Dull Knife Fight

The Dull Knife Fight, or the Battle of Bates Creek, was a Great Plains battle in the Wyoming Territory between the United States Army and the Northern Cheyenne as part of the Great Sioux War of 1876-77. The battle essentially ended the Cheyennes' ability to wage war.

After the battles of the Rosebud and Little Bighorn, Brig. Gen. George Crook received reinforcements and began to move up the Bozeman Trail against Crazy Horse. After learning of a Cheyenne war party, he sent Col. Ranald S. Mackenzie into the Wyoming Territory to find it.

In October 1876, Colonel Mackenzie departed Camp Robinson with about 1,000 troopers of the U.S. 2nd Cavalry Regiment, U.S. 3rd Cavalry Regiment, U.S. 4th Cavalry Regiment, and U.S. 5th Cavalry Regiment. He also had a large contingent of Indian scouts, including Pawnee, Arapaho and Lakota . Eventually he found the camp of Dull Knife and Little Wolf along Bates Creek near the North Fork of the Powder River. The Cheyenne warriors were having a celebration because of a recent victory over the Shoshone Indians. Mackenzie waited until dawn, then attacked and drove the warriors from the village. Some were forced to leave their clothes, blankets and buffalo robes behind and flee into the frozen countryside. Dull Knife began to offer stiff resistance, and savage fighting continued. The Pawnee warriors fought with exceptional ability, and the Cheyennes finally gave way and retreated from their village. The Indian village of 173 lodges and all its contents were entirely destroyed. About 500 ponies were captured. Lieut. J. A. McKinney, U.S. 4th Cavalry, was killed, along with five enlisted men.

The battle ended Cheyenne resistance for all practical purposes. Dull Knife's followers were left in the freezing weather without sufficient clothing, and many soon froze to death. Most surrendered shortly after, although several holdouts eventually joined the camp of Crazy Horse.

Read more about Dull Knife Fight:  Order of Battle

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