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I Mil U W WMS 




THE YAKIMA WAR, 1853-56 






Copyright, 1953, 631 Ray Hoard Glassley 

Pnnted and bound in the United States of America, 

The Metropolitan Press, Portland, Oregon 



THE author gratefully acknowledges many sources of aid in the 
preparation of this history. The staffs of the Oregon Historical 
Society Library and the Portland Library Association have al- 
ways been cooperative and helpful. Professor Alfred Powers of 
the Portland State Extension Center has been generous in ad- 
vising me about the organization of the material and the style 
of the text. Particular gratitude is expressed to Mrs. Donald 
Stewart of Vancouver, Washington, for the loan of family docu- 
ments. Mrs. Stewart is the daughter of the late John W. Red- 
ington, who in his young manhood, was a scout with the Federal 
troops through three of the wars and who left a wealth of first- 
hand material which added much new detail to previously 
published accounts of these conflicts. Alfred B. Meacham, a 
Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Oregon and Chairman of 
the Peace Commission to the Modocs was the maternal grand- 
father of Mrs. Stewart. In a few instances the Indians of today, 
descendants of those who participated in some of the wars, have 
been willing to enlighten me from their points of view. To all 
of whom real thanks is expressed. 

Portland, Oregon, 


THE last of the Indian wars of the Pacific Northwest was fought 
barely three-quarters of a century ago. People still living have 
childhood recollections of those perilous days. Those wars have 
been adequately recorded, either separately or geographically by 
States as well as in the general histories. However, no one has 
heretofore compiled the story of all of them into a single history. 

The period from the early 1840's to 1879 was filled with 
danger and death from the warring tribes and is replete with the 
struggles incident to the settlement of new territory. Blame for 
hostilities did not always rest with the Indians. 

These struggles brought out the best and the worst traits in 
men, white and Indian alike. Their history is sometimes 
poignant, sometimes tragic, and occasionally humorous. The 
author hopes that his factual story will prove to be interesting 
reading as well as helpful to those seeking an authentic record. 

An appendix is supplied which explains the ethnology of the 
various tribes, their customs and characteristics. The reader may 
find it helpful to review the appendix before starting to absorb 
the text of the history itself. 

Portland, Oregon, 





The Fighting Starts. 18 

A Change in Commanders 31 



Violent Battles 53 

Incidents Coincidental and Following. 56 

Bloody 1855 79 

The Last Months of Conflict 90 


Part of the General Unrest 109 

Affairs Other than Major Rains' Expedition 116 

The Winter of 1855-1856 123 

Indian Troubles of Puget Sound .: 126 

Colonel Wright with his Regulars 130 


Or, The Final Phase of the Yakima War. 143 


The War in the Lava Beds. 169 

The Next Three Months 172 

The Commissioners Go to the Tent 182 

Modoc Background for the Murders. 188 

The Warm Springs Indian Scouts Arrive 190 

Some Incidents Preceding the Trial 200 

The Trial 202 

The Execution 204 


The Great Trek 216 

The Battle of the Big Horn 217 





INDEX 257 



INDIAN warfare was something based on surprise. Except in ma- 
jor battles it was a procedure of sneak and attack. It was a pro- 
cess of attrition which followed a general pattern. Almost never 
did an attack occur at night, dawn being the favored time. Of 
course it brought tragedy in many forms, occasionally amusing 
incidents, and much wasted effort in futile pursuit. 'It was a 
hodge-podge of stealth, noise, disorganization and military 

Until 1842 the few settlers in the lower Columbia 'and Wil- 
lamette Valleys had been spared Indian warfare. The advent of 
white people had not reached the point at which the 'native 
tribes feared appropriation of the/ lands. True, there had been 
incidents around the borders of the roughly defined Oregon 
Country resulting in the killing of white men, but these had 
robbery for the motive rather than that' of excluding whites from 
the territory. 

In 1828 a party under Jedediah Smith of the Rocky Mountain 
Fur Company, coming up the coast from California,- was at- 
tacked at a crossing of the Umpqua River near present day 
Scottsburg. Of the 13 men in the group nine were killed and all 
furs stolen. The other four eventually reached the settlements, 
Smith arriving at the Hudson's Bay Company post at Vancouver 
and wintering there. When weather permitted, the Hudson's 
Bay Company sent a punitive expedition against the murderers 
and regained most of the furs. Another of the four was John 
Turner, who, upon his second entrance into Oregon, underwent 
a duplicate of his 1828 experience, this time when crossing the 
Rogue River. In that encounter four men were killed but Turner 
again escaped. He, with two others, George Gay and William J. 
Bailey, reached Fort Vancouver and the fourth found safety on 
Sauvie Island. Smith was killed by an Indian arrow in May, 1831, 
on the Cimarron River in the Great Plains 'country. 

Also in 1837 a cattle company headed by Ewing Young went to 
California to bring livestock back to Orfcgoh; - Turner, Gay and 
Bailey were members of Young's group. These thi*ee men longed 
for vengeance and upbft the return journey and four days before 
reaching the Rogu^River, Gay and Bailey shot an'' Indian and 
threatened an Indian Voy. Of course that circumstance called for 


2 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

reprisal. In spite of a double guard the Indians attacked. Young's 
horse was killed and Gay was wounded but guns were more 
powerful than bows and arrows and the Indians fled. 

There were two reasons for the peaceful conditions among the 
colonists in the Columbia and Willamette Valleys. First, the 
Hudson's Bay Company knew how to control Indians. The na- 
tives wanted to trade and that was possible under Company 
regulations only if the Indians remained at peace. True, the 
British at Fort Vancouver flogged natives who committed depreda- 
tions and made it a point to apprehend such culprits to the de- 
gree that capture and punishment were sure. Indians had a 
higher regard for the British than for the Americans because the 
former did not work in their fields but utilized native labor, 
while even the American missionaries toiled hard and long at 
their crops. Indians looked on with contempt because with them 
labor was performed by their women or their slaves. Then, too, 
Americans often caused trouble by unprovoked attacks on the 
natives, which was not true of the British. That fact is amply 
proved by resultant wars in United States territory, whereas 
Western Canada never suffered from similar occurrences. 

The second reason for the safety of the early settlers lay in the 
fact that disease had greatly weakened the tribes of the two val- 
leys, though to the north, south, and east there were strong hos- 
tiles who usually staid in their own territories, attacking only the 
travelers who were passing through, if at all. Peripatetic Ameri- 
can traders heightened the dangers by furnishing liquor to the 

Gradually settlement extended to the middle reaches of the 
Columbia River Valley and the natives began to chafe at the 
intrusion of the settlers. Marcus Whitman established his mission 
at Waiilatpu, near Walla Walla, and Reverend Henry H. Spald- 
ing engaged in similar activity not far away at Lapwai. Travelers 
and prospective colonists stopped at such places and the Indians 
became aware of the increasing infiltration of whites. Reverend 
Samuel Parker, another missionary, promised the tribes that 
they would be paid for land settled by the "Bostons," which was 
the term applied to Americans. In fact, many similar promises 
were made based largely upon hope that a procrastinating Fed- 
eral Congress would do something about it. When payment was 
not forthcoming, scattered settlers were ordered off the lands. 
Some of them left, others staid, often to take the consequences 
of loss, or property damage, or worse. Occasionally someone was 
permitted to remain as was the case with Reverend Spalding, 

The Kettle Boils 3 

for whom the Indians had some regard. But unrest was increas- 
ing and suspicion filled the air. 

In 1842 Dr. Elijah White, who was Government Agent, se- 
cured the agreement of the Nez Perce Indians to a* code of 
regulations and the following spring the Cayuses also agreed. 
Such accomplishments were helpful in that they postponed hos- 
tilities until the white population had increased. 

Chief Cockstock was head of a Wascopum or Dalles Indian 
tribe. He was a trouble rouser, quarrelsome and arrogant. In 1844 
he staged a series of depredations at Oregon City and its sur- 
rounding localities which caused Government Agent White to 
offer a reward of $100 for the Chiefs capture. Part of the offer 
included a provision that when captured he would be tried by 
either the Cayuses or the Nez Perces according to Indian law. 
However, in attempting the capture Chief Cockstock was killed 
and two white men died of wounds from poisoned arrows. The 
Indians had several ways for poisoning their arrows but the gen- 
eral practice was as follows: A rattlesnake would be captured and 
tethered to a stake; then the liver of a deer or a bison would be 
fastened to a stick and the liver thrust toward the snake; the 
rattler would sink his fangs into the liver impregnating it with 
.its venom. This process would be repeated two or three times 
until the supply of venom was exhausted; then the arrowheads 
would be stuck into the liver and the moist film on them per- 
mitted to dry. Thus when a person was wounded the wound 
would be infected by the arrow. 

All Indian troubles were not generated by Indians. Often 
white men were over-willing to take advantage of the natives. 
Such a policy was short-sighted for retaliation was the inevitable 

A band of Indians living on the Tualatin Plains killed an old 
ox for food. White men in the neighborhood compelled them 
to give eight horses and a rifle as compensation. 

A group of Indians from the country near Whitman's Mission 
formed an expedition to California for the purpose of buying 
cattle. Enroute they were stopped by a gang of California bandits. 
A fight ensued at the end of which the Indians had captured 22 
horses from the highwaymen. When the Indians reached the set- 
tlements the horses were claimed by white men who alleged that 
the horses had been stolen from them. The Indians argued their 
right of ownership under the circumstances; the whites used poor 
judgment, and in the end a young chief was killed. Many Am- 
ericans considered the Indians legitimate targets for superior 

4 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

arms or numbers, and that attitude was eventually to cost dearly. 

In 1846 Jesse Applegate headed a surveying party of 15 men 
for the purpose of determining the probability of a good right- 
of-way for building a road to serve Southwestern Oregon and 
the entire Willamette Valley, and culminating at Ft. Hall in 
what is now Idaho. In the course of their survey they met a large 
party which two weeks earlier had suffered the loss of their horses 
to thieving Indians at the Rogue River. That was a common 
practice of the Rogues as well as with the Klamaths and the 
Modocs, who often waylaid travelers. This incident led to re- 
taliation in the course of which several Indians and two white 
men were killed. 

The Spectator, published at Oregon City, in its issue of No- 
vember 26, 1846, recited the story of an attack by Klamath In- 
dians on an emigrant train northbound from California, in which 
two white men were killed and another wounded. 

The pyramiding of incidents, provoked and unprovoked, 
throughout the Oregon Country, advanced the day when formal 
armed conflict ensued. To these episodes must be added a second 
reference to the sale of hard liquor to Indians. For some patholog- 
ical reason Indians could not absorb alcohol. Temperance so- 
cieties were formed and laws were passed prohibiting the sale 
of liquor to the natives. 

In 1846 the boundary between British territory and the United 
States was fixed but that circumstance had no influence on the 
natives except for the remote effect of Indian preference for the 
British. However, the United States Government had done 
nothing to aid or protect its settlers. Assistance had long been 
sought and it might be well, perhaps, to review that situation in 
the light of its impact on both natives and settlers. 

In 1820 Congressman John Buchanan Floyd had presented a 
bill in Congress calling for the occupation of the Columbia 
River country. His bill was promptly and ably sponsored in the 
Senate by Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri, who was always the 
unwavering advocate of the needs and rights of Oregon. But 
Southern Congressmen ridiculed the bill, and knowing nothing 
about the Oregon country, minimized its importance by saying 
that the only section fit for Occupancy was a narrow strip along 
the seacoast; that all the rest was either mountain or desert. 
The bill passed. 

In 1823 Senator Baylies of Massachusetts announced as his con- 
viction that the natural boundary of the United States was the 
Pacific Ocean. That- same year a group of 80 farmers and crafts- 

The Kettle Boils 5 

men of Maryland sent a petition to Congress asking it to pass 
legislation causing the occupation of the Oregon Country so 
that they might migrate. The Maryland petitioners were fol- 
lowed by a group of 3000 from Massachusetts who likewise 
memoralized Congress. Another petition came from Louisiana, 
those people asking for a grant of forty square miles in Oregon 
where they might settle. But Kentucky's Breckenridge laid down 
the dictum that migration should be suppressed. 

Two more years passed, then the ubiquitous subject came up 
again. This time Senator Dickerson of New Jersey said that the 
United States had never adopted a system of colonization and 
that he hoped it never would. He then followed that statement 
with another reciting that Oregon could never become one of 
the United States. 

Many, many other Congressmen had their respective turns 
either for or against acquisition. The years dragged on. Mission- 
aries came to Oregon expecting United States occupation. Settlers 
began trekking the long trail firm in their belief that it would 
not be a great while until their new homes would be a part of 
the United States. Even the Indians learned of the probability 
and expected that result. 

More long years passed until, in 1839, Senator Lewis F. Linn, 
junior senator from Missouri, introduced a bill calling for the 
occupation of the Columbia River territory, coupled with a plea 
for grants of land to settlers as suggested by the missionary 
Jason Lee. Immediately half the members of Congress presented 
objections. Many wanted to know what the United States wanted 
with a territory so far away. But Ben ton was there to aid his 
younger colleague and with his traditional eloquence said, "Is it 
demanded what do we want with this country so far from us? I 
answer by asking in my turn 'What do the British want with it, 
who are so much farther off?' They want it for the fur trade; for 
a colony; for an outlet to the sea; for communication across the 
continent; for a road to Asia." He continued with the defense of 
Oregon and ended his speech with further reference to Britain, 
saying, "to command the commerce of the North Pacific Ocean 
and open new channels of trade with China, Japan, and Poly- 
nesia, and with the great East. They want it for these reasons 
and we want it for the same; because it adjoins us, belongs to us, 
and should be possessed by our descendants." The argument con- 
tinued without decision. American newspapers ridiculed the idea 
of colonizing Oregon, one of them calling it "the maddest enter- 
prise that has ever deluded foolish man." But when the British 

6 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

press said it could not and would never be done, the American 
public and its Congress bristled with the old "show me" attitude. 

In the midst of all this debate Senator Linn died, but his effort 
had already produced its first fruits. The good fight had been won 
whether Oregon's opponents knew it or not. As a corollary, the 
boundary question became a major issue and President James K. 
Polk was elected on the campaign slogan of "54-40 or fight," by 
which he demanded all of Oregon northward to latitude 54 de- 
grees 40 minutes. Then, in 1846 as stated, the boundary was fixed 
by treaty at the 49th parallel. But that year and the next were to 
pass without the advent of United States troops or the building 
of forts to protect the territory and its increasing immigration. 
Of course the Mexican War was in progress and while troops 
had been recruited for service in the Oregon Country, they were 
sent instead to Mexico. The fact that war had been declared 
against Mexico was unknown to the officials of the provisional 
government in Oregon for a long time after the event, else there 
might have been less disquietude in the Pacific Northwest. 

In 1847 5000 people crossed the plains from Missouri to the 
Oregon Country, which under the Provisional Government, in- 
cluded present day Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, with an 
indefinite overlap into Western Montana. These immigrants 
brought their flocks and herds, they crossed rivers on rafts made 
from the beds of their wagons. Where important cities stand to* 
day, herds of buffalo made the earth tremble. The settlers brought 
Durham cattle, Saxony sheep, and Kentucky horses; merchandise 
for the first store at Salem, Oregon, and several stocks of goods 
for Oregon City merchants. They brought peach pits, originating 
the Cox cling peach, first produced in Oregon, then in California; 
seed potatoes for the famous Dimick potato. Henderson Luelling 
brought 700 fruit tree sprouts planted in soil carried in the beds of 
his covered wagons. There was a bushel of apple-seed and a half- 
bushel of pear-seed. The wagon trains trampled the Cayuse 
grazing lands, burned the Indians' fuel, killed their game, and 
worst of all, brought epidemics of measles, dysentery, and fever. 
Yes, the Indians were disturbed and grew increasingly nervous. 

There were many American hot-bloods who were unnecessarily 
cruel to natives. They failed to keep promises made to the In- 
dians, engaged in unprovoked killings, and meted out self-de- 
termined punishments of various kinds. It was likewise true of 
the Indians that some of them a few who were in authority but 
mostly young braves who wanted to make heroes of themselves 
were ruthless in their treatment of immigrants and settlers. The 

The Kettle Boils 7 

blame for overt acts did not rest with one side alone. Of course, 
it was a fact that some Indians were thieves by nature. But there 
were also numerous exceptions among individuals, and an oc- 
casional tribe, such as the Flatheads or Nez Perces, were both 
honest and brave. Many chiefs wanted peace and fairness, as did 
most of the territorial leaders. 

George Abernethy, Governor of the Provisional Territory, on 
December 10, 1846, sent a message to the legislative assembly, sug- 
gesting, among other things, that consideration be given to sur- 
veying the boundaries of Indian villages for the purpose of 
preventing white men from encroaching. He pointed out that 
"the Indians inhabited these villages previous to our arrival, and 
should be protected by us." 

In its issue of March 4, 1847, the Spectator reported the kill- 
ing of a Mr. Newton by Indians in the Umpqua country and 
several instances of horse stealing by the natives. On May 27, the 
same newspaper in an editorial by George L. Curry, then editor, 
blamed "ardent spirits" as the chief cause of some Indian disturb- 
ances "near the mouth of the Luckamute River" (the Luckiamute, 
north of Albany, Oregon) . Curry said "they have been destroying 
cattle on Tualatin Plains, they are in trouble with the settlers, 
and here in our midst we are uncommoded by them, indeed 
recently at the Clackamas a citizen was fired upon by one of these 
people." His editorial went on to blame liquor and called for the 
enforcement of the laws enacted to prevent the sale of intoxicants 
to Indians. 

Also in the same issue, there was a significant announcement 
in the editorial columns which read, "EXPLORING COMPANY We 
are requested to state that the company to explore the Clamet 
and Rogue River valleys will rendezvous at the Jefferson Insti- 
tute, on the Rickreall, and positively start the I Oth of June next, 
provided twenty men can be raised for the expedition. We are 
informed that General Gilliam, Colonel Ford, Major Thorpe, 
and W. G. T'Vault, Esq. are using their exertions to raise the 
company and will accompany it should it start." 

On July 22, 1847, the Spectator published a letter from David 
Ingalls, dated June 18th, from Clatsop Plains, telling of the kill- 
ing of one Ramsey by Indians and their threats to kill two or 
three others. According to the letter the cause of this crime was 
superinduced by liquor, sold to the Indians by George T. Greer, 
who was said to be buying quantities of salmon from the natives 
and furthering his success by plying his customers with liquor, 
and daring anyone to do anything about it. A sheriff's posse was 

8 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

formed to arrest Greer, which was only accomplished after 
pursuit in canoes and a tilt on the water during which Greer 
tried to dump his would-be captors into the water. 

Editor Curry wrote an open letter to his paper, which was pub- 
lished in the edition of September 2nd. The missive told of a 
fight between immigrants and Shutes Indians. These were Was- 
copams, sometimes called DesChutes Indians. According to Curry, 
one white man was killed and one wounded, the Indians losing 
a chief killed and several warriors wounded, whereupon the 
whites ignominiously fled. Curry blamed the immigrants for 
starting the trouble. 

The seeds of war were germinating. 

Then occurred the Whitman Massacre at Waiilatpu Mission 
near modern Walla Walla, on November 29 and 30, 1847. It was 
the last straw, and precipitated immediate preparations for war. 

Marcus Whitman had known of his danger but had relied upon 
the ultimate arrival of Federal troops. 

Whitman, then 45 years of age, was not a minister of the gos- 
pel, though a deeply religious man. He was a doctor of medicine 
with several years of practice when his interest in the Oregon 
Country was first aroused. He was a rugged man. In later years he 
was characterized by Elizabeth Sager, who, with the other Sager 
children had been adopted by the Whitmans, in these words: 
"Father Whitman was a very determined man." It may be said 
without discredit to him that this trait of determination amount- 
ed to stubbornness. 

He had first been excited by the account of the arrival in St. 
Louis of four Nez Perce Indians in search of the "white man's 
book of heaven." He pondered that news as he rode at night 
about the countryside in response to his medical calls. He was 
stirred by talk of the strange frontiers of the Far West and im- 
pelled by the good he might do. 

Early in 1835 he joined with Reverend Samuel L. Parker, a 
missionary-money-raiser, in a journey to the Pacific Northwest. 
Whitman was gone for ten months, returning in December by 
way of St. Louis. Parker, who was aging, remained with the Nez 
Perces. With Whitman on his return journey were two sons of 
Nez Perce chiefs, given the palaface names of Richard and John. 

Whitman always walked at an easy gait with his shoulders 
slumped, and ever gave the appearance of restlessness which was 
probably due to his boundless energy. 

His wife, Narcissa Prentiss Whitman, six years younger than 
himself, had been a school teacher. She was tall and broad-shoul- 

The Kettle Boils 9 

dered. Her eyes were deep blue, her hair midway between blonde 
and brown, her mouth was wide and full. 

The Whitmans, with Reverend Henry Harmon Spalding and 
his wife Eliza Hart Spalding, came to the Oregon Country late in 
1836. Reverend Spalding was a rejected suitor of Narcissa 
Whitman. He was engaged to her just prior to his westward jour- 
ney with Reverend Parker. Parker had been the emissary of 
Cupid in the romance. Their engagement was motivated by 
the refusal of the American Board of Missions to r ^credit an 
unmarried woman to the mission field in the Far West. That re- 
fusal resulted in her ready acceptance of Marcus, aided and abet- 
ted by Reverend Parker. While the mutual agreement to wed was 
prosaic, their companionship in marriage resulted in one of 
deepest love. 

Both the Nez Perce and the Cayuse tribes wanted the Whit- 
mans to settle among them. It had been planned originally that 
both the Whitmans and the Spaldings would establish the same 
mission but differences in temperament made that arrangement 
undesirable. So Whitman built the mission among the Cayuses, 
leaving the Nez Perces to Spalding. Spalding declared the solu- 
tion to be eminently satisfactory. At the time, however, a Nez 
Perce chief told Whitman that the choice would turn out to be 
bad for the Whitmans. 

At Waiilatpu the Whitmans began their work of medical ser- 
vice to the Indians and religious and academic instruction in their 
school. The mission soon became an important stopping point 
for the caravans of covered wagons headed for the Willamette 

In March, 1837, a daughter, Alice Clarissa, was born to the 
Whitmans. The little girl was drowned in the Walla Walla 
River in June, 1839. 

For several years the mission prospered. Crops were good and 
the mission work made a favorable impression on the Indians. 
The population at the mission gradually increased, among them 
seven orphaned Sager children ranging in age from fourteen 
down to five months. Their father had died from fever after the 
Green River crossing and their mother three weeks later. Other 
members of thfe caravan cared for the children until they reached 
Waiilatpu where the Whitmans adopted all seven. 

However, the white man's caravans brought diseases strange 
to the red men. Measles was particularly bad, probably due to the 
Indian use of sweat houses. These mud and wattle huts were 
almost air-tight. An Indian would enter after filling the hut with 

10 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

steam manufactured by placing heated stones in water. Soon, 
dripping with prespiration, he would rush from the hut and 
jump into the river. The result of such drastic treatment was that; 
the mortality from measles was very high. 

In the fall of 1847 a caravan infested with measles stopped at 
the mission. Most of the immediate population contracted the dis- 
ease, as did the Indians living nearby. Among the people was one 
Joe Lewis, a half-breed who had emigrated from Maine, and an- 
other half-breed, Jacques Finley. Lewis told the Cayuses that Dr. 
Whitman was shrewdly exterminating them by giving them 
poison in the guise of medicine. With as many as five deaths a 
day among the natives, added to the fact that many of the Indians 
were unfriendly to all whites, a plot for a massacre took shape. 

Tiloukait (or Tiloukaike) , war chief of the Cayuses, had al- 
ways been able to hold his braves in check but he had once been 
offended by Narcissa Whitman. When Alice Clarissa was born 
the Chief brought two coyote paws as a present to the little girl, 
saying that the paws had been good medicine for him and would 
be for the baby because the child was a white papoose born in 
Indian country. Narcissa refused the gift and the Chief left in 
great anger. 

His sons, called Clark and Edward, favored the Catholic mis- 
sionaries on the Umatilla River. Five Crows, titular chief of the 
Cayuses, spent his winters at Lapwai attending Reverend Spald- 
ing's school, and wanted very much to be like the white men. 
However, he had a half-brother named Young Chief who was a 
Catholic. There is no evidence that this religious preference had 
any part in the events soon to follow. Clark, Edward, Young 
Chief, and two sub-chiefs, Tamayhas and Tamsucky, together 
with a dozen or so hot-blooded young braves, decided to rely 
upon Joe Lewis' accusations against Dr. Whitman and put an 
end to the mission. 

Marcus had been warned of danger by Reverend Spalding who 
had heard rumors of Indian treachery from Indians whom he had 
befriended. Marcus had heard the same news from Indians 
friendly to him. Marcus told Narcissa and philosophized that if 
anyone was in peril it was he, alone. He promised, however, that 
if the feeling had not subsided by April, they would abandon 
the mission and move to the Willamette Valley. 

On November 29, 1847, several of the Indians, including 
Tamayhas, went to the Whitman dwelling under pretext of 
asking for medicine, and started the attack. Tamayhas struck 
Dr. Whitman twice with a tommyhawk and gunfire started. Nar- 

The Kettle Boils 11 

cissa dragged her husband into the dining room and placed a 
pillow under his head. She then asked if he knew her. He re- 
plied "Yes." Then she asked if there was anything she could do 
to stop the bleeding. He said "No." That was his last word before 

Narcissa went to a window. A bullet struck her in the breast. 
She lived until the next day. Besides Narcissa and Marcus Whit- 
man, eleven men were killed on November 29 and 30, and two 
little girls afflicted with measles, died within a few days. Sev- 
eral of the residents managed to escape in the confusion, but 
five men, eight women, and thirty-four children were held as 
captives. Of course Joe Lewis was not molested. Neither was 
Jacques Finlay. 

Lorinda Bewley, whose parents had yielded to her request and 
that of Narcissa Whitman to spend the winter at the mission, 
was taken to the lodge of Five Crows. This chieftain was deeply 
incensed at the massacre and also much enamoured of Miss 
Bewley. He treated her with utmost respect and offered every 
inducement and concession, even to living among the white peo- 
ple, if she would marry him. She refused and was among those 
ultimatedly rescued. This incident has been interestingly fiction- 
ized in the novel, Shadaw on the Plains, by Alice Greve. 

The tragic circumstances caused public indignation to run 
high. The massacre was the chief topic of conversation and 
provided a real opportunity for the settlers to review their iso- 
lation and the failure of the Federal Government to take notice 
of them. They recalled that, as yet, their national government had 
passed no laws protecting the residents of the Oregon Country; 
that not one gun nor one soldier had been furnished. They re- 
minded themselves of the long, vain effort to secure recognition 
and aid. They told each other of the unending flow of petitions, 
resolutions, bills, and memorials submitted to Congress year after 
year. They hotly debated the rivalries between the missions 
Methodist, Presbyterian, and Catholic. The settlers knew they 
would have to work out their own destiny in the crisis. The sit- 
uation has never been better summarized than by Eva Emery Dye 
when she said, "The United States owes much to its pioneer In- 
dian fighters. They held Oregon Territory in escrow for years." 

On December 8, 1847, Governor George Abernethy told the 
Legislative Assembly of the imminence of Indian war. Decision 
to punish the Whitman murderers was quickly reached. Next day 
the first steps were taken to organize a regiment of volunteer 
riflemen to move against the Cayuse. It was also agreed to ap- 

12 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

point commissioners to treat for peace, contingent upon the sur- 
render of the Waiilatpu criminals. 



THE first affirmative action was the formation of a company of 
about fifty officers and men under the captaincy of Henry A. G. 
Lee. It was to proceed at once to the mission station at The 
Dalles, to hold that place in case of trouble, and to await re- 
inforcements. In less than twenty-four hours the company was 
enroute. On December 10 the Spectator at Oregon City reported* 
editorially that publication of the issue had been delayed until 
the last possible moment in order that it might lay before its 
readers tie most recent news about "the recent melancholy in- 
telligence and the consequences thereof." 

A news item in the same edition told of the formation of the 
rifle company under H. A. G. Lee and said that Editor George L. 
Curry had accompanied Lee so that the Spectator could be fur- 
nished with messenger service bringing news from the front. 
Thus Curry became the first war correspondent in the Pacific 

The same issue contained two letters to Governor Abernethy. 
One was from William McBean, the Hudson's Bay official at 
Fort Nez Perce; the other from James Douglas, one of the Chief 
Factors of Fort Vancouver: These letters acquainted the Pro- 
visional Legislature with the first details of the Whitman mas- 
sacre. The paper also printed the resolution of J. W. Nesmith 
calling for_ military action. 

Such was the condition of the territorial finances that the col- 
ony was in the paradoxical position of being willing to organize 
a punitive expedition but wholly without funds to finance it. 
Actually, the Territorial Government, under the several legis- 
lative bills pertinent to the situation, wanted nothing but to 
bring the murderers and their accomplices to justice. 

Had their early capture or surrender occurred, there would 
have been no war as such. 

Under one of the legislative bills, Commissioners were appoint- 
ed to raise funds for financing the war and included an in- 
struction that they try to borrow from the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany. The officials of that Company, anticipating such a request 


14 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

were in a quandary. They sensed that if they assisted the Am- 
ericans that the wrath of their British superiors might come 
down on their heads. Then, too, such assistance might wreck the 
Company's fur trade with the Indians generally, and the fur 
trade was the reason for the Company's presence in the North- 
west. On the other hand, failure to assist would incur the ill-will 
of the Americans, who might be inspired thereby to make war on 
the British themselves. In that case opinion would favor the Am- 
ericans, since the Hudson's Bay Company would be choosing 
between dollars and the lives of American settlers. The matter 
was resolved in two phases. 

First, the Commissioners were denied supplies for the troops 
on the credit of the Territorial Government, but the personal 
credit of the Commissioners was good and it was pledged to the 
Hudson's Bay Company for necessities to supply Lee's rifle 

The Commissioners also prepared a circular which was dis- 
tributed to all merchants and many other citizens, asking for 
financial assistance toward the war, and they sent a letter in the 
same tenor to Reverend William Roberts, Superintendent of 
the Methodist Mission in 'Oregon. 

On December llth, Governor Abernethy issued an order to 
Lee including the statement that the Indians at The Dalles 
were friendly and that nothing was to be done which would dis- 
turb that frieindship. 

On December 14 the Commissioners made a progress report to 
the Legislative Assembly, announcing their personal pledge of 
$999 to the Hudson's Bay Company, the loan of $1600 from Ore- 
gon City merchants, and the probability of a loan of $1000 from 
Reverend Roberts. Feeling that their work had been accom- 
plished, the Commissioners resigned. In a few days, December 
20, 1847, a new Board of Commissioners was appointed which 
served until the end of the war. These men were A. L. Lovejoy, 
Hugh Burns, and W. H. Willson. 

Here we have a lesson in financing which might well be used 
as an example to many governments of today. With about $4000, 
only a few dollars of which was in actual cash, a regiment of 
over 500 men was equipped and put into service. The period of 
enlistment was to be for ten months, unless the war ended sooner. 
The settlers pledged their wheat, which was the real currency of 
the territory, furnished provisions, arms, ammunition, clothing, 
horses anything which the troops could use. Yet there was never 
enough. And all the time everyone was awaiting the arrival of 

The Cayuse War 15 

United States troops to take over the wartroops which had 
instead gone to Mexico. 

While these matters were transpiring, Jesse Applegate had sent 
a communication to the Legislature urging that a messenger be 
sent to Washington, D. C. to acquaint the Federal Government 
with territorial conditions as they existed and to solicit aid. It 
then became known that Governor Abernethy had, in October, 
sent J. Quinn Thornton as a personal emissary to Washington in 
the interest of the Governor's party, styled the Missionary Party. 
Acting upon Applegate's suggestion, namely that any messenger 
sent to the national capital should be limited to the purpose of 
securing help and should not involve party politics, J. W. 
Nesmith presented a resolution to the Legislative Assembly and 
followed it with a bill providing for the messenger. The bill was 
passed December 15. A committee was appointed to write the 
message and Joseph L. Meek was agreed upon as the messenger. 

Meek did not like some of the provisions of the bill because it 
required him to go east by way of California, and because it re- 
quired him to borrow $500 on the credit of the Oregon Terri- 
torial Government for the purpose of financing the trip. Meek 
had seen how little that credit was worth in the effort to furnish 
Captain Lee's company with supplies. Meek had no better luck. 

Governor Abernethy's reason for wanting the messenger rout- 
ed through California was so that he might seek aid from Gov- 
ernor Mason there. Meek, for his part, wanted to accompany the 
rifle regiment as far as they were going and from that point to 
back-track the immigrant trail east. So he was delayed, and while 
cooling his heels other events of importance were happening. 

On December 14 the Legislature had presented a resolution 
to the Governor asking that he "appoint three persons to proceed 
immediately to Walla Walla and hold a council with the chiefs 
and principal men of the various tribes on the Columbia to 
prevent, if possible, the coalition with the Cayuse tribe in the 
present difficulties," the selection of the men to be left to the 

It is interesting here to record the unanimity of opinion re- 
garding the proper course to be taken. In spite of the universal 
demand for punishment of the Whitman murderers, the settlers 
did not want a general Indian war and there were, of course, 
many good reasons for that attitude. Such a conflict would mean 
widespread killings and horrors, a halt to colonization, inability 
to fully harvest the next season's crops, a war debt with but little 
means for meeting it, and general economic disturbance. Bishop 

16 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

Blanchet of the Catholic Mission had dispatched a letter to Gov- 
ernor Abernethy recommending the same course as that proposed 
by the Legislature, although the letter did not reach Oregon City 
until after the legislative resolution. Moreover, the Bishop's 
recommendation had been suggested to him by the Nez Perces. 

The Governor appointed Joel Palmer, Robert Newell, and H. 
A. G. Lee as the three commissioners. 

Governor Abernethy still believed that he could secure help 
from California and he was most critical of Meek for the latter's 
reluctance to go to Washington, D. C. by way of California. The 
Governor decided to send a message to Governor Mason and also 
a letter to the American consul at Honolulu, and the Legislature 
adopted resolutions to those ends. 

Christmas Day, 1847, was a memorable one for the settlers. 
The Legislature held a secret session with the Governor on that 
day, the result being a proclamation appointing enlistment 
officers at various centers in the territory and designating the 
rendezvous for the troops. The Spectator in its issue of that day 
said editorially that there were nothing but conflicting rumors 
about the details of the Whitman Massacre and announced that 
it had decided to await more reliable information before publish- 
ing the conflicting reports, but expressed the opinion that the 
tribes on the upper Columbia had allied themselves to oppose 
the whites. The paper also reported that Lee and his company 
had safely made the portage at the Cascades but thought that Lee 
would find The Dalles abandoned by its settlers in view of the 
hostilities of the neighboring Indians. 

There was another editorial alluding to a second proclamation 
by the Governor calling for an additional one hundred men for 
the Cayuse War. Still other space was devoted to the difficulties 
of the financial position and the suggestion that each county fw- 
nish and equip a company of at least sixty men and carry the 
expense. Recruiting and the accumulation of munitions and sup- 
plies started. All phases of preparation were under the direction 
of A. L. Lovejoy, as Adjutant-General, Joel Palmer as Com- 
missary-General, and Colonel Cornelius Gilliam, Lieutenant- 
Colonel James Waters, and Major H. A. G. Lee; the latter three 
as the ranking officers of the rifle regiment. 

On December 27 the Governor wrote a letter to Jesse Apple- 
gate asking him to head an overland mission to California in 
the interest of Oregon, and further suggesting that if Applegate 
himself could not go that he recommend someone else. Applegate 

The Cayuse War 17 

was really the best qualified man in the territory for the task 
and accepted. He selected fifteen men to accompany him. 

Consider that it was mid-winter and the doubtful prospect of 
any group being able to surmount the cold and the snows of the 
Siskiyous, and it is not surprising that the effort was destined to 
fail, in spite of valiant determination. They had to turn back 
and were fortunate to come through the experience without loss 
of life. 

No American ship was due to be in the Columbia River until 
March, so an appeal to California could not go by sea. The let- 
ter to Honolulu did go because the British bark Janet stopped in 
the Columbia enroute to the Sandwich Islands. 

So come what might, it was apparent that for the next few 
months at least, the colonists were to be left to rely on their 
own resources. 

The Commissioners planned to assure the native tribes that 
the only purpose of military action was to punish the guilty 
among the Cayuses; to offset the story being circulated by the 
Cayuses that the settlers planned a war against all Indians; and 
to hold the situation in status quo until spring when the rifle 
regiment could arrive in the Cayuse country to begin operations. 
The Legislature passed a law (subsequently repealed in 1849) 
prohibiting the sale of arms and ammunition to Indians, a meas- 
ure which was ill-received because even the friendly tribes need- 
ed powder and shot to supply themselves with food. 

The second phase of the Hudson's Bay Company's dilemma in 
regard to their position with respect to the American military 
expedition resulted in an idea on the part of the Company's 
officials. They reasoned that Peter Skene Ogden was the man to 
ransom the captives held by the Cayuse after the Whitman 
Massacre. Ogden was then one of the Chief Factors, following 
long years as a Chief Trader, for the Company and was respected 
by all Indians. Accordingly another Chief Factor, James Doug- 
las,* talked with the Commissioners Jesse Applegate, A. L. 
Lovejoy, and George L. Curry, all of whom understood what 
would next occur. In order to formalize the transaction, the 

*There is no confusion here relating to Chief Factors. The following quo- 
tation is from page 262 of The Peter Skene Ogden Journals as edited by 
T. C. Elliott: "From 1845 to the time of his death Mr. Ogden made Fort 
Vancouver his headquarters, and with the retirement of Mr. McLoughlin 
became the ranking Chief Factor on the Columbia. He shared the manage- 
ment with James Douglas until 1849 when that gentleman removed to 
Victoria, after which he was the only Chief Factor on the Columbia until 
1852 when Mr. Dougal MacTavish was transferred from the Islands to as- 
sist him." 

18 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

Commissioners, on December 11, 1847, while in conference with 
Douglas, addressed their written request to him. Douglas replied 
in writing the same day, explaining the Company's position and 
announcing that Ogden was heading an expedition, fitted out at 
the Hudson's Bay Company's expense, for the purpose of rescuing 
the Whitman captives. It was at once a way to solve the Com- 
pany's problem, and seemed to offer the best chance for effecting 
the rescue. 

No one anywhere was as well qualified by experience and tem- 
perament as Ogden to fulfill the difficult task at hand. None had 
his rare insight into Indian character. He proceeded without de- 
lay and upon reaching the Cayuse country let the Indians know 
that he was displeased with them and that he was there for the 
purpose of ransoming all of the captives. He told the Indians the 
terms of his offer and the Cayuses accepted. Payment was made in 
trade goods and the prisoners were delivered to Ogden on Janu- 
ary 2, 1848. They were taken to Fort Vancouver by boat. Some 
of the captives, particularly most of the young women, had been 
grossly mistreated, and all were in a state of terror and nervous 
collapse. In fact, the complete story of the massacre was never 
fully learned, because even some time later when their testimony 
was taken at Oregon City, they were in such a mental state that 
a coherent story could not be told. 

The Protestants blamed the Catholics for encouraging the 
Cayuses' dislike for Whitman, but there has never been the least 
substantiation of such charges. 

Reverend Spalding and his family had been spirited away 
from Lapwai and the Indians awaited the next move by the 

The New Year of 1848 had arrived, and with it the actual be- 
ginning of the war. 



MAJOR H. A. G. LEE and his company had arrived at The 
Dalles on New Year's Day, 1848. To Lee, enroute, the Governor 
had written and had recommended the building of a blockhouse 

Joseph, Great Nez Perce Chieftain. Opposed to war against the white men, he 
turned out to be a military genius when circumstances forced him to do battle 

Peter Skene Ogden, who ransomed the 
Whitman captives; Chief Trader and 
later Chief Factor of the Hudson's 
Bay Company. 

Joe Meek, early Mountain Man, first 
U. S. Marshal for Oregon Territory. 

George Abernethy, Provisional Territorial 

Joel Palmer, General of Volunteers. 

The Cay use War 19 

mounting one or two guns, at the Cascades. However, Joel 
Palmer, Commissary-General, had started a few men to the Cas- 
cades for that purpose. They built no blockhouse nor storehouse, 
but did erect a few cabins, and dignified the place by naming 
it Fort Gilliam. 

At The Dalles Lee was having his moments trying to keep his 
men from returning home. There were shortages of everything 
food, heavy clothing, ammunition. There wasn't even a spy-glass 
until sometime after January 5th when Abernethy wrote Lee: 
"Mr. McMillan has a spy-glass and is on his way with it." 

The Spectator for January 6, 1848, printed copies of various 
legislative bills those authorizing the rifle regiment; the appoint- 
ment of Joseph L. Meek as messenger to Washington and em- 
powering him to borrow $500; appointing commissioners to ne- 
gotiate a loan; prohibiting the sale of arms and ammunition to 
the Indians; establishing at $1.50 per day the rate of pay for en- 
listed men in the Rifle Regiment. The same issue printed a let- 
ter from Major Lee in which he said that there was no news from 
Waiilatpu except Indian reports which, if true, were awful 

On January 8, Lee's men spotted some Cayuses rounding up 
livestock. These animals had been left in care of the settlers un- 
til they could be moved to the Willamette Valley in the spring. 
Lee ordered seventeen men to pursue the marauders. The In- 
dians were well mounted, while some of the soldiers were afoot. 
The Cayuses drove off 300 head of cattle, taunting the soldiers 
about being unprepared to follow them and daring them to fight: 
Sergeant Berry was wounded and the Indians suffered three 
killed and one wounded. 

Why that foray? Why such apparent boldness? Henry H. 
Spalding at Lapwai Mission had, on his initiative, given his 
word to the Cayuses that there would be no reprisals because of 
the Whitman incident. There had been a conference at the 
Catholic Mission at Walla Walla between the priests and the 
Cayuse chiefs, as a result of which Bishop Blanchet had written 
Governor Abernethy urging no reprisals. When the Cayuses be- 
came aware of the presence of the Rifle Company at The Dalles 
and had learned that an entire regiment was being recruited, 
they had decided that any promises made to either Reverend 
Spalding or the priests were null and void. In fact, a band of 
Cayuses had gone to Lapwai to capture Spalding, only to find 
that he had fled when the captives were rescued by Ogden. 

Next day, January 9, Lee sent a detachment to see Siletza, 

20 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

Chief of the DesChutes tribe, who had been robbed by the 
Cayuses for refusing to join against the whites. The soldiers 
captured sixty Cayuse horses, poor recompense indeed for 300 

The Spectator of January 20, 1848, contained lots of news. Its 
front page carried the story of the ransom and rescue of the 
captives and their safe return, and a letter from Reverend Spald- 
ing expressing fear for his life. There was a translation of a 
statement by four Cayuse chiefs, giving as their reason for the 
massacre at Waiilatpu, that Whitman had been poisoning In- 
dians. The statement ended with a suggested basis for peace. Also 
printed was a list of the officers, commissioned and non-com- 
missioned, of the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th companies of the regiment. 
Also a copy of a resolution passed at a public meeting at Tualatin 
Plains considering every man a member of the militia and calling 
for a survey of all men in the district, a sort of early ancestor to 
the modern armed services draft law. There was also a notice 
calling a meeting of the citizens of Champoeg County for the 
purpose of organizing an additional company of volunteers for 
the Cayuse War. Most important was the resolution passed at 
French Prairie to enlist a company for the Rifle Regiment, for 
there had been some doubt about the reaction of the French set- 
tlers living there to an American war. 

Colonel Gilliam had started for The Dalles with one contin- 
gent of his regiment. Several other companies were in various 
stages of preparation. At that time Cornelius Gilliam was forty- 
nine years of age. Born in North Carolina and raised in Missouri, 
he had served in both the Black Hawk and Seminole Indian 
wars, and became a captain under General Zachary Taylor. He 
was also a captain of State Militia in the effort to expel the Mor- 
mons from Missouri. He served in the Missouri Legislature and 
in 1844 led a large group of immigrants into Oregon. He had 
been ordained a minister of the Freewill Baptist denomination 
and settled in Polk County where he, as its minister, organized 
a church on the North Luckiamute River. Bigotry and narrow- 
mindedness in religious matters were to be found everywhere 
among the colonists and Gilliam was no exception. He was ready 
to believe that the Catholics incited the Indians; that the Hud- 
son's Bay Company was doing likewise; that the Hudson's Bay 
Company was Catholic, when, as a matter of fact, Dr. John 
McLoughlin was the only Catholic among the Company's leader- 
ship in the' territory. In fact, the Colonel declared he would "pull 
down Fort Vancouver about their ears," and the Hudson's Bay 

The Cayuse War 21 

Company thought he might try. There was a letter from Chief 
Factor Douglas to Governor Abernethy about Gilliam's threat 
and a conciliatory reply from the Governor. 

Gilliam started out with 220 men, Joel Palmer accompanying 
him. They stopped at Fort Vancouver where, on their personal 
credit, they bought $800 worth of goods necessary for their im- 
mediate needs. The soldiers were mounted but had no pack- 
horses, hence their provisions were sent by boat which necessarily 
slowed the troops. 

At the Cascades they were met by a messenger from Major 
Lee telling of the first skirmish at The Dalles. At this news 
Gilliam decided that he would not wait for the peace commission- 
ers to catch up with him and hastened toward The Dalles. Arriv- 
ing there he found a number of military orders from Governor 
Abernethy, all cautioning non-offense to friendly tribes and 
impressing Gilliam with the single purpose of the expedition to 
apprehend the murderers. The Governor enlarged upon that 
subject by saying hostilities would cease if the criminals were 
surrendered and restitution made for stolen property. There was 
also an official notice of the appointment of Palmer, Newell, and 
Lee as Peace, Commissioners. 

Late in January, 1848, Gilliam, with 130 mounted officers and 
men, went as far east as the Deschutes River for the purpose of 
punishing the Indians who had driven off the 300 head of cattle. 
Believing that he knew the approximate location of the Indians, 
Gilliam sent Major Lee, with a detachment, to investigate. Lee 
found the Indians but they had witnessed his approach and had 
started to move their families to the mountains. Lee attacked. 
In the skirmish one Indian was killed and two women and some 
horses were captured. The detachment decided to return to the 
main force but were attacked in a ravine. The Indians rolled 
boulders down on the soldiers but fortunately none of the latter 
was injured. After dark the return to Gilliam was accomplished 
and next day, January 30, the entire force started in pursuit. 
Overtaking the Indians, the troops charged and in the fray 20 or 
30 Indians were killed, the exact number being seldom known in 
Indian warfare because of their practice of removing the dead 
from the field of action. The troops also recovered four head of 
cattle, 40 horses and several hundred dollars worth of personal 
property. One soldier was wounded. The Indian village was des- 
troyed but the old people, who had been left at home, were 
spared. Skirmishing continued for several days, usually under the 
personal leadership of Lee. During these days three soldiers were 

22 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

killed, one being accidentally shot by the guard, and two, Jack- 
son and Packwood, having been decoyed from camp and killed. 
Two others were wounded by arrows. 

When Palmer and Newell reached the Cascades they found 
cause for concern. Supplies there were being systematically 
robbed. Flour barrels had been opened, part of the contents 
stolen, and the barrels headed up again. But a cannon had ar- 
rived as had Captain Thomas McKay's company. The march 
toward The Dalles was resumed. The post at The Dalles had 
recently been named. Fort Lee, officially, although it was most 
frequently referred to as Fort Wascopam. The two companies 
reached that fort on February 10 without any skirmishes en- 
route. Next day a conference was held between the officers and 
the commissioners for the purpose of agreeing upon a course of 
action. New companies were arriving and as each put in its ap- 
pearance both parties fired salutes in spite of the shortage of 
ammunition. The regiment now numbered 537 officers and men. 

On February 12 Colonel Gilliam notified the peace com- 
missioners that he had issued orders to march on the 14th. The 
commissioners were disturbed because they were hoping for a 
council with the Nez Perces and feared that the movement of 
the troops would alarm the Indians and thus prevent a council. 
But discipline within the regiment was not good and Gilliam 
reasoned that the best cure was to get under way. Accordingly 
he left a corporal with 20 men to guard Fort Lee and removed 
Chief Siletza's band below The Dalles for their own protection 
as well as to remove temptation from them. 

With The Dalles as a base of supplies, Gilliam pressed immi- 
grants' wagons and ox-teams into service and marched. He 
crossed the Deschutes on February 16, taking a nine-pounder can- 
non which they mounted on two wagon wheels. Next day they 
camped on the east bank of the John Day River. The Commiss- 
ioners had sent messengers ahead with a flag and presents of 
tobacco to the disaffected tribes along the Columbia River and 
had received information which caused them to conclude that 
all the tribes above The Dalles had united against the troops. 
From their camp on the John Day River the Commissioners sent 
a letter to the officers in charge at Fort Walla Walla and also a 
flag and presents with a letter from Reverend Spalding to the 
head men of the Nez Perces. The messenger was captured and 
the presents confiscated but the letters were forwarded to McBean 
at Fort Walla Walla. Fortunately, when William McBean re- 
ceived the letters, two Nez Perce chiefs, Timothy and Richard, 

The Cayuse War 23 

were there and they were among the Nez Perces addressed in 
Spalding's letter. These chiefs hastened to their people with 
Spalding's request, supplemented by advice from McBean and 
to this circumstance is due, in all probability, the neutrality of 
the Nez Perce tribe. McBean also sent a reply to the Com- 
missioners but it fell into the hands of Chief Tauitowe, who 
had confiscated' the presents. The chief destroyed the letter as 
well as one from Brouillet of the Catholic Mission. That was an 
unfortunate occurrance because the Commissioners did not 
know how to interpret the failure to receive replies and the 
circumstance caused many subsequent headaches. 

While encamped, Major Lee was constantly on reconnaiss- 
ance. He found the camp of a small party which had cached its 
property and retired to the hills. He was ordered to pursue 
them and did so on February 19, but returned to camp on the 
20th, reporting that he had followed the trail of a party of In- 
dians headed toward the Blue Mountains but had failed to 
overtake them. 

On February 21 the army again took up its march and cov-. 
ered a difficult 20 miles, camping that night on Willow Creek. 
The wagons came up late. The men were tired, hungry, and ill- 
tempered. They were now 200 miles from the Willamette River 
and were poorly clad and only half-fed. They had come to fight 
and did not like the idea of escorting peace commissioners. 
They wanted to turn back. In fact, one company voted to return 
if all the flour on hand was not distributed immediately. Col- 
onel Gilliam wisely decided to stay in camp on the 22nd. He 
held a regimental parade and made a speech which was well 
received by the men and they shot off some more of their 
precious ammunition to celebrate the Colonel's oratory. 

A party of Deschutes Indians under Chief Beardy came into 
camp the morning of February 23. They brought the flag sent 
them from The Dalles and announced that they were present in 
answer to the summons. The army moved on but the Commiss- 
ioners remained for a talk. The chief said that he would have 
arrived earlier except for the fact that the soldiers had shot at 
his people and caused them to run away. He further an- 
nounced that he was willing to go to war against the Cayuses 
and that he wanted always to remain a friend to the Americans. 
To show that he meant what he said he accompanied the Com- 
missioners to the camp of the army where a council was held. 
The chief was told to move to The Dalles and remain there 
until the Commissioners returned and that he could expect 

24 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

the arrival of other chiefs in the immediate future. Gilliam sent 
a note to the garrison at Fort Lee. Chief Beardy (sometimes 
known as Chief Sue) presented a fine horse to Captain Tom 
McKay as a gift from Welaptulet, head chief of the Deschutes. 
With the horse came, word that the head chief would bring in 
all the property stolen from immigrants if that would secure 
the friendship of the Americans. Robert Newell subsequently 
reported that Colonel Gilliam would have preferred fighting 
the Deschutes because he could not excuse their previous conduct. 

The regiment was about ready to start for the Umatilla Valley 
on February 24 when two Yakima Indians arrived bearing a let- 
ter from the Catholic missionaries saying that the Yakima tribe 
had listened to their advice and would not help the Cayuses and 
that the Yakimas had announced that they had no quarrel with 
the Americans, 

Four days earlier word had been sent to the Umatilla Mission 
about the Commissioners' intentions but no reply had been re- 
ceived, so Gilliam decided to move on to Waiilatpu without 
regard for the Commissioners' plans and sent a messenger to 
Governor Abernethy with that information. The troops set out 
just before noon, the Commissioners riding in advance and 
carrying a white flag. They soon saw two Indians, evidently an 
outpost for they kept their distance. Then many Indians were 
seen in the hills, all of them making signs of hostility. The 
Commissioners fell back to the troops. Indians came from all 
directions, ranging themselves alongside the soldiers and the 
battle was on. 

Numerically the two forces were about equal. The Indians 
had waited in a locale favorable to their type of warfare, but 
the troops knew something about fighting over uneven terrain, 
too. The soldiers deployed, extending their lines to protect the 
cattle and wagons. To the northeast, where the battle raged 
most violently, the soldiers suddenly advanced at double time. 
That took the Indians aback. The soldiers yelled louder than 
the Cayuses. This surprised the Indians even more. They 
stood long enough to fire one volley and then retreated to some 
rising ground. This sort of tactics continued a volley from the 
Indians, an advance by the troops, and the Cayuses falling back 
to another hill. At last the Indians broke and fled, leaving their 
dead and wounded on the battlefield.* 

* Some idea of the pressure by the troops is to be gained from that cir- 
cumstances because the Indians invariably tried to remove their dead and 

The Cayuse War 25 

The Indians lost eight killed and five wounded while the 
army's casualties were five wounded, one of whom was Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel Waters. The troops camped without water or wood. 
One incident in particular took some of the conceit out of the 
Indians. As the battle started, two chiefs, Gray Eagle and Five 
Crows, rode up near the wagons. Gray Eagle yelled that he and 
Five Crows were big medicine and that he could swallow bullets. 
Some accounts recite that he spotted Captain Tom McKay, 
whom he knew well, and shouted: "There's Tom McKay; I'll 
kill him." Other accounts say that McKay, hearing Gray Eagle's 
boast about being able to swallow bullets, said "Then let him 
swallow this one," whereupon Captain McKay shot Gray Eagle 
through the head. At the same moment Lieutenant Charles Mc- 
Kay shot Five Crows, shattering his arm. This circumstance, 
plus the discovery that the Americans knew how to fight In- 
dian fashion, disconcerted the Cayuses. In a letter to a friend 
under date of February 29, Lieutenant Charles McKay said that 
Five Crows got away only because the Lieutenant did not have 
a good horse. 

But the Indians were not licked. They had boasted among 
themselves that when they met Gilliam's troops they would beat 
the soldiers to death with clubs and then go to the Willamette 
Valley to take the women and property of the Americans. They 
said that the Americans were women. There is some explana- 
tion of their point of view because American immigrants often 
took the safer way out of difficulties while traveling. Encumbered 
by families, goods, herds, and tired from weeks of travel, they 
would get to safety, if possible, instead of fighting, when har- 
assed by Indians. 

Soon after camp was made, the half-breed Nicholas Finlay, 
who was at the Whitman Mission at the time of the massacre, 
came into camp with two Indians who pretended to be brothers, 
but who were believed to be spies. Finlay's connection with the 
Indians is obscure. The fact is that he was living at Whitman's 
and was not molested. Robert Newell had no use for him and 
said that Finlay "told lies and showed much treachery." The 
troops had an uncomfortable night without firewood or water. 
They set out early on the morning of February 25th and traveled 
all day without water, surrounded by Indians. There was some 
evidence of dissention among the Cayuses. Some of them had 
not joined in the fighting the previous day and these sent mes- 
sengers asking for a council; for that matter, even some of the 
murderers did. However, officers and commissioners alike de- 

26 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

clined to talk until they reached water which did not occur 
until sundown at the Umatilla River. The troops were in bad 
humor. Not only had they been without water, but also without 
food while enroute. 

That night the Americans camped on the west side of the 
river, the Indians on the east side four miles upstream. The 
Cayuses said that the troops would never cross the Umatilla 
but they did the next day and camped a mile closer to the In- 
dians. Whenever the soldiers were on the move the Indians 
swarmed along the hills bordering the line of march. Most of the 
hostiles made war-like demonstrations. After the regiment en- 
camped that night, Chief Sticcas and a considerable number of 
other Cayuses made overtures of peace and were told by the 
commissioners to meet them at Waiilatpu. These Indians told 
the commissioners that Five Crows had admonished his people 
to fight the Americans without interruption if he died, as he 
would do if he lived. One patent reason for the hesitation of 
the commissioners to parley was the failure to receive McBean's 
reply from Fort Walla Walla, which letter had been confiscated 
as previously described. 

It may be well to revert for a moment to the subject of the 
letters of McBean and Brouillet. As we have said, these letters 
were intercepted by the Indians, hence the commissioners did 
not known whether the Catholic Mission had been endangered 
or even whether their own letters had reached Fort Walla Walla. 
Subsequently, when the commissioners, with the army, reached 
Fort Walla Walla all the missing facts were supplied. Had the 
replies been received no doubt peace could have been made on 
the Governor's terms, namely, the surrender of the murderers 
and restitution of the property. But most of the guilty ones 
wanted to avoid surrender, and the commissioners coming with 
an army and refusing to hold council because of the non-receipt 
or replies, caused the Indians generally to be confused. So they 
took the natural course to fight. 

On the morning of the 27th not an Indian was to be seen. 
Nothing had been stolen during the night, which was proof that 
the Indians had skipped. So the army continued its march to- 
ward Waiilatpu and on February 28 camped on the Walla 
Walla River. The Commissioners interviewed William McBean 
and the priests and learned that all were alarmed over the 
union of the Columbia River tribes with the Cayuses, but that 
Peu-peu-mox-mox, Chief of the Walla Wallas was in favor of 
peace. That was a good omen. Brouillet gave the Commissioners 

The Cayuse War 27 

an account of the Whitman Massacre as he had learned of it. 

On February 29 the troops moved six miles up the Walla 
Walla River and encamped. There they rested while Major 
Lee and a detachment went back to the fort for powder. 

On March 1 Gilliam marched his regiment five miles to the 
camp of Chief Peu-peu-mox-mox who reiterated his friendship 
for the Americans and in proof of that contention sold several 
beef cattle to the commissary. From the Chiefs camp the troops 
could see dust caused by Cayuses traveling toward Waiilatpu. 
On March 2 Gilliam camped near the despoiled mission. 

Now the Americans could see for themselves. No whites hand 
visited the site since the ransom of the captives. It was evident 
that care had been exercised in the original burials but that 
predatory animals had dug up the bodies. Robert Newell says 
in his journal that Dr. and Mrs. Whitman had been interred 
together with an ornamental picket fence around their grave 
and that all others had been placed under a common mound 
surrounded by a board fence. These attentions had probably 
been given by the captive men. However, the condition of the 
remains was such that they were hastily replaced in a common 
grave. Papers, letters, books were scattered about in mud and 
water. Wagon wheels and various odds and ends had been placed 
in the house before it was burned. The documents were quickly 
scrutinized and most of them destroyed. Had they been pre- 
served it is probable that we might know more about the events 
which led up to the disaster. It was learned from them, how- 
ever, that Dr. Whitman had been aware of his danger but 
stayed because he expected the arrival of United States troops. 

The Commissioners reported that Colonel Gilliam was so in- 
censed over the scene that they had no chance to hold a council 
with the Indians. Gilliam said that he had come to fight and 
that there was plenty of reason, so he would fight. He held a 
meeting with his officers and started building a fortification. 

On March 4, 1848, three months late, Joseph L. Meek started 
for the national capital. A detachment of one hundred men 
accompanied him and his eight companions as far as the Blue 
Mountains. Meek's group wore the caps and cloaks of Hudson's 
Bay Company employees because it was safer to travel through 
Indian country as Britishers than as Americans. 

On March 5 two men, William Craig and Joseph Gervais, 
went to meet a large party of Nez Perces whom, it was reported, 
were coming to join the Cayuses who had journeyed to Waiilat- 
pu for the conference with the commissioners. According to 

28 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

Newell's journal, Colonel Gilliam did not like the approach- 
ing visit and threatened to do battle the next day. As it turned 
out no battle occurred because on the next day, March 6, Craig 
and Gervais returned saying that 250 friendly Nez Perces and 
Cayuses were near and in the afternoon they were brought into 
camp and received by salutes from the army. Next day a council 
was held at which several chiefs spoke. Old Joseph, Jacob, 
James, Red Wolf, Timothy, Richard, Kentuck, and Camaspelo 
all professed friendship, or, at least, expressed a desire to avoid 
war. Then General Palmer and the other Commissioners spoke. 
Colonel Gilliam had been added to the staff of Commissioners 
and while, as military commander did not like the proceedings, 
went along with the others in his role of Commissioner. The 
Nez Perce chiefs were asked to go to the Cayuse camp, then 
twenty-five miles away, to try to induce the Cayuse to sur- 
render the murderers. The army was to wait one day, then fol- 
low to the Cayuse camp. That plan was followed and next day 
the army set out. After marching three miles they met the 
Cayuse Chief Sticcas (sometimes spelled Stikus or Stickus) with 
cattle, goods, and money taken from the mission and from 
murdered immigrants. This property had been given up by 
the Cayuses to create a favorable sentiment toward them. Sticcas 
wanted to parley, Gilliam did not but finally agreed and the 
troops camped. 

In the Bourse of the talk Sticcas said that the Cayuses would 
not give up Tamsucky or Tauitowe. The former was known to 
be guilty but Tauitowe had not been suspected. However, since 
Sticcas named them together it was reasonable to conclude that 
Tauitowe also was guilty. Gilliam offered to accept the half- 
breed Joe Lewis in place of five others but no agreement was 
reached. That did not mean that no progress had been made, 
for the Nez Perces remained neutral and the Cayuses were 

The army started out again on March 11 but without the 
commissioners. The latter with Captain McKay and others who 
were ill, left for the Willamette Valley. The force which re- 
mained numbered 268 officers and men. When the returnees 
reached Fort Walla Walla they found Peu-peu-mox-mox there 
and still expressing friendship. He gave the Commissioners a 
wealth of information about the Whitman massacre. 

McBean, of the Hudson's Bay Company, furnished an escort 
as far as The Dalles where the contingent arrived on March 17. 
There Palmer had a talk with Chief Beardy of the DesChutes 

The Cayuse War 29 

tribe who promised to remain friendly, bring in stolen goods 
and stop stealing. On March 24 the group reached Oregon City. 

The Spectator for March 23 was full o Indian news, aside 
from detailed reports of the Cayuse War. It reported that the 
dwelling and household goods of a Molalla chief had been 
burned by whites in retaliation for a small theft by a Klamath 
Indian. There was an editorial pointing out that Indian title 
to lands had not been extinguished and that settlers were hav- 
ing enough troubles without unwarranted wrongs against in- 
nocent natives. There was the account of a whipping adminis- 
tered to ten Calapooia Indians for cattle stealing and the report 
that Klickitats were committing depredations in the upper Val- 
ley. There had been two robberies by drunken Indians near 
Oregon City. The property had been recovered but who was 
responsible for selling the liquor? Three letters were published. 
One was from Colonel Gilliam to Governor Abernethy asking 
for more troops; one from Commissioners Palmer and Newell to 
McBean saying that prospects for adjusting the Cayuse diffi- 
culties looked good; and the third from Chief Factor James 
Douglas to Abernethy reporting on the favorable disposition of 
the Indians around Ft. Colville. 

In the meantime Gilliam with his remaining troops had set 
out again, as previously stated. His plan called for a march to 
the Cayuse camp and had not proceeded far when they were 
met by three Indians with a flag of truce and some stolen horses. 
The Indians reported that Chief Sticcas had decided to capture 
Joe Lewis a* suggested by Gilliam; that he had done so and 
recovered some stolen property but that Lewis had been res- 
cued by his friends and the property retaken. Gilliam did not 
know whether he could credit the report and thinking that 
Sticcas might be fooling him, hurried on his way. That night 
they camped on the Touchet River where they received a mes- 
sage from Tauitowe professing friendship and saying that he 
wished to disassociate himself from the Cayuses who were hos- 
tile. The information also recited that Tauitowe was camped on 
the Tucannon River; that Tamsucky had gone to join Chief Red 
Wolf on the Snake River; and that Tiloukaikt had gone down 
the Tucannon intending to cross the Snake River in the country 
of the Palouse tribe. Gilliam made a night march and before 
dawn arrived near the mouth of the Tucannon and the Cayuse 
camp. He waited for daylight and then moved within a few 
hundred yards of the Indian camp. An old Indian came out to 
talk to the Colonel and reported that this was the camp of Peu- 

30 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

peu-mox-mox, Gilliam's friend, and not that of Tiloukaikt; 
that the latter had left, abandoned his livestock which could be 
seen grazing, and which the Colonel could take if he chose. 
The troops then went into the Indian camp where they found 
only a few braves. These were armed and dressed for war but 
seemed friendly. At the camp-site the Tucannon River ran 
through a canyon. After tiring work, the soldiers reached the far 
side where the cattle had been grazing only to see the cattle 
swimming the Snake River and headed into the Palouse coun- 
try. The army had been fooled. The soldiers rounded up the 
few cattle which remained and a large number of horses and 
headed back for their camp on the Touchet. 

Then it happened. Four hundred Palouse, allies of the Cay- 
use, attacked. The Cayuse, including the murderers, had left 
their allies to fight the troops. It was really a vicious combat 
The troops kept moving, fighting all the time, but their pro- 
gress was slow. At night, still several miles from their camp, 
they stopped without fire or food. They had marched all through 
the previous night and were fagged out. They couldn't sleep 
because of constant harassing fire from the Indians. In the hope 
that firing would cease, they turned loose the captured stock 
but without any cessation in the firing. At daylight the troops 
set out again and the Palouse attacked at once. The troops went 
to the hills on the west side of the river to avoid ambush and as 
soon as all were in that general location gave an Indian war 
whoop of their own to let the Palouse know that they were 
ready for a fight. The Indians didn't hesitate. Again the running 
battle was on. 

At this point an incident occurred which probably saved 
the troops. The companies from Yamhill and Washington coun- 
ties were hardest pressed and called for reinforcements, which 
were furnished. Because the troops continued to move and also 
because the first attack had been repulsed, some of the soldiers 
thought that the Indians would not follow. The troops really 
wanted to continue the battle and sent an interpreter to a hill- 
top to yell a challenge, which stirred up the Indians again. As 
the regiment neared the Touchet, Captain William Shaw with 
20 picked men was ordered to cut off the Indians who had 
been hanging onto the flanks all forenoon. The Indians sensed 
the plan and took a short-cut to beat the detachment to the 
river. But Shaw ran his horses for three-fourths of a mile and 
succeeded in beating the Indians to the vantage point, which 
was a life-saver for the army that day. 

The Cayuse War 31 

While the Yamhill and Washington counties' companies and 
their reinforcements were engaged, the rest of the troops were 
having a hot time in their own sector. The Indians had erected 
a crude fortification which the soldiers had to pass, resulting in 
several being wounded, one of whom died soon after the fight. 
The Indians lost four killed and 14 wounded. Then the squaws 
begged their warriors to stop fighting which they did, and chal- 
lenges could not get the braves to renew the battle. The In- 
dians did not attempt to cross the river, so the victory was with 
the soldiers. The regiment was glad for a respite. They had been 
fighting without interruption for more than a day and the 
fact that the Palouse had enough was welcomed. 

On March 16 the regiment arrived at Ft. Waters. There Col- 
onel Gilliam held a council with his officers, all of whom 
understood the difficulties of their primary task. There were 
many unknown factors. It was probable that the Nez Perces 
would remain neutral and it was possible that the Yakimas and 
the Walla Wallas would not join the Cayuses. Of course the 
Palouses had firmly fixed their allegiance by their attack on the 
troops. The attitudes of several tribes farther north was un- 
known. Summarized, the whole situation simply meant that the 
pursuit of the murderers during the ensuing spring and sum- 
mer might easily prove fruitless. Then there were always* a few 
renegades from even the most friendly tribes and these few 
either actively joined the warriors or acted as informers. The 
council of officers could not agree upon a course of action. Some 
wanted to raise another regiment. Others wanted to keep only 
enough men in the field to hold the forts and let the rest go 
home. The condition of the commissary finally determined the 
decision. Provisions were running short in the field but were 
on hand at The Dalles. So it was agreed to keep half the force 
in the field, while the other half was to proceed to The Dalles 
to escort a supply train to Ft. Waters. 



COLONEL GILLIAM decided to accompany the escort column, 
chiefly because he could take that opportunity for conferring 

32 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

with the Governor and of acquainting him with the situation, 
it being quite apparent that the peace commission had failed. 
Accordingly, Gilliam, with two companies and some casuals, 
left Waiilatpu on March 20. They camped that evening beyond 
the Umatilla River. There, when the Colonel was pulling a 
halter-rope from a wagon-bed, the rope caught on a gun trigger, 
resulting in the instant death of Gilliam. This left Captain H. 
J. G. Maxon as the ranking officer with the detachment. 

The Colonel's remains were taken to the Willamette Valley 
for burial. Peter Skene Ogden wrote the obituary. Reports on 
the campaign were made to the authorities. 

The death of Colonel Gilliam had, in itself, nothing to do 
with the further prosecution of the war nor the failure to ap- 
prehend the murderers. The Colonel had been a self-willed 
man, heading a volunteer army which did not conform very well 
to discipline. Gilliam and his paymaster had disagreed about the 
disposal of recovered property which had belonged to immi- 
grants and which Gilliam ordered sold to apply to the main- 
tenance of the regiment. He was accused by some of favoritism 
and of disregarding orders of the Governor. On the credit side 
he was clean, courageous, and energetic. But his death did pro- 
vide cause for some further dissention. Lieutenant-Colonel Wat- 
ers was now the ranking officer but Governor Abernethy ap- 
pointed Major Lee to the vacancy. Some people approved, some 
criticised the appointment. The matter was settled by Major 
Lee himself, who of his own volition, retired from the command 
in favor of Waters, Lee retaining second in command. 

