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Indian Battles For The Past Year and The Officers Engaged

Extract From The “General Orders.” Indian Battles For The Past Year and The Officers Engaged. General Orders NO. 22 Head Quarters of the Army, New York, Nov. 10, 1858 The following combats with hostile Indians in which the conduct of the troops, including volunteers and employees in the United States military service, is deserving of high praise for gallantry and hardships have occurred, or been brought to the notice of the General-in-Chief since the publication of General order. No. 14, of 1857, viz: XIV. September 1, 1858. The expedition under Colonel Wright, 9th infantry, composed of companies C, E, H and I, 1st dragoons; A, B, G, K and M, 3d artillery; and B and E, 9th infantry aggregate five hundred and seventy with a company of thirty Nez Percés Indians, marched from Fort Walla Walla, Oregon, on the 7th and 15th of August; crossed Snake River on the 25th and 26th; established a post at the crossing, which was left in charge of Brevet Major Wyse and his company D, 3d artillery; and, after a march of nearly a hundred miles, mostly over a forbidding country, during which they were twice attacked came upon a large body of united Spokan, Coeur d’Alene and Pelouse Indians, of which some four hundred were mounted. After securing his baggage and supplies, by leaving them under the guard of Company M, 3d artillery, with a mountain howitzer, and a detachment of fifty-four men, commanded by Lieutenants H. G. Gibson, G. B. Dandy and Lyon, the whole under Captain Hardie, 3d artillery. Colonel Wright moved with the rest of his force against the...

Battle of Spokane Plains Official Report

Official Report Of Colonel Wright Head Quarters, Expedition against Northern Indians, Camp on Spokan River W, T., 12 miles below the Falls. September 6, 1858. To Major W. Mackall, Assistant Adj’t. General TJ. S. Army: Sir: I have the honor to submit the following report of the battle of the Spokan Indians fought by the troops under my command on the 5th inst1 Our enemies were the Spokans, Coeur d’Alenes, Pelouses and Pend ‘Oreilles, numbering from five to seven hundred warriors. Leaving my camp at the “Four Lakes” at 6 A. M. on the 6th, our route lay along the margin of a lake for about three miles, and thence for two miles over a broken country thinly scattered with pines, when emerging on to the open prairie, the hostile Indians were discovered about three miles to our right and in advance, moving rapidly along the skirt of the woods, and apparently with a view of intercepting our line of march before we should reach the timbers. After halting and closing up our long pack train, I moved forward, and soon found that the Indians were setting fire to the grass at various points in front and on my right flank. Capt. Keyes was now directed to advance three of his companies, deployed as skirmishers, to the front and right. This order was promptly obeyed, and Capt. Ord with Company K, Lieut. Gibson with Company M, and Lieut. Tyler with Company A, 3d Artillery, were thrown forward. At the same time Capt. Hardie, Company G, 3d Artillery, was deployed to the left, and the howitzer under Lieut. White, supported by...

Battle of Four Lakes Official Report

Official Report Of Colonel Wright, After The Battle Of The “Four Lakes.” Head Quarters, Expedition against Northern Indians, Camp at “Four Lakes;’ W. T. Lat. 47″ 82 north. Long. 117” 89 west September 2d, 1858. Sir: I have the honor to submit the following Report of the battle of the “Four Lakes,” fought and won, by the troops under my command, on the 1st inst. Our enemies were the Spokan, Coeur d’Alene, and Pelouze Indians. Early in the morning of the 1st, I observed the Indians collecting on the summit of a high hill, about two miles distant, and I immediately ordered the troops under arms, with a view of driving the enemy from his position, and making a reconnaissance of the country in advance. At half past 9 A. M. I marched from my camp with two squadrons of the 1st dragoons, commanded by Brevet Major W. N. Grier, four companies of the third artillery, armed with rifle muskets, commanded by Capt. E. D. Keyes; and the rifle battalion of two companies of the 9th infantry, commanded by Capt. F. T. Dent; also one mountain howitzer, under command of Lieut. J. L. White, 3rd artillery, and thirty friendly Nez Percés Indian allies, under command of Lieut. John Mullan, 2nd artillery. I left in camp all the equipage and supplies, strongly guarded by company “M,” 3rd artillery, commanded by Lieuts. H. G. Gibson and G. B. Dandy, one mountain howitzer manned, and in addition a guard of fifty-four men under Lieut. H. B. Lyon, the whole commanded by Captain J. A. Hardie, the Field officer of the day. I...

