Copyright 2000 - 2003 - Janine M. Bork
This page is part of the Union County, OR AGHP
(1847 - 1848.)
Governer Abernethy's Message - Resolutions to Raise a Company of Mounted Riflemen for Immediate Service at Dalles - Citizen's Meeting - First Company Enrolled - Legislature Authorizes Raising a Regiment - Gilliam Elected Colonel; Other Officers - Efforts to Procure a Loan - Joel Palmer Appointed Superintendent of Indian Affairs - Peace Commission Appointed - Arrival of the Rescued Captives - Whitman Massacre - Skirmish with Hostiles Near Dalles - Advance of Colonel Gilliam with Troops - Fight at the Steve Meek Cut-off - Gilliam Marches for Waiilatpu - His Campaign on the Touchet - Victory Over the Palouses - Death of Colonel Gilliam - Maxon in Command - Appeal for Provisions and Reinforcements - Lee Appointed Colonel by the Governor, and Also Superintendent of Indian Affairs - Lee Generously Gives Place to Lieutenant-Colonel Waters, Who is Promoted to Colonelcy - Lee Accepts Commission as Lieutenant-Colonel - March Into Nez Perce Country - Close of Campaign - Battle of the Abiqua.
THE shocking barbarity of the Cayuses in the murder of the inmates of the Whitman Mission at Waiilatpu, and the prompt rescue of the surviving captives by Chief Factor Peter Skeen Ogden of the Hudson's Bay Company, have been narrated as the tragic close of the history of the Protestant missions of the interior. While Governor Ogden was on that mission of mercy to the hostile camps, to redeem the captives from the murderous and lecherous Cayuses, the Oregon Provisional government had inaugurated war against the perfidious murderers and their confederates in crime. On the 8th of December, 1847, Governor Abernethy thus addressed the assembled legislature of Oregon:
"It is my painful duty to lay the inclosed communications before your honorable body (1). They will give you the particulars of the horrible massacre committed by the Cayuse Indians on the residents of Waiilatpu. This is one of the most distressing circumstances that has occurred in our territory, and one that calls for immediate and prompt action. I am aware that, to meet this case, funds will be required, and suggest the propriety of applying to the honorable Hudson's Bay Company and the merchants of this place (Oregon City) for a loan to carry out whatever plan you may fix upon. I have no doubt but the expenses of this affair will be promptly met by the United States government."
On the reception of this message, upon motion of J.W. Nesmith, a resolution was unanimously passed, "authorizing the governor to raise a company of riflemen, not to exceed fifty men, rank and file, and to dispatch them forthwith to occupy the Mission
(1) Letter December 4, 1847, of James Douglas, Chief Factor Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Vancouver, inclosing letter of Chief Trader McBean, Fort Walla Walla, dated November 30, 1847. Letter of Alanson Hinman, Dalles, to Governor Abernethy, asking for protection of that state. See Oregon Spectator, Vol. XI, No. 23.
Station at the Dalles, and retain said station until they can be reinforced, or other measures be taken by the government." Messrs. Nesmith, Reece and Crawford were appointed a committee to advise the governor of the passage of said resolution.
Upon Governor Abernethy's call, a citizens' meeting was held that evening, which was addressed by Messrs. Nesmith, S.K. Barlow and H.A.G. Lee. Forty-five volunteers were enrolled on the spot. They assembled next day at the house of S.K. Barlow, and elected their officers; immediately thereafter they started for the Dalles (1). On the 9th of December, the House passed a bill authorizing the governor to issue a proclamation for a regiment of volunteer mounted riflemen, not to exceed five hundred men, to be subject to the rules and articles of war of the United States army, and to serve for ten months, unless sooner discharged. Oregon City, December 25th, was designated as the rendezvous. The regimental officers were to be elected by the legislature. The companies were to number not more than one hundred nor less than fifty, and elect their own officers.
Jesse Applegate, George L. Curry and A.L. Lovejoy were constituted a commission to negotiate a loan of $100,000 upon the credit of the territory, unless the debt should be discharged by the United States. The governor issued a proclamation calling for one hundred men. Later, he acted as the law had commanded, by calling for a regiment. The legislature elected Cornelius Gilliam, Colonel; James Waters, Lieutenant-Colonel; Henry A.G. Lee, Major; and Joel Palmer, Commissary and Quartermaster-General. Later in the session, A.L. Lovejoy was elected Adjutant-General. Joseph L. Meek was selected special messenger to Washington City, to urge upon the United States government the necessity of its assuming control of affairs. He carried a memorial couched in language of burning reproof of that neglect which the American settlers had experienced.
The Loan commission, on applying at Fort Vancouver, were denied a money loan, in consequence of peremptory orders from London to the officers in charge, "not to deal in government securities." Governor Douglas, in the most positive terms, expressed the cordial sympathy with the government "in its efforts to prevent further aggression, and to rescue from the hands of the Indians the women and children who survived the massacre." He promptly furnished those necessaries required to equip the first company, and place it in the field, accepting the personal security of Governor Abernethy and two of the Loan Commissioners (Applegate and Lovejoy). From the Oregon City merchants, loans amounting to $3,600 had been secured. Further efforts proved useless. Discouraged, the commissioners resigned; and a new Board succeeded, consisting of Lovejoy, Hugh Burns, and W.H. Willson. They met with no better success. For subscriptions, they were forced to take orders upon stores, and, in many instances, to realize cash, were obliged to heavily discount subscriptions. To make up the deficiency, and to supply the sinews of war, the volunteers and citizens furnished much from their private resources, either giving it outright, or, where the quantity warranted, taking a receipt or scrip for property furnished.
