History of Oregon (Bancroft)/Volume 2/Chapter 21

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3277130History of Oregon, Volume 2 — Chapter 21Frances Fuller Victor




Companies and Camps—Steele's Measures—Halleck Headstrong—Battle of the Owyhee—Indian Raids—Sufferings of the Settlers and Transportation Men—Movements of Troops—Attitude of Governor Woods—Free Fighting—Enlistment of Indians to Fight Indians—Military Reorganization—Among the Lava-beds—Crook in Command—Extermination or Confinement and Death in Reservations.

In the spring of 1865 the troops were early called upon to take the field in Oregon and Idaho, the roads between The Dalles and Boisé, between Boisé and Salt Lake, between Owyhee and Chico, and Owyhee and Huraboldt in California, being unsafe by reason of Indian raids. A hundred men were sent in April to guard The Dalles and Boisé road, which, owing to its length, 450 miles, they could not do. In May, company B, Oregon volunteers, Captain Palmer, moved from The Dalles to escort a supply-train to Boisé. Soon after arriving, Lieutenant J. W. Cullen was dircted to take twenty men and proceed 150 miles farther to Camp Reed, on the Salmon Falls Creek, where he was to remain and guard the stage and immigrant road. Captain Palmer was ordered to establish a summer camp on Big Camas prairie, which he called Camp Wallace. From this point Lieutenant C. H. Walker was sent with twenty-two enlisted men to the Three Buttes, 110 miles east of Camp Wallace, to look out for the immigration. Leaving most of his command at Three Buttes, Walker proceeded to Gibson's ferry, above Fort Hall, where he found a great number of wagons crossing, and no unfriendly Indians. On receiving orders, however, he removed his company to the ferry, where he remained until September 19th, after which he proceeded to Fort Hall to prepare winter

Western Oregon.

quarters, Palmer's company being ordered to occupy that post. The old fort was found a heap of ruins; but out of the adobes and some abandoned buildings of the overland stage company, a shelter was erected at the junction of the Salt Lake, Virginia City, and Boisé roads, which station was named Camp Lander. This post and Camp Reed were maintained during the winter by the Oregon infantry, the latter having only tents for shelter, and being exposed to severe hardships.[1] In May detachments of Oregon cavalry were ordered from The Dalles, under lieutenants Charles Hobart and James L. Curry, to clear the road to Cañon City, and thence to Boisé, from which post Major Drake ordered Curry to proceed to Rock Creek, on Snake River, to escort the mails, the Indians having driven off all the stock of the overland stage company from several of the stations.

Lieutenant Hobart proceeded to Jordan Creek, where he established a post called Camp Lyon, after General Lyon, who fell during the war of the rebellion, at Willow Creek in Missouri. Soon after, being in pursuit of some Indians who had again driven off stock on Reynolds Creek, he was himself attacked while in camp on the Malheur, having the horses of his command stampeded; but in a fight of four hours, during which he had two men wounded, he recovered his own, took a part of the enemy's horses, and killed and wounded several Indians.[2] Captain L. L. Williams, of company H, Oregon infantry, who was employed guarding the Cañon City road, was ordered from camp Watson in September, to proceed on an expedition to Selvie River, Lieutenant Bowen of the cavalry being sent to join him with twenty-five soldiers. Before Bowen's arrival, Williams' company performed some of the best fighting of the season under the greatest difficulties; being on foot, and compelled to march a long distance surrounded by Indians mounted and afoot, but of whom they killed fifteen, with a loss of one man killed and two wounded.[3] Williams remained in the Harney Valley through the winter, establishing Camp Wright.

In addition to the Oregon troops, Captain L. S. Scott, of the 4th California volunteer infantry, was employed guarding the road to Chico, being stationed in Paradise Valley through the summer, but ordered to Silver Creek in September, where he established Camp Curry.

Colonel Curry had succeeded to the command of the district of the Columbia on the death of General Wright, while en route to Vancouver to assume the command, by the foundering of the steamship Brother Jonathan. In order to obviate the inconvenience of long and unwieldly transportation trains, and in order also to carry on a winter campaign, which he believed would be most effectual, as the Indians would then be found in the valleys, Curry distributed the troops in the following camps: Camp Polk on the Des Chutes River, Camp Curry on Silver Creek, Camp Wright on Selvie River, camps Logan and Colfax on the Cañon City and Boisé road, Camp Alvord in Alvord Valley, Camp Lyon on Jordan Creek, Idaho, Camp Reed near Salmon Falls, and Camp Lander at old Fort Hall, Idaho. But with all these posts the country continued to suffer with little abatement the scourge of frequent Indian raids.

Early in October Captain F. B. Sprague, of the 1st Oregon infantry, was ordered to examine the route between Camp Alvord and Fort Klamath, with a view to opening communication with the latter. Escorted by eleven cavalrymen, Sprague set out on the 10th, taking the route by Warner Lake over which Drew had made a reconnoissance in 1865, arriving at Fort Klamath on the 17th without having seen any Indians. But having come from Fort Klamath a month previous, and seen a large trail crossing his route, going south, and not finding that any fresh trail indicated the return of the Indians, he came to the conclusion that they were still south of the Drew road, between it and Surprise Valley, where Camp Bidwell was located.

On making this report to Major Rheinhart, in command at Klamath, he was ordered to return to Camp Alvord by the way of Surprise Valley and arrange cooperative measures with the commander of the post there. But when he arrived at Camp Bidwell on the 28th, Captain Starr, of the second California volunteer cavalry, in command, was already under orders to repair with his company, except twenty-five men, to Fort

Eastern Oregon, Camps and Forts.

Crook, before the mountains became impassable with snow. He decided, however, to send ten men, under Lieutenant Backus, with Sprague's escort, to prove the supposed location of the main body of the Indians. On the third day, going north, having arrived at Warner s Creek, which enters the east side of the lake seven miles south of the crossing of the Drew road, without falling in with any Indians, Backus turned back to Camp Bidwell, and Sprague proceeded.

No sooner had this occurred than signs of the enemy began to appear, who were encountered, 125 strong, about two miles south from the road. While the troops were passing an open space between the lake and the steep side of a mountain they were attacked by the savages hidden in trenches made by land-slides, and behind rocks. Sprague, being surprised, and unable either to climb the mountain or swim the lake, halted to take in the situation. The attacking parties were in the front and rear, but he observed that those in the rear were armed with bows and arrows, while those in front had among them about twenty-five rifles. The former were leaving their hiding-places to drive him upon the latter. Observing this, he made a sudden charge to the rear, escaping unharmed and returning to Camp Bidwell.

Captain Starr then determined to hold his company at that post, and coöperate with Camp Alvord against those Indians. But when Sprague arrived there by another route he found the cavalry half dismounted by a recent raid of these ubiquitous thieves, and the other half absent in pursuit;[4] thus a good opportunity of beginning a winter campaign was lost. But an important discovery had been made of the principal rendezvous of the Oregon Snake Indians—a knowledge which the regular army turned to account when they succeeded the volunteer service.

In October, before Curry had thoroughly tested his plan of a winter campaign, orders were received to muster out the volunteers, and with them he retired from the service. He was succeeded in the command of the department by Lieutenant-colonel Drake, who in turn was mustered out in December. Little by little the whole volunteer force was disbanded, until in June 1866 there remained in the service only company B, 1st Oregon cavalry, and company I, 1st Oregon infantry. All the various camps in Oregon were abandoned except Camp Watson, against the removal of which the merchants of The Dalles protested,[5] and Camp Alvord, which was removed to a little different location and called Camp C. F. Smith. Camp Lyon and Fort Boisé were allowed to remain, but forts Lapwai and Walla Walla were abandoned. These changes were made preparatory to the arrival of several companies of regular troops, and the opening of a new campaign under a new department commander.

The first arrival in the Indian country of troops from the east was about the last of October 1865, when two companies of the 14th infantry were stationed at Fort Boisé, with Captain Walker in command, when the volunteers at that post proceeded to Vancouver to be mustered out. No other changes occurred in this part of the field until spring, the United States and Oregon troops being fully employed in pursuing the omnipresent Snakes.[6] Toward the middle of February 1866, a large amount of property having been stolen, Captain Walker made an expedition with thirty-nine men to the mouth of the Owyhee, and into Oregon, between the Owyhee and Malheur rivers, coming upon a party of twenty-one Indians in a cañon, and opening fire. A vigorous resistance was made before the savages would relinquish their booty, which they did only when they were all dead but three, who escaped in the darkness of coming night. Walker lost one man killed and one wounded.

On the 24th of February Major-general F. Steele took command of the department of the Columbia. There were in the department at that time, besides the volunteer force which amounted numerically to 553 infantry and 319 cavalry, one battalion of the 14th United States infantry, numbering 793 men, and three companies of artillery, occupying fortified works at the mouth of the Columbia and on San Juan Island. These troops, exclusive of the artillery, were scattered in small detachments over a large extent of country, as we already know.

On the 2d of March the post of Fort Boisé, with its dependencies, camps Lyon, Alvord, Reed, and Lander, was erected into a full military district, under the command of Major L. H. Marshall, who arrived at district headquarters about the 20th, and immediately made a requisition upon Steele for three more companies. In April Colonel J. B. Sinclair of the 14th infantry took the command at Camp Curry, which he abandoned and proceeded to Boisé. Fort Boisé received about this time a company of the same regiment, under Captain Hinton, withdrawn from Cape Hancock, at the mouth of the Columbia, and another, under Lieutenant-colonel J. J. Coppinger, withdrawn from The Dalles.

Camp Watson received two companies of cavalry, under the command of Colonel E. M. Baker. Camp C. F. Smith received a cavalry company under Captain David Perry, who marched into Oregon from the south by the Chico route; and Camp Lyon received another under Captain James C. Hunt, who entered Oregon by the Humboldt route. At Camp Lyon also was a company of the 14th infantry under Captain P. Collins, and one of the 1st Oregon infantry under Captain Sprague. From this it will be seen that most of the troops were massed in the Boisé military district, only Baker's two companies being stationed where they could guard the road between The Dalles and Boisé, which was so infested that the express company refused to carry treasure over it, half a dozen successful raids having been made on the line of the road before the first of May.

Although Steele's first action was to cause the abandonment of most of the camps already established, as I have noticed, as early as March 20th, he wrote to General Halleck, commanding the division of the Pacific, that the Indians had commenced depredations, with such signs of continued hostilities in the southern portions of Oregon and Idaho that he should recommend the establishment of two posts during the summer, from which to operate against them the following winter, one at or near Camp Wright, and another in Goose Lake Valley, from which several roads diverged leading to other valleys frequented by hostile Snakes, Utes, Pit Rivers, Modocs, and Klamaths.

On the 28th of March Major Marshall led an expedition to the Bruneau River, 110 miles, finding only the unarmed young and old of the Snake tribe, to the number of 150. On returning about the middle of April he ordered Captain Collins, with a detachment of Company B and ten men from the 14th infantry, to proceed to Squaw Creek, a small stream entering Snake River a few miles below the mouth of Reynolds Creek, and search the cañon thoroughly, not only for Indian foes, but for white men who were said to be in league with them, and who, if found, were to be hanged without further ceremony. Being unsuccessful, Collins was sent to scout on Burnt River and Clark Creek.

On the 11th of May Marshall again left the fort with Colonel Coppinger and eighty-four men, to scout on the head-waters of the Owyhee. He found a large force of Indians at the Three Forks of the Owyhee, strongly posted between the South and Middle forks. The river being impassable at this place, he moved down eight miles, where he crossed his men by means of a raft. As they were about to advance up the bluff, they were fired on by Indians concealed behind rocks. A battle now occurred which lasted four hours, in which seven of the savages were killed and a greater number wounded; but the Indians being in secure possession of the rocks could not be dislodged, and Marshall was forced to retreat across the river, losing his raft, a howitzer, some provisions, and some ammunition which was thrown in the river. His loss in killed was one non-commissioned officer.[7] His rout, notwithstanding, was complete, and to account for the defeat he reported the number of Indians engaged at 500, an extraordinary force to be in any one camp.

And thus the war went on, from bad to worse.[8] On the 19th of May a large company of Chinamen, to whom the Idaho mines had recently been opened, were attacked at Battle Creek, where Jordan and others were killed, and fifty or sixty slaughtered, the frightened and helpless celestials offering no resistance, but trying to make the savages understand that they were non-combatants and begging for mercy.[9] Pepoon hastened to the spot, but found only dead bodies strewn along the road for six miles. This slaughter was followed by a raid on the horses and cattle near Boonville, in which the Indians secured over sixty head. As they used both horses and horned stock for food, the conclusion was that they were a numerous people or valiant eaters.

Repeated raids in the region of the Owyhee, with which the military force seemed unable to cope, led to the organization, about the last of June, of a volunteer company of between thirty and forty men, under Captain I. Jennings, an officer who had served in the civil war. On the 2d of July they came upon the Indians on Boulder Creek, and engaged them, but soon found themselves surrounded, the savages being in superior force. Upon discovering their situation, the volunteers intrenched themselves, and sent a messenger to Camp Lyon; but the Indians were gone before help came. The loss of the volunteers was one man killed and two wounded.[10] The Indian loss was reported to be thirty-five.

The commander of the district of Boisé did not escape criticism, having established a camp on the Bruneau River where there were no hostile Indians, and, it was said, shirked fighting where they were.[11] But during the month of August he scouted through the Goose Creek Mountains, killing thirty Indians, after which he marched in the direction of the forks of the Owyhee, where he had a successful battle, and retrieved the losses and failure of the spring campaign by hanging thirty-five captured savages to the limbs of trees.[12] He proceeded from there to Steen Mountain, Camp Warner, Warner Lake, where he arrived on the 1st of October.

In the mean time the stage-lines and transportation companies, as well as the stock-raisers, on the route between The Dalles and Cañon City, and between Cañon City and Boisé, were scarcely less annoyed and injured than those in the more southern districts.[13] Colonel Baker employed his troops in scouring the country, and following marauding bands when their depredations were known to him, which could not often be the case, owing to the extent of country over which the depredations extended. On the 4th of July Lieutenant R. F. Bernard, with thirty-four cavalrymen, left Camp Watson in pursuit of Indians who had been committing depredations on the Cañon City road, and marched south to the head-waters of Crooked River, thence to Selvie River and Harney Lake, passing around it to the west and south, and continuing south to Steen Mountain; thence north-east around Malheur Lake, and on to the head-waters of Malheur River, where, on the middle branch, for the first time in this long march, signs of Indians were discovered.

Encamping in a secure situation, scouts were sent out, who captured two. Lieutenant Bernard himself, with fifteen men, searched for a day in the vicinity without finding any of the savages. On the 17th he detached a party of nineteen men, under Sergeant Conner, to look for them, who on the 18th, about eight o'clock in the morning, on Rattlesnake Creek, discovered a large camp, which he at once attacked, killing thirteen and wounding many more. The Indians fled, leaving a few horses and mules, but taking most of their property. The loss on the side of the troops was Corporal William B. Lord. The detachment returned to camp on the evening of the 18th, where they found a company of forty-seven citizens from Auburn in Powder River Valley in search of the same band.

With this addition to his force, Bernard, on the 19th, renewed the pursuit, and found the Indians encamped in a deep cañon with perpendicular walls of rock, about a mile beyond their former camp, which place they had further fortified, but which on discovering that they were pursued they abandoned, leaving all their provisions and camp equipage behind, and escaping with only their horses and arms. Leaving the citizens to guard the pack-train, Bernard, with thirty men, followed the flying enemy for sixty miles over a broken and timbered country, passing the footmen, who scattered and hid in the rocks, and encamping on Selvie River. During the night the footmen came together, and passing near camp, turned off into some low hills covered with broken rocks and juniper trees. Upon being pursued, they again scattered like quail, and only two women and children were captured. The following day the train was sent for, and the citizens notified that they could accomplish nothing by coming farther. Bernard continued to follow the trail of the mounted Indians for another day, when he returned to Camp Watson, having travelled 630 miles in twenty-six days. He spoke of a report often before circulated that there were white men among the Malheur band of Shoshones, the troops having heard the English language distinctly spoken during the battle of the 18th. He estimated the number of Indians, men, women, and children, at 300, and the fighting men at eighty. The loss of all their provisions and other property, it was thought, would disable them.[14]

In August Lieutenant-colonel R. F. Beirne, of the 14th infantry, from Camp Watson, marched from The Dalles along the Cañon City road to Boisé, scouting the country along his route. On arriving at Fort Boisé, he was ordered to scout the Burnt River region, where the Indians were more troublesome, if that were possible, than ever before. The same was true of the Powder River district and Cañon City; and the inhabitants complained that the troops drove the Indians upon the settlements. To this charge Steele replied that this could not always be avoided. But the people of the north-eastern part of Oregon asserted, whether justly or not, that Halleck favored California, by using the main strength of the troops in his division to protect the route from Chico to the Idaho mines, so that the California merchants should be able to monopolize the trade of the mines, while the Oregon merchants were left to suffer on the road from the Columbia River to the mines of Idaho, or to protect themselves as they best could. The stage company suffered equally with packers and merchants.

Finally Halleck visited south-eastern Oregon; and going to Fort Boisé by the well-protected Chico route, and thence to the Columbia River, travelling with an escort, and at a time when the Indians were most quiet, being engaged in gathering seeds and roots for food, he saw nothing to excite apprehension.

The legislature, which met in September, and the new governor, George L. Woods, were urged to take some action, which was done.[15] After some discussion, a joint resolution was passed, October 7th, that if the general government did not within thirty days from that date send troops to the protection of eastern Oregon the governor was requested to call out a sufficient number of volunteers to afford the necessary aid to citizens of that part of the state.

General Steele had been quite active since taking the command in Oregon. During the summer he had made four tours of inspection: one to and around Puget Sound, travelling between 600 and 700 miles, a part of the time on horseback. The second tour was performed altogether on horseback, a distance of over 1,200 miles. Leaving The Dalles with an escort of ten men and his aide-de-camp, he proceeded to Camp Watson, where he took one of the cavalry companies sent to that post in April, commanded by Major E. Myers, and continued his journey to Camp Curry and Malheur Lake. While encamped on the east side of the lake, the Indians drove off fifty-two pack-mules belonging to the escort. They were pursued, and the animals recovered, except three which had been killed and eaten. From Lake Malheur Steele proceeded without further interruption to Camp Lyon, and thence to Fort Boisé, where he found General Halleck and staff, returning to The Dalles by the usually travelled road—leaving, it would seem by the complaints of the citizens of Eastern Oregon, Myers' company in the Boisé country. With Halleck, he next inspected the forts at the mouth of the Columbia; and on the 13th of August returned to Boisé, crossing Snake River at the mouth of the Bruneau, examining the country in that vicinity with a view to establishing a post. From Bruneau Steele went to the Owyhee mines, and thence to the forks of the Owyhee, where troops were encamped watching the movements of the Indians. Taking an escort of twenty men, under Captain David Perry, he next proceeded to Alvord Valley, arriving at Camp Smith on the 6th of September. Thence he returned to Fort Boisé, and to Vancouver about the time the legislature was considering the subject of raising volunteers.

Soon after the return of Steele and his interview with Woods, recruiting for the 8th regiment United States cavalry was begun in the Willamette Valley, but progressed slowly, the recruiting service having been injured by the action of the legislature, which held out the prospect of a volunteer organization, in which those who would enlist preferred to serve. The movement to recruit, however, by promising to put an additional force in the field, arrested the volunteer movement, and matters were left to proceed as formerly.[16]

But it cannot be said that Steele did not keep his troops in motion. He decided also to try the effect of a winter campaign, and reëstablished several camps, besides establishing Camp Warner, on the west side of Warner Lake, and Camp Three Forks of Owyhee on the head of the north branch of that river, on the border of the Flint district, and throwing a garrison into each of the two abandoned forts of Lapwai and Walla Walla. Two or three more cavalry companies arrived before December, there being then seven in Oregon and Idaho, besides five companies of the 14th infantry, one of the 1st Oregon infantry, and five of artillery in the department.

