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Full text of "Report of Governor Grover to General Schofield on the Modoc War : and reports of Major General John F. Miller and General John E. Ross, to the Governor : also letter of the governor to the Secretary of the Interior on the Wallowa Valley Indian question"

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Bancroft Library 






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- 


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 
circumstances occurred. 

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 


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 


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- 


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 


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. 

The second service of the Oregon Volunteer Militia, 


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, 


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 


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 
inclosure "P."] 

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 
iuclosure "R."] 

The Indian Agent removed his family from the Klam- 


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 
inclosure "EV] 

Gen. Ross moved with caution and discretion. [See 
inclosure S.] 

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 


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- 


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. 
Can by. 

" 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 


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. 


Amounting respectively to the sums of $ 60,826 55 J 

69,901 88J 

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 


same. Copies of subordinate abstracts, returns and vouch 
ers, will be furnished upon request. 

Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 


Governor of Oregon. 

Salem, February 13, 1874. f 







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 


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 


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 



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 


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 
that vicinity. 

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 

Obediently yours, 


Major General O. S. M 









Jacksonville, February 20, 1873. j 

His Excellency 

L. F. Grover, Governor of Oregon, 

Salem, 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 


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 


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 
of peace. 

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. 


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. 


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, 



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, 


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 


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 
referred to. 


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- 
ished vigor. 

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 


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 


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 
veteran soldiers. 

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. 


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, 

Very respectfully. 

Your obd't serv't, 

Brig. Gen'l!*st Brig Ogn. MiK 


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 
ther bloodshed. 

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 ' ' - 
I ft 


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 
State troops. 

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. 



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, 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 



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 Capt. J.aV,^ an l(/is * and of 


r. -4 



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- 


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. 


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 
were enrolled. 

Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 

Brig. Gen. 1st Brig., 0. M. 




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 
Modoc Indians. 


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. 



And of the Troops operating in the 

Modoc country. 
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- 


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, 


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. 


First Lieut. 1st Cavalry, A. A. A. General. 

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 


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. 

First Lieut., 1st Cavalry, A. A. A. General. 


And of the Troops operating in the 

Modoc country. 
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," 


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. 


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. 


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. 


1st Lieut. 1st Cavalry, A. A. A. Gen. 


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 


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 
come here. 

I am, General, very respectfully, 

Your Ob't servant, 

Major 1st Cavalry, Commanding. 



From the Governor of Oregon to the Secretary of the 
Interior, Relative to the Indian Title and Rights of 
Settlers in Wallowa Valley, Oregon. 

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 


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- 
low-how) Valley. 

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 


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 
of Oregon. 

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 


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 


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 



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 
a home. 

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- 


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 
of Oregon. 

I believe the facts will sustain me in saying that at all 


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, 

Governor of Oregon.