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War With The Modoc – Indian Wars

Early April 16th, the Modoc had a big fire in their camp. Major Thomas dropped a shell directly into it, provoking a frantic war whoop, and causing the sudden extinguishing of the fire. Another shell was dropped in the same locality, and was followed by yells of pain and dismay. The Modoc then appeared and challenged the soldiers to come out and fight. Another shell was the answer, and they were driven back. At 4 o’clock A. M. , after another fight, the Modoc gave up the attempt to break through the line and retired. Scattering shots were fired on the men who attempted to advance on them. At 9 o’clock Gen. Gillem‘s command moved forward from the position gained on Tuesday, and soon occupied the ledge next to Jack’s camp. Col. Mason moved the right forward as rapidly as possible to form a junction with Gen. Gillem‘s left, cutting off the Modoc from the lake, their only source of water supply. The junction was affected at noon. At 2 p. m. the mortars were throwing shells within excellent range. Col Greene fell back behind the ledge, awaiting the Modoc, should the shells drive them out. After the firing the Modoc replied with yells. After the fifth shell there came a raking fire and a small party of men sprang out of the chasm and came into the lines amid a shower of bullets. The falling back was caused by the Modoc flanking and opening a crossfire. Col. Miller, attempting to form a junction with the Warm Spring Indians, missed them as he swung down into the great chasm with thirteen men, whereupon Miller...

Captain Jack, Modoc Indian Tribe

The famous warrior, more correctly called Keiutpoos, was born about the year 1840. Little is known of his early history. His fame rests upon his desperate fighting in the lava beds in the winter of 1872-73. In some respects the most extraordinary warrior in the annals of Indian fighting, it is yet a very difficult matter to decide whether Keiutpoos is to be regarded as an accident or a veritable Indian Hannibal. The location of that war was so singular, the forces of the Indians so small in comparison with those of the Whites, the slaughter of the latter so great and so unaccountable. The deliberate treachery of the Indians towards Canby and Thomas so coldly diabolical, the cost of exterminating the little band of savages so vast, and the final execution of Jack and his men so coolly and laconically met, that the attention of every read of history has been enchained; and, even with the execration which we must all feel for the atrocities of that savage band, we cannot avoid a lurking admiration for their amazing energy and daring. At the time of his execution Jack was apparently thirty-four or thirty-five years old, small of stature, with a large head, shaggy hair, and restless, piercing eyes. There was little in him to show his tiger blood, though the remark that he made to one of the commissioners early in the war showed the philosophy which guided his life. Refusing to go to the reservation to starve, as he said, he added; “Not hurt to be killed with gun. Hurt much to starve to death!” He seemed...

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