Monday, April 1, 2013

How Governor Evans Pushed for Sand Creek: the Camp Weld meeting, document 3



In my first post on Governor John Evans and the Sand Creek massacre, documents 1 and 2 here, I analyzed Evans's two Proclamations. Both distinguish so-called hostile Indians, including women, children, the aged, and other noncombatants who are still to be "killed[ed] and destroy[ed]," from friendly Indians. As Tink Tinker suggested to me here, indigenous people did not really draw such a distinction; within tribes, they had leaders and societies which were nonviolent, others that engaged in protection or self-defense. They had no concept of war or aggressive war against others.

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In fact, "Indians" were Columbus's dumb name - he imagined he had arrived at India - for the indigenous people whom he later massacred on Hispaniola. I use the term occasionally in this post only for convenience...

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For Evans' and Washington patriarchy, the "friendly" "Indians" are those who leave their homes and way of life and come to forts to be resettled by the army. This is a pretty heavy price to achieve peace...

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All the leaders who came to the Camp Weld meeting in Denver, at great personal risk to themselves, were willing to make peace on Governor Evans' terms...The transcript from the Rocky Mountain News of September 28, 1864 is below.

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These were hunting people whose lands were cut off - even though assigned to them under the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1851) which was violated by and ignored in the rampant settlement of the gold rush - who had to change their lives entirely to survive on the U.S. government's orders.

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But even the so-called friendly ones in Colorado would be massacred...

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For the Camp Weld meeting in Denver included indians led by Black Kettle and Bull Bear who were willing to resettle. Yet Governor Evans blew them off, accused them of having themselves engaged in hostilities (they had instead traded Sioux for captive children whom they sought to return), and told them they had to go directly to the military authorities (which they then did).

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Evans was not thinking strategically about the War. He was not seeking to divide the friendly indians he had in front of him from others. He was charging Chivington who was at the meeting to go "kill and destroy," without any mercy on civilians, "hostile" Indians.

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Moke-tav-a-to (named by the "authorities" Black Kettle) thought - and probably rightly - that he could bring all the self-defense warriors in his tribe in off the plains. It is possible that Bull Bear could have brought in members of the Dog Society (referred to as "Dog soldiers" by the military). In turning away the friendly ones, on his distinction, Evans was also creating "hostiles." He then had especially the friendly ones massacred...

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At Camp Weld, Evans said he was turning over the issue of peace to General Curtis. Chivington mentions slyly at the end the authority of Major Wynkoop, then commander at Fort Lyon, to make peace. The indigenous leaders would go to him and be resettled first near the Fort and then at Sand Creek.

But Chivington knew that General Curtis was the officer who had to make peace. So did Evans, in handing it over to the army. Chivington's concluding and only remark shows that the meeting was, for both, a charade:

"I am not a big war chief, but all the soldiers in this country are at my command [this is a projection on his part]. My rule of fighting white men or Indians is to fight them until they lay down their arms and submit to military authority. They are nearer Major Wynkoop than any one else, and they can go to him when they get ready to do that."

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But Evans had every reason when he sent Chivington out to think that these were the friendly indians he had summoned. And Chivington's massacre did persuade every decent person, including Moke-tav-a-to who was determined to make peace, that there was no peace to be made with the military and the settlers.

As Silas Soule commented, this elimination of the army's friends made for a "hot summer" and in fact, 25 years of the great Indian war...

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It was both criminal and strategically, grotesque.

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Evans, Ralph Byers, publisher and editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Chivington were part of the movement in Denver to create racist hysteria about the killings of the Hungate family and some other settlers by particular indians. Theirs was colonial history, aggressor's history, and largely false.

For instance, as Jeff Broome has now shown, the case of the Hungate family is more complex than I had indicated in the first post. See here and here (h/t Tink Tinker). Many indigenous people were running off horses but not killing settlers. Mrs. Ferguson, who chased after one warrior, was not attacked. But Nathan Hungate shot and killed one.

The response was that the indians attacked and set fire to his cabin. In killing Hungate, they punished both an initial aggression - the US army had murdered Lean Bear (I don't know his original name), walking towards them with his papers of peace from Washington - the month before, as well as retaliating immediately for Hungate's shooting of one of their number.

Killing the mother and two daughters, however, was both unusual (indigenous people often took them prisoners) and unjustified.

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Evans wanted, before the Civil War was out - the Sand Creek massacre took place on November 28, 1864; it was the final few months - to attack and drive indigenous people out of Colorado. He thus made them all "hostiles"...

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Union troops had been diverted to fight the Confederates. He had to appeal for 100 day militia – “the one hundred daysters" – civilians troops motivated by fear, racism and whatever bounty they could take – to attack the Indians.

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The Indians Chivington knew where to find – the ones Evans had met with at Camp Weld (transcript below) – were the so-called friendly Indians. They were wiped out to make an example, to drive indigenous people from Colorado.

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In Illinois where he had been Governor and in Colorado, Evans was heavily into the railways (as was his friend Abraham Lincoln). In Kansas, authorities would negotiate with the local tribes to put the Union Pacific through. But in Colorado, the indigenous people would be massacred and driven out.(h/t Andy Reid)

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Major Edward Wynkoop (second document below) was a brave soldier and a decent human being. Hearing that Moke-tav-a-to (Black Kettle) wanted to meet, he took 130 soldiers and went “through fire,” as Moke-tav-a-to and White Antelope (I don't know his actual name) say below, to meet with them.

