History of Oregon (Bancroft)/Volume 2/Chapter 20

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3277129History of Oregon, Volume 2 — Chapter 20Frances Fuller Victor




Appropriation Asked for—General Wright—Six Companies Raised—Attitude toward Secessionists—First Oregon Cavalry—Expeditions of Maury, Drake, and Curry—Fort Boisé Established—Reconnoissance of Drew—Treaty with the Klamaths and Modocs—Action of the Legislature—First Infantry Oregon Volunteers.

Sometime during the autumn or winter of 1860 the military department of Oregon was merged in that of the Pacific, Brigadier-general E. V. Sumner commanding; Colonel Wright retaining his position of commander of the district of Oregon and Washington. The regular force in the country being much reduced by the drafts made upon it to increase the army in the east,[1] Wright apologized for the abandonment of the country by troops at a time when Indian wars and disunion intrigue made them seem indispensable, but declared that every minor consideration must give way to the preservation of the union.[2]

Fearing lest the emigrant route might be left unprotected, a call was made by the people of Walla Walla Valley to form a company to guard the immigration, a plan which was abandoned on learning that congress had made an appropriation asked for by the legislature of $50,000 for the purpose of furnishing an escort.[3]

Although no violent outbreaks occurred in 1861, both the people and the military authorities were apprehensive that the Indians, learning that civil war existed, and seeing that the soldiery were withdrawn, might return to hostilities, the opportunities offered by the numerous small parties of miners travelling to and fro heightening the temptation and the danger.[4] Some color was given to these fears by the conduct of the Indians on the coast reservation, who, finding Fort Umpqua abandoned, raised an insurrection, took possession of the storehouse at the agency, and attempted to return to their former country. They were however prevented carrying out their scheme, only the leaders escaping, and the guard at Fort Hoskins was strengthened by a small detachment from Fort Yamhill. Several murders having been committed in the Modoc, Pit River, and Pah Ute country, a company of forty men under Lindsey Applegate, who had been appointed special Indian agent, went to the protection of travellers through that region, and none too soon to prevent the destruction of a train of immigrants at Bloody Point, where they were found surrounded.[5] On the appearance of Applegate's company the Modocs retreated, and no further violence occurred during the season. In anticipation of similar occurrences, Colonel Wright in June 1861 made a requisition upon Governor Whiteaker for a cavalry company. It was proposed that the company be enlisted for three years, unless sooner discharged, and mustered into the service of the United States, with the pay and according to the rules and regulations of the regular army, with the exception that the company should furnish its own horses, for which they would receive compensation for use or loss in service. A. P. Dennison, former Indian agent at The Dalles, was appointed enrolling officer; but the suspicion which attached to him, as well as to the governor, of sympathy with the rebellion, hindered the success of the undertaking, which finally was ordered discontinued,[6] and the enlisted men were disbanded.

In the mean time Wright was transferred to California to take the command of troops in the southern part of that state, for the suppression of rebellion, while Lieutenant-colonel Albemarle Cady, of the 7th infantry, was assigned to the command of the district of Oregon. Soon after, Wright was made brigadier-general, and placed in command of the department of the Pacific.[7] As troops were withdrawn from the several posts in Oregon and Washington he replaced them with volunteer companies from California. On the 28th of October 350 volunteer troops arrived at Vancouver and were sent to garrison forts Yamhill and Steilacoom. On the 20th of November five companies arrived under the command of Major Curtis, two of which were despatched to Fort Colville, and two to Fort Walla Walla, one remaining at The Dalles.[8]

The attempt to enlist men through the state authorities having failed, the war department in November made Thomas R. Cornelius colonel, and directed him to raise ten companies of cavalry for the service of the United States for three years; this regiment being, as it was supposed, a portion of the 500,000 whose enlistment was authorized by the last congress. R. F. Maury was commissioned lieutenant-colonel, Benjamin F. Harding quartermaster, C. S. Drew major, and J. S. Rinearson junior major. Volunteers for themselves and horses were to receive thirty-one dollars a month, $100 bounty at the expiration of service, and a land warrant of 160 acres. Notwithstanding wages on farms and in the mines were high, men enlisted in the hope of going east to fight.[9] Six companies being fully organized, the regiment was ordered to Vancouver about the last of May 1862, where it was clothed with United States uniforms, and armed with old-fashioned muzzle-loading rifles, pistols, and sabres; after which it proceeded to The Dalles.

On the 3d of June, Colonel Cornelius arrived at Fort Walla Walla with companies B and E, and took command of that post. About two weeks later the three southern companies followed, making a force of 600. The necessity for some military force at home was not altogether unfelt. The early reverses of the federal army gave encouragement to secession on the Pacific coast. General Wright, on the 30th of April, 1862, issued an order confiscating the property of rebels within the limits of his department, and making sales or transfers of land by such persons illegal.[10] Government officers refused to purchase forage or provisions from disloyal firms; and disloyal newspapers were excluded from the mails.[11]

The 1st Oregon cavalry remained at Walla Walla with little or nothing to do until the 28th of July. In the mean time Cornelius resigned, and Colonel Steinberger of the Washington regiment took command.[12] It had been designed that a portion of the Oregon regiment should make an expedition to meet and escort the immigration, and if possible to arrest and punish the murderers of the immigrants in the autumn of 1860. General Alvord ordered Lieutenant-colonel Maury, with the companies of Harris, Harding, and Truax, to proceed upon the errand.[13]

The history of the 1st Oregon cavalry from 1862 to 1865 is the history of Indian raids upon the mining and new farming settlements, and of scouting and fighting by the several companies. Like the volunteers of southern Oregon, they were called upon to guard roads, escort trains, pursue robber bands to their strongholds, avenge murders,[14] and to make explorations of the country, much of which was still unknown.

