Collection: Northwestern Fights and Fighters

Jackson’s Expedition

The Modoc Indians belong generally to the races known as “Digger Indians” – from living largely upon esculent roots which the squaws dig, dry and cache for winter subsistence, – but they are much superior to the average Digger Indian, and are more nearly allied in character -and by intermarriage -to the “Rogue Rivers,” a warlike tribe, now about extinct, inhabiting at one time the western slope of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon. Schonchin was chief of the tribe when the treaty was made with the Klamaths, Modocs and Yainaskin Snakes, by which these tribes, for the consideration offered by

Carrying a Stretcher through the LavaBeds

About the most saddening, as well as the most fatiguing, experience which happened in my career as a soldier in connection with the above, took place at the lava-beds during the Modoc Indian War, 1873. The brave Capt. Evan Thomas, Fourth Artillery, and his small command had just been massacred or dispersed, and the relief under the command of Col. John Green, having arrived on the ground late in the evening, drove off the few remaining hostiles, and wearily awaited the approach of day to commence the search for the bodies of the slain and wounded. Early in the morning

Reminiscences by Major J. G. Trimble

The Kind of Country They Marched Over Should an officer stationed in Oregon receive an order about the 25th of December to march his company three hundred miles to take part in an Indian war, both he and his men would, most likely, consider the same a very cool proceeding. And they did. Now, this is about the distance from Camp Harney to the Modoc country. Our instructions were “light marching order,” instead of comfortable wagons where one could stow a tent and numberless blankets. However, what comforts or necessaries could be taken along were piled upon those unfortunate mules

Story of Bugler Brooks

Morn amid the mountains, cold’s the hour before the dawn; also dark. So it was that autumn night on Camas Meadows, away up in Idaho, under the sentinel shadows of the great peaks of the Three Tetons. How still the cavalry camp, with its tired troopers, snatching what sleep they can before beginning another day’s pursuit of Chief Joseph’s hostiles. A shot! Another! A dozen! A regular rattling volley! A bugle blast – Brooks’ bugle, always musical, now stirringly imperative in its call to arms – the cool, firm orders of Mayor Jackson – and, above all, the Indian yells

The Disaster to Thomas’ Command

I have always considered the disaster to Major Thomas’ command as one of the saddest in our military history. It was a small affair, but so senseless and unnecessary, and such a waste of a good life. About a week or ten days after the last fighting in the lava-beds, which resulted in the expulsion of the Modocs and their retreat to a point near what was known as the Land Butte and Black Ledge, Major Mason’s command, consisting in part of the troop with which I was serving, was in bivouac in “Jack’s Stronghold.” About eleven o’clock in the

Anecdotes of Chief Joseph

With the death of Chief Joseph, the famous leader of the Nez Perces, the United States has lost its most celebrated Indian. Joseph, since the death of Red Cloud and Sitting Bull, has been the most discussed American Indian. He was the last of the great warrior chiefs. Descendant of a long line of fighters, chieftain, since early manhood, of the Nez Perce tribe, and followed with constant devotion by his dwindling people, Chief Joseph was the last Indian leader who dared to put up a real fight against civilization; and in his desperate Waterloo he put up a fight

The Battle of Camas Meadows

During the memorable campaign against the Nez Perce Indians, in the year 1877, there were many stirring incidents that have never been given to the public, and notably among these is the Camas Meadow fight of Capt. Randolph Norwood’s Company L, of the Second Cavalry. In the early part of the summer we had assisted the Fifth Infantry, under Col. Nelson A. Miles, in rounding up and capturing the remnant band of Cheyenne Sioux, under Lame Deer, and bringing them into the cantonment at the mouth of Tongue River. Shortly after arriving there, Gen. W. T. Sherman and staff, and

First Battle of the Modoc War

Perhaps few places on earth, of like area, have cost so much in blood and treasure as Klamath land, and yet it may be worth the price, dear as it was, for it is one of nature’s brightest gems. The native possessor held it with a tenacity which compels us to admire his patriotism, his reverence for the land of his ancestors, while we deprecate the methods of his warfare. As he would put it: “Here is the dust of my fathers. Better for me to die here than to be removed to any other country. If I die here

Chief Joseph’s Own Story

Chief Joseph’s Own Story: With an Introduction by the Rt. Rev. W. H. Hare, D.D., Bishop of South Dakota 1This and the following chapter are taken from The North American Review for 1879, by the gracious permission of Messrs. Harper and Brothers, the present publishers of the magazine and the owners of the copyright. – C. T. B. Wish that I had words at command in which to express adequately the interest with which I have read the extraordinary narrative which follows, and which I have the privilege of introducing to the readers of this Review. I feel, however, that

The Battle of White Bird Canon

The Wallowa Valley is fifteen or twenty miles east of the Grande Ronde Valley in eastern Oregon, and had long been a bone of contention between the whites and a band of non-treaty Nez Percé Indians under Chief Joseph. The whites claimed the right of settlement under the United States Land Acts, and while no determined effort on their part was made to take up homestead, preemption or other claims, yet they kept it as a grazing ground for their cattle, while the Indians denied them the right to such privileges, claiming to themselves the entire control of the valley