Historical Battles

Historical Battles
in the Worland-Ten Sleep Area
of Big Horn Mountain Country
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bulletSPRING CREEK RAID In the late 1800s and early 1900s cattlemen of the Big Horn Basin dominated the range for many years and set up boundaries or "deadlines" where sheep were forbidden. Fierce animosity grew between the opposing sheep and cattle ranchers as several sheep camps were raided.

In late March of 1909, Joe Allemand, a French sheepman, his nephew Jules Lazier, and Joe Emge, a cattleman turned sheepman, left Worland headed for Spring Creek southeast of Ten Sleep with 5,000 sheep.

On April 2, 1909 seven masked riders raided the sheep camp, setting fires and killing both men and sheep.

Public reaction to the brutal and tragic act left no doubt that violence on Wyoming's open range would no longer be tolerated.

A State Historical monument to commemorate the raid is erected near the site of the raid about seven miles southeast of Ten Sleep.

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Photo by Jack Seaman

bulletBATES BATTLEFIELD* A punitive expedition, July 1-6, 1874, by Company B, 2nd U.S. Cavalry, under command of Capt. Alfred Elliott Bates, and Shoshone Indians allies, resulted in what, indeed, is the bloodiest Fourth of July in the known history of Wyoming.  The purpose of the expedition was to engage a band of Arapahoe Indians who had been "committing depredations in Wind River and neighboring valleys", according to the book "Wyoming's Bloodiest Fourth of July" by Hugh K. Knoefel.

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Cavalry, Indian allies and hostiles, lost a counted 29 dead on the battlefield.  The site is located 37 miles southeast of Worland, Wyo., on the border of Washakie and Hot Springs counties.

The cavalry troops were accompanied by 167 Shoshone Indians under Chief Washakie; 20 Shoshonee scouts under command of Lt. R.H. Young, 4th Infantry; and two or three civilians.

Dedication from Knoefel's book: "To all white men and all Indians, allies and hostiles, who lost their lives during the settlement years of Wyoming."
Capt. Alfred Elliott Bates

On July 4th, 1874, Captain Bates received news that the hostiles had been located in a deep valley about a mile and one-half away from the troops.  Quoting Capt. Bates' official report, he said, "Upon receiving the information the Shoshonees set up the most infernal yelling and shouting I ever heard from which they did not desist until the fight had commenced."

At 7:30 a.m. Bates ordered the bugler to sound "charge".  Weapons ready, 35 troopers spurred their mounts to full gallop down a shallow sloping draw and into the hostiles' camp.  The balance of his men were left behind to hold pack animals and lead horses.

The troopers' attack didn't last long.   In between 20-30 minutes the attack was over, and not an adult Indians remained in the village.  The Indians who had escaped made their way to the shelter of scattered rocks on the sandstone butte above camp.  From there they opened fire on the troopers in the village below.  Two cavalrymen were killed and three wounded.  The troops retreated to Camp Brown with their wounded.

From the book, Wyoming's Bloodiest Fourth of July: "In Retrospect ~ Crystal-clear Bates creek, meandering through the peaceful little badland valley, flowed crimson that morning.  Within half an hour 29 known dead lay stiffening along the stream; among rocks and sagebrush.  Many more hostile Indians gave their lives in defense of the village.  Their exact number will forever remain a secret of surrounding buttes and draws.

"Scores of wounded limped away from the scene of battle ... some to die later of fatal injuries ... others would eventually recover, embittered with intensified hatred of the conquering white man.

"Two years afterward revenge would be achieved through annihilation of General George A. Custer and his entire command at the battle of Little Big Horn River."

*Information from Wyoming's Bloodiest Fourth of July, by Hugh K. Knoefel.

120 North 10th St., Worland, WY 82401
307-347-3226 ~ E-mail: wacc@trib.com

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