Battle of the Washita: Prelude and Aftermath.
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Battle of the Washita:
Prelude and Aftermath.

The Battle of the Washita.

Custer attacks Black Kettle's camp at dawn on the Washita River.

Map of Washita Area.

The Washita River in Present Day Oklahoma.

    While Col. Edward Wanshaer Wynkoop did not participate in the massacre at the Washita River which took place in the early dawn hours of November 27th 1868, he did figure largely in the efforts to preserve the peace between his charges, the Cheyennes, Commanches, Arapahoes and Apache Indians and the Government troops under the command of Generals Sherman, Sheridan and Custer. Numerous press reports describe his activities prior to the massacre and in the finger-pointing and blame-game which followed after.

     You will find many of these reports listed separately on Ned Wynkoop's webpage. However, not all of these news reports mention Col. Wynkoop. They do, however, provide some important background information regarding the actual events of the massacre, as well as hints of the preparations for the coming campaign against the Indians in general. What becomes clear from reading these reports is that General Custer didn't just wake up one morning and decide on his own to massacre a bunch of helpless people. He and General Sheridan and General Hancock had been thinking about it for a long time and when the opportunity finally presented itself they acted without mercy. The roots of the massacre at the Washita date back to 1866 at least, (when the 14th Amendment to the Constitution was passed by Congress), and maybe even as far back as the Civil War.

    Chris


Maj. E. W. Wynkoop is Hereby Assigned as Chief of Cavalry.
     Special Orders No. 162, Headquarters Department of the Missouri.

Too Much Acrimony.
     Black Kettle speaks out, from the Daily Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colorado, Tuesday, 14 November, 1865.

Andrew Johnson Proposes the Following-named Persons for Appointment by Brevet to be Lt. Colonels.
     Major Edward Wanshaer Wynkoop and his distant cousin, Surgeon Alfred Wynkoop, are among those named.

The Arkansas Indians. Maj. Wynkoop's Mission Successful.
     From the New York Times, Tuesday, 13 March, 1866.

Local Matters.
     From the Daily Mining Journal, Black Hawk City, Gilpin County, Colorado, Thursday, 26 April, 1866.

From the Plains, A Great Indian Movement--An Exciting Scene.
     From the Daily Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colorado, Monday, 30 April, 1866.

Washington News, Result of Col. Wynkoop's Mission to the Indian Tribes, etc.
     From the New York Times, Wednesday, 9 May, 1866.

From Washington.
     E. W. Wynkoop is appointed Agent for the Arapahoes, Cheyennes and Apaches, from the Daily Rocky Mountain News, Tuesday, 25 September, 1866.

A United States Senator on His Travels.
     From the New York Times, Sunday, 11 November, 1866.

Council With the Cheyennes--Adventures Among the Indians.
     From the New York Times, Thursday, 13 December, 1866, p. 8.

Indian Affairs, etc.; Also Nominations Confirmed.
     From the New York Times, Thursday, 7 February, 1867.

From the Arkansas Valley.
     From the Colorado Transcript, Golden, Jefferson County, Colorado, Wednesday, 20 March, 1867.

Appearance of Fort Larned--Sketch of an Officer's Life on the Frontier.
     Henry Morton Stanley's account of General Hancock's expedition, from My Early Travels and Adventures in America and Asia, Vol. 1.

Cheyenne Camp, Fifty Miles from Fort Larned.
     Henry Morton Stanley reports that the Cheyennes have deserted the camp at Pawnee Fork, from My Early Travels and Adventures in America and Asia, Vol. 1.

Indian Incendiarism and Murder--Scalping and Burning--General Custer's Command Divided and Pursuing.
     Henry Morton Stanley reports that the fugitive Indians have burned three stations on the Smoky Hill route and killed three white men, from My Early Travels and Adventures in America and Asia, Vol. 1.

Burning of Cheyenne and Sioux Lodges by Hancock--$100,000 destroyed­--The Conflagration a Necessity--Hancock and the Indian Department.
     Henry Morton Stanley reports on the burning of the Cheyenne Village at Pawnee Fork, from My Early Travels and Adventures in America and Asia, Vol. 1.

Special Correspondence of the Herald.
     Letter from Fort Larnard--Arrival of General Hancock's Expedition--A Talk with the Indian Chiefs--What the Indians Say, &c, from the New York Herald, 22 April, 1867.

The Indian War.
     Official Account of the Council Between Hancock and the Cheyennes--The Flight of the Latter from their Camp--General Custer in Pursuit, &c., from the New York Herald, 24 April, 1867.

