Bates Battlefield
Title:Bates Battlefield
County:Hot Springs; Washakie
Feature Category:Manmade Features
Origin Of Name:The Bates Battle Field is located at the head of Nowood River or in the southern part of Washakie County. Since Washakie and Hot Springs counties are composed of a series of right angles, part of the Bates Battle ground is in Hot Springs County. Captain Alfred Bates was the commander of the B troop of the 2nd cavalry and with him were several white scouts and also Chief Washakie of the Shoshone Indians and approximately one hundred of his Indian braves. The purpose of this battle was to capture a band of Arapahoe Indians who were plundering and robbing small camps and trains. At this time the Shoshoni and Arapahoes were unfriendly toward one another and of the Cheyenne, Sioux, Arapahos, and the Shoshoni tribes only the latter were friendly with the United States or able to be put on reservations. This force of cavalrymen and Indians started from the Shoshoni Indian Reservation around July 1, 1874 in search of this band of hostile Indians. They had word they were camped on the south prong of the Big Horn Mountains and were always on the lookout for signs of the hostiles. At the head of the Nowood River they found a trace of the Indians where they had killed an elk and the trail from there led in a southwesterly direction. Guides were sent ahead and the hostile camp was found in a gulch on Bates Creek which is in the southwestern corner of Washakie County. The Indians were attacked early on the morning of July 4, 1874 and a dozen Indians were killed in the first charge. Captain Bates and Chief Washakie had a difference of opinion on the manner of the fighting which made it difficult for either to take command. The battle lasted for about four hours and many men were critically wounded with one doctor in the force and very little equipment for anything of this kind. There were no wagons with this force and a very unpleasant journey was had going from the scene of battle to the present site of Thermopolis which was the closest place for supplies. Although Bates fought with help from the Shoshone Indians, he was dissatisfied with their help due to the fact that he was not experienced in Indian warfare enough to compete with their manner of fighting. This was not a major battle or massacre but was probably one of the causes of the great Custer Massacre which happened two years afterwards. (WPA)
Link:Search Wyoming Places
Document ID:11141075

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