He was surrounded by a large number of warriors, but managed to communicate his desire to meet.

He was convinced that Moke-tav-a-to (Black Kettle) and Bull Bear (I don't know his original name, either) wanted to settle.

Hoping to head off war on the plains or to weaken the forces against the US army, and following Evans’s original Proclamation, he brought them to Denver.

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At Camp Weld, Evans was uninterested even in his first Proclamation...

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What Evans did at the meeting was to make clear his intent to murder all Indians (which Chivington carried out).

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Further, coming there was, as Moke-tav-a-to (Black Kettle) and White Antelope say, journeying through a “dark cloud.” Denver, as Evans indicates, was extremely hostile to the Indians (and its citizens would later massacre them….). These indigenous leaders returned the bravery shown by Wynkoop in responding to Moke-tav-a-to (Black Kettle)'s initial message and trying to retrieve the children.

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As Moke-tav-a-to (Black Kettle) put it:

"We have come with our eyes shut, following his handful of men like coming through the fire. All we ask is that we have peace with the whites. We want to hold you by the hand. You are our father. We have been traveling thro' a cloud. The sky has been dark ever since the war began. These braves who are with me are all willing to do what I say. We want to take good tidings home to our people, that they may sleep in peace. I want you to give all the chiefs of these soldiers to understand that we are for peace, and that we have made peace, that we may not be mistaken by them for enemies. I have not come here with a little wolf bark, but have come to talk plain with you. We must live near the buffalo or starve. When we came here wecame free, without any apprehension to see you, and when I go home and tell my people that I have taken your hand, and the hand of all the chiefs here in Denver, they will feel well, and so will all the different tribes of Indians on the Plains, after we have eaten and drank with them [here is Tinker's point about the self-defense societies and the peace societies being one]."

Perhaps the single sentence is worth hearing again: "All we ask is that we have peace with the whites..."

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As White Antelope put it,

"When we sent our letter to Major Wynkoop, it was like going through a strong fire, or blast, for Major Wynkoop's men to come to our camp; it was the same for us to come to see you."

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There is a common courage and decency here, something that plainly could have led to an agreement. Evans and Chivington had no such courage (risked nothing...), no such vision...

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Neva also underlines the shunning of "friendly" Indians by the US troops.

"Mr. Smith has known me ever since I was a child. Has he ever known me commit depredations on the whites? I went to Washington last year--received good council. I hold on to it. I determined to always keep peace with the whites. Now, when I shake hands with them they seem to pull away. I came here to seek peace and nothing else."

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The army officers and politicians were prepared only for war, shunned peace and even shaking the hand - their custom - with indigenous people. That Lieutenants Silas Soule and Joseph Cramer and Major Edward Wynkoop were different about this is striking; they stood out in a rotten crowd...

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Evans' questioning is revealing. He is at least as interested in the horses run off as he is about people "murdered." His first sentences in response to Moke-tav-a-to (Black Kettle) are:

"I am sorry you did not respond to my appeal at once. You have gone into an alliance with the Sioux, who were at war with us. You have done a great deal of damage--stolen stock [note the emphasis!], and now have possession of it."

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Aside from the Hungates, he mentions a man and a boy killed at Cherry Creek and unspecified "depredations" on the railway. .

He thus names 2 cases of killing and 2 of horse stealing.

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Major Wynkoop, in a letter below, says that prisoners were taken from a train on which all the men were killed (perhaps these are the "depredations" Evans refers to).

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White Antelope suggests that the initial case of "stealing" horses was actually one of Fool Badger (I have no original name for him) and some others trying unsuccessfully to return a horse, and retreating when they heard of a military assault.

"Gov. Evans--Who took the stock from Fremont's Orchard, and had the first fight with the soldiers this spring, north of there?

White Antelope--Before answering this question I would like for you to know that this was the beginning of war and I should like to know what it was for, as a soldier fired first.

Gov. Evans--The Indians had stolen about forty horses, the soldiers went to recover them, and the Indians fired a volley into their ranks.

White Antelope--This is all a mistake. They were coming down the Bijou, and found one horse and one mule. They returned one horse before they got to Geary's to a man, then went to Geary's, expecting to turn the other one over to some one. They then heard that the soldiers and Indians were fighting somewhere down the Platte; then they took fright, and all fled.

Gov. Evans--Who were the Indians who had the fright?

White Antelope--They were headed by the Fool Badger's son, a young man, one of the greatest of the Cheyenne warriors, who was wounded, and though still alive, he will never recover."

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It is fair to say that US officials rarely told the truth - had no interest in the truth, especially any naming of their aggression - and that the attacked had reason to fear...

One does not always tell the truth to butchers.

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Nonetheless, this account is probably true...

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Evans took no heed of previous treaties, for instance, the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1851. His is the dictatorial rule of force, coupled with "presents" and "a feast." The patronizing here - as if the indigenous could not see who was stealing their land, that everyone was as blind and complacent and in denial as Evans - is striking.

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Evans extols his own kindness and expense in trying to meet with them - without stating any objective other than stealing their land.

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The great thief looked at and condemned others whom he had forced in hunger to steal...

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Native Americans could not live without the buffalo, and certainly not as farmers on non-arable land...

