Phil Konstantin's 2003 Vacation Through Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana

Page 2003 - P

Grattan Battlefield, Wyoming to Fort Robinson, Nebraska

Click on the smaller pictures to see a larger version of it.

A few miles east of Fort Laramie is the site of the "Grattan Massacre."

There are several variations on the story of what happened here. Most agree that a cow from a Mormon wagontrain walked into the Indian's camp. Most agree that the Indians ate the cow and then offered to replace its value when its owner demanded the cow's return. Many say the army's interpreter was drunk or had a grudge against the Brule and may not have done a good job of interpreting. Almost everyone agrees that the soldiers started the shooting. The number of soldiers has ranged from 25 to 32. Some say all of the soldiers died here, others say one soldier survived the battle, but died later in the Fort Laramie hospital. The number of Indians has ranged from several hundred to several thousand. Some say Grattan was a hot-head with something to prove, other say he was just inexperienced and got in over his head.

Surprisingly, there were no roadside signs directing people to this marker.
The actual site is on private property.

The entry from my book: "A Miniconjou Sioux named High Forehead killed a sickly cow near Fort Laramie in southeastern Wyoming. The cow’s owner complained to the fort’s commander. Brevet Second Lieutenant John L. Grattan and thirty volunteers left the fort to find the Sioux involved. Grattan brashly went to Conquering Bear’s Brule Sioux camp near Ash Hollow and demanded the Indian who shot the cow. Grattan made numerous threats to the Sioux, but they would not hand over High Forehead. During the parley, a shot rang out, and Grattan’s artillery gunners opened fire on the camp. Conquering Bear tried to get both sides to stop shooting, but he was hit by an artillery round. Eventually, all but one of Grattan’s men were killed in the fighting."

According to a ranger at Fort Laramie, the treaty of 1851 was not signed at the fort. Because so many Indians were showing up, they did not have room for all of them to camp. The entire event was moved about 36 miles east along the Platte River.

The second half of the sign above.

Another sign showing where the "Great Smoke" (as in peace pipe) took place. This is just a few miles into Nebraska.

Part two of the second sign.

Part three of the second sign.

This shows where the peace conference was held.

The first part of the third plaque.

The second part of the third plaque.

The Agate Fossil Beds National Monument is in northwestern Nebraska.

I was told that this is about a green as it gets here. The Visitor's Center has a nice museum.

There is a detailed look at this sign, to the right.

This is the entry from my book for February 9, 1874: "Lieutenant L. H. Robinson, Fourteenth Infantry, and Corporal James Coleman were among several people 'wantonly murdered' by Indians on Cottonwood Creek, near Laramie Peak, Wyoming. Robinson and Coleman were leading a wagon train of lumber returning from a sawmill when they were attacked. Army reports cited this attack as a signal for the start of numerous battles in the area."

Fort Robinson, Nebraska

The Fort is a State park.

The entry in my book for May 6, 1877: "Crazy Horse and Dull Knife, plus as many as 1,000 of their followers, surrendered at the Red Cloud Agency near Fort Robinson in northwestern Nebraska."

Crazy Horse will killed on this spot in Fort Robinson.

More of Fort Robinson, Nebraska.

There is a detailed look at this plaque, below.

I checked with the historians at the fort. Even though the have used ground-based radar/sonar, they have not been able to find the mass grave.

The entry from my book: "At Fort Robinson in northwestern Nebraska, the Cheyenne were being held in the barracks without food or wood because they would not return to their reservation. After five days, Captain Henry Wessells ordered Cheyenne chiefs to his quarters for a conference. Dull Knife did not go, but Left Hand, Crow, and Wild Hog attended. Wild Hog told the captain that the Cheyenne would never go to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma); they would rather die here. Captain Wessells ordered him put in irons and a fight ensues, with a soldier being stabbed. Left Hand, in manacles, made it outside and yelled aloud what was happening. Captain Wessells offered to let the women and children out of the barracks, but they said they would rather die at the fort than to be forced to go south. That evening, Cheyenne warriors recover some hidden rifles, and just before 10 P.M. they opened fire on the soldier guards from their prison barracks. An army report called the barracks "like a den of rattlesnakes, into which it is certain death for any white man to go." While the shooting continued, the Cheyenne escaped from the fort. The soldiers pursued them, and a gunfight developed nearby. Only thirty-eight Cheyenne were not killed, wounded, or captured during this fight (Dull Knife’s daughter was one of the killed). Most of these thirty-eight were killed or captured in the next few days. During the initial day of fighting, five soldiers were reported killed, and seven were wounded."


Click here to return to my main page
 Click here for the previous page (Oregon Trail to Fort Laramie)

Click here for the next page (Hudson-Meng Bison Bonebed, Nebraska to Crazy Horse Monument, South Dakota)



(© copyright 1996-2013)