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THE INDIAN WAR OF 1858.
In accordance with his custom, Lieutenant-General Winfield
Scott, commanding general of the United States Army, on the
10th of November, 1858, issued General Order No. 22, giving
brief account of the numerous combats with hostile Indians
throughout the Western States and Territories during the year
before. Four of the affairs were in Washington Territory, the
first being the unfortunate expedition, north from Fort Walla
Walla, of Lieutenant Colonel E. J. Steptoe; the second the dar-
ing movement of Lieutenant Allen in the Yakima country, when
the captives outnumbered the captors five to one; and the third
and fourth were the wonderful march, battles and successes of
Colonel George Wright, to Spokane, when, without losses of any
kind among those under him, he so punished the Indians that
they never forgot, and never again raised their hands and weap-
ons against the military forces of the United States.
General Scott's brief narration of these operations follows :
XI. May 16, 1858. — At To-hots-nim-me, Washington Terri-
tory, companies C, E and H, 1st dragoons, and E, 9th infantry —
aggregate J 59 — were attacked and overpowered by some twelve
hundred of the Spokan, Pelouse, Coeur d'Alene, Yakima, and
other Indian tribes. This unequal contest, which did not result
in our favor, nevertheless furnished many instances of personal
bravery and heroism which must not be lost. It was, moreover,
marked by the loss of the tried, gallant and distinguished Brevet
Captain O. H. P. Taylor, and of that most gallant and promising
young officer 2d Lieutenant Wm. Gaston, both of the 1st dra-
The following non-commissioned officers and privates are
mentioned for their conspicuously gallant conduct:
Company C, 1st dragoons. — 1st Sergeant J. A. Hall; bugler
R. A. Magan ; farrier E. R. Birch ; privates R. S. Montague,
Alfred Barnes killed ; Victor C. DeMay mortally wounded, (since
Company E, 1st dragoons. — 1st Sergeant William C. Williams
mortally wounded, since dead; private R. P. Kerse, "who, with
a few others, gallantly defended the body of Brevet Captain
Taylor (lying mortally wounded) when the Indians made a des-
perate charge to get possession of it."
Company H, 1st dragoons. — 1st Sergeant Edward Ball, who
displayed the greatest courage and determination throughout
238 Thomas W. Prosch
the action, and with a few men repulsed the attempt of a large
number of Indians at one of the most important points ; privates
Frances Poisell, who assisted in rescuing and bearing off Captain
Taylor under a heavy fire from the enemy; C. H. Harnish and
James Crozet, company H, ist dragoons, (both killed).
In addition to those mentioned above, the following were
Company C, ist dragoons. — Privates James Lynch and Hen-
Company E, ist dragoons. — James Kelly (severely,) William
D. Micon, Hariet Sneckster (severely,) James Healy, Maurice
Henley, Charles Hughes, and John Mitchell.
Company E, 9th infantry. — Privates Ormond W. Hammond
(severely,) and John Klay and Gotlieb Berger (slightly.)
XII. August 15, 1858. — A party of fifteen mounted men,
commanded by 2d Lieutenant Jesse K. Allen, 9th infantry, sent
out by Major Garnett, of that regiment, from the Yakima ex-
pedition, surprised a camp of hostile Indians on the upper Yaki-
ma river, Washington Territory, capturing 21 men, about 50
women and children, 70 horses, 15 head of cattle, and a quantity
of other Indian property.
The success was dearly bought, for the gallant young leader
lost his life, and the service one of its most valuable, zealous,
and faithful officers.
XIV. September 1, 1858. — The expedition under Colonel
Wright, 9th infantry, composed of companies C, E, H and I,
ist dragoons; A, B, G, K and M, 3d artillery; and B and E, 9th
infantry — aggregate five hundred and seventy — with a company
of thirty Nez Perces Indians, marched from fort Walla- Walla
on the 7th and 15th of August; crossed Snake river on the 25th
and 26th ; established a post at the crossing, which was left in
charge of Bvt. Major Wyse and his company D, 3d artillery;
and after a march of nearly a hundred miles mostly over a for-
bidding country, during which they were twice attacked, came
upon a large body of united Spokan, Coeur d'Alene and Pelouse
Indians, of which some four hundred were mounted.
After securing his baggage and supplies by leaving them
under the guard of company M, 3d artillery, with a mountain
howitzer and a detachment of fifty-four men, commanded by
lieutenants H. G. Gibson, G. B. Dandy and Lyon, the whole
under Captain Hardie, 3d artillery, Colonel Wright moved with
the rest of his force against the Indians, who had taken pos-
session of a high hill and an adjoining wood and awaited his
attack. They were driven by the foot troops from both their
positions into the plain, and then charged and utterly routed
by the dragoons, with a loss of some seventeen killed and many
The troops sustained no loss in either killed or wounded.
