the scalps showed plainly from its 
condition that it had been taken only recently. 
Certain members of our regiment found horses 
and mules in the Indian herd that had been stolen 
from them by the hostiles in their various raids 
during the preceding year. The camp was over- 
flowing with proof that these Indians were among 
those who had been raiding the settlements of 
Colorado during the previous summer, killing 
people, robbing wagon-trains, burning houses, 
running off stock, and committing outrages of 
which only a savage could be guilty; this evidence 
only corroborated in the strongest possible manner 
what we already knew. Among the members 
of our regiment, there were many who had had 
friends and relatives killed, scalped, and mutilated 
by these Indians, and almost every man had 



The Battle of Sand Creek in 

sustained financial loss by reason of their raids; 
consequently it is not surprising they should be 
determined to inflict such punishment upon the 
savages as would deter them from further raids 
upon our settlements. Notwithstanding the fact 
that this grim determination was firmly fixed in 
the mind of every one, I never saw any one de- 
liberately shoot at a squaw, nor do I believe that 
any children were intentionally killed. 

About noon of the day following the battle, our 
wagon-train came up, and was formed into a hollow 
square in the center of our camp, the lines being 
drawn in, so that if necessary the wagons could 
be used as a means of defense. We knew that on 
the Smoky Hill River, from fifty to seventy-five 
miles distant, there was another large body of 
Cheyennes and Arapahoes which might attack us 
at any time. In every direction throughout the 
day, many Indians were seen hovering around our 
camp. Scouting parties were seldom able to get 
very far away from camp without being fired 
upon, and several of our men were killed and a 
number wounded in the skirmishes that took 
place. During the second night of our stay on 
the battle ground, we were kept in line continu- 
ously, with our arms ready for use at a moment's 
notice. At intervals during the entire night, there 



ii2 The Third Colorado and 

was an exchange of shots at various points around 
the camp. 

I never understood why we did not follow up 
our victory by an attack upon the hostile bands 
camped on the Smoky Hill River, but I assume it 
was on account of our regiment's inferior horses, 
arms, and equipment. Probably Colonel Chiv- 
ington, taking this into consideration, thought 
his force not strong enough to fight such a large 
party successfully. 

The following day, the command took up its 
line of march down the Big Sandy and followed it 
to the Arkansas River, then easterly, along the 
north side of that stream to the western boundary 
of Kansas. Soon after we reached the Arkansas 
River, we found the trail of a large party of 
Indians traveling down the valley. They seemed 
to be in great haste to get away from us, as they 
had thrown away their camp kettles, buffalo 
robes, and everything that might impede their 
flight. Realizing that the Indians could not be 
overtaken with the whole command, on account 
of the poor condition of many of the horses, our 
officers specially detailed three hundred of our 
best mounted and best armed men, and sent them 
forward in pursuit under forced march; but even 
this plan was unsuccessful, and the pursuit was 



The Battle of Sand Creek 113 

finally abandoned when near the Kansas line. 
The term of enlistment of our regiment had al- 
ready expired, for which reason the command 
was reluctantly faced about, and the return 
march to Denver begun. 

From the time we left the Sand Creek battle 
ground, it had been very cold and disagreeable. 
Sharp, piercing winds blew from the north almost 
incessantly, making us extremely uncomfortable 
during the day, and even more so at night. Being 
without tents and compelled to sleep on the open 
prairie, with no protection whatever from the 
wind, at times we found the cold almost unbear- 
able. The thin, shoddy government blankets 
afforded only the slightest possible protection 
against the bitter winds; consequently those were 
fortunate indeed who could find a gully in which 
to make their bed. Our march back to Denver 
was leisurely and uneventful. We reached there 
in due course and were mustered out of service on 
the 2Qth day of December, 1864. We dispersed 
to our homes, convinced that we had done a good 
work and that it needed only a little further 
punishment of the savages permanently to settle 
the Indian troubles so far as this Territory was 
concerned. 



CHAPTER V 

A DEFENSE OF THE BATTLE OF SAND CREEK 



CEW events in American history have been the 
subject of so much misrepresentation as the 
battle of Sand Creek. It has gone down into 
history as an indefensible massacre of peaceable 
Indians, and perhaps nothing that can now be 
said will change this erroneous impression of the 
world at large, notwithstanding the fact that the 
accusation is unjust and a libel upon the people 
of Colorado. Worst of all, it was given wide 
publicity through the reports of two Congressional 
committees following unfair, one-sided, and preju- 
diced investigations. Unfortunately, at that time, 
Colorado, being a Territory, had no Senators or 
Representatives in Congress to defend the good 
name of its people, and to add to the bad features 
of the situation, its people at home realized but 
dimly what was taking place at Washington, 
until after the mischief was done; consequently 
to a great extent the Congressional investigations 

114 



The Battle of Sand Creek 115 

went by default, so far as the people of Colorado 
were concerned. 

It should be kept in mind that Colorado, com- 
paratively speaking, was more remote from the 
rest of the world at that time than Alaska is to- 
day, and the means of disseminating news through- 
out the Territory were exceedingly limited. 
From early in November of 1864 until March, 
1865, the coaches that carried the mail between 
the Missouri River towns and Denver ceased 
running on account of the hostility of the Indians, 
and all this time Colorado was cut off from the rest 
of the world, except for a limited telegraph service 
that did not reach any point in the Territory out- 
side of Denver. Consequently, the enemies of 
Colonel Chivington and the Third Colorado 
Cavalry, had full sway in their efforts to blacken 
the reputation of these representative citizens of 
Colorado. I wish to emphasize the fact that a 
large majority of the members of the Third Colo- 
rado Cavalry were high-class men, whatever may 
be said to the contrary. Colorado had been settled 
less than six years and most of its inhabitants had 
come to the Territory in 1860, only four years 
previously. These people were from every part 
of the United States, many of them farmers, 
merchants, and professional men, and the men 



n6 A Defense of 

who enlisted in the Third Colorado were largely 
of this class. 

The accusations on which the various Congres- 
sional and military investigations were based had 
their origin in the jealousy of military officers. 
It was the same kind of spirit that caused the loss 
of more than one battle in the Civil War. How- 
ever, at Sand Creek, on account of the secrecy 
of preparations, the victory could not be pre- 
vented, but the good effects could be, and were, 
completely nullified, to the great detriment of the 
people of Colorado; and this was done by officers 
who had been former residents of the Territory 
and were indebted to it for their official positions. 
But fully to understand the animus of these 
officers, it is necessary for the reader to know 
something of their personality, as well as that of 
the other officers involved in the controversy. 

Colonel John M. Chivington, who was in com- 
mand at the battle of Sand Creek, and who was 
the principal target throughout the various 
investigations, was the Rev. John M. Chivington, 
who from 1860 to 1862 was in charge of the 
Methodist missions in the region now forming 
the State of Colorado. He was a member of the 
Kansas-Nebraska Conference, and had been se- 
lected for this mission work because of his 




John M. Chivington 
Colonel First Colorado Volunteer Cavalry 



The Battle of Sand Creek 117 

unusual energy, ability, and force of character. 
The commanding position that the Methodist 
Church early assumed in the Territory under his 
administration confirmed the wisdom of his 
appointment. 

Upon the organization of the First Colorado 
Volunteer Cavalry in the early part of 1862, Mr. 
Chivington resigned his position as presiding 
elder of the Rocky Mountain District, and was 
commissioned Major of the new regiment. He 
at once became the regiment's most influential 
officer. He was the most prominent figure in its 
wonderful march to New Mexico, and the re- 
markable victories won by it over the invading 
Confederates were largely due to his brilliant 
leadership. By the end of the active campaign, 
which was a short one, Major Chivington had 
become so popular with the officers and enlisted 
men that upon the resignation of John P. Slough, 
the Colonel of the regiment, soon after, he was 
promoted to that position over Lieutenant-Colonel 
Samuel F. Tappan on petition of every com- 
missioned officer of the regiment. Here was the 
beginning of all his troubles, as will be seen 
farther along in my narrative. Later, Colonel 
Chivington was appointed by General Canby to 
the command of the military district of Southern 



n8 A Defense of 

New Mexico, and was afterward transferred to 
the command of the military district of Colorado, 
which position he held at the time of the battle 
of Sand Creek. 

Colonel Chivington was a man of commanding 
personality, and possessed marked ability both as 
a preacher and as an army officer. I can do no 
better than quote what General Frank Hall says 
of him in his History of Colorado: 

Though wholly unskilled in the science of war, with 
but little knowledge of drill and discipline, Major 
Chivington, of Herculean frame and gigantic stature, 
possessed the courage and exhibited the discreet 
boldness, dash, and brilliancy in action which dis- 
tinguished the more illustrious of our volunteer 
officers during the war. His first encounter with the 
Texans at Apache Canon was sudden and more or 
less of a surprise. The occasion demanded not only 
instantaneous action, but such disposition of his 
force as to render it most effective against superior 
numbers and the highly advantageous position of the 
enemy. He seemed to comprehend at a glance the 
necessities of the situation and handled his troops like 
a veteran. His daring and rapid movement across 
the mountains and the total destruction of the 
enemy's train, simultaneously with the battle of 
Pigeon's Ranch, again attested his excellent general- 
ship. It put an end to the war by forcing the in- 
vaders to a precipitate flight back to their homes. 
He hesitated at nothing. Sure of the devotion and 



The Battle of Sand Creek 119 

gallantry of his men, he was always ready for any 
adventure, however desperate, which promised the 
discomfiture of his adversaries. 

We cannot but believe that had his application for 
the transfer of his regiment to the Army of the Poto- 
mac, or to any of the great armies operating under 
Grant, been acceded to, he would have made a still 
prouder record for himself, the regiment, and the 
Territory. That he was endowed with the capabili- 
ties of a superior commander, none who saw him in 
action will deny. 

I fully concur in General Hall's estimate of 
Colonel Chivington's marked ability. I knew him 
well, as he was a frequent visitor at our house in 
the mining town of Hamilton, in the early days. 
The overshadowing reputation made by Colonel 
Chivington in the campaign against the Texas in- 
vaders of New Mexico, and his subsequent pro- 
motion to the colonelcy of the regiment over 
Lieutenant- Colonel Samuel F. Tappan, although 
apparently acquiesced in at the time, aroused 
a spirit of jealousy, envy, and antagonism against 
him on the part of a small group of officers headed 
by Lieutenant-Colonel Tappan and Major E. W. 
Wynkoop, which was participated in by Captain 
Soule, Lieutenant Cramer, and other subordinates. 
This antagonism manifested itself on every later 
occasion. It was the jealousy of mediocrity 



120 A Defense of 

manifested against superior ability and worth; 
for one can search the records of the First Colorado 
in vain for anything noteworthy ever accomplished 
by either Tappan, Wynkoop, or Soule. After 
their return from New Mexico, these officers never 
allowed an opportunity to pass for discrediting 
and injuring the "Preacher Colonel," and after 
the battle of Sand Creek they never tired of re- 
ferring to it as an evidence of his unfitness. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Tappan had been a profes- 
sional newspaper correspondent before entering 
the army, consequently, he had no trouble in 
filling the Eastern publications with exaggerated 
and distorted accounts of the battle. In his 
crusade he had the active aid of Major Wynkoop, 
of S. G. Colley, the Indian agent at Fort Lyon, 
and of all the Indian traders, interpreters, half- 
breeds, and others of similar character congre- 
gated around the Indian agency. He also had the 
support of the Indian Bureau at Washington, 
which usually took the sentimental side of every 
question affecting the Indians. 

Prior to 1864 Indians who had been on the war- 
path during the summer were permitted to make 
peace in the fall, remain unmolested during the 
winter, receive annuities, rest up, and accumulate 
ammunition for the coming summer's raids; but 



The Battle of Sand Creek 121 

in that year the overtures of the Cheyennes and 
Arapahoes were rejected, except upon the con- 
dition that they deliver up their arms and sub- 
mit to the military authorities. This they not 
only refused to do, but continued their depre- 
dations at places convenient to their winter camps, 
and received from Colonel Chivington's command 
the punishment they so richly deserved. Naturally 
this meant great financial loss to the Indian 
agents, traders, and hangers-on around the 
Indian agency; and, as a result, these people 
actively joined in the attack upon Colonel Chiv- 
ington. 

This crusade resulted in two Congressional in- 
vestigations of the battle, and also in a hearing by 
a military commission. Before the Joint Special 
Committee of the two Houses of Congress the 
principal witnesses were Major Wynkoop, Captain 
Soule, Lieutenant Cramer, two Indian agents, two 
Indian traders, two half-breeds, and one interpre- 
ter to sustain the accusations, and only Governor 
Evans and three minor officers of the Third Col- 
orado regiment for the defense. Aside from 
Governor Evans and the three minor officers just 
mentioned, the witnesses were extremely hostile 
to Colonel Chivington and were ready to go to 
any length in their testimony in order to blacken 



122 A Defense of 

his reputation and that of the Third Colorado. 
In the investigation before the Joint Special Com- 
mittee, neither Colonel Chivington nor Colonel 
Shoup was present or represented in any way. 
In the hearing before the Committee on the Con- 
duct of the War, Colonel Shoup was not repre- 
sented, and Colonel Chivington only by means of 
a deposition. As a result of these partial and one- 
sided investigations, both committees condemned 
Chivington and pronounced the battle a massacre. 
The most unjust and absurd investigation of all 
was that made by the military commission, which 
was composed of three officers of the First Col- 
orado Cavalry, all subordinates of Colonel Chiving- 
ton, headed by his inveterate enemy Lieutenant- 
Colonel Samuel F. Tappan. 

The accusation made at each hearing was that 
the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians attacked 
,by Colonel Chivington's command at Sand Creek 
were not only friendly to the whites, but were 
under the protection of the military authorities 
at Fort Lyon, and that the battle was, by the 
consent, if not by the direction of Colonel Chiv- 
ington, an indiscriminate massacre. All of this 
I believe is proved to be untrue, to the satisfaction 
of any reasonable person, by the facts related in 
my account of the battle, and of the hostilities 




Hon. John Evans 
Governor of Colorado, 1862-1865 



The Battle of Sand Creek 123 

in El Paso County and elsewhere preceding it. 
In corroboration of my statements as to the hostile 
character of the Indians punished at Sand Creek, 
and to show the conditions existing elsewhere 
in the Territory previous thereto, I quote from 
Governor Evans's reply to the report of the Com- 
mittee on the Conduct of the War, dated August 
6, 1865. 

In the Territorial days of Colorado, the Gov- 
ernor was ex-officio Superintendent of Indian Af- 
fairs. At the time of the Sand Creek battle, the 
Hon. John Evans, formerly of Illinois, was Governor 
of Colorado, and had held that office since the 
spring of 1862. Governor Evans was a personal 
friend of President Lincoln, and had been ap- 
pointed Governor because of his high character, 
great ability, and efficiency in administrative 
affairs. Governor Evans's supervision of Indian 
affairs in Colorado during 1862, 1863, and 1864 
made him a better qualified witness as to the 
conditions existing among the various tribes 
during these years than any man living. The 
following extracts from his reply to that part of 
the report of the Committee on the Conduct of 
the War, which, under the heading, "Massacre 
of the Cheyenne Indians," refers to his responsi- 
bility in the matter, tells of the attitude of the 



124 A Defense of 

Indians towards the whites during that period 
and of his own strenuous efforts to avert hostili- 
ties. 

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT AND SUPERINTENDENCY OF INDIAN 
AFFAIRS, C. T. 

DENVER, August 6, 1865. 
To THE PUBLIC : 

I have just seen, for the first time, a copy of the 
report of the Committee on the Conduct of the War, 
headed, " Massacre of Cheyenne Indians." 

As it does me great injustice, and by its partial, 
unfair, and erroneous statements will mislead the 
public, I respectfully ask a suspension of opinion in 
my case until I shall have time to present the facts 
to said committee or some equally high authority, 
and ask a correction. In the meantime, I desire to 
lay a few facts before the public. The report 
begins : 

"In the summer of 1864 Governor Evans, of Colo- 
rado Territory, as acting Superintendent of Indian 
Affairs, sent notice to the various bands and tribes of 
Indians within his jurisdiction, that such as desired 
to be considered friendly to the whites should repair 
to the nearest military post in order to be protected 
from the soldiers who were to take the field against 
the hostile Indians." 

This statement is true as to such notice having been 
sent, but conveys the false impression that it was at 
the beginning of hostilities, and the declaration of war. 
The truth is, it was issued by authority of the In- 
dian Department months after the war had become 
general, for the purpose of inducing the Indians to 



The Battle of Sand Creek 125 

cease hostilities, and to protect those who had been, or 
would become, friendly from the inevitable dangers 
to which they were exposed. This "notice" may be 
found published in the report of the Commissioner of 
Indian Affairs for 1864, page 218. 

The report continues : 

"About the close of the summer some Cheyenne 
Indians, in the neighborhood of the Smoky Hill, sent 
word to Major Wynkoop, commanding at Fort Lyon, 
that they had in their possession, and were willing to 
deliver up, some white captives they had purchased 
of other Indians. Major Wynkoop, with a force of 
over one hundred men, visited these Indians and 
recovered the white captives. On his return he was 
accompanied by a number of the chiefs and leading 
men of the Indians, whom he had brought to visit 
Denver for the purpose of conferring with the authori- 
ties there in regard to keeping the peace. Among 
them were Black Kettle and White Antelope, of the 
Cheyennes, and some chiefs of the Arapahoes. The 
council was held, and these chiefs stated that they were 
friendly to the whites and always had been." 

Again they say : 

"All the testimony goes to show that the Indians 
under the immediate control of Black Kettle and 
White Antelope, of the Cheyennes, and Left Hand of 
the Arapahoes, were, and had always been, friendly 
to the whites, and had not been guilty of any acts of 
hostility or depredations." 

This word, which the committee say was sent to 
Major Wynkoop, was a letter to United States Indian 
Agent, Major Colley, which is published in the report 
of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs for 1865, page 
233, and is as follows: 



126 A Defense of 

"CHEYENNE VILLAGE, August 29, 1864. 