The Governor had written Colonel Gilliam on March 17 
saying that if more troops were to be raised that a special ses- 
sion of the Legislature would have to be called. A number of 
soldiers had been killed or wounded, others were ill, many 
wanted to get home to care for their crops. There were only 
about 150 men at Ft. Waters and they were still without ade- 
quate clothing, ammunition and flour. When Captain Maxon 
reported to the Governor and the Adjutant-General, he made 
an appeal to the public for support. His call was heeded and 
supplies began filtering into Ft. Waters. Enlistments were stimu- 
lated. About 250 newly enlisted men were added to the rosters. 
But all was not rosy. Wheat had to be floated down the Wil- 
lamette to Oregon City where it was necessary to unload and 
reload it because of the falls. Then it had to be sold or ex- 
changed for goods at Ft. Vancouver. Lead for bullets was pur- 
chased wherever it could be found, even a few pounds at a 

The Cayuse War 33 

time. James Force, the Commissary at Salem, could purchase 
only six saddles. Pork and bacon was fairly plentiful. Credit was 
evaporating. Impressment of wheat was considered and that 
idea abandoned. Several officers resigned; some men deserted, 
Fraud was disclosed in the shipments of flour, many barrels 
containing flour on top and bottom, with shorts* filling the bulk. 

Several of the Cayuse chiefs professed a change of heart. They 
had returned to the Umatilla and it was believed that the live- 
stock of the murderers was mixed with other livestock there. 

When Lee had been appointed colonel he was also made 
Indian Agent in place of Palmer who had resigned that position 
because of the press of his duties as Commissary-General. At 
the time that Lee had returned his commission as Colonel and 
accepted second place under Waters, he retained his place as 
Superintendent of Indian Affairs. 

When news of Lee's position reached the Indians a large 
number of Nez Perces went to Waiilatpu to await Lee's return 
there and to request a council. That council was held and a 
satisfactory conclusion reached with the Nez Perces. Then an- 
other council was held with the Walla Wallas and such Cayuses 
as had returned to the Umatilla. Lee put the matter of the con- 
tinuation of the war squarely up to them. He said that the 
soldiers would stay with the campaign until the murderers were 
punished and the property recovered or paid for, and asked 
the Indians what they were going to do about it. The answer 
was not an easy one; in fact nothing resulted except an ex- 
pressed desire for peace and friendship. 

Meanwhile the Spectator reported trouble from depredations 
by Klamath Indians near the Pudding River in the Willamette 
Valley, but warned the settlers to use forbearance instead of 
aggression. That paper copied Captain Maxon's letter to Ad- 
jutant-General Lovejoy telling of the death of Colonel Gilliam, 
appealing for more men and supplies, criticizing the lethargy 
at home and expressing the view that the Spokane and Pend 
Oreille Indians would join the whites. A later issue told of the 
death of Chief Ellis and sixty other Nez Perces from measles. 
Chief Ellis was a firm friend of the Americans and his death 
was a great loss to the cause of peace. Colonel Waters reported 
that the Walla Wallas now considered the Americans to be their 
enemies and expressed doubt about other tribes hitherto con- 
sidered to be neutral. 

* Shorts: The part of milled grain next finer than the bran, sometimes 
called "middlings." 

34 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

Meanwhile, three new companies of volunteers had been 
formed, one jointly by Champoeg and Linn counties; Benton, 
Polk and Clackamas counties; and Yamhill and Tualatin 
counties. Fifteen young ladies of Oregon City announced 
that they would "refuse to condone any young man who would 
not enlist." There were shortages of both men and ammunition 
at the front. The Spectator of May 4 reported an enlistment 
meeting in Clackamas County and carried a rumor that United 
States troops destined for Oregon service had left Fort Leaven- 
worth the preceding autumn. There was also news from Fort 
Hall and Fort Walla Walla that the murderers were in flight 
but that Indians in the vicinity of those two forts were desirous 
of peace. However, in the south a band of Klamath and Rogue 
River Indians, assisted by a few Molallas, had stolen sixty-five 
horses from a party coming up from California. Such was the 
ebb and flow of life in the Indian country. 

In the meantime preparations for continuing the pursuit of 
the Cayuse criminals went ahead. On May 17, 1848, more than 
400 soldiers set out on a march toward the Clearwater River. 
Next day Lee, now a Lieutenant-Colonel, with Captain Thomp- 
son and 121 men were detached under orders to proceed to 
the camp of Chief Red Wolf at the Snake River crossing to 
try to cut off the fugitives from the mountains. The remainder 
of the force was to continue to the junction of the Palouse River 
with the Snake, thus cutting off the Indians from escaping down 
the Columbia. Some Palouse Indians had offered to help the 
troops but the Palouse were not at the crossing. Lee sent Major 
Magone and four men to find the Indians, which took an entire 
day. Then it took another day and a half to ferry the troops. 
On May 21 the command was again on the march. 

A friendly Indian agreed to act as guide and to show them 
where Cayuse Chief Tiloukaikt was camped. Enroute they were 
met by a messenger from Cushing Eells, the missionary among 
the Spokanes at Chemekeane. His message indicated some di- 
vision of opinion among the Spokanes but emphasized that these 
Indians in no wise condoned the murders. The messenger was 
accompanied by forty-three Spokanes who showed Lee where 
Tiloukaikt's cattle were grazing and offered to bring them in. 

While this chore was under way two Nez Perces came up and 
reported that Tiloukaikt had fled to the mountains but that 
most of his livestock, herded by only a few men, could be found 
near the Snake River. Lee sent Major Magone with a detail to 
bring in the cattle ^and also instructed him to arrest any Indian 

The Cayuse War 35 

who looked suspicious. Major Magone departed and on the 
trip one of his men killed an Indian in cold blood one of those 
unwarranted acts which kept things stirred up. Magone saw no 
Cayuses and found only a few cattle. He did run across several 
Columbia River Indians under Chief Beardy who told him 
how to reach the camp of the Nez Perce Chief Richard. Both 
Chief Beardy and Chief Richard told Major Magone that 
Tiloukaikt was a long distance away, probably near Ft. Hall. 
Chief Richard also told Magone that an express had gone from 
Lee at Lapwai to Colonel Waters. This information caused 
Magone to rejoin the main body of troops. 

The purpose of Lee's express was a request for orders. He 
said in his dispatch that the Cayuses had fled, that the Nez 
Perces were friendly and had helped drive the captured Cayuse 
livestock to Waiilatpu, The messengers returned to Lee with 
an order to rejoin the main force, which was done on May 
25. Lee left a long notice at Lapwai. It was in the nature of a 
promissory note payable in goods as a reward for the appre- 
hension 'of the murderers. 

The campaign had not resulted in the capture of the crimi- 
nals and crops were maturing at home. Results to date were 
summarized. The Nez Perces were friendly* and likely to remain 
so; the Palouses decided that it was expedient to suggest peace; 
Chief Tiloukaikt was finally convinced that the troops would 
continue to hunt him down and would never permit him to 
remain long in one place; the Walla Wallas, to show their 
changed attitude, caught and hanged one of the murderers 
and sent word that they were on the trail of another. True, 
some of these events were transpiring only because the army 
had made an impression. The tribes were gradually reaching 
the conclusion that they were no longer the real masters in 
their homelands. 

Colonel Waters held a council of his officers wherein it was 
decided to abandon the campaign for that season. One conting- 
ent was sent to escort Indian Agent Craig and his family from 
such potential dangers as may have existed at Lapwai. Another 
detachment was sent to Ft. Colville to bring the missionaries 
Eells and Elkanah Walker and their families to The Dalles. 
At this latter place Colonel Waters found a suggestion from 
Governor Abernethy recommending that 70 men be left at Ft. 
Waters and 15 at Ft. Lee, both groups to remain until the ex- 
pected arrival of United States regulars. Lee had anticipated the 
Governor's suggestion and had held a conference with his offi- 

38 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

the quantity was not large; that the priests, as well as the In- 
dians, needed the supplies to subsist; and that the charge of 
inciting was untrue and unjust. Governor Abernethy published 
a statement in the Protestant press smoothing things over. Still, 
in the minds of many, the accusation was the same as proof. 
Without attempting to excuse the unwarranted accusation, it 
is well to point out that those were times of bitter religious 
oppositions. Religion was an important subject to the individu- 
al and almost every person possessed an unwavering devotion 
to the creed which he professed. The matter had reached such 
proportions that in December, 1848, the Legislature received a 
petition to expel the Catholics from the territory, which pe- 
tition was rejected. However, the priests were not permitted to 
return to the Umatilla but retained all their other missions. 
Early in 1849 the seized arms and ammunition were delivered to 
Ft. Vancouver for the credit of the Catholic missions. 

Meanwhile the citizen soldiers at Forts Lee and Waters car- 
ried on. The Cayuses had been discredited and they steered shy 
of the soldiers and did not bother the immigrants. Still the 
^murderers had not been captured and their ultimate voluntary 
surrender will be told in its proper place. 



WHILE the Cayuse War was in progress some tribes nearer the 
Willamette Valley took advantage of the absence of the many 
men at the front. Both the Klamaths and Molallas conducted 
raids. There was an attack in Lane County; cattle were stolen 
in Benton County; a farmhouse was attacked in Champoeg 
County. This latter instance is to be noted chiefly because a man 
today known only as Knox, but who was the first United States 
mail carrier in that part of the country, saw a man running 
from Indians and trying to gain refuge at the farmhouse. The 
mail messenger spread the alarm and about 150 men assembled 
and organized under elected officials. In the meantime the In- 
dians had left the vicinity of the farm but when departing 
threatened all sorts of future depredations. The Indians 
camped on a creek several miles distant. The volunteers pursued, 
those on horses going up one side of the creek, those on foot 
taking the other side. The Indians spied the mounted men and 
thinking that they were being trailed by no others ran into an 
ambush by the foot soldiers. Two Indians were killed but no 
whites were hurt. Night came and with the dawn the pursuit 
was resumed. That day seven Indians were killed and two 
wounded while the volunteers suffered only one man wounded. 
The prompt action of these citizen soldiers definitely stopped 
those tribesmen for some time to come. 

The Calapooias and the Tillamooks also went on a rampage. 
They murdered an old man and stole cattle. Again settlers vol- 
unteered and promptly took care of the situation by killing two 
Indians and flogging ten more. That stopped those tribes from 
committing further depredations. 

Superintendent of Indian Affairs Lee had appointed Felix 
Scott as an Indian Sub-agent on April 10th, 1848. Scott was in- 
structed to raise a company for the defense of the southern end 
of the valley where horses and cattle were being stolen but the 
Indians had become wary and had skipped to the mountains. 


40 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

Scott was elected captain of the company on May 11 and on 
July 7 he took his small command to Southern Oregon to es- 
cort immigrants coming into the territory by the southern route, 
a task which he performed without interference from Indians. 

So isolated was Oregon at that time that even the Governor 
did not know that the United States had taken over California, 
just as Oregon had not known for a long time that the United 
States and Mexico had gone to war. Consequently the Governor^ 
had written W. Bradford Shubrick, commander of the United* 
States squadron in the Pacific, urging that a warship be an- 
chored in the Columbia River as notice to the Indians of the 
interest of the United States in Oregon. The same letter asked 
that the navy furnish a supply of ammunition to the Oregon 
volunteers. But the message did not get through overland, and 
on March 1 1 the Governor wrote again, sending the request by 
the brig Henry which left the Columbia River in mid-March, 
enroute with supplies for the army in Mexico by way of San 
Francisco. The second letter contained the same requests as the 

Strange to relate, and without knowledge of the situation in 
Oregon, the United States transport Anita arrived in the Colum- 
bia River on March 16 for the purpose of enlisting men for 
the Mexican War, unaware that a treaty concluding that war 
had been signed on February 2nd. That ship brought a letter 
from R. B. Mason, Governor of California, in support of Mex- 
ican War enlistments. Of course Abernethy had a war of his 
own and wrote Governor Mason about Oregon's inability to 
furnish men and again stressed the need for artillery, ammu- 
nition and other munitions of war. Major James A. Hardie was 
the recruiting officer aboard the transport and he reported that 
there were no military supplies aboard the ship. The Hudson's 
Bay Company was worried about the purpose of the Anita in 
the Columbia River and Peter Skene Ogden wrote Abernethy 
inquiring into the matter. There was a considerable exchange 
of correspondence between Ogden and Abernethy concerning 
the failure of the United States to protect Oregon. The Gov- 
ernor continued to bombard Congress, even writing direct to 
President Polk, pleading for relief. 

President Polk had, a year previously, appointed Charles E. 
Pickett as Indian Agent for Oregon. Pickett had first come to 
Oregon in 1843 and was County Judge of Clackamas County in 
1845. He was not generally acceptable to the settlers. He pre- 
ferred to sojourn in the Sandwich Islands from where he moved 

Events Between Cayu&e and Rogue River Wars 41 

to California. There he advised Californians traveling to Ore- 
gon to kill Indians wherever and whenever found. Even if this 
had been justified by the character of the Indians it was poor 
policy because every Indian killed called for reprisals. Pickett 
never actively served as Indian Agent. Governor Abernethy 
wrote Pickett in California insisting that he try to secure the 
agreement of the United States Naval Commander to send a war- 
ship. T. A. C. Jones had relieved Commodore Shubrick and 
Jones said that he had only three ships to hold all the Mexican 
ports but that others were due and that if he could possibly 
spare one he would do so. 

Then occurred another of those circumstances which served 
to confuse the public mind. The United States Commissioner in 
the Sandwich Islands was A. TenEyck. On June 5, 1 848, he also 
wrote Jones, who had received a letter from some Oregon An- 
glophobes saying that Abernethy and James Douglas were en- 
gaged in a round of bitter correspondence; that volunteers had 
threatened Fort Vancouver; and that Douglas had requested 
that a British warship be sent to the Columbia River. Because 
of this latter missive, which TenEyck knew about, he urged 
that the United States Navy send help to Oregon. Of course the 
facts were different. Abernethy and Douglas had not been en- 
gaged in bitter correspondence. The volunteers had not threat- 
ened Fort Vancouver. It was true that before Colonel Gilliam 
had started for The Dalles the previous winter, he, believing 
that the Hudson's Bay Company was hindering our war ef- 
forts, did say that he would pull down the fort about the ears 
of the Company's men, but no semblance of such a move ever 
occurred. As to Douglas* request for a warship, that might have 
been true. After all, the Hudson's Bay Company knew that 
Abernethy was repeatedly requesting a United States warship. 
Ogden had been concerned about the arrival of the United 
States transport and the Company would have been within its 
rights to have requested a British warship. 

Meanwhile Abernethy received a copy of TenEyck's letter to 
Commodore Jones and hastened to deny the rumors. All this 
mess finally brought arms and ammunition to Oregon though 
not until the immediate need had passed. But it was now on 
hand for future emergencies, having arrived on August 9, 1848. 

Still the United States regulars did not come. The season's 
immigrants arrived in the fall with the news that while a reg- 
iment had been recruited for Oregon service, it had been sent to 
the Mexican War instead. 

42 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

Then, to divert the minds of Oregon settlers, gold was dis- 
covered in California. This was welcome diversion, indeed. 
Many Oregonians went to the California goldfields and many 
of them found gold. 

The Spectator of October 12 reported that the last of the rifle- 
men who had staid at Forts Lee and Waters had come home and 
had been discharged and that the Indians in those two districts 
were quiet. The issue of October 26, 1848, carried two items of 
interest, namely, that Joseph Meek had arrived in Washington, 
D. C. with the Oregon memorial, and that the sloop-of-war 
Eveline, Captain Goodwin commanding, had been ordered to 
the Columbia River. Another interesting item appeared in the 
December 14 issue. That article told of an exploration party 
finding at The Dalles, the Indian who had killed the volun- 
teer riflemen Jackson and Packwood during the Cayuse War. 
The entire party of explorers formed itself into a jury, tried 
the Indian, convicted him, sentenced him to hang, and prompt- 
ly carried out the sentence. 

The Oregon Legislature, which sat in the winter of 1848-1849 
passed a coinage act under which $5.00 and $10.00 gold pieces 
were to be minted. The Territory itself never minted the coins, 
because the Act of August 14, 1848, creating Oregon Territory 
resulted in the appointment of Joseph Lane* as Governor and 
he arrived on March 2, 1849, before coinage was started. On the 
day of his arrival Governor Lane issued a proclamation declar- 
ing Oregon to be a Territory of the United States and since 
Zachary Taylor was inaugurated as President on March 3rd, 
1849, it left the first day of the life of the new territory under 
the regime of President James K. Polk. Governor Lane promptly 
declared the coinage act to be unconstitutional and a private 
company, known as the Oregon Exchange Company actually 
minterd the coins. Later they were reduced to U. S. coinage at 
the San Francisco mint at a handsome profit to the Exchange 
Company because of the pure gold content of the coins. 

At the same time that Lane was appointed Governor, Joseph 
L. Meek was named United States Marshal for Oregon. Gov- 
ernor Lane had also been appointed Superintendent of Indian 
Affairs and at once began to compose differences between var- 
ious tribes and to conclude treaties. He had just made peace 
between the Klickitats and the Walla Wallas and settled some 
minor disturbances south of the Columbia River when word 

* See the Spectator of January 25, 1849, for first news of Lane's appoint- 

Events Between Cayus>e and Rogue River Wars 43 

reached him of a plot by Chief Patkanin, of the Snoqualmish 
tribe in the Puget Sound area, to capture Ft. Nisqually, a Hud- 
son's Bay Company post, and to drive out or kill all Americans 
in the upper Puget Sound district. In fact Patkanin apparently 
tried his coup, in the course of which two Americans were 
killed and one wounded, but the garrison was alert and the 
attempt failed. Nisqually was in charge of Dr. W. T. Tolmie, 
who understood Indians but the Snoqualmies even threatened 
him. After these Indians went back to the hills they sent word 
to the American settlers that they would permit the settlers to 
leave the country. The Americans sent back notice that they 
had come to stay and to prove that point immediately began the 
construction of two block-houses. 

Lane heard about these things and decided to go to the Puget 
Sound country. A lieutenant and five soldiers were all that re- 
mained of the Governor's escort across the plains so he took 
them with him and carried a supply of arms and ammunition 
to the settlers. When he arrived at Tumwater, where one of the 
blockhouses was being erected, he was overtaken by a messenger 
saying that the U. S. S. Massachusetts was in the Columbia 
River with two artillery companies aboard and that Major 
Hathaway, their commander, said he was willing to send part 
of his force to Puget Sound. So Lane went back to the Columbia 
River but notified Dr. Tolmie that the new Territorial Gov- 
ernment was ready to protect Fort Nisqually and was prepared 
to punish the Indians. Lane requested Dr. Tolmie to see that the 
Indians were made acquainted with that announcement. 

J. Q. Thornton was assistant to Lane as Superintendent of 
Indian Affairs. Thornton quickly got into difficulties. First, he 
took a month to accumulate information which he could have 
obtained from Dr. Tolmie in a matter of hours. Next, he bun- 
gled the transfer of troops to the Puget Sound country. Fol- 
lowing Major Hathaway's permission, one artillery company 
was sent to Puget Sound, under orders to establish a military 
post near Fort Nisqually and then to demand the surrender of 
the hostiles who had killed the two Americans. The ship trans- 
porting the artillery company was British. Thornton arrested 
the captain of the ship because the captain gave the customary 
dram of liquor to the Indians and the half-breeds who helped 
unload the ship. Then Thornton offered a reward to the Sno- 
qualmish for the surrender of the murderers of the Americans 
at Fort Nisqually. Lane was displeased and Thornton resigned. 
The artillery company was under the command of Captain B. 

44 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

H. Hill and established itself at Fort Steilacoom. Hill was 
given charge of Indian Affairs in the Puget Sound district. In 
September, 1849, the Indians accused of killing the two white 
men at Fort Nisqually were surrendered and two of them .were 
executed. They were Quallawort, a brother of Chief Patkanin, 
and another named Kassas. 

When Lane came to the Oregon Territory the Federal Gov- 
ernment had appointed three assistants to him as Superintend- 
ent of Indian Affairs. They were Robert Newell, J. Q. Thorn- 
ton, and George C. Preston. The latter never qualified because 
he never came to Oregon, so Newell was assigned the territory 
south of the Columbia River and Thornton that north of the 

The Indians quieted down except for killing a lone artillery- 
man soon after the executions, but the murder was committed so 
surreptitiously that no one could be charged with the crime. 

Once again the anti-British got busy with their tongue-wag- 
ging and letter writing, attempting to show that Dr. Tolmie 
was trying to incite the natives against the Americans, but the 
truth was that the quiescence of the Indians was largely due to 
their masterly handling by Dr. Tolmie. 

A piece of unfinished business remained^ The Whitman mur- 
derers were still at large and nothing could be done in that di- 
rection until the arrival of the long-delayed regular troops. So 
after years of effort a regiment consisting of 631 officers and men 
was recruited for Oregon service and started its trek from Fort 
Leavenworth on May 10, 1849. Accompanying were a few wives 
and children and the usual contingent of civilian employees, 
such as guides and teamsters. There was a large herd of live- 
stock and the customary collection of movable property. The 
commander was Brevet-Colonel W. W. Loring. Enroute they 
established two army posts, one at Fort Laramie and the other at 
Fort Hall, leaving two companies at each. 

That summer was marked by a deadly cholera epidemic among 
the immigrants and the troops likewise lost a number of men from 
that disease. To add to the spectre of disease a herd of beef cattle 
which was to have been delivered to the troops at Fort Hall 
failed to arrive, thus reducing the rations. There were some de- 
sertions. Finally, the regiment reduced by deaths, desertions, and 
the garrisons left at the two military posts, reached The Dalles. 
They were worn out in clothing and in spirit and now numbered 
only 561, counting those left at Fort Laramie and Hall. Part of 
those arriving at The Dalles went by river to Oregon City. Sev- 

Events Between Cayus>e and Rogue River Wars 45 

eral soldiers were drowned and many supplies lost. The other 
contingent went inland around the Mt. Hood road, and while 
they finally got through they lost most o their horses. Reaching 
Oregon City they found that no preparations had been made for 
barracks so some buildings were rented for that purpose. This 
latter circumstance was typical of many which caused people to 
wonder how anything was ever accomplished in any endeavor. 
On every hand and for many years there had been many eviden- 
ces of lack of good planning. Also, there were the ever-present 
jealousies between the Americans and the British/ mostly on the 
part of Americans. 

While the border question had been settled in 1846, it was rec- 
ognized that the British had been in the Territory a long time 
and had built forts and habitations. The fact that the boundary 
had been fixed at the 49th parallel of latitude did not mean that 
the British were dispossessed. In truth, so firm was the conviction 
that the British had property rights, and so uncertain was any 
American's title to the land he occupied, that the barracks, when 
finally built, were erected on land at Vancouver purchased from 
the Hudson's Bay Company. Similarly, Fort Steilacoom was erect- 
ed on land leased from the Puget Sound Agricultural Company. 

To show further the lack of co-ordination in the affairs of the 
Territory, we relate another circumstance. At about the time 
that Hathaway, now a Brevet-Major, and his artillerymen, ar- 
rived in the Columbia River, another newcomer showed up. He 
was Captain Rufus Ingalls, of the U. S. Army Quartermaster's 
Department, who had been ordered to Oregon to establish 
Quartermaster Departments. He came on the ship Anita which 
tied up at Vancouver, but his supplies, supposedly sufficient to 
supply the troops for two years, came on another ship, the Wai- 
pole, which had cleared for Astoria instead of for Vancouver. 
Moreover, no material was aboard with which to construct bar- 
racks, nor had any carpenters or millwrights been provided to do 
the work. But everything aboard was unloaded at Astoria, from 
where it was laboriously hauled by small boats to Vancouver. 

Now that the United States Government had at long last 
started to garrison the Territory, other arrivals made their ap- 
pearance. In September, 1849, General Persifer F. Smith, com- 
manding the Pacific Division, arrived with H. D. Vinton, Chief 
Quartermaster. Their job was to select locations for military 
posts. They approved those already located but vetoed the pro- 
posal to locate a fort on the road to California, giving as their 
reason that in view of the gold rush to California that any 

46 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

soldiers stationed on the road would desert for the gold fields. 

It was finally agreed that the artillery would permanently sta- 
tion at Astoria by the spring of 1850 and that the infantry would 
station at Vancouver Barracks. General Smith had reasoned well, 
proved by the fact that 120 men did desert and head for Cali- 
fornia and its gold. They travelled in a group, behaved well, 
told the settlers as they journeyed southward that they were a 
government expedition, and secured their supplies on credit. 
Governor Lane and Colonel Loring took out after them and 
overtook 70 of them on the Umpqua River. Lane brought them 
back to Oregon City. Meanwhile Loring went on after the rest 
and found seven trying to get through the snow in the Siskiyous. 
He brought them back. The rest were never heard from and 
were presumed to have perished or to have concealed their 
identity afterwards. 

In May, 1850, Major S. S. Tucker was ordered to The Dalles 
with two companies of riflemen to establish a supply post. He 
decreed an area ten miles square to be the military reservation. 
The reservation at Vancouver had been established as four square 
miles and the one at Astoria embraced properties already settled 
upon and improved. All this caused dissatisfaction. In fact 
these decrees were the beginning of the antagonisms between the 
settlers and the regular army which were to pyramid and con- 
tinue for years. But the real impetus to the ill feeling came with 
another attempt to set aside lands for the military. Henderson 
Luelling had brought several hundred fruit tree cuttings across 
the plains and had planted them in the now historic orchard at 
Milwaukie, Oregon. Colonel Loring attempted to set aside this 
Luelling orchard and some adjacent land belonging to Luelling's 
son-in law William Meek for arsenal lands. The settlers arose 
en-masse and sent word to Congress that they could take care of 
themselves. They asked that the regular troops be sent home, say- 
ing that the settlers would fight the Indians as they had done 
before. Feeling ran 'high. There was mutual contempt between 
army and settlers. These antipathies were to increase until after 
Steptoe's defeat several years later. Again it was a wonder that 
anything was ever accomplished. 

The Spectator of October 18, 1849, recounts the trial of six 
Indians at Ft. Steilacoom. These six were charged with the mur- 
der of Leander C. Wallace and the trial under the direction of 
Judge Bryant resulted in the conviction, sentence, and ultimate 
execution of two of the defendants. 

The same journal in its December 27 issue carried a news item 

Events Between Cayuse and Rogue River Wars 47 

of the court martial of three deserting soldiers. They were con- 
victed, given 30 lashes each in front of the regiment, and sen- 
tenced to wear ball and chain for the rest of their enlistment 

Again, on February 21, 1850, the Spectator told of the desertion 
of about 100 soldiers; announced that Colonel Loring had es- 
tablished his headquarters at Vancouver Barracks; and copied 
the proclamation of Governor Lane offering a reward for the 
apprehension of deserters and calling on all good citizens to 
help on such arrests. Life, civil and military, in the Pacific 
Northwest really had its complications. 

Once more, but this time finally, reference must be made to 
the ubiquitous subject of the Whitman murderers. Ever since 
Governor Lane had arrived he had been trying to gain custody 
of the criminals without having to go out and get them. To 
the surprise of most people, when Lane brought the 70 deserters 
back to Oregon City from Southern Oregon he learned that five 
Cayuses had surrendered themselves. Lane, with a small mili- 
tary escort, went to The Dalles to receive the prisoners. They 
were Tiloukaikt, Tamahas, Klakamas, Isaiachalkis, and Kiamas- 
umpkin. Most of their relatives and many friends were with 
them. Why they had surrendered no one really knows. Father 
Blanchet, in his Authentic Account, says that they only consent- 
ed to come in to confer with Government representatives. In 
this case Blanchet was probably mistaken since these Indians did 
offer to pay in horses for a defense, hence they must have ex- 
pected to be tried. It is probable that the Cayuses were tired of 
fleeing and hiding out. They must have seen the increasing 
number of immigrants. The Indians could not procure am- 
munition. They may have had a series of tribal councils where- 
in it was finally determined that they would eventually be 
caught and that perhaps it would be better to surrender volun- 
tarily. The real facts are unknown so we may only conjecture. 

Lane brought them to Oregon City and established them on 
an island at the Falls of the Willamette, the island being con- 
nected to the shore by a wooden bridge under constant guard 
by soldiers. Every care was taken to assure a fair trial. A jury 
panel of 38 citizens was called and immediately those who were 
old settlers and those with a background of personal experiences 
which had embittered them, were excused as jurors. United 
States District Attorney Amory Holbrook was prosecutor and 
three defense attorneys were appointed. They were Knitzing 
Pritchett, who was Territorial Secretary, Captain Thomas Glair- 

50 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

tary, P. C. Dart, arrived in Oregon in October, 1850. Joseph 
Lane had been succeeded as Governor by John P. Gaines who, 
with Alonzo A. Skinner and Beverly S. Allen, were appointed 
Commissioners to make Indian treaties west of the Cascades. Also 
three sub-agents were appointed under Dart, namely, A. G. 
Henry, Elias Wampole, and H. H. Spalding. The latter was an 
old-timer in Oregon. Wampole came out in 1851 but Henry 
never arrived. 

Twenty thousand dollars had been alotted to the Superintend- 
ent of Indian Affairs to build living quarters for himself and his 
assistants and to buy presents for the Indians. The treaty com- ' 
mission had also received an appropriation of $20,000.00 with 
which to buy goods to pay Indians for title to lands and for ex- 
penses. It was not until April, 1851, that the commissioners 
started to work. They quickly made six treaties with Willamette 
Valley tribes and had spent all but $300 of its appropriation 
when it received word that Congress had discontinued all In- 
dian treaty commissions, leaving that business to the Super- 
intendent of Indian Affairs. 

Superintendent Dart was also short of funds. He had as- 
signed H. H. Spalding to the Umpquas but Spalding seldom 
went to their country. Dart asked for his removal and E. A. 
Sterling was appointed to succeed Spalding. Then Sterling was 
ordered to Astoria. Dart, himself, went east of the Cascades in 
June, 1851. There he found the Cayuses to be a mere skeleton 
of that once powerful tribe. There were only 36 Cayuse war- 
riors left. 

Dart also visited the sites of the missions of Waiilatpu and 
Lapwai. He decided to place an agency on" the Umatilla and in 
so doing used the last of his funds. In spite of all his handicaps 
Dart did a good job. He had a vast territory and little compe- 
tent assistance and very little money. He appraised the situ- 
ation as being favorable to the whites, except in regard to the 
Snakes and the Rogues and recommended that troops be sta- 
tioned among the Snakes to protect the immigrant route. He 
learned that the Nez Perces were preparing to war on the Snakes 
and discouraged that enterprise by persuading the Nez Perces to 
wait until the next year (1852) when, if United States troops 
were not quartered in the Snake country, he would interpose no 
objection to their war. It turned out that the decision was not 
a good one because later in 1851 the Snakes went berserk, mak- 
ing life miserable for immigrants, killing 34 oi them, wounding 

John McLoughlin, Chief Factor of the 
Hudson's Bay Company and friend of 
the Americans. 

Fort Vancouver from a drawing by Cap- 
tain Warre of the English Army in 

Vancouver Barracks. 

Site of First Hudson's Bay Company Mill near Fort Vancouver 

Events Between Cayus<e and Rogue River Wars 51 

and outraging many, and stealing $18,000 worth of immigrants' 

Wampole did not last long. He started trading on the side 
instead of attending to his duties as sub-agent and after three 
months was ousted. 4 

Sub-agents came and went, most of them inefficient, but one, 
J. L. Parrish, attached to Methodist Mission projects, was out- 
standingly successful. 



THINGS were happening which couldn't be fathomed. Beginning 
in 1850 tribes which had previously caused little or no concern 
became restless. People talked about it, editors wrote about it, 
army officers tried to analyze it. No doubt the sight of increas- 
ing numbers of settlers revealed to the Indians the end of their 
free control of the wide open spaces. Then, too, there was the 
temptation to steal and rob when immigrant trains, particularly 
scattered wagons, offered ready opportunity. Sometimes retri- 
bution came in the form of bullets from the covered wagons and 
when an Indian was killed there was sure to be a balancing of 
the account. Also there were those who blamed the Mormons 
for inciting the Snakes. Th Hudson's Bay Company, still oper- 
ating but now subject to American law which prohibited the 
sale of ammunition to Indians, observed that law. But in its very 
observance the Company's prestige suffered in the Indian mind. 
The great Hudson's Bay Company no longer ruled the land and 
the Indians knew it. No more did they stand in awe of the 
British. It was probable that the Cayuses in their enforced wan- 
derings had inoculated the Snakes with hatred toward the 
"Bostons," as they called the Americans. At any rate depreda- 
tions increased. In all sectors there was a pyramiding of "Indian 
troubles/' In the south the Shastas, Rogues, and their allies 
made the road to and from California increasingly hazardous. 

Then in May, 1851, David Dilley was shot in cold blood by 
two Rogues. The other white men who were with him escaped 
over the mountains to California with the news. A company of 
volunteers was quickly formed, crossed the Siskiyous, killed two 
Indians, and captured a number whom they held as hostages 
pending the surrender of the two killers. The head chief refused 
to deliver the murderers. 

On June 1st, farther down the river, a party was attacked by 
hostiles and one Indian was killed. Next day, at the same cross- 
ing, three different parties were attacked, one of them losing 
four men. On June 3rd a group of 32 headed by Dr. James Mc- 
Bride, returning from the gold mines, was attacked in their camp 
south of the Rogue River. The Indians outnumbered the whites 
6 to 1 but after several hours of battle their chief was killed 


54 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

and the Indians retired. The whites suffered no serious cas- 
ualties but the Indians carried away a considerable quantity of 
movable property. There were certainly other Indians killed or 
wounded, but that could not be proved because of the Indian 
habit of carrying away their casualties. These events properly 
translated meant nothing less than that another Indian War was 
in preparation. 

The mounted rifle regiment assigned to Oregon was in the 
process of returning to Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, via Cali- 
fornia. The first detachment had left in March and the rest, 
under Major Kearney, was traveling slowly trying to seek out 
a route which would avoid the Umpqua River canyon. Kearney 
received word that the Rogues were warring on the whites and 
that the Indians were assembling at Table Rock, which was 
about 20 miles east of the usual crossing of the Rogue River. 
Kearney hurried forward with a detail of 28 men but high 
water delayed them until, on June J7, he reached a point five 
miles below Table Rock. The Indians were expecting an attack 
and were not disappointed. Eleven Indians were killed and a 
number wounded. Three soldiers were wounded, two only 
slightly, but Captain James Stuart died in a few hours. The 
creek on whose bank he was buried was named for him. 

Table Rock was a mesa projecting over the Rogue River 
and from its top a wide view was commanded. Kearney knew 
that he could not storm the place with his small force so en- 
camped for several days awaiting the main body of his troops. 
Meanwhile volunteer units of riflemen were being formed at 
the mines, for news of the outbreak had traveled fast. Governor 
Gaines could do little as under the territorial plan there was no 
provision for militia. He did write to the President for troops 
although Samuel R. Thurston, Territorial Delegate in Con- 
gress, had said none were needed. In fact, Thurston's statement 
was the reason for Kearney's departure. 

Having written President Fillmore, Governor Gaines set out 
for the Rogue country. He had no escort and arrived in the 
Umpqua Valley to find that his effort to raise a company of 
volunteers was doomed to failure because most of those who 
had been available had already gone to the scene of the fight- 
ing. Lacking an escort he staid in the Umpqua Valley until the 
end of June. Meanwhile Jesse Applegate was busy recruiting as 
was Jo Lane, who, by the way, had just been elected Territorial 
Delegate to Congress. At the ferry on the Rogue River Applegate 
met a group of miners on their way to Yreka. He suggested their 

The Rogue River War 55 

enlistment and 30 of the miners did so and went at once to Wil- 
low Springs, a strategic point where they could join the regulars 
when the latter came through, or, if the Indians fled in that di- 
rection, they could intercept the hostiles. 

Lane had been on his way to inspect his mining property in 
the Shasta district before proceeding to his official duties in 
Washington, D. C. when he heard of the battle of June 17 in 
which Captain Stuart had lost his life. He had about 40 men 
with him and hurried toward the locale of hostilities. On the 
night of June 22 he had reached the mountains in the Rogue 
River country when he was met by a messenger from Kearney 
who said the latter would march that night in order to attack 
the Indians at daylight on the 23rd. So Lane hastened to catrh 
up with Kearney but missed him and went back to Stuart's 
Creek to await news. There G. W. T'Vault and Levi Scott with 
a detail, came for supplies for Kearney's force, so Lane went 
with them and was royally welcomed by both regulars and vol- 
unteers. Lane was popular, and T'Vault was to become one of 
the most important men of early Oregon. 

There were two fights on June 23 at Table Rock. The morn- 
ing encounter was brief but the afternoon battle lasted until 
nightfall. The Indians suffered heavily but characteristically car- 
ried away their casualties. Several whites were wounded but 
none killed. Chief Jo, namesake of Lane and who had made the 
treaty the previous year, challenged Kearney to more fighting 
when the major proposed a new treaty. 

Actually, Kearney wanted a little time to figure things out, 
intending to attack at daybreak on June 25, but the Indians hi- 
tailed it down the river. Kearney pursued. The Indians' trail 
crossed the river seven miles below Table Rock, then it went up 
Sardine Creek, which empties into the Rogue River just west of 
Gold Hill, at which point the troops caught up with the In- 
dians. The warriors fled to the forest leaving their women and 
children to be captured. Kearney tried for two days to engage 
the warriors after which he returned to the camp on Stuart's 
Creek taking with him 30 prisoners. 

Lane was recognized by the Rouges who called across the 
river that they had been harassed by whites who were over- 
running their country. Lane told them that they were the ones 
who had broken the treaty whereupon the Indians said that 
they were tired of war and wanted peace. But Lane was no longer 
Superintendent of Indian Affairs and Kearney who had been de- 
layed in his trip to Jefferson Barracks by way of Benicia, Cali- 

56 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

fornia, and said that he would have to be on his way. So Kearney 
set out, planning to take the prisoners with him since there did not 
seem to be anything else to do with them. They were actually in 
his custody when he started but had not gone far when Lane 
sent word offering to deliver them to Oregon City. So Lane 
acquired the prisoners and set out for Oregon City. However, 
on July 7 he met Governor Gaines at a point where the Gover- 
nor had understood he would find the troops, only to discover 
that he had been too late. Gaines, using the women and children 
as an inducement, prevailed upon some of the Rogues to agree 
to a treaty. This was the same faction within the Rogue River 
tribe which always professed willingness for peace whenever 
their warriors had taken a beating. They agreed to accept 
United States jurisdiction and protection and to return stolen 

When Governor Gaines returned to Oregon City he recom- 
mended that an agent with a military guard be sent to the 

Thus ended what we may designate as the First Rogue River 



WHILE Kearney and Lane were busy with the foregoing, other 
Indian troubles were in progress. In May, 1851, Captain William 
Tichenor, who was operating the steamer Seagull between Port- 
land and San Francisco, announced that he intended to found 
a town on the Southern Oregon coast and build a road into the 
Southern Oregon gold district. He expected to set up a store for 
miners' supplies and said that he had chosen a site. It turned 
out to be the place where present day Port Orford stands. He 
gathered a group of nine men led by J. M. Kirkpatrick to initiate 
the undertaking. Tichenor insisted that the local Indians were 
friendly but the men refused to go unless supplied with firearms. 
The Captain provided them with a nondescript assortment of 
weapons among which was a little old cannon with three or four 
shells, each holding two pounds of powder. Tichenor told the 

The Rogue River War 57 

two men that he would reinforce them on his return trip in 
about two weeks, when he would also bring supplies. 

As soon as the ship had sailed from the townsite the Indians 
started to menace the small colony, which promptly set up log 
defenses on a prominent rock, since known as Battle Rock and 
now preserved as a state park. The colonists loaded their cannon 
and awaited developments. On the morning of June 10 the In- 
dians gathered in large numbers, held a war dance and were 
harangued by a tall fellow wearing a red shirt. Then the Indians 
advanced to storm the barricade. They had no knowledge of 
cannon and crowded together. The first shot from the cannon 
killed seventeen of them, one being the red-shirted orator. He 
proved to be a white man, a Russian, and had probably been a 
deserter from some Russian ship or may have been marooned by 
his captain. Thus it seems that we had a Russian agent provoca- 
teur even in that early day. Then another leader exhorted the 
natives and again they attacked. That leader also was killed. 
The type of energetic reception accorded them caused the In- 
dians to pause. A long-range conversation ensued in which the 
white men told the Indians that the ship would return in 14 
days when they would leave on it. The natives decided to wait. 
On the 15th day, the ship having failed to appear, about 400 
Indians congregated on the beach. The white men decided that 
their only chance for survival lay in escape. They had a limited 
supply of ammunition and knew that it would be only a ques- 
tion of time until the natives, through overwhelming numbers, 
would be victorious. The white men slipped away. Traveling by 
night and hiding by day, staying near the coast, finally, hungry 
and exhausted, they reached the settlements near the mouth of 
the Umpqua River. Meanwhile Captain Tichenor had returned, 
found the site abandoned and evidence of the battle. Among 
other things he found a diary containing an incomplete account 
of the battle. He concluded that all the white men had been 
killed and thus reported his conclusion. The newspapers on the 
coast published accounts of the supposed massacre. 

But the effort to colonize Port Orford continued. In August, 
1851, the settlers there numbered about 70 and felt sufficiently 
powerful to hold their own against the Indians and to explore a 
right-of-way for a road to the gold diggings. Twenty-three men 
under the leadership of W. G. T'Vault set out on the exploring 
trip. By August 22nd most of the group were ready to give up 
the enterprise as a bad job and 13 of them returned. T'Vault and 
nine others plodded on. September 1st they, too, decided to aban- 

58 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

don their trip. The horses couldn't negotiate the tangle of under- 
brush and they decided to employ local Indians to take them 
down stream in canoes. The river was the Coquille and the In- 
dians were of the tribe of the same name. On the 14th the 
Indians suddenly beached their canoes at their village where 
word of the expedition had evidently preceded them. The Indians 
immediately surrounded the whites and attempted to gain 
possession of their firearms. The fighting was terrific. The Indians 
were armed with bows and arrows, war clubs and knives. Their 
knives had been fashioned from iron salvaged from the wreck of 
the pilot boat Hagstaff which had been lost at the mouth of the 
Rogue River. Patrick Murphy, A. S. Dougherty, John P. Holland, 
Jeremiah Dyland, and J. P. Pepper were massacred. T'Vault, Gil- 
bert Bush, L. L. Williams, T. J. Davenport, and Cyrus Hedden 
escaped, though Bush was severely injured, in addition to his 
other injuries being partly scalped. 

Appeal for a garrison was made to the army at Astoria. The 
post commander had received a report from Kearney telling of 
the battles with the Rogue River Indians, which with the added 
intelligence about the Coquille massacre caused Lieutenant A. 
V. Kautz and 20 soldiers to be sent to Port Orford, supposedly 
the best station from which to hold the Indians in check. The 
post commander had been told that Port Orford was only 35 miles 
from Camp Stuart on Stuart's Creek whereas it was three times 
that distance, all of it through very rugged country. So the sta- 
tioning of Lieutenant Kautz' small group was of no value as an 
aid to the miners and the force was too small to go into the 
mountains to fight Indians. 

On September 12th, 1851, Anson Dart, Superintendent of In- 
dian Affairs with two agents, J. L. Parrish and H. H. Spalding, 
sailed from Portland on the steamer Seagull for Port Orford. The 
purpose of their trip was to make treaties with the Coast tribes. 
They arrived on the 14th, the very day of the massacre on the 
Coquille and two days later heard that news from T'Vault and 
Bush, who credited the care given them by the Cape Blanco 
Indians with their survival. Dart was on a spot. He had come to 
conclude treaties. To do so now would make it appear to the 
Indians that the whites were backing down. He had Lieutenant 
Kautz and only 20 soldiers so he couldn't lead a punitive expe- 
dition. However Dart had Parrish who knew Indians. Parrish 
persuaded the Cape Blanco natives to find out who had survived 
at the Coquille River besides T'Vault and Bush, So two Cape 
Blanco women went to the Coquille village and" while there 

The Rogue River War 59 

buried the five victims, but did not know how to identify them. 
The Indian women returned reporting that some had escaped 
but just who they didn't know. After several days of discussion 
Parrish decided to go to the Coquilles for a talk and took no 
escort. Instead he had with him one Indian from a Columbia 
River tribe who had stolen from the Coquilles as a boy. Parrish 
took presents by means of which three principal chiefs were in- 
duced to come to his camp but the council came to nothing as 
the Coquilles refused to place themselves under the supervision 
of the white people. 

Dart knew that the Rogues had not kept the treaty made with 
Governor Gaines and that numerous robberies and murders had 
occurred, so he sent word to the Rogues to meet him at Port 
Orford. That was an error because it was customary that one 
tribe would not cross the territory of an unallied tribe unless to 
fight them and Dart should have had knowledge of that funda- 
mental. Hence his order was rebuffed and the Rogues got 
tougher. In fact that summer (1851) the Rogues committed 38 
known murders and many thefts and robberies. 

Upon hearing of the Coquille River massacre, General E. A. 
Hitchcock ordered Companies A, C, and E of the First Dragoons 
to Port Orford. Company C was mounted, the other two dis- 
mounted. Lieutenant-Colonel Silas Casey of the Second Infantry 
was assigned to command. Companies A and E arrived at Port 
Orford on October 22, 1851, and Company C on October 27th. 
On October 31st they started out to punish the Coquilles. It took 
them until November 3rd to reach the mouth of the Coquille 
River because of the difficulties of the trail. Their guide was Gil- 
bert Bush, one of the survivors. On November 5th the Indians 
assembled on the north side of the river and challenged the 
troops. The Indians felt their oats because they had supplemented 
their bows and arrows with the firearms and ammunition cap- 
tured at the time of the massacre. The Indians and the troops 
fired at each other across the river without damage to either side. 

The soldiers built a raft and on November 7th the dismounted 
men crossed, the mounted men with Lieutenant-Colonel Casey 
remaining on the south side. Then both detachments started up- 
stream. That march continued for several days struggling 
through underbrush and swamps, up, down and across canyons. 
It was raining and the men slept in wet clothes and wet blankets 
and didn't see an Indian. They did run across several abandoned 
villages which they burned. Casey changed his plan and ordered 
a return to the mouth of the river. There he acquired three small 

60 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

boats, packed 60 men into them, and rowed up stream for four 
days to the junction of the North and South Forks. The weather 
continued bad and the stream was swifter by reason of con- 
tinued rainfall. 

On November 21st Lieutenant Thomas Wright with 14 men in 
one boat went up the South Fork while Lieutenant George 
Stoneman with 14 men in another boat went up the North Fork. 
After proceeding seven miles Stoneman saw the Indians in force 
on both sides of the stream; he fired a few shots and then returned 
to the junction. Wright also returned, having gone farther but 
having seen no Indians. Next day all started up the north branch. 
Fifty of the men were on the south bank, while the other ten 
men in two boats went ahead. When within a half mile of the 
camp one company crossed to the north side, all advancing silent- 
ly. Of course the Indians saw the boats and" assembled to prevent 
their landing. Casey had hoped for that very thing because it 
gave the troops on one shore a chance to rush in from two sides 
of the Indian camp, while those on the opposite bank picked off 
any Indians who straggled close enough. In a few minutes 15 
Indians were killed and many wounded. The surviving hostiles 
fled to the forest. Casey figured they had had their lesson and re- 
turned to the mouth of the river where they erected a log bar- 
racks. In December the three companies were sent to San Fran- 
cisco and thus ended another Rogue River campaign. 

In January, 1852, the schooner Captain Lincoln was chartered 
to carry a garrison to Port Orford, which was ordered to be' 
designated thereafter as Fort Orford. Lieutenant Stanton, who 
had been with Lieutenant-Colonel Casey in the Coquille River 
campaign, was in command. The vessel went aground on a sand 
spit two miles north of Coos Bay. All personnel, together with 
the stores were safely landed and habitations were devised from 
the ship's sails and spars. They were there four months with 
nothing to do except to keep thieving Indians from stealing the 
stores. The men named the place Camp Castaway. Twelve drag- 
oons were detailed to mark a trail to Fort Orford so that a relief 
train could get through. The dragoons also carried messages for 
forwarding to the military authorities in San Francisco and were 
ordered to stay at Fort Orford until replies came from San Fran- 
cisco. However, the mail steamer with the answers, and with a 
Quartermaster named Miller aboard, scheduled to stop at Fort 
Orford, made a mistake by concluding that the entrance to the 
Rogue River was Port Orford, and when the error was discov- 
ered became panicky and hit out for the Columbia River so that 

The Rogue River War 61 

the quartermaster did not get to Fort Orford until April I2th. 
From there he headed a pack train for Camp Castaway. It took 
four days to go 50 miles so Miller went up to the mouth of the 
Umpqua where he found the schooner Nassau, which he char- 
tered and brought to Coos Bay, the first vessel to enter there. 
The brig Fawn soon arrived at the mouth of the Umpqua, load- 
ed with quartermaster's wagons. Mules were sent there to haul the 
wagons to Camp Castaway. There was no road but the job was 
done. They hauled the supplies from the wreck across sand dunes 
to Coos Bay where they were loaded on the Nassau, for Fort 
Orford, arriving there May 20th. This merely indicated some of 
the difficulties attendant upon fighting Indians. 

Fort Orford was by that time garrisoned by twelve dra- 
goons under Lieutenant Stanton and 20 artillerymen under 
Lieutenant Wyman. At that time no road had been 
opened into the interior, in fact it was not until that 
year that the first road was made available. Since 
horses could not get through the underbrush and the 
canyons the garrison wasn't of much use for trailing 
Indians, nor could they hurry here and there through the interior 
as emergency calls came, so they remained at Fort Orford as an 
evidence of moral suasion. After all, there were 32 of them, well 
armed so they could shoot, which demanded some respect from 
the natives. 

As pointed out elsewhere in this book, there was a wide varia- 
tion in the intelligence quotient of the many different tribesmen. 
The Rogues and Shastas, who were of the same nation, were far 
down the scale from the Cayuses, who, in turn, were surpassed by 
' the Nez Perces. The Rogues and Shastas were most primitive in 
their habits, passions, and morals. With them it was survival of 
the fittest by whatever means necessary. They had no property 
except the barest necesssities, but were always willing and anx- 
ious to acquire that of others. The Rogues were never quiet for 

In the spring of 1852 a series of outrages occurred in Southwest- 
ern Oregon which was to eventuate another Rogue River war. 
A settler who lived on Grave Creek, which empties into Wolf 
Creek, a tributary of the Rogue River, was robbed. Then in 
April five prospectors were attacked in their camp on Josephine 
Creek in the Illinois River country. One of them slipped out and 
made his way to Jacksonville for aid. The other four built a bar- 
ricade and held off the Rogues for two days when relief came in 
the form of 35 miners. 

62 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

The prospectors had found the remains of men recently mur- 
dered. Calvin Woodman was murdered by the Shastas under 
Chief Scarface on April 8th at a creek running into the Klamath 
River. Scarface was chief of the tribe in Shasta Valley; John was 
chief of those in Scott Valley. The miners and settlers of both 
valleys combined and arrested Chief John, who was considered 
by some to be the Head Chief, but only because his father had 
been the principal chief. Demand was made of Chief John to 
surrender Chief Scarface as the murderer and also Chief Bill, as 
an accessory. Chief John refused the surrender and somehow es- 
caped. So the miners set out to punish the Indians. In the fight 
which followed the sheriff was wounded and several horses be- 
longing to the posse were killed. The Indians began moving their 
families out of the neighborhood in preparation for hostilities. 

Another phase of the attempt to arrest Chief Scarface came in 
an incident sparked by Elisha Steele. He was a man who always 
held the confidence of Indians. 

While traveling north from Yreka and arriving at Johnson's 
ranch in Scott Valley, he met a company of the miners who had 
been vainly trying to apprehend the murderers of Calvin Wood- 
man. Fearing for the safety of the Johnson family in case of war, 
Steele decided to hold a council and succeeded in persuading 
several important Indian leaders to meet with him. These In- 
dians were Chief Tolo, head of the tribe in the country around 
Yreka; Philip, who was Tolo's son; Chief John of the Scott Val- 
ley tribe with his brother Jim and two less important brothers. 
All these Indians assured Steele that they wanted only peace and 
offered to go on a search for the murderers with Steele. So Steele 
organized a group which went to Yreka and secured the neces- 
sary warrants for the arrest of Chief Scarface and Chief Bill. 

Setting out they found that the two criminals had gone to the 
district which was under the rule of Chief Sam of the Rogue 
River Indians. Chief Sam had already declared war on the whites, 
his alleged reason being that he accused Dr. G. H. Ambrose, a set- 
tler, of appropriating land which traditionally had been used as 
winter quarters by the tribe and, further, that the doctor had 
refused to betroth his infant daughter to the Chiefs infant son. 
Which of these excuses was most impelling we do not know but 
when Chief Tolo, his son Philip, and Jim, who was Chief John's 
brother, learned of them, they declined to accompany Steele any 
further but did assign two young braves as their substitutes and 
pledged that the braves would find the criminals or stand trial 
before the law in their stead. 

The Rogue River War 63 

We must now consider another of those trying sets of cir- 
cumstances which caused people to wonder how affirmative results 
were ever accomplished. It will be remembered that Alonzo A. 
Skinner was Indian agent in the Rogue country. As such it was 
his prime duty to avoid war and to conclude peace treaties and, 
also, to see that the rights of the Indians were protected, and that 
the natives were compensated for lands occupied by settlers. After 
the withdrawal of Chief Tolo and the others from Steele's party, 
part of Steele's group with himself at its head, went to the Rogue 
River. The other detachment under Benjamin Wright went to 
the gold mines on the Klamath River. While these two parties 
were traveling, news of Chief Sam's war declaration reached the 
mining community at Jacksonville. There a company of almost a 
hundred men under John K. Lamerick, as captain, was organized. 
When agent Skinner heard about it he obtained a promise from 
the volunteers that he would be given time to council with the 
Indians before the volunteers attacked. 

Skinner and a committee of four found Chief Sam who agreed 
to talk. He said that he was in favor of peace but that he preferred 
to wait until the next day in order to give time for Chief Jo to 
join the council. Skinner agreed to wait. While these events were 
transpiring, Steele had arrived at Jacksonville to demand the sur- 
render of Scarface and Bill. Skinner agreed that their surrender 
be made a condition of the council's results. So all of them went 
to the council Skinner, Steele, Lamerick and his company. The 
Indians were waiting on the far side of the river. A messenger 
was sent across to ask Chief Sam to come over with Chief Jo and 
a small bodyguard. Sam agreed but seeing the volunteers armed 
and in formation thought it was a trap and hesitated, whereupon 
Skinner ordered the volunteers to stack their arms which was 

Steele was there to arrest two Indians and Skinner was present 
to negotiate a peace. The messenger reported that the murderers 
were in Chief Sam's camp. Sam refused to council until Steele 
freed two Rogues whom he had captured enroute. Skinner spoke 
to the prisoners saying that he, as their white chief, freed them. 
Steele, in turn, told them that if they tried to leave they would 
be shot and stationed men for that purpose. Under these poor 
circumstances the council got under way and while in progress 
about 100 Indians crossed the river from Sam's camp and mingled 
with the crowd. This made the volunteers nervous so they took 
up their stacked arms. This council occurred July 19, 1852, and 
under the circumstances was a failure. Even under the best 

64 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

conditions it would have failed because Sam never intended to 
to enter into a binding treaty. Finally Sam said that he would 
not surrender the criminals, at least until he had gone back 
across the river to discuss the matter with some of his people. So 
he went across and yelled back that he was not returning and 
defied the volunteers to come over, promising them a hot re- 

Of course the challenge could not go unanswered. After all 
the volunteers had come for the purpose of fighting Indians but 
Skinner and Steele, with a considerable number of Indians, were 
still on the council ground. So half of the volunteers went to a 
ford above Sam's camp and the others down stream below a sand- 
bar beyond Sam's camp prepared to cross and attack if Skinner 
and Steele were threatened. Skinner, ever an individualist as far 
as his own decisions went, and anxious to avoid hostilities but 
judging that a battle was likely to occur, crossed the river. About 
half of the Indians did likewise. Steele was alarmed at Skinner's 
action and placed a guard to prevent the rest of the Indians from 
crossing. Steele also sent a Shasta Indian over to warn Skinner of 
his peril. That Indian knew the murderers and Skinner could 
have asked him to point them out but did not, fearing bloodshed. 

Just then it was reported that Scarface and two others were 
seen sneaking off in the direction of the Klamath River. This 
news caused a commotion among the volunteers which alarmed 
the Indians, who hastened into a nearby grove. The volunteers 
thought that the Indians had gone there to prepare for an at- 
tack. Steele's party then got into position to intercept them. 
It surely looked as if a fight was only a matter of minutes. At that 
moment Martin Angell, a settler who had formerly lived in the 
Willamette Valley where he had the respect of the Indians, came 
up and suggested to the Indians in the grove that they lay down 
their arms and agree to remain as hostages until the murderers 
were surrendered. The Indians agreed and were told to occupy 
a log building in the vicinity. As they walked past Steele's party, 
ostensibly to go to their assigned quarters they suddenly made a 
run for the woods. From the woods the Indians would have had 
the advantage in firing, so Steele ordered his men to attack- 
Both sides were well armed and both ready to fight. Recall that 
part of Captain" Lamerick's volunteers were at the ford above 
camp. Hearing the firing Lamerick left some met! to guard the 
place and then set off up the valley to warn the settlers, the 
first of whom was Dr. Ambrose, previously mentioned. 

The battle didn't last long. Sam's warriors made a noisy charge 

The Rogue River War 65 

for the purpose of liberating the two prisoners held by Steele. 
The prisoners started to run towards the river. One was shot be- 
fore he got that far; the other after he reached the opposite 
shore. Sam then sent some braves to cut off Steele but they were 
observed by one of the volunteers and several of them killed. 
The ony white casualty was one man wounded. Skinner, who 
had taken no part in the fighting, went to his home which he 
started putting into a state of defense. 

That evening news was received that some of Sam's warriors 
had, during the council, gone down stream to a bar where a 
small company of miners were washing gold and killed the 
miners. Lamerick at once crossed the river and placed his force 
in the pass between Table Rock and the river. Steele and his 
party went farther up stream so he could intercept the Indians 
and turn them back towards Lamerick's position the following 
morning. The Indians were out-generalled. 'Finding themselves 
trapped they asked for peace and agreed to settle on the terms of- 
fered the previous day, which terms included the surrender of 
the killers. Word was sent to Skinner who called a council for the 
the next day, July 21, 1852, which was duly held. There it was 
learned that Scarface had not been with Sam. Instead it was one 
from Chief Tipso's band from north of the Siskiyous. The In- 
dian's name was Sullix, a man who resembled Scarface and who 
also had his face scarred, to which more scars were added by 
wounds received in the fight. Scarface was said to be hiding in the 
Salmon River Mountains. 

Scarface had probably been on the Salmon, for, after Steele's 
failure to arrest the Woodman killers an expedition under Ben 
Wright set out to find them. With Wright were several Indians 
including Scarface in spite of the fact that he was very much sus- 
pected by the whites. Proceeding towards the Klamath River the 
party divided. Scarface, alone, ventured too near Yreka and was 
seen by several white men who decided to add him to their long 
list of Indians whom they had killed for the Woodman murder 
and who had probably never heard of Woodman. Afoot, Scarface 
led his mounted pursuers a race for 18 miles before he was 
caught. They hanged him to a tree in what is still known as 
Scarface Gulch. Wright returned with two Indians suspected of 
killing Woodman. A trial, witnessed by immense crowds, was 
held at Lone Star Ranch. One of the Indians was convicted and 
hanged, the other released. 

In the treaty which Skinner made with Chief Sam the latter 
was required to hold no communication with the Shastas. Since 

66 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

the Rogues and the Shastas belonged to the same family such a 
requirement would seem to have been futile. But as bad as 
things were in the Rogue River country, they were better than 
they had been in 1851 when measured by the number of mur- 
ders since only 18 killings were perpetrated by the Rogue River 
Indians in 1852 as compared with 36 proved the previous year. 

In the treaty councils Indians were told that the Federal 
Government would pay them for lands in money or in other 
things of value. Shortly after the treaty with Chief Sam the 
Superintendent of Indian Affairs was notified that all treaties 
which had been made in Oregon Territory had been ordered 
laid on the table in the United States Senate and Dart was in- 
structed to make no more except where absolutely necessary to 
maintain peace. The reason given was that the Federal Govern- 
ment wanted time in which to define its Indian policy. Dart 
thereupon, in December, 1852, tendered his resignation to be- 
come effective in June, 1853. 

It must be recalled that Joseph Lane was Territorial Delegate 
in Congress in 1852. There he was trying to obtain military 
protection for the northern immigrant route. He was reminded 
that his predecessor Samuel R. Thurston had said that the 
mounted rifle regiment was unnecessary and in fact Kearney 
was withdrawing the last remnants of it when he intervened in 
the Rogue River War of 1852. Lane stressed his point, indicat- 
ing the large number of murders and robberies in 1851. 

However, the 1852 immigration, which was the largest of all, 
was so well equipped as well as so numerous that the Indians 
were not very bold although some stealing occurred. The 
southern route had another story to tell and a sad one. *that 
route roughly paralleled the southern boundary of present day 
Oregon with slight serrations due to the topography of the 
country. There Fremont had been attacked in 1843. There 
Captain W. H. Warner was murdered in 1849 while surveying 
for a railroad. The route had always been subjected to attacks. 
Tule Lake, now mostly farm land but then a large body of 
water, was a favorite spot for the Modoc Indians to waylay im- 
migrant trains. There was a particular spot which was worse, 
that being on the north side of the lake at what was named 
Bloody Point, a place where the wagon trail ran between the 
lake and an overhanging cliff. Many immigrants were attacked 
there in 1851 but 1852 had to roll around to mark the high spot 
in troubles at that location. That year almost a hundred men, 

The Rogue River War 67 

women and children were murdered, wagons burned, and large 
quantities of goods stolen. 

We have previously stated that Benjamin Wright had left 
Steele near Jacksonville to go to the mines on the Klamath 
River. Near Yreka he met a party of 60 male immigrants, the 
advance group of a larger number coming by the southern 
route, who said they had come through without Indian mo- 
lestation, but they also reported that there were many parties on 
the road, some with their families, and that Indian signal fires 
were burning in the mountains. Upon learning of the signal 
fires it was decided to raise a company of volunteers in Yreka 
to escort immigrants through Modoc land. A company of about 
40 men under Captain Charles McDermit was organized and 
set out for Tule Lake. Arriving there they met another group 
of men bound for Yreka. McDermit assigned two of his men to 
act as guides and the rest of his company remained in the lake 
country. As it turned out the two guides were wounded in an 
Indian attack but they and the party they were escorting es- 
caped when a lucky shot removed the top of an Indian's head 
and temporarily demoralized the Indians. 

At Goose Lake the volunteers met a small party of ten wagons 
headed for Western Oregon. There were only 20 men, five of 
them with families. McDermit warned them of the dangers near 
Tule Lake and detached two more men to serve as their guides. 
On August 19th they neared the southeast part of Tule Lake 
with no Indians in sight. The guides explained that it was a 
bad indication when Indians were not visible so the train cut 
northwest across the flats. As a combination safety measure and 
ruse the women and children were placed inside the wagons and 
the canvas fastened down. When almost at a safe location the 
Indians rushed toward them but seeing the men all armed 
with rifles and fearing that other men might be concealed in 
the wagons, retreated to some rocks where they were out of 
range. The wagons were formed in a circle and the Indians were 
challenged in Chinook jargon by one of the guides. It was finally 
agreed that the Chief and the guide would meet unarmed and 
parley. That was done but J. C. Tolman, who was in charge of 
the train, noticed something going on which aroused his sus- 
picion. It was that Indians, apparently unarmed, gradually 
strolled near the parley and Tolman noticed that they had tied 
their bows to their toes with thongs, the bows dragging some 
distance behind. He warned the guide who ordered the chief to 
send his warriors away. The Chief, seeing that he had been out- 

gg Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

guessed, did so and agreed to let the party proceed without harm. 
The train started and soon discovered some mounted Indians who 
had concealed themselves, who upon becoming aware of their 
discovery went away. 

On August 23rd Tolman's party was traveling west and was 
met by an exhausted man on an exhausted horse. The man was 
so weak that he had to be lifted from his horse and fed before he 
could talk. He at length was able to say that he was the only 
survivor of a party of eight who had been overpowered by the 
Modocs and that he had ridden for three days without dis- 
mounting and without food. Tolman's party took the man with 
them to Yreka but by the time they arrived the man was com- 
pletely demented. The citizens of Yreka hearing the reports of 
the guides, the story about the demented man, and a recital of 
Tolman's experiences, organized a second company of volunteers. 
It didn't take long to recruit a company because Tolman's party 
was the first that year to come through with women and children 
and the miners got to thinking about their own families and 
what might have happened had McDermit's company not been 
on duty. Benjamin Wright was chosen Captain. 

In six days they were at Tule Lake, three of the days having 
been devoted to equipping the company. They arrived at the 
lake in the nick of time for a battle was in progress between a 
surrounded wagon train and the Modocs and two whites had 
already been wounded. When the Indians saw the relief forces 
they scattered, some hiding in the tules around the lake shore 
and others going to an island not far away. Wright's company 
escorted the wagon train beyond danger and then returned. 
First they discovered the bodies of the men reported as slain in 
the recital of the demented man. Then they found the bodies of 
three of McDermit's men who had been detached to act as 
guides for immigrant trains. It was plain to Wright and his 
company that the Indians were attacking every train, and, en- 
raged at the sight of the dead men, the company determined to 
hunt down the Indians. 

They went back to the lake at a point near the island and 
went into the tules after the Indians. There was a fierce fight 
in which more than 30 Modocs were killed. After the battle 
Wright went eastward and at Clear Lake met a large immigrant 
train. A ruse was decided upon. Several wagons were unloaded 
and filled with armed men. Some, dressed in women's clothes, 
walked along with the drivers as they proceeded in the custo- 
mary leisurely manner along the trail. But the Indians did not 

The Rogue River War 69 

fall for the trick. Either their spies had witnessed the prepara- 
tions or the recent battle had temporarily taken the fight out of 
them. Wright went to Yreka to order some boats so he could 
get his men to the island. Meanwhile his men continued to 
patrol the road through Modoc land. 

The news of these Modoc attacks reached Jacksonville where 
another company under John E. Ross was organized and went 
immediately to the Modoc country. When Ross' company arrived 
Wright went back to Yreka for the boats but they were of no use 
to him for the Indians had left the island and gone to the lava 
beds between Tule Lake and Clear Lake. But Wright's men did 
find plenty of evidence in the former camp of the Indians- 
women's dresses, babies' stockings, many other things until the 
men actually wept in their anger. Whether to try to form an 
army and hunt down the Modocs to the last man or whether to 
effect a treaty was the question. Finally it was decided to try for 
the latter. Wright and his company staid and Wright started 
plans to bring about a council. From two Indians whom they 
had captured it .was learned that two white women were cap- 
tives. Wright thought that a treaty might save the lives of the 
women. Wright had a cross-breed Indian part Modoc as a 
personal servant, and sent him to the Modoc chiefs to arrange 
a parley. Four chiefs agreed to talk. Wright proposed to them 
that they return the two women and stolen property whereup- 
on he would take his company back to Yreka unless the Indians 
preferred that he stay for a while to trade with them. The 
chiefs agreed and one went back to get the women while Wright 
retained the other three as hostages. 

Wrights' company had, by that time, been reduced to 18 men. 
The fourth Chief returned without the women but with 45 
warriors. Wright denounced the chief for breaking his promise. 
The Chief said that since Wright had held the other chiefs as 
hostages that now Wright and his men would be held as hos- 
tages by the Modocs to insure good conduct on the part of all 
white people. It was a bad situation. Outnumbered 5 to 2 he 
succeeded in putting off the Indians until the next day for his 
decision. That night Wright moved fast. They were camped 
at a ford on Lost River. Six of his men sneaked across and got 
back of the Indians' camp. At daybreak Wright fired a gun 
which was the prearranged signal to attack and the six men on 
one side of the Indian camp and Wright and his 12 men on the 
other charged. In a few minutes 40 Modocs were dead and four 
of Wright's men wounded. Stretchers were made of rifles and 

70 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

the four men were carried 15 miles and a messenger sent back to 
Yreka for help. Upon their return to Yreka, Wright and his 
company were feted and praised. The two white women were 
sacrificed how we do not know, but probably with all the 
cruelty peculiar to savages of whom the Modocs were worst. 

It is not difficult to assert that had McDermit and Wright, 
their companies and their sponsors not aided the immigrants the 
progress of settlement would have been delayed. But better 
times were coming, not without Indian wars, but the beginning 
of the end of such wars, for in September, 1852, the remnant of 
the 4th United States Infantry reached Vancouver Barracks. 
There were 268 men under Lieutenant-Colonel Benjamin L. E. 
Bonneville. They were the survivors of the crossing of the Isth- 
mus of Panama, but they were too sick and the season was too 
late for any affirmative action that winter. 

We now return to the handicap placed upon the Superintend- 
ent of Indian Affairs and his agents. Skinner could not make 
good on his promises to Chief Sam because of the government 
order previously mentioned. Chief Sam didn't want a treaty 
anyway. Still, through fear or some better quality, although Sam 
did not possess many, Sam, himself, kept faith with the treaty 
for almost a year. But one of his lesser chiefs, known as Taylor, 
did not. Grave Creek, a tributary of Wolf Creek, was the scene 
of the murder of seven men by Taylor and his braves. A cloud- 
burst had occurred and during the downpour the murders were 
committed. Taylor reported finding the seven men drowned. 
Other overt acts were blamed on Taylor and rumor also had it 
that Rogues were holding white women captive at Table Rock. 
All these stories were not true but enough of them were to inflame 
the settlers, particularly with the addition of the proved and 
known murders and robberies in Modoc land. Desire to retaliate 
was rampant. In June, 1852, Taylor and three of his warriors 
were captured by a posse from Jacksonville and the four were 
hanged. The posse then went to Table Rock to rescue the white 
women. Not finding any they killed six Indians. Things were in 
a mess. Both whites and Indians committed unwarranted acts 
against each other. There was no military authority in the 
Rogue River Valley and no Indian agent. This latter need was 
because there had been another change in the Superintendency of 
Indian Affairs. Joel Palmer had replaced Dart. Skinner had re- 
signed, as Indian Agent and Palmer had not yet filled the vacan- 
cy. The nearest Federal troops were at Ft. Orford on the coast 
and Ft. Jones in Scott Valley. Joseph Lane had returned from 

The Rogue River War 71 

Washington, D. C. with a commission as Governor of Oregon 
Territory, but upon his return he had been re-elected Terri- 
torial Representative in Congress. Lane preferred the latter po- 
sition which left the Territorial Secretary George L. Curry as 
Acting Governor. Lane was residing at Roseburg. 

