Published on December 14, 2012 by Carol
Author: William Y. Chalfant
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Cheyennes at Dark Water Creek tells the tragic story of the southern bands of Cheyennes from the period following the Treaty of Medicine Lodge through the battles and skirmishes known as the Red River War. The Battle of Sappa Creek, the last encounter of that conflict, was a fight between a band of Cheyennes and a company of the Sixth Cavalry that took place in Kansas in April 1875. More Cheyennes were killed in that single engagement than in all the previous fighting of the war combined, and later there were controversial charges of massacre-and worse. William Y. Chalfant has used all known contemporaneous sources to recound the tragedy that occurred at the place known to the Cheyennes as Dark Water Creek. In Cheyenne memories, its name remains second only to Sand Creek in the terrible images and the sorrow it evokes.
Chalfant tells the story in a sweeping style that recreates Cheyenne life on the southern plains. Beyond examining firsthand and secoundary accounts in detail, the author personally retraced the route of the army detachment from Fort Wallace, Kansas, to the battle site at Sappa Creek, and the route of the Cheyennes from Punished Women’s Fork to the Sappa. His recounting of the lives of the Indian and military participants, both leading up to and following the battle, is sure to appeal both to scholars of the Indian wars and to the general reader.