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Smoky Hill 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. 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

27 October 1875; Russell Springs, Kansas: On 1 October, 30 Arapaho men and 5 women left the Red Cloud Agency and headed south to join the Southern Arapahos in Indian Territory. After moving through Nebraska and halfway through Kansas, near Smoky Hill Station, in present-day Logan County, Kansas, the group stopped while a few of them backtracked to look for stray ponies.

As they were waiting, a detachment of Company H, 5th Cavalry, under Capt. John M. Hamilton, approached their camp. The Arapahos told Hamilton that they had a letter allowing them to travel to the reservation, but one of the men searching for ponies had it. Hamilton left most of his men at the camp while he took an Arapaho youth to find the man with the pass.

Hamilton found the man just outside the camp and demanded he surrender his pistol. The warrior refused and broke away, and Hamilton fired at him. The Arapahos in the camp heard the shots, and general fighting broke out. Two Indians were killed and one soldier was wounded.

The Arapahos turned themselves in at the Cheyenne and Arapaho Agency in early November.

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