Topic: Battle at Tohotonimme

The Spokanes in Council

Headquarters Expedition against Northern Indians Camp on the Ned-whauld River, W. T. Lat. 47 Deg., 24 Min. N. September 24, 1858 Sir: I have the honor to submit a continuation of the history of my operations since the 21st, the date of my last communication (No. 18). Marching from my camp on the morning of the 22d, at the distance of three miles we emerged from the woods onto the open prairie, and after pursuing a west-southwest course for eighteen miles over a rolling country thinly studded with pines we reached this place and encamped. Before reaching here I was advised that the whole Spokane nation were at hand, with all their chiefs, headmen, and warriors, ready and willing to submit to such terms as I should dictate. Yesterday at 10 o’clock a. m. I assembled the Indians in council, and after enumerating the crimes they had committed, I made the same demands upon them which had been made upon the Coeur d’Alenes. Speeches were made by the principal chiefs. They acknowledged their crimes, and expressed great sorrow for what they had done, and thank fullness for the mercy extended to them. They stated that they were all ready to sign the treaty and comply in good faith with all its stipulations. The chiefs Garey, Polothin, and Mil-kap-si were present; the first two are Spokane, the last is a...

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Retribution for Previous Losses

Headquarters Expedition against Northern Indians, Camp on the Spokane River, W. T., 16 miles above the ‘Falls’ September 9, 1858. Sir: I remained during the 6th at my camp, three miles below the falls, as my troops required rest after the long march and battle of the previous day. No hostile demonstrations were made by the enemy during the day; they approached the opposite bank of the river in very small parties and intimated a desire to talk, but no direct communication was held with them, as the distance was too great and the river deep and rapid. Early on the morning of the 7th I advanced along the left bank of the Spokane, and soon the Indians were seen on the opposite side, and a talk began with our friendly Nez Perces and interpreters. They said that they wanted to come and see me with the chief Garey, who was nearby. I told them to meet me at the ford, two miles above the falls. I halted at the ford and encamped; soon after Garry crossed over and came to me; he said that he had always been opposed to fighting, but that the young men and many of the chiefs were against him, and he could not control them. I then told him to go back and say to all Indians and chiefs, ‘I have met you...

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Measuring Strength with the Northern Indians

Having crossed the river and being now properly in the land of the enemy, a final inspection of the different branches of the command and equipment was made before moving forward. Ominous signs had for several days appeared in the north. Smoke arising at various points during the day and the illuminated horizon at night indicated that the grass was being burned over a broad front, plainly denoting also that Indian scouting parties were vigilantly covering every nook and corner of that vast region. But few doubted that somewhere beyond that fire line the hostiles were preparing to the...

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Wright’s Order 6

Orders No. 6. Headquarters Expedition against Northern Indians Camp on Snake River, at Mouth of the Tucanon August 19, 1858 The field work erected at this place will be called “Fort Taylor. 1Named in honor of Captain Taylor, who fell in Colonel Steptoe’s engagement with the Northern Indians. Captain Keys, commanding the battalion of the 3rd artillery, will designate a garrison for Fort Taylor, of one company, or at least sixty-five rank and file, exclusive of officers. The two six-pounders will be mounted in Fort Taylor. The two mountain howitzers, with ammunition, &c., complete for field service, will be turned over to an officer to be designated by Captain Keys. Assistant Surgeon Brown is assigned to duty with the garrison of Fort Taylor. The troops of all arms will be held in readiness to cross the river as soon as the fort is completed. By order of Colonel Wright P. A. OWEN, First Lieutenant 9th Infantry, A. A. A. G.” Headquarters Expedition against Northern Indians Camp on Snake River, at Mouth of Tucanon August 19, 1858 Sir: I reached this point yesterday, and Captain Kirkham, with the pack train and residue of the supplies, arrived this morning. The field work at this place is progressing rapidly, and will be ready for occupancy within four days. On my march from Fort Walla Walla the weather was in tensely hot, and...

