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Sand Creek Massacre

On November 29, 1864, in retaliation for an Indian attack on a party of immigrants near Denver, 750 members of a Colorado militia unit led by Colonel John M. Chivington, pictured here, attacked an unsuspecting village of Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians camped on Sand Creek in present-day Kiowa County. Some 300 Indians were killed in the attack, including 225 women and children, many of whose bodies were mutilated. Ten soldiers died in the attack. The Sand Creek Massacre, as this incident came to be called, provoked a savage struggle between Indians and the white settlers. It also generated two Congressional investigations into the actions of Chivington and his men. The House Committee on the Conduct of the War concluded that Chivington had ‘deliberately planned and executed a foul and dastardly massacre which would have disgraced the varied and savage among those who were the victims of his cruelty.’

Photo: Library of Congress