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Still, these were the peaceful Indians with whom Evans could have settled, making war – still a war of extermination, a criminal war against babies and women (what his Proclamations call for) – on others.

It was thus not enough for Evans to order criminality toward civilians among "the hostiles"; he had to massacre the "friendly" indians as well.

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Evans suddenly speaks directly, as the dispatcher of Chivington:

"Gov. Evans--The time when you can make war best, is in the summer time; when I can make war best, is in the winter. You, so far have had the advantage; my time is just coming." One should take in these words: November 28 at Sand Creek was Evans' time...

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He continued about some people's misconception that they could fight off his - and American - aggression:

"I have learned that you understand that as the whites are at war among themselves, you think you can now drive the whites from the country. But this reliance is false. The Great Father at Washington has men enough to drive all the Indians off the plains, and whip the rebels at the same time. Now the war with the whites is nearly through, and the Great Father will not know what to do with all his soldiers, except to send them after the Indians on the plains."

Evens refuses to include those "Indians" who had risked much to seek peace, as "friendly":

"My proposition to the friendly Indians has gone out; I shall be glad to have them [not "you"...] all come in, under it. I have no new propositions to make."

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Evans then returns illogically but "diplomatically" - he had made himself clear enough about when it was his time to make war - to false justifications for doing nothing to seek peace with any indigenous people:

"Another reason that I am not in a condition to make a treaty, is that war is begun, and the power to make a treaty of peace has passed from me to the Great War Chief. My advice to you, is, to turn on the side of the government, and show, by your acts, that friendly disposition you profess to me. It is utterly out of the question for you to be at peace with us, while living with our enemies, and being on friendly terms with them."

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Evans acted with murderous intent toward those who, at great sacrifice, came in to this “Great Father” in the West. He wanted to drive out "hostile" "Indians" - meaning all indigenous people - and was determined to make all "Indians," no matter what evidence that they wanted peace, "hostile"...

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There is also a patriarchalism demanded by the US toward the indigenous people, an offshoot of racist ideology and the idiocy of believing it which contributes to Evans's blindness or self-deception, where there is not, as in the remark about the winter as his time, deceit...

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Major Wynkoop had to argue fiercely with Evans even to have the meeting.

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But Silas Soule, Wynkooop and Lieutenant Joseph Cramer, honorably, would not go along with Evans's and Chivington's ethnic cleansing.

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Evans and Chivington maneuvered for Wynkoop to be transferred to Kansas for being "too soft" on indigenous people. He was replaced by the pliable and treacherous Major Scott Anthony who knowing that the indians were at Sand Creek under a white flag and an American flag and by order of the army, joined with Chivington in the massacre.

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Soule, a Union officer, was at the Camp Weld meeting. He united with Cramer, another officer who ordered his troops not to fire at Sand Creek; their letters to Wynkoop brought about the Federal inquiry into the massacre. They had initially been loyal to Chivington, but broke with him when they saw he was interested in liquidating native americans with whom the military had made peace.

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Chivington, a Methodist minister, was psychotic (he had a violent streak even in the report of his resisting, with two pistols, Confederates who sought to tar and feather him when he preached in Missouri), ordered horrific things in order to gain advancement in the army – he hoped to be made a Brigadier General and a Republican congressman for his "exploits" at Sand Creek, married his son’s widow who later sued for divorce for his abandoning her (see Tom Noel's comments last Sunday in the Denver Post here), stole money off someone he was in charge of burying as a mortician in Colorado, and came to a bad end.

Pious hypocrite is much too mild a term for Chivington. Wynkoop speaks of him in the last document below as "an inhuman monster"...

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Only with a lot of ignorance and racism is Chivington, to this day, held up in Colorado (there is a Chivington, Colorado; there is the plaque naming Chivington, Evans and the "Sand Creek battle" among other aggressions against indigenous people, on the Statue in front of the State Capitol)…

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Evans, as his Proclamations here and his remarks at Camp Weld indicate, was leagued with Chivington, and in his stated intent toward the indigenous people - denouncing and suspecting even those friendly to whites as "hostile" - licensed the massacre.

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As Bull Bear, a "dog soldier friendly" to the United States says, I am friends with the white man. The white man can do me good…

But nothing was in his power to make these "white men [do him] good."

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Bull Bear adds:

"My brother (Lean Bear) died in trying to keep peace with the whites. I am willing to die in the same way, and expect to do so."

Lean Bear had also gone to Washington. The month before the Hungate incidents, at his camp, he had walked toward US "soldiers" carrying the papers of peace and friendship he had received. They gunned him down.

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Bull Bear could thus have been speaking ironically here (i.e. with "a little wolf's bark"). Or he could have been more aware than the complacent Evans and his allies of how dangerous any process of peace making with the US army and settlers was...

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Friendship with murderous racists, some like Evans with fervent dreams of railway dollars, was not enough.

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None of the spirit of Lincoln penetrated to John Evans…

Lincoln signed personally the execution orders for 38 Dakota in Minnesota (cutting the number from 303 and at electoral cost) because he wanted only those against whom there was (some) evidence to be executed and no mistakes to be made. See here.

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As a leader in extinguishing/ethnically cleansing indigenous people, Lincoln, nonetheless, tried to be decent and honor the law.

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Evans took no such care. Chivington had read Evans correctly as well as Ralph Byers who would proclaim Sand Creek, echoing Chivington, the greatest victory in the history of wars with Indians in the Rocky Mountain News of January 1865, see here.

