"Cheyennes at Dark Water Creek" tells the tragic story of the
southern bands of Cheyennes from the period following the Treaty of
Medicine Lodge through the battles and skirmishes known as the Red
River War. The Battle of Sappa Creek, the last encounter of that
conflict, was a fight between a band of Cheyennes and a company of
the Sixth Cavalry that took place in Kansas in April 1875. More
Cheyennes were killed in that single engagement than in all the
previous fighting of the war combined, and later there were
controversial charges of massacre-and worse. William Y. Chalfant
has used all known contemporaneous sources to recound the tragedy
that occurred at the place known to the Cheyennes as Dark Water
Creek. In Cheyenne memories, its name remains second only to Sand
Creek in the terrible images and the sorrow it evokes.
Chalfant tells the story in a sweeping style that recreates
Cheyenne life on the southern plains. Beyond examining firsthand
and secoundary accounts in detail, the author personally retraced
the route of the army detachment from Fort Wallace, Kansas, to the
battle site at Sappa Creek, and the route of the Cheyennes from
Punished Women's Fork to the Sappa. His recounting of the lives of
the Indian and military participants, both leading up to and
following the battle, is sure to appeal both to scholars of the
Indian wars and to the general reader.
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