| As a result of the victory
over Captain Fetterman, Red Cloud became the Sioux nation's leading
war chief. As the spring of 1867 passed, the chief assembled 3,000
warriors, the flower of the Sioux, and armed them with rifles and
carbines captured from Fetterman's men.
As Red Cloud was preparing to attack Fort Phil Kearney, the post
sent out a wood-cutting team of civilians with a guard detail commanded
by Captain James Powell. The detail set up two camps: one in the
timber and one a mile away on the open plain where Captain Powell
arranged the wagon boxes end to end in an oval for defensive purposes.
Fighting began early on the morning of August 2, 1867, with the
Indians attacking the camp in the woods. Powell and his men at the
wagon-box corral drew the fire of the Sioux so the wood party could
reach the fort. Powell's force of 32, equipped with the revolutionary
Springfield breech-loading rifles--unknown to the Sioux--withstood
repeated attacks and killed over 1,100 warriers, the most overwhelming
victory of the U.S. Army over the Indians.