REPORTS OF MAJ. GEN. JOHN F. MILLER AND
GENERAL JOHN E. ROSS,
TO THE GOVERNOR.
ALSO LETTER or THE GOVERNOR TO THE SECRETARY or THE INTERIOR
ON THE WALLOWA VALLEY INDIAN QUESTION.
MART. V. BBOWX, STATE PKINTER.
GOVERNOR GROVER'S LETTER
GMEIST. SC HO FIELD
To Major General J. M. Schofield,
Commanding Military Division of the Pacific :
SIR In reply to jour communication of June 4, 1873,
in which you request that I will cause a muster roll of the
forces called out by me to be properly certified to, and
forwarded to your headquarters, and also to state if those
troops were called out at the invitation or solicitation, or
by the authority of any military officer of the United
States, and if any such officer, by any act or promise has
in any manner committed the United States to liability
for transportation, forage, subsistence, clothing, equipage,
etc., said information being desired on account of the
death of General Canby and the removal of officers on
I his personal staff:
I have the honor to communicate the following: In
the initiation of the late Modoc service no di rect requisition
was made by General Canby, then in command of the
Department of the Columbia, on the authorities of the
State of Oregon, for troops, but there was a recognized
co-operation by the Oregon Volunteer Militia in the field
with the regular troops, and the volunteers served during
their first campaign against the Modocs, under the com
mand of the military officers of the United States, in the
el], with the approval of General Canby.
The circumstances attending the calling out of the Ore
gon Volunteers appeared at the time to be imperative to
meet a sudden emergency. In order to exhibit clearly the
nature and necessity of this service it will be proper to
detail some of the leading facts antecedent to actual hos
tilities. The Modoc tribe of Indians have been known
since the earliest immigration to Oregon and Northern
California as a band of murderers and robbers. They
have earned the character of being the most treacherous
and blood-thirsty savages west of the Rocky Mountains.
They occupied a country peculiarly adapted to protect
them in their practice of slaughter and to shield them
from successful pursuit and capture. Innocent and unof
fending emigrants, with their wives, and families, passing
through the Modoc country along the old southern over
land road to Oregon, have been attacked and butchered
indiscriminately by these fiends, their property taken or
destroyed and their bodies inhumanly mutilated and left
unburied a prey to wolves. In some cases their victims
were made to suffer the pains of the moot cruel tortures
before relieved by death, and in some cases girls have
been kept among them as captives for months to suffer
more than torture, and in the end to meet their miserable
Over three hundred emigrants are known to have been
slain in this manner by these Indians, ascertained by ac-
' tual count of their bleaching bones upon the soil, before
the establishment of the military post at Fort Klarnath, in
1863. This post was established for the protection of the
immigrant trail and to make an end to the slaughter and
rapine of which these savages were constantly guilty. In
1864 a treaty was made with the Indians in the Klamath
Lake Basin, including the Modocs, by which they ceded
all their lands to the United States, except those included
in the Klamath Reservation, and agreed to reside exclu
sively upon said Reservation. In the mean time the pub
lic lands in that vicinity had been surveyed under the au
thority of the Surveyor General of Oregon, and the same
were opened for settlement. The Modocs went upon the
Klamath Reservation, according to the stipulations of the
treaty, but not to remain. They soon went back to their
former haunts, alleging dissatisfaction with their treatment
at the hands of the United States Indian Agent. They
made their homes at different points to suit their conveni
ence and their roving dispositions. The country having
now become partially occupied by settlers under the pre
emption acts of Congress, these Indians began a system of
petty annoyances to the settlers .with the evident intention
of inducing them to abandon their settlements. They
would visit houses in the absence of the male members of
the family and demand that the women should, at unrea
sonable hours, cook food for their parties, which they gen
erally did, at great hardship and expense, for the sake of
peace. The Modocs claimed the ownership of all the lands
which they had sold, and demanded of the settlers rents, for
occupancy, and compensation for cutting grass, grazing, etc.,
which demands were complied with for the purpose of
preserving peace. This conduct caused many settlers to
leave their claims, and with their families leave the coun-
6 MODOC WAR.
try. But the settlers who remained, generally maintained
friendly relations with the Modocs, notwithstanding their
bad conduct and unlawful presence and exactions.
The Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Oregon made
frequent, but unsuccessful, attempts to induce these Indi
ans by peaceable means to go upon their Reservation. In
the month of November, 1872, the Superintendent having
personally conferred with the Indian Department, at
Washington, proceeded to Link river, in the Klamath.
country, for the purpose of requiring the Modocs to com
ply with the stipulations of the treaty. At this time the
Modocs were camped in three separate bands as follows :
Capt. Jack, with several warriors and their families about
three miles from the mouth of Lost river, on the west
side; Hooker Jim, a petty chief, with his band, occupied
the shore of Tule Lake, east of the mouth of Lost river,
in Oregon; the Hot Creek band were camped on the south
side of Little Klarnath Lake, in California, some twenty-
five miles from Capt. Jack's band, in a southwesterly di
On the 27th day of November, 1872, the Superintend
ent having failed, by peaceable means to induce Captain
Jack to assent to a return to the reservation, addressed a
letter to the officer in command at Fort Klamath, stating
that the Modoc Indians defiantly declined to meet him ac
cording to his request, and declared that they would not go
upon the Reservation, and made the following requisition:
" In order, therefore, to carry out instructions from the Com
missioner of Indian Affairs, I have to request that you at
ojce furnish a sufficient force to compel said Indians to go
to Camp Yainax, on said Reservation, where I have made
provision for their subsistence." [See enclosure "A."]
Previous to this time, upon being advised by the Su-
perintendent that he had been instructed to put these Indi
ans upon the Reservation, Gen. Canby placed all the military
force and material of the United States inthat section of
country under the control of the senior officer ot that dis
trict, Lieut. Col. Frank Wheaton, 21st U. S. Infantry, for
the purpose of effecting the removal of the Modocs by
force, it need be ; at the same time indicating that the
time and manner of the removal had not been deter
mined, but that he should be prepared for the possibility
that the attempt to remove them might result in hostili
ties, and that he should, in that event, act promptly for the
protection of the frontier. The force specially designated
to this duty consisted of four companies of cavalry and
three of infantry, distributed among the garrisons at Fort
Klamath, Camp Warner and Camp Harney, in Oregon,
and Camp Bidwell, in California, [See inclosure "B," let
ter of General Canby to Governor of Oregon.] ]None of
these posts were within immediate supporting distance to
Fort Klamath, and the force at the latter post was en
tirely inadequate to the duty contemplated.
At this point two very incomprehensible and disastrous
1st, The order of the Indian Department for the re
moval of the Modocs by force was not delivered to the
officer specially designated by Gen. Canby for that duty ;
2d, ~No notice whatever was given to the neighboring
settlers that difficulties were pending.
The result was that on the 29th day of November, 1872,
a small detachment of troops, thirty -five men, under com
mand of Captain James Jackson, approached Captain
Jack's camp, early in the morning, and demanded that he
surrender and go upon the reservation, according to the
terms of the treaty. This was refused, and upon further
demand the tsoops were fired upon by the Indians. Upon
this first fire one citizen, happening to be present, and
who was not aware of the circumstances, was killed.
During, and subsequent to the affair between the com
mand of Capt. Jackson and the baud on the west side of
Lost river, under Capt. Jack, the Indians under Hooker
Jim, on the shore of Tule Lake, east of the mouth of Lost
river, scattered in small parties among the isolated settle
ments for twenty -five miles around and massacred eighteen
unoffending and unsuspecting citizens and sacked and
destroyed their residences, and drove off their cattle and
horses. This work of butchery and pillage lasted for two
days. Eleven citizens were murdered on the 29th and
seven on the 30th of November, by the savages under
the lead of Hooker Jim. This band had not been ap
proached by the soldiery. Capt. Jack's band, after the
fight, fled south on the west side of Tule Lake to the Lava
Beds, along the rocky ridges not inhabited, and therefore
committed no murder in their flight. The Hot Creek
band, on the south side of Little Xlamath, took no part in
the massacre of settlers, but appeared to be friendly and
expressed a willingness to go upon the Reservation. Im
mediately after the massacre steps were taken to have this
band return to the Reservation, but owing to the great and
natural excitement in the country it was thought best by
Gen. Canby to have protection for these Indians.
In the meantime dismay spread throughout the settle
ments of Southern Oregon, and a demand, was made by
the people upon the Governor for troops to protect the
living and bury the dead. A Volunteer company of
citizens was raised immediately; public meetings were
held, and urgent calls upon the Governor for orders au-
thorizing the recognition of their services. Temporary
orders were given with direction to act in conjunction with
the regular troops. [See inclosure "C."]
On the 2d of December the Governor received a tele
gram from the Superintendent of Indian Affairs at Jack
sonville that assistance was needed at Klamath, that the
citizens were without arms, and requesting the forwarding
of one hundred latest improved muskets. [See inclosure
At this time there had been no concentration of troops
to the point of disturbance, and there was no available
force of United States troops ready for immediate action
in the Klamath Lake Basin. Col. John E. Ross, of Jack
son county, was by telegram appointed Brigadier General
of the First Brigade of Oregon Militia, and instructed to
do all that was proper in the emergency, but to see to it
that when sufficient force of United States troops should
reach the field, to withdraw the Volunteers. [See inclo
sure "E."] Gen. Ross promptly accepted the commis
sion and entered upon his duty.
A letter was despatched to Maj. Gen. E. R. S. Canby
commanding this department, informing him of these cir
cumstances, and soliciting instant action on the part of the
regular forces. [See inclosure U F."] Gen. Canby res
ponded, sending copies of his orders, directing all avail
able force in the district to be placed in the field to pro
tect the settlements and to chastise the savages. The Hot
Creek band of Modocs, numbering about forty, men,
women and children, on the 6th of December, had not yet
joined the hostiles, and being not implicated in the mur
ders which had been committed were expected to arrive
at Yreka, California, to be transported to the Klamath
Reservation via Rogue River Valley, Oregon, and owing
10 MODOC WAR.
to the excited condition of the country a force was re
quested by Gen. Can by for their escort. Having no dis
posable force himself he made requisition on the Governor
of Oregon for assistance, at the same time stating that the
band under Capt. Jack, and all those implicated in the
murder of citizens, would be captured and crushed out,
and all the murderers would be turned ever to the civil
authorities for trial and punishment.
The policy affecting the murderers of the citizens had
been agreed upon by the Governor and Gen. Can by in a
personal interview. In response to this requisition Gen.
