Indian Wars.During the early years of settlement, while Kansas was a territory, but little trouble with the Indians was experienced. A few depredations were committed by some of the tribes, but none of them was of sufficient magnitude to cause serious alarm. Col. Sumner led an expedition into the Indian country in 1857 (see Cheyenne expedition), and in the spring of 1859 a battle was fought on Crooked creek, near the southwest corner of the present Ford county. The action was an incident of the Washita expedition, which was under command of Maj. Earl Van Dorn, who afterward became a general in the Confederate army. These two affairs were the most important events in connection with Indian warfare during the territorial period.
Shortly after the outbreak of the Civil war, while the Federal government was engaged in conflict with the so-called Southern Confederacy, the Indians took advantage of the opportunity to harass the white settlements in the states west of the Mississippi river. The first notable instance of this character was the Sioux uprising in Minnesota in the summer of 1862. The following year the Comanches, Cheyennes and Kiowas became troublesome in Colorado, requiring the presence of troops to protect the people. On Nov. 27, 1863, Col. Chivington's command attacked a camp of Cheyennes and Arapahoes on Sand creek and killed a large number of Indians, for which Col. Chivington was subjected to an investigation. In 1864 Gen. Samuel R. Curtis was sent to Fort Riley, Kan., by the war department to raise a force of militia for the relief of some trains corralled on Cow creek on the Santa Fe trail on account of the hostility of the Indians. The same summer Capt. Henry Booth and Lieut. Hallowell, escorted by their companyCompany L, Eleventh Kansaswhile on a tour of inspection, became separated from their escort and were chased for some distance by a large body of Indians, but succeeded in escaping. Some of the Indians in the Indian Territory acted with the Confederate armies and caused some apprehension among the settlers of southeastern Kansas. (See War of 1861-65.)
In the years 1865-66 several expeditions were led against the hostile Indians of the northwest, the storm centers being at Fort Laramie and in the Black Hills of Dakota. The massacre by the Sioux at Fort Phil Kearny in the fall of 1866 increased the prestige of the chief Red Cloud, who planned a general uprising for Aug., 1867. But by that time the government was in a position to send sufficient military forces into the Indian country to forestall the movement. None of these conflicts was in Kansas, but the successive defeats of the Indians in the northwest caused the tribes to break up into small bands which gradually worked their way southward, raiding the settlements as they went.
On June 27, 1867, Gen. W. T. Sherman called upon the governor of Kansas for volunteers, and on July 1 Gov. Crawford issued a proclamation authorizing the organization, "as speedily as possible, one regiment of volunteer cavalry, to be mustered into the United States service for a period of six months, unless sooner discharged." A full regiment was not organized, but a battalion, known as the Eighteenth Kansas, was mustered in on July 15, "for the purpose of guarding the employees on the Union Pacific railroad, the western settlements and the emigrant trains bound westward." The battalion was commanded by Maj. Horace L. Moore, formerly lieutenant-colonel of the Fourth Arkansas cavalry. It consisted of four companies, to-wit: Company A, Capt. Henry Lindsey; Company B, Capt. Edgar A. Barker; Company C, Capt. George B. Jenness; Company D, Capt. David L. Payne, the entire battalion numbering 358 officers and enlisted men. It served in western Kansas until Nov. 15, when it was mustered out. Companies B and C were engaged in a fight with Indians on Prairie Dog creek on Aug. 21, though the action is known as the battle of Beaver creek (q. v.).
