Battle of Mud Springs (Februrary 4-6, 1865)
After the Sand Creek Massacre, which occurred in Colorado on November 29, 1864, the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes decided to move northward into the more-isolated Powder River country of Wyoming. However, along the way, many of the warriors would take their vengeance for the earlier massacre. Raiding along the South Platte River, the Battle of Julesburg, Colorado was fought on February 2, 1865, and the next day, the warriors burned a telegraph station on Lodgepole Creek in Nebraska. On February 4, 1865, and advance party of warriors appeared at Mud Springs, a stage and telegraph station. Behind the sod and log walls of the station were 14 men, including 9 soldiers. The warriors stole 18 horses and a large herd of cattle. In the meantime, the telegraph operator was sending messages to Fort Mitchell, Nebraska, 55 miles west, and to Fort Laramie, Wyoming, 105 miles west. After an all-night ride from Fort Mitchell, Lieutenant William Ellsworth and 36 men reached Mud Springs. Just a short time later, some 500-1000 warriors also arrived. Sixteen soldiers occupied a nearby bluff to try to keep the Indians from getting too close; but suffering heavy attacks by the warriors, they retreated to the station, with one man dead and another wounded. That afternoon, the soldiers opened the corrals and let their horses run loose, which dispersed the Indians as they attempted to capture the animals. The warriors then retreated to their camp about 10 miles east of the station.