July 1, 2013

Indian Wars Timeline 1855 to 1865


Indian Wars Timeline 1855-1865, including tribes involved, causes and effects. This era included the third Seminole War, the California Indian wars, Navajo wars, Apache wars, Sioux and Cheyenne wars, and the massacres of Bear River and Sand Creek, among others.






Snake River War

Fighting occurred at the junction of the Tucannon River and the Snake River in Washington Territory.





Klickitat War




This conflict occurred between the Klickitat and Cascade Indians against white settlers along the Columbia River in central Washington. When intimidation and force failed to get the Indians to cede their lands, battles erupted resulting in the Indians being removed from their lands.



Third Seminole War


Under Chief Billy Bowlegs, the Seminole mounted their final stand against the U.S. in the Florida Everglades. When Bowlegs surrendered; he and others were deported to Indian Territory in Oklahoma.



Rogue River Wars


In the Rogue River Valley area southern Oregon, conflict between the area Indians and white settlers increased eventually breaking into open warfare.




Yakima War



A conflict of land rights in Washington state, involving the Nisqually, Muckleshoot, Puyallup, and Klickitat tribes in the state of Washington. The central figure of the war, Nisqually Chief Leschi, was executed.

January-March, 1855


Klamath and Salmon Indian Wars

Klamath and Salmon River War, aka Klamath War, or Red Cap War, occurred in Klamath County, California after local miners wanted Indians disarmed due to rumors of an uprising. Some of the Native American’s of the Yurok and Karok tribes refused, leading to hostilities resulting in state militia and U.S. Army involvement. (source)


August 17, 1855

Grattan Fight

Twenty-nine U.S. soldiers killed by Brulé Lakota Sioux Indians in Nebraska Territory.

January 26, 1856


Battle of Seattle


Native Americans attacked Seattle, Washington, as part of the Yakima War. The attackers are driven off by artillery fire and by Marines from the U.S. Navy.

February, 1856


Tintic War


A short series of skirmishes occurring in Tintic and Cedar Valleys of Utah, after the conclusion of the Walker War.



Antelope Hills Expedition

A campaign by Texas Rangers and members of allied tribes against the Comanche and Kiowa in Texas and Oklahoma.



Coeur d’Alene War


Also known as the Spokane-Coeur d’Alene-Paloos War, this second phase of the Yakima War was a series of encounters between the Coeur d’Alenes, Spokanes, Palouses and Northern Paiute tribes and U.S. forces in the Washington and Idaho areas.

September 1, 1858


Battle of Four Lakes


Also known as the Battle of Spokane Plains, the conflict was part of the Coeur d’Alene War. A force of 600 military men were sent to subdue the tribes, defeating the Indians.



Mendocino War

A conflict between settlers and Native Americans in California that took place in 1859. Several hundred Indians were killed.




Paiute War



Also known as Pyramid Lake War, the war was fought between Northern Paiutes, along with some Shoshone and Bannock, and white settlers in present-day Nevada. The war culminated in two pitched battles in which approximately 80 whites were killed. Smaller raids and skirmishes continued until a cease-fire was agreed to in August, 1860.

February 26, 1860


Gunther Island Massacre


Also known as the Humboldt Bay Massacre, local white settlers, without any apparent provocation, attack four Indian villages, slaying 188 Wiyot Indians, mostly women and children in Humboldt County, California.

December 18, 1860


Battle of Pease River


Battle between Comanche Indians under Peta Nocona and a detachment of Texas Rangers, resulting in the slaughter of the Indians, including women, when the Rangers caught the camp totally by surprise.



California Indian Wars


Numerous battles and skirmishes against Hupa, Wiyot, Yurok, Tolowa, Nomlaki, Chimariko, Tsnungwe, Whilkut, Karuk, Wintun and others.



Navajo Wars


Occurring in Arizona and New Mexico Territories, it ended with the Long Walk of the Navajo.




Apache Attacks



In New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas, numerous Apache bands  rejected reservation life, and under Geronimo, Cochise and others, staged hundreds of attacks on outposts. Geronimo finally surrendered in 1886; others fought on until 1900.

August-September, 1862



Sioux War of 1862




Skirmishes in the southwestern quadrant of Minnesota resulted in the deaths of several hundred white settlers. In the largest mass execution in U.S. history, 38 Dakota were hanged. About 1,600 others were sent to a reservation in present-day South Dakota.

March, 1862

Battle of Apache Pass

Battle fought in Arizona between Apache warriors and the California Column as it marched from California to New Mexico.

October 24,  1862


Tonkawa Massacre



Accompanied by Caddo allies, a detachment of irregular Union Indians, mainly Kickapoo, Delaware and Shawnee, attempt to destroy the Tonkawa tribe in Indian Territory. One hundred and fifty of 390 Tonkawa survive.   