Colonel Wright mentions the following as entitled to credit
for their coolness and gallantry:
The Indian War of 1858 239
Bvt. Major Grier, 1st dragoons; Captain Keyes, 3d artillery;
Captain Dent, 9th infantry; 1st Lieutenant Mullan, 2d artillery,
acting as topographical engineer and commanding the friendly
Nez Perces; 1st Lieutenant P. A. Owen, 9th infantry, acting
assistant adjutant general; Captain Kirkham, assistant quarter-
master; and Assistant Surgeon J. F. Hammond, medical de-
The following are also mentioned as having been highly
commended by their immediate commanders:
Medical Department. — Assistant Surgeon Randolph.
1st Dragoons. — Lieutenants Davidson, Pender, and 2d Lieut.
1st Sergeant James A. Hall; Sergeants Bernard Korton and
Patrick Byrne; bugler Robert A. Magan; and privates James
Kearney and Michael Meara, company C.
1st Sergeant C. Goetz; Sergeant J. F. Maguire; and privates
J. G. Tfimbell, J. Buckley, Wm. Ramage, and T. W. Smith,
1st Sergeant E. Ball; Sergeant M. M. Walker; and bugler
Jacob Muller, company H.
1st Sergeant W. H, Ingerton, and Sergeant William Davis,
3d Artillery. — 1st Lieutenants Tyler, White and Ihrie, and
2d Lieutenant Kip.
9th Infantry. — Captain Winder and Lieutenant Fleming.
Nez Perces. — Hutes-E-Mah-li-kan, Captain John Edward, and
XV. September 5 to 15. — Colonel Wright, 9th infantry, after
defeating the united hostile tribes at the Four Lakes, in Wash-
ington Territory, on the 1st, (as noticed above, par. XIV,) con-
tinued to advance in the Indian country with the same force, and
on the 5th of September was again met by the Spokan, Pelouse,
and Coeur d'Alene Indians, who had been joined by the Pend
After a continuous conflict of seven hours, over a distance
of fourteen miles, and a fatiguing march, in all, of twenty-five,
the Indians were completely routed, with the loss of two chiefs,
two brothers of the Chief Garey, and many others of lesser note
killed or wounded. The troops had but one man — name not
given — wounded, and he but slightly.
Colonel Wright bears witness to the zeal, energy, persever-
ance and gallantry of his officers and men. He especially men-
tions the following:
Brevet Major Grier, 1st dragoons, commanding squadron;
Captain Keyes, 3d artillery, commanding artillery battalion, act-
ing as infantry; Captain Winder and Lieutenant Fleming, 9th
infantry, detached to support the howitzer battery; First Lieu-
tenant and Adjutant Owen, 9th infantry, acting assistant ad-
240 Thomas W. Prosch
jutant general; Captain Kirkham, assistant quartermaster; As-
sistant Surgeons J. F. Hammond and J. F. Randolph ; and First
Lieutenant J. Mullan, 2d artillery, acting as engineer officer and
commanding the friendly Indians.
The following officers are spoken of in the highest terms by
their several immediate commanders, viz.:
ist dragoons. — Lieutenant Pender.
3d artillery. — Company K, Captain E. O. C. Ord and Lieu-
tenant Morgan; company G, Captain J. A. Hardie and First
Lieutenant Ransom; company M, ist Lieutenant Gibson and 2d
Lieutenant Dandy; company A, ist Lieutenant Tyler and 2d
First Lieutenant White, commanding howitzer battery, com-
posed of a detachment from company D, 3d artillery, and Second
Lieutenant Kip, adjutant of Keyes' battalion.
Captain Dent, 9th infantry, with his company B, and First
Lieutenant Davidson, ist dragoons, commanding company E,
together with the friendly Nez Perces, guarded the train ef-
After resting on the 6th, Colonel Wright continued his pur-
suit of the Indians through their country, arriving at the Coeur
d'Alene Mission on the 15th of September. During this march
he had a skirmish with the enemy on the 8th of September, took
from them some 900 horses, a large number of cattle, with quan-
tities of wheat, oats, roots, &c. ; all of which were converted to
the use of the troops or destroyed.
Those severe blows resulted in the unqualified submission of
the Coeur d'Alenes, the dispersion of the other tribes, and it is
not doubted, ere this, in the subjugation of the whole alliance.
Results so important, without the loss of a man or animal,
gained over tribes brave, well armed, confident in themselves
from a recent accidental success, and aided by the many difficul-
ties presented by the country invaded, reflect high credit on all
Colonel Wright is much to be commended for the zeal, perse-
verance, and gallantry he has exhibited.
To Brigadier General Clarke, commanding the department of
the Pacific, credit is primarily and eminently due for the sound
judgment shown in planning and organizing the campaign, (in-
cluding Major Garnett's simultaneous expedition,) as well as for
his promptness and energy in gathering, from remote points in
his extended command, the forces, supplies, &c, necessary for
its successful prosecution. In this merited tribute to the Gen-
eral his staff is included.
THOMAS W. PROSCH.