Conclusions of the Pacific Indian War

The older officers regard the campaign we have just past through, as one remarkable in many respects. One is, the little loss which has been sustained. But two men have died, and those from eating poisonous roots. But one man has been wounded in action; and we have lost, by all the difficulties of marching through the forests and crossing rivers but three horses and about fifty mules. It is a proof of the skill and judgment with which the expedition has been conducted. For our freedom from loss in the two battles, I have already stated we are indebted to the fine discipline of the men, the skill of the commanders, and to the long range of our rifles. Had we been armed with the old muskets, the result might have been very different. The whole campaign, indeed, would undoubtedly have ended, as it now has done, in the humbling of the Indian tribes, but we should probably have missed many from our ranks, when the column marched back to Walla Walla. The object, too, was most thoroughly accomplished. The Indian tribes, hitherto so troublesome and defiant, have been entirely subjected. They have been taught the power of the government, their worst chiefs have been cut off and hostages given sufficient to keep them in obedience. Of their head men who are hostile, none remain but Kamiaken, and Schroom, his brother. The former is reported to have fled into the Blackfeet country, and the latter is probably with him. They will certainly have no disposition to place themselves again in collision with the whites. It is probable, too,...

Return to Fort Taylor

October 1st.The artillery battalion, one troop of dragoons, the commissary and quarter-master’s train, and the Indians and hostages under charge of Lieutenant Fleming, all under the command of Captain Keyes, left the camp on Pelouze River about six in the morning, and after marching eighteen miles, reached Snake River at noon and crossed over to Fort Taylor. We encamped on exactly the same ground we had occupied before the campaign. At the Fort, Major Wyse and Dr. Brown received us with the greatest hospitality. October 2d This morning we took leave, with many regrets, of Lieutenants Mullan and Owen. The former is under orders for Fort Vancouver, and the latter for Fort Dalles, to resume his duties as Adjutant of the Ninth Infantry. At noon. Colonel Wright, with the rest of the command, arrived at the river, and crossing over, encamped half a mile up the Tucanon. A salute was fired from Fort Taylor, in honor of Colonel Wright, as soon as he appeared on the opposite side. October 3rd. Orders had been received for us to remain on Snake River, and we supposed, therefore, that for the present we had finished our march. Early this morning, however, an express arrived rescinding the former orders, and making Fort Vancouver the place of our destination. The camp was therefore broken up, and we marched two miles and encamped on the Tucanon. In the afternoon Major Wyse joined us with his command, Fort Taylor having been abandoned by the troops. It was left in charge of an old Pelouze chief, named Slaviarchy. October 4th, Left camp at half-past six this morning....

Pelouze (Palouse) Council

September 26th. Left camp at half-past six this morning, and marched over a rolling, grazing country. By the side of a small cotton wood grove we saw the remains of thirty-four Indian lodges, probably deserted on the first advance of the troops into this country. Some of the lodge poles, from their magnitude, showed that the lodges must have been of considerable size. We marched fifteen miles and encamped on Silseepovestlem creek, where the water was good, but not plentiful. Today was the coldest we have had on our march. September 27th. We broke up camp between six and seven in the morning, and marched ten miles. The day was exceedingly cold, and it rained hard all the time. The men, however, bore it cheerfully, for their faces were homeward, and in a few days they expect to reach Fort Taylor. For a few miles our way lay through the open timber, by the side of a large lake. We camped on a small stream. September 28. Began our march at six o’clock this morning through a level, rocky country. We made about twenty-five miles during the day, finding water plentiful, our way, at one time, being along the banks of a lake. The grass for most of the distance of our route had been burned off. Through the whole day the weather was threatening, and before night the rain began pouring down. “We encamped on a tributary of the Pelouze, about two miles above its junction. Just before going into camp, we passed the grave of some distinguished Indian chief. It was large, covered with stones, and surrounded...

