Post by pawneemuseum on Apr 2, 2009 15:06:28 GMT -5
A battle between over 1000 Cheyennes and there allies attacked 800 Kitkihahki Band Pawnees as they were traveling along the Pawnee trail near the present town of Smith Center in north central Kansas in July 1853. This large engagement is little known but a highly dramatic affair. The Pawnees with the timely help of 80? Potawatomis and their new rifles won the fight Just another episode in the long standing fued between the Southern Cheyennes and the Pawnees.
Good idea PM. It would be interesting to start a thread on the endless warfare between pawnee and cheyenne. the 1853 battle was a cheyenne retalation of a 1852 pawnee attack. although 1853 was a big loss for the cheyenne they got back to them in 1854. do you have more on those 2? pawneemusuem? Also we could work on all those little helpings from the Pawnee with th US army to revenge indirectly on their old enemies. They played a primary role in crushing the dog soldiers by scouting with North, taking them there and being in the front. Turkey Leg in 1867 and TallBull in 1869.... Had the Pawnees not been there Cheyenne would have ruled longer than 1876... :-( :-) As you say higly dramatic!
Thanks a lot to Mary Lattin, who sent me this very interesting article of the Fight at the Forks of Beaver Creek - Smith County Kansas USA, 1853. The basis of the article is an interview of an old blind Pawnee warrior for the Smith County Pioneer Newspaper that was published in 1875 or 76, as the tribe traveled south to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) to their new reservation. The original news article had some facts that were not correct, probably the interpreter did not get the story exact, but there was enough good facts to research the story. Some Cheyenne think this fight took place in Central Nebraska, but they did not hunt buffalo on a big scale in Nebraska:
As the Oregon Trail was used more and more, the U.S. Government wanted to protect the travelers from the Indians along the way. In the fall of 1851 the U.S. Government called the Lakota, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Crow, Assinaboine, Gros-Ventre, Mandan, and Arikara Tribes of the West together at Horse Creek near Fort Laramie to council, to give gifts, to create Articles of a Treaty, and to form a delegation from the tribes to go to Washington D.C. Father DeSmet, Thomas Fitzpatrick, John Simpson Smith, and other agents of the government along with sixteen Indians including the Cheyenne White Antelope, Alights-on-the-Cloud (Rides on a Cloud), and Little Chief traveled east on the Oregon Trail/Platte River road. These Cheyenne were the second group from their tribe to visit Washington. The delegation stopped at Fort Kearney on Oct. 2nd. Twenty Pawnee chiefs and braves who had traveled from their Loup River home to Fort Kearney wanted to talk. The Pawnee wanted to make peace with the Cheyenne and smoke the peace pipe. They held a feast in the Cheyenne honor to ask for peace. Alight-on-the-Cloud then said there would be no peace between the People (Cheyenne) and the Wolf People (Pawnee). The Laramie delegation traveled to St. Louis, then on to Washington to meet with President Millard Fillmore. They saw many things of the White People and had their picture taken. Then returned to the western plains on Jan. 11, 1852.
In the summer of 1852, warriors including Alights-on-the-Cloud were going to make the Wolf People suffer. A great war party had gathered (from Western Kansas, Eastern Colorado) with Lakota, Arapaho, Kiowa, and Prairie Apache warriors coming to aid their Cheyenne allies in the fight. There was more than two hundred thirty Cheyenne warriors. Because the war party was big, some warriors took their wives. Alights-on-the-Cloud took his new wife. They traveled to the northeast fifteen sleeps to reach their enemy. The Pawnees were on their summer buffalo hunt on the Beaver River (Creek - Cheyenne sources) on the Solomon’s Fork some 50 miles west of the Sacred Springs (Pawnee sources). Signs were found that the Pawnee had fought the Kiowa the day before, led by Gray Bear. As the morning mist cleared, ten scouts from the Cheyenne party led a charge without waiting for the large war party. Alights-on-the-Cloud wore his “Iron Shirt”, a Spanish suit of armor made of leather and iron discs; his father had given it to him in 1844. Alights-on-the-Cloud made a charge along the Pawnee line. On his return charge, he rode close to a young Kitkahaki Pawnee boy, who shot him with an arrow. The Pawnee saw the Cheyenne fall dead. He lay stretch out on the grass with the arrow stuck in his eye – the only area the armor did not protect. More Cheyenne were killed that morning: White Horse, Big Hawk, Earring, Red Bird, Black Wolf, Medicine Standing Up. After the Pawnee moved on, the Cheyenne buried their dead warriors in a nearby ravine. There was much weeping, legs and arms were slashed, and hair was cut. They broke camp and headed south to their Big Timber home at the headwater of the Smoky Hill River. For five miserable days of traveling both day and night they finally reached their home. Seven of their bravest men had been left in the Wolf People’s country.