A number of scouting parties were out during the autumn, scouring the south-eastern part of Oregon, skirmishing here and there, seldom inflicting or sustaining much loss. On the 26th of September fifty cavalrymen under Lieutenant Small attacked the enemy at Lake Abert, in the vicinity of Camp Warner, and after a fight of three hours routed them, killing fourteen and taking seven prisoners. Their horses, rifles, and winter stores fell into the hands of the troops.

On the morning of the 15th of October Lieutenant Oatman, 1st Oregon infantry, from Fort Klamath, with twenty-two men and five Klamaths as scouts, set out for Fort Bidwell to receive reënforcements and provisions for an extended scouting expedition. He was joined by Lieutenant Small with twenty-seven cavalrymen. The command marched to the Warner Lake basin, seeking the rendezvous of the enemy. Two days were spent in vain search, when the command undertook to cross the mountains to Lake Abert, at their western base, being guided by Blow, a Klamath chief. After proceeding six miles in a direct course, a deep cañon was encountered running directly across the intended route, which was followed for ten miles before any crossing offered which would permit the troops to pass on to the west. Such a crossing was at last found, the mountains being passed on the 26th, and at eleven o'clock of the day the command entered the beautiful valley of the Chewaucan by a route never before travelled by white men.

About two and a half miles from the point where they entered the valley, Indians were discovered running toward the mountains. Being pursued by the troops, they took up their position in a rocky cañon. Leaving the horses with a guard, the main part of the command advanced, and dividing, passed up the ridges on both sides of the ravine, while a guard remained at its mouth. At twelve o'clock the firing began, and was continued for three hours. Fourteen Indians were killed, and twice as many wounded. The Indians then fled into the mountains, and the troops returned to their respective posts.[17]

Early in November the Shoshones under Panina threatened an attack on the Klamath reservation, in revenge for the part taken against them by the Klamaths in acting as scouts. With a promptness unusual with congress, the treaty made with Panina in September 1865 had been ratified,[18] and this chief was under treaty obligations. But true to his threat, he invaded the Sprague River Valley, where the chief of the Modocs had his home, stealing some of Sconchin's horses. In return, Sconchin pursued, capturing two Snake women. He reported to the agent on the reservation that he had conversed with some of Panina's head men, at a distance, in the manner of Indians, and learned from them that the Snakes were concentrating their forces near Goose Lake, preparatory to invading the reservation, and capturing the fort. Applegate, the agent, notified Sprague, who reported to his superiors, saying that he had not men enough to defend the reservation and search for the enemy. The Shoshones did in fact come within a few miles of the post, where they were met and fought by the troops and reservation Indians, losing thirteen killed and others wounded. Meanwhile the troops were gradually and almost unconsciously surrounding the secret haunts of the hostile Shoshones in Oregon, their successes being in proportion to their nearness of approach, the attacking party on either side being usually victorious.[19]

About this time the controversy between the civil and military authorities took a peculiar turn. The army bill of 1866 provided for attaching Indian scouts to the regular forces engaged in fighting hostile bands; and certain numbers were apportioned among the states and territories where Indian hostilities existed, the complement of Oregon being one hundred. Governor Woods made application to General Steele to have these hundred Indians organized into two companies of fifty each, under commanders to be selected by himself, and sent into the field independently of the regular troops, but to act in conjunction with them. This proposition Steele declined, on the ground that the army bill contemplated the employment of Indians as scouts only, in numbers of ten or fifteen to a command.

Being refused by Steele, Woods appealed to Halleck as division commander, who also refused, using little courtesy in declining. The quarrel now became one in which the victory would be with the stronger. Woods telegraphed to the secretary of war a statement of the case, and asked for authority to carry out his plan of fighting Indians with Indians. Secretary Stanton immediately ordered Halleck to conform his orders to the wishes of the governor of Oregon in this respect; and thus constrained, authority was given by Halleck to Woods to organize two companies of fifty Indians each, and appoint their officers. Accordingly, W. C. McKay and John Darragh, both familiar with the Indian language and customs, were appointed lieutenants, to raise and command the Indian companies, which were sent into the field, with the humane orders to kill and destroy without regard to age, sex, or condition.[20]

About the time that the Warm Spring Indians took the field, George Crook, lieutenant-colonel 23d infantry, a noted Indian-fighter in California, was ordered to relieve Marshall in the command of the district of Boisé,[21] as the Idaho newspapers said, "to the satisfaction of everybody." General Crook was a man of quiet determination, and the people of Oregon and Idaho expected great things of him. Nor were they disappointed, for to him is due the credit of subduing the hostile tribes on the Oregon and California frontier, and in Idaho. When the war began, eastern Oregon was for the most part a terra incognita, and the Oregon cavalry had spent four years in exploring it and tracking the Indians to their hitherto unknown haunts. And now the most efficient officers decided that the Indians must be fought in the winter, and Steele, after brief observation, adopted the theory. Then Governor Woods had thrown into the field the best possible aids to the troops in his two companies of Indian allies.

When Crook assumed command in the Boisé district the Indians were already hemmed in by a cordon of camps and posts, with detachments continually in the field harassing and reducing them. About the middle of December Crook took the field with forty soldiers and a dozen Warm Spring allies. On the Owyhee he found a body of about eighty warriors prepared for battle. Leaving ten men to guard camp, he attacked with the remainder, fighting for several hours, when the savages fled, leaving some women and children and thirty horses in his hands. Twenty-five or thirty Indians were killed. Crook lost but one man, Sergeant O'Toole, who had fought in twenty-eight battles of the rebellion.

In January 1867 Crook's men again met the enemy about fifteen miles from the Owyhee ferry, on the road to California. His Indian scouts discovered the Snake camp, which was surprised and attacked at daylight. In this affair sixty Indians were killed and thirty prisoners taken, with a large number of horses. A man named Hanson, a civilian, was killed in the charge, and three of Crook's men wounded. Soon after a smaller camp was discovered; five of the savages were killed, and the remainder captured. An Indian was recognized among the prisoners who had before been captured and released on his promise to refrain from warlike practices in the future, and was shot for violating his parole.[22] From the Owyhee Crook proceeded toward Malheur lake and river, in the vicinity of which the Warm Spring Indian companies had been operating. On the 6th of January McKay attacked a camp, killing three, taking a few horses and some ammunition. He discovered the headquarters of Panina, who had fortified himself on a mountain two thousand feet in height, and climbing the rocks with his men, fought the chief a whole clay without gaining much advantage, killing three Shoshones, and having one man and several horses wounded. The same night, however, he discovered another hostile camp, attacking which he killed twelve, and took some prisoners. The snow being fourteen to eighteen inches deep in north-eastern Oregon at this time, the impossibility of keeping up the strength of their horses compelled the scouts to suspend operations.

Meanwhile, notwithstanding the exertions of the troops, it was impossible to check the inroads of the Indians. Only a few years previous to the breaking out of the Shoshone war this tribe was treated with contempt, as incapable of hostilities, other than petty thefts and occasional murders for gain. When they first began their hostile visits to the Warm Spring reservation Robert Newell, one well acquainted with the character of the different tribes, laughed at the terror they inspired, and declared that three or four men ought to defend the agency against a hundred of them. But a change had come over these savages with the introduction of fire-arms and cattle. From cowardly, skulking creatures, whose eyes were ever fastened on the ground in search of some small living thing to eat, the Shoshones had come to be as much feared as any savages in Oregon.[23]

As early as the middle of March detachments of troops were moving on the Cañon City road, and following the trails of the marauders. They travelled many hundred miles, killing with the aid of the allies twenty-four Indians, taking a few prisoners, and destroying some property of the enemy. On the 27th of July Crook, while scouting between Camp C. F. Smith and Camp Harney with detachments from three companies of cavalry, travelling at night and lying concealed by day, came upon a large body of the enemy in a cañon in the Puebla Mountains. He had with him the two companies of allies, composed of Warm Spring, Columbia River, and Boisé Shoshones, the first eager for an opportunity of avenging themselves on an hereditary foe. They were allowed to make the attack, leaving the troops in reserve. The Shoshones were completely surrounded, and the allies soon had thirty scalps dangling at their belts. It was rare sport for civilization, this making the savages fight the savages for its benefit.[24] Proceeding toward and when within eight miles of the post, another Indian camp was discovered and surrounded as before, the allies being permitted to perform the work of extermination.

From observing that the Indians were constantly well supplied with ammunition, and that although so many and severe losses were sustained the enemy were not disheartened nor their number lessened, General Crook came to the conclusion that it was not the Oregon tribes alone he was fighting. From a long experience in Indian diplomacy, he had discovered that reservations were a help rather than a hinderance to Indian warfare, premising that the reservation Indians were not really friendly in their dispositions. It was impossible always to know whether all the Indians belonging to a reservation were upon it or not, or what was their errand when away from it. An Indian thought nothing of travelling two or three hundred miles to steal a horse—in fact, the farther his thefts from the reservation the better, for obvious reasons. He was less liable to detection; and then he could say he had been on a hunting expedition, or to gather the seeds and berries which were only to be found in mountains and marshes, where the eye of the agent was not likely to follow him. Meantime he, with others like-minded, could make a rapid journey into Oregon, leaving his confederates on the reservation, who would help him to sell the stolen horses on his return for arms and ammunition, and who in their turn would carry these things to the Oregon Indians to exchange for other stolen horses. There were always enough low and vicious white men in the neighborhood of reservations to purchase the property thus obtained by the Indians and furnish them with the means of carrying on their nefarious practices. By this means a never-failing supply of men, arms, and ammunition was pouring into Oregon, furnished by the reservation Indians of California. Such, at all events, was the conviction of Crook, and he determined to act upon it by organizing a sufficient force of cavalry in his district to check the illicit trade being carried on over the border.

