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Blackwater Spring

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 the forts of Comancheria

11 July 1860; Eads, Colorado: In March 1860, Forts Riley, Cobb, and Union each set out a column of soldiers to hunt down Kiowa and Comanche Indians. Maj. John Sedgwick led the Fort Riley column-almost 500 men in Companies F, G, H, and K, 1st Cavalry; Companies C and K, 2nd Dragoons; and Delaware Indian scouts under their leader, Fall Leaf.

After several months, the column reached Bent's New Fort without having fought a single Indian. Then Sedgwick received word of a Kiowa war party to the north. On 9 July, Capt. William Steele and Lt. Francis C. Armstrong of the 2nd Dragoons and Lts. George D. Bayard and Joseph H. Taylor of the 1st Cavalry led 86 men on the chase. They went north 56 miles to Big Sandy Creek without finding the warriors and turned back. Meanwhile, Kiowas in the vicinity of Bent's New Fort were spotted fleeing north, and Lt. J.E.B. Stuart and 20 1st Cavalrymen went after them. On 11 July, after a 26-mile, 2-1/2 hour run, the Kiowas found themselves between Steele's men and Stuart's.

In a running fight along Kiowa Creek, the Kiowas wounded two enlisted men, John Smith and Ferdinand Schwartz, and Lt. Bayard received a severe arrow wound below the eye. The soldiers killed 2 Kiowa men and captured 16 women and children, most of them from the lodges of the Kiowa warrior Litarki, along with 40 ponies and mules. The army turned the captives over to Indian agent William Bent.

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Further reading

Burleson’s Fight

Part of our in-depth series exploring the forts of Comancheria Ca. 23 December 1850; Loma Alta, Texas: Lt. Edward Burleson was taking his company of...