In January 1863 a call was made for six companies of volunteers to fill up the 1st regiment of Oregon cavalry, notwithstanding a very thorough militia organization had been effected under the militia law of 1862, which gave the governor great discretionary power and placed several regiments at his disposal. The work of recruiting progressed slowly, the disengaged men of the state who had not enlisted being absent in the mines. One company only was raised during the summer, and it began to be feared that a draft would be resorted to, Provost Marshal J. M. Keeler having been sent to Oregon to make an enrolment.

The situation of Oregon at this time was peculiar, and not without danger. The sympathy of England and France with the cause of the states in rebellion, the unsettled question of the north-western portion of the United States boundary, known as the San Juan question, the action of the French government in setting up an empire in Mexico, taken together with the fact that no forts or defences existed on the coast of Oregon and Washington, that there was a constantly increasing element of disloyalty upon the eastern and southern borders, as well as in its midst, which might at any time combine with a foreign power or with the Indians—all contributed to a feeling of uneasiness.

Oregon had not raised her share of troops for the service of the United States, and had but seven companies in the field, while California had nearly nine regiments. California had volunteers in every part of the Pacific States, even in the Willamette Valley. Troops were needed to serve on Oregon soil, and to protect the Oregon frontier. A post was needed at Boisé to protect the immigration, and an expedition against the Snakes was required. Everything was done to stimulate a military spirit. By the militia law, the governor, adjutant-general, and secretary of state constituted a board of military auditors to audit all reasonable expenses incurred by volunteer companies in the service of the state. This board publicly offered premiums for perfection in drill, the test to be made at the time of holding the state fair at Salem.

The war department had at length consented to allow posts to be established at Boisé, and at some point between the Klamath and Goose Lakes, near the southern immigrant road; and in the spring of 1863 Major Drew, who in May was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel of the 1st Oregon cavalry, sent Captain Kelly with company C to construct and garrison Fort Klamath. The remainder of the regiment was employed in the Walla Walla and Nez Percé country in keeping peace between the white people and Indians, and in pursuing and arresting highwaymen, whiskey-sellers, and horse-thieves, with which the whole upper country was infested at this period of its history, and who could seldom be arrested without the assistance of the cavalry, whose horses they kept worn down by long marches to recover both private and government property.

On the 13th of June an expedition set out, whose object was to find and punish the Snakes, consisting of companies A, D, and E, with a train of 150 pack-mules under Colonel Maury from the Lapwai agency. Following the trail to the Salmon River mines, they passed over a rugged country to Little Salmon River, and thence over a timbered mountain ridge to the head waters of the Payette.[15] The command then proceeded by easy marches to Boisé River to meet Major Lugenbeel, who had left Walla Walla June 10th by the immigrant road to establish a government post on that river near the line of travel. On July 1st, the day before Maury's arrival, the site of the fort was selected about forty miles above the old Hudson's Bay Company's fort, and near the site of the present Boisé City.[16] While at the encampment on Salmon Falls Creek, Curry with twenty men made an expedition across the barren region between Snake River and the Goose Creek Mountains,[17] toward the Owyhee, through a country never before explored. At the same time the main command proceeded along to Bruneau River, on which stream, after a separation of eleven days, it was rejoined by Curry, who had travelled four hundred miles over a rough volcanic region.[18] After an expedition by Lieutenant Waymire[19] up Bruneau River, the troops returned to Fort Walla Walla, where they arrived on the 26th of October.

In March Maury was promoted to the colonelcy of the regiment, C. S. Drew to be lieutenant-colonel, and S. Truax to be major. Rhinehart was made regimental adjutant, with the rank of captain, and took command of company A, Harris having resigned at the close of the Snake River expedition. Rinearson was stationed at Fort Boisé to complete its construction. Lieutenants Caldwell, Drake, and Small were promoted to the rank of captain; second lieutenants Hopkins, Hobart, McCall, Steele, Hand, and Underwood to the rank of first lieutenants. Those who had been promoted from the ranks were Waymire, Pepoon, Bowen, and James L. Curry.

The first expedition in the field in 1864 was one under Lieutenant Waymire consisting of twenty-six men, which left The Dalles on the 1st of March, encamping on the 17th on the south fork of John Day River, thirty-three miles from Cañon City. This temporary station was called Camp Lincoln. From this point he pursued a band of Indian horse-thieves to Harney Lake Valley, where he found before him in the field a party of miners under C. H. Miller.[20] The united force continued the search, and in three days came upon two hundred Indians, whom they fought, killing some, but achieving no signal success. Early in June, General Alvord made a requisition upon Governor Gibbs for a company of forty mounted men, to be upon the same footing and to act as a detachment of the 1st Oregon cavalry, for the purpose of guarding the Cañon City road. The proclamation was made, and Nathan Olney of The Dalles appointed recruiting officer, with the rank of 2d lieutenant. The term of service required was only four months, or until the cavalry which was in the field should have returned to the forts in the neighborhood of the settlements and mines. The people of The Dalles, whose interests suffered by the frequent raids of the Indians, offered to make up a bounty in addition to the pay of the government. The company was raised, and left The Dalles July 19th, to patrol the road between The Dalles and the company of Captain Caldwell, which performed this duty on the south fork of John Day River.

