The beginning of the American Civil War in 1861 led to the organization of military forces in Colorado Territory. In March 1862, the Coloradans defeated the Texas Confederate Army in the Battle of Glorieta Pass in New Mexico. Following the battle, the First Regiment of Colorado Volunteers returned to Colorado Territory under the command of Colonel John Chivington.
Chivington and Colorado territorial governor John Evans adopted a hard line against “Indians”, whom white settlers accused of stealing livestock.
Without any declaration of war, in April 1864 soldiers started attacking and destroying a number of Cheyenne camps, the largest of which included about 70 lodges, about 10% of the housing capacity of the entire Cheyenne nation.
Tensions peaked that summer, following the murder of a white family near Denver Colorado, a crime attributed at the time to raiding Cheyenne or Arapaho…
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