Suddenly the whites in the Rogue River Valley were attacked. 
On August 4th Richard Edwards was killed at his home on 
Stuart's Creek. On the 5th Thomas J. Wills and Rhodes Noland 
were killed and two others wounded. Volunteer companies were 
quickly recruited, the settlers were warned, and the women and 
children were gathered at centralized locations where the houses 
were fortified. A guard detail was left to protect them and the 
rest of the volunteers went to punish the Indians. On August 7th 
two Shastas were captured, both of them in war paint. They 
were guilty of two of the murders and were hanged at Jackson- 
ville. Then the whites hung an innocent young Indian. If any 
white man felt like objecting he kept silent, such was the emo- 
tional state of the majority. Feeling was running high and if an 
innocent Indian, more or less, was to be hanged why protest. 
Acts like that had their repercussions. Many settlers' homes 
were burned. A party headed by Isaac Hill attacked a nomad 
band near Ashland and killed six. Within two weeks the Indians 
evened Jthe score by attacking an immigrant camp at Ashland 
killing two whites and wounding four. Four days later the In- 
dians ambushed a volunteer patrol killing Dr. William R. Rose 
and wounding John R. Hardin so badly that he died. Then it 
was open season on Indians. 

A petition was sent to Captain Alden, commanding at Ft. 
Jones, asking for arms and ammunition for the settlers. He came 
at once with 12 men to fulfill the request. Then a request was 
sent to Governor Curry asking him to requisition arms and 
ammunition from Colonel Bonneville at Vancouver Barracks and 
to include a howitzer in the requisition. Governor Curry acceded 
to the request and Bonneville honored the requisition. The mu- 
nitions were forwarded in charge of Lieutenant A. V. Kautz and 
six soldiers plus 40 volunteers under Captain J. W. Nesmith. 
At the same time recruiting was under way in the Rogue River 
Valley. In a short time 200 had enlisted, who were formed into 
three companies under Captains John F. Miller, John L. Lam- 
erick, and T. T. Tierney. Simultaneously 80 were recruited at 
Yreka and were divided into two companies under Captains 
James P. Goodall and Jacob Rhodes. All companies reported to 
Captain Alden, who was in overall command. 

72 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

They learned that the Indians were congregating at Table 
Rock and decided to attack on the night of August llth. But 
news came that the Indians were killing and burning in the 
Valley so many of the volunteers rushed away, without per- 
mission, to go to the aid of their families. For several days they 
patrolled the valley but finally assembled again. During their 
absence Alden, with a small force, was challenged to battle by 
Chief Sam but Alden didn't have enough men left to risk an 
encounter. On August 15th most of his men having returned 
Alden moved against the Indians who were supposed to be in a 
canyon five miles north of Table Rock. The Indians had fled, 
first setting the forest afire. 

On August 17, Lieutenant Ely of Yreka, with 25 men, found 
the Indians encamped on Evans Creek, 15 miles north of Table 
Rock. Ely knew that the main force had gone to Camp Stuart 
for supplies, so he retired to an open piece of ground between 
two creeks whose banks were lined with willows. From there he 
sent a messenger for reinforcements. Ely's maneuver was not lost 
on Chief Sam who had his warriors wade across under cover of 
the willows and attack. Two of Ely's men were killed at the 
first volley. Ely then retreated to a wooded ridge about 500 yards 
away but the Indians quickly surrounded them. The ensuing 
fight lasted three or four hours during which four more of Ely's 
men were killed and four wounded, Ely among the latter. 
Then Captain Goodall and the rest of the Yreka volunteers ar- 
rived and the Indians fled. 

Joseph Lane was at Roseburg when news of this newest out- 
break reached him. Lane and 13 men, one of them Pleasant 
Armstrong of Yamhill County, left at once for the scene of 
action and upon arrival Captain Alden offered Lane the com- 
mand, which Lane accepted on August 1st. The decision was to 
wage war aggressively. The troops, both regular and volunteer, 
were divided into two battalions. The plan called for Lane, 
with Alden and the companies of Goodall and Rhodes to pro- 
ceed up-stream to the place where Ely had been defeated. The 
other battalion under John E. Ross was to go to the mouth of 
Evans Creek, thence up-stream to a junction with Lane, this 
joint maneuver to prevent the Indians again returning to harass 
the settlements. 

The first day was difficult because of the smoke from the burn- 
ing fires but they did find the enemy's trail. The second day 
was about as bad. On August 24th they were barely under way 
when Lane, who was out in front, heard the crack of a rifle and 

The Rogue River War 73 

voices, He directed Alden to take Goodall and his company 
and to proceed on foot quietly so that they would be able to 
attack from the front. He then sent ten picked men from 
Rhodes' company under Lieutenant Blair to work its way to a 
ridge on the left to turn the Indians if they were driven back. 
Lane himself was to stay where he was until the rest of the 
troops came up when he would lead them into the fight. Alden 
succeeded in getting within shooting distance of the Indians 
before they were aware of his presence. The Indians were sta- 
tioned behind log fortifications and had plenty of -^ms and 
ammunition. Their camp was surrounded by dense thickets thus 
making a charge by troops both difficult and dangerous. Blair 
and his men were also handicapped by the thickets and the 
terrain so that he was not able to go to the left as planned but 
did get around to the right where he engaged the enemy. The 
troops took cover behind trees in true Indian fashion and the 
battle raged. 

When Lane came up with his troops he found Alden serious- 
ly wounded, in fact so badly that he never recovered, though it 
was two years before he died as a result of his wounds. Lane 
looked the situation over and in spite of the fact that he found 
the Indians in strong position on Evans Creek he ordered a 
a charge which he led. A rifle bullet struck him in the arm 
near the shoulder. He ordered his men to take individual cover, 
so from behind trees and boulders they fought for several hours. 
Lane had to retire to have his wound dressed and at about that 
time the Indians learned that Lane was in command. As usual 
that knowledge brought results, for the Indians had a hearty 
respect for Lane. They called out to the volunteers that they 
were tired of war and said they wanted to talk with Jo Lane. 

When Lane returned to the battle he learned of the expressed 
wish of the Indians and held a council with his officers. As 
always happened there were two opinions. Some thought that 
the hostiles wanted to quit; others considered it a move to gain 
time or some other advantage. It was decided to take a vote, all 
volunteers being declared eligible, but less than half actually 
voted. The decision was to sen$ two men to talk to the Indians. 
Robert B. Metcalf and James Bruce went inside the Indian 
lines and returned with the word that the Indians still insisted 
that they wanted to talk to Jo Lane. So Lane went, concealing 
his injured arm beneath his cloak. He met his namesake Chief 
Jo, who with his brothers Chiefs Sam and Jim, told Lane that 
they were sick of war. Lane outlined treaty terms which in- 

74 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

eluded going into reservation and the Chiefs agreed. A date in 
early September was fixed for the treaty council and Lane re- 
turned to his lines. The wounded were being treated and the 
dead were being buried. Three white men had been killed, 
one of them being Pleasant Armstrong, previously mentioned 
and for whom a small valley was named. Three whites were 
wounded, one, Charles C. Abbott dying within a few days. The 
Indians lost eight killed and 20 wounded. Ross' battalion ar- 
rived too late for the battle and they were prevented from re- 
newing the battle by Lane. He decided to remain where he 
was for two days and camped within 400 yards of the Indians, 
So great was their personal regard for Lane that the Indian 
women carried water to the wounded whites and brought them 
on litters into the troops' camp. Thus was Indian nature, from 
one extreme to the other. 

On the 29th both forces moved down the valley each watchful 
of the other. It has been agreed that the council would be held 
on the south side of the Rogue River near Table Rock. Both 
forces went into camp, Lane's men at the spot where Ft. Lane 
was established soon after the council was held. 

Since the treaty council had to await the arrival of Joel Palm- 
er, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, an interim armistice was 
agreed upon. Meanwhile the peaceful status quo which should 
have ensued was interrupted. Four days after the Evans Creek 
battle a detachment under Lieutenant Thomas Frazell encount- 
ered a group of Rogue River Indians at Long's Ferry. A fight 
occurred at once and Lieutenant Frazell and an enlisted man, 
James Mago, were killed. Lieutenant Frazell had been attached 
to Captain Owens' company, and soon after Frazell's death Owens 
induced a group of Indians to come into his camp on Grave 
Creek where the Indians were immediately shot. According to 
Government documents Robert L. Williams, a captain of vol- 
unteers, also killed 12 Indians in a one-sided fight, the volunteers 
losing one man. Martin Angell, a settler, shot an Indian in cold 
blood for which he was ambushed and killed by Indians a long 
time afterward. 

While waiting for Palmer there were other arrivals on the 
scene. Captain A. J. Smith came from Ft. Orford with his dra- 
goons. J. W. Nesmith brought his company of volunteers and 
Lieutenant Kautz, of the artillery, arrived with the howitzer. The 
Indians stood in abject terror of the big gun and begged that it 
not be fired. 

On September 4th a preliminary council was held in which 

The Rogue River War 75 

Lane required that a hostage be furnished and a son of Chief Jo 
was delivered for that purpose. It turned out to be a wise pre- 
caution. The various principals met within the Indian lines 
about a mile from Lane's camp. In addition to Lane there were 
Colonel Ross, interpreter Robert B. Metcalf, and the command- 
ing officers of the several volunteer companies. The Indians were 
represented by Chiefs Jo, Sam, and Jim of the Rogue River In- 
dians and Chiefs Limpy and George of the tribes on the Apple- 
gate River. The white men were unarmed except for a pistol 
which Captain John F. Miller had secreted. The councillors sat 
within a circle of armed warriors. The situation didn't look 
good but all the chiefs except Limpy made speeches in favor of 
peace. When Limpy' s turn came he made a bitter speech in 
tvhich he said that he would never agree to the occupation of his 
country by the whites. The fact that Chief Jo's son was a hostage 
was probably the only reason that the white men left the 
meeting alive. As it was, Lane required other hostages to be fur- 
nished before the real council meeting which was set for Sep- 
tember 8th and also led to the presence of armed guards near 
the unarmed councillors when the meeting took place. 

The treaty was concluded. The Indians accepted $60,000 for 
their lands in the Rogue River Valley, less some damages to set- 
tlers for losses. Payment was in agricultural implements and other 
goods. One hundred square miles near Table Rock was set 
aside as a temporary home for the Indians until a permanent 
reservation could be selected; and the laws of the United States 
were to prevail. Another treaty was made with the Umpquas 
of the Cow Creek band by which they sold 800 square miles for 
|12,000 plus some presents for their chiefs. 

After the conclusion of these treaties Samuel H. Culver was 
made Resident Indian Agent among the Rogues and Ft. Lane 
was built near Table Rock. Gradually normal life seemed to be 
returning to the valley. All volunteer companies except that 
under Captain John F. Miller were disbanded. Miller's outfit 
was sent to the Modoc country for patrol duty, keeping the road 
safe for immigrants. They discovered Modoc families hiding- 
out on the islands in Tule Lake and found the Indian children 
wearing the blood-stained garments of murdered immigrant 
children. The volunteers took the law unto themselves and 
wiped out these Modocs in retribution for the murders which 
they had committed. 

In October, 1853, the miners in the valley of the Illinois River 
asked that troops be sent to punish Indians from the coast 

76 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

tribes who had been driven inland by the miners working on 
the beaches. Lieutenant R. C. W. Radford at Ft. Lane was 
ordered to take a small detachment and stop the Indians* 
forays. He found the Indians too numerous for his small detail 
to handle and sent for reinforcements. They arrived under the 
leadership of Lieutenant Caster and on October 22nd started 
to round up the Indians. After three days the soldiers caught 
up with the hostiles. A fight followed in which ten or twelve 
Indians were killed. The troopers lost two killed and four 
wounded. Some stolen property was recovered and a treaty was 
made. This treaty was observed until January, 1854, when a 
party of miners who were attempting to track down some rob- 
bers who were unidentified, attacked the Indians who had made 
the treaty, with some losses to both sides. The attack was a 
blunder by the miners and should not have occurred. The inci- 
dent was not closed until the Indian Agent arrived and suc- 
ceeded in convincing the Indians that the whole affair had been 
a mistake. 

The number of killings by Indians in Southern Oregon in 
1853 was about 100, while the Indians lost many more. Tech- 
nically the boundary between Oregon and California was at the 
42nd parallel but the natural geography of the country lent it- 
self to considering the dividing line as indefinite. Hence, in 
the progress of Southern Oregon Indian troubles the troops and 
the Indians both criss-crossed the actual boundary and it was 
not always easy to determine in which territory a killing or a 
fight had happened. That year the financial loss to the settlers 
was heavy and due to governmental red-tape many legitimate 
claims resulting from these losses to Indians and damage by 
them were not settled for 30 years. 

Peace did not last a great while after the treaty of September, 
1853 and the erection of Ft. Lane. The Indians were displeased 
with the treaty they had accepted and became troublesome. On 
October 5th Thomas Wills, a merchant of Jacksonville, was 
murdered by Indians. Next day his partner, James C. Kyle, was 
killed within a short distance of Ft. Lane. There were other 
killings down the river. The murderers of Wills and Kyle were 
Indian Tom and Indian George. They were caught in January, 
1854, and fairly tried in court, convicted and executed. Their 
execution was set for February 19th but owing to the uneasiness 
pervading the district, the sentence was carried out within a 
few days after the conclusion of the trial. The execution did 
not help the general situation. 

The Rogue River War 77 

About January 18, 1854, Chief Bill led a group of Rogues, 
Shastas, and Modocs in the theft of the horses which belonged to 
the miners who were working Cottonwood Creek. A volunteer 
company was organized at once and started in pursuit to recover 
the horses. The volunteers were ambushed and four of them, 
Hiram Hulan, John Clark, John Oldfield, and Wesley Mayden 
were killed. Help was asked from Ft. Jones and Captain Judah 
and 20 men responded. The soldiers trailed the Indians to a 
cave in the canyon walls of the Klamath River and finding the 
cave impregnable without artillery sent to Ft. Lane for a how- 
itzer. On January 26th Captain A. J. Smith and Lieutenant Ogle 
and 15 dragoons arrived with the howitzer. The volunteer com- 
pany under Captain Greiger had joined with the regulars and 
Captain Judah falling ill, the command passed to Greiger, who 
attacked on the 27th. The cave was in an inaccessible place and 
the howitzer shells served no purpose except to frighten the In- 
dians. Captain Greiger was killed by a shot from the cave and 
then the Indians indicated a willingness to talk. 

The following day Captain Smith and a citizen held a parley 
with the Shastas. Captain Smith accepted the Indians' story that 
the miners had mistreated the Indian women as the reason for 
their acts, and further accepted their apologies for the thefts 
and murders. The volunteers considered it useless, in the face of 
Captain Smith's guillibility, to attempt to further punish the 
Indians and returned home in disgust. 

Other trouble broke out the same month between the Co- 
quille Indians and the miners at Coos Bay and Port Orford. A 
meeting of citizens was held and a punitive expedition organ- 
ized under George H. Abbott, Captain, A. F. Soap, 1st Lieuten- 
ant, and William H. Packwood, 2nd Lieutenant. The objective 
was the same village where the Coquille River massacre had oc- 
curred. It was located about a mile and a half up stream and oc- 
cupied space on both sides of the river. Captain Abbott divided 
his volunteers into three detachments. Lieutenant Soap's group 
was to take a position on rising ground commanding that por- 
tion of the village on the north shore. Lieutenant Packwood 
was to take a roundabout way to his position near the upper 
part of the village on the south shore, while Captain Abbott 
would cover the lower portion of the south shore village. At a 
signal gun all attacked just before daybreak, the Indians being 
completely surprised. They lost 16 killed and four wounded, the 
surviving warriors fleeing to the woods. They abandoned their 
families of whom 20 members were captured as well as all the 

78 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

native stores of food. When the warriors fled many of them 
left their arms and ammunition in their habitations, which 
were burned. The white men suffered no casualties. Abbott sent 
three of the captive women to ask the Chief what he wanted to 
do. They returned with the reply that the Chief wanted to make 
a treaty, which was done. 

We have previously mentioned the mutual antipathies exist- 
ing between the regular army and the volunteers. Perhaps the 
man who was most responsible for that situation was General 
John Ellis Wool, for some time in command of the Pacific Di- 
vision. It is true that the year 1854 carried a small number of 
murders by Indians compared with the several years immediate- 
ly preceding, but still there were murders. Edward Phillips was 
murdered in his house on Applegate River on April 15th; Daniel 
Gage was killed in the Siskiyous June 15th; a man was killed on 
the Klamath River on June 24th and Thomas O'Neal in the 
same district at about the same time. Four men were murdered 
by either the Modocs or the Pit River Indians in June and in 
September another man was killed by the same Indians. None 
of the murderers was punished. The reason for non-punish- 
ment undoubtedly lay in General Wool's attitude of special 
dislike for volunteers, in fact for all civilians, and the desire of 
his subordinate officers to temper their action and reports to 
find favor in the General's opinion. The General did send a 
mounted force to Klamath Lake and back, reporting no danger 
from Indians. Wool even went so far in requesting additional 
troops that he said he needed an increased force to protect the 
Indians against the white men. H^ request for reinforcements 
was not honored. He later reported that, in his opinion, the 
increasing immigration into Oregon would render military oc- 
cupation almost unnecessary and that, if left to his discretion, 
he would abolish most of the army posts in the Territory. So 
the settlers were again forced to rely chiefly on themselves for 
protective volunjteer units. Governor Curry approved a volun- 
teer force under the command of Jesse Walker to protect the 
southern route. They did no fighting and the expedition was 
criticised 'for its expense, but its presence was probably respon- 
sible for the prevention of untoward acts by the tribes. 

At the close of 1854 there were 335 regular soldiers of all de- 
partments stationed in Oregon Territory. Congress invoked a 
law of 1808 for providing arms for militia, and that constituted 
the Federal protection for the Territory when the year 1855 be- 
gan. Indian trouble elsewhere in the Territory was occupying 

The Rogue River War 79 

official attention, which, of course, included the Governor and 
the Superintendent of Indian Affairs. We will, in a later chapter, 
take up those events, but now confine ourselves to the continu- 
ance and the conclusion of the Rogue River wars. 


BLOODY 1855 

IN OCTOBER, 1854, Joel Palmer, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, 
notified the tribes with whom he had treaties, that Congress had 
approved them. However, there were some amendments to the 
Congressional legislation among which was a measure consoli- 
dating all Rogue River tribes into one, a provision which was 
traditionally unacceptable to the Indians. Another amendment 
provided that one tribe could be placed upon a reservation set 
aside for another. The Indians didn't like that, either. In the 
early part of 1855, while Palmer was busily engaged with treaty 
matters in the northern and eastern sections of the territory, 
new troubles were brewing in southern and southwestern Ore- 
gon. About June 1, 1855, Jerome Dyar and Daniel McKaw were 
murdered on the road between Jacksonville and the Illinois 
River Valley. In the same month the Indians raided a mining 
camp, killing miners and made off with a large quantity of 
personal property. 

John E. Ross was Colonel of Militia in Oregon Territory and 
as such recognized a newly organized company of volunteers, 
the Independent Rangers, formed at Wait's Mill on the Rogue 
River under the captaincy of H. B. Hayes. When the Indian 
Agent heard of the formation of this new company of volun- 
teers he notified Captain Smith, in command at Ft. Lane. Smith 
set out with his soldiers to round up stray Indians and get them 
back on their reservation adjacent to Table Rock where the 
volunteers would pursue them. Smith was only partly successful, 
some of the stray Indians deciding to go to the mountains, 
where Smith pursued. Several skirmishes occurred in which one 
white man and one Indian were killed. 

In August an unidentified white man sold some whiskey to a 
group of Indians who were off reservation. They attacked a min- 

80 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

ing camp on the Klamath River killing ten miners, the Indians 
themselves having several of their number killed. That resulted 
in the immediate formation of another company of volunteers 
from south of the Siskiyous with William Martin in command. 
They marched to the Rogue River reservation and demanded 
the surrender of the killers. Captain Smith, of Ft. Lane, refused 
the demand saying that there was no authority for delivering 
suspects to volunteer organizations. Later that year some arrests 
were made upon presentation of proper legal documents from 
Siskiyou County. Also in August, near the mouth of the Rogue 
River, an Indian wounded James Buford. The Indian was cap- 
tured and turned over to Benjamin Wright, the Indian Agent, 
who delivered the prisoner to the Sheriff of Coos County. There 
was no jail in which to hold the Indian so the Sheriff turned 
him over to a detail of soldiers who were to take him to Ft. 
Orford and keep him in the guardhouse until time for trial. 
Buford didn't like the way the Indian was being shunted about. 
The soldiers were transporting their prisoner and another 
Indian by canoe. Buford, 'enlisting the aid of two other white 
men, followed. They fired on the canoe killing both Indians. 
The soldiers returned the fire killing two of the white men in- 
stantly, and wounding the other so badly that he died. That 
affair caused a bitter upsurge of public opinion against the 
military. Technically the soldiers were within their rights in 
attempting to protect a prisoner in their custody, but many set- 
tlers showed a tendency to fight the soldiers as well as the In- 
dians. The whole situation widened the breach between the reg- 
ulars and the settlers. 

On September 2nd several white men entered the reservation 
to recover stolen horses. One white man, Grenville M. Keene, 
was killed and two others wounded. September 24th Calvin 
Fields and John Cunningham were killed and two other white 
men wounded while crossing the Siskiyous with their ox teams. 
The Indians also slaughtered the oxen. Next day Samuel War- 
ner was killed in the same locality. Captain Smith sent out a 
detachment to apprehend the guilty but no arrests were made. 

In early October a group of reservation Indians were en- 
camped near the point where Butte Creek empties into the 
Rogue River. That was off-reservation and the settlers suspected 
that among the group were some of the Indians who had com- 
mitted several of the recent murders. A company of militia, 
commanded by Major J. A. Lupton, decided to attack the In- 
dian camp and did so, surprising the Indians just before daylight 

The Rogue River War 81 

on October 8th. There was a very bloody fight in which the 
Indians lost 23 killed and many wounded. Major Lupton was 
killed and eleven of his men wounded. Then it was discovered 
that most of the Indians who had been killed were old men, 
women and children. The surviving natives took refuge at Ft. 
Lane. On that same day, and too soon for the Indians to have 
organized because of the slaughter on Butte Creek, Indians 
killed two white men and wounded another who were in charge 
of a pack train. That incident occurred at Jewett's Ferry. The 
Indians also shot into Jewett's house but injured no one there, 
A large number of Indians were congregated at that point and 
they were well armed and well supplied with ammunition. 
Under reservation regulations Indians who were off-reservation 
and who were armed were considered to be suspects and the 
group at the ferry must have had their plans laid for a long 

Next morning, October 9th, the Indians moved down stream 
to Evans' ferry where they intercepted Isaac Shelton, who was 
traveling to Yreka, fatally wounding him. Still farther down 
river lived J. K. Jones and his wife. They killed Jones and 
mortally wounded his wife, robbed the house and burned it. A 
short distance farther was the home of John Wagoner. The 
Indians headed for the Wagoner home but paused on the way 
to kill four men they met. Wagoner was away from home that 
day, which left his wife and four year old daughter, Mary, at 
home. What happened to them is not actually known. The In- 
dians burned the house and its contents. There are various 
stories. Some Indians said later that Mrs. Wagoner barricaded 
the house and, with the child, perished in the flames. Other 
Indians said that she and her daughter were captured and that 
the child was killed because it cried too much and that Mrs. 
Wagoner refused to eat, dying of grief and starvation. But Cap- 
tain John M. Warren said, after the battle with the Indians on 
Cow Creek in 1856, that among the scalps recovered were those 
positively identified as those of Mrs. Wagoner and her child. 

From the Wagoner place the Indians went to the farm of 
George W. Harris who saw them coming and suspecting their 
intentions ran to the house, grabbing his gun, killed one Indian, 
wounded another, and was then himself killed. Mrs. Harris 
dragged her husband's body indoors, barricaded the house, and 
kept the Indians at bay all day by firing at them through crev- 
ices in the walls until night came and the Indians retired. As 
a rule Indians did not fight at night. After dark Mrs. Harris and 

82 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

her young daughter stealthily left the house and hid under a 
pile of brush not far away, where they were found by Major 
Fitzgerald and his regular troops from Ft. Lane. The slaughter 
continued on this, the bloodiest day that Rogue River settlers 
would ever experience. One woman, two children, and at least 
nine men were the next victims. They were killed between 
Evans Ferry and Grave Creek. Two young women were killed 
between Indian Creek and Crescent City; and three men were 
slain on Grave Creek. 

When news of the massacre reached Jacksonville a group of 
20 vounteers were quickly assembled and started out to punish 
the killers. Major Fitzgerald with 55 mounted men from the 
garrison at Ft. Lane overtook the volunteers and the two forces 
joined. When they reached the site of the Wagoner place they 
found about 30 Indians there, searching the ruins and the out- 
buildings. The Indians at first showed fight because the volun- 
teers put in their appearance first, but when the troopers came 
up the Indians fled to the mountains. The white men followed 
but their horses were so tired from the forced march that the 
Indians outdistanced the troops. So the regulars returned to Ft. 
Lane and the volunteers to their homes, all to prepare for a 
conclusive campaign. 

A messenger had, in the meantime, been sent to carry word to 
the Governor, the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, and the 
military authorities at Vancouver Barracks. Coincidentally a mes- 
senger was on his way from Vancouver Barracks to Ft. Lane to 
ask help for the war developing to the north. 

On October 10th, without any knowledge of the previous day's 
events, Lieutenant Kautz, of Ft. Orford, had set out with a few 
soldiers and some civilians to investigate a proposed road to 
Jacksonville. On the second day they learned something of the 
massacre from the settlers in the lower part of the valley where 
they feared a continuation of the Indian attacks. Kautz turned 
back to Ft. Orford to more adequately equip his force and then 
started back to the hostile country. He was attacked and in the 
fight lost five men killed while there was no certainty about any 
Indian casualties. By rare good fortune he was able to retreat 
and save the rest of his command. 

Let us now examine the situation as it existed. All the tribes 
in southwestern and south central Oregon and in northwestern 
and north central California, except Chief Sam's band, were hos- 
tile. The settlers knew from the appeal for help from the north 

Whitman Mission at Waiilatpu in 1843. 

Whitman Monument at Waiilatpu. 


the Cayuse who killed Marcus Whitman. 

-; -s^swTf*^ 


* " " Vlf * " " *** 


The Whitman Grave in 1858, 

The Whitman Grave today. 

Monument at South Pass to Narcissa 
Whitman and Elizabeth Spalding, first 
white women to cross South Pass. 

The Rogue River War 83 

that they could expect no assistance from that quarter, so it 
would be necessary for them to meet their own problems. A cal- 
culation revealed that there were probably about 400 Indians 
available as warriors, and that it would take 1200 whites to 
subdue them. That was because the hostiles knew every square 
foot of the country, could move about with facility, and could 
wear out any force which was only equal to its own. Besides the 
Indians were well supplied with arms and ammunition and 
knew" how to use them. On the other hand there were plenty of 
white men available but they were short of both arms and am- 
munition. Not a settlement was safe from attack; every pack 
train ran the risk of capture, no traveler's life was safe. 

A regiment of volunteers was authorized under John E. Ross, 
as Colonel. By October 20th, fifteen companies had been re- 
cruited. The organization was designated as the 9th Regiment of 
Oregon Militia. However, through October llth only 150 had 
been mu&tered because no more could be properly armed by that 
time. Therefore nothing could be done for the next few days 
except to protect the settlements which seemed to be most en- 
dangered and to keep the north and south roads open. 

One of the first companies in the field was that of Captain J. 
S. Rinearson. His organization was divided into several small 
detachments which were sent to a number of exposed or strategic 
points. On October 12th Colonel Ross recapitulated his pros- 
pect of the maximum number of troops he might expect for 
use in a major campaign. There had been two troops of dra- 
goons at Ft. Lane under Major Fitzgerald and Captain Smith 
but Fitzgerald and one troop had just been ordered north thus 
leaving Captain Smith and one troop. There were 64 infantrymen 
in the Umpqua Valley under Lieutenant H. S. Gibson. They 
had been acting as an escort for Lieutenant Williamson who was 
surveying a railroad route and as soon as they learned of the 
massacre of the 9th of October they started for Ft. Lane. Then 
there was the very small garrison at Ft. Orford which had all it 
could do to take care of itself. So much for the regulars. As for 
the volunteers, three companies were already in the field with 
others mustered and ready to move as soon as they could be 
properly armed. Other companies were rapidly whipping into 
shape. Thus it looked like there would be enough men. As rap- 
idly as companies could be equipped they went into active ser- 
vice. Some detachments guarded the more exposed districts; 
others escorted pack trains; still others searched for the hostiles. 
It was quickly apparent that the pack trains needed major 

84 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

protection because the Indians would have to rely on what sup- 
plies they could capture for their subsistence. 

The first clash occurred on October 17th at a place called 
Skull Bar in the Rogue River. Company "E" was camped just 
below the mouth of Galice Creek, Skull Bar being just a short 
distance below their camp. All the miners in the neighborhood 
had been brought into the camp for protection. The bar was near 
the south side of the river and was backed by a high bluff heav- 
ily forested with underbrush and young trees. The troops, 
helped by the idle miners, cut away much of the brush within 
rifle range so that the hostiles could not use it as cover. On the 
day mentioned a large number of Indians were observed in the 
wooded section of the bluff adjacent to the cut-over section. Six 
men under J. W. Pickett were sent to dislodge the Indians but 
were met by a withering fire. Pickett was killed and his men 
were forced back. Then Lieutenant Williamson led a detach- 
ment to a position from which he fought for four hours. He 
and several of his men were wounded and they, too, had to 
retreat. Then Captain W. B. Lewis was wounded severely. At 
that time the Indians attacked the left side of the camp, losing 
their leader. Finding themselves unable to rout the volunteers by 
gunfire the hostiles shot flaming arrows into the camp which 
kept the soldiers and miners busy preventing a major conflagra- 
tion. Meanwhile a group of the Indians burned the mining 
village of Galice almost completely. By nightfall one-third of 
Company "E*' was either dead or wounded. The campsite surely 
proved to be a poor one from the standpoint of defense. The 
wounded Captain Lewis, in his report to Colonel Ross, said that 
the Indians had fired 2500 rounds of rifle ammunition at the 
troops that day. 

The Indians kept the troops guessing. Wherever the soldiers 
went in the expectation of finding the hostiles, disappointment 
resulted. For example, Colonel Ross was sure that the Indians 
could be located below Galice Creek at a place called The 
Meadows, but instead the Indians had gone to the valley of Cow 
Creek, some distance to the north. There, on October 23rd, they 
killed Holland Bailey and wounded four other white men at a 
ford. That same day they burned several settlers' houses in Cow 
Creek Valley. For the most part the houses had been temporarily 
abandoned, the settlers having congregated in a few strategically 
located homes which were fortified and guarded. There were just 
not enough troops to protect all properties, particularly since the 

The Rogue River War 85 

Indians kept the soldiers jumping here and there in a futile ef- 
fort to bring about a decisive engagement. 

However, on October 28 an Indian camp was discovered on 
Grave Creek by Major Fitzgerald and his company. They were on 
their way to Vancouver Barracks in response to the recent order 
transferring them north. Fitzgerald sent a request for help. 
Five companies were immediately ordered to Fitzgerald's loca- 
tion, two other companies adding to the reinforcement a few 
hours later, which made a total of about 250 men concentrated 
in the locality by October 30th. Colonel Ross arrived that evening 
and placed Captain Smith of the Ft. Lane dragoons in overall 
command. They marched at 11 P. M., being joined by two more 
companies from a battalion called out by Governor Curry and 
which had just arrived at the scene. The plan for the attack had 
been well laid but the rugged terrain and the underbrush 
defeated their primary purpose. 

The next day was three-fourths spent in a futile search for 
the hostiles when contact was suddenly made about mid-after- 
noon. Captain Smith made an assault with part of his dragoons. 
They were driven back losing several men, killed and wounded. 
Night came and the exhausted men hit their blankets without 
supper. At daybreak the Indians attacked. The fight raged for 
several hours, ending in the repulse of the hostiles. The volun- 
teers then went back to a camp on Grave Creek having lost 26 
men killed, wounded, or missing. The regulars lost four killed and 
seven wounded. As usual the losses of the Indians were concealed 
but since they had the advantage of position it is probable that 
their losses were less than those of the troops. 

During this episode Joel Palmer issued an order to all In- 
dians, Indian Agents, and citizens defining and creating regula- 
tions for the conduct, supervision, discipline and care of Indians. 
Governor Curry made a proclamation on October 15th calling 
for the formation of two battalions of volunteers for service in 
the Rogue country. Each battalion was to consist of five com- 
panies of 60 men and eleven officers, commissioned and non- 
commissioned. One of the battalions was to be known as the 
Southern Battalion and was to be recruited in Jackson County. 
The other was to be known as the Northern Battalion, to be re- 
cruited from Lane, Linn, Douglas, and Umpqua counties. The 
Southern Battalion was to congregate at Jacksonville, the north- 
ern at Roseburg. It will be observed that the term "northern" 
was used in its relation to the Rogue River Valley and was not 
applicable to the geographical limits of Oregon Territory. 

86 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

Five days later Governor Curry disbanded Colonel Ross' reg- 
iment. The Governor had learned of the attack of October 8th on 
the Indian camp by Major Lupton's company. Whether his in- 
formation was inaccurate, causing him to think that Lupton's 
force was a part of Colonel Ross* regiment, or, whether he had 
reached the conclusion that all organized troops in the Rogue 
River Valley were oppressors of the natives is not known, but 
the 9th Regiment of Oregon Militia was ordered disbanded. 
Equally inexplicable was the invitation extended to the mem- 
bers of the 9th Regiment to join the two newly created battal- 
ions. There was a bad odor to the whole circumstance since, by 
the disbanding order and the invitation to the men to join the 
new outfits, the leading officers of the 9th were left to bear what- 
ever criticism existed. Those officers, for the most part, be- 
longed to the political party opposing Curry and there were some 
people who felt that it was a method of administering a political 
spanking to the Governor's opponents. At any rate, the order 
put a stop to enlistments for three weeks. Then,, on November 
7th, Colonel Ross mustered his regiment at a place called Ft. 
Vannoy on the Illinois River to give the men an opportunity to 
re-enlist in the new battalions, each of which was to be com- 
manded by an elected major. James Bruce, who had been a cap- 
tain in the 9th was elected major of the Southern Battalion. 
He seems to have acquired quickly the viewpoint of the Gover- 
nor, for Bruce, on November 11, issued an order which recited 
that his battalion would enforce the disbanding of all military 
units not affiliated with the two battalions authorized by the 
Governor's proclamation. 

In spite of the invitation to the old 9th only four companies 
were recruited for the Southern Battalion, so the Governor and 
Adjutant-General E. M. Barnum decided to inspect the new 
force in the south. The result of that inspection was to con- 
solidate the two battalions into a regiment to be known as the 
2nd Regiment of Oregon Mounted Volunteers. Then, to con- 
fuse matters, Captain Robert L. Williams of the Northern Bat- 
talion was elected Colonel and Major William J. Martin, who 
had been in command of the Northern Battalion, was elected 

It will be remembered that with the departure of Major Fitz- 
gerald, only one troop under Captain Smith was left at Ft. Lane. 
Smith agreed with officers of the volunteers to meet them at the 
fortified house on Grave Creek which had been dubbed Ft. 
Bailey, where/ about November 9, they would join in running 

The Rogue River War 87 

down the hostiles. But again the facility of Indian movements 
was demonstrated by the return of the hostiles to the reserva- 
tion long enough to burn all the properties there, including 
that of Chief Sam, and to kill all the cattle on the reservation. 

The Indians departed, burning a number of houses on a near- 
by creek. The troops, with a few regulars newly arrived from 
Ft. Jones, took the field, caught up with some of the Indians of 
whom they killed eight. 

Then a concentrated effort was made to find and engage the 
main body of hostiles. The Indians, in strength, were discovered 
on a river bar. On November 26 a company of regulars under 
Captain H. M. Judah marched to a point opposite the Indian 
camp where it was planned that they would be joined by Major 
Bruce and about 300 volunteers. The plan also provided that 
the volunteers would cross the river on a raft and when in po- 
sition would give a signal whereupon the regulars would open 
fire on the camp with a howitzer. But the Indians were alert and 
at the moment when the raft was first placed in the water the 
Indians opened fire and Bruce had to retire. That night a con- 
ference of officers was held which decided to send for addition- 
al supplies and some reinforcements after the arrival of which 
a real effort was to be made to dislodge the Indians. 

On December 1, 1855, Captain Smith sent a messenger to Cap- 
tain Judah saying that he was twelve miles down-stream from 
Ft. Bailey and could get no farther because of rain and snow. 
Major Bruce returned to Ft. Vannoy headquarters and on De- 
cember 7 the several companies were ordered to various points 
in the valley for two reasons, first, to afford protection to the 
settlers, and, second, to provide adequate grass for the horses. 

That arrangement did not remain stable for long. Early in. 
December roving Indians destroyed 15 houses on the west side 
of the South Fork of the Umpqua. The owners of the houses 
were absent, having fled to the protection of the forts and other 
fortified places. On December 25th Captain Miles T. Alcorn 
and his company, which was a part of the Southern Battalion, 
as originally constructed, discovered an Indian camp on the 
North Branch of Little Butte Creek. He attacked, killing eight 
Indians and capturing some horses. At the same time Captain 
E. A. Rice and his company, also of the same battalion as 
Alcorn, discovered an Indian camp on the north side of the 
Rogue River. Rice's company numbered only 30 men at the time 
but he attacked and after several hours of fighting had killed 
all the warriors and captured the women and children who were 

88 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

sent to Ft'. Lane. It was winter weather and some of the captives 
suffered frozen feet. This caused General Wool to voice his anti- 
volunteer sentiments again in an official report in which he ex- 
pressed pity for the captives and characterized much of the 
recent military action as murder. 

Late in December Major Bruce received word that a band of 
Indians had occupied some deserted cabins on the Applegate 
River and had fortified them. Bruce ordered Captains Alcorn 
and Rice to get ready for a winter campaign while Bruce, him- 
self, went to Ft. Lane to ask Captain Smith to provide a how- 
itzer. Captain Smith agreed. Bruce then, with Captain Rice and 
his company, started for the Applegate on January 1, 1856. Con- 
tinuing his march on January 2nd he met a company of Inde- 
pendent Volunteers who had surrounded the cabins. There 
the combined force waited for the howitzer to arrive. The 
weather was severe, the snow a foot deep. There was sporadic 
shooting in the course of which the Indians lost three killed 
and several wounded, while Captain Rice lost one man killed 
and the volunteer company had three men wounded. Late on 
January 4th Lieutenant Underwood with 40 men and the how- 
itzer arrived from Ft. Lane. The first howitzer shot hit one of 
the cabins wounding one warrior and two Indian children. 
The occupants fled to another cabin and a few more shells were 
fired without appreciable effect before dark. The several com- 
panies took up positions intended to halt any effort by the In- 
dians to escape. Nevertheless about 11 P. M. the Indians tried to 
get away. They crept close to the sentry lines, then with a yell 
and many gun-shots some of the hostiles managed to dash 
through the troops. After the first effect of surprise passed the 
regulars drove part of the Indians back towards the creek where 
the densely wooded banks made it possible for more hostiles to 

As it turned out only the warriors had tried to get away. They 
had left their women and children. It was very cold and. the 
men relaxed their vigilance to come into camp to get warm 
when the Indian women and children also made good their 
escape to the hills. The troops then searched the cabins and 
found that the Indians had, according to their custom, burned 
their dead, and had left a wounded Indian boy behind. He said 
that his band belonged to that headed by Chief Jo. These Indians 
had done a job of fortifying worthy of the best military science. 
They had evidently spent a lot of time in the preparation of 
their stronghold, for a tunnel led from the cabins to an outlet 

The Rogue River War 89 

some distance away. Deep pits had been dug in each corner of 
every cabin. The pits were so deep that loop-holes were pro- 
vided under the bottom logs through which rifle fire could be 
directed without much danger to the Indians. 

The trail was easily followed because of blood on the snow 
and Major Bruce wanted to take up the pursuit, but Lieutenant 
Underwood and the volunteers were not prepared for the rigor- 
ous service demanded by the winter weather, so the regulars went 
back to Ft. Lane and the volunteers to their homes. Major Bruce 
and his men made camp on the lower Applegate. Both the men 
and the horses needed rest so they remained in camp until Janu- 
ary 18th when they were joined by Captain Alcorn with part of 
his company and Captain O'Neal, who had succeeded to the 
command of Captain, now Colonel, Williams' company, with 
part of his men. In grand total there were now available 73 
officers and men. 

A pursuit plan was laid. Captain Alcorn with 38 men went up 
the Applegate. Major Bruce, with Captain O'Neal and the rest of 
the men, went up Williams Creek. Nothing happened for five 
days at the end of which Bruce ran across two Indians who fled 
and were chased for 12 miles to their camp. Bruce and O'Neal 
had separated for their scouting activities and as soon as the In- 
dian camp was located Bruce sent a messenger to O'Neal to 
come up as quickly as possible because it was apparent that there 
were five or six dozen warriors. Firing started at once, in the 
course of which one of Bruce's men was killed and another severe- 
ly wounded. Though greatly outnumbered Bruce succeeded in 
driving the Indians out of their position and improving his own. 
Night came and with it Captain O'Neal, who said that he had 
sent Lieutenant Armstrong with 28 men to attack the Indians 
on their right. Bruce and O'Neal then withdrew for the night 
making camp about five miles away but Armstrong did not join 
them. Instead he staid in position and next morning attacked the 
hostiles who retreated. They had, as usu^l, burned their dead 
so their casualties were not known. That day, January 24th, 
Colonel R. L. Williams arrived and assumed command. 

While the companies of the former Southern Battalion were 
thus engaged, those of the former Northern Battalion, under 
Lieutenant-Colonel W. J. Martin, were busy scouting, guarding 
settlers, escorting pack trains and casual travelers. Stations were 
manned at Camas Valley, southwest of Roseburg; at the head- 
waters of the Coquille River; at Ft. Smith, which was the forti- 
fied house of William H. Smith on Cow Creek; Camp Eliff, at 

90 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

the south end of the Umpqua canyon; Ft. Bailey, five miles south 
of the ford on Cow Creek; Camp Gordon, eight miles above the 
mouth of Cow Creek; at the reservation limits near the mouth 
of the Umpqua; and on Ten-Mile Prairie. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Martin had issued orders to take no pris- 
oners but many Indian women and children were captured. 
About the first of the year 1856 Martin ordered these captives taken 
to the Grand Ronde reservation in Yamhill County but the In- 
dian Agent, Robert B. Metcalf, refused permission because ot 
relationships among the captives and the Indians already on 
the reservation. 

The type of duty which the 2nd Regiment of Oregon Mounted 
Volunteers was called upon to fulfill was, except in the actual 
fighting, unspectacular and irksome. The weather was miserable, 
accommodations in camp were seldom comfortable, and the 
problem of supplies was always present. Pay, if any, was little 
and delayed. Many of the men of the regiment applied for 
discharge in January, 1856. They pointed out that their term 
of enlistment had expired when their service with the north- 
ern and southern battalions was considered and, besides, their 
horses were jaded. So the Adjutant-General authorized their 
discharge and issued an order for replacement recruiting. As re- 
cruits replaced those eligible for discharge, the latter left for 
their homes but the work of escorting and guarding was un- 
interrupted because the Indian chiefs steadfastly refused to listen 
to peace on any terms. 



WHILE the latter events of the foregoing chapter were transpir- 
ing, there was much elsewhere to disturb the security of the set- 
tlers. The Yakima War had started in the north and the tribes 
on the southwest coast were committing atrocities. It is of events 
in this latter district that we next tell, leaving the Yakima con- 
flict for the succeeding chapter. 

Benjamin Wright was still the Indian Agent for several tribes 
below Coos Bay. He acquainted those Indians with Superintend- 

i he Rogue River War 91 

ent Palmer's recent order restricting them to their reservations 
unless furnM'.ed with written permission to go elsewhere. He 
also warned those who had wandered into his district from in- 
terior reservations that they must return immediately or submit 
to urrest. These stragglers obeyed but with obvious reluctance. 
When Wright reached the settlement at the mouth of the 
'Joquille he found the settlers there greatly concerned over the 
attitude of the Coquilles. Wright conferred with those Indians, 
who assured him of their peaceful and friendly intentions. The 
Indians told him that they themselves were worried about two 
fears, first, because there was a camp of Rogues nearby and the 
authorities might consider that the Rogues were there with the 
acquiescence of the Coquilles; and, second, that they were wor- 
ried because they feared that the troops who were operating in 
the Rogue and Umpqua River Valleys would swoop down and 
exterminate them, because rumor indicated that to be the in- 
tention. Wright apparently allayed their fears, appointed David 
Hall as local sub-agent for the Coquilles, and returned to Ft. 

The settlers were not satisfied that the Indians planned no 
trouble. Those at the mouth of the Coquilie i<iver moved their 
families to the settlements at Empire City, which had been forti- 
fied. The miners from the Randolph district moved to Ft. Orford 
for protection, and a house at the mouth of the Rogue River 
was fortified as a haven in case of Indian outbreaks near there. 

Wright himself was not sure about the situation and to play 
safe asked Major R. B. Reynolds, commander at Fort Orford, 
to keep his force intact, to which request Major Reynolds agreed. 
It will be remembered that the Governor had outlawed inde- 
pendent companies of volunteers. Nevertheless, a small company 
of 19 men from the Coos Bay area, in order to circumvent Gover- 
nor Curry's proclamation, petitioned Agent Hall to enroll them 
as assistants, which Hall did on November 6, 1855. Also on that 
Jay it was decided to erect a fortification on the Coquilie River, 
which was built within a few days and named Fort Kitchen. 
Then a small detachment from the little company under Captain 
Packwood made a quick scouting trip up the South Fork of the 
Coquilie. They found that a house had been robbed and upon 
returning Packwood notified Wright of the robbery and the fact 
that some of the Indians were off reservation, and asked Wright 
to come for the purpose of discussing matters. Meanwhile the 
male settlers who had gone with their families to coast points for 
protection returned to the Coquilie River Valley but left their 

92 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

families on the coast. These men fortified the Roland residence, 
naming it Fort Relief. Captain Packwood remained there to await 
Wright's appearance and while there ordered the off-reservation 
Indians to return to their reservations or be arrested. He did 
arrest Long John and Elk. Long John escaped within a few 
days and subsequently Packwood released Elk. 

On November 22nd sixteen men from Coos Bay joined those 
guarding Fort Kitchen and Agent Hall was replaced by William 
Chance, who accepted the 16 men under the same conditions as 
those under which Hall had agreed to use Packwood's com- 
pany. Packwood had been instructed, after Long John's escape, 
to treat all Indians who were off reservation without written con- 
sent, as enemies, because a band headed by Chief Washington 
had already 'gone on the war-path. They had burned one house, 
robbed two others, cut the Coquille ferry-boat adrift, and other- 
wise made themselves obnoxious. On November 23rd Agent 
Chance with some guards under Captain Packwood went up- 
steam to attempt to persuade Chief Washington to return to his 
reservation. Instead, they found the chief installed behind a bar- 
ricade commanding the river and threatening Chance and his 
party with a rifle. Chance returned to Ft. Kitchen while Pack- 
wood's group met two off-reservation Indians, one of whom men- 
aced the guards. The guards opened fire, killing one of the In- 
dians and wounding the second, who succeeded in escaping. 
Later, on the same trip, they wounded another Indian and re- 
turned to Ft. Kitchen. 

Meanwhile there had been no news from Wright and on De- 
cember llth the 16 men from Coos Bay returned there having 
become alarmed for the safety of their families at home. Thus 
Fort Kitchen was again guarded by its original small force. 
Two of these Ft. Kitchen guards went to the beach to secure 
some reserve provisions which they had left in a cabin there. 
Upon arrival they found Long John preparing a meal in the 
cabin with several Indians watching him. John gave a war- 
whoop, apparently to summon aid, whereupon the guards shot 

Wright arrived at Ft. Kitchen on December 24 and held a 
three day conference with the Indians who blamed all recent 
disturbances on the white men. Wright accepted their promise to 
remain quiet and obey his instructions and then notified Captain 
Packwood that the Governor would have to approve the volun- 
teer organization which Packwood had formed before any com- 
pensation could be paid, so Packwood discharged his company. 

The Rogue River War 93 

Later, under a new order of the Governor, Packwood reorganized 
his company as Coquille Minute Men. Meanwhile Packwood 
made a written report to Governor Curry explaining his view of 
the situation and justifying the acts of his men. The report indi- 
cated clearly the apparent indifference of the regular army to the 
incipient dangers from Indians on the Southwest Oregon Coast. 

During this period local Indian Agent E. P. Drew became con- 
cerned that the Coos Bay Indians were plotting with the Co- 
quilles. An attack was made on the Indians at Drolley's farm on 
the lower fork of the Coquille River, four Indians being killed 
and four captured and hanged. Such chastisement kept the re- 
mainder of that band quiet for the rest of the winter. 

Also in November, 1855, a company of volunteers was raised 
among the miners at Gold Beach and other points on the South- 
ern Oregon coast, with John Poland as captain. While this com- 
pany was not authorized by the Governor, neither did it violate 
his proclamation because that section of the territory was not in- 
cluded in the Governor's edict. Poland's company established its 
camp at the Big Bend of the Rogue River where they staid until 
February, 1856. They then moved down stream to a place within 
a few miles of the mouth of the river to build up the company by 
recruiting. To all appearances the Coast tribes had quieted down. 
On the night of Febrauary 22nd a Washington's Anniversary 
Ball was given at Gold Beach. Captain Poland and most of his 
men attended, leaving ten men as a nominal guard at their camp. 
At daybreak, and before the return of the revellers, a large force 
of Indians furiously attacked the camp. Eight of the ten guards 
were killed. One of the two who escaped was Charles Foster. He 
concealed himself in the woods, witnessed the massacre, and 
using extreme caution succeeded in carrying news of the disaster 
to Ft. Orford. 

At the time of this slaughter Benjamin Wright was at the Mc- 
Guire home which was located between Captain Poland's camp 
and Gold Beach. Captain Poland was on his way back to camp, 
unaware of any tragedy, and stopped to see Wright. While there 
some Indians from the tribe living across the river from Mc- 
Guire's place called on Agent Wright saying that Enos, a half- 
breed who had spent the winter with the Rogues, was in their 
camp and that they wanted him arrested. Without any thought of 
treachery, Wright, accompanied by Captain Poland, went to the 
Indian village to arrest Enos. Both Wright and Poland were mur- 
dered immediately and their bodies horribly mutilated. The In- 
dians even cut out Wright's heart, cooked it and ate it, believing 

94 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

that in so doing they would acquire some of Wright's well- 
known courage. 

Enos was to avoid arrest until 1857 when he was captured and 
hanged. The murders of Wright and Poland were just incidents 
in a carefully planned day of blood. Sixty houses from the Big 
Bend almost to the Coast were burned that day on the Rogue 
River. Twenty-six citizens were killed in the first attacks and 
five more later in the day. One woman and her two daughters 
were taken captive. Seven different settlements were attacked in 
twelve hours. 

When the news of these outrages reached Gold Beach some of 
the men of Captain Poland's company, including 1st Lieutenant 
Relf Bledsoe, were still there. Lieutenant Bledsoe was elected 
Captain. A fortification known as Miners 7 Fort was in process of 
construction and Captain Bledsoe ordered its immediate com- 
pletion. He concentrated 130 men, women and children there and 
stocked the fort with all the available provisions. They prepared 
as best they could to withstand a seige, for there was no other 
military force, regular or volunteer, in the southwestern Oregon 
coast section to rescue them. 

When Charles Foster reached Ft. Orford he reported his in- 
telligence to Major Reynolds. As often stated, the garrison there 
was small and Major Reynolds could not divide it, nor would 
any few soldiers have been able to resolve the situation with 
the hostiles could they have been spared. Besides there were only 
about fifty residents of Port Orford and they begged Reynolds not 
to reduce his garrison. However, the residents did send a whale- 
boat down the coast to carry word of the critical situation. But an 
unkind fate decreed that disaster was a continuing process. The 
boat overturned in the surf and the crew of six citizens were 
drowned. Indians, who had been watching the boat, cut the dead 
bodies to pieces and drowning was probably an easier death 
than would have been their lot had they landed. 

When the whaleboat did not return Captain William Tiche- 
nor, who had founded Port Orford, sent his schooner the Nelly 
to rescue the people at Miners' Fort. But adverse winds prevented 
the Nelly from approaching the shore near enough to bring off 
the besieged in small boats. Some days later the schooner Gold 
Beach arrived off-shore from Crescent City with a company of 
volunteers sent to fight the Indians but it, too, failed to effect a 
landing. These several efforts were all visible to the besieged who 
must have felt that all nature was in league against them. More- 
over, they were not well supplied with arms and ammunition 

The Rogue River War 95 

because the Indians had captured all those necessities belonging 
to Captain Poland's company at the time of the massacre. The 
occupants of the fort were, however, successful in keeping the 
hostiles at a distance by sniping at any Indian who came 
within range. On February 25th the Indians did try to 
reach the fort but were repulsed and seemed to have made a 
decision to bide their time until the citizens were weakened by 
starvation. Occasionally a cow would graze near enough to the 
fort for some one to go outside and obtain milk for the children. 
The citizens tried to dig potatoes from the fields one night but 
were discovered by the alert enemy and one white man was 
killed and four wounded before the foraging party reached the 
safety of the fort. 

Thus the siege continued for 30 days. It need not be pointed 
out again that information traveled slowly in that part of the 
world in 1856, News of the massacre and siege had reached no 
place but Port Orford. Ships made infrequent trips along the 
coast. It took time for word to reach Governor Curry in Oregon 
City and the military authorities in San Francisco. The Indians 
had chosen their time well. They knew of the mustering out of 
the battalions and the slow progress being made in recruiting 
for the 2nd Regiment. When Governor Curry did hear of the 
disaster he authorized the organization of companies of minute 
men in localities which were remote and endangered and ap- 
proved those volunteer groups which had sprung up in violation 
of his proclamation and from real necessity. 

The Governor sent George H. Abbott to Ft. Johnson on the 
Chetcoe River to recruit volunteers to go to the relief of 
Miners' Fort. Abbott learned about the arrival of the Federal 
troops under Lieutenant-Colonel Buchanan at Crescent City 
and that they were marching up the coast to take charge of the 
Indian war. Abbott had recruited only 34 men when he obtained 
the foregoing information and decided to await Buchanan's ar- 
rival before venturing toward Gold Beach. The volunteers made 
their camp north of the Chetcoe River until March 16th when 
Buchanan and his regulars were within five miles. Then the 
volunteer company started for the Pistol River which empties in- 
to the Pacific Ocean about midway between the Chetcoe River 
and Gold Beach. Abbott and his men reached the Pistol River in 
the early morning of March 17th and prepared to attack the 
Indian village located there. But the Indians had fled and the 
village was burned. Then a few Indians were observed herding 
horses in the foothills and Abbott took a detail of 13 men to 

96 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

capture the horses. Approaching the herd many Indians were 
seen with more arriving every minute so Abbott wisely decided 
to retreat to the shore to joia the rest of his men. The Indians 
pursued and a running fight developed with the Indians finally 
being repulsed. Abbott sent a messenger to Buchanan and then 
the hostiles encircled the volunteers. The Indians were kept at a 
distance by rifle fire while a barricade was erected. The soldiers 
placed their supplies and water inside the enclosure, the horses 
were picketed just outside and Abbott and his men awaited the 
arrival of Buchanan's troops. 

Late in the afternoon of the 17th the Indians were reinforced 
by a large number of Rogues. That evening the Indians departed 
from an almost universal practice of not fighting at night. Just 
about dark they started slowly but methodically for the barracks. 
The approach was from three directions, some of the hostiles 
rolling logs in front of themselves for protection. Abbott con- 
sidered his situation and pronouncing it critical made his decis- 
ion on the principle that the best defense is an offense. He sent 
one detachment to the cover of a sand dune to the south, led an- 
other party to a pile of drift logs on the beach, leaving the rest 
of his men in the barricade. Both sides fought desperately. Ab- 
bott's men first used their rifles. Greatly outnumbering the vol- 
unteers, the Indians kept moving forward. Then the soldiers used 
their pistols. When it was too dark to see clearly they changed to 
shot-guns. The Indians loss was heavy compared with that of the 
volunteers, the latter losing one man fatally injured and one 
slightly wounded. The Indians captured ten horses and 20 mules 
and then withdrew. Next day the fighting was intermittent but 
continued throughout the day and until 2 P. M. on the 19th 
when Buchanan's regulars arrived. Buchanan had taken three 
days to make a march which could have been accomplished easily 
in one day. He merely commented that he did not wish to engage 
the Indians at the Pistol River. As nearly as could be determined 
the Indians had lost 12 killed and at least that many wounded. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Buchanan was apparently an officer of the 
General Wool school. The latter had instructed his regulars not 
to recognize volunteers in the field. Buchanan, on his part, criti- 
cized the citizen soldiers for meddling with things which he said 
they did not understand. He had been sent to show men un- 
trained in military science how to conduct an Indian war. Mean- 
while, General Wool had received a petition from the citizens of 
Jackson County. They pointed out to the General that business 
was suffering because residents were moving to the Willamette 

The Rogue River War 97 

Valley due to the insecurity of living in Jackson County and 
asked that a large enough force of Federal troops be sent to 
Southern Oregon to end the war, or if not that, to assure pro- 
tection to the people. 

It must be pointed out that General Wool's attitude toward 
civilians, and volunteer soldiers in particular, was always one of 
superiority, impatience and contempt. The Governors of all the 
States and Territories which came within the department of the 
Pacific disliked him. Complaints were made to the Secretary of 
War who criticized and reproved the General. The reproval did 
not set well with a man of Wool's temperament but the General 
was a trained soldier and as distasteful as the order was he did 
obey the Secretary of War when instructed to give his personal 
attention to Oregon and Washington Territories. He therefore 
went to Vancouver Barracks in November, 1855. That official 
visit was brief; he did not confer with Governor Curry, and soon 
returned to San Francisco. Shortly thereafter he re-visited Van- 
couver Barracks for the purpose of investigating some of his 
officers who had so far forgotten his injunction that they had 
recognized volunteer organizations in the field and on one or 
two occasions had asked the citizen soldiery for aid. "Such acts by 
his subordinates might need a reprimand," mused the General. 

In March, 1856 he again went to Vancouver. This time 
he brought troops to accomplish two objectives to pla- 
cate the petitioning Jackson County residents and to whip 
the Indians. It was on this trip that he left Lieuten- 
ant- Colonel Buchanan and 96 officers and men at Crescent 
City on March 8th. When General Wool reached Vancouver 
he sent Captain Augur of the 4th Infantry with a detachment to 
reinforce Major Reynolds at Ft. Orford. He also sent Captain 
Floyd Jones of the 4th Infantry with his men to Crescent City. 
Both these officers were directed to protect friendly Indians and 
guard government stores. Next he ordered Captain Smith of 
Ft. Lane to go to Ft. Orford with 80 of his dragoons to meet 
Buchanan, when their combined force would go to the Illinois 
River Valley where the Superintendent of Indian Affairs would 
hold council with the tribes, after the hostiles had been subdued 
by the regulars. Buchanan and Smith were also to make it their 
duty to prevent the volunteers from bothering the Indians. 

Of course Governor Curry and the settlers learned of General 
Wool's orders and knowing more about Indians and Indian 
warfare than he, proceeded to take additional measures for their 
protection. The Territorial Legislature in Oregon elected J. K. 

98 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

Lamerick as Brigadier General of Militia. Lamerick was from 
Southern Oregon so his election stimulated recruiting in that 
section of the Territory. R. L. Williams was displaced as Colonel 
of the 2nd Oregon Mounted Volunteers by John Kelsey; Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel William J. Martin resigned and Captain W. W. 
Chapman was elected to succeed him; Major James Bruce re- 
tained his command in the south; and William H. Latshaw was 
elected Major in the north. It should be understood that while 
these changes in ranking officers were being made there was no 
interruption in the activities of the volunteers. There was Indian 
trouble in almost every important district and it may be well to 
relate a few examples of the types of military activity being con- 
ducted by the volunteers while the regulars were, in more leisure- 
ly fashion, carrying out the orders of General Wool. 

In February, 1856, while the tragic events at Ft. Kitchen and 
Miners' Fort were happening, the Indians of the Illinois River 
Valley began killing. They murdered two settlers and wounded 
three more in their first foray. Then they shot Settler Guess 
while he was plowing. He was alone at his farm, having sent his 
family to one of the fortified places for their safety. Captain 
O'Neal, with his company, was scouting nearby and upon hear- 
ing of this latest murder immediately went to the scene. O'Neal 
and his men made the trip at night and encountered an Indian 
camp. There was some firing by both sides but O'Neal recovered 
the settler's body and took it to the bereaved family, and then 
those troops spent the rest of the month escorting pack-trains, 
scouting and recruiting. 

Captain Bushey's company was organized on February 19th 
and devoted the rest of the month to scouting. In March he 
found a large Indian camp on Wolf Creek and sent to Major 
Bruce for reinforcements, which were furnished but by the time 
they arrived the Indians had moved. Bushey then escorted gov- 
ernment stores. Captain Tobey Buoy and his company exercised 
similar functions, as did Captain Abel George. 

On March 23rd a messenger arrived reporting two men killed 
on Slate Creek and that a large force of Indians was on its way to 
the Hayes farm.Lieutenant Armstrong with 50 men were detached 
and sent at once to intercept the hostiles. When within sight of 
the Hayes house the Indians opened a heavy fire on the volun- 
teers from all directions. Armstrong estimated that there were 
200 warriors but issued the command to reach the house. His 
men succeeded, finding the Hayes family safe inside but the vol- 
unteers lost two men killed and one wounded in the process. The 

The Rogue River War 99 

fight continued all day, then the Indians burned their dead and 
left. A courier was sent to Major Bruce asking that he send re- 
inforcements and that the settlers in the valley of the Illinois 
River be notified of the uprising. Major Bruce arrived the next 
day with all his available men and preparations were made to 
pursue the Indians. 

While these plans were formulating a messenger arrived saying 
that a pack-train had been robbed on Deer Creek, one of the trib- 
utaries of the Illinois River. Accordingly, the troops set out for 
Deer Creek and, encountering the enemy, began another battle. 
At the first volley from the Indians two men from Captain 
George's company were killed and two from Captain O'Neal's 
company were wounded. Three Indians were known to have 
been killed. Outnumbered, Major Bruce with part of his force, 
went to the main valley of the Illinois River to assemble the set- 
tlers for protection, while the other detachment from Bruce's 
force went back to the Hayes place and camped there. 

On March 24th there was a battle on Cow Creek, which is 
about 50 miles north of the Illinois River. John M. Wallen had 
succeeded to the command of William H. Latshaw's company 
when the latter became a major. Wallen's company and 20 men 
from Captain Sheffield's company, the latter under Lieutenant 
Capron, were in the Cow Creek neighborhood, and it was this 
force which engaged in that battle. One volunteer was killed and 
one wounded. The Indians fled with the soldiers in pursuit. The 
volunteers followed the Indians for six days without developing 
another battle, though there was sporadic firing and one Indian 
was killed. 

Captain Laban Buoy resigned in March and was replaced by 
P. C. Noland, who had barely assumed his command at Ten-Mile 
Prairie when he received word that the Indians were loose in 
Camas Valley on the Coquille River. Nolan took his company 
there at once, finding several houses burning and others already 
destroyed, but the Indians had fled to the mountains. Noland 
pursued, located the hostiles, killed two of them and wounded 
several, but had a number of horses stolen by the Indians. 

After the Governor's proclamation of March llth authorizing 
companies of Minute Men, John Creighton organized a company 
at Port Orford. On March 27th his force moved to the Coquille 
River. He attacked an Indian camp on the 30th, killing 15. He 
also captured all their provisions, arms and canoes and took 32 
women and children captive. Creighton sent the prisoners to Ft. 
Orford and went on upstream to the Forks of the Coquille where 

100 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

he forced another engagement in which three Indians were killed 
and several women and children taken prisoner. Next he went 
to the Umpqua Valley where he captured five Umpquas, 20 
Coquilles of Chief Washington's tribe, and 23 other Coquilles 
from the North Fork of the Umpqua. 

W. H. Harris, of Coos Bay, raised a company of Minute Men 
there. They spent March and April scouting and rounding up 
Indians for placement on reservations. He succeeded in persuad- 
ing a number of the Coquilles to enter reservation life but was 
unsuccessful with the Indians from Cow Creek and the Umpqua. 
Harris then sent Lieutenant Foley with 12 men to round up a 
number of Coquilles who had left the reservation near Port 
Orford. Foley captured the entire group consisting of eight men, 
six women, and three children who were taken to Port Orford. 
Harris* company also escorted pack-trains between the Umpqua 
and Coos Bay and between Eugene and Port Oxford. 

Captain W. A. Wilkinson's company devoted their attention 
during April and part of May to escort duty between Ft. Vannoy 
and Ft. Leland, Camp Hayes and Camp Wagoner, and also be- 
tween Crescent City and Camp Vannoy. Captain James Barnes' 
company engaged in dangerous spy duty all during the campaign. 

On April 11, Colonel Kelsey combined a detachment from Cap- 
tain Robertsons company, Captain Barnes* spy company, and 
part of Captain Wallen's company, and set out, going down 
Grave Creek from Ft. Leland in search of the hostiles. They 
encountered a blizzard and had to abandon the effort. 

Thus it will be observed that the volunteers were busy and 
the regulars inactive (for the earlier part of the period) ,which 
caused Brigadier General Lamerick to write the Governor that 
he was convinced that General Wool had issued orders to the 
regular troops prohibiting them from cooperating with the vol- 
unteers. That may have been true but Lamerick also reported 
that the regular officers at Ft. Lane told him that they would 
cooperate at all times. 

At any rate the volunteers were working valiantly at the diffi- 
cult job of protecting settlers and punishing hostile natives. The 
weather had been miserable, in fact as late as mid-April, 1856, it 
was still cold with chilling rains and plenty of snow in the higher 
elevations. General Lamerick and Colonel Kelsey had agreed to 
keep at their task. They also agreed upon a plan for bringing the 
entire regiment together near Big Meadows, which was the main 
camp of the dissident Indians, and cleaning up the war in one 
major battle. The idea seemed worthy of success for some Indian 

The Rogue River War 101 

bands, hungry and cold and disillusioned, had given themselves 
up and had been taken to Ft. Lane where they were assured of 
food, shelter and protection. 

On April 16 Lieutenant-Colonel Chapman and Major Bruce, 
with the entire southern battalion, moved down the south side 
of the Rogue River towards Big Meadows. The northern bat- 
talion, except for Captain Thomas W. Prather's spy company, 
went down the north side. The troops took provisions for thirty 
days and General Lamerick told the Governor that he intended 
to pursue and fight the hostiles until they were whipped. The 
first contact occurred April 21st while the regiment was camped 
at Little Meadows. There a sentry was fired upon and 40 men 
were sent to engage the Indians but the hostiles fled. Captain 
Barnes then went out with 25 men from his spy company and lo- 
cated the Indians on a sand-bar on the south side of the Rogue 
between Little and Big Meadows. 

The northern battalion numbered 210 men. Colonel Kelsey, 
with 50 men, went out on the morning of April 22nd to de- 
termine what he could learn about the Indian camp. He was dis- 
covered and fired upon and deployed his men for battle, but 
again the Indians retired. Next day, April 23rd, the southern 
battalion, mustering 335 men, arrived. This made a total of 545 
volunteers on the scene. On the 24th Colonel Kelsey and Major 
Latshaw led 150 men of the northern battalion in the direction of 
the enemy. One-third of this force was sent in advance, the 
plan being to decoy the hostiles into a battle when confronted 
by an apparently small force. Simultaneously Major Bruce with 
150 men from the southern battalion, went to Big Meadows ex- 
pecting to find large numbers of Indians there. To his surprise 
the Indians had departed, nor could either group find the hostiles 
that day. 

Next day, April 25th, a detachment of 25 men from the north- 
ern battalion went to a position on an elevation of their camp 
to see whether the Indians were moving into the mountains to the 
west. A similar group from the southern battalion went to high 
ground southeast of camp to see what they could discover. 
All were aware that the Indians had their families with them 
and that their grand total numbered several hundreds. 

The regiment had a number of beef cattle along for its com- 
missary and late in the day on the 26th some of the cattle had 
strayed some distance from camp. The Indians started shooting 
some of the cattle so Colonel Kelsey with 100 men went after the 

102 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

hostiles. But again the Indians fled. It surely seemed that the In- 
dians were evading battle. 

On April 27 Colonel Kelsey and Major Latshaw again set out, 
this time with 200 officers and men. They left before dawn so 
that they could be sure to occupy a canyon one mile west of the 
Indian camp. At the same time Major Bruce with 150 men 
went forward to a position opposite that of Colonel Kelsey. The 
plan called for Colonel Kelsey's troops to force a battle and, if 
the Indians retreated, to run them into Major Bruce's force! A 
heavy fog blanketed the river which enabled Kelsey to get into 
position undiscovered. Suddenly the fog lifted and there was not 
an Indian in the canyon. This was a surprise for the spy com- 
pany had reported it to be well guarded. So Kelsey's force ad- 
vanced through the thick forest for another mile and a half to a 
point opposite the camp on the sand-bar. This movement was 
executed so quietly that the volunteers were within 300 yards of 
the camp before they were discovered. Instead of rushing to 
battle the Indians were in a panic. Squaws and children were 
running about in confusion. The volunteers opened up a heavy 
rifle fire. Gradually the warriors took protective shelter behind 
trees and rocks and returned the fire. The majority of the hostiles 
took positions out of range to watch the battle and were so intent 
that they were not aware of the approach of Major Bruce's con- 
tingent until his soldiers opened fire. The battle continued all 
day. The Indians suffered heavily while the volunteers had only 
one man wounded. The fighting ended at nightfall and the 
troops camped at Big Meadows. 

On the morning of the 28th Colonel Kelsey and Major Lat- 
shaw with 150 men went downstream to a point two miles below 
the scene of the previous day's battle. They carried two canvas 
boats and the purpose of the trip was to discover a place where 
the troops could cross the river and come down on the Indian 
camp from the mountains behind the sand-bar. Lieutenant- Col- 
onel Chapman with 150 men took the position occupied by the 
volunteers the previous day so that they could cut off the In- 
dians should a retreat be attempted and also to divert the 
Indians' attention from Colonel Kelsey's investigation down 
river. But the Colonel didn't get to start his investigation. The 
Indians were alert and were in position in thick timber when 
Kelsey and his force approached. Firing started at once but 
because of the long range was largely ineffective. After three 
hours of shooting the volunteers returned to their camp having 

The Rogue River War 103 

one man wounded, while the Indian loss beyond two warriors 
known to have been killed, could not be determined. 

