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Battle of Summit Springs

Battle of Summit Springs

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The Battle of Summit Springs, on July 11, 1869, was an armed conflict between elements of the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 under the command of Colonel
Colonel
Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

 Eugene A. Carr and a group of Cheyenne
Cheyenne
Cheyenne are a Native American people of the Great Plains, who are of the Algonquian language family. The Cheyenne Nation is composed of two united tribes, the Só'taeo'o and the Tsétsêhéstâhese .The Cheyenne are thought to have branched off other tribes of Algonquian stock inhabiting lands...

 Dog Soldiers
Dog Soldiers
Dog Soldiers is a 2002 British horror film written and directed by Neil Marshall, and starring Kevin McKidd, Sean Pertwee and Liam Cunningham. It was a British production, set in the highlands of Scotland, and filmed almost entirely in Luxembourg....

 led by Tall Bull
Tall Bull
Tall Bull was a chief of the Cheyenne Dog Soldiers. He was shot and killed in the Battle of Summit Springs in Colorado by Major Frank North leader of the Pawnee Scouts....

, who died during the engagement. The battle happened near Sterling, Colorado
Sterling, Colorado
The City of Sterling is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous city of Logan County, Colorado, United States. The city population was 14,777 at the 2010 census.-Geography:Sterling is located at...

 and was a response to a series of raids in north-central Kansas
Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

 by Chief
Tribal chief
A tribal chief is the leader of a tribal society or chiefdom. Tribal societies with social stratification under a single leader emerged in the Neolithic period out of earlier tribal structures with little stratification, and they remained prevalent throughout the Iron Age.In the case of ...

 Tall Bull's band of the Cheyenne,

Battle


When the Pawnee Scouts under Major
Major
Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

 Frank North
Frank North
Frank Joshua North was a clerk and interpreter at the Pawnee Agency trading post in Genoa, Nebraska, he served in the United States Army attaining the rank of major. North was partners with William F...

 managed to lead his command to Tall Bull's village, Colonel Carr, a veteran campaigner known as "The Black-Bearded Cossack", deployed his forces - 244 men of the 5th United States Regiment of Cavalry and 50 members of the Pawnee Scouts
Pawnee Scouts
Pawnee Scouts were part of the United States Army in the latter half of the 19th century. Like other groups of Indian scouts, Pawnee warriors were recruited in large numbers to fight on the Northern Plains in various conflicts against hostile native Americans...

, carefully so that they hit the unsuspecting camp from three sides at once. Captain Luther North of the Pawnee Scout Battalion related this incident in the book Man of the Plains; "about a half mile from and off to one side from our line, a Cheyenne boy was herding horses. He was about fifteen years old and we were very close to him before he saw us. He jumped on his horse and gathered up his herd and drove them into the village ahead of our men, who were shooting at him. He was mounted on a very good horse and could easily have gotten away if he had left his herd, but he took them all in ahead of him, then at the edge of the village he turned and joined a band of warriors that were trying to hold us back, while the women and children were getting away, and there he died like a warrior. No braver man ever existed than that 15 year old boy."

Major Frank North, commander of the Pawnee Scout Battalion, saw an Indian rise from cover and take aim at him. He shot and killed the man, who turned out to be Tall Bull. Captain Luther North (Major Frank North's brother) recounted that Tall Bull's wife stated three days later when asked by Leo Palliday if Tall Bull was killed, "She said 'yes' and pointed to my brother and said, 'This man killed him where I came out of the Canyon.'" Meanwhile, the Pawnees surrounded 20 Cheyenne warriors who were sheltering in a ravine. Armed only with bows and arrows, the Cheyenne kept their attackers at bay until their arrows ran out, whereupon the Pawnees moved in and killed all of them.

In addition to Tall Bull and the 20 men in the ravine, George Bird Grinnell
George Bird Grinnell
George Bird Grinnell was an American anthropologist, historian, naturalist, and writer. Grinnell was born in Brooklyn, New York, and graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in 1870 and a Ph.D. in 1880. Originally specializing in zoology, he became a prominent early conservationist and student...

 detailed nine other people who were killed by members of the Pawnee Scout Battalion: two warriors (Lone Bear and Pile of Bones); a very old Suhtai
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes
The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes are a united, federally recognized tribe of Southern Arapaho and Southern Cheyenne people in western Oklahoma.-History:...

 woman on a slow pony; two Sioux women running on foot; a Cheyenne woman and two children (a boy and a girl); and an old Sioux woman whose horse fell and threw her. Only four fatalities are mentioned by Grinnell who are not specifically stated to have been killed by members of the Pawnee Scout Battalion: the wife, mother-in-law and two young children of a man called Red Cherries. The fatalities detailed by Grinnell and by Donald J. Berthrong add up to 23 warriors, 1 fifteen year-old boy, 5 women and 2 children killed by members of the Pawnee Scout Battalion, and 2 women and 2 children whose killers are not specified. This gives a total of 35 people killed. The impression gained is that, despite being outnumbered nearly 5-to-1 by the 5th Cavalrymen who charged into the village with them, the Pawnees did the lion’s share of the fighting and the killing.

One Cheyenne escaped on Tall Bull's distinctive white horse. He was shot off it by Scout William Cody in a skirmish next day, leading Buffalo Bill
Buffalo Bill
William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody was a United States soldier, bison hunter and showman. He was born in the Iowa Territory , in LeClaire but lived several years in Canada before his family moved to the Kansas Territory. Buffalo Bill received the Medal of Honor in 1872 for service to the US...

to think that he had killed Tall Bull himself. In his biography of Luther North, Grinnell footnoted this event, "William Cody later claimed he had killed Tall Bull and Cody's protagonists have stated that Luther North's account of the shooting was an invention. However, while Frank was a partner with Cody in the cattle business, he related the story of the shooting in detail essentially as Luther recollected it.

Carr reported only a single casualty in his command (a trooper wounded) and claimed that 52 Indians had been killed. 17 women and children were captured, along with more than 300 horses and mules. One white woman captive (Susanna Alderdice) was killed and one (Maria Weichell) wounded.

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