Jesse Applegate was dispatched overland to California to solicit aid from Governor mason, the military governor of California. After a laborious effort to cross the mountains, he was compelled to abandon the journey; and the dispatches, of which he was bearer, were forwarded by sea; but no aid came from any quarter. Alone, neglected, impoverished, Oregon, without a revenue, had no alternative. She was compelled to, and did successfully, wage that war. Colonel Gilliam, indignant at the refusal of the Hudson's Bay Company to furnish the loan, was reported to have threatened that he
(1) See roll of first company
of the Oregon Rifles, together with the other company rolls, at the end
of this chapter.
would supply himself and his little army at Fort Vancouver, and give a receipt for the property as evidence of a claim against the government. Douglas, having heard such rumor, mounted guns upon the bastions, and then addressed a letter to Governor Abernethy in regard to the reported threat. Governor Abernethy disavowed the act, and denied that such threat had been made, or that such intention existed. The status quo was restored, and good feeling between the executive and the Hudson's Bay Company's officers once more prevailed.
Joel Palmer had been also appointed Superintendent of Indian Affairs. A peace commission had been constituted by associating with him Major H.A.G. Lee and Robert Newell. Its purpose was to accompany the troops to the hostile country, from thence to visit the Nez Perces and other interior tribes, and to defeat, if possible, a combination of other tribes with the Cayuses. On Christmas night, the first company reached the Dalles. On the 13th, Lee had met Alanson Hinman, with his family, and Perrin Whitman, en route to the Willamette. Hinman's family continued on to the Cascades, whilst Hinman himself returned to the Dalles with the troops.
The Wasco Indians had continued friendly; nor had the property about the station been molested; but the immigrants' property, deposited at Barlow's Gate in the Cascade Mountains, had been stolen. On the 8th of January, 1848, the day fixed by the second proclamation for the companies to rendezvous at Portland, Governor Ogden, with the Waiilatpu captives rescued by him, arrived at Fort Vancouver. On the 9th, they reached Oregon City. The cordial reception of the captives and their deliverers, the correspondence between the officials, and the general joy, all bear witness to the grateful thanks of the American people of neglected Oregon to good old Peter Skeen Ogden for his humanity. He had proved himself "the friend in need, the friend indeed." Oregon's journal eloquently voiced the American sentiment: "The act of rescuing so many defenseless women and children from the bloody and cruel grasp of savages merits, and, we believe, receives, the universal thanks and gratitude of the people of Oregon. Such an act is the legitimate offspring of a noble, generous and manly heart."
The rescue had been sagaciously and promptly accomplished before the hostiles could be advised of the preparations by the Americans for the punishment of the murderers. Governor Ogden knew Indian character so well that he feared, if the Cayuses learned of threatened hostilities, they would excuse themselves for retaining their captives, or that they might proceed to extremities, and murder the survivors, who were their prisoners. To save those unfortunates, he called to his aid all the moral influence of the company and his own great prestige with the Indians, and used the company's property for the ransom. Their arrival in the Willamette settlements was not only a source of unalloyed joy, but greatly rekindled the war feeling. Colonel Gilliam (1) with an advance party of fifty men, on the 9th, set out for the Dalles, which station he reached on the 24th. Passing up the Columbia, at the portage of the Cascades, a supply station was established called Fort Gilliam. The stockade erected at the Dalles was called Fort Lee. It was the army headquarters; and here was mounted one nine-pounder, the only piece of artillery belonging to the Oregon Provisional government.
Before Gilliam's arrival, several skirmishes with the Indians had occurred. The hostiles had been discovered in the act of herding the immigrants' cattle, preparatory to driving them off. Major Lee, with several men, approached to warn them off, and were fired upon. A fight of several hours followed, in which three Indians were killed and one
(1) The names of the volunteers
who served in the Cayuse war will be found at the end of this chapter.
wounded. The Indians succeeded in driving off about three hundred head of stock. In this affair, Sergeant William Berry was severely wounded. The next day sixty Indian horses were captured. It was the custom, daily, to drive to pasture on a hill about three miles southeast of the fort the horses, numbering about fifty head, belonging to the command. Ten men formed the horse guard. The hostiles placed two horses on a hill at a short distance to decoy the guards. The men watched those two horses for several hours, believing them to be strays. No Indians being in sight, two of the youngest volunteers, Pugh (1) and Jackson, descended the hill to secure the horses, and were fired upon by the hostiles and both mortally wounded. They fought bravely, killing one Indian. The savages escaped, carrying off their dead and leaving Pugh and Jackson dead upon the field. On the arrival of Colonel Gilliam at Fort Lee, with a party of 130 men, he marched up the east side of the Des Chutes, putting to flight a number of war parties, who would fire and run. The hostiles made a stand near the crossing of the river on the "Steve Meek Cut-off," as it was called. As the troops passed down a deep ravine, the Indians fired upon them from the bluff. Two companies were ordered to dismount, charge up the hill, and dislodge them. The summit gained, scattering boulders afforded shelter for the Indians; but the troops quickly dislodged them, and killed several of their number. Antoine, a Spaniard, was here seriously wounded, the only casualty on the side of the troops. The Indians fled to their village, some two miles distant, keeping up a running fire. On the troops reaching their village, they found that ponies had been packed, ready to move, and that they had struck camp and left. The troops, being dismounted, could not profitably pursue them beyond the village. Caches were found containing ten bushels of peas, the same quantity of clean wheat, eight bushels of potatoes, dried berries, tons of dried salmon and sturgeon, besides some ladies' shoes, dresses and a clock, which were recognized as having been stolen from the wagons left, in the fall of '47, by Lot Whitcomb in the Cascades. Property which could not be carried away was burned.
