Rocky Boy Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana

The January 17, 1873 First Battle of the Stronghold

Since December of 1872, the Americans increased the number of American soldiers in the lava beds area to over 400. They probably also had numerous of their Indian allies as well. They were commanded by Colonel Frank Wheaton. On January 17, 1873, the Anishinabe soldiers noticed that the Americans were advancing towards their location while in the midst of a dense fog. Knowing that the fog could be used to increase their chance of defeating the American soldiers advancing upon their location, Anishinabe soldiers carefully carried out a surveillance of the American Army approaching them, then attacked them. After the battle was over, 35 Americans were killed and another 25 American soldiers were wounded. No Anishinabe casualties occurred during this battle.

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