War Wound Down

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.

Needing time to catch its breath and assess the situation, the army conducted a series of councils. Plains warriors gladly met with their old trading partners in 1863 and accepted gifts and promised friendship though they made it clear they intended to continue raiding Texas and Mexican settlements.

High Plains Comanches and Cheyenne dog soldiers under Roman Nose didn't attend the councils nor did they feel obligated to stop raiding. They were soon joined by most of the Kiowa bands. General Hancock ordered a punitive response. In 1864, Colorado volunteers brutally attacked a peaceful Cheyenne camp at Sand Creek and Kit Carson's forces were lucky to survive a battle with a large Comanche force at Adobe Walls.

Kit Carson

Another council was called in 1865, as usual the Kiowas did most of the talking though a few Southern Cheyenne and Comanche chiefs attended. The Kiowa fared exceptionally well in these negotiations, the Union granted them the Texas Panhandle and neither they nor the Comanche were chastised for their continuous raiding.

The army still needed time to reorganize and a new treaty was needed to correct flaws in previous agreements. Another council was called in 1868 at Medicine Lodge. General Sherman replaced Hancock with Sheridan, who at first meeting developed such a low opinion of the Kiowas that he refused to take part in further negotiations. Naturally the Kiowa's continued to act as principal spokesman through the remainder of the conference. Their eloquence, and in Satanta's case, physical appearance, brought them to the forefront of the nation's attention.

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