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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1864
([1864])

Colorado superintendency,   pp. 216-258 PDF (17.3 MB)


Page 234

234                COLORADO SUPERINTENDENCY. 
They came, as they stated, bearing with them a proposition for peace from
Black Kettle and other chiefs of the Arapahoe and Cheyenne nations. Their
propositions were to this effect: that they, the Cheyennes and Arapahoes,
had in 
their possession seven white prisoners, whom they offered to deliver up in
case 
that we should come to terms of peace with them. They told me that the Ara-
pahoes, Cheyennes, and Sioux were congregated for mutual protection at what
is called the Bunch of Timbers, on the headwaters of Smoky Hill, at a distance
of one hundred and forty miles northeast of this post, numbering altogether
about 
three thousand warriors, and were anxious and desirous to make peace with
the 
whites. 
Feeling extremely anxious, at all odds, to effect the release of these white
prisoners, and my command but just having been re-enforced by General Carleton,
commanding department of New Mexico, by a detachment of infantry sent from
New Mexico to my assistance, I found that I would be enabled to leave sufficient
garrison for this post by taking one hundred and thirty men with me, (including
one section of the battery,) and concluded to march to this Indian rendezvous
for the purpose of procuring the white prisoners aforementioned, and to be
gov- 
erned by circumstances as to what manner I should proceed to accomplish the
same object. 
Taking with me, under a strict guard, the Indians I had in my possession,
I 
reached my destination, and was confronted by from six to eight hundred Indian
warriors drawn up in line of battle and prepared to fight. 
Putting on as bold a front as I could under the circumstances, I formed my
command in as good order as possible, for the purpose of acting on the offensive
or defensive as might be necessary, and advanced towards them, at the same
time 
sending forward one of the Indians I had with me as an emissary to state
that 
I had come for the purpose of holding a consultation with the chiefs of the
Ara- 
pahoes and Cheyennes to come to an understanding which might result in mu-
tual benefit; that I had not come desiring strife, but was prepared for it,
if 
necessary, and advised them to listen to what I had to say previous to making
any more warlike demonstrations. 
They consented to meet me in council, and I then proposed to them that, if
they desired peace, to give me palpable evidence of their sincerity by delivering
into my hands their white prisoners. I told them that I was not authorized
to 
conclude terms of peace with them, but, if they acceded to my proposition,
I 
would take what chiefs they might choose to select to the governor of Colorado
Territory; state the circumstances to him, and that I believed it would result
in 
what it was their desire to accomplish-,"peace with their white brothers."
I 
had reference particularly to the Arapahoe and Cheyenne tribes. 
The council was divided, undecided, and could not come to an understanding
among themselves. Finding this to be the case, I told them that I would march
to a certain locality, distant twelve miles, and await a given time for their
action 
in the matter. I took a strong position in the locality named, and remained
three days. In the interval they brought in and turned over four white pris-
oners, all that was possible for them, at the time being, to turn over, the
balance of the seven being (as they stated) with another band far to the
north- 
ward. 
The released captives that I have now with me at this post consist of one
female 
named Laura Roper, aged sixteen, and three children (two boys and one girl)
named Isabella Ubanks, Ambrose Usher, and Daniel Marble; the three first
mentioned being taken on Blue river, in the neighborhood of what is known
as 
Liberty Farm, and the last captured at some place on the South Platte, with
a 
traia of which all the nfen belonging thereto were murdered. 
I have the principal chiefs of the two tribes with me, and propose starting
im- 
mediately to Denver to put into effect the aforementioned proposition made
by 
me to them. 


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