The Battle of the Saline River

On Aug. 1, 1867, a crew of railroad workers were killed by Cheyenne warriors, at Campbell’s Camp, near what is now called Victoria. Word of the attack was received at Fort Hays, and 30 troopers from Co. F, 10th Cavalry were sent to the site. After arriving at the site, troopers led by Capt. Armes followed the north branch of Big Creek in pursuit. When no signs of the Cheyenne could be found, they returned on the opposite side of the creek to Campbell’s Camp. Word was sent back to the fort to send additional troops. Armes waited until after daylight, and after there was no sign of additional troops coming, he and his men headed directly north to the Saline River.

They followed the Saline River west, about 15 miles, where they were then surrounded and ambushed by 75 Cheyenne. After battling the Cheyenne in two different areas, they retreated back to Fort Hays. This was the first ever engagement for the “Buffalo Soldiers," as they would come to be known.

The actual site of the battle had never been determined. C2T Ranch is excited to announce that the location has been identified and certified by archeologists from the Kansas Historical Society. This information was confirmed by KHS archeologist Nikki Klarmann during a tour of the site in May 2021.

Ranch historian and battle site archivist Michael Cox, along with members of his crew Ryan Ruth and Josh Balman, have discovered and identified more than 100 period artifacts spread out across over 40 acres.

During this battle, six Native Americans and one trooper were killed. Srgt. William Christy of Pennsylvania was shot in the head and killed. He was the first casualty from the Buffalo Soldier troops. Mike Cox, who has spent four years combing the area with a metal detector, believes he has found the saber handle that belonged to Christy when he fell.

C2T Ranch now offers guided historic tours of the battle site, along with artifact displays.