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Now the entire indian war, as Ari Kelman rightly calls it in The Misplaced Massacre, was a War of Empire. It attacked those who lived on and had claim to the land. It dispossessed, murdered and drove them out. It was an unprovoked act of aggression.

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Self-defense on the part of indigenous people was, in fact, morally justified.

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And many indigenous people starting with the Cherokee and Creeks in Georgia tried to make peace and settle on farms. Though coerced, this process had the possibility of some decency. One million Americans out of 13 million signed petitions to President Andrew Jackson and Congress urging against the Indian Removal Act. (h/t Steven Schwartzberg).

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As with the driving of native Americans out of Georgia, so with Sand Creek. What Evans presided over was genocide against indigenous people.

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The slaughter of the innocent at Sand Creek, their having come there by agreement with Evans and Major Wynkoop (in charge of Fort Lyon where Evans sent them) in obedience to Evans’s Proclamations, would have been easy to avoid. Except with murder aforethought, the Denver militia could not have done this. Read again Evans Second Proclamation and ask if Chivington flew solo, or if he knew with whose cooperation – Evans and Byers – he was going.

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The citizenry of Denver massacred children, cut off women’s genitals and paraded with them on their saddles and then in Denver.

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The charge was that red men weren’t human. But they were and their descendants – our fellow citizens - are.

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One might question, however, whether the citizens of Denver, possessed by racism, were then human...

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In his letter to Wynkoop after the Massacre, Soule ways he couldn't believe they were "white," implying Christian, but, in fact, white Christian settlers, planted by armies, have been, everywhere, horrific engines of genocide.

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That makes the 1909 monument in front of the State Capitol, and all the naming of mountains, towns and Universities in two states for John Evans suspect if as a nation, we wish to make a decent and democratic future. See here.

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Below is also a post-massacre letter from Major Wynkoop. Here is his summary of the effect of John Evans' governorship for which Evans was asked by Secretary of State William Seward, July 18, 1865, to resign - see here:

"In conclusion allow me to say that from the time I held the consultation with the Indian chiefs on the headwaters of Smoky Hill up to the date of the massacre by Colonel Chivington, not one single depredation had been committed by the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians. The settlers of the Arkansas Valley had returned to their ranches from which they had fled, had taken in their crops and had been resting in perfect security under assurances from myself that they would be in no danger for the present, by that means saving the country from what must inevitably become almost a famine, were they to lose their crops. The lines of communication to the States were opened and travel across the plains rendered perfectly safe through the Cheyenne and Arapahoe country. Since this last horrible murder by Colonel Chivington, the country presents a scene of desolation; all communication is cut off with the States except by sending large bodies of troops, and already over 100 whites have fallen as victims to the fearful vengeance of these betrayed Indians. All this country is ruined; there can be no such thing as peace in the future, but by the total annihilation of all the Indians on the plains. I have the most reliable information to the effect that the Cheyennes and Arapahoes have allied themselves with the Kiowas, Comanches, and Sioux, and are congregated to the number of 5,000 or 6,000 on the Smoky Hill. Let me also draw the attention of the colonel commanding to the fact stated by affidavit that John S. Smith, U. S. interpreter, a soldier, and citizen, were present, in the Indian camp by permission of the commanding officer of this post, another evidence to the fact of these same Indians being regarded as friendly, also that Colonel Chivington states in his official report that he fought from 900 to 1,000 Indians, and left from 500 to 600 dead upon the field--the sworn evidence being that there was but 500 souls in the village, two-thirds of them being women and children, and that there were but from 60 to 70 killed, the major portion of which were women and children. It will take many more troops to give security to travelers and settlers in this country, and to make any kind of successful warfare against these Indians. I am at work placing Fort Lyon in a state of defense, having all, both citizens and soldiers, located here, employed upon the works, and expect soon to have them completed, and of such a nature that a comparatively small garrison can hold the fort against any attack by Indians. Hoping that my report may receive the particular attention of the colonel commanding, I respectfully submit the same.

Your obedient servant,
E. W. WYNKOOP"

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The Sand Creek Massacre
Weld Council Transcript

We'll never forget

"Report Of Council with Cheyenne and Arapahoe Chiefs and Warriors, Brought to Denver by Major Wynkoop; Taken Down by the Indian Agent Simeon Whiteley,

Daily Rocky Mountain News, (Sept. 13, 1865) vol. 6, No. 16, p. 2.

(transcript appears here, unedited):

CAMP WELD, DENVER.
Wednesday, Sept. 28, 1864.


For the photograph of participants in the Camp Weld meeting, see here.

Present--Gov. John Evans, Colonel Chivington, Comd'g Dist. Colorado, Col. Geo. L. Shoup,
Third Colorado Volunteer Cavalry, Maj. E. Wynkoop, Colorado First, S. Whiteley, U. S. Ind. Agt.

Black Kettle, leading Cheyenne Chief.
White Antelope, Chief central Cheyenne band.
Bull Bear, leader of Dog Soldiers [sic] (Cheyenne).
Neva, sub-Arapahoe chief, (who was in Washington).
Bosse, Arapahoe chief.
Heap of Buffalo, Arapahoe Chief.
Na-ta-nee [Na-ta-nee is allowed his Arapahoe name...], Arapahoe Chief.

