Battles & Indian Wars

American Indian Wars is the name used in the United States to describe the multiple conflicts between American settlers or the federal government and the native peoples of North America from the time of earliest colonial settlement until approximately 1890.

In some cases, wars resulted from conflicts and competition for resources between the European colonists and Native Americans.

There was population pressure as settlers expanded their territory, generally pushing indigenous people northward and westward. Warfare and raiding also took place as a result of wars between European powers.

In North America, they enlisted their Native American allies to help them conduct warfare against each other’s settlements.

Many conflicts were local, involving disputes over land use, and some entailed cycles of reprisal. Particularly in later years, conflicts were spurred by ideologies such as Manifest Destiny, which held that the United States was destined to expand from coast to coast on the North American continent.

In the 1830s, the United States had a policy of Indian removal east of the Mississippi River, which was a planned, large-scale removal of indigenous peoples from the areas where Europeans were settling.

Particularly in the years leading up to Congressional passage of the related act, there were armed conflicts between settlers and Native Americans.

But, you may not be aware that at least nine Indian Wars took place in the 20th century. The last Indian battles occurred with the Apache Indians in 1924!

1540-1541 – Tiguex War

Fought in the winter of 1540-41 by the army of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado against the 12 pueblos of Tiwa Indians along both sides of the Rio Grande River in New Mexico. It was the first war between Europeans and Native Americans in the American West.

March 22, 1622 – Jamestown Massacre

Powhatan Indians kill 347 English settlers throughout the Virginia colony during the first Powhatan War.

1622-44 – Powhatan Wars

Following an initial period of peaceful relations in Virginia, a twelve year conflict left many natives and colonists dead.

1636-37 Pequot War

Taking place in Connecticut and Rhode Island, the death of a colonist eventually led to the destruction of 600-700 natives. The remainder were sold into slavery in Bermuda.

May 26, 1637 – Mystic Massacre

During the Pequot War, English colonists, with Mohegan and Narragansett allies, attack a large Pequot village on the Mystic River in what is now Connecticut, killing around 500 villagers.

1675-1676 – King Philip’s War

King Philip’s War erupts in New England between colonists and Native Americans as a result of tensions over colonist’s expansionist activities.

The bloody war rages up and down the Connecticut River valley in Massachusetts and in the Plymouth and Rhode Island colonies, eventually resulting in 600 English colonials being killed and 3,000 Native Americans, including women and children on both sides.

King Philip (the colonist’s nickname for Metacomet, chief of the Wampanoag) is hunted down and killed on August 12, 1676, in a swamp in Rhode Island, ending the war in southern New England.

In New Hampshire and Maine, the Saco Indians continue to raid settlements for another year and a half.

1680-92 – Pueblo Revolt

In Arizona and New Mexico, Pueblo Indians led by Popé, rebelled against the Spanish and lived independently for 12 years. The Spanish re-conquered in them in 1692.

1689–1697 – King William’s War

The first of the French and Indian Wars, King William’s War was fought between England, France, and their respective American Indian allies in the colonies of Canada (New France), Acadia, and New England. It was also known as the Second Indian War (the first having been King Philip’s War).

1689-1763 – French and Indian War

A conflict between France and Britain for possession of North America. For various motivations, most Algonquian tribes allied with the French; the Iroquois with the British.

February 8, 1690 – Schenectady Massacre

French and Algonquins destroy Schenectady, New York, killing 60 settlers, including ten women and at least twelve children.

February 29, 1704 – Deerfield Massacre

A force comprised of Abenaki, Kanienkehaka, Wyandot and Pocumtuck Indians, led by a small contingent of French-Canadian militia, sack the town of Deerfield, Massachusetts, killing 56 civilians and taking dozens more as captives.

1711 – Tuscarora War

Taking place in North Carolina, the Tuscarora, under Chief Hancock, attacked several settlements, killing settlers and destroying farms. In 1713, James Moore and Yamasee warriors defeated the raiders.

1715-1718 – Yamasee War

In South Carolina, an Indian confederation led by the Yamasee came close to exterminating a white settlement in their region.

August, 1757 – Fort William Henry Massacre

Following the fall of Fort William Henry, between 70 and 180 British and colonial prisoners are killed by Indian allies of the French.

