Colonel Wright Arrives with his Regulars
On December 21, 1855, the volunteers in the Walla Walla Valley were faced with a new snow-fall followed by a temperature of 20 degrees below zero. Their equipment and clothing did not con-form to the needs of the weather. Shoes were worn out and many of the men improvised moccasins from rawhide. Blankets and jackets had worn thin. Camp was moved from Fort Bennett to a location several miles north of present-day Walla Walla. There was plenty of beef and ample supplies of potatoes in the new camp and these provisions were supplemented by recovered caches of Indian food with sometimes a ration of something less common. Meanwhile, two companies under Major Ambrose N, Arm-strong were busy recovering property stolen from immigrants. But the volunteers were anxious to return home. They had been in service for several months and the comfort of a home fireside was certainly preferable to a thin tent in sub-zero weather. So Governor Curry, on January 16, 1856, issued a proclamation calling for the recruiting of five companies to relieve the veterans. Recruiting moved quickly and the new troops arrived at Walla Walla on March 1st.
When the Walla Walla had vacated their village on the night of December 5-6, they had gone to the country north of the Snake River. The volunteers could not pursue them because there were no boats so several weeks were spent in constructing six craft to be used in crossing the river. On March 9, 1856, the reorganized regiment crossed the river about 30 miles southwest of the junction of the Palouse. A few Indians congregated to oppose the crossing but they were repulsed with some casualties and the loss of their horses. The horses were slaughtered for food and the command proceeded northeast to the falls of the Palouse where it was decided to camp and await the arrival of supplies from The Dalles. The commissary train reached them on March 23rd when the troops again set out. The weather had turned unusually hot. Their course was due west for 60 miles to what is now the site of the town of White Bluffs on the Columbia River. The country traversed on this march was poor land having little water or grass. Many of the horses died. Several days were spent in rounding up enough Indian horses to re-mount the troops. On March 30th the soldiers again started out, swinging around and returning to the valley of the Walla Walla. There was a recurrent shortage o food and part of the force was detached to go into the Umatilla country and forage for food. It was a poor existence and the troops were often hungry. Also their period of enlistment was about to expire.
Colonel Cornelius was concerned about the inadequate commissary service and the further fact that he had received no news about potential relief by regular soldiers and decided that he should confer with Governor Curry. Accordingly, on April 6 he set out for The Dalles with a part of his command. His route was along the north bank of the Columbia and on the 4th day he was attacked by Kamiakin, Chief of the Yakima, with about 300 warriors. The Indians were repulsed, only one soldier being wounded. The troops could not follow up their victory because of short supplies and continued their march. On April 28th they were camped five miles from The Dalles. There the Indians stampeded the horses leaving the command one of foot soldiers instead of mounted infantrymen. In the meantime Lieutenant-Colonel Kelly, with the remainder of the regiment at Fort Henrietta had suffered a similar raid, on April 21, a large band of Indians having surprised the guard and driven off 45 head of horses.
Colonel Cornelius conferred with Governor Curry, as a result of which the regiment was mustered out of service. For those who wished to continue their enlistment, two companies were organized. One was assigned to protect the Walla Walla Valley and the other the Tyghe Valley. In May an additional company was sent to the latter section, the provisional battalion being commanded by Major Davis Layton.
Meanwhile, the regular army was finally taking affirmative measures to move into the war.
It will be recalled that General Wool had been at Vancouver during the winter. With the mail steamer from San Francisco on January 11, 1856, came word of the Indian troubles in Southern Oregon and Northern California, necessitating the General’s return to San Francisco. Starting his trip down the Columbia his vessel met a transport headed for Vancouver. Aboard was Colonel George Wright and eight companies of the 9th United States Infantry. General Wool assigned Colonel Wright to the command of the Columbia River district. The General’s ship proceeded to sea and later met another vessel northbound aboard which was Lieutenant-Colonel Silas Casey with two companies of the 9th United States Infantry. The General ordered Casey to the command of the Puget Sound district.
Among Colonel Wright’s orders were these: he was to establish his headquarters at The Dalles and to assemble there all the troops which he might find it necessary to use in the Yakima War; to set up a military post at Walla Walla; another on the Yakima River; another midway between The Dalles and the Yakima River post. The strategy called for preventing the Indians from fishing, thus threatening their food supply and advancing the probability of capitulation.