The summer of 1868 witnessed considerable activity on the part of hostile Indians. Early in June the Cheyennes made a raid as far as Council Grove, ostensibly for the purpose of revenging themselves on the Kansas Indians for injuries received through that tribe the fall before near Fort Zarah, but they robbed settlers, killed cattle, and committed other outrages on the whites. On Aug. 4 some 225 Cheyennes, Arapahoes and Sioux left Pawnee fork and a few days later were on the Saline river. They repaid the kindness of the white settlers with treachery, raided the valleys of the Saline and Solomon, captured trains, killed the escorts and burned the wagons, and carried two womenMiss White and Mrs. Morganinto captivity. They finally extended their field of operations to within 20 miles of Denver, their numbers increasing by the addition of other bands until a formidable force was gathered together. The governors of both Kansas and Colorado reported the outrages to the authorities at Washington, urging that something be done with the Indians, and threatening to call out the state troops. The national government tried to induce the savages to return to their reservations, and failing in this, Gen. P. H. Sheridan, commanding the Department of the Missouri, was ordered to take the field against the Cheyennes under Roman Nose and Black Kettle. It was in this campaign that Col. George A. Forsyth's band of scouts, armed with revolvers and repeating rifles, scouted the country about the headwaters of the Solomon and Fort Wallace, and in September fought the battle of Arickaree. (See Arickaree, Battle of.)
On Oct. 9, 1868, Gen. Sheridan called upon Gov. Crawford for a regiment of mounted volunteers "to serve for a period of six months, unless sooner discharged, against the hostile Indians on the plains." The regiment consisted of twelve companies of 100 men each, and was officered as follows: Colonel, Samuel J. Crawford; lieutenant-colonel, Horace L. Moore; majors, W. C. Jones, Charles Dimon, Richard W. Jenkins and Milton Stewart. On Nov. 4 Gov. Crawford resigned his office to take command of the regiment, which left Topeka the next day for the Indian country, under orders to join Gen. Sheridan's command at Camp Supply. The march took 24 days, and was made on 9 days' subsistence and 7 days' forage, the regiment reaching Camp Supply on the 29th.
In the meantime, upon the approach of winter, Black Kettle's band moved southward to the Washita river. Gen. George A. Custer was sent out from Camp Supply in pursuit, and late on Nov. 26 the scouts came within sight of Black Kettle's village. Bivouac was made for the night, and at daybreak the next morning his bugles sounded the charge. With the band playing the Seventh regiment's fighting tune of "Garry Owen," Custer's men swept like a tornado through the village. Black Kettle was killed early in the fight and the command of the Indians fell on Little Rock, a Cheyenne chief almost as well known as Black Kettle himself. The village was destroyed, but Custer soon learned that this hand was only one of many, and that there were in the vicinity about 2,000 warriorsCheyennes, Arapahoes, Kiowas, Comanches and a few Apaches. He dismounted his men and assumed the defensive. The Indians were led by Little Raven (an Arapaho), Satanta (a Kiowa), and Little Rock. The ammunition ran low, but the quartermaster, Maj. Bell, charged the line and brought in a wagon loaded with a fresh supply, after which the Indians grew more wary and finally began to retreat. Custer threw out flankers and followed, his object being to make the savages think his command was but the advance of a large army, until he could withdraw with safety. The ruse succeeded, and as soon as the Indians were in full retreat Custer started for Camp Supply, where he arrived on Dec. 1, two days after the Nineteenth Kansas. Official reports give the number of officers, soldiers and citizens killed during the year 1868 as 353.
From Dec. 18, 1868, to Jan. 6, 1869, the Nineteenth was in camp at Fort Cobb. It then moved 28 miles southward and established Fort Sill. Col. Crawford resigned on Feb. 12, and on March 23 Lieut.-Col. Moore was made colonel, Maj. W. C. Jones at the same time being promoted to lieutenant-colonel. On March 2, 1869, the command left camp at Fort Sill, dismounted, and moved along the southern base of the Wichita range "to stir up the Cheyennes." Salt fork was crossed on the 6th, and after a hard march the Indians were overtaken on the 20th. The men of the Nineteenth were ready to open fire, when Col. Moore received an order from Gen. Custer not to fire. For a short time there was almost mutiny in the ranks. The men begged, argued, swore, and some even shed tears in their disappointment, but the principal object was to recover the two women (Mrs. Morgan and Miss White) who had been captured in Kansas the year before. A parley was held, which resulted in the chiefs Dull Knife, Big Head, Fat Bear and Medicine Arrow being left with Custer as hostages until the women were safely delivered to their friends, which was done on the 22nd. No battles were fought by the Ninteenth, but its presence in the hostile No battles were fought by the Nineteenth, but its presence in the hostile[sic] regiment was mustered out at Fort Hays on April 18, 1869.
