I have to admit a level of ignorance on my part for not digging on this sooner. But once again I must take it upon myself to point out another mighty blur in history's long crusade to damn Custer.
It was the SANDCREEK MASSACRE, not Washita, where Black Kettle hung an American Flag outside his tepee and was betrayed just after a major treaty with the US. It was in this battle, not Washita, where he made his famed attempts at peace by waving white flags and american flags. After being engaged at Sandcreek, he probably turned hostile, as any one should, and was more definitely in fighting by the time that Custer got around to him. Custer DID NOT attack any peaceful village, and should not be blurred with the Sandcreek incident.
It was Chivington, and his drunken idiots, who ignored Black Kettle's peace flag and went after the village. Custer made no action on Kettle during what I call "the American flag incident".
I wanted to point that out so no one blurs Custer with others, as they do again and again.
And to add to my post. Chivington's incompetence at Sandcreek instigated major remnants of the northern plains Indian to RISE, giving Custer far more work to deal with and more to result in his death due to the overwhelming domino effect which thrives from th incompetence of others.
Yet Black Kettle's village wasn't peaceful at all. The attack - not the depredations that followed - was justified.
Black Kettle played the amnesty card whenever he was under threat by US army after his massacres. "Warriors of Black Kettle's and associated bands made devastating raids along the Little Blue and Platte rivers in early August 1864. Besides killing more than 50 people, they also took three women and four children captive, abusing them all and raping the women. On August 29, with the raiding season ending and knowing that Governor Evans had recently sent the Indians an "amnesty," Black Kettle had a letter written to the white authorities saying that he would like to trade his "seven prisoners" for peace, indicating that the women and children were held hostage in his village." Historian Gregory Michno, "Cheyenne Chief Black Kettle", Wild West Magazine, December 2005
Michno made a great case in "Battle at Sand Creek" (Upton and Sons) that Black Kettle was holding two young children in his village when the attack begun. Thus the peaceful village wasn't one at all. Black Kettle gambled with the US army, sending his warriors on warpaths and then asking for peace to protect them. Chivington's attack was in retaliation for the massacres of 200 innocent white civilians.
The Cheyennes were at war since the spring of 1864
Last Edit: Feb 21, 2008 8:21:11 GMT -5 by custerwest
One of the most famous massacres of White civilians which caused Sand Creek was the Hungate family massacre. On June 11, 1864, Nathan Ward Hungate, his wife Ellen, and daughters Laura and Florence, were all killed by Indians and their house burned along Box Elder Creek about thirty miles southeast of Denver City. The perpetrators were mostly Cheyennes, including people of Black Kettle's band.
Sand Creek resulted in the Cheyenne joining forces with the Sioux and playing a major role in Red Cloud's War of 1866-68.
The Cheyenne took part in in attempting to stop the military from opening up the Bozeman Trail area, took part in the Fetterman, Wagonbox & Hayfield Fights.
In fact, it may have been the Cheyenne who did the majority of mutilations to Fetterman's command in retaliation of Sand Creek.
Say what you want about Sand Creek, but it resulted in the many branches of the Cheyenne becoming more hardened in their resolve to stem Whites from entering their territory. They continued to fight as long as the Sioux and it wasn't until 1877 that they finally gave up.
I believe after 1868 there was far less attacks against White non-coms on the Northern Plains, unless it was trespassers on reservation lands. It was mostly Military-Indian encounters.
Post by custerwest on Feb 21, 2008 15:54:28 GMT -5
The attacks went down after 1868 only because Custer crushed Black kettle, Carr crushed Tall Bull and the other tribes were forced to join the reservation after Custer's 1869 campaign.
Never said anywhere that Sand Creek didn't harden the Cheyennes. What I said was that the attack wasn't on a peaceful village. But what happened next is unacceptable under any circumstances. In fact, Chivington's men avenged the Hungates by doing the same on Indians - bloodbath for bloodbath, nothing military in there. Revenge isn't a policy and militias aren't soldiers
Chivington and his militia caused more harm than good with their attack and subsequent treatment of Indian dead. It inflamed Cheyenne determination to step up their retaliation, join forces with the Sioux and lead to some of the worst battles on the northern plains between the military & Indians. The Indians didn't differeniate between militias and Federal troops and considered all attacks on them to be one.
The US military was constantly against militias taking action because of their undiscipline behavior and attacking Indians who may not have been responsible for attacks on Whites and causing more trouble than needed.
And so the merry-go-round comes round again! Thanks for the info on the other massacres.
I'm probably far out of my element here, but my overall point stands that Custer ABSOLUTELY DID NOT ATTACK A PEACEFUL VILLAGE, and that more debate over attacking a"peaceful village" should only be toward Sandcreek,and not Washita at all.
It is also important to note that "Blood for blood" does not work in warfare, biblically 'eye for an eye' is used for criminal cases of murder, where an individual can be identified and lain to death for atrocities. Any one who ignorantly applies it to war, like the Indians and others do, will end up attacking civilians or killing honorable service men even when the smoke has cleared.
As for Chivington though, his men were definitely out of order because some ended up killing captain Silas Soule for preparing to testify against the action on the village, which he considered peaceful in view of the "flag incident". Silas Soule was shot to death, and his friends who would testify with him were poisoned. So Chivington is not the best guy, and I stand by calling him as an incompetent lunatic. If Black kettle deserved what he got at sandcreek, then Soule and others probably should've been given a heads up on why he was getting raided. Soule refused the command to attack based on how he was to respond to a flag being shown. And if Chivington was right in what he did, then no attempt on Soule by his men should've been made. He should have let his record stand for what it is and be not afraid of any one attempting to dismiss it. That is how an innocent man should've went with the proceedings. But Chivington was no angel. And would not let Soule stand.
But the flag incident happened at Sandcreek, and never with Custer
Last Edit: Feb 21, 2008 21:24:00 GMT -5 by strange