Arriving at Vancouver Colonel Wright took his time, remaining there several weeks after the first five companies of the First Regiment of Oregon Mounted Volunteers had reached -the up-per hostile country. By early March, Colonel Wright began moving his troops to The Dalles, in the course of which movement a large quantity of army supplies were piled up at the Cascades of the Columbia River about 40 miles west of The Dalles. The Cascades were caused by a large number of rocks and rocky islands, with swiftly rushing water in their many channels, making it necessary to portage freight along the shore for a distance of several miles. Small steamers carried the army’s supplies from Vancouver to a point just below the Cascades where un-loading occurred. The goods were then transported around the dangerous rocks and re-loaded on other small steamers above the rapids, then completing the transport to The Dalles. There was a small settlement on the north bank of the river at both the lower and upper ends of the cascades. After the Yakima outbreak of the preceding October, a blockhouse had been erected between the two settlements and there a company of troops was quartered to protect the portage of army supplies. By mid-March all the troops left at Vancouver were ordered to Fort Steilacoom and the company at the Cascades was ordered into the field except eight men under Sergeant Matthew Kelly who were left to garrison the blockhouse. The settlement at the upper end of the Cascades included the store of Bradford & Company. On March 26th, two days after the main body of the garrison had left, the little village was awake bright and early for there was work to be done. A wooden railroad track was being built to re-place the mule-power portage, a bridge was being built from Bradford’s store to one of the rocky islands. The steamer Mary was tied up nearby waiting for cargo, and the steamer Wasco was moored on the south side of the river. Suddenly the residents were startled by the Indian war-whoop. The settlers were taken by surprise. Indians were everywhere. The miller, his wife and brother-in-law were killed, scalped and their bodies thrown into the river. Some of the crew of the Mary were ashore and their return to their ship was cut off by the Indians. The hostiles at-tacked the boat but in spite of wounds and a reduced crew the Mary was swung into the stream. The Wasco, sensing the trouble, started moving across the river. The two boats picked up several men who had fled-from the Indians. Others were not so fortunate, but all who survived made their way to Bradford’s store, which was a strong log building of two stories. About 40 people reached that haven, 19 of them men. One of the 19 was shot as he opened the door to see if he could observe any signs of three men marooned on the island. Some government rifles and ammunition had been left at Bradford’s for forwarding to Vancouver. The guns were too few to arm the remaining 18 men but all of them could not give their attention to shooting be-cause the Indians began throwing combustibles onto the roof. While some of the defenders shot at any Indian coming within range, others put out the fires by shoving the burning embers off with sticks forced through the roof or by tossing cups of brine from a barrel of pickled pork, or by chopping out a burning section.
However, the gunfire from the store inflicted casualties among the hostiles and they became more cautious though there was still no respite for the besieged. There was no water in the store and none dared venture to the river without the risk of almost certain death as a reward for the attempt. Night came and the Indians set fire to several buildings, thus lighting the area so that escape was impossible. Some of the occupants had been wounded. The few bottles of ale and spirits in stock were soon used. All agreed that if the store should -burn that they would run to a flatboat tied up nearby and go over the falls, preferring that kind of death to torture by the Indians. A young Spokane Indian, brought up by whites in the neighborhood, did succeed in getting one bucket of water but the risk was too great and he did not try again. The night dragged itself into another day. Neither steamboat was in sight. There was not only no water but little food. The second night came and the Indians burned more buildings. Towards morning the young Spokane again volunteered to get water and at the same time the body of the man who had been shot the day before was slid into the river.
Meanwhile word had reached the settlement at the lower end of the falls. Among others living there was George Griswold who learned from the Cascade Indians that the Yakima were attacking. The neighborhood was quickly alerted and men, women, and children jumped into boats and headed for Vancouver. A few men staid by to unmoor a schooner and some smaller boats and succeeded in getting them into the stream only after one man was wounded.
Some of the Yakima with a few Klickitat allies moved down from Bradford’s to the small fort or blockhouse midway to the lower Cascades. The soldiers at the blockhouse ran out a small cannon, thus succeeding in keeping most of the Indians at a distance. All up and down the north shore of the Cascades things were in confusion. No one knew what was happening” except in his immediate neighborhood. All were sure that someone must have reached Vancouver with an appeal for help. Their hopes were gratified on the morning of March 28 when the steamers Mary and Wasco nosed into the landing at the Upper Cascades, having come down from The Dalles. Soldiers poured off the boats and at once began searching for Indians who had taken to the woods.