That night the Indians pulled out, going down river. When, 
on April 29, the volunteers' spies notified the officers of the ab- 
sence of the Indians, the regiment crossed the river to the 
abandoned hostile camp. They counted 75 camp fires which was 
indicative of the large number of Indians. Evidences of stolen 
property were found everywhere empty ammunition cases, 
broken food containers, and innumerable bones of cattle. The 
Indians hadn't been short of supplies. Indeed, this was the place 
to which the off-reservation Indians and those who raided pack- 
trains and committed other robberies, went for refuge all winter 
long. The troops were running short of provisions, their clothing 
was wearing thin, and the weather continued miserable. Colonel 
Kelsey reported these conditions and was ordered to return to Ft. 
Leland. It was also agreed that a fort be built at Big Meadows. 
So, on May 1st, 1856, four companies under Major Bruce, were 
detailed to erect the fort, to be called Ft. Lamerick. Two com- 
panies were sent to Roseburg, while five companies accompanied 
the Colonel to Ft. Leland. 

While the month of April, 1856, was keeping the volunteers 
busy as detailed, it also ushered in activity on the part of the 
regulars. It will be recalled that Captain Smith of Ft. Lane was 
to join Lieutenant-Colonel Buchanan and the joint force was 
then to meet Superintendent Palmer at the Illinois River. Joel 
Palmer had been Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Oregon 
Territory for a long time and was well qualified for the task. He 
did, however, at the moment have a large percentage of the 
tribes under his jurisdiction either in a state of actual war or on 
the verge of outbreak. He was anxious to do something affirma- 
tive to bring peace and quiet to the Territory. Also he had come 
to accept the view that the settlers were in large measure to 
blame for the unsettled conditions. He did not believe that the 
Indians would accept peace unless on their own terms. His con- 
clusions were not completely those of the regular army but he 
leaned much farther in that direction than to the viewpoint of 
the settlers and their volunteers. But the fighting was continuing. 
The volunteers insisted that their theory of preventing robberies 
and murders was a better one than that of the regular army 
which chastised the Indians after misdeeds were committed. So 
now Palmer was to accompany the regulars who were to try to 
demonstrate that their system of Indian control was the better. 

Captain Smith and his 80 dragoons left Ft. Lane April 13, 

104 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

1856. As they crossed the Rogue River they attacked and des- 
troyed an Indian camp there. He had a difficult march across the 
mountains to Ft. Orford and while Smith knew more about the 
tribulations of winter campaigns in Oregon than did Buchanan, 
still he acquired an idea of what the volunteers had contended 
with for months. Buchanan's force also had a lesson. When they 
arrived at the mouth of the Rogue River the troops dashed into 
the forest in pursuit of fleeing Indians. They quickly experienced 
the difficulties of mountain warfare in bad weather. This thing of 
climbing steep slopes, scrambling through tangled underbrush, 
getting soaked to the skin in the cold rains, wet feet and conse- 
quent bad colds, with Indian arrows coming their way from 
unseen hostiles, wasn't exactly like dress parade. Buchanan wasn't 
with his men. Instead, he spent his time unsuccessfully trying 
to induce the tribes to return to their reservations. 

On April 26th Buchanan sent Lieutenant Ord and 112 men to 
destroy an Indian village eleven miles north of Gold Beach and 
to force the Indians there to go to the reservation. The 
Lieutenant did a good job, accomplished both objectives after a 
fight and the loss of one man. 

Then Lieutenant Ord with 60 men went to Crescent City, in 
Northwestern California, to escort a large pack-train of army 
stores to the mouth of the Rogue River. On April 29th, as he 
came to the Chetcoe River, he was attacked, his losses being one 
killed and three wounded while the hostiles lost six killed and 
were driven off. The volunteers, be it remembered, were still hard 
at work in the field and now, knowing that the regulars were also 
campaigning, sought to drive the Indians in the direction of the 
Federal troops for final disposition. 

Captains Harris, Creighton, and Bledsoe of the volunteers were 
particularly active in this regard. George H. Abbott and his com- 
pany surprised a band of Coquilles on the river of that nam, 
killing twelve. On two occasions that band had promised to go 
back to their reservation and twice had broken their word. They 
had probably meant it when they had made their promises but 
Chief John and the half-breed Enos knew how to change their 

In the first part of May, Buchanan moved his regulars to a 
point near the mouth of the Illinois River. As related, some In- 
dian bands had surrendered, some had given themselves up 
voluntarily, and some, mostly -women and children, had been 
captured. Buchanan used a number of these Indians as messen- 
gers to the various groups of hostiles urging the latter to meet 

The Rogue River War 105 

with him and Superintendent Palmer for a peace council. Finally, 
on May 21st, Chief John and his son, Chief George, Chief 
Limpy, and others came in for a conference. It had been stipu- 
lated to the chiefs as a condition of their attendance that they 
would not be restrained at the council. Chief John finally made 
a speech refusing to accept reservation life, saying that he would 
fight instead. He left the council unmolested as promised. The 
other chiefs, however, consented to lay down their arms on May 
26th and be escorted to reservations. Captain Smith and his 
dragoons were at the appointed meeting place on the 26th but 
the Indians did not come in. That evening Smith received word 
from two Indian women that Chief John would attack the next 
day. Smith immediately began moving his camp to higher ground 
and sent a courier to Buchanan requesting reinforcements. The 
dragoons had no rest that night because of moving the camp 
and preparing for battle. The site chosen was an elevation be- 
tween two creeks. The south side was steep, the north side even 
more perpendicular; the west side was less difficult than the 
south, while the east slope was gentle. 

At daybreak the Indians appeared in force to the north and 
about 40 warriors started up the east slope to the camp. Smith 
halted them while they were some distance away when they told 
him that they had come to lay down their arms and wanted to 
talk with him. But Smith knew too much about Indians and re- 
membered what had happened to Ben Wright and Captain 
Poland on the Coquille. The howitzer was in position and aimed 
in the right direction. Seeing that Smith was preparing to fight 
and foiled in their design the warriors withdrew. About mid- 
afternoon the Indians attacked from two directions simultaneous- 
ly, approaching by the east and west slopes. The howitzer stopped 
them on the east and rifle fire halted them on the west. The 
hostiles made several attempts and then tried scaling the precip- 
itous north and south approaches. But a number were shot and 
rolled to the bottom of the slopes. After a day of continuous 
fighting the engagement ended with nightfall. The troops spent 
the night in digging rifle pits and erecting breastworks, that being 
the second night without sleep, and with- little food and almost 
no water. 

Next morning, the 29th of April, the Indians renewed the 
battle. The dragoons were now in bad condition. They were 
worn out from fighting and laboring at their fortifications as well 
as suffering from lack of sleep and water. At the coun- 
cil on the 26th Captain Smith had told the Indians that any of 

106 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

them who strayed from their reservations while armed would be 
hanged. So the Indians now taunted Smith, recalling his threat 
and saying tLn they would hang him and all his troopers. They 
even dangled a rope inviting Captain Smith to hang himself 
and save them the trouble. They chided the troops about being 
thirsty. They called thr soldiers vile names and occasionally 
some warrior would work his way und?r the parapet, reach 
over with a hooked pole and drag out a soldier"* blanket. By late 
afternoon one-third of Smith's 80 d-agoou weie killed or wound- 
ed and still no news from Buchanan. Tiat night the Indians held 
council and decideo to finish vK the roopers the next morning. 
To the soldiers it se< med that April 29, 1856. would be their last 
day on earth. Early that morning all the Indians let out a blood- 
curdling yell and charged up the east and west slopes. To the 
consternation of the bostiles the troopers met th* offensive with 
cheers and a counter-ti >rge, for the dragoons bad seen what the 
Indians had not seen, Rocall, please, that General Wool while at 
Vancouver, had or1"red Captain Augur of the 4th Infantry * 
reinforce Ma)-r Reynolds. On his way to fulfill that assignment, 
Captain Augur with 75 fresh soldiers came upon the scene of 
Captain Smith's desperate battle in the nick of time. Captain 
Augur swung his oroops into action, attacking the Indians from 
the rear. The tables were turned. In fifteen minutes the Indians 
fled to the hills carrying their dea r l and wounded with them. 
Five of Augur's men were killed Next day their dead bodies, 
horribly mutilated, were found hanging to trees. Another find 
was a supply of native-made ropes with which Chief John had 
expected to hang the dragoons. 

Volunteer units still active in the mounta ; ns and unaware of 
Smith's battle car>ie upon a camp of Chief John's tribe on the 
29th and routed the Indians who fled down river, onlv to run into 
Buchanan's troops, to whom they ultimately surrendered. Those 
volunteers who const : *uted Captain Wallen's company continued 
scouting and picking up many stragglers from Chief John's 
people. Captain Daniel Keith's company joined Wallen and still 
other units augmented the volunteer force from time to time. 
When the volunteers reached Smith's fortification they found 
Superintendent Joel Palmer there. 

He had expected to take part in the surrender of the In- 
dians to the United States regulars. He sent messengers to 
round up the fugitives ?nd to tell them to come in but most of 
those who responded were those whom the volunteers delivered. 
Chief John, instead of coming in to surrender, sent a challenge 

The Rogue River War 1 07 

to the volunteers nearest his location, inviting them to do battle. 
The volunteers accepted because those who had reached Smith's 
fort returned to reinforce their comrades. The Indians were 
under cover in the forest but came out, advancing in two lines! 
After the first volley from the Indians' first line, the troops 
opened up with such accurate fire that the line broke and fled. 
The second line then moved forward and withstood the soldiers' 
fire somewhat better than had the first line, but they, too, gave 
way and retreated. Chief John tried without success to rally his 
warriors. Among his dead was a popular young chief. The war- 
riors wept over their plight and finally Chief John sent word by 
a squaw that he was ready to give up, provided that his people 
could retain their arms. That proposal was rejected. He then sent 
his son to ask that one-half of their arms might be kept. That re- 
quest was likewise refused. Chief John then reduced his plea to 
one-third of the arms. He was then notified to stack all arms in a 
place available to the troops or to come back fighting. As night 
approached many of John's warriors laid down their weapons. 
So many kept straggling in to surrender that they were finally 
told to stay away from the soldiers' lines until daybreak. As the 
new day dawned, Chief John came in, the last of his band. Twice 
he raised his rifle as if to fire and twice decided not to pull the 
trigger, and with reluctance joined the rest of the prisoners. 

All the troops, regular and volunteer, in the vicinity, drew to- 
gether, prepared their wounded for transport, assembled their 
prisoners, and under command of Captain Smith set out for the 
coast. The prisoners although disarmed were twice as numerous 
as the troops, which fact was a cause for concern on the trip. Ar- 
rived at the mouth of the Rogue the officers learned that rene- 
gades from several coast tribes had banded together and were 
attacking the miners at Gold Beach. So that band had to be 
subdued which job was accomplished by killing 40 and forcing 
the rest to surrender. 

The regulars decided to move to Ft. Orford and enroute gath- 
ered in the Indians from the Pistol and Chetcoe rivers, complet- 
ing that task by their arrival at Ft. Orford on July 2, 1856. On 
the 9th of July 700 Indians, which number did not include Chief 
John's tribe, were taken by sea, in charge of Captain Smith, to 
Portland, from where they were transferred to the north end of 
the reservation in Polk County, Oregon. Four hundred more, in- 
cluding Chief John's tribe and the Pistol and Chetcoe river 
bands, were taken overland to the south end of the same reserva- 
tion. This transfer was not without incidents. Numbers of In- 

110 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

and the spring of 1855 when the Commissioners were ready to 
treat and many disturbing events had occurred in the interval. 
The Northern Indians had heard of Palmer's plan to send the 
Willamette tribes east of the Cascades. They knew about the wars 
in Southwestern Oregon. They were aware of the increase in the 
white population. They saw Federal troops and new forts. It was 
not a good time to talk treaties. 

Governor Stevens sent James Doty to notify the tribes of a 
series of councils to be held in May, 1855, the first of which was 
to be attended by the Yakimas, Cayuses, Walla Wallas, and Nez 
Perces. Kamiakin, chief of the Yakimas, selected as the council 
ground a place in the Walla Walla Valley not far from Waiilat- 
pu. Governor Stevens and Superintendent Palmer were escorted 
there by Lt. Archibald Gracie and 47 dragoons. The presents for 
the chiefs were stored at Ft. Walla Walla. Comfortable arrange- 
ments were made at the council grounds and on May 24th the 
first of the Indians arrived. They were the Nez Perces under 
Chiefs Lawyer and Lookingglass. They camped near the Com- 
missioners whom they entertained with tribal dances. On the 
26th the Cayuses and Walla Wallas came and they, too, danced 
for the Commissioners. May 28th came and with it the Yakimas. 
All told there were about 5000 people present counting com- 
missioners, dragoons, chiefs, warriors, squaws, and children. It 
took until the 30th to get down to the business of the council. 

The speeches dragged on for days. There was almost un- 
animous sentiment against sale of their lands by the chiefs. Kami- 
akin, head chief of the Yakimas, and Chief Owhi, his half-broth- 
er, opposed the plan as did Old Joseph and Lookingglass of the 
Nez Perces. The Cayuses were against the sale and even Peu-peu- 
mox-mox, traditional friend of the whites, refused to be a party 
to the Commissioners' offer. Lawyer, head chief of the Nez Perces, 
was alone in his willingness to sell. 

Lawyer told Stevens that a plot was afoot to massacre Stevens 
and his escort and that .the attempt only awaited concurrence by 
more of the tribes. He also said that the contemplated massacre 
was to be the signal for the capture of the military post at The 
Dalles and a war of extinction of the whites. 

Lawyer offered to move his family and pitch his lodge in the 
midst of Stevens camp which was done. Stevens later credited 
Lawyer with having prevented the attack. Also, in later years, the 
tribes accused of this plot asserted that there was no basis for 
Lawyer's accusation, saying that it had been a political move on 

The Yakima War 111 

Lawyer's part to share more favorably from the treaty negotia- 

Perhaps the main stumbling block was a provision that after 
the sale, all tribes represented were to share a common reserva- 
tion. Finally the Commissioners conceded that point and of- 
fered separate tribal reservations and with that concession all 
chiefs except Kamiakin signed the treaty on JLune 11, 1855. 

The Nez Perce tribe received $200,000 payable in installments 
over a term of years, and a large reservation tract. The Walla 
Wallas and the Cayuses combined and accepted their reservation 
in the Umatilla Valley and $150,000; the Yakimas took as their 
reservation the best land south of the Yakima River and $200,000. 
They were all assured of schools, mills, and equipment, and the 
attitude of the chiefs after the signing was one of friendliness 
and cordiality. The presents were distributed and W. H. Tappan 
was appointed Agent to the Nez Perces, R. R. Thompson to the 
Cayuses and Walla Wallas, and A. J. Bolon to the Yakimas. 

On June 16th Governor Stevens departed to treat with the Col- 
villes, Coeur d'Alenes, Spokanes, and other Northeastern Wash- 
ington tribes. Palmer went to The Dalles where he purchased 
land and concluded treaties with the tribes located between the 
Powder River and the Cascades. As a result of Palmer's treaties 
the Oregon tribes involved acquired the Warm Springs Reserva- 
tion between the Deschutes River and the Cascades. 

It should be remembered that after the Walla Walla treaty in 
June, that Governor Stevens went to treat with the more northern 
tribes of Washington Territory. It must also be recalled that at 
the time the Territory embraced portions of Idaho and Western 
Montana. While Stevens was thus occupied far from the seat of 
government, C. H. Mason was acting Governor. 

During the late summer and early fall of 1855 several citizens 
of the Puget Sound country were murdered by Yakimas while 
traveling to or from the mines in the Colville district. Occasional 
travelers from elsewhere were murdered while passing through 
the land of the Yakimas. News of these outrages reached A. J. 
Bolon, sub-agent for the Yakimas, while on his way to meet 
Governor Stevens in the Spokane Indian country. Bolon turned 
back from his proposed meeting with the Governor, having decid- 
ed to go to Father Brouillet's mission, near which Chief Kamiakin 
lived, and ask the Chief first-hand about the murders. Bolon de- 
cided to travel alone to show the Yakimas that their sub-agent 
believed in them. Hence, we do not know exactly what hap- 
pened except from subsequent stories of less hostile Indians. 

114 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

food, a situation which seemed to be repeated frequently in 
Indian wars. The Indians surrounded the hill and at daybreak 
resumed the attack which continued all day. That night a mes- 
senger was sent to The Dalles for help and to acquaint Major 
Rains with the sad plight of Major Haller's command. On the 
8th, which was the third day of the battle, suffering from thirst 
was intense. Most of the horses were turned loose, only enough 
being kept to carry the wounded and the ammunition. The 
howitzer was buried, the baggage and surplus supplies were 
burned, and the troop prepared to set out on a retreat in the 
direction of The Dalles. The contingent was divided into two 
parties, the advance section which included the wounded being 
in command of Major Haller, and the rear guard, under Captain 
Russell. Haller's section set out undetected by the Indians but 
they lost the trail and lighted signal fires to let the rear guard 
know their location. The fires were, of course, notice to the In- 
dians, and, unhappily, were unseen by Captain Russell's com- 

The Indians pursued Haller and his men, who kept up a 
running fight until within 25 miles of The Dalles where they 
were met by Lieutenant Day of the 3rd Artillery with 45 men. 
The forces joined and erected a block-house on the Klickitat 
River. Lieutenant Slaughter and his 50 men, traveling from Ft. 
Steilacoom had crossed the Cascades at Natches Pass. Upon reach- 
ing the east side of the range he found large numbers of Indians 
prepared for war and heard of Major Haller's defeat. So Slaugh- 
ter retreated, recrossing the range to the west side. Major Haller 
lost five men killed and 17 wounded, besides a large quantity of 
supplies. The Indian losses were estimated at 40 killed. 

Major Haller considered that 1000 soldiers would be needed to 
subdue the Indians. From the regulars at The Dalles 19 officers 
and 315 men, both infantry and artillery, with three howitzers 
were sent into the field. From Ft. Steilacoom all except a small 
guard were dispatched under Captain Maloney. Nineteen Dra- 
goons under Lieutenant Phil Sheridan were sent from Vancouv- 
er. But the aggregate of all these regulars was not enough for the 
campaign. Major Rains called upon Acting Governor Mason for 
two companies of volunteers and upon Governor Curry for four 
companies. Adequate supplies of arms were obtained at Van- 
couver Barracks to equip two of the Oregon companies. The rest 
of the Oregon Volunteers outfitted themselves. Acting Governor 
Mason petitioned the captains of two government ships then in 
Puget Sound for assistance. The ships' commanders responded. 

Young Chief of the Cay uses. 

War Chief Fish Hawk of the Cay uses: 

Middle Block House at the Cascades of the Columbia. 

Joseph Lane, First Territorial Governor 
of Oregon. 

Isaac I. Stevens, First Governor of 
Washington Territory. 

General George Wright, United States 
Army, veteran of many Indian wars 

General Otis 0. Howard, United States 
Army, great Indian fighter in several 

The Yakima War 115 

One of the Washington companies was deployed at various 
strategic points west of the Cascades as a defense measure in case 
of Indian attacks and the other made preparations to go to the 
relief of Governor Stevens, who was still somewhere in North- 
ern Idaho or Western Montana, unwilling to risk his way through 
the hostile country. 

On October 11, 1855, Governor Curry issued a proclamation 
calling for the enrollment of eight companies of mounted vol- 
unteers. While this was twice the number requested by Major 
Rains, Governor Curry had required that the Oregon volunteers 
were to be an independent command, but would work with the 
regular troops. Just why that restriction was inserted by Gover- 
nor Curry may be a matter for debate, but it must be borne in 
mind that the attitude of General Wool toward volunteers was 
still fresh in the memories of all territorial residents and it was a 
mark of a changing attitude for a regular army officer to ask for 
volunteer help. 

Governor Curry appointed recruiting officers and enlistments 
were so numerous that eventually ten companies were enrolled. 

Major Rains left for the seat of war on October 30th. With 
him were all the available regulars and two companies of volun- 
teers who had been enlisted in the Federal service. On November 
4th he was joined by four companies of Oregon Volunteers under 
the command of Colonel J. W. Nesmith. The official name of 
Nesmith's force was the First Regiment of Oregon Mounted 
Volunteers. November 7th found them in the Yakima country 
and on the 8th they engaged in the first skirmishes. The Indians 
were not favored with overwhelming numbers as was the case in 
their fight with Major Haller's previous command. Now the 
number of soldiers equalled that of the hostiles. They went up 
the Yakima River with the troops in pursuit and took up a 
position on the heights overlooking a point where the river 
flowed through rather precipitous walls. A portion of the regu- 
lars under Major Haller and Captain Augur charged the po- 
sition and the Indians fled. Next day contact was again made, 
followed by an unsuccessful effort by part of the Oregon Volun- 
teers under Major Ambrose N. Armstrong to surround the In- 
dians. The attempt might have succeeded but for the fact that 
the wrong point was selected for the assault and the Indians 

A few miles farther up the Yakima Valley was a Catholic Mis- 
sion, called Ahtanahm Mission, and to that place the troops 
moved. The mission had been vacated, but there Major Rains re- 

116 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

ceived a letter from Chief Kamiakin, written by the missionary 
Father Pandozy. In the letter Kamiakin offered friendship but 
on terms dictated by himself. On November 13th Major Rains 
addressed his reply which was a masterly example of directness 
as well as of understanding of Indian character. In it he laid 
down the dictum that he was in the field to exterminate the 
Yakimas because of the wanton murders and the repudiation of 
the treaty made with Governor Stevens and Superintendent 
Palmer. Rains signed the letter with two titles, first as "Major, 
United States Army" and then as "Brigadier-General Washington 
Territory." Major Rains had accepted the latter commission from 
Acting Governor Mason because the Oregon Volunteers had a 
Brigadier-General of their own* Jphn K. Lamerick, and while 
Major Rains was acknowledged by all to be the logical com- 
mander in the field, embarrassment because of rank was obviated 
by the Washington commission. Later Major Rains was criticized 
by General Wool in characteristic fashion for having accepted 
Mason's commission, General Wool considering it beneath the 
dignity of a regular army officer to accept a commission from a 
Territorial official. 

The first snows of the winter had fallen to a considerable 
depth at the higher elevations. The Indians had scattered and 
Rains decided to return his regular troops to The Dalles, which 
he did. From there the Major went to Vancouver Barracks to 
report to General Wool, arriving on November 24th. Colonel 
Nesmith marched his Oregon Volunteers to Walla Walla. 

In the meantime other events of importance had been trans- 



KAMIAKIN was a man of mixed talents and many outstanding 
characteristics and easily the outstanding Indian personality in 
the entire Columbia Basin. He was tall, muscular, and very dark, 
with a bearing that was regal. He had condemned the Cayuses 
for the Whitman massacre but was true to his race and wanted 
only the peaceful possession of the country for his people. On the 

The Yakima War 117 

other hand, foreseeing the inroads of the white people and the 
ultimate consequences, he decided that the only way through 
which the Indians could continue to hold their lands was by the 
extermination of the whites. To that end, then, he traveled far 
and wide, urging all the tribes to join in his effort. He was 
tireless. His oratory was typical of all great chiefs. When a tribe 
refused to join with him it was not because he lacked their es- 

Nathan Olney, as previously stated, was the Indian Agent at 
The Dalles when the foregoing events occurred. As soon as he 
learned of Major Haller's defeat he went to Walla Walla to dis- 
suade the Cayuses, Deschutes and Walla Wallas from joining the 
Yakimas in the war. From his observations he concluded that 
Peu-peu-mox-mox, the Walla Walla chief, planned to join Ka- 
miakin. He reported that belief to his superior, R. R. Thompson* 
who concurred. Olney decided to remove the white settlers from 
the Yakima Valley and notified them that he believed that a 
general Indian uprising was imminent and told them to be in 
readiness to leave that country as soon as a military escort which 
he had requested arrived from The Dalles. He warned the settlers 
not to attempt a combined exodus without military escort as 
such a move would, in his opinion, cause an immediate Indian 
attack. Olney also conferred with the Hudson's Bay Company 
officials at their Walla Walla post and those men were also con- 
vinced of the emergency. At the time there was a large quantity 
of ammunition at Fort Walla Walla, together with a consider- 
able inventory of Hudson's Bay Company stores and a quantity 
of supplies which Governor Stevens had left there, not wishing 
to encumber himself when he set out to treat with the Blackfeet, 
far to the northeast. The surplus ammunition was dumped into 
the river, and the other stores were placed in charge of Pierre, 
one of the Walla Walla chiefs who was friendly. 

But Chief Pierre could not stand alone. The Walla Wallas, 
influenced by their Head Chief Peu-peu-mox-mox, had decided 
to join the Yakimas. The Nez Perces refused to join and said 
that they would harbor no hostiles. One of the settlers who had 
been warned by Olney was Narcisse Raymond. He sent a dispatch 
addressed to the commander of the escort presumed to be en- 
route to Fort Walla Walla. Raymond must have been greatly 
concerned, for while he told of the daily threats by Peu-peu-mox- 
mox to kill the settlers, he also advised the military commander 
that it would be unwise to come with only 150 men, which 
was his information about the size of the relief force. He told of 

118 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

the pillage of the fort and that the Yakimas 1000 strong were 
guarding the approach to Ft. Walla Walla. However, no escort 
from The Dalles was on its way. When Raymond's message was 
sent there was only a small garrison at The Dalles, the main 
force being in the field under Major Rains. But while the regu- 
lars were unable to send an escort we shall see later that the 
Oregon Volunteers were on the march. 

The critical situation of the Yakima Valley settlers as well as a 
desire to assist Governor Stevens to return from the country of 
the Blackfeet, where he was cut off from returning by the Yaki- 
ma War, was sufficient reason for Governor Curry to have called 
for enlistments. 

General Wool arrived at Vancouver Barracks on November 
17, 1855. He proceeded at once to criticize Major Rains saying 
that Rains had enough troops to defeat all the Indians in the 
Pacific Northwest and accused the Major of having been afflicted 
with the hysteria pervading the territory. The General said that 
there was no occasion for Governor Curry to have called for en- 
rolling a regiment of volunteers to defend the inhabitants of 
Oregon. Yet General Wool in a subsequent report on the Yaki- 
ma War, said that he had ordered all available troops into the 
campaign and that he had called upon the War Department to 
furnish an additional regiment. Thus we are aware of a typical 
General Wool paradox. By his report there was no need for 
Governor Curry to recruit a regiment, part of which was in the 
field in ten days, but the General, himself, called for at least an 
additional regiment of regulars, which could hardly have been 
furnished in less than a year. 

We have seen that four companies of Oregon Volunteers under 
Colonel Nesmith had arrived in time to accompany Major Rains 
on his expedition. Other companies followed soon. Major Mark 
A. Chinn arrived at The Dalles with three companies and started 
for Walla Walla on November 12th. On the 17th he was met by 
Raymond's messenger. Acting upon the advice that 150 men were 
insufficient, Major Chmn proceeded only as far as the Umatilla 
River where he camped and erected a fortification and decided 
to stay there until reinforcements came up. He named his forti- 
fication Ft. Henrietta in honor of Major Halter's wife. On No- 
vember 27th Captain Connoyer arrived with his company. Two 
days later Lieutenant-Colonel James K. Kelly came with two 
more companies commanded by Captains A. V. Wilson and 
Charles Bennett. The force now numbered 350 men and late in 

The Yakima War 119 

the day on December 2nd, under the command of Lieutenant- 
Colonel Kelly, set out for Ft. Walla Walla. 

It was Kelly's hope that he would reach the fort before sun- 
rise, but a heavy rain set in, continuing through the night, and 
the troops delayed in arriving until mid-forenoon. They found 
the fort pillaged, defaced, and the Indians gone. 

Kelly set out on the morning of December 4th with most of his 
troops unencumbered by baggage, proceeding up the Touchet 
River hoping to locate the Indians. Major Chinn, with the re- 
mainder of the soldiers guarding the baggage train, started for 
the mouth of the Touchet where he was to camp and await 
orders. Upon reaching a point about 15 miles upstream, Kelly's 
command saw a party of five or six Indians approaching. Upon 
meeting it was discovered that the group was led by Peu-peu- 
mox-mox. An interview was held, the Indian chief opening the 
discussion by asking why armed men had come into his country. 
Lieutenant-Colonel Kelly replied that he had come to chastise the 
chief and his followers for their crimes against the white people. 
To that statement Peu-peu-mox-mox answered that he did not 
want to fight and that he had done no wrong, whereupon Kelly 
recounted a long list of crimes in answer to which the chief said 
that he could not restrain his young warriors. Kelly then told the 
chief that the latter had been seen to distribute some of the 
stolen goods and that he had laid out a pile of blankets as an 
inducement to the Cayuses to join the war, and, further, that 
Howlish Wampool, a Cayuse chief, had so testified. Peu-peu-mox- 
mox then said that he would require his people to restore what- 
ever goods could be recovered and make restitution for the re- 
mainder. Kelly replied that the offer was not sufficient; that the 
Walla Wallas would have to give up their arms and ammunition, 
furnish beef cattle for the troops, and supply remounts so that 
the volunteers could pursue the other hostiles. 

The chief agreed to all of Kelly's terms, saying that he would 
surrender the arms and ammunition the next day. But Kelly 
could recognize Indian deceit and concluded that the chief only 
wanted time enough to move his tribe and that the chief, himself, 
had no intention of returning the next day. So Kelly stated that 
he had come for the sole purpose of waging war and that for the 
chief to return to his village would precipitate an immediate 
attack there because he had no confidence in the promises made. 
Then Kelly said that if the chief was really dealing honestly that 
he should have no objection to remaining with the troops and 
carry out his obligations through messengers to his people. Kelly 

120 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

next instructed his interpreters to make it clear to the chief that 
he was at liberty to leave under the flag of truce which he car- 
ried but that if he did the troops would attack the village at once. 
As an alternative, Peu-peu-mox-mox was told that if he and six 
of his escort would remain with the soldiers and carry out the 
promises that the people would be spared. The chief, thus out- 
smarted, consented to remain. He made a high-sounding speech 
stressing the point that his principal concern was the keeping of 
his promises; that he was interested in the safety of his people; 
that next forenoon he would lead the troops to his village and 
conclude the terms imposed by Kelly; and, moreover, that none 
of his followers would go away during the night. Nevertheless a 
guard was placed over him and his six fellow hostages. The chief 
then suggested that the troops move towards the Indian village to 
secure the beef cattle as the soldiers were hungry. The command 
set out, the main part of the chiefs escort marching along with 
the troops. The village was in a canyon of the Touchet River 
and after marching about half a mile and it being late afternoon, 
Kelly decided that it would be unwise to enter the canyon where 
they might readily be ambushed. His suspicion had been height- 
ened by Peu-peu-mox-mox's concern over the hunger of the sol- 
diers. So Kelly marched his command back two miles to open 
ground and camped for the night. 

That evening the chief asked leave to send one of his fellow 
hostages to the village for the purpose of acquainting the tribe 
with the terms agreed upon. Kelly agreed but thought that the 
messenger would not return, in which belief he was quite correct. 

On the morning of December 6 the troops marched into the 
village. It was deserted. The only Indians to be seen were those 
along the ridge of the hills from where they appeared to be 
fully armed and interested in the movement of the troops. Kelly 
tried to get the Indians to come in and comply with the terms of 
the agreement, sending out a flag of truce for that purpose, but 
the Indians showed no interest. Deciding that further effort in 
that direction was useless, Kelly moved his command to the 
mouth of the river where Major Chinn was camped with the sup- 
' ply train. Of course the hostages were taken along. That night 
one of the Indians made an unsuccessful attempt to escape so 
Kelly had all of them tied up until morning. When they were 
unbound Kelly told the chief that the latter was acting in bad 
faith and that if he, or any of the other hostages, tried to escape 
that sure death by shooting would be the answer. 

Kelly decided to march to Waiilatpu and establish headquart- 

The Yakima War 121 

ers there. To that end preparations were proceeding on the 
morning of December 7th. It was noticed that mounted Indians, 
all armed, were appearing along the hills about a half mile dis- 
tant from the camp, but even then no attack was anticipated. As 
the advance guard moved out the Indians opened fire on a detail 
driving up some beef cattle and the fire was immediately re- 
turned. Soon the shooting became general and as the troops got 
under way a running battle ensued, continuing for ten miles, or 
within two miles of Waiilatpu at which point was located the 
farm of a French-Canadian settler named LaRoche. 

At this point it would be well to describe the respective situ- 
ations of the combatants. As the ten-mile battle had proceeded 
with its noise of firing and characteristic war-whoops, hundreds of 
Indians in the vicinity were attracted to the scene. Not all of 
them, perhaps not more than half, actually engaged in the battle. 
The rest were interested onlookers, but by the time the troops 
had reached the LaRoche farm it is certain that the number of 
Indians actually engaged in the fight outnumbered the troops 
three to one. The volunteers were between a range of hills on 
their left and the Walla Walla River on their right. To check 
the advance of the troops the Indians deployed across the level 
land from the hills to the river. Part of their line was protected 
by a thin growth of trees. As a part of the panorama the Indians 
set up poles on each prominent hill. From the poles dangled the 
scalps of white people and around each pole danced a howling 
mob of hostiles. It was clear that the warriors had worked them- 
selves into a high degree of excitement and that they believed 
that the victory would be theirs. 

The troops advanced and were met by a withering fire which 
caused them to fall back. Several of the volunteers were wounded, 
two mortally. Lieutenant J. M. Burrows, with a detachment, was 
ordered to flank the Indians. Advancing, the Lieutenant was al- 
most instantly killed and several of his men wounded. Company 
A under Captain A. V. Wilspn, came up at a gallop in response 
to a call for reinforcements. They dismounted and made a bayo- 
net charge through the underbrush driving the Indians before 
them. Quickly Company F, Captain Charles Bennett, joined 
Company A and together these troops chased the hostiles about a 
mile up river. At that point there was an abandoned house sur- 
rounded by a tight fence. The Indians turned it into an im- 
provised fortification. The troops attempted to take the place. 
CaptainBennett and one of Wilson's men were killed. The troops 
took cover as best they could. A howitzer was brought up and 

122 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

exploded at the first shot, wounding Captain Wilson but chasing 
the Indians from their shelter. The soldiers took possession, re- 
covering the bodies of the dead and removing the wounded. A 
field hospital was established in LaRoche's house, a mile away. 

While the fighting raged the hostiles became greatly excited. 
Peu-peu-mox-mox yelled cheering words to his warriors. The few 
men comprising the prisoners' guard, through one of their num- 
ber, reported to Lieutenant-Colonel Kelly that they feared the 
hostages would try to escape. Kelly instructed the guard to bind 
the prisoners and if they offered resistance or tried to escape to 
kill them. The hostages did resist. One of them stabbed a ser- 
geant-major in the arm. Peu-peu-mox-mox tried to seize a gun 
from another of the guards but the guard, clubbing his gun, 
knocked the chief to the ground and killed him. Five of the re- 
maining prisoners tried to escape and were shot. 

Meanwhile the battle continued and only ceased at night-fall. 
The troops were tired and hungry. Their losses had been consid- 
erable, including two officers killed and one wounded. They tried 
to cook supper but the camp fires only made targets for the 
Indians and had to be extinguished. All night long the troops 
were on the alert. Here and there a few exhausted men snatched 
a few minutes of sleep. At daybreak breakfast was prepared but 
in the midst of the meal the Indians attacked. They had evident- 
ly persuaded many of the previous day's onlookers to join in the 
active fighting. It had been established that 1000 warriors had 
been engaged in the battle of the previous day and now there 
were many more. The hostiles regained all the points they had 
lost the day before. They fought furiously, convinced of victory. 

Kelly called a hasty council of some of his officers. As a result 
Companies A and H, commanded by Lieutenants Charles B. 
Pillows and A. B. Hannah, respectively, were ordered to dislodge 
the Indians from the timber and to hold the positions if humanly 
possible. Companies F, B, I, and K, commanded by Lieutenants 
A. M. Fellows, Lieutenant Jeffreys, .Lieutenant Charles B. Hand* 
and Captain N. A. Connoyer, were ordered to take the hills from 
the hostiles and to generally harass the enemy. The battle con- 
tinued all day without a major decision. The Indians were driven 
from the woods and brush and at nightfall withdrew. The 
troops were tired and while they had made some gains they had 
not administered a defeat. That night Kelly sent a messenger to 
Fort Henrietta requiring Companies D and E to reinforce him 
at once. 

Next morning, which was December 9th, the battle was re- 

The Yakima War 123 

sumed. But the troops were worn out and did not take the of- 
fensive all day, preferring to absorb the Indian attacks which 
was done with heavy losses to the hostiles. 

When the morning of the 10th came the Indians were in better 
position and had erected a breastwork and their reserves were in 
strategic positions. They had dug rifle-pits and in all respects 
seemed to be prepared for a fresh fight. 

Lieutenant James McAuliff, with Company B, was ordered to 
to take the breastworks. Companies A and H were ordered to 
clear the woods and overrun the rifle-pits. From the rest of the 
troops those with the freshest horses were sent to the hills from 
where they were to charge the Indians on the plain below. All 
objectives were accomplished. The Indians fought bravely but 
the tide of battle flowed in favor of the troops, the hostiles fled 
and the four days of battle were over. 

The volunteers lost eight officers and men killed or dead of 
wounds and eighteen others wounded. The Indians' losses were 
estimated at 100 killed and wounded. The troops built a new 
fort two miles above Waiilatpu, naming it Fort Bennett in mem- 
ory of Captain Charles Bennett, killed in the battle. Colonel J. 
W. Nesmith resigned his command of the regiment and Thomas 
R. Cornelius, who had commanded Company D, was elected 
Colonel. Lieutenant-Colonel Kelly was a member of the legis- 
lature and returned to participate in its deliberations. He was 
welcomed signally by the people of the Willamette Valley as a 
fitting conclusion to the second phase of the Yakima War. 


THE WINTER OF 1855-1856 

IT will be recalled that Governor Stevens of Washington Terri- 
tory had been marooned to the northeast by the war. Fort Ben- 
nett received him late in the day on December 20, 1855. He had 
exhibited a rare insight into Indian character in his masterly 
conduct of treaty negotiations. 

Governor Stevens had left Walla Walla in June, 1855, with an 
escort of Nez Perces and had spent some time in establishing a 
spirit of cooperation with the Kootenai, Pend Oreilles, and 

124 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

Flathead tribes before visiting the Blackfeet. In October, having 
concluded a treaty with the latter tribe, he prepared to return 
home. His messenger, W. H. Pearson, had carried the news of the 
treaty to Olympia and then immediately retraced his steps to re- 
port to the Governor that the Yakima War was in full swing and 
that it would be impossible for him to traverse the hostile coun- 
try. In fact, Pearson brought a recommendation from regular 
army officers that Stevens return to Olympia via New York! 

The Governor, meanwhile, had actually started for the Co- 
lumbia River and was two days on his way when met by Pearson. 
Stevens delayed long enough to send back to Fort Bennett for 
additional arms, ammunition, and horses, and then, with one 
white man and an Indian interpreter, rode post-haste to the 
Bitterroot Valley to confer with R. H. Landsdale, agent in charge 
of theFlatheads there. He then proceeded to Fort Own, on the Bit- 
terroot River where he overtook the Nez Perce escort which, in the 
meantime, had learned of the Yakima War and that the Cayuses 
and a disaffected faction of their own tribe were likely to join 
with the warring tribes. In the delegation were three of their 
war chiefs, Lookingglass, Three Feathers, and Spotted Eagle. It 
is a compliment to Stevens' ability that he not only persuaded 
them to stay out of the war but that he received from them an 
offer of an escort of young Nez Perce warriors to see him safely 
through to The Dalles should he elect to take the route through 
the Nez Perce country. 

At Hell Gate Pass he was met by Special Agent James Doty 
with the horses and munitions from Fort Bennett, on November 
llth. On the 20th he crossed the Bitter Root Mountains through 
three feet of snow. His plan called for a bold entry into the 
country of the Coeur d'Alenes not knowing how that tribe might 
be disposed toward the hostiles allied in the Yakima War. When 
about two hours ride from the Coeur d'Alene Mission he left his 
escort and rode ahead with Pearson, Special Agent William 
Craig and four Nez Perces. Without slackening their pace they 
rode into the midst of the Coeur d'Alenes, but were prepared 
for any emergency which might ensue. Stevens had told the four 
Nez Perces to immediately regale the Coeur d'Alenes with an ac- 
count of his treaty with the Blackfeet stressing the importance of 
that treaty to the Coeur d'Alenes in having halted the raids which 
the Blackfeet had periodically made. Stevens' phychology was 
good. The Coeur d'Alenes were pleased with the prospect. Before 
there was any time for the tribe to reconsider, Stevens' escort and 
supply train arrived and the entourage set out at once for the 

The Yakima War 125 

country of the Spokanes. The event had transpired so quickly 
that the Coeur d'Alenes had no time to compare what Stevens 
had to offer through the Blackfeet treaty and that which 
Kamiakin's ambassadors had told them a week earlier. 

The Governor next stopped at the home o Antoine Plante, a 
French-Canadian settler who lived midway between the country 
of the Coeur d'Alenes and that of the Northern Spokanes. He 
sent messengers to the Colvilles, the Pend Oreilles, and the 
Spokanes to meet him at Plante's place. Also invited were Angus 
McDonald of Fort Colville, Father Ravelli of the Colville Mis- 
sion, and Father Joset of the Coeur d'Alene Mission. 

In a few days all had assembled and a council was held. At 
the end of several days it looked as if the whole matter would 
end without affirmative result because the Indians held out for a 
guarantee that United States troops would not cross to the north 
side of the Snake River. Of course Stevens had no authority to 
make that promise and did not. Eventually he won the Indians 
over to his opinions after which the Spokanes warned him that 
the Nez Perce chief, Lookingglass, was up to some treachery, 
which fact Stevens confirmed by his Indian interpreter, who was 
a Delaware, and who had heard Lookingglass attempting to per- 
suade the Spokanes to join in his treachery, which probably 
meant the liquidation of Stevens and his associates. The Spo- 
kanes refused to join in the Lookingglass plot and Stevens pre- 
pared to move towards Lapwai. 

He sent William Craig and some of the Nez Perces ahead to 
arrange for a council and to make arrangements for an escort 
to The Dalles. The Governor, himself, enlarged his party by ad- 
ding a group of miners and others who were waiting for a chance 
to get through the hostile country. His personal escort then num- 
bered fifty men. Not knowing what dangers he might encounter, 
he procured fresh horses from the Spokanes, reduced the packs 
to a minimum, and set out. It rained and snowed, but Stevens 
pressed on and in four days reached Lapwai. Craig had as- 
sembled the Nez Perces tribe for the council. While it was in 
progress a messenger arrived with the news of the battle between 
the Oregon volunteers and the Yakimas and also about the death 
of Peu-peu-mox-mox. Two points were thus made clear. Stevens 
now understood that it had been possible for him to come 
through hostile country only because the warriors were away at 
the scene of the fighting and he also knew that a large escort to 
The Dalles would not be needed. So the next day he set out with 

126 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

69 Nez Perces and the others o his party and reached Fort Ben- 
nett on December 20th. 

He staid in the Walla Walla Valley for ten days during which 
he paid tribute to the Oregon volunteers, as their presence in the 
region was undoubtedly responsible for his escape. He also met 
Indian Agent B. F. Shaw, who was also a Colonel in the militia 
of Washington Territory. He ordered Shaw to form a company 
of home guards and to prepare fortifications adjacent to the 
winter quarters of the French-Canadian settlers and friendly 
Indians in the Walla Walla Valley. His instructions to Shaw 
also included similar protection for the settlers in the Colville 
and Spokane districts and the admonition to assist Colonel 
Thomas R. Cornelius, the new commander of Oregon volunteers, 
in any way the latter might direct. The Governor also conferred 
with the Oregon officers and agreed that it would be well for 
them to hold the Walla Walla Valley until the regular troops 
arrived and in the meantime that there should be no relaxing of 
the war effort. He sent Craig to Lapwai with the 69 Nez Perces 
to muster them out of service and to see that the muster rolls 
were prepared in such a manner that there would be no doubt 
about payment to the Nez Perces for their services. Craig's 
duties also entailed taking measures for the protection of the 
Nez Perce tribe against raids by hostiles. These measures includ- 
ed the use of young Nez Perce braves as patrols and guards for 
which service they would be paid. The tribe was pleased at the 
interest shown in their welfare and as a token of appreciation 
offered to outfit the Oregon volunteers with fresh horses. 

Governor Stevens then returned to Olympia where he received 
a rousing welcome, not only for his achievements and safe return, 
but because Indian troubles had broken out in the Puget Sound 
district nearby and his presence at home was important. 



GOVERNOR STEVENS soon learned that, as an adjunct to the Yakima 
War, there had been serious outbreaks in the Puget Sound coun- 
try and that there was every prospect of more to follow soon. 

The Yakima War 127 

Often designated as "The Battles of Puget Sound" they were 
really a part of the Yakima War and are detailed here not alone 
for their intrinsic historical interest but also to show the wide- 
spread disaffectiori of the Western Washington tribes. Kamiakin, 
principal chief of theYakimas, was adept in his use of emissaries 
to incite and to threaten reprisals on any tribe which did not co- 
operate with him. 

The Indians who lived on several of the Puget Sound rivers, 
namely, the Snoqualmie, Nisqually, Puyallup, Cowlitz, Cedar, 
Green, and White rivers, were all related to the Yakimas and the 
Klickitats. Chief Leschi of the Nisqually tribe was half Yakima 
and a willing lieutenant of Kamiakin. In the summer of 1855 
much information reached the authorities in Washington Ter- 
ritory to the effect that an Indian war was imminent. The news 
was conveyed by friendly chiefs and by the Indian wives of 
white men. Some treaties had been made by Governor Stevens, 
others were contemplated or in process, but seldom was any 
tribe unanimously for peace. Usually a part of each tribe favored 
war. The situation in the Puget Sound Basin was no different in 
that respect than the rest of the Territory. 

On September 27, 1855, the home of A. L. Porter on the White 
River was attacked. Porter had anticipated such an event and 
had hidden in the underbrush, escaping capture. Next morning 
he spread the alarm and the settlers from that district all has- 
tened into Seattle. In the absence of Governor Stevens, Acting 
Governor Charles H. Mason requested soldiers from Fort Steila- 

A detachment under Lieutenant Nugent was sent and the sol- 
diers marched through the district where they were met .with 
nothing but assurances of friendliness on the part of the Indians. 
Returning to Seattle, Nugent, with Mason's assistance, advised 
the settlers that there was no cause for alarm and that they 
should return to their homes, which advice most of them fol- 
lowed. On October 28th those who had returned were massacred. 
Three children were saved by a friendly Indian known as Old 
Tom, who placed the children under a bearskin in his canoe and 
paddled down to Seattle. Chief Kitsap, the elder, for whom 
Kitsap County, Washington, is named, warned the whites living 
in the Puyallup Valley, and they escaped at night while the In- 
dians were waiting for daylight to kill them. 

Acting Governor Mason asked the Hudson's Bay Company for 
arms and ammunition. Immediately fifty guns and a large supply 

128 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

of ammunition were sent. This act puzzled the Indians who 
thought that the British would help in the extermination of the 

Captain C. C. Hewitt, with his company of volunteers, went 
to the White River Valley to bury the dead and to rescue any 
who might have escaped by hiding. None was found to rescue. In 
November this company was again ordered into the White River 
Valley to cooperate with troops being sent from Fort Steilacoom 
under Lieutenant W. A. Slaughter. On November 25 Slaughter's 
force was attacked during a dense fog by Klickitats, Nisquallies, 
and Green River Indians. One soldier was killed and forty horses 
belonging to the troopers were stolen. On December 4th Lieu- 
tenant Slaughter and Captain Hewitt were conferring at a cabin 
near, the junction of the White and Green rivers, when Lieuten- 
ant Slaughter was shot and instantly killed by a lurking Indian. 
Later a town was to be located at that site and named "Slaught- 
er," but the name was subsequently changed to its present desig- 
nation, "Auburn." 

The sloop-of-war Decatur was in Seattle harbor when Governor 
Isaac I. Stevens returned to Olympia on January 19, 1856. Friend- 
ly Indians gave warning of the approach of hostiles by way of 
Lake Washington on January 25th. The men from the Decatur 
remained ashore on guard that night and returned to the sloop 
next morning for a breakfast they were destined not to eat. An 
alarm sounded and the men went ashore, taking a howitzer with 
them. They sent a shot where the Indians were supposed to be 
hiding and immediately received a volley of rifle fire. That cir- 
cumstance initiated the Battle of Seattle which raged until ten 
o'clock that night. Two white men were killed and, as usual, the 
Indians concealed their losses. The hostiles were defeated but 
sent word that they would return with a force sufficient to take 
Seattle even with the support of a battleship. A strong stockade 
was built and Governor Stevens kept the volunteers constantly 
scouring the country. Captain Maloney was in the White River 
Valley with 125 men and in February Lieutenant-Colonel Casey 
came up from Fort Steilacoom with two companies and joined 
with Maloney's force. Two companies of volunteers also headed 
in the same direction, established depots at two points and built 
a blockhouse and constructed a ferry at the Puyallup River cross- 
ing. Meanwhile depredations broke out anew .south of Fort 
Steilacoom. On March 4 Lieutenant Kautz, with a detachment of 
regulars, was busy opening a road from the Puyallup River to 
Muckilshoot Prairie when they were attacked by a large force of 

The Yakima War 129 

Indians. One soldier was killed and nine, including Lieutenant 
Kautz, were wounded. 

The Battle of Connell's Prairie occuired on March 8th. Two 
small companies of volunteers had been sent to the White River 
crossing to establish a ferry and build a blockhouse. They were 
vigorously attacked by 150 Indians. The volunteers charged, put- 
ting the Indians to flight. The total casualties for the volunteers 
were four wounded while the Indians lost thirty killed and 
many wounded. That result encouraged the white men and dis- 
couraged the hostiles. It was the last battle west of the Cascades 
in which the Indians appeared in force in the Puget Sound area. 
Subsequent attacks were confined to surprise raids by small 

The U. S. S. Massachusetts arrived in Seattle harbor on Feb- 
ruary 24, 1856. A month later the U. S. S. John Hancock put in 
its appearance, which arrivals did much to convince the Indians 
thereabout that they were on the losing side. However, hostiles 
came down from the north and upon refusing to return whence 
they came, were attacked by men from the ships. Twenty-seven 
Indians were killed and twenty-one wounded out of a total of 
117 warriors. Their canoes and supplies were destroyed and the 
survivors surrendered. They were transported to Victoria Island 
aboard the Massachusetts and the episode took all idea of fight 
out of the Northern Indians. 

As an additional safeguard two new forts were built, Fort 
Townsend across the strait from Victoria, and Fort Bellingham, 
on the mainland east of the San Juan Islands. The ringleaders 
among the hostile chiefs were hunted down and executed. The 
volunteers of Washington Territory had proved their mettle. 
They had built 35 stockades, blockhouses and forts; other citizens 
had built 23 more; and the regular troops, seven. Roads and 
trails had been finished and the entire cost was defrayed by the 
auction of animals captured from the Indians. 

Through the fine efforts of Governor Stevens attention of the 
nation was focused on the Territory and it was on its way to 
eventually take its place in the roster of states. 

130 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 



ON December 21, 1855, the volunteers in the Walla Walla Valley 
were faced with a new snow-fall followed by a temperature of 20 
degrees below zero. Their equipment and clothing did not con- 
form to the needs of the weather. Shoes were worn out and many 
of the men improvised moccasins from rawhide. Blankets and 
jackets had worn thin. Camp was moved from Fort Bennett to a 
location several miles north of present-day Walla Walla. There 
was plenty of beef and ample supplies of potatoes in the new 
camp and these provisions were supplemented by recovered caches 
of Indian food with sometimes a ration of something less com- 
mon. Meanwhile, two companies under Major Ambrose N, Arm- 
strong were busy recovering property stolen from immigrants. 
But the volunteers were anxious to return home. They had 
been in service for several months and the comfort of a home 
fireside was certainly preferable to a thin tent in sub-zero weather. 
So Governor Curry, on January 16, 1856, issued a proclamation 
calling for the recruiting of five companies to relieve the vet- 
erans. Recruiting moved quickly and the new troops arrived at 
Walla Walla on March 1st. 

When the Walla Wallas had vacated their village on the night 
of December 5-6, they had gone to the country north of the Snake 
River. The volunteers could not pursue them because there 
were no boats so several weeks were spent in constructing six 
craft to be used in crossing the river. On March 9, 1856, the 
reorganized regiment crossed the river about 30 miles southwest 
of the junction of the Palouse. A few Indians congregated to 
oppose the crossing but they were repulsed with some casualties 
and the loss of their horses. The horses were slaughtered for 
food and the command proceeded northeast to the falls of the 
Palouse where it was decided to camp and await the arrival of 
supplies from The Dalles. The commissary train reached them 
on March 23rd when the troops again set out. The weather had 
turned unusually hot. Their course was due west for 60 miles to 
what is now the site of the town of White Bluffs on the Co- 
lumbia River. The country traversed on this march was poor 
land having little water or grass. Many of the horses died. Sev- 

The Yakima War 181 

eral days were spent in rounding up enough Indian horses to re- 
mount the troops. On March 30th the soldiers again started out, 
swinging around and returning to the valley of the Walla Walla. 
There was a recurrent shortage o food and part of the force was 
detached to go into the Umatilla country and forage for food. It 
was a poor existence and the troops were often hungry. Also their 
period of enlistment was about to expire. 

Colonel Cornelius was concerned about the inadequate com- 
missary service and the further fact that he had received no 
news about potential relief by regular soldiers and decided that 
he should confer with Governor Curry. Accordingly, on April 6 
he set out for The Dalles with a part of his command. His route 
was along the north bank of the Columbia and on the 4th day he 
was attacked by Kamiakin, Chief of the Yakimas, with about 
300 warriors. The Indians were repulsed, only one soldier being 
wounded. The troops could not follow up their victory because of 
short supplies and continued their march. On April 28th they 
were camped five miles from The Dalles. There the Indians 
stampeded the horses leaving the command one of foot soldiers 
instead of mounted infantrymen. In the meantime Lieutenant- 
Colonel Kelly, with the remainder of the regiment at Fort Hen- 
rietta had suffered a similar raid, on April 21, a large band of 
Indians having surprised the guard and driven off 45 head of 

Colonel Cornelius conferred with Governor Curry, as a result 
of which the regiment was mustered out of service. For those who 
wished to continue their enlistment, two companies were or- 
ganized. One was assigned to protect the Walla Walla Valley 
and the other the Tyghe Valley. In May an additional company 
was sent to the latter section, the provisional battalion being 
commanded by Major Davis Layton. 

Meanwhile, the regular army was finally taking affirmative 
measures to move into the war. 

It will be recalled that General Wool had been at Vancouver 
during the winter. With the mail steamer from San Francisco 
on January 11, 1856, came word of the Indian troubles in 
Southern Oregon and Northern California, necessitating the 
General's return to San Francisco. Starting his trip down the 
Columbia his vessel met a transport headed for Vancouver. 
Aboard was Colonel George Wright and eight companies of the 
9th United States Infantry. General Wool assigned Colonel 
Wright to the command of the Columbia River district. The 
General's ship proceeded to sea and later met another vessel 

132 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

northbound aboard which was Lieutenant-Colonel Silas Casey 
with two companies of the 9th United States Infantry. The 
General ordered Casey to the command of the Puget Sound 

Among Colonel Wright's orders were these: he was to estab- 
lish his headquarters at The Dalles and to assemble there all the 
troops which he might find it necessary to use in the Yakima 
War; to set up a military post at Walla Walla; another on the 
Yakima River; another midway between The Dalles and the 
Yakima River post. The strategy called for preventing the In- 
dians from fishing, thus threatening their food supply and ad- 
vancing the probability of capitulation. 

Arriving at Vancouver Colonel Wright took his time, remain- 
ing there several weeks after the first five companies of the First 
Regiment of Oregon Mounted Volunteers had reached -the up- 
per hostile country. By early March, Colonel Wright began 
moving his troops to The Dalles, in the course of which move- 
ment a large quantity of army supplies were piled up at the 
Cascades of the Columbia River about 40 miles west of The 
Dalles. The Cascades were caused by a large number of rocks and 
rocky islands, with swiftly rushing water in their many channels, 
making it necessary to portage freight along the shore for a dis- 
tance of several miles. Small steamers carried the army's supplies 
from Vancouver to a point just below the Cascades where un- 
loading occurred. The goods were then transported around the 
dangerous rocks and re-loaded on other small steamers above the 
rapids, then completing the transport to The Dalles. There was 
a small settlement on the north bank of the river at both the 
lower and upper ends of the cascades. After the Yakima outbreak 
of the preceding October, a blockhouse had been erected be- 
tween the two settlements and there a company of troops was 
quartered to protect the portage of army supplies. By mid- 
March all the troops left at Vancouver were ordered to Fort 
Steilacoom and the company at the Cascades was ordered into 
the field except eight men under Sergeant Matthew Kelly who 
were left to garrison the blockhouse. The settlement at the upper 
end of the Cascades included the store of Bradford & Company. 
On March 26th, two days after the main body of the garrison had 
left, the little village was awake bright and early for there was 
work to be done. A wooden railroad track was being built to re- 
place the mule-power portage, a bridge was being built from 
Bradford's store to one of the rocky islands. The steamer Mary 
was tied up nearby waiting for cargo, and the steamer Wasco was 

The Yakima War 133 

moored on the south side of the river. Suddenly the residents 
were startled by the Indian war-whoop. The settlers were taken 
by surprise. Indians were everywhere. The miller, his wife and 
brother-in-law were killed, scalped and their bodies thrown into 
the river. Some of the crew of the Mary were ashore and their 
return to their ship was cut off by the Indians. The hostiles at- 
tacked the boat but in spite of wounds and a reduced crew the 
Mary was swung into the stream. The Wasco, sensing the 
trouble, started moving across the river. The two boats picked 
up several men who had fled-from the Indians. Others were not 
so fortunate, but all who survived made their way to Bradford's 
store, which was a strong log building of two stories. About 40 
people reached that haven, 19 of them men. One of the 19 was 
shot as he opened the door to see if he could observe any signs of 
three men marooned on the island. Some government rifles and 
ammunition had been left at Bradford's for forwarding to 
Vancouver. The guns were too few to arm the remaining 18 men 
but all of them could not give their attention to shooting be- 
cause the Indians began throwing combustibles onto the roof. 
While some of the defenders shot at any Indian coming within 
range, others put out the fires by shoving the burning embers off 
with sticks forced through the roof or by tossing cups of brine 
from a barrel of pickled pork, or by chopping out a burning 

However, the gunfire from the store inflicted casualties among 
the hostiles and they became more cautious though there was 
still no respite for the besieged. There was no water in the store 
and none dared venture to the river without the risk of almost 
certain death as a reward for the attempt. Night came and the 
Indians set fire to several buildings, thus lighting the area so 
that escape was impossible. Some of the occupants had been 
wounded. The few bottles of ale and spirits in stock were soon 
used. All agreed that if the store should -burn that they would 
run to a flatboat tied up nearby and go over the falls, preferring 
that kind of death to torture by the Indians. A young Spokane 
Indian, brought up by whites in the neighborhood, did succeed 
in getting one bucket of water but the risk was too great and he 
did not try again. The night dragged itself into another dav. 
Neither steamboat was in sight. There was not only no water 
but little food. The second night came and the Indians burned 
more buildings. Towards morning the young Spokane again 
volunteered to get water and at the same time the body of the 
man who had been shot the day before was slid into the river. 

134 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

Meanwhile word had reached the settlement at the lower end 
of the falls. Among others living there was George Griswold who 
learned from the Cascade Indians that the Yakimas were attack 
ing. The neighborhood was quickly alerted and men, women, 
and children jumped into boats and headed for Vancouver. A 
few men staid by to unmoor a schooner and some smaller boats 
and succeeded in getting them into the stream only after one 
man was wounded. 

Some of the Yakimas with a few Klickitat allies moved down 
from Bradford's to the small fort or blockhouse midway to the 
lower Cascades. The soldiers at the blockhouse ran out a small 
cannon, thus succeeding in keeping most of the Indians at a dis- 
tance. All up and down the north shore of the Cascades things 
were in confusion. No one knew what was happening" except in 
his immediate neighborhood. All were sure that someone must 
have reached Vancouver with an appeal for help. Their hopes 
were gratified on the morning of March 28 when the steamers 
Mary and Wasco nosed into the landing at the Upper Cascades, 
having come down from The Dalles. Soldiers poured off the 
boats and at once began searching for Indians who had taken 
to the woods. 

These soldiers were of Colonel Wrights's command, which was 
on its way from The Dalles to Walla Walla to establish a mil- 
itary post. When the steamer Mary had arrived at The Dalles a 
messenger was sent to the Colonel who was encamped at Five- 
Mile Creek. As soon as Wright heard the news he marched his 
men, consisting of 250 officers and men, back to The Dalles and 
boarded the two steamers on the night of the 27th, but diffi- 
culties with the boiler of the Mary delayed sailing until the fol- 
lowing morning. Immediately upon landing Colonel Wright 
organized a relief force which he placed under the command of 
Lieutenant-Colonel Edward J. Steptoe, whose subordinates were 
Captains Winder and Archer, with two companies of the 9th' 
Infantry, a detachment of dragoons from the 3rd Artillery 
under Lieutenant Tear, and a small group under Lieutenant 
Piper to handle a howitzer. They were to advance on the block- 
house at once and from there move down to the lower landing:. 

In the meantime events were transpiring at Vancouver, "ft 
will be recalled that one company of regulars had been left 
there when the main force had started for The Dalles arid that 
the remaining company was under orders to go to Fort Steila- 
coom. As soon as news of hostilities at the Cascades was re- 
ceived, the post commander, Colonel Morris, took several meas- 

The Yakima War 135 

ures. First, believing that Vancouver might be attacked, he 
moved all women and children to the Hudson's Bay Company's 
old fort. Then, obeying his orders from General Wool, he refused 
arms and ammunition to the volunteer home guard. At the 
same time he detailed 40 regulars, commanded by Liutenant Phil 
Sheridan, to proceed by the steamer Belle to the Cascades. This 
detachment sailed on the morning of the 27th. The Belle met 
the schooner and smaller boats which had succeeded in getting 
away the previous day and accepted the offer of t!"cir crews to 
join his expedition. 

The steamer reached the lower Cascades, found the settlement 
there destroyed, and proceeded to land on the south shore. Sheri- 
dan reconnoitered the upper settlement from the south shore and 
learned from the Cascade Indians what had been happening. He 
then crossed to the north shore and while disembarking was at- 
tacked by the Indians, two soldiers being killed. Sheridan then 
withdrew out of range but could not advance because of the in- 
tense pressure from the Indians. 

While these events were occurring, other affirmative action was 
being taken. A volunteer company had been hastily recruited in 
Portland, the commander being L. G. Powell. He had about 60 
men, equally divided between those from Portland and those 
from Vancouver. They sailed on the steamer Fashion and arrived 
at the lower Cascades shortly after the Belle, but like Sheridan's 
force, were unable to advance up river because of the intensity of 
the Indian attack. However, they did land and took up a de- 
fensive position. The Fashion went back to Portland and returned 
next day with 40 more volunteers under Captain Stephen Coffin, 
together with a detail of regular replacements and a supply of 

Lieutenant Sheridan placed his howitzer on a barge and occu- 
pied the attention of the Indians on the river bank as Lieutenant- 
Colonel Steptoe's force approached from the north, Then one of 
those things happened which upsets opportunity. With the Yak- 
imas between the troops of Steptoe and Sheridan, surprise and 
defeat for the Indians seemed certain, when a bugle call sounded 
from Steptoe's command and the Indians vanished into the for- 
est. Instead of heavy casualties for the hostiles, there was one 
dead Indian and one dead soldier. 

Two companies of Oregon Volunteers returned home on the 
29th and Colonel Wright arranged for the erection of two 
blockhouses, one on the cliff north of Bradford's store and the 
other at the lower Cascades. There were 15 white people killed 

136 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

or died o wounds in the attack on the Cascades and the wound- 
ed who recovered numbered twelve. 

Colonel Wright ordered the arrest of a number of the Indians 
but since the Yakimas had fled and with them certain of the Klick- 
itats and a few of the Cascade Indians who had chosen to join the 
hostiles, those arrested consisted only of Chief Chenoweth of the 
Cascade tribe and eight of his warriors. They were tried fairly and 
the verdict resulted in the execution of all nine.- Others of the 
tribe were also arrested and sent as prisoners to Vancouver. An 
island was set aside for the Cascades and the Colonel issued 
orders to shoot any Cascade Indian found off the island. 

Again the controversy between the volunteers and the regulars 
was revived. The ubiquitous General Wool quickly reported on 
the errors of the volunteers and the expense incident to placing 
Oregon and Washington volunteer units in the field, and even 
went so far as to fabricate property losses caused by the volun- 
teers, which had never occurred. Actually, Major Haller, Major 
Rains, and Colonel Wright, the latter under the direct orders of 
General Wool, all of them regulars, suffered appreciable losses of 
government property, and in the case of Colonel Wright, who was 
responsible for leaving the Cascades settlement virtually un- 
guarded, there was ample blame for the massacre and destruction 

Colonel Wright collected his forces and returned to The 
Dalles late in April, from where he again set out. Snow was two 
feet deep in the mountains but by April 30 the command was 
camped on the north shore of the river 25 miles east of The 
Dalles. Lieutenant Davidson, with a detachment, was sent ahead 
to look for Indians but none were seen. The troops moved on 
and May 6th found them in camp seven miles north of Ahtan- 
ahm Mission on the creek of the same name. Here a few Indians 
were seen but none were killed or captured. On the night of 
the 6th the camp was attacked and the prairie set afire. The 
Indians were vigorously repulsed, but next morning great num- 
bers of the hostiles were seen on the hills near camp. On the 7th 
the troops overtook a party of Yakimas under Chief Skloom. 
This chief would make no promises of peace or consider any 
terms without first consulting Kamiakin and others of the leading 
chiefs. A messenger was sent to invite them to parley. 

Colonel Wright waited all day on the 8th without results and 
on the morning of May 9th set out to the north with his com- 
mand. Indian messengers followed him but he moved on to the 
Natches River from where he sent word that he would receive 

The Yakima War 137 

the chiefs in his new location. The Colonel's courier found 
Chiefs Skloom, Showwaway, Owhi, Teies, and Kamiakin holding 
council and heing addressed by young Peu-peu-mox-mox, Chief 
of the Walla Wallas, who urged that the tribesmen continue the 
war until autumn. The council decided against visiting Wright 
that day although several messengers were sent to the Colonel. 
Finally Wright notified Kamiakin that unless the Indians wanted 
to treat for peace that there was no point in interchanging mes- 
sages and, further, that unless peace purposes were indicated that 
he would begin firing on any Indians who approached within 
range. Thereupon Kamiakin sent word that all the chiefs wanted 
peace and that they would call upon the Colonel the following 
day, first sending their warriors away. The morning of May 10th 
came and a large movement of Indians was observed traveling 
northward but no chiefs appeared at Wright's camp.The Colonel 
sent a detachment of dragoons to locate a place where the Natches 
River could be forded but the stream was high and the search 
was unsuccessful. That night a friendly Klickitat told Wright that 
only two chiefs, namely Skloom and Showwawy, wanted peace, 
that the majority favored war, and that the camp would be at- 
tacked either that night or early on the llth. At this information 
Wright sent a courier to Lieutenant-Colonel Steptoe asking for a 
joining of the two forces on the Columbia River. 

Affairs remained in status quo until the 15th when a number 
of Indians came to the opposite bank of the Natches River with 
the information that most of the chiefs were assembled and 
wished to talk. Several days passed during which a number of 
chiefs came into camp to talk with Wright but Kamiakin was 
not one of them. 

It began to seem clear that the Indians were stalling for time, 
their purpose being to lay in a supply of salmon for the coming 
winter. The salmon run up the tributaries of the Columbia had 
not started and Wright wanted to conclude a peace treaty when 
the Indians were without assurance of food for a long campaign. 

On May 27th Steptoe's troops came up, the combined regular 
force thus numbering 500 plus those necessary for the ammuni- 
tion and supply trains. Earth fortifications were erected on the 
Natches River to protect the reserve supplies and to shield the 
60 or more men to be left as a guard. A temporary bridge was 
thrown across the river so that the troops could reach the Indians* 
favorite fishing places on the nearby streams. Joel Palmer was 
still Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Wright sent the friendly 
Klickitats to reservation and advised Palmer to similarly dispose 

138 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

of the Cascade Indians, Wright's plan being to clear the region 
of all but hostiles and then crush them in a single battle. 

The chiefs continued to spar for time. Many messengers ex- 
pressing a desire for peace filtered into Wright's camp and finally 
about mid-June Wright sent word that if the chiefs really wanted 
peace they would have to come in and talk it over. Chiefs Owhi 
and Teies complied and said that the cause of the war was the 
treaty of Walla Walla which had been more or less forced on 
them by Governor Stevens, Superintendent Palmer, and the mili- 
tary officers who had accompanied them. Wright replied that the 
Indians had nothing to gain by war; that if they continued fight- 
ing all the braves would be killed and their women and children 
would starve. The Colonel said that he was their friend and in- 
formed the two chiefs that it was his order that all the chiefs 
come into his camp within five days during which the property 
plundered from immigrants should be turned over to the troops 
and a peace talk held. But the order was not obeyed. All the 
chiefs did not come in. The Oregon Volunteers were still in the 
Palouse country and Skloom and Showwawy had gone there, 
leaving their women and children with Chief Owhi. 

So, the five days having passed, Wright took the field. He 
moved to the Yakima River leaving Steptoe at the Natches fortifi- 
cation with three companies and a howitzer. Wright marched 
about 200 miles and collected a number of Indian women, child- 
ren, and old men and sent them to the reservation in Oregon. 
Aside from that task he accomplished little except perhaps for 
the fact that he met with an old chief named Nikatani who told 
him of the role played by Kamiakin and others in the attack on 
the Cascades. From that information it appeared that Kamiakin 
had sent about 30 of his young warriors to the Klickitat tribe, 
ordering them to influence the Cascade Indians to join in the 
attack. His instructions were to await until both steamboats were 
tied up at the Cascades, then attack, burn the boats, thus cutting 
off escape and aid, ki-11 all the whites from the Upper to the 
Lower Cascades, and then await further orders. It developed 
that about 20 young Klickitats joined the Yakimas and all pro- 
ceeded on the mission to influence the Cascade Indians. Most of 
the Cascade chiefs refused to cooperate but many of their young 
warriors joined in the attack with the results already detailed. 
Nikatani said that two Cascade chiefs, Chenoweth and Banahi, 
had set fire to their own houses to make it appear that they had 
been attacked and then took part in the massacre. 

In the meantime, as indicated elsewhere, Governor Stevens had 

The Yakima War 139 

been busy west of the Cascade Mountains. In mid-April, 1856, 
there had been the general uprising in the Puget Sound country, 
inspired by Kamiakin's agents. The settlers in the valleys all 
fled to the more populous centers. Seattle was besieged and was 
saved only by the providential appearance of United States gun- 
boats. The Indians murdered anyone caught out alone. Con- 
ditions were serious. Fortunately, Stevens knew what to do and 
lost no time about it. Having cleared up the Seattle situation 
with the aid of the navy, he sent a battalion of Washington Vol- 
unteers under Colonel B. F. Shaw to reinforce the Oregon Volun- 
teers east of the mountains. Again General Wool had instructed 
his officers to oppose the volunteer plan but Stevens understood 
the current needs as well as he understood the character of 
General Wool. 

Colonel Shaw crossed the Cascade Mountains at the Natches 
Pass and joined Colonel Wright's force on the Natches River, but 
Wright declined Shaw's services so the latter marched to the 
valley of the Walla Walla with his command except for 75 men 
who joined the Oregon Rangers under Major Davis Layton. The 
latter force marched through the John Day country capturing 
Indians and sending them to the reservation, keeping the Indians' 
horses. These expeditions under Wright, Shaw, and Layton grad- 
ually deprived the Indians of their means of livelihood, the tak- 
ing of the horses, particularly, minimizing the opportunities for 
depredations or aid to the active hostiles. More than 900 of the 
Wasco, Tyghe, DesChutes, and John Day tribes surrendered and 
all of them were placed on the Warm Springs Reservation in 
Oregon. However, the Cayuse, Walla Wallas, and a few sympa- 
thetic Nez Perces were still fighting. 

Governor Stevens, as will be remembered, was also Superin- 
tendent of Indian Affairs for Washington Territory and pre- 
pared for the annual distribution of goods to the tribes who had 
remained friendly. He sent word to William Craig, Indian 
Agent, to invite the Coeur d'Alenes and the Spokanes to join die 
main body of Nez Perces in the latter's country for a council. 
Craig was also still a Lieutenant-Colonel of Washington Volun- 
teers and currently in command of a picked force of Nez Perce 
chiefs and principal men numbering about 60. On May 27, 1856, 
he sent a letter to Stevens giving a personal appraisal of the sit- 
uation in his district. In effect the report recited that most of 
the tribes had joined in the war, their goal being to exterminate 
the whites and any Indians who remained friendly to the settlers. 
Craig pointed out that promised supplies had not reached him 

140 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

and that ammunition was in short supply. He said that he would 
be compelled to flee with his Indian allies if help did not arrive 
soon and begged for at least two companies of volunteers. 

This appeal resulted in immediate action. Captain Goff's 
command escorted a supply train from The Dalles to Walla 
Walla. On July 8th there were 290 men under Shaw and 60 Nez 
Perces under Craig and Chief Spotted Eagle in the Walla Walla 
Valley. A pack train of 100 animals was sent to the Nez Perce 
country under the charge of Special Indian Agent Robie. 

Shaw's instructions from Stevens were to overlook no oppor- 
tunity to subdue the hostiles. So Shaw, learning that a large 
force of hostiles had congregated in the Grand Ronde country, 
decided to attack them. This he did on July 17th, defeating 
the Indians decisively and inflicting heavy casualties. He cap- 
tured many horses and some ammunition, and destroyed the In- 
dians' food supplies. Meanwhile Major Layton was on the Snake 
River fighting small bands of hostiles wherever found. All of this 
campaigning had the effect of nullifying the influence of the 
Spokanes over the Nez Perce tribe, but it was a fact that the 
Spokanes had been successful in considerable measure with the 
Nez Perces in the absence of the 60 chiefs and other principal 
men under Craig. So great, indeed, was that influence that when 
Special Agent Robie arrived with his pack train he was ordered 
out of the Nez Perce country and marched back the 100 miles 
without a halt. 

After Shaw's victory at the Grand Ronde he sent an emissary 
to the Nez Perces saying that he was their friend but that if they 
wanted war he would see that they got it. As a result the Nez 
Perces sent messengers insisting that their friendship for the 
whites was firm. 

The Oregon Volunteer units finished their service in August 
and the Washington Volunteers in early September, which 
marked the end of the active participation of volunteers in the 
Yakima War. Colonel Wright notified Governor Stevens that 
four companies of regulars under Lieutenant-Colonel Steptoe 
would be sent to occupy the Walla Walla country. 

When Governor Stevens learned that the Nez Perces had re- 
fused the supplies sent to them and that only Chief Lawyer of 
the leaders remaining at home would acknowledge treaty obli- 
gations, he instructed Shaw to send messengers to all tribes, 
friendly or hostile, to meet the Governor on September 25th, but 
with the condition that the hostiles would surrender uncondition- 

The Yakima War 141 

ally. Stevens asked Wright to be present with three companies 
of regulars but Wright refused. 

So Stevens set out on August 19th from The Dalles. He had 
30 wagons, 80 oxen, and 200 other animals, and no escort except 
the supply train employees. About 48 hours behind him came 
the baggage and supply train of the regulars under Steptoe. 
Stevens arrived in the Walla Walla Valley on the 23rd and im- 
mediately sent messengers to all the tribes telling them of his 
plan to meet with them for final settlement of their difficulties. 
Several days passed before the first Indians appeared. They com- 
prised a group of Nez Perces accompanied by Agent Craig. A 
week later others of the Nez Perces came in. Following them 
was Father Ravelli, whose station was at the Coeur d'Alene Mis- 
sion and who said that Kamiakin, Owhi, and Qualchin, all 
Yakima chiefs, refused to come to the council. Kamiakin's home 
bordered the land of the Spokanes, who were much influenced 
by him and who also refused to attend. The rest of the northern 
tribes followed the pattern set by the Spokanes. On September 
10th the Cayuses arrived with some of their allies and camped 
near the Nez Perces but did not extend the courtesy of the usual 
ceremonial visit to Governor Stevens. The Cayuses had recently 
captured a pack train on its way to Colonel Shaw's troops and 
had burned the grass off the country through which they had 
traveled so that any mounted troops would find no subsistence 
for their horses. 

Stevens moved his camp six miles to be be near Steptoe's com- 
mand as the Governor feared an attack. The council, vastly small- 
er than had been hoped, opened on September llth and lasted 
until the 18th. Nothing was accomplished, partly because the 
regular army officers, under General Wool's direction, refused to 
back up Governor Stevens, so the latter decided to return to 
The Dalles. He was escorted by some of Colonel Shaw's troops 
under Captain Goff. On the 19th and on the 20th the Indians at- 
tacked them several times and the result would have been dis- 
astrous except that Lieutenant-Colonel Steptoe brought up his 
troops and turned the tide, losing two of his soldiers in the 
battle. Subsequently General Wool reprimanded Steptoe for act- 
ing as an escort to volunteers. 

Governor Stevens went back to the Puget Sound country* Gen- 
eral Wool wrote his superiors of the Governor's return saying 
that he hoped the Governor would remain at home but that he 
anticipated that Stevens would attempt to renew the war. The 
General wrote a long report, often departing from the facts, and 

142 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

placing all the blame he could on Governor Stevens for the un- 
settled conditions of the territory. 

Colonel Wright went to Walla Walla and called a council. 
Only five chiefs obeyed the summons, three of them being Cay- 
uses and two Nez Perces. The Yakimas, Spokanes, Walla Wallas, 
and DesChutes chiefs ignored the summons entirely. Wright held 
his abbreviated council and reported that he was well satisfied 
with the statements of the chiefs present that they wanted only 
peace and quiet and that the treaty which Stevens had made in 
December, 1855, had caused all the hostilities. 

Governor Stevens also made a report to the Secretary of War 
in which he criticized Colonel Wright for usurping the duties of 
the Superintendent of Indian Affairs and accused Wright of 
weakening the influence of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 

By November 20th Colonel Wright had established Fort Walla 
Walla. He placed Lieutenant-Colonel Steptoe in charge, Wright 
himself returning to The Dalles. There Wright arranged for 
water transport of supplies on the Upper Columbia, the fore- 
runner of commercial navigation enterprises there. He strength- 
ened the military defenses of The Dalles, re-distributed his forces, 
all of whom spent the winter of 1856-57 without further Indian 




A MATTER to be remarked is the variation in designations of the 
names of Indian wars of the Pacific Northwest. In some cases 
there is complete acceptance of a single designation. In those in- 
stances the fighting was entirely between the whites and a single 
tribe, or tribes which were blood relatives. Under other conditions 
the transition from one to another was not clearly defined, the 
blending of one series of hostilities often being overlaid by 
periods of inactivity or witnessing the passing of the warfare 
from the initiating tribe to some other tribe or combination of 

Hence it has been rather common practice to call the final 
phase of the Yakima War, the Coeur d'Alene War. Actually it 
might just as readily have been known as the Palouse War or 
the Spokane War because the first major engagement was precipi- 
tated by Indian allies in which the Palouse predominated numer- 
ically and the more important battles were fought in the country 
of the Spokanes. It is true that the Coeur d'Alenes were always 
among the warring Indian allies and were probably the most re- 
luctant to treat for peace and that much of the diplomatic 
strategy hinged upon bringing the Coeur d'Alenes under treaty. 
So it is this author's opinion that the so-called Coeur d'Alene 
War was, in fact, the final phase of the Yakima War, as shown in 
the chapter heading. All of which has no effect historically, except 
that the count of Pacific Northwest Indian Wars would become 
seven instead of eight. 

In the spring of 1857 an economy wave struck the Bureau of 
Indian Affairs. The job of Isaac I. Stevens as Superintendent of 
Indian Affairs for Washington Territory and the similar po- 
sition of Joel Palmer for Oregon, were combined under J. W. 
Nesmith of Oregon, who had back of him a fine record as Col- 
onel of Volunteers. A change, welcomed generally, also occurred 
in the high command of the regular army, through the replace- 
ment of General Wool by General Newman S. Clarke, who ar- 
rived in the Columbia River in June, 1857. 


144 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

General Clarke was, of course, familiar with the reports 
which General Wool had forwarded to the War Department from 
time to time and accepted them as factual. Clarke increased the 
number of regular troops and re-assigned them. Three companies 
of the 9th Infantry under Major R. S. Garnett were stationed at 
Fort Simcoe among the Yakimas. Three more companies of the 
9th were sent to The Dalles where Colonel Wright was in 
charge. Four companies were assigned to Lieutenant-Colonel 
Steptoe at Walla Walla. These four companies were a company 
each from the 4th and 9th regiments, a company of the 1st 
Dragoons, and a company of the 3rd Field Artillery. To Steptoe's 
force another company was added in the fall, that of Captain 
A. J. Smith, which had been stationed in Southern Oregon. 

General Clarke gradually became aware of the facts surround- 
ing conditions, concluding at last that there was a side to the 
story which differed from that of General Wool and that instead 
of the peaceful attitude of the Indians as stressed by his pre- 
decessor, that it would be necessary to take aggressive action 
against the erstwhile hostiles. 

Thus things drifted along during the winter of 1857-58. In 
April of the latter year Steptoe reported that an expedition into 
the Colville country was indicated. Two white men had been 
murdered by Palouse Indians while traveling to the Colville 
mining district. The Palouse had raided the Walla Walla Valley 
and had driven off government cattle and a petition signed by 
40 settlers in the Colville district had urged that troops be sent 

On May 6, 1858 Steptoe set out with 130 dragoons intending to 
make a leisurely trip here and there to impress the tribes with 
the fact that United States regulars were stationed in their coun- 
try. Anticipating no trouble and not setting out as a punitive ex- 
pedition, his troopers were armed only with light weapons. He 
first went to the Nez Perce country. There the Nez Perce chief, 
Timothy, agreed to act as guide and, with his tribesmen, assisted 
in ferrying Steptoe's command across the Snake River. They soon 
came across a party of Palouse who reportedly were the murder- 
ers of the two white men on the Colville road, but those Indians 
fled. Proceeding northward Steptoe received word on the 16th 
that the Spokanes were gathering to intercept him. He gave 
little credence to the report and kept going until he discovered 
that he had been surrounded by 600 Indians stationed close to a 
ravine through which his line of march would take him. These 
Indians were Palouse, Spokanes, Coeur d'Alenes, and a few 

The Coeur d'Alene War 145 

dissident Nez Perces. Steptoe halted and held a parley with the 
Spokanes who told him that they understood that he had come 
to make war and that they would not permit him to cross the 
Spokane River. Steptoe believed that the Indians meant what 
they said and concluded that no matter what he did he was in 
for trouble. He avoided the ravine and camped on the shore of a 
small lake. The Indians traveled at his flank and tried by abusive 
language and signs to provoke a fight. No shots were fired, each 
side waiting for the other to commit the first overt act. Steptoe 
was unwilling to start anything because of the light armament of 
his troopers. 

About four o'clock in the afternoon several chiefs rode up to 
the soldiers' camp and asked Steptoe what his business was in 
their country. He told them that he was on his way to Colville to 
look into recent depredations there. The Chiefs departed leaving 
the impression that they believed the explanation but actually 
pointing out to each other and to Father Joset, their priest, that 
Steptoe was off the regular route to Colville. While that was a 
fact, Steptoe was unaware of it, having trusted his guide to lead 
the way. 

Steptoe considered his situation. He was sure that should he 
attempt to cross the Spokane River that the Indians would fight. 
He knew that he was not equipped for a battle so he decided to 
retreat. On the morning of May 17th, he started for Walla Walla. 
But the Indians had ideas of their own. Before starting Father 
Joset had talked with Steptoe offering to explain the hostile at- 
titude of the Indians, but Steptoe wanted to get started and in- 
vied the priest and the principal chiefs of the Spokanes and the 
Couer d'Alenes to ride along and talk as they rode. None of the 
Spokane chiefs accepted the invitation but the head chief of the 
Coeur d'Alenes, Vincent, joined Steptoe and Father Joset. Then 
some Palouses began firing at the dragoons and Chief Vincent 
was called to his people. Immediately firing became general. 

The battle followed an old pattern. Troops guarding the sup- 
ply train as they rode; Indians dashing up or riding by and 
firing; troops returning the fire. The soldiers reached a creek and- 
prepared to ford. The Indians closed in on the head of the col- 
umn. Steptoe ordered Lieutenant Gregg with one company to 
occupy a hill. This was done but the Indians took a position on 
a higher hill. Gregg divided his company, one platoon driving 
the Indians from their hill. The fighting became general and 
more intense, Company A tried to reinforce Gregg's position. The 
Indians decided to prevent that effort. Lieutenant William 

146 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

Gaston saw this maneuver and though 1000 yards away dashed to 
intercept the Indians. He was joined by Gregg's platoon from 
the hill and the Indians lost nine killed, one of whom was Chief 
Vincent's brother-in-law. Chief Victor of the Coeur d'Alenes was 
mortally wounded and many others less severely. Instead of 
stopping the Coeur d'Alenes or slowing them up, they fought 
harder. Captain Oliver Taylor and Lieutenant William Gaston 
were killed. With the loss of these officers the troopers became 
confused but succeeded in carrying off the bodies of their dead. 

By this time it was noon. The nearest water was the Palouse 
River, many hours away. Steptoe occupied a broad hill, since 
known as Steptoe's Butte. The dragoons picketed their horses 
and then, from prone position, defended their hill. Toward even- 
ing the ammunition began to run out. The men were tired and 
very thirsty. Six would never fight again; eleven others were 
wounded. Darkness came. The dead were buried. The best horses 
were selected and stealthily Steptoe and his dragoons slipped 
away. On the morning of May 19th they crossed the Snake River, 
thence to Walla Walla. The regular army had lost face. 

When Steptoe's retreat started Father Joset told him that for 
three years the Coeur d'Alenes had sworn that no white settlers 
could stay in their country and that no road could be built 
through it. They had heard of the road to be built by Lieutenant 
John Mullan, the report of which project enraged them and they 
then determined that they would oppose any troops sent to Col- 
ville. General Clarke, through Father Joset, offered to treat with 
the chiefs. The Coeur d'Alenes were elated over the defeat of 
Steptoe and refused to listen to overtures of peace. The other 
tribes followed the lead of the Coeur d'Alenes. 

In June, 1858, General Clarke held a conference with his offi- 
cers, Wright and Steptoe being present. The General decided that 
he would settle the issue at once and for all time. He brought 
three companies of artillery from San Francisco, a company of 
infantry from Fort Jones in California, and another infantry 
company from Fort Umpqua in Oregon as additions to 
his existing force. Two expeditions were prepared. The 
main force, under Colonel Wright, trained at Walla 
Walla. Most of the artillery was instructed in infantry 
tactics, the rest as mounted artillery. The second ex- 
pedition was commanded by Major R. S. Garnett. That 
force numbered 300 men and was to move on August 15th 
through the Yakima country to Colville and drive the hostiles it 

Reconnaissance start for the Lava 
Modoc War. 

Peace Commission Tent and stone on 
which General Canby was seated when 
shot by Captain Jack. 

General Edward R. S. Canby, United 
States Army, murdered by the 

Captain Benjamin Wright/ Indian fighter. 

Genera! Nelson A. Miles, United States 
Army, who helped General Howard 
defeat Joseph. 

Scout John W. Redington, Civilian Scout 
with Federal Troops through three 
Indian Wars. 

Chief Lookingglass of the Nez Perces. 

Hal-hal-tlos-sot: the lawyer, Head Chief 
of the Nez Perces. 

The Coeur d'Alene War 147 

encountered southward toward Wright's force, which strategy 
would catch the Indians in a pincers movement. 

On August 7th Captain E. D. Keys was sent ahead with a force 
of dragoons to erect a fortification where the Tucannon River 
empties into the Snake. The place Vas named Fort Taylor in 
memory of Captain Oliver H. Taylor killed during Steptoe's re- 
treat. On the 18th Wright arrived at Fort Taylor with his 
command. He had 400 artillerymen trained as infantry, a rifle 
brigade of 90 infantrymen, and 200 dragoons. Moreover, the 
riflemen were armed with the new Sharp's rifles, which the In- 
dians knew nothing about and which were to cost them dearly 
because of the increased range of this new weapon. 

Before starting his march, Colonel Wright had concluded a 
treaty with the Nez Perces, signed by himself for the United 
States, and by Chiefs Timothy, Richard, Three Feathers, and 
Speaking Eagle for the tribesmen. Thirty Nez Perce warriors 
volunteered for service as scouts and were outfitted in army uni- 
forms and placed under the command of Lieutenant John 
Mullan, whose road-building had been interrupted by the war. 

Wright moved northward. On August 3 1st he was within 20 
miles of the Spokane River. Bands of hostiles appeared along the 
hillsides and exchanged shots with the Nez Perce scouts. The 
hostiles tried to set fire to the grass but without much success. 

Concluding that the main force of the enemy was not far dis- 
tant Wright decided to rest his men and camped at Four Lakes. 
Again the Indians had ideas of their own. On the morning of 
September 1st they assembled on a hill about two miles from the 
camp of the troops. Wright wasted no time. He left one com- 
pany of artillerymen and 54 infantrymen with a howitzer in 
camp under the command of Captain J. A. Hardie. The rest of 
his force advanced. It consisted of two squadrons of dragoons 
under Major W. N. Grier; four companies of artillerymen armed 
as infantry under Brevet-Major E. D. Keyes; two companies of rifle- 
men under Captain F.T. Dent; and the Nez Perce scouts command- 
ed by Lieutenant John Mullan. Major Grier took his dragoons 
around to the northeast of the hill. The foot soldiers advanced 
by the easier slopes to drive the Indians toward the cavalry. No 
one knows how many Indians had assembled but they were every- 
wherein the ravines, in the woods, on the hills, on the plain. 
One officer later reported that "they seemed to cover the country 
for two miles." They were gaudily painted, their horses were 
decorated with strings of beads and eagle feathers. Most of them 
carried muskets, but some of them were armed only with bows 

148 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

and arrows or spears. They rode about, brandishing their weap- 
ons and yelling defiance. 

The troops advanced. When within 600 yards they opened fire. 
The Indians would ride forward, fire, and ride away. But they 
had not reckoned with the Sharp's rifles and minie balls. Their 
warriors began to fall, only to be picked up and carried away as 
was the Indian custom. The soldiers kept advancing and firing 
with telling effect. The Indians broke toward the plain. The 
dragoons charged and in the best tradition of trained cavalry- 
men, cut the hostiles down with their sabers. The Indians fled 
for the wooded hills, this time leaving their dead. In the woods 
they were in less danger from the cavalry and besides the dra- 
goons' horses were worn out, not only from the furious charge 
but also because of almost a solid month on the march. The foot 
soldiers came up, passed through the ranks of the cavalrymen 
and drove the Indians for two miles, until the soldiers, too, were 

The troops lost neither a man or a horse. They staid in camp 
for three days and on September 5th again resumed their march 
toward the north. After moving five miles they came upon the 
hostiles who had taken a position at the edge of the timber and 
evidently were prepared to attack. As Wright's men approached 
the. Indians set fire to the grass, the wind carrying the flames and 
smoke towards the troops. In great numbers the Indians came 
out upon the plain, forming a huge semi-circle. Wright assigned 
a strong guard to the supply train, the foot soldiers deployed to 
the flanks, dashed through the burning grass and drove the In- 
dians back to the woods. Then the howitzers cut loose driving 
the hostiles deeper among the trees. The soldiers followed. 
These tactics were repeated several times until the Indians had 
been driven four miles. The forest ended there and the braves 
were chased out into the plain again. It was once more the 
cavalry's turn. The dragoons charged. Their sabres ran red with 
the blood of red men. The hostiles were driven back but they 
courageously fought at every backward step. Again they reached 
trees. From this advantageous cover they harassed the troops 
from many points of concealment but the soldiers were not to 
be denied. Again the howitzers went into action. Again the 
chase was resumed. This running battle continued for 14 miles 
until the Spokane River was reached. The river was welcome. 
The troops had been without water since morning. The only 
soldier casualty was one man slightly wounded. The Indians suf- 
fered heavily but, as was always their custom whenever possible, 

The Coeur d'Alene War 149 

they carried away their dead to prevent their enemy from taking 
scalps. However it was known that two Coeur d'Alene chiefs 
were killed as were two chiefs of the Spokanes and the ring- 
leader, Kamiakin, Chief of the Yakimas, was injured when a 
tree-top, dislodged by a howitzer shell, fell on his head. The 
Indians also burned one of their villages rather than permit it 
to suffer that fate at the hands of the soldiers. 

Wright rested his- troops for a day. They were not attacked 
but many Indians appeared on the far side of the river. About to 
resume his march on September 7th, the Indians let it be known 
that they wished to hold a parley to which Wright consented. 
The Indian delegation was headed by Chief Garry of the Spo- 
kanes, Garry always having been known as a peace man but who 
had been overruled by the majority of his people in their decis- 
ion to wage war. Again let it be emphasized that Indian chiefs 
were not absolute monarchs, at least in the Pacific Northwest 
country. Their tribesmen could overrule their decisions by 
popular vote. While Wright knew Garry's reputation for peace 
he nevertheless was stern and unrelenting. He told Garry that 
the soldiers were there to fight, not to talk; that as often as the 
hostiles chose to fight, just that often would he defeat them; that 
whenever they tired of fighting the surrender would be on 
Wright's unconditional terms, namely, the surrender of all arms 
and property, and all the women and children. Otherwise, said 
Wright, he would continue to engage the hostiles until they 
were exterminated. 

Garry took the ultimatum back to the tribes but he did not 
return with an answer. Instead, another chief of the Spokanes, 
Polatkin, appeared with nine warriors to argue for terms. 
Wright told him the same conditions as had been outlined to 
Chief Garry. Knowing that Chief Polatkin had helped to defeat 
Steptoe, Wright kept Polatkin in custody and sent some of his 
braves back to tell the hostiles to come in to surrender. This 
brought no affirmative result sp Wright took up his march on the 
8th. After nine miles the Indians were to be seen driving all 
their live stock toward the mountains. Wright engaged them and 
captured 800 horses which were taken into camp 16 miles above 
Spokane Falls. There one of Polatkin's braves was tried for cer- 
tain murders, convicted and hanged. Most of the captured horses 
had never been saddled, so Wright determined to kill all the 
animals not immediately useful and this was done on September 
9th and 10th. Thus the Spokane Nation was largely dismounted 
and the Spokane chief, Big Star, surrendered with his people on 

150 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

Wright's announced terms. The Coeur d'Alenes decided to do 
likewise and they were instructed to assemble for their surrender 
at the Catholic Mission on Lake Coeur d'Alene, where a council 
was held on September 17th. Father Joset was present and 
Chief Vincent was the official spokesman for his tribe. Wright 
demanded the surrender of the warriors who started the attack on 
Steptoe, they to be sent to General Clarke; one Chief .and four 
warriors, with their families, to be sent to Walla Walla; the return 
of all property taken from Steptoe's command; agreement that 
white people could pass safely through the country; that they for- 
ever refrain from hostilities against the whites; and that they re- 
main at peace with the Nez Perces. These terms being accepted, 
the treaty was reduced to writing and signed. The peace pipe was 
smoked and Wright next called another council, this time for 
the Spokanes for September 23rd, to which he also invited Ka- 
miakin. But that wiley Chief of the Yakimas failed to appear. 
Next day the Yakima chief, Owhi, came into camp. Wright had 
him arrested for breaking his agreement made two years earlier 
and ordered him to send for his son Qualchin, warning that 
if Qualchin did not appear that Owhi, himself, would be 
hanged. Before Owhi could send for his son, Qualchin rode into 
camp and was promptly seized and hanged. 

Wright started his return march taking Owhi with him. Near 
the Snake River Owhi tried to escape and was shot by Lieutenant 
Morgan, the chief dying in a few hours. The only high chiefs of 
the Yakimas who were now left were Kamiakin and Skloom. 
Kamiakin abandoned his people and fled to British Columbia. 
Skloom, having lost his prestige, was gradually forgotten. 

Colonel Wright refused to make a treaty with the Palouses. He 
considered them to be incapable of living up to the terms of a 
treaty. Instead he hanged several of them. Wright ordered Fort 
Taylor abandoned on October 1st and its garrison, together with 
the rest of Wright's command all returned to Walla Walla on 
October 5th. 

On October 9, 1858, Wright ordered the Walla Wallas as- 
sembled. They came in and the Colonel ordered all who had par- 
ticipated in the recent fighting to stand. Only 35 arose, but from 
that number Wright selected four, who were delivered to the 
guard, and peremptorily hanged. 

This Walla Walla episode closed the war. By military order 
the Yakima country was closed to settlement until the following 
year, 1859, when General Harney succeeded General Clarke and 
reopened the Columbia country to settlers. 


THE Modoc Indians called themselves MAKLAKS, meaning "the 
people/' and Captain Jack, their principal leader in the war of 
1873, was KIENTEPOOS in their own language. His name has 
several variations, among which are Kientepoos, Kintupash, and 
Kintpuash. The Modocs comprised a branch of the once power- 
ful Pacific Coast tribe known as LALACAS and belonged to the 
LUTUAMIAN linguistic stock, the same as the Klamaths. The 
Lalacas inhabited the country around the Klamath lakes and in 
the Lost River basin as well as a large area drained by the Klam- 
ath River. Their country extended inland from the Pacific Coast 
about 300 miles and included what are now parts of Curry, 
Josephine, Jackson, and Klamath counties in Oregon, and Del 
Norte and Siskiyou counties in California. 

The Lalacas were warlike and at about the time of the Ameri- 
can Revolution underwent a rebellion which resulted in di- 
vision of the nation into two tribes, the Klamaths and the Mo- 
docs. In their native condition Indian nations were divided into 
tribes, the tribes into bands, and the bands into families. At the 
time of the rebellion the Modocs were living in a rather res- 
tricted area in the Lost River Basin in extreme Northern Cali- 
fornia near Tule Lake and just southeast of Klamath Lake in 
Oregon. Their country abounded in fish and game, edible plants 
and roots. For Indians their lot was an easy one. The head chief 
of the Lalacas made a demand upon Mo-a-doc-us, the chief of the 
Lost River tribe not only for fighting men to go on the warpath 
but also that supplies of fish from Lost River be furnished. The 
first part of the demand was a normal one but that for the fish 
was not and Moadocus issued a declaration of independence and 
renounced all allegiance to the head chief of the Lalacas. A 
great internecine war ensued in which Moadocus and his tribes- 
men ultimately triumphed. 

At the time of the earliest white immigrations into Oregon 
and California, the Modocs numbered about 600 souls with 
Schonchin as head chief. There seems to have been some dispute 
among the various bands regarding his chieftanship on the 
ground that he was not a legitimate descendant of Moadocus 
and hence not of royal blood. But Schonchin, known as "Old" 
Schonchin, to distinguish him from his brother John, had won 


152 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

his place by great personal bravery in battle. He had also fought 
the whites in early battles but by the time of the Modoc War he 
was tired of fighting and had settled down at Yainax Reserva- 
tion with a part of the tribe and kept strictly neutral while his 
brother John and Captain Jack were fighting the Federal troops. 
On the other hand, Captain Jack was of royal blood. His father 
had been chief of the Lost River Indians and had lost his life in a 
battle with the Warm Springs and Tenino Indians near the 
headwaters of the Deschutes River in Oregon when Jack was a 
small boy. Captain Jack received that name in 1864 from Elisha 
Steele, Acting Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Northern 
California, because of Jack's resemblance to a miner known as 
"Captain Jack." Kientepoos (Captain Jack) was born on Lost 
River and said that he would never speak any language but 
Modoc and apparently kept his word, though it is believed that 
he later came to understand a considerable number of English 
words and phrases. 

The Modocs had a history of major troubles with immigrants 
and settlers for 20 years prior to their final war. There remains 
the usual differences of opinion between those who represent 
the Modocs as wanton killers and the apologists who insist that 
there was plenty of provocation by the whites. Old Chief Schon- 
chin said that the trouble arose because the whites did not dis- 
tinguish between the Modocs, the Snakes, and the Pit River 
Indians. It seems that in passing through the Snake River coun- 
try the Snakes stole or captured horses and mules from the immi- 
grants and either sold the animals or lost them in gambling to 
the Pit River Indians. In turn the latter, through the same pro- 
cesses, transferred the horses and mules to the Modocs. Later, 
some of the animals in possession of the Modocs were identified 
and retaken, thus giving cause for bloodshed and war. 

At any rate, in September, 1852, a wagon train with 65 men, 
women, and children was approaching the point on Tule 
Lake where the emigrant road had to touch the shore by reason 
of the contour of the land. The Modocs were hidden in the rocks 
overlooking the trail. With typical suddenness the Indians at- 
tacked. Sixty-two whites were massacred with all the savagery 
known to the hostiles. In fact they outdid themselves in fiendish- 
ness and tortures of unprintable character. Two girls, 12 and 14 
years of age respectively, were kept as captives and one man some- 
how escaped. The location of the massacre has ever since been 
known as "Bloody Point." The two girls survived for several 
years, became reconciled to their fate and adopted the manners 

The Modoc War 153 

and customs of their captors. However, eventually the Modoc 
women became jealous and threw the two white girls to their 
deaths from a cliff. 

Ben Wright, an esteemed citizen and natural leader of Yreka, 
California, was chosen to command a company of volunteers to 
punish the Indians. While the Bloody Point massacre was reason 
enough to launch a punitive expedition, it was merely the cul- 
mination of a series of lesser attacks, murders and robberies 

Again we are faced with two versions of an episode in history, 
this time over what was thereafter to be known as the "Ben 
Wright Affair." Wright's friends always contended that he com- 
mitted no act of treachery, but the preponderance of evidence 
would seem to be on the other side. There were persons who 
stated positively that Wright purchased strychnine with the 
avowed intention of poisoning the Indians. Be that as it may, he 
set out with his company of volunteers and after reaching the 
Modoc country invited the Indians to come in to a parley under 
a flag of truce. A feast was prepared but the Indians declined to 
eat until the volunteers first partook of the food. Wright there- 
upon ordered his men to fire and about 40 Modocs were killed, 
the rest escaping. Had Wright exterminated the Modocs in bat- 
tle, or had he ambushed them and killed all, no one would ever 
have censured him, but to violate a flag of truce under the pre- 
tence of a peace parley was something roundly condemned by 
the fair-minded public generally and his act was to bear bitter 
fruit in the Modoc War to follow 20 years later. 

Hostilities continued for several years. In 1855 the pioneers 
with the Shastas as allies fought a battle with the Modocs. In 
that fray Joaquin Miller, later to be known as the Poet of the 
Sierras, was wounded in the head by an arrow and through the 
body by a bullet. He was nursed back to health by Sutatot, a 
Shasta maiden, who had lost two brothers in the battle. 

In 1864 a lull occurred in the sporadic warfare, when Elisha 
Steele, of Yreka, who, at the time, was Acting Superintendent of 
Indian Affairs for Northern California, made an informal treaty 
with the Modocs. By its terms reference was made to the lo- 
calities wherein certain tribes, including Modocs and Klamaths 
might reside. The several tribes mentioned also agreed to keep 
peace with each other as well as with the whites. It was at that 
treaty council that Kientepoos was first recognized as a chief and 
it was then that Steele gave him the name "Captain Jack." 

For some reason the Steele treaty was never recognized by 
the Federal Government. It has been suggested that the reason lay 

1 54 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

in the fact that the Oregon-California line bisected the Modoc 
country. Captain Jack and Old Schonchin lived on the Oregon 
side and each state had a Superintendent of Indian Affairs. At 
any rate, the Oregon Superintendent received orders to negotiate 
a treaty with the Indians in the Klamath country, including the 
Modocs. The council met in 1864, the Modocs being represented 
by Old Chief Schonchin and his brother John, afterwards known 
as Schonchin John. Captain Jack was given recognition as a 
sub-chief and thereafter he and Schonchin John were to be 
closely associated, although usually holding opposite points of 
view. Captain Jack signed the treaty by his Indian name Kiente- 
poos. By the treaty terms the Klamaths and the Modocs were 
to be joint-occupants of the territory hence known as the Klam- 
ath Reservation. All other territory previously occupied by the 
two tribes was ceded to the United States in return for certain 
benefits which were to follow. 

Captain Jack almost immediately regretted having signed the 
treaty and persuaded a part of the Modoc tribe to leave the 
reservation and return to the old home on Lost River. He at 
once began a series of efforts to convince various citizens, 
among them Acting Superintendent Steele, that the terms 
of the treaty had been misrepresented to him. Jack had 
confidence in Steele but subsequently took advantage of that 
confidence by saying that Steele had said that Jack was justified 
in leaving the reservation. As a matter of fact, Steele probably 
limited his statenfent to a promise to see what could be done. 
He did write several letters to the Department at Washington 
on the subject and even gave letters to Jack and other Modocs, 
but these letters merely recited Jack's own contentions and com- 
mended him to the friendly consideration of white people. There 
was nothing in any of this correspondence to indicate that Steele 
ever said anything which could have been construed to mean 
that Jack should have repudiated the treaty, or even that it 
could be repudiated. 

So Jack and his followers staid on Lost River and Old Schon- 
chin with the rest of the tribe remained on the reservation 
about six miles from Fort Klamath at the north end of Klamath 
Lake. In 1865 the white settlers of the Lost River Basin requested 
Captain MacGregor, the commandant at Fort Klamath, to return 
jack and his tribesmen to the reservation. An effort to that end 
was made but it was unsuccessful, although no hostilities ensued. 
In 1866 Lindsay Applegate, sub-agent, tried to persuade the tribe 
to again move to the Klamath Reservation but his efforts also 

The Modoc War 155 

failed. In the following year, 1867, Superintendent Huntington 
went to confer with Jack for the same purpose. Upon Hunting- 
ton's approach Captain Jack and his warriors took up a position 
on the far side of Lost River and yelled that if Huntington at- 
tempted to cross that they would fire on him. The Superintendent 
was not accompanied by troops and made no attempt to cross the 
river. He reported the incident, as had those engineering the pre- 
vious attempts, but the Department failed to order any action. 
Captain Jack and his tribesmen staid on Lost River. 

In 1869 Alfred B. Meacham was Superintendent of Indian Af- 
fairs for Oregon. Late in that year he made an official visit to the 
Klamath Agency and after a talk with O. C. Knapp, the Indian 
Agent there, it was agreed that another attempt to relocate Cap- 
tain Jack and his tribe should be made. Accordingly a courier 
was sent to Captain Jack notifying him that Meacham and 
Knapp would meet him at Link River. Jack told the courier that 
if they wanted to see him they would have to come to his country 
and that, furthermore, he had no wish to see the government's 

Nevertheless, Meacham and Knapp decided to visit the Modoc 
country and, recognizing the possibility of attack, requested a 
guard of soldiers from Fort Klamath. The new commander, Cap- 
tain Goodale, demurred, saying that he had no men to spare for 
that purpose but finally assigned a small squad under the com- 
mand of a non-commissioned officer. Also in the party were L D. 
Applegate and W. C. McKay, as well as teamsters, guides, in- 
terpreters, and two prominent Klamaths and two Klamath 
women. The party set out, the soldiers following. Instructions to 
the latter required that they stop at Link River, there to await 
further orders. On the morning of December 22, 1869, the princi- 
pal members of the group quickened their pace, leaving the sup 
ply wagons to follow as rapidly as they could. Prom Link River 
they cut across country to the west bank of Lost River, which 
they were to follow to the Modoc village. 

It, perhaps, would be well to explain that Lost River acquired 
its name from the fact that for a part of its length it disappeared 
underground, emerging again after several miles. This is not an 
uncommon trait of streams in lava country. Porous rock, sub- 
terranean caverns and tunnels are common and contribute 
to this quirk of nature. Lakes revert to marshes or go dry. There 
are many dry lakes today in the Pacific Northwest which were 
sizeable? bodies of water in pioneer times. A few have been drained 
by irrigation projects but most of them have disappeared nat- 

156 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

urally. Lost River connected Clear Lake with Tule Lake in 
Northern California, it being the outlet of the former and the 
inlet of the latter. It was narrow and deep with few places 
shallow enough for fording. One crossing was known as Natural 
Bridge, but was really a ledge about 20 feet wide, situated a mile 
downstream from Captain Jack's village. Depending upon the 
water stage of the stream it was alternately slightly above or be- 
low the surface of the river. As the party came within a few miles 
of the Indian village they saw four Indians approaching on 
ponies. Each was armed with a rifle and a pistol and the white 
men were ordered to halt. These Modocs demanded to know the 
purpose of the visit. Meacham told them that their mission was to 
see Captain Jack on important business. The Indians told him 
that the Modocs did not want to see anybody and warned the 
white men to turn back. Meacham and each of his men were 
armed with a Henry rifle and a navy six-shooter. Knowing that 
a bold front was often the best defense they swung around the 
Indians and, at a brisk pace, approached the Modoc town, con- 
sisting of 13 houses, each about 30 feet long and 12 feet wide. 

The village seemed to be deserted, but one of the intercepting 
Indians, all four of whom had followed the white party to the 
town, ran up the crude steps outside the largest lodge and went 
inside. That was the home of the chief. Meacham's party dis- 
mounted and prepared to follow when an Indian look-out 
yelled, "One man come; no more." Meacham was ahead and 
knew that he could not turn back without indicating fear, al- 
though thoughts of Indian treachery occupied his mind. He en- 
tered, not knowing what to expect. Captain Jack stared at him, 
refusing to shake hands, speak, or smoke. A number of Indians 
were present. Meacham calmly lit his pipe and prepared to face 
a bad situation as best he could. Finally, Scarface Charley spoke, 
asking what Meacham wanted and telling him that Captain 
Jack would come to Meacham's home if he ever wanted to see 
him; that Jack did not want to talk; and that the white men 
should go away. 

Meacham took the opportunity to tell the Modocs that he was 
the newly appointed Superintendent, sent by the President to 
talk about new subjects; that whether or not they were his 
friends, he was their friend; that he was neither afraid to talk nor 
to listen and emphasized the statement that he was indeed a big 
white chief. Then Captain Jack spoke saying that all whites were 
liars and swindlers; that he would not believe half that he heard, 
but that he would listen. Meacham then asked the other mem- 

The Modoc War 157 

bers of his party be admitted, which request was granted. Jack 
ordered a camp prepared for the white men but said that he had 
no provisions to share. The Indians selected a site, constructed a 
shelter, and brought in a plentiful supply of sage-brush for fuel. 
They caught fish in the river, roasted the fish for their visitors 
and left the white men for the night. One of Meacham's party 
was posted as guard and the others pretended to sleep but felt 
that they dare not. 

Next morning the supply wagons came up and a feast was pre- 
pared to which the Indians were invited but no Modoc would 
touch the food until the white men had eaten. The Indians ex- 
plained that procedure in their remembrance of the Ben Wright 
affair. But filled with beef, bacon, hard bread, and coffee with 
sugar, the Modocs prepared to parley. Captain Jack had con- 
sidered that as a probable outcome because he had sent for 
Frank Riddle, a white man who had married a Modoc girl, 
Winemah, known as Tobey, and Jack would not open the council 
until Riddle and Tobey had arrived. Meacham made the first 
speech telling of the purposes of his visit and produced the treaty 
of 1864 which Captain Jack promptly declared he had never 
signed. However, that statement was immediately disproved by 
the testimony of Old Schonchin and sub-chief Bio of the Klam- 
aths, who were in Meacham's party. 

The talk continued, Meacham pressing the point that Captain 
Jack should observe the treaty which he had signed and agree 
to go back to the reservation. Jack began to waver, asking what 
part of the reservation he was to occupy. The white men 
began to breathe easier, sensing agreement, when the Modoc 
medicine man arose and said in Modoc that "we will not go 
there." Immediately the whole aspect of things changed. The 
Indians announced that they were finished with talking. The 
whites expected attack. But Tobey arose and urged acceptance of 
Meacham's point of view. Captain Jack started to leave. Meach- 
am intercepted him saying, "Don't leave me noW; I am your 
friend but I am not afraid of you. Be careful what you do. We 
mean peace, but we are ready for war. We will not begin, but if 
you do, it shall be the end of your people. We came for you and 
we are not going back without you. You must go." Jack then 
asked what would happen if he refused. Meacham pointed to his 
own group and told Jack that if the latter refused that "we will 
whip you until you are willing." Jack replied that he would be 
ashamed to fight so few white men with all his warriors. 

The argument waxed and waned until it was finally agreed that 

1 5 8 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

Captain Jack should have until the following morning to give his 
answer. Jack withdrew for a pow-wow with his tribesmen and the 
white men were left to consider their plight. All knew that it 
was fraught with great danger. Under the pretense of looking for 
the horses a courier got away for the camp of the soldiers on 
Link River 25 miles away, with orders for them to move up to 
a point within hearing of gunfire should it occur at the Modoc 
village, but that unless they heard the noise of combat they 
were not to come in to Meacham's camp until the next 

The white men inspected their firearms and prepared to under- 
go another sleepless night. Captain Jack began his pow-wow and 
the medicine man "made medicine." The night wore on. Sudden- 
ly the soldiers burst into camp. Fortified with whiskey acquired 
at Link River they did not stop at the appointed place but rode 
headlong into camp. At once all was confusion. The council 
broke up. There Schonchin John had urged treachery and 
Captain Jack spoke against assassination, in fact he was speaking 
at the time the soldiers rode in. The Modocs took to the sage- 
brush with their rifles. The white men encircled the whole camp. 
Sunrise disclosed about 200 souls within the guard lines but 
some of the Modocs were not there, among them Captain Jack 
and Schonchin John. They had gone to the lava beds. 

Meacham ordered the Indians to form a line, assuring them 
that no harm was contemplated but the Modocs did not obey. 
Then a detail of soldiers was ordered to seize the Modocs 1 fire- 
arms. It was a tense moment but the arms were secured. Pro- 
visions were issued to the Indians and instructions given to 
bring in their ponies and prepare to move to the reservation. 

Then Meacham met Captain Jack's sister. The white people 
had named her "Mary, Queen of the Modocs." She was very in- 
telligent, probably leading the tribe in that respect, but had 
lived with five or six white men with each only long enough 
to get hold of all the money and valuables she c6uld. Mary ap- 
peared before Meacham to plead for her brother and said that if 
permitted she would go to the lava beds and persuade Jack to 
return. It was agreed that she should go, but accompanied by 
Meacham's guide, Gus Horn, to assure Captain Jack that no one 
had been harmed at his village and that none would befall him. 

A whole day was devoted to rounding up the Indian ponies, 
removing food supplies from the caches, and by the interchange 
of messages with the runaways who did not return. The follow- 
ing morning the village was abandoned and the cavalcade started 

The Modoc War 159 

for the reservation. By late evening they were at Link River. 
Ample provisions were provided for the hungry travelers and by 
nine o'clock the camp was snug and quiet. Messengers had been 
going back and forth all day between the reservation party and 
the lava beds. The camp did not move for three days during 
which negotiations with Captain Jack continued and on the 
third day he and his fellows ckme in after being assured that the 
Klamaths would not be permitted to make sport of him and call 
him a coward for running from such a small white force. 

Upon Captain Jack's arrival it was decided to move on to- 
wards the Klamath reservation and on the morning of December 
27th the start was made. At Jack's request the soldiers had been 
sent ahead. It was a face-saving gesture for Jack even though he 
had given as his reason for the request that the women and 
children were afraid of the soldiers. 

The next day saw the group at Modoc Point on the reservation 
where they were met by a large delegation of agency Indians. 
The meeting was punctuated by an order from Meacham pro- 
hibiting gambling. The agency Indians resented the order but 
Meacham knew the mania for gambling which was characteristic 
of Indians and did not choose to see the consolidation nullified 
by the chance transfer of property which often included wives 
and daughters. 

The second day following was set apart for a meeting of 
reconciliation between the Klamaths and the Modocs. Boun- 
daries were established between the camps of the two tribes and 
a site designated for the meeting, which was well planned. 
Meacham knew the values of ceremony among Indians as well as 
the importance of spotlighting the principal personalities. 

The proceedings were dignified and colorful. The Klamaths 
congregated beneath a huge pine tree and awaited the Modocs 
who approached slowly. Arriving, Captain Jack took his stand 
a few feet from Chief Allen David. Meacham said, "You meet in 
peace today, to bury all the bad past, to make friends. You are 
of the same blood, of the same heart. You are to live as neigh- 
bors. This country belongs to you, all alike. Your interests are 
one. You can shake hands and be friends." A hatchet was then 
laid in the space separating the two chiefs, each of whom was 
given a pine branch. They advanced, each covering the hatchet 
with his pine bough, then placing their feet upon the boughs. 
They gazed at each other, shook hands, and stepped back. The 
sub-chiefs and other principal men of both tribes then ad- 
vanced, two at a time, exchanging the pledge of friendship as 

160 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

had the head chiefs. Then Chief Allen David made a brilliant 
speech urging eternal friendship to which Captain Jack replied 
with equal fervor and honesty. 

Following that ceremony preparations were made to dis- 
tribute goods to the Modocs as specified in the treaty of 1864, 
the agency Indians having previously received theirs. The dis- 
tribution was made and the Modocs moved away to their camp to 
stow their new possessions and to prepare a feast from their new 
supplies of flour and beef. 

The Klamaths visited the camp of their new neighbors, 
Meacham's teamsters built a big bonfire and the reunion of the 
two tribes of the once proud Lalacas was marked by an auspic- 
ious beginning. 

An old man known as "Link River Joe" approached the bon- 
fire where Meacham and an interpreter, Old Chief Schonchin, 
Captain Jack, Allen David, and others were smoking and chatting. 
Link River Joe had heard a sermon by the Methodist missionarv 
Reverend A. F. Waller 20 years before and asked to have the white 
man's religion explained to him. Meacham undertook the ex- 
planation, which was followed by another question inquiring 
how the white men could predict an eclipse. Meacham made a 
good effort to explain that phenomenon when he remembered 
that it was New Year's Eve. Exhibiting his watch he told the In- 
dians that when both "little sticks, the hands, were together at the 
top that the old year would die in the west and the new year 
would be born in the east. All the Indians present were interest- 
ed and the news spread. Chief Allen David requested that since 
all could not be looking at the watch when the time arrived 
that Meacham fire a pistol at the great moment. At the pistol 
shot the crowd slowly dispersed and thus the year 1870 was 
ushered in at Klamath Reservation. 

The following eleven weeks were trying ones for the Modocs. 
In spite of the good intentions of Chief Allen David and his 
peace-promoting speech, he did not have control over his 
tribesmen, particularly the younger men. Having selected a site 
for a permanent settlement at Modoc Point the Modocs began 
hewing logs and splitting rails. It had been thoroughly agreed 
between Agent Knapp, the Klamaths, and the Modocs that the 
latter were to share equally with the Klamaths in the use of 
timber and the location of the village had been mutually agreed 
upon. But the Klamaths took some of the logs and rails saying, 
"the timber is ours. You may use some of it but it is ours and we 
want part of it." The quarrel continued until Captain- Jack ap- 

The Modoc War 161 

pealed to Knapp who told Jack that the matter would be made 
all right. But the quarrel was renewed, the Klamaths becoming 
more overbearing by reason of the fact that they were not repri- 

Captain Knapp was an excellent military man but with no 
liking for the duties of an Indian Agent, and, perhaps, an in- 
complete undertanding of the Indian character. Again Captain 
Jack appealed to Knapp who advised a change in site for the vil- 
lage, this time a few miles away on the Williamson River. The 
Modocs obeyed and were soon starting building operations all 
over again. There the Klamaths repeated their taunts and their 
appropriation of logs and rails. For the third time Jack appealed 
to Knapp who proposed still another move to a location to be 
selected by Captain Jack. Jack started his search, but either 
because he could find none suitable or whether the Modocs were 
overwhelmed by their treatment by the Klamaths and the un- 
satisfactory administration by the Indian Agent, Jack decided to 
call a council of his people. The tribe voted by a large majority to 
leave the reservation. Some of Jack's Modocs elected to remain 
but most of them returned with Captain Jack to their old home 
on Lost River early in March, 1870. Jack renewed acquaintance 
with the less desirable element in the Yreka district and immedi- 
ately received and accepted their sympathy, strengthening and 
confirming himself in justification for having left the reservation. 

During the spring of 1871 the Indian Department and Old 
Chief Schonchin tried to induce Jack to return. In fact, a new 
location at Yai-nax, near the southern edge of the reservation 
was offered. Old Chief Schonchin with his tribesmen and a few 
of Captain Jack's people did move to Yai-nax and remained there. 
Jack, himself, visited the place and seriously considered moving 
there. But while Jack was turning the subject over in his mind 
another incident occurred to upset a good idea. 

Among primitive Indians the medicine man occupied a most 
important place. To him was attributed great power. He was 
credited with ability to render his callers invulnerable to bullets 
or arrows; to foretell events; to cause a personal enemy to sicken 
and die, as well as to cure those who were ill. In this latter 
field of endeavor, however, he often ran the risk of losing his own 
life. Such a situation developed while Captain Jack was consider- 
ing moving to Yai-nax. Jack had employed an Indian doctor to 
treat a sick child and paid the doctor in advance. The child died 
and the life of the doctor was in the hands of the friends of the 
dead child. Captain Jack either killed the doctor or ordered him 

162 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

to be killed and, under Indian tribal law, that should have ended 
the matter, but friends of the dead doctor decided to invoke the 
white man's law. An unsuccessful attempt was made to arrest 
Captain Jack and the whole matter came to the attention of 
Superintendent Meacham. The country was in a state of alarm 
and Meacham knew that war might result. Captain Knapp had 
just been relieved as Indian Agent at Fort Klamath and Meach- 
am, as Superintendent of Indian Affairs, had been instructed by 
the department to place someone in charge. Meacham decided to 
make an effort to prevent bloodshed and made some quick 
moves. His brother, John Meacham, was the commissary at 
Klamath Agency and the Superintendent appointed him in 
Knapp's place as Agent. 

About that time Superintendent A. B. Meacham received' a let- 
ter from Jesse Applegate in regard to the Modoc problem. Jesse 
Applegate was a prominent citizen of many capabilities, among 
which was that of a surveyor, and he was well versed in the In- 
dian character. Applegate suggested that the only way to per- 
manent peace with the Modocs was to give them a small reserva- 
tion on Lost River and furnished Superintendent Meacham 
with a small map of the proposed site. Meacham forwarded the 
letter and map to General Canby together with a recommend- 
ation that military action to arrest Captain Jack be delayed. 
General E. R. S. Canby was then commander of the Department 
of the Columbia and issued the necessary order revoking the one 
calling for Captain Jack's arrest. 

Superintendent Meacham wrote a long letter of instructions to 
his brother John and arranged for Ivan D. Applegate, then agent 
in charge of Yai-nax Station, Klamath Reservation, to accom- 
pany John as the second commissioner. A. B. Meacham had also 
requested Jesse Applegate to be a member of the commission but 
the latter was occupied with other duties and could not par- 

The two commissioners arranged through messengers to meet 
Captain Jack and five or six of his men. The commissioners were 
accompanied by only two other men, all four being well armed. 
They moved into the Modoc country where they met Captain 
Jack with almost all of his men and all armed, instead of the 
five or six agreed upon. Again it had been urged that the com- 
missioners' party be assassinated. Schonchin John, Hooker Jim, 
and Curly-haired Doctor urged the murders and were prevented 
by the insistance of Captain Jack and Scarface Charley. 

It is to be noted that this was the second time that Captain 

The Modoc War 163 

Jack had halted the murders of official white commissioners. The 
fortunate outcome resulting from Jack's attitude on each of these 
two occasions is to be remarked since it subsequently became 
known that the Modocs, generally, were always suspicious that 
Captain Jack would not carry out the wishes of the majority of his 
people. At this point it is also well to understand that all the 
Modocs were accustomed to contacts with white men and were 
somewhat acquainted with the white man's idea of representative 
government. In the light of events which follow this was trouble- 
some knowledge, for Jack was thereby a representative chief, em- 
powered only to exercise the will of the majority of his tribe. 
Had the Modocs been unaware of the white man's system, Jack 
might have been endowed with absolute power as was sometimes 
the case among primitive aborigines. 

Under the foregoing restrictions of authority Jack attended 
the council. He recited the grievances of his people their mis- 
treatment by the Klamaths while on the reservation; the failure of 
government to protect them according to A. B. Meacham's prom- 
ise of December, 1869; the argument that since the government 
had failed to keep its promises that Jack could not be held to 
answer to the white man's law for the killing of the Indian doctor 
who had failed to cure the sick child. He further said that his 
people had made two honest attempts to live peaceably with 
the Klamaths without reciprocity and that the Modocs had made 
up their minds not to try again. He agreed, however, that white 
people might settle in his country and that he would keep his 
people away from the white settlements and would prevent his 
men from causing trouble with the whites. 

The Commissioners again offered the Modocs a home on any 
unoccupied portion of the Klamath Reservation, which offer Jack 
declined. He was assured of protection and again pointed to pre- 
vious broken promises. He was then told that the Commissioners 
would be willing to recommend a small reservation near the 
mouth of Lost River if he would not molest the white settlements 
while the Indian Department was reaching a decision on the 
recommendation. The whole matter was carefully explained even 
to a possible long delay before a decision would be handed down 
and the further possibility of a refusal by the department to ap- 
prove the location on Lost River. Jack agreed to the whole pro- 
posal and in addition said that if the proposed home on Lost 
River were disapproved that his tribe would move to Yai-nax. 

On the above theme the council closed. The Commissioners re- 
turned home and made their recommendations as promised. 

164 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

That they had avoided assassination was due entirely to Captain 
Jack's refusal to condone the event. 

Superintendent A. B. Meacham made a full report to the In- 
dian Department at the national capital, pressing the desirability 
of the small reservation on Lost River and urging fair treat- 
ment for the Modocs. He also reported in detail to General 
Canby. As far as the department at Washington, D. C. was con- 
cerned it again temporized and that characteristic delay can, with 
reason, be held accountable for the ultimate conflict. 

The spring of 1872 came. The Modocs were growing impatient 
because of no department decision. They began to annoy the 
white settlers in many ways, thus breaking their agreement with 
Commissioners John Meacham and Ivan D. Applegate, and there- 
by forfeiting their right to gentle treatment. The settlers com- 
plained to both the Indian and Military Deparments and asked 
for relief. 

There was a new Chief of the Department of Indian Affairs in 
Washington, D. C. and A. B. Meacham was displaced as Superin- 
tendent of Indian Affairs for Oregon by T. B. Odeneal. Neither of 
the new officials was well acquainted either with Indian character 
or with the Modoc question. On April 11, 1872, Superintendent 
Odeneal was instructed by his superior to place the Modocs on 
the Klamath Reservation, or, locate them on a new home site. 
Odeneal reported to the department that since the Klamath Res- 
ervation had been designated that it was the proper place for the 
Modocs. On September 6, 1872, he received orders to remove the 
Modocs to the Klamath Reservation, "peaceably, if you can; 
forcibly if you must." Of course Captain Jack learned of the 
order. There was no secret about it and some of Jack's white 
sympathizers kept him posted. 

Captain Jack conferred -with Judges Steele and Roseborough 
of Yreka who advised him not to resist the authority of the gov- 
ernment but promised, as Jack's attorneys, to assist in getting 
lands for the Modocs, provided the latter would dissolve tribal 
relations. This offer of assistance as attorneys may have em- 
boldened the Modocs to treat government officers with less re- 
spect but we have the word of A. B. Meacham that Steele and 
Roseborough never held out any promise beyond that of assist- 
ing as best they could in the capacity of attorneys. Meacham 
makes that statement in his lengthy published volume covering 
the Modoc history and war and if any man would have had 
excuse to attach ulterior motives to the promises of the two 

The Modoc War 165 

judges it would have been A. B. Meacham, as subsequent events 
were to prove. 

On November 26, 1872, Superintendent Odeneal sent mes- 
sengers to the Modoc camp on Lost River ordering Captain 
Jack and his people to go to the Klamath Reservation. The mes- 
sengers were instructed, in the event of Captain Jack's refusal, 
that they arrange with Jack to meet Odeneal at Linkville, 25 
miles from the Modoc camp. Captain Jack refused either to move 
to the reservation or to go to Linkville, telling thr -^essengers 
that he did not want to talk with Odeneal; that he d" 1 not want 
any white man to tell him what he had to do; and that his white 
friends advised him to remain where he was. 

When Superintendent Odeneal received Jack's reply he im- 
mediately applied to the military commander at Fort Klamath 
for a force to compel the Modocs to go upon the Klamath Reser- 
vation. Major John Green of the First Cavalry was then in com- 
mand at Fort Klamath and on November 28th officially notified 
Odeneal that Captain Jackson with about thirty men would leave 
the post about noon on the same day, camp on Link River that 
night, and be at Jack's village on the morning of November 29th. 
As a matter of fact they did not arrive at Jack's camp until day- 
break on the 30th. 

The troop movement was intended to be made without the 
knowledge of the Modocs but Superintendent Odeneal sent mes- 
sengers to warn the settlers of the possibility of trouble and the 
nature of the expedition. Somehow several settlers were not 
warned among them one named Miller who had been helpful to 
the Modocs and who knew almost every man in Captain Jack's 
band personally. Failure to notify Miller, and others, was a fatal 
error as will be seen presently. 

While Captain Jackson and -his men were enroute to the Mo- 
doc camp, a group of about 25 citizens of Linkville prepared to 
accompany the military expedition. They proceeded toward Cap- 
tain Jack's village, taking the east bank of Lost River while 
Jackson with his troops approached on the west bank. The river 
divided the Modoc camp. Captain Jack and 14 of his men with 
their families occupied the west bank. Among those were Schon- 
chin John, Scarface Charley, Black Jim, One-eyed Mose, Watch- 
man, Humpty Joe, Big Ike, Old Tails, Old Tails' Boy, and Old 

On the east bank were Curly-haired Doctor, Boston Charley, 
Hooker Jim, Sholax, and ten others with their families. 

As Jackson and his troopers arrived at the camp early in the 

166 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

morning of November 30th, the citizens group reached a point 
near Curly-haired Doctor's camp on the east side. The Modocs 
were taken by surprise. Their friend Miller had told them that 
no soldiers were coming. They had gone to his homestead the 
day before to ask that specific question. Miller had not been 
notified by Odeneal's messengers. * 

While Jackson was deploying his men, an Indian who was out 
hunting, discovered the presence of the soldiers and discharged 
his gun. The camp was curious about the gunshot and upon look- 
ing about the soldiers were seen to have the camp under their 
control. The Indians grasped their guns but Jackson calmly told 
the Modocs to lay down their arms. Captain Jack complied and 
ordered his men to do likewise. 

A parley was held. Jackson explained the order under which 
he was there. Captain Jack begged Jackson to withdraw his troops 
saying that Superintendent Odeneal's messengers had said that 
they would come again and try to bring the Superintendent along. 
It is too bad -that Odeneal did not accompany the messengers 
originally or after they had reported back to him at Linkville. 
Captain Jack said afterwards that he would not have resisted had 
Odeneal, himself, come to him and made everything clear. Who 
knows but that for his mistake in a long list of errors, the Mo- 
doc war might not have occurred. The parley seemed to be 
accomplishing the desired results and Ivan D. Applegate, who 
had accompanied the troops, walked down to the river bank and 
called across to the regular Indian Department messenger, known 
as One-armed Brown, who was on the east shore with the citizens' 
party, that everything had been settled. Brown immediately pre- 
pared to carry the news to Linkville where Superintendent 
Odeneal was waiting. 

During the discussions all the Indians had laid down their arms 
except Scarface Charley, who was apparently dissatisfied with 
the trend of events. He was swearing and uttering threats and 
waving his gun. Jackson ordered Charley to put down his gun 
and when Charley refused, Jackson told Lieutenant Boutelle 
to disarm him. The Lieutenant advanced to fulfill the order at 
the same time calling Charley a number of vile names. The In- 
dian became enraged at the verbal abuse and drawing his pistol 
shot at the officer. The Lieutenant's pistol cracked at the same 
split-second and immediately the soldiers began firing into the 
Indian camp, the Indians returning the fire. The west bank 
battle lasted for three hours. The Modoc, Watchman, was killed, 
and the Indians took cover in the sage-brush taking Watchman's 

The Modoc War 167 

body with them. Ten of the soldiers were killed and five wound- 
ed. The Modocs reorganized and upon their return to renew 
the fray some hours later, Jackson withdrew his troops from 
the immediate vicinity. 

Meanwhile things were happening on the east bank. Messenger 
Brown had started for Linkville, but hearing- the firing returned 
to see what was happening. The Indians on the east side had 
grabbed their guns and headed for the river to reinforce Captain 
Jack. The citizens' group scrambled down the bank to keep the 
east bank Modocs from getting into their canoes. A spirited 
fight at once ensued, the citizens retreating leaving three or four 
of their number dead, while the Indian casualties were one dead 
squaw with a dead infant in her arms. 

Up to that moment Captain Jack had not fired a shot al- 
though he did direct the battle, but when Jackson dispatched a 
messenger, Captain Jack ran after him and fired an ineffectual 
shot or two. 

Instead of following up his advantage, Captain Jack assembled 
his people and led them to the lava beds. That is, all but Scar- 
face Charley, who now gave an example of the unpredictability o( 
the Indian character. Charley remained behind to warn any 
friendly white people traveling that way and did, in at least two 
instances, tell white men of the neighborhood's dangers, actually 
taking the riders' horses by the bits, turning them around and 
pointing in the direction of approach told the riders to ride for 
their lives. These men heeded the warning and notified the set- 
tlers of the hostilities. Among those notified was John A, Fair- 
child, a stock rancher, who for ten years had grazed his horses 
and cattle in the Modoc country. Near Fairchild's ranch house 
14 Modoc families were living. The ranch was located on Hot 
Creek, near its source, on the high land dividing the Modoc and 
Shasta Indian countries. Adjoining the Fairchild place was an- 
other ranch belonging to Press Dorris. These two ranchers called 
the Indian men together and told them of the battle on Lost 
River and persuaded them to permit Fairchild and Dorris to con- 
duct them to the Klamath Reservation. Among these Modocs 
were Bogus Charley, Shacknasty Jim, Steamboat Frank, and 
Ellen's Man George, all of whom were then anxious to avoid 
trouble but who later were to be prominently identified with 
tragic -events. The two ranchers sent word to the new Indian 
Agent Dyer at Fort Klamath, telling him of their plan and re- 
questing that the Agent meet, the group and take charge of the 

168 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

Dyer set out at once and passed through Linkville on his way 
to meet Fairchild and Dorris with the Hot Creek families. News 
of the battle had reached Linkville and the bodies of the dead 
troopers were brought there. Demand for vengeance was rife and 
a party of citizens had set out before Dyer's arrival. This group 
of citizens intercepted Fairchild and Dorris with their charges at 
Robert Whittle's homestead, but found the two ranchers pre- 
pared and determined to protect their Modocs. When Dyer 
reached Whittle's place he stated to Fairchild that he feared an 
effort would be made to annihilate the Indians in Fairchild's care. 
Some of the Indians overheard the conversation and all becom- 
ing frightened, hurriedly set out, riding straight to the Lava 
Beds, thus adding 14 warriors to Captain Jack's force. 

While the foregoing events were taking place something more 
sinister was happening elsewhere. After the Lost River battle the 
survivors of the Linkville citizens' party went to the ranch home 
of Dennis Crawley. As stated, Jackson had gone to Linkville, 
taking his dead and wounded there. The Modocs held a pow- 
wow and some of them, urged by Hooker Jim, Curley-haired 
Doctor, Steamboat Frank, and others decided upon a raid of 
vengeance. They went through the district killing the white 
ranchers and taunting the white women, saying that "Modocs 
do not kill women and children, but your husband's body will 
be found in the woods," and other statements of like import. 
Thus died 13 white men Brotherton, Schieire, Boddy, Miller, 
and others. Miller, who for ten years had voluntarily paid rent to 
the Modocs for grazing his live-stock; who had furnished the 
Modocs with provisions and ammunition; who had been particu- 
larly generous to Hooker Jim. Hooker Jim killed him. Jim later 
declared that he did not recognize Miller when he shot him, but 
A. B. Meacham declared that he thought the murder was de- 
liberate because Hooker Jim felt that Miller had purposely 
withheld information from the Modocs about the coming of the 

The raiders loaded their ponies with plunder and joined 
Captain Jack in the Lava Beds. Captain Jack denounced the 
murderers, particularly for the killing of Miller and said that 
the raiders should be surrendered to the government authorities 
for trial. But Captain Jack's will did not prevail. Curly-haired 
Doctor promised to "make medicine" to protect them and the 
warriors, by a large majority, voted that the murderers would 
not be surrendered. The total number of fighting men in the 
group was then 53, including Captain Jack, himself. November 

The Modoc War 169 

30, 1872, had been a sad culmination to the mishandling of 
Indian relations. But the die had how been cast. There could 
be no turning back from war to a finish. 



THE portion of the Lava Beds important to the Modoc War is a 
relatively small fraction between Tule Lake and Clear Lake in 
extreme Northern California and in sight of the Oregon-Cali- 
fornia boundary. The entire Cascade Range is volcanic. The 
section which today comprises Lave Beds National Monument is 
particularly rugged and probably represents the most recent lava 
flows in the entire Cascadian plateau. Here is the roughest kind 
of lava, known as "aa." It is scoriaceous lava which flowed from 
great fissures in the earth's crust like thick, frothy molasses. It 
billowed and traveled slowly, some sections cooling more rap 
idly than others, forming caves and tunnels. Many of these 
remain today. Others have caved in and are seen as deep trenches 
20 to 100 feet deep and 50 to 250 feet wide. There are old 
fumaroles or vents from which steam and gases once escaped. 
There are cinder cones and craters. It is a rough country. 

The particular section chosen by Captain Jack as his place of 
refuge and known ever since as Captain Jack's Stronghold was 
at the extreme northern edge of the present day monument. The 
place was a maze of winding paths, of changing levels, and 
caves an ideal place of concealment, most difficult to attack, but 
easy to defend. 

From the half dozen nearest small military posts regular sol- 
diers were dispatched to concentrate on the Modocs. Oregon re- 
cruited two or three companies of volunteers and California 
sent one. Some of the troops camped at Fairchild's ranch from 
where they observed a few Modoc women and children ^camped 
on a nearby creek and proposed capturing them. John Fairchild 
stopped that move at its inception. All units were busy with 
preparations for an early attack. There was a lot of bantering 
and joking about how easy the job was to be. To get it over 
quickly and get home was the slogan. The plan of attack called 

170 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

for half of the troops to approach from the north, the other 
half from the south, converging and encircling the stronghold. 

On January 16, 1873, the two assault detachments were only 
a few miles apart, ready to march at daylight the next morning 
in accordance with orders already issued. 

General Frank Wheaton was there in overall command, and 
Colonel Bernard and Major Jackson. All were old Indian fight- 
ers. John Fairchild and Press Dorris, the cattle ranchers, were 
present. They knew the beleagured Modocs personally and they 
also knew the lava beds, for they had looked for stray cattle 
there many times. None of these men discounted the difficulties 
of dislodging the Indians. The veterans among the enlisted men 
in the regular army also knew what they were up against. Only 
the recruits and the inexperienced young-bloods among the 
volunteers considered the coming fray a mere exhilerating pas- 
time. As a matter of fact, the troops were not to be encumbered 
by blankets and knapsacks, expecting to be back in camp by 

At four o'clock on the morning of January 17th the bugle 
sounded, arousing the troops. The weather was cold and foggy 
so foggy that no visible signal could be given to Colonel Bar- 
nard, in command of the contingent on the southern wing. But 
his orders had been coordinated with those of the northern wing 
and the two columns began their converging approach to the 
Modocs' rocky fortress. 

The cavalrymen were dismounted, their horses left at camp. 
The volunteers moved forward rapidly until cautioned by their 
officers. The regulars were steadier for Major Jackson's command 
had been in the fight on Lost River and had respect for the 
Indians as fighters. Advancing some distance over the rough 
terrain without raising a Modoc gave cause to some of the men 
to remark that the Modocs had fled. Presently firing was heard 
which the northern contingent identified as coming from Col- 
onel Bernard's troops. 