Early in May, 1869, predatory bands of Indians began to lurk around the settlements on the frontier. On the 21st they attacked a party of hunters on the Republican river and drove them and the settlers on White Rock creek, in Republican county, down to Lake Sibley. Five days later B. C. Sanders of Lake Sibley wrote to Adjt.-Gen. W. S. Morehouse that 6 men had been killed, and that 1 woman and 2 boys were missing. On the 30th the Indians made a raid on the settlements along the Saline river, killed and wounded 13 persons, and carried Mrs. Allerdice, Mrs. Weichell and a child into captivity. Mrs. Weichell was recaptured, but the other prisoners were killed during a fight between the savages and the white troops under Gen. Carr. For the protection of the settlers, the adjutant-general mustered a battalion of four companies31I men and officers. Company A, commanded by Capt. A. J. Pliley, was stationed at a blockhouse on Spiliman creek; Company B, under Capt. W. A. Winsell, was placed on Plum creek; Company C, commanded by Capt. I. N. Dairymple, was located near the mouth of Spiliman creek, with detachments from Minneapolis to Fisher creek; Company D, commanded by Capt. Richard Stanfield, was stationed near the forks of the Republican river and Beaver creek. Lieut. Stinson, with 30 men, was placed on Turkey creek 10 miles from the mouth. The expense of this battalion was a little over $83,800, but its presence in the menaced districts held the Indians at bay and no doubt saved several times the cost in property, to say nothing of the preservation of human life.
The year 1870 was comparatively quiet. According to the report of the adjutant-general, some 20 or 30 Indians early in May attacked the settlements on Limestone creek, Mitchell county, and killed 3 unarmed men. These were the only persons killed in the state by Indians during the year.
No further Indian troubles of consequence occurred in Kansas until 1874. In the spring of that year some roving bands began to molest the settlers in Ford, Barber and Comanche counties, and Gov. Osborne sent a small body of state troops into that section. In August about 20 or 30 Osages belonging to Black Dog's and Big Chief's bands came into Kansas, under pretense of hunting on their old hunting grounds. Capt. Ricker, with some 40 men, was occupying a stockade near Kiowa, Barber county. Knowing that the Indians were off their reservation without permission or authority, he marched out to their camp to learn their intentions. The chief came out and met him a short distance from the camp. When Ricker told him to order the others to come up the chief gave orders in the Osage language to fire upon the whites. Lieut. Mosely understood the order. He promptly seized the chief and informed him that any more evidence of treachery would result in his having the top of his head blown off. The action of the leader probably incensed Ricker's men to a degree that made them more vindictive than they would otherwise have been in dealing with the Indians. The camp was broken up, the ponies and camp equipage carried off by the whites, and in the fight that ensued 4 of the Osages were killed. Edward P. Smith, Indian commissioner, wrote to the interior department that Ricker acted without authority, but that after the outrage, as he called it, Gov. Osborn had the company mustered as militia and the order of muster antedated, in order to make it appear the act was committed by authority of the state. Gov. Osborn commissioned Capt. Lewis Hanback to investigate the affair and report. The conclusion reached by Capt. Hanback was that "The attempt made by the Indian authorities to fasten the charge of murder and robbery on the whites, is wholly and utterly without foundation. It arises either from a misconception of the facts, or a willful desire to malign and misrepresent." (See Osborn's Administration.)
Following this event came four years of peace, and then came the last Indian raid in Kansas. That raid has been deemed sufficiently important to receive separate treatment in this work. (See Cheyenne Raid, 1878.)Pages 929-933 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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