Collection: Northwestern Fights and Fighters

The Salmon River Expedition

On the 24th of June, 1877, seven days after the battle of White Bird Canon, Troop H, First Cavalry, left Mount Idaho by the roundabout way of Florence for the little settlement of Slate Creek on the Salmon River. Slate Creek empties into Salmon about six miles above the mouth of White Bird. The Indians were still in camp on the riverbank and had possession of all trails between the two points. The march was through the mountains over an old, abandoned trail, obstructed by rocks and fallen timber; and, although it was mid-summer, snow and rain fell almost incessantly

The Battle of the Clearwater

On quitting camp at Slate Creek, Oregon, I marched my troop, consisting of thirty enlisted men and three officers, to a crossing some miles below the settlement on Salmon River and put them across – horses swimming, men and packs by canoe. This movement was in obedience to an order from General Howard to join his immediate command in pursuit of the Indians via the Salmon River hills. The hostiles had been confronting the General’s command at the mouth of the White Bird Creek, they, the hostiles, being on the farther side of the river, and the command under General

The Battle of the Big Hole

Brave old General Gibbon, the hero of South Mountain, was on the war-path. On receipt of General Howard’s despatch that the Nez Percés were coming his way, he hastily summoned Company F, of his regiment, from Fort Benton, and D from Camp Baker, to move with all possible speed to his post. Meantime, he gave orders that Company K and every man that could be spared from Fort Shaw should prepare at once for the field. When Companies F and D arrived there, he took the field at their head, with the troops detailed from his own post, and moved

Battle of Clearwater

The most fearful excitement prevailed at this time, and citizens and friendly Indians and their families flocked from all directions to Fort Lapwai for protection. All kinds of rumors as to Colonel Perry’s destruction and indiscriminate massacres were flying in to the post from all sources and directions. Lewiston was made the base of supplies and the concentration of troops was actively pushed. Troops were soon hastening to the scene of trouble from all directions. Captain Whipple, in Indian Valley, near the Wallowa, made forced marches with Company L, First Cavalry. The few troops at Fort Walla Walla and those

General Howard’s Comment on Joseph’s Narrative

On reading in the North American Review for April the article entitled “An Indian’s View of Indian Affairs,” I was so pleased with Chief Joseph’s statement – necessarily ex parte though it was, and naturally inspired by resentment toward me as a supposed enemy – that at first I had no purpose of making a rejoinder. But when I saw in the Army and Navy Journal long passages quoted from Joseph’s tale, which appeared to reflect unfavorably upon my official conduct, to lay upon me the blame of the atrocious murders committed by the Indians, and to convict me of

Major Boutelle’s Account of His Duel with Scar-faced Charley

In the latter part of November, 1872, Mr. Odeneal, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the State of Oregon, appeared upon the scene and sent word to Captain Jack of the Indians that he was at Link ville and to meet him there. Jack not responding, he was informed that Odeneal would be at Lost River two days later to talk to him. Instead of making preparations for his suggested meeting he despatched Mr. I. D. Applegate to Fort Klamath asking that troops be sent to move the Indians. Mr. Applegate arrived at Fort Klamath about five o’clock in the morning

The Capture of Captain Jack

The Modocs were a small band of Indians, located on Lost River, Oregon. Lost River empties into Tule Lake, which lies partly in California and partly in Oregon. These Indians, numbering about seventy-five or eighty adult men capable of bearing arms, were camped near the mouth of the river, and bordering on the lake. They traded back and forth to Yreka, California, and many could speak a little broken English. So far as I could learn they were entirely peaceful, and, according to tradition, their ancestors for many generations had inhabited that region. This, however, was not included in the

The Last Fight of the Campaign

From the Report of Brig.-Gen. H. C. Hasbrouck, United States Army (Retired) I marched from Redding, California, my Battery B, Fourth Artillery, being equipped as cavalry, under the command of Captain John Mendenhall, Fourth Artillery, April 19, 1873, and arrived at Promontory Point, April 28th. April 29th marched under Captain Mendenhall to Captain Jack’s old stronghold in the lava-beds. May 7th I left the stronghold in command of my own battery and Troops B and G, First Cavalry, and arrived at Peninsula Camp, May 8th. May 9th, under verbal instructions of the Department Commander, marched to Sorass Lake in command

The Killing of the Commissioners

There were a great many tragical and pathetic happenings in the lava-beds during the Modoc War in 1873. In fact, all occurrences were tinged more or less with diabolism. Now these matters acquired in the minds of every one the feeling just expressed by reason of the hesitancy with which the campaign was prosecuted. At least, that is my own humble opinion. The mail-carriers were kept busy and the wires were kept warm conveying every word spoken and every movement undertaken in the vicinity of the seat of war to Washington, and from Washington to the Peace Commissioners; and everything

The Seventh Cavalry at Canon Creek

The winter of 1876-77, following the “Little Big Horn” campaign, was spent by the Seventh Cavalry very quietly in posts along the Missouri and vicinity, resting, reorganizing and awakening to a realizing sense of what the previous season’s campaign had meant to us. Early in the winter rumors reached us that the regiment was to take the field in the early spring, so that when orders reached us in early April for eleven troops of the regiment to move out under Colonel and Brev. Maj.-Gen. Samuel Sturgis, we were not at all surprised. On April 30th eleven troops of the