These soldiers were of Colonel Wright’s command, which was on its way from The Dalles to Walla Walla to establish a military post. When the steamer Mary had arrived at The Dalles a messenger was sent to the Colonel who was encamped at Five-Mile Creek. As soon as Wright heard the news he marched his men, consisting of 250 officers and men, back to The Dalles and boarded the two steamers on the night of the 27th, but difficulties with the boiler of the Mary delayed sailing until the following morning. Immediately upon landing Colonel Wright organized a relief force which he placed under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Edward J. Steptoe, whose subordinates were Captains Winder and Archer, with two companies of the 9th’ Infantry, a detachment of dragoons from the 3rd Artillery under Lieutenant Tear, and a small group under Lieutenant Piper to handle a howitzer. They were to advance on the block-house at once and from there move down to the lower landing.
In the meantime events were transpiring at Vancouver, It will be recalled that one company of regulars had been left there when the main force had started for The Dalles arid that the remaining company was under orders to go to Fort Steilacoom. As soon as news of hostilities at the Cascades was received, the post commander, Colonel Morris, took several measures. First, believing that Vancouver might be attacked, he moved all women and children to the Hudson’s Bay Company’s old fort. Then, obeying his orders from General Wool, he refused arms and ammunition to the volunteer home guard. At the same time he detailed 40 regulars, commanded by Lieutenant Phil Sheridan, to proceed by the steamer Belle to the Cascades. This detachment sailed on the morning of the 27th. The Belle met the schooner and smaller boats which had succeeded in getting away the previous day and accepted the offer of their crews to join his expedition.
The steamer reached the lower Cascades, found the settlement there destroyed, and proceeded to land on the south shore. Sheridan reconnoitered the upper settlement from the south shore and learned from the Cascade Indians what had been happening. He then crossed to the north shore and while disembarking was at-tacked by the Indians, two soldiers being killed. Sheridan then withdrew out of range but could not advance because of the in-tense pressure from the Indians.
While these events were occurring, other affirmative action was being taken. A volunteer company had been hastily recruited in Portland, the commander being L. G. Powell. He had about 60 men, equally divided between those from Portland and those from Vancouver. They sailed on the steamer Fashion and arrived at the lower Cascades shortly after the Belle, but like Sheridan’s force, were unable to advance up river because of the intensity of the Indian attack. However, they did land and took up a defensive position. The Fashion went back to Portland and returned next day with 40 more volunteers under Captain Stephen Coffin, together with a detail of regular replacements and a supply of ammunition.
Lieutenant Sheridan placed his howitzer on a barge and occupied the attention of the Indians on the river bank as Lieutenant-Colonel Steptoe’s force approached from the north, Then one of those things happened which upsets opportunity. With the Yakima between the troops of Steptoe and Sheridan, surprise and defeat for the Indians seemed certain, when a bugle call sounded from Steptoe’s command and the Indians vanished into the forest. Instead of heavy casualties for the hostiles, there was one dead Indian and one dead soldier.
Two companies of Oregon Volunteers returned home on the 29th and Colonel Wright arranged for the erection of two blockhouses, one on the cliff north of Bradford’s store and the other at the lower Cascades. There were 15 white people killed or died of wounds in the attack on the Cascades and the wounded who recovered numbered twelve.
Colonel Wright ordered the arrest of a number of the Indians but since the Yakima had fled and with them certain of the Klickitat and a few of the Cascade Indians who had chosen to join the hostiles, those arrested consisted only of Chief Chenoweth of the Cascade tribe and eight of his warriors. They were tried fairly and the verdict resulted in the execution of all nine. Others of the tribe were also arrested and sent as prisoners to Vancouver. An island was set aside for the Cascades and the Colonel issued orders to shoot any Cascade Indian found off the island.
Again the controversy between the volunteers and the regulars was revived. The ubiquitous General Wool quickly reported on the errors of the volunteers and the expense incident to placing Oregon and Washington volunteer units in the field, and even went so far as to fabricate property losses caused by the volunteers, which had never occurred. Actually, Major Haller, Major Rains, and Colonel Wright, the latter under the direct orders of General Wool, all of them regulars, suffered appreciable losses of government property, and in the case of Colonel Wright, who was responsible for leaving the Cascades settlement virtually un-guarded, there was ample blame for the massacre and destruction there.
