Should Have Done What He Was Told Captain Fetterman went his own way—and found disaster.

William Fetterman.

Captain William Fetterman disobeyed orders on Dec. 21, 1866.  He took an 80-man detachment out of Fort Phil Kearny, Wyoming, to rescue a group harvesting wood.  The woodcutters were under attack by a small group of Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapahoe.  Fetterman’s detail drove them off—and then chased the Indians over a ridge, an action forbidden by Fetterman’s commanding officer.  It was a trap. Fetterman’s group ran into a huge Indian force of between 1500 and 2000 warriors.  All 81 soldiers were killed within a few minutes in what became known as the Fetterman Massacre.

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