It was the intention of Crook to have his troops ready for prosecuting the plan of intercepting these incursions from California by the 1st of July; but owing to delay in mounting his infantry, and getting supplies to subsist the troops in the field, the proposed campaign was retarded for nearly two months. The rendezvous for the expedition was Camp Smith, on the march from which point to Camp Warner, in July, his command intercepted two camps of the migratory warriors, and killed or captured both. Crook left Camp Warner on the 29th of July with forty troops under Captain Harris, preceded by Darragh with his company of scouts, with a view of selecting a site for a new winter camp, the climate of Warner being too severe.[25] Passing southerly around the base of Warner buttes, and north again to the Drew crossing of the shallow strait between Warner lakes, he encamped on Honey Creek, fifteen miles north-west of Warner, where he found Darragh, whom he followed the next day up the creek ten miles, finding that it headed in a range of finely timbered mountains trending north and south, with patches of snow on their summits. On the 31st the new camp was located in an open-timbered country, on the eastern boundary of California, and received the name of New Warner. It was 500 feet lower than the former camp. On the 1st of August the command returned, having discovered some fresh trails leading toward California, and confirming the theory of the source of Indian supplies. At Camp Warner were found Captain Perry and McKay, who had returned from a scout to the south-east without finding an Indian; while Archie McIntosh, a half-breed Boisé scout, had brought in eleven prisoners, making forty-six killed and captured by the allies within two weeks.

On the 3d of August Crook set out on a reconnoissance to Selvie River and Harney Valley, with the object of locating another winter post, escorted by Lieutenant Stanton, with a detachment of Captain Perry's company, and Archie McIntosh with fifteen scouts. The point selected was at the south end of the Blue Mountains, on the west side, and the camp was named Harney.[26]

On the 16th of August, by a general order issued from headquarters military division of the Pacific, the district of Boisé was restricted to Fort Boisé. Camp Lyon, Camp Three Forks of the Owyhee, and Camp C. F. Smith were made to constitute the district of Owyhee,[27] and placed under the command of General Elliott, 1st cavalry. Fort Klamath and camps Watson, Warner, Logan, and Harney were designated as constituting the district of the lakes, and assigned to the command of Crook, who also had command of the troops at Camp Bidwell, should he require their services.

Having at last obtained a partial mount for his infantry, Crook set out about September 1st for that part of the country from which he believed the reënforcements of the Indians to come, with three companies of cavalry, one of mounted infantry, and all the Indian allies. It was hoped by marching at night and lying concealed by day to surprise some considerable number of the enemy. But it was not until the 9th that Darragh reported finding Indians in the tules about Lake Abert. On proceeding from camp on the east side of Goose Lake two days in a north course, the trail of a party of Indians was discovered, but Crook believed them to be going south, and dividing his force, sent captains Perry and Harris and the Warm Spring allies north to scout the country between Sprague and Des Chutes rivers, taking in Crooked River and terminating their campaign at Camp Harney in Harney Valley.

At the same time he took a course south-east to Surprise Valley, with the mounted infantry under Madigan, one cavalry company under Parnell, and the Boisé scouts under McIntosh. Having found that there were Indians in the mountains east of Goose Lake, but having proof that they had also discovered him, instead of moving at night, as heretofore, he made no attempt to conceal himself, but marched along the road as if going to Fort Crook, and actually did march to within twenty miles of it; but when he came to a place where he was concealed by the mountains along the river on the south side, he crossed over and encamped in a timbered cañon.

On the 25th the command was marched in a course south-east, along the base of a spur of the mountains covered with timber. While passing through a ravine a small camp of Indians was discovered, who fled, and were not pursued. Coining soon after to a plain trail leading toward the south fork of Pit River, it was followed fifteen miles, and the camp for the night made in a cañon timbered with pine, with good grass and water. Signs of Indians were plenty, but the commander was not hopeful. The horses were beginning to fail with travelling over lava-beds, and at night; the Indians were evidently numerous and watchful; and there was no method of determining at what point they might be expected to appear. Forewarned in a country like that on the Pit River, the advantages were all on the side of the Indians.

The march on the 26th led the troops over high table-land, eastward along a much used trail, where tracks of horses and Indians were frequent, leading finally to the lava-bluffs overlooking the south branch of Pit River, and through two miles of cañon down into the valley. Here the troops turned to the north along the foot of the bluffs, and when near the bend of the river the scouts announced the discovery of Indians in the rocks near by. Crook prepared for battle by ordering Parnell to dismount half his men and form a line to the south of the occupied rocks, while Madigan formed a similar line on the north side, the two uniting on the east in front of the Indian position. McIntosh with his scouts was ordered back to the bluff overlooking the valley, the troops getting into position about one o'clock, and the Indians waiting to be attacked in the rocks.

The stronghold was a perpendicular lava-wall, three hundred feet high, and a third of a mile long on the west side of the valley. At the north end was a ridge of bowlders, and at the south end a cañon. In front was a low sharp ridge of lava-blocks, from which there was a gradual slope into the valley. These several features of the place formed a natural fortification of great strength. But there were yet other features rendering it even more formidable. Running into its south-eastern boundary were two promontories, a hundred and fifty feet in length, thirty in height, with perpendicular walls parallel to each other and about thirty feet apart, making a scarped moat which could not be passed. At the north end of the eastern promontory the Indians had erected a fort of stone, twenty feet in diameter, breast-high, pierced with loop-holes; and on the western promontory two larger forts of similar construction. Between this fortress and the bluff where the scouts were stationed were huge masses of rocks of every size and contour. The only approach appearing practicable was from the eastern slope, near which was the first fort.

At the word of command Parnell approached the cañon on the south. A volley was fired from the fort, and the Indians fell back under cover, when the assailants by a quick movement gained the shelter of the rocky rim of the ravine; but in reconnoitring immediately afterward they exposed themselves to another volley from the fort, which killed and wounded four men. It was only by siege that the foe could be dislodged. Accordingly Eskridge, who had charge of the horses, herders, and supplies, was ordered to go into camp, and preparations were made for taking care of the wounded, present and prospective.

The battle now opened in earnest, and the afternoon was spent in volleys from both sides, accompanied by the usual sounds of Indian warfare, in which yells the troops indulged as freely as the Indians. A squad of Parnell's men were ordered to the bluff to join the scouts, and help them to pour bullets down into the round forts. The Indians were entirely surrounded, yet such was the nature of the ground that they could not be approached by men in line, and the firing was chiefly confined to sharp-shooting. The range from the bluffs above the fort was about four hundred yards, at an angle of forty-five degrees; and hundreds of shots were sent during the afternoon down among them. From the east fort shots could reach the bluff from long-range guns, and it was necessary to keep under cover. All the Indians who could be seen were clad only in a short skirt, with feathers in their hair. One of them, notwithstanding the cordon of soldiers, escaped out of the fortress over the rocky ridge and bluff, giving a triumphant whoop as he gained the level ground, and distancing his pursuers. It was conjectured that he must have gone either for supplies or rëenforcements.

Thus wore away the afternoon. As night approached Crook, who by this time had reconnoitred the position from every side, directed rations to be issued to the pickets stationed around the stronghold to prevent escapes. When darkness fell the scouts left the bluff and crept down among the rocks of the ridge intervening between the bluff and the fortress, getting within a hundred feet of the east fort. The troops also now carefully worked themselves into the shelter of the rocks nearer to the Indians, who evidently anticipated their movements and kept their arrows flying in every direction, together with stones, which they threw at random. In the cross-fire kept up in the dark one of Madigan's men was killed by Parnell's company. All night inside the forts there was a sound of rolling about and piling up stones, as if additional breastworks were being constructed. Whenever a volley was fired by the troops in the direction of these noises, a sound of voices was heard reverberating as if in a cavern. During the early part of the night there were frequent flashes of lightning and heavy peals of thunder. In the mean time no change was apparent in the position of affairs.

At daybreak Parnell and Madigan were directed to bring in their pickets and form under the crest of the ridge facing the east fort, while the scouts were ordered to take position on the opposite side of the ridge, and having first crawled up the slope among the rocks as far as could be done without discovering themselves, at the word of command to storm the fort.[28] At sunrise the command Forward! was given. The men, about forty in number, sprang to their feet and rushed toward the fort. They had not gone twenty paces when a volley from the Indians struck down Lieutenant Madigan, three non-commissioned officers, three privates, and one citizen—eight in all. The remainder of the storming party kept on, crossing a natural moat and gaining the wall, which seemed to present but two accessible points. Up one of these Sergeant Russler, of Company D, 23d infantry, led the way; and up the other, Sergeant Meara and Private Sawyer, of Company H, 1st cavalry, led at different points. Meara was the first to reach a natural parapet surrounding the east fort on two sides, dashing across which he was crying to his men to come on, when a shot struck him and he fell dead. At the same moment Russler came up, and putting his gun through a loop-hole fired, others following his example. He was also struck by a shot.

It was expected that the Indians, being forced to abandon the enclosure which was now but a pen in which all might be slaughtered, would be easily shot as they came out, and some of the men disposed themselves so as to interrupt their anticipated flight; but what was the surprise of all to see that as fast as they left the fort they disappeared among the rocks as if they had been lizards. In a short time the soldiers had possession of the east fort, but a moment afterward a volley corning across from the two forts on the west, and scattering shots which appeared to come from the rocks beneath, changed the position of the besiegers into that of the besieged. Several men more were wounded, one more killed, and the situation became critical in the extreme.

But notwithstanding the Indians still had so greatly the advantage, they seemed to have been shaken in their courage by the boldness of the troops in storming the east fort, or perhaps they were preparing a surprise. A continuous lull followed the volley from the west forts, which lasted, with scattering shots, until noon, though the men exposed themselves to draw the fire of the enemy and uncover his position. One shot entered a loop-hole and killed the soldier stationed there. Shots from the Indians became fewer during the afternoon, while the troops continued to hold the east fort, and pickets were stationed who kept up a fire wherever any sign of life appeared in the Indian quarter. The west forts, being inaccessible, could not be stormed. There was nothing to do but to watch for the next movement of the Indians, who so far as known were still concealed in their fortifications, where the crying of children and other signs of life could be heard through the day and night of the 27th.