In the summer of 1864 every man of the Oregon cavalry was in the field. Immediately after Lieutenant Waymire's expedition a larger one, consisting of companies D, G, and part of B, was ordered to Crooked River, there to establish headquarters. With them went twenty-five scouts from the Warm Spring reservation, under Donald McKay, half-brother of W. C. McKay. This force left The Dalles April 20th, under the command of Captain Drake, being reënforced at Warm Spring by Small's company from Vancouver, and arriving at Steen's old camp May 17th, where a depot was made, and the place called Camp Maury. It was situated three miles from Crooked River, near its juncture with Des Chutes, in a small cañon heavily timbered with pine, and abundantly watered by cold mountain springs. The scouts soon discovered a camp of the enemy about fourteen miles to the east, who had with them a large number of horses. Lieutenants McCall and Watson, with thirty-five men and some of the Indian scouts, set out at ten o'clock at night to surround and surprise the savages, but when day dawned it was discovered that they were strongly intrenched behind the rocks. McCall directed Watson to advance on the front with his men, while he and McKay attacked on both flanks. Watson executed his duty promptly, but McCall, being detained by the capture of a herd of horses, was diverted from the main attack. On hearing Watson's fire he hastened on, but finding himself in the range of the guns had to make a detour, which lengthened the delay. In the mean time the Indians concentrated their fire on those who first attacked, and Watson was shot through the heart while cheering on his men, two of whom were killed beside him, and five others wounded. The Indians made their escape. On the 20th of May Waymire, who had relieved Watson at Warm Spring, was ordered to join Drake's command, and on the 7th of June all the companies concentrating at Camp Maury proceeded to Harney Valley, where it was intended to establish a depot, but finding the water in the lake brackish and the grass poor, the plan was abandoned. Somewhere in this region Drake expected to meet Curry, who with A and E companies, ten Cayuse scouts under Umhowlitz, and Colonel Maury had left Walla Walla on the 28th of April, by way of the immigrant road for Fort Boisé and the Owyhee, but two weeks elapsed before a junction was made.

Curry's expedition on reaching old Fort Boisé was reënforced by Captain Barry of the 1st Washington infantry, with twenty-five men. A temporary depot was established eight miles up the Owyhee River and placed in charge of Barry. The cavalry marched up the west bank of the river to the mouth of a tributary called Martin Creek, formed by the union of Jordan and Sucker creeks, near which was the crossing of the road from California to the Owyhee mines, beginning to be much travelled.[21]

On the 25th of May, Curry moved west from the ferry eight miles, and established a camp on a small stream falling into the Owyhee, which he called Gibbs Creek, in honor of Governor Gibbs. Here he began building a stone bridge and fortifications, which he named Camp Henderson, after the Oregon congressman; and Rhinehart was ordered to bring up the supplies left with Barry, the distance being about one hundred miles between the points. When Rhinehart came up with the supply train he found Curry absent on an exploring expedition. Being satisfied from all he could learn that he was not yet in the heart of the country most frequented by the predatory Indians, where he desired to fix his encampment, Curry made an exploration of a very difficult country to the south-west.[22]

On this expedition, Alvord Valley, at the eastern base of Steen Mountain, was discovered;[23] and being satisfied that hereabout would be found the headquarters of a considerable portion of the hostile Indians, Curry determined to move the main command to this point, and to this end returned toward camp Henderson by another route, hardly less wearisome and destitute of water than the former one. The place selected for a permanent camp was between some rifle-pits dug in the spring by Waymire's command and the place where he fought the Indians, on a small creek coming down from the hills, which sank about three miles from the base of the mountains. Earthworks were thrown up in the form of a star, to constitute a fort easily defended. Through this enclosure ran a stream of pure water, and there was room for the stores and the garrison, the little post being called Camp Alvord. Here were left Barry's infantry and the disabled cavalry horses and their riders; and on the 22d of June Curry set out with the main cavalry to form a junction with Drake, somewhere in the vicinity of Harney Lake, which junction was effected on the 1st of July at Drake's camp on Rattlesnake Creek, Harney Valley.

For a period of thirty days captains Drake and Curry acted in conjunction, scouting the country in every direction where there seemed any prospect of finding Indians, and had meantime been reënforced by Lieutenant Noble with forty Warm Spring Indians, which brought the force in the field up to about four hundred. Small parties were kept continually moving over the country, along the base of the Blue Mountains, on the head waters of the John Day, and over toward Crooked River, as well as southward toward the southern immigrant trail, which was more especially under the protection of Colonel Drew. Mining and immigrant parties from California were frequently fallen in with, nearly every one of which had suffered loss of life or property, or both, and wherever it was possible the troops pursued the Indians with about the same success that the house-dog pursues the limber and burrowing fox. Few skirmishes were had, and not a dozen Indians killed from April to August. In the mean time all the stock was driven off from Antelope Valley, a settled region sixty-five miles east of The Dalles, and about the same distance west of the crossing of the south fork of the John Day; and nothing but a continuous wall of troops could prevent these incursions.

About the 1st of August Curry, who with Drake had been scouting in the Malheur mountains, separated from the latter and returned toward Camp Alvord. Before he reached that post he was met by an express from Fort Boisé, with the information that a stock farmer on Jordan Creek, a branch of the Owyhee, had been murdered, and his horses and cattle driven off. Twenty-one miners of the Owyhee district had organized and pursued the Indians eighty miles in a south-west direction, finding them encamped in a deep cañon, where they were attacked. The Indians, being in great numbers, repulsed the miners with the loss of one killed[24] and two wounded. A second company was being organized, 160 strong, and Colonel Maury had taken the field with twenty-five men from Fort Boisé. Curry pushed on to Camp Alvord, a distance of 350 miles, though his command had not rested since the 22d of June, arriving on the 12th with his horses worn out, and 106 men out of 134 sick with dysentery.[25] The Warm Spring Indians, who were constantly moving about over the country, brought intelligence which satisfied Curry that the marauding bands had gone south into Nevada. Consequently on the 2d of September, the sick having partially recovered, the main command was put in motion to follow their trail. Passing south, through the then new and famous mining district of Puebla Valley, where some prospectors were at work with a small quartz-mill, using sage-brush for fuel, a party of five Indians was captured forty miles beyond. Surmising that they belonged to the band which attacked the rancho on Jordan Creek, they would have been hanged but for the interference of the miners of Puebla, who thought they should be more safe if mercy were shown. Yielding to their wishes, the Indians, who asserted that they were Pah Utes, were released. But the mercy shown then was atrociously rewarded, for they afterward returned and murdered these same miners.[26] The heat and dust of the alkali plains of Nevada retarding the convalescence of the troops, Curry proceeded no farther than Mud Lake, returning by easy marches on the west side of Steen Mountain to Camp Alvord September 16th, breaking camp on the 26th and marching to Fort Walla Walla, the infantry and baggage-wagons being sent to Fort Boisé. Curry took the route down the Malheur to the immigrant road, where he was met October 14th by an express from district headquarters directing him if possible to be at The Dalles before the presidential election in November, fears being entertained that disloyal voters would make that the occasion of an outbreak. If anything could infuse new energy into the Oregon cavalry, it was a prospect of having to put down rebellion, and Curry was at Walla Walla twelve days afterward, where the command was formally dissolved, company A going into garrison there, the detachment of F to Lapwai, and company E to The Dalles, where the election proceeded quietly in consequence. Drake's command remained in the field until late in autumn, making his headquarters at Camp Dahlgren, on the head waters of Crooked River, and keeping lieutenants Waymire, Noble, and others scouring the country between the Cascade and Blue mountains.

