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Chief Kicking Bird retires after fighting McClellan at the Little Wichita


On this day in 1870, at the battle of the Little Wichita River, Capt. Curwin B. McClellan and a force of fifty-five troopers of the Sixth Cavalry attacked a camp of Kiowa Indians under Chief Kicking Bird. The Indians had crossed the Red River into Texas and terrorized white settlers across Wichita, Archer, Young, and Jack counties. McClellan caught up with them on the Little Wichita River in what is now Archer County. He soon realized that he was outnumbered by two to one, and that the Indians were equipped with Spencer rifles, superior to his equipment. His men were attacked from all sides, and three died during a retreat. After cowboys from the Terrell Ranch and twenty troopers reinforced McClellan, Kicking Bird broke off the engagement. In his report McClellan praised Kicking Bird's generalship and called for larger forces to protect the frontier. This was the last time Kicking Bird was ever involved in hostilities. He dedicated the rest of his life to establishing better relations between the Kiowas and the whites.

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