1760-62 – Cherokee Uprising

A breakdown in relations between the British and the Cherokee leads to a general uprising in present-day Tennessee, Virginia and the Carolinas.

1763 – Pontiac’s Rebellion

In the Ohio River Valley, War Chief Pontiac and a large alliance drove out the British at every post except Detroit. After besieging the fort for five months, they withdrew to find food for the winter.

September 14, 1763 – Devil’s Hole Massacre

Seneca double ambush of a British supply train and soldiers.

December, 1763 – Killings by the Paxton Boys

Pennsylvania settlers kill 20 peaceful Susquehannock in response to Pontiac’s Rebellion.

July 26, 1764 – Enoch Brown School Massacre

Four Delaware Indians killed a schoolmaster, 10 pupils and a pregnant woman. Amazingly two pupils who were scalped survived.

1774 – Lord Dunmore’s War

Shawnee and Mingo Indians raided a wave of traders and settlers in the southern Ohio River Valley. Governor Dunmore of Virginia, sent in 3,000 soldiers and defeated 1,000 natives.

1776-1794 – Chickamauga Wars

A series of conflicts that were a continuation of the Cherokee struggle against white encroachment. Led by Dragging Canoe, who was called the Chickamauga by colonials, the Cherokee fought white settlers in Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

July 3, 1778 – Wyoming Valley Massacre

Following a battle with rebel defenders of Forty Fort, Iroquois allies of the Loyalist forces hunt and kill those who flee, then torture to death those who surrendered.

August 31, 1778 – Stockbridge Massacre

A battle of the American Revolution War that rebel propaganda portrayed as a massacre.

November 11, 1778 – Cherry Valley Massacre

An attack by British and Seneca Indian forces on a fort and village in eastern New York during the American Revolution War. The town was destroyed and and 16 defenders were killed.

March 8, 1782 – Gnadenhutten Massacre

Nearly 100 non-combatant Christian Delaware (Lenape) Indians, mostly women and children, were killed with hammer blows to the head by Pennsylvania militiamen.

1785-1795 – Old Northwest War

Fighting occurred in Ohio and Indiana. Following two humiliating defeats at the hands of native warriors, the Americans won a decisive victory under “Mad Anthony” Wayne at the Battle of Fallen Timbers.

1794 – Nickajack Expedition

Cherokee Chief, Dragging Canoe, and his followers, who opposed the peace, separated from the tribe and relocated to East Tennessee, where they were joined by groups of Shawnee and Creek.

Engaged in numerous raids on the white settlers for several years, they used Nickajack Cave as their stronghold. In 1894, the military attacked, leaving some 70 Indians dead.

November 6, 1811 – Battle of Tippecanoe

The Prophet, brother of Shawnee Chief Tecumseh, attacked Governor William Henry Harrison’s force at dawn near the Wabash and Tippecanoe Rivers in Indiana Territory. After hand-to-hand combat, the natives fled.

August 15, 1812 – Fort Dearborn Massacre

American settlers and soldiers are killed in ambush near Fort Dearborn, at the present-day site of Chicago, Illinois.

January 22, 1813 – Battle of Frenchtown

Also known as the River Raisin Massacre, it was a severe defeat for the Americans during the War of 1812, when they attempted to retake Detroit.

August 18, 1813 – Dilbone Massacre

Three settlers killed in Miami County, Ohio.

August 30, 1813 – Fort Mims Massacre

Following defeat at the Battle of Burnt Corn, a band of Red Sticks sack Fort Mims, Alabama, killing 400 civilians and taking 250 scalps. This action precipitates the Creek War.

Sept 19 – Oct 21, 1813  – Peoria War

Armed conflict between the U. S. Army and the Potawatomi and the Kickapoo that took place in the Peoria County, Illinois area.

1814 – Creek War

Militiamen under Andrew Jackson broke the power of Creek raiders in Georgia and Alabama after the Creek had attacked Fort Mims and massacred settlers. They relinquished a vast land tract.

1816-18 – First Seminole War

The Seminole, defending runaway slaves and their land in Florida, fought Andrew Jackson’s force. Jackson failed to subdue them, but forced Spain to relinquish the territory.

