November 25, 1876 Battle of Bates Creek

This battle was fought near Big Horn Mountains in northern Wyoming and a part of an American 1876-1877 winter military campaign. Winter was a favorite time whites boasted of for attacking Indian villages. Bates Creek Battle is also referred to as "Dull Knife Fight." Battle of Bates Creek was a part of Mullan Road War. A list of Mullan Road War battles is above. On Saturday November 25, 1876 American Soldiers and their Indian allies, attacked a fortified village of around 2,000 Anishinabek. In an ensuing battle, Ojibway Soldiers tried desperately to defend themselves from their enemies who would have killed all of them, including their women and children, if they didnít defend them. Over 1,100 well armed American Soldiers and their Indian allies, probably surprised inhabitants of that village near Big Horn Mountains. About all Ojibway Soldiers could do during a battle like that one that occurred at Battle of Bates Creek, was fight for their lives after that first initial assault came.

They chose a good location for their village because it likely saved many of them from being killed. After an initial American assault, 400 or so Anishinabe Soldiers gathered their women and children, then headed for nearby ridges near their village which offered them protection. From there, Anishinabe Soldiers used what guns they had, bows and arrows, spears, and even cannons if they had any, to defend their women and children and themselves, from their enemies. It obviously didnít turn out as well as Americans had hoped but it was an American victory. Around 80 Anishinabek were killed or wounded but it could have been much higher. American casualties were around 35, with 9 killed. More importantly, Americans captured some 600 horses but obviously not all of their horses. If they had captured all of their horses, all of those Ojibways of that village, would have surrendered. After capturing their village which had 173 lodges, American Soldiers eventually destroyed it. Many Anishinabe survivors fled up north to other Ojibway villages, while others surrendered.