January 29, 1863

Bear River Massacre

Colonel Patrick Connor leads a regiment killing at least 200 Indian men, women and children near Preston, Idaho.

April 19, 1863

Keyesville Massacre

White settlers kill 35 Tehachapi men in Kern County, California.


January, 1864

Battle of Canyon de Chelly

This Navajo citadel was the scene of climatic events in the conquest of the Navajo Indians by the U.S. Army Colonel Christopher C. “Kit” Carson’s.

August-November, 1864.

Cheyenne War of 1864


In the early 1860’s, the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes were suffering terrible conditions on their reservation and in the summer of 1864 began to retaliate by attacking stagecoaches and settlements along the Oregon Trail.

November 29, 1864

Sand Creek Massacre

Militiamen kill at least 160 Cheyenne Indians at Sand Creek, Colorado.



Colorado War


Clashes centered on the Colorado Eastern Plains between the U.S. Army and an alliance consisting largely of the Cheyenne and Arapaho.



Snake War


Fought between U.S. military and the Northern Paiute and Shoshoni (called the Snakes by white settlers) in Oregon, Idaho, and California. The conflict began with the influx of new mines in Idaho and the Indians rebelled to white encroachment on their lands.



Apache Wars


When the Mescelero Apaches were placed on a reservation with Navajos at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, the war began and continued until 1886, when Geronimo surrendered.

July 28, 1864



Battle of Killdeer Mountain



Fought in western North Dakota, this battle was an outgrowth to the 1862 Sioux discontent in Minnesota. Leading more than 3,000 volunteers, Brigadier General Alfred Sully confronted more than 1,600 Sioux in the North Dakota badlands, representing one of the largest pitched battles in the history of Plains warfare.

August-November, 1864

Cheyenne War of 1864

In the early 1860’s, the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes were suffering terrible conditions on their reservation and in August, 1864 began to retaliate by attacking stagecoaches and settlements along the Oregon Trail.

February 4-6, 1865


Battle of Mud Springs


After the Sand Creek Massacre in November 1864 in Colorado, the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho moved northward raiding along the way. This skirmish, taking place in Nebraska was inconclusive although the Indians succeeded in capturing some Army horses and a herd of several hundred cattle.

February 8-9, 1865


Battle of Rush Creek


Following the Battle of Mud Springs, the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho were pursued by the U.S. Army and engaged in an inclusive battle on the Platte River of Nebraska.

August-September, 1865

Powder River Expedition


Also called the Powder River Campaign, Major General Grenville M. Dodge ordered the expedition as a punitive campaign against the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho for raiding along the Bozeman Trail. Fighting took place in what would become Wyoming and Montana territories. It was one of the last Indian war campaigns carried out by U.S. Volunteer soldiers.

November 25-26, 1864



First Battle of Adobe Walls



Kit Carson led an attack against a Kiowa village in the Texas Panhandle. The next day, the Kiowa, now joined with the Comanche, counter-attacked. Though thousands of Indians were attacking the Cavalry, Carson and his men were able to hold their position with two howitzers.



Hualapai or Walapais War

Occurring in Arizona Territory, the Hualapai were disturbed by increased settler traffic upon their lands, which caused a number of skirmishes over several years.



Utah’s Black Hawk War


Including an estimated 150 battles between Mormon settlers in central Utah and members of the Ute, Paiute and Navajo tribes. The conflict resulted in the abandonment of some settlements and homes, and postponed Mormon expansion in the region.



Ute Wars


The Ute nation rose episodically against white settlers in Utah as the Mormons relentlessly took over their lands and exhausted their resources.

July 26, 1865




Battle of Platte Bridge Station




When a wagon train with twenty five men under Sergeant Amos Custard’s command were traveling from Sweetwater Station east toward Platte Bridge Station in Wyoming, Sioux and Cheyenne were threatening to attack. Lieutenant Caspar Collins and a small detachment of soldiers were sent out from Platte Bridge Station to try and reach the wagon train and escort it to the station but upon crossing the bridge to the north they were overwhelmed by Sioux and Cheyenne Indians. Lieutenant Collins and several of the men were killed.  

July 26, 1865


Battle of Red Buttes


On the same day of the Battle of Platte Bridge Station, wagon train was attacked by Sioux Cheyenne Indians. Custer and 21 soldierswere killed.

August 29, 1865


Battle of Tongue River



The U.S. Cavalry under the command of General Patrick Connor attacked Chief Black Bear’s Arapaho outside present day Ranchester, Wyoming. This attack caused the Arapaho to join forces with the Sioux and Cheyenne.

August 31, 1865


Sawyers Fight


In retaliation for he attack on Black Bear’s village, ArapahoIndians attacked a surveying expedition on the Bozeman Trail in Wyoming.

Tribal Timelines
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