Suddenly streaks of flame spurted through the fog from 
directly in front. A soldier fell, blood pulsating from his neck. 
Then another dropped. Colonel Green ordered his troops to fire 
and that order was repeated up and down the line. The troops 
began firing heavily but without a target. Not a Modoc had thus 
far been seen. Colonel Green ordered a charge. The men ad- 
vanced for several hundred yards, climbing rocks, jumping 
crevasses, but still no Modoc had been sighted nor had there 
been a cry of agony from the Modoc side. Soldiers were being 

The Modoc War 171 

hit frequently. Green tried to close up his lines and mounted a 
cliff, calling on his men to follow. Bullets whizzed all around 
Green, who, miraculously, was not hit. But others were. The 
Modocs let loose their blood-curdling war-whoop. The fog began 
to lift. The soldiers continued to move forward, their casualties 
mounting. However, they gradually tightened the circle around 
the stronghold. Then the Modoc fire broke the blue line again. 
The wounded cried for rescue. 

General Wheaton called a council of his principal officers as 
the fighting continued. That part of the line nearest the lake 
also gave way. Almost everywhere the soldiers faltered. Retreat 
was sounded and as the notes of the bugle reached the ears of 
the wounded they again cried out for rescue. The retreating 
soldiers turned to save their wounded comrades. The Indians in- 
tensified their fire. At one point a wounded man was reached 
by two comrades. When they lifted the casualty one of the res- 
cuers fell. Fairchild's men now tried to save both wounded 
men. They failed. 

The soldiers fell back-all the soldiers-400 of them. The 
voices of the wounded pleading that they be not left to the 
savagery of the Modoc women were dimmed by distance. The 
troops which had advanced with confidence only a few hours 
before did not stop at camp. They kept on retreating. Thirty-five 
troopers did not answer roll-call. Many more were wounded. 

What of the Modocs? They had numbered 53 warriors, one of 
whom had been wounded in a skirmish on the 1 5th. There were 
not more than 53, probably only 52. Not one Modoc had been 
hurt in the battle. Their women brought in the clothing and 
personal effects of the fallen soldiers. The braves brought in 
the scalps. Curley-haired Doctor, the Medicine Man, boasted 
of his powers of protection. Schonchin John praised the powers 
of the Medicine Man. And Captain Jack knew that he might be 
deposed as chief. However, he made a speech saying that the 
white men were many and that they would come again but that 
he, their Chief, would not make peace until "the Modoc heart 
says 'peace*. " He also said that they would not again go on 
the war-path. 

The squaws brought in huge heaps of sage-brush and the tribe 
prepared for the scalp-dance. The native drum beat started. The 
dance began, each successful trophy hunter carrying, tied to the 
ramrod of his gun, such scalps as he had taken. The Chief took 
no part in the ceremony. 

Meanwhile the troops were resting and talking, attempting to 

172 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

explain and excuse their defeat. The only result of all the talk 
was the ultimate recall of General Wheaton. True, he was in 
command and the effort had failed. But where was the officer 
who could have succeeded? With more of the troops untrained 
in Indian warfare and an impregnable stronghold to storm? 



SEVERAL DAYS after the battle Captain Jack sent word to John 
Fairchild and Press Dorris suggesting a talk and guaranteeing 
safety should the white men agree to meet him at the foot of 
the bluff near the Modoc camp. The meeting was held, the sub- 
stance of Captain Jack's talk being that he did not want to fight 
any more and asking that the old home on Lost River be restored 
to the Modocs. Fairchild and Dorris had no authority to promise 
anything and so informed Jack, promising only that they would 
do what they could to stop further hostilities. That meeting 
brought much unwarranted criticism of the two white men from 
wagging tongues belonging to men who would not have ventured 
to such a meeting themselves. Fairchild and Dorris were men of 
integrity and their reputations withstood the slander. 

News of the January 17th defeat had, of course, reached the 
nation's capital. E. L. Applegate, of Oregon, was in Washington, 
D. C. at the time, as were other Oregonians. Applegate conferred 
with Attorney-General Williams about the Modoc troubles. The 
Attorney-General requested Applegate to submit a memorandum 
covering their conversation, which was done. That resulted in 
notice to Applegate from the Attorney-General that Secretary of 
Interior Delano would be glad to discuss the Modoc question 
with the Oregon delegation and that meeting was held on Janu- 
ary 25th. Secretary Delano requested a written rocommendation 
for his use at a cabinet meeting and that document was furnished. 
It contained a recital of the history of the Modoc affairs, the 
reasons for incompatibility between the Modocs and the Klam- 
aths, a recommendation that several of the related tribes, includ- 
ing the Modocs, be placed on a reservation on the Oregon Coast, 
and suggested that A. B. Meacham, who was then in the capital, 

The Modoc War 173 

be selected to head a peace commission to treat with the Indians. 
Meacham was invited to accept the appointment and only did 
so upon the earnest insistance of the Secretary of the Interior. 

Albert B. Meacham was qualified. He had managed the var- 
ious Indian tribes successfully while Superintendent of Indian 
Affairs for Oregon and possessed an unusually complete under- 
standing of the Indian character. Besides he was anxious to see 
an end to the Indian troubles in the Pacific Northwest. The 
other men appointed to the Commission were Jesse Applegate, a 
first citizen of Oregon and well qualified in every way for the 
task, and Samuel Case, who, at the time, was Acting Indian 
Agent at Alsea, Oregon. General E. R. S. Canby, U. S. Army, 
Commander of the Department of the Columbia, was to act as 
counsellor to the commission. 

Commissioner Meacham arrived at Fairchild's ranch on Feb- 
ruary 19th. General Canby had established his headquarters there 
and Jesse Applegate and Samuel Case were waiting. The Com- 
mission went into session, its first job being that of reestablishing 
communication with the Modocs. This was motivated by the 
selection of Robert Whittle, his Klamath Indian wife Matilda, 
and a Modoc woman living nearby who was known as One-eyed 
Dixie. They were asked to go to the Modoc stronghold. It was 
a dangerous mission in view of the popular belief that the Modocs 
were elated over their recent victory and the failure of the 
troops to renew hostilities. In fact, the messengers all expressed 
doubt of survival as they left Fairchild's on the morning of 
February 21st. The ranch was located about 25 miles from the 
Lava Beds and late the same day the trio returned safe and 
sound. They brought the news that the Indians were willing to 
meet John Fairchild and Robert Whittle the next day at the foot 
of the bluff beneath their camp. The two men with the two 
Indian women left the next morning. Fairchild was instructed to 
tell the Modocs about the Commission, stating its purpose and 
giving the names of its members, and to arrange, if possible, for a 
meeting between the Commissioners and the principal men of the 
Modocs. Fairchild was also told that he should explain the mean- 
ing of an armistice, in the event that a meeting was acceptable, 
and that the meaning of that term was that "no act of war 
would be committed by us, or permitted by them, while ne- 
gotiations for peace were going on." 

* In a reminiscent article of January 30, 1926, Captain Oliver C. Apple- 
gate thus designates the official composition of the Modoc Peace Commission: 
Alfred B. Meacham, formerly Superintendent of Indian Affaire for Ore- 

174 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

The meeting was held, Fairchild following his instructions ex- 
plicitly. Captain Jack told his visitors that he was ready to make 
peace; that he did not desire to fight; that he understood the 
terms of the proposed armistice; that the white people would be 
safe to come and go while peace negotiations were in progress; 
that he was unwilling to leave the Lava Beds to talk peace but 
that he would be glad to meet the Commissioners at the foot of 
the bluff; that he did not want soldiers to accompany the 
commissioners because soldiers frightened his boys. He may have 
meant that soldiers excited his warriors. Jack ended his talk by 
saying that his men would remain in the rocks while peace was 
being discussed and that "we will not fire the first shot." He 
also said that he would like to talk to his friend Squire Steele. 

Two Modocs, Boston Charley and Bogus Charley, accompanied 
the emissaries back to headquarters at Fairchild's to convey the 
Commissioners' answer to Captain Jack. The Commissioners decid- 
ed to go to the foot of the bluff without a military escort but told 
the two Charleys to tell Jack that the meeting would have to be 
held on open ground with both delegations either armed or un- 
armed. General Canby received permission to add Judge A. M. 
Roseborough to the Commission and on the morning of 
February 23rd both Steele and Roseborough arrived. 

Meanwhile communication continued between the Commiss- 
ioners and Captain Jack, the messengers being Frank Riddle and 
his Modoc wife Tobey, whose tribal name was Winema. No plan 
offered seemed to meet the approval of Captain Jack. A few 
Modocs drifted into the Commissioners' camp. These Modocs 

gon, Chairman; General [Edward Richard Sprigg] Canby, Department 
Commander, U. S. Army; Reverend Ezekiel Thomas, a Methodist minister; 
LeRoy S. Dyer, U. S. Indian Agent of the Klamath Falls Agency, Oregon; 
Interpreters: Winema, or Toby Riddle, a Modoc woman and second cousin 
of Captain Jack; and her husband, Frank Riddle, a Kentuckian. For the 
Modocs: Captain Jack; Schonchin John, sub-chief and brothers of Old 
Schonchin (Sconchin) who was chief of the friendly Modocs, then at their 
Camp Yainax on the Klamath Reservation; Black Jim, half-brother of Captain 
Jack; Boston Charley and Hocka (Hooker, Hocker) Jim, headman. 

Also (Captain) Oliver C. Applegate, officer in charge of the Modocs, 
Piutes and KTaTnatns at Camp Yainax, was detailed by Genreal Canby to 
assist the Commission and at Canby's request brought loyal Old Schonchin 
to the Lava Beds to assist in negotiations but particularly to observe the 
conduct of the hostiles to determine whether they were acting in good faith. 
However, after several days word was received that Captain Jack had 
emissaries at Yainax trying to get the Modocs there to join the impending 
war. Thereupon, Old Schonchin asked General Canby that Applegate escort 
him back to Yainax to head off dissaffection among his people, which request 
was granted. 

The Modoc War 175 

learned from squaw men about the general feeling against the 
Indians; of the grand jury indictments in Jackson County re- 
turned against the Lost River murderers; of the adverse attitude 
of the newspapers; all of which information was carried back 
to Captain Jack. Bogus Charley and Boston Charley were not 
above embellishing what they heard with plausible additions. 

Judge Steele agreed to visit the Modoc camp. There was no 
unanimity of opinion regarding Steele's instructions. Com- 
missioners Applegate, Case, and Roseborough agreed that 
Steele should offer peace terms. Chairman Meacham demurred 
believing that it was unwise for a third party to intervene in 
that duty. However, as a result, Steele was authorized to offer 
amnesty to all Modocs upon their agreement to be moved to 
some distant reservation to be selected by the Modocs them- 
selves, but that pending such transfer the Indians were to sur- 
render as prisoners of war and be taken to Angel Island in San 
Francisco Bay where they would be kept at Government ex- 
pense. With Mr. Steele went John Fairchild and a few news- 
paper reporters, with Frank and Tobey Riddle as interpreters. 
The party was welcomed by Captain Jack and Judge Steele 
outlined the peace conditions as instructed. The Modocs ap- 
peared to favor the plan and it was agreed that several of the 
tribesmen would accompany the emissaries back to the head- 
quarters of the commission. Those selected were Queen Mary, 
who was Captain Jack's sister, Bogus Charley, Boston Charley, 
Hooker Jim, Shacknasty Jim, Duffy, William, and Curley- 
haired Jack. 

When the party came within hailing distance of the Com- 
missioners' camp, Steele raised his hat in salute and shouted 
"They accept peace." Immediately the camp was astir with 
newspaper correspondents hurriedly preparing news articles for 
their papers; aides writing dispatches to the war and interior 
departments, and an atmosphere of relief pervaded the camp. 
As the party dismounted Fairchild stepped forward and said 
that he did not concur in Steele's statement. He expressed the 
opinion that Steele's peace talk had been well received but he 
was sure that the Modocs did not understand that they were to 
surrender. The Modocs present were interrogated but declined 
to comment, saying that they had come to listen and not to talk. 
Steele was so sure of his statement that he offered to return to 
the Modoc camp the next day to secure confirmation of his 
understanding. Both Fairchild and Riddle declined to ac- 
company him but Tobey agreed to go as did the correspondent 

176 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

for the Sacramento Record, and, of course, the visiting Modocs. 
The latter rode ahead and when Steele and his newsman 
companion arrived it was completely clear to Steele that he 
had been mistaken. There was every evidence of hostility and 
the situation was saved only by the fact that Steele remained 
calm and appeared not to notice the changed attitude. 
Events moved quickly. Steele extended his hand to Captain 
Jack who cautiously managed to tell Steele that he was still a 
friend. Captain Jack then made a speech in which he said that 
Steele had misunderstood him. Steele replied that he was their 
friend and that he would not intentionally have misquoted 
them. Schonchin John accused Steele of betraying the Modocs 
and clearly indicated that Steele would not live to misrepresent 
them again. Steele, grasping the situation, said that he would 
not talk with a man "when his heart is bad" and that they 
would resume the council the following day. 

Captain Jack and Scarface Charley took Steele and the 
newsman to Jack's quarters for the night where the two Indians 
and Queen Mary stood guard over them until morning. The 
council was then resumed and it was evident that the danger 
was still very real. Steele proposed that he and his companions 
return to the headquarters of the Commission and bring back 
with him all of the commissioners on the following day. The 
ruse worked only because some of- the Indians saw in the pro- 
posal a chance to trap the commissioners. 

When Steele returned he frankly acknowledged his error and 
explained the strategy behind his escape. With equal candor he 
gave as his opinion the statement that if the commissioners 
visited the Modocs that all of the commissioners would be mur- 
dered. Meacham, as chairman, wired Secretary Delano the de- 
tails of the situation, concluding with the statement that he be- 
lieved treachery was intended and that the mission could not 
succeed. General Canby concurred. .But on March 5th Secre- 
tary Delano replied by telegraph via Yreka, California, that he 
did not think the Modocs meant treachery; said he thought he 
understood the unwillingness of the Modocs to place con- 
fidence in Meacham; ordered negotiations continued; and end- 
ed by saying he would consult the President the following day 
and ask the War Department to communicate with General 

The camp was dejected. The troops who had fought under 
Major Jackson at Lost River and those who had been under 

The Modoc War 177 

General Wheaton in the January defeat in the Lava Beds had 
no desire for another go at the Modocs. 

The situation stagnated until one evening a small group of 
Modocs came into the camp at Fairchild's. One of them was 
Queen Mary who brought a proposal from her brother that if 
General Canby would send wagons half-way that all of the 
Modocs would meet them and surrender. The Commissioners 
discussed the proposal, Meacham voting against the offer and 
the other three voting affirmatively. Thus the Commission re- 
linquished its primary authority to General Canby who accept- 
ed the new responsibilty. He concluded a clear understanding 
with Queen Mary and those with her, all of whom returned to 
the Lava Beds. The agreement stood that the wagons would be 
sent without a military escort and that on the following Mon- 
day all the Modocs would move out and surrender. 

Two or three circumstances, each unimportant when con- 
sidered separately, are worthy of mention at this point. For 
some reason never explained General Canby now refused to use 
Riddle or Tobey as interpreters although they were still em- 
ployed by the Commissioners as such. This fact was observed 
by the visiting Modocs, one of whom, Boston Charley, indicated 
to Tobey that she would not see him again by saying, "If you 
ever see me I will pay you for the saddle I borrowed." Tobey, 
who resented the treatment she and her husband were receiving 
in not being used as interpreters, kept silent about her under- 
standing of the meaning of Boston Charley's remark. The day 
preceding that set for the surrender a messenger arrived from 
the Modocs saying that they would need two more days be- 
cause they were burying their dead. General Canby accepted 
the delay and assured the messenger that the teams would be on 
hand two days hence, as now requested. In the meantime news 
that the war had ended began to spread. 

The day before the postponed surrender was to have occurred 
Riddle and Tobey told Meacham that, in their opinion, one of 
two things would happen-either the Modocs would not put in 
an appearance or, if they did, it would be only for the purpose 
of capturing the wagons. Meacham conveyed that information 
to General Canby who interviewed the Riddles and also con* 
suited General Gillem (oftenmis-spelled"Gilliam") . Canby reached 
the conclusion that either Tobey did not have a basis for her 
suspicions, that she was being fooled by the Modocs, or influenced 
adversely by those opposed to peace. So the appointed morning 

178 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

arrived and the teams were sent out under the supervision of 
Mr. Steele. 

So sure were Generals Canby and Gillem of the good inten- 
tions of the Modocs that they designated the individual tents 
to be occupied by the Modoc families. Oliver C. Applegate, 
with equal certainty, left for home reporting enroute that the 
war was ended and that the Modocs had surrendered. Fairchild 
thought otherwise as, of course, did the Riddles. Hours passed 
and just at nightfall the cavalcade returned, Steele riding at the 
head of the column of empty wagons. 

Next day another delegation of Modocs arrived stating that 
the tribesmen had failed to agree; that they needed more time. 
The truth, as subsequently proved, was that the subject on 
which they disagreed was whether or not to capture the wagons. 
Captain Jack and Scarface Charley opposed the capture. 

Washington, D. C. was notified of the failure and orders 
came back at once for the Commission to continue negotiations. 
At that time the Commission consisted of A. B. Meacham, 
former Superinendent of Indian Affairs for Oregon, General 
Edward Richard Sprigg Canby, commanding the Department of 
the Columbia of the United States Army, Samuel Case, Acting 
Indian Agent at Alsea, Oregon, and Judge Roseborough of 
Yreka, California. 

Upon receiving the instruction to continue negotiations Mr. 
Case resigned from the Commission and Judge Roseborough 
returned to his regular judicial duties. LeRoy S. Dyer, Indian 
Agent at Klamath Agency, Oregon, was appointed in place of 
Case and Reverend Eleazar* Thomas, a Methodist minister 
from California, was selected in place of Judge Roseborough. 

General Canby notified the Modocs that there would be no 
more temporizing. Recruits were pouring into camp. One com- 
pany of newly enlisted men while passing near the Lava Beds 
captured 30 Modoc ponies. Canby moved his headquarters to 
Van Bremen's ranch, several miles nearer the Lava Beds. He 
sent out scouting parties to obtain a better knowledge of the 
terrain surrounding the Modoc stronghold. On one of these 
trips Reverend Thomas accompanied die troopers and meeting 
several Modocs reopended communications. A delegation of 
"the Indians then visited the new camp but all efforts made 
through them to arrange a meeting with their leaders were 
fruitless. General Canby notified Captain Jack of the General's 

* In A. B. Meacham's book Wigwam & Warpath, he refers to Thomas as 

James W. Nesmith, Colonel of 

Lieutenant-Colonel E. J. Steptoe, United 
States Army. 

Chief Seattle, for whom Seattle, Wash- 
ington, is named. 

Chief Leschi of the Nisquallies. 

Captain Jock, Chief of the Modocs, 
hanged by the U. S. Army. 

Captain Jack's Family. 

Scarface Charley, important Modoc. 

Schonchin John, Sub-Chief of the 
Modocs, hanged with Captain Jack. 

The Modoc War 179 

intention to change the position of the troops in the interest of 
better communications and that the soldiers would not begin 
hostilities unless the Modocs provoked an attack. Captain Jack 
sent a reply saying that the Indians would not fire the first shot 
and asked that the stolen horses be returned. Then a few Mo- 
doc women came to ask the return of the ponies. The request 
was denied; in fact some of the ponies had already been ap- 
propriated by young volunteers for their own use when re- 
turning home. 

On March 31, 1873, the army started to move to the Lava 
Beds. The movement consumed four days. The new camp was 
on the lake shore at the foot of the bluff which overlooked the 

It was quite apparent to Meacham that any attempt to 
storm the hideout would be costly in soldiers' lives and it was 
decided to try at once for a council with the Modocs. 

Boston Charley came into camp and through him arrange- 
ments were made for a meeting which was held the day after 
the Commissioners arrived at the new camp of the army. At- 
tending the council were General Canby, General Gillem, 
Reverend Thomas, Messrs. Meacham and Dyer, with Frank and 
Tobey Riddle as interpreters. With Captain Jack and his prin- 
cipal men were six or seven Modoc women, the latter tending a 
bon-fire in a low, rocky basin. The place was out of view from 
the soldiers' camp, which fact, of itself, suggested treachery. 
However, the pipe of peace was smoked and then each of the 
white men made a short speech favoring peace, to which Cap- 
tain Jack and Schonchin John replied in preliminary talks. A 
heavy rainstorm came up and General Canby suggested that a 
tent be erected at a half-way point where subsequent meetings 
could be held and that idea met with Modoc favor, although a 
definite time for the next meeting was not fixed. 

Next day the council tent was erected at a place not quite a 
mile from army headquarters and slightly more than a mile 
from the Modocs 1 stronghold. Care was taken to select a site 
as free as possible from the dangers of ambush. The signal corps 
established a station about half way up the bluff in plain 
sight of the tent. Colonel Mason's command was beyond Cap- 
tain Jack's camp on the opposite side from General Canby's 
headquarters and a telegraph line was installed between the 
two bodies of troops. The Modocs were invited to visit the 
General's camp during daylight hours and did so, being en- 
couraged to mix freely with officers and men. This was done for 

180 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

the two-fold purpose of convincing the tribesmen of the friend- 
ly intentions of the army as well as to make an impression of 
might. The Indians were even permitted to examine the mor- 
tars and the heavy shells. 

One day Bogus Charley and Hooker Jim observed the tele- 
graph line and asked that it be explained. General Gillem 
told them that it was used to talk to Colonel Mason's camp, also 
saying that Colonel Mason would move his camp closer to the 
Modocs in a few days and that Gillem would move his own 
camp to a flat area very near to Captain Jack and further that 
within a few days 100 Warm Springs warriors would arrive. All 
this news greatly excited the Modocs who sought out John Fair- 
child to whom they expressed great dissatisfaction because of 
the telegraph and the coming of the Warm Springs Indians. 

On April 4th Captain Jack sent Boston Charley with a re- 
quest that Meacham and Fairchild meet him at the council tent. 
The two white men went, taking the Riddles along as inter- 
preters. Soon after reaching the tent Judge Roseborough arrived 
in camp and learning of the conference also went to the meeting 
place. Captain Jack was already there, accompanied by seven 
or eight of his men and some of the Modoc women. The talk 
lasted seven hours and was, in fact, the only full and free dis- 
cussion between the Modocs and the Commissioners during the 
life of the Commission. 

The whole history of the Modoc troubles and complaints was 
reviewed. Captain Jack insisted that he wanted peace. He asked 
for his old home on Lost River. Meacham told him that since 
blood had been spilled there that the tribe could never return. 
Jack expressed his faith in Meacham and Fairchild, saying, "I 
know your hearts." Jack then asked that he be given the Lava 
Beds as a home and that no one else would ever want those 
rocks. Meacham replied that it would be impossible to grant the 
request unless the Lost River murderers were first surrendered. 
Captain Jack then developed a description of Indian law com- 
pared with the law of the white man and said that he could 
never surrender his young men to be hung and insisted that 
the Indians were not the primary aggressors. Meacham told him 
that there was no alternative for the Modocs but to leave the 
Lava Beds, go to another part of the country, acknowledge the 
authority of the government, and then all could live in peace. 
Jack refused. He made a long speech recounting the Ben Wright 
affair to which Meacham replied with a similar story about 
Bloody Point. Finally the council closed with a friendly invita- 

The Modoc War 181 

tion by Meacham for Jack to go to Meacham's quarters for 
dinner and more talk. Jack replied, "I am not afraid to go, but 
my people are afraid for me." The fact was that his people 
would not permit him to go because they were not sure that 
Jack would stick to the Modoc side. Meacham understood that 
and upon returning to his quarters talked the whole day's 
events over with General Canby. Both wanted to make an effort to 
save Captain Jack and those of his people who stood for peace. 

Accordingly, with General Canby's authorization, Meacham 
found a way to get word to Captain Jack that if he and his 
peace party would agree to come out of the Lava Beds that the 
army would be placed in position to protect the withdrawal. 
Tobey Riddle was the messenger explicitly instructed to deliver 
the offer privately to Captain Jack, if possible. When she ar- 
rived, Jack refused to talk alone saying, "I want my people all 
to hear." So Tobey told her story and a vote was taken, eleven 
men voting with Jack to accept. But the vote was useless for 
the majority warned Jack and the eleven voting with him that 
any attempt to escape would mean death. So Jack said, "I am a 
Modoc, and I cannot and will not leave my people." Actually 
he dared not. 

On the trail back to camp one of the peace men had secreted 
himself and said to Tobey as she passed, "Tell old man Meach- 
am and all the men not to come to the council tent again- 
they get killed." 

When Tobey returned she staid on her horse, refusing to dis- 
mount until her husband arrived. She was upset as she told her 
story to Frank Riddle. The Commissioners were called together 
to receive her report. General Canby said that the Modocs 
might threaten such action but that they would not attempt it. 
Reverend Thomas considered the news to be propaganda, 
wholly for effect. But Meacham and Dyer believed the warning. 

The next day Bogus Charley, Boston Charley, and Shacknasty 
Jim came into camp and proposed that the Commissioners go 
to the council tent for a meeting with Captain Jack who was 
waiting there with four other Modocs. Boston Charley was 
the spokesman and Meacham, distrusting Boston Charley but 
not showing his distrust, said that the Commissioners were not 
ready to talk that day. As the conversation was progressing 
General Canby was handed a dispatch from the signal station 
reading, "Five Indians at the council tent, apparently unarmed, 
and about 20 others with rifles are in the rocks a few yards be- 
hind them." The message was passed around while the parley 

182 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

continued. At that moment all were convinced that treachery 
was afloat. Then, as the Modocs departed, Reverend Thomas 
made a grave mistake by saying to Bogus Charley, "What do 
you want to kill us for?" "We are your friends/* Bogus Charley 
pressed Thomas for the source of that idea and Thomas finally 
said, "Tobey told it." Bogus made it a point to question Tobey 
whereupon Tobey and her husband both became very much 
alarmed for their personal safety. 

The Modoc trjo returned to their camp and almost immedi- 
ately a messenger was sent demanding that Tobey visit the 
Modocs at once. Tobey and her husband consulted the Com- 
missioners all of whom except Meacham considered compliance 
by Tobey to be extremely dangerous. General Canby agreed to 
move his troops against the Modocs at once if Tobey were 
harmed, upon which promise she agreed to go. She had a tear- 
ful parting with her ten-year old son and then left under watch- 
ful field-glasses, one pair at the eyes of her husband. 

Arriving, demand was made for the source of her information. 
At first she denied the statement, then she said that the spirits 
had told her, but finally, when the tribesmen began to threaten 
her she pointed to the soldiers' camp and acknowledged the 
statement and said that a Modoc had told her but that she 
would not reveal his name and dared them to shoot her saying 
that if she were harmed the soldiers would swoop down upon 
them, killing all. Captain Jack and Scarface Charley interceded 
and provided an escort for her to the soldiers' camp. Upon ar- 
rival there she repeated her warning that none should go to 
the council tent. 



AFTER more than three-quarters of a century it is still difficult 
to rationalize the reasons leading to the decision to treat further 
with the Modocs as the circumstances stood after Tobey's second 
warning. The senior military officers did not agree; the Com- 
missioners did not agree. General Gillem thought the Modocs 
could be exterminated with small losses to the troops; Colonels 

The Modoc War 183 

Mason and Bernard felt that the casualties would take one- 
third of the one thousand soldiers; Colonel Green remembered 
the defeat of January 17th; the junior officers who had not been 
in the January battle were eager to fight; the enlisted men who 
had been through the January ordeal wanted no repetition of 
it; Colonel Wright wanted to wager that two companies, his 
own and Lieutenant Eagan's, could whip the Modocs in 15 

Once again a Modoc messenger came into the soldiers' camp. 
His requests was for Frank Riddle to come to the Lava Beds to 
advise the Indians. Riddle went but learned nothing new, but 
again warned the Commissioners not to meet with the Modocs 
unless fully armed. On the morning of April 10th Mr. Meacham 
went to the south end of the lake to visit Boyle's camp, leaving 
Reverend Thomas in charge of the Commissioner's affairs. 
Upon his return that evening, Meacham learned that a distress- 
ing decision had been made in his absence. Modoc messengers 
had come in to talk with Reverend Thomas assuring him that 
they had changed their hearts; that they now wanted only to 
make peace; that they were willing to surrender; that they 
merely wanted the Commissioners to prove their faith in the 
Modocs by coming unarmed to the council tent. The reverend 
gentleman, believing that his prayers for peace were being ans- 
wered, accepted the statement of the Modocs at face value. He 
conferred with General Canby and agreed that the Commission 
would meet the Indians at the council tent. Meacham was as- 
tounded. He stated unequivocally, that should the Commission- 
ers go that they would not return alive. 

Next day was Good Friday, April 11, 1873. The Commissioners 
were at breakfast early. Meacham was slow about leaving the 
table. Modoc messengers arrived urging haste and saying that 
Captain Jack and four of his men were waiting. General Canby 
had issued orders that the signal corps keep a close watch 
through field-glasses and from the break of dawn the Lava 
Beds had been scanned. There were several informal confer- 
ences around the Commissioners' quarters. Frank Riddle again 
begged Meacham not to go because of the danger of assassina- 
tion. Meacham asked him to repeat the warning in General 
Gillem's tent, which Riddle did, urging that if they were deter- 
mined to go on the expedition that they go well armed. Rev- 
erend Thomas insisted that they go unarmed as agreed. Dyer 
talked with John Fairchild who chatted with Bogus Charley 
and reported back to Meacham that he was uncertain about 

184 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

what was likely to occur and offered Meacham a six-shooter, 
which Meacham declined. Meacham seated himself on a blanket- 
roll and wrote a note to his wife saying plainly that she might 
be a widow by evening. He gave Fairchild $650.00 in currency 
to send to Mrs. Meacham. Mr. Dyer also gave Fairchild a pack- 
age for Mrs. Dyer. Meacham urged Dyer not to go to the tent 
with Dyer feeling sure that tragedy would follow. But Dyer 
said that he would go if the others went. It was Meacham's own 
philosophy that since he was chairman he either had to go or 
be disgraced. 

Tobey was holding Meacham's horse. She was weeping and 
said, "Meacham you no go; you no go. You get kill! You get 
kill!" But General Canby and Reverend Thomas had started. 
With them was Bogus Charley carrying his rifle. Meacham 
called to Canby and Thomas saying that it was his cool, delib- 
erate judgment that all of them would be murdered. Canby 
called back that Meacham was unduly cautious; that there 
were but five Indians at the tent. Thomas accused Meacham of 
lack of faith. Meacham urged that John Fairchild be invited 
to accompany them and that Fairchild and himself be permitted 
to go armed. A man walked by Meacham and dropped something 
in Meacham's pocket. It was a small Derringer pistol and 
Meacham permitted it to remain. Dyer saw the move and went 
into his own tent and slipped a Derringer into his own pocket. 
Meacham had to order Tobey to release his horse. The Com- 
missioners were on their way. 

Arriving at the council tent it was at once observed that the 
council fire was back of the tent and out of the view of the 
signal station on the slope of the bluff. That was a suspicious 
circumstance. Captain Jack was waiting, ill at ease. With him 
were Schonchin John, Boston Charley, Shacknasty Jim, Hooker 
Jim, Ellen's Man, Bogus Charley, and Black Jim. In addition 
to Commissioners Meacham, Thomas, Dyer, and General Canby, 
were Frank Riddle and Tobey. Unknown to the white men two 
Indian lads were hidden behind some rocks about 40 paces up 
the Modoc trail and each had several rifles. The talking began. 
Frank Riddle translated the Modoc speeches into English and 
his wife translated the Commissioners' speeches into Modoc. 
The conversation rambled. It was disconnected and seemed to 
get nowhere. Bogus Charley walked to Meacham's horse and 
took the overcoat from the saddle, donned the coat and said, 
"Me old man Meacham now." Meacham understood the import 
of the remark and, removing his hat offered it to Hooker Jim 

The Modoc War 185 

who declined it by saying, "I will by-and-by. Don't hurry, old 
man." There was no longer any doubt in anyone's mind about 
the fate which confronted them. Finally, Schonchin John took 
Captain Jack's place as speaker and ended by declaring that 
"I talk no more." 

Captain Jack gave a signal and the Modoc war-whoop 
brought everyone erect everyone but Tobey who lay close to 
the ground. The two Indian boys, Barncho and Slolux, were 
seen coming with the rifles. Meacham shouted, "Jack, what does 
this mean?" Jack answered by reaching inside his coat, drawing 
a six-shooter and shouting in Modoc, "Ot-we-kau-tux," or "All 
ready." Steadying the revolver on his left hand he pointed it 
at General Canby's head and pulled the trigger. It missed fire. 
He spun the cylinder and again pulled the trigger and the bullet 
crashed through the General's head. He staggered away, pursued 
by Jack and Ellen's Man. Canby stumbled. Jack held him down 
by the shoulders while Ellen's Man slashed the General's throat. 
Barncho handed Ellen's Man a rifle and the latter sent another 
bullet through Canby's head. They stripped every vestige of 
clothing from the body while it still twitched in the throes of 
death. Two men started to run. The one ahead was Commission- 
er Dyer. He was pursued by Hooker Jim who fired at Dyer 
several times without scoring a hit. Dyer turned, pointing his 
pistol at Hooker Jim who dropped to avoid the shot. Dyer re- 
newed his flight, outdistancing Hooker Jim. 

Another man in flight was Frank Riddle. Black Jim was in 
chase and fired rapidly at Riddle but was not trying to hit him 
for Scarface Charley had warned all the Modocs that he would 
kill anyone who harmed either Tobey or Frank Riddle and 
Black Jim knew that Scarface Charley was watching. 

At the very instant that Jack fired at General Canby, Boston 
Charley shot Reverend Thomas above the heart. Bogus Charley 
joined Boston Charley. They permitted Thomas to rise, laughed 
at him as Thomas tried to run and they tripped him. They again 
permitted him to rise and said, "Next time you believe a squaw, 
won't you?" But if Thomas heard the taunt it was the last 
functioning of earthly ears for he dropped over dead. Slolux 
then came up with rifles and Bogus Charley sent a bullet 
through the dead man's head. Then they stripped him, waving 
the clothes aloft. 

At the first signal Schonchin John drew his revolver and a 
knife. He was so close to Meacham that he did not want to trust 
to pistol alone. But Meacham was quicker. He drew his Der- 

186 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

ringer, and placed it against Schonchin's breast and pulled the 
trigger, but the pistol did not fire. He tried again. Once more it 
did not fire. It was cocked only half-way. By the time that 
Meacham discovered that fact Schonchin John had thrust his 
own revolver in Meacham's face. Meacham stooped as the bullet 
struck. Meacham ran backward, the Derringer now fully cocked 
but Schonchin John kept firing and emptying his revolver, im- 
mediately drawing another and resuming firing. Meacham could 
have fired but he saw Tobey rushing toward Schonchin John 
and feared hitting her. She grabbed Schonchin's pistol and 
shouted, "Don't kill him! Don't kill Meacham. He is friend of 
the Indians/' Slolux joined John and struck Tobey on the head 
with a gun. Shacknasty Jim came up and snatching up the gun 
sat down and took deliberate aim at Meacham. Meacham 
pointed to his breast and yelled, "Shoot me there, you cowardly 
red devil." Tobey struck down the gun. Shacknasty Jim threat- 
ened her and again took aim, firing just as Meacham leaped 
over a low rock pile. Shacknasty Jim shouted, "I hit him, high 

Meacham then decided to fire his one shot. He pushed the 
pistol over the rocks and just as his eye came into range he 
saw Schonchin John seated with his revolver resting on a knee. 
Schonchin fired, the bullet striking Meacham between the eyes, 
but by some freak of circumstances the bullet passed under 
the eye-brow and out over the left eye. Meacham then fired at 
Schonchin John, who fell wounded. Meacham was hit twice 
more and collapsed, twitching. Shacknasty Jim was the first to 
reach Meacham and without delay proceeded to strip the cloth- 
ing. Slolux came up and placed the muzzle of a gun at Meach- 
am's head but Shacknasty Jim pushed the gun away saying 
that it was useless to waste the ammunition; that Meacham 
was dead. Just then they heard Captain Jack calling and as 
they left the scene they taunted Tobey with statements to the 
effect that she was no Modoc; that she was a white-hearted 
squaw, and "there lies another of your brothers. Take care of 

Captain Jack gathered his murderous gang and ordered them 
to get back to the stronghold. They started, carrying the bloody 
clothing, of their victims. Boston Charley handed the garments 
he was carrying to another and announced that he was going 
back to get Meacham's scalp. Hooker Jim said, "He has no 
scalp or I would have it myself." alluding to the fact that 
Meacham was partly bald. Nevertheless, Boston went over to 

The Modoc War 187 

where Meacham lay and found Tobey wiping the blood from 
the battered face. Pushing Tobey aside he cut into Meachams 
scalp with a knife which he had taken from the pocket of a 
soldier slain in the January battle. Tobey, remembering that 
Meacham had befriended her and her husband, rushed at Bos- 
ton, hurling him against the rocks. He came back threatening 
to kill her if she again interfered and resumed his gory job. 
Placing one foot on Meacham's neck he announced that he 
would take an ear with the scalp and slashed again. Then Tobey, 
thinking fast, looked in the direction of the army camp, clapped 
her hands and shouted, "Bostee-na-soldiers. Kot-pumbla," 
meaning "the soldiers are coming." Boston did not pause to 
verify the statement but ran in the direction of the stronghold. 
Tobey again wiped the blood from Meacham's face, felt for his 
heart-beat and decided that he was dead. She glanced at the 
bodies of the three white men and mounting her horse set out 
for the camp of the soldiers. 

Meanwhile other events were occurring. It will be recalled 
that the Modocs had planned to assassinate Colonel Mason, in 
command of the troops on the other side of the stronghold. Ac- 
cordingly Curly-headed Doctor and one or two others set out to- 
ward Colonel Mason's camp under a flag of truce for the pur- 
pose of inducing the Colonel to meet them among the rocks. 
But Mason, an experienced Indian fighter, would not respond. 
However, Major Boyle and Lieutenant Sherwood volunteered 
and secured Mason's consent to meet the Indians. They passed 
through the outer picket line and when within hailing distance 
the Indians asked where Colonel Mason was. As Major Boyle 
replied that the Colonel would not come he observed that the 
Indians were armed and fled yelling to Lieutenant Sherwood to 
run for his life. The Indians started shooting and dropped 
Major Boyle with a bullet through a thigh. The guard from 
camp came rushing out and the Indians fled. While this was 
happening the signal station telegraphed the main camp that 
Boyle and Sherwood were being attacked under a flag of truce. 
Captain Adams, at the signal station on the bluff, transcribed the 
message and sent it to General Gillem who was not far away. 
The General called one of his staff to take the news to the 
Commissioners at the council tent when Major Biddle, also at 
Gillem's signal station and who had been watching through 
field glasses, yelled, "Firing on the Commissioners." 

General Gillem seemed dazed at the news but issued the 
necessary orders and the men fell into formation quickly. 

188 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

Colonel Miller and his men were ahead and met Dyer who 
said that all but himself had been killed. Then they intercepted 
Frank Riddle who said that all others had been slain. Next 
Tobey approached with the statement that Canby, Thomas, and 
Meacham were dead. The troops kept moving forward and 
came upon Meacham struggling to arise. One of the soldiers was 
about to shoot when Colonel Miller yelled, "Don't shoot; he's 
a white man/* 

Surgeon Cabanis kneeled over Meacham and ordered a 
stretcher, Meacham murmuring in his delerium, "I am dead; I 
am dead/' and calling for water. The surgeon put a canteen of 
brandy to Meacham's lips and the lips refused the drink. Even 
in his plight the temperance principles of Meacham rejected 
the liquor. But Dr. Cabanis forced the wounded man to drink. 
The stretcher bearers carried Meacham away and others went on 
to bring the bodies of General Canby and Reverend Thomas. 

The hospital tents were placed in readiness to receive the 
wounded from the imminent battle which promised numerous 
casualties if it' followerd the pattern of the January fight. But 
the troops did not pursue the Modocs. Instead, having found 
Meacham and the bodies of Canby and Thomas, they marched 
back to camp. Colonel Miller was not under orders to attack 
because General Gillem had decided to withhold such orders 
until the arrival of the Warm Springs Indians who were on 
their way to join the troops. 

Official messages announcing the tragedy were sent. The 
newspaper representatives dispatched couriers to Yreka with the 
first accounts and the surgeon went to work to save Meacham's 
life. A messenger was sent to Linkville to bring Captain Ferree, 
Meacham's brother-in-law, who came post-haste. 



IT will be remembered that Tobey Riddle had been the messeng- 
er sent to Captain Jack and those of his people who wanted 
peace; that Jack had declined to listen to Tobey except in the 
presence of the tribe; that a minority had voted with Jack to 

The Modoc War 189 

accept the offer; that they dared not leave under threat of death 
by the majority. 

Subsequent testimony revealed that after Tobey left the meet- 
ing the bloodthirsty majority made its weight felt A tribal coun- 
cil was held on the morning of April llth. Captain Jack, Scarface 
Charley, and a few others opposed the contemplated murders. 
Jack declared emphatically that the deed should not be done. 
The murderous majority placed a woman's hat on Captain Jack's 
head, and threw a shawl over his shoulders, roughly shoving him 
onto a seat on a rock. They accused him of cowardice, calling 
him "a woman and a white-face squaw." They told him that his 
heart had changed and that he had gone back on his own words, 
by which they referred to majority rule, which system he had in- 
stituted. They said that the white man had stolen his heart and 
that he was no longer a Modoc. Jack could not stand the taunts. 
He jumped to his feet, tossing the hat and shawl aside and shout- 
ed, "I am a Modoc. I am chief. It shall be done if it costs every 
drop of blood in my heart. But hear me all my people this days 
work will cost the life of every Modoc brave; we will not live to 
see it ended." 

Having reached a decision, Jack planned the assassination 
with cunning and coolness. He asserted his right to kill General 
Canby and chose Ellen's Man to be his helper. Schonchin John, 
next in rank to Captain Jack, chose Meacham as his victim and 
appointed Hooker Jim to assist. Boston Charley and Bogus 
Charley selected Reverend Thomas, who had given each of those 
two unworthies a suit of clothes each only the day before. Shack- 
nasty Jim and Barncho were allotted Mr. Dyer. Discussion then 
turned to who should take care of Frank Riddle, whereupon 
Scarface Charley gave notice that if Riddle or his wife were 
harmed that he would surely avenge them. 

There had been a great rivalry among the tribesmen con- 
cerned who would have the honor of participating in the kill- 
ings. The selections having been made the details of the plan 
were carefully rehearsed during which the additional plan for 
luring Colonel Mason to his death was decided. Captain Jack 
told his sister and Scarface Charley that he was ashamed of what 
he was about to do and that he had not thought that he would 
ever agree to such a thing. Bogus Charley was the first to propose 
the murders and he had been the one particularly favored by 
both General Canby and General Gillem, in fact both of them 
recognized him as interpreter instead of Frank or Tobey Riddle. 

At any rate the deed had been done. The soldiers had marched 

190 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

back to camp after recovering the bodies and the Modocs were 
back in the rocky fastnesses of the Lava Beds. There a bitter 
quarrel ensued. Shacknasty Jim was roundly criticised for not hav- 
ing killed Mr. Dyer. Those assigned to Colonel Mason's murder 
were berated for Major Boyle's escape. They quarreled over the di- 
vision of the clothing which had been worn by Canby, Meacham 
and Thomas. Captain Jack claimed the uniform of General 
Canby. The two Charleys divided the clothing of Reverend 
Thomas. Schonchin John, Shacknasty Jim, and Hooker Jim di- 
vided Meacham's effects. But while quarreling they knew that 
they must prepare for the defense which they felt was to be their 
immediate problem for none doubted that the attack by the 
troops would not be long delayed. So they pledged each other to 
fight till the last of them was dead. Curly-haired Doctor mar- 
shalled his helpers and began the Great Medicine Dance. It 
lasted all night. Morning came and with it no evidence of the 
expected attack. The Modocs, except Captain Jack and Scarface 
Charley, were exultant. The majority thought that the Doctor's 
medicine had worked its magic; that they had frightened the gov- 
ernment which would now grant everything the Modocs asked. 

Captain Jack and Scarface Charley could see more clearly and 
warned the others that the army would come and that it meant 
a fight to the death. 



BEFORE DAYLIGHT on April 12th a picket at Colonel Mason's camp 
challenged a group of horsemen. Their leader approached and 
identified himself as Donald McKay, who was a step-grandson of 
Dr. John McLoughlin, the first Chief Factor of the Hudson's 
Bay Company, at Vancouver, famous scout and veteran of 
several Indian wars, a man with Cayuse Indian blood from his 
mother. With him were 72 Warm Springs Indians, friends of A. 
B. Meacham since 1871, when Meacham was Superintendent of 
Indian Affairs for Oregon. They were all dressed in the uniforms 
of the United States Army, having enlisted with the consent of 
their Agent on their reservation 250 miles to the north. McKay 

The Modoc War 191 

reported to Colonel Mason's headquarters and returned to his 
men to be met with many inquiries about Meacham's condition. 
McKay had the respect of his charges, and his name was enough 
to cause a recalcitrant red man to be cautious. McKay, in spite of 
his part-Indian ancestry had always been on the side of the white 

On that day and the following, preparations were made for 
attack. The Modocs were being inspired by their medicine man 
who promised immunity from soldiers' bullets. Long Jim, a 
Modoc who had been under guard in the camp of the soldiers, 
had escaped and reported the current news to Captain Jack- 
that Meacham was alive; that McKay and his Warm Springs 
Scouts had arrived; that preparations for attack by 1000 soldiers 
had been completed. 

At four oclock in the morning of April Hth, the troops and 
the Warm Springs scouts assembled. Captain Jack, too, had made 
his preparations. His old people and the children had been 
hidden in caves; the young women had been detailed to take 
water and ammunition to the warriors, each of whom was in his 
appointed position. The Modocs were armed even better than 
on January 17th for they had acquired the guns and ammunition 
from the soldiers who had fallen on that day. Suddenly the ar- 
tillery opened fire on the stronghold. That was the signal for the 
troops to advance. The blue lines moved forward with no Mo- 
docs in sight and no evidence of their presence among the rocks. 
Then, at an unexpected moment, the Modocs opened fire. Sol- 
diers began falling here and there. Officers urged their men for- 
ward. The Indians intensified their firing. More soldiers fell and 
the bugle sounded retreat. Dead and wounded were carried away, 
some on stretchers to boats on the lake by which means they 
were transported to the hospital tents at camp; others by mule- 
litters, a sort of stretcher with inclined back-rest, strapped to a 
mule's back. Five soldiers died, many more were wounded. 

The battle was not abandoned. Throughout the day and that 
night the fight continued, the soldiers working in reliefs, thus 
securing rest and sleep, while at the same time the Modocs had 
to remain at their posts. 

Immediately to the west of Captain Jack's stronghold was a 
comparatively level space about a quarter-mile wide. It was ab- 
solutely without protection from the Modoc rifles but had to be 
crossed to invest the stronghold. Lieutenant Eagan and his com- 
pany were given that hazardous assignment, Eagan led his men 
and was the first to fall wounded. Then his men began to suffer 

1 92 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

casualties. Eagan ordered his soldiers to fall back which they did 
but to a position from which they could stop any attempt of the 
Modocs to capture Eagan and their other comrades who had 

Surgeon Cabanis, hearing that Eagan had been wounded, im- 
mediately started to the Lieutenant's aid, dodging a hail of 
Modoc bullets. He reached the fallen officer and dressed his 
wound but could not move him out of range. 

The Modocs ran out of water. They had even used up the ice 
often present in some of the caves. Water they must have and 
they decided to get to the lake to replenish their supply. Con- 
cealed behind bundles of sagebrush they started crawling toward 
the lake knowing that they had to cut through the lines of the 
soldiers. As they came close to the troops the Indians opened a 
terrific firing to which the soldiers quickly replied with equal 
vigor. The shooting was heavy and while the Modocs did not 
reach the lake, neither did they retreat. Night came on and 
through its enduring hours the fight continued. In the morning 
the Indians abandoned their attempt to reach the lake and also 
arrived at another decision, namely, that when another night ar- 
rived that they would evacuate their stronghold. 

Not satisfied to pass the daylight hours inactively, the Modocs 
sneaked out to the flat area which had been the scene of Lieu- 
tenant Eagan's fight the day previous, with the intention of killing 
any of the civilian teamsters who might be passing, or the 
stretcher bearers who were bringing in the wounded. Hooker Jim 
was the only Modoc to crown that venture with successs. He shot 
a young man named Hovey, who was scalped while still alive. 
Then Hooker Jim and his fellows crushed Hovey's head to a 
pulp by battering it with stones, stripped his body, took his 
horses, and went their way. Emboldened, the Modocs circled to- 
wards the army camp, knowing that most of the soldiers were at 
the job of investing the stronghold. Lieutenant Grier had been 
left in charge of the camp. When he realized that an attack 
was imminent he telegraphed Colonel Green that the Indians 
were out of their camp and attacking the army camp. Grier 
armed his civilian teamsters to augment his camp guard and 
prepared to meet the attack. However, the Indians satisfied 
themselves by firing a few shots and withdrew. 

There was considerable ineffectual and desultory firing 
throughout the day. Curiosity on the part of the Modocs did 
result in casualties for them. One shell which had landed the pre- 
vious day had failed to explode. Some of the Modocs decided to 

The Modoc War 193 

see what was inside the projectile resulting in its detonation and 
the death of two Modocs. 

A few old Indian women passed through the army lines to the 
lake. With them was a younger Modoc dressed in woman's 
clothing. After satisfying his thirst he started back to the Lava 
Beds but his manner of walking betrayed his masculinity and he 
was shot, a dozen bullets finding their mark. The soldiers scalped 
him, actually contriving five or six scalps which were subdivided 
so comrades could share in the trophy taking. 

Night came on. The artillery kept up a constant bombard- 
ment, but Captain Jack had gathered his people and left the 
stronghold in the early hours of the night, content that the 
shells fall near his now empty caves. In the morning the in- 
vestment proceeded. The soldiers, ever on the alert, converged on 
the caves only to find that their quarry had escaped all except 
one old man whom they incorrectly declared to be Schonchin 
John. A fusilade killed him and again the soldiers divided an 
Indian scalp into many pieces. They explored the caves and re- 
cesses, finding no more not even any trace of the Indian crema- 
tion which had been given as a reason for delay in surrendering 
several days earlier. 

While the fighting just described was in progress it should be 
mentioned parenthetically that the bodies of General Canby and 
Reverend Thomas were enroute to their burial places and Orpha 
Meacham, wife of A. B. Meacham, was on her way by stage to be 
at her husband's side. 

Captain Jack and his people found a new hiding place where 
they were resting from three days of fighting, but they were not so 
far away but that they could faintly hear the shots which had dis- 
patched the supposed Schonchin John. Actually, Captain Jack's 
new refuge was within sight of the signal station on the bluff. 
The Modocs had moved a few miles south into another jumble 
of lava rocks. With native cleverness their concealment was com- 
plete, not even a wisp of smoke to be seen. Their women were at 
outlook stations while the warriors rested. 

Then 14 Modocs were seen to be going for water. A company 
of soldiers was sent to engage the Indians who had reached a 
point about a half-mile from the army camp. Firing started at 
once and the Modoc war-whoop could be plainly heard. The 
skirmish was a brief one for the soldiers turned back to camp 
carrying three dead. The Modocs kept coming until they were 
close enough to fire a few shots which landed among the army 
tents. Artillery was brought to bear on the Indians who took 

194 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

shelter behind rocks at each round of shells, after each of which 
the Modocs came out of hiding and patted their shot-pouches in 
derision. General Gillem ordered the shelling to be discontinued 
and the Indians insolently mocked the artillery fire by bunching 
their rifles, elevating the barrels, and firing volleys into camp, 
Scarface Charley acting as their commanding officer. Tiring of 
their lethal pastime they went back to their camp. The whole 
episode reflected anything but credit on the soldiers 14 Indians 
flaunting their unconcern in the presence of several hundred 

Meanwhile news dispatches were constantly reaching the nation 
by courier service to Yreka, California. Most of these accounts 
were complimentary to the army in that they recited that the 
Modocs were surrounded; that they could not escape; that the 
Warm Springs Scouts were on outpost. From every section of the 
country came demands for the extermination of the Modocs. The 
score to date was almost wholly to the Indians' credit. About 50 
soldiers had died. The hospital tents were crowded with wound- 
ed. Almost daily the Modocs waylaid some straggling soldier in 
sight of camp, killed, stripped, and scalped him. Modoc emissaries 
visited many other Indian tribes for the purpose of recruiting 
allies for a general Indian uprising. There were sympathetic ears 
in all the tribes to listen to the glowing accounts of Modoe suc- 
cesses and, while a major war did not ensue, it was probably- 
closer to realization than most people thought. 

Mrs. Meacham had been stopped at Linkville where, on April 
19th, she received a message from her brother, D. J. Ferree, to 
hire an escort and be at the mouth of Lost River at noon the 
next day when she would be met by a party bringing her wound- 
ed husband out of the war zone. However, another day went by 
because it was feared that Meacham could not survive the trip, 
but on the second morning he was transported by boat across 
the lake. A storm arose which almost swamped the boat but 
finally the crossing was completed and Meacham was transferred 
to an ambulance which took him back to civilization and con- 
valescence, at Linkville. From there he was moved to Captain 
Ferree's ranch. There Ferree received a message from L. S. Dyer, 
Agent at Klamath Reservation, and who had been one of the Com- 
missioners. Under date of April 23rd Dyer wrote that the Klam- 
ath Indians had held a war council the night before and that all 
white women and children had been placed in Fort Klamath for 
safety. The reason for the war council and the inspiration for 
Dyer's message stemmed from the fact that word had reached 

The Modoc War 195 

the Klamaths from some of Schonchin John's friends that Meach- 
am had killed Schonchin John during the trouble at the council 
tent and that Meacham was convalescing at Ferree's ranch. Dyer 
feared that the Klamaths might attack the ranch for the purpose 
of killing Meacham. As a result of Dyer's warning Meacham was 
moved back to Linkville. As subsequent events proved, Schon- 
chin John had recovered from the wound caused by the shot 
from Meacham's Derringer. 

The army was inactive for several days. The reasons for not fol- 
lowing up the Modocs are not apparent. By April 26th the 
Warm Springs Scouts had definitely located the Modoc hide-out. 
A detachment was organized to reconnoiter for the express pur- 
pose of determining whether or not field guns could be placed 
in position to shell the Indian camp. There were 76 men and 
officers and Donald McKay and 14 of his Warm Springs Scouts in 
the contingent. In overall command was Captain E. Thomas of 
the 4th Artillery. First Lieutenant Thomas Wright of the 12th 
Infantry was present in command of detachments from his own 
company and that of the wounded Lieutenant Eagan. Lieutenants 
Arthur Cranston, Albion Howe, and Harris, all of the 4th Ar- 
tillery, Assistant Surgeon B. "Semig, guide H. C. Tichnor. Chief 
Packer Louis Webber and two assistant packers were with the 

It is well to explain that contemporary historians and 
newspaper correspondents often elevated the titles of army offi- 
cers. For example, Lieutenant Wright, who was son of General 
Wright, the famous Indian fighter of earlier wars, was often re- 
ferred to as "Colonel" Wright in accounts of the Modoc War 
written at that time. Sometimes that practice was due to the fact 
that the officer named was in temporary command of a unit 
larger than that usually accorded his rank, and sometimes it was 
due to the practice of bestowing brevet commissions. In the 
latter case an officer, who, for example, held a commission as a 
captain, might also hold a brevet commission as a Colonel, which 
entitled him to command a regiment instead of a company, but 
still at a captain's pay. It was a method of avoiding internal 
quarrels becauese of officer seniority. Lieutenant Wright when 
styled "Colonel" was in the first of the two categories just 

These troops were all from General Gillem's camp at the foot 
of the bluff. The Warm Springs Scouts were encamped in the old 
Modoc stronghold and were under orders to join the rest of the 
troops either enroute or at destination, which was a butte on the 

196 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

side of the Lava Beds opposite General Gillem's camp. Captain 
Thomas was under explicit orders to avoid an engagement. The 
butte was in full view of Gillem's signal station and about three 
miles distant. 

The detachment set out, with skirmishers forward and on the 
flanks, until it reached the foot of the butte. No Indians having 
been seen Captain Thomas ordered a halt for lunch and called 
in his skirmishers. Lieutenant Wright advised against removing 
the precaution observing to Captain Thomas that when Indians 
were out of sight was the very time to be expecting them. The 
men began to prepare their meal except Lieutenant Cranston 
and 12 men who left to explore the terrain, Cranston remarking 
that he was going to "raise some Indians." Moving out they soon 
passed from sight of the main body of the detachment. McKay 
and his scouts had not yet joined the detachment. Suddenly a 
withering fire from the rocks on both sides of Lieutenant Cran- 
ston's detail struck every man. Hearing the firing those back with 
Captain Thomas were thrown into confusion. Thomas ordered 
Lieutenant Harris with his men to take up a position on the 
side of the butte. Harris reached his position only to find the 
Modocs above him, firing into his ranks. Some of his men were 
hit and Harris ordered a retreat, leaving his dead and wounded, 
In the retreat Harris, himself, was mortally wounded. The In- 
dians followed up their advantage with appalling results. Every 
commissioned officer in Thomas' command except Assistant Sur- 
geon Semig was killed and he was wounded. Of the 66 en- 
listed men only 23 returned to headquarters. Donald McKay and 
his scouts heard the firing and hastened to the scene, arriving in 
time to prevent the annihilation of the entire detachment. As a 
further sad commentary McKay and his scouts were held off for 
a time by firing from the troops who thought they were Modocs. 

The engagement and slaughter lasted three hours in plairi 
sight of the signal station. Some of the 23 survivors were back in 
camp for more than an hour before Colonel Green and his com- 
mand were ordered to the rescue. There were 24 Modocs in the 
fight, not one of whom was even wounded. Fifty-three officers and 
enlisted men were either killed or wounded. In fact the battle 
was so one-sided that Scarface Charley called out in English, 
"All you fellows that aint dead had better go home. We don't 
want to kill you all in one day." Charley insisted that the 
Modocs stop their slaughter saying, "My heart is sick seeing so 
much blood and so many men lying dead." 

Why Captain Thomas called in his skirmishers will never be 

TheModoc War 197 

known. What circumstances caused Donald McKay to be in no 
hurry to join Thomas' column will always be a matter of conjec- 
ture. How Captain Jack's tribesmen could escape casualties and 
nullify the efforts of a large body of troops is something to cause 
wonderment. It is enough to say that the troops again delayed 
attacking. They awaited reinforcements. Meanwhile, Governor 
Grover of Oregon had , called out volunteers to go into the 
Modoc country to protect the settlers. 

A change in command of the war was deemed necessary and 
Colonel Jeff. C. Davis of the 23rd Infantry was sent to assume 
command. He was usually referred to in unofficial circles as 
"General" Davis while prosecuting the Modoc War. On May 
8, 1873, Davis wired the War Department that he had sent two 
squaws into the Lava Beds on May 6th. The squaws returned on 
the 7th reporting that they had seen no Indians but that they 
had found the bodies of Lieutenant Cranston and his men. 
Davis also informed the Department that he had sent the Warm 
Springs Scouts out on the 7th and had received a report from 
them that the Modocs had departed in a southeasterly direction. 
That report was bolstered by the fact that a supply train had 
been attacked on the east side of Tule Lake on the 7th, the at- 
tack having been made by 15 or 20 Modocs who had whipped 
the supply train escort of equal number, wounding three of the 
escort without casualties to the Indians. Davis further said that 
it was his intention to send troops in search of the Modocs, the 
soldiers to carry five days rations. 

Accordingly Davis sent two companies, those of H. C. Has- 
brouck and James Jackson, under Hasbrouck's command, to 
find the Indians. On the evening of the 9th these troops camped 
at a lake where signs of Indians were found. Hasbrouck's orders 
were not limited to finding the Indians but also covered protec- 
tion for the settlers, it being feared that since the Modocs had 
tasted so much blood that they might murder the settlers. 

On the morning of May 10th the Indians made a surprise at- 
tack just at daylight. While the soldiers were surprised they 
quickly responded and did so well that the Modocs began a re- 
treat toward the Lava Beds. Heavy firing was exchanged for three 
miles, which brought the Indians back to their old stronghold, 
the Warm Springs Scouts being on duty in the field. While 
Davis* official report gives Hasbrouck's command credit for the 
first of the Modoc reverses, it is silent on the fact that McKay 
and his Warm Springs Scouts again arrived at the right time to 
assist troops in turning the tide of battle. They drove the Modocs 

1 98 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

back to the Lava Beds and they recaptured the horses that had 
been taken from the supply train on the 7th. 

In that fight Captain Jack participated wearing General 
Canby's uniform and Ellen's Man, sometimes called George, was 
killed. He, it will be recalled, was Captain Jack's helper in the 
murder of General Canby. Two Warm Springs Scouts lost their 
lives in the fray. 

The death of Ellen's Man stirred up the quarrel between the 
factions in Captain Jack's tribe. Jack was accused of placing 
those not of his immediate family in the forefront of battle. That 
quarrel culminated in a genuine division of the band. Fourteen 
Modocs, all of whom had always voted for war, finally turned 
traitors to Jack and ultimately offered themselves as scouts for 
the army to run Jack to earth, and without promise of amnesty 
to themselves. Such was the Modoc character. 

The leaders of this traitorous group were Bogus Charley, 
Hooker Jim, Shacknasty Jim, and Steamboat Frank, none of 
whom was ever indicted and any one of whom was guilty of more 
crimes and breaches of faith than any other Modoc with the pos- 
sible exception of Schonchin John. 

At any rate, the quarrel among the Modocs caused a division 
of the band and both factions left the Lava Beds. The next few 
pages follow closely the text of Davis* official report. 

The troops soon learned of the departure of the Modocs and 
discovered that the Indians were traveling in a westerly direction. 
Captain Hasbrouck's cavalry command made a hard march of 50 
miles and came upon the faction called the Cottonwood band. A 
sharp, running fight followed and continued for seven or eight 
miles at the end of which the Indians scattered. Night was ap- 
proacing, the troopers' horses were exhausted, a few Modocs had 
been captured and Hasbrouck withdrew to Fairchild's ranch a 
few miles away for food, forage, and rest. Their captives said 
that the Cottonwood band would like to surrender, if given the 
opportunity. Such an opportunity was provided through friendly 
Indians, whereupon the Modocs tried to bargain for terms. 
Davis refused, guaranteeing nothing but safe conduct to his head- 
quarters. On May 22nd the Cottonwood band came in and laid 
down their arms. Counting men, women, and children they num- 
bered about 75 persons. 

Colonel Davis now decided to accept the services of the traitors 
but made no promise of amnesty. The four Modoc renegades set 
out and on the third day found Captain Jack's camp on Willow 
Creek, east of Wright Lake and about 15 miles from the Apple- 

The Modoc War 199 

gate ranch, to which place Davis and his staff had moved and 
where he was to await the return of the four Indians and the 

On May 28th the four Modocs reported to Davis, saying that 
Captain Jack had denounced them, had called them "squaws," 
and had said that he intended to attack Applegate's ranch that 
night. Davis immediately sent an aide, Captain E. V. Sumner, 
back to the rendezvous at Tule Lake with orders for Hasbrouck's 
and Jackson's commands to hasten to Applegate's ranch and to 
bring three days' rations in haversacks and ten days' rations on 
pack mules. The cavalrymen arrived on the morning of May 
29th under command of their regular leader, Major John Green. 

Only one hour's rest was granted the men and horses after 
which they started in pursuit of Captain Jack's band. About one 
o'clock in the afternoon of the same day the troops surprised the 
Modocs on Willow Creek. This creek formed the headwaters of 
Lost River. The Modocs fled in the direction of Langell Valley, 
a place just across the California-Oregon boundary on the Ore- 
gon side. The end of the campaign seemed near and each detach- 
ment of troops vied with the others to be the one responsible for 
Captain Jack's death or capture. Lieutenant-Colonel Frank 
Wheaton of the 21st Infantry had reported to Colonel Davis on 
the 22nd at Fairchild's ranch. Davis placed Wheaton in command 
of the District of the Lakes. Wheaton moved up to Applegate's 
ranch together with Perry's detachment of cavalry and these 
troops were ordered to join in the hunt. Meanwhile many of 
Jack's band had been picked up by the several detachments of 
troops but Jack himself and several of his most noted warriors 
were still on the loose. It fell to the lot of Perry's cavalrymen to 
capture Captain Jack on June 1st. At the moment of capture he 
had only two or three braves with him and excused his plight by 
saying that his "legs had given out." These prisoners were brought 
in to Davis' headquarters and orders were issued that all pris- 
oners would be concentrated at Boyle's Camp on Tule Lake. 

By June 5th all of the important Modocs had been assembled 
at Boyle's Camp. Davis received orders to hold them under 
guard pending further instructions. Davis recites in his report 
that until then it was his intention to execute eight or ten of the 
ringleaders and that he understood that to have been implied in 
the orders issued for the guidance of the Commander of the 
Modoc Expedition immediately after the murders of the Peace 
Commissioners as well as by his own judgment as Commander in 
the field. He then received instructions from the Attorney-General 

200 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

to assemble a military tribunal to try the Modocs and to that end 
all prisoners were eventually moved to Fort Klamath. 

For the sake of avoiding the accusation of inaccuracy in some 
of the details, it should be pointed out that General Davis* report 
differs somewhat in the non-essentials from the news article in 
the New York Times of June 17, 1873. That article was written 
by Samuel A. Clark of Salem, Oregon, who was the Oregon corres- 
pondent for the Times and who was on the scene of these ac- 
tivities with every opportunity to learn the facts and circum- 
stances. He says that General Davis had sent Major Trumble 
with his squadron and some Warm Springs Scouts, and with 
young Applegate and Jesse Applegate's nephew, Charles Putnam, 
as guides, to intercept Captain Jack and that this force and not 
Perry's cavalry made the capture. Be that as it may, the Chief of 
the Modocs had been run to earth. 

One fact stands out, and it is that four of the Modocs most 
guilty of all offenses subsequently charged to Captain Jack and 
his fellow defendants, were Bogus Charley, Hooker Jim, Shack- 
nasty Jim, and Steamboat Frank. Not only were they traitors to 
Captain Jack but Hooker Jim was the guide for Hasbrouck's 
command in the final phases of the round-up, while Steamboat 
Frank, with the assistance of Shacknasty Jim and Bogus Charley 
guided Major Green's detachment. And in spite of their char- 
acters it must be recorded that they performed their services as 
guides in perfect good faith. Again, therefore, we point out that 
there were many facets to the Modoc personality. 



ON the evening of his ^ capture Captain Jack underwent a deep 
humiliation. General Davis ordered that Jack and Schonchin 
John be shackled together with leg-irons. As the two were led 
out under guard to the blacksmith's forge Jack showed con- 
siderable apprehension until John Fairchild explained through 
Scarface Charley, as interpreter, what was about to transpire. The 
two Modocs protested that the indignity was unnecessary, but 

The Modoc War 201 

when they realized that the order would be carried out they 
submitted quietly. 

As a part of the fulfillment of the order to concentrate all 
captives at Boyle's Camp on Tule Lake, some of the less import- 
ant Modocs were to be moved from Fairchild's ranch to Boyle's 
Camp on June 8th. The party consisted of John Fairchild, his 
brother James, and 17 Modocs, the latter including Bogus Charley 
and Shacknasty Jim. Before reaching Lost River the party di- 
vided. James Fairchild drove the 4-muIe wagon in which were 15 
Modoc men, women, and children, and took a longc:- route in 
order to utilize a wagon ford on the river. John Fairchild, Bogus 
Charley, and Shacknasty Jim, on horseback, took a shorter route. 
The latter three, anticipating no trouble, made no effort to re- 
join James Fairchild. 

When James reached the river he encountered a group of 
Oregon Volunteers under the command of Captain Hizer. The 
volunteers gathered round the wagon and questioned Fairchild 
who convinced them that his charges were unimportant Mo- 
docs, none of whom were guilty of murder nor had they had a 
part in the assassination of the Peace Commissioners. Fairchild 
proceeded on his way and after traveling a few miles saw two 
horsemen who evidently intended to intercept the wagon. The 
Indians begged Fairchild to turn back but while he sensed 
danger he also knew that the horsemen could overtake the heavy 
wagon should he attempt to turn back. So he drove on to a point 
where the two men were waiting, Fairchild in vain scanning the 
countryside for his brother John and the two Indians with him. 

The two men ordered Fairchild to halt, one of them pointing 
a pistol at Fairchild's head and saying that he was going to kill 
Fairchild as well as the Indians. The second man cut the mules 
loose from the wagon and Fairchild jumped to the ground stii. 
holding the lines. The Indians in the wagon were, of course, un- 
armed. The women raised their hands imploringly, crying, "Don't 
kill! Don't kill!" The four Indian men said nothing. They knew 
words were useless. The first shot killed Little John, his brains 
scattering over the women and children. Next, Te-he Jack died, 
floundering among the occupants of the wagon. Then Poney's 
blood spurted over his wife and children, and Mooch was the 
fourth to die. Not satisfied they shot Little John's wife through 
the shoulder. Blood dripped through the wagon bed. A cloud 
of dust was seen in the distance and the two bloody brutes of 
white men decamped in haste. The dust was caused by Sergeant 
Murphy and ten men of the 4th Artillery who speedily ap- 

202 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

preached the wagon. Fairchild quickly told the story but the mur- 
derers were not pursued. No effort was ever made to indict them 
though many people knew who they were. 

Before orders had been received limiting Davis in his pun- 
ishment of the criminals, construction of a gallows had been 
started. That greatly excited the Indians once it began to take 
shape and its purpose became known. Captain Jack and Schon- 
chin John were photographed with the gibbet as a background. 
It was their first experience with a camera and when ranged in 
front of it had expected to die for they thought it was some new 
type of big gun. 

General Davis invited the settlers to come into camp to 
identify the Modocs who had participated in the murders of No- 
vembed 29, 1872, and to indicate their personal belongings re- 
covered from the Indians. Two of the widows from that bloody 
day, Mrs. Boddy and Mrs. Schiere, attempted to kill Hooker Jim 
and Steamboat Frank whom they identified as participants in the 
murders of their husbands. Mrs. Boddy lunged at Hooker Jim 
with a knife and Mrs. Schiere drew a pistol to shoot Steamboat 
Frank. General Davis personally disarmed both women, accident- 
ally receiving a slight cut from the knife. 

