Four Veteran Soldiers Visit Sand Creek Site

The location of the 1864 Sand Creek event was reportedly known for the first several years afterwards. 

In 1887, “We along with others, in company of the Colonel, visited the famous battleground, and went over the scenes of that noted encounter,” local newspaper owner, C. Frost Liggett said.

The precise location seemed to be unclear by 1894 when the United States Geological Survey (U.S.G.S.) Topo map didn’t show the battleground. The town of Chivington saw a boom and homesteads sprung up everywhere. The topo map showed specific locations, and bends in the creek became more important landmarks.

An interest in marking the site emerged when four of the Sand Creek veterans set off to document the location in July 1908–Morse Coffin, W. H. Dickens, David Harden, and P. M. Williams (Lant).

“The members of the First and Third Colorado cavalry who participated in the battle of Sand Creek in 1864, will hold a reunion at the site of the struggle on July 13th of this year, leaving Denver on the morning of that day,” the Littleton Independent reported June 26, 1908.

It was a Monday afternoon when three elderly veterans, Coffin, Dickens, and Harden got off the train at Kit Carson. “Welcome comrades,” Lant said.

The next morning they left Kit Carson and headed southeast down the creek. Paul and his friend drove the wagons.

The leader of the reunion was Morse Coffin of Longmont, seventy-three years of age. Mr. Coffin carried a large cane and had a strong sense of what was right and wrong. 

“Did Mr. Creaghe know where the battle was fought?” Coffin said.

“Indeed, yes!  Most certainly. Right down there on the flat, ‘bout half a mile from here. Found a lot of arrowheads there once and there’s bones up on the bluff the other side of the creek. Human bones. Yes, this is the place,” Dick Creaghe said.

“The ground doesn’t look right. It must be further down the creek.”

Dickens took a long walk over the hills, the creek bed, climbed the sand bluffs, and returned silent and satisfied. 

Lant shook his head and Hardin was silent.

After a quick lunch, the teams were hitched and they drove on down the creek. Clouds piled up to the south, the rolling landscape disappeared in a mist of rain and they drifted through sheets of pouring water. The veterans, secure in slickers, stood up to scan the unfamiliar landmarks. At last, Lant thought he recognized something, but Coffin was unbending.

“Ain’t this the place where we laid our overcoats before we charged?” Lant said.

“It’s similar, similar. I’ll not deny that it’s similar, but it ain’t the same. We never fought over this ground,” Coffin said.

To learn where the veteran soldiers concluded the site to be, the full account is in our book, We Found the Lost Sand Creek Site

Get a copy of our book: Click the Buy the Book tab in the top right of the page or you can also get our book here: WeFoundTheLostSandCreekSite

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