The Arapahoes are all relatives of Left Hand, Chief of the Arapahoes, and are sent by him in his stead. John Smith, Interpreter to the Upper Arkansas agency, and many other citizens and officers.

His Excellency Gov. Evans asked the Indians what they had to say.

Black Kettle then said: On sight of your circular of June 27th, 1864 [see here and here], I took hold of the matter, and have now come to talk to you about it. I told Mr. Bent, who brought it, that I accepted it, but
it would take some time to get all my people together--many of my young men being absent--and I have done everything in my power, since then, to keep peace with the whites. As soon as I could get my people together, we held a council, and got a half-breed who was with them, to write a letter to inform Major Wynkoop, or other military officer nearest to them, of their intention to comply with the terms of the circular. Major Wynkoop was kind enough to receive the letter, and visited them in camp, to whom they 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, 16 or 17 years; Ambrose Asher, 7 or8 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. Morton, who was taken on the Platte. Mrs. Snyder is
the name of the woman who hung herself. 4 The boys were taken between Fort Kearney and the Blue.

I followed Major Wynkoop to Fort Lyon, and Major Wynkoop proposed that we come up to see you. We have come with our eyes shut, following his handful of men like coming through the fire. All we ask is that we have peace with the whites. We want to hold you by the hand. You are our father. We have been traveling thro' a cloud. The sky has been dark ever since the war began. These braves who are with me are all willing to do what I say. We want to take good tidings home to our people, that they may sleep in peace. I want you to give all the chiefs of these soldiers to understand that we are for peace, and that we have made peace, that we may not be mistaken by them for enemies. I have not come here with a little wolf bark, but have come to talk plain with you. We must live near the buffalo or starve. When we came here we came free, without any apprehension to see you, and when I go home and tell my people that I have taken your hand, and the hand of all the chiefs here in Denver, they will feel well, and so will all the different tribes of Indians on the Plains, after we have eaten and drank with them.

Gov. Evans replied: I am sorry you did not respond to my appeal at once. You have gone into an alliance with the Sioux, who were at war with us. You have done a great deal of damage--stolen stock [note the emphasis!], and now have possession of it. However much a few individuals may have tried to keep the peace, as a nation you have gone to war. While we have been spending thousands of dollars in opening farms for you, and making preparations to feed, protect, and make you comfortable, you have joined our enemies and gone to war. 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.

Gov. 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.

Black Kettle--I don't know who could have told you this.

Gov. Evans--No matter who said this but your conduct has proved to my satisfaction that was the case.

Several Indians--This is a mistake. We have made no alliance with the Sioux, or any one else.

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

Several Indians--We acknowledge that our actions have given you reason to believe this.

Gov. Evans--So far as making a treaty now is concerned, we are in no condition to do it. Your young men are on the war path. My soldiers are reparing for the fight. You, so far, have had the advantage; but that time is near at hand when the plains will swarm with United States soldiers. I understand that these men who have come to see me now, have been opposed to the war all the time, but that their people have controlled them and they could not help themselves. Is this so?

All the Indians--It has been so.

Gov. Evans--The fact that they have not been able to prevent their people from going to war in the past spring, when there was plenty of grass and game, makes me believe that they will not be able to make a peace which will last longer than until winter is past.

White Antelope--I will answer that after a time.

Gov. Evans--The time when you can make war best, is in the summer time; when I can make war best, is in the winter. You, so far have had the advantage; my time is just coming. I have learned that you understand that as the whites are at war among themselves, you think you can now drive the whites from the country. But this reliance is false. The Great Father at Washington has men enough to drive all the Indians off the plains, and whip the rebels at the same time. Now the war with the whites is nearly through, and the Great Father will not know what to do with all his soldiers, except to send them after the Indians on the plains. My
proposition to the friendly Indians has gone out; I shall be glad to have them all come in, under it. I have no new propositions to make. Another reason that I am not in a condition to make a treaty, is that war is begun, and the power to make a treaty of peace has passed from me to the Great War Chief. My advice to you, is, to turn on the side of the government, and show, by your acts, that friendly disposition you profess to me. It is utterly out of the question for you to be at peace with us, while living with our enemies, and being on friendly terms with them.

Inquiry made by one Indian--What was meant by being on the side of the government?

Explanation being made, all gave assent, saying "All right."

Gov. Evans--The only way you can show this friendship is by making some arrangement with the soldiers to help them.

Black Kettle--We will return with Major Wynkoop to Fort Lyon; we will then proceed to our village, and take back word to our young men, every word you say. I cannot answer for all of them, but think there will be but little difficulty in getting them to assent to helping the soldiers.

Major Wynkoop--Did not the Dog Soldiers agree, when I had my council with you, to do whatever you said, after you had been here?

Black Kettle--Yes.

Gov. Evans explained that if the Indians did not keep with the U.S. soldiers, or have an arrangement with them, they would all be treated as enemies. You understand, that if you are at peace with us it is necessary to keep away from our enemies. But I hand you over to the military, one of the chiefs of which is here today, and can speak for himself, to them, if he chooses.

White Antelope--I understand every word you have said, and will hold on to it. I will give you an answer directly. The Cheyennes, all of them, have their eyes open this way, and they will hear what you say. He is proud to have seen the chief of all the whites in this country. He will tell his people. Ever since he went to Washington and received this medal, I have called all white men as my brothers. But other Indians have since been to Washington, and got medals, and now the soldiers do not shake hands, but seek to kill me. What do you mean by us fighting your enemies? Who are they?