"MAJOR COLLEY: 

"We received a letter from Bent wishing us to make 
peace. We held a council in regard to it. All come 
to the conclusion to make peace with you, providing 
you make peace with the Kiowas, Comanches, Arapa- 
hoes, Apaches, and Sioux. We are going to send a 
messenger to the Kiowas and to the other nations 
about our going to make peace with you. We heard 
that you have some [prisoners] in Denver. We have 
seven prisoners of yours which we are willing to give 
up, providing you give up yours. There are three 
war parties out yet, and two of Arapahoes. They 
have been out some time, and expected in soon. 
When we held this council there were few Arapahoes 
and Sioux present. 

"We want true news from you in return. This is 
a letter. 

"BLACK KETTLE and the other Chiefs." 

Compare the above extract from the report of the 
committee with this published letter of Black Kettle, 
and the admission of the Indians in the council at 
Denver. 

The committee say the prisoners proposed to be 
delivered up were purchased of other Indians. Black 
Kettle, in his letter, says: "We have seven prisoners 
of yours, which we are willing to give up, providing 
you give up yours." They say nothing about pris- 
oners whom they had purchased. On the other hand, 
in the council held in Denver, Black Kettle said : 

"Major Wynkoop was kind enough to receive the 
letter and visited them in camp, to whom they 



The Battle of Sand Creek 127 

delivered four white prisoners, one other (Mrs. 
Snyder) having killed herself; that there are two 
women and one child yet in their camp whom they 
will deliver up as soon as they can get them in ; Laura 
Roper, 1 6 or 17 years; Ambrose Asher, 7 or 8 years; 
Daniel Marble, 7 or 8 years; Isabel Ubanks, 4 or 5 
years. The prisoners still with them [are] Mrs. 
Ubanks and babe, and a Mrs. Norton who was taken 
on the Platte. Mrs. Snyder is the name of the woman 
who hung herself. The boys were taken between 
Fort Kearney and the Blue." 

Again: They did not deny having captured the 
prisoners, when I told them that having the prison- 
ers in their possession was evidence of their having 
committed the depredations when they were taken. 
But White Antelope said: "We (the Cheyennes) 
took two prisoners west of Kearney, and destroyed 
the trains." Had they purchased the prisoners, they 
would not have been slow to make it known in this 
council. 

The committee say the chiefs went to Denver to 
confer with the authorities about keeping the peace. 
Black Kettle says: "All come to the conclusion to 
make peace with you providing you will make peace 
with the Kiowas, Comanches, Arapahoes, Apaches, 
and Sioux." 

Again the committee say : 

"All the testimony goes to show that the Indians 
under the immediate control of Black Kettle and 
White Antelope, of the Cheyennes, and Left Hand, 
of the Arapahoes, were, and had been friendly to the 
whites, and had not been guilty of any acts of hostility or 
depredations" 



128 A Defense of 

Black Kettle says in his letter: "We received a 
letter from Bent, wishing us to make peace." Why 
did Bent send a letter to friendly Indians, and want 
to make peace with Indians who had always been 
friendly? Again they say : " We have held a council 
in regard to it." Why did they hold a council in 
regard to making peace, when they were already 
peaceable? Again they say: "All come to the con- 
clusion to make peace with you providing you make 
peace with the Kiowas, Comanches, Arapahoes, 
Apaches, and Sioux. We have seven prisoners of 
yours, which we are willing to give up, providing you 
give up yours. There are three war [not peace] 
parties out yet, and two of Arapahoes." 

Every line of this letter shows that they were and 
had been at war. I desire to throw additional light 
upon this assertion of the committee that these In- 
dians "were and had been friendly to the whites, 
and had not been guilty of any acts of hostility or 
depredations"; for it is upon this point that the 
committee accuses me of prevarication. 

In the council held at Denver, White Antelope said : 
"We [the Cheyennes] took two prisoners west of 
Kearney and destroyed the trains." This was one of 
the most destructive and bloody raids of the war. 
Again, Neva (Left Hand's brother) said: "The 
Comanches, Kiowas, and Sioux have done much more 
harm than we have." 

The entire report of this council shows that the 
Indians had been at war, and had been "guilty of acts 
of hostility and depredations." 

As showing more fully the status and disposition 
of these Indians, I call your attention to the following 
extract from the report of Major Wynkoop, published 



The Battle of Sand Creek 129 

in the report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs 
for 1864, page 234, and a letter from Major Colley, 
their agent; same report, page 230. Also statement 
of Robert North; same report, page 224: 

"FORT LYON, COLORADO, Sept. 18, 1864. 

"SIR: 

"... Taking with me under strict guard the Indians 
I had in my possession, I reached my destination and 
was confronted by from six to eight hundred Indian 
warriors, drawn up in line of battle and prepared to 
fight. 

"Putting on as bold a front as I could under the 
circumstances I formed my command in as good order 
as possible for the purpose of acting on the offensive 
or defensive, as might be necessary, and advanced 
towards 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 consul- 
tation with the chiefs of the Arapahoes and Chey- 
ennes, to come to an understanding which might 
result in mutual benefit; that I had not come de- 
siring 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 hands their white prisoners. I told them that 
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, state the circum- 



130 A Defense of 

stances to him, and that I believed it would result 
in what it was their desire to accomplish 'peace 
with their white brothers.' I had reference particu- 
larly to the Arapahoe and Cheyenne tribes. 

"The council was divided undecided and could 
not come to an understanding among themselves. I 
told them that 1 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 in- 
terval they brought in and turned over four white 
prisoners, all that was possible for them at the time 
being to turn over, the balance of the seven being 
(as they stated) with another band far to the north- 
ward. 

"I have the principal chiefs of the two tribes with 
me, and propose starting immediately to Denver, to 
put into effect the aforementioned proposition made 
by me to them. 

"They agree to deliver up the balance of the 
prisoners as soon as it is possible to procure them, 
which can be done better from Denver City than 
from this point. 

"I have the honor, Governor, to be your obedient 
servant, 

"E. W. WYNKOOP, 
" Major First Col. Cav. Com'd'g 

Fort Lyon, C. T. 
"His Excellency, JOHN EVANS, 

"Governor of Colorado, Denver, C. T." 

" FORT LYON, COLORADO TERRITORY, July 26, 1 864. 
"SIR: 

"When I last wrote you, I was in hopes that our 



The Battle of Sand Creek 131 

Indian troubles were at an end. Colonel Chivington 
has just arrived from Larned and gives a sad account 
of affairs at that post. They have killed some ten 
men from a train, and run off all the stock from the 
post. 

"As near as they can learn, all the tribes were 
engaged in it. The colonel will give you the particu- 
lars. There is no dependence to be put in any of 
them. I have done everything in my power to keep 
the peace; I now think a little powder and lead is the 
best food for them. 

"Respectfully, your obedient servant, 
"S. G. COLLEY, 

United States Indian Agent. 
"Hon. JOHN EVANS, 

"Governor and Superintendent Indian Affairs." 

The following statement by Robert North was made 
tome: 

"November 10, 1863. 

"Having recovered an Arapahoe prisoner (a squaw) 
from the Utes, I obtained the confidence of the In- 
dians completely. I have lived with them from a 
boy and my wife is an Arapahoe. 

"In honor of my exploit in recovering the prisoner, 
the Indians recently gave me a 'big medicine dance' 
about fifty miles below Fort Lyon, on the Arkansas 
River, at which the leading chiefs and warriors of 
several of the tribes of the plains met. 

"The Comanches, Apaches, Kiowas, the northern 
band of Arapahoes, and all of the Cheyennes, with the 
Sioux, have pledged one another to go to war with the 
whites as soon as they can procure ammunition in 



132 A Defense of 

the spring. I have heard them discuss the matter 
often, and the few of them who opposed it were forced 
to be quiet, and were really in danger of their lives. I 
saw the principal chiefs pledge to each other that they 
would be friendly and shake hands with the whites 
until they procured ammunition and guns, so as to be 
ready when they strike. Plundering to get means 
has already commenced ; and the plan is to commence 
the war at several points in the sparse settlements 
early in the spring. They wanted me to join them in 
the war, saying that they would take a great many 
white women and children prisoners, and get a heap 
of property, blankets, etc. ; but while I am connected 
with them by marriage, and live with them, I am yet 
a white man, and wish to avoid bloodshed. There 
are many Mexicans with the Comanche and Apache 
Indians, all of whom urge on the war, promising to 
help the Indians themselves, and that a great many 
more Mexicans would come up from New Mexico 
for the purpose in the spring." 

In addition to the statement showing that all the 
Cheyennes were in the alliance, I desire to add the fol- 
lowing frank admission from the Indians in the 
council : 

"Governor Evans explained that smoking the war- 
pipe was a figurative term, but their conduct had been 
such as to show that they had an understanding with 
other tribes. 

"Several Indians: We acknowledge that our ac- 
tions have given you reason to believe this." 

In addition to all this, I refer to the statement of 
Mrs. Ewbanks. She is one of the prisoners that 
Black Kettle, in the council, said they had. Instead 



The Battle of Sand Creek 133 

of purchasing her, they first captured her on the 
Little Blue, and then sold her to the Sioux. 

Mrs. Martin, another rescued prisoner, was cap- 
tured by the Cheyennes on Plum Creek, west of 
Kearney, with a boy nine years old. These were 
the prisoners of which White Antelope said, in the 
council, "We took two prisoners west of Kearney, 
and destroyed the trains." In her published state- 
ment she says the party who captured her and the boy 
killed eleven men and destroyed the trains and were 
mostly Cheyennes. 

Thus I have proved by the Indian chiefs named in 
the report, by Agent Colley and Major Wynkoop, to 
whom they refer to sustain their assertion to the 
contrary, that these Indians had "been at war, and 
had committed acts of hostility and depredations." 

In regard to their status prior to their council at 
Denver, the foregoing public documents which I have 
cited show how utterly devoid of truth or foundation 
is the assertion that these Indians "had been friendly 
to the whites, and had not been guilty of any acts of 
hostility or depredations." 

The next paragraph of the report is as follows : 

"A northern band of Cheyennes, known as the 
'Dog Soldiers,' had been guilty of acts of hostility; 
but all the testimony goes to prove that they had no 
connection with Black Kettle's band, and acted in 
spite of his authority and influence. Black Kettle 
and his band denied all connection with, or responsi- 
bility for, the Dog Soldiers, and Left Hand and his 
band were equally friendly." 

The committee and the public will be surprised to 
learn the fact that these Dog Soldiers, on which the 
committee throws the slight blame for acts of hos- 



134 A Defense of 

tility, were really among Black Kettle's and White 
Antelope's own warriors, in the "friendly" camp to 
which Major Wynkoop made his expedition, and their 
head man, Bull Bear, was one of the prominent men 
of the deputation brought in to see me at Denver. 
By reference to the report of the council with the 
chiefs, to which I referred the committee, it will be 
observed that Black Kettle and all present based their 
propositions to make peace upon the assent of their 
bands, and that these Dog Soldiers were especially 
referred to. 

The report continues : 

"These Indians, at the suggestion of Governor 
Evans and Colonel Chivington, repaired to Fort 
Lyon and placed themselves under the protection 
of Major Wynkoop, etc." 

The connection of my name in this is again wrong. 
I simply left them in the hands of the military 
authorities, where I found them, and my action was 
approved by the Indian Bureau. 

The following extracts from the report of the coun- 
cil will prove this conclusively. I stated to the 
Indians : 

"... Another reason that I am not in a condition 
to make a treaty is, that the war is begun, and the 
power to make a treaty of peace has passed from me 
to the great war chief." 

I also said: "Again, whatever peace they may 
make must be with the soldiers and not with me." 

And again, in reply to White Antelope's inquiry, 
"How can we be protected from the soldiers on the 
plains?" I said: "You must make that arrange- 
ment with the military chief." 

The morning after this council, I addressed the 



The Battle of Sand Creek 135 

following letter to the agent of these Indians, which is 
published in the report of the Commissioner of 
Indian Affairs for 1864, page 220: 

"COLORADO SUPERINTENDENCY INDIAN AFFAIRS, 
DENVER, September 29, 1864. 

"SIR: 

"The chiefs brought in by Major Wynkoop have 
been heard. I have declined to make any peace 
with them, lest it might embarrass the military 
operations against the hostile Indians on 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 these 
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, 

"JOHN EVANS, 

" Governor Colorado Territory and 
"ex-officio Superintendent of Indian Affairs. 

"MAJOR S. G. COLLEY, 
"United States Indian Agent, Upper Arkansas." 

It will thus be seen that I had, with the approval 



136 A Defense of 

of the Indian Bureau, turned the adjustment of 
difficulties with the hostile Indians entirely over to the 
military authorities; that I had instructed Agent 
Colley, at Fort Lyon, that this would relieve the Bu- 
reau of further care of the Arapahoes and Cheyennes, 
until peace was made, and having had no notice of 
such peace, or instructions to change the arrange- 
ment, the status of these Indians was in no respect 
within my jurisdiction, or under my official inspec- 
tion. 

It may be proper for me to say further, that it 
will appear in evidence that I had no intimation of 
the direction in which the campaign against the 
hostile Indians was to move, or against what bands 
it was to be made, when I left the Territory last fall, 
and that I was absent from Colorado when the Sand 
Creek battle occurred. 

The report continues : 

"It is true that there seems to have been excited 
among the people inhabiting that region of country 
a hostile feeling towards the Indians. Some had 
committed acts of hostility towards the whites, but 
no effort seems to have been made by the authorities 
there to prevent these hostilities, other than by the 
commission of even worse acts." 

" Some had committed acts of hostility towards 
the whites!" Hear the facts: In the fall of 1863 a 
general alliance of the Indians of the plains was 
effected with the Sioux, and in the language of Bull 
Bear, in the report of the council, "Their plan is to 
clean out all this country." 

The war opened early in the spring of 1864. The 
people of the East, absorbed in the greater interest 
of the rebellion, know but little of its history. Stock 



The Battle of Sand Creek 137 

was stolen, ranches destroyed, houses burned, freight 
trains plundered, and their contents carried away or 
scattered upon the plains; settlers in the frontier 
counties murdered, or forced to seek safety for them- 
selves and families in blockhouses and interior towns ; 
emigrants to our Territory were surprised in their 
camps, children were slain, and wives taken prisoners ; 
our trade and travel with the States were cut off ; the 
necessities of life were at starvation prices; the in- 
terests of the Territory were being damaged to the 
extent of millions; every species of atrocity and 
barbarity which characterizes savage warfare was 
committed. This is no fancy sketch, but a plain 
statement of facts of which the committee seem to 
have had no proper realization. All this history 
of war and blood all this history of rapine and ruin 
all this story of outrage and suffering on the part 
of our people is summed up by the committee, and 
given to the public in one mild sentence, "Some had 
committed acts of hostility against the whites." 

The committee not only ignore the general and 
terrible character of our Indian war, and the great 
sufferings of our people, but make the grave charge 
that "no effort seems to have been made by the 
authorities there to prevent all these hostilities." 

Had the committee taken the trouble, as they 
certainly should have done before making so grave 
a charge, to have read the public documents of the 
government, examined the record and files of the 
Indian Bureau, of the War Department, and of this 
superintendency, instead of adopting the language of 
some hostile and irresponsible witness, as they appear 
to have done, they would have found that the most 
earnest and persistent efforts had been made on my 



138 A Defense of 

part to prevent hostilities. The records show that 
early in the spring of 1863, United States Indian 
Agent Loree, of the Upper Platte Agency, reported 
to me in person that the Sioux under his agency, and 
the Arapahoes and Cheyennes, were negotiating an 
alliance for war on the whites. I immediately wrote 
an urgent appeal for authority to avert the danger, 
and sent Agent Loree as special messenger with the 
dispatch to Washington. In response authority was 
given, and an earnest effort was made to collect the 
Indians in council. The following admission, in the 
report of the council, explains the result: 

"Governor Evans: ' . . . Hearing last fall that they 
were dissatisfied, the Great Father at Washington sent 
me out on the plains to talk with you and make it all 
right. I sent messengers out to tell you that I had 
presents, and would make you a feast; but you sent 
word to me that you did not want to have anything 
to do with me, and to the Great Father at Washington 
that you could get along without him. Bull Bear 
wanted to come in to see me, at the head of the 
Republican, but his people held a council and would 
not let him come.' 

" Black Kettle : ' That is true. ' 

"Governor Evans: 'I was under the necessity, 
after all my trouble, and all the expense I was at, of 
returning home without seeing them. Instead of 
this, your people went away and smoked the war- 
pipe with our enemies.' ' 

Notwithstanding these unsuccessful efforts, I still 
hoped to preserve peace. 

The records of these offices also show that, in the 
autumn of 1863, I was reliably advised from various 
sources that nearly all the Indians of the plains had 



The Battle of Sand Creek 139 

formed an alliance for the purpose of going to war in 
the spring, and I immediately commenced my efforts 
to avert the imminent danger. From that time for- 
ward, by letter, by telegram, and personal represen- 
tation to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, the 
Secretary of War, the commanders of the department 
and district; by traveling for weeks in the wilderness 
of the plains; by distribution of annuities and pres- 
ents; by sending notice to the Indians to leave the 
hostile alliance; by every means within my power, I 
endeavored to preserve peace and protect the inter- 
ests of the people of the Territory. And in the face 
of all this, which the records abundantly show, the 
committee say: " No effort seems to have been made 
by the authorities there to prevent these hostilities, 
other than by the commission of even worse acts." 

They do not point out any of these acts, unless the 
continuation of the paragraph is intended to do so. 
It proceeds : 

"The hatred of the whites to the Indians would 
seem to have been inflamed and excited to the ut- 
most. The bodies of persons killed at a distance 
whether by Indians or not is not certain were 
brought to the capital of the Territory and exposed 
to the public gaze, for the purpose of inflaming still 
more the already excited feelings of the people." 