Spring, 1817 – Battle of Claremore Mound

Cherokee Indians wipe out Osage Indians led by Chief Clermont at Claremore Mound, Indian Territory.

April 22, 1818 – Chehaw Affair

U.S. troops attack a non-hostile village during the First Seminole War, killing an estimated 10 to 50 men, women and children.

June 2, 1823  – Arikara War

Occurring near the Missouri River in present day South Dakota, Arikara warriors attacked a trapping expedition and the U.S. Army retaliated. It was the first military conflict between the United States and the western Native Americans.

1827 – Winnebago War

Also referred as the Le Fèvre Indian War, this armed conflict took place in Wisconsin between the Winnebago and military forces. Losses of lives were minimal, but the war was a precedent to the much larger Black Hawk War.

1832 – Black Hawk War

Occurring in northern Illinois and southwestern Wisconsin, it was the last native conflict in the area. Led by Chief Black Hawk, the Sac and Fox tribes made an unsuccessful attempt to move back to their homeland.

May 20, 1832 –  Indian Creek Massacre

Potawatomi Indians, kidnap two girls and kill fifteen men, women and children north of Ottawa, Illinois.

August 1, 1832 – Battle of Bad Axe

Around 300 Indian men, women and children are killed in Wisconsin by white soldiers.

Spring, 1833 – Cutthroat Gap Massacre

Osage Indians wiped out a Kiowa Indian village in Indian Territory.

1835-42 – Second Seminole War

Under Chief Osceola, the Seminole resumed fighting for their land in the Florida Everglades. Osceola was captured and they were nearly eliminated.

Texas Indian wars (1836–1877)

1836-1877 – Comanche Wars

On the southern plains, primarily in the Texas Republic. The U.S. Military instituted official campaigns against the Comanche in 1867

1836 – Creek War of 1836

Though most Creeks ad been forced to Indian Territory, those that remained rebelled when the state moved to abolish tribal governments and extend state laws over the Creeks. 

May 19, 1836 – Fort Parker Massacre

Six men killed by a mixed Indian group in Limestone County, Texas.

1837 – Osage Indian War

A number of skirmishes with the Osage Indians in Missouri.

November 10, 1837 – Battle of Stone Houses

A Texas Ranger Company pursued a band of raiding Kichai Indians up the Brazos River, where they battled near the present day city of Windthorst, Texas.

October 5, 1838 – Killough Massacre

Indians massacre eighteen members and relatives of the Killough family in Texas.

1839 – Cherokee War

This war was a culmination of friction between the Cherokee, Kickapoo, and Shawnee Indians and the white settlers in Northeast Texas.

July, 1839 – Battle of the Neches

The principal engagement of the Cherokee War, the battle culminated after the Cherokee refused to leave Texas.

1840 – Great Raid of 1840

The largest raid ever mounted by Native Americans on white cities. Following the Council House Fight, Comanche War Chief Buffalo Hump raised a huge war party and raided deep into white-settled areas of Southeast Texas.

March 19, 1840 – Council House Fight

A conflict between Republic of Texas officials and a Comanche peace delegation in San Antonio, Texas. When terms could not be agreed on, a conflict erupted resulting in the death of 30 Comanche leaders who had come to San Antonio under a flag of truce.

August 11, 1840 – Battle of Plum Creek

The Penateka Comanche were so angry after the Council House Fight, they retaliated in the summer of 1840 by conducting multiple raids in the Guadalupe Valley. The raids culminated in a battle between the Indians and the Texas volunteer army along with the Texas Rangers near the present day city of Lockhart, Texas. For two days they battled and the Comanche were defeated.

November 29, 1847 – Whitman Massacre

The murder of missionaries Dr Marcus Whitman, Mrs Narcissa Whitman and twelve others at Walla Walla, Washington by Cayuse and Umatilla Indians, triggering the Cayuse War.

June 17, 1848 – Battle of Coon Creek

When a company of about 140 soldiers were on their way to left join the Santa Fe battalion in Chihuahua, Mexico, they were attacked near the present town of Kinsley, Kansas by some 200 Comanche and Apache Indians.

1848–1855 – Cayuse War

Occurring in Oregon Territory and Washington Territory, the conflict between the Cayuse and white settlers was caused in part by the influx of disease, and resulting in the Whitman Massacre and the Cayuse War.