Gov. Evans--All Indians who are fighting us.

White Antelope--How can we be protected from the soldiers on the plains?

Gov. Evans--You must make that arrangement with the Military Chief.

White Antelope--I fear that these new soldiers who have gone out, may kill some of my people while I am here.

Gov. Evans--There is a great danger of it.

White Antelope--When we sent our letter to Major Wynkoop, it was like going through a strong fire, or blast, for Major Wynkoop's men to come to our camp; it was the same for us to come to see you. We have our doubts that the Indians south of the Arkansas, or those north of the Platte, will do as you say. A large number of Sioux have crossed the Platte in the vicinity of the Junction, into their country. When Major Wynkoop came we proposed to make peace. He said he had no power to make a peace except to bring them here and return them safe.

Gov. Evans--Again, whatever peace they make, must be with the soldiers and not with me.

Gov. Evans--Are the Apaches at war with the whites?

White Antelope--Yes, and the Camanches and Kiowas as well; also a tribe of Indians from Texas, whose names we do not know. There are thirteen different bands of Sioux who have crossed the Platte and are in alliance with the others named.

Gov. Evans--How many warriors with the Apaches, Kiowas and Camanches?

White Antelope--A good many. Don't know.

Gov. Evans--How many of the Sioux?

White Antelope--Don't know, but many more than of the southern tribes.

Gov. Evans--Who committed the depredations on the trains near the Junction, about the 1st of August?

White Antelope--Do not know did not know any were committed. Have taken you by the hand and will tell the truth, keeping back nothing.

Gov. Evans--Who committed the murder of the Hungate family, on Running Creek?

Nevah--The Arapahoes; a party of the northern band who were passing north. It was 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.

Agent Whiteley--That cannot be true.

Gov. Evans--Where is Roman Nose?

Neva--You ought to know better than me. You have been nearer to him.

Gov. Evans--Who killed the man and boy at the head of Cherry Creek?

Neva--(After consultation)--Kiowas and Camanches.

Gov. Evans--Who stole soldiers horses and mules from Jimmy's Camp, twenty-seven days
ago?

Neva--Fourteen Cheyennes and Arapahoes, together.

Gov. Evans--What were their names?

Neva--Powder Face and Whirlwind, who are now in our camp, were the leaders?

Col. Shoup--I counted twenty Indians on that occasion.

Gov. Evans--Who stole Charley Autobee's horses?

Neva--Raven's son.

Gov. Evans--Who took the stock from Fremont's Orchard, and had the first fight with the soldiers this spring, north of there?

White Antelope--Before answering this question I would like for you to know that this was the beginning of war and I should like to know what it was for, as a soldier fired first.

Gov. Evans--The Indians had stolen about forty horses, the soldiers went to recover them, and the Indians fired a volley into their ranks.

White Antelope--This is all a mistake. They were coming down the Bijou, and found one horse and one mule. They returned one horse before they got to Geary's to a man, then went to Geary's, expecting to turn the other one over to some one. They then heard that the soldiers and Indians were fighting somewhere down the Platte; then they took fright, and all fled.

Gov. Evans--Who were the Indians who had the fright?

White Antelope--They were headed by the Fool Badger's son, a young man, one of the
greatest of the Cheyenne warriors, who was wounded, and though still alive, he will never
recover.

Neva--I want to say something. It makes me feel bad to be talking about these things and opening old sores.

Gov. Evans--Let him speak.

Neva--Mr. Smith has known me ever since I was a child. Has he ever known me commit depredations on the whites? I went to Washington last year--received good council. I hold on to it. I determined to always keep peace with the whites. Now, when I shake hands with them they seem to pull away. I came here to seek peace and nothing else.

Gov. Evans--We feel that they have, by their stealing and murdering, done us great damage.They come here and say they will tell me all, and that is what I am trying to get.

Neva--The Camanches, Kiowas and Sioux have done much more injury than we have. We will
tell what we know, but cannot speak for others.

Gov. Evans--I suppose you acknowledge the depredations on the Little Blue, as you have the
prisoners then taken in your possession.

White Antelope--We (the Cheyennes) took two prisoners, west of Fort Kearney, and destroyed the trains.

Gov. Evans--Who committed depredations at Cottonwood?

White Antelope--The Sioux. What band, we do not know.

Gov. Evans--What are the Sioux going to do next?

Bull Bear--Their plan is to clean out all this country. They are angry and will do all the damage to the whites they can. I am with you and the troops, to fight all those who have no care to listen to what you say. Who are they? Show them to me, I am not yet old--I am young. I have never hurt a white man. I am pushing for something good. I am always going to be friends with the whites--they can do me good.

Gov. Evans--Where are the Sioux?

Bull Bear--Down on the Republican, where it opens out.

Gov. Evans--Do you know that they intend to attack the trains this week?

Bull Bear--Yes. About one half of all the Missouri River Sioux and Yanktons, who were driven from Minnesota, are those who have crossed the Platte. I am young and can fight. I have given my word to fight with the whites. My brother (Lean Bear) died in trying to keep peace with the whites. I am willing to die in the same way, and expect to do so.

Neva--I know the value of the presents which we receive from Washington. We cannot live without them. That is why I try so hard to keep peace with the whites.