Affairs at the National Capital, Council With the Cheyenne Indians.
     From the New York Times, Thursday, 25 April, 1867.

The Indian Expedition.
     Movements of General Hancock's Expedition--A Talk with the Indians--They Desert their Village and Retreat--A Child Brutally Ravished, found in the Village--Pursuit of the Indians, &c., &c., from the New York Herald, 29 April, 1867.

The Last Pow-Wow--The Irrepressible Satanta in Council--His Speech--His Views of War and Peace.
     Henry Morton Stanley reports on the last and most important "talk" with the Indian chiefs at Fort Larned on May 1st, 1867, from My Early Travels and Adventures in America and Asia, Vol. 1.

The Indian War.
     Reports from Col. Wynkoop--The Arapahoes, Apaches and other Tribes still Peacefully Inclined, from the New York Herald, 9 May, 1867.

The War On The Plains Has Begun In Earnest.
     Ned Wynkoop and Dick Curtis, from Harper's Weekly, 11 May, 1867.

War With the Indians.
     From the New York Times, Saturday, 25 May, 1867, p. 1.

The Indian War.
     The movements of the column of troops under General Hancock against the Indians of the Plains have been very important, though quietly made, from Harper's New Monthly Magazine, July, 1867.

The Indian War.
     The Osages Making War According to Regulations, from the New York Herald, 7 July, 1867.

Our Indian Troubles.
     Meeting of the Indian Commissioners in St. Louis--Their Proposed Action Relative to the Reservations--Brigham Young and the Tribes at Odds, from the New York Herald, 7 August, 1867.

The Indian War, Gen. Hancock's Late Peace Expedition, His Correspondence With Indian Agents.
     He rebuts the statements of Cols. Wynkoop and Leavenworth, from the New York Times, 2 September, 1867.

The Indian Commission.
     Important Council with the Indian Chiefs--The Withdrawal of the Troops and the Abandonment of the Pacific Railroad Demanded, from the New York Herald, 20 September, 1867.

Our Indian Troubles.
     Meeting of the Indian Commissioners in St. Louis--Progress of the Indian Commission--A Council With Friendly Tribes--Rascalities of the Indian Agents--Locating Reservations for the Various Tribes, from the New York Herald, 24 September, 1867.

How Indians Are Swindled By Traders.
     From the Daily Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colorado, Tuesday, 24 September, 1867.

Medicine Lodge Creek, 1867: The Conference of the Peace Commission with the Southwestern Tribes.
     Newspaper reports on the travels of the Peace Commission to Medicine Lodge Creek and the Council held there with the Southwestern Tribes.

The Train of the Peace Commission--Buffalo Herds--The Encampment of the Tribes.
     Henry Morton Stanley reports on the travels of the Peace Commission to Medicine Lodge Creek; Col. Wynkoop narrowly escapes death at the hands of Roman Nose, from My Early Travels and Adventures in America and Asia, Vol. 1.

Another Council--Four Tribes represented--Distribution of Clothing--Incidents of the Council--Wynkoop's Testimony--The Cause of the War.
     Henry Morton Stanley reports on the Medicine Lodge Creek Councils, from My Early Travels and Adventures in America and Asia, Vol. 1.

An Amphitheatre in a Grove--The Council Personages--Senator Henderson's Speech to the Indians.
     Henry Morton Stanley continues his report on the Medicine Lodge Creek Council, from My Early Travels and Adventures in America and Asia, Vol. 1.

Arrival of Osage Chiefs--Indian Speeches--Senator Henderson proposes the Treaty--Its favorable Reception by the Kiowas and Comanches.
     Henry Morton Stanley reports on the final details of the treaty to be signed at Medicine Lodge Creek, from My Early Travels and Adventures in America and Asia, Vol. 1.

The Treaty Signing.
     Henry Morton Stanley reports on the treaty signing at Medicine Lodge Creek, from My Early Travels and Adventures in America and Asia, Vol. 1.

Wynkoop on the Indian War.
     Henry Morton Stanley's coverage of Col. Wynkoop's testimony before the Peace Commission, from the Daily Rocky Mountain News, Tuesday, 29 October, 1867.

General A. J. Smith on Colonel Wynkoop's Testimony.
     General A. J. Smith refutes Colonel Wynkoop's charges that soldiers ravished the young girl found in the Indian village near Fort Larned, from the Daily Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colorado, Tuesday, 12 November, 1867.

