Published on March 3, 2013 by Carol
In the early 1860′s, the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes were suffering terrible conditions on their reservation and in 1864 began to retaliate by attacking stagecoaches and settlements along the Oregon Trail. Sometimes aided by the powerful Sioux, the most severe attacks were along the upper Little Blue River in Nebraska, where about 100 people were killed. Several died at Oak Grove; but, others escaped and Pawnee Ranch was successfully defended. At “the Narrows” the Eubanks families were attacked and seven killed. Mrs. Eubanks, two children, and Miss Laura Roper were taken prisoner and held captive for months. Teamsters were killed, wagon trains burned and ranches were smashed or burned. Settlers fled east to Beatrice and Marysville or northwest to Fort Kearny on the Platte River for protection.
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The warriors were eventually subdued following the Sand Creek Massacre of November 29, 1864, when a 700-man force of Colorado Territory militia attacked and destroyed a village of friendly Cheyenne and Arapaho encamped in southeastern Colorado Territory.
The massacre resulted in the killing and mutilation of an estimated 70–163 Indians, about two-thirds of whom were women and children. They eventually accepted a reservation in the Indian Territory, but not before a large band was caught bypassing the reservation, by Colonel George A. Custer in 1866, and subdued near the Washita River in Oklahoma.
June/July, 1864 – On June 3, 1864, the post office agent at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas complains to General Samuel Curtis of westbound mail train robberies by the Cheyenne. On the same date, Colorado Governor John Evans sends a second request for troops to General Curtis, stating: “It will be destruction and death to Colorado if our lines of communication are cut off, or if they are not kept so securely guarded as that freighters will not be afraid to cross the plains, especially by the Platte River, by which our subsistence comes.”
In the meantime, Cheyenne Dog Soldiers and Sioux warriors consolidated and on July 17th, began running raids along the Republican and Platte River routes. Eight vicious attacks left a half-dozen white settlers dead and several hundred head of horses and cattle were stolen. The Platte Route, Denver’s primary source of supplies, was cut off as the warriors continued to move toward unprotected Denver. Though Governor Evans continued to plead to Washington for help, the Civil War in the east preoccupied General Curtis and the War Department.