Gov. Evans--I cannot say anything about those things, now.

Neva-- I can speak for all the Arapahoes under Left Hand. Raven has sent no one here to speak for him. Raven has fought the whites.

Gov. Evans--Are there any white men among your people?

Neva--There are none except Keith, who is now in the store at Fort Larned.

Col. Chivington--I am not a big war chief, but all the soldiers in this country are at my command. My rule of fighting white men or Indians is to fight them until they lay down their arms and submit to military authority. They are nearer Major Wynkoop than any one else, and they can go to him when they get ready to do that.

The Council then adjourned.

I Certify that this report is correct and complete; that I took down the talk of the Indians in the exact words of the Interpreter, and of the other parties as given to him, without change of phraseology, or correction of any kind whatever.

SIMEON WHITELEY

***

Governor Evans sent the following report to Indian Agent Samuel Colley, Agent for the Cheyennes/Arapahos on the Arkansas River, following the Weld Council:

COLORADO SUPERINTENDENCY OF INDIAN AFFAIRS,

Denver, September 29, 1864.

Major S. G. COLLEY,
U. S. Indian Agent:

SIR:

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

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. EVANS,
Governor Colo. Ter. and ex-officio Supt. of Indian Affairs.

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

***

Major Wynkoop's original journey through the "fire" to retrieve the children in response to Black Kettle's letter:

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

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

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

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

United States War Dept.: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series I Volume XLI, Part III, pp. 242-243.

***

Report of Major Edward W. Wynkoop, First Colorado Cavalry, of an investigation of Indian affairs in the vicinity of Fort Lyon, Colo. Ter. to Samuel Tappan

FORT LYON, COLO. TER., January 15, 1865.

SIR: In pursuance of Special Orders, Numbers 43, headquarters District of Upper Arkansas, directing me to assume command of Fort Lyon, as well as to investigate and immediately report in regard to late Indian proceedings in this vicinity, I have the honor to state that I arrived at this post on the evening of the 14th of January, 1865, assumed command on the morning of the 15th of January, 1865, and the result of my investigation is as follows, viz:

As explanatory, I beg respectfully to state that while formerly in command of this post, on the 4th day of September, 1864, and after certain hostilities on the part of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians, induced, as I have had ample proof, by the overt acts of white men, three Indians (Cheyennes) were brought as prisoners to me, who had been found coming toward the post, and who had in their possession a letter written, as I ascertained afterward, by a half-breed in the Cheyenne camp [George Bent] as coming from Black Kettle and other prominent chiefs of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Nations, the purport of which was that they desired peace, had never desired to be at war with the whites, &c., as well as stating that they had in their possession some white prisoners, women and children, whom they were willing to deliver up provided that peace was granted them. Knowing that it was not in my power to insure and offer them the peace for which they sued, but at the same time anxious, if possible, to accomplish the rescue of the white prisoners in their possession, I finally concluded to risk an expedition with the command I could raise (numbering 127 men) to their rendezvous, where, I was informed, they were congregated to the number of 2,000, and endeavor by some means to procure to aforesaid white prisoners, and to be governed in my course in accomplishing the same entirely by circumstances. Having formerly made lengthy reports in regard to the details of my expedition, I have but to say that I succeeded--procured four white captives from the hands of these Indians--simply giving them in return a pledge that I would endeavor to procure for them the peace for which they so anxiously sued, feeling that under the proclamation issued by John Evans, Governor of Colorado and superintendent of Indian affairs (a copy of which becomes a portion of this report), even if not by virtue of my position as a U. S. officer, highest in authority in the country, included within the bounds prescribed as the country of the Arapahoe and Cheyenne Nations, that I could offer them protection until such time as some measures might be taken by those higher in authority than myself in regard to them, I took with me seven of the principal chiefs, including Black Kettle, to Denver city, for the purpose of allowing them an interview with the Governor of Colorado, by that means making a mistake, of which I have since become painfully aware--that of proceeding with chiefs to the Governor of Colorado Territory, instead of to the headquarters of my district to my commanding officer.

In the consultation with Governor Evans the matter was referred entirely to the military authorities. Colonel J. M. Chivington, at that time commander of the District of Colorado, was present at the council held with these Indian chiefs, and told them that the whole matter was referred to myself [this was the decisive, false representation on Chivington's part], who would act toward them according to the best of my judgment until such time as I could receive instructions from the proper authorities. Returning to Fort Lyon I allowed the Indians to bring their villages to the vicinity of the post, including their squaws and papooses, and in such a position that I could at any moment with the garrison I had have annihilated them had they given any evidence of hostility of any kind in any quarter. I then immediately dispatched my adjutant, Lieutenant W. W. Denison, with a full statement to the commanding general of the department asking for instructions, but in the meanwhile various false rumors having reached district headquarters in regard to my course I was relieved from the command of Fort Lyon and ordered to report at headquarters. Major Scott J. Anthony, First Cavalry of Colorado, who had been ordered to assume command of Fort Lyon previous to my departure, held a consultation with the chiefs in my presence and told them that, though acting under strict orders, under the circumstances he could not materially differ from the course which I had adopted, and allowed them to remain in the vicinity of the post with their families, assuring them perfect safety until such time as positive orders should be received from headquarters in regard to them. I left the post on the 25th day of November for the purpose of reporting at district headquarters. On the second day after leaving Fort Lyon, while on the plains, I was approached by three Indians, one of whom stated to me that he had been sent by Black Kettle to warn me that about 200 Sioux warriors had proceeded down the road between where I was and Fort Larned to make war, and desired that I should be careful--another evidence of these Indians' good faith. All of his statement proved afterward to be correct. Having an escort of twenty-eight men, I proceeded on my way, but did not happen to fall in with them. From evidence of officers at this post I understand that on the 27th day of November, 1864, Colonel J. M. Chivington, with the Third Regiment of Colorado Cavalry (100-days' men) and a battalion of the First Colorado Cavalry, arrived at Fort Lyon, ordered a portion of the garrison to join him under the command of Major Scott J. Anthony, and against the remonstrance of the officers of the post, who stated to him the circumstances of which he was well aware, attacked the camp of friendly Indians, the major portion of which were composed of women and children.