1849-63 – Navajo Conflicts

Persistent fighting between the Navajo and the U.S. Army in Arizona and New Mexico led to their expulsion and incarceration on an inhospitable reservation far from their homelands.

1850-1851 – Mariposa War

Spawned by the flood of miners rushing onto their lands after the California Gold Rush, some tribes fought back including the Paiute and the Yokut.

Spring, 1850 – Bloody Island Massacre

The murder of up to 200 Pomo people on an island near Upper Lake, California by Nathaniel Lyon and his U. S. Army detachment, in retaliation for the killing of two Clear Lake settlers who had been abusing and murdering Pomo people.

1851-1853 – Utah Indian Wars

Numerous skirmishes throughout Utah which finally lead to the Walker War.

October 21, 1853 – Gunnison Massacre

In Millard County, Utah, a band of Ute Indians massacred Captain John W. Gunnison’s Pacific Railroad Survey party of seven men.

1853 – Walker War

When the Mormons began to settle on the hunting grounds of the Ute Indians of Utah, they were at first friendly, then fought back.

1854-90 – Sioux Wars

As white settlers moved across the Mississippi River into Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wyoming, the Sioux under Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse resisted to keep their hunting grounds.

August 17, 1854 – Kaibai Creek Massacre

Forty-two Winnemem Wintu men, women and children are killed by white settlers at Kaibai Creek, California.

August 20, 1854 – Ward Massacre

Eighteen of the 20 members of the Alexander Ward party were killed by Shoshone Indians while traveling on the Oregon Trail in western Idaho.

1855 – Snake River War

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

1855 – 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.

1855-58 – 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.

1855-1856 – 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.

May 17, 1858 – Battle of Steptoe Butte

The relatively little-known Battle of Steptoe Butte was a major turning point in the white takeover of the Inland Northwest.

1855–1858 – Yakima War (Yakama 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.

January-May,1858 – Antelope Hills Expedition

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

1858 – 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.

1859 – Mendocino War

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

1860 – 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.

1860-65 – California Indian Wars

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

1861–1864 – Navajo Wars

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

1861-1900 – 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.

1864–1865 – Colorado War

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

1864–1868 – 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.

1864–1886 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.

1865-1868 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.

1865–1872 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.

1865-1879 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, a wagon train was attacked by Sioux and 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 the attack on Black Bear’s village, Arapaho Indians attacked a surveying expedition on the Bozeman Trail in Wyoming.

1866-1868 Red Cloud’s War

Lakota Chief Red Cloud conducts the most successful attacks against the U.S. Army during the Indian Wars. By the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868), the U.S. granted a large reservation to the Lakota, without military presence or oversight, no settlements, and no reserved road building rights. The reservation included the entire Black Hills.

December 21, 1866 Fetterman Massacre

Fought near Fort Phil Kearny, Wyoming, Sioux and Cheyenne ambushed Captain William J. Fetterman and 80 men, killing every one of them.

1867–1875 – Comanche Campaign

Major General Philip Sheridan, in command of the Department of the Missouri, instituted winter campaigning in 1868–69 as a means of rooting out the elusive Indian tribes scattered throughout the border regions of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, and Texas.

July 2, 1867 Kidder Massacre

Cheyenne and Sioux Indians ambushed and killed a 2nd US Cavalry detachment of eleven men and an Indian guide near Beaver Creek in Sherman County, Kansas.

August 1, 1867 Hayfield Fight

Occurring near Fort C.F. Smith, Montana, Territory, the battle pitted a determined stand of 31 soldiers and civilians against more than 700 Sioux and Cheyenne warriors.

August 2, 1867 Wagon Box Fight

Captain James Powell with a force of 31 men survived repeated attacks by more than 1,500 Lakota Sioux warriors under the leadership of Chiefs Red Cloud and Crazy Horse. The soldiers, who were guarding woodcutters near Fort Phil Kearny, Wyoming, took refuge in a corral formed by laying 14 wagons end-to-end in an oval configuration.

August 22, 1867 Battle of Beaver Creek

The Eighteenth Kansas Volunteer Cavalry attacked by Indians in Phillips County, Kansas Two men were killed and 12 seriously wounded.

