Though not in Kansas, Beecher Island and the battle that was fought there represented another failed attempt to remedy the "Indian problem." Gen. Sheridan frustrated by the uncontrollable marauding tribes of the western Kansas plains, decided to form a well-equipped, small detachment of civilian volunteers to pursue and punish the Indians wherever encountered. The theory was that a smaller force of men, without all of the trappings of a cavalry unit, could move swiftly and follow the Indians until captured or destroyed. This led to the establishment of a 52 man unit led by Major George A. Forsyth and Lt. Beecher.
The photo above was taken in northeast Colorado near the Kansas border, at the intersection of highway 36 and a gravel road leading to the battle site. Though Beecher island can be approached from the north along a gravel road intersecting highway 385, this route is not marked.
After traversing several miles of gravel county road, the road becomes paved as it dips into the valley of the Arickaree River. In this picture, Beecher Island would be to the right. The road continues in the distance up the rather steep northern slope of the valley where the Indian women and children watched the battle.
On the north side of the river, a well marked path leads to the monument. This is reported to be the area where the Indian women and children watched the battle on the first day.
View towards Beecher Island from "Squaw Hill." The exact location of the island can not be made from this view, since at the time of the battle, only one cottonwood tree was present in the riverbed at the foot of the island. Now, as can be seen, the entire riverbed is full of trees. The grass in the gentle sloping plain towards the river has been kept short by the cattle grazing the area.
The river bottom, looking east, or downstream. Somewhere in this direction should be the actual location of the island.