Ross w^as ordered to use his authority and influence to
place the peaceable Hot Creek's on the Reservation, but
on the night of the 5th ot December, after the wagons
and teams had been prepared for their transportation to
the Reservation, by way of Yreka and Rogue River Val
ley, and after having promised to go peaceably, the whole
band stole away in the night time and fled to the Lava
Beds to join Capt. Jack, and from that time worked and
fought with him throughout the war. [See inclosure "G."]
Gen. Ross' force was small two companies Company
A, Capt. Harrison Kelly, and Company B, Capt. Oliver C.
Applegate. He arrived in the Klamath Lake Basin on
the 9th of December. At this time no United States
troops had arrived at the scene of the late massacre.
Gen. Ross' first work was to place his men in position to
cut off communication between the hostiles and the reser
vation Indians, then to dispatch a force to seek for sur
vivors of the Lost river settlement, and to bury the dead,
whose bodies had now lain exposed to beasts of prey,
without sepulture, for ten days.
This sad duty performed, he proceeded, according to in
structions, to offer his services in co-operation with the
MODOC WAK. 11
regular troops who had now begun to arrive in the vicinity
of the Lava Beds, from the several distant posts in the
District. The United States officer in command received
Gen. Eoss cordially and issued an order for his co-opera
tion. [See inclosure "H," Gen. Ross' Report, and Orders
of U. S. officer.]
The field of operations being crossed by the boundary
line between Oregon and California, and the hostile In
dians having taken refuge in the pedrigal situated wholly
in California, General Ross' services, from this period,
during his first campaign against the Modocs, were en
tirely within the State of California, for the purpose of
dislodging an enemy infesting our borders, but acting un
der orders of officers of the Army of the United States.
The volunteer services on the part of the State of Ore
gon were intended to meet a pressing emergency in the ab
sence of regular troops. On the 16th of December, therefore,
the Governor issued an order to General Ross to muster the
volunteers out of service in case a force of United States
troops sufficient for the protection of the southern frontier
had taken the field. But he was instructed to use his dis
cretion as to whether the emergency of the case required
the further presence of the State troops. [See inclosure "I."]
On the arrival of Lieut. Col. Frank Wheaton, the officer
in command of the District of the Lakes, he fully approved
the action of Major John Green in inviting the co-opera
tion of the Oregon Militia, and in his General Field Order
No. 1 , assigned General Ross to duty as a part of the force
designated to make the main attack upon Captain Jack's
stronghold in the Lava Rocks. [See inclosure " J."]
This order contemplated the delay of several days for
preparation for the attack. The Oregon Volunteers hav
ing been mustered for a sudden emergency only, and be-
12 MODOC WAR.
ing without tents, and without a sufficient supply of
blankets and rations lor further service, and being too far
distant from their base of supplies for being supplied in
these particulars by the State, these facts were made
known to Col. Wheaton. This officer immediately gave
orders for the issue to Gen. Ross' command such blankets
and other supplies as he had at command, for the imme
diate relief of the Volunteers, with the understanding that
they should continue in the field until the concerted attack
upon the Modocs. This arrangement was acted upon.
[See inclosure "K."]
Before receiving the reports of General Ross as to the
concerted' movement upon the Modocs, and being uncer
tain of the condition of the settlements, and of the Volun
teer service, by order of the Governor of January 7, 1873,
Major General John F. Miller, of the Oregon Militia, was
directed to make a visit of observation to the southern
frontier, to distribute arms among the settlers and to mus
ter the Volunteers out of service on ascertaining that regu
lar troops had occupied the field in sufficient force to pro
tect the settlements and chastise the savages. Gen. Miller
found the Volunteers in hearty co-operation with the
regular troops, and that Col. Wheaton desired them to
remain in the field under his orders until after the pending
attack, which was confidently expected to be final. Gen.
Miller coincided with the views of Col. Wheaton, and re
mained himself, and took an active part in the battle of
the Lava Beds of the 17th of January. [See inclosure "L,"
Gen. Miller's Report.]
The issue of Quartermaster and Commissary stores to
the Volunteers were duly reported by Col. Wheaton to Gen.
Canby, and by him approved; and the same were finally
approved by the decision of the Secretary of War, in the
MODOC WAR. 13
following words; "As it appears that the issues to the
Oregon Volunteer Militia, made by order of Col. Wheaton,
were sanctioned by Gen. Canby, and were necessary to
prevent the men from suffering when cordially co-opera-
ating with the United States troops, while under the ex
igencies of the service their numbers were inadequate for
the protection of the settlements against Indian attacks,
the Secretary of War approves the action of Col.
Wheaton." [See inclosure U M," a certified copy of said
On the 17th of January the first general engagement
was fought with the Modocs. This battle was well con
tested under the circumstances; and though not successful,
it clearly exposed the difficulties of the field and the char
acter of the enemy.
General Canby having ordered out all the available
regular force in Oregon and California to reinforce Col.
Wheaton, and having informed the Governor that he had
no doubt that he would be able to protect the frontier and
subdue the Modocs, the Volunteers were withdrawn from
the field and were mustered out of service as expeditiously
as possible. [See inclosure "2sT."]
During this expedition the Oregon Volunteers not only
served under the command of regular officers of the
United States, but they were detailed to perform escort
duty in regular transportation, and their teams and wagons
being light and serviceable in a muddy region, were used
in connection with regular army transportation to good
advantage. In fact, there was a blending of the Volun
teers with the regular force.
SECOND EXPEDITION OF THE OKEGON MILITIA.
The second service of the Oregon Volunteer Militia,
14 MODOC WAR.
composed of Company C., Captain Joseph H. Hyzer,
Company D., Captain Thomas Mulholland, and Company
E., Captain George R. Rodgers, was called into reqisition
in the month of April, after a period of very unsettled
feeling, growing out of doubts in the minds of all frontier
settlers as to the results of pending negotiations for peace
with the Modoc savages, without first subduing them, or
demanding the surrender of the perpetrators ot the mas
sacre of the 29th and 30th of November. When these
negotiations were abruptly terminated by the double per
fidy of the savages, and the assassination of Gen. Canbj^
and Commissioner Thomas, the whole country exposed to
the raids of the Modocs, became excited with the dread of
more massacres. The regular forces which had been con-
cent rated near the Lava Beds were not disposed by the
new commander, Col. Gillem, with any reference to giving
protection to the Oregon frontier. All the available regu
lar force in the Department of the Columbia had been
ordered to the support of Col. Gillem, so that there was
not, at the time of calling these companies into service, a
single company of regular troops in the State of Oregon,
while its eastern and southern settlements were exposed
to the dangers of a general Indian outbreak. Gen. Ross,
in his report of the second Volunteer service remarks upon
this point as follows: "Let us now pause for a moment
and consider the condition of the settlements of Southeast
ern Oregon. The massacre of the Peace Commissioners
was, of course, the signal for the renewal of Indian hos
tilities. If the Modocs should fall back from the Lava
Beds, the settlements referred to would be at the mercy
of the Indians. Or, if the Indians on the Klamath Reser
vation, who had thus far remained friendly, should deter
mine to join the hostiles, of which there was great danger,
MODOC WAR. 15
their first movement would be to murder the settlers, burn
their houses and drive off their stock. It will thus be
seen that the southeastern portion of the State was in con
stant and imminent peril; for upon the happening of
either or both the contingencies referred to, the settle
ments in that section would fall an easy prey to Indian
cruelty and rapacity. Under these circumstances an ade
quate military force in the Lake Basin, to prevent by their
presence an outbreak on the part of the Indians on the
Reservation, and also to protect the settlements from the
hostile Modocs, became an indispensable necessity."
[See inclosure "O," Gen. Ross' report of second service.]
The first applications on the part of the people for a
second call for troops were denied by the Governor, but
becoming satisfied that the Klamath Reservation Indians
were no longer trustworthy, and that the peril demanding
action was imminent, a call was made.
The massacre of the Peace Commissioners occurred on
the llth day of April, 1873, and Col. Gillem immediately
commenced an attack upon the Indians in the Lava Beds.
The engagement lasted three days, resulting in routing
the savages from their first stronghold, only to have them
fall back to another, which gave them access to the Lost
River country, and the Klamath region, and exposed all
the settlements of Southeastern Oregon to their raids. At
this time the Indians on the Klamath Reservation, who
had been armed by authority of the agent, were threaten
ing an outbreak. Col. Gillem sent out couriers to warn
settlers and to stop communications, except by way of
Yreka, California. Other Indians were making demon
strations of hostility. It now appeared that a general In
dian war of serious magnitude could only be prevented by
throwing a force of Volunteers into the field north of the
16 MODOC WAR.
California line, to intercept communication between the
Modocs and the Klamath Reservation, and with the Snake
and Piute Indians. The three companies already men
tioned were authorized by the Governor and directed to
open the road from Jacksonville to the Lake Basin, and
to go at once to the relief of the endangered settlers. [See
On learning that a force of Volunteers had been or
dered to the Klamath country, the U. S. Indian Agent at
the Klamath Agency, L. S. Dyar, addressed a letter to
Gen. Ross in which he said: "I respectfully request that
you send a strong detachment to Yainax, (on the Klam
ath Reservation.) Such a course would, I think, not only
protect the settlers on Upper Sprague River, but would
do more to prevent a general outbreak than anything else
perhaps that you could do, as it would almost insure quiet
among the Snakes and Modocs now there, and prevent a
raid upon that place by Captain Jack. A successful raid
upon Yainax would nearly double Captian Jack's war
riors. Will you not represent this matter to Governor
Grover." [Inclosure "Q."]
There being no regular troops in Oregon at this time,
there was great apprehension of an outbreak of the
armed Reservation Indians, and of a general hostile
uprising of the neighboring tribes of the southern border.
The condition of the settlers of the Lake Basin was now
considered most critical. The hostile Modocs on one side
and the threatening Reservation Indians upon the other, so
impressed the settlers with the danger of their situation
that they were abandoning their homes, removing their
stock and property and fleeing out of the country. [See
The Indian Agent removed his family from the Klam-
MODOC WAR. 17
ath Reservation and left the place himself. The air was
filled with dangerous rumors, and the most discreet and
temperate men considered general hostilties imminent.
A false step at this juncture would have precipitated a
general outbreak. The arrival of the Volunteers, there-
tore, appeared to be a most opportune lelief. As to dis
arming the Indians on the reservation the Governor's in
structions to Gen. Ross were: "Great care must be taken
upon this question, not to move prematurely for disarming
any Indians by indiscreet action, or by such movements
as will excite hostilities that cannot be controlled by the
force present. The policy is to arm the settlers, and by a
small and active force to assist in their defence until the
United States can furnish troops for that purpose." [See
Gen. Ross moved with caution and discretion. [See
He dispatched Company D, for the protection of the
settlers of Drew's Valley, and the Valleys of Goose Lake,
Chevvaucan and Summer Lake, these being in great
danger from raiding parties of Captain Jack's Indians,
who were now scattering from the Lava Beds.
