Pond Creek Station

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

26 June 1867; Wallace, Kansas: About 6 a.m. on 26 June, a band of Cheyennes tried to run off the stock from Pond Creek Station, three miles west of Fort Wallace. Capt. Albert Barnitz of Company G, 7th Cavalry, left the fort with 50 men of his company and a few from Companies E and I to run after them. The soldiers galloped north, then swung west to cut off what appeared to be 75 mounted Indians. Barnitz stopped to form a line on open ground about three miles northwest of present-day Wallace, Kansas.

As Barnitz began the move against the Indians, more warriors appeared from over the crest of a slight ridge to the northwest, and others came up from the southwest out of the Pond Creek valley. The 200 Cheyennes and Lakotas did not follow their usual custom of circling, but charged right in for a hand-to-hand struggle. Barnitz termed it "quite a desperate little fight."

The fight was most savage on the south side, where the Dog Soldier Bear with Feathers lanced a trooper off his horse and another Cheyenne, Big Moccasin, scooped up bugler Charles Clark and carried him off. Sgt. Frederick Wyllyams was cut off and overwhelmed. Barnitz himself was shot at several times but came out unscathed. The line held its own briefly, but a portion fell back at the order of Sgt. William Hamlin of Company I, who was later tried for cowardice. Barnitz managed to extricate his command and make it back to the fort.

The next day Barnitz returned for the bodies. Clark and Wyllyams were horribly mutilated. Six troopers had been killed and six wounded. Barnitz surmised that the Indians lost an equal number.

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