Monthly Archives: September 2013

Sand Creek Massacre memoir: “all one sided”

Isaac Clarke memoir

Isaac Clarke memoir

page 191

page 191

In September of 2013, we received an amazing gift from Tom Courtney: a 200-page leather-bound handwritten memoir, dated 1892, by Isaac Clarke, a Union soldier who witnessed the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864.

Along with the manuscript, we received a 60-page typed “reconstruction” of the memoir, available in full here. See pages 40-43 of the transcription (179-195 of the original) for Clarke’s memories of Sand Creek.

Please note: the transcription corrects spelling and syntax and frequently paraphrases Clarke’s words. For example, on page 191 of the original (pictured above), Clarke writes:

…I do think it was the most cowardly act I ever saw and this was what is recorded in history as the grate sand creek Battle and it was a grate battle but all one sided for the indens were all kild an to tell the truth they wear a band of friendley indens and they were all masacread by the hundred day men.”

The transcription for this passage reads:

“…It was the most dastardly, cowardly act I ever saw, and this was what is recorded in history as the Great Sand Creek Battle. The truth of the matter was that it was a band of friendly Indians massacred by a regiment of white savages, the hundred day men.”

If possible, therefore, researchers should visit CC Special Collections and consult the original rather than depend solely upon the transcription.