Indian Wars List and Timeline

1861-1900 – Apache Attacks – In New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas, numerous Apache bands rejected reservation life, and under Geronimo, Cochise and others, staged hundreds of attacks on outposts. Geronimo finally surrendered in 1886; others fought on until 1900.

August-September, 1862 –  Sioux War of 1862 – Skirmishes in the southwestern quadrant of Minnesota resulted in the deaths of several hundred white settlers. In the largest mass execution in U.S. history, 38 Dakota were hanged. About 1,600 others were sent to a reservation in present-day South Dakota.

Apache Pass, Fort Bowie, Arizona.

Apache Pass, Fort Bowie, Arizona.

March, 1862 –  Battle of Apache Pass – Battle fought in Arizona between Apache warriors and the California Column as it marched from California to New Mexico.

October 24, 1862 – Tonkawa Massacre – Accompanied by Caddo allies, a detachment of irregular Union Indians, mainly Kickapoo, Delaware and Shawnee, attempt to destroy the Tonkawa tribe in Indian Territory. One hundred and fifty of 390 Tonkawa survive.

January 29, 1863 – Bear River Massacre – Colonel Patrick Connor leads a regiment killing at least 200 Indian men, women and children near Preston, Idaho.

April 19, 1863 – Keyesville Massacre – White settlers kill 35 Tehachapi men in Kern County, California.

January, 1864 – Battle of Canyon de Chelly – This Navajo citadel was the scene of climatic events in the conquest of the Navajo Indians by the U.S. Army Colonel Christopher C. “Kit” Carson.

August-November, 1864 –  Cheyenne War of 1864 – In the early 1860’s, the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes were suffering terrible conditions on their reservation and in the summer of 1864 began to retaliate by attacking stagecoaches and settlements along the Oregon Trail.

November 29, 1864 – Sand Creek Massacre – Militiamen kill at least 160 Cheyenne Indians at Sand Creek, Colorado.

1864-1865 – Colorado War – Clashes centered on the Colorado Eastern Plains between the U.S. Army and an alliance consisting largely of the Cheyenne and Arapaho.

1864-1868 – Snake War –  Fought between U.S. military and the Northern Paiute and Shoshoni (called the Snakes by white settlers) in Oregon, Idaho, and California. The conflict began with the influx of new mines in Idaho and the Indians rebelled to white encroachment on their lands.

Geronimo and Apache prisoners on way to Florida

Geronimo and Apache prisoners on way to Florida

1864-1886 – Apache Wars – When the Mescalero Apache were placed on a reservation with Navajo at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, the war began and continued until 1886, when Geronimo surrendered.

July 28, 1864 –  Battle of Killdeer Mountain – Fought in western North Dakota, this battle was an outgrowth to the 1862 Sioux discontent in Minnesota. Leading more than 3,000 volunteers, Brigadier General Alfred Sully confronted more than 1,600 Sioux in the North Dakota badlands, representing one of the largest pitched battles in the history of Plains warfare.

August-November, 1864 – Cheyenne War of 1864 – In the early 1860’s, the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes were suffering terrible conditions on their reservation and in August 1864 began to retaliate by attacking stagecoaches and settlements along the Oregon Trail.

November 25-26, 1864 –  First Battle of Adobe Walls –  Kit Carson led an attack against a Kiowa village in the Texas Panhandle. The next day, the Kiowa, now joined with the Comanche, counter-attacked. Though thousands of Indians were attacking the Cavalry, Carson and his men were able to hold their position with two howitzers.

February 4-6, 1865 –  Battle of Mud Springs – After the Sand Creek Massacre in November 1864 in Colorado, the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho moved northward raiding along the way. This skirmish, taking place in Nebraska was inconclusive although the Indians succeeded in capturing some Army horses and a herd of several hundred cattle.

February 8-9, 1865 – Following the Battle of Mud Springs, the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho were pursued by the U.S. Army and engaged in an inclusive battle on the Platte River of Nebraska.

August-September, 1865 –  Powder River Expedition  – Also called the Powder River Campaign, Major General Grenville M. Dodge ordered the expedition as a punitive campaign against the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho for raiding along the Bozeman Trail. Fighting took place in what would become Wyoming and Montana territories. It was one of the last Indian war campaigns carried out by U.S. Volunteer soldiers.

1865-1868 –  Hualapai or Walapais War – Occurring in Arizona Territory, the Hualapai were disturbed by increased settler traffic upon their lands, which caused a number of skirmishes over several years.

1865-1872 – Utah’s Black Hawk War –  Including an estimated 150 battles between Mormon settlers in central Utah and members of the Ute, Paiute and Navajo tribes. The conflict resulted in the abandonment of some settlements and homes and postponed Mormon expansion in the region.

1865-1879 – Ute Wars – The Ute nation rose episodically against white settlers in Utah as the Mormons relentlessly took over their lands and exhausted their resources.

July 26, 1865 –  Battle of Platte Bridge Station – When a wagon train with 25 men under Sergeant Amos Custard’s command were traveling from Sweetwater Station east toward Platte Bridge Station in Wyoming, Sioux and Cheyenne were threatening to attack. Lieutenant Caspar Collins and a small detachment of soldiers were sent out from Platte Bridge Station to try and reach the wagon train and escort it to the station but upon crossing the bridge to the north they were overwhelmed by Sioux and Cheyenne Indians. Lieutenant Collins and several of the men were killed.

6 thoughts on “Indian Wars List and Timeline”

  1. Hello, I want to know if these conflicts between the Natives and the Europeans lasted until the last 5/6 decades, around ’50s or’60s. Was there any battle during these times. Please help with authentic historical account.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *