Lieut John Lawrence Grattan

Lieut John Lawrence Grattan

Topsham Four Corners, Orange County, Vermont, USA
Death 17 Aug 1854 (aged 24)
Fort Laramie, Goshen County, Wyoming, USA
Burial Fort Leavenworth, Leavenworth County, Kansas, USA
Plot Section A, site 290
Memorial ID 14753772 · View Source
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United States Army Officer. On August 17, 1854, he and 28 of his men were killed by Lakota warriors on the plains near Fort Laramie, Wyoming in an affair that became known as the Grattan Massacre. In later years it was also recognized as the first shots fired in a war that lasted over 36 years with the Cheyenne and Lakota. The death of Grattan and his men originated over the killing of a cow belonging to an Oregon Trail immigrant by a Lakota named High Forehead. The acting commander of Fort Laramie, Lieutenant Hugh Fleming, refused offers of restituation by Chief Conquering Bear. Fleming demanded the arrest of High Forehead, which Conquering Bear was unable to comply with. The next day Fleming ordered Grattan to visit the nearby Lakota campsites and arrest High Forehead. Twenty-nine infantrymen, two artillery pieces and an interpreter accompanied Grattan. Though several chiefs attempted to peacefully resolve the matter, Grattan, a recent West Point graduate with no experience in dealing with Native Americans, remained firm in his demands that High Forehead be turned over. During negotiations the situation escalated and shots were fired, with the soldiers mortally wounding Conquering Bear. Enraged over the attack, the Lakota retaliated. Greatly outnumbered, Grattan was killed almost immediately. His men panicked and attempted to flee. All of the soldiers except one were killed. The survivor, though seriously wounded, was able to return to Fort Laramie with news of the attack.

Bio by: Randy


To the memory of
Who was killed
in an engagement
with the Sioux Indians near
Fort Laramie, N.T.
August 19, 1854



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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Randy
  • Added: 27 Jun 2006
  • Find a Grave Memorial 14753772
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Lieut John Lawrence Grattan (1 Jun 1830–17 Aug 1854), Find a Grave Memorial no. 14753772, citing Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery, Fort Leavenworth, Leavenworth County, Kansas, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .