Sumner Attacks Cheyennes, 1856
In August of 1856, young Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors stopped a mail
coach on the Platte Trail and demanded some tobacco. The driver was
wounded as he raced to make his escape. The older Cheyenne warriors
whipped the youthful braves for their act, which violated the Fort Laramie
Treaty, but the army retaliated, killing ten Cheyenne and wounding others.
Picture of Fort Laramie
To avenge this action, the Cheyenne killed several emigrants
along the Platte Trail. Colonel Edwin V. Sumner led a column under Major
John Sedgwick up the Arkansas and led another column up the Platte River.
He consolidated his forces on Cherry Creek near Denver, Colorado and
with Fall Leaf, a noted Delaware, as his guide, he then headed eastward
into western Kansas. Pushing ahead with his cavalry, he was met by a
large contingent of Cheyenne warriors in a long, well-formed line. The
medicine men had told the Cheyennes that if they dipped their hands
in a nearby lake they would be invulnerable to the bullets of the soldiers
but they were completely unnerved when Sumner ordered a saber charge.
The Cheyenne loses were less than ten killed while Sumner's command
had two killed and several wounded. Among those wounded was a young
lieutenant named Jeb Stuart who would gain fame as a Confederate general
in the upcoming Civil War.
Additional Battles In This Area