Red CloudAs you will see this week, one of the few times Red Cloud made a miscalculation in his fight with the whites was on August 2, 1867.

In July of 1867 civilian contractor J. R. Porter arrived at Fort Kearny in Nebraska with supplies. He planned on starting a logging operation. Among the supplies were 700 new breech-loading Springfield rifles and 100,000 rounds of ammunition. Until now the military had used muzzle-loading rifles. A Springfield used a manufactured cartridge, making it several times faster to shoot than a muzzle-loader.

Porter built his logging camp about six miles from the fort. To carry the logs he took the box beds off about 14 wagons, putting the four-foot high wagon boxes in a circular corral for protection.

At dawn of August 2, 1867 Red Cloud, with almost 1,000 braves, was poised for an attack against the 32 men inside the circle of wagon boxes. Even the women and children of the tribe, had come to observe the event.

At 9:00 500 warriors on horseback made the first charge. They circled the wagons expecting the spaced firing of a muzzle-loader. Instead it was the constant volley of the Springfield. The warriors retreated. Dead and wounded Indians and horses were everywhere. The next wave was 700 warriors on foot wearing nothing but war paint. The Indians got so close and the Springfields were so powerful that one shot often passed through two or three warriors.

For three hours the battle waged on. Then the sound of a howitzer was heard in the distance. A relief column was on its way. Red Cloud and his tribe retreated into the hills.

Miraculously, only 7 of the soldiers and loggers were killed. However, Red Cloud lost over 200 braves.

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