There is no mention in this of anything that was 
done by authority, but it is so full of misrepresenta- 
tion, in apology for the Indians, and unjust reflection 
on a people who have a right from their birth, educa- 
tion, and ties of sympathy with the people they so 
recently left behind them, to have at least a just 
consideration. The bodies referred to were those 
of the Hungate family, who were brutally murdered 



140 A Defense of 

by the Indians, within twenty-five miles of Denver. 
No one here ever doubted that the Indians did it, 
and it was admitted by the Indians in the council. 
This was early in the summer, and before the notice 
sent in June to the friendly Indians. Their mangled 
bodies were brought to Denver for decent burial. 
Many of our people went to see them, as any people 
would have done. It did produce excitement and 
consternation, and where are the people who could 
have witnessed it without emotion? Would the 
committee have the people shut their eyes to such 
scenes at their very doors? 

The next sentence, equally unjust and unfair, refers 
to my proclamation, issued two months after this 
occurrence, and four months before the "attack" they 
were investigating, and having no connection with it 
or with the troops engaged in it. It is as follows: 

"The cupidity was appealed to, for the Governor, 
in a proclamation, calls upon all, either individually, 
or in such parties as they may organize, to kill and 
destroy as enemies of the country, wherever they may 
be found, all such hostile Indians; authorizing them 
to hold, to their own use and benefit, all the property 
of said hostile Indians they may capture. What 
Indians he would ever term friendly, it is impossible 
to tell." 

I offer the following statement of the circumstan- 
ces under which this proclamation was issued by the 
Hon. D. A. Chever. It is as follows: 

"EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, COLORADO TERRITORY, 

August 21, 1865. 

"I, David A. Chever, Clerk in the office of the 
Governor of the territory of Colorado, do solemnly 



The Battle of Sand Creek 141 

swear that the people of said territory, from the 
Purgatoire to the Cache la Poudre rivers, a distance 
of over two hundred miles, and for a like distance 
along the Platte river, being the whole of our settle- 
ments on the plains, were thrown into the greatest 
alarm and consternation by numerous and almost 
simultaneous attacks and depredations by hostile 
Indians early last summer; that they left their un- 
reaped crops, and collecting into communities built 
blockhouses and stockades for protection at central 
points throughout the long line of settlements; that 
those living in the vicinity of Denver City fled to it, 
and that the people of said city were in great fear of 
sharing the fate of New Ulm, Minnesota; that the 
threatened loss of crops, and the interruption of 
communication with the states by the combined 
hostilities, threatened the very existence of the whole 
people; that this feeling of danger was universal; that 
a flood of petitions and deputations poured into this 
office, from the people of all parts of the territory, 
praying for protection, and for arms and authority 
to protect themselves; that the defects of the militia 
law and the want of means to provide for defense was 
proved by the failure of this department, after the 
utmost endeavors, to secure an effective organiza- 
tion under it ; that reliable reports of the presence of a 
large body of hostile warriors at no great distance 
east of this place were received, which reports were 
afterwards proved to be true, by the statement of 
Elbridge Gerry (page 232, Report of Commissioner 
of Indian Affairs for 1864); that repeated and urgent 
applications to the War Department for protection 
and authority to raise troops for the purpose had 
failed; that urgent applications to department and 



142 A Defense of 

district commanders had failed to bring any prospect 
of relief, and that in the midst of this terrible conster- 
nation and apparently defenseless condition, it had 
been announced to this office, from district head- 
quarters, that all the Colorado troops in the service 
of the United States had been peremptorily ordered 
away, and nearly all of them had marched to the 
Arkansas River, to be in position to repel the threat- 
ened invasion of the rebels into Kansas and Missouri ; 
that reliable reports of depredations and murders by 
the Indians, from all parts of our extended lines of ex- 
posed settlements, became daily more numerous, until 
the simultaneous attacks on trains along the overland 
stage line were reported by telegraph, on the 8th of 
August, described in the letter of George K. Otis, 
superintendent of overland stage line, published on 
page 254 of Report of Commissioner of Indian Affairs 
for 1864. Under these circumstances, on the nth of 
August, the Governor issued his proclamation to the 
people, calling upon them to defend their homes and 
families from the savage foe; that it prevented anarchy ; 
that several militia companies immediately organized 
under it, and aided in inspiring confidence ; that under 
its authority no act of impropriety has been reported, 
and I do not believe that any occurred ; that it had no 
reference to or connection with the third regiment of 
one-hundred-days men that was subsequently raised 
by authority of the War Department, under a different 
proclamation, calling for volunteers, or with any of 
the troops engaged in the Sand Creek Affair, and that 
the reference to it in such connection in the report 
of the Committee on the Conduct of the War is a per- 
version of the history and facts in the case. 

"DAVID A. CHEVER." 



The Battle of Sand Creek 143 

" Territory of Colorado, Arapahoe County, City of 
Denver, SS.: Subscribed and sworn to before 
me this 2ist day of August, A,D. 1865. ELI M. 
ASHLEY, Notary Public." 

I had appealed by telegraph, June I4th, to the War 
Department for authority to call the militia into the 
United States service, or to raise one-hundred-day 
troops ; also had written to our delegate in Congress 
to see why I got no response, and had received his 
reply to the effect that he could learn nothing about 
it; had received a notice from the department com- 
mander, declining to take the responsibility of asking 
the militia for United States service, throwing the 
people entirely on the necessity of taking care of 
themselves. 

It was under these circumstances of trial, suffering, 
and danger on the part of the people, and of fruitless 
appeal upon my part to the general government for 
aid, that I issued my proclamation of the nth of 
August, 1864, of which the committee complains. 

Without means to mount or pay militia, and failing 
to get government authority to raise forces, and under 
the withdrawal of the few troops in the Territory, 
could any other course be pursued? 

The people were asked to fight on their own account 
at their own expense and in lieu of the protection 
the government failed to render. They were author- 
ized to kill only the Indians that were murdering and 
robbing them in hostility, and to keep the property 
captured from them. How the committee would 
have them fight these savages, and what other dis- 
position they would make of the property captured, 
the public will be curious to know. Would they 



144 A Defense of 

fight without killing? Would they have the captured 
property turned over to the government, as if cap- 
tured by United States troops? Would they forbid such 
captures ? Would they restore it to the hostile tribes ? 

The absurdity of the committee's saying that this 
was an "appeal to the cupidity," is too palpable to 
require much comment. Would men leave high 
wages, mount and equip themselves at enormous 
expense, as some patriotically did, for the poor chance 
of capturing property, as a mere speculation, from the 
prowling bands of Indians that infested the settle- 
ments and were murdering their families? The 
thing is preposterous. 

For this proclamation I have no apology. It had 
its origin and has its justification in the imperative 
necessities of the case. A merciless foe surrounded 
us. Without means to mount or pay militia, unable 
to secure government authority to raise forces, and 
our own troops ordered away, again I ask, could any 
other course be pursued? 

Captain Tyler's and other companies organized 
under it, at enormous expense, left their lucrative 
business, high wages, and profitable employment, and 
served without other pay than the consciousness of 
having done noble and patriotic service; and no act 
of impropriety has ever been laid to the charge of 
any party acting under this proclamation. They 
had all been disbanded months before the "attack" 
was made that the committee were investigating. 

The third regiment was organized under authority 
from the War Department, subsequently received by 
telegraph, and under a subsequent proclamation 
issued on the I3th of August, and were regularly 
mustered into the service of the United States about 



The Battle of Sand Creek 145 

three months before the battle the committee were 
investigating occurred. 

Before closing this reply, it is perhaps just that I 
should say that when I testified before the committee, 
the chairman and all its members except three were 
absent, and I think, when the truth becomes known, 
this report will trace its parentage to a single member 
of the committee. 

I have thus noticed such portions of the report as 
refer to myself, and shown conclusively that the 
committee, in every mention they have made of me, 
have been, to say the least, mistaken. 

First: The committee, for the evident purpose of 
maintaining their position that these Indians had not 
been engaged in war, say the prisoners they held were 
purchased. The testimony is to the effect that they 
captured them. 

Second: The committee say that these Indians 
were and always had been friendly, and had committed 
no acts of hostility or depredations. The public 
documents to which I refer show conclusively that 
they had been hostile, and had committed many acts 
of hostility and depredations. 

Third: They say that I joined in sending these 
Indians to Fort Lyon. The published report of the 
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and of the Indian 
council, show that I left them entirely in the hands of 
the military authorities. 

Fourth: They say nothing seems to have been 
done by the authorities to prevent hostilities. The 
public documents and files of the Indian Bureau, and 
of my superintendency, show constant and unremit- 
ting diligence and effort on my part to prevent hostili- 
ties and protect the people. 



146 Defense of the Battle of Sand Creek 

Fifth: They say that I prevaricated for the pur- 
pose of avoiding the admission that these Indians 
"were and had been actuated by the most friendly 
feelings towards the whites." Public documents 
cited show conclusively that the admission they de- 
sired me to make was false, and that my statement, 
instead of being a prevarication, was true, although 
not in accordance with the preconceived and mistaken 
opinions of the committee. . . . 

This report, so full of mistakes which ordinary 
investigation would have avoided; so full of slander, 
which ordinary care of the character of men would 
have prevented, is to be regretted, for the reason that 
it throws doubt upon the reliability of all reports 
which have emanated from the same source, during 
the last four years of war. 

I am confident that the public will see, from the 
facts herein set forth, the great injustice done me ; and 
I am further confident that the committee, when they 
know these and other facts I shall lay before them, 
will also see this injustice, and, as far as possible, 
repair it. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

JOHN EVANS, Governor of the Territory of 
Colorado, and ex-officio Superintendent 
of Indian Affairs. 



CHAPTER VI 

A DEFENSE OF THE BATTLE OF SAND CREEK 

(Continued) 

IF anything in addition to Governor Evans's 
statement were needed to prove the hostility 
of the Indians attacked at Sand Creek, it will be 
found in the admission of the Indians themselves 
at the council held by Governor Evans with the 
Cheyenne and Arapahoe chiefs in Denver about 
sixty days prior to the battle. At this council, 
there were present Black Kettle, leading chief of 
the Cheyennes, White Antelope, chief of the 
central band of the Cheyennes, Bull Bear, leader 
of the Cheyenne Dog Soldiers, Neva, sub- 
chief of the Arapahoes, and several other minor 
chiefs of that tribe. These chiefs admitted that 
their people had been, and were still committing 
depredations, as the following extract from the 
report of the council, taken down at the time, 
conclusively shows: 

Gov. EVANS: Who committed the murder of 

the Hungate family on Run- 
ning Creek? 



148 

NEVA: 



ACT. WHITLEY 
Gov. EVANS: 

NEVA: 

Gov. EVANS: 
NEVA: 
Gov. EVANS: 

NEVA: 

Gov. EVANS: 

NEVA: 

COL. SHOUP: 
Gov. EVANS: 

NEVA: 
Gov. EVANS: 



A Defense of 

TheArapahoes, a party of the north- 
ern band who were passing north. 
It was the Medicine Man, or 
Roman Nose, and three others. 
I am satisfied from the time he 
left a certain camp for the north, 
that it was this party of four 
persons. 

That cannot be true. 

Where is Roman Nose? 

You ought to know better than me, 
you have been nearer to him. 

Who killed the man and boy at the 
head of Cherry Creek? 

(After consultation) Kiowas and 
Comanches. 

Who stole the horses and mules 
from Jimmy's Camp twenty- 
seven days ago? 

Fourteen Cheyennes and Arapahoes 
together. 

What were their names? 

Powder Face and Whirlwind, who 
are now in our camp, were the 
leaders. 

I counted twenty Indians on that 
occasion. 

Who stole Charlie Autobee's 
horses? 

Raven's son. 

I suppose you acknowledge the de- 
predations on the Little Blue, 
as you have the prisoners then 
taken in your possession? 



The Battle of Sand Creek 149 

WHITE ANTELOPE : We [the Cheyennes] took two 
prisoners west of Ft. Kearney 
and destroyed the trains. 

It will be seen from the foregoing, that these 
Indians, although pretending to be friendly, had 
to admit that their people stole the horses from 
the soldiers at Jimmy's Camp, near Colorado 
City, an account of which I have already given, 
and that the Indians who did it were in their 
camp at Sand Creek at the time the council was 
being held. They lied concerning the man and 
boy killed at the head of Cherry Creek, for they 
knew that the Kiowas and Comanches never came 
this far north, and that the murders were com- 
mitted by their own people. Neva's admission 
that Raven's son stole Charlie Autobee's horses 
proved the hostility of the Arapahoes, as Raven 
was the head chief of that tribe. 

At the time the council was being held, General 
S. R. Curtis, commanding the military district, 
sent the following telegram to Colonel Chivington, 
evidently fearing that peace would be made pre- 
maturely. 

FT. LEAVENWORTH, 
September 28th, 1864. 

To COLONEL CHIVINGTON: 

I shall require the bad Indians delivered up; re- 



150 A Defense of 

storation of equal numbers of stock; also hostages 
to secure. I want no peace till the Indians suffer 
more. Left Hand is said to be a good chief of the 
Arapahoes but Big Mouth is a rascal. I fear the 
Agent of the Indian Department will be ready to 
make presents too soon. It is better to chastise 
before giving anything but a little tobacco to talk 
over. No peace must be made without my direction. 
S. R. CURTIS, Major- General. 

On November 2, 1864, Major Wynkoop was 
relieved of the command at Fort Lyon, and Major 
Anthony, of the First Regiment of Colorado 
Cavalry, was appointed his successor. The reason 
given for the removal of Major Wynkoop was that 
he was inclined to temporize with the hostile 
Indians, contrary to the orders of his superior 
officers. 

In a report made by Major Anthony to his 
superior officer from Fort Lyon, under date of 
November 6, 1864, he says: 

Nine Cheyenne Indians to-day sent in wishing to 
see me. They state that six hundred of that tribe 
are now thirty-five miles north of here coming toward 
the post, and two thousand about seventy-five miles 
away waiting for better weather to enable them to 
come in. 

I shall not permit them to come in even as prisoners, 
for the reason that if I do, I shall have to subsist 
them upon a prisoner's rations. I shall, however, de- 



The Battle of Sand Creek 151 

mand their arms, all stolen stock, and the perpetra- 
tors of all depredations. I am of the opinion that they 
will not accept this proposition, but that they will re- 
turn to the Smoky Hill. 

They pretend that they want peace, and I think 
they do now, as they cannot fight during the winter, 
except where a small band of them can fight an un- 
protected train or frontier settlement. I do not think 
it is policy to make peace with them until all per- 
petrators of depredations are surrendered up to be 
dealt with as we may propose. 

This report was dated only twenty-three days 
before the battle of Sand Creek occurred. The 
Indians Major Anthony mentions as camped 
thirty-five miles away were those that were 
attacked by Colonel Chivington. That they were 
not, and had not been under Major Anthony's 
protection, and that he considered them hostile, 
is clearly shown by the above report as well as 
by the testimony given by him March 14, 1865, 
in an investigation of the battle of Sand Creek 
made by the Joint Committee on the Conduct 
of the War, as is shown by the following extracts: 

"You say you held a conference with the Indians. 
State what occurred? " 

"At the time I took command of the post, there 
was a band of Arapahoe Indians encamped about a 
mile from the post, numbering, in men, women, and 
children, 652. They were visiting the post almost 



152 A Defense of 

every day. I met them and had a talk with them. 
Among them was Left Hand, who was a chief among 
the Arapahoes. He with his band was with the 
party at the time. I talked with them and they 
proposed to do whatever I said; whatever I said for 
them to do, they would do. I told them that I could 
not feed them; that I could not give them anything 
to eat; that there were positive orders forbidding 
that; that I could not permit them to come within 
the limits of the post. At the same time they might 
remain where they were and I would treat them as 
prisoners of war if they remained; that they would 
have to surrender to me all their arms, and turn over 
to me all stolen property they had taken from the 
government or citizens. These terms they accepted. 
They turned over to me some twenty head of stock, 
mules and horses, and a few arms, but not a quarter 
of the arms that report stated they had in their 
possession. The arms they turned over to me were 
almost useless. I fed them for some ten days. At 
the end of that time I told them that I could not feed 
them any more ; that they better go out to the buffalo 
country where they could kill game to subsist upon. 
I returned their arms to them and they left the post. 
But before leaving they sent word out to the Chey- 
ennes that I was not very friendly towards them." 
"How do you know that?" 

"Through several of their chiefs : Neva, an Arapahoe 
chief, Left Hand, of the Arapahoes; then Black Kettle 
and War Bonnet, of the Cheyennes." 
"What property did they turn over?" 
"Fourteen head of mules and six head of horses." 
"Was it property purporting to have been stolen 
by them?" 



The Battle of Sand Creek 153 

"Yes, sir." 

"From whom?" 

"They did not say, yet some of it was recognized; 
some of it was branded ' U. S.' Some was recognized 
as being stock that belonged to citizens. It was 
generally understood afterwards I did not know it 
at the time that the son of the head chief of the 
Arapahoes, Little Raven, and I think another, had 
attacked a small government train and killed one 
man. . . ." 

"Who was the chief of that band?" 

"Little Raven was the chief of those I held as 
prisoners. . . . 

"A delegation of the Cheyepnes, numbering, I 
suppose, fifty or sixty men, came in just before the 
Arapahoes left the post. I met them outside the 
post and talked with them. They said they wanted 
to make peace ; that they had no desire to fight against 
us any longer. I told them that I had no authority 
from department headquarters to make peace with 
them; that I could not permit them to visit the post 
and come within the lines; that when they had been 
permitted to do so at Fort Lamed, while the squaws 
and children of the different tribes that visited the 
post were dancing in front of the officers' quarters 
and on the parade ground, the Indians had made an 
attack on the post, fired on the guard, and run off 
the stock, and I was afraid the same thing might 
occur at Fort Lyon. I would not permit them to 
visit the post at all. I told them I could make no 
offers of peace to them until I heard from district 
headquarters. I told them, however, that they 
might go out and camp on Sand Creek, and remain 
there if they chose to do so; but they should not camp 



154 A Defense of 

in the vicinity of the post; that if I had authority to 
go out and make peace with them, I would go out and 
let them know of it. 