Companies E and C were stationed at different points in
the settlements, west of those above named, and were
employed in scouting the country so as to make their
presence and their object known both to the friendly and
to the hostile Indians. In the meantime, on the 2d of
May, Gen. Jefferson C. Davis, having been assigned to
the command of the Department of the Columbia, ar
rived at the Lava Beds and took personal command of
the U. S. forces operating against the Modocs. Shortly
after this vigorous movements against Captain Jack were
apparent, and a successful onslaught was made by the
18 MUDOC WAR.
regulars upon his camp on sSora-** Lake, 0:1 the 10th
of May, with the U. S. forces operating in his front, with
the Oregon Militia cutting off his communication with
the Rescr.'ation Indians, the Piutes and the Snakes, and
finally, with disaffection in his own ranks, his desperate
alternative was fight or surrender. The closing events of
the Volunteer service are thus reported by Gen. Ross:
"Learning on the morning of the 26th of May that
Captain Jack, with a portion of his warriors, had made
their escape fjom the Lava Beds, and gone in the direc
tion of Langell Valley, I started immediately with Capt.
Uyzer's Company, accompanied by my staff, and arrived
at the eastern end of the valley refenedto on the even
ing of the 31st. Soon after going into camp a scouting
party was sent out with orders to examine the ground for
sign of the fugitive Modocs, and after a short absence the
party returned, reporting the discovery of fresh Indian
tracks on the mountain south of our camp. Thereupon I
immediately dispatched 1st Lieut. Lindsay, of Company
C, with twenty picked men to occupy the summit of the
mountain referred to, with orders to keep a sharp watch
for Indians, to capture all he discovered, and to shoot
down all that refused to surrender. Meanwhile having
learned that Maj. John Green, U. S. A., with his com
mand was camped some four miles east of me, I dis
patched a courier to him next morning to inform him of
my whereabouts and of the discovery made on the even
ing previous. In a short time Maj. Green came to my
camp, and expressed a desire that my troops act in concert
with those of the United States in capturing the fugitive
Modocs. A party of those Indians were believed to be
in the vicinity of a small lake in the mountains, ten miles
eouth of our camp A plan of co-operation for the cap-
MODOC WAR. 19
ture of these Indians was agreed upon between Maj.
Green and myself; in pursuance of which both commands
moved by different routes at midnight, on the 1st of June,
Jor the point referred to. My troops being the first to
arrive at the place designated, and discovering fresh
Indian tracks, started immediately in pursuit and followed
the trail until night corning on they were compelled to
camp. As soon as day dawned next morning the pursuit
was resumed and kept up all day over an extremely rough
country. At dark the Indians were overtaken and cap
tured. The captives numbered 12, among whom was the
notorious 'Black Jim,' one of the murderers of Gen.
" Next day, June 4th, I sent a message to Gen. Green,
informing him of the captures we had made, and also for
warded a dispaich to your Excellency upon the same
subject. In reply I received a note from Maj. Green, re
questing me to send my captives to an island in Tule
Lakr, at which all the Indian prisoners were being col
lected. (See copy of his letter hereunto attached.) I also
received a telegram from your Excellency, containing in
structions in regard to the same subject. In obedience to
these orders I took immediate steps to ascertain if any of
these Indians stood indicted in the Circuit Court of Jack
son County, for the murder of the Lost River settlers, and
having become satisfied that none of them were con
cerned in that massacre, I proceeded with my captives to
the island referred to, and delivered them up to the com
manding officer of the U. S. troops at that place."
The Modoc war now being brought to a successful ter
mination by the capture of Captain Jack, and the princi
pal portion of his warriors, and there being no further
necessity for any troops in the field, I issued a general
20 MODOC WAR.
order that they proceed at once to the respective places at
which they were enrolled and* be mustered out of
Accompanying herewith I transmit six muster rolls,
numbered from one to six inclusive, being as follows:
1st, Muster Roll of General Field and Staff Officers.
2d, Muster Roll of Company "A."
3d, " " U B."
4th, " " "C."
5th, " " "D."
6th, " " "E."
I also transmit herewith an "abstract of indebtedness of
State of Oregon on account of expenses of Modoc war of
Also "abstract of indebtedness of State of Oregon, on
account of expenses of suppressing Indian hostilities," etc.
MODOC WAR SECOND SERVICE.
Amounting respectively to the sums of $ 60,826 55 J
Amounting in the aggregate to $130,728 44
Col. Jesse Baker, Quartermaster General, and Col. J. N.
T. Miller, Commissary General, gave their personal atten
tion to much of the duties pertaining to their several
departments. Maj. Quincy A. Brooks, Assistant Quarter
master General has had personal supervision of closing the
accounts. I believe that the service has been conducted
with prudence and integrity. Col. Miller was with the
Volunteer troops throughout the first service, and has
furnished me with many important facts relating to he
MODOC WAR. 21
same. Copies of subordinate abstracts, returns and vouch
ers, will be furnished upon request.
Your obedient servant,
L. F. GROVEK,
Governor of Oregon.
STATE OF OREGON, EXECUTIVE OFFICE, )
Salem, February 13, 1874. f
MODOC WAK. 23
MAJOR GENERAL JOHN F. MILLER
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF THE LAKES,
And of the U. S. Troops and Oregon
Volunteer Militia operating in thd
Modoc country. f
^ near Van Bremen Ranch,
January 20, 1873. J
To his Excellency, L. F. Grocer, Governor of Oregon :
SIR I have the honor to report that, in conformity
with the General Field Order 2s"o. 3, issued hy Brevet
Major General Frank Wheaton, U. S. A., Commanding
District of the Lakes, a copy of which is herewith enclosed,
the Modoc position was attacked early on the morning of
the 17th inst., by the Oregon Volunteer Militia, under
Brigadier General J. E. Ross. Two companies, "A," Cap
tain Harrison Kelly, and "B," Captain O. C. Applegate,
each number'.ng some sixty men, including twenty Indian
scouts belonging to company"B," and an independent
company of California volunteers, twenty-five in number
(Captain John A. Fairchilds), co-operating with about
24 MODOC WAR.
two hundred and fifty troops of the Ui.itetl States under
Brevet Major General Frank Wheaton, U. S. A. The
engagement begun at 8:30 A.M., and continued until dark,
and, owing to the position of the enemy, which it was
impossible to forsee or provide against, resulted in the
discomfiture of our attacking forces, with a loss of about
forty men in killed and wounded, including two killed of
the Oregon Volunteers.
The Oregon Volunteer Militia, under General Ross, in
order to accomplish the most effective service, have, since
the commencement of operations against the Modocs,
placed themselves under the direction and command of
General Wheaton, an officer of great ability and expe
From the most reliable information at my command I
estimate the number of hostile Indians at not less than
one hundred and fifty warriors, and, from information
derived from scouting parties and others, and which I
deem reliable, many of their females fight with a despe
ration and courage equal to that of the males.
Their position is in what is known as the "Lava Bed,"
an immense plain of volcanic rock, cut and broken with
fissures, canyons and chasms, on the south of Tule Lake,
about ten miles south of the boundary line between Oregon
and California. It is one of great strength, and difficult
of approach. It is the opinion of General Wheaton, and
Majors Green and Mason, that it will require one thous
and men, with mortars and provisions for a siege of per
haps many days, to dislodge and capture them; and, from
my own observation, I concur iii their opinion.
The home of these Indians is in Oregon. The scene
of their depredations is along the border of either of the
States of Oregon and California, and their victims are the
MODOC WAR. 25
defenseless citizens of both States. Settlers, not longer
since than last summer, have been terrified by insults to
their families, and the fear of massacre, into removing
from the country, while others have been compelled to pro
cure temporary immunity by giving them certificates of
good character and gratuities of iood. One settler, Henry
Miller, was massacred by them within a tew months after
having given such a certificate. They must be conquered
and removed to distant Reservations, or the country here
abandoned to them. I am satisfied that no force, that it
would be practicable to place upon our frontier, could
entirely protect it from their raids, and the withdrawal of
the force now here would invite them to renewed rob
beries and massacre.
The term of enlistment, of the Oregon Volunteers now
here, has, with a few exceptions, expired, and, within a few
days, they will be mustered out of service.
General Wheaton, if supported by the proper authority,
will put an end to Indian troubles in this vicinity for all
future time. He has gained information, by the move
ment of the 17th inst., of the position of these Indians
that is indispensable to successful operations against them,
and that could only be obtained by a reconnoisance in
force. His coolness and excellent judgment in the affair
of the "Lava Beds" were conspicuous throughout. The
same honorable mention is due to Majors John Green and
E. C. Mason, both, like General Wheaton, veterans of the
late war, and the former a man of large experience in
Indian fighting with General Crook, Colonels David Perry
and R. F. Bernard, Captains J. Q. Adams, G. H. Burton
and James Jackson, Lieutenants Ross, Rheem and Moore
of the 21st Infantry, and Lieutenants Boutelle and Kyle
of the 1st Cavalry. Colonel Perry and Lieutenant Kyle
26 MODOC WAR.
are painfully wounded. Surgeon McElderry, of Fort
Klamath, and Acting Assistant Surgeons Skinner, White
and Durrant, were under fire during the entire day, ren
dering prompt service to the wounded of both regular
and volunteer forces. The management of the volunteers
by General Ross and his subordinates, Captains Kelly,
Applegate and J. R. Neil, the latter of General Ross'
Staff, was admirable. Captain E. 1). Fond ray, also of
General Ross' Staff, accompanied his Commander upon
the field. Hon. J. JST. T. Miller was present, and rendered
important service during the engagement. At General
Ross' request he has been actively engaged in the field
from the commencement of hostilities. The volunteers
conducted themselves in the most creditable manner, and
in a manner honorable to the State. Surgeon Bell, of the
volunteers, was promptly at his post in the field.
The Independent Company of California Volunteers,
Captain John A. Fairchilds, occupied a most important
position on the extreme left, and were greatly exposed
during the entire day. They formed a portion of the
party under Major Green and Colonel Perry, that forced
its way over great natural obstacles, and through a most
terrible fire, to a junction with Captain Bernard's forces
on the east. Four (4) of this Company wer.^ seriously
The courtesy of the officers of the United States Army
commanding here, toward the volunteers, has been marked
and uniform, and their material assistance to our troops
has been valuable.