On the morning of the 28th, the suspense having become unbearable, Crook permitted an Indian woman to pass the lines, from whom he received an explanation of the mysterious silence of the Indian guns. Not a warrior was left in the forts. By a series of subterranean passages leading to the cañon on the south-west, they had all escaped, and been gone for many hours. An examination of the ground revealed the fact that by the means of fissures and caverns in the sundered beds of lava, communication could be kept up with the country outside, and that finding themselves so strongly besieged they had with Indian mutability of purpose given up its defence, and left behind their women and children to deceive the troops until they were safely away out of danger. To attempt the examination of these caves would be fool-hardy. A soldier, in descending into one, was shot through the heart, probably by some wounded Indian left in hiding there. The extent and depth of the caverns and fissures would render futile any attempt to drive out the savages by fire or powder. Nothing remained but to return to Camp Warner, which movement was begun on the 30th, and ended on the 4th of October at the new post in the basin east of Lake Abert.

The result of this long-projected campaign could not be said to be a victory. According to Wassen, it was not claimed by the troops that more than fifteen Indians were killed at the Pit River fortress, while the loss sustained by the command in the two days' siege was eight killed and twelve wounded.[29] That General Crook sacrificed his men in the affair of Pit River in his endeavor to achieve what the public expected of him is evident, notwithstanding the laudatory and apologetic accounts of the correspondents of the expedition. Had he let his Indian scouts do the fighting in Indian fashion, while he held his troops ready to succor them if overpowered, the result might have been different. One thing, indeed, he was able to prove, that the foe was well supplied with ammunition, which must have been obtained by the sale of property stolen in marauding expeditions to the north. Stored among the rocks was a plentiful supply of powder and caps, in sacks, tin cans, and boxes, all quite new, showing recent purchases. The guns found were of the American half-stocked pattern, indicating whence they had been obtained, and no breech-loading guns were found, though some had been previously captured by these Indians.

The expedition under Perry, which proceeded north, failed to find any enemy. Lieutenant Small, however, with fifty-one men from Fort Klamath and ten Klamath scouts, was more successful, killing twenty-three and capturing fourteen in the vicinity of Silver and Abert lakes, between the 2d and 22d of September. Among the killed were two chiefs who had signed the treaty of 1864, and an influential medicine-man. Panina having also been killed by citizens while on a foray on the Cañon City and Boisé road in April, as will be remembered, there remained but few of the chiefs of renown alive.[30]

For about two months of the summer of 1867, while Captain Wildy of the 6th cavalry was stationed on Willow Creek in Mormon Basin, to intercept the passage north of raiding parties, the people along the road between John Day and Snake rivers enjoyed an unaccustomed immunity from depredations. But early in September Wildy was ordered to Fort Crook, in California, and other troops withdrawn from the north to strengthen the district of the lakes. Knowing what would be the effect of this change, the inhabitants of Baker county petitioned Governor Woods for a permanent military post in their midst, but petitioned in vain, because the governor was not able to persuade the general government to listen favorably, nor to dictate to the commander of the department of the Columbia what disposition to make of his forces. Wildy's company had hardly time to reach Fort Crook when the dreaded visitations began.[31] About the last of October General Steele ordered a cavalry company to guard the roads and do picket duty in the Burnt River district.

But depredations were not confined to the Oregon side of Snake River. They were quite as frequent in Boisé and Owyhee districts, where there was no lack of military camps. So frequent were the raids upon the stock-ranges[32] that the farmers declared they must give up their improvements and quit the country unless they were stopped. At length they organized a force in the lower Boisé Valley. Armed with guns furnished by Fort Boisé, and aided by a squad of soldiers from that post, they scouted the surrounding country thoroughly, retaking some stock and killing two Indians.[33] But while they recovered some of their property, the stage station at the mouth of the Payette River was robbed of all its horses.[34] And this was the oft-repeated experience of civil and military parties. Blood as well as spoils marked the course of the invaders.[35] Stages, and even the Snake River steamer Shoshone, were attacked. Letters and newspapers were found in Indian camps clotted with human gore. The people, sick of such horrors, cried loudly for relief. But at this juncture, when their services were most needed, the Indian allies were mustered out, although General Steele, in making his report, fully acknowledged their value to the service, saying they had done most of the fighting in the late expeditions, and proved efficient guides and spies.[36]

On the 23d of November Steele relinquished the command of the department of the Columbia,[37] which was assumed by General L. H. Rosseau, who, however, made no essential changes in the department. Arrangements were continued in each district for a winter campaign of great activity.[38] The military journals contain frequent entries of skirmishes, with a few Indians killed, and more taken prisoners; with acknowledgments of some losses to the army in each. Crook, whose district was in the most elevated portion of the country traversed, kept some portion of the troops continually in the field, marching from ten to twenty miles a day over unbroken fields of snow from one to two feet in depth. In February he was on Dunder and Blitzen Creek,[39] south of Malheur Lake, where he fought the Indians, killing and capturing fourteen. While returning to Warner, a few nights later, the savages crept up to his camp, and killed twenty-three horses and mules by shooting arrows into them and cutting their throats. Crook proceeded toward camp Warner, but sent back a detachment to discover whether any had returned to feast on the horse-flesh. Only two were found so engaged, who were killed. Another battle was fought with the Indians, in the neighborhood of Steen Mountain, on the 14th of April, when several were killed.

The troops at Camp Harney made a reconnoissance of the Malheur country in May, which resulted in surprising ten lodges on the north fork of that river near Castle Rock, or as it was sometimes called, Malheur Castle, and capturing a number of the enemy, among whom was a notorious subchief known as E. E. Gantt, who professed a great desire to live thereafter in peace, and offered to send couriers to bring in his warriors and the head chief, Wewawewa, who, he declared, was as weary of conflict as himself.[40] On this promise he was released, his family, and in all about sixty prisoners, with their property, and the stock plundered from the settlers remaining in the hands of the troops. A messenger was sent to intercept General Crook, who, having been temporarily assigned to the command of the department of the Columbia, was on his way to the north.

The Indians had sustained some reverses in Idaho, among which was the killing of thirty-four who had attacked the Boisé stage in May, killing the driver and wounding several other persons. Many prisoners had also been taken during the winter, and some had voluntarily surrendered. Rosseau had issued an order in February that all the Indians taken in the district of Owyhee should be sent under guard to Vancouver, and those taken in the district of the lakes should be sent to Eugene City, via Fort Klamath, to be delivered to the superintendent of Indian affairs. Those at Boisé took advantage of a severe storm, when the guards were less vigilant than usual, to recover their freedom; but as they only escaped to find themselves given up by their chiefs, it was a matter of less consequence.

According to an order of Halleck's, no treaty could be made with the Indians by the officers in his division without consulting him, and it became necessary for Crook to wait for instructions from San Francisco. He repaired in the mean time to Camp Harney, where the principal chiefs of the hostile bands were assembled, and where a council was held on the 30th of June.

"Do you see any fewer soldiers than two years ago?" asked he. "No; more." "Have you as many warriors?" "No; not half as many." "Very well; that is as I mean to have it until you are all gone."[41] The chiefs knew this was no empty threat, and were terrified. They sued earnestly for peace, and Crook made his own terms. He did not offer to place them on a reservation, where they would be fed while they idled and plotted mischief. He simply told them he would acknowledge Wewawewa as their chief, who should be responsible for their good conduct. They might return free into their own country, and establish their headquarters near Castle Rock on the Malheur, and so long as they behaved themselves honestly and properly they would not be molested. These terms were eagerly accepted, and the property of their victims still in their possession was delivered up.[42]

Crook had no faith in reservations, yet he felt that to leave the Indians at liberty was courting a danger from the enmity of white men who had personal wrongs to avenge which might provoke a renewal of hostilities. To guard against this, he caused the terms of the treaty to be extensively published, and appealed to the reason and good judgment of the people, reminding them what it had cost to conquer the peace which he hoped they might now enjoy.[43] With regard to the loss of life by fighting Indians in Oregon and Idaho up to this time, it is a matter of surprise that it was so small. The losses by murderous attacks out of battle were far greater. From the first settlement of Oregon to June 1868, the whole number of persons known to be killed and wounded by Indians was 1,394. Of these only about 90 were killed or wounded in battle. The proportion of killed to wounded was 1,130 to 264, showing how certain was the savage aim. A mighty incubus seemed lifted off the state when peace was declared. General Crook, now in command of the department, was invited to Salem at the sitting of the legislative assembly to receive the thanks of that body.[44]

The treaty which had been made was with the Malheur and Warner Lake Shoshones only. There were still some straggling bands of Idaho Shoshones who were not brought in until August; and the troops still scouting on the southern border of Oregon continued for some time to find camps of Pah Utes, and also of the Pit River Indians, with whom a council was subsequently held in Round Valley, California. Early in July between seventy and eighty of Winnemucca's people with three subchiefs were captured, and surrendered at Camp C. F. Smith, "where," said Crook in one of his reports, "there seems to be a disposition to feed them, contrary to instructions from these headquarters."

The Indians had submitted to force, but it was a tedious task, subjecting them to the Indian department, which had to be done. Crook had said to them, "You are free as air so long as you keep the peace;" but the Indian superintendent said, "You signed a treaty in 1865 which congress has since ratified, and you must go where you then agreed to go, or forfeit the benefits of the treaty; and we have, besides, the power to use the military against you if you do riot." This argument was the last resorted to. The tone of the Indian department was conciliatory; sometimes too much so for the comprehension of savages. They never conceded anything unless forced to do so, and how should they know that the white race practised such magnanimity? Crook cautioned his subordinates on this point, telling them to disabuse the minds of the Indians of the notion that the government was favored by their abstinence from war.

