Chief Red Cloud
|US Postal Service Honors Chief Red Cloud
|August 15, 1987, Cachet by ART CRAFT
Red Cloud was born, 1822 near the forks of the Platte River, near what
is now North Platte, Nebraska. His mother was an Oglala and his father, who died in Red Cloud's youth, was a Brulé.
Red Cloud's early life was spent learning how to be a warrior and gaining such war experience first and most often against
the neighboring Pawnee and Crow, at times against other Oglala. He gained enormous prominence within the Lakota nation for
his leadership in territorial wars against the Pawnees, Crows, Utes and Shoshones.
His reign was from 1864 to 1909.
Red Cloud's War was the name the US Army gave to a series of conflicts fought with American Indian Plains tribes in the
Wyoming and Montana territories.When in 1865 the Government undertook to build a road from Ft. Laramie, Wyo, on the North
Platte, by way of Powder River to the gold regions of Montana. Captain William J. Fetterman was sent from Fort Phil Kearny
with two civilians and 79 cavalry men to chase away a small Indian war party that had attacked a wood party days before.
Captain Frederick Brown accompanied Fetterman, the two were confident in their troops and anxious to go to battle with the
Indians. They disobeyed orders to stay behind the Lodge Trail Ridge and pursued a small decoy band of warriors, led by an
Indian on an apparently injured horse. The decoy was the prominent warrior Crazy Horse. Fetterman and his troops followed
the decoy into an ambush of over 2,000 Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho. Combined Indian forces suffered only 14 casualties, while
the entire 81-man US detachment was wiped out. In 1868 a commission was appointed to come to terms with Red Cloud, who
demanded as an ultimatum the abandonment of the three posts and of all further attempts to open the Montana road. Red Cloud
refusing to sign or even to be present until the garrisons had actually been withdrawn, thus winning a complete victory
for the position which he had taken from the beginning. He finally affixed his signature at Ft Laramie, Nov. 6, 1868. From
that date he seems to have kept his promise to live at peace with the whites, although constantly resisting the innovations
He took no active part in the Sioux war of 1876, although he is
accused of having secretly aided and encouraged the hostiles. Being convinced of the hopelessness of attempting to hold the
Black Hills after the discovery of gold in that region, he joined in the agreement of cession in 1876. In the outbreak of
1890-91 he also remained quiet, being then an old man and partially blind, and was even said to have been threatened
by the hostiles on account of his loyal attitude toward the Government.Red Cloud died at Pine Ridge, South Dakota, Dec.