Colonel Wright collected his forces and returned to The Dalles late in April, from where he again set out. Snow was two feet deep in the mountains but by April 30 the command was camped on the north shore of the river 25 miles east of The Dalles. Lieutenant Davidson, with a detachment, was sent ahead to look for Indians but none were seen. The troops moved on and May 6th found them in camp seven miles north of Ahtanahm Mission on the creek of the same name. Here a few Indians were seen but none were killed or captured. On the night of the 6th the camp was attacked and the prairie set afire. The Indians were vigorously repulsed, but next morning great numbers of the hostiles were seen on the hills near camp. On the 7th the troops overtook a party of Yakima under Chief Skloom. This chief would make no promises of peace or consider any terms without first consulting Kamiakin and others of the leading chiefs. A messenger was sent to invite them to parley.
Colonel Wright waited all day on the 8th without results and on the morning of May 9th set out to the north with his command. Indian messengers followed him but he moved on to the Natches River from where he sent word that he would receive the chiefs in his new location. The Colonel’s courier found Chiefs Skloom, Showwaway, Owhi, Teies, and Kamiakin holding council and being addressed by young Peu-peu-mox-mox, Chief of the Walla Walla, who urged that the tribesmen continue the war until autumn. The council decided against visiting Wright that day although several messengers were sent to the Colonel. Finally Wright notified Kamiakin that unless the Indians wanted to treat for peace that there was no point in interchanging messages and, further, that unless peace purposes were indicated that he would begin firing on any Indians who approached within range. Thereupon Kamiakin sent word that all the chiefs wanted peace and that they would call upon the Colonel the following day, first sending their warriors away. The morning of May 10th came and a large movement of Indians was observed traveling northward but no chiefs appeared at Wright’s camp. The Colonel sent a detachment of dragoons to locate a place where the Natches River could be forded but the stream was high and the search was unsuccessful. That night a friendly Klickitat told Wright that only two chiefs, namely Skloom and Showwaway, wanted peace, that the majority favored war, and that the camp would be at-tacked either that night or early on the 11th. At this information Wright sent a courier to Lieutenant-Colonel Steptoe asking for a joining of the two forces on the Columbia River.
Affairs remained in status quo until the 15th when a number of Indians came to the opposite bank of the Natches River with the information that most of the chiefs were assembled and wished to talk. Several days passed during which a number of chiefs came into camp to talk with Wright but Kamiakin was not one of them.
It began to seem clear that the Indians were stalling for time, their purpose being to lay in a supply of salmon for the coming winter. The salmon run up the tributaries of the Columbia had not started and Wright wanted to conclude a peace treaty when the Indians were without assurance of food for a long campaign.
On May 27th Steptoe’s troops came up, the combined regular force thus numbering 500 plus those necessary for the ammunition and supply trains. Earth fortifications were erected on the Natches River to protect the reserve supplies and to shield the 60 or more men to be left as a guard. A temporary bridge was thrown across the river so that the troops could reach the Indians’ favorite fishing places on the nearby streams. Joel Palmer was still Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Wright sent the friendly Klickitat to reservation and advised Palmer to similarly dispose of the Cascade Indians, Wright’s plan being to clear the region of all but hostiles and then crush them in a single battle.
The chiefs continued to spar for time. Many messengers ex-pressing a desire for peace filtered into Wright’s camp and finally about mid-June Wright sent word that if the chiefs really wanted peace they would have to come in and talk it over. Chiefs Owhi and Teies complied and said that the cause of the war was the treaty of Walla Walla which had been more or less forced on them by Governor Stevens, Superintendent Palmer, and the military officers who had accompanied them. Wright replied that the Indians had nothing to gain by war; that if they continued fighting all the braves would be killed and their women and children would starve. The Colonel said that he was their friend and in-formed the two chiefs that it was his order that all the chiefs come into his camp within five days during which the property plundered from immigrants should be turned over to the troops and a peace talk held. But the order was not obeyed. All the chiefs did not come in. The Oregon Volunteers were still in the Palouse country and Skloom and Showwaway had gone there, leaving their women and children with Chief Owhi.