While these operations were going on in eastern Oregon, that strip of southern country lying along the California line between the Klamath Lakes and Steen Mountain was being scoured as a separate district—being in fact a part of the district of California. Toward the last of March, Colonel Drew, at Camp Baker in Jackson county, received orders from the department of the Pacific to repair to Fort Klamath, as soon as the road over Cascades could be travelled, and leaving there men enough to guard the government property, to make a reconnoissance to the Owyhee country, and return to Klamath post.

The snow being still deep on the summit of the mountains, in May a road was opened through it for several miles, and on the 26th the command left Camp Baker, arriving at Fort Klamath on the 28th. The Indians being turbulent in the vicinity of the fort, it became necessary to remain at that post until the 28th of June, when the expedition, consisting of thirty-nine enlisted men, proceeded to Williamson River, and thence to the Sprague River Valley, over a succession of low hills, covered for the most part with an open forest of pines.[27] He had proceeded no farther than Sprague River when his march was interrupted by news of an attack on a train from Shasta Valley proceeding by the way of Klamath Lake, Sprague River, and Silver Lake to the John Day Mines.[28] Fortunately Lieutenant Davis from Fort Crook, California, with ten men came up with the train in time to render assistance arid prevent a massacre. The company fell back forty miles to a company in the rear, and sent word to Fort Klamath, after which they retreated to Sprague River, and an ambulance having been sent to take the wounded to the fort, the immigrants all determined to travel under Drew's protection to the Owyhee, and thence to the John Day.

Their course was up Sprague River to its head waters, across the Goose Lake Mountains into Drew Valley, thence into Goose Lake Valley, around the head of the lake to a point twenty-one miles down its east side to an intersection with the immigrant road from the States near Lassen Pass, where a number of trains joined the expedition. Passing eastward from this point, Drew's route led into Fandango Valley,[29] a glade a mile and a half west from the summit of the old immigrant pass, and thence over the summit of Warner Range into Surprise Valley,[30] passing across it and around the north end of Cowhead Lake, eastward over successive ranges of rocky ridges down a cañon into Warner Valley, and around the south side of Warner Mountain,[31] where he narrowly escaped attack by the redoubtable chief Panina, who was deterred only by seeing the howitzer in the train.[32] Proceeding south-east over a sterile country to Puebla Valley, the expedition turned northward to Camp Alvord, having lost so much time in escort duty that the original design of exploring about the head waters of the Owyhee could not be carried out. The last wagons reached Drew's camp, two miles east of Alvord, on the 31st of August, and from this point, with a detachment of nineteen men, Drew proceeded to Jordan Creek Valley and Fort Boisé, escorting the immigration to these points, and returning to camp September 22d, where he found an order requiring his immediate return to Fort Klamath, to be present with his command at a council to be held the following month with the Klamaths, Modocs, and Panina's band of Snake Indians. On his return march Drew avoided going around the south-eastern point of the Warner Mountains, finding a pass through them which shortened his route nearly seventy miles, the road being nearly straight between Steen and Warner Mountains, and thence westward across the ridge into Goose Lake Valley, with a saving in distance of another forty miles. On rejoining his former trail he found it travelled by the immigration to Rogue River Valley, which passed down Sprague River and by the Fort Klamath road to Jacksonville. A line of communication was opened from that place to Owyhee and Boisé, which was deemed well worth the labor and cost of the expedition, the old immigrant route being shortened between two and three hundred miles. The military gain was the discovery of the haunt of Panina and his band at Warner Mountain, and the discovery of the necessity for a post in Goose Lake Valley.[33]

Congress having at length made an appropriation of $20,000 for the purpose of making a treaty with the Indian tribes in this part of Oregon, Superintendent Huntington, after a preliminary conference in August, appointed a general council for the 9th of October. The council came off and lasted until the 15th, on which day Drew reached the council ground at the ford of Sprague River, glad to find his services had not been required, and not sorry to have had nothing to do with the treaty there made: not because the treaty was not a good and just one, but from a fear that the government would fail to keep it.[34]

Overtures had been made to Panina, but unsuccessfully. He had been invited to the council, but preferred enjoying his freedom. But an unexpected reverse was awaiting the chief. After Superintendent Huntingdon had distributed the presents provided for the occasion of the treaty, and deposited at the fort 16,000 pounds of flour to be issued to such of the Indians as chose to remain there during the winter, he set out on his return to The Dalles, as he had come, by the route along the eastern base of the Cascade Mountains. Quite unexpectedly, when in the neighborhood of the head waters of Des Chutes, he came upon two Snakes, who endeavored to escape, but being intercepted, were found to belong to Panina's band. The escort immediately encamped and sent out scouts in search of the camp of the chief, which was found after several hours, on one of the tributaries of the river, containing, however, only three men, three women, and two children, who were captured and brought to camp, one of the women being Panina's wife. Before the superintendent could turn to advantage this fortunate capture, which he hoped might bring him into direct communication with Panina, the Indians made a simultaneous attempt to seize the guns of their captors, when they were fired upon, and three killed, two escaping though wounded. One of these died a few hours afterward, but one reached Panina's camp, and recovered. By this means the chief learned of the loss of four of his warriors and the captivity of his wife, who was taken with the other women and children to Vancouver to be held as hostages.

