Silas Soule was born in 1838 in Maine to a family deeply involved in abolition. His father, Amasa, was volunteered to go to Kansas to help with the cause during the period known as "Bleeding Kansas." Silas rode on missions with the Underground Railroad, transporting escaped slaves northward to freedom. He later travelled to Virginia to help attempt to free two men who took part in John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry.
1861 saw Silas head to Colorado as part of a gold rush. With the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted as a lieutenant in the Union Army, taking part in the little known but important Battle of the Glorietta Pass in New Mexico. This battle blunted a Confederate invasion from getting at the gold fields of Colorado and California.
He rose through the ranks to Captain in the First Colorado Cavalry. This unit became involved in the chaos that arose in 1864 between the Native American tribes and the army, spilling over to affecting the settlers in the territory. After several scares and clashes, Governor John Evans created the 3rd Colorado Cavalry from 90 day recruits. Colonel John Chivington took these troops, as well as members of the 1st, to Sand Creek, where they attacked Cheyenne and Arapaho men, women, and children that had surrendered to the Fort Lyons garrison.
A massacre ensued, during which the troops under Silas and Lt. Joseph Cramer refused to participate. All forms of atrocities were visited on the Native Americans, and Chivington boasted of a great victory in his reports. However, rumors abounded and several investigations occurred. Silas was first inline to testify at the military hearing. He detailed the horrors of that day.
Silas was given provost marshal duties during this time, and, on the evening of April 23rd, he was shot by a drunken soldier named Charles Squier. Rumors that he was assisinated abounded. The reality is it was most likely a case of a policeman being killed in the line of duty. Silas Soule left a legacy of moral courage in his twenty-six years, and his story is an inspirational one.