"In the meantime I was writing to district head- 
quarters constantly, stating to them that there was 
a band of Indians within forty miles of the post a 
small band while a very large band was about 100 
miles from the post. That I was strong enough with 
the force I had with me to fight the Indians on Sand 
Creek, but not strong enough to fight the main band. 
That I should try to keep the Indians quiet until such 
time as I received reinforcements ; and that as soon as 
reinforcements did arrive we should go further and 
find the main party. 

"But before the reinforcements came from district 
headquarters, Colonel Chivington came to Fort Lyon 
with his command, and I joined him and went out on 
that expedition to Sand Creek. I never made any 
offer to the Indians. It was the understanding that 
I was not in favor of peace with them. They so 
understood me, I suppose; at least I intended they 
should. In fact, I often heard of it through their 
interpreters that they did not suppose we were 
friendly towards them. . . . 

" This is the way in which we had been situated out 
there. I fyave been in command of a body of troops 
at Fort Lamed or Fort Lyon for upwards of two years. 
About two years ago in September the Indians were 
professing to be perfectly friendly. These were the 
Cheyennes, the Comanches, the Apaches, the Arapa- 
hoes, the Kiowas, encamped at different points on the 
Arkansas River between Fort Larned and Fort Lyon. 
Trains were going up to Fort Lyon frequently and 
scarcely a train came in but had some complaint 



The Battle of Sand Creek 155 

to make about the Indians. I recollect that one 
particular day three trains came in to the post and 
reported to me that the Indians had robbed them 
of their provisions. We at the post had to issue 
provisions to them constantly. Trains that were 
carrying government freight to New Mexico would 
stop there and get their supplies replenished on 
account of the Indians having taken theirs on the 
road. 

"At one time I took two pieces of artillery and 125 
men, and went down to meet the Indians. As soon 
as I got there they were apparently friendly. A 
Kiowa chief perhaps would say to me that his men 
were perfectly friendly, and felt all right towards the 
whites, but the Arapahoes were very bad Indians. 
Go to the Arapahoe camp, and they would perhaps 
charge everything upon the Comanches; while the 
Comanches would charge it upon the Cheyennes; 
yet each band there was professing friendship towards 
us. ... 

"When the Indians took their prisoners (in fact, 
however, they generally took no prisoners) near 
Simmering Spring, they killed ten men. I was told 
by Captain Davis, of the California volunteers, that 
the Indians cut off the heads of the men after they had 
scalped them, and piled them in a pile on the ground, 
and danced around them, and kicked their bodies 
around over the ground, etc. It is the general im- 
pression of the people of that country that the only 
way to fight Indians is to fight them as they fight us ; 
if they scalp and mutilate the bodies we must do the 
same. 

"I recollect one occasion, when I had a fight on 
Pawnee fork with the Indians there, I had fifty-nine 



156 A Defense of 

men with me, and the Indians numbered several 
hundred. I was retreating and they had followed 
me about five miles. I had eleven men of my party 
shot at that time. I had with my party then a few 
Delaware Indians, and one Captain Fall Leaf, of the 
Delaware tribe, had his horse shot; we had to stop 
every few minutes, dismount, and fire upon the Indians 
to keep them off. They formed a circle right around 
us. Finally we shot down one Indian very close to 
us. I saw Fall Leaf make a movement as though he 
wanted to scalp the Indian. I asked him if he wanted 
that Indian's scalp and he said he did. We kept up 
a fire to keep the Indians off, while he went down and 
took off his scalp, and gave his Delaware war-whoop. 
That seemed to strike more terror into those Indians 
than anything else we had done that day. And I do 
think if it had not been for that one thing, we should 
have lost a great many more of my men. I think it 
struck terror to them so that they kept away from 
us." 

"Did the troops mutilate the Indians killed at 
Sand Creek?" 

"They did in some instances that I know of, but I 
saw nothing to the extent I have since heard stated." 

"Did you not feel that you were bound in good 
faith not to attack those Indians after they had 
surrendered to you and after they had taken up a 
position which you yourself had indicated?" 

"I did not consider that they had surrendered to 
me ; I never would consent that they should surrender 
to me. My instructions were such that I felt in duty 
bound to fight them wherever I found them ; provided 
I considered it good policy to do so. I did not con- 
sider it good policy to attack ^this party of Indians 



The Battle of Sand Creek 157 

on Sand Creek unless I was strong enough to go on 
and fight the main band at the Smoke Hills, some 
seventy miles further. If I had had that force, I 
should have gone out and fought this band on Sand 
Creek. ..." 

"You think the attack made upon those Indians, in 
addition to the other characteristics which it possesses, 
was impolitic?" 

"I do, very much so. I think it was the occasion 
of what has occurred on the Platte since that time. I 
have so stated in my report to the headquarters of 
the district and of the department. I stated before 
Colonel Chivington arrived there that the Indians 
were encamped at this point; that I had a force with 
me sufficiently strong to go out and fight them; but 
that I did not think it policy to do so, for I was not 
strong enough to fight the main band. If I fought 
this band, the main band would immediately strike 
the settlements. But so soon as the party should be 
strong enough to fight the main band, I should be in 
favor of making the war general against the Indians. 
I stated to them also that I did not believe we could 
fight one band without fighting them all ; that in case 
we fought one party of Indians and whipped them, 
those that escaped would go into another band that 
was apparently friendly and that band would secrete 
those who had been committing depredations before. 
As it was with Little Raven's band; his own sons 
attacked a train a short distance above Fort Lyon, 
killed one soldier, took a government wagon and 
mules, some horses, and took some women prisoners. 
One woman they afterwards outraged and she hung 
herself; the other one, I think, they still hold. Some 
of the Indians have married her, as they call it, and 



158 A Defense of 

she is still in their camp, as I have understood; not 
now in the camp of those who took her prisoner, but 
she has been sold to the Sioux and Cheyennes. The 
instructions we constantly received from the head- 
quarters both of the district and the department, were 
that we should show as little mercy to the Indians 
as possible. . . ." 

In another part of his testimony, Major Anthony 
said referring to the Arapahoes, "I considered 
them differently from the Cheyennes, " and when 
asked if they were with the Cheyennes at Sand 
Creek, replied, "I understood, afterwards, that 
some six or eight or ten lodges of the Arapahoes 
were there." 

Major S. G. Colley, the Indian agent, said in his 
testimony, "Left Hand's band had gone out to 
Sand Creek," and when asked how many were in 
Left Hand's band, replied, "About eight lodges of 
about five to the lodge." 

If there were no other evidence, the following 
telegrams from General Curtis, Commander of 
the Department of Missouri, are in themselves 
sufficient proofs of the hostility of both Cheyennes 
and Arapahoes: 

FT. LEAVENWORTH, April 8th, 1864. 
To COLONEL CHIVINGTON: 

I hear that Indians have committed depredations 



The Battle of Sand Creek 159 

on or near Platte River. Do not let district lines pre- 
vent pursuing and punishing them. 

S. R. CURTIS, Major-General. 

FT. LEAVENWORTH, May soth, 1864. 
To COLONEL CHIVINGTON : 

Some four hundred Cheyennes attacked Lieut. 
Clayton on Smoky Hill. After several hours fight 
the Indians fled, leaving twenty-eight killed. Our 
loss four killed and three wounded. Look out for 
Cheyennes everywhere. Especially instruct troops 
in upper Arkansas. 

S. R. CURTIS, Major-General . 

FT. LEAVENWORTH, October 7, 1864. 
MAJOR-GENERAL HALLECK, Chief of Staff: 

General Blunt came upon a party of Arapahoes and 
other hostile Indians supposed to be four thousand, 
with fifteen hundred warriors, on the twenty-fifth 
ultimo. This was about one hundred miles west of 
Larned on Pawnee fork. The Indians overpowered 
the advance, but the main force coming up routed 
and pursued them. Ninety-one dead Indians were 
left and we lost two killed and seven wounded. Gen- 
eral B hint's force was less than five hundred. He 
pursued for several days. 

S. R. CURTIS, Major-General. 

The place where this battle occurred was about 
one hundred and thirty miles east of the Sand 
Creek battle-ground, and probably some of the 
same Indians were in both encounters. 

The telegrams I have quoted indicate that 



160 A Defense of 

General Curtis was fully alive to the situation. 
Evidently he believed the Cheyennes and Arapa- 
hoes were hostile and was not in favor of making 
peace with them until they had been punished. 

On account of his limited force, Colonel Chiv- 
ington could do little more than protect the lines 
of travel; consequently, all that summer and fall 
the frontier settlers were compelled to take care 
of themselves. And it was not until after the 
Third Colorado had been organized and equipped 
that he was able to strike a decisive blow. In his 
deposition presented at the investigation by the 
Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, 
among other things, Colonel Chivington has the 
following to say concerning the battle of Sand 
Creek and the conditions leading up to it. 

"On the 29th day of November, 1864, the troops 
under my command attacked a camp of Cheyenne 
and Arapahoe Indians at a place known as Big Bend 
of Sandy, about forty miles north of Fort Lyon, 
Colorado Territory. There were in my command at 
that time about (500) five hundred men of the Third 
Regiment Colorado cavalry, under the immediate 
command of Colonel George L. Shoup, of said Third 
Regiment, and about (250) two hundred and fifty 
men of the First Colorado cavalry; Major Scott 
J. Anthony commanded one battalion of said First 
regiment, and Lieutenant Luther Wilson com- 
manded another battalion of said First regiment. 



The Battle of Sand Creek 161 

The Third regiment was armed with rifled muskets, 
and Star's and Sharp's carbines. A few of the men 
of that regiment had revolvers. The men of the First 
regiment were armed with Star's and Sharp's car- 
bines, and revolvers. The men of the Third regi- 
ment were poorly equipped; the supply of blankets, 
boots, hats, and caps was deficient. The men of 
the First regiment were well equipped; all of these 
troops were mounted. 1 had four 12 -pound moun- 
tain howitzers, manned by detachments from cav- 
alry companies; they did not belong to any battery 
company. 

" From the best and most reliable information I 
could obtain, there were in the Indian camp, at the 
time of the attack, about eleven or twelve hundred 
Indians; of these about seven hundred were warriors 
and the remainder were women and children. I am 
not aware that there were any old men among them. 
There was an unusual number of males among them, 
for the reason that the war chiefs of both nations were 
assembled there, evidently for some special purpose. ..." 

"What number did you lose in killed, and what 
number in wounded and what number in missing?" 

"There were seven men killed, forty-seven wounded, 
and one was missing. 

"From the best information I could obtain, I 
judge that there were five or six hundred Indians 
killed; I cannot state positively the number killed, 
nor can I state positively the number of women and 
children killed. Officers who passed over the field, 
by my orders, report that they saw but few women and 
children dead, no more than would certainly fall in 
an attack upon a camp in which they were. I myself 
passed over some portions of the field after the fight, 



1 62 A Defense of 

and I saw but one woman who had been killed, and one 
who had hanged herself; I saw no dead children. From 
all I could learn, I arrived at the conclusion that but few 
women or children had been slain. I am of the opinion 
that when the attack was made on the Indian camp the 
greater number of squaws and children made their es- 
cape, while the warriors remained to fight my troops. 

" I do not know that any Indians were wounded that 
were not killed; if there were any wounded, I do not 
think they could have been made prisoners without 
endangering the lives of the soldiers; Indians usually 
fight as long as they have strength to resist. Eight 
Indians fell into the hands of the troops alive, to my 
knowledge; these with one exception were sent to 
Fort Lyon and properly cared for. . . . 

"My reason for making the attack on the Indian 
camp was that I believed the Indians in the camp were 
hostile to the whites. That they were of the same 
tribes with those who had murdered many persons 
and destroyed much valuable property on the Platte 
and Arkansas rivers during the previous spring, 
summer, and fall was beyond a doubt. When a 
tribe of Indians is at war with the whites, it is im- 
possible to determine what party or band of the tribe 
or the name of the Indian or Indians belonging to the 
tribe so at war, are guilty of the acts of hostility. The 
most that can be ascertained is that Indians of the 
tribe have performed the acts. During the spring, 
summer, and fall of the year 1864, the Arapahoe and 
Cheyenne Indians, in some instances assisted or led 
on by Sioux, Kiowas, Comanches, and Apaches, had 
committed many acts of hostility in the country 
lying between the Little Blue and the Rocky Moun- 
tains and the Platte and Arkansas rivers. They had 



The Battle of Sand Creek 163 

murdered many of the whites and taken others 
prisoners, and had destroyed valuable property, 
probably amounting to $200,000 or $300,000. Their 
rendezvous was on the headwaters of the Republican, 
probably one hundred miles from where the Indian 
camp was located. I had every reason to believe 
that these Indians were either directly or indirectly 
concerned in the outrages that had been committed 
upon the whites. I had no means of ascertaining 
what were the names of the Indians who had com- 
mitted these outrages other than the declarations of 
the Indians themselves; and the character of Indi- 
ans in the western country for truth and veracity, like 
their respect for the chastity of women who may be- 
come prisoners in their hands, is not of that order 
which is calculated to inspire confidence in what they 
may say. In this view I was supported by Major 
Anthony, 1st Colorado Cavalry, commanding at 
Fort Lyon, and Samuel G. Colley, United States 
Indian Agent, who, as they had been in com- 
munication with these Indians, were more com- 
petent to judge of their disposition toward the 
whites than myself. Previous to the battle they 
expressed to me the opinion that the Indians should 
be punished. We found in the camp the scalps of 
nineteen white persons. One of the surgeons in- 
formed me that one of these scalps had been taken 
from the victim's head not more than four days pre- 
viously. I can furnish a child captured at camp 
ornamented with six white women's scalps. These 
scalps must have been taken by these Indians or fur- 
nished to them for their gratification and amusement 
by some of their brethren, who, like themselves, were 
in amity with the whites. 



1 64 A Defense of 

"I had no reason to believe that Black Kettle and 
the Indians with him were in good faith at peace with 
the whites. The day before the attack Major Scott 
J. Anthony, ist Colorado Cavalry, then commander 
at Fort Lyon, told me that these Indians were hostile ; 
that he had ordered his sentinels to fire on them if they 
attempted to come into the post, and that the senti- 
nels had fired on them; that he was apprehensive of 
an attack from these Indians and had taken every 
precaution to prevent a surprise. Major Samuel G. 
Colley, United States Indian Agent for these Indians, 
told me on the same day that he had done everything 
in his power to make them behave themselves, and 
that for the last six months he could do nothing with 
them; that nothing but a sound whipping would 
bring a lasting peace with them. These statements 
were made to me in the presence of the officers of my 
staff whose statements can be obtained to corroborate 
the foregoing. . . . 

"Since August, 1863, I had been in possession of 
the most conclusive evidence of the alliance, for the 
purposes of hostility against the whites, of the Sioux, 
Cheyennes, Arapahoes, Comanche, Kiowa and Apache 
Indians. 

"Their plan was to interrupt, or, if possible, en- 
tirely prevent all travel on the routes along the 
Arkansas and Platte rivers, from the states to the 
Rocky Mountains, and thereby depopulate this 
country. . . . 

"With very few troops at my command, I could do 
little to protect the settlers, except to collect the 
latest intelligence from the Indians' country, commu- 
nicate it to General Curtis, commanding department 
of Missouri, and warn the settlers of the relations 



The Battle of Sand Creek 165 

existing between the Indians and the whites, and 
the probability of trouble, all of which I did. . . . 

"Commanding only a district with very few troops 
under my control, with hundreds of miles between 
my headquarters and the rendezvous of the Indians, 
with a large portion of the Santa Fe and Platte routes, 
besides the sparsely settled and distant settlements 
of this Territory to protect, I could not do anything 
till the 3rd regiment was organized and equipped, 
when I determined to strike a blow against this 
savage and determined foe. When I reached Fort 
Lyon, after passing over from three to five feet of 
snow, and greatly suffering from the intensity of the 
cold, the thermometer ranging from 28 to 30 degrees 
below zero, I questioned Major Anthony in regard 
to the whereabouts of hostile Indians. He said there 
was a. camp of Cheyennes and Arapahoes about fifty 
miles distant; that he would have attacked before, 
but did not consider his force sufficient; that these 
Indians had threatened to attack the post, etc., and 
ought to be whipped, all of which was concurred in 
by Major Colley, Indian agent for the district of the 
Arkansas, which information with the positive orders 
of Major-General Curtis, commanding the department, 
to punish these Indians, decided my course, and 
resulted in the battle of Sand Creek, which has 
created such a sensation in Congress through the 
lying reports of interested and malicious parties. 

"On my arrival at Fort Lyon, in all my conversa- 
tions with Major Anthony, commanding the post, 
and Major Colley, Indian Agent, I heard nothing of 
this recent statement that the Indians were under 
the protection of the government, etc., but Major 
Anthony repeatedly stated to me that he had at 



i66 A Defense of 

different times fired upon these Indians, and that 
they were hostile, and, during my stay at Fort Lyon, 
urged the necessity of my immediately attacking the 
Indians before they could learn of the number of 
troops at Fort Lyon, and so desirous was Major 
Colley, Indian agent, that I should find and also 
attack the Arapahoes, that he sent a messenger after 
the fight at San,d Creek nearly forty miles to inform 
me where I could find the Arapahoes and Kiowas; yet, 
strange to say, I have learned recently that these 
men, Anthony and Colley, are the most bitter in 
their denunciations of the attack upon the Indians 
at Sand Creek. Therefore, I would, in conclusion, 
most respectfully demand, as an act of justice to 
myself and the brave men whom I have had the 
honor to command in one of the hardest campaigns 
ever made in this country, whether against white 
men or red, that we be allowed the right guaranteed 
to every American citizen, of introducing evidence 
in our behalf to sustain us in what we believe to have 
been an act of duty to ourselves and to civilization." 

