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"The Three Battles of Sand Creek " Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP19 May 2017 3:35 p.m. PST

"The Sand Creek Battle, or Massacre, occurred on November 29-30, 1864, a confrontation between Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians and Colorado volunteer soldiers. The affair was a tragic event in American history, and what occurred there continues to be hotly contested. Indeed, labeling it a "battle" or a "massacre" will likely start an argument before any discussion on the merits even begins. Even questions about who owns the story, and how it should be told, are up for debate. Many questions arise whenever Sand Creek is discussed: were the Indians peaceful? Did they hold white prisoners? Were they under army protection? Were excessive numbers of women and children killed, and were bodies mutilated? Did the Indians fly an American flag? Did the chiefs die stoically in front of their tipis? Were white scalps found in the village? Three hearings were conducted, and there seems to be an overabundance of evidence from which to answer these and other questions. Unfortunately, the evidence only muddies the issues. Award-winning Indian Wars author Gregory Michno divides his study into three sections. The first, "In Blood," details the events of November 29 and 30, 1864, in what is surely the most comprehensive account published to date. The second section, "In Court," focuses on the three investigations into the affair, illustrates some of the biases involved, and presents some of the contradictory testimony. The third and final section, "The End of History," shows the utter impossibility of sorting fact from fiction. Using Sand Creek as well as contemporary examples, Michno examines the evidence of eyewitnesses¯all of whom were subject to false memories, implanted memories, leading questions, prejudice, self-interest, motivated reasoning, social, cultural, and political mores, an over-active amygdala, and a brain that had a "mind" of its own¯obstacles that make factual accuracy an illusion. Living in a postmodern world of relativism suggests that all history is subject to the fancies and foibles of individual bias. The example of Sand Creek illustrates why we may be witnessing "the end of history." Studying Sand Creek exposes our prejudices because facts will not change our minds¯we invent them in our memories, we are poor eyewitnesses, we follow the leader, we are slaves to our preconceptions, and assuredly we never let truth get in the way of what we already think, feel, or even hope. We do not believe what we see; instead, we see what we believe. Michno's extensive research includes primary and select secondary studies, including recollections, archival accounts, newspapers, diaries, and other original records. The Three Battles of Sand Creek will take its place as the definitive account of this previously misunderstood, and tragic, event"


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rvandusen Supporting Member of TMP19 May 2017 6:06 p.m. PST

I just bought this tonight. I'm looking forward to reading it once I finish what I'm reading at the moment.

doug redshirt20 May 2017 10:32 a.m. PST

The second highest US losses in the plain wars occurred at this battle, only Little Big Horn had more. So hardly a one sided massacre. The tribes were supporting the warriors on their raids, so yes they were legitimate targets.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP20 May 2017 10:37 a.m. PST

Hope you like it my friend!. (smile)


VCarter Supporting Member of TMP22 May 2017 8:14 a.m. PST


I was not aware of that the US loses there were so high.

Lot's of myths about the action seem to serve the current culture.

Haitiansoldier Inactive Member28 May 2017 11:59 a.m. PST

My family and I are visiting Little Bighorn in two more weeks and flying to Denver next Saturday. I'll like to visit Sand Creek, sad as it is.
The highest losses of the Plains Wars were at Little Bighorn, but at Sand Creek only 25 US soldiers were killed as opposed to 150+ Indians. Big Hole was a much fairer fight in terms of losses, although not as high as the other two.

Stephen Miller05 Jul 2017 1:08 p.m. PST

To Doug Redshirt,

I'd really like to know what you base your statement that Sand Creek was second only to Little Bighorn as to army casualties. I believe that at least the following 6 battles produced more army casualties than did Sand Creek.

Fetterman Massacre/Battle (81 dead, 0 wounded of which 79 were army and 2 civilians) total 81
Big Hole (Nez Perce campaign) (30 killed 39 wounded--all but 10 army)
Wounded Knee (25 killed, 39 wounded--all of which were army except for 2 wounded civilians) total 64
Bear Paw Mountain --(24 killed and 42 wounded,--all army), total 66
Milk Creek (13 killed, 43 wounded, all army), total 56
Battle of the Clearwater (Nez Perce Campaign)-- (13 dead, 27 wounded--all army), total 40
White Bird Canyon (Nez Persce Campaign)-- (34 killed, 2 wounded--all army), total 36

These figures come from Cozzen's "The Earth is Weeping" and Utley's "Frontier Regulars". So, Doug what are the figures you used as to army casualties at Sand Creek to base your statement on and what are your references?

(It's interesting to note that 3 of these 6 were from the 1877 Nez Perce Campaign and if you add the killed and wounded from just those 3 engagements, you get 88 killed and 83 wounded, all but two being army. There were additional army casualties arising from minor engagements during this campaign, of course. But these 171 casualties are over half those at Little Bighorn, although admittedly over a longer duration.)

Stephen Miller05 Jul 2017 2:46 p.m. PST

Actually that was 7 battles that I listed in my prior message that each had more that 35 casualties, with 4 of the 7 being in the Nez Perce Campaign. The total for those 4 were 101 dead and 110 wounded for a total of 211 casualties from the 4, or just about 2/3 of the casualties suffered at the LBH by the 7th Cavalry.

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