Reaping What He Sowed A green army officer got the fight he wanted—and more.

Conquering Bear
Chief Conquering Bear.

Lt. John Lawrence Grattan was spoiling for a fight when he and 29 men approached a camp of Brule and Oglala near Fort Laramie on August 19, 1854.  A cow had wandered into the camp and been eaten by the Indians; it had belonged to a Mormon traveler. The Indians offered to pay for it. Grattan wanted one of the Brule’s arrested for theft.  When the sides couldn’t reach an agreement, Grattan had his men open fire, killing Chief Conquering Bear. Some 1200 warriors then attacked the troops; none escaped.


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