Colonel George L. Shoup, in a deposition pre- 
sented to the military commission investigating 
the battle of Sand Creek, among other things, 
says: 

On or about the I2th of November, 1864, I left 
Denver for Fort Lyon, with Companies C, D, and F 
of my regiment and Company H of the First Colorado 
Cavalry, and on or about the 1 8th of November 
joined Major Sayre at Boonville with that portion 
of the regiment which had been left at Bijou Basin 



The Battle of Sand Creek 167 

(he having been ordered to precede me), consisting 
of Companies A, B, and E, and I and M. On or 
about the 2Oth Captain Baxter joined the command 
with Company G, and the day following Colonel John 
M. Chivington, commander of the district of Colo- 
rado, arrived and assumed command of the column, I 
still commanding my regiment. On or about the 22d 
the column, consisting of my regiment and a battalion 
of the first, marched from Boonville towards Fort Lyon 
and reached Fort Lyon on the 28th, and went into 
camp. On the evening of the 28th I received orders 
from the colonel commanding to prepare three days' 
cooked rations, and be ready to march at eight o'clock 
the same evening. At eight o'clock the column 
marched in the following order : the first regiment on 
the right, my regiment on the left. I had under my 
immediate command between five hundred and fifty 
and six hundred men mounted. My transportation 
was left at Fort Lyon. The column marched all night 
in a northerly direction. About daylight the next 
morning came in sight of an Indian village. Colonel 
Chivington and myself being about three-fourths of 
a mile in advance of the column, it was determined 
to make an immediate attack. Lieutenant Wilson, 
commanding a battalion of the first, was ordered to 
cut off the ponies of the Indians at the northeast of 
the village. By order of Colonel Chivington, I was 
ordered to send men to the southwest of the village, 
to cut off the ponies in that direction, and then to 
immediately engage the Indians. 

"Did Colonel Chivington make any remarks to 
the troops, in your hearing?" 

"He did not." 

"Did you approach the camp of the , Indians 



i68 A Defense of 

in line of battle with your men mounted, or 
dismounted?" 

"Kept my men in columns of fours till I arrived 
at the village, when I formed them in line of 
battle, and to the left of a battalion of the first, 
commanded by Lieutenant Wilson, my men 
mounted." 

"At what distance was your command from the 
village when you commenced fire upon it?" 

" I did not allow my men to fire when I formed my 
first line; the battalion on my right was firing. I 
wheeled my men into column of fours and marched 
to the rear of the battalion on my right, to the right 
of that battalion, to obtain a better position. I 
marched up Sand Creek some distance, following the 
Indians who were retreating up the creek. When 
opposite the main body of Indians, wheeled my men 
into line, dismounted, and opened fire." 

" Did you know what band of Indians it was at the 
time of the attack?" 

" I heard while at Fort Lyon that Left Hand, of the 
Arapahoes, and Black Kettle, of the Cheyennes, were 
at the village." 

"Did you, at any time prior to the attack, hear 
Colonel Chivington say that he was going to attack 
Black Kettle's band?" 

"I did not." 

"How long did the fight last?" 

"The fighting did not entirely cease until about 
three o'clock in the afternoon." 

" Did you camp with your regiment near the battle- 
ground?" 

"We camped on ground occupied by the Indians 
before the battle." 



The Battle of Sand Creek 169 

"What was done with the Indians and other 
property?" 

"The lodges were burned. The ponies, numbering, 
as I was told, five hundred and four, were placed in 
charge of the provost marshal. A few remained in 
the hands of the troops." 

"What were the casualties of your regiment?" 

"Ten killed, one missing, about forty wounded." 

"In your opinion how many Indians were killed?" 

"From my own observation I should say about 
three hundred." 

"Were they men, or women and children?" 

"Some of each." 

" Did you witness any scalping or other mutilation 
of the dead by your command? " 

"I saw one or two men who were in the act of 
scalping, but I am not positive." 

"Were you present in council with some Indian 
chiefs in Denver, some time last summer or fall?" 

"I was." 

"Who were present whites and Indians?" 

"Governor Evans, Colonel Chivington, Captain 
S. M. Robbins, Major Wynkoop, Major Whiteley, 
Amos Steck, J. Bright Smith, Nelson Sargent, Cap- 
tain John Wanless, Black Kettle, White Antelope, 
and five or six other Indians, and John Smith and 
Sam Ashcroft, interpreters." 

" Did the Indians express a desire for peace with the 
whites?" 

"Yes." 

"Upon what terms did they desire peace?" 

"That they have protection and supplies while the 
war was carried on against hostile Indians." 



170 A Defense of 

"Was peace guaranteed to them on any terms?" 

"They were told by Colonel Chivington that if 
they would come in and surrender themselves, he 
would then tell them what to do." 

"What did the governor tell them?" 

"That as they had violated all treaties they would 
have to treat with the military authorities, to whom 
he had given up all the authority." 

"Did Colonel Chivington tell them that he would 
guarantee them peace only on condition that they 
would come into the post and lay down their arms?" 

" Colonel Chivington did not guarantee them peace 
upon any terms, but if they would come into the post, 
surrender themselves, and lay down their arms, he 
would tell them what to do." 

" Did the Indians say that they would do so?" 

"They said that they would go back to their people, 
tell them and advise them to do so." 

" Did you have any conversation with Major Colley, 
Indian agent for the Arapahoes and Cheyennes of 
the Upper Arkansas, respecting the disposition of 
the Indians and the policy that ought to be pursued 
towards them? If so, state what he said. " 

"I had an interview with Major Colley, on the 
evening of the 28th of November, in which he stated 
to me that these Indians had violated their treaty ; 
that there were a few Indians that he would not like 
to see punished, but as long as they affiliated with the 
hostile Indians we could not discriminate; that no 
treaty could be made that would be lasting till they 
were all severely chastised; he also told me where 
these Indians were camped." 

"State what you heard Major Scott J. Anthony 



The Battle of Sand Creek 171 

say in reference to these Indians on the 28th of 
November last." 

"He said he would have fought these Indians 
before if he had had a force strong enough to do so, 
and left a sufficient garrison at Fort Lyon, he being at 
the time in command of Fort Lyon." 

The Hon. S. H. Elbert, Acting Governor of 
Colorado, in a message to the Legislature, a few 
months after the affair, reflects the general attitude 
of the people toward the battle, and those partici- 
pating in it. The following is an extract from it : 

The before unbroken peace of our Territory has 
been disturbed since the last spring, by an Indian war. 
Allied and hostile tribes have attacked our frontier 
settlements, driven in our settlers, destroyed their 
homes, attacked, burned, and plundered our freight 
and emigrant trains, and thus suspended agricultural 
pursuits in portions of our country, and interrupted 
our trade and commerce with the States. This has 
for the time seriously retarded the prosperity of our 
Territory. 

At the commencement of the war the General 
Government, taxed to the utmost in subduing the 
rebellion, was unable to help us, and it became neces- 
sary to look to our own citizens for protection. They 
everywhere responded with patriotism and alacrity. 
Militia companies were organized in the frontier 
counties and secured local protection. Much credit 
is due to Captain Tyler's company of militia for the 
important service they rendered in opening and pro- 
tecting our line of communication with the States. 



A Defense of 



In response to the call of the governor for a regi- 
ment of cavalry for one hundred day service, over a 
thousand of our citizens the large majority of them 
leaving lucrative employment rapidly volunteered, 
and in that short time, despite the greatest difficulties 
in securing proper equipments, organized, armed, 
made a long and severe campaign amid the snows and 
storms of winter, and visited upon these merciless 
murderers of the plains a chastisement smiting and 
deserved. The gratitude of the country is due to the 
men who thus sacrificed so largely their personal 
interests for the public good, and rendered such 
important service to the Territory; and their work, 
if it can be followed up with a vigorous winter cam- 
paign, would result in a permanent peace. 

The necessity of such a campaign, and the impera- 
tive demand for immediate and complete protection 
for our line of communication with the States has 
been, and is now being, earnestly urged on the Govern- 
ment at Washington, and with a prospect of success. 
These efforts should be seconded by your honorable 
body with whatever influence there may be in resolu- 
tion or memorial, setting forth the facts and necessi- 
ties of our situation. 

The testimony of Governor Evans, Major 
Anthony, Colonel Chivington, Colonel Shoup, and 
Acting Governor Elbert covers every phase of the 
matter in controversy. Governor Evans's state- 
ment proves beyond question that the Cheyennes 
and Arapahoes were viciously hostile during the 
entire summer preceding the battle of Sand Creek, 



The Battle of Sand Creek i?3 

and this was admitted by Black Kettle in his 
letter to Major Colley, the Indian agent, and by the 
other chiefs in the council at Denver. Governor 
Evans also makes it plain that he refused to 
consider the question of making peace, and turned 
the Indians over to the military. The telegram 
of General Curtis, commander of the Military 
Department, sent at the time the council was being 
held, says, "No peace must be made without my 
direction." And peace had not been made when 
the battle was fought. Major Anthony, com- 
mander of the military post of Fort Lyon, near 
the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indian agency, says 
that the Indians attacked were hostile and not 
under his protection, and that he would have 
punished them had his force been strong enough 
to fight also the large band on the Smoky Hill 
River. Colonel Chivington's testimony confirms 
the statement of Governor Evans as to the hos- 
tility of both Cheyennes and Arapahoes, and both 
he and Colonel Shoup say that this was corro- 
borated by Major Anthony, and Major Colley, 
the Indian agent, each of whom told them, while 
at Fort Lyon prior to the battle, that the Indians 
camped on Sand Creek were hostile and should be 
punished. Major Anthony admits that there were 
Arapahoes camped near the Fort when he assumed 



174 A Defense of 

command, and that, in compliance with his de- 
mand, they surrendered twenty head of stock, 
stolen from the whites, and a few worthless guns ; 
and added that a week or two later he returned the 
guns, and told the Indians that he could no longer 
feed them and ordered them to go out on the 
plains, where they could kill buffalo for food; 
whereupon they left. 

The only Arapahoes that by any stretch of 
the imagination could be said to have been under 
the protection of the military were the small 
part of the tribe under the control of Left Hand, 
a sub-chief; while there is no doubt whatever 
as to the hostility of the head chief Raven and 
his followers, who constituted a large majority 
of the tribe. It is generally conceded that the 
chief Left Hand and a few of his adherents were 
peaceably inclined. But, unfortunately, he and 
the occupants of six or eight lodges of his people, 
about forty persons in all, including women and 
children, were in the camp of the hostile Chey- 
ennes and Arapahoes at the time the attack was 
made, and suffered accordingly. Left Hand knew 
that the Cheyennes and a very large part of his 
own people were at war with the whites, and of the 
chance he was taking in being in company with 
the hostiles. If it resulted disastrously, he had 



The Battle of Sand Creek 175 

no one but himself to blame. It was utterly 
impossible to discriminate between Indians in 
the midst of the battle. In those days, Indians 
seldom permitted themselves to be taken pris- 
oners in battle, and an attempt to do so, even if 
the Indian was badly wounded, was a dangerous 
undertaking. This was the reason that no pris- 
oners were taken at Sand Creek. Major Anthony, 
who was not friendly to Colonel Chivington, says 
that while in some instances the Indians killed 
at Sand Creek were mutilated, he saw nothing to 
the extent since stated. 

Colonel Chivington's statement concerning the 
matter is : 

Officers who passed over the field by my orders after 
the battle, for the purpose of ascertaining the number 
of Indians killed, report that they saw but few women 
and children dead; no more than would certainly fall 
in an attack upon a camp in which they were. I my- 
self passed over some portions of the field after the 
fight, and saw but one woman who had been killed 
and one who had hanged herself. I saw no dead 
children. 

In this connection, I wish to refer back to my 
own statement concerning the matter, as Colonel 
Chivington's observations were identical with 
mine. 

All this shows that the charge that the battle 



176 A Defense of 

was merely a massacre is as untruthful as are 
most of the other statements made by the coterie 
of disgruntled army officers, Indian agents, traders, 
interpreters, and half-breeds. Much of the testi- 
mony given at the Congressional and military 
hearings was hearsay evidence of statements said 
to have been made by persons who claimed to have 
been in the battle. Possibly, some such state- 
ments may have been made by irresponsible 
braggarts belonging to the two regiments that 
formed the command, for in every regiment during 
the Rebellion, Eastern as well as Western, there 
were a few men who were no credit to their com- 
rades, and who have since told of many fictitious 
happenings, or those having only the slightest 
basis of truth. Statements of this character may, 
perhaps, have been made by irresponsible members 
of the First and Third Colorado regiments. 

It is inconceivable to any one who knew the 
members of the latter regiment that either its offi- 
cers or enlisted men, with possibly a rare exception, 
would have approved of, and much less have 
participated in, the wanton acts of cruelty claimed 
to have been perpetrated. No unprejudiced 
person can believe a charge of such a character 
against Colonel Shoup, afterwards for many years 
an honored United States Senator from the State 



The Battle of Sand Creek 177 

of Idaho ; or of Major Hal Sayre, one of Colorado's 
most respected mining engineers; or of Captain 
Harper Orahood, who, later, was for many years 
a law partner of Senator H. M. Teller; or of 
Captain Baxter of Pueblo, or Captain Nichols of 
Boulder, both afterwards members of the Legisla- 
ture of Colorado and honored citizens in the 
community in which they lived ; or in fact against 
any of the officers of the Third Colorado, as 
practically all of them were men of high standing 
in their respective communities. 

I was on the battle-field within fifteen minutes 
after the fight began, and during the day, with a 
part of our company, I went along the south side 
of Sand Creek from the scene of one engagement to 
another, until I had covered the full length of the 
battle-field on that side of the creek. We then 
crossed over to the north side and followed up the 
creek as far as the engagement had extended. On 
our return to camp, we went over the entire length 
of the scene of the fighting on the north side of the 
creek, thus covering almost the entire battle-field, 
as after the first half -hour in the morning there 
was but little fighting except near the banks of the 
creek. During that time I saw much of the battle, 
but not once did I see any one shoot at a squaw or a 
child, nor did I see any one take a scalp, although 



12 



178 A Defense of 

it is true that scalps were taken, for as I returned 
to camp I saw a number of dead Indians whose 
scalps had been taken, and among them a few 
squaws. They had probably been scalped by 
some of the reckless persons referred to, or possibly 
by some of the many men in the regiment whose 
relatives or friends had been killed and brutally 
mutilated by the savages during the preceding 
summer. I am not apologizing for the acts of 
these people, but every fair-minded person must 
admit that there may have been extenuating 
circumstances connected with the offense, and no 
one unfamiliar with the horrors of savage warfare 
can appreciate the feelings of those who have 
suffered from their attacks. I did not see a dead 
or wounded child, and it is inconceivable that any 
were killed during the fight except accidentally. 
The incident of the child who wished me to take 
it up as I was returning to the camp indicates the 
sympathetic attitude of our men towards the 
innocent non-combatants. 

I think the proof I have presented shows conclu- 
sively that every one of the charges made by the 
enemies of Colonel Chivington was untrue; that, 
on the contrary, the Indians attacked at Sand 
Creek were, and had been during the previous 
summer, viciously hostile to the whites ; that they 



The Battle of Sand Creek 179 

were not under the protection of the military 
authorities at Fort Lyon, and that the battle was 
not a wanton massacre. 

The adverse criticism of this whole affair was 
but one of the many acts of injustice experienced 
by the frontier settlers. From the formation of 
the Government, up to the time when the Indians 
were finally placed upon reservations, the frontier 
settlements, in addition to defending themselves 
from the savages, always had to contend with the 
sentimental feeling in favor of the Indians that 
prevailed in the East. The people of the East 
had apparently forgotten the atrocities perpetrated 
on their ancestors by the savages, and, resting 
secure in the safety of their own homes, they could 
not realize the privations and dangers that those 
who were opening up the regions of the West had 
to endure. And to add to the difficulties of the 
situation, the Indian Department was usually 
dominated by sentimental people who apparently 
never had any conception of a proper and humane 
method of dealing with the Indians. 

The Government continued to recognize each 
one of the tribes as a separate nation, and entered 
into treaties with them, as though they had the 
standing of an independent and responsible power. 
Broken down and often corrupt men were ap- 



i8o A Defense of 

pointed as agents to represent the Government. 
The salaries received by the agents were so small 
that no one could afford to take the position unless 
he intended to increase his remuneration by corrupt 
methods. As a part of this machinery for dealing 
with the Indians, disreputable white men were 
employed as interpreters, who, often by reason of 
some crime committed in the States, had for 
safety's sake exiled themselves among the Indians, 
had married squaws, and, virtually, had become 
Indians in habits and sympathy. The result was 
that when the Government made treaties with the 
Indians, accompanied by an issue of annuities, it 
frequently happened that the agent and the inter- 
preter would apply a considerable portion of such 
annuities to their own use. The Indians, knowing 
this, would become angry and take vengeance 
upon the white settler. 

No effort seems to have been made to study the 
nature and character of the Indian, nor the 
inherited traits that governed him in his dealings 
with others. The nomadic Indian of the central 
and western part of the United States was, in 
most matters, merely a child. His sole occupation 
from youth to old age was following the chase 
and fighting his enemies. Almost the sole topic of 
conversation in their tents and around their camp- 



The Battle of Sand Creek 181 

fires was the details of their hunting expeditions 
and of their battles; and from his earliest days, 
every Indian boy was taught that his one hope of 
glory and the making of a reputation depended 
upon his ability to kill other human beings. Every 
tribe had its hereditary enemies with whom it was 
in a state of continuous warfare. During the 
summer-time, it was one continuous round of war- 
parties going out to attack their enemies, and 
parties returning, bringing with them the scalps 
of those they had killed, together with squaws and 
children they had captured, and frequently with 
large herds of horses they had stolen. If the raids 
were against the whites, they would return with 
all sorts of plunder taken from wagon-trains and 
ranch houses, and oftentimes with captive white 
women and children. It must be understood that 
no white man who understood the character of the 
Indian would ever permit himself to be taken a 
prisoner, for that meant torture of the most horri- 
ble character. For that reason, white men, engaged 
in battle with the Indians, seldom failed to reserve 
one last shot in their revolvers, with which to 
end their lives if capture was imminent, and in 
many instances men have shot their wives 
and children rather than allow them to fall 
into the hands of the Indians. The fate 



182 A Defense of 

of the women captured by the Indians is 
indescribable. 