Arriving near the Des Chutes river, the troops camped for the night. Strong guards were set and the fires all extinguished. At about midnight, Alexander McDonald went beyond the lines to secure a horse, supposed by him to be a stray, and was mistaken by the sentry for an Indian, who shot and mortally wounded him. He died about sundown the next day. All hostilities having disappeared from the vicinity of the Dalles, Colonel Gilliam prepared to march into the Cayuse country.
Governor Abernethy was extremely solicitous that the peace commission should reach the Dalles before Gilliam's advance. The commissioners arrived at the Dalles on the 10th of February with the companies commanded by Captains English and Thomas McKay, with the cannon designed for defensive operations at the front. The commissioners were to have preceded Gilliam's march, and the 14th had been fixed as the day for their start. On the 13th, news was received that a combination had been effected between several of the eastern tribes. This report determined Gilliam to advance with three hundred men the next morning to Waiilatpu. Captain Williams, with twenty-seven men, was left in charge of Fort Lee. Several officers and men, dissatisfied at being left at Fort Lee, and therefore not permitted to fight the Indians, returned from the Dalles to Willamette valley. The men were illy provided with necessary stores; but the spirit of the command was good. On the 18th, at the crossing of the John Day river, it was apparent that Indians had camped there the previous night. Major Lee advanced, but returned at midnight, without overhauling the hostiles. On entering the hostile Cayuse country,
of Captain J.H. McMillan, Oregonian, April 1, 1886.
Indians could be seen moving with their camps and stock towards the Blue Mountains. On the 23d, thirteen Des Chutes came in, requesting a council for their people. Their request could not be granted, but they were sent back to the Dalles, there to await the return of the commission.
Colonel Gilliam crossed the Umatilla on the 26th, and advanced to within three miles of the Cayuse camp, where he remained during the forenoon on the 27th. Along the hills, Indians appeared in great numbers, the main body indicating signs of hostility. From those who came into the camp, the commissioners learned that the messenger sent to notify the Nez Perces to assemble and meet with them had been sent back by hostile Cayuses. Another messenger was therefore sent. Great faith had been placed in the forwarding of letters to prominent men of the Nez Perces and other tries, asserting the desire for continued peace, and dissuading them from entering the hostile combination. That scheme proved useless; but the commissioners, in perfect good faith, had awaited the result. Colonel Gilliam, impatient at the delay and its consequences, had afforded every opportunity for the peace plan to have accomplished its purpose. On the 27th, Gilliam moved to the Columbia, the Indians having all disappeared through the night. To him it was plaint hat such movement signified no council by them. It meant defiance; it meant continued war. On the night of the 28th, Gilliam camped near Fort Walla Walla. The next day he moved six miles up the Walla Walla river, camping close to the camp of Peu-peu-mox-mox, who professed friendship, and supplied the little army with beef.
On the 2d of March, the troops camped at Whitman's mission. Gilliam there witnessed the evidences of havoc of the memorable 29th of November, '47, and the desolation of that cruel and unprovoked massacre of our people. On the next day, he sent a detachment of one hundred men to escort government messenger Joseph L. Meek and his little party beyond the hostile lines. He then set about constructing an adobe fort, which he called Fort Waters.
Impatient, and, as he regarded it, handicapped by the presence of the Peace Commission, which to him seemed to have no other practical purpose than to afford time for the guilty Cayuses to escape chastisement, he waited till the 9th, when he began moving towards the Cayuse camp. The Cayuses had disappointed the expectations of the commission by refusing to surrender Tau-i-tau and Tamsuky. Colonel Gilliam proposed to release five of the murderers if the Indians would deliver Joe Lewis to him. The commissioners having refused their consent to such proposal, withdrew from the council. Upon the next day they accompanied Captain English to Waiilatpu, from whence they returned to Oregon City.
Colonel Gilliam, with 158 men,
at once marched for Snake river. On the 11th, three Indians bearing a flag
returned some horses which had been stolen from the troops on the march
to Waiilatpu. Those Indians reported that Sticcas had captured Joe Lewis,
and was bringing him to Colonel Gilliam; that he had been rescued, and
that the property of the hostiles, which Sticcas was bringing to Colonel
Gilliam, had been retaken by the Indians. These reports led Colonel Gilliam
to doubt the good faith of Sticcas. The troops camped upon the Tucanon.
