The Massacre of Sand Creek Black Kettle, Chief of the Cheyenne, thought he had made peace with the white man when in November of 1864, he had surrendered in good faith under the protection of the United States Army. The Governor of Colorado, John Evans, had instructed Black Kettle and his people to set up camp at Sand Creek and they had complied. However despite this peaceful ending many of the citizens of Colorado disagreed with the governor's peace offering and demanded action. Governor Evans shortly after forming up a new cavalry regiment for home defense, put Colonel John M. Chivington in charge of the operation. Chivington was preparing for a strike against the Indians when Black Kettle, having heard rumor of the offensive turned himself over to Major Edward Wynkoop hoping to stop any bloodshed. Unfortunately it only helped set the stage for the most disgusting day in American History. On November 28, Chivington arrived at Fort Lyon with the Third Colorado regiment. Despite Black Kettle's surrender he planned a surprise attack on the Indian village at Sand Creek. Chivington angrily overruled any objections by officers who protested his action and set out that evening with some 700 men ready to attack. On the morning of November 29, Chivington's troops attacked the helpless village. Eyewitness accounts of the massacre read as follows: "A squaw ripped-open and a child taken from here. Little children shot while begging for their lives." Lieutenant Joseph Cranmer. "Hundreds of women and children were coming towards us and getting on their knees for mercy...It was hard to see little children on their knees have their brains beat out by men professing to be civilized." Captain Silas Soule. Soule was later assassinated by a friend of Chivington's after giving this account in court. Those Indian chiefs who wanted peace were killed by Chivington's men. The troops displayed a savagery that can be only described as genocide, as they thrust their bayonets through any man, women or child who crossed their path. Chivington had political ambitions and felt that he would be rewarded for actions. Later while expressing no remorse was quoted as saying, "I have come to kill Indians and believe it is right and honorable to use any means under God's heaven to kill Indians." When the slaughter was finally over more than 200 Indians, many of them mutilated, lay dead. The massacre started a bloody war that lasted twelve years. Black Kettle continued to ask for peace but his voice was drowned out by others who felt war was the only possible response to the white man. Black Kettle and his wife were finally killed in a raid led by Colonel George Armstrong Custer. Chivington was never punished. Even though Congress promised reparations in 1865, none were ever paid. The incident is not forgotten however. In 1998, Congress began to take steps to create a memorial to those who were murdered there. We must never forget the "Massacre of Sand Creek" either. Sources: Robert Weller, Associated Press Sand Creek Massacre, Mendoza
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