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Battle of Ash Creek

Michael has a BA in History & American Studies and an MSc in American History from the University of Edinburgh. He comes from a proud military family and has spent most of his career as an educator in the Middle East and Asia. Please consider reading our editorial policy to understand how and why we publish the resources we do.

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Part of our in-depth series exploring Sioux Nation Forts

The following is from the book, Encyclopedia of Indian Wars, by Gregory F. Michno.

18 December 1876: Col. Nelson A. Miles sent out battalions of his 5th Infantry to scour the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers country, searching for the remaining hostile Lakota bands. Lt. Frank Baldwin, with Companies G, H, and I, operated around Fort Peck. In early December, he got word that Sitting Bull's band was south of the Missouri on Redwater Creek. On the 14th, Baldwin crossed the thin ice and trailed them.

The soldiers moved up Ash Creek, a branch of Redwater Creek, southeast of present-day Brockway, Montana. On 18 December, Baldwin found 122 lodges tucked in the creek valley. He placed one company in advance of his wagons, which were drawn up in four columns, and flanked each side of them with the other two companies. He opened the fight by firing several howitzer rounds into the tipis.

When the troops rumbled into the camp, they found that most of the warriors were out hunting. Those remaining put up a feeble resistance, then fled. Baldwin did not pursue. The soldiers captured 60 horses and mules, gathered what supplies they could carry, and destroyed the rest, including the 90 lodges still standing. Only one Indian was killed.

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