In the spring Little Robe whose son had died with Alights on the Cloud, carried a pipe to the Cheyenne allies hoping for a revenge battle with the Pawnee. On the Arikaree Fork of the Red Shield (Republican) River, the Kiowa, Comanche, Prairie Apache, Lakota, and some Crow listened to the Cheyenne’s plea to go to war. Scouts were sent out to find the Wolf People. The Pawnee were again in the Solomon Fork area, near the forks of the Beaver that flows south. Soon the whole Cheyenne Nation and their allies were moving toward the Wolf People. They were bring along their two powerful medicines – the Sacred Arrows and Sacred Buffalo Hat. This powerful medicine had only been used once before, against their enemy the Wolf People in the early 1830’s. A few miles from the battle site, a solomn ceremony with the arrows and hat were held. During the ceremony, the string on the Sacred Buffalo Hat broke, a sign of possible failure. The war party warriors rode down upon the Pawnee buffalo camp. The Pawnee were between the fork of Middle and East Beaver Creek. Just as the fight started, the Pawnee Sky Chief who was riding north looked back over his shoulder and saw the enemy swarm down upon his people. He hurried on to the Republican River and met with the Pottawatomie to ask for their help. Their warriors knew how to shoot in relay. Sky Chief and the Pottawatomie Warriors quickly returned and turned the battle with the Cheyenne and allies. Both sides lost men, but the Pawnee claimed the great victory. The Cheyenne and Pawnee continued to make war for years to come. Mary Lattin, KS 2003
Mary Lattin put a marker on the 150th year after the fight:
T. Morgan; a Pawnee Historian and the 1853 Beaver Creek marker
Thanks Dietmar for sharing Mary Lattin's information on this fascinating battle!
Sorry to follow up with a question, but I was unable to locate the marker location other than it's in Smith County, KS. Do you know where the marker is placed and if that is the actual site of the battle?
Carlo wanted to know the location: It is from Highway 36 & Main Street of Smith Center, Kansas ...... about 3 miles west, then south 1 mile to a little hill that has the sign on it. If you look to the Northeast about 1/2 mile you will see the East Beaver Creek, with the tree deep in the creek bed .... you just see the tops of the cottonwood trees for about 200 yards. It is in this creek bed the Pawnees were using for defense. The fight / Cheyenne would have been west up the hill in that general vicinity.
Yes, the book People of the Sacred Mountain, by Father Peter J. Powell tells the story. Sky Chief was the Pawnee who brought the help from the Republican River .... (just over into present Nebraska). I have gotten help from many places, including Nebraska State History. A lot of books have snippets of info. Old newspapers carried articles telling of the fight. I have tried to find the 1852 site, but it is harder to find .... with everyone agreeing. Sky Chief was killed when the Sioux attack the Pawnee in 1872 ) near present day Trenton, Nebraska). I have a video my friend presented on North Brothers and the Pawnee Scouts (White Wolves). My friend came to Smith Center, Kansas and gave the presentation in about 1997. I video three other visits. We went to many Indian sites in Central Kansas and one in Nebraska (Lookout Mountain).
There is one fight site I can find no "primary" sources on and that is the 1854 fight when the Cheyenne ambushed the Pawnee. All I have ever found is John Bird Grinnell's reference to it. If it really happened??? ..... it should be a county or two south and west of where I live. The fight probably happened on the Old Pawnee Trail to the buffalo hunting ground... the Pawnee Fork of the Arkansas River in Kansas. There were few records then. ....maybe someone (white man) traveling on the the Santa Fe Trail might have recorded that it happened ...... but that is unlikely, since it was Indian against Indian.
Thank you Dietmar, and please pass on my thanks to Mary for providing the details.
Re. Big Spotted Horse/Leading With Shield: I can only offer the possibility that it could be one and the same person. As Hyde pointed out that he was just a boy when it happened, he could - or rather would have acquired a new name later on in his warrior life. It might even be because of this rather impactful incident that his name was changed? Just a theory of course...
In his 'Fighting Cheyennes', Grinnell makes a strong case in favor of Leading With Shield (Carrying The Shield In Front) being the killer, substantiated by his son. See pp 80-83.