September, 1867 Battle of Infernal Caverns

Infernal Caverns is the site of an 1867 battle between U.S. armed forces and Paiute, Pit River, and Modoc Indians.

September 17-19, 1868 Battle of Beecher Island

Northern Cheyenne under war leader Roman Nose fought scouts of the U.S. 9th Cavalry Regiment in a nine-day battle.

November 27, 1868 Washita Massacre

Lieutenant Colonel George Custer’s 7th cavalry attacked the sleeping Cheyenne village of Black Kettle near present-day Cheyenne, Oklahoma. 250 men, women and children were killed.

July 11, 1869 Battle of Summit Springs

Cheyenne Dog Soldiers led by Tall Bull defeated by elements of U.S. Army. Tall Bull died, reportedly killed by Buffalo Bill Cody.

January 23, 1870 Marias Massacre

White Americans kill 173 Piegans, mainly women, children and the elderly in Montana.

April 30, 1871 Camp Grant Massacre

A mob of angry citizens from Tucson and their Papago Indian mercenaries clubbed, shot, raped and mutilated 144 Aravaipa Apache people, mostly women and children near Camp Grant. Their actions were taken in “retaliation” for a Gila Apache raid in which six people had been killed and some livestock stolen.

1872–1873 Modoc War

Fighting northern California and southern Oregon, Captain Jack and followers fled from their reservation to the lava beds of Tule Lake, where they held out against soldiers for six months.

Major General Edward Canby was killed during a peace conference—the only general to be killed during the Indian Wars. Captain Jack was hanged for the killing.

December 28, 1872 Salt River Canyon Battle

Also called the Skeleton Cave Battle, the U.S. Army won its most striking victory in the long history of Apache warfare at this site in Arizona. About 75 Indians died, and most of the rest were captured.

March 27, 1873 Battle of Turret Peak

Fought in south central Arizona, it was one of the pivotal fights that broke the backs of the Apaches and Yavapais in their efforts to resist white encroachment into their lands.

1874–1875 Red River War

Occurring in northwestern Texas William T. Sherman led a campaign of more than 14 battles against the Arapaho, Comanche, Cheyenne and Kiowa tribes, who eventually surrendered.

June 27, 1874 Second Battle of Adobe Walls

A combined force of some 700 Comanche, Cheyenne, Kiowa, and Arapaho warriors, led by Comanche Chief Quanah Parker and Isa-tai, attacked the buffalo camp at Adobe Walls in the Texas Panhandle. The hunters held the site and the Indians retreated, but it soon led to the Red River War.

July 4, 1874 Bates Battle

In a narrow valley Hot Springs County, Wyoming, an Arapaho encampment was attacked by U.S. Army forces under Captain Alfred E. Bates. Bates reported his losses were four killed and five or six wounded, and 25 Arapaho were killed and 100 wounded. Other reports indicate the Arapaho suffered as few as ten casualties.

September 28, 1874 Battle of Palo Duro Canyon

Cheyenne, Comanche, and Kiowa warriors engaged elements of the U.S. 4th Cavalry Regiment led by Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie in Palo Duro Canyon, Texas.

1876–1877 Black Hills War

Also called the Sioux War of 1876, the Lakota under Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse fought the U.S. after repeated violations of the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie.

March, 1876 Battle of Powder River

The opening battle of the Black Hills War, between the U.S. Army and the Sioux and Cheyenne on the Powder River in Montana.

June 17, 1876 Battle of Rosebud

Lakota under Sitting Bull clashed with U.S. Army column moving to reinforce Custer’s 7th Cavalry.

June 25-26, 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn

Sioux and Cheyenne under the leadership of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse defeated the 7th Cavalry under George Armstrong Custer.

July 17, 1876 Battle at Warbonnet Creek

Three weeks after Custer’s defeat at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the Fifth U.S. Cavalry skirmished with Cheyenne Indians from the Red Cloud Agency in northwest Nebraska.

September 8, 1876 Battle of Slim Buttes

Captain Anson Mills’ Third Cavalry troopers attacked the Sioux village of American Horse in South Dakota. American Horse was killed in the ambush.

