Why Did Silas Soule Claim Black Kettle Was Killed at Sand Creek?

Silas Soule

There is a discrepancy between Silas Soule’s sworn testimony and a letter he reportedly wrote to Major Wynkoop, who was the former commander of Ft. Lyon. 

Soule wrote in the letter that he refused to fight at Sand Creek. He alleged that soldiers killed and mutilated Indian women and children. He also told Wynkoop, “Chivington reports five or six hundred killed, but there were not more than two hundred, about 140 women and children and 60 Bucks. A good many were out hunting buffalo. Our best Indians were killed. Black Kettle, One Eye, Minnemic and Left Hand.” 

(From Sand Creek website)

Under oath, Soule testified, “Major Anthony ordered my company, which was directly in line of fire of the battery, to move down into the creek…Before I got into the creek there were troops upon both sides firing across. It was unsafe for me to take my command up the creek.”

Soule did not testify that he refused to fight. He only testified about his concern of crossfire. 

It is interesting that he told Wynkoop that Black Kettle was killed at Sand Creek. This is not true. He was killed four years later at the Battle of the Washita, not on Sand Creek, and not by Chivington. 

Why did he lie about Black Kettle? 

Soule also wrote in his letter that Colonel Chivington was in Washington trying to become General. He also alleges Chivington was in Washington to raise a 90 day regiment to kill Indians. There is no record of him going to Washington. It is not known why Soule would make these incorrect claims. It raises questions about the accuracy of anything he wrote to Wynkoop. 

The reported letter is on the NPS Sand Creek website. It is not known if it is the full letter or just a portion of it. A picture of the letter is not provided, just a typed version. 

Read more about Soule’s testimony in our book, We Found the Lost Sand Creek Site

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