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Chivington, John Milton

Chivington, John Milton, 1821–92, Union general in the American Civil War, b. Lebanon, Ohio. Ordained a Methodist minister (1844), he served in Missouri and Nebraska before moving to Denver as presiding elder (1860–62) of the Rocky Mountain District. When the Civil War broke out, Chivington was commissioned a major in the 1st Colorado Volunteers. In 1862 his troops forced the Confederate retreat after the battle of Glorietta Pass by destroying the enemy supply train he was made a colonel later that year. Politically ambitious and an advocate of Colorado statehood, Chivington opposed signing any treaty with the Cheyenne and in 1864 led an attack on Black Kettle's peaceful band at Sand Creek, brutally massacring hundreds. Initially acclaimed a victory, the attack was later denounced by an army investigation. Chivington had resigned his commission and could not be prosecuted, but his political career was ruined.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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