Not long after this event Panina presented himself at Fort Klamath, having received a message sent him from the council ground, that he would be permitted to come and go unharmed, and wished Captain Kelly of Fort Klamath to assure the superintendent that he was tired of war, and would willingly make peace could he be protected.[35] To this offer of submission, answer was returned that the superintendent would visit him the following summer with a view to making a treaty. This closed operations against the Indians of southern Oregon for the year, and afforded a prospect of permanent peace, so far as the country adjacent to the Rogue River Valley was concerned, a portion of which had been subject to invasions from the Klamath country. Even the Umpqua Valley had not been quite free from occasional mysterious visitations, from which henceforward it was to be delivered.

With the close of the campaigns of the First Oregon Cavalry for 1864, the term of actual service of the original six companies expired. They had performed hard service, though not of the kind they would have chosen. Small was the pay, and trifling the reward of glory. It was known as the 'puritan regiment,' from habits of temperance and morality, and was largely composed of the sons of well-to-do farmers. Out of fifty-one desertions occurring in three years, but three were from this class, the rest being recruits from the floating population of the country. No regiment in the regular army had stood the same tests so heroically.

When the legislature met in 1864 a bounty act was passed to encourage future, not to reward past, volunteering. It gave to every soldier who should enlist for three years or during the war, as part of the state's quota under the laws of congress, $150 in addition to other bounties and pay already provided for, to be paid in three instalments, at the beginning and end of the first year, and at the end of the term of service either to him, or in case of his demise, to his heirs. For the purpose of raising a fund for this use, a tax was levied of one mill on the dollar upon all the taxable property of the state.[36] At the same time, however, an act was passed appropriating $100,000 as a fund out of which to pay five dollars a month additional compensation to the volunteers already in the service.[37]

On the day the first bill was signed Governor Gibbs issued a proclamation that a requisition had been made by the department commander for a regiment of infantry in addition to the volunteers then in the service of the United States, who were "to aid in the enforcement of the laws, suppress insurrection and invasion, and to chastise hostile Indians" in the military district of Oregon. Ten companies were called for, to be known as the 1st Infantry Oregon Volunteers, each company to consist of eighty-two privates maximum or sixty-four minimum, besides a full corps of regimental and staff officers. The governor in his proclamation made an earnest appeal to county officers to avoid a draft by vigorously prosecuting the business of procuring volunteers. Lieutenants' commissions were immediately issued to men in the several counties as recruiting officers,[38] conditional upon their raising their companies within a prescribed time, when they would be promoted to the rank of captain.[39] Six companies were formed within the limit, and two more before the first of April 1865.[40]

Early in January 1865 General McDowell made a requisition for a second regiment of cavalry, the existing organization to be kept up and to retain its name of 1st Oregon cavalry, but to be filled up to twelve companies. In making his proclamation Governor Gibbs reminded those liable to perform military duty of the bounties provided by the state and the general government which would furnish horses to the new regiment. But the response was not enthusiastic. About this time the district was extended to include the southern and south-eastern portions of the state, heretofore attached to California, while the Boisé and Owyhee region was made a subdistrict of Oregon, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Drake. These arrangements left the military affairs of Oregon entirely in the hands of her own citizens, under the general command of General McDowell, and thus they remained through the summer. On the 14th of July Colonel Maury retired, and Colonel B. Curry took the command of the district.

In the summer of 1864 General Wright, though retaining command of the district of California, was relieved of the command of the department of the Pacific by General McDowell, who in the month of August paid a visit of inspection to the district of Oregon, going first to Puget Sound, where fortifications were being erected at the entrance to Admiralty Inlet, and thence to Vancouver on the revenue cutter Shubrick, Captain Scammon. On the 13th of September he inspected the defensive works under construction at the mouth of the Columbia, which were begun the previous year. For this purpose congress had in 1861–2 appropriated $100,000 to be expended at the mouth of the Columbia, and with such rapidity had the work been pushed forward that the fortifications on Point Adams, on the southern side of the entrance to the river, were about completed at the time of McDowell's visit. With the approval of the war department, Captain George Elliot of the engineering corps named this fort in honor of General I. J. Stevens, who fell at the battle of Chantilly, September 1, 1862.[41]

Immediately on the completion of this fort corresponding earthworks were erected on the north side of the entrance to the river on the high point known as Cape Disappointment, but recognized by the department as Cape Hancock. Both of these fortifications were completed before the conclusion of the civil war, which hastened their construction, and were garrisoned in the autumn of 1865.[42] In 1874, by order of the war department and at the suggestion of Assistant adjutant-general H. Clay Wood, the military post at Cape Hancock was named Fort Canby, in honor of Major-general Edward R. S. Canby, who perished by assassination during the Modoc war of 1872–3, and the official name of the cape was ordered to be used by the army.

