Rocky Boy Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana

The October 1850 Siege of Fort Yuma

According to historians, Captain Samuel P. Heintzelman and many of the soldiers under his command, were not at all fond of the extremely hot weather in the Yuma region. Heintzelman actually recorded a high temperature at Fort Yuma, of 121 degrees fahrenheit. In July of 1851, Captain Samuel P. Heintzelman and many of the soldiers stationed at Fort Yuma, were ordered to withdraw from the fort. They left Fort Yuma with 10 soldiers under the command of Lieutenant Thomas William Sweeney, with orders to defend the ferry the Yuma people were using to transport illegal white settlers to the south of California. Captain Samuel P. Heintzelman and his soldiers, were relieved of the heat after reaching the much cooler city of San Diego. An event occurred in San Diego, after Captain Samuel P. Heintzelman arrived there. Supposedly some Yuma leaders and Cocopah leaders, paid Captain Samuel P. Heintzelman a visit while in San Diego.

They told Heintzelman that hostile (according to historians they were Yuma and Cocopah) chiefs named Cavallo y Pelo and Santiago, were planning on hostile actions. They told Heintzelman they wanted the two chiefs removed from power. Heintzelman told the Yuma leaders he did not have the power (that is a lie) to do anything about the predicament. Instead, he told the two Yuma leaders that they should elect new leaders. In October of 1850, Heintzelman learned that Fort Yuma had been attacked by Anishinabe soldiers (not Yuma soldiers) and 4 American soldiers had been killed. Heintzelman reacted by ordering 16 soldiers with a train of supplies carried by mules, to reach Fort Yuma. They arrived to Fort Yuma on December 6, 1851, but for some reason they left the fort for another location 6 miles to the south. That is an indicator that Fort Yuma was captured and destroyed by Anishinabe soldiers, and the American soldiers requested for help from their Yuma allies.

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