Rocky Boy Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana

January 23, 1870 Marias River Massacre

They claim this massacre occurred on January 23, 1870, as a result of a murder of a white man during previous year or in 1869. After Ojibway leaders found out they had been deceived (those two September 1868 treaties they ratified yet were rejected by American leaders), they sent their brave soldiers out to attack whites throughout what is now Montana, as well as Idaho and Wyoming. This massacre is a part of Mullan Road War. Above is a list of Mullan Road War battles. In response to increased Ojibway raids, especially in southwestern Montana (Gallatin Valley), American leaders instructed a number of their soldiers at Fort Ellis, to trek north to Fort Shaw which is near Great Falls. Their goal was to attempt to stop raids carried out by Ojibway Soldiers from around Great Falls where they were very numerous. Location of Marias River Massacre is not known. It happened somewhere between Great Falls and Marias River. Major Eugene Baker was in charge of some 400 American Soldiers who left Fort Shaw to find an Ojibway village to attack. They didn't care what village. On Sunday January 23, 1870 they found an Ojibway village supposedly near Marias River and attacked it. They killed up to 200 Ojibway's. Ojibway reports put their death toll at near 217, while American reports put Ojibway death toll at 173. It was extremely cold (43 below zero) when Marias River Massacre happened. An indication it happened not far from Fort Shaw.

Reports of this massacre are ridiculous. One report stated that survivors hid in Marias Rivers freezing water. Most bizarre is a report that Baker led his soldiers to Muddy Rivers (Muddy Creek) mouth from Teton River, on a very cold night of Thursday January 20, 1870. They trekked under darkness to avoid detection. Then on a very cold night of Friday January 21, 1870 they reached a location on a dry fork of Marias River. They reached that location early on Saturday January 22, 1870. They then commenced to surround an Ojibway village come nightfall Saturday January 22, 1870. Early on a very cold morning (43 below zero) of Sunday January 23, 1870, they attacked that village. Muddy Rivers (Muddy Creek) mouth is located where Vaughn, Montana is now. Muddy Creek is a tributory of Sun River. It's about 10 miles west of Great Falls. Fort Shaw is 13 miles southwest of Muddy Creeks mouth. There is another Muddy Creek which is a tributary of Teton River yet that is not that Muddy River detailed in descriptions of Marias River Massacre. It was too cold. Marias River is some 60 miles north of Fort Shaw, Montana. Marias River has to have a swift current to not ice up. Most Ojibway men were supposedly not in their village when it was attacked. Since weather conditions were extremely cold, Ojibway Soldiers were definitely in their village when American Soldiers lauched their surprise assault. Where this massacre took place is not known. It didn't happen at Marias River some 12 miles south of Shelby, Montana. It took place somewhere near where Vaughn, Montana is. American Soldiers captured 140 Ojibways then released them. Afterwards, Ojibway raids against whites, especially in southwest Montana, decreased.

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