Davis’s Fight

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. His passion is travel, and he seizes any opportunity to share his experiences in the most immersive way possible, whether at sea or on the land.

Part of our in-depth series exploring the forts of Comancheria

15 September 1867; WaKeeney, Kansas: Sgt. Ed Davis and nine men of Company G, 10th Cavalry-"buffalo soldiers"-were guarding a railroad crew near the Saline River about 45 miles west of Fort Hays. Pvt. John Randall and 2 civilians left camp on a hunt and were attacked by 70 Cheyennes. The civilians were killed and the wounded Randall reached dubious sanctuary in a hole under a railroad cut. Amused warriors poked lances into the hole, hitting Randall 11 more times before they tired of the sport. Then they turned to attack the camp.

In the meantime, Davis, having seen the Indians, took his soldiers on foot to help Randall. The Cheyennes went after two passing railroad workers with an ox team. Davis blocked the move, allowing the men to reach camp. The Cheyennes backed off, and Davis searched for Randall. The soldiers found Randall by his cries for help and dragged him from his crumbling shelter to safety.

The Indians came back to finish off the buffalo soldiers but found them very handy with their carbines-13 warriors went down, dead or wounded. Other than Randall, there were no additional soldier casualties.

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