However, that story is in turn challenged by Cpt. North in note 104 of Hyde's 'The Pawnee Indians', suggesting interpreter Tom Morgan may have bended the truth to hero his own father, Leading With Shield. North claims he has several Pawnee sources noting it was Big Spotted Horse. See page 237.
So, basically it's Cpt. North's version vs. Tom Morgan's. Anyone's guess who's right, but I'd follow Cpt. North's statement, given the likely correct claim of multiple Pawnee sources. It at least rules out my long shot theory of Leading With Shield & Big Spotted Horse being the same person...
(Btw - is Tom Morgan related to T. Morgan, the Pawnee historian in the photo?)
I have been following this thread from the start and although I am not an expert on the Pawnee, I concur with your conclusion that Capt. North's statement is probably the correct one. Perhaps there will be additional info in Mark van de Logt's "War party in blue", due to come out within a few weeks...
Took me a while, but yes, Mark van de Logt concurs that Alights On The Clouds was indeed killed by the fifteen year-old Pawnee boy Big Spotted Horse, basing it on Father De Smet in Chittenden and Richardson (vol. 2). He only touches upon it though, doesn't go into detail.
Post by virginiapeiffer on Sept 1, 2011 17:44:53 GMT -5
CAN SOMEONE HELP ME? MY GREAT MOTHER SHOWED ME A PICTURE OF HER FATHER OR GRANDFATHER CHEYENNE CHIEF RED CLOUD. CAN SOMEONE HELP ME .SHE SHOWED A PICTURE OF HIM, AND I JUST FOUND PICTURES MY GRANDMOTHER TOOK OF HIS PICTURE, IT HUNG IN MY GREAT GRANDMOTHERS HOUSE. WILL WAIT FOR A REPLY.
I have found more information about the battle on the Southern plains in 1853:
July 24. – A „big Indian fight“ took place about 60 miles south-west of Fort Kearny (or, “50 miles beyond the Caw [Kansas] river”). The Cheyennes and their cohorts (over 1,000 in number) lost; a smaller force of Pawnees and allies (possibly 800?) won. The Pawnee´s account (as related by a Fort Kearny man) was that they (some 400 warriors, and their families) had collected together for the summer hunt. In the vicinity were about 30 Iowas, 85 Otoes, and 40 Pottawatomies, also hunting buffalo. An enemy force composed of “Arapahoes, Cheyennes, Comanches, Kiowas and a few Sioux” attacked the Pawnees while their friends were absent. The battle took place “in front of a ravine (in which were the Pawnee women and children)”. They fought “from early morn till about 4 p.m.,” when their “allies” came up.The Pottawatomies (armed with rifles) then took over, and routed the Cheyenne force “before dark.” The Pawnees brought in 25 scalps; claimed to have killed “many more” of the enemy, and 170 horses. (They captured a number of horses, also.) Their own admitted losses: two men, two women, and two boys killed; one warrior taken prisoner; a number severely wounded. Agent Whitfield reported the Pottawatomies had brought in some 20 to 30 scalps; and that they “lost in killed and wounded some four to five.” Except for the timely aid of the Potawatomies, the Pawnees would have been wiped out. Trader John Sibille, who had information “from both sides,” figured the killed and wounded as about 150 for the Cheyennes and allies, and about 30 for the Pawnees and their friends. The Pottawatomies´ rifles had turned the tide of the battle. Still another account said that “Sacs and Pottawatomies” came to the Pawnees´ rescue; that one Iowa, one Otoe, 13 Pawnee warriors and several women and children had been killed; also, four Iowas, 10 Otoes, two Sacs, four Pottawatomies, and about 20 Pawnees had been wounded, and several of the wounded later had died. From Fort Laramie came a report (confirmed “very nearly” by the Cheyennes) that of the attacking force 17 Cheyennes, five Arapahoes, two Kiowas, and 170 horses, had been killed. Ref: Missouri Republican, St. Louis, August 12, 14, September 14, 1853; New York Daily Tribune, August 22, November 14, December 9, 1853; Liberty (Mo.) Weekly Tribune, August 12, September 3, 1853; St. Joseph (Mo.) Gazette, August 31, 1853; Comm´r of Indian affairs, Report, 1853 (Whitfield´s report, therein); The Dial (St. Mary´s College), St. Marys, v. 3 (April, 1892); P: 121; Mid-America, Chicago, v. 36 (October, 1954), p. 240; Nebraska State Historical Society, Transactions, Lincoln, v. 3, p. 294.
Louise Barry, comp., "Kansas Before 1854: A Revised Annals, Part Twenty-Two, 1853," In: Kansas Historical Quarterly - Spring 1967