General Wheaton moved his headquarters and tempo
rary field depot to this point, where a concentration of the
forces was made for the attack. On the 28d inst. his
headquarters and field depot will be re-established in Lost
MODOC WAR. 27
River Valley, near Tule Lake, in Oregon, a much more
central and controlling point. The volunteer headquarters
will, about the same time, be established at some point in
I have assigned Colonel William Thompson, of the
Governor's Staff (by order transferred^ service with me),
and Colonel C. B. Bellinger, to duty in the field. They
accompanied me, and participated in the engagement of
the 17th inst.
Mr. Ivan Applegate was present upon the field during
the engagement, and rendered important service.
Very respectfully and
JOHF F. MILLER,
Major General O. S. M
MODOC WAR. 29
GENERAL JOHN E. ROSS
HIS EXCELLENCY GOVERNOR GROVER.
HEADQUARTERS IST BRIGADE 1
OREGON MOUNTED MILITIA, >
Jacksonville, February 20, 1873. j
L. F. Grover, Governor of Oregon,
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following:
report of the operations of the troops under my
command in their recent campaign against the Modoc
Before doing so, however, permit -me to submit a few
remarks in reference to the origin of the Modoc war.
An order had been made by the Secretary of the
Interior, that the Modoc Indians, then encamped on Lost
River, should return immediately to their (the Klamath)
Reservation. The Indians refused to obey. Maj. James
Jackson, U. S. A., with 35 men, was directed to carry the
order into execution. This force being entirely too small to
command obedience, the Indians at once commenced hos
tilities, by butchering the settlers on Lost River, who
30 MODOC WAR.
were entirely ignorant of any impending conflict between
the tribe and the Government. It should be remembered
also, that these murders were not committed whilst actual
war was raging between the Indians and the United
States, but that they were perpetrated before that state of
affairs had an existence. The U. S. troops were on the
west side of Lost River, as was also the camp of Captain
Jack, the head chief of the Modocs. The settlers that
were massacred, lived and were murdered on the east side
of that river. The Messenger of the Superintendent of
Indian Affairs went to the Indians camped on the east side
of the river and notified them that the} 7 were required to
go immediately upon the Reservation. Whilst the proper
officers were urging the Indians to go upon the Reserva
tion, they (the Indians) commenced firing, and the first
person killed was John Thurber, a private citizen. This
was on Friday, November 29th, 1872. A number of
the other settlers soon met a similar fate, and the survi
vors fled for refuge to the house of Dennis Crawley, pur
sued by the Indians. Meanwhile two other citizens, W.
NUS and Joseph Pen wig, ignorant of what was going on,
were riding up toward Crawley 's house ; the Indians rode
out and met them, saluted them in a friendly manner but
suddenly fired upon them, killing Nus instantly and
severely wounding Penwig, who succeeded, however, in
making his escape. In all, eighteen inoffensive settlers
were thus inhumanly butchered. Meanwhile, the Indi
ans having fired upon the troops, the fire was returned,
but Maj. Jackson's command being entirely inadequate to
cope with the savages, was forced to retire. Such was
the origin of the Modoc war; a war commenced on the
part of the Indians by an unprovoked and cold blooded
massacre of inoffensive settlers, butchered whilst pursuing
MODOC WAR. 31
their usual avocations, and who met their terrible fate, not
during the existence of a state of recognized warfare, but
immediately anterior to its commencement, i. c. in time
In obedience to your Excellency's instructions,,! en
listed two companies of Mounted Militia, whose term of
service commenced on the 2d of December last. By the
7th of that month most of my command was mounted
and equipped, and sent forward to the settlers in the
Ivlamath Lake Basin, and on that date, after detailing
Maj. W. A. Owen of my staff, to act as Quartermaster
and Commissary for the Brigade, with instructions to
make his headquarters at Jacksonville, and to purchase
and forward with dispatch all necessary supplies for the
troops, I started for the front accompanied by my two
Aids-de-Camp, Capts. E. 1). Foudray and J. R. Niel, and
also Col. J. ]N\ T. Miller, Commissary General. Maj. J.
K. Bell, the Brigade Surgeon, had started the day previ
ous. We arrived at Linkville on the 9th.
The two companies referred to consisted of Co. A,
Capt. H. Kelly, and Co. B., Capt. O. 0. Applegate. Capt.
Kelly had temporarily established his headquarters at the
north end of Tule Lake, some ten miles from the mouth
of Lost River, and was engaged in searching for the
O O O
bodies of the settlers that had recently been murdered by
the Indians. Capt. Applegate was directed to station a
part of his company at Yainax, on the Klamath Indian
Reservation, until further orders, to protect the United
States property there; to scout over the surrounding val
ley; to guard the settlers from being raided upon by
Indians, and to cut off all communication between the
hostile Modocs and friendly Modocs on the Reservation.
The remainder of Co. B, under 1st Lieut. J. II. Hyzer,
accompanied my headquarters.
32 MODOC WAR.
On the 10th December I arrived at Capt. Kelly's camp
and the following day his men succeeded in finding the
last of the missing bodies of the murdered settlers, which
I forwarded to Linkville for burial. There being now no
further need of a military force in the vicinity of Lost
River, the settlers having all fled the country or been
murdered by the Indians, I determined to move my troops
to a position on the west side of Tule Lake, as near as
practicable to Captain Jack's stronghold in the Lava
Beds, and on the morning of the 12th we started for the
point referred to. On our way we passed the camp of
Maj. John Green, U. S. A., to whom I communicated
your Excellency's instructions to co-operate with the U.
S. forces in the field. Maj. Green was much pleased to
receive this information, cordially approved any proposed
change of position, and promised to send Capt. David
Perry with Co. F, 1st Cavalry, to join me in a couple of
days. We arrived at Van Bremer's ranch on Willow
Creek, California, the same evening after a hard day's
march of 40 miles. We found the ranch deserted and a
notice on the door to the effect that the proprietor had
fled through fear of Indians.
Next day Capt. John A. Fairchild's, the owner of a
ranch in the vicinity, and who afterwards, as Captain of a
Company of California Volunteers, co-operated with us
against the Modocs, came to my headquarters, stated
that himself and neighbors, being entirely unprotected,
were in constant danger of being killed by the Indians,
and expressed himself as highly pleased that we had
come to their relief. I informed him that we were
Oregon Militia, and being then in the State of California,
we were beyond our proper limits and would have to re
turn to our own State, unless the officer in command of
the U. S. forces ordered otherwise.
MODOC WAR. 33
The abovo facts I also communicated to Maj. Green,
then in command of the U. S. troops, operating in that
section, who immediately issued Field Order No. 2, order
ing me to station my troops at such points as I might
"deem best for the protection of the people in the State
of California against the raids of the Modoc Indians."
[See the order hereto attached.]
In the evening of December 13th I was joined by Capt.
D. Perry, U. S. A., and his command. On the 15th, Capt.
Kelly, Co. A., with twenty-five men, First Lieut. J. H.
Hyzer, Co. B, with ten men, Capt. J. R. Neil, of my staff,
and Capt. Perry, U. S. A., with thirty men, made the first
reconnoissance of the Indian strongholds in the Lava Beds.
It being now deemed best by Capt. Perry and myself,
for the protection of the settlements northwest of Little
Klamath Lake, that my troops should take a position in
that locality, I moved my command on the 19th of De
cember, and established my headquarters at Small's ranch,
on the Klamath River. The condition of the road across
the mountains being such as to make it impossible for
teams to transport supplies as fast as needed, I next day,
in company with Capt. Foudray, of my staff, made a visit
to Linkville to secure some additional stores for my troops.
Whilst at Linkville it was ray good fortune to meet and
form the acquaintance of Major General Frank Wheaton,
U. S. A., Commander of the District of the Lakes, who
had just arrived and was gratified to learn that your Ex
cellency had instructed me to act in concert with the U. S.
forces operating against the Modoc Indians. He also
assured me that the presence of our Volunteer Militia in
the field was actually necessary, and on learning that we
were needing some more blankets he gave an order on the
quartermaster at Fort Klamath for an adequate supply,
34 MODOC WAR.
stating at the same time that anything he could do to
make my troops comfortable would be cheerfully done.
Returning from Linkville I reached Small's ranch in
the evening of the 21st of December, and immediately
issued to my troops the supplies I had procured.
Next morning, in company with Col. Miller and dipt.
Neil, I left headquarters with the view of selecting a camp
near the Indian stronghold. While at the house of P. A.
Dorris a courier reached me, direct from Captain Perry,
informing me that the command of Col. R. F. Bernard, U.
S. A., had been attacked by the Indians in full force, on
the south side of Tule Lake; that he (Capt. Perry) had
gone to Bernard's relief, and requesting me to push for
ward my troops without delay to his assistance. A courier
was dispatched at once, with orders to Capt. Kelly and Lieut.
Ilyzer to come up immediately, which orders were promptly
executed, and upon the arrival of the troops they were sent
forward to Captain Perry's relief. About ten miles beyond
Van Bremer's, however, our troops met Captain Perry
and his command returning, the Indians who attacked
Bernard having been driven back. In consequence of
this attack Captain Perry deemed it best that my head
quarters shjuld be re-established at Van Bremer's, to
which I assented, and this move was effected in the night
of the 22d of .December.
On the 5th of January Captain Kelly, Co. A., with ten
of his men, accompanied by Donald McKay, and four
friendly Indians, under orders from me to view out a
shorter route between Van Bremer's and the Lava Bed,
came upon and attacked a party of 18 or 20 Modocs. The
Indians fled to the outer edge of the Lava Beds, not far
from the Modoc camp, and gave battle from behind rocks.
Captain Kelly fought them until Captain Jack and his
band corning up and being about to surround our men,
MODOC WATl. 35
Captain Kelly fell back and offered battle on the open
ground. This offer, however, although Jack's force
greatly outnumbered ours, was declined, and the enemy
retiring to their stronghold, Captain Kelly and his men
returned to camp.
On the 9th of January, in obedience to the order of
Gen. Wheaton (See his Special Field Order, No. 8, hereto
attached), I stationed Co. A, Captain Kelly, on Cotton-
wood Creek, about eight miles from Van Bremer's, at
the intersection of the Modoc trail with the main road, lor
the purpose of escorting supplies; to guard the Whittle's
Ferry road against interruption by hostile Indians, as
also to afford more adequate protection to the citizens
located southwest of Little Klamath Lake.
On the 12th of January Capt. Applegate and his com
pany, accompanied by Col. Miller, of the Oregon Militia,
with Captain Perry, U. S. A., and 13 men, the whole un
der the command of Major Green, U. S. A., had a lively
brush with the enemy, at the top of the bluff' overlooking the
Lava Bed, in which the Modocs were forced to retire beyond
the range of our guns. It is not known certainly what dam
age was inflicted on the Indians in this engagement, as their
warriors were carried off as fast as hurt, but it is believed
they suffered the loss of four or five men, whilst our
troops were uninjured.
