Valley 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

7 January 1865, Sterling, Colorado: While a large force of Lakotas and Cheyennes attacked Julesburg, more than 70 warriors raided along the road to Denver on both sides of Valley Station. Wagon driver W.G. Cross was heading east from American Ranch with seven passengers when, halfway to Valley Station, Indians jumped the party. The warriors were led by a white man, probably Charles Bent. A man named Andrews was killed and Cross was shot in the elbow. The wagon then careened down the road until it crashed, killing the mules. The passengers scrambled out and fought their way down the river to Valley Station. All were injured, one with a fractured skull. Cross had to have his arm amputated. Two Indians were killed.

Meanwhile, five miles downriver from the station, at Dennison's Ranch, the Indians hit a large wagon train that was encamped for the winter. They burned all the wagons and killed 12 men. The raiders also fired on a stage from the east, but it got through safely.

At Valley Station, the Indians plundered the buildings outside the telegraph office, stealing $2,000 in goods and burning 20 tons of hay. The station operator, John Hines, tapped out a final message before fleeting: "I am going to take all my things and go down the road until things get more quiet.

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