Construction of the gallows was suspended when Davis re- 
ceived his orders to try the prisoners by military court and 
whereupon he decided to move the proceedings to Fort Klam- 
ath, as previously mentioned. Enroute, Curley-haired Jack com- 
mitted suicide by shooting out his brains. He it was who had 
murdered Lieutenant Sherwood April 11, 1873, under a flag of 



AT Fort Klamath the military court was set in a hall. A long, nar- 
row table stood in the middle of the room. Here, July 5, 1873, the 
trial started. At the head of the table sat Major H. P. Curtis, 
Judge Advocate, and, nearby, Dr. E. S. Belden, shorthand report- 
er. At the other end of the table was Lieutenant-Colonel Elliott 
of the 1st Cavalry; to his right, Captain Hasbrouck of the 4th 
Artillery and Captain Pollock of the 21st Infantry. To Elliott's 

The Modoc War 203 

left were Captain John Mendenhall of the 4th Artillery and 2nd 
Lieutenant George Kingsbury of the 12th Infantry. Seated on a 
bench to the right of Elliott were Captain Jack, Schonchin John, 
Black Jim, and Boston Charley. Lying on the floor were Barncho 
and Slolux. Back of Major Curtis were Frank Riddle and Tobey. 
At another table were newspaper reporters and at either end of 
the room was a detail of soldiers with bayonets fixed. Hooker 
Jim, Bogus Charley, Shacknasty Jim, and Steamboat Frank, un- 
fettered and unguarded, stood idly near the open door among 
the crowd of spectators. 

The several members of the court, the interpreters Frank and 
Tobey Riddle, and the official reporter were all duly sworn and 
the prisoners were arraigned. 

Two charges were preferred against each prisoner. The first was 
"murder in violation of the laws of war" and referred, of course, 
to the killing of General Canby and Reverend Thomas. The sec- 
ond charge was "assault with intent to kill in violation of the 
laws of war" and "asault on the Commissioners," referring to the 
attempt to kill A. B. Meacham and L. S. Dyer. To both charges 
all prisoners pleaded "not guilty." 

The Court then began hearing testimony, T. F. (Frank) Riddle 
being the first witness. His testimony consumed the remainder 
of the day and part of the next, July 6th, when he was followed 
on the witness stand by L. S. Dyer. 

On the third day, July 7th, the Court heard the testimony of 
Shacknasty Jim, Steamboat Frank, Bogus Charley, and Hooker 
Jim, in the order named. Then another Modoc, known both as 
William and as Whim, was called and while he was testifying 
A. B. Meacham entered the court room. Less than three months 
had passed since he had been desperately wounded. Meacham 
was called as a witness. 

When court adjourned for the day Meacham inquired of El- 
liott whether it was a fact, as the proceedings indicated, that the 
prisoners had no legal representative, and upon being answered 
in the affirmative, Meacham volunteered to serve as their counsel 
rather than see the trial conducted in an ex-parte manner. 
Meacham told Elliott that he would decide definitely by the fol- 
lowing morning. However, upon advice of his friends and the 
professional advice of an army surgeon, Meacham was persuaded 
to forego the idea as a menace to his recovery. 

On the fourth day of the trial, July 8th, Lieutenant H. R. 
Anderson of the 4th Artillery, was called as a witness, chiefly in 
regard to General Canby's relation to the Goverment, the Army, 

204 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

and the Commission. He was followed by Assistant-Surgeon 
Henry C. McEldery, who testified about the examination of the 
bodies of General Canby and Reverend Thomas. 

The Government rested its case and only three witnesses were 
called for the defense, Scarface Charley* Dave, and One-eyed 
Mose, all Modocs. Captain Jack then told the court that he had 
no further testimony to present. The Court informed him that 
if he wished he could make a statement. Jack arose hesitatingly 
and made a speech and was followed briefly by Schonchin John, 
after which court adjourned for the day. 

Next day when the verdict was announced it recited that the 
death penalty had been fixed for Captain Jack, Schonchin John, 
Black Jim, Boston Charley, Barncho and Slolux and October 3, 
1873, was designated as the day of execution. The Judge-Advocate 
also ruled that no others would be placed on trial and, since that 
was his prerogative, several Modocs equally guilty with those 
condemned, were saved by that act of Major Curtis. 

The rest of the Modocs were confined in a stockade near the 
fort except the traitor scouts who were at complete liberty. Oc- 
casionally the condemned were permitted to visit the stockade, 
and in turn their families visited them in the guard house. 

At the conclusion of the trial A. B. Meacham left Fort Klam- 
ath, first visiting the prisoners and shaking hands with them as 
evidence of his forgiveness. Captain' Jack told Meacham that but 
one side of the story had been told and that he had no one to 
speak for him. Meacham assured Jack that the trial had been 
honestly conducted but that he, Meacham, would write a fair 
statement of all the facts for everybody to read. Jack expressed a 
great dread of being hanged and held Meacham's hand till the 
moment of Meacham's departure. 



ON October 2, 1873, the long scaffold had been completed on the 
open level of the meadow. Six ropes dangled from the beams. 

Also on that day General Wheaton, accompanied by Father 
Huegemborg, the Catholic priest who was Post Chaplain, Oliver 

The Modoc War 205 

Applegate, and Dave Hill who was a KJamath Indian acting as in- 
terpreter, visited the prisoners for the purpose of officially notify- 
ing them of the sentence. The Chaplain offered a prayer to 
which the condemned men listened attentively. General Wheaton 
then asked the Chaplain to inform the prisoners of their fate. 
The six condemned men listened with traditional Indian 
stoicism. Then Captain Jack spoke briefly saying that when he 
had surrendered that he had expected to be pardoned and live 
with his people in Klamath Land. He also said that he felt that 
Bogus Charley, Shacknasty Jim, Hooker Jim, and Steamboat 
Frank had triumphed over both himself and the Government. 

General Wheaton then asked Captain Jack whom he wished 
to select to rule the tribe in his stead and Jack replied that he 
could trust no Modoc not even Scarface Charley. Slolux and 
Barncho both spoke, each denying responsibility for the crime. 
Black Jim, who was Captain Jack's half-brother, said that he was 
anxious to live so that he could lead the tribe, to which sug- 
gestion Captain Jack shook his head in disapproval. Then Jack 
asked that the execution be postponed until his story could be 
submitted to the President of the United States because of the 
belief that the President did not know who had instigated the 
murderers of General Canby and Reverend Thomas. 

The request was denied and then Boston Charley made a 
stirring speech in which he confessed his part in the crime; that 
the murderers suspected the Commissioners of treachery. Schon- 
chin John was the last to speak. He was most dramatic, ending 
with the words, "War is a terrible thing. All men must suffer 
the best horses, the best cattle, and the best men. I can now only 
say, 'Let Schonchin die*. " 

Then the Chaplain said another prayer, which Oliver Apple- 
gate translated into Chinook jargon to Dave Hill who repeated 
the words in the Modoc tongue, whereupon General Wheaton 
terminated the interview. 

Sheriff McKenzie of Jackson County, Oregon, arrived with 
warrants for the arrest of the four traitorous scouts and certified 
copies of indictments, together with a letter from L. F. Grover, 
Governor of Oregon, addressed to Jeff. C. Davis, Commanding 
the Department of the Columbia. The letter recited that Judge 
Prime of the Circuit Court of Jackson County had issued a writ 
of habeas corpus commanding that those named be brought 
before the Jackson County court for trial. The efforts of the 
Oregon authorities were futile, ending with a communication 
from E. D. Townsend, Adjutant-General of the United States to 

206 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

the effect that all other Modocs except the condemned were by 
concurrence of the President to be sent to Fort E. A. Russell and 
that no further action was necessary. 

The morning of October 3, 1873, dawned to find the roads 
leading to the fort lined with many onlookers. At 9:30 A. M. a 
detail of soldiers took position in front of the guard house and 
the Officer of the Day, Colonel Hoge, entered and unlocked the 
cells. A wagon drawn by four horses drew near the guard house. 
In the wagon were four coffins. The six prisoners mounted the 
wagon. The blacksmith then cut the chains from the prisoners. 
Captain Jack, Schonchin John, Boston Charley and Black Jim 
were then directed to mount the scaffold. Slolux and Barncho 
remained in the wagon. 

Captain Jack was placed at the extreme right, next to him was 
Schonchin John, then Black Jim, then Boston Charley. Corporal 
Ross, of Company G, 12th Infantry, adjusted the rope to Captain 
Jack's neck. Corporal Killien performed that duty for Schonchin 
John, Private Robert Wilton for Black Jim, Private Anderson for 
Boston Charley. The Adjutant read two documents, one calling 
for the execution of the six condemned men and the other a 
commutation of sentence to life imprisonment for Slolux and 
Barncho, by order of the President of the United States. An 
axe flashed in the sunlight, severing the rope which held the trap 
and four Modocs swung into eternity. Their bodies were placed in 
the coffins and Slolux and Barncho rode back in the wagon with 
the bodies of the dead as cries of anguish arose from the stockade. 

Note: A. B. Meacham says in his book, Wigwam and Warpath, that an offer 
of $10,000 was made to General Wheaton for the body of Captain Jack, 
which offer was indignantly refused. Meacham does not say who made the 

Note: The author has a letter dated March 24, 1949, from the late N. H. 
Atchison, Office Representative of the Masonic Service Bureau, Portland, 
Oregon, as follows: 

"In reply to yours regarding Captain Jack's skull, would say that on the 
death of Col. Robert A. Miller, who lived at 235 N. E. 16th Ave., Portland, 
Ore., his will left all his effects to the Grand Lodge AF&AM of Oregon. On 
going over same we found in the basement several boxes filled with old copies 
of Oregon papers, rocks from mining properties, and in one of them we 
found three skulls, one of which had a label on it reading "Captain Jack." 
We had a representative from the University of Oregon come up and go 
over these effects and some of them, including the skulls, were sent to the 
University. If this gives you anything you can use you are at liberty to do so." 


JOSEPH YOUNG JosEPH-Chief of the Nez Perces, greatest of alL 
His father, Old Joseph, was, himself, a great chief, and, no 
doubt, by precept and example contributed much to his son's 
later greatness. Today, when reference is made to "Chief 
Joseph," it always means Joseph, the Younger, and this text 
will follow that precedent. 

The Nez Perces were predominant among the native races- 
intelligent, strong and cleanly. Their country comprised South- 
western Idaho, Southeast Washington, and Northeast Oregon. 
The Wallowa Valley in Northeastern Oregon was home to Old 
Joseph. Here was a garden spot and life was good. "Wallowa" 
means "Winding River." The old chieftain was aware of in- 
creasing numbers of white people and sensed the day when his 
tribesmen would be asked or told to move elsewhere. On his 
deathbed he called his sons Joseph and Ollicut to him and ad- 
monished them never to give up their land in which their 
fathers grave was to be. Young Joseph, two years older than 
Ollicut, was hereditary chief and the mantle of leadership fell 
on his shoulders. Primarily he was not a warrior. His preference 
was for peace and that to ensue from being left strictly alone 
with his people in the land they loved. Government decided 
otherwise. In 1873 a conference was held at Lapwai, Idaho, 
between various chiefs and government representatives, Joseph 
refused to move either to a reservation in Northern Idaho or to 
the Umatilla Reservation in Eastern Oregon. His refusal was 
reported to the Secretary of the Interior who decided that the 
Nez Perces could remain in the Wallowa Valley for the follow- 
ing summer and autumn. Then a Presidential order set apart 
the Wallowa and Imnaha valleys for Joseph and his non-treaty 
Indians. That arrangement continued until 1875 when increas- 
ing pressures from settlers persuaded the President to rescind 
his order and a commission was appointed to negotiate with 
Joseph and his people. 

Joseph seems to have had two Indian names, Hallakaltekeen, 
meaning "Eagle Wing" and In-mut-tooyah-lat-lat, meaning 
"Thunder traveling over the mountains." He, himself, said that 
his name was the second of those mentioned and that he was 
Chief of the Wal-lam-wat-kin band of Chute-pa-lu, or Nez 
Perces. He was of magnificent physique, dignified, passionately 


208 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

devoted to his followers, and would have been great in any 

The Nez Perces were generally considered to be divided into 
three groups. In addition to the Wallowa branch under Joseph 
there was the Idaho branch, the largest. They lived in the fertile 
valleys of the Clearwater River and its tributaries, with their 
principal center at Kamiah. A smaller, struggling unit under 
Chief Lookingglass, consisted of about 60 warriors and their 
families, ultimately joined Joseph, and is sometimes described 
as a fourth branch. The third important group was that under 
Chief White Bird who lived in the Salmon River country. The 
main section of the tribe centered at Kamiah remained com- 
pletely aloof from participation in hostilities. 

Early in May of 1877, the Government ordered General O. O. 
Howard, who was then in command of the Department of the Co- 
lumbia, to call a Council of all branches of the Nez Perces at 
Fort Lapwai in Northern Idaho. Here the Nez Perces congre- 
gated, including those under Joseph. The Government urged 
Joseph to move to a permanent home to be set aside on the 
Clearwater. Several days were spent in discussion and argument 
without persuading the Indians to make the move. General 
Howard, at length, decided that enough time had been spent 
in negotiations and decided to issue an ultimatum. There is 
much reason to believe that General Howard personally felt 
that Joseph's band should be permanently established on a 
Wallowa reservation but his orders read otherwise. According- 
ly, he told Joseph that 30 days would be allowed him for the " 
removal of his people and their belongings from the Wallowa 
country to the Clearwater. Joseph explained that his live-stock 
was scattered and that 30 days was insufficient in which to com- 
ply with the order without loss to the tribe in personal property, 
but- General Howard would not modify the terms. Moreover, 
the whole situation was not aided by the arrest of Too-hul-hul- 
sute, a principal orator for the Nez Perces. General Howard had 
announced at the opening of the council that every Indian 
present was requested to express his opinions freely in reference 
to the Governments offer. The council had convened on May 
3rd but Joseph had requested postponement until Chief White 
Bird and his band could arrive. The request was granted and 
the next day White Bird and his people arrived and the council 
started. Too-hul-hul-sute was the principal speaker for the Nez 
Perces that day, the substance of his argument being that God 
had created the earth to be as it is and that it was wrong to 

The Nez Perce War 209 

cultivate the soil or to build churches and schools upon it and 
that white settlers should be kept out of the Indian lands. Gen- 
eral Howard replied that the non-treaty Indians, such as 
Joseph's band, were in the minority and that they would be 
well advised to follow the example of the more numerous treaty 
Indians. Howard realized that the Indian orator was a person 
of influence and decided that another postponement was ad- 
visable in order to dissipate the effect of Too-hul-hul-sute's 

So the council was again postponed until the following 
Monday. When it re-assembled Too-hul-hul-sute again appeared 
in the role of principal speaker. He said, "The Great Spirit 
Chief made the world as it is and as He wanted it, and He 
made a part of it for us to live upon. I do not see where you 
get authority to say that we should not live where He placed us." 

This questioning of authority irritated General Howard, who 
ordered the speaker to stop any further talk in that vein and 
said that if the Indians did not move as suggested, that he, 
Howard, would "take the matter into my own hands and make 
you suffer for your disobedience." To that statement Too-hul- 
hul-sute made a strong reply, in effect asking General Howard if 
he had made the land, the rivers, the grass, and that if he had, 
then, without doubt, he had to speak to the Nez Perces as if 
they were boys. Howard, further irritated, said, "You are an im- 
pudent fellow and I will put you in the guardhouse," Howard 
thereupon ordered the arrest. The Indian made no resistance, 
merely saying that if that was Howard's order that, at least, he, 
Too-hul-hul-sute had availed himself of the opportunity to 
speak for his people. 

The arrest caused a great stir. Joseph knew that if he did 
not immediately bring about a change in the Indian sentiment 
that all of the white men would be killed within a few minutes. 
So Joseph advised his warriors to be calm and then arose, say- 
ing, "I am going to talk now. I don't care whether you arrest me 
or not/* He then faced his people and continued, "The arrest 
of Too-hul-hul-sute was wrong, but we will not resent the in- 
sult. We were invited to this council to express our hearts and 
we have done so." Joseph then walked among his people quiet- 
ing them and to that prompt action and his quieting words may 
be ascribed the reason for no hostile act at the council. 

The next day General Howard invited Chiefs Joseph, White 
Bird and Lookingglass to ride with him in search for new lands 
for the Nez Perces. The chiefs accepted the invitation. In the 

210 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

course o the day they crossed beautiful country occupied by 
both Indians and white settlers and Howard offered to remove 
all residents and give the land to the Nez Perces as their reser- 
vation. In "Joseph's Own Story" he says that he replied as fol- 
lows to General Howard's offer. "No. It would be wrong to disturb 
these people. I have no right to take their homes. I have never 
taken what did not belong to me. I will not now." No unoccu- 
pied land which was good could be found. Next day General 
Howard issued his ultimatum. 

Joseph wanted more time, knowing that 30 days was insuf- 
ficient for his people to locate and move their live-stock and 
gather supplies for the coming winter. Howard refused to ex- 
tend the time, telling Joseph that should he not be within the 
reservation within the time specified that all cattle and horses 
outside the reservation would fall into the hands of white men. 

In his own narrative, Joseph says that he made up his mind 
then to avoid war even though it meant giving up his beloved 
Wallowa country wherein his father's body reposed. He also ex- 
pressed the opinion that General Howard began at once to 
prepare for war and said, "I have been informed by men who do 
not lie that General Howard sent a letter that night telling the 
soldiers at Walla Walla to go to Wallowa Valley and drive us 
out upon our return home." Returning to Wallowa, Chief 
Joseph found his people greatly excited. Soldiers were already 
in Wallowa Valley. 

Joseph immediately called a council and almost wholly be- 
cause of his influence the tribe decided to submit quietly at 
once to General Howard's order. However, while a majority 
agreed, the decision was far from unanimous. Too-hul-hul-sute 
had been released after five days in the guardhouse and was 
outraged at having been arrested for merely expressing his 
opinion as he had been requested to do by General Howard. He 
urged the tribe to go to war and persuaded a number of the 
younger braves to his point of view. He argued that only blood 
could erase the disgrace of his arrest. It is said that Joseph then 
rode among his people, pistol in hand, and asserted ~that he 
would shoot any warrior who dared to defy the soldiers when 
they arrived. 

Joseph's Nez Perces began rounding up their livestock but 
with their time limited they left many horses and cattle on 
the Wallowa. As the tribe moved across the swollen Snake 
River more live-stock was lost. 

From the Snake River the exodus continued in and out of the 

I S L A N D 

Theater of Indian War, 1855-56, on Puget Sound and west of Cascade Mountains. 

Peu-peu-mox-mox: Yellow Serpent, Head 
Chief of the Walla Wallas. 

Kamiakin, Head Chief of the Yakimas. 

Buffalo Horn, Chief of the Bannocks. 

Major Edward S. Farrow, United States 

The Nez Perce War 211 

Salmon River canyon and northward to the Clearwater River. 
This latter stream was the northern limit of the land set aside 
by the government for Joseph and his people. Joseph moved 
westward about 16 miles to White Bird Creek, a tributary oi 
the Salmon River. Nearby was Lake Tepahlewan about the 
banks of which the Nez Perces set up their tepees and began a 
council which lasted ten days. 

Among the younger warriors who always argued for war was 
one whose father had been killed by white men several years 
earlier. This young brave called upon the council to support 
him in revenge. But Joseph never wavered in his argument for 
peace because he truly wished peace and further because he 
knew the weakness of this tribe in comparison with the strength 
of the United States Army. So sure was Joseph that his people 
would follow his advice that he left the council to butcher beef 
for his family. On the night of the tenth day of the council, 
June 13th, the young brave previously mentioned, enlisted sev- 
eral other young warriors and left the council, going to nearby 
farms and killing four white men. Returning to camp the 
young leader rode up to the council and shouted, "Why do you 
sit here like women? The war has begun already." 

In his own story which he related on his trip to Washington, 
in 1897, Chief Joseph says that he would have given his own 
life if, by so doing, he could have undone the killing of those 
white men by his tribesmen. Yet, he places only part of the 
blame on his young warriors. The rest of it he fastens upon 
General Howard for not having given enough time to get their live- 
stock away from the Wallowa Valley. Further, 20 years after the 
event, he did not acknowledge the right of General Howard to 
order the removal from Wallowa. He emphasized his belief 
that had he been given time to round up his horses and cattle 
and had Too-hul-hul-sute been treated like a man, that there 
would have been no war. 

Joseph said that it was his intention to move away from 
White Bird canyon but that the soldiers attacked before his 
preparations for leaving had been completed. That circumstance 
arose from the fact that news of the murders of the white peo- 
ple had been carried to the small settlements of Mt. Idaho and 
Cottonwood as well as Fort Lapwai. Mt. Idaho was about 20 
miles north of Joseph's location, while Cottonwood was about an 
equal distance northwest of Mt. Idaho. Fort Lapwai was ap- 
proximately 50 miles northwest of Cottonwood. Colonel David 
Perry was in command of the fort and, at the time, had about 

214 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

to be called a hill, but rising somewhere above the general level 
of the terrain and Randall ordered his men to reach it if at all 

The Indians had deployed with a view to surrounding the 17 
volunteers. But Randall and his men spurred their horses and 
rode directly at the Indians, which seemed to be an unexpected 
tactic as far as the hostiles were concerned. Immediately the 
melee was man-to-man and the Nez Perces gave way with 
casualties on both sides. One volunteer was killed and several 
wounded, among them Randall himself, who was mortally 
wounded. The volunteers gained the knoll taking their wound- 
ed with them as well as those of their number whose horses 
had been shot. Using their horses as barricades the white men 
met every recurring charge of the Indians with deadly fire, kill- 
ing many of the hostiles and finally forcing the enemy beyond 
rifle range. As usual the Indians removed their dead. Ap- 
parently Joseph was not with this war party. 

The fight had been within plain sight of the garrison at 
Cottonwood. Perry's men wanted to go to the relief of the 
volunteers but he ruled that the men would have little chance of 
getting through the Indian lines. However, when the Nez 
Perces retired out of range of Randall's men, Perry could no 
longer hold his soldiers back. They rode to the knoll and re- 
turned with the survivors and the dead. That night the Indians 

On Independence Day, 1877, two civilian scouts attached to 
General Howard's command, William Foster and Charles Blew- 
ett, were ordered to scout the whereabouts of the Nez Perces. 
They ran into an ambush. At the moment the two men were 
some distance apart and Foster yelled to Blewett that they would 
be well advised to get away from where they were. Blewett re- 
plied, "I am going to get one shot first," and dismounted, 
firing at an Indian. Blewett's horse stampeded, Foster unsuccess- 
fully tried to head off the horse and called to Blewett to hide 
in the thicket and that he, Foster, would try to bring aid. 
Foster observed that Blewett was injured, evidently from a leg 
wound. The last sight of Blewett by Foster was when the former 
was limping toward the underbrush along the creek. Foster took 
off for Cottonwood. There Foster, fully stressing the dangers, 
nevertheless prevailed upon Perry to send a detachment to at- 
tempt Blewett's rescue. All of Perry's men volunteered for the 
mission but all could not be spared so Lieutenant Sevier M. 
Rains with ten men, including Foster, undertook the task. 

The Nez Perce War 215 

They left at once and had gone only a few miles when they 
were ambushed. All were killed, Foster being the last to fall 
while trying to escape on foot after his horse had been shot from 
under him. 

Meanwhile the Nez Perce Chief Lookingglass had decided to 
cast his lot with Joseph and brought about 60 warriors with 
him. The Nez Perces were moving about somewhat but a few 
days later General Howard's scouts located them east of the 
Clearwater River and southeast of Kamiah. Howard awaited 
reinforcements and on July 10th came in sight of the Nez 
Perce position. Joseph had selected a most favorable site to do 
battle. In front was a vast open space over which the troops 
would have to travel before coming to grips with the Indians. 
Back of Joseph's position and laterally were wooded canyons 
into which the Indians could retreat should the trend of battle 
go against them. With Joseph were Chiefs White Bird, Looking- 
glass, Black Eagle, other lesser chiefs and about 300 warriors, all 
armed with the most modern breech-loading rifles. With their 
women and children the Nez Perces numbered, perhaps, 700 
souls. Rifle pits and barricades of logs had been prepared. 
Howard waited till noon on July llth before beginning the at- 
tack. The reason for the slight delay arose from the fact that 
additional detachments were arriving and Howard needed to 
fit them into his battle plan. His force now numbered about 
400 men. At noon Howard threw out a skirmish line and inten- 
sive firing began from both sides, the troops supplementing their 
rifle fire with bursts from the Catling guns. The skirmishers suf- 
fered from the accurate marksmanship of the Indians. Forward 
progress was almost nil, but some of the soldiers' bullets also 
found their marks. At nightfall the shooting ceased. The troops 
could hear the chanting of the squaws wailing over the Indian 

Next day, July 12th, Howard opened the battle with heavy 
firing from field guns and Gatling guns. After this preparation 
the troops attacked. The fighting was terrific and after the 
Indians had suffered about 60 casualties in killed and wounded 
and the troops 40, the Indians retreated into the canyons. How- 
ard ordered pursuit discontinued, fearing an ambush. However, 
at daylight on the 13th the chase was resumed, the troops not 
stopping until they had reached Kamiah, which, as previously- 
described, was the center for the principal branch of the Nez 
Perces who had never joined in Joseph's war. From Kamiah it 
could be seen that Joseph had taken a new position to the east on 

216 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

the high ridges which marked the beginning of the Lolo Trail 
leading over the Bitter Root Mountains into Montana. From 
his new location Joseph could watch all the troop movements. 

Thus ended the battle of the Clearwater. 

With the prospect of Joseph retreating over the Lolo Trail, 
General Howard knew that he was confronted with a long and 
difficult pursuit. On July 17th Joseph and his Nez Perce 
started the long trek which was to lead him over two major 
mountain ranges toward the traditional buffalo hunting grounds 
of his tribe. 



GENERAL HOWARD had a real task imposed upon him by Joseph's 
retreat. Hundreds of miles lay ahead even under the most favor- 
able circumstances. All supplies and ammunition had to be 
transported by pack animals. The army's pack-train, already 
large, had to be augmented. Additional provisions had to be 
brought from supply depots. The process was time-consuming, 
but at the end of ten days Howard ordered his men to take 
up the trail. 

Meanwhile Joseph was clicking off the miles. The day follow- 
ing that on which General Howard had started into the moun- 
tains, Joseph emerged from the eastern end of the pass. There at 
a vantage point where the trail reached the Bitter Root Valley, 
the Nez Perce chieftain found the pass in possession of a group of 
armed settlers. They were above the defile and Joseph was 
fully aware of the danger to his column. He tried bargaining 
and a bargain was made. It was agreed that in return for 
Joseph's free entry into the valley that the Nez Perce would 
not molest the settlers in any degree. Both sides strictly ob- 
served the pact, in truth there was much trading between the 
settlers and Joseph's Indians, as a result of which Joseph's peo- 
ple came into possession of fresh supplies which were greatly 

Joseph then sprung a surprise on his pursuers, but in so doing 
may have formed the basis for untimely lack of success. Had 

The Nez Perce War 217 

he continued northeastward, using the old Lewis and Clark trail, 
he probably could have reached Canada before being intercepted. 
Certainly he must have still had the idea of joining Sitting Bull, 
then in Southern Canada, if only as a last resort. It may well be 
that Joseph still cherished the hope of a satisfactory settlement 
with the United States authorities. At any rate, he moved in a 
southerly direction, slightly southeasterly, and in the forepart of 
August was encamped in the Valley of the Big Horn River on 
the Montana side of the Bitterroot Mountains and about 75 
miles south of Missoula. 



HERE Joseph planned to rest his caravan for a day, believing 
that General Howard was far in the rear; and here Joseph was to 
have a new type of experience resulting from a new type of 
enemy, the telegraph. Howard had wired General John Gibbon, 
in command at Missoula, telling of Joseph's probable location. 
Gibbon left Missoula with about 200 soldiers, only 32 of whom 
were volunteers, and soon picked up Joseph's trail where it em- 
erged from the pass. Gibbon lost no time. He rented animals and 
wagons from settlers and moved fast. On August 8th his scouts 
spotted the Nez Perce camp. Gibbon kept his caravan in con- 
cealment until nightfall. Then under cover of darkness and as 
quietly as possible he moved his men into position and waited 
for daybreak. At dawn he attacked. Having some open meadow 
to cross the troops were seen by some of the Indians who gave 
the alarm and immediately began firing. Everything was con- 
fusion. Squaws and children poured out of the tepees. The 
mounted soldiers were everywhere, as were the Indians, the wom- 
en and children screaming, the soldiers yelling, the warriors giving 
voice to their warwhoops. Hundreds of rifles flashed, much of 
the time without careful aiming. Indians and soldiers be- 
gan falling. 

Chief Lookingglass was killed. Joseph's men fled to the thickets 
leaving General Gibbon and his troops in possession of the 
camp and its carnage. Up to that moment the melees had been of 

218 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

only a few minutes duration. Then Joseph began organizing his 
braves. They poured a murderous fire into the soldiers from 
three directions. It was too much to withstand. Gibbon ordered 
his troops to evacuate this camp, cross a small stream, and en- 
trench on a nearby slope. Gibbon himself was severely wounded. 
The soldiers reached their objective, the Indians following with 
unrelenting fire. Some of the warriors circled into a position 
above the troops, others approached under cover of the under- 
brush from below. The soldiers fought back and the battle con- 
tinued in full force all day followed by occasional shooting during 
the night. Gibbon's force was in a serious predicament but Gen- 
eral Howard had anticipated Gibbon's possible need of reinforce- 
ments and had detached his cavalry, sending it ahead of his 
main army at full speed. The cavalry met some couriers from 
Gibbon's command, these having been sent with news of the im- 
pending battle. As a result Howard's cavalry arrived on the scene 
the morning after the big fight. Gibbon had lost 69 men, Joseph a 
smaller number. The army officers agreed that Joseph 
had shown remarkable military sense in having reversed what 
at first had looked like a major defeat. 

Howard decided to await the main body of his troops. The 
wounded, including General Gibbon, were sent back to Missoula. 

Then the Nez Perces moved southward, crossing the Bitter- 
roots into Idaho to Camas Meadows, just west of the site of old 
Fort Henry and not far from the western entrance to Yellowstone 
Park. This route across the mountains is still known locally as 
Nez Perce Pass. 

On August 10th, Howard again took up the pursuit, hastened 
by the news that a number of settlers had been murdered and 
many horses appropriated by the Indians. As the troops pro- 
ceeded it was evident that they were on the right course because 
they progressively came upon large numbers of jaded ponies 
abandoned by the Nez Perces. Howard's command reached 
Camas Meadows there to receive news from scouts that the In- 
dians were only 15 miles in advance. Howard was encouraged be- 
cause he felt that he had out-guessed Joseph. The General had 
reasoned that the Nez Perces would take the trail predicted and 
in furtherance of a plan to bring Joseph into battle Howard 
sent a large detachment by a round-about route to head off the 
Indians. Upon receipt of the news of the proximity of the hos- 
tiles Howard concluded that his intercepting detachment would 
cut off the line of retreat east of Joseph's location. The General 
had the advantage and an early viptory seemed assured. 

The Nez Perce War 219 

That night the army, dog-tired, hurried through the evening 
meal and sought its blankets. The horses and mules were turned 
out to graze properly guarded. In the early hours of the night the 
sentries spotted a large troop of cavalry advancing in formation 
and at a trot. They rode through the herd of grazing animals 
and were challenged. The horsemen paid no attention and were 
challenged again when they were recognized as Indians. Joseph 
had succeeded in a ruse by having his warriors adopt a normal 
cavalry formation-he had stolen another chapter from the white 
man's book. The alarm was sounded but the Indians stampeded 
the animals, driving off several hundred head. The entire camp 
was soon awake and enough stray animals were rounded up to 
equip a detachment to follow the Indians and some of the ani- 
mals were recovered but the Nez Perces retained about 250. As 
if that were not enough bad news, Howard learned that the ex- 
pected interception by his large detachment sent out for that 
purpose had failed. The force had missed the route entirely. 

The army was now in a bad way. The nights were cold, shoes 
were worn out, and Howard decided that his men should rest in 
camp for a few days while wagons could be sent to Virginia City, 
Montana, for supplies. This delay gave Joseph an advantage and 
he moved further eastward entering Yellowstone Park at the point 
known as West Yellowstone. Crossing the Park northeasterly he 
chose a route through the Absaroka Range which brought him 
out of the Park and into Montana in the vicinity of the com- 
munities of Silver Gate and Cooke. The hostiles killed some 
tourists in the Park and committed other depredations. There 
remains no question but that Joseph, at that time, was beginning 
what he thought would be his trans-Montana lap of his planned 
flight to Canada. But he met an unexpected impediment to the 
plan in a strong force under Colonel Sturgis of the 7th Cavalry, 
located in a strategic position controlling a narrow pass. Joseph 
changed his course from northeasterly to southeasterly and 
crossed into Wyoming. Sturgis, of course, could not know at what 
point Joseph might turn northwest but set out in pursuit. As 
it developed Joseph soon turned north and Sturgis, outfitted with 
fresh horses, made good time. He overtook the Nez Perces north 
of the Yellowstone River in south-central Montana and attacked 
at once, greatly outnumbered though he was. His attack was re- 
pulsed but Sturgis did succeed in capturing a large number of 
the Indians' reserve ponies. Sturgis did not renew the attack and 
Joseph hurried on, ever northward, for by this time he was fully 
aware of the need for haste if he were to reach Canada at all, 

222 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

Bull's camp across the border and might return with reinforce- 
ments. As soon as Yellow Bull reached his people the fighting 
was resumed but it was sporadic and not at all on a scale of the 
first day's battle. Little damage was done by either side. 

The next morning Joseph returned to his people under a flag 
of truce and in exchange for the officer. Joseph said afterwards 
that his tribesmen were divided on the subject of surrender but 
that all of them knew that they could escape that night to Can- 
ada if they abandoned their wounded, the children and the old 
women. The decision was against escape on the single premise 
that they knew of no Indian who was wounded ever recovering 
while in the custody of white men. 

Meanwhile General Howard had arrived. On the evening of 
the fourth day of the encounter, General Howard, with a small 
escort and a Mr. Chapman who was a friend of Joseph's, came 
over to Joseph's camp for a talk about surrender. 

Joseph said later, in his own narrative, that General Miles 
had told him that if the Nez Perces would surrender that their 
lives would be spared and that the Indians would be returned to 
their reservation. He has said that had he not believed General 
Miles that no surrender would ever have taken place. At the 
same time Joseph acknowledged that he knew nothing about 
what General Howard and General Miles may have discussed 
concerning the subject of return to the reservation. 

At any rate, on the fifth day Joseph went to General Miles and 
gave up his gun, saying, "From where the sun now stands I will 
fight no more." 

His people were tired, cold, destitute. Joseph wanted peace. 
About 400 men, women, and children surrendered with him. 
The rest had escaped to Canada, among them Chief White Bird. 
Chiefs Ollicut and Lookingglass had died fighting. 

Only one day's forced travel had separated the Nez Perces 
from security. Perhaps only the telegraph caused their final defeat. 

General Howard records the fact that his command marched 
1321 miles from June 27th to October 10th, and that Joseph and 
his people traveled much farther, either in avoiding or deceiving 
his pursuers. 

The Nez Perces did not go back to their reservation. Years 
later Joseph said that General Miles told him that the General's 
recommendation did not prevail; that orders from higher authori- 
ties took precedence; and that to have pursued the subject further 
would have been possible only if Miles had resigned his com-. 

The Nez Perce War 223 

mission. Only under the latter circumstances could General 
Miles have continued his efforts in behalf of the Nez Perces. 

Instead, the captives were sent first to Fort Leavenworth and 
then to the Indian Territory. There many Nez Perces died. 
Years later Chief Joseph and the remnants of his band were 
moved to the Colville Indian Reservation in Northeastern 

Joseph and General Miles remained friends and each had 
great respect for the abilities and character of the other. Joseph 
was in Washington, D. C. in the interest of recovering his old 
reservation when President Grant died on July 23, 1885. General 
Miles invited Joseph to ride by his side at the head of the funeral 
cortege in New York City, which honor Joseph accepted. 

Joseph then returned to Nespilim (now spelled Nespelem) on 
the Colville reservation. In September, 1904, Joseph was seated 
outside his tepee when his great heart stopped beating. The 
dead Chief slumped to the ground. There he was buried. 

Later, when time had healed some of the old animosities, the 
body of Old Joseph, our Joseph's father, was disinterred and 
moved to the Wallowa country. There he was reburied on a hill 
overlooking the north shore of Wallowa Lake, in the homeland 
of the Nez Perces. 

Note: The author has talked with' Nez Perces who insist that they know 
that the body reinterred at Wallowa Lake is not that of Old Joseph. 


THE Bannocks (or Bannacks) comprised a subdivision of the great 
Shoshone Nation. The word is derived from their own word 
"Bampnack," meaning "to throw backward," which referred to the 
custom of their braves in wearing their hair in a lock which was 
thrown back from the forehead. 

The center of their culture was in Southeastern Idaho in the 
vicinity of the modern cities of Pocatello and American Falls, but 
all of Southern Idaho was their range. The latter point is em- 
phasized because, for countless years, they occupied Camas 
Prairie in Southwestern Idaho each summer to dig the roots of 
the camas plant which constituted their principal food. Camas, 
or quamash, is a plant which sends forth a purple bloom on a 
long slender stem and produces roots not dissimilar to the edible 
underground part of the onion. The roots were dried, then 
pounded into meal in primitive mortars or on flat stones, and 
made into a sort of bread. Venison and trout and berries supple- 
mented the major diet. Camas Prairie is important to this his- 
tory because circumstances there contributed to the Bannock 
War. It is a great area southeast of Boise, Idaho, and on the 
north side of the Snake River. 

The Bannocks were a strong race, loving warfare, and resentful 
of the white man's coming. The main wagon trails to both Ore- 
gon and California crossed their country. They attacked immi- 
grant trains at every opportunity. Their terrorism became so bad 
that in December, 1862, the people of the Mormon settlement of 
Franklin, in extreme southeastern Idaho, appealed to the military 
authorities at Fort Douglas, near Salt Lake City, for help. The 
town of Franklin had been founded by the Mormons in 1860, 
and they believed that the site was within the boundaries of 
Utah. In spite of foreseeable hardships, the Commandant, Colonel 
Patrick E. Connor, set out with about 200 soldiers. The snow 
was deep and the temperature sub-zero. About ten miles from 
Franklin and on Battle Creek, a tributary of the Bear River, is 
an area of hot springs. These caused the snow to melt in their 
vicinity and wanned the ground so that it was a favorite winter 
campsite. Bluffs shut off the winter wind. Most of the tribe was 
encamped there. Some miners were passing through that region 


226 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

and were fired upon by the Indians, one miner being killed and 
several wounded. 

While Connor was on the march an incident occurred in 
Franklin which was typical of the nature of the Bannocks. It was 
in January, 1863, and Chief Bear Hunter with some of his Ban- 
nocks rode into the town and demanded wheat. The settlers gave 
them 24 bushels but the Indians demanded more and became 
very threatening but did not actually attack anyone. The very 
next day Connor arrived with his troops and decided to attack 
the Indian camp at the hot springs without delay. The troops 
reached the place on the morning of January 29th. The Bannocks 
were ready for battle and were in a favored position behind the 
steep banks of the creek and screened by willows. 

The thermometer stood at 23 degrees below zero. Connor as- 
saulted the position and had to withdraw, having lost 14 killed 
and many wounded in a mere 20 minutes. The Colonel then 
changed his tactics, dividing his troops into three detachments. 
One section was sent to approach the Indians from the down- 
stream side; another to move in from upstream, while Connor 
would attack frontally as soon as the other two detachments had 
been given time to get into position. The plan worked. The In- 
dians fought desperately but they were slaughtered by dozens 
every minute. Two hundred twenty-four warriors were killed, 160 
squaws and children captured. A very few of the braves escaped. 
Chief Bear Hunter died with his fighters. As a result of this 
terrible defeat, the raids and depredations of the Bannocks ended 
until the war of 1878. 

In 1867 the Government completed a plan for placing the far- 
western Indian tribes on reservations and appointed a commission 
to conclude treaties. Among the many treaties completed was one 
with the Bannocks, which required them to occupy the regions 
on the Portneuf River, afterwards known as the Fort Hall Res- 
ervation, named for old Fort Hall erected in 1834, and on Camas 
Prairie. Through a clerical error the treaty referred to Camas 
Prairie as "Kansas Prairie." When the reservation boundaries 
were surveyed the Indians received much more land than they 
expected in the Fort Hall area but for some reason Camas 
Prairie did not fall to the lot of the Indians. However, they con- 
tinued to occupy Camas Prairie each summer until that of 1878. 

The Bannocks had been growing more and more restless as 
their reservation existence continued. One of the reasons lay in 
the fact that they were usually roaming their wide country and 
were often not on hand when the Indian Agent made his periodic 

The Bannock War 227 

distribution of provisions and clothing. Large numbers of Sho- 
shones had settled near Fort Hall. They were quiet and peace- 
able and were always available when the Indian Agent passed 
out the supplies. The Bannocks resented this seeming discrimina- 
tion. Their Chief, Buffalo Horn, was highly intelligent and very 
ambitious. He had commanded a group of Bannock scouts in the 
Nez Perce War and had served under both Generals O. O. How- 
ard and Nelson A. Miles. But Buffalo Horn and his scouts had 
stolen 40 horses from General Howard, who suspected them and 
placed ten of their number under guard until the horses were 
returned. That angered Buffalo Horn who demanded permission 
to execute three Nez Perce scouts who were with Howard's com- 
mand. As explained elsewhere, the Nez Perces under Chief 
Joseph in the war of 1877 comprised only one of three sections 
of the Nez Perce Nation and the three scouts were not of Joseph's 
band. Howard had confidence in his Nez Perce scouts and re- 
fused to turn them over to Buffalo Horn. So Buffalo Horn left 
Howard and spent the winter stirring up various Indian tribes 
to seek revenge upon the whites. Results of Buffalo Horn's efforts 
were soon observed. The younger men among the Bannocks be- 
came increasingly insolent. Two drivers belonging to a wagon 
freight train were killed and the murderer was most reluctantly 
surrendered upon demand of the authorities. The culprit was 
barely started from the agency to jail when an employee at Fort 
Hall was shot and killed. The killer was not apprehended. Depre- 
dations increased. 

Chief Buffalo Horn visited the Piutes, the Cayuses, and the 
Umatillas. By springtime he considered that he had enough allies 
to defeat any force of Federal troops which might be mustered 
to fight him. All the tribes in Southern Idaho and Eastern Oregon 
were restless. Next to the Bannocks, the Piutes seemed most likely 
to start trouble. One branch under Chief Winnemucca was in 
Nevada in their country around Pyramid Lake and Lake Win- 
nemucca, named for the Chief. The other branch had been 
placed on the Malheur Reservation in Oregon and it was this 
Malheur division which was to be troublesome, in fact very few 
of Chief Winnemucca's band joined in the war. 

About April of 1878 settlers brought a drove of hogs to Camas 
Prairie to fatten on the camas root and they soon had the earth 
well rooted into little mounds. While the hogs were being fat- 
tened, three stockmen, George Nesbit, Louis Kensler, and Wil- 
liam Silvey, brought in a herd of cattle and horses to graze upon 
the grassy areas among which the camas grew. Two Bannocks 

228 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

came into the herders' camp on May 27th, visited several hours, 
had supper with the white men, and then left, apparently in a 
friendly mood. Next morning the Indians returned, had break- 
fast with the white men and then, at an opportune moment 
wounded Nesbit badly, Kensler was grazed by a bullet but suc- 
ceeded in badly wounding one of the Indians as the Bannocks 
fled. The three white men mounted their horses and started for 
help at the nearest stage station which meant a ride of about 
three hours. Looking back they saw a large band of Indians raid- 
ing their camp but they were not pursued. 

It was later established that the Bannocks had been watching 
Camas Prairie while all the livestock feeding was in progress and 
that following the attack on the three white men a tribal council 
was held which lasted almost all night, resulting in a division 
among the Indians. However, Buffalo Horn enlisted about 200 
warriors on the side of hostilities. The rest of the tribe immediate- 
ly returned to the vicinity of Fort Hall where they remained 
entirely neutral during the war which was soon to follow. 

General O. O. Howard, military commander of the Depart- 
ment of the Columbia, was at his home in Portland, Oregon, 
when he received news of the outbreak. He wasted no time in 
sending orders to many army posts for a quick mobilization of 
troops. His promptness undoubtedly prevented a larger concen- 
tration of hostiles than otherwise would have been the case, 
though great numbers of Indian allies did join in the war. 

From all over the region reports of Indian depredations began 
pouring in. When Buffalo Horn and his warriors left Camas 
Prairie they rode to the King Hill stage station on the Snake 
River, Their appoach was observed by the stablemen, who fled. 
The Indians took everything they could use, destroyed the 
rest, and continued down river to Glenn's Ferry where they 
crossed and then cut the ferryboat loose to float down the stream. 
Next they came in sight of a wagon freight train. The drivers 
fled, the Indians looted the wagons and then kept on their march 
of destruction. 

Governor Stephen F. Chadwick, of Oregon, sent large quanti- 
ties of rifles and ammunition to Eastern Oregon. Canyon City, in 
Grant County, Oregon, was the center of a rich mining district. 
There a company of 44 mounted volunteers, known as the Grant 
County Guards, was organized under the command of Captain 
F. C. Sells. The women and children were quartered in mine 
tunnels for their safety. 

In the Oregon counties of Harney, Malheur, Grant, Baker, 

The Bannock War 229 

Union, Umatilla, and Morrow, isolated ranchers and their fam- 
ilies were murdered, their houses burned, and their livestock 
slaughtered. At La Grande, in Union County, a force of men and 
boys directed by United States Senator James H. Slater prepared 
rifle pits around the three-story brick building of Blue Mountain 
University, and barricaded the building. A volunteer company 
was formed by General J. H. Stevens and Colonel Micajah Baker 
and these volunteers stood guard around the town night and day. 
Notice was given that in case of attack the church bell would 
ring and all citizens were to rush to the fortified university build- 
ing. Everywhere in the threatened region fear and uncertainty 

The news of Buffalo Horn's foray soon reached Boise Barracks, 
then commanded by Captain Reuben F. Bernard, of Company G, 
First Cavalry, who was a Brevet Colonel. At Boise was also Or- 
lando Robbins, a colonel in the state militia, who headed a group 
of volunteer scouts. Robbins had been a United States Marshal 
for Idaho and a scout for General Howard in the Nez Perce 
War. Bernard and Robbins, with their men, set out for Camas 
Prairie where they picked up the trail of the Bannocks, followed 
it to King Hill stage station, then to Glenn's Ferry, then on 
down stream to the confluence of the Bruneau River with the 
Snake. Here they found that the trail led up the Bruneau. They 
crossed to the south side of the Snake and followed up its valley 
for 20 hours without pause until they came to a rudimentary 
fortification behind which the Bruneau Valley settlers had 
taken refuge. One man had been killed and, of course, the settlers 
had lost all their horses and cattle. 

By this time Buffalo Horn was in extreme Southwestern Idaho 
and Bernard concluded that the Bannocks were headed for 
Southeastern Oregon, where one large division of the Piutes were 
located in the Steens Mountain and Malheur River district. 

While Bernard was still in the Bruneau Valley news reached 
the settlement of Silver City, in Owyhee County, the most south- 
westerly county of Idaho, that part of Buffalo Horn's hostiles 
were at South Mountain, which was a small mining camp a few 
miles south of Silver City. A volunteer company of 26 men under 
Captain J. B. Harper was quickly organized and, acquiring sev- 
eral friendly Piutes as scouts, left for that locality at once. On 
June 8, 1878, they encountered a force of 50 or 60 picked warriors 
under the personal command of Buffalo Horn. This was a raid- 
ing party, well armed, and in a strong defensive position. Greatly 
outnumbered. Captain Harper nevertheless ordered a charge, 

230 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

losing two men killed and three wounded, but Buffalo Horn, 
himself, was critically wounded, which may account for the fact 
that Harper and his men were not exterminated. There are var- 
ious versions of the story of Buffalo Horn's wounding, one of 
which was the statement by a Piute scout that he had shot Buffalo 
Horn and had seen him fall from his horse. It was a fact that the 
Chief was badly wounded and after the end of the war some of 
his braves said that the Chief traveled for two days and then 
ordered that he be hidden in the underbrush and left there to 
die. His order was obeyed. My reliance on the second version 
mentioned is based upon an article by Scout John W. Redington 
in the 50th Anniversary Issue of the Hailey Times, Hailey, 
Idaho, of June 18, 1931. In that account Scout Redington says 
that the circumstance was related to him by Paddy Capps, one of 
the Malheur Piute hostiles, after the conclusion of the war. Capps 
was with Buffalo Horn at the time. Redington, in the same 
article, says that Chief Egan, soon to take Buffalo Horn's place, 
was forced into the war by his braves; that he knew Egan well; 
that Egan had told him before the war that he never wanted any 
more fighting; that Egan was a fine man. 

Buffalo Horn's death probably was the cause for several waver- 
ing tribes to decide against participating in the conflict. The 
number of others killed in the South Mountain fight was never 
known, for, as usual, they carried away their dead to avoid 
losing scalps, and the day after the battle headed once more for 
Steens Mountain in Oregon, and a union with their potential 
allies, the Piutes. 

Brevet-Colonel (captain) Bernard, with 250 officers and men, 
proceeded to Silver City. General Oliver O. Howard went to 
take charge of the war, arriving there June 12th. General Frank 
Wheaton was in command of the Walla Walla District and 
Colonel Grover succeeded Bernard at Boise Barracks, but since 
General Howard had established his own headquarters there, 
Grover was his ranking senior officer. General Howard ordered 
a mobilization of troops, some of which came great distances. He 
was taking no chances of unpreparedness. The memories of the 
defeats at the hands of Chief Joseph the preceding year and the 
Custer two years before, were leavening memories. 

The Oregon Piutes were preponderately in favor of allying 
themselves with the Bannocks. Chief Winnemucca was friendly 
to the whites but his council did not prevail and Chief Egan be- 
came their predominant leader. Chief Winnemucca's daughter, 
Sarah, was even more friendly toward the whites than her father, 

The Bannock War 231 

and speaking English fluently, rendered valuable service for Gen- 
eral Howard. Fearing for the safety and reputation of her father 
and his peaceably inclined followers, she, with two other Piutes, 
set out post haste for her father's camp. Arriving there she suc- 
cessfully engineered the escape of her father and about 75 others 
of the tribe, all of whom reached the protection of General 
Howard's forces. 

Colonel Bernard reached Silver City two days after the battle 
at South Mountain and learning the direction taken by the hos- 
tiles, set out the same day, June 10th, in pursuit. His first ob- 
jective was Jordan Valley just over the line in Oregon. Enroute he 
stopped at Sheep Ranch where he found that the overland stage 
was overdue. He sent Colonel Robbins and his scouts to investi- 
gate. After a ride of eight miles, and across the Owyhee River, 
they found the remnants of the stage coach which had been 
burned, and, nearby, the body of the dead driver. 

The hostiles were moving fast. They effected their junction 
with the Piutes. Dissident elements from several other tribes 
joined the movement. Among them were some Umatillas and 
Cayuses, whose lands were to the north. This roving army head- 
ed toward the Umatilla and Cayuse country, hoping to enlist 
sympathetic support, plundering and killing on the way. The 
Indians were now under the supreme chieftanship of Egan. 

Colonel Robbins and his troops finally picked up the trail and 
riding hard still did not overtake the Indians till June 22nd. 
General Howard and his command riding equally hard, main- 
tained the same distance to the rear of Robbins from day to day. 
Toward evening on the 22nd the trail became so fresh that Col- 
onel Robbins, known affectionately by the nickname "Rube," 
halted his troops and went ahead to reconnoiter, fearing an am- 
bush. He climbed a mountainside and spied the Indian camp 
several miles away on Silver Creek, a stream flowing from the 
northwest and which emptied into Harney Lake (now dry) . 
Robbins went back to his command and late that evening 
Colonel Bernard came in with his men. It was decided that Rob- 
bins and his scouts should investigate the position of the Indians 
and accordingly they rode out about midnight. The night was 
clear and when nearing Silver Creek Robbins again left his men 
and went ahead to make observations. Well schooled in the ways 
of silent approach, he succeeded in getting into a position from 
which he could carefully appraise the campsite and to decide on 
the best angles of attack. Reporting back to Bernard, who was 
moving up as Robbins was returning, the latter estimated that 

232 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

the hostiles numbered 2000, more than half of whom were war- 
riors. If the estimate proved to be correct, it meant that this was 
the largest concentration of warring Indians since the massacre 
of Custer and his troopers by the Sioux. 

Colonel Bernard sent a messenger to General Howard report- 
ing that the Indians were in sight and then held a council of 
his officers. It was decided that Bernard with 250 men would oc- 
cupy a position downstream from the Indian camp and attack 
from the canyon side. Robbins with 35 scouts was to take a po- 
sition above the camp. They agreed that at daybreak the Robbins 
detachment would charge the camp, yelling and shooting, in the 
hope that the Indians would be completely surprised and con- 
fused. Bernard was to attack immediately after the initial charge 
of the scouts. Even with the advantage of surprise the troops 
would have to fight hard because they were outnumbered at least 
four to one and the Indians were as well armed as the soldiers. 
General Howard was coming with plenty of help but he was at 
least two or three days away. Both Colonels were old hands at 
Indian fighting and to fail to engage the enemy now might delay 
a decisive action for a long time. So they would attack. 

Silently the men moved to their positions. No sound came from 
either the troops or from the Indian camp. As the first streaks of 
dawn lighted the sky, Robbins and his scouts charged, their 
horses running. Armed with repeating rifles and six-shooters, the 
scouts came in yelling like mad-men. They stampeded the In- 
dians, who imagined themselves in the midst of an onset by a 
huge force of cavalry. Some of the hostiles fled down stream only 
to be met by Bernard's men rapidly moving into action. How- 
ever, after the first surprise, Robbins and his men began meet- 
ing with stiffened resistance and had to ride through the camp 
to join Bernard's force. The troops mowed the Indians down by 
scores. And then with suddenness occurred one of those combats 
like the knights of old, when each contesting army chose a cham- 
pion. Colonel Robbins and Chief Egan each saw the other at the 
same moment. Within a split second each started riding toward 
the other. Both were veterans of many battles, both were courage 
personified. The Chief slid to the far side of his horse and fired 
from under the horse's head. The Colonel sat his horse erect. 
Both animals were plunging and rearing, interfering with the^aim 
of the contestants but Robbins' position on his horse made his 
aim more certain. Several bullets passed through the Colonel's 
clothing and some grazed his body but none hit home. Then one 
of the Colonel's shots struck the Chief's wrist causing him to fall 

The Bannock War 233 

from his horse. As he rose, Robbins shot him in the breast, 
Egan's warriors carried him away. The chief was not killed but 
his wounds were so serious that his leadership was lost to the 
Indians for the rest of the war. 

The first reaction of the hostiles to the wounding of 
their chief was intensified fighting so intense that the troops 
had to retire to shelter. But the fighting waned and for the rest 
of the day there was a minimum of firing. The troops expected 
that the Indians would attack and no one knows why they did 
not unless it was because of the lack of leadership. The troops 
had lost five men killed and several times that number wounded. 
The Indian dead numbered more than 100 with many more 
wounded. That night the hostiles stole away. They had a new 
chief-Otis (or Oytes) . 

Morning came and when it was known that the Indians were 
gone, Bernard again took up the trail. Robbins and his scouts 
determined that the hostiles were headed toward the canyon of 
the John Day River. Indian prisoners said that a mixed band of 
Columbia River tribes were waiting in the John Day Valley to 
join the hostiles. 

General Howard overtook Bernard's column two days later and 
assumed command. But the Indians reached the John Day River 
ahead of the troops and headed for the Umatilla Reservation, al- 
most due north. The hostiles had stripped down their baggage to 
the bare essentials and were not handicapped by a slow moving 
wagon train as were the soldiers. It was rough terrain and the 
rigors of the wagon trail at times were almost insurmountable. 
Colonel Robbins and his scouts were miles ahead of General 
Howard and the main body of troops. The scouting party found 
plenty of evidence of the Indians' recent passing a large drove 
of slaughtered hogs, mutilated sheep, a settler, scalped but still 

On the 2nd of July twelve scouts, under Robbins and Scout 
John W. Redington, discovered an ambush all set for several 
troops of the First Cavalry, now only two miles behind the 
scouts. This ambush was on the North Fork of the John Day 
River and on the western fringe of the forest, now known as the 
Umatilla National Forest. 

Drawing the fire of the hostiles, the scouts were able to give 
notice to the troops. In the bushwhacking type of warfare be- 
tween the scouts and the Bannocks, Scout Frohman was killed 
and Scout Jack Campbell and three others wounded. Colonel 
F. J. Parker rode into Fort Boise with dispatches from General 

234 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

Howard. Parker told the editor of the Idaho Statesman, which 
carried the interview, that he was sad over the loss of his friend 
Johnnie Redington, who hadn't reported for a week after starting 
on a lone scout trip into the Malheur River country. But the 
Colonel had not reckoned with Johnnie's abilities. Scout Red- 
ington was to live a long and interesting life. 

The troops came up rapidly and engaged and defeated the In- 
dians but could not stop the progress toward the Umatilla Res- 
ervation. In fact, the troops were to overtake and fight the In- 
dians at Birch Creek, then at Silver Creek, and again at Eagle 
Rock without stopping them. 

Of course Chief Egan's purpose in wanting to reach the Uma- 
tilla Reservation had stemmed from the hope that he could 
persuade that whole tribe to join him. 

Meanwhile a company of 32 volunteer riflemen had been or- 
ganized at Pendleton and took the field. They encountered several 
hundred of the hostiles, were completely surrounded and fought 
for 24 hours, until the Indians, for some unknown reason, decided 
to resume their march. Sergeant William Lament of the rifle 
company was killed, his body returned to Pendleton where it 
lies in what is now Pioneer Park. 

Early in the forenoon of July 8th, Scouts John W. Redington 
and Frank Parker again located the Indians on Birch Creek, a 
tributary which flows north to join the Umatilla River. General 
Howards's troops attacked and defeated the Indians who took 
refuge in the deep pine forest and continued their march toward 
the Umatilla Reservation. 

About that time the Twenty-First Infantry, commanded by 
Colonel Evan Miles, was 40 miles away and marching to join 
General Howard, who was traveling northward faster than Col- 
onel Miles had calculated. After the fight on Birch Creek, Gen- 
eral Howard sent Scout Redington with an order to Colonel Miles 
to do an about-face and by forced marches try and head off the 
hostiles before they could effect a junction with the Umatillas. 
Redington succeeded in reaching Colonel Miles though it took 
him most of the night to accomplish the mission. The Twenty- 
First wheeled about a*id reached the reservation at daybreak. 
Tired and hungry the infantrymen pitched camp and started to 
cook breakfast when, without warning, the Bannocks streamed 
out of the surrounding forest and down the sloping hills to at- 
tack the soldiers. In the war party were about 1000 braves, most- 
ly Bannocks and Piutes, but also a few from other tribes, while 
Colonel Miles had about 500 men. His troops consisted of several 

The Bannock War 235 

units of the Twenty-First Infantry, two companies of the Fourth 
Artillery acting as Infantry, Troop K of the First Cavalry under 
Captain Bendire, and the Pendleton Volunteers under Captain 
William Matlock and Lieutenant James Turner. 

We must now return to General Howard and July 8th so that 
we may reconcile events. After the scouts had located the In- 
dians, General Howard, himself, rode to a high point from 
which he could see the hostiles in force and apparently working 
themselves into a frenzy by war dances and much waving of 
blankets and brandishing of weapons. Sarah Winnemucca was 
with the General and she told him that it was her opinion that it 
the General attacked that the battle would not last long because 
the warriors would flee to the forest. Howard decided to attack 
at once. 

The Indians were in good position on an elevation with the 
forest in the direction of flight should they be forced to retire. 
Howard's plan required that Bernard with seven troops approach 
from one flank and a mixed force under Captain Throckmorton 
to attack from the other side. General Frank Wheaton was to 
bring his infantry up in support. Robbins and his scouts were 
to be with Bernard. The plan worked with precision and the In- 
dians took to the forest. There were no casualties among the sol- 
diers, though some horses were killed. The Indians suffered some 
fatalities but took their dead away with them and were soon lost 
in the fastnesses of the wooded mountains. There was much spec- 
ulation about the location of the Indians then but no facts and 
General Howard decided to go to Walla Walla, believing that he 
could better direct his campaign from there. He left Major E. C. 
Mason, his Chief of Staff, in command of the troops in the field. 

Mason proceeded toward the Umatilla country, for it was cer- 
tain that only the tide of war would determine whether the 
Umatillas under Chief Umapine would or would not join the 
Bannocks, Piutes, and others under Chief Otis and the wounded 

In the meantime three men riding from Meacham to Pendleton 
were attacked, one being killed, another wounded, and the third 
escaping to take the news to Pendleton. On the morning of July 
13th Major Connoyer with 13 men left Pendleton to rescue the 
wounded man and almost immediately encountered a large force 
of Indians. Connoyer had to flee, returning to Pendleton for re- 
inforcements. These Indians were, no doubt, the same who at- 
tacked the camp of Colonel Miles and his Twenty-first Infantry, 
previously detailed. 

236 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

During the engagement between the Twenty-first Infantry and 
the hostiles, all of the Umatillas in war paint and feathers, sat on 
their horses atop a hill overlooking the fighting. They were 
merely waiting to see which side was to be favored by the fortunes 
of war before joining the hostiles or returning to their wigwams. 
When the Bannocks and their allies fled from Colonel Miles the 
Umatillas negotiated with the army officers offering to kill or cap- 
ture Chief Egan. By this offer the Umatillas hoped to secure for- 
giveness for Chief Umapine for having led them to meet the 
Bannocks in the John Day country. The army officers agreed, 
Chief Umapine was forgiven, and he with a band of warriors 
and assisted by two sub-chiefs, Four Crows and Yettinewitz, pur- 
sued the Bannocks into the mountains. 

The Bannocks were located and there are two stories about 
what then happened. One tale has it that the Umatillas pretended 
friendship and while conducting a pow-wow and at a pre-arranged 
signal, attacked Chief Egan and his principal men, killing 
thirty including Chief Egan. The other story recites that the 
two groups having met engaged in a talk during which Egan 
tried to persuade the Umatillas to join him; that an argument 
ensued growing increasingly heated until a fight started with 
the aforementioned result. This incident probably occurred on 
July 15th, certainly not later than July 16th, and, of course, 
Egan was, at the time, still suffering from the wounds received in 
his duel with Colonel Robbins. The site of the slaughter was in 
the forest three miles from Meacham. 

The Umatillas returned to the troops, reported the fight, and 
the next day a detachment rode to the scene. It is not known 
why the hostiles had not cremated their dead, but this time they 
had not. Scout Redington turned over the body of a scalped 
Indian and said that it was Chief Ehegante, known as Egan. 
Redington had known Egan well, having hunted bear with him 
the previous year. Colonel Robbins also identified the dead 
chief from his wounds. It is believed that Egan was born a 
Umatilla who had been captured when a small boy and then 
grew up as a fellow tribesman of his captors. 

But time was running out for the hostiles. While they had 
thus far succeeded in escaping after each battle, their numbers 
were being decimated, they had successively lost two top leaders 
and many other principal men, yet they were not subdued. The 
few renegade Umatillas who had joined the hostiles were al- 
most home on their reservation; the Piutes from the Malheur 
district were not too far from their country; but the Bannocks 

The Bannock War 237 

were faced with a long journey if they were to return to the 
Fort Hall Reservation. Apparently the Indians had decided to 
break up their war and go home. True, the troops had no knowl- 
edge of such a decision, knowing only that the hostiles were 
still at large and learning of murders and depredations almost 

The big news was that of a new outbreak in Idaho, to be 
known as the Sheepeater War. Aside from that, the fast-traveling 
but somewhat scattered Indian allies were killing and destroy- 
ing as they were homeward bound, in no sense diminishing their 
reign of terror even though aware that their war was hopelessly 

William Lockwood, veteran stage driver of the route between 
the Union Pacific Railroad in Utah and Umatilla Landing on 
the Columbia River, was holed up in Meacham, He decided 
to run the risk of taking the mail to Pendleton. Loading the 
mail into a light carriage, he hitched four horses to the vehicle, 
put an expert rifleman in the back seat, and started. The dis- 
tance was 25 or 30 miles. Soon after he set out a group of mount- 
ed Indians gave chase. It was a run for life but the rifleman 
pumped lead and discouraged the Indians who gave up the 
effort when nearing some cavalrymen who were found to be 
guarding the road. The Fred Foster family living on the stage 
route had heard of the killing of travelers on the road and bar- 
ricaded themselves in the log station house. When the stage 
drove up with the horses frothing and the driver's announce- 
ment that he had been chased by Indians, they decided to leave. 
The driver quickly loaded the family into the stage coach and 
started for Pendleton. The Indians came in sight and the driver 
lashed the horses to keep a safe distance ahead of the pursuers. 
Fortunately they came upon a camp of soldiers and the Indians 
pulled away. Later, when the Foster family returned, they found 
their place completely ransacked. 

A wagon freight line worked out of LaGrande in Union 
County, Oregon. The wagons were drawn by 16-horse teams. Four 
drivers, Wallace McLaughlin, John Doe, A. Smith, and a fourth, 
known as "Whispering" Thompson were moving freight when 
they were attacked. McLaughlin was instantly killed and 
scalped. Thompson ran into the forest where he was killed and 
scalped. Doe hid in some bushes where he was found, tortured, 
killed, and mutilated. Smith, badly wounded, hid in some wil- 
lows near a spring. Desperate for water he tried to reach the 
spring. The Indians tied him with a horsehair rope, dragging 

238 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

him back and forth just out of reach of the spring until he 
died. The teams were killed, the freight scattered, and the wag- 
ons burned. 

While such acts of violence were being committed, the sol- 
diers, from time to time, captured small bands of Indians, 
hanged some of them, and returned the others to their reserva- 

Colonel Harry Lee Bailey, who was an aide to General 
Wheaton, advanced an idea which stemmed from the awe in 
which Indians generally held steamboats, telegraph lines, and 
other inventions of white men. There was some danger that the 
hostiles might try to cross the Columbia River and join the 
Yakimas in the State of Washington. Colonel Bailey suggested 
that a steamboat be armed and set to cruising the river where 
the Indians might be expected to attempt a crossing. Two 
steamboats were thus prepared. Actually some Indians did try 
to cross the river. The steamboats opened fire with their howit- 
zers, the Indians fled southward leaving their canoes which were 
burned by a landing party. 

Thus the disintegration continued. The various warring tribes 
continued their devious homeward journeys. The Bannocks 
were particularly vicious. As their trek took them toward the 
Fort Hall Reservation they killed a stage driver named Hem- 
mingway, who, by chance, had reached the Owyhee Ferry on the 
Snake River at the same time as the Bannocks. Onward they 
went, murdering and robbing, but hastening so that they could 
keep ahead of the pursuing troops. Reaching their reservation 
they mixed with their tribesmen who had refused to go to war 
and were soon enjoying the bounties of a benevolent government. 

No punishment was thereafter inflicted beyond the fact that 
they were confined to the limits of their reservation. And thus 
the brief but bloody Bannock War passed into history. 

The Oregon Piutes were subsequently moved to the Yakima 
Reservation where they did not coalesce. Later they were re- 
turnerd to Nevada to join the Winnemucca Piutes on the reser- 
vation surrounding Pyramid Lake. 


Ax the time which marked the early stages of the War Between 
the States, the germ of a smaller and later war was planted in 
Central Idaho. The region is even today largely unexplored. It 
is a vast domain of rugged and precipitous mountains, deep 
canyons, cold winters, and wild game and a place of almost 
limitless mineral resources. There, in the early 1860's, a small 
band of renegade Indians began to congregate. They numbered 
probably less than 150 and were comprised of those who had 
fled from tribal punishment or who had been marked for the 
white man's justice. They were the scum of the Bannocks with 
a sprinkling of other tribesmen and were known as "Sheep- 
eaters" because the mountain sheep, with which the area 
abounded, constituted their chief article of diet. Their clothing 
was, generally, made from the pelts of wild animals, supple- 
mented by what they could steal. They were sneaking and ven- 
omous. The lone prospector who ventured into the fastness of 
the region was almost certain to lose his pack animals and sup- 
plies, and probably his life, to these low-level human beings. 
Gradually settlers filtered into the canyons and finding an oc- 
casional grassy meadow or a level shelf adjacent to grazing land, 
set up their cabin homes. Many of them, too, became the vic- 
tims of the Sheepeaters. 

In the summer of 1878 the Bannocks of Southern Idaho were 
engaged in their own war, most of which was fought in North- 
eastern Oregon. When it became apparent that the Federal 
troops were winning, the Bannocks decided to make their way 
back to their Fort Hall reservation in Southeastern Idaho. Ic 
was a long trip and the troops were in hot pursuit. Sometimes a 
few Bannocks would find themselves cut off from flight to their 
home reservation. These took refuge with the Sheepeaters. Others 
of the Fort Hall Bannocks were afraid to face the justice which 
would be meted out to them for murders and depredations co- 
incident to the war. They, too, took their way to the Sheepeater 
country. There were also a few renegade Spokanes, Coeur 
d'Alenes, and Nez Perces, and an occasional discredited mem- 
ber of some other tribe-rejects from the native mill of life. 

With the advent of the veteran warriors from the Bannock 
War, it was not lone until the Sheepeaters, now greatly re- 


240 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

inforced, became more bold. The first evidence of this more dan- 
gerous attitude came in the summer of 1878 when a mixed group 
of these Indian allies raided Indian Valley, between the 
Weiser and Payette rivers in what is now the Weiser National 
Forest. The Indians ran off five or six dozen horses. Four of 
the ranchers started in pursuit and were ambushed. Three of 
these men were killed and the fourth badly wounded, but 
finally escaped. Ordinarily such an occurrence would have re- 
sulted quickly in the dispatch of a punitive expedition, but at- 
tention of the United States Army was centered in the contem- 
porary Bannock War. Also many Idaho towns had organized 
home guards because of Bannock depredations and those hardy 
souls who might have formed a volunteer force to pursue the 
Sheepeaters did not dare to leave their own homes unprotected. 

