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.


A compelling chronicle

San Antonio Express-News

Schultz does a fine job illuminating the American West during the 1860s and provides a perspective on the Civil War and Little Big Horn. A well-written book

School Library Journal

The right mixture of history and narrative to make this a fresh account

Rocky Mountain News

A stimulating history lesson. Schultz’s interpretation is right on the mark and accomplished with pace, color, and character

South Bend Tribune

Frontier history brought vividly to life


A meticulously researched narrative of compelling readability. It relates the events leading to and the characters involved in the massacre at Sand Creek by ill-trained Colorado militia led by the one-time minister and abolitionist J. M. Chivington. It is a common theme—lust for gold and greed for power—that so scarred our relations with Native Americans, our most invisible ethnic minority. This book helps us never to forget. Highly recommended

Library Journal

In recounting this atrocity, Schultz focuses on Indian-White relationships, the fears of the settlers, and the official investigations that discredited Chivington. This is a gripping account of a shameful event in American history

Publishers Weekly

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