  1. There were only about 700 men and 19 commissioned officers left in the whole of Oregon and Washington in 1861. The garrisons left were 111 men under Captain H. M. Black at Vancouver; 116 men under Maj. Lugenbeel at Colville; 127 men under Maj. Steen at Walla Walla; 41 men under Capt. Van Voast at Cascades; 43 men under Capt. F. T. Dent at Hoskins; 110 men at the two posts of Steilacoom and Camp Picket; and 54 men under Lieut-colonel Buchanan at The Dalles. U. S. Sen. Doc., 1, vol. ii. 32, 37th cong. 2d sess. Even the revenue cutter Jo Lane belonging to Astoria was ordered to New York. Or. Argus, June 29, 1861.
  2. See letter in Or. Statesman, July 1, 1861.
  3. Or. Argus, June 15, 1861; Cong. Globe, 1860–1, pt ii. 1213, 36th cong. 2d sess.; Id., 1324–5; Id., app. 362.
  4. On the Barlow route to The Dalles the Tyghe Indians from the Warm Spring reservation murdered several travellers in the month of July. Among the killed were Jarvis Briggs, and his son aged 28 years, residents of Linn county, and pioneers of Oregon, from Terre Haute, Indiana. Or. Statesman, Aug. 26, 1861. The murderers of these two were apprehended and hanged. The Pit River Indians and Modocs killed Joseph Bailey, member elect to the Oregon legislature, in August, while driving a herd of 800 cattle to the Nevada mines. Bailey was a large and athletic man, and fought desperately for his life, killing several Indians after he was wounded. Samuel Evans and John Sims were also killed, the remainder of the party escaping. Or. Statesman, Aug. 19, 1861.
  5. Ind. Aff. Rept, 1863, 59; Portland Oregonian, Aug. 27, 1861; O. C. Applegate's Modoc Hist., MS., 17. Present at this ambush were some of the Modocs celebrated afterward in the war of 1872–3; namely, Sconchin, Scarface, Black Jim, and others.
  6. Or. Statesman, June 17 and Oct. 21, 1861; Or. Jour. House, 1862, app. 22–4.
  7. He was a native of Vt, graduated from West Point in 1822, and was promoted to the rank of 2d lieut in the 3d inf. in July, and to the rank of 1st lieut in Sept. of the same year. He served in the west, principally at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., and in Indian campaigns on the frontier, until 1831, when he was transferred to La, with the 3d inf., occupying the position of adj. to that reg. until 1836, when he was promoted to a captaincy in the 8th inf. He served through the Florida war, and under the command of Gen. Taylor, fought at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma in Mexico, after which he was transferred to Scott's command. He received three brevets for gallant services before being promoted to the rank of maj., one in the Florida war, one after the battles of Contreras and Churubusco, Mexico, and the last, that of col, after the battle of Molino del Rey. Wright came to the Pacific coast with the 5th inf. in 1852, holding the rank of maj., and was promoted to a colonelcy Feb. 3, 1855, and the following month was appointed to command the reg. of 9th inf., for which provision had just been made by congress. He went east, raised his regiment, and returned in Jan. 1856, when he was ordered to Or. and Wash. He remained in that military district, as we have seen, until the summer of 1861. In Sept. he was ordered to S. F., and soon after relieved Gen. Sumner in the command of the department of the Pacific, being appointed brig.-gen. on the 28th Sept. He remained in command till 1865, when, being transferred to the reëstablished Oregon department, he took passage on the ill-fated Brother Jonathan, which foundered near Crescent City July 9, 1865, when Wright, his wife, the captain of the ship, De Wolf, and 300 passengers were drowned. North Pacific Review, i. 216–17.
  8. S. F. Alta, Nov. 3 and 14, 1861; Sac. Union, Nov. 16 and 25, 1861. The officers at Walla Walla were Capt. W. T. McGruder, 1st dragoons, lieuts Reno and Wheeler, and surgeon Thomas A. McParlin. Capts A. Rowell and West, of the 4th Cal. reg., were stationed at The Dalles. Or. Statesman, Aug. 11 and Dec. 2, 1861.
  9. Says J. A. Waymire: 'It was thought as soon as we should become disciplined, if the war should continue, we would be taken east, should there be no war on this coast. For my own part, I should have gone to the army of the Missouri but for this understanding.' Historical Correspondence, MS. Camps were established in Jackson, Marion, and Clackamas counties. The first company, A, was raised in Jackson county, Capt. T. S. Harris. The second, B, in Marion, Capt. E. J. Harding. Company C was raised at Vancouver by Capt. William Kelly. D company was raised in Jackson county by Capt. S. Truax; company E by Capt. George B. Curry, in Wasco county; and company F, of the southern battalion, by Capt. William J. Matthews, principally in Josephine county. Captains D. P. Thompson, of Oregon City, and Remick Cowles, of Umpqua county, also raised companies, or parts of companies. Brown's Autobiography, MS., 47; Letter of Lieut Waymire, in Historical Correspondence, MS.; Rhinehart's Oregon Cavalry, MS., 1–2.
  10. A circular was issued from the land office at Washington confining grants of land to persons 'loyal to the United States, and to such only;' and requiring all surveyors and preëmptors to take the oath of allegiance. Or. Argus, March 8, 1862; Or. Statesman, March 3, 1862.
  11. The Albany Democrat was excluded from the mails; also the Southern Oregon Gazette, the Eugene Democratic Register, and next the Albany Inquirer, followed by the Portland Advertiser, published by S. J. McCormick, and the Corvallis Union, conducted by Patrick J. Malone. W. G. T'Vault started a secession journal at Jacksonville in November 1862, called the Oregon Intelligencer. The Albany Democrat resumed publication by permission, under the charge of James O'Meara in the early part of February 1863. In May O'Meara revived the Eugene Register, under the name of Democratic Review. The Democratic State Journal at The Dalles was sold in 1863 to W. W. Bancroft, and changed to a union paper, in Idaho. Union journals were started about this time; among them The State Republican, at Eugene City, was first published by Shaw & Davis on the materials of the People's Press, in January 1862, edited by J. M. Gale, and the Union Crusader at the same place, by A. C. Edmonds, in October, changed in a month to The Herald of Reform. The first daily published in Oregon was the Portland News, April 18, 1859; S. A. English & Co. The Portland Daily Times was first issued Dec. 19, 1860, and the Portland Daily Oregonian, Feb. 4, 1861. The first newspaper east of The Dalles was the Mountain Sentinel, a weekly journal started at La Grande in October 1864, by E. S. McComas. In the spring of 1865 the Tri-Weekly Advertiser was started at Umatilla on the materials of the Portland Times, and the following year a democratic journal, the Columbia Press, by J. C. Dow and T. W. Avery. Neither continued long. Other ephemeral publications appeared at Salem, Portland, and elsewhere. In 1865 Oregon had well established 9 weekly and 3 daily journals.
  12. Colonel Justin Steinberger was of Pierce county, Washington Territory. He raised 4 companies of his regiment in California, and arrived with them at Vancouver on the 4th of May, relieving Colonel Cady of the command of the district. In July Brigadier-general Alvord arrived at Vancouver to take command of the district of Oregon, and Steinberger repaired to Walla Walla. Olympia Herald, Jan. 28, March 20, April 17, 1862; Olympia Standard, Aug. 9, 1862; Or. Statesman, June 30, 1862.
  13. The immigration of 1862 has been placed by some writers as high as 30,000, and probably reached 26,000. Of these 10,000 went to Oregon, 8,000 to Utah, 8,000 to California. Olympia Standard, Oct. 11 and 25, 1862. The greater portion of the so-called Oregon immigration settled in the mining region east of the Snake River and in the valleys of Grande Ronde, Powder River, John Day, and Walla Walla.
  14. The fate of many small parties must forever remain unknown.
  15. Or. Argus, July 27, 1863, contains a good description of this country, by J. T. Apperson, lieutenant.
  16. The immigration of 1863 was escorted, as that of the previous year had been, by a volunteer company under Captain Medorum Crawford, who went east to organize it, congress having appropriated $30,000 to meet the expense; $10,000 of which was for the protection of emigrants by the Fort Benton and Mullan wagon-road route. See Cong. Globe, 1862–3, part ii. app. 182, 37th cong. 3d sess.; letter of J. R. McBride, in Or. Argus, May 16, 1863. The immigration was much less than in the previous year, only about 400 wagons. Among them was a large train bound for the town of Aurora, founded by Dr Keil in Marion county several years before, upon the community system. Deady's Hist. Or., MS., 78.