On the same day Maj. Gen. John F. Miller, of the
Oregon Militia, with his staff officers, Col. C. B. Bellinger
and Cal. Wm. Thompson, arrived at my headquarters.
The 16th January was the day fixed by Maj. Gen.
Wheaton, (see his General Field Orders, Kos. 1 and 3,
herewith attached) for an advance movement of the Reg
ular and Volunteer forces, under his command, with a
view of making a combined attack the next day, the
17th, on Captain Jack's stronghold. The line of battle
36 MODOC WAR.
was to be formed as follows: Capt. Fairchilds, with his
company of California Volunteer Rifles, was to hold the
extreme left, resting his left flank on Tule Lake; Col.
Mason's forces to be on Fairchild's right; Capt. Kelly's
company on Mason's right; Capt. Applegate's company
on Kelly's right and Capt. Perry's command on Apple-
gate's right, with Lieut. Ross, U. S. A. and twenty men,
in the rear to guard the Howitzer Battery. Col. Bernard,
with his forces and those of Maj. Jackson on the east side
of the Lake, was to form into line of battle with his
right resting on Tule Lake, arid advancing simultaneously
to form a connection with Capt. Perry's right, so as to
enclose the southern side of the Modoc position. The
immediate command of the entire force operating against
the Modocs was given to Maj. John Green, U. 8. A., to
whom was entrusted the execution of the general plan of
operations, as also the details of the attack. Our united
forces were as follows: U. S. forces, about 810; Oregon
Militia, 115; California Volunteers. 25. Total, 450.
On the morning of the 16th January I moved my com
mand in the direction of the bluff overlooking the Lava
Bed, for a position some three miles west of Captain
Jack's camp, reaching the desired point in the afternoon
where we encamped for the night. Capt. Perry, having
started earlier, had taken possession of the bluff and
driven oft' the Indian scouts or pickets. Col. Bernard had
also moved out from the east side of the Lake, but get
ting into an engagement with the enemy was compelled
to fall back.
On the 17th January, at 4 o'clock in the morning, my
entire command marched down the bluff and took posi
tion in line of battle as designated in the Field Orders
MODOC WAR. 37
When all was ready and the command given the line
moved forward, onr advance being directly into the so-
called "Lava Beds." The ground traversed was covered
at intervals with irregular masses of volcanic rock, whilst
a dense fog prevailed over the entire region. These im
pediments, it is true, made our advance somewhat labori
ous and difficult, but in no wise dampened the ardor of
the troops. After proceeding a mile and a half the
enemy opened fire upon us, the first volley being fired in
front of Capt. Kelly's company. Soon the firing of the
enemy extended along our entire front and was promptly
and vigorously returned. But the Indians being secreted
behind rocks and crags, in caves and deep fissures, our
bullets, though well aimed, had little or no effect. When
charged upon in one rock fortress the enemy would retire
to another position equally formidable. The difficulties
of our advance, owing to these natural obstructions, and
the fact that we were constantly exposed to the raking
fire of a concealed enemy, were now greatly increased.
Moreover, the Indians were perfectly familiar with every
crag, crevice and chasm in this immense lava field, whilst
our knowledge, in respect to these particulars, amounted
practically to nothing. About 11 o'clock A. M. Capt.
Perry, in obedience to the order of Maj. Green, changed
the position of his company from Capt. Applegate's
right to the right of Maj. Mason and connecting with
Capt. Kelly's left. The dense fog of the morning had not
yet lifted; still our line moved steadily on, driving the
Indians before us, but there seemed to be no end to the
rocky strongholds to which they could fall back. Our
successful charges and the noble enthusiasm of the troops,
were therefore of little avail. Meanwhile, we were suffer
ing severely in killed and wounded, without being able to
88 MoDOO WAR.
inflict any very serious injury upon the enemy. About 3
p. M. our troops on the west side of the lake were ordered
to form a connection with those of Co]. Bernard, on the
east side, by a flank movement to the left.
The necessity for this order was owing to the fact that
the disaster met with by Col. Bernard on the day previous,
rendered it impossible for him to form a connection with
our extreme right, as stated in the general orders referred
to. Meanwhile, the unequal contest in which all the
advantages were against us, was kept up with undimin-
About 5 o'clock P. M., whilst engaged in the flank
movement referred to, it was discovered that Major Green,
who had the immediate command of the troops, as before
stated, together with Col. Mason and Captain Perry, with
their respective commands, had been cut off by the
Indians from the main line and from all communication
with General Wheaton's headquarters.
At this juncture, Gen. Wheaton, in view of the situation,
and the absence of Major Green, deemed it proper to
give me the immediate command of the remaining forces
in the field, using also these words: "Gen. Eoss, I now
leave this matter with you/'
I hastened at once to act in the capacity indicated. We
had been enveloped in fog all day, and the Indian war
whoop and roar of guns had been kept up without inter
mission. Our troops had fought for nine hours with heroic
bravery, and had suffered a loss of forty men, killed and
wounded, but without gaining any important advantage
over the enemy; night was Upon us; the weather was
extremely cold and our overcoats and blankets had been
left behind at camp. Moreover, if the Indians with their
superior knowledge of the ground, should make a night
MODOC WAR. 39
attack on us we might suffer considerable additional loss.
Under these circumstances I determined, with the assent
of my superior officers, to move the troops back to our
camp of the preceding night, leaving the enemy in posses
sion of the field and our dead. With as little delay as
possible therefore, we gathered up our wounded and got
our troops in motion; Company B, Capt. Applegate, being
in front and Co. A, Capt, Kelly, acting as rear guard, and
reached our camp back on the bluff about 10 o'clock that
jSText morning we ascertained that Major Green, as also
Col. Mason, Capt. Perry, Col. Bernard and Maj. Jackson,
with their respective commands, had withdrawn during
the night previous to Col. Bernard's camp on the east
side of the lake.
Gen. Wheaton now decided, after consultation with
Gen. Miller, myself and other officers, that a further
attack upon the Indians in the Lava Bed was not advisa
The casualties of the previous day may be briefly
summed up as follows, viz: U. S. troops, 37 killed and
wounded ; Oregon Militia, 2 killed and 5 slightly wounded;
California Volunteers, 4 wounded, of whom 2 afterwards
died. The two members of the Oregon Militia, who lost
their lives in this engagement, were privates John R.
Brown, Co. A, and William F. Trimble, Co. B, both brave
men, who fell while gallantly discharging their duty.
The actual strength of the enemy in this engagement
is not known, but is estimated at from 150 to 200, all well
armed, together with quite a number of squaws, who are
known to have rendered service as warriors.
On the morning after the battle, and before moving
from our camp on the bluffs, in compliance with the view
40 MODOC WAR.
of General Wheaton, as also for the purpose of affording
better protection to the settlements, I issued orders making
the following disposition of the troops under my command,
viz: Capt. Applegate with a portion of Co. B to be sta
tioned at Yainax; Lieut. Hyzer, with a portion of Co. B,
to be stationed at Schneider's Ferry; the remainder of Co.
B to be stationed at Langell's Valley; Lieut. Reams, with
a portion of Co. A, to be stationed at the ranch of Capt.
Fairchilds, and the remainder of Co. A, together with
myself and staff, to remain at the headquarters of Gen.
Wheaton, until the return of the commands that had been
cut off from us on the day previous. Pursuant to these
arrangements, the troops started at once for their several
destinations, and in company with General Wheaton I
arrived at Van Bremer's on the afternoon of the 18th of
Maj. Green, as also the commands of Col. Mason and
Capt. Perry, having all reached Gen. Wheaton's head
quarters by the 22d January, on the morning of the 23d
I marched with Co. A to Schneider's Ferry. !N"ext day,
January 24th, the term of enlistment of my men having
expired, and U. S. troops having arrived to take the place
of my own, in the protection of the settlement, I issued
my General Field Order No. 3, for the disbandment of the
1st Brigade Oregon Mounted Militia.
For a more specific and detailed account of the move
ments and services performed by Companies A and B of
my command, you are respectfully referred to the reports
of Captains Kelly and Applegate, hereunto attached.
In conclusion, permit me to say, in reference to the
troops under my command, that the field of their opera
tions was in a region of country whose altitude was some
4,500 feet above the level of the ocean, distant from the
MODOC WAft* 41
Rogue Kiver Valley, my base of supplies, some 80 miles,,
and separated fiom that vailey by a high range of moun
tains; that the period of our service was during mid*
winter, at which season the road over the mountains
referred to was at all times exceedingly difficult for loaded
teams to travel, and much of the time utterly impassable;
that in the hurry with which the troops were sent into the
field, some necessary articles were unavoidably omitted^
and that the supplies forwarded by LJaj. Owen from Jack
sonville did not always, owing to the impassable condition
of the road, reach us as soon as heeded; that my com
mand performed a vast amount of hard inarching, and
endured at times much suffering from the severity of the
weather, necessarily incident to the high altitude of the
country and the inclement season of the year. But my
troops always responded with promptness to every demand
made upon their patriotism, enduring every hardship
patiently, and evincing under the most adverse circum
stances, a devotion to duty that would have done credit to
I desire to state that the gallantry and bravery displayed
in the engagement of the 17th by Gen. Wheaton, Maj k
Green, Col. Masor, and Captains Perry, Adams and
Burton, is worthy of highest commendation; and that
their gentlemanly courtesy to myself and staff, as also the
generous provision made by the Commanding Officer, for
the comfort of my troops, will ever be gratefully remem
I will also add that the company of California Riflemen^
commanded by Capt John A. Fairchilds, bore themselves
nobly, displaying a dauntless courage and bravery > alike
creditable to themselves and the State in whosj service
they were enlisted.
42 MODOC WAK.
I desire to state also that Maj. Gen. Miller and bis two
staff officers, Col's. Bellinger and Thompson, as also Col.
Miller, Corn. Gen']., occupied positions in the line of
battle, and by their brave conduct, proved themselves
worthy of the commissions they hold under the broad seal
of the State of Oregon.
I have the honor to be, sir,
Your obd't serv't,
JOHN E. ROSS.
Brig. Gen'l!*st Brig Ogn. MiK
HEADQUARTERS, IST BRIGADE, }
OiiEii'oN STATE MILITIA,
Jacksonville, Oregon, July 4, 1878. j
To His Excellency L. P.. Grocer, Governor of Oregon,
Salt m t . Oregon :
SIR : I have the honor to submit the following report
of the operations of the First Brigade of Oregon Mounted
Militia, being their second service, in the late Modoc war.