Superintendent Huntington, who had talked with Wewawewa about the settlement of his people, was told that the Malheur Indians would consent to go upon the Siletz reservation in western Oregon, but that those about Camp Warner would not, and nothing was done toward removing them in 1868. Meantime Huntington died, and A. B. Meacham was appointed in his place. A small part of the Wolpape and Warner Lake Shoshones consented to go upon the east side of Klamath reservation; but in 1869 most of these Indians were at large, and sufficiently unfriendly to alarm the white inhabitants of that part of the state.

And now the bad effects of the late policy began to appear. When the Shoshones were first conquered they would have gone wherever Crook said they must go. But being so long free, they refused to be placed on any reservation. Other tribes, imitating their example, were restless and dissatisfied, even threatening, and affairs assumed so serious an aspect that Crook requested the commander of the division to withdraw no more troops from Oregon, as he felt assured any attempt to forcibly remove the Indians—a measure daily becoming more necessary to the security of the settlements—would precipitate another Indian war, and that the presence of the military was at that time necessary to restrain many roving bands from committing depredations.[45]

About the 20th of October Superintendent Meacham, assisted by the commanding officer at Camp Harney, held a council with the Indians under Wewawewa, which ended by their declining to go upon the Klamath reservation as requested, because Crook, who could have persuaded them to it, declined to do so,[46] for the reason that he believed that Meacham had promised more than he would be able to perform.

Early in November Meacham held a council with the Indians assembled at Camp Warner under Otsehoe, a chief who controlled several of the lately hostile bands, and persuaded this chief to go with his followers upon the Klamath reserve. But the war department gave neither encouragement nor material assistance, although Otsehoe and other Indians about Warner Lake were known to Crook to be amongst the worst of their race, and dangerous to leave at large.[47]

True to his restless nature, Otsehoe left the reservation in the spring of 1870, where his people had been fed through the winter. They deserted in detachments, Otsehoe remaining to the last; and when the commissary required the chief to bring them back, he replied that Major Otis desired them to remain at Camp Warner, a statement which was true, at least in part, as Otis himself admitted.[48]

Otsehoe, however, finally consented to make his home at Camp Yainax, so far as to stay on the reservation during the winter season, but roving abroad in the summer through the region about Warner and Goose lakes. In March 1871, by executive order, a reservation containing 2,275 square miles was set apart, on the north fork of the Malheur River, for the use of the Shoshones. In the autumn of 1873 a portion of them were induced to go upon it, most of whom absented themselves on the return of summer. Gradually, however, and with many drawbacks, the Indian department obtained control of these nomadic peoples, who were brought under those restraints which are the first step toward civilization.[49]

With the settlement of the Shoshones upon a reservation, the title of the Indians of Oregon to lands within the boundaries of the state was extinguished. The Grand Rond reservation in the Willamette Valley was afterward purchased of the Indians and thrown open to settlement. The Malheur reservation was abandoned, the Indians being removed to Washington.[50] Propositions have been made to the tribes on the Umatilla reservation to sell their lands, some of the best in the state, but so far with no success, these Indians being strongly opposed to removal. Ten years after the close of the Shoshone war, claim was laid by a chief of the Nez Perces to a valley in north-eastern Oregon, the narrative of which I shall embody in the history of Idaho. Thus swiftly and mercilessly European civilization clears the forests of America of their lords aboriginal, of the people placed there by the almighty for some purpose of his own, swiftly and mercilessly clearing them, whether done by catholic, protestant, or infidel, by Spaniard, Englishman, or Russian, or whether done in the name of Christ, Joe Smith, or the devil.

  1. Lieut Walker here referred to is a son of Rev. Elkanah Walker, a missionary of 1835.
  2. Boisé City Statesman, July 13 and 18, 1865. Hobart was afterward a captain in the regular army. Albany States Rights Democrat, July 2, 1875.
  3. Report of Lt Williams in Rept Adjt Gen. Or. 1866, 82–98. L. L. Williams was one of the Port Orford party which suffered so severely in 1851.
  4. James Alderson of Jacksonville, a good man, who was on guard, was killed in this raid. Portland Oregonian, Dec. 4, 1865.
  5. Dalles Mountaineer, April 20, 1866.
  6. A man named Clark was shot, near the mouth of the Owyhee, while encamped with other wagoners, in Nov.; 34 horses were stolen from near Boisé ferry on Snake River in Dec.; and the pack-mules at Camp Alvord were stolen. Captain Sprague recovered these latter. Feb. 13th the rancho of Andrew Hall, 15 miles from Ruby City, was attacked, Hall killed, 50 head of horses driven off, and the premises set on fire. Boisé Statesman, Feb. 17, 1866; Id., March 4, 1866. Ada County raised a company of volunteers to pursue these Indians, but they were not overtaken. Ind. Aff. Rept, 1866, 187–8; Austin Reese River Reveille, March 13, 1866.
  7. A detachment of the Oregon cavalry accompanied Marshall on this expedition, and blamed him severely for inhumanity. A man named Phillips, an Oregonian, was lassoed and drawn up the cliff in which the Indians were lodged, to be tortured and mutilated. Lieut Silas Pepoon of the Oregon cavalry wished to go to his rescue, but was forbidden. He also left 4 men on the opposite bank of the river, who were cut off by the swamping of the raft. The volunteer commanders would never have abandoned their men without an effort for their rescue. See U. S. Mess. and Docs, 1866–7, 501, 39th cong. 2d sess.
  8. During the night of the 4th of May sixty animals were stolen from packers on Reynolds Creek, eight miles from Ruby City. None of the trains were recovered. The loss and damage was estimated at $10,000. Dalles Mountaineer, May 18, 1866. About the 25th of May, Beard and Miller, teamsters from Chico, on their way to the Idaho mines, lost 421 cattle out of a herd of 460, driven off by the Indians. About the 20th of June, twenty horses were stolen from War Eagle Mountain, above Ruby City. On the 12th of June, C. C. Gassett was murdered on his farm near Ruby City, and 100 head of stock driven off. Early in July, James Perry, of Michigan, was murdered by the Indians, his arms and legs chopped off, and his body pinned to the ground, along with a man named Green, treated in the same manner.
  9. Travellers over the road reported over 100 unburied bodies of Chinamen. The number killed has been variously reported at from 50 to 150. One boy escaped of the whole train. He represented his countrymen as protesting, 'Me bellee good Chinaman! Me no fightee!' But the scalps of the Chinamen seemed specially inviting to the savages. Butler's Life and Times, MS., 11–12. Their remains were afterward gathered and buried in one grave. Starr's Idaho, MS., 2; U. S. Sec. Int. Rept, 1867–8, 97, 40th cong. 2d sess.; Owyhee Index, May 26, 1866; Owyhee News, June 1866.
  10. Thomas B. Cason, killed; Aaron Winters and Charles Webster wounded. Cason had built up around him a stone fortification, from which he shot in the 2 days 15 Indians, and was shot at last in his little fortress. Sec. Int. Rept, 1867–8, iii., 40th cong. 2d sess., pt 2, 97; Boisé Statesman, July 7 and 10, 1866; Sac. Union, July 28, 1868.
  11. Boisé Statesman, July 20, 1866. Marshall designed erecting a permanent post on the Bruneau, and had expended several thousand dollars, when orders came from headquarters to suspend operations. A one-company camp was permitted to remain during the year.
  12. Yreka Union, Oct. 20, 1866; Hayes' Scraps, v., Indians, 228.
  13. In May the Indians drove off a herd of horses from the Warm Spring reservation, and murdered a settler on John Day River named John Witner. In June they attacked a settler on Snake River, near the Weiser, and on the main travelled road, driving off the pack-animals of a train encamped there. In August they robbed a farm on Burnt River of $300 worth of property, while the men were mowing grass a mile away; stole 54 mules and 18 beef-cattle from Camp Watson; and attacked the house of N. J. Clark, on the road, which they burned, with his stables, 50 tons of hay, and 1,000 bushels of grain, and stole all his farm stock, the family barely escaping with their lives. Eight miles from Clark's they took a team belonging to Frank Thompson. About the same time they murdered Samuel Leonard, a miner at Mormon Basin. A little later they surprised a mining camp near Cañon City, killing Matthew Wilson, and severely wounding David Graham. No aid could be obtained from Camp Watson, the troops being absent in pursuit of the government property taken from that post. In Sept. they took horses from a place on Clark Creek, from Burnt River, and the ferry at the mouth of Powder River. They pursued and fired on the expressman from Mormon Basin; and attacked the stage between The Dalles and Cañon City, when there were but two persons on board, Wheeler, one of the proprietors, and H. C. Paige, express agent. Wheeler was shot in the face, but showed great nerve, mounting one of the horses with the assistance of Paige, who cut them loose and mounted one himself. The men defended themselves and escaped, leaving the mail and express matter in the hands of the Indians, who poured the gold-dust out on the ground, most of it being afterward recovered. The money, horses, and other property were carried off. In October eleven horses were stolen from a party of prospectors on Rock Creek, Snake River. In Nov. the Indians again visited Field's farm, and stole three beef-cattle. They were pursued by the troops, who surprised and killed several of them, destroying their camp, and capturing a few horses. On the 20th a party of hunters, encamped on Cañon Creek, a few miles from Cañon City, were attacked, and J. Kester killed. The Indians came within one mile of Cañon City, and prepared to attack a house, but being discovered, fled. Early in December they stole a pack-train from near the Cañon City road. They were pursued by a detachment of twenty men from Baker's command, under Sergeant Conner, and the train recovered, with a loss to the Indians of fourteen men killed and five women captured. Sec. Int. Rept, 1867–8, pt 2, 95–100; Dalles Mountaineer, Dec. 14, 1866.
  14. Alta California, Aug. 22, 1866; Mess. and Docs, Abridg. 1866–7, 501.
  15. See Woods' Rec., MS.; also U. S. Mess. and Docs, 1866–7, 503–4, 39th cong. 2d sess; Or. Jour. Senate, 1866, 51–5; Portland Oregonian, July 14, 1866.
  16. In Sept. the Owyhee stage was attacked and two men shot. In Nov. the Indians fired on loaded teams entering Owyhee mines from Snake River by the main road, and killed a man named McCoy, besides wounding one Adams. They fired on the Owyhee ferry, and on a detachment of cavalry, both attacks being made in the night, and neither resulting in anything more serious than killing a horse, and driving off fourteen head of cattle. During the autumn a party of 68 Idaho miners were prospecting on the upper waters of Snake River. A detachment of eleven men were absent from the main party looking for gold, when one of the eleven separated himself from them, to look for the trail of others. On returning, he saw that the detachment had been attacked, and hastened to report to the main company, who, on reaching the place, found all ten men murdered. Their names, so far as known, were Bruce Smith, Edward Riley, David Conklin, William Strong, and George Ackleson. This party were afterward attacked in Montana by the Sioux, when Col Rice and William Smith were killed, and several wounded. See account in Portland Oregonian, Nov. 28, 1866. On the 8th of Nov. the Owyhee stage was attacked within four miles of Snake River crossing, a passenger named Wilcox killed, another, named Harrington, wounded in the hip, and the driver, Waltermire, wounded in the side. The driver ran his team two miles, pursued by the Indians, who kept firing on the stage, answered by passengers who had arms. The wheel-horses being at last shot, the party were forced to run for their lives, and escaped. On returning with assistance, Wilcox was found scalped and mutilated. The mail-bags were cut open and contents scattered. In Dec. twenty savages attacked the Cow Creek farm in Jordan Valley, and taking possession of the stable, riddled the house with bullets and arrows. Having frightened away the inmates, they drove off all the cattle on the place. They were pursued, and the cattle recovered. U. S. Sec. Int. Rept, 99–100, vol. iii., 4th cong. 2d sess. Dalles Mountaineer, Dec. 7, 1866; Owyhee Avalanche, Nov. 17, 1866; Idaho World, Nov. 24, 1866. On the 30th of Oct. the Indians raided Surprise Camp, a military station, carrying off grain, tents, tools, etc. Major Walker, promoted from captain, pursued them, when they divided their force, sending off their plunder with some, while a dozen of them charged the soldiers. Four Indians were killed and the rest escaped. Boisé Statesman, Nov. 8, 1866.
  17. Jacksonville Reporter, Nov. 3, 1866; Dalles Mountaineer, Dec. 7, 1866.
  18. Cong. Globe, 1865–6, pt v. ap. 402.
  19. In Oct. Lieut Patton, of Capt Hunt's company, with 10 men, had a skirmish on Dunder and Blitzen Creek, which runs into Malheur Lake from the south, killing 6 out of 75 Indians, with a loss of 1 man, and 4 horses wounded. Boisé Statesman, Oct. 27, 1866. Capt. O'Beirne also had a fight on the Owyhee in Nov., in which he killed 14 and captured 10, losing one man wounded and a citizen, S. C. Thompson, killed. Id. Nov. 17, 1866; Owyhee Avalanche, Nov. 10, 1866. Baker's command, in Nov. and Dec., killed about 60 Indians. Dalles Mountaineer, Dec. 14, 1866; Sec. War Rept, i. 481–2, 40th cong. 2d sess.
  20. Lieuts McKay and Darragh, in giving a personal account of their expedition, relate that their command killed fourteen women and children, which was done in accordance with written and verbal instructions from headquarters of the military district, and much against the wishes of the Indian scouts, who remonstrated against it, on the ground that the Snakes, in their next inroad, would murder their wives and children. U. S. Sec. Int. Rept, 1867–8, vol. iii., pt ii., 101, 40th cong. 2d sess. Woods' apology was that the women of the Snake tribe were the most brutal of murderers, and had assisted in the fiendish tortures of Mrs and Miss Ward, and other immigrant women, for which they deserved to suffer equally with the men.
  21. See Recollections of G. L. Woods, a manuscript dictation containing many terse and vivid pictures of the modern actors in our history; also Overland Monthly, vol. ii., p. 162, 1869.