  17. The reports of the expedition and the published maps do not agree. The latter place the Goose Creek Mountains to the south-east. Captain Curry, however, travelled south-west toward a chain of mountains nearly parallel with the range mentioned, which on the map is not distinguished by a name, in which the Bruneau and Owyhee rivers take their rise.
  18. Curry says: 'With the exception of two camps made near the summit of Goose Creek Mountains, the remainder were made in fissures in the earth so deep that neither the pole star nor the 7-pointers could be seen.' The whole of Curry's report of this expedition is interesting and well written. See Rept of Adjutant Gen. of Or., 1866, 28.
  19. Waymire, in Historical Correspondence, MS.; S. F. Evening Post, Oct. 28, 1882.
  20. Joaquin Miller, author subsequently of several poetical works, stories, and plays. He had but lately been editor of the Democratic Register of Eugene City, which was suppressed by order of Col. Wright for promulgating disloyal sentiments.
  21. This road was from Lassen Meadows on the Humboldt, via Starr City, and Queen River. It was 180 miles from the Meadows to this ferry, and 65 thence to Boonville in Idaho. Portland Oregonian, June 25, 1864.
  22. The report of this exploration is interesting. A peculiar feature of the scenery was the frequent mirage over dried-up lakes. 'While on this smooth surface,' he says, speaking of one on the east of Steen Mountain, 'the mirage made our little party play an amusing pantomime. Some appeared to be high in the air, others sliding to the right and left like weavers' shuttles. Some of them appeared spun out to an enormous length, and the next group spindled up: thus a changeable, movable tableau was produced, representing everything contortions and capricious reflections could do.' Report of Captain Curry, in Rept Adjt Gen. Or., 1866, 37–8.
  23. This statement should be qualified. Waymire discovered the valley, and Curry explored it.
  24. M. M. Jordan, the discoverer of Jordan Creek mines, was killed.
  25. In the absence of medicines, Surgeon Cochrane's supply being exhausted, and himself one of the sufferers, an infusion of the root of the wild geranium, found in that country, proved effective.
  26. Report of Captain Curry, in Rept Adjt Gen. Or., 1866, 46.
  27. Drew's report was published in 1865, in the Jacksonville Sentinel, from January 28 to March 11, 1805, and also in a pamphlet of 32 pages, printed at Jacksonville. It is chiefly a topographical reconnoissance, and as such is instructive and interesting, but contains few incidents of a military character in relation to the Indians; in fact, these appear to have been purposely left out. But taking the explorations of Drew, which were made at some distance north of the southern immigrant road, in connection with those of Drake and Curry, it will be seen that a great amount of valuable work of a character usually performed by expensive government exploring expeditions was performed by the 1st Oregon cavalry in this and the following year. See Drew's Owyhee Reconnoissance, 1–32.
  28. This occurred June 23d near Silver Lake, 85 miles north of Fort Klamath. The train consisted of 7 wagons and 15 men, several of whom were accompanied by their families. The Indians took 7 of their oxen and 3,500 pounds of flour. John Richardson was leader of the company. Three men were wounded.
  29. So named from a dance being held there to celebrate the meeting of friends from California and the States. In the midst of their merriment they were attacked, and war's alarms quickly interrupted their festivities. Drew's Reconnoissance, 9.
  30. Drew says this and not the valley beyond it should have been called Warner Valley, the party under Capt. Lyons, which searched for Warner's remains, finding his bones in Surprise Valley, a few miles south of the immigrant road. Id., 10.
  31. Drew made a reconnoissance of this butte, which he declared for military purposes to be unequalled, and as such it was held by the Snake Indians. A summit on a general level, with an area of more than 100 square miles, diversified with miniature mountains, grassy valleys, lakes and streams of pure water, groves of aspen, willow, and mountain mahogany, and gardens of service-berries, made it a complete haven of refuge, where its possessors could repel any foe. The approach from the valley was exceedingly abrupt, being in many places a solid wall. On its north side it rose directly from the waters of Warner Lake, which rendered it unassailable from that direction. Its easiest approach was from the south, by a series of benches; but an examination of the country at its base discovered the fact that the approach used by the Indians was on the north.
  32. Panina afterward accurately described the order of march, and the order of encamping, picketing, and guarding, with all the details of an advance through an enemy's country, showing that nothing escaped his observation, and that what was worth copying he could easily learn.
  33. Hay's Scraps, iii. 121–2.
  34. The treaty was made between Huntington of Oregon, A. E. Wiley, sup. of Cal., by his deputy, agent Logan of Warm Spring reservation, and the Klamaths, Modocs, and Yahooskin band of Snakes. The military present were a detachment of Washington infantry under Lieut. Halloran, W. C. McKay with 5 Indian scouts, Captain Kelly and Lieutenant Underwood with a detachment of company C. The Indians on the ground numbered 1070, of whom 700 were Klamaths, over 300 Modocs, and 20 Snakes, but more than 1,500 were represented. Huntington estimated that there were not more than 2,000 Indians in the country treated for, though Drew and E. Steele of California made a much higher estimate. Ind. Aff. Rept, 1865, 102. Special Agent Lindsey Applegate and McKay acted as counsellors and interpreters for the Indians. There was no difficulty in making a treaty with the Klamaths. The Modocs and Snakes were more reluctant, but signed the treaty, which they perfectly understood. It ceded all right to a tract of country extending from the 44th parallel on the north to the ridge which divides the Pit and McLeod rivers on the south, and from the Cascade Mountains on the west to the Goose Lake Mountains on the east. There was reserved a tract beginning on the eastern shore of Upper Klamath Lake at Point of Rocks, twelve miles below Williamson River, thence following up the eastern shore to the mouth of Wood River to a point one mile north of the bridge at Fort Klamath; thence due east to the ridge which divides Klamath marsh from Upper Klamath Lake; thence along said ridge to a point due east of the north end of Klamath marsh; thence due east, passing the north end of Klamath marsh to the summit of the mountain, the extremity of which forms the Point of Rocks, and along said ridge to the place of beginning. This tract contained, besides much country that was considered unfit for settlement, the Klamath marsh, which afforded a great food supply in roots and seeds, a large extent of fine grazing land, with enough arable land to make farms for all the Indians, and access to the fishery on Williamson River and the great or Upper Klamath Lake. The Klamath reservation, as did every Indian reservation, if that on the Oregon coast was excepted, contained some of the choicest country and most agreeable scenery in the state. White persons, except government officers and employés, were by the terms of the treaty forbidden to reside upon the reservation, while the Indians were equally bound to live upon it; the right of way for public roads only being pledged. The U. S. agreed to pay $8,000 per annum for five years, beginning when the treaty should be ratified; $5,000 for the next five years, and $3,000 for the following five years; these sums to be expended, under the direction of the president, for the benefit of the Indians. The U. S. further agreed to pay $35,000 for such articles as should be furnished to the Indians at the time of signing the treaty, and for their subsistence, clothing, and teams to begin farming for the first year. As soon as practicable after the ratification of the treaty, mills, shops, and a school-house were to be built. For fifteen years a superintendent of farming, a farmer, blacksmith, wagon-maker, sawyer, and carpenter were to be furnished, and two teachers for twenty-two years. The U. S. might cause the land to be surveyed in allotments, which might be secured to the families of the holders. The annuities of the tribe could not be taken for the debts of individuals. The U. S. might at any future time locate other Indians on the reservation, the parties to the treaty to lose no rights thereby. On the part of the Indians, they pledged themselves not to drink intoxicating liquors on pain of forfeiting their annuities; and to obey the laws of the U. S.; the treaty to be binding when ratified.

