A battle with Indians.
A correspondent of the Colorado News,
writing on the 21st ultimo, gives an account of a fight with the Indians in that territory or State (we do not know what the Yankees
call it). The writer kills the Indians awfully; but, when we recollect how those people write, we may put down the dead redskins' at only a few:
"On the afternoon of the 28th, the entire command reached Fort Lyon
, a distance of two hundred and sixty miles, in less than six days,
and so quietly and expeditiously had the march been made that the command at the fort were taken entirely by surprise.
When the vanguard appeared in sight, it was reported that a body of Indians was approaching, and precautions were taken for their reception.
No one upon the route was permitted to go in advance of the column, and persons who it was suspected would spread the news of the advance were kept under surveillance until all danger from that source was past.
"At Fort Lyon
the force was strengthened by about two hundred and fifty men of the First regiment, and at nine o'clock in the evening the command set out for the Indian
The course was due north, and their guide was the Polar star.
As daylight dawned they came in sight of the Indian
camp, after a forced midnight march of forty-two miles, in eight hours, across the rough, unbroken plain.
But little time was required for preparation.
The forces had been divided and arranged for battle on the march, and just as the sun rose they dashed upon the enemy with yells that would put a Camanche army to the blush.
Although utterly surprised, the savages were not unprepared, and for a time their defence told terribly against our ranks.
Their main force rallied and formed in line of battle on the bluffs beyond the creek, where they were protected by rudely-constructed rifle-pits, from which they maintained a steady fire until the shells from company C's (Third regiment) howitzers began dropping among them, when they scattered and fought each one for himself, in genuine Indian fashion.
As the battle progressed, the field of carnage widened until it extended over not less than twelve miles of territory.
, who could, escaped or searched themselves; and by 3 o'clock in the afternoon the carnage had ceased.
It was estimated that between three and four hundred of the savages got away with their lives.
Of the balance, there were neither wounded nor prisoners.
Their strength at the beginning of the action was estimated at nine hundred.
"The village consisted of one hundred and thirty Cheyenne
and eight Arapahoe lodges.
These, with their contents, were totally destroyed.
Among their effects were large supplies of flour, sugar, coffee, tea, etc. Women's and children's clothes were found; also, books and many other articles, which must have been taken from captured trains or houses.
One white man's scalp was found, which had evidently been taken but a few days before.
The chiefs fought with unparalleled bravery, falling in front of their men. One of them charged alone against a force of two or three hundred, and fell pierced with balls far in advance of his braves.
"Our attack was made by five battalions.
The First regiment, Colonel Chivington
--part of companies C, D, E, G, H.
and K, numbering, altogether, about two hundred and fifty men — was divided into two battalions; the First under command of Major Anthony
, and the Second under Lieutenant Wilson
, until the latter was disabled, when the command devolved upon Lieutenant Dunn
The three battalions of the Third, Colonel Shoup
, were led respectively by Lieutenant-Colonel Bowen
, Major Sayr
and Captain Cree
The action was begun by the battalion of Lieutenant Wilson
, who occupied the right, and by a quick and bold movement cut off the enemy from their herd of stock.
From this circumstance we gained our great advantage.
A few Indians secured horses, but the great majority of them had to fight or fly on foot.
was on the left and the Third in the centre.
Among the killed were all the Cheyenne
chiefs — Black Kettle, White Antelope, Little Robe, Left Hand, Knock Knee, One Eye, and another, name unknown.
Not a single prominent man of the tribe remains, and the tribe itself is almost annihilated.
probably suffered but little.
It has been reported that the chief, Left Hand, of that tribe, was killed, but Colonel Chivington
is of the opinion that the was not. Among the stock captured were a number of Government horses and mules, including the twenty or thirty stolen from the command of Lieutenant Chase
, at Jimmy's camp, last summer.
"The Indian camp was well supplied with defensive works.
For half a mile along the creek there was an almost continuous chain of rifle-pits, and another similar line of works crowned the adjacent bluff.
Pits had been dug at all the salient points for miles.
After the battle, twenty-three dead Indians were taken from one of these pits, and twenty-seven from another.
"Whether viewed as a march or as a battle, the exploit has few, if any, parallels.
A march of two hundred and sixty miles in but a fraction more than five days, with deep snow, scanty forage and no road, is a remarkable feat, while the utter surprise of a large Indian village is unprecedented.
In no single battle in North America
, we believe, have so many Indians been slain."