Colonel Wynkoop has gotten himself into trouble with General A. J. Smith.
     From the Daily Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colorado, Tuesday, 12 November, 1867.

General Sherman's Order.
     General Sherman's orders regarding the handling of the Indians after the peace treaty, from the Daily Rocky Mountain News, Tuesday, 12 November, 1867.

Scenes and Incidents of the Great Indian Council, at Medicine Lodge Creek, Kansas.
     From Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, New York, N. Y., Saturday, 23 November, 1867.

We condense from the Frontier Index.
     From the Weekly Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colorado, Wednesday, 25 December, 1867.

The Indians, Report of the Indian Commission.
     From the Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, Saturday, 11 January, 1868.

Major Smith, paymaster United States army.
     From the Daily Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colorado, Monday, 20 January, 1868.

The Report of the Indian Commission .....
     From the Weekly Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colorado, Wednesday, 22 January, 1868.

The Indian Commission on Sand Creek.
     From the Weekly Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colorado, Wednesday, 22 January, 1868.

By Telegraph, From Washington.
     Three head Chiefs of the Cheyennes and a full Delegation of Mountain Crows and Arapahoes will be in Washington in a few days, from the Daily Kansas State Journal, 7 May, 1868.

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution.
     Ratified July 9, 1868; untaxed Indians are denied the right to vote.

Renewal of Indian Hostilities Apprehended.
     Colonel Wynkoop has been ordered to withhold arms and ammunition, from the Daily Kansas State Journal, 21 July, 1868.

Indian Troubles. The Annuities Withheld from Several Tribes.
     From the New York Times, Tuesday, 21 July, 1868.

Indian Troubles--War Again.
     From the Daily Register Call, Central City, Gilpin County, Colorado, Wednesday, 22 July, 1868.

Another Indian Raid Reported.
     Another Indian raid is reported in the vicinity of Council Grove, from the Daily Kansas State Journal, 22 July, 1868.

Renewal of Indian Difficulties.
     The Missouri Democrat claims that Indian agents are getting up another war on the frontier, from the Daily Kansas State Journal, 25 July, 1868.

Indian Troubles. The Annuities Withheld from Several Tribes.
     From the New York Times, Tuesday, 21 July, 1868.

From the Plains.
     The Recent Indian Trouble at Fort Lamed, from the Daily Kansas State Journal, 6 August, 1868.

The Camanche Captive.
     Ned Wynkoop rescues Melinda Ann Caudle, from the Daily Kansas State Journal, 9 August, 1868.

Rewards for Enemies and Punishment for Friends.
     Indians who procure captives from raiding Indians, by purchase or otherwise, and surrender those captives, are made to pay for it out of their annuities, from the Daily Kansas State Journal, 9 August, 1868.

The Indians to be Thrashed.
     Ned Wynkoop's recommendations for handling the increased number of Indian raids of 1868, from the Daily Kansas State Journal, 29 August, 1868.

The Herald Charges the Indian Troubles in Toto Upon the Republican Party.
     From the Daily Register Call, Central City, Gilpin County, Colorado, Saturday, 29 August, 1868.

U. S. Indian Agent, E. W. Wynkoop's Second Annual Report to Thomas Murphy, Superintendent Indian Affairs.
     United States troops, now in hot pursuit of the Cheyennes, will plunge other tribes into the difficulty, and finally culminate in a general Indian war.

A Wagon Master Causes More Trouble at Fort Larned.
     Ned Wynkoop's account of the difficulty between soldiers at Fort Larned, Kansas, and a party of Kiowa Indians, from the Daily Kansas State Journal, 12 September, 1868.

Indians.
     From the Daily Register Call, Central City, Gilpin County, Colorado, Friday, 25 September, 1868.

What Shall be Done With Them?
     From the Daily Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colorado, Wednesday, 30 September, 1868.

E. W. Wynkoop's Report on the Causes of the Indian War to Charles E. Mix, Acting Commissioner Indian Affairs.
     The failure of the government to fulfill its promises to the Indians to continue the supply of subsistence, arms and ammunition, is the root cause of the present war.

Indian Matters.
     The Indians within Wynkoop's agency have fled south of the Arkansas river, from the Daily Kansas State Journal, 8 October, 1868.

Thomas Murphy, Superintendent of Indian Affairs to Chauncey McKeever, A.A. Gen’l.
     Letter dated October 31, 1868, in which Murphy states that Indian Agent Wynkoop has taken his family back East.

