Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Winter 2010


GREAT PLAINS QUARTERLY 30 (Winter 2010): 3-20


Copyright 2010 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska


The Battle of Platte Bridge, July 26, 1865, is a noteworthy event in the annals of the American Indian Wars. An alliance of Cheyenne, Sioux, and Arapahoe, numbering in excess of 2,000 warriors, traveled three days to a specific military objective, an undertaking unusual both in terms of its magnitude and its level of organization. The battle is also of interest because we have a detailed description of the event written from the Native American viewpoint. This description comes in the form of a number of letters written to George Hyde by Southern Cheyenne George Bent. George Bent, son of the famous trader William Bent and Owl Woman, a Southern Cheyenne, was educated in white schools in Westport, Missouri, and St. Louis. Injured at the Sand Creek Massacre, he joined the hostile forces that traveled north in the spring of 1865 to ally themselves with the Native Americans in the Powder River region. Bent joined the raiding parties that came down to the North Platte in May and June and was a participant in the Battle of Platte Bridge and the Battle of Red Buttes, both of which took place on July 26, 1865. Bent went on to serve as a translator and government liaison to the Cheyenne for decades on the reservation in Oklahoma.