    The following is a complete roster of the officers in the department of the Columbia in the autumn of 1866: Department staff: Frederick Steele, major-gen, commanding department. George Macomber, 2d lieut 14th inf., A. A. insp.-gen. Henry C. Hodges, capt., A. Q. M., bvt lieut-col U. S. A., chief Q. M. Sam. A. Foster, capt., C. S., bvt major U. S. A., C. C. S., Act. A. A. G. P. G. S. Ten Broek, surgeon U. S. A., bvt lieut-col, medical director. George Williams, brevet capt. U. S. A., aide-de-camp. Richard P. Strong, 1st lieut 7th inf., aide-de-camp. Stations and commands: Fort Colville, Capt. John S. Wharton, co. G, 14th inf. Fort Lapwai, Lt J. H. Gallagher, 14th inf., co. E, 8th cav. Fort Walla Walla, Lt Oscar I. Converse, co. D, 8th cav. Fort Stevens, Capt. Leroy L. James, co. C, 2d art. Cape Hancock, Capt. John I. Rogers, co. L, 2d art. Fort Steilacoom, Capt. Chas H. Peirce, co. E, 2d art. San Juan Island, Capt. Thomas Grey, co. I, 2d art. Fort Vancouver, Col G. A. H. Blake, 1st U. S. cav. , field, staff, and band; Bvt lieut-col Albert O. Vincent, co. F, 2d art.; Capt. William Kelly, co. C, 8th cavalry. Vancouver Arsenal, Bvt capt. L. S. Babbitt, det. ordnance corps. Camp Watson, Bvt. lieut-col Eugene M. Baker, co. I, 1st cav.; Lieut Amandus C. Kistler, co. F, 14th inf. Camp Logan, Lieut Charles B. Western, 14th inf., co. F, 8th cav. Fort Klamath, Capt. F. B. Sprague, co. I, 1st Or. inf. volunteers. Boisé District: Fort Boisé, Bvt maj.-gen. George Crook, 23d inf.; Bvt col James B. Sinclair, co. H, 14th inf. Camp Three Forks, I. T., Bvt lieut-col John J. Coppinger, cos A and F, 14th inf. Camp C. F. Smith, Capt. J. H. Walker, co. C, 14th inf. Camp Warner, Capt. P. Collins, cos B and D, 14th inf.; Bvt major Edward Myers, co. H, 1st cavalry. Camp Lyon, I. T., Capt. James C. Hunt, co. M, 1st cav. Off. Arm. Regis., 1866, 67; Portland Oregonian, Dec. 22, 1 866. Capt. David Perry superseded Marshall at Fort Boisé in the interim before Crook's arrival; and Major Rheinhart, 1st Or. inf., was in command at Fort Klamath during the summer of 1866.