After a successful raid, there would ensue a series 
of scalp dances, accompanied by a period of 
frenzied rejoicing, in which unspeakable cruelties 
were perpetrated upon their captive victims. The 
fiendishness of these cruelties it is almost im- 
possible to describe. In these orgies the squaws 
always participated, and as a rule were even more 
diabolical than the warriors. With such examples 
and with such mothers, how could an Indian child 
grow up to be anything but fiendish? The Indians 
had no conception of such a thing as mercy, 
compassion, or humane treatment of their enemies. 
Any exhibition of sentiment of that sort would 
have been considered an evidence of weakness, and 
any act of forbearance shown toward them by the 
whites served only to make them more difficult to 
control thereafter. They gave no quarter and 
they asked no quarter. 

As showing their contempt for the army, I saw 
upon more than one of the Indian tents that we 
captured at Sand Creek rude paintings portraying 
their fights with the soldiers of the United States 
Army. In every case the soldiers were running at 
the top of their speed, pursued by Indians who 
were firing at them and scalping those who had 



The Battle of Sand Creek 183 

been killed. The Indians knew no law, nor did 
the Government attempt to teach them any. 
From the first they were permitted to go on year 
by year educating their young in savagery, while 
at the same time the agents of the Government 
were dealing dishonestly with them; and in every 
case it was the frontier settler who had to pay the 
penalty. 

The savages soon found out that they could kill 
the whites, steal or destroy their property through- 
out the summer, and then upon their professing 
penitence, the Government would permit them to 
remain unmolested during the winter and at other 
times would make a treaty of peace with them 
and give them large quantities of annuities. After 
this, they could rest in security until their ponies 
were in condition to start upon the war-path again 
the following spring. Was there ever anything 
in the history of the dealings of any nation with 
its savage neighbors more absurd or more dis- 
reputable? The period I have referred to was 
certainly a "Century of Dishonor," not only 
because of the attitude of the Government in its 
dealings with the Indians, but in the treatment of 
those of its own people who were opening up 
frontier lands for settlement. 

The Indians could have been easily handled had 



1 84 A Defense of 

the Government studied their nature and for- 
mulated a system of laws for their control, com- 
pelling them to regard the rights of the whites as 
well as of their neighboring tribes, and had at the 
same time protected them from wrongs perpetrated 
upon them by thieving and disreputable white 
men; in short, have treated them with justice in 
all things, and have required the same from them 
in their dealing with the whites. Had this policy 
been pursued, it would have been of infinite 
benefit to the Indians, and would have saved the 
lives of thousands of white men along the frontier 
settlements. In this connection, I assert, from 
my personal knowledge, that more than ninety -five 
per cent, of the frontier settlers treated the Indians 
with the utmost fairness and used every possible 
endeavor to avoid difficulties with them. 

As I have already said, the Indian is at a great 
disadvantage in carrying on warfare during the 
winter. He has no trouble in this direction in his 
warfare with his own race, as every tribe is alike 
in this respect. In this way the white people had 
a great advantage, and it would have required 
only a few cases of summary punishment such as 
we gave them at Sand Creek, to have settled 
Indian troubles for all time. We who inhabited 
the frontier in the early sixties knew this and 



The Battle of Sand Creek 185 

realized that nothing struck such terror to the 
Indian tribes as to be attacked in the winter, and 
had the battle of Sand Creek been followed up as 
it should have been, the frontier settlements of 
Colorado would thereafter have had little trouble 
with any of the Indians of the plains. 

Four years later, the absurdity of the policy of 
permitting the Indians to murder and rob during 
the summer, make peace in the fall, and remain 
unmolested during the winter, accumulating am- 
munition for the following summer's warfare, 
finally dawned upon the military authorities and 
a new policy was adopted. As a result, on the 
27th of November, 1868, General Custer, under 
the direction of General Sheridan, commander of 
the military division of the Missouri, made an 
attack upon the Cheyennes camped on the Wash- 
ita, south of the Arkansas River, in which one 
hundred and three Indians (a number of whom 
were squaws) were killed, fifty-three squaws and 
children were captured, and 875 ponies were taken. 
This attack was at the same time of year and was 
almost identical with that made by Chivington at 
Sand Creek. General Sheridan says in his report : 

The objects of the winter's operations were to 
strike a hard blow and force them on to the reserva- 
tion set apart for them, or if this could not be accom- 



i86 A Defense of Sand Creek 

plished, to show to the Indian that the winter season 
would not give him rest; that he, with his village and 
stock, could be destroyed; that he would have no 
security winter or summer except in obeying the laws 
of peace and humanity. 

As in the case of Chivington, Custer was at- 
tacked viciously for this affair by Wynkoop and 
others, but, fortunately, Custer had the backing 
of the commanding officers of the army and noth- 
ing his enemies could do affected him in the least. 

What a fortunate thing it would have been for 
the frontier people if this policy had been adopted 
a few years sooner! 



CHAPTER VII 

THE INDIAN WAR OF 1 868 

POURING the three years following the battle 
*-^ of Sand Creek there was little trouble with 
the Indians in El Paso County; consequently 
the people of that section of Colorado, while 
keeping a sharp lookout, felt fairly safe upon their 
ranches. During the summer season of each of 
these years, however, the Sioux, Cheyennes, and 
Arapahoes continued their raids upon the exposed 
settlements and the lines of travel to the East. 

In the meantime, the Government was following 
its usual temporizing policy with the savages. In 
the spring of 1867, agents of the Indian Bureau 
attempted to negotiate a new treaty with the 
Cheyennes and Arapahoes, and for that purpose 
visited them at their camp on Pawnee Fork, near 
Fort Larned, Kansas. But spring was not the 
time of year when the Indians wanted to negotiate 
treaties, and as a result, after making several 
appointments for councils, none of which was kept, 

187 



1 88 The Indian War of 1868 

the savages suddenly disappeared, and were next 
heard of raiding the frontier settlements of Kansas 
and Nebraska, and the lines of travel between 
Colorado and the Missouri River. These raids 
were continued during the next five or six months, 
but, after killing and robbing the whites all sum- 
mer, these Cheyennes and Arapahoes came in 
again professing penitence; whereupon, following 
the usual custom, a new treaty was made with 
them, by the terms of which both tribes consented 
to give up their lands in Colorado and settle upon 
a reservation elsewhere. Under the treaty, they 
agreed that " hereafter they would not molest 
any coach or wagon, nor carry off any white 
woman or child, nor kill or scalp any white man.' 1 
For this and the lands ceded by them, these 
tribes were to receive twenty thousand dollars 
annually, and a suit of clothes for each Indian; 
and, in addition, teachers, physicians, farmers' 
implements, etc., were to be provided, in order to 
help them to acquire the habits of civilization. 

While it was not expressly stated in the treaty, 
it was understood that the Cheyennes and Arapa- 
hoes were to be supplied with arms and ammuni- 
tion. The treaty seems to have been entered 
into by the agents of the Indian Bureau with all 
the outward semblance of good faith, although if 



The Indian War of 1868 189 

those report sible knew anything of the facts they 
must have realized that the promise of these 
Indians to remain peaceable was utterly worth- 
less, as had been proved year after year for a long 
period of time. Not only did the treaty turn out 
to be worthless, but that part of it giving the 
savages arms and ammunition was particularly 
reprehensible, as was shown by the results. The 
savages remained quiet during the winter, as 
usual, but in the spring they demanded the arms 
and ammunition that had been promised to them, 
and the Indian agents urged the Bureau to grant 
the request, making the plea that the Indians 
would starve unless these were given to them, so 
that they might be able to hunt the buffalo and 
other game of the plains. 

Evidently the Government hesitated, but, fi- 
nally, influenced by these statements, the issue 
of the arms and ammunition was authorized. At 
this juncture, Major Wynkoop, who after the 
battle of Sand Creek had proved himself an 
enemy of the people of Colorado, again showed 
that he had no regard for their welfare. He 
had by this time been taken into the service 
of the Indian Bureau, presumably as a reward 
for his services in aid of the Bureau in connection 
with the Sand Creek investigation, and had been 



190 The Indian War of 1868 

appointed an Indian agent. He was one of those 
who had been urging that arms and ammunition 
be given to the Indians, and it was he who finally 
delivered them to the savages. On August 10, 
1868, he wrote to the Department: 

I yesterday made the whole issue of annuity, goods, 
arms, and ammunition to the Cheyenne chiefs and 
people of their nation. They were delighted in 
receiving the goods, particularly the arms and ammuni- 
tion, and never before have I known them to be bet- 
ter satisfied and express themselves as being so well 
contented previous to the issue. They have now left 
for their hunting grounds and I am perfectly satisfied 
that there will be no trouble with them this season. 

On the very day that Wynkoop sent this letter, 
a body of two hundred and fifty Cheyennes, 
Arapahoes, and Sioux were raiding the settle- 
ments on the Saline River in Kansas, killing 
settlers, burning buildings, and committing un- 
speakable outrages on many defenseless women. 
Before the end of the month, according to the 
report of General Sheridan for that year, forty 
white men had been killed by the savages on the 
frontiers of Kansas and Colorado, many were 
wounded, and a large amount of property de- 
stroyed. 

I must, however, confine my narrative to 



The Indian War of 1868 191 

events that occurred in El Paso County and the 
counties adjoining. About ten days after the 
Wynkoop letter was written, a party of seventy- 
five Cheyennes and Arapahoes, all well mounted, 
marched in from the plains and passed up 
through Colorado City. Most of the savages 
had modern guns and were well supplied with 
ammunition, presumably issued by the Govern- 
ment. They bore letters from Indian agents and 
peace commissioners, which stated that they 
were peaceably disposed and should not be feared 
nor molested; but our people, not being sat- 
isfied with that kind of testimony, telegraphed 
to the Governor at Denver, who replied, reiterat- 
ing that they were not hostile and must not be 
interfered with. At the time of their visit to Col- 
orado City, the Indians were noticeably sullen in 
their demeanor, and appeared to be observing 
everything in a suspicious manner. However, 
they left without committing any overt act, and, 
apparently, went on leisurely up the Ute Pass 
into the mountains to fight the Utes, which they 
claimed was their intention. 

A day or two later they surprised a small band 
of Utes who were camped a few miles south of 
the Hartsell ranch in the South Park, and in the 
fight that followed claimed to have killed six of 



192 The Indian War of 1868 

the Utes including two or three squaws, and to 
have carried off a small boy. On the day of 
this occurrence Samuel Hartsell, owner of the 
ranch above referred to, had gone over to 
the mountains that form the eastern border of the 
South Park, looking for wild raspberries. While 
on one of the low mountains of that locality, he 
saw a group of mounted men in the valley below, 
a mile or so away. He had not heard of any 
Cheyennes or Arapahoes being in that neighbor- 
hood, consequently he very naturally concluded 
that the horsemen were Utes. Having been on 
friendly terms with that tribe for many years, 
and well acquainted with many of its members, 
he decided to ride down the mountain to meet 
them. But as he came near the group, he noticed 
that they were not dressed as the Utes usually 
were, nor did they look like the people of that 
tribe; however, it was now too late to retreat, as 
almost immediately afterward he was discovered 
and surrounded by the savages. By that time 
Hartsell, through his general knowledge of the 
Indians of this Western country, knew that his 
captors were Cheyenne and Arapahoe warriors, 
tribes that had been hostile to the whites during 
the past four years, and were still hostile, so far 
as he knew. Consequently, he was very much 



The Indian War of 1868 193 

alarmed, realizing that he was in a very dangerous 
situation. Evidently, the savages were not yet 
ready to begin hostilities, as was proved by their 
efforts to reassure Hartsell by showing him their 
certificates from Indian agents, telling of their 
peaceable character; but this did not prevent 
them from at once taking his revolver, ammu- 
nition, and pocket knife. 

Hartsell estimated that there were about 
seventy Indians in the band, all of whom were 
fully armed and amply supplied with ammuni- 
tion. The savages told him of their victory over 
the Utes, showed him the scalps they had taken, 
and the boy they had captured. Finally, after 
keeping Hartsell in suspense for more than three 
hours, the Indians allowed him to go without 
injury, and then departed eastward in the direc- 
tion of Colorado City. The people of Colorado 
City and its vicinity knew nothing of this oc- 
currence until some time afterwards. Notwith- 
standing the assurance of the Governor and the 
Indian agents, the settlers continued to be very 
much alarmed at the presence of the savages, and 
knowing their treacherous nature, maintained 
a sharp lookout in order to prevent being at- 
tacked unawares. About eleven o'clock in the 

morning three or four days after the savages 
13 



194 The Indian War of 1868 

disappeared up Ute Pass, three Indians appeared 
at H. M. Teachout's ranch on Monument Creek, 
eight miles northeast of Colorado City. They 
claimed to be friendly Utes, but Teachout, being 
familiar with the Indian tribes of the region, knew 
that they were not Utes. After staying five or 
ten minutes, during which time they seemed to 
be intent on taking in the surroundings, and 
especially the corral where Teachout's large herd 
of horses was kept at night, they left, following the 
main road towards Colorado City. Mr. Teachout 
and his brother, who lived on the Divide, owned 
about one hundred and fifty horses, all of which 
were kept at this Monument Creek ranch. 

After the Indians had disappeared, Teachout, 
being alarmed, rounded up his horses and drove 
them into the corral, where he kept them during 
the daytime thereafter, letting them out to graze 
only at night, thinking that the safest plan. 
Apparently, the Indians, having obtained all the 
information they desired concerning the settle- 
ments around Colorado City, disappeared, and a 
day or two later were heard of raiding the frontier 
settlements east of Bijou Basin and on the head- 
waters of Kiowa, Bijou, and Running creeks, 
during which raid they killed several people and 
ran off much stock. 



The Indian War of 1868 195 

On August 27, 1868, the Cheyennes and Arapa- 
hoes killed Mrs. Henrietta Dieterman and her 
five-year-old son on Comanche Creek, about 
twenty-five miles northeast of Colorado City, in 
a peculiarly atrocious manner. The Dieterman 
household consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Dieterman, 
a daughter about twelve years old, a son of five 
years, a sister of Mr. Dieterman's, and a hired 
man. The sister was soon to marry the hired 
man, and he and Mr. Dieterman had gone to 
Denver to buy furniture for the new house- 
hold, leaving a German farmhand temporarily in 
charge. On the morning of the 27th, something 
happened to alarm Mrs. Dieterman. She evi- 
dently believed the Indians were near, for she 
hurriedly started with her sister-in-law and the 
two children for a neighbor's house some distance 
away. After having gone a few hundred yards she 
remembered that she had left a considerable sum 
of money in the house, and with her small son went 
back to get it. They reached the house, got the 
money, and started away again, but had gone 
only a short distance when they were overtaken 
by the Indians, who at once shot and killed both 
of them. The savages shot the boy repeatedly 
and finally broke his neck. The mother was shot 
through the body, stabbed, and scalped, and the 



196 The Indian War of 1868 

bodies of both were dreadfully mutilated. Those 
who afterwards saw the victims said that it was 
one of the most horrible sights they had ever 
looked upon. Meanwhile, the sister-in-law and 
daughter ran to where the German was working 
in the field near by. He stood the Indians off 
by pointing the handle of his hoe at them, making 
them believe it was a gun. In that way he covered 
the retreat of himself and the others to a neigh- 
bor's house. Mrs. Dieterman had formerly lived 
near the northern line of El Paso County, and was 
well known to many of the old settlers. The 
awful tragedy of her death created a great sensa- 
tion, not only in that county, but also in Denver 
and throughout the entire State. News of the 
killing of Mrs. Dieterman and of the other out- 
rages perpetrated by the Indians in that region 
reached Colorado City late in the evening, a day 
or two afterwards. As there was a possibility of 
the savages appearing at any moment, messengers 
were at once sent throughout the county notify- 
ing the people of the great danger that confronted 
them. At that time I happened to be at home 
with my father and other members of the family 
on our Bear Creek ranch. About eleven o'clock 
at night, we were aroused from sleep by the 
messenger sent to warn us and were advised to 



The Indian War of 1868 19? 

go immediately to Colorado City for protection. 
We appreciated the danger of our situation and 
quickly hitched up our team, put a few necessary 
articles of wearing apparel and bedding into the 
wagon, and started for town, three miles distant. 
It was a dark night, which made the trip a weird 
as well as an anxious one. With my sisters and 
younger brothers in the wagon, my father and I 
marched along behind, each with a rifle in hand, 
knowing that there was a possibility that the 
Indians had already stolen into this region, and 
that every bush or rock on the way might conceal 
a savage; but nothing happened and we reached 
town in safety. It was an incident that made 
one appreciate to the fullest extent the disagree- 
able and dangerous features of frontier life. We 
rented a house in Colorado City, moved our 
household effects from the ranch, and remained 
in town until after the Indian troubles were over. 
Early in the morning of September 1st, Mr. 
Teachout, accompanied by his hired man, went 
out to bring in his herd of horses, as had been his 
custom since the visit of the three Indians a few 
days previous. They went down Monument 
Creek a mile or two, then up Cotton wood Creek, 
where they found the herd scattered along the 
valley for a mile or more above the point where 



198 The Indian War of 1868 

the Santa Fe Railway now crosses that creek, 
which is about six miles north of the present 
city of Colorado Springs. The two rode leis- 
urely through the herd up the valley on the 
south side of the stream, and had gone about 
half a mile above the point just mentioned, when 
they saw a half dozen mounted Indians come over 
the hill to the north and dash at full speed in the 
direction of the herd. Following them, other 
Indians came in sight, until there were at least 
twenty -five in the band. In a very short time the 
savages had rounded up most of the horses and 
were driving them up the creek at a furious speed. 
They passed Teachout, who was on the other side 
of the creek, expecting every minute to be at- 
tacked. Neither he nor his hired man had guns, 
but as they did not run, the Indians evidently 
thought they were armed, and kept some distance 
away. As they went by, one of the Indians who 
could speak English yelled: "Damn you, we are 
going to take your horses!" Soon after this, 
Teachout saw that the Indians had missed a 
bunch of fifteen to twenty colts that were grazing 
off to one side, and he and his hired man started 
after them, thinking to save at least that part of 
the herd. But the Indians soon discovered what 
they were after and started in pursuit, firing as 



The Indian War of 1868 199 

they went. When affairs took this turn, there 
was nothing left for Teachout and his man to do 
but ride for their lives, and get back to the ranch 
as quickly as possible, which they did. The 
Indians rounded up the colts and soon disap- 
peared to the eastward up Cottonwood Creek 
with the entire herd. Less than an hour afterward, 
they passed a ranch near the head of the creek, 
traveling rapidly. At this place the Indians 
attempted to add to their herd, but failed, as the 
horses they were after happened to be picketed 
close to the house, and a few shots from two well- 
armed ranchmen entrenched behind the walls of 
their log cabin drove the savages off. 