Dead of the Battlefield

We are now only about ten miles from Colonel Steptoe’s battle ground, and this morning a small force was dispatched to the place to try and recover the remains of the gallant men who were killed in that action, that with proper ceremonies their comrades may commit them to earth, paying to them the last honors which a soldier can have. They are also to search for the two howitzers which were cached in the neighborhood. The party will be gone about two days, and consists of three companies of dragoons, Major Grier’s, Lieutenants Gregg’s and Pender’s, together with Lieutenant White, with the howitzer mules, to bring in the guns. Dr. Randolph, who (as well as Lieutenant Gregg) was in the battle, accompanied the command. Lieutenant Howard was also with them, together with Lieutenant Mullan and his party. The latter, as Topographical Engineer, was sent to determine the position of the battle ground, while his assistants will make a map and sketches of the place. Some Spokans and Coeur d’Alenes went as guides. Today the Colonel had brought before him the Pelouze chief and ten warriors, who came into the camp on the 21st, representing themselves to be Nez Percé, They are such a worthless set, that there is no idea of treating them with the consideration shown to the other Indian tribes. The Colonel, therefore, told them, “they had no business to fight against the soldiers, and he was going to punish them.” He then put the chief and two others in irons, and told the rest to go and bring in their people, and if they did...

Owhi and Qualchien

This evening, Owhi, the brother-in-law of Kamiaken, came into camp, as he said, to make peace. I first saw him, as I did Kamiaken, three years ago at the Walla Walla council, where he opposed all treaties to cede their country, not only with great zeal but with much ability. His speech, of which I took notes at the time, particularly impressed me. It was thus: “We are talking together, and the Great Spirit hears all that we say today. The Great Spirit gave us the land, and measured the land to us. This is the reason that I am ‘ afraid to say anything about this land. I am afraid of the laws of the Great Spirit. This is the reason of my heart being sad. This is the reason I cannot give you an answer. I am afraid of the Great Spirit. Shall I steal this land and sell it? or, what shall I do? This is the reason why my heart is sad. The Great Spirit made our friends, but the Great Spirit made our bodies from the earth, as if they were different from the whites. What shall I do? Shall I give the land which is a part of my body, and leave myself poor and destitute? Shall I say, I will give you my land? I cannot say so. I am afraid of the Great Spirit. I love my life. The reason why I do not give my land away is, I am afraid I shall be sent to hell. I love my friends. I love my life. This is the reason why...

Spokan Council

September 22d. We left camp at half-past six this morning, and marched seventeen miles through a rolling country, occasionally diversified by open timber. When we reached camp, we found that the head chiefs and warriors of the Spokans had come in, accompanied by Father Joset. Kamiaken and Tilkohitz were in last evening, but their courage seemed to have failed before the time of meeting Colonel Wright, and they went off again. Colonel Wright sent Gearry (the Spokan chief) and Big Star out after Kamiaken, telling him to come in and he should not be harmed; but if he did not surrender himself, he (the Colonel) would hunt him down until he captured him, and then put him to death. Kamiaken has been for years the most powerful chief among all these tribes, and at the same time the most relentless enemy of the whites. He is the head chief of the Yakimas, his mother having been a Yakima, and his father a Pelouze This gave him great influence with both these, tribes, and by his talents he has acquired authority with all the northern Indian nations. He seems to occupy the same position with them that Tecumpsah formerly did with our north-western tribes. My first acquaintance with him was at the Walla Walla Council, three years before. There, it was evident that he was the great impediment in the way of any cession of the Indian lands. While the other chiefs, one by one, came into the measure, and even Looking Glass, the war chief of the Nez Percés, at first entirely hostile, at last yielded to the force...

Coeur d’Alene Council

The Coeur d’Alenes have always been remarked for their determined opposition to the whites. They perseveringly set themselves against any intrusion into their country, and if they had possessed strength to carry out their wishes, their hunting-grounds would never have been trodden by the foot of a white man. It was from this trait that they received their name Coeur d’Alene pointed hearts, or hearts of arrows. They were now for the first time to meet the whites in council, where their only hope was in unqualified submission. It was the first meeting of the kind on, our expedition, and we were now to witness the effect of the severe lesson which the Indians had been taught. The council met in front of Colonel Wright’s tent. A bower had been hastily constructed of branches of trees, and in this sylvan saloon we were to meet the sons of the forest. At one end was the Colonel, surrounded by his officers, while the rest of the space was filled by the Coeur d’Alenes, generally (as an Indian chief once expressed it) “resting on the bosom of their mother earth.” About a hundred and fifty were present. Our two regular Interpreters were there, and also Father Joset from the Mission, who lent us his aid in interpreting to Vincent, when the latter repeated it to the other chiefs present. The Council was opened by Vincent, the Coeur d’Alene chief, who addressed Colonel Wright thus: “I have committed a great crime. I am fully conscious of it, and am deeply sorry for it. I and all my people are rejoiced that you...
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