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Wright’s Order 5

On the return of Lieutenant Davidson to Walla Walla with the supply train, as directed in Orders No. 3, Colonel Wright, being in readiness, moved forward with but brief delay. While yet at Walla Walla he issued the following orders for the government of the command throughout the coming campaign. Orders No. 5. Headquarters Expedition against Northern Indians Camp Near Fort Walla Walla, W. T. August 14, 1858 The residue of the troops for the northern expedition will march from Fort Walla Walla tomorrow, and unite with the advance at the Snake River. Marching from Snake River, the order will be as follows: The dragoons The mountain howitzer company The battalion of artillery serving as infantry The rifle battalion of 9th infantry Pack train of corps and headquarters One company of infantry as rear guard General trains of quartermaster and commissary. The mounted troops will not precede the howitzer company more than four hundred yards, and on approaching canons or defiles where dragoons cannot operate on the flanks, they will be halted and the rifles advanced. No firearms of any description will be dis charged, either on the march or in camp, except in the line of duty, without the special authority of the commanding officer. No person except the employees of the staff departments and officers’ servants will be allowed to accompany the troops or to encamp with...

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Wright’s Order 3

Chief Timothy was proud of his own record of friendly relationship with the whites, and his counsel to his people was ever to preserve a spirit of good feeling between the two races. He possessed an old flint-lock gun which, he said, was given to his father by the explorers, Lewis and Clark, and which he valued highly as an heirloom. He himself remembered the visit of the explorers, and in his declining years loved to recount the events which clustered around the coming and going of the first party of federal officials that ever traveled across the continent. Colonel Wright did not accompany the column from The Dalles to Walla Walla, the command for that movement probably having been given to Captain Erasmus D. Keys of the Third artillery. The colonel, with a suitable escort, reached Walla Walla a few days after the arrival of the force. Immediately after the arrival all arms of the command were put through rigorous drills which were continued daily by way of preparing for the exigencies of the northward movement. The Third artillery companies, with the exception of Major Wyse’s company, drilled twice a day at light infantry tactics. Major Wyse practiced his company in the regular artillery drill, using mules for the mounted battery instead of horses, as had there to fore been the custom. Some unusual interest was observable among...

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Preliminaries Before the Battle at Tohotonimme

The events of Colonel Wright’s expedition against the Indians who opposed the advance of Colonel Steptoe are set forth in detail and at length in his own reports and letters. These appear in full in the following pages with the interjection of such information from other sources as the author deems expedient for the purpose of rendering the narrative complete. Preceding the reports of the expedition is also the pertinent correspondence leading up thereto. Because of the exactness and completeness of detail which characterize these reports, written from the field, as they were, during the progress of the campaign, their value as historical matter could hardly be improved upon; therefore no apology is offered for their appearance in this volume. In order to be in closer touch with operations which were decided to be necessary for the subjugation of the northern Indians, General Clarke, after receiving full intelligence of Colonel Steptoe’s defeat, proceeded to Vancouver, Washington Territory. In the meantime it had come to his knowledge that the Hudson Bay Company’s pack train at Colville, consisting of some two hundred horses, was about to start for Fort Hope to bring in the year’s supplies, and that it was intended to bring also about two thousand pounds of powder with a proportionate quantity of ball. It had previously been the custom of the company’s agent at Fort Colville to barter...

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Casualty Report – Battle at Tohotonimme

Report of the killed, wounded and missing in the battle at To-hoto-nim-me, May 17, 1858 Company C, First Dragoons. Killed Brevet Captain O. H. Taylor Private Alfred Barnes Mortally wounded Private Victor Charles De Moy Severely wounded Privates James Lynch and Henry Montreville Slightly wounded Farrier Elijah R. Birch Company E, First Dragoons Killed Second Lieutenant William Gaston Mortally wounded First Sergeant William C. Williams Severely wounded James Kelly, William D. Micon, and Hariet Sneckster. Slightly wounded James Healy, Maurice Henly, Charles Hughes, and John Mitchell. Company H, First Dragoons Killed Privates Charles H. Harnish and James Crozet Missing First Sergeant Edward Ball 1It is said that Sergeant Ball assisted the commissary in carrying out the orders to destroy the liquor in the evening at the close of the battle, and being overcome by the effects of the spirituous ration, made his way through the darkness to the creek, where, under cover of the brush, he stretched himself in slumber. He was awakened by the chill air of the early morning and after advising himself that no other representative of the command remained about the field, he put off in pursuit of his fleeing comrades, reaching the fort some time after their arrival. He was a man of sterling qualities as a fighter and possessed great powers of endurance. He was especially commended for his courage by Colonel Steptoe....

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