As this force was called into service by your Excellency,
at the request of the people, for the purpose of suppress
ing Indian hostilities, and protecting the settlements in
the eastern portion of Jackson county, it may not be im
proper to give a brief statement of the facts which made
the presence of these troops necessary in the field.
After the battle ot the Lava Beds, on the 17th of Jan
uary last, a Peace Commission was appointed by the Pres
ident to negotiate terms of peace -with the Modoc Indians.
Hopes were entertained that this Commission would be
MODoc WAR. 43
able to so adjust all matters of difficulty with those Indi
ans, as to secure a permanent peace with the tribe. Du
ring the progress of the negotiations, however, it became
apparent that no faith whatever was to be placed in any
peaceful professions of the Indians, and members of the
Board, becoming satisfied, from time to time, of this state
of affairs, would resign. But their places were promptly
filled by the appointment of new Commissioners, it being
strongly desired by the General Government that the
Modoc difliculties should be settled by treaty without fur
lu this way negotiations were kept up lor about three
months, when the proceedings of the Board were brought
to an abrupt termination by an attempt on the part of the
Indians to massacre the entire Commission. This attempt
was partially successful, Gen. Can by and Rev. Mr. Thomas
being killed on the spot, Mr. Meacham. another of the
Commissioners being badly wounded and left for dead, and
L. S. Dyar, the remaining Commissioner, only saving his
life by flight. This terrible act of perfidy and savage
cruelty of course put an end to peaceful negotiations, and
tjie Indians, recuperated by this three months' rest, rein
forced by renegades from other tribes, and strengthened
by additional supplies of arms, ammunition, clothing and
subsistence, which they had all this time been collecting,
again started on the war path, with increased vigor and
At this time, it should be borne in mind, that all the
U. S. troops heretofore stationed in Southeastern Oregon
had been removed south of our State boundary line, leav
ing the settlements of the Lake Basin Without any mili-
ttl'y force whatever to protect them. In fact there was
not at this time a single company of U. S. troops within
9 ' ' -
44 MODOO WAR.
the limits of the State of Oregon. Let us now pa me for
a moment to coisider tlie condition of the settlements of
Southeastern Oregon. The ^assacre of the Peace Com
missioners was, of course, the signal for the renewal of
Indian hostilities. If the Modocs should fall back upon
the Lava Beds, the settlements referred to would beat the
mercy of the Indians. Or, if the Indians on the Klarnath
Keservation, who had thus far remained friendly, should
determine to join the hostile* of which there was great
danger their first movement would be to murder the set
tlers, burn their houses and drive off their stock. It will
thus be seen that the southeastern portion of the State
was in constant and imminent peril, for upon the happen
ing of either or both the contingencies referred to, the
settlements in that section would fall an easy prey to In
dian cruelty and rapacity.
Under these circumstances an adequate military force in
the Lake Basin, to prevent by their presence an outbreak
on the part of the Indians on the Reservation, and also to
protect the settlements from hostile Modocs, became an
indispensable necessity. But there being no U. S. troops
for this purpose, the only alternative left was to raise the
required force by a volunteer enrollment of the Oregon
Militia. Still your Excellency, anxious to avoid expense,
and hoping that the U. S. troops would soon terminate the
war, declined at first to authorize the enrollment of any
The massacre of the Peace Commissioners occurred
April 11, 1873. Gen. Gillem, then in command of the U.
S. forces in" the field, immediately commenced an attack
upon the Indians in the Lava Beds. The fighting lasted
three days, at the expiration of whjjeh time, the Indians
havin been cut of from water, although not defeated.
MODOC WAR. 45
withdrew from their first position in the Lava Beds and
retired to another. It was understood by this movement,
t'.iat the Indian; had abandoned -the Lava Beds entirely
and fallen hack into the. Lost river country, for the pur
pose of raiding upon settlements, cutting off communica
tion with the Lake Basin and forcing the Indians on the
Ivlamath Reservation to join them. By order of Gen.
Giliem, couriers were dispatched to warn the settlers of
their danger, and stop communication with that country,
except by way of Yreka, California. The U. S. troops in
their three days fight .had accomplished nothing towards
improving the situation of affairs. In fact the settlements
of southeastern Oregon were more than ever at the mercy
of infuriated savages. Moreover the Chief Winnemucca,
with his band of Piutes, and t'lo Chief Ocheho, with his
band of Snakes, had been making war demonstrations,
a id it was now apparent that a general Indian outbreak
could only be prevented, if at all, by throwing a force of
Volunteers into the field noith of the California line.
Under these circumstances, your Excellency was again
earnestly besought by our citizens to authorize enlist
ment of Militia, and this time their petition was granted.
In compliance with your instructions of the 14th of
April, I proceeded at once to e:iroll three comptin'es of
Mounted Militia, to be mustered into the 1st Brigade.
e troops, when raised, consisted of Company C, Capt,
. Ilyzer; Company D, Ca.pt. Thomas Mulholland, and
Company E, Capt. George It. Rrgei'S. The men were
equipped as rapidly as possible, and sent forward in de
tachments into the Lake Basin, my object being to keep
the road open between that section and the Rogue River
Valley, to r.rotect the settlements from -i aids of the
Modocs, anujto prevent by our presence in the field, the
48 MODOC WAR.
Indians who had thus far remained friendly from joining
the hostiles. In order to secure a speedy termination of
the war, as much depended upon my ability to prevent
any further outbreak of Indians, as upon the success ot
the U. S. troops, now operating against the Modocs in the
Lava Beds south of the Oregon line.
About this time I received a letter from L. S. Dyar.
Esq., U. S. Indian Ager.l in charge of the Klamath Indian
Reservation, from which I make the following extract: "I
respectfully request that you send a strong detachment to
Yainax a station on the Klarnath Reservation. Such u
course would, I think, not only protect the settlers upon
the Upper Sprague River, but would do more to prevent
a general Indian outbreak than anything else that you
could do, as it would almost insure quiet among the Snakes
and Modocs now there, and prevent a raid upon that [dace
by Capt. Jack's warriors." Being satisfied that the views
of Agent Dyar, as above expressed, were correct, an
adequate force of Militia was stationed at the point above
referred to, in compliance with his request.
The settlers in Drews Valley, as also in the valleys of
Goose Lake, Chewaucan and Summer Lake, being in '
great danger of being raided upon by the Indians, Capt.
Mulholland was ordered to proceed with his company to
those valleys as rapidly as possible, and station his force so
as to afford the greatest protection in his power to th|<t
Companies C and E were stationed at different points
in the settlements, west of those above named, and \\v.e
employed in scouting the country, so as to make their
presence and their object known to both the friendly and
hostile Indians. Meanwhile the United Statestroops wene
operating vigorously agai.ist Capt. J.aV,^ an l(/is * and of
MODOC WAR. 47
murderers in the Lava Beds, and I now felt certain that
the objects for which my troops had been raised would be
a-'jcomplished, and that the war would soon be brought to
a speedy and successful termination.
The disaster met with by the Indian* in their attack
near Sorass Lake, on the 10th of May, proved to be the
turning point in the campaign, and the position of Capt,
Jack, alter that, became hopeless. With the United
Slates forces operating in his front, with disaffection in his
own camp, and with the Oregon Militia cutting off all
hope of assistance from the Indians on the Reservation, he
had no other alternative than to surrender.
Learning on the morning of the 26th of May that Capt.
lack, with a portion of his warriors, had made their escape
from the Lava Beds and gone in the direction of Langcll
Valley, I started immediately with Capt. Hyzer's Com
pany, accompanied by my staff, and arrived at the eastern
end of the valley referred to on the evening of the 81st.
Soon after going into camp, a scouting party was sent out
with orders to examine the ground tor signs of the fugi
tive Modocs, and aiter a short absence the party returned
reporting the discovery of fresh Indian tracks on a moun
tain south of our camp. Thereupon I immediately dis
patched 1st Lieut. Lindsay, of Company 0, with twenty
picked men to occupy the summit of the mountain re
ferred to with orders to keep a sharp watch for Indians, to
capture id I he discovered, and to shoot down all that re
fused to surrender. Meanwhile having learned that Ma
jor John Green, U. S. A., with his command, was camped
some four miles east of'rne, I dispatched a courier to him
next morning to inform him of my whereabouts, and of
the discovery made on the evening previous. In a short
time Major Green came to my camp, and expressed a de-
48 MOI)OG WAR.
sire that my troops act in concert with those of the United
Statej in capturing the fugitive Modocs. A party of tliose
Indians were believed to be in the vicinity of a small lake
in the mountains ten miles east of our camp. A plan of
co-operation for the capture of those Indians was agreed
upon between Major Green and myself, in pursuance of
which both commands moved by different routes at mid
night, on the first of June, for the point referred to. My
troops being- the first to arrive at the place designated, and
discovering fresh Indian tracks, started immediately in
pursuit and followed the trail until night coming on they
were compelled to camp. As soon as day dawned next
morning the pursuit was renewed and kept up all day over
an extremely rough country. At dark the Indians were
overtaken and captured. The captives numbered twelve,
among whom was the notorious "Black Jim," one of the
murderers of Gen. Canby.
^ext day, June 4th, I sent a messenger to Major Green,
informing him of the captures we had made, and also for
warded a dispatch to your Excellency upon the same sub
ject. In reply I received a note from M.ijor Green, re
questing me to send my captives to an island in Tule Lake,
at which all the Indian captives were being collected.
[See copy of his letter hereunto attached.] I also re
ceived a telegram fiom your Excellency containing in
structions in regard to the same subject. In obedience to
these orders I took immediate steps to ascertain if a:iy of
these Indians stood indicted in the Circuit Court of Jack-
sou county for the murder of the Lost river settlers, and;
having become satisfied that none of them were concerned
in that massacre, I proceeded with my captives to the
island referred to and delivered them up to the command
ing officer of the U. S. troops at that place.
MODOC WAR. 49
The Modoc war being now brought to a successful ter
mination by the capture of Capt. Jack and the principal
portion of his warriors, and there Being no further neces
sity for my troops in the field, I issued a general order
that they proceed at once to the respective places at which
they were enrolled and be mustered out of the service.
In conclusion I desire to state that much credit is due
to our Militia for the prompt and energetic manner in
which they discharged their duty ; and that they
successfully accomplished all the objects for which they
Your obedient servant,
JUHN E. BOSS,
Brig. Gen. 1st Brig., 0. M.
MODOC WAR. 51
REPORTS TO GEN'L ROSS.
HEADQUARTERS IN THE FIELD, ]
Crawley's Ranch, December 14, 1872. /
Field Order No. 2.
Brigadier General John E. Ross, 1st Brigade Oregon
Militia, with his volunteer force, will station his troops at
such points as he may deem best for the protection of the
people in the State of California against the raids of the
Major 1st U S. Cavalry, Commanding.