November 25, 1876 Dull Knife Fight

After the Battle of the Little Bighorn the previous summer the U.S. Military began retaliatory campaigns. Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie’s 4th Cavalry surprised Dull Knife’s winter camp in Wyoming, killing 25 Indians.

1877 Nez Perce War

Occurring in Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, the Nez Perce were fighting to keep their home in Wallowa Valley. Chief Joseph retreated from the 1st U.S. Cavalry through Idaho, Yellowstone Park, and Montana after a group of Nez Perce attacked and killed a group of Anglo settlers in early 1877. They surrendered near the border to Nelson Miles’ soldiers.

August 29, 1877 Battle of Big Hole

One of a series of engagements between U.S. troops and the fleeing Nez Perce under Chief Joseph in southwestern Montana.

1878 Bannock War

Elements of the 21st U.S. Infantry, 4th U.S. Artillery, and 1st U.S. Cavalry engaged the natives of southern Idaho including the Bannock and Paiute when the tribes threatened rebellion in 1878, dissatisfied with their land allotments.

1878–1879 Cheyenne War

A conflict between the United States’ armed forces and a small group of Cheyenne families.

September 27, 1878 Battle of Punished Woman Fork

Chiefs Dull Knife and Little Wolf of the Northern Cheyenne led their people in a rebellion and flight from confinement and starvation in Indian Territory to their home lands in the north. The Cheyenne made their final stand in Scott County, Kansas, fighting against the U.S. Cavalry.

September 30, 1878 Last Cheyenne Raid

Cheyenne ambushed Decatur County, Kansas. A running fight with white settlers occurred. In the end 17 settlers were killed in the ambush.

1879 White River War

The war was fought between Ute Indians and the U.S. Army Buffalo Soldiers near the area of the White River that passes through both the states of Colorado and Utah.

January 8, 1879 Ft Robinson Massacre

Northern Cheyenne under Dull Knife attempt to escape from confinement in Fort Robinson, Nebraska; about fifty survive.

May-August, 1879 Sheepeater War

On May 1, 1879, three detachments of soldiers pursued the Idaho Western Shoshone throughout central Idaho during the last campaign in the Pacific Northwest.

September 29, 1879 Meeker Massacre

One of the most violent expressions of Indian resentment toward the reservation system, Ute Indians attacked an the White River Indian Agency in Rio Blanca County, Colorado, burning the buildings and killing Indian Agent, Nathan C. Meeker and nine employees.

September 29 – October 5, 1879 Battle of Milk Creek

Following the Meeker Massacre, Ute Indians ambushed a column of 150 troops on the northern edge of the White River Reservation in Moffat County, Colorado.

April 28, 1880 Alma Massacre

Settlers killed by Apaches led by Victorio at Alma, New Mexico. Likewise on December 19, 1885 an officer and 4 enlisted men of the 8th Cavalry Regiment killed by Apaches near Alma, New Mexico.

September, 1879-November, 1880 Ute War

On September 29, 1879, some 200 men, elements of the 4th U.S. Infantry and 5th U.S. Cavalry under the command of Major T. T. Thornburgh, were attacked and besieged in Red Canyon by 300 to 400 Ute warriors. Thornburgh’s group was rescued by forces of the 5th and U.S. 9th Cavalry Regiment in early October, but not before significant loss of life had occurred. The Utes were finally pacified in November 1880.

August 30, 1881 Battle of Cibeque

When Apache shaman, Noch-del-klinne (the prophet) began to teach dances and rites similar to the ghost dance, he was arrested and fighting erupted along Cibecue Creek, Arizona.

July 17, 1882 Battle of Big Dry Wash

The battle of Big Dry Wash was the last major fight with hostile Apaches in Arizona Territory and marked the end of an era.

September 4, 1886 Skeleton Canyon

Geronimo and less than 40 Apaches, surrendered to Brigadier General Nelson Miles at Skeleton Canyon, Arizona, marking the end of the Apache Wars.

1890–1891 Ghost Dance War

An armed conflict between the U.S. government and Native Americans that resulted from a religious movement called the Ghost Dance. The conflict included the Wounded Knee Massacre and the Pine Ridge Campaign.

November, 1890-January, 1891 Pine Ridge Campaign

Numerous unresolved grievances led to the last major conflict with the Sioux. A lopsided engagement that involved almost half the infantry and cavalry of the Regular Army caused the surviving warriors to lay down their arms and retreat to their reservations in January 1891.

