On this day in history, November 29, 1864: 700 U.S. Army troops under the command of Colonel John Chivington rode into a village of Cheyenne and Arapaho in the southwestern Colorado Territory. They opened fire on the villagers killing 150+ people, the large majority of whom were elderly and children. They then proceeded to mutilate the corpses, and take souvenirs of body parts … after it was all over, more than half of Black Kettle’s band had been murdered. Chivington, a national “hero”, still has a town named after himself.
President Theodore Roosevelt said that the massacre was “as righteous and beneficial a deed as ever took place on the frontier“.
“I saw the bodies of those lying there cut all to pieces, worse mutilated than any I ever saw before; the women cut all to pieces … With knives; scalped; their brains knocked out; children two or three months old; all ages lying there, from sucking infants up to warriors …”
—- John S. Smith, Congressional Testimony of Mr. John S. Smith, 1865
“Fingers and ears were cut off the bodies for the jewelry they carried. The body of White Antelope, lying solitarily in the creek bed, was a prime target. Besides scalping him the soldiers cut off his nose, ears, and testicles-the last for a tobacco pouch …”
—- Stan Hoig