WILLOW CREEK, 2 o'clock, A. M.
GENERAL Ross Enclosed you will find communica
tion from Major Green, which explains itself. I shall leave
immediately by trail for the " Lava Beds," and would like
your support in case I should be driven back. My wagons,
with a small guard, are on the road, and, if possible, I
would like to have you secure them as well as the rancher
at this place.
I am, General, very respectfully,
Captain 1st U. S. Cavalry.
52 MODOC WAR.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF THE LAKES,
And of the Troops operating in the
Camp near Crawley's Ranch,
Lost River, Oregon, Dec. 20, 1872. J
General Field Order No. 1.
I. The disposition of the troops, and all field orders
and instructions heretofore given by Major John Green,
1st Cavalry, are fully approved.
II. Major John Green, 1st Cavalry, will retain the
immediate command of the troops now acting under his
orders, and attack the Modoc Indians wherever, in his
opinion, sufficient supplies and ammunition are received, as it
is reported, by parties who are familiar with Modoc Jack's
location, that it is inaccessible to mounted troops, and that
three miles of skirmishing on foot will be required before
reaching the Modoc position.
Major Green will not make the attack until the troops
are well provided with ammunition. Each man should be
furnished with one hundred and fifty (150) rounds, sixty
(60) on his person, and the remainder in close reserve, if
that amount can be procured.
III. .From information thus far obtained it is deemed
best to make the strongest attack on the west side of the
Modoc position and Tule Lake. The battalion, 21st
Infantry, Companies "C" and "B," sixt} T -four (64) rifled
muskets, under Major E. C. Mason; Captain D. Perry,
Troop "F," 1st Cavalry, fifty (50) sabres; Major James
Jakson, Troop "B," 1st Cavalry, thirty-five (35) sabres;
and General John E. Ross, Oregon Volunteers, supposed
to number about fifty (50) rifles, will make the main attack.
Captain R. F. Bernard, Troop "G," 1st Cavalry, with a
detachment of Klamath scouts, the number to be desig-
MODOC WAR. 53
nated by Major Green, will co-operate with the main
attack, moving simultaneously on the Modoc position, and
on the east side from his present camp near Land's ranch.
IV. Major Green will cause frequent reconnoisances
from the several commands, to be made while prepartions
for the final attack are being made, and report anything of
interest to the District Commander, who will remain in
the field with or near the troops until further operations
against the Morlocs are unnecessary.
It may become necessary to change or modify this gen
eral plan of operations, and Major Green will be advised
from time to time' of any proposed change.
Y. If, during or after the attack on the Modocs, they
should escape from their rocks and caves, Major Green will
promptly pursue with all the mounted force, and kill or
capture every hostile Modoc of Captain Jack's murdering
band, unless they unconditionally surrender.
VI. If rapid pursuit becomes necessary, Major E. C.
Mason's battalion, 21st Infantry, Mall be left near the Modoc
camp, where he will receive orders from the District Com
VII. A temporary field depot of supplies is hereby
established at this camp. Lieutenant "W". H. Boyle, 21st
Infantry (acting Adjutant, and A. A. Q. M. and A. C. S.
of the 21st Infantry battalion), will, in addition to his
other duties, receive and issue supplies on properly
approved requisitions. Lieutenant Boyle will communi
cate at once with Lieutenant Robert Pollock, 21st Infantry
A. A. Q. M., at Fort Klamath, Oregon, the officer respon
sible for supplies sent here, and keep him fully advised of
the issues and reception of stores for troops in the field.
When Major Mason's battalion moves, Lieutenant W.
H. Boyle will, until further orders from Headquarters,
54- MODOC WAR.
District of the Lakes, remain in charge of the camp and
supplies near Crawley's ranch.
VIII. All reports, returns, etc., will be made to or
through these Headquarters, and requisitions for supplies
forwarded for the action of the Commanding Officer, Dis
trict of the Lakes.
By order of
Brevet Major General U. S. A., Lieut. Col. 21st
Infantry, Commanding District of the Lakes.
J1TO. Q. ADAMS,
First Lieut. 1st Cavalry, A. A. A. General.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF THE LAKES, "
And of Troops operating in the Modoc
Camp near Van Bremer's,
Willow Creek, California,
January 9, 1873. >
Special Field Order No. 8.
With a view to the more adequate protection of the
citizens located southwest of Little 3lamath Lake, and to
guard against the interruption of hostile Modocs on the
Whittle's Ferry Road, General Ross, Oregon Militia,
will detail, from the two companies now with him in the
field, such a force as he may deem necessary, and encamp
them at the most advantageous point.
A force encamped near Dorris' Ranch would be able to
MODOC WAR. 55
escort supplies, and, at the same time, be advisable if a
sudden movement from this camp should be ordered.
By order of
Brevet Major General, U. S. A., Lieut. Col. 21st
Infantry, Commanding District of the Lakes.
JNO. Q. ADAMS,
First Lieut., 1st Cavalry, A. A. A. General.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF THE LAKES,
And of the Troops operating in the
Camp near Van Bremer's,
California, January 12, 1873, J
General Field Order No. 3.
I. The troops will move from their present camps east
and west of the Lava Beds, on Thursday the 16th of Jan
uary, and take positions for the attack on the Modoc camp
at sunrise on the following morning.
II. At four A. M., on Thursday next, Major John Green
will detach Captain D. Perry's Troop "F," 1st Cavalry,
and order it to clear the bluff southwest of Tule Lake of
Indian pickets and scouts, and cover the movement of the
main force to a camp some three miles west of the Modoc
III. Major E. C. Mason's battalion, 21st Infantry, (two
companies), " C," Captain G. H. Burton; and "B," com
manded by 2d Lieutenant II. D. W. Moore, and a detach
ment of twenty (20) men of Company "F," 21st Infantry,
under 1st Sergeant John McNamara; General John E.
Ross, Oregon Volunteer Militia ( two companies ): "A,"
56 MODOC WAR.
Captain H. Kelly, and "B," Captain O. C. Applegate, and
Lieutenant W. H. Miller's Battery (a section of mountain
howitzers), will march from Van Bremer's Ranch to camp
on bluff, west of Tule Lake, in time to reach the desig
nated camp not later than three p. M. on the 16th instant.
The camp will be so located and arranged as to be secure
from observation by the Modocs, and every precaution
taken to prevent the Indians from discovering our num
bers and precise location.
IV. District headquarters will accompany the troops.
V. Early on the 17th of January the troops above
named will move into the Lava Beds to attack the Modoc
camrj, and in the following order: Major E. C. Mason's
battalion, 21st Infantry leading, followed by General John
E. Ross, Oregon Volunteer Militia, (the section of how
itzers packed). Captain D. Perry, troop "F," 1st Cav
alry, will follow the Howitzer Battery.
VI. When the troops have reached a position near the
Modoc camp the main force will be deployed on the right
of the infantry battalion in close skirmish order, and a left
half-wheel of the whole line will be executed, in order to
enclose the southern side of the Modoc position and con
nect the right of the main force with the left of Captain
Bernard's troops, who are simultaneously to attack on the
VII. All the troops operating against the Modocs are
to move from their camps with three day's cooked rations
in haversacks, two blankets, one hundred (100) rounds of
ammunition on the person, and fifty (50) rounds in close
reserve. Canteens will be filled at Little Klamath Lake
by the troops from Van Bremer's Ranch, and care taken
to water every horse and pack mule at that point, as there
is no water on the bluff where the main force will encamp
on the night of the 16th.
MODOC WAR. 57
VIII. Major John Green, 1st Cavalry, is charged with
the execution of these movements and the details of the
IX. Lieut. W. II. Miller, 1st Cavalry, commanding the
Howitzer Battery, will report to Major Green for orders
and instructions as to when and where to prepare his guns
for action in the proposed attack.
X. The troops on the east side of the Lava Beds, at
Land's Ranch, Cos. G," Capt, R. F. Bernard, and B,"
Captain James Jackson, 1st Cavalry, and the Klamath In
dian scouts, under Dave Hill, will move from camp on the
IGth inst., to a point not more than two (2) miles from the
Modoc position. At sunrise on the 17th this force will
attack the Modoc camp with their right resting on or near
Tule Lake, and when sufficiently near to render the move
ment advisable, a right half-wheel will be executed in
order to connect the left of this force with the troops at
tacking from the west. In his advance Captain Bernard
will take steps to capture any canoes the Modocs may
have near their camp, or at least use every effort to pre
vent Indians from escaping by water. Captain R. F.
Bernard, 1st Cavalry, will execute these movements under
such detailed instructions as he may receive from Major
John Green, 1st Cavalry.
XI. After the first three (3) shots have been fired from
the Howitzer Battery, as a signal to the troops attacking
on the east side of the Modoc camp, firing will cease for
fifteen (15) minutes, and an Indian scout directed to notify
the nearest Modocs that ten (10) minutes time will be
allowed them to permit their women and children to come
into our lines. Any proposition by the Modocs to surren
der will be referred at once to the District Commander
who will be present.
58 MODOC WAR.
XII. Lieut. W. II. Boyle, 21st Infantry, Acting Field
Quartermaster and 0. S., and a guard of ten men will re
main at this camp in charge of the temporary Held depot
until further orders.
XIII. Lieut. John Q. Adams, 1st Cavalry, A. A. A. G.,
District of the JLakes, and commanding detachment "H,"
troop 1st Cavalry, will furnish from his command such
details as may be required for the Howitzer Battery, and
accompany the District Commander. Lieut. Adams will
be prepared to communicate by signals with the Signal
Sergeant who has been detailed for duty with the troops
operating on the east side of the Modoc position.
XIV. Assistant Surgeon Henry McEldery, U. S. A.,
will give the necessary directions and instructions to the
medical officers serving with the different commands and
detachments in the field.
By order of
Brevet Maj. Gen. U. S. Army, Lieut. Col. 21st Infantry,
Commanding District of the Lakes.
JOHF Q, ADAMS,
1st Lieut. 1st Cavalry, A. A. A. Gen.
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY COMMAND, 1
Clear Lake, Cal., June 4, 1878. f
Brig. Gen. John E. Boss, 0. V. M., in the Feild
GENERAL: I am in receipt of your note of this instant
at 10 o'clock A. M. The Department Commander is col
lecting all the Modoc captives at the island in Tule Lake,
and it is requested that you send your captives to that
point as early as possible, or if more convenient they can
MODOC WAR. 59
be sent to me at this place, if the} 7 are forwarded within
the next two days. When the services of the two Modocs,
Jim and Frank, are no longer required by you, let them
I am, General, very respectfully,
Your Ob't servant,
Major 1st Cavalry, Commanding.