December 29, 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre

Sitting Bull’s half-brother, Big Foot, and some 200 Sioux were killed by the U.S. 7th Cavalry. Only fourteen days before, Sitting Bull had been killed with his son Crow Foot at Standing Rock Agency in a gun battle with a group of Indian police that had been sent by the American government to arrest him.

October 5, 1898 Battle of Leech Lake

Considered the last “Indian War,” an uprising of Chippewa occurred when one of their tribe was arrested on Lake Leech in northern Minnesota.

Indian Wars West of the Mississippi

Red River War (1874–1875)
Buffalo Hunters’ War (1876–1877)

Cayuse War (1847–1855)
Apache Wars (1849–1924)

Jicarilla War (1849–1855)
Chiricahua Wars (1860–1886)
Tonto War (1871–1875)
Renegade period (1879–1924)
Victorio’s War (1879–1880)
Geronimo’s War (1881–1886)

Yuma War (1850–1853)
Ute Wars (1850–1923)

Battle at Fort Utah (1850)
Walker War (1853–1854)
Tintic War (1856)
Black Hawk War (1865–1872)
White River War (1879)
Ute War (1887)
Bluff War (1914–1915)
Bluff Skirmish (1921)
Posey War (1923)

Sioux Wars (1854–1891)

First Sioux War (1854-1856)
Dakota War (1862)
Colorado War (1863–1865)
Powder River War (1865)
Red Cloud’s War (1866–1868)
Great Sioux War (1876–1877)
Northern Cheyenne Exodus (1878-1879)
Ghost Dance War (1890–1891)

Rogue River Wars (1855–1856)
Yakima War (1855–1858)

Puget Sound War (1855–1856)
Coeur d’Alene War (1858)

Mohave War (1858–1859)
Navajo Wars (1849–1866)
Paiute War (1860)
Yavapai Wars (1861–1875)
Snake War (1864–1869)
Hualapai War (1865–1870)
Modoc War (1872–1873)
Nez Perce War (1877)
Bannock War (1878)
Crow War (1887)
Bannock Uprising (1895)
Yaqui Uprising (1896)
Battle of Sugar Point (1898)
Crazy Snake Rebellion (1909)
Last Massacre (1911)
Battle of Kelley Creek (1911)
Battle of Bear Valley (1918)


Article Index:

Battle of Lake George

The Battle of Lake George took place September 8, 1755, during the French & Indian War (1754-1763) fought between the French and British. About 200 Mohawk warriors fought with Sir William Johnson and 1,500 men for the British against Jean Erdman, Baron Dieskau, 2,800 frenchmen, and 700 allied Indians, including Mohawks from Canada, for the French.

The Mohawks and British won this battle, but at a steep cost.

Battle of Quebec, 1759

Following the successful capture of Louisbourg in 1758, British leaders began planning for a strike against Quebec the next year.The Battle of Quebec was fought September 13, 1759, during the French & Indian War (1754-1763).

Battle of Steptoe Butte

The relatively little-known Battle of Steptoe Butte was a major turning point in the white takeover of the Inland Northwest. The battle was also a rare example in Washington of the Army fighting Indian warriors straight up.

The situation was desperate for Lt. Col. Edward Steptoe and his men, down to their last few rounds of ammunition after a day of fighting Indian warriors from numerous tribes.

But darkness came, and Steptoe’s force managed to escape, ending a battle 150 years ago that eventually led to the brutal subjugation of the tribes in the Inland Northwest.

Bear River Massacre
Bloody Island Massacre
French and Indian War, 1754-1757
French and Indian War, 1758-1763
Great Plains Indian Wars
History of the Kickapoo Wars
History of the Seminole Wars
Huron History
King Philip’s War (Metacom’s Rebellion)
Pueblo Revolt of 1680
Red Cloud’s War
Siege of Louisborg – King George’s War (1744–1748)
The Bascom Affair
The Battle of the Little Big Horn a.k.a. Custer’s Last Stand
The Colorado War
The real heroes of Wounded Knee
The Sioux Wars (1851-1890)
The Winnebago Wars
Tiguex War