  22. U. S. Int. Rept, 1867–8. vol. iii. 188, 40th cong. 2d sess; Owyhee Avalanche, Jan. 5, 1867.
  23. For example, it takes a brave and somewhat chivalrous savage to rob a stage. On March 25th, as the Boisé and Owyhee stage was coming down the ravine toward Snake River from Reynolds Creek, it was attacked by eight ambushed Indians. The driver, William Younger, was mortally wounded. James Ullman, a California pioneer, a Boisé pioneer, a merchant of Idaho, in attempting to escape, was overtaken and killed. The mail and contents of the coach were destroyed or taken. The same band killed Bouchet, a citizen of Owyhee. A few days previously they had raided a farm, and driven off 23 cattle from Reynolds Creek. On the 25th of April, 8 Shoshones raided the farm of Clano and Cosper, on the Cañon City road, and secured 25 cattle and 2 horses. They were pursued by J. N. Clark, whose house and barn they had destroyed in Sept., who, with Howard Maupin and William Ragan, attacked them as they were feasting on an ox, killing 4 and recovering the stock. One of the Indians killed by Clark was the chief Panina. In the same month Fraser and Stack were killed near their homes on Jordan Creek. In May they attacked C. Shea, a herder on Sinker Creek, and were repelled and pursued by 8 white men, who, however, barely escaped with their lives. Two men, McKnight and Polk, being in pursuit of Shoshones, were wounded, McKnight mortally. The savages burned a house and barn near Inskip's farm, Owyhee, and drove off the stock, which the troops finally recovered. They killed three men in Mormon Basin. On every road, in any direction, they made their raids, firing on citizens and stealing stock. U. S. Sec. Int. Rept, 1867–8, iii. 101–3, 40th cong. 2d sess.
  24. See Owyhee Avalanche, in Oregonian, Aug. 24, 1867. 'The troops did not fire a shot.' Boisé Statesman, in Shasta Courier, Aug. 31, 1867.
  25. The winter of 1866–7 was very severe in the Warner Lake region, which has an altitude of nearly 5,000 feet. One soldier, a sergeant, got lost, and perished in the snow. The entire company at Camp Warner were compelled to walk around a small circle in the snow for several nights, not daring to lie down or sleep lest they should freeze to death. Owyhee Avalanche, April 6, 1867; Portland Oregonian, Aug. 24, 1867.
  26. Gen. Orders Dept Columbia, Nov. 26, 1867.
  27. A few months later Boisé was incorporated in the district of Owyhee.
  28. 'The general talked to the men like a father; told them at the word Forward! they should rise up quick, go with a yell, and keep yelling, and never think of stopping until they had crossed the ditch, scaled the wall, and broken through the breastworks, and the faster the better.' J. Wassen, in Oregonian, Nov. 12, 1867.
  29. There is a discrepancy between the military report, which makes the number of killed five, and Wassen's, which makes it eight; but I have followed the latter, because his account gives the circumstances and names. The list is as follows: Killed: Lieut John Madigan, born in Jersey City, N. J.; sergeants Charles Barchet, born in Germany, formerly of 7th Vt volunteers, Michael Meara, born in Galway, Ireland, 18 years in U. S. A., and Sergeant Russler; privates James Lyons, born in Peace Dale, R. I.; Willoughby Sawyer, born in Canada West; Carl Bross, born in Germany, lived in Newark, N. J.; James Carey, from New Orleans. Wounded: corporals McCann, Fogarty, Firman; privates Clancy, Fisher, Kingston, McGuire, Embler, Barbes, Shea, Enser; and Lawrence Traynor, civilian. The remains of Lieut Madigan were taken one day's march from the battle-field, and buried on the north bank of Pit River, about twenty miles below the junction of the south branch. The privates were buried in the valley of the south branch, half a mile north of the forts. The wounded were conveyed on mule litters to New Camp Warner. Corr. S. F. Bulletin, in Portland Herald, Dec. 10, 1867; J. Wassen, in Oregonian, Nov. 12, 1867; Hayes' Indian Scraps, v. 141; General Order Dept Columbia, no. 32, 1867.
  30. Oregonian, Nov. 4 and 12, 1867; Jacksonville Sentinel, Sept. 28, 1867; Yreka Union, Oct. 5, 1867; S. F. Alta, Sept. 28, 1867.
  31. The first attack was made Sept. 28th upon J. B. Scott, who with his wife and children was driving along the road between Rye Valley and their home on Burnt River. Scott was killed almost instantly, receiving two fatal wounds at once. The wife, though severely wounded, seized the reins as they fell from the hands of her dead husband, and urging the horses to a run, escaped with her children, but died the following day. This attack was followed by others in quick succession. Oregonian, Oct. 4, 7, 9, 1867; Umatilla Columbia Press, Oct. 5, 1867. On the morning of the 3d of October a small band of Indians plundered the house of a Mr Howe, a few miles east of Camp Logan, and a detachment of seven men of company F, 8th cavalry, was sent under Lieut Pike to pursue them. Pike may have been a valuable officer, but he was not experienced in Indian-fighting. He was eagerly pushing forward after the guides, who had discovered the camp of the thieves, when he imprudently gave a shout, which sent the savages flying, leaving a rifle, which in their haste was forgotten. Pike very foolishly seized it by the muzzle and struck it on a rock to destroy it, when it exploded, wounding him fatally, which accident arrested the expedition; and a second, under Lieut Kauffman, failed to overtake the marauders. Oregonian, Nov. 4, 1867; Gen. Order Headquarters Dept Columbia, no. 32.
  32. On the night of Oct. 3d, within half a mile of Owyhee City, Joseph F. Colwell, a highly respected citizen, was killed, scalped, and burned. On the following night a raid was made on the cattle in Jordan Valley, within 3 miles of Silver City. Four separate incursions were made into Boisé Valley during the autumn. Owyhee Avalanche, Oct. 5, 1867; Boisé Statesman, Oct. 22, Dec. 17, 1867; Boisé Democrat, Dec. 21, 1876.
  33. A farmer who belonged to the volunteer company of Boisé Valley stated that one of the Indians killed was branded with a circle and the figures 1845, showing that 22 years before he had been thus punished for offences of a similar kind.
  34. There was a chief known to his own people as Oulux, and to the settlers as Bigfoot, who led many of these raids. He was nearly 7 feet in height, and powerfully built, with a foot 14¾ inches in length. The track of this Indian could not be mistaken. He was in Crook's first battle in the spring, on the Owyhee, with another chief known as Littlefoot. Yreka Union, Feb. 9, and Nov. 11, 1867. Bigfoot was killed by an assassin, who lay in wait for him, and his murderer promised him to guard from the public the secret of his death, of which he was ashamed.
  35. On the 21st of October, in the morning, occurred one of the most painful of the many harrowing incidents of the Shoshone war. Two sergeants, named Nichols and Denoille, left Camp Lyon in a four-horse ambulance to go to Fort Boisé, Denoille having with him his wife, who was in delicate health. Nine miles from camp, while passing through a rocky cañon, they were attacked by Indians in ambush, and Denoille, who was driving, was killed at the first fire. Nichols, not knowing that his comrade was hit, was giving his attention to the Indians, when Denoille fell out of the wagon dead, and the horses becoming frightened ran half a mile at the top of their speed, until one fell and arrested the flight of the others. Nichols now sprang out, followed by Mrs Denoille, whom he urged to conceal herself before the Indians came up; but being bereft of her reason by the shock of the tragedy, she insisted on returning to find her husband; and Nichols, hiding among the rocks, escaped to Carson's farm that evening. When a rescuing party went out from Silver City after Denoille's body, which was stripped and mutilated, nothing could be learned of the fate of his wife. A scouting party was immediately organized at Camp Lyon. At the Owyhee River the troops came upon a camp, from which the inmates fled, leaving only two Indian women. These women declared that Mrs Denoille had not been harmed, but was held for ransom. One of them being sent to inquire what ransom would be required, failed to return, when the troops retreated to camp to refit for a longer expedition. Col Coppinger and Capt. Hunt immediately resumed the pursuit, but the Indians had escaped. About the middle of Dec. a scouting party attacked a camp of twenty savages, killing five and capturing six. Some of Mrs Denoille's clothing was found on one of the captured women, who said that the white captive was taken south to Winnemucca to be held for a high ransom. It was not until in the summer of 1868 that the truth was ascertained, when to a scout named Hicks was pointed out the place of the woman's death, and her bleaching bones. She had been taken half a mile from the road where the attack was made, dragged by the neck to a convenient block of stone, her head laid upon it, and crushed with another stone. The Indian who described the scene, and his part in it, was riddled by the bullets of the company. Boisé Statesman, Oct, 24, 26, and Dec. 17, 1867; Owyhee Avalanche, June 13, 1868.
  36. Rept Sec. War, 1867–8, i. 79; Oregonian, Dec. 23, 1867.
  37. Steele was born in Delhi, N. Y., graduated at West Point in 1843, and received a commission as 2d lieut in the 2d reg. U. S. inf. He served under Scott in Mexico, and was bre vetted 1st lieut, then captain, for gallant conduct at the battles of Contreras and Chapultepec; and was present at the taking of the city of Mexico. After the Mexican war he was stationed in Cal., on duty as adj. to Gen. Riley. At the outbreak of the rebellion he was ordered to Missouri, where he was soon promoted to the rank of major in the 11th U. S. inf. For gallant services at Wilson's Creek, he was made a brig. gen. of volunteers; and for subsequent services brevetted maj. gen. On leaving Oregon he was granted an extended leave of absence, from which he anticipated much pleasure, but died suddenly of apoplexy, in S. F.
  38. See general order No. 5 district of Owyhee, in Oregonian, Nov. 1867.
  39. So named by Curry's troops, who crossed it in a thunder-storm in 1864. Rept Adjt-Gen. Or., 1866, 41.
  40. Gantt had reasons for his humility. He had been engaged in several raids during this spring, driving off the stock from Mormon basin between Burnt and Malheur rivers, and capturing two trains of wagons. At length the farmers organized a company, and in concert with the troops from Camp Colfax, inflicted severe chastisement on a portion of this band. Bigfoot, also, on the east side of Snake River, was captured by the farmers' company of the Payette and the troops from Boisé fort, who happened to come upon his camp at the same time, surrounding it, when the Indians surrendered. Oregonian, June 24, 1868. Meanwhile, in the Owyhee district the usual murderous attacks had been going on. In May the Indians again shot and killed the driver of the stage, Robert Dixon, between Boisé City and Silver City; and shot and wounded the passengers in another wagon. In March they had murdered a farmer named Jarvis, near Carson's farm. Owyhee Avalanche, March 21, 1868. In June they stole stock and killed a young man named Jonas Belknap, in Mormon basin, who went to recover the horses, cutting his body to pieces, and sticking it full of pointed rods with slices of fat bacon on the ends. Boisé Statesman, June 13, 1868. The party which went to find these Indians was attacked in a cañon, and Alex. Sullivan was killed.
  41. See letter to Gov. Ballard of Idaho, in Oregonian, July 29, 1868; Overland Monthly, 1869, 162.
  42. Among the relics returned were articles belonging to three deserting soldiers, whose fate was thus ascertained.
  43. Mess. and Docs, 1868–9, 380–6; Hayes' Indian Scraps, v. 142; Oregonian, July 13, 1868.
  44. See Senate Joint Resolution, no. 6, in Or. House Jour., 1868, 85–6; Or. Laws, 1868, 99–100, 102–3; Or. Legis. Docs, 1868; Governor's Message, 4–5.
  45. The facts here stated are taken from the military correspondence in the dept of the Columbia, copied by permission of General Jeff C. Davis, to whose courtesy I have been much indebted. For convenience, I shall hereafter refer to these letters as Military Correspondence, with appropriate date. The above expression of opinion was dated May 8, 1869.
  46. 'I did not order them to go with Mr Meacham, for the reason that I have their confidence that I will do or order only what is best and right, both for themselves and the government.' Military Correspondence, Dec. 7, 1869.
  47. 'Among these bands,' says Gen. Crook, 'and those near Harney, are some as crafty and bad as any I have ever seen, and if they are retained in the vicinity of their old haunts, and the Indian department manages them as they have other tribes in most cases, they will have trouble with them.' Military Correspondence, March 4, 1809.
  48. 'I do not remember giving any Indians permission to stay here, but I have said that if they came I would not send them back, because they said they could live better here. I shall, however, advise the Indians to go over and see Mr Meacham, in the hope that he will rectify any neglect or wrong that may have been done them.' Otis to Ivan D. Applegate, in Military Correspondence, July 18, 1870. Applegate, in reply, says that the Indians were well fed and well treated during the winter, but that crickets had destroyed their growing grain, and Meacham's arrival had been delayed, owing to the tardiness of the Indian department in the east, besides which reasons, sufficient to discourage the unstable Indian mind, Archie McIntosh, one of the Boisé Indian scouts, had been making mischief on the reservation, by representing that Otsehoe was wanted with his people at Camp Warner.
  49. Ind. Aff. Rept, 1873, 320–4; H. Ex. Doc., 99, 43d cong. 2d sess.; Owyhee Avalanche, Oct. 11, 1873.
  50. Winnemucca's people refused to remain at the Yakima agency, and made their exodus a few years ago to Nevada, whence they came.