Sand Creek Massacre in Colorado 1864

(Chivington Massacre)

[ 1864 ]

On November 28, 1864, a band of American cavalry and artillery that had been marching across the plains in the cold for five days learned from its mixed-race guide that an Indian camp lay ahead. Their commander, Colonel John M. Chivington (1821-94), demanded to be taken to it. As day was breaking, the cavalry dashed into the Cheyenne and Arapaho camp at Sand Creek, a tributary of the Arkansas River in southeast Colorado. The Cheyenne chief, Black Kettle (d. 1868), raised an American and white flag above his tepee to show friendship, while a white trader with the Indians tried to dissuade the troops from violence. But in the confusion a melee broke out, and both sides started shooting at each other. the Indians were driven up the sandy creek, fighting as they went, but their bows and arrows were no match for the firearms of the soldiers, who shot women and children as well as warriors during their hot pursuit. After it was over, only two Indian women and five children remained alive, and they were taken away as captives. Seven soldiers were killed and more than 400 Indians. The troops confiscated the goods in the Indian camp and continued on their way. An army commission later investigated the incident and Chivington's responsibility for it, but no firm decision was ever reached in the controversy of who was to blame.

Total Casualties 237 Killed and Wounded
Casualties Killed / Wounded
Military Casualties Killed 185 /Wounded 52
Civilian Casualties Killed / Wounded
Note

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