Many raids of a minor nature, resulting in thefts of livestock 
and other thievery punctuated the late summer. Winter was 
approaching, the tribe was being rapidly augmented by the des- 
perate runaway Bannocks, and provisions for a long, hard win- 
ter had to be assembled. Under the leadership of Chiefs Eagle 
Eye, Tamanmo (known as War Jack) , and another called 
Chuck, they spent what must have been an unpleasant winter. 

In the spring of 1879 the Sheepeaters and their reinforcements 
swooped upon a Chinese mining camp in the Payette Forest 
country, killing a number of the Chinese. They continued their 
reign of terror by forays against other camps of miners and 
prospectors and lonely ranches. Word was sent to the Army and 
General Oliver Otis Howard, from his headquarters at Van- 
couver Barracks, immediately issued the necessary orders to set 
the military forces in motion. 

Grangeville, Idaho, is about 200 miles due north of Boise and 
near Grangeville was Camp Howard. Captain (Brevet Colonel) 
Reuben F. Bernard, the hard-hitting veteran of the Bannock 
War and other campaigns, with 56 men of the First Cavalry, 
was ordered to move into the Sheepeater stronghold from Boise 
Barracks, starting on May 31st. On June 4th, Lieutenant Henry 
Catley with 48 mounted infantrymen of the Second Infantry, 
left Camp Howard, moved into the hostile country from the 
north. It may be a matter of wonder after the Nez Perce War 
of 1877 and the Bannock War of 1878, why so few troops were 
sent into this campaign. The fact was that General Howard 
was unaware of the many additions to the Sheepeater ranks. 
He believed that they were limited to the relatively small num- 
ber who had occupied the hide-out for more than 15 years and, 

The Sheep eater War 241 

hence, considered that the troops were approximately equal to 
the hostiles. 

However, the General soon decided to add somewhat to the 
expedition. In an article published February 17, 1926, in the 
Pinewald (N J.) Bulletin, General Howard said that he reached 
the conclusion that some of the Bannock refugees might have 
joined the Sheepeaters and that it would be a good plan to or- 
ganize a troop of scouts. He ordered 2nd Lieutenant Edward S. 
Farrow of the 21st Infantry, a young officer just out of West 
Point, to enlist a company of Indian scouts and add a detach- 
ment of expert riflemen, to be selected for their endurance- 
Lieutenant Farrow enlisted 20 Indians from the Umatilla Res- 
ervation and selected seven soldiers as his sharpshooters, thus 
starting his expedition with a fighting force of only 28 men, 
counting himself. He had in addition two guides and six pack- 
ers with 34 pack animals. General Howard designated this 
group as an independent command and started it on his way 
to hunt down any hostiles who might be found. At the close of 
the campaign Lieutenant Farrow had a total of 80 men in his 
command counting soldiers, civilian scouts, Indian scouts, guides 
and packers. 

From the start of the campaign Colonel Bernard and Lieuten- 
ant Catley, and their respective commands, ran into difficulties. 
A hard winter had been followed by a late spring. Snow still re- 
mained to a depth of six or eight feet, which is not too unusual 
for a region a mile high in average elevation above sea level. 

The mining town of Warrens, now Warren, Idaho, was near 
the junction of the Salmon River and its South Fork. Lieuten- 
ant Catley had reached a poiiu seven miles beyond Warren by 
mid-June when he was forced to go back to the town because 
it was impossible to get through the snow. For days the men 
had been tramping down the snow so that their horses could 
follow and men and horses were exhausted. It was not until 
July llth that he succeeded in moving forward with some de- 
gree of freedom, but from beginning to end his march was over 
difficult mountain trails. After back-breaking effort he reached 
Rains' Ranch, owned by James F. Rains, on the South Fork of 
the Salmon River and where there was a crossing known as 
Rains' Crossing. Catley was about 100 miles from his starting 
point. Having rested briefly at the ranch and repaired pack- 
saddles and other gear, Catley started eastward toward Big 
Creek, keeping scouts ahead and* at the flanks, on the lookout 
for hostiles. 

242 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

Meanwhile Colonel Bernard was not faring much better. On 
July 15th, General Howard received a report from Bernard say- 
ing that the country was rougher than that anywhere else in the 
United States and that to get at the Indians would be a work 
of great difficulty. In this latter regard he said in the report, 
"Should they discover us before we do them they can hide in 
the timbered Rocky Mountains for a long time and go from point 
to point much faster than we can, even if we knew where to go 
... we have traveled over much country that no white man ever 
saw before. Old guides and miners declared that we could not 
get through at all." 

Lieutenant Farrow had crossed the ferry over the Snake River 
at Brownlee, Oregon, on July llth. He traveled almost due east 
and on the 16th reported from Council Valley on the Weiser 
River that he had already found signs of Indians. 

Of course Colonel Bernard was to assume command of all 
troops at the seat of war when they had all reached points near 
enough to each other to communicate by courier and operate 
in unison. The plan of approach was well conceived and, for 
the most part, well executed except for Lieutenant Catley's 
misfortune in his first encounter with the hostiles. 

Generally, the territory to be combed was that now constitut- 
ing Valley County, Idaho, which, in turn, is practically covered 
by the Payette and the Idaho National Forests. Bernard was ap- 
proaching from the south, Catley from the north, and Farrow 
from the west, On July 17th Bernard and Catley were about 80 
miles apart and Farrow was near enough to Bernard to be in 
touch with him by courier. Bernard's force had lost several pack 
animals carrying food supplies and the men were hungry. Up 
to that time no Indians had actually been sighted though some 
signs had been observed. 

Lieutenant Farrow followed the signs he had come across and 
upon his close approach the Indians in that band dispersed and 
sought refuge on the Lapwai and Lemhi reservations. Farrow 
then chased another band into the higher elevations of the 
Seven Devils Mountains, capturing several of them whom he 
forced to act as guides. He received a report that some Nez 
Perces who had succeeded in reaching Canada during the campaign 
of 1877, were back in the Idaho high country and he decided to 
try to find them if he could. Before starting on this mission 
Farrow ascertained Catley's location and already being in touch 
with Bernard, set out. By late July the snow had melted except 

A Bannock chief. 

Bannock Indians. 

onnock squaw and papoose. 

Bannock tepee. 

The Sheepeater War 243 

in the^higher elevations, streams were again at normal flow, and 
conditions for campaigning were propitious. 

Big Creek was a major tributary of the Middle Fork of the 
Salmon River. There Catley's command camped on July 28th. 
Many signs of Indians were found, such as tracks of their 
horses and the remains of recent campfires. On the morning of 
the 29th they started on the down slope, having to travel in single 
file, and often using the stream bed itself as a trail. Suddenly an 
Indian was observed on a cliff. The Indian saw the troopers, 
yelled at them and disappeared behind the rocks. Indian rifles 
cracked and two troopers toppled from their saddles. The sol- 
diers dismounted and began firing, using their horses as shields. 
But no Indian could be seen whereas the soldiers were exposed 
to the gunfire of a hidden enemy who had them in a trap. 

In a reminiscent article written many years later by Colonel 
Aaron F. Parker, another Indian campaigner, he refers to an 
official report made October 28, 1879, by Lieutenant Muhlen- 
berg, an officer of Catley's command, in which it was stated that 
scouts twice reported to Catley that they had seen Indians but 
that Catley apparently placed no credence in the reports al- 
though a recent camp of the hostiles had been found that day. 
Catley had ordered the troops into camp the previous night over 
the insistence of Lieutenant Webster that a scouting party be 
sent out but which was not done. In any event, after the ambush 
Catley ordered his command to turn about and go back up the 
trail. The two men who had been shot from their horses were 
not dead but severely wounded. They were carried by comrades. 
The troops were soon out of range because the Indians, for 
some unknown reason, did not then pursue. 

After back-tracking for about two miles they met their pack 
train coming down. Catley decided to camp for the night, being 
in a somewhat favorable defensive position. They were not mo- 
lested that night although anxiety was manifest in the entire 

Catley decided to move up the slopes and get out of the im- 
mediate territory by using the route which had brought him in. 
The following morning he started to carry out that plan, the 
wounded being carried in hand-litters. But the command lost its 
way and the pack train in the rear was attacked. However, Lieu- 
tenants Muhlenberg and Webster succeeded in bringing the 
pack train safely within the lines just as the front of the column 
was attacked. Thus the troops were between two fires but since 
the Indians were remaining at long range, front and rear, no 

244 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

particular damage was done. The packs were removed from the 
animals and the troops barricaded themselves as best they could 
among the rocks and trees, with the packs filling in^the exposed 
places. Then the Indians set fire to the grass and timber at the 
foot of the mountain and the updraft sent the flames roaring 
up the slopes. 

The soldiers back-fired thus saving themselves from being 
driven out of their shelter. The weather was very hot and the 
nearest water was in the creek below them. The men sipped vin- 
egar from kegs carried by the pack train and from that incident 
their rocky ridge was named "Vinegar Hill," which designation 
persists to this day and by which name the battle is also known. 
The Indians kept up a desultory firing from long range all 
day though inflicting no casualties. It was apparent that the hos- 
tiles were in small numbers but they had the advantage of 
position as well as familiarity with the country. Catley decided 
to move on during the night. Accordingly, after the moon had 
disappeared behind the mountains, the cavalcade set out, mov- 
ing into the ravine and up the opposite slope where they found 
their inbound trail. 

They had abandoned much of their equipment and in ad- 
dition had lost a number of pack animals in the darkness. It 
was Catley's plan to continue his retreat to the vicinity of War- 
ren or to Burgdorf Springs, now called Burgdorf, which is 
about 12 miles west of Warren. But couriers brought news of the 
defeat on July 29th to Colonel Bernard, to Lieutenant Farrow, 
and to General Wheaton, the latter at Fort Lapwai. Things be- 
gan to happen. Bernard notified General Howard of Catley's re- 
treat and of the probable location of the Indians. General 
Wheaton sent Captain A. J. Forse of the First Cavalry to re- 
inforce Catley and to turn him once again against the Indians 
and in support of Lieutenant Farrow. When the courier reached 
Farrow the latter lost no time in getting started. He cached his 
surplus supplies and equipment and, living off the country and 
by forced marches, reached Catley five days later at Rains Cross- 
ing on the South Fork of the Salmon River. 

On August 24th General. Howard sent word to Colonel Bern- 
ard that the hostiles were encouraged by the defeat of Catley, 
that the trouble was spreading, and urged that every possible 
effort be made to subdue the Indians. Bernard replied in optim- 
istic tone saying that Farrow was 30 miles ahead of him and 
pursuing the hostiles down the canyon of the Middle Fork of 

The Sheepeater War 245 

the Salmon and that Farrow was so hot on the trail that the In- 
dians had abandoned most of their baggage. 

Captain Forse joined Bernard and the merged command has- 
tened on, following Farrow's trail. Lieutenant W. C. Brown, 
who was Farrow's second in command, was out with a scouting 
party on August 19th and came in contact with the hostiles. 
Shots were exchanged but the scouting party suffered no casual- 
ties. Bernard heard the firing and moved up as fast as the rug- 
ged country and tired horses would permit to find that the 
Indians were retreating. On August 20th Private Harry Eagan 
died of wounds received that day. He was shot through both 
thighs making amputation necessary and died under the opera- 
tion. He was buried where he fell and today a small stone 
monument marks his grave. The stone was hauled 75 miles by 
wagon and 40 more by pack-horse, such is the nature of that 
country even today. Pursuit of the retreating hostiles at that 
time was impossible. Men and horses had reached the absolute 
end of endurance. 

Meanwhile an incident had occurred at the Rains Ranch. As 
previously recited, it was on the South Fork of the Salmon 
River. It was in a sheltered valley and the river crossing there 
was known as Rains' Crossing. Here James F. Rains and his 
family had lived for several years. They raised livestock and 
vegetables but the chief crop was hay which was baled and 
carried on pack horses to Warren where it was marketed. When 
Catley's retreat brought him to the Rains Ranch the owner was 
aware of the probability that the Indians might follow the re- 
treating soldiers so he moved out with his family to the town 
of Warren, leaving the ranch to whatever fate might befall. 
Several days later he learned of Colonel Bernard's presence in 
the back country and no Indians having been reported in the 
vicinity of the ranch, Rains decided to return with three men 
to help him with hay-making. The men were Harry Serren, 
James Edwards, and Albert Weber, the latter being Rains' 
brother-in-law. For several days everything was peaceful. At 
noon on August 15th, the men had taken a mid-day rest and then 
returned to the hay field, for the first time neglecting to take 
their rifles with them. Towards evening Weber went to the 
house and soon thereafter bullets began to whizz past the three 
men in the field. They took cover behind the hay bales and then 
decided to rush to the house and regain their rifles before the 
Indians could raid the house. They started and almost immedi- 
ately Rains was critically wounded. Edwards and Serren dodged 

246 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

into a ravine and headed for Warren which they reached the 
next day. After dark Rains managed to drag himself to the 
house where he died in a short while. Weber, who by that time 
had been wounded, then escaped. The Indians burned the 
buildings and ran off the livestock. 

Bernard caught up with Farrow who had found it necessary to 
go into camp to rest his men and horses. The Colonel surveyed 
the situation and sent a dispatch to General Howard which read 
in part as follows, "The country is so rough that animals cannot 
be got through it at all. All our stock except a few of Captain 
Forse's horses and the animals captured by Farrow are ex- 
hausted. Most of our horses and mules have given out and have 
been shot." 

General Howard realized the pounding which nature had been 
administering to the troops and promptly sent orders to Ber- 
nard to use his judgment and if Bernard considered it inadvis- 
able to do more than had been done that he pull the troops out 
of "that fearful country and distribute his forces to the posts 
where they belonged." 

Bernard proceeded to act upon the order and with his own 
command set out for Boise Barracks. Captain Forse departed 
with his troops for Fort Lapwai. Lieutenant Farrow remained 
in camp to ward off any Indian attacks until it could be certain 
that no white people remained in the neighboring country. 
Several prospectors had been killed and signal smoke indicated 
that the hostiles were not far away and would doubtless attack 
any ranch still occupied after the troops had left. 

Lieutenant Farrow's orders permitted independent action 
to be fitted to circumstance. He and Lieutenant Brown decided 
to have one more try at the subjugation of the hostiles. They set 
out with the Umatilla scouts and a small detachment of soldiers, 
leaving most of their equipment behind. They knew that with 
the approach of winter the Indians could no longer take refuge 
in the higher elevations and that fortune might smile. The very 
next day they met several squaws and boys whom they took 
prisoners and from them secured some bits of information 
about the movements of the hostiles. Lieutenant Brown rode 
ahead with a few men, Farrow being slowed by the presence of 
the prisoners. In the early evening Brown heard the barking of 
dogs and soon sighted an Indian camp. Farrow came up and the 
expedition surrounded the camp and closed in, only to find that 
the hostiles had fled, leaving a store of provisions and a few 

The Sheepeater War 247 

The trail was a hot one. Farrow and Brown were relentless in 
their pursuit. It was September and the wintry blasts from the 
snowy mountain peaks spoke the message that time was running 
out. One day they saw a lone Indian signalling to them from 
the edge of a thicket about a half-mile away. Lieutenant Brown 
and Wa-tis-kow-kow, one of the Umatillas who was something 
of an interpreter, approached, told the Indian to lay aside 
his gun, which he did and a parley ensued. It was War 
Jack, or Tamanmo, one of the Sheepeater chiefs. He said that he 
was tired of fighting. The Chief accompanied the two back to 
camp, where Farrow demanded unconditional surrender but prom- 
ised no punishment except to those who might be proved guilty 
of murder. War Jack agreed to go to his people and bring 
them in. Farrow loaned him a horse and in a few days War 
Jack brought in a mixed group of warriors, squaws and child- 
ren. But the recent Bannock allies were not there. They had de- 
cided to sneak back to their reservation. 

Getting the prisoners out was a task. Food was scarce. The 
snows had started to fall. After 62 days Farrow brought his force 
and the prisoners to the Columbia River, eventually delivering 
his charges to Vancouver Barracks, where Colonel Henry A. 
Morrow, a brevet General, was in command, with Captain John 
A. Kress in charge of the arsenal. Orders were soon issued to move 
the prisoners to the Umatilla Agency which was done. The fol- 
lowing spring they were again moved, this time to the Fort Hall 
Reservation in Southeastern Idaho. 

How many prisoners were there? A letter from the Adjutant- 
General, Washington, D. C, dated June 18, 1925, in response 
to an inquiry from Colonel Aaron F. Parker says in part, "Noth- 
ing has been found of record showing definitely the date of sur- 
render of the last party of Sheepeater Indians to Lieutenant Ed- 
ward S. Farrow, Twenty-first Infantry, in 1879. However, the rec- 
ords indicate that Lieutenant Farrow and his force of Umatilla 
Indian scouts captured 14 Sheepeaters at Big Meadows Septem- 
ber 21; compelled the surrender of 39 near the Middle Fork of 
the Salmon River October 1, and compelled the surrender of 12 
on October 6, 1879, near Chamberlain Basin." 

In the Thursday, May 13, 1909, issue of the Asbury (NJ.) 
Evening Press is a lengthy account of a talk delivered by Major 
Edward S. Farrow, United States Army, about his experiences in 
the Indian campaign of 1879. That account credits Farrow with 
the statement that his command captured 388 Indians in the 

248 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

campaign and also that it was the largest number of Indians ever 
captured at any time by any United States troops. 

For their accomplishment Lieutenants Farrow and Brown re- 
ceived brevet promotions. Later, Lieutenant Catley was tried by 
a general court martial and found guilty of misbehavior in the 
presence of the enemy and sentenced to be dismissed from the 
service. The sentence was not carried out because the Judge 
Advocate General recommended clemency and President Ruther- 
ford B. Hayes set aside the sentence. Catley soon withdrew from 
the army. 

Much later when W. C. Brown was a retired Colonel he wrote 
a book titled, The Sheepeater Campaign, compiled from official 
sources in which he says that the guides and couriers should be 
held in grateful remembrance; that they had to carry their food 
and bedding on the saddle; that travel was restricted to trails 
which the hostiles could watch in safety and attack in~safety; that 
the couriers often had to travel at night; and then lists those 
who took part in the Sheepeater Campaign, as follows: "Orlan- 
do (Rube) Robbins, John S. Rainey, George Shearer, Bright, 
Josh Falkner, Calvin R. White, Levi A. White, David R. Mon- 
roe, Johnny Vose, the Parker brothers, J. W. Redington, Jake 
Barnes, John Corliss, Alexander Foster, Harry Serren (Lemhi) , 
and Uncle Dave (Cougar) Lewis/.' 

The last of the Indian wars of the Pacific Northwest ended. 
Each year for the past three had generated a separate war. There 
were many people who wondered whether some other outbreak 
would continue the series in 1880. But the Indians had finally 
decided that they wanted no more punishment from the troops. 
Resentment still rested in the breasts of the tribesmen but the 
futility of several efforts to keep the land for themselves was 
evident. They submitted to reservation life and a new era of ex- 
pansion and development spread across the old hunting grounds 
and battlefields. 


To ACQUIRE an adequate understanding of the Pacific Northwest 
Indian wars, it is essential that something be known of the var- 
ious races and tribes, with their customs and characteristics. 
Ethnologists, generally, classify North American Indians racially 
by linguistic groups. About 55 stocks are now recognized, the 
number varying from 52 to 61 according to the individual 
authority. Some of these have not only survived but increased, 

others are almost extinct, while still others have completely van- 

i i 


Fourteen are represented in the States of Washington, Idaho 
and Oregon, with some overlapping into Western Montana, 
Northern California, and Southern British Columbia. In ad- 
dition there are three whose habitats were British Columbia 
and Southeastern Alaska, who occasionally entered the Puget 
Sound area for war or barter, and whose influence was left on 
the cultures encountered, These three were the Athabaskan, 
Haidan, and Tsimishian. Of the three, the Haidan, represented 
by the Haida Indians of Vancouver Island and the adjacent 
mainland, seem to have had more frequent contacts within pres- 
ent day United States than any other of those living outside the 
boundaries of our country. 

Those living within the limits of the region with which this 
book is concerned, or extending across its borders, were the 
Shastan, Takelman, Chinookan, Chimakuan, Wakashan, Yakqn- 
an, Weitspekan, Kakapuyan, Waiilatpuan, Shoshonian, Salishan, 
Lutuamin, Kitunahan, and Sahaptian. Of these, six are relative- 
ly unimportant as far as our Indian wars are concerned. They 
are the Yakonan, Weitspekan, Chimakuan, Takelman, Kitun- 
ahan, and Wakashan. The Kitunahan stock is represented only 
by the Kootenay of Southern British Columbia and Northeast- 
ern Washington. Kootenai is the spelling favored by the Canadi- 
ans. The Chimakuan has only one survivor of its linguistic stock, 
the Quileute of the Olympic Peninsula. The Wakashan includes 
the Kwakiutl and Nootkah, two strictly British Columbia tribes, 
and the Makah tribe of the Olympia Peninsula. 

Thus eight stocks remain for our consideration. They are the 
Shastan, represented by the Shastas of Northern California and 
Southern Oregon, the Rogue River Indians being the more im- 


250 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

portant Shastan tribe in Oregon; the Waiilatpuan, known to us 
as the Cayuses; the Chinookan, by the Chinooks. It must be re- 
membered that after the white man came most of the Columbia 
River Indians were known locally as Chinooks, but this was in- 
correct because the Chinooks proper constituted a tribe living at 
the mouth of the Columbia River. The Kalapuyan survives in 
the Kalapooia Indians. 

There is a great variation in the spelling of Indian names. This 
author has found thirteen different spellings for Kalapooia. Every 
explorer, trader, and trapper, spelled Indian words accord- 
ing to his individual phonetic understanding. The Shoshon- 
ian includes the Bannocks, also spelled Bannacks; the Sho- 
shonee, also spelled Shoshone and Shoshoni; and the Paiutes, 
also spelled Piutes. There is confusion about this latter name 
also, because at one time, the term Paiute was applied to most 
Shoshonian tribes. The Lutuamin stock is composed of the 
Klamath and Modoc tribes, and the Sahaptian of the Yakimas, 
Umatillas, and Walla Wallas. The largest number of tribes be- 
longed to the Salishan linguistic group, among which were the 
following: Chehalis, Clallam, Colville, Flatheads, Kalispels or 
Pend Oreilles, Lillooets, Lummi, Nespelim, Nisqualli, Oka- 
nogan, Puyallup, Quinaielt, Sanspoil, Shuswap, Spokan or Spo- 
kane, Bella Coolas, and Thompson Indians, a few of which were 
not resident in the lands now comprising the United States. 

There were many other tribes, some known by several names 
and often without regard to accuracy. Settlers often arbitrarily 
gave a designation to Indians in no wise conforming to the facts. 
In the interest of clarity we must say something about it. 

JWe hear of The Dalles Indians. They were Wascopum or 
Wascos; and the Celilos, Teninos, John Days, and Warm Springs 
Indians were either the same as Wascos or affiliated with them. 
We also hear of the Clatsops and the Nehalem, Tillamook, and 
Nestucca tribes. These were all allied to the Chinooks, spoke the 
Chinook tongue, with some dialectic differences, and lived 
southward from the mouth of the Columbia River for about 
150 miles. Mention was made of the Cascade Indians, the Des- 
Chutes tribe, and the Snakes, because they were thus identified 
by the territories where they resided. 

The Nez Perce were Sahaptians and represented the very 
highest degree of Indian intelligence. Their home was east of 
the Cayuse and Walla Walla country. The Palouse were allies of 
the Cayuses. The Klickitats, also Sahaptian, lived along the Co- 
lumbia River in South Central Washington and east of Mt. 

Appendix 251 

Adams. The Snohomish were on Puget Sound north of Seattle; 
the Chimakuan were on the east coast of the Olympic Peninsula; 
the Skonomish lived south of the Chimakuan, as did the Quin- 
aults. The Cowlitz tribe occupied the country drained by the 
river named for them in southwest Washington and east to the 
Cascades of the Columbia; the Coeur d'Alenes were east of the 

You may have read of the Simcoes and the Cowichan, the latter 
being a Salish tribe which sometimes made excursions to Puget 
Sound. The Multnomahs were the most enterprising and pro- 
gressive of the various bands living along the Columbia River. 
They also inhabited both sides of the Willamette for about 
twenty miles upstream from its confluence with the Columbia. 
Their territory on the Columbia itself, and on both banks, was 
roughly between the Kalama River and the Sandy River. They 
were occasionally known as the Waukaississe. The Chemeketas 
were a band of the Kalapooias. Molallas lived on the western 
slopes of the Cascades from the Columbia River south to the 
Klamath River. The Rogue River Indians previously mentioned 
as belonging to the great Shasta nation and speaking that langu- 
age, were a troublesome lot. They lived north of the Siskiyou 
Range in the valleys of several rivers in southwestern Oregon. The 
Umpquas were in the valley of the river of the same name be- 
tween the Cascades and the Pacific Ocean. You may read else- 
where than in this book of the Siwash. It is not a true tribal 
name but a corruption of the word Salish, and was usually used 
in derogation of any slovenly tribe. 

Having done with identification, we should briefly explain 
some of the customs and characteristics. To begin with, many 
tribes were peaceful people, others war-like and predatory. For 
example, the Flatheads were constantly harassed by the Black- 
feet, who came from just east of the Rocky Mountains into the 
Flathead country to loot, kill and enslave. Incidentally, while 
many tribes practiced head flattening, the Flatheads never did 
so. It is merely another of the unpredictable errors in nomen- 
clature which we find in Indian ethnology. Many tribes were 
alternately peaceful and war-like. Most of them had slaves and 
that was often the cause for inter-tribal hostilities. Racial al- 
liances were strong. 

The houses of the Salish and many of the southern tribes 
were long, rectangular, and with roofs sloping downward to the 
rear walls. Those of many northern tribes were square, some of 
them 60 feet in each dimension and all with an independent 

252 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

framework and an outer shell. Whatever the tribe, several fam- 
ilies occupied a house, each family with its own fire which was 
usually in a corner of the family section instead of in the center, 
but with some notable exceptions. Raised platforms were built 
along the sides and equipped with mats for sleeping. In winter- 
time other mats were suspended between family sections to 
help conserve heat. 

Food varied according to the location of the tribes. Genera- 
ally, wild game, fish, berries, roots, including the staple camas, 
and the seeds of many wild plants occupied places in the larder. 
Eulachon, the candle-fish, were caught for the oil they contained. 
Oil was used in almost every dish. Those living near the ocean 
supplemented their diet with shell-fish, and an occasional por- 
poise or whale. Pacific Coast Indians were the only North Ameri- 
can Indians with the exception of one small tribe in Florida, 
who did not cultivate crops, nature in its wild state being suf- 
ficiently bountiful. 

The natives were very ingenious in fashioning household 
utensils. Included in the list were stone mortars, wooden troughs 
of all sizes for preparing food, dug-out dishes, usually of alder 
because that wood imparted none of its flavor to food, and 
folding boxes, cleverly manufactured. A kerf or dado, commonly 
called a groove, was cut at whatever point a fold was to occur, 
the edges of the box beveled, and the fitted joints sewed or 
pegged into place. 

Northwest Pacific Indians had stone hammers, knives, drills, 
chisels, pile-drivers and wedges, but no axes. They used adzes, 
utilizing a blade of shell, bone, or stone. Occasionally a blade 
of copper was used. 

Their weaving was remarkable, particularly for its intricate 
patterns. Basketry, belts, nets, and hats, the latter only for keep- 
ing off the rain, were woven from the inner bark of cedar. Fish- 
ing nets were made from nettle fibers. Blankets were woven of 
mountain goat wool and from the wooly coat of one breed of 

The Indians were ingenious fishermen, constructing weirs 
and traps in addition to their nets; harpoons, and bone and 
thorn hooks. Canoes were of two types. The northern tribes 
constructed them with both bow and stern raised, while those 
of the southern tribes had a vertical stern and a projecting bow. 
All sizes were made, from the eight 'foot canoe to carry one man 
to huge craft up to 70 feet in length and holding from 50 to 60 
men. Sometimes sails were used and they were of two kinds, 

Appendix 253 

either made of mats or of very thin boards lashed to a frame- 

Their arms were bows and arrows, spears, knives, and blud- 
geons. They built snares and deadfalls to trap game. 

Languages and dialects varied greatly. Often the speech of 
one tribe was unintelligible to another, in which case sign lang- 
uage was used. 

The first traders came. Metal tools and implements thus 
came into Indian possession. And firearms and ammunition and 
the epidemic diseases of the white man. The Chinook jargon 
was developed. It was a mixture of Indian, English, and French 
words and other words made by combining parts of the three. 
Gradually all tribes and traders, and later the settlers, used this 
jargon for communication. 

These were our Indians when the white man came. 


A History of the Pacific Northwest-George \\ r . Fuller. 

Before the Covered Wagon-Philip H. Parrish. 

Catholic History of Oregon-Edwin Vincent O'Hara. 

Captain Jack, Modoc Renegade Mrs. D. P. Payne. 

Chief Joseph's Own Story. 

History of Washington, Idaho and Montana Hubert Howe 

History of Oregon H. S. Lyman. 

History of the Oregon CownZry-Harvey W. Scott. 

Indian Wars of Idaho Royal Ross Arnold. 

Kamiakin Andrew Jackson Splawn. 

Lorinda Bewley and the Whitman Massacre -Myra Sager Helm. 

Marcus Whitman Chester Collins Maxey. 

My Life and Experiences Among Our Hostage IndiansGen- 
eral Oliver Otis Howard. 

McLoughlin and Old Oregon Eva Emery Dye. 

Native Races Hubert Howe Bancroft. 

Northwestern Fights and Fighters Cyrus Townsend Brady. 

Oregon History Charles Henry Carey. 

Oregon Historical Quarterly. 

Pioneer Days of Oregon History S. A. Clarke. 

Private Journal of Captain John M. Drake. 

Personal Memoirs General Phil H. Sheridan. 

Redington, John W. 3 private papers. 

The Modoc War-T. B. Odeneal. 

The Early Indian Wars of OregonFrances Fuller Victor. 

The Indian History of the Modoc War-]eS C. Riddle. 

To Heaven on Horseback Paul Cranston. 

United States War Department-Documents, reports, statistics, 
about various matters in the Pacific Northwest. 

Wigwam and Warpath A.. B. Meacham. 

Miscellaneous-Various diaries, personal letters, the complete 
files of The Spectator and The Statesman in the library of 
the Oregon Historical Society; material from the Congres- 
sional Record; Army rosters; military orders. 



A Bear Hunter, 226 

Bear Paw Mountain, 220 

Abbott, Charles C., 74, 78 Bear River, 225 

Abbott, George H., 77, 95, 96, 104Bellingham, Fort, 129 
Abernethy, George, 7, 11, 12, 14, 15, Belden, Dr. E. S., 202 

17, 18, 20, 22, 24, 29, 32, 35, 36, 38, Bennett, Charles, 118, 121, 123 
40 > 41 Bennett, Fort, 123, 124, 125 

Absaroka Range, 219 Bendire, Captain, 235 

Adams, Captain, 187 Benton, Thomas Hart, 4 

Ahtanahm Mission, 115, 136 Bernard, Reuben F., 170, 183, 229, 230, 

Alcorn, Miles T., 87, 88, 89 231, 232, 233, 235, 240, 241, 242,244, 

Alden, Captain, 71, 72, 73 245, 246 

Allen, Beverly S., 50 Biddle, Major, 187 

Alsea, 173, 178 Big Meadows, 100, 101, 102, 103, 247 

Ambrose, Dr. G. H., 62, 64 Big Ike, 165 

American Falls, 225 Big Creek, 241, 243 

Anderson, Lt. H. R., 203 Big Horn River, 217 

Anderson, Private, 206 Big Star, Chief, 149 

Angel Island, 175 Bill, Chief, 62, 63, 77 

Angell, Martin, 64, 74 Birch Creek, 234 

Applegate Ranch, 198, 199 Bitter Root Mountains, 124, 216, 217, 

Applegate River, 75, 78, 88, 89 218 

Applegate, E. L., 172 Bitter Root Valley, 124, 216 

Applegate, Ivan D., 155, 162, 164, 168 Blanchet, Bishop, 17, 20, 37, 47 
Applegate, Jesse, 4, 15, 54, 162, 173, 200 Blair, Lt., 73 
Applegate, Lindsay, 154 Blackfeet Indians, 117, 118, 124, 125 

Applegate, Oliver C., 175, 178, 204, 205 Black Eagle, Chief, 215 
Archer, Captain, 134 Black Jim, 165, 184, 185, 203, 204, 205, 

Armstrong, Ambrose N., 115, 130 206 

Armstrong, Lt., 89, 98 Bledsoe, Relf, 94, 104 

Armstrong, Pleasant, 72, 74 Blewett, Charles, 214 

Ashland, 71 Bio, Chief, 157 

Astoria, 45, 46, 58 Bloody Point, 66, 152, 153, 180 

Augur, Captain, 97, 106, 115 Blue Mountains, 23, 27 

Boddy, Mrs., 202 
B Bolon, A. J., Ill, 112, 113 

Bogus Charley, 167, 174, 175, 180, 181, 

Bailey, William J., 1 182 183 > 184 185 > l > l *>> m >%*>> 

Bailey, Fort 86, 87, 90 m > 203 205 

Bailey Colonel 1 HT? Lee, 238 Boise, 2*5, 9. m 233, 240 246 

Banahi Chief 138 Bonneville, Benjamin L. E., 70, 71 

r' 225 238 239 240 Boston Charley, 165, 174, 175, 177, 179, 

228 81. 1 1* 186, 189, 190, 203,204, 

g' ft m ^ **' **' mm Bop, 183, 199, 201 
BarneX Scout Jake, 248 Boyle, Major, 187, 190 

Barnes, James, 100, 101 Boutelle, Lt., 166 

Baker, Colonel Micajah, 229 Bright, Scout, 248 

Barncho, 185, 189, 203, 204, 205, 206 Bradford's Store, 132, 133, 134, 135 
Barnum E. M., 86 Brouillet, Father, 23, 26, 11 1, 1 12 

Battle Rock, 57 Brown, Lt. W. C., 245, 246, 247, 248 

Battle Creek, 225 Breuneau River, 227 

Baylies Senator, 4 Bruce, James, 73, 86, 87, 88, 89,98,99, 

Beardy, Chief, 23, 24, 28, 35 101, 102, 103 


258 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

Buffalo Horn, Chief, 227, 228, 229, 230 Chuck, Chief, 240 
Buchanan, Lt.-CoL, 95, 96, 97, 103, 104, Clackamas River, 7 

105, 106 Claiborne, Thomas, Jr., 47 

Buoy ' Tobey, 98 Clark, John, 77 

Buoy, Laban, 99 Clark, Samuel A., 200 

Burrows, J. M., 121 Clarke, General Newman S., 143, 144, 

Burns, Hugh, 14 146, 150 

Bush, Gilbert, 58, 59 Clear Lake, 68, 69, 156, 168 

Bushey, Captain, 98 Clearwater River, 34, 208, 210, 213, 

Butte Creek, 80, 81 215, 216 

Cockstock, Chief, 3 

C Coeur d'Alene Indians, 37, 111, 124, 

125, 139, 143, 144, 145, 146, 149, 150, 
Cabanis, Surgeon, 188, 192 239 

Calapooia Indians, 29, 39 Coeur d'Alene Mission, 124, 125, 141, 

Camas Meadows, 218 150 

Camas Prairie, 213, 225, 226,227,228, Coffin, Stephen, 135 

229 Columbia River, 4, 18, 22, 26, 34, 40, 

Camas Valley, 89, 99 42, 43, 45, 60, 109, 124, 130, 131, 132, 

Camaspelo, Chief, 28 137, 142, 143, 233, 237, 238, 247 

Campbell, Scout Jack, 233 Columbia River Valley, 1, 116, 150 

Canada, 2, 217, 218, 220, 221, 222, 242 Colville, Fort, 29, 35, 125, 145, 146 
Canby, General E. R. S., 162, 164, 173, Colville Indians, 111, 125, 126, 144 
174, 176, 177, 178, 179, 181, 182, 183, Colville Mission, 125 
184, 185, 188, 189, 190, 193, 198, 203, Colville Reservation, 111, 145, 223 
204, 205 Coos Bay, 61, 80, 100 

Canyon City, 228 Coos Bay Indians, 93 

Captain Jack, 151 thru 169, 171, 172, Connor, Colonel Patrick E., 225, 226 
174, 175, 176, 178, 179, 180, 181, 183, Connoyer, Captain N. A., 118, 122 
184, 185, 186, 188, 189, 190, 191, 193, Connoyer, Major, 235 
197, 198, 199, 200, 202 thru 206 Connell's Prairie, 129 
Captain Jack's Stronghold, 169, 170, 172, Coquille Indians, 58, 59, 77,91,93,100, 

178, 186, 187, 197 104 

Cape Blanco Indians, 58 Coquille River, 58, 59, 60, 77, 89, 91, 92, 

Capron, Lt., 99 93, 99, 104, 105 

Case, Samuel, 173, 175, 178 Corlisss, Scout John, 248 

Cascade Indians, 134, 135, 138 Cornelius, Thomas R., 123, 126, 131 

Cascades, The, 17, 20, 22, 132, 134, 135, Cottonwood, 211, 213, 214 

136, 138 Cottonwood Band, 198 

Cascade Mountains, 37, 51, 109, 110, Cottonwood Creek, 77 

111, 114, 115, 129, 139, 168 Cow Creek, 75, 81, 84, 89, 90, 99, 100 

Casey, Silas, 59, 60, 128, 132 Cowlitz River, 127 

Caster, Lt., 76 Cr *ig, William, 27, 28, 35, 124, 125, 

Catley, Lt. Henry, 240, 241, 242, 243, 1% 139, 140, 141 

244248 Creighton, John, 99, 104 

Cayuse Indians, 3, 6, 9, 10, 11, 15, 18, Cranston, Arthur, 195, 196, 197 
19 20, 21 23 24 25 35, 36, 37, 39, Crescent City, 82, 94, 95, 97, 100, 103 
42, 47, 50, 53, 61, 110, 111, 116,117, J?* wlc y> Denn 1 is ' 168 
119, 124, 139, 141, 142, 190, 227,231 ulvc F' Samuel H., 75 
Cayuse War, 17, 29, 48, 109 Cunningham John, 80 

Cedar River, 127 Cu ffi^?^P OCtOT > 162 ' 165 ' 168 

Chance, William, 92 171 I 87 .' Y , , 

Chadwick, Governor Stephen F., 228 Curley-haired Jack, 202 
Chamberlain Basin, 247 C YeP\? e ,? rge L " 7 ' 8 ' 12 ' 18 ' 71 ' 78 ' 

Chapman, W. W., 98, 101, 102 85 > 86 91 93 - 95, 97, 113, 114, 115, 

Chenoweth, Chief, 135, 138 m > l ^> 131, 175 

Chetcoe River, 95, 103, 107 Curtis, Major H. P., 202, 203, 204 

Cheyenne Indians, 221 
Chinn, Mark A., 118, 119, 120 

Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 259 

Dalles, The, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 28, 31, Fairchild, James, 201, 202 
35, 41, 42, 44, 46, 47, 110, 111,112, Fairchild, John A., 167 thru 175, 177, 
113, 114, 116, 117, 118, 124, 125, 178, 180, 183, 184, 198, 199, 200, 201 

130, 131, 134, 136, 140, 141, 142, Falkner, Scout Josh, 248 
*44 Farrow, Lt. Edward S., 240, 241, 244, 

Dalles Indians, The, 3, 14 245, 246, 247, 248 

Dart, Anson, 49, 50, 58, 59, 66, 70 Fellows, A. M., 122 
Dart, P. C., 50 Ferree, Captain D. J., 188, 194, 195 

Dave, 204 Fields, Calvin, 80 

David, Chief Allen, 159, 160 Finlay, Nicholas, 25 

Davidson, Lt., 136 Fitzgerald, Major, 82, 83, 85, 86 

Davis, Colonel Jeff C., 197, 198, 199, Fi ve Crows, Chief, 10, 11, 25, 26 

200, 202, 205 Five Mile Creek, 134 

Day, Lt., 114 Flathead Indians, 7, 37, 124 

Delano, Secretary Columbus, 172, 176 Floyd, John Buchanan, 4 
Dent, F. T., 147 F ley, Lt., 100 

Deschutes Indians, 8, 21, 23, 24, 28, Ford Colonel, 7 

112, 117, 139, 142 " Forse, Captain A. J., 244, 245, 246 

Deschutes River, 22, 111, 152 ' e , 94 

Foster ' Scout Alexander > 248 
Doe fohn 237 Foster > William > 214 ' 215 

168, 170, 172 F Cr 2S M7* ** 
Fa7 , 74 

Dyar; Jerome; 79, 175 Frohman ' ** 

Dyer, LeRoy S., 167, 168, 178, 179, 181, G 

183, 184, 185, 188, 189, 194, 195,203 

Gage, Daniel, 78 
Gaines, John P., 50, 54, 56, 59 
E Garnett, R. S., 144, 146 

Garry, Chief, 149 

Eagan, Lt., 183, 191, 192, 195 ^ OTL '^ i ^ 146 

Eagan, Harry, 245 ahce c ***> 84 , ntr 

Eagle-eye, Chief, 240 George, Chief 75, 105 

Eagle Rock, 234 George, Abel, 98, 99 

Edwards, James, 245 Gervais, Joseph 27, 28 

Edwards, Richards, 71 Gibbon, General John, 217, 218 

Eells, Gushing, 34, 35 S? on ' ?', ' i oon 

E ? n Chi rf , g 2 30, 231, 232, 234, 235, g^f ^^ 1W 179 , 180> 

236 182, 183, 187, 188, 189, 194, 195, 196 

Ellen's Man George, 167, 184, 185, 189, GiUiam, Cornelius, 7, 17, 21, 22, 23, 2^ 

198 25, 27, 28, 29, 36, 41 

Elliott, Lt.-Col., 202, 203 Gilliam, Fort, 20 

Eliff, Camp, 89 Glenns Ferry, 228, 229 

Ellis, Chief, 33 Goff, Captain, 140, 141 

Ellis, Fort, 220 Gold Beach, 93, 94, 95, 103, 107 

Ely, Lt., 22 Gold Hill, 55 

Empire City, 91 Goodall, James P., 71, 72, 73 

Eneas, 112 Goodale, Captain, 155 

Enos, 93, 94, 104 Goose Lake, 67 

Eugene, 100 Gracie, Archibald, 110 

Evans Creek, 72, 73, 74 Grand Ronde, 140, 

Evans* Ferry 81, 82 Grand Ronde Reservation, 90, 108, 109 

260 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

Grangeville, 240 Howe, Albion, 195 

Grant, President U. S., 223 Howlish Wampool, Chief, 119 

Grave Creek, 61, 70, 74, 82, 8* 86, 100 Hudsons Bay Company, 12, 14, 18, 19, 

Gray Eagle, Chief, 25 21, 27, 28, 37, 40, 41, 43, 45, 53, 117, 

Green, Colonel, 170, 171, 183, 192, 196 127, 135 

Green River, Wn., 127 Hugemborg, Father, 204 

Green River Indians, 128 Hulan, Hiram, 77 

Green, Major John, 165, 199, 200 Humpty Joe, 165 

Greer, George T., 7, 8 Huntington, Superintendent, 155 

Gregg, Lt., 145, 146 

Greiger, Captain, 77 J 

Grier, Major W. N., 147 

Grier, Lt., 192 J ones T - A - c -> 41 

Grover, Colonel, 230 Jordan Valley, 231 

Grover, Governor L. F., 197, 205, Joseph, Chief, 207, 208, 209, 210, 212 

thru 223, 227, 230 

H Joseph, Old Chief, 28, 110, 207, 223 

Josephine Creek, 61 

Hall, David 91, 92 J oset Father, 125, 145, 146, 150 

Hall, Fort, 4, 34, 35, 44, 226, 227, 228, Judah, H. M., 77, 87 

237, 238, 239, 247 
Haller, Granville O., 113, 114, 115, 117, K 

118, 135 

Hand, Charles B., 122 Kamiakin, Chief, 110, 111, 112, 113, 
Hannah, A. B., 122 116, 125, 127, 131, 136, 137, 138, 139, 

Hardie, James A., 40, 147 141, 149, 150 

Harper, J. B., 229, 230 Kamiah, 208, 213, 215 

Hardin, John R., 71 Kautz, A. V., 58, 71, 74, 82, 128, 129 

Harris, George, 81 Keene, Grenville M., 80 

Harris, Lt., 195, 196 Keith, Daniel, 106 

Harris, W. H., 100, 104 Kearney, Major, 54, 55, 56, 58, 66 

Harney, General, 150 Kelly, James K., 118, 119, 120, 122, 
Hasbrouck, Captain H. C., 197, 198, 123, 131 

19Q 202 Kelsey, John, 98, 100, 101, 102, 103 

Hathawav, Major, 43, 45 Kensler, Louis, 227, 228 

Hayes, President Rutherford B., 248 Kentuck, Chief, 28 

Hayes, H. B., 79 Keogh, Fort, 220 

Hayes, Camp, 100 Keyes, E. D., 147 

Hell Gate Pass, 124 Killien, Corporal, 206 

Henrietta, Fort, 118, 122, 131 King Hill Station, 228, 229 

Henry, A. G., 50 Kingsbury, Lt. George, 203 

Henry, Fort, 218 Kiamasumpkin, 47, 48 

Hewitt, C. C. 127 Kitchen, Fort, 91, 92, 98 

Hill, David, 205 Kitsap, Chief, 127 

Hill, Isaac, 71 Kirkpatrick, J. M., 56 

Hizer, Captain, 201 Klamath Indians, 29, 33, 34, 39, 151, 
Hoge, Colonel, 206 153, 172, 194, 195, 205 

Holbrook, Amory, 47 Klamath Lake, 78, 151, 154 

Hooker Jim, 162, 165, 168, 175, 180, Klamath, Fort, 154, 155, 165, 167, 194, 

184, 185, 186, 189, 190, 192, 198, 200, 200, 202, 204 

202, 203, 205 Klamath Reservation, 154, 155, 159, 
Horn, Gus, 158 160, 162, 163, 164, 165, 167, 178, 194 

Hoskins, Fort, 108 Klamath River, 62, 63, 64, 65, 67, 77, 
Hot Creek, 167, 168 78, 80, 151 

Hovey, Young, 192 Klickitat Indians, 4, 29, 42, 48, 49, 127, 
Howard, Camp, 240 128, 134, 135, 137, 138, 155, 157, 159, 

Howard, General Oliver Otis, 208 thru 160, 161, 163 

220, 222, 227 thru 235, 240, 241, 242, Klickitat River, 114 

246 Klakamas, 47 

Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 26 1 

Knapp, O. C., 155, 160, 161, 162 Lost River, 69, 151, 154, 155, 156, 161, 
Kootenai Indians, 123 162, 163, 164, 165, 167, 168, 170, 172, 

Kress, Captain John A., 247 175, 176, 180, 194, 199, 201 

Kyle, James C., 76 Lost River Indians, 152 

Lovejoy, A. L., 14, 17, 18, 33 
Luckiamute River, 7, 21 
L Luelling, Henderson, 6, 46 

Lupton, J. A., 80, 81, 86 
La Grande, 229, 237 

Lalacas, 151, 160 MC 

Lamerick, John K., 63, 64, 65, 71, 98, 

100, 101, 116 McAuliffe, James," 123 

Lamerick, Fort, 103 McBride, Dr. James, 53 

Lament, Sgt. William, 234 McBean, William, 12, 21, 23, 26, 28, 29 

Lane, Fort, 74, 75, 76, 79, 80, 81, 82, McDermit, Charles, 6, 69, 70 

83, 85, 86, 88, 89, 100, 101, 103, 109 McDonald, Angus, 125 
Lane, Joseph, 42, 43, 44, 47, 48, 49,50, McEldery, Asst-Surgeon Henry C., 204 

54, 66, 70, 71, 72,, 73, 74, 75 McGregor, Captain, 154 

Langell Valley, 199 McKay, Charles, 25 

Lansdale, R. H., 124 McKay, Donald, 190, 191, 195, 196, 197 

Lapwai, Fort, 125, 126, 207, 208,211, McKay, Thomas, 22, 24, 25, 28 
212, 242, 244, 246 McKay, W. C., 155 

Lapwai, Mission, 2, 20, 50 McKaw, Daniel, 79 

Laramie, Fort, 44 McKenzie, Sheriff, 205 

Latshaw, William H., 98, 99, 101, 102 McLaughlin, Wallace, 237 
Lava Beds, 168, 169, 173, 174, 177, McLoughlin, Dr. John, 21 

178, 179, 180, 181, 183, 190, 193, 196, 

197, 198 M 

Lawyer, Chief, 110, 111, 140 . 

Layton, Davis, 131, 139, 140 Magone, Major, 34, 35 

LaRoche Farm, 121, 122 Matlock, William, 235 

Leavenworth, Fort, 34, 44, 223 Malheur River, 34, 229, 234 
Lee, Fort, 22, 24, 35, 36, 38, 42 Malheur Reservation, 227, 236 

Lee, Henry A. G., 12, 14, 15, 19, 22, Maloney, Captain, 114, 128 

23, 27, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39 Martin, William J., 36, 80, 86, 89, 90, 
Lee, Jason, 5 98 

Legislative Assembly, Oregon, 11,14,15 Mason, Charles, 15, 17, 111, 113, 114, 
Leland, Fort, 100, 103 116, 127 

Lemhi Reservation, 242 Mason, Major E. C., 235 

Leschi, Chief, 127 Mason, Colonel, 179, 180, 183, 187, 189, 

Lewis & Clark Trail, 217 190, 191 

Lewis, Scout Dave, 248 Mason, R. B., 40 

Lewis, Jo, 10, 11, 28, 29 Mayden, Wesley, 77 

Lewis, W. B., 84 Maxon, H. J. G., 32, 33 

Limpy, Chief, 75, 105 Meacharn, 235, 236 

Link River, 155, 158, 159, 165 Meacham, John, 162, 164 

Link River Joe, 160 Meacham, Orpha, 184, 193, 194 

Linkville, 165, 166, 168, 188, 194, 195 Meacham, Alfred B., 155 thru 160, 162 
Linn, Senator Lewis F., 6 thru 168, 172, 173, 175 thru 178, 180 

Little John, 201 thru 189, 190, 191, 193, 194, 195, 203, 

Little Meadows, 101 204 

Lockwood, William, 237 Meek, Joseph L., 15, 17, 20, 27, 42 

Lolo Trail, 216 MendenhaU, Captain John, 203 

Long's Ferry, 74 Metcalf, Robert B., 13, 75, 90 

Long John, 92 Maes, Colonel Evan, 234, 235, 236 

~ _, Jim, 191 Miles City, 220 

Lookingglass, Chief, 110, 124, 125, 208, Miles, General Nelson A., 220, 222, 

209, 215, 217, 222 223, 227 

Loring, W. W., 44, 46, 47 Milk River, 220 

262 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

Miller, Colonel, 188 Okanogan Indians, 37 

Miller, Joaquin, 153 Oldfield, John, 77 

Miller, John F., 71, 75 Old Longface, 165 

Miller, Settler, 165, 166, 168 Old Tom, 127 

Miners' Fort, 94, 95, 98 Old Tails, 165 

Missoula, 217, 218 Old Tails Boy, 165 

Missouri River, 220 Olney, Nathan, 112, 117 

Moadocus, Chief, 151 Olympia, 124, 126, 128 

Modoc War, 152, 168, 197 Ollicut, Chief, 207, 212, 222 

Modoc Point, 159, 160 One-eyed Dixie, 173 

Modoc Indians, 49, 66, 68, 69, 70, 75, One-eyed Mose, 165, 204 

77, 151, 153, 154, 156 thru 174, 176 One-armed Brown, 166, 167 

thru 184, 186 thru 195, 197, 198, 199, ONeal, Hugh, 89 

200, 201, 202, 204, 205, 206 ONeal, Thomas, 78, 98, 99 

Molalla Indians, 29, 34 Ord, Lt., 103 

Monroe, Scout David R., 248 Oregon City, 3, 17, 19, 29, 32, 34, 36, 
Montana, 111, 115, 216, 217, 219,220 37, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 56, 95 

Mooch, 201 Oregon, Eastern, 109 

Morris, Colonel, 134 Oregon, Northeast, 207 

Morgan, Lt., 150 Oregon Provisional Government, 6, 12, 
Morrow, Colonel Henry A., 247 109 

Mount Idaho, 211, 212, 213 Oregon Territory, 11, 37, 42 

Muckilshoot Prairie, 128 Orford, Fort, 80, 82, 83, 91, 93,94,97, 
Muhlenberg, Lt., 243 99, 104, 107 

Mullan, John, 146, 147 Otis, Chief, 233, 235 

Murphy, Sgt., 201 Owens, Captain, 74 

Musselshell River, 220 Owhi, Chief, 110, 112, 137, 138, 141, 


N Own, Fort, 124 

Owyhee River, 231, 238 
Natches, Fort, 138 

Natches Pass, 114, 136, 139 P 

Natches River, 137, 139 

Nesbit, George, 227, 228 Packwood, William, 77, 91, 92, 93 

Nespelem, 223 Palmer, Joel, 17, 20, 21, 22, 28, 29, 33, 
Nesmith, J. W., 12, 71, 74, 115, 116, 37, 70, 74, 79, 85, 91, 103, 105 

118, 123, 143 106, 109, 110, 111, 116, 137, 138, 143 

Newell, Robert, 17, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, Palouse Indians, 29, 30, 31, 35, 143, 

28, 29, 44 144, 145, 150 

Nez Perce Indians, 3, 7, 8, 9, 22, 27, 31, Palouse River, 34, 130, 138, 146 

33, 34, 35, 50, 61, 110, 111, 117, 123, Pandozy, Father, 116 

124, 125, 126, 139, 140, 142, 144, Parker brothers, scouts, 248 

145, 147, 150, 207 thru 223, 227, 239, Parker, Colonel Aaron F., 243, 247 

242 Parker, Scout Frank, 234 

Nez Perce War, 227, 229, 240 Parker, Colonel F. J., 233, 234 

Nikatani, Chief, 138 Parker, Samuel, 2, 8, 9 

Nisqually, Fort, 43, 44 Parrish, J. L., 51, 58, 59 

Nisqually Indians, 127, 128 Patkanin, Chief, 43, 44 

Nisqually River, 127 Payette River, 240 

Noland, Rhodes, 71 Pearson, W. H., 124 

Noland, P. C., 99 Pendleton, 234, 235, 237 

Nugent, Lt., 127 Pend Oreille Indians, 33, 37, 123, 125 

Perry, Colonel David, 199, 200, 211, 
O 212, 213, 214 

Peu-peu-mox-mox, Chief, 26, 27, 28, 

Odeneal, T. B., 164, 165, 166 29, 110, 117, 119, 120, 122, 125 

Ogden, Peter Skene, 18, 19, 20, 32, 40, Peu-peu-mox-mox, Young Chief, 137 

41 Phillips, Edward, 78 

Ogle, Lt., 77 Pickett, Charles, 40, 41 

Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 263 

Pickett, J. W., 84 Rice, E. A., 87, 88 

Pierre, Chief, 117 Richard, Chief, 8, 22, 28, 35, 147 

Pillows, Charles B., 122 Riddle, Frank, 157, 174, 175, 177, 178, 

Piper, Lt., 134 179, 180, 181, 183, 184, 185, 188, 189, 

Pisco River, 113 203 

Pistol River, 95, 96, 107 Riddle, Tobey, 174, 175, 177, 178, 179, 

Pit River Indians, 78, 152 180, 181, 182, 184 thru 189, 203 

Piute Indians, 227, 229, 230, 231, 234, Rinearson, J. S., 83 

235, 236, 238 Robbins, Scout Orlando, 229, 231, 232, 

Plante, Antoine, 125 233, 235, 236, 248 

Pocatello, 225 Roberts, William, 14 

Poland, John, 93, 94, 95, 105 Robie, Special Agent, 140 

Polatkin, Chief, 149 Robertson, Captain, 100 

Polk, President James K., 6, 42 Rodgers, Alexander T., 36, 37 

Pollack, Captain Robert, 202 Rogue River, 4, 48, 53, 54, 55, 56,59, 

Poney, 201 60, 61, 63, 66, 70, 71, 74, 75, 79, 80, 
Port Orford, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 70, 74, 84, 85, 86, 91, 93, 101, 104, 107 

77, 94, 95, 99, 100 Rogue River Indians, 4, 5, 34, 48, 49, 

Porter, A. L., 127 50, 53, 54, 55, 56, 58, 62, 63, 66, 70, 

Portland, 56, 58, 107, 135, 228 74, 75, 77, 79, 82, 85, 91, 93, 96 

Portneuf River, 226 Rogue River Wars, 60, 66, 79, 108, 109 

Powder River, 111 Rose, Dr. William R., 71 

Powell, L. G., 135 Roseborough, Judge A. M., 164, 174, 

Pratt, O. C., 48 175, 178, 180 

Prather, Thomas W., 101 Roseburg, 72, 85, 89, 103 

Preston, George, 44 Ross, Corporal, 206 

Prime, Judge, 205 Ross, John E., 69, 72, 74, 75, 79, 82, 

Pritchett, Knitzing, 47, 48 83, 84, 85, 86 

Pudding River, 33 Russell, Captain, 114 

Puget Sound, 43, 109, 111, 114, 126, Russell, Fort, 206 

127, 129, 132, 139, 141 

Putnam, Charles, 200 s 

Puyallup River, 127 128 Salmon w 65 2Q8 2n 212 213 

HlSP T^ Y m k 241 ' 243 ' 244 ' 245 ' 247 

Pyramid Lake, 227, 238 - Samj Q^ ^, 63, 64, 65, 66, 70, 73, 

75, 82, 87 

^ Salem, Oregon, 6 

Quallawort 44 San Francisco, 40, 56, 60, 95, 97, 108, 

Quatley, Chief, 48, 49 c l> 14 I? 5 KK 

Qualchin, Chief, 112, 113, 141, 150 Sardine Creek, 55 
Sueen Mary.Modoc, 158, 175, 176,177 ^^V^'*/8JjJ 

R 196, 200, 204, 205 

Scarface, Chief, 62, 63, 64, 65 

Radford, R. C. W., 76 Scott, Felix, 36, 39, 40 

Randall, D. B., 213, 214 Scott, Levi, 55 

Rains, G. H., 113, 114, 115, 116, 118, Scott Valley, 62, 70 

136 Seattle, 127, 128, 129, 139 

Rains, James F., 241, 245, 246 Schonchin, Old Chief, 151, 152, 154, 

Rains, Sevier M., 214 157, 160, 161 

Rainey, Scout John, 248 Schonchin John, 152, 154, 158, 162, 165, 

Ravelli, Father, 125, 141 171, 176, 179, 184, 185, 186, 188, 

Raymond, Narcisse, 117 190, 193, 195, 198, 200, 202 thru 

Redington, Scout John W., 230, 233, 206 

234, 236, 248 Schiere, Mrs. 202 

Red Wolf, Chief, 28, 29, 34 Sells, F. C., 228 

Relief, Fort, 92 Semig, Asst. Surgeon, 195, 196 
Reynolds, R. B., 48, 91, 94, 97, 106 Serren, Harry, 245, 248 

Rhodes, Jacob, 71, 72, 73 Seven Devils Mountains, 242 

264 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

Shacknasty Jim, 167, 175, 181, 184, 186, Steamboat Frank, 167, 198, 200, 202, 

189, 190, 198, 200, 201, 203, 205 203, 205 

Shasta Indians, 53, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, Steele, Elisha, 62, 63, 64, 65, 67, 152, 

71, 77, 153, 167 153, 154, 164, 168, 174, 175, 176, 178 

Shasta Valley, 62 Steens Mountain, 229, 230 

Shaw, B. F., 126, 139, 140, 141 Steilacoom, Fort, 44, 45, 46, 109, 113, 
Shaw, William, 30 114, 127, 128, 134 

Shearer, Scout George, 248 Sterling, E. A., 50 

Sheepeater Indians, 239, 240, 241, 247 Steptoe's Butte, 146 

Sheepeater War, 237, 248 Steptoe, Edward J., 134, 135, 137, 138, 
Sheep Ranch Station, 231 140, 141, 142, 144, 145, 146, 147, 150 

Sheffield, Captain, 99 Stevens, General J. H., 229 

Shelton, Isaac, 81 Stevens, Isaac L, 109, 110, 111, 113, 115, 
Sheridan, Fort, 108 116, 117, 118, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 

Sheridan, Phil, 114, 135 128, 129, 138 thru 143 

Sherwood, Lt., 187, 202 . Sticcas, Chief, 26, 28 

Shoshone Indians, 225, 227 Stoneman, George, 60 

Sholax, 165 Stuart, Camp, 58, 72 

Showwaway, Chief, 112, 113, 137, 138 Stuart's Creek, 55 

Shubrick, W. Bradford, 40, 41 Stuart, James, 54, 55, 58 

Siletz Reservation, 108 Sturgis, Colonel, 218, 220 

Siletza, Chief, 20, 22 Sullix, 65 

Silvey, William, 227 Sumner, E. V., 198 
Silver City, 229, 230, 231 

Silver Creek, 231, 234 T 

Simcoe, Fort, 112, 144 

Siskiyou Mountains, 46, 53, 65, 78, 80 Table Rock, 54, 55, 65, 70, 72, 74, 75, 
Sitting Bull, Chief, 217 79 

Skinner, Alonzo, 50, 63, 64, 65 Tamahas, 10, 47 

Skloom, Chief, 136, 137, 138, 150 Tamsucky, 10, 28, 29 

Skull Bar, 84 Tamanmo, Chief, 240, 247 

Slate Creek, 98 Tappan, W. H., Ill 

Slater, James H., 229 Taylor, Chief, 70 

Slaughter, W. A., 113, 114, 128 Taylor, Fort, 147, 150 

Slolux, 97, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 144, Taylor, Oliver H., 146, 147 

185, 186, 203, 204, 205, 206 Taylor, President Zachary, 42 

Smith, A., 237 Tauitowe, Chief, 23, 28, 29 

Smith, A. J., 74, 77, 79, 83, 85, 86, Tear, Lt., 134 

87, 88 Te-he Jack, 201 

Smith, Fort, 89 Teies, Chief, 137, 138 

Smith, General Persifer, 45, 46 Tenino Indians, 152 

Smith, Jedediah, 1 Ten Eyck, A., 41 

Snake Creek, 320 Ten Mile Prairie, 90, 99 

Snake River, 29, 30, 34, 125, 130, 140, Tepahlewan, Lake, 211 

144, 146, 147, 150, 152, 210, 225,228, Thomas, Captain E., 195, 196, 197 

229, 238, 241 Thomas, Reverend Ezekiel, 178, 179, 
Snake River Indians, 37, 50, 53, 152 181, 182, 183, 184, 185, 188, 189, 190, 
Snoqualmie River, 127 193, 203, 204, 205 

Snoqualmie Indians, 43 Thompson, Captain, 34 

Soap, A. F., 77 Thompson, R. R., Ill, 117 

South Mountain, 229, 231 Thompson, Whispering, 237 

Spalding, Henry H., 2, 9, 10, 19, 20, Thornton, J. Qumn, 15, 43, 44 

22, 23, 50, 58 Thorpe, Major, 7 
Spokane Indians, 33, 34, 111, 125, 126, Three Feathers, Chief, 124, 147 

133, 139 thru 145, 150, 239 Throckmorton, Captain, 235 

Spokane River, 145, 147, 148 Thurston, Samuel, 54, 66 

Spotted Eagle, Chief, 124, 140 Tichnor, H. C., 195 

Speaking Eagle, Chief, 147 Tichenor, William, 56, 57, 94 

Stanton, Lt,, 60, 61 Tierney, T. T., 71 

Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 265 

TiUamook Indians, 39 W 

Tiloukaikt, 10, 29, 30, 34, 35, 47 

Timothy, Chief, 22, 28, 144, 147 Wagoner, John, 81, 82 

Tipso, Chief, 65 Wagoner, Camp, 100 

Tolman, J. C., 67, 68 Waiilatpu, 2, 8, 9, 12, 20, 21, 24, 26, 

Tolmie, Dr. W. W., 43, 44 27, 32, 33, 50, 110, 120, 121, 123 

Tolo, Chief, 62, 63 Wait, Aaron, 37 

Too-hul-hul-sute, 208, 209, 210, 211 Walla Walla, 2, 8, 15, 20, 116, 117, 

Tongue River, 220 118, 123, 130, 134, 138, 140, 142, 145, 

Townsend, Adj. General E. D., 205 146, 235 

Townsend, Fort, 129 Walla Walla, Fort, 22, 26, 28, 34, 110, 

Touche River, 29, 30, 119, 120 117, H8, 119, 132, 142, 144, 150,212 

Trumble, Major, 200 230 

Tualatin Plains, 3, 7, 21 Walla Walla Indians, 26, 31, 33, 35, 36, 

Tucannon River, 29, 30, 147 42, 110, 111, 112, 117, 119, 130, 

Tucker, S. S., 46 137, 139, 142, 150 

T ^ e a L ?L e ' ?n'o 6 L 68 ' 69 ' 75 ' 151f 156 ' Wrihi Walla River, 9, 26, 27, 110, 121, 
168, 197, 198, 201 1% 130> 131> m 140> 141> 144> 

Tumwater 43 Walker, Elkanah, 35 

Turner, James, 235 Wallen, John M., 99, 100, 106 

Turner, John, 1 Waller, Reverend A. F., 160 

T'Vault, W. G., 7, 55, 57, 58 Wallowa Valley, 207, 208, 210, 21 1, 223 

Tyghe Indians, 139 Wampole Elias, 50, 51 

Tyghe Valley, 131 War f adc> Q^ 2 40 9 247 

Warm Springs Indians, 152, 180, 188, 
U 190, 191, 194, 195, 197, 198, 200 

Warm Springs Reservation, 111, 139 

Umapine, Chief, 235, 236 Warner, Captain, W. H., 66 

Umatilla Indians, 227, 231, 234, 235, Warner, Samuel, 80 

236, 247 Wascopum Indians, 3, 8, 139 

Umatilla Mission, 24 Wascopan, Fort, 22, 37 

Umatilla Reservation, 207, 233, 234, Washington, Chief, 92, 100 

240 247 Washington Territory, 109, 111, 123, 

UmatiUa River, 10, 26, 32, 33, 38, 1% 127, 129, 139, 207 223 

50, 57, 118, 131, 231, 234 Waten, Fort, 31, 32, 35, 36 37, 38 42 

Umatilla Valley, 24, 111 Waters, James, 17, 25, 32, 33, 35, 36 

Umpua, Fort, 108, 146 ^^f?/ 165 'o}f ,<= 

Umpqua Indians, 50, 75, 100 ?5 r ' A J ber ?' > 246 

Umpqua River, 17, 46, 54, 61, 83, 87, Webber, Louis, 195 

QO Ql 100 108 Webster, JLt., 


Wheaton, General Frank, 170, 171, 172, 
v 177, 204, 205, 230, 235, 238, 244 

Wheaton, Lt.-Colonel Frank, 199 

Van Bremen's Ranch, 178 Whim, 203 

Vancouver Barracks, 47, 70, 71, 82, 85, White Bird Canyon, 211, 212 

97, 106, 109, 113, 114, 116, 118, 131, White Bird Creek, 211, 212 

132, 133, 134, 135, 240, 247 White Bird, Chief, 208, 209, 212, 215, 
Vancouver, Fort, 1, 2, 12, 19, 21, 22, 222 

32, 38, 41, 45, 46, 212 White, Scout Calvin R., 248 

Vannoy, Fort, 86, 87 White, Scout Levi A., 248 

Veyret, Father, 48 White, Dr. Elijah, 3, 109 

Victor, Chief, 146 White River, 127, 129 

Victoria Island, 129 White River Valley, 128 

Vincent, Chief, 145, 146, 150 Whittle, Matilda, 173 

Vinegar Hill, 244 Whittle, Robert, 168, 173 

Vinton, H. D., 45 Whitman, Marcus, 2, 8, 9, 10, 11, 16, 
Vose, Scout Johnny, 248 19, 21, 27 

266 Pacific Northwest Indian Wars 

Whitman Mission, 3, 8, 12, 17, 18, 25, Wright, Lt. George, 195, 196 

27, 28, 36, 116 Wright Lake, 198 

Whitman, Narcissa, 8, 9, 10, 11, 16, 27 Wright, Colonel George, 131 thru 142, 
William, 175 144, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 183, 195 

Williams, Attorney-General, 12 Wright, Thomas, 60, 70, 195 

Williams Creek, 89 Wyman, Lt., 61 

Williams, Robert L., 74, 86, 89, 98 

Williamson, Lt., 83, 84 * 

Williamson River, 161 y 

Willamette River, 23, 47 

Willamette Tribes, 109, 110 Yainax Reservation, 152, 161, 162, 

Willamette Valley, 1, 4, 10, 20, 25,28, 153 

32, 33, 36, 39, 50, 64, 96, 109, 123 Yakima Indians, 24, 31, 110, 111, 112, 
Wills, Thomas, 71, 76 113, 115, 116, 117, 118, 125, 127, 

Wilkinson, W. A., 100 131, 132, 134, 135, 136, 138, 141, 142, 

Willson, W. H., 14 144, 146, 149, 238 

Willow Creek, 28, 198, 199 Yakima Reservation, 238 

Wilson, A. V., 118, 121, 122 Yakima River, 115, 117, 118, 132, 138 

Wilton, Robert, 206 Yakima War, 90, 109, 111, 118, 123, 

Winder, Captain, 134 124, 126, 127, 132, 140, 143 

Winnema, 157 Yellow Bull, 221, 222 

Winnemucca, Chief, 227, 230 Yellow Serpent, Chief, 36 

Winnemucca, Sarah, 230, 235 Yellowstone Park, 218, 219 

Woodman, Calvin, 62, 65 Yellowstone River, 219, 220 

Wolf Creek, 61, 70 Yettinewitz, Chief, 236 

Wool, General John Ellis, 78, 88, 96, Young, Ewing, 1 

97, 98, 100, 106, 115, 116, 118, 131, Yreka, 54, 62, 65, 67, 68, 69, 70, 72, 81, 

141, 143, 144 153, 161, 176, 178, 188, 194 

Wright, Benjamin, 63, 65, 67, 68, 69, 

80, 90, 92, 93, 94, 105, 153, 157, 180 Z