On the 13th, a message was received from Tau-i-tau, expressing a desire
to desert the hostile Cayuses. He gave the information that Tamsuky had
gone to Red Wolf's camp, on Snake river, and that Telau-ka-ikt, with the
rest of the Cayuses, had fled down the Tucanon, with the intention of crossing
Snake river into the Palouse country. After dark, Colonel Gilliam mounted
his men, and marched for the Indian camp at the mouth of the Tucanon, which
was reached before daybreak. When light enough
to advance, an old Indian approached and informed Colonel Gilliam that it was Peu-peu-mox-mox's camp, but that the stock feeding upon the surrounding hills belonged to hostile Cayuses. Having reached the summit of the bluff where the cattle grazed, the cattle were seen swimming across Snake river. Nothing then remained but to collect the horses, about five hundred head, and with them return to the Touchet.
Having advanced a mile on their return, the troops were attacked in the rear by four hundred Indians, mostly Palouses. A running fight was kept up all day. At night, Colonel Gilliam's troops camped several miles from the Touchet, upon a little stream, without food or fire, the Indians harassing them during the whole of the night by shooting into the camp. The stock was turned loose, but that did not tempt the Indians to leave. In the morning, the hostiles were still surrounding the troops. A running fire was renewed and continued until within two miles of the Touchet crossing, at which time the Indians, who were in the rear, attempted to dash by Colonel Gilliam's force to reach the crossing first. The fight was desperate; and the Oregon troops were over an hour in crossing the river. The volunteers, though greatly outnumbered, were victorious. Their loss was ten wounded. The Indian loss was four killed and fourteen wounded. The Indians made no further attempt to cross the river, nor to follow the troops. On the 16th, Colonel Gilliam's command reached Fort Waters. Recent occurrences had satisfactorily demonstrated that, while the Nez Perces, Walla Wallas and Yakimas would not openly and actively join the Cayuses, still the latter had pronounced allies in the Palouses, reinforced by renegades from the several tribes surrounding the Palouse country.
On the 18th, Colonel Gilliam held a council of war. It was determined that, with one hundred and sixty men, he should return to the Dalles, and escort a supply train to Fort Waters, leaving the fort, during his absence, in command of Lieutenant-Colonel Waters. The companies of Captains Maxon and McKay, on the 20th, set out for the Dalles with wagons for the transportation of return supplies. They had crossed the Umatilla and gone into camp. Colonel Gilliam was drawing from the wagon a rope to tether his horse, which caught on the trigger of a gun; and the load was discharged into his body, instantly killing him. Thus, by an ignoble accident, was sacrificed the life of the idol of the Oregon troops, a zealous, impetuous soldier, a natural-born leader, a brave and thorough patriot, a generous friend, a good citizen.
The command of the party devolved upon Captain Maxon. That officer made a report to the governor, and citizens of the Willamette valley, of the condition of affairs in the upper country, which was a distressing exhibit. For Waters was represented as a mere adobe inclosure a few feet high. Its garrison was destitute of clothing and other necessaries, the horses worn out. Of the animals recently captured, many had been claimed by and been returned to friendly Indians; that the terms of enlistment of many of the troops were about expiring; that one hundred and fifty men were at Fort Waters, without bread, and with their ammunition nearly exhausted. At Fort Lee, the condition was but little better, fifty men being without supplies.
Captain Maxon pathetically appealed
for bread, clothing, for the very necessities of life for the suffering
soldiery, and the supplies be hastened forward to the Dalles. Maxon's report
created an excitement throughout the settlements. The women organized themselves
into societies to labor for the support of the little army. The governor
called by proclamation for three hundred recruits. Meetings were held throughout
the Willamette valley; and, in response, two hundred and fifty volunteers
enlisted. Before those recruits were ready to take the field, Colonel Waters
advised the governor by letter
that Peu-peu-mox-mox had become hostile, his cause of complaint being the act of the legislature prohibiting sales of ammunition to Indians. That haughty Walla Walla chief had insolently demanded immunity from that law, and threatened to join the hostile combination. Sixty lodges, with three hundred warriors of the Walla Walla nation, were camped near Fort Walla Walla. Other Indian news was unfavorable. Tamsuky, Joe Lewis, and the sons of Telau-ka-ikt, were fleeing to Fort Hall. Sticcas and Tau-i-tau had retired to the mountains, determined to remain there till the war was over. The Cayuses, Palouses and renegade Nez Perces had resolved to make one more stand, before leaving the country to hunt buffalo. The news from the Dalles was more encouraging. Prominent men of the Yakima nation had visited Fort Lee, and had given assurances that the Cayuses had threatened them with war, but that neither they nor the Spokanes would join the hostiles. In those expressions of peaceable intention, the Yakimas had doubtless expected to be able to have secured ammunition. Instead of ammunition, however, they were presented with a plow; and, as they left, they pretended to be satisfied.
On the death of Colonel Gilliam, Governor Abernethy commissioned Major Lee as Colonel, overslaughing Lieutenant-Colonel Waters. Lieutenant Magone was promoted to the majority made vacant by Lee's promotion. General Palmer having retired from the Indian superintendency, Lee was appointed to that office. Colonel Lee, on commencing his new career, had a disagreement with Captain W.J. Martin, whose company had been numbered ten, Captain Martin claiming it should have rightfully been numbered nine. The colonel adhering to his view, Captain Martin and his two lieutenants, with twelve privates, returned from Fort Lee to Portland.