So, the five days having passed, Wright took the field. He moved to the Yakima River leaving Steptoe at the Natches fortification with three companies and a howitzer. Wright marched about 200 miles and collected a number of Indian women, children, and old men and sent them to the reservation in Oregon. Aside from that task he accomplished little except perhaps for the fact that he met with an old chief named Nikatani who told him of the role played by Kamiakin and others in the attack on the Cascades. From that information it appeared that Kamiakin had sent about 30 of his young warriors to the Klickitat tribe, ordering them to influence the Cascade Indians to join in the attack. His instructions were to wait until both steamboats were tied up at the Cascades, then attack, burn the boats, thus cutting off escape and aid, kill all the whites from the Upper to the Lower Cascades, and then await further orders. It developed that about 20 young Klickitat joined the Yakima and all proceeded on the mission to influence the Cascade Indians. Most of the Cascade chiefs refused to cooperate but many of their young warriors joined in the attack with the results already detailed. Nikatani said that two Cascade chiefs, Chenoweth and Banahi, had set fire to their own houses to make it appear that they had been attacked and then took part in the massacre.
In the meantime, as indicated elsewhere, Governor Stevens had been busy west of the Cascade Mountains. In mid April, 1856, there had been the general uprising in the Puget Sound country, inspired by Kamiakin’s agents. The settlers in the valleys all fled to the more populous centers. Seattle was besieged and was saved only by the providential appearance of United States gun-boats. The Indians murdered anyone caught out alone. Conditions were serious. Fortunately, Stevens knew what to do and lost no time about it. Having cleared up the Seattle situation with the aid of the navy, he sent a battalion of Washington Volunteers under Colonel B. F. Shaw to reinforce the Oregon Volunteers east of the mountains. Again General Wool had instructed his officers to oppose the volunteer plan but Stevens understood the current needs as well as he understood the character of General Wool.
Colonel Shaw crossed the Cascade Mountains at the Natches Pass and joined Colonel Wright’s force on the Natches River, but Wright declined Shaw’s services so the latter marched to the valley of the Walla Walla with his command except for 75 men who joined the Oregon Rangers under Major Davis Layton. The latter force marched through the John Day country capturing Indians and sending them to the reservation, keeping the Indians’ horses. These expeditions under Wright, Shaw, and Layton gradually deprived the Indians of their means of livelihood, the taking of the horses, particularly, minimizing the opportunities for depredations or aid to the active hostiles. More than 900 of the Wasco, Tyghe, DesChutes, and John Day tribes surrendered and all of them were placed on the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon. However, the Cayuse, Walla Walla, and a few sympathetic Nez Perce were still fighting.
Governor Stevens, as will be remembered, was also Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Washington Territory and prepared for the annual distribution of goods to the tribes who had remained friendly. He sent word to William Craig, Indian Agent, to invite the Coeur d’Alenes and the Spokane to join die main body of Nez Perce in the latter’s country for a council. Craig was also still a Lieutenant-Colonel of Washington Volunteers and currently in command of a picked force of Nez Perce chiefs and principal men numbering about 60. On May 27, 1856, he sent a letter to Stevens giving a personal appraisal of the situation in his district. In effect the report recited that most of the tribes had joined in the war, their goal being to exterminate the whites and any Indians who remained friendly to the settlers. Craig pointed out that promised supplies had not reached him and that ammunition was in short supply. He said that he would be compelled to flee with his Indian allies if help did not arrive soon and begged for at least two companies of volunteers.
This appeal resulted in immediate action. Captain Goff’s command escorted a supply train from The Dalles to Walla Walla. On July 8th there were 290 men under Shaw and 60 Nez Perce under Craig and Chief Spotted Eagle in the Walla Walla Valley. A pack train of 100 animals was sent to the Nez Perce country under the charge of Special Indian Agent Robie.
Shaw’s instructions from Stevens were to overlook no opportunity to subdue the hostiles. So Shaw, learning that a large force of hostiles had congregated in the Grand Ronde country, decided to attack them. This he did on July 17th, defeating the Indians decisively and inflicting heavy casualties. He captured many horses and some ammunition, and destroyed the Indians’ food supplies. Meanwhile Major Layton was on the Snake River fighting small bands of hostiles wherever found. All of this campaigning had the effect of nullifying the influence of the Spokane over the Nez Perce tribe, but it was a fact that the Spokane had been successful in considerable measure with the Nez Perce in the absence of the 60 chiefs and other principal men under Craig. So great, indeed, was that influence that when Special Agent Robie arrived with his pack train he was ordered out of the Nez Perce country and marched back the 100 miles without a halt.
