Turning over the pages of history we find from beginning to end battles that must decide the progress of civilization, whether it was to raise to the highest standard of mankind or fall into the lowest depths of barbarism.
The following are a few of the deciding battles that have been handed down through the annals of time.
Going back to 490 B. C, we find the battle of Marathon, where the Athenians won the victory over the Persians on the Plains of Marathon. Thus changing the course of early history.
The defeat of the Athenians at Syracuse, 413 B. C, the battle of Arbela, 331 B. C, the battles of the Metaures, 207 B. C, and numerous others decided what the foundation of modern history should be built upon. Had some of these battles resulted in just the opposite the Greek language would have been the root of the French, Spanish and Italian in stead of the Latin. The laws of Athens would have been the basis of the laws of the world.
The battle of Hastings in 1066, and Joan of Arc’s victory over the English at Orleans in 1429; defeat of Spanish Armada, 1588, were all turning points in history.
Crossing the Atlantic and coming closer home, we have the American victory over Burgoyne at Saratoga, 1777, which meant so much to the colonists. Freedom and liberty of a new and independent nation.
Later when the United States was divided over the slavery and seceding question and the Civil war was to decide the answer, were Lee’s army victorious, this glorious land of ours would be divided. But the surrender of Lee at the Appomattox court house was the decisive point in the rebellion and the salvation of the United States.
Studying over these battles and comparing the outcome as it is today and what it might have been had the results been vice versa, we see that “right is might,” and, using this argument, we are prepared to class the Sand Creek battle in the list of decisive battles. Consider the facts before the fight and notice the outcome of it and what might have been and see if you cannot agree with us.
The condition of affairs before the battle has already been described, so we need not dwell longer on them, but look at what this western country is today and what it might have been if the Indians had won the Sand Creek fight or if it had never been fought.
The Indians would kill the settlers and push them back towards the east and prevent the growth of the nation, while the white people were fighting among themselves the savages would combine together and gradually crowd eastward on to the unsuspecting people while their troops were away, and perhaps in time they would get control, and instead of this being the land of which we are all so proud, a place of refuge for the oppressed of foreign lands, it would be a heathen and undeveloped land.
The Sand Creek fight was the means of pushing the Indians further west and opening up the frontier and showed whether the wheels of progress should turn and make homes for millions of people and raise the standard of civilization and prosperity higher, or if this west of bountiful wealth, health and untold opportunities should remain a wilderness and barren waste.
There are a great many noted generals and leaders who figured in the decisive battles, such as Miltiades, Xerxes, Alexander, Napoleon, down to Washington, Burgoyne, Grant, Lee, Gates, Sherman and a great many others, all of whom won laurels for themselves and had historians, poets and orators to sing their praises.
This was in a distant and remote country, not many to witness it, but when it is all summed up, in comparison to the population, means and what they had to contend with, did not Governor Evans and Colonel Chivington accomplished just as great a victory? Does not the growth of the West, built by our own fathers appeal as strongly to you as the victory of some foreign lands that are praised by some of our own writers who seem to overlook the struggles, suffering and bloodshed in our behalf, by our fathers or grandfathers here at home?
What Colorado is today is really due to Governor Evans for calling out volunteers, and Colonel Chivington for commanding them as he did, and to the little band of volunteers for being so brave and ready to obey the call of duty. There were also a few fights made later, such as General Forsythe’s battle with Roman Nose and his band in eastern Colorado, that helped to pave the way into the West. We must not overlook the services rendered by the scouts in guiding the settlers to new homes and leading the soldiers on to the enemy’s camps, although they do not get so much credit as the officers, yet they are indispensable.
These officers, soldiers, scouts and settlers overcame the country’s greatest foe, when the United States army refused to do it, and had they waited until the rebellion was over for the government troops to help them, there would not have been many settlers left and it would have thrown the progress of the West back many years.
“So let us, the descendants of those brave volunteers and pioneers, erect a monument of gratitude in our hearts to their memory.”
Source: True History of some of the Pioneers of Colorado, by Miss Luella Shaw, Press of Carson Harper Co, Denver, Colorado, 1909