The new war policy, agreed upon by the governor and Colonel Lee, superintendent of Indian affairs, was: "Notice should be given to the Indians, that, after the expiration of such time as was named therein, any Indian found armed in the hostile country should be treated as an enemy." The new superintendent, on his way to Waiilatpu, at the John Day river, met an express from the Nez Perces, asking for a council. This hastened Colonel Lee's movements; and he reached Waiilatpu on the 9th of May. Tau-i-tau, Sticcas, Camaspelo, and other Cayuse chiefs, had returned to the Umatilla. They professed to be friendly; but the presence of great numbers of stock in the vicinity impelled the belief, that those Indians were really taking care of the stock of the murderers who had fled the country.
Affairs having been satisfactorily settled with the Nez Perces, who still refused to join with the Cayuses, Colonel Lee proceeded to hold a council at Umatilla with the Walla Wallas and those Cayuses who were not in the hostile combination. The arrival of reinforcements and a supply of ammunition at Fort Waters had had a salutary effect on the Indians. Says Colonel Waters: "The friendship of the Indians increases with our numbers." Peu-peu-mox-mox had renewed his professions of friendship for the Whites; but he had placed himself in a dilemma. Telau-ka-ikt was in the Palouse country. The attempt by Peu-peu-mox-mox to give up the murderers would necessitate war between the Palouses and the Walla Wallas. To have refused to make the attempt to secure and return the murderers to the Americans was but to invite hostilities, by the latter, against the Walla Wallas. Both Peu-peu-mox-mox and Tau-i-tau were, however, equal to the emergency. They made all the promises which the superintendent required, regardless of their inability to make good such promises.
Arrived at Fort Waters, Colonel
Lee, finding the men satisfied under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel
Waters, magnanimously offered to resign the colonelcy in favor
of Waters. The resignations of both were forwarded to the governor. The regiment filled the vacancies by electing Waters Colonel, and Lee Lieutenant-Colonel. Preparations were at once made to invade the Nez Perce country, where it was believed the Cayuse murderers were concealed. Leaving a small force to garrison the fort, the troops, numbering four hundred and fifty, marched out, camping that night on the Coppei. The next morning, Lieutenant-Colonel Lee, with Captain Thompson and 120 men, were ordered to advance to Red Wolf's camp, at the Snake river crossing, for the purpose of cutting off the retreat of the hostiles, who were fleeing towards the mountains. Colonel Waters, with the main body, was to cross at the mouth of the Palouse river, and prevent their escape to the Columbia. Several friendly Palouse chiefs had contracted to supply canoes to ferry across the men and baggage; but, at the crossing designated, neither canoes nor Indians appeared. Major Magone, with four men, crossed the Snake river on a raft, searched the banks of the Palouse river, and at length found the Indian ferrymen. They returned with him to camp; but it was too late to cross that day. By noon of the 21st, the crossing had been effected. The march toward Lapwai was resumed, an Indian, who promised to go directly to the camp of Telau-ka-ikt, acting as guide. On the 22d, Waters received news from Missionary Eells, that the Spokanes were not harmonious in feeling, although none excused the murderers. Forty-three of the tribe, who had accompanied Mr. Eells' messenger, offered their services to bring in a number of Telau-ka-ikt's cattle. They performed that service, bringing in two Nez Perces also, who declared that Telau-ka-ikt had himself fled to the mountains, but that most of his stock was herded near Snake river.
Major Magone, with 100 men, was detached to bring in Telau-ka-ikt's property, and to capture any Indians suspected of acting with the hostiles. One suspected Indian was killed. Near the scene of the killing was a Snake camp under command of an old Indian, Beardy by name. Beardy assured Major Magone that Telau-ka-ikt had left the country. This was confirmed by Richard, who had been recently appointed by Colonel Lee head chief of the Nez Perces. Major Magone also learned that a dispatch had been forwarded from Colonel Lee at Lapwai to Colonel Waters. He thereupon collected Telau-ka-ikt's stock, and returned to the Palouse. Colonel Lee had been informed at Red Wolf's camp, that Telau-ka-ikt's band, two days before, had fled the country, carrying away everything that they owned, but that some of their stock remained near Lapwai. He went thither on the 21st, and collected the Cayuse cattle. Colonel Lee notified the Nez Perces that his presence in their country was to punish the Cayuse murders; that if they (the Nez Perces) were friends to the Americans, they would not conceal the Cayuse's property, but would freely surrender it. To this they assented; and with their co-operation, Colonel Lee's troops drove back to Waters' camp one hundred and eighteen horses, a number of colts, and forty head of cattle. Colonel Lee was ordered to rejoin the main party, which he accomplished on the 26th.
