Forgotten Landmark-Indian Battleground (old Island Park), Larned (KS)

Forgotten Landmark-Pawnee/Cheyenne Battleground, old Island Park, S. Main Street at Pawnee Creek, Larned (KS)

On a site formerly known as Island Park, this battleground was where a bloody conflict between the Pawnee and invading Cheyenne under Chief Black Kettle was witnessed by Colonel Henry Inman in 1860 while on his way to Fort Larned. According to Inman, the Pawnee chief had him tell the enemy that the Pawnee were waiting for them on the willow-covered island between the two streams. As the last of the Pawnee reached the island and disappeared behind the willows, 200 Cheyenne warriors led by Yellow Buffalo advanced, chanting their war song, and plunged into the stream with a shout of defiance, holding their rifles and powder bags above their heads. The Pawnee allowed the Cheyenne to approach within 10 feet before half of them blazed away with their first volley in the very face of the foe. As soon as they saw how many men had been hit the other half followed with the second volley. Then each Pawnee, who, in addition to rifle and bow and arrows, carried two pistols, kept up a steady fire.

Leaving many dead and wounded, the Cheyenne withdrew, only to renew the attack in greater force under Black Kettle, but again they were repulsed with great slaughter, losing fifty men. The Pawnee reported one dead and two wounded, and at sunset remained masters of the field. “But while a victory for the Pawnee, the battle settled nothing,” wrote Inman, “for Black Kettle remained and his Cheyennes continued to hunt on the Pawnee grounds.”

Indian Battleground

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