WALLOWA VALLEY. 61
From the Governor of Oregon to the Secretary of the
Interior, Relative to the Indian Title and Rights of
Settlers in Wallowa Valley, Oregon.
STATE OF OREGON, EXECUTIVE OFFICE, \
Salem, July 21, 1873. /
To Hon. Columbus Delano,
Secretary of the Interior:
SIR: I beg leave to call your attention to the very
grave and important question now pending before your
Department, touching the subject of vacating the Wallowa
Valley, Union county, Oregon, for the purpose of secur
ing the same to Joseph's band of Nez Perce Indians,
and to submit the following views thereon for your con
On and prior to the llth day of June, 1855, the Nez
Perce tribe of Indians occupied lands lying partly in
Oregon and partly in Washington Territory, between the
Cascade and Bitter Root Mountains. On said llth day
of June, 1855, the said tribe, by their chief, head men
and delegates, numbering fifty-eight officials, made and
concluded a treaty of peace and boundaries with the
United States Isaac I. Stephens acting on behalf of the
United States for Washington Territory, and Joel Palmer
for Oregon. By said treaty the Nez Perces ceded and
relinquished to the United States all their right, title and
62 WALLOWA VALLEY.
interest in and to all territory before that time claimed
and occupied by them, except a certain tract described
therein, specifically reserved from the ceded lands as a
general reservation for the use and occupancy of said
tribe, and for friendly tribes and bands of Indians in
Washington Territory. This general reservation embraced
lands lying in part in Oregon, including Wallowa (Woll-
On the 9th day of June, 1864, a supplementary and
amendatory treaty was concluded between the said Nez
Perce tribe and the United States; the former being rep
resented by fifty-one chiefs, head men and delegates, and
the latter by Calvin H. Hale, Charles Hutchins and S. D.
Howe, as Commissioners specially delegated.
By the latter treaty the Kez Perce tribe agreed to
relinquish, and did relinquish to the United States all the
lands reserved by the treaty of 1855, excepting a certain
specified tract designated as "a home, and for the sole use
and occupancy of said tribe." B} 7 this amendatory treaty
the Nez Perce tribe relinquished to the United States all
the territory embraced in the Reservation created by the
treaty of 1855, which lay within the boundaries of the
State of Oregon, including the said Wallowa Valley ; so
that on and after said 9th June, 1863, the ]N~ez Perce
tribe did not lawfully hold or occupy any lands within
the State of Oregon. Joseph's band of Nez Perce
Indians were in the treaty council of 1855, and Joseph
signed the treaty. Their action recognized the tribal
relations of their band, and bound all the persons and
territory described therein. The Reservation named be
came the common property of the whole tribe. Joseph
and his band acKnowledged these conclusions also by
accepting the benefits of the treaty of 1855. But Joseph
WALLOW A VALLEY. 63
refused to acknowledge the treaty of 1863, while a Jarge
majority of the chiefs and head men of the Nez Perce
tribe signed the same. Joseph died in 1871, and his sons
claim the land which was relinquished to the United
States in 1863, including Wallowa Valley. This claim
is based on the idea that the band which they repre
sent was not bound by the treaty of 1863.
The United States had established the policy of treat
ing with the Indians as tribes and nations. This policy
was predicted on the necessary fact that organized action
by the tribe or nation binds the whole body and all of its
members. The treaty of 1855 is the organized action of
the l^ez Perce tribe, in relation to land in which the
whole tribe had a common interest. If the Government
shall admit that one sub-chief, out of more than fifty
joined in council, can, by refusing his signature, or by ab
senting himself, defeat the operation of a treaty, the
policy of making treaties would be valueless and but few
treaties would be binding. For there exists hardly a
treaty with Indians west of the Rocky Mountains in
which all the sub-chiefs and head men joined, and against
which they have not positively protested. If we draw
our conclusions from the former practice of the Govern
ment, or from assimilated cases of foreign treaties, it
must be admitted that the treaty of 1863 bound all the
Nez Perces and extinguished the Indian title to all lands
previously occupied by that tribe lying within the State
Acting upon this conclusion, by order of the General
Land Office, bearing date May 28, 1867, the public lands
in Wallowa Valley and vicinity were directed to be sur
veyed and opened for settlement. The surveys made
under this order amounted to eleven townships, which
64 WALLOWA VALLEY.
were approved May 9, 1868. From time to time, since
that period, citizens of this State have become settlers
upon these lands to such an extent, as I am now informed,
that eighty-seven farms have been located and pre-emp
tion and homestead claims have been filed thereto in the
U. S. Land Office at La Grande.
Upon this statement of facts I urge that the Indian title
to the lands occupied by these settlers has been doubly
extinguished. First by treaty, and second, by force of
law. As the Indians have only a right of occupancy, and
the United States have the legal title, subject to occu
pancy, and with an absolute and exclusive right to extin
guish the Indian title of occupancy, either by purchase,
conquest, or by legal enactment, it would follow that if
the treaty of 1863 did. not completely extinguish the
Indian title to the lands in question, the acts of the Gov
ernment in surveying the Wallowa Valley and opening
the same for settlement and the consequent occupancy of
the same by settlers under the provisions of the several
acts of Congress affecting such lands, and the recognition
of these claims by the Local Land Office of the United
States, would work a complete extinguishment of the
Indian title *by operation of law, as far as the occupied
lands are concerned.
There are other Chiefs and head men of the Kez Perces,
who did not sign the treaty of 1863, and who have re
fused and still do refuse to acknowledge its binding force.
If the Government shall in this instance accede to the
demands of Joseph's band and create a new Keservation
for them, or shall admit in their favor the nullity of the
treaty of 1863, as far as they are concerned, a score of
like demands from other discontented bands, connected with
other neighboring tribes, living under treaties negotiated
WALLOW A VALLEY. 65
in a similar way, will be immediately pressed upon tho
attention of the Indian Bureau. I nrn thoroughly per
suaded that if the proposed surrender of the Walloxva
Valley, and the adjacent regions, to these TnTTiaiv, he now
consunirnated as demanded, the measure, if it works as a
special pacification in this instance, will cause a general
dissatisfaction, not only with the Nez Perees, hut with all
neighboring tribes living under treaty relations, and this
character of work will have to be entered upon a, id cur
ried out as to all.
The declaration made by Congress March 3d, 1871,
that "hereafter no Indian nation or tribe within tho
territory of the United States shall be acknowledged or
recognized as an independent nation, tribe, or power,
with whom the United States may contract by treaty,"
appears to me to relieve the Department irom entangling
itself with an effort to reform past treaties, as such, and to
leave tho Indian Olh'ce unembarrassed to adopt such policy
as will subserve the best interests of both whites and
Indians, without submitting its judgment to the caprices
of untutored savages.
In addition to what I have urged against re-establishing
any part of the Nez Perce Indians in Oregon, on grounds
growing out of this particular case, I would respectfully
press upon your consideration the general policy of tho
Government heretofore steadily pursued, of removing as
expeditionary as circumstances would permit of, all Indi
ans from the confines of the new States, in order to give
them the opportunity of early settlement and develop
ment and to make way for civilization. This State has
already much of its best soil withheld from being occu
pied by an industrial population in favor of Indians.
The region of country in Eastern Oregon not now settled
66 WALLOWA VALLEY.
and to which the Wai Iowa Valley is the key, is greater
in area than the State of Massachusetts. If this section of
our State, which is now occupied by enterprising white
families, should be remanded to its aboriginal character,
and the families should be removed to make roaming
ground for nomadic savages, a very serious check will
have been given to the growth of our frontier settlements,
and to the spirit of our frontier people in their efforts to
redeem the wilderness and make it fruitful of civilized
There is abundant room for Joseph's band on the pres
ent Nez Perce Reservation, and the tribe desire to have
this band observe the treaty of 1863. I learn that young
Joseph does not object to going on the Reservation at this
time, but that certain leading spirits of his band do object,
for the reason that by so doing they would have to aban
don some of their nomadic habits and haunts. The very
objection which they make is a strong reason why they
should be required to do so; for no beneficial influence can
be exerted by agents and missionaries among the Indians
while they maintain their aboriginal habits. Joseph's
band do not desire Wallowa Valley for a, Resercation and
for a home. I understand that they will not accept it on
condition that they shall occupy it as such. The reason
of this is obvious; they can have better land and a more
congenial climate at a location which has been tendered
them upon the Nez Perce Reservation. This small band
wish the possession of this large section of Oregon simply
for room to gratify a wild, roaming disposition, and not for
There are but seventy-two warriors of this band. The
white settlers in the Wallowa country number eighty-
seven. There are also in the Wallowa Valley two incor-
WALLOWA VALLEY. 67
porated companies, the Wtillowa Road and Bridge Com
pany and the Prairie Creek Ditch Company. The im
provements of these settlers and companies have been
assessed, as I am informed, by a commissioner appointed
under the direction of your department, to the amount of
Considering that the demands of Joseph's band were
made during the period of the apparently successful re
sistance of the Modoc outlaws against the treaty stipula
tions with the Klamaths, and that now the Modocs are
subdued, it will doubtless be much less expensive to the
Government, and much more consistent with its general
Indian policy, to induce Joseph's band by peaceable
means to make their home on the Nez Perce Reservation,
than to purchase the rights of white settlers now in the
"Wai Iowa Valley. The people of this State have uni
formly recognized the boundaries of legally defined
Indian Reservations, and have abstained from attempting
to establish settlements thereon. In all instances of various
difiictilties between settlers and Indians on our frontier,
since the Reservation system has been extended to Oregon,
hostilities have resulted rather from Indians refusing to
confine themselves to their treaty limits than from any
attempt of the settlers to encroach upon Reservations.
This was the case with the Yakimas in 1855, who killed
three miners outside of their treaty limits, and then mur
dered Indian Agent Boland, who visited them to remon
strate against their perfidy. This was the case last autumn
with the Modocs, and is now the case with Joseph's band,
in the light in which the treaty of 1863 has heretofore
been held by the General Government and by the people
I believe the facts will sustain me in saying that at all
68 WALLOWA VALLEY.
times and under all circn instances our frontier settlers
have been as well disposed toward tlie Indian*, and as
moderate and forbearing as those of any other frontier,
and as much so as the people of any other State would be
under like circumstances. '
Urgently pressing upon your careful consideration the
peculiar features of this subject, and on behalf of the inter
ests of this State and of the settlers in Wai Iowa Valley
and vicinity, asking that the preliminary steps taken for
the vacation of said Valley for the purpose of creating a
Reservation for Indians may be rescinded,
I have the honor to be
Your ob't servant,
L. F. G ROVER,
Governor of Oregon.