Joseph Cramer: The unsung whistle-blower of Sand Creek

Excerpts from my book, Forgotten Heroes and Villains of Sand Creek (June 11, 2010).

Joseph Cramer was an understated figure – not flamboyant like Wynkoop or Soule. Gossip items about him did not show up in the papers as they did for the other two. However, his stand against Chivington was equally bold and personally risky. Stationed at Fort Lyon under Major Wynkoop and then Major Anthony, he played a big role in Wynkoop’s efforts to forge peace with the tribes. His testimony after Sand Creek was extraordinarily detailed and reliable. Almost everything he said was corroborated by other witnesses. Like Soule, Cramer was ordered to accompany Chivington to Sand Creek but told his men not to shoot during the massacre. And like Soule, he wrote a scathing letter to Wynkoop afterward, providing horrific and shocking details of what had happened.

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