It had become evident that nothing
justified keeping a regiment in the Cayuse country. During their presence,
the murderers would continue concealed. True, the property of the hostiles
could be seized and confiscated; but even that was attended with unsatisfactory
results. It was an Indian scheme, - so-called friendly Indians were always
on hand to claim such property. A failure to return where the claim was
well-founded could only tend to embitter the Indian mind. Hence this system
of refusal was almost certain to create difficulties with friendly Indians,
and might convert them into enemies. Hope was abandoned that the Nez Perces
would assist to capture the murderers. It was therefore
determined by the governor and military officers, that it was advisable to close the campaign. A small force under Major Magone was sent to the Chemakane to escort the families of Missionaries Walker and Fells to the Willamette. Captain William Martin, with fifty-five men, remained in the garrison at Fort Waters to afford protection to immigrants, and also to hold the country, with some hope that the presence of an armed force might induce the surrender of the murderers. Seventeen men, under command of Lieutenant Rogers, continued in service at Fort Lee. The rest of the regiment proceeded to Oregon City, were disbanded by Captain Hall, on furlough, subject to the order of the governor, and were soon thereafter mustered out. So far as field operations were concerned, the Cayuse war was at an end.
While the Cayuse war was being carried on in the interior, the Indians of the Willamette valley, aware of the necessary absence of so many adult males, had, upon several occasions, manifested a disposition to take advantage of such condition of affairs, and to alarm the weak and remote settlements by insolent conduct and predatory acts. Companies of home guards had become necessary, and had been organized in these remote settlements.
In March, 1848, some eighty Klamaths under Koosta, their chief, visited a large band of Molallas, camped at the head of Abiqua creek. Members of both tribes, dressed in war paint, visited the houses of adjacent settlers, killing stock, pillaging houses, insulting women, rudely compelling them to cook for them, and committing many similar defiant acts. One afternoon, in the early spring, a party of those Indians surrounded the residence of Richard Miller, a prominent citizen of Champoeg (now Marion) county. It was a log house, the defenses of which had been strengthened; and it had served as a place of refuge for the neighborhood. At the same time, a small party of the Indians had endeavored to cut off the escape of a visitor. The mail carrier Knox opportunely passed and witnessed the impending danger. As he carried his mail, he gave notice to the inmates of each house. Others mounted and rode, warning the settlers, and calling them together for defense. Sixty men, old and young, capable of bearing arms, responded to the call, and assembled at Miller's upon the next morning. During the night, the Indians had retired. A military organization was effected. Daniel Waldo was elected Colonel, and Richard Miller and Ralph C. Geer, Captains. Forthwith the volunteers set out for the Indian camp. Those who were mounted, under command of Colonel Waldo and Captain Miller, crossed the Abiqua, following up its north side. Captain Geer, in charge of those on foot, marched up the south side.
Upon the approach of the mounted
men, the Indians crossed to the south side, and there encountered the party
on foot, concealed in a thicket. The Indians were armed with bows and arrows,
the Whites with rifles. Two of their number having been slain, the Indians
retreated up the creek. Night being at hand, it was agreed that those men
having families should return to their homes, the young men should camp
at the nearest farmhouse, and that all should reassemble at daylight next
day to continue the pursuit of the savages. In the morning, the Indians
were overtaken on the Klamath trail beyond Koosta's camp. Their rear guard,
as they retreated, defended the band by shooting volleys of arrows at the
pursuing Oregonians. One arrow only took effect, and it occasioned no material
injury. The riflemen had killed several of the Indians; the rest had retreated
to a rocky ledge which overhung the creek. The Oregonians continued following,
still covered by the thicket. Several Indians, who had succeeded in climbing
the ledge which ran out to and projected over the stream, made their escape.
The rest were forced to make
a stand, and for a while fought manfully, arrows against rifles, then scattered and ran away. In the uneven contest, seven savages were left dead upon the field. One of the killed proved to be a woman, who held in her dying grasp a drawn bow, with an arrow ready to be sped at her pursuers. The miscreants who had made the trouble and invited this chastisement had made good their escape, leaving to follow their wives and children, with a few warriors as a guard. Upon that rear guard had fallen the blow so richly deserved by the Klamaths and Molallas, camped on the Abiqua.
The "battle of the Abiqua" was unheralded to the world till years afterwards. When published, the statement that it had occurred was persistently denied. Its effect at the time had proved salutary in the highest degree. It had successfully quieted the Indians in the vicinity of the Willamette settlements. It had served to warn the renegades from the interior tribes to leave the valley, and not to attempt to incite an Indian outbreak; and it had effectually removed any cause of alarm thereafter in the outer settlements.
The presence of the Oregon troops at Fort Waters deterred any Indian molestation of immigrant trains in 1848 by way of Walla Walla and the Dalles. Along the southern trail, the Indians had remained quiet. The immigration of 1848 arrived safely, adding some seven or eight hundred to Oregon's population.
