Ft. Lyon, C. T.
December 19, 1864

Dear Major:

This is the first opportunity I have had of writing you since the great Indian Massacre, and for a start, I awill acknowledge I am ashamed to own I was in it with my Co. Col. Chivington. Came down here with the gallant third known as Chivington Brigade, like a thief in the dark throwing his Scouts around the Post, with instructions to let no one out, without his orders, not even the Commander of the Post, and for the shame, our Commanding Officer submitted, Col Chivington expected in camp below the Com---- but the Major Comd'g told him all about where the Indians were, and volunteered to take a Battalion from the Post and join the Expedition.

Well Col. Chivington Got in about 10 a.m., Nov. 28th and 8 p.m. we started with all of the 3rd parts of "H", "O" and "E" of the first, in the command of Lt. Wilson Co. "K", "D" and "G" in the commanding of Major Anthony. Marched all night up Sand, to the big bend on Sandy about 15 or 20 miles. Above wherer we crossed on our trip to Smoky Hill and came on to Black Kettle's village of 103 lodges, containing not over 500 all told, 350 which were women and children. Three days previous to going out, Major Anthoy gave John Smith Lowderbuck of Co. "G" and a government driver permission to go out there and trade with them, and they were in the village when the fight came off, John Smith came out holding up his hands and running toward us, when he was shot at by several, and the word was passed along to shoot him. He then turned back and went to his tent and got behind some Robes, and escaped unhurt. Lowderbuck came out with a white flag, and was served the same as John Smith, the driver the same. Well, I got so mad I swore I would not burn powder, and I did not. Capt. Soule the same. It is no use for me to try to tell you How the fight was managed, only that I think the Officer in Command shoud be hung, and I know when the truth is known it will cashier him.

We lost 40 men wounded, and 10 killed. Not over 250 Indians mostly women and children, and I think not over 75 bucks. With proper management they could all have been killed and not lost over 10 men. After the fight there was a sight I hope I may never see again.

Bucks, women, and children were scalped, fingers cut off to get the rings on them, and this as much with Officers as men, and one of those Officers a Major, and a Lt. Col. Cut off ears of all he came across, a squaw ripped open and a child taken from her, little children shot while begging for their lives and all the indignities shown their bodies that was ever heard of, (women shot while on their knees, with their arms around soldiers begging for their lives). Things that Indians would be ashamed to do. To give You some little idea, Squaws were known to kill their own children and then themselves, rather than to have them taken prisoners. But enough! For I know you are disgusted already. Black Kettle, White Antelope, War Bonnet, Left Hand, Little Robe and several other chiefs were killed.

Black Kettle said when he saw us coming, that he was glad for it was Major Wynkoop coming to make peace. Left Hand stood with his hands folded across his breast, until he was shot saying, "Soldiers no hurt me - soldiers my friend." One Eye was killed; was in the employ of Gov't as spy; came into the Post a few days before, and reported about the Sioux, were going to break out of Ft. Learned, which proved true.

After all the pledges make my Major A to these Indians and then take the course he did. I think as comments are necessary from me: only I will say he has a face for every man he talks. The action taken by Capt. Soule and myself were under protest. Co. A was going to have Soule hung for saying there were cowardly Sons of B-s; if Soule did not take it back, but nary take aback with Soule. I told the Col. That I thought it murder to jump them friendly Indians. He says in reply; Damn any man or men who are in sympathy with them. Such men as you and Major Wynkoop better leave the U. S. Service; so you can judge what a nice time we had on the trip. I expect Col. C- and Downing will do all in their power to have Soule, Crossitt and I dismissed. Well, let them work for what they damn please, I ask no favors of them, If you are in Washington from being a Bri'g Genl. Which he expects. I will send you the Denver Papers with this. Excuse this for I have been in much of a hurry.

Very Respectfully,
Your Well Wisher
(signed) Joe Cramer

(postscript)
John Smith was taken prisoner and then murdered. One llittle child 3 months old was thrown in the feed box of a wagon and brought one days march, and left there on the ground to perish. Col. Tappan is after them all for that is out. I am making out a report of all from beginning to end, to send to Gen'l Slough, in hopes that he will have the thing investigated, and if you should see him, please speak to him about it, for fear he has forgotten me. I will write him nothing but what can be proven.

Major I am ashamed of this. I have it gloriously mixed up, but in hopes I can explain it all to you before long. I would have given my right arm had you been here, when they arrived. Your family are all well
(signed) Joe A. Cramer

Return to Main Page

Copyright, 1997-2003
Web Page Sept., 1997


This information compiled, prepared and submitted to this site by Ethel Taylorand remains the property of the submitter
NOTICE: Ethel Taylor grants that this information and data may be used by non-commercial entities, as long as this message remains on all copied material, for personal and genealogical research. These electronic pages cannot be reproduced in any format for profit, can not be copied over to other sites, linked to, or other presentation without written permission of Ethel Taylor.