Month of the Freezing Moon: The Sand Creek Massacre, November 1864

St. Martin’s Press, 1990

The Cheyenne called it the Month of the Freezing Moon. To the Whites it was November of 1864. At dawn, on the banks of Sand Creek in Colorado Territory, a village of Cheyenne Indians—mostly old men, women and children—reeled under the impact of a surprise cavalry charge. An American flag flew over the chief’s lodge, indicating the protection of the US government, but the flag and the army’s guarantee of safety proved illusory. Within hours, more than 100 were dead, butchered, their bodies mutilated, their camp looted.

The massacre at Sand Creek, led by Colonel John Milton Chivington, culminated in the bloodiest uprising of the long Plains war and unleashed several government investigations. The catalog of horrors following Sand Creek included another cavalry attack on a peaceful Cheyenne village, this one led by an emboldened George Armstrong Custer. And only a few years later, Custer would take his troops to the Little Big Horn. Among the Indians fighting there were Cheyenne. Sand Creek would be avenged.

More Civil War Books by Duane Schultz