The remainder of this chapter is devoted to giving the names of the officers and men who volunteered and served in the Cayuse war (1):
First Company, OREGON RIFLES (See statement of J.H. McMillan in the Oregonian, April 1, 1886. Captain McMillan says: "The list is correct as memory serves me, when we left Fort Vancouver, except McDonald and Callahan who joined the company later"): Captain, Henry A.G. Lee; First Lieutenant, Joseph Magone; Second Lieutenant, John E. Ross; Surgeon, W.W. Carpenter; Orderly Sergeant, J.S. Rinearson; First Duty Sergeant, J.H. McMillan; Second Duty Sergeant, C.W. Savage; Third Duty Sergeant, S. Cummings; Fourth Duty Sergeant, William Berry; Privates, John Little, Joel McKee, J.W. Morgan, Joseph B. Proctor, Samuel K. Barlow, John Richardson, Ed. Marsh, George Moore, Isaac Walgamot, Jacob Johnson, John Lassater, Edward Robeson, B.B. Rogers, ___ Shannon, A.J. Thomas, R.S. Tupper, O. Tupper, Joel Witchey, G.W. Weston, George Wesley, John Flemming John G. Gibson, Henry Leralley, Nathan Olney, ___ Barnes, J.H. Bosworth, Wm. Beekman, Benjamin Bratton, John Balton, Henry W. Coe, John C. Danford, C.H. Derendorf, David Everst, John Finner, James Kester, ___ Pugh (killed by Indians near the Dalles in a skirmish), ___ Jackson (killed in a skirmish near the Dalles), John Callahan, Alex. McDonald (killed by a sentry, who mistook him for an Indian at the camp on the east side of the Des Chutes). Forty-eight men.
Second Company: Captain, Lawrence Hall; First Lieutenant, H.D. O'Bryant; Second Lieutenant, John Engart; Orderly Sergeant, William Sheldon; Duty Sergeants, William Stokes, Peter S. Engart, Thos. R. Cornelius, Sherry Ross; Color-bearer, Gilbert Mondon; Privates, A. Engart, Thos. Fleming, D.C. Smith, W.R. Noland, Jos. W. Scott, G.W. Smith, A. Kinsey, John N. Donnie, A.C. Brown, F.H. Ramsey, S.A. Holcomb, A. Stewart, Wm. Milbern, A. Kennedy, Oliver Lowden, H.N. Stephens, P.G. Northup, W. W. Walters, J.Z. Zachary, Sam Y. Cook, J.J. Garrish, Thos. Kinsey, J.S. Scoggin, Noah Jobe, D. Shumake, J.N. Green, J. Elliott, W. Williams, John Holgate, R. Yarborough, Robert Walker, J. Butler, I.W. Smith, J.W. Lingenfelter, J.H. Lienberger, A. Lienberger, Sam Gethard, Jno. Lousingnot, A. Wiliiams, D. Harper, S.C. Cummings, S. Ferguson, Marshall Martin.
(1) Revised by Bancroft's "History
Third Company: Captain, John W. Owen; First Lieutenant, Nathaniel Bowman; Second Lieutenant, Thomas Shaw; Orderly Sergeant, J.C. Robison; Duty Sergeants, Benj. J. Burch; J.H. Blankenship, James M. Morris, Robert Smith; Privates, George W. Adams, William Athey, John Baptiste, Manly Curry, Jesse Clayton, John Dinsmore, Nathan English, John Fiester, Jesse Gay, Lester Hulan, Stephen Jenkins, J. Larkin, Joshua McDonald, Thomas Pollock, J.H. Smith, S.P. Thornton, William Wilson, Benjamin Allen, Ira Bowman, ___ Currier, George Chapel, William Doke, ___ Linnet, T. Dufield, Squire Elembough, Henry Fuller, D.H. Hartley, Fleming R. Hill, James Keller, D.M. McCumber, E. McDonald, Edward Robinson, Chris. Stemermon, Joseph Wilbert, T.R. Zumwalt, Charles Zummord.
Fourth Company: Captain, H.J.G. Maxon; First Lieutenant, G.N. Gilbert; Second Lieutenant, Wm. P. Hughes; Orderly Sergeant, Wm. R. Johnson; Duty Sergeants, O.S. Thomas, T.M. Buckner, Daniel Stewart, Joseph R. Ralston; Privates, Andrew J. Adams, John Beattie, Charles Blair, John R. Coatney, Reuben Crowder, John W. Crowel, Manly Danforth, Harvey Graus, Albert H. Fish, John Feat, Andrew Gribble, Wm. Hawkins, Rufus Johnson, John W. Jackson, J.H. Loughlin, Davis Lator, John Miller, John Patterson, Richard Pollard, Wm. Robison, Asa Stone, Thos. Allphin, Wm. Bunton, Henry Blacker, Wm. Chapman, Samuel Chase, Sam Cornelius, James Dickson, S.D. Earl, Joseph Earl, D.O. Garland, Richmond Hays, Goalman Hubbard, Isaiah M. Johns, S.B. Knox, James H. Lewis, Horace Martin, John McCoy, James Officer, Henry Pellet, Wm. Russell, John Striethoff, A.M. Baxster, D.D. Burroughs, Samuel Clark, John M. Cantrel, Asi Cantrel, Albert G. Davis, S.D. Durbin, Samuel Fields, Rezin D. Foster, Isaac M. Foster, Horace Hart, Wm. Hock, Wm. A. Jack, Elias Kearney, James Killingworth, Isaac Morgan, N.G. McDonnell, Madison McCully, Frederick Paul, Wm. M. Smith, H.M. Smith, Jason Wheeler, John Vaughn, Reuben Striethoff, Wm. Vaughn, Wm. Shirley.