Upon reaching home, Teachout immediately 
sent a messenger to his brother on the Divide, 
with an account of the raid and a request that he 
enlist as large an armed force as could quickly be 
gotten together, to follow the Indians and, if 
possible, recover the horses. The brother acted 
promptly, and that evening a party consisting 
of Dow and Bale Simpson, Jim Sims, ".Wild 
Bill," and others, whose names I have been un- 
able to obtain, twenty-eight in all, started in 
pursuit of the savages. The party camped that 
night at a ranch about three miles southeast of 
C. R. Husted's saw-mill, and at this point were 



200 The Indian War of 1868 

joined by a Mr. Davis and Job Talbert, a brother- 
in-law of Mr. Husted. These two men had 
expected to get horses and arms at this ranch. 
Failing in this, however, they started back to the 
mill the following morning, but had gone only a 
short distance when the Indians overtook them, 
killed and scalped both leaving their mutilated 
bodies in the road, where they were found by 
their friends a few hours afterward. 

The Simpson party, as it afterwards was called, 
started again early in the morning, soon found the 
trail of the captured herd, and followed it rapidly 
along the south side of the pinery, then eastward 
across Squirrel Creek and down the Big Sandy to 
the mouth of a creek coming in from the north, 
the size of the herd making the trail plain and 
easy to follow. So far no Indians had been seen, 
and the indications were that the Indians with the 
stolen horses were so far ahead as to make further 
pursuit useless. But instead of returning directly 
home, they decided to follow up this creek and 
scout the country to the east of Bijou Basin. A 
few miles up the creek they came to a ranch, which 
they found deserted. The house was open and 
had been thoroughly ransacked, but the owner 
nowhere appeared. After considerable search, 
his dead body was found some distance away. 



The Indian War of 1868 201 

He had been killed and scalped by the Indians, 
and, as in every other case, the body had been 
horribly mutilated, the house looted, and all his 
stock driven off. After burying the body, the 
party continued in a northerly direction until it 
reached the old Smoky Hill road. Here they met 
a party of eighteen men from the country to the 
north of Bijou Basin, and it was decided to com- 
bine the two forces for further scouting in that 
region. A short distance away from their camp 
that night, they found and buried the bodies 
of two men who had been killed by the Indians a 
day or two before. The combined parties camped 
together that night, and the following morning 
started towards Bijou Basin. During all this 
time no Indians had been seen, and it seemed 
probable that the savages had returned to their 
villages on the plains. Under this impression, 
the men marched rather carelessly along, strung 
out over the prairie for a considerable distance. 
Early in the afternoon the party of eighteen, 
having decided that there was nothing further they 
could accomplish, left the Simpson party and 
started off northwesterly, in the direction of their 
homes. Hardly were they out of sight when two 
of Simpson's men, who were some distance ahead 
of the main party, saw a few Indians on a hill not 



202 The Indian War of 1868 

very far away. Word was at once sent back to the 
stragglers, and the party closed up in double- 
quick time. Meanwhile other Indians appeared, 
until in a short time they greatly outnumbered 
the Simpson party. This made it imperative that 
a place for defense should be found without delay. 
Apparently, the most favorable position in sight 
was the extreme point of a short and rather iso- 
lated ridge near by, at which place the ground 
dropped off rather abruptly on three sides. The 
men rushed to this point, formed a circle, and 
began to throw up temporary entrenchments with 
butcher knives and such other implements as 
they had at hand. By this time the Indians, 
under cover of a ridge to the south, had opened 
a sharp fire. Bullets were whizzing around in a 
lively fashion and in a few minutes several of the 
horses had been wounded. However, an encourag- 
ing feature of the situation was that many of the 
shots fired by the Indians struck the ground some 
distance away. The whites returned the fire at 
every opportunity, and had reason to believe 
that their shots had been effective in a number of 
instances, although the Indians kept under cover 
as much as possible. Before darkness came on, a 
number of Simpson's men had been wounded and 
several of the horses killed. By this time, not- 



The Indian War of 1868 203 

withstanding the strong defense that was being 
made, it became more and more a question 
whether the party could withstand a vigorous 
charge by the Indians. 

Night coming on, the firing of the Indians 
slackened a little and the men were enabled to 
give some consideration to their situation. It 
was realized that neither their location nor re- 
sources were favorable for a long siege, and for 
that reason help must be obtained as soon as 
possible. Among the party was a dare-devil sort 
of fellow known by the name of "Wild Bill," who 
volunteered to take the fastest horse, and in the 
darkness endeavor to break through the Indian 
line, which now completely surrounded the hill. 
Then, if successful, he was to hurry on to the 
settlements at Bijou Basin, fifteen miles away, 
and bring back reinforcements as quickly as pos- 
sible. This suggestion met with the approval of 
every one, and arrangements were immediately 
made to carry it into effect. About nine o'clock 
Wild Bill, mounted on Dow Simpson's race horse, 
stole out from the entrenchments and quietly 
rode away. The night being moderately dark, 
he succeeded in getting some distance away be- 
fore he was discovered by the Indians. He then 
put spurs to his horse and dashed away at the best 



204 The Indian War of 1868 

speed the animal was capable of, the Indians 
following in a frantic endeavor to cut him off, 
shooting at him as they ran. Fortunately 
neither he nor the horse was hit, and in a short 
time he had left the Indians far behind. After 
that, he was not long in reaching Bijou Basin, 
where arrangements were at once made to dispatch 
couriers to Colorado City and elsewhere for rein- 
forcements. 

Meanwhile, those surrounded on the hill were 
most anxious for the safety of their messenger. 
They heard the shots and knew that he had been 
discovered, and that the Indians were in pursuit 
of him, but had no means of telling whether or 
not he had escaped. The only reassuring cir- 
cumstance was that soon after this the firing 
gradually slackened, finally stopping altogether; 
and when daylight came there were no Indians in 
sight. The besieged men realized that this might 
be only a ruse, and that possibly the Indians were 
lurking near, ready to take advantage of them after 
they had left their entrenchments. However, on 
account of their critical position, being entirely 
without water for themselves and their horses, 
they determined to make a dash and take a chance 
of reaching the settlements. This being decided 
upon, they started at once, and without further 



The Indian War of 1868 205 

molestation reached Holden's ranch in Bijou 
Basin before noon, no Indians having been seen 
on the way. In the engagement none of the 
party had been killed and no one seriously 
wounded, probably because of the poor ammuni- 
tion issued to the Indians by the Government 
for which I suppose the white people of this region 
should have been duly thankful. 

While this engagement had been going on, 
stirring events had been happening in the neigh- 
borhood of Colorado City and elsewhere in the 
county. As I have already stated, within the 
next few days after the killing of Mrs. Dieterman, 
and the raid upon Teachout's horses, most of the 
ranchmen down the Fountain Valley had brought 
their families to Colorado City for protection. 
The people of the Divide gathered for defense 
at McShane's ranch near Monument, at John 
Irion's on Cherry Creek, and at Husted's mill, in 
the pinery. The air was full of rumors of Indian 
depredations in every direction; but, as it was 
harvest time, it was imperative that the gathering 
of the crops be attended to. This made it neces- 
sary that some chances be taken, and it so hap- 
pened that, when the crisis came, many of the 
men of Colorado City were out in the harvest fields 
of the surrounding country. 



206 The Indian War of 1868 

About noon on September 3, 1868, a band of 
forty to fifty Indians came dashing down the 
valley of Monument Creek, capturing all loose 
horses in their path. The first white man they 
ran across was Robert F. Love, of Colorado City, 
who was riding along the higher ground to the 
east of Monument Creek, not far from the pres- 
ent town of Roswell. As soon as Love saw the 
Indians, instead of trying to get away, which he 
knew would be useless, he dismounted, keeping his 
pony between himself and the savages, and, by keep- 
ing his revolver pointed in their direction, show- 
ing them that he was armed. After maneuvering 
around him for a time, the Indians passed on, 
apparently convinced that some of them would 
get hurt if they remained. It was not their policy 
to take many chances, as was evidenced through- 
out their entire stay in this region. They seldom 
troubled people who seemed to offer any serious 
resistance, seeking rather defenseless men, women, 
and children. Soon after leaving Love, a few 
of the Indians crossed Monument Creek to the 
house of David Spielman, which stood on the west 
side, about half a mile above the Mesa Road 
Bridge in the present city of Colorado Springs. 
Spielman had just finished moving his family and 
household effects to Colorado City, and being 



The Indian War of 1868 207 

tired, had lain down behind the open front door, 
and had gone to sleep. The Indians looked in at 
the open door, but fortunately did not see him. 
They then went to the corral and took from it a 
horse that Spielman had purchased only the day 
before. After that they recrossed Monument 
Creek and joined the main body, which continued 
rapidly along the low ground east of the creek, 
crossing the present Washburn Athletic Field, on 
the way, and coming out on to the higher ground 
a few hundred yards south of Cutler Academy, 
near where the Hagerman residence now stands. 

A short time previously, Charley Everhart, a 
young man about eighteen years of age, had 
started from his home just west of Monument 
Creek and near the present railway bridge above 
the Rio Grande station, to look after his father's 
cattle, that were grazing on the plain now covered 
by the city of Colorado Springs. After crossing 
Monument Creek, he followed a trail that led 
eastward along the south rim of the high bank 
north of what is now known as Boulder Crescent. 
Everhart knew there were Indians in the country, 
and was no doubt on the lookout for them. He 
was mounted on a small pony, and had probably 
gone as far east as the present location of Tejon 
Street, when he evidently saw the Indians as they 



208 The Indian War of 1868 

came out into open view to the north of him. He 
at once turned his pony toward home and urged 
it to its highest speed, making a desperate effort 
to escape from the savages; but his horse was no 
match for those of the Indians, and they soon 
overtook him. Everhart had reached a point 
near the intersection of what is now Platte and 
Cascade Avenues, when a shot from one of the 
savages caused him to fall from his horse. One of 
the Indians then came up to him, ran a spear 
through his body, and scalped him, taking all the 
hair from his head except a small fringe around 
the back part. The whole occurrence was witnes- 
sed from a distance by several persons. An hour 
or so afterward, when the Indians had gone and it 
was safe to do so, a party went out to where his 
mutilated body lay, and brought it to Colorado 
City. 

After killing Everhart, the Indians saw farther 
down the valley, a quarter of a mile or so away, a 
lone sheep herder, who was generally known as 
"Judge" Baldwin, and the whole band immedi- 
ately started after him. When Baldwin saw the 
Indians coming, he tried to escape. Having no 
spurs or whip, he took off one of his long-legged 
boots and used it to urge his mount to its utmost 
speed. This, however, was ineffectual, as his 



The Indian War of 1868 209 

horse was inferior to those of the Indians, and 
they had no difficulty in overtaking him before 
he had gone very far. They shot him, and he 
fell from his horse near the site of the present 
Fourth Ward Schoolhouse. The bullet struck 
Baldwin in the shoulder, and as he was leaning 
forward at the time, it passed upward through his 
neck and came out through the jaw. He dropped 
from his horse completely dazed, but in his deli- 
rium he used the boot to fight off the Indians. The 
latter evidently thought the wound mortal, so with- 
out wasting any more ammunition upon him one 
of their number proceeded to take his scalp. The 
savage ran the knife around the back part of 
Baldwin's head, severing the scalp from the skull, 
and then discovered that he had been scalped at 
some previous time. For some reason, probably 
superstition of some kind, the Indians then aban- 
doned the idea of scalping him, and the entire band 
rode off, leaving their victim, as they supposed, 
to die on the prairie. It was a fact that Baldwin 
had been scalped by Indians in South America 
some years before. 

After leaving Baldwin, the Indians divided into 

two bands, one of which went in a northeasterly 

direction and crossed Shooks Run near the point 

where Platte Avenue now intersects it. Near 

14 



210 The Indian War of 1868 

this place they were joined by other Indians who 
had evidently been in concealment near by. It 
is said that during all this time two or three 
Indians stationed on the hill where the Deaf and 
Blind Institute is now located, apparently by the 
use of flags, directed the movements of those 
doing the killing, wigwagging in a manner similar 
to that in use in the army at that time, and that 
these signal men fell in with the others as they 
came along; after which they all rode rapidly to 
the eastward and soon disappeared on the plains. 
The other party continued down the valley of the 
Fountain, and at a point just below where the Rio 
Grande bridge now crosses Shooks Run, they came 
upon two small boys, the sons of Thomas H. Rob- 
bins, who lived on the south side of the Fountain, 
not far away. These two boys, eight and ten 
years of age respectively, were looking after their 
father's cattle. They had evidently seen the 
Indians coming when some distance away, as they 
were using every possible endeavor to escape; 
but they had not gone far when the savages were 
upon them. It is said that one of the boys fell 
upon his knees and lifted up his hands, as though 
begging the Indians to spare his life, but the 
savages never heeded such appeals. Two Indians 
reached down, each seized a boy by the hair, held 



The Indian War of 1868 211 

him up with one hand, and, using a revolver, shot 
him with the other and then flung the quivering, 
lifeless body to the ground. 

The savages then continued rapidly down along 
the edge of the bluffs, to the north of Fountain 
Creek, and when at the south side of the present 
Evergreen Cemetery, attempted to capture some 
horses at the Innis ranch, in the valley a short 
distance away, but the presence of a number of 
armed men there caused them to desist after two 
or three futile dashes in that direction. Half 
a mile below this point, they met Solon Mason, a 
ranchman from the lower end of the county, 
accompanied by two or three other men. These 
men were all armed and, after two or three shots 
were exchanged, the Indians gave them a wide 
berth. At a ranch just below, occupied by George 
Banning, the Indians secured a few horses, after 
which they struck out over the plains to join the 
other band. 

As I have already said, armed parties were 
going out every day from Colorado City to harvest 
the grain that had been ripe for some time. On 
that morning, I had joined a group that was to 
assist Bert Myers, a merchant of Colorado City, 
in harvesting a field of wheat on land now occu- 
pied by the town of Broadmoor. I was binding 



212 The Indian War of 1868 

wheat behind a reaper, at a point not very far 
from the present Country Club buildings, when, 
about two o'clock in the afternoon, I saw a horse- 
man coming from the east riding furiously in our 
direction. When he reached us we found that it 
was a Mr. Riggs, who lived near the mouth of 
Cheyenne Creek. He told us that the Indians 
were raiding the settlements in every direction, 
and were killing people, mentioning of his own 
knowledge Everhart, Baldwin, and the Robbins 
boys, and he thought a good many more ; and also 
had run off a large number of horses. My first 
thought was that the Indians had come in during 
the previous night, concealed themselves in the 
underbrush along the creeks, and taken advan- 
tage of the time when most of the men were out 
in the fields, to attack, rob, and murder. I knew 
such a thing was possible, as there was no one 
living between our settlement and the Indian 
country to give us notice of the approach of a 
hostile band. It then occurred to me that my 
three small brothers, Edgar, Frank, and Charles, 
were looking after our cattle near the mouth of 
Bear Creek, and certainly were in great danger, 
if indeed they had not already been killed. I 
immediately secured permission to take one of the 
horses from the reaper, in order to ride in search 



The Indian War of 1868 213 

of the boys. I quickly stripped off all the harness 
except the blind bridle, mounted the horse, and 
tore away in the direction of Bear Creek. As a 
matter of precaution, I had taken a revolver 
with me to the harvest-field as at this time few 
went out unarmed. After a ride at top speed, 
I met the boys about three-quarters of a mile 
south of Bear Creek. 

My brothers told me that while eating their 
luncheon in the milk house near our dwelling on 
Bear Creek, they were alarmed by the excited 
barking of their dog. They ran out to see what 
was the matter, and, looking across on the present 
site of Colorado Springs, saw a group of horsemen 
whom they immediately knew to be Indians, 
pursuing another horseman, whom they at once 
conjectured was Charley Everhart. A moment 
later the band seemed to be grouped around some 
object, which doubtless was the time when the 
Indians were scalping young Everhart. The 
boys witnessed the savages race down over the 
flat in their pursuit of Baldwin, and while this 
was in progress, they counted the horsemen and 
found that there were thirty -five in the band. 
The boys then ran up the hill to the east of the 
house, heard the shot, and witnessed what I have 
already described concerning the shooting of Bald- 



214 The Indian War of 1868 

win. They then saw the band divide, one party 
going out on the plains and the other down the 
creek. Becoming alarmed for their own safety, 
they had started to run to some of the neighbors 
on Cheyenne Creek, when I met them. As soon 
as I had heard their story, which assured me that 
the Indians had gone off to the east and that there 
was no immediate danger to the boys, I rode back 
to the harvest-field where we had abandoned the 
reaper, hitched to the wagon, and drove to town. 
Later in the afternoon, the Robbins family, whose 
two boys had been killed, as I have related, came 
by our Bear Creek ranch on their way to Colorado 
City, and took my brothers to town with them. 
By the time we reached Colorado City, the bodies 
of Everhart and the two Robbins boys had been 
brought in. The party that went after Baldwin 
found him alive, but supposed him to be mortally 
wounded. It was thought that he could not 
possibly live more than a day or two at most, but, 
to the surprise of everybody, in a short time he 
began to recover and in a month or so was ap- 
parently well again. 