After Shaw’s victory at the Grand Ronde he sent an emissary to the Nez Perce saying that he was their friend but that if they wanted war he would see that they got it. As a result the Nez Perce sent messengers insisting that their friendship for the whites was firm.
The Oregon Volunteer units finished their service in August and the Washington Volunteers in early September, which marked the end of the active participation of volunteers in the Yakima War. Colonel Wright notified Governor Stevens that four companies of regulars under Lieutenant-Colonel Steptoe would be sent to occupy the Walla Walla country.
When Governor Stevens learned that the Nez Perce had re-fused the supplies sent to them and that only Chief Lawyer of the leaders remaining at home would acknowledge treaty obligations, he instructed Shaw to send messengers to all tribes, friendly or hostile, to meet the Governor on September 25th, but with the condition that the hostiles would surrender unconditionally. Stevens asked Wright to be present with three companies of regulars but Wright refused.
So Stevens set out on August 19th from The Dalles. He had 30 wagons, 80 oxen, and 200 other animals, and no escort except the supply train employees. About 48 hours behind him came the baggage and supply train of the regulars under Steptoe. Stevens arrived in the Walla Walla Valley on the 23rd and immediately sent messengers to all the tribes telling them of his plan to meet with them for final settlement of their difficulties. Several days passed before the first Indians appeared. They comprised a group of Nez Perce accompanied by Agent Craig. A week later others of the Nez Perce came in. Following them was Father Ravelli, whose station was at the Coeur d’Alene Mission and who said that Kamiakin, Owhi, and Qualchin, all Yakima chiefs, refused to come to the council. Kamiakin’s home bordered the land of the Spokane, who were much influenced by him and who also refused to attend. The rest of the northern tribes followed the pattern set by the Spokane. On September 10th the Cayuses arrived with some of their allies and camped near the Nez Perce but did not extend the courtesy of the usual ceremonial visit to Governor Stevens. The Cayuses had recently captured a pack train on its way to Colonel Shaw’s troops and had burned the grass off the country through which they had traveled so that any mounted troops would find no subsistence for their horses.
Stevens moved his camp six miles to be near Steptoe’s command as the Governor feared an attack. The council, vastly smaller than had been hoped, opened on September 11th and lasted until the 18th. Nothing was accomplished, partly because the regular army officers, under General Wool’s direction, refused to back up Governor Stevens, so the latter decided to return to The Dalles. He was escorted by some of Colonel Shaw’s troops under Captain Goff. On the 19th and on the 20th the Indians at-tacked them several times and the result would have been disastrous except that Lieutenant-Colonel Steptoe brought up his troops and turned the tide, losing two of his soldiers in the battle. Subsequently General Wool reprimanded Steptoe for act-ing as an escort to volunteers.
Governor Stevens went back to the Puget Sound country. General Wool wrote his superiors of the Governor’s return saying that he hoped the Governor would remain at home but that he anticipated that Stevens would attempt to renew the war. The General wrote a long report, often departing from the facts, and placing all the blame he could on Governor Stevens for the unsettled conditions of the territory.
Colonel Wright went to Walla Walla and called a council. Only five chiefs obeyed the summons, three of them being Cayuses and two Nez Perce. The Yakima, Spokane, Walla Walla, and DesChutes chiefs ignored the summons entirely. Wright held his abbreviated council and reported that he was well satisfied with the statements of the chiefs present that they wanted only peace and quiet and that the treaty which Stevens had made in December, 1855, had caused all the hostilities.
Governor Stevens also made a report to the Secretary of War in which he criticized Colonel Wright for usurping the duties of the Superintendent of Indian Affairs and accused Wright of weakening the influence of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
By November 20th Colonel Wright had established Fort Walla Walla. He placed Lieutenant-Colonel Steptoe in charge, Wright himself returning to The Dalles. There Wright arranged for water transport of supplies on the Upper Columbia, the fore-runner of commercial navigation enterprises there. He strengthened the military defenses of The Dalles, re-distributed his forces, all of whom spent the winter of 1856-57 without further Indian trouble.