Rocky Boy Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana

The August 19, 1854 Grattan Massacre

It occurred in what is now the State of Wyoming (Goshen County), on August 19, 1854. A force of 30 American soldiers commanded by Lieutenant John Grattan, thought since they had the revolver and their howitzers, they could easily defeat an Anishinabe village which, according to historians, had a population of over 4,800 including 1,500 soldiers. They marched to the Anishinabe village to apprehend an Anishinabe man accused of killing a cow owned by some whites, which had strayed from the herd. Anishinabe ogima, Conquering Bear, negotiated first with the Americans and told them he would give a horse to the whites who lost the cow, but they refused. According to historians, Grattan was looking for a fight. Upon their arrival to where the Anishinabe village was, they negotiated with ogima Conquering Bear but it did go well and led to a white soldier shooting the important ogima of the Anishinabe village. Ogima Conquering Bear died from his wounds some 9 days later. He was the only Indian killed in the battle. Anishinabe soldiers wasted little time commencing to attack the foolish American soldiers, who had no respect for their village's ogima (leader).

They killed around 12 early on, then the other 18 after they fled to an area nearby which offered concealment. American leaders must have been greatly upset with Lieutenant Grattan and his foolish actions. Marching 30 soldiers to a village which had 1,500 soldiers then getting into a battle, only proved to American leaders that Grattan deserved not to be a Lieutenant. Grattan was not the only American military leader who refused to respect the might of the Anishinabe Army. Others included Custer and Fetterman. Fetterman took a strole along with some 80 American soldiers knowing fully well that some 2,000 Anishinabe soldiers also took a strole along with them. Custer attacked an Anishinabe village which probably had a good 2,500 to 3,000 soldiers, or 4 to 5 times as many soldiers as Custer had, while he had only 665 soldiers.

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