Of course, the excitement in Colorado City and 
throughout the county was intense. We knew 
that the Territorial authorities were unable to 
give us any help whatsoever, and that the general 



The Indian War of 1868 215 

Government had turned a deaf ear to our appeals 
for protection. Consequently, we realized that 
we must again, as in 1864, rely solely upon our- 
selves. In this emergency we repaired the old 
fort around the log hotel, and organized our 
forces to the best possible advantage, in order to 
be prepared for any further attacks that the 
Indians might make. Only a few hours after the 
raid, a messenger came in from Bijou Basin, 
asking that men be sent to the relief of the Simp- 
son party, which was surrounded by Indians 
near that point, as I have already told. After 
consideration of the matter, it was decided that 
our force was strong enough to spare a few men 
for that purpose. Accordingly, that night ten 
of us volunteered to go to the assistance of the 
besieged. For this expedition a Mr. Hall, who 
lived on what has since been known as the Pope 
ranch, loaned me an excellent horse and a Colt's 
rifle, a kind of gun I had never seen before nor 
have I seen one like it since. It was a gun built 
exactly on the principle of a Colt's revolver, the 
only trouble with it being that one never knew 
just how many shots would go off at once. 

Early the following morning we started out, 
following up Monument Creek to the mouth of 
Cotton wood; thence up that creek over the ground 



2i6 The Indian War of 1868 

where Teachout's herd of horses had been cap- 
tured. We stopped a few minutes at the Neff 
ranch, which we found deserted, and then went 
east along the route taken by the Indians when 
running off the Teachout herd. 

An hour later, while we were riding along in a 
leisurely manner, and had reached within about 
half a mile of the pinery, we saw to our right a band 
of about twenty -five mounted Indians, half a mile 
away on the south bank of Cotton wood Creek. 
We had been so wrought up by the murders of 
the previous day, that without a moment's hesi- 
tation we wheeled about and made for the Indians 
as fast as our horses could go. We had no sooner 
started than I realized that we might be running 
into an ambuscade, and I warned our people not 
to cross the ravine at the place where we had first 
seen the savages, but to go on one side or the 
other; however, our men were in such a state of 
frenzy, that they would not listen, so we rushed 
headlong to the bank of the ravine through which 
the creek ran. The bank was so steep that we 
had to dismount and lead our horses. Fortu- 
nately for us, there were no Indians at that 
moment at the point where we were crossing the 
ravine, but we had not gone a quarter of a mile 
before a mounted Indian appeared on the bank, 



The Indian War of 1868 217 

almost at that identical place, and probably there 
were others hidden near the same point. 

As soon as the Indians on the south bank saw us 
coming, they started on the run in a southeasterly 
direction, and, when some distance away, gradually 
turned to the eastward. By this time our party 
began to think a little of the desirability of keeping 
a way of retreat open, in case of defeat in the 
expected engagement. For that reason, we veered 
a little to the right, and kept on until we were 
directly between them and Colorado City. By 
this time, the Indians had dismounted on a large 
open flat, about three-quarters of a mile to the 
eastward of us, and, forming a circle with their 
ponies, seemed to be awaiting our attack. We 
could see their guns flashing in the sunshine, and 
while we were surprised at this movement, so 
contrary to the usual custom of the Indians, we 
did not hesitate a moment, but started toward 
them as fast as our ponies could take us. Evi- 
dently changing their minds upon seeing this, the 
Indians remounted and started in the direction 
of the pinery as rapidly as they could go. Their 
horses were better and fleeter than ours, so we 
were unable to head them off, and when they 
entered the edge of the timber we knew it would 
only be inviting disaster to follow farther. We 



218 The Indian War of 1868 

then resumed our march in the direction of Bijou 
Basin. An hour or two later, we went by the 
extreme eastern edge of the pinery, at the point 
where the old government road crossed Squirrel 
Creek. Here, judging by the great number of 
fresh pony tracks, a large number of Indians must 
have passed only a short time previously. After 
a short rest at this point, we rode steadily on and 
reached Bijou Basin that evening just before 
dark. On our arrival, we found that the besieged 
party had come in the day before, and that all the 
men, except the wounded, had returned to their 
homes. The wounded were being cared for at 
Mr. D. M. Holden's ranch. There being nothing 
further for us to do, we started for home early the 
following morning. Upon our way, we found many 
Indian pony tracks at various places along the 
eastern and southern edge of the pinery, showing 
that the Indians were still around in considerable 
numbers, but we saw none during the day. After 
leaving the pinery, we followed the wagon road 
that came down through what is now known as the 
Garden Ranch. As we came down the hill, two 
or three miles to the northeast of the ranch houses, 
we noticed a number of horsemen congregated 
near that point. From their actions we knew 
that they were very much excited, and evidently 



The Indian War of 1868 219 

mistook us for a band of Indians. They gathered 
around some tall rocks a little way to the eastward 
of the gateway, and seemed to be preparing for 
defense. We tried by signaling and otherwise to 
make ourselves known to them, but were unsuc- 
cessful until we were almost within gun-shot dis- 
tance. They were greatly relieved when they 
ascertained who we were. We then joined them 
and reached Colorado City without further in- 
cident. 

Events of a similar character were of almost 
daily occurrence while the Indians remained in 
this region. Every animal on a distant hill 
became an Indian horseman to the excited im- 
agination of the ranchman or cowboy, and without 
further investigation he rushed off to town to 
give the alarm. No lone man on horseback 
allowed another horseman to approach him with- 
out preparing for defense, and every object at a 
distance that was not clearly distinguishable was 
viewed with alarm. 

For two weeks following the raid upon the pres- 
ent town-site of Colorado Springs, the Indians 
had virtual possession of the northern and eastern 
portions of the county. During this time they 
raided Gill's ranch, east of Jimmy's Camp, and 
ran off his herd of horses, taking them out of the 



220 The Indian War of 1868 

corral near his house in the night, although the 
horses were being guarded by armed men. It 
appears that the Indians stole up to the corral on 
the opposite side from where the guards were 
posted, made an opening in it, let the horses out, 
and were off with them before the men realized 
what was going on. 

About the same time, the Indians killed a 
demented man named Jonathan Lincoln, at the 
Lincoln ranch in Spring Valley on Cherry Creek, 
just north of the El Paso County line. Lincoln 
and a Mexican were out in the harvest-field binding 
oats when they saw the Indians approaching. 
The Mexican saved himself by flight, but Lincoln 
folded his arms and calmly awaited the coming 
of the savages. Without hesitation they killed 
him, took his scalp, and departed again into the 
recesses of the adjacent pinery. They also killed 
John Choteau, on east Cherry Creek, John Grief 
and Jonathan Tallman on east Bijou, and raided 
the John Russell ranch at the head of East Cherry 
Creek, from which place they ran off sixteen horses. 

About this time, a small band of Indians, while 
prowling around near the town of Monument, 
threatened the house of David McShane at a 
time when all the men were away, Mrs. McShane 
and some neighboring women and children being 



The Indian War of 1868 221 

the only occupants. Having the true pioneer 
spirit, the women, under the leadership of Mrs. 
McShane, put up such a strong show of defense 
that the savages abandoned the attack in short 
order, apparently glad to get away unharmed. 
Soon after, they burned Henry Walker's house, 
which stood about a mile east of the present Husted 
station on the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. 

The Indians seemed to have established a camp 
at some secluded place in the timber of the Divide, 
from which they went out in small parties in every 
direction, killing and robbing when opportunity of- 
fered. Every day during these two weeks, Indians 
were seen at various places on the Divide and the 
eastern part of the county. By this time, how- 
ever, our people had taken their families out of 
danger and were so constantly on the alert that 
the Indians, while having many opportunities 
for looting and robbing the deserted ranches, had 
few chances for surprising and killing defenseless 
people, who were the only ones they cared to 
attack. Throughout the raid, those who had been 
able to make any kind of a defense had been let 
alone. The Indians seemed unwilling to take 
any chances or to waste their ammunition, unless 
they were certain of results. 

A week or two after the beginning of the Indian 



222 The Indian War of 1868 

troubles, the people of El Paso County took steps 
to form a military company to be regularly 
employed against the Indians, its members to 
serve without pay. It was the intention to keep 
this company in the field until the Indians were 
driven out of the region. About the fifteenth of 
September, eighty mounted and well-armed men, 
who had enlisted for the purpose, and of whom I 
was one, met at Husted's saw- mill on the Divide 
and perfected a military organization by the 
election of the usual company officers, A. J. 
Templeton being elected captain. The company 
took up its line of march through the pinery to 
Bijou Basin; thence eastward past the place where 
Simpson's party had been besieged two or three 
weeks before. After examining with much inter- 
est the scene of this fight, we went southeasterly 
to Big Sandy Creek, thence down the valley of that 
creek to Lake Station on the Smoky Hill wagon 
road, about ten miles east of the present town of 
Limon. On our march we saw no Indians, and, 
judging from their trails and from other indica- 
tions, we decided that they were leaving the coun- 
try. As we marched down the valley of the Big 
Sandy, in the vicinity of the present towns of 
Ramah and Calhan, we saw hundreds of dead 
cattle, most of them cows that had been killed by 



The Indian War of 1868 223 

the Indians only a day or two before. That these 
cattle had been wantonly killed, was shown by the 
fact that no part of the animals had been taken 
for food. In almost every instance they had been 
shot with arrows, many of which were at the time 
sticking in the carcasses. Besides the dead cattle, 
we saw hundreds of live ones scattered all over the 
hills and down the valley, which had evidently 
been driven off by the Indians from the ranches in 
El Paso and the surrounding counties. At a point 
about ten miles down the valley from the present 
station of Limon, on the Rock Island Railway, the 
trail of the Indians left the valley and turned 
northeastward. At this place we were about 
seventy-five miles southwest from the Beecher 
Island battle ground, on the Arickaree fork of 
the Republican River, where Colonel George A. 
Porsyth and his fifty followers were at that very 
time making their heroic defense against an over- 
whelming number of Indians under the command 
of the famous chief Roman Nose, although we 
knew nothing of the affair until some time later. 
The trail of the Indians led across the country in 
a direct line toward the battle ground. No doubt 
they had been summoned by runners to aid their 
people, and probably this was the reason for their 
leaving El Paso County. 



224 The Indian War of 1868 

Upon discovering the course taken by the 
Indians, Captain Templeton, on account of his 
small force, deemed it imprudent to pursue them 
farther. An additional reason for facing about 
was that our supply of provisions was about 
exhausted, and had we gone farther we should 
have had to subsist on the wild game of the region, 
which would have been a risky thing to attempt. 
As it was, on our way homeward we had to live 
entirely on the meat of cattle we killed. Having 
no camp outfit, we broiled the meat on sticks 
before our camp fires and then ate it without 
salt. To me this fare was about the nearest to 
a starvation diet that I have ever experienced. 
We reached Colorado City in due time, with- 
out having seen an Indian during our whole 
campaign. Whether we were the cause of the 
Indians leaving this region, or whether it was a 
coincidence that they were just ahead of us, I do 
not know, but it was evident that the Indians were 
gone, and on account of approaching winter we 
had little to fear from them during the remainder 
of the year. There apparently being no further 
use for its services, the company was disbanded. 

It had been a strenuous period for the settlers 
from the first appearance of the Indians about the 
2Oth of August until this time. At least a dozen 



The Indian War of 1868 225 

persons had been killed in El Paso County and the 
country adjacent thereto on the Divide. Many 
houses had been destroyed; crops had been lost 
through inability to harvest the grain; probably 
five hundred horses and at least one thousand head 
of cattle had been driven off, making an aggregate 
loss of property that was extremely heavy for a 
sparsely populated county such as El Paso was at 
that time. The contest was an unequal one from 
the start. The settlers were armed with a mis- 
cellaneous lot of guns, most of which were muzzle- 
loading hunting rifles, while the Indians were 
armed with breech-loading guns using metal 
cartridges. Fortunately for the settlers, the 
ammunition of the Indians was of a poor quality, 
as was proved in the fight east of Bijou Basin and 
elsewhere, and, judging by the careful manner in 
which they used their ammunition, it is probable 
that the supply was not very large. This un- 
doubtedly saved the lives of many of our people. 
It was noticed from the first that the Indians never 
wasted their ammunition and seldom attacked an 
armed person. 

During all the time the savages were going up 
and down the county murdering people, stealing 
stock, and destroying the property of the settlers, 
the general Government did not make the slightest 

15 



226 The Indian War of 1868 

attempt to give our people protection, although 
attention was repeatedly called to their desperate 
condition. It is true that a week or two after 
the Indian troubles began, the Territorial authori- 
ties at Denver supplied our people with a limited 
number of old Belgian muskets, together with the 
necessary ammunition, but these guns were so 
much inferior to those in the hands of the Indians, 
that they were of very little use. With this one 
exception, the early settlers of this county were 
left entirely to their own resources from the 
beginning of the Indian troubles, in 1864, until the 
end, which did not come until the building of 
the railroads into the Territory. Every appeal to 
the general Government for protection was 
received either with indifference or insult. 

In September, 1866, General William T. Sher- 
man, Commander-in-Chief of the United States 
Army, on his way north from an inspection of the 
forts in New Mexico, accompanied by a large 
number of staff officers and a strong escort, stopped 
overnight in Colorado City. Having been in 
constant danger from the Indians since the begin- 
ning of the trouble in 1864, our people thought 
this an opportune time to lay the matter before 
him and ask that proper means of protection be 
provided. My father, the Rev. Wm. Howbert, 



The Indian War of 1868 227 

was appointed spokesman of the committee that 
waited upon the General. In his speech, father 
explained our exposed and defenseless condition, 
and suggested that a force of government troops 
be permanently stationed at some point on our 
eastern frontier, in order to intercept any Indians 
that might be attempting a raid upon the people 
of this region. General Sherman received the 
appeal with utter indifference, and replied that 
he thought we were unnecessarily alarmed; that 
there were no hostile Indians in the neighborhood ; 
and then sarcastically remarked that it probably 
would be a very profitable thing for the people 
of this region if we could have a force of govern- 
ment troops located near here, to whom our 
farmers might sell their grain and agricultural 
products at a high price. With this remark he 
dismissed the committee, the members of which 
left the room very indignant at the manner in 
which their appeal had been received. Later in 
the year, General Sherman evidently was of the 
opinion that there were hostile Indians in the 
western country and that they needed severe 
punishment, for after the massacre of Lieut. -Col. 
Fetterman and his entire command near Fort 
Phil Kearny, Wyoming, he telegraphed General 
Grant, saying: "We must act with vindictive 



228 The Indian War of 1868 

earnestness against the Sioux, even to their 
extermination, men, women, and children ; nothing 
else will reach the root of the case." 

Two years later, in 1868, the General came to 
Denver along the line of the Kansas- Pacific Rail- 
way, at that time under construction, and was glad 
to have a strong escort to guard him through the 
region of the hostile Indians. Following this trip, 
he made a strenuous effort to punish the savages 
elsewhere, but apparently made no attempt to 
protect the settlers on the eastern borders of 
Colorado. 

I venture to say that no civilized nation ever 
gave less attention to protecting its frontier people 
from the incursion of savages than did our general 
Government. It was always a question of the in- 
fluence that could be brought to bear upon the 
government officials at Washington. After the 
outbreak of the Indians in Minnesota, in 1862, 
the Government took prompt measures and 
punished the savages unmercifully. However, 
this was due to the fact that Minnesota at that 
time had two Senators and several members of 
Congress who were able to bring the necessary 
influence to bear. During all of our Indian 
troubles, Colorado had only one delegate in Con- 
gress, who had no vote and very little influence. 



The Indian War of 1868 229 

Consequently, we were left to protect ourselves 
as best we could. 

The whole eastern frontier of El Paso County 
faced upon the territory occupied by the Sioux, 
Cheyennes, and Arapahoes, the most crafty and 
bloodthirsty savages upon the American conti- 
nent. There were at all times bands of these 
Indians roaming around on the headwaters of 
the Republican and Smoky Hill rivers, and it was 
easy for them to reach the settlements of this 
county without being observed. Considering 
these facts, it now seems a wonder that we were 
not wiped off the face of the earth. Doubtless, 
as I have said before, the reason that we were 
not exterminated was the fact of our contiguity 
to the country of their hereditary enemies, the 
Utes, for whom, on account of their fighting ability, 
they had a wholesome respect. 

During the Indian troubles, a few settlers left 
the county and sought places of safety elsewhere, 
but the great majority of our people pluckily 
stood their ground. The ranchmen who had 
brought their families to Colorado City for pro- 
tection left them there until the trouble was over, 
but went to their homes as often as they could get 
two or three armed men to accompany them, to 
harvest their grain and take care of their stock. 



230 The Indian War of 1868 

Every time they did this, it was at the risk of their 
lives, for no one could tell when or where the 
savages might next appear. The people who now 
live in the cities and on the ranches of El Paso 
County can have no true conception of the dangers 
and the anxieties of the early settlers of the Pike's 
Peak region. As soon as it was definitely known 
that the Indians had left the county, most of the 
ranchmen moved their families back to their 
homes. From previous experience it was known 
that, as winter was coming on, there was little 
danger to be apprehended until the following 
spring. 

By the spring of 1869, the Government, in a 
winter campaign with troops under the command 
of General Custer, had administered such severe 
punishment to the Cheyennes and Arapahoes in 
the battle of Washita and in other engagements 
that thereafter the people of El Paso County 
were unmolested by them, although spasmodic 
outbreaks occurred at various places out on the 
plains for several years afterward. 

THE END 



iL- BERKELEY LIBRARIES