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Fort Walla Walla

We reached Fort Walla Walla July 19th, after a march of twelve and a half days. The fort is almost on the ground of the Walla Walla Council which I attended three years ago, when those tribes we are now to fight were all represented, and their, great leader, Kamiaken, was himself present. It is in a beautiful spot of the Walla Walla valley, well wooded and with plenty of water. Ten miles distant is seen the range of the Blue Mountains, forming the south-eastern boundary of the great plains along the Columbia, whose waters it divides from those of Lewis river. It stretches away along the horizon until it is lost in the dim distance, where the chain unites with the Snake River Mountains. At this post are stationed four companies of the First Dragoons and two of the Ninth Infantry. The Dragoon officers are Major Grier, Lieutenants Davidson, Pender, Gregg and Wheeler. The Infantry officers are┬áColonel Steptoe, Captains Dent and Winder, Lieutenants Fleming and Harvie. Besides these, are Captain Kirkham, Quarter-master, and Dr. Randolph, Surgeon. The dragoon cantonment and the infantry post are about a mile apart, and we are encamped between them. The two companies of the Fourth Infantry, which were lately ordered up here, have had their orders changed and go to Simcoe. A command, consisting of three hundred men, leaves there on the 15th of next month for the Yakima country, under Major Garnett. One of the first persons who came into camp to see us was a Cayuse Indian, Cutmouth John, who was Lieutenant Gracie’s guide through this country three years ago, when...

Indian Grievances and Camp Stevens Treaty

Long before the Indian buried his tomahawk and ceased to make war upon the white man, the government adopted the policy of inquiring into the causes of his grievances and in cases where such grievances could be conciliated without jeopardizing the interests of the government or of bonafide citizens, that step was usually attempted. In the investigation of these matters it was found that in some instances the difficulty grew out of some act of the government itself, interpreted by the Indians to be detrimental to their interests; in some, from the wanton encroachment of irresponsible citizens; and yet in others from the intrigues of men whose interests were inimical to those of the government, or of some nearby community; but the trouble was most often due to the Indians’ fear of trespass upon their territory; of being deprived of land without due compensation, and, frequently, to his in appreciation or misunderstanding of the government’s attitude toward him. For several months prior to the opening of the spring of 1858, and during the early part of that spring, there were evident signs of irritation and unrest, among certain tribes of the northwest, which were portentous of evil results. Some of these tribes were strong in membership and their relations to each other were such that defensive or aggressive alliances could be readily formed so that, if occasion arose, very serious resistance could be offered to any force of the army available for service in this section. Much correspondence was had, therefore, between commandants of forts in the northwest and the general commanding the Department of the Pacific, with reference...

Biography of Col. T. R. Cornelius

COL. T.R. CORNELIUS. – In view of the prominent part sustained by Colonel Cornelius in the Indian wars of our early history, as well as in our political history since, it seems best to give at length the interesting picture of his connection with those wars. This is done mainly in his own language, and hence preserves the vividness of his own recollections. T.R. Cornelius was born November 16, 1827, in Howard county, Missouri. At an early age he moved with his parents to Arkansas, and in 1845, then a youth of nineteen, came with them to Oregon. The company of thirty wagons, to which his father, Benjamin Cornelius, with his family, belonged, was organized on the frontier under Captain Hall. At the Malheur river some forty wagons of the train followed Stephen Meek, who, for a consideration of three hundred dollars, agreed to pilot them by a shorter and better route to The Dalles. Meek, however, proved wholly ignorant of the country; and the journey hence was most disastrous. He led them into sage-brush plains and alkali deserts, to spend twenty-four hours at a time without grass or water, and once nearly two days. Many died from exposure to heat, and from other hardships. Cattle sank down, and were left to perish. Game, except jack-rabbits and sage-hens, altogether failed. At length, at a place called Last Hollow, a council was held, and amid various opinions to go south, north, to continue west, to go back the way they came, or to stay where they were, fearing to leave the water, it was decided by the Cornelius party to...

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