This Week in the Civil War - #972
During the Civil War citizens of the Colorado Territory felt that the Indians had taken advantage of a lack of Union troops in the West and had committed numerous atrocities against whites. On Tuesday, November 29, 1864 900 Colorado militiamen under Colonel J. M. Chivington confronted an Indian camp of approximately 500 Arapahoes and Cheyennes at Sand Creek. Chivington’s force attacked without warning, firing numerous rounds before the Indians attempted to defend themselves, and indiscriminately massacred warriors, old men, women, and children. Chivington later boasted that, while killing hundreds, “I captured no prisoners.” Many Westerners approved of Chivington’s actions, but many Easterners were shocked by the Sand Creek Massacre. Eventually the United States government disavowed what Civington and the Colorado militia had done and offered indemnities to the surviving Indians.