    The first settler in the Klamath country was George Nourse, who took up in August 1863 the land where Linkville stands. He was notary public and registrar of the Linkton land district. Jacksonville Sentinel, March 8, 1873.

  35. A treaty was made with Panina in the following year, but badly observed by him, as the history of the Snake wars will show.
  36. Or. Laws, 1866, 98–110.
  37. Id., 104–8; Rhinehart's Oregon Cavalry, MS., 15.
  38. A. J. Borland, Grant county; E. Palmer, Yamhill; Charles Lafollet, Polk; J. M. Gale, Clatsop; W. J. Shipley, Benton; W. S. Powell, Multnomah; C. P. Crandall, Marion; F. O. McCown, Clackamas; T. Humphreys, Jackson, were commissioned 2d lieutenants.
  39. Polk county raised $1,200 extra bounty rather than fail, and completed her enlistment, first of all. Josephine county raised $2,500, and Clackamas offered similar inducements. Portland Oregonian, Nov. 30, 1864, Feb. 14, 1865.
  40. The following were the lieutenants in the regiment: William J. Shipley, Cyrus H. Walker, Thomas H. Reynolds, Samuel F. Kerns, John B. Dimick, Darius B. Randall, William M. Rand, William Grant, Harrison B. Oatman, Byron Barlow, William R. Dunbar, John W. Cullen, Charles B. Roland, Charles H. Hill, Joseph M. Gale, James A. Balch, Peter P. Gates, Daniel W. Applegate, Charles N. Chapman, Albert Applegate, Richard Fox (vice Balch). Report Adjt Gen. Or., 1866, pp. 217–221.
  41. Fort Stevens was constructed of solid earthworks, just inside the entrance, and was made one of the strongest and best armed fortifications on the Pacific coast. It was a nonagon in shape, and surrounded by a ditch thirty feet in width, which was again surrounded by earthworks, protecting the walls of the fort and the earthworks supporting the ordnance. Or. Argus, June 5 and 29, 1863; Ibid., Aug. 18, 1863; Victor's Or., 40–1; Surgeon Gen. Circ., 8, 484–7.
  42. On Cape Disappointment was a light-house of the first class, rising from the highest point. Extending along the crest of the cape on the river side were three powerful batteries mounted on solid walls of earth. Under the shelter of the cape, around the shore of Baker Bay, were the garrison buildings and officers' quarters. It was and is at present one of the prettiest places on the Columbia, though rather inaccessible in stormy weather. Surgeon Gen. Circular, 8, 461; Victor's Or., 36–8; Overland Monthly, viii. 73–4; Steel's Rifle Regt, MS., 5; Portland Oregonian, April 4, 1864, Oct. 19, 1865; S. F. Bulletin, Nov. 25, 1864; Or. Pioneer Hist. Soc., 7–8.