Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Fight At Beecher's Island...!

I think that we tend to forget how the advances in firearms drastically increased the odds for survival of some frontiersmen.

When one armed man can fire 7 times faster as those using single shot weapons, that can make a big difference!

Sep 17, 1868:
Cheyenne and Sioux decimate frontiersmen at Beecher's Island

Early in the morning on this day in 1868, a large band of Cheyenne and Sioux stage a surprise attack on Major George A. Forsyth and a volunteer force of 50 frontiersmen in Colorado.

Retreating to a small sandbar in the Arikaree River that thereafter became known as Beecher's Island, Forsyth and his men succeeded in repulsing three massed Indian charges. Thanks to the rapid fire capability of their seven-shot Spencer rifles, Forsyth's volunteers were able to kill or wound many of the Indian attackers, including the war chief Roman Nose. But as evening came and the fighting temporarily halted, Forsyth found he had 22 men either dead or wounded, and he estimated the survivors were surrounded by a force of 600 Indians. The whites faced certain annihilation unless they could somehow bring help. Two men-Jack Stilwell and Pierre Trudeau-volunteered to attempt a daring escape through the Indian lines and silently melted into the night.

The battle raged for five more days. Forsyth's effective fighting force was reduced to ten men before the Indians finally withdrew, perhaps reasoning that they had inflicted enough damage. Miles from help and lacking wagons and horses, Forsyth knew that many of his wounded would soon be dead if they didn't get help. Fortunately, on September 25, the 10th Cavalry-one of the Army's two African-American units nicknamed the "Buffalo Soldiers"-came riding to their rescue with a field ambulance and medical supplies. Miraculously, Stilwell and Trudeau had managed to make it through the Sioux and Cheyenne and bring help. Thanks to their bravery and the timely arrival of the Buffalo Soldiers, the lives of many men were saved.

Thanks to the folks at for this information. They always have some interesting stories about our history!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. We have to enjoy it because a storm is supposedly on the way!


Chickenmom said...

You always tell a story that just begs us to look up more information on, Mr. Hermit! Cold here at 35 and the fireplace is on. I'll bring some warm raisin bread for all.

Gorges Smythe said...


Mamahen said...

Good post. I agree with CM, in that it makkes you eant to know what happened to these menfrom there on....Would love to join evrryone and raisin bread sounds yummy. Haven't had any for such a long time. Thanks for the invite.

linda m said...

Very interesting story this morning. Surprised they had enough bullets to hold on that long. Raining here this morning. But, Ild love to have coffee on your patio and a slice of raisin bread.

JO said...

Great story. Stilwell was quite the fighter and killed many men. His story is very interesting. He is worth looking up.

Coffee on the patio with fresh raisin bread sounds yummy. Hope the storm isn't to bad for you all.

Sixbears said...

Another interesting one Hermit. It's tempting to go down the history rabbit hole and find out more.

Fresh roasted Mexican coffee this morning. Breakfast with all the fixings.

BBC said...

AROUND THE SAME TIME WE WERE BUSY KILLING WOMEN AND CHILDREN. So we can't really blame the indians for wanting to get rid of us.

Dizzy-Dick said...

The Indians were just trying to protect their homeland. The Europeons were the invaders and more technically advanced. And they kept coming and coming. The Native Americans were not treated very well, can't blame them for fighting.