The Grattan Fight/The First Sioux War from 8 Times Wars Weirdly Started (Or Almost Started) Over Food (Slideshow)

8 Times Wars Weirdly Started (Or Almost Started) Over Food (Slideshow)

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The Grattan Fight/The First Sioux War

On August 17, 1854, a cow belonging to a Mormon traveling on the Oregon Trail strayed and was killed and eaten by a member of the Miniconjou tribe (a subdivision of the Lakota Sioux) near Fort Laramie, in what is now Wyoming. Instead of waiting for a local Indian Agent to settle the dispute (as per regulations of the Treaty of 1851), a trigger-happy recent graduate of West Point, Lt. John Lawrence Grattan, brought 28 soldiers to confront the local Sioux, who was hosting the visiting Miniconjou, and demand that the miscreant be delivered to them. Discussions quickly escalated, and a jumpy soldier fired his gun, mortally wounding the tribal chief. The Sioux attacked, killing all 29 soldiers. The First Sioux War, which ensued, lasted for two years, but some historians suggest that almost a quarter of a century of battles between local tribes and the U.S. military were set off by the Grattan incident.