The Indians, Gen. Sherman's Report.
     Col. Wyncoop, agent of the Cheyennes and Arapahoes, sent a messenger out and made every exertion to procure their surrender, but utterly failed of success, from the New York Times, 21 November, 1868.

The Indian War Muddle.
     Apprehensions of serious troubles on the plains, from the Daily Kansas State Journal, 25 November, 1868.

The Indian Question.
     Col. Wynkoop is afraid his charges will be intercepted by squads of soldiers who will massacre them, from the Daily Kansas State Journal, 1 December, 1868.

Great Indian Battle.
     The famous Cheyenne Chief, Black Kettle, bites the dust, from the Daily Kansas State Journal, 3 December, 1868.

Thomas Murphy, Supt. Indian Affairs to N. G. Taylor, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, December 4, 1868.
     Thomas Murphy expresses his shock and dismay at the betrayal of his Indian charges at the Battle of the Washita.

Topics of To-day.
     From the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Monday, 14 December, 1868.

J. S. Morrison to E. W. Wynkoop, December 14th, 1868.
     Ned's former Scout, James Morrison, informs him that the official reports of the fight on the Washita were very much exaggerated.

From Washington.
     Major Wynkoop, agent of the Arrapahoes and Cheyennes, will be examined before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, from the Daily Kansas State Journal, 17 December, 1868.

The Indian War: The Battle of the Washita.
     From Harper's Weekly, 19 December, 1868.

Letter From Mrs. Blinn, Captured by the Cheyennes.
     She hopes to be Ransomed, from the Daily Kansas State Journal, 20 December, 1868.

Important Letter From General Sheridan.
     It gives information direct from Black Kettle's sister, by Gen. Sheridan himself, from the Daily Kansas State Journal, 20 December, 1868.

More of Custar and Black Kettle.
     There is a strong feeling among military men, at Washington, that Custar has made a serious mistake, from the Daily Kansas State Journal, 23 December, 1868.

Col. Wynkoop's Speech at the Cooper Institute.
     Given December 23, 1868 detailing the reasons for his resignation as Indian Agent and his views on restoring the peace in the West.

Topics of To-day.
     From the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Thursday, 24 December, 1868.

Gen. Hancock and Col. Wynkoop.
     From the New York Times, Friday, 25 December, 1868.

The Battle of the Washita--General Custar's Report to General Sheridan.
     From Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, New York, N. Y., Saturday, 26 December, 1868.

Indian Prisoners Taken by Custer.
     From Harper's Weekly, 26 December, 1868.

Letter from Gen. Hancock--His Reply to Col. Wynkoop.
     From the New York Times, Monday, 28 December, 1868.

Washita and Sand Creek Compared.
     From the Daily Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colorado, Tuesday, 29 December, 1868.

Col. Wynkoop to Col. S. F. Tappan.
     Col. Wynkoop vents his anger in a letter written January 2d, 1869 to his former commander, Colonel Samuel Tappen of the Peace Commission in Washington, D.C.

Letter from General Sheridan.
     Sheridan requires the Indians to accompany him to Fort Cobb, from the Daily Kansas State Journal, 3 January, 1869.

The Best Yet.
     From the Colorado Transcript, Golden, Jefferson County, Colorado, Wednesday, 6 January, 1869.

Indian Rebellion.
     Gen. Sheridan Repels Charge of Col. Wynkoop, from the Daily Kansas State Journal, 17 January, 1869.

The Battle of the Washita: An Indian Agent's View.
     Col. Wynkoop's letter to the Office of Indian Affairs dated January 26, 1869.

E. W. Wynkoop to N. G. Taylor, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, January 26, 1869.
     A slightly different transcription of Ned's letter.

Indian War.
     The winter campaign designed by General Sheridan has met with signal success, from Harper's New Monthly Magazine, February, 1869.

It Seems Almost Certain.
     From the Daily Register Call, Central City, Gilpin County, Colorado, Thursday, 4 February, 1869.

By Telegraph, From Washington.
     The President submits the name of Ed. W. Wynkoop to the Senate for the post of Agent for the Indians in New Mexico, from the Daily Kansas State Journal, 20 February, 1869.

Trying to Force Peace Montco General Ignited War on Plains.
     Historians Say Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock's Effort to Bully American Indians Made a Bad Situation Worse, from the Philadelphia Inquirer, 13 August, 2000.

Created August 25, 2003; Revised June 29, 2007
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