The affidavits which become a portion of this report will show more particularly than I can state the full particulars of that massacre. Every one of whom I have spoken to, either officers or soldier, agree in the relation that the most fearful atrocities were committed that ever was heard of. Women and children were killed and scalped, children shot at their mothers' breasts, and all the bodies mutilated in the most horrible manner. Numerous eye-witnesses have described scenes to me coming under the eye of Colonel Chivington of the most disgusting and horrible character. The dead bodies of females profaned in such a manner that the recital is sickening, Colonel J. M. Chivington all the time inciting his troops to these diabolical outrages. Previous to the slaughter commencing he addressed his command, arousing in them by his language all their worst passions, urging them on to the work of committing all these atrocities. Knowing himself all the circumstances of these Indians, resting on the assurances of protection from the Government given them by myself and Major Scott J. Anthony, he kept his command in entire ignorance of the same, and when it was suggested that such might be the case, he denied it positively, stating that they were still continuing their depredations, and laid there, threatening the fort. I beg leave to draw the attention of the colonel commanding to the fact established by the inclosed affidavits that two-thirds or more of that Indian village were women and children, and he is aware whether or not the Indians go to war taking with them their women and children. I desire also to state that Colonel J. M. Chivington is not my superior officer, but is a citizen mustered out of the U. S. service, and also that at the time this inhuman monster committed this unprecedented atrocity he was a citizen by reason of his term of service having expired, he having lost his regulation command some months previous.

Colonel Chivington reports officially that between 500 and 600 Indians were left dead upon the field. I have been informed by Captain Booth, district inspector, that he visited the field and counted but sixty-nine bodies, and by others who were present that but a few, if any, over that number were killed, and that two-thirds of them were women and children. I beg leave to further state for the information of the colonel commanding that I have talked to every officer in Fort Lyon, and many enlisted men, and that they unanimously agree that all the statements I have made in this report are correct.

In conclusion allow me to say that from the time I held the consultation with the Indian chiefs on the headwaters of Smoky Hill up to the date of the massacre by Colonel Chivington, not one single depredation had been committed by the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians. The settlers of the Arkansas Valley had returned to their ranches from which they had fled, had taken in their crops and had been resting in perfect security under assurances from myself that they would be in no danger for the present, by that means saving the country from what must inevitably become almost a famine, were they to lose their crops. The lines of communication to the States were opened and travel across the plains rendered perfectly safe through the Cheyenne and Arapahoe country. Since this last horrible murder by Colonel Chivington, the country presents a scene of desolation; all communication is cut off with the States except by sending large bodies of troops, and already over 100 whites have fallen as victims to the fearful vengeance of these betrayed Indians. All this country is ruined; there can be no such thing as peace in the future, but by the total annihilation of all the Indians on the plains. I have the most reliable information to the effect that the Cheyennes and Arapahoes have allied themselves with the Kiowas, Comanches, and Sioux, and are congregated to the number of 5,000 or 6,000 on the Smoky Hill. Let me also draw the attention of the colonel commanding to the fact stated by affidavit that John S. Smith, U. S. interpreter, a soldier, and citizen, were present, in the Indian camp by permission of the commanding officer of this post, another evidence to the fact of these same Indians being regarded as friendly, also that Colonel Chivington states in his official report that he fought from 900 to 1,000 Indians, and left from 500 to 600 dead upon the field--the sworn evidence being that there was but 500 souls in the village, two-thirds of them being women and children, and that there were but from 60 to 70 killed, the major portion of which were women and children. It will take many more troops to give security to travelers and settlers in this country, and to make any kind of successful warfare against these Indians. I am at work placing Fort Lyon in a state of defense, having all, both citizens and soldiers, located here, employed upon the works, and expect soon to have them completed, and of such a nature that a comparatively small garrison can hold the fort against any attack by Indians. Hoping that my report may receive the particular attention of the colonel commanding, I respectfully submit the same.

Your obedient servant,
E. W. WYNKOOP,
Major, Comdg First Colorado Vet. Cav. and Fort Lyon.
Lieut. J. E. TAPPAN
Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., District of Upper Arkansas.

Source:

United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al., "Price's Missouri Expedition," The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Published Under the Direction of the Honorable Daniel S. Lamont, Secretary of War. By Major George B. Davis, U. S. A., Mr. Leslie J. Perry, Mr. Joseph W. Kirkley, Board of Publication. Series I - Volume XLI - In Four Parts. Part I-Reports. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1893. pp. 959-962.

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