Fifth Company: Captain, Philip F. Thompson; First Lieutenant, James A. Brown; Second Lieutenant, Joseph M. Garrison; Orderly Sergeant, George E. Frazer; Duty Sergeants, A. Garrison, A.S. Welton, Jacob Greer, D.D. Dostins; Privates, Martin P. Brown, William A. Culberson, Harrison Davis, James Electrels, William Eads, Alvin K. Fox, William J. Garrison, William Hailey, John A. Johnson, J.D. Richardson, Martin Wright, William Smith, E.T. Stone, John Thompson, H.C. Johnson, Joseph Kenney, Henry Kearney, Jacob Leabo, Daniel Matheny, William McKay, John Orchard, John B. Rowland, John Copenhagen, Bird Davis, John Eldridge, John Faron, C.B. Gray, Robert Harmon, James O. Henderson, Green Rowland, William Rogers, Thomas Wilson, William D. Stillwell, William Shepard, Alfred Jobe, T.J. Jackson, Jesse Cadwallader, Andrew Layson, J.C. Matheny, Adam Matheny, Charles P. Matt, James Packwood, Clark Rogers.
McKay's Company: Captain,
Thomas McKay; First Lieutenant, Charles McKay; Second Lieutenant, Alexander
McKay; Orderly Sergeant, Edward Dupuis; Duty Sergeants, George Montour,
Baptiste Dorio, David Crawford, Gideon Pion; Privates, John Spence, Louis
Laplante, Augustine Russie, Isaac Gervais, Louis Montour, Alexis Vatrais,
Joseph Paino, Jno. Cunningham, Jno. Gros, Louis Joe Lenegratly, Antoine
Poisier, Antoine Plante, Pierre Lacourse, Ashby Pearce, Antoine Lafaste,
Nathan English, Charles Edwards, Gideon Gravelle, Chas. Corveniat, Antoine
Bonanpaus, Nicholas Bird, Frances Dupres, William Torrie, Thomas Purvis,
A.J. Thomas, J.H. Bigler, Mongo Antoine Ansure, Narcisse Montiznie, Edward
English's Company: Captain, Levin N. English; First Lieutenant, William Shaw; Second Lieutenat, F.M.Munkers; Orderly Sergeant, William Martin; Duty Sergeants, Hiram English, George Shaw, Thomas Boggs, L.J. Rector; Privates, Jackson Adams, L.N. Abel, William Burton, Joseph Crauk, John Downing, Thos. T. Eyre, R.D. Foster, Alexander Gage, Thomas Gregory, G.W. Howell, Fales Howard, J.H. Lewis, N.G. McDonald, James Officer, Joseph Pearson, Jackson Rowell, William Simmons, Lewis Stewart, Charles Roth, Daniel Waldo, George Wesley, William Vaughn, L.N. English, Jr., Nineveh Ford, Albert Fish, A. Gribble, Samuel Senters, Thomas Wigger, Richard Hays, Wesley Howell, Richard Jenkins, G.H. March, William Medway, J.R. Payne, Benjamin Simpson, Alexander York.
Martin's Company: Captain, William Martin; First Lieutenant, A.E. Garrison; Second Lieutenant, David Waldo; Orderly Sergeant, Ludwell J. Rector; Duty Sergeants, William Cosper, Fales Howard, Joseph Sylvester, Benjamin Wright; Privates, J.Albright, H. Burdon, T.J. Blair, Joseph Borst, George Crabtree, Joseph Crauk, Wesley Cook, Samuel Center, John Cox, John Eads, Parnel Fowler, S.M. Crover, John Kaiser, Clark S. Pringle, Israel Wood, Lewis Stewart, Pleasant C. Kaiser, Thomas Canby, Sidney S. Ford, William Melawers, A.N. Rainwater, B.F. Shaw, Wm. Waldo, Silas G. Pugh, G.H. Vernon, Isaiah Matheny, Thomas T. Eyre, John C. Holgate.
Shaw's Company: Captain, William Shaw; First Lieutenant, David Crawford; Second Lieutenant, Baptiste C. Dorio; Orderly Sergeant, Absalom M. Smith; Duty Sergeants, George Laroque, Vatall Bergeren, George W. Shaw, Charles McKay; Privates, John H. Bigler, O. Crum, Joseph Despont, William Felix, Xavier Plante, Eli Viliell, F.M. Mankis, Antonio Plante, Charles Edwards, Andrew Heeber, Xavier Gervais, Davis Jones, John Pecares, Samuel Kinsey, Joseph Pearson, William Towie, Peter Jackson, Alexander Laborain, William McMillen, B.F. Nichols, Hiram Smead, William Marill, Francis Poiecor, George Westley.
Garrison's Company: Captain, J.M. Garrison; First Lieutenant, A.E. Garrison; Second Lieutenant, John C. Herren; Orderly Sergeant, J.B. Kaiser; Duty Sergeants, George Crabtree, George Laroque, Joseph Coleste; Privates E. Biernaiise, Thomas R. Blair, John C. Cox, Joseph Despart, Caleb M. Grover, Isaiah Matheny, John Picard, William Philips, henry Barden, Silas P. Pugh, Isaac Wood, Penel Fowler, Andrew Hubert, Daniel Herren, Xavier Plante, Vitelle Bergeron.