Battle of Sand Creek: Editorials and Congressional Testimony

(1864–1865)

The Battle of Sand Creek prompted editorials and congressional testimony as Americans reacted to the events of November 29, 1864. That morning, a unit of the Colorado militia, about seven hundred cavalry troops under the command of Colonel John M. Chivington, attacked an encampment of five hundred to seven hundred Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians near Sand Creek in Colorado Territory. Throughout the morning, the militia brutally slaughtered the Indians, including old men, women, and children, leaving hundreds dead and numerous others injured; the remaining members of the band managed to escape. The soldiers committed numerous atrocities, and when they returned to Denver, they displayed scalps and other body parts from the defeated Indians.


Earlier in the century, the United States considered the entire area west of the Mississippi River to be one immense Indian reservation. As miners and settlers moved westward, however, the policy of the U.S. government changed to what was...

Image for: Battle of Sand Creek: Editorials and Congressional Testimony

Indian delegation on a visit to the White House, including two chiefs who later died at Sand Creek (Library of Congress)

View Full Size