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Fort Laramie 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. 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 story is from the book, Encyclopedia of Indian Wars, by Gregory F. Michno.

15 June, 1853: During a gathering of Lakotas and Cheyennes near Fort Laramie to receive their annual treaty goods, an argument occurred in which a Minneconjou fired a shot at a soldier operating a ferry on the Platte River. Lt. Richard B. Garnett, in command at the fort, sent out 23 men of the 6th Infantry under Lt. Hugh Fleming to arrest the offender.

In spite of the approximately 600 Lakota and Cheyenne lodges with over 1,000 warriors nearby, Fleming boldly demanded his prisoner in the Minneconjou camp of 40 lodges. The discussion grew heated and the soldiers fired, killing three Indians, wounding three others, and taking two prisoner. Fleming was extremely lucky to retreat with no losses. Only great exertion on the part of the chiefs prevented a massive retaliation, as they correctly proclaimed that the soldiers had been "the first to make the ground bloody."

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