Charles S. Drew's accurate, but very one-sided, view of the Rogue River Indian wars.
THE OREGON WAR AND ITS DEBT.
To the Editor of the N.Y. Tribune.
Sir: In the last Weekly Tribune (July 9) I notice a letter from Daniel Newson of Oregon, which seems to have been purposely designed to strengthen the already strong and unjust prejudice that has become almost universal throughout the country, wherever the merits of the case are unknown, against the allowance of the Oregon war debt by the general government. This letter bears the evidence upon its face that it was not written in the right spirit, and it is precisely of that character of writings that, unfortunately for the people of Oregon, has rendered the proposition for the payment of the debt exceedingly unpopular with the great mass of the people east of the Rocky Mountains. As a whole Mr. Newson's letter is erroneous and unreliable, abounding in stale charges of fraud that have been legally investigated and totally refuted long ago, and from my personal knowledge of the Democratic leaders in Oregon, and their mode of electioneering, I am firmly of the opinion that the letter is, in reality, of Democratic origin. To give the Tribune false information respecting Oregon matters, and then quote it to the disparagement of Republicanism there, is no new dodge with Oregon Democrats. Perhaps you may remember the letter of your Salem correspondent concerning the organization of the Oregon constitutional convention held at Salem in September 1857. That letter was written in the office of the Superintendent of Indian Affairs by a man who does dirty work for the party, and was at that time also chief clerk in the office named. Other letters to the Tribune, I have good reasons for believing, have emanated from the same source, or have been dictated by the men who instigated the writing of that, and have been used for the purpose I have mentioned.
I do not write with the expectation that what I thus voluntarily offer will change the position of the Tribune with reference to these Oregon claims. As a citizen of Oregon, having a thorough personal knowledge of the origin and conduct of the war on account of which this debt was created, I desire to see it paid--and paid, too, while the Democratic Party, under whose auspices it was created, and by whose management its creation became absolutely necessary, is in power. As a Republican, too, I would have Republicans examine the matter themselves--the more thoroughly the better--and not form their opinions respecting it upon mere rumor, nor be guided in their action in the premises by the false and vindictive reports that Democratic partisans have made. The subject will bear the closest investigation without loss to anyone. For whatever may be true respecting the treatment of the Indians by the people on other frontiers, it is certain that the people of Oregon have exercised a truly Christian spirit of forbearance toward the Indians of that region, either within or without their borders.
Unlike many, or perhaps nearly all other portions of the United States when new, Oregon has been settled almost exclusively by bona fide residents and actual tillers of the soil, who went there for the sole purpose of making it their permanent home. It is mainly an agricultural country, and as such as a matter of course it was for the interest of its settlers to live on as friendly terms with the Indians as possible. This, since 1851, to my certain knowledge has been their policy. But there have been times when Christian forbearance could no longer be practiced without rendering the slaughter of the inhabitants and the destruction of the settlements absolutely certain, and it has been necessary for the settlers to organize and take the field for the sake of their own preservation, and that of their families and the country. Regular troops have never been of any utility whatever, either in keeping the Indians at peace or in suppressing actual hostilities. On the contrary, they have been an impediment in the way of keeping the Indians quiet, by harboring and protecting Indians who were known to have just committed the greatest crimes known to our laws, and allowing them to repeat their atrocities again and again. They have deceived the government, too, as well as the country at large, by not reporting the condition of Indian affairs, or the murders and other depredations committed by the Indians, and when it has been necessary for citizens to perform the soldier's duty, they have grossly misrepresented their acts and impugned their motives.
The millions of dollars that have been expended on regular troops in California and Oregon, and in the Territory of Washington, for the protection of that extended frontier, has resulted in no practical good to the country, and millions on millions may yet be expended there with the same result. The whole policy of the government with regard to frontier protection is wholly wrong. Regular troops, as experience proves, are utterly useless as a means of protection from the Indians, even in ordinary times of peace, and are entirely worthless in an Indian campaign. In proof of this, I will give a few facts that have especial reference to the war for which pay is now asked. I could go back to an earlier date and furnish much additional proof of the unprofitable and injurious employment of regular troops on our frontiers, and could furnish more than two hundred and thirty names of citizens killed by the Indians of Oregon and their immediate allies in times of so-called peace, and could establish the fact that about forty unknown citizens have been thus killed, on in most cases the sworn testimony of the persons who found and buried the bodies. In all, nearly, or perhaps quite, 300 citizens have been wantonly murdered in cold blood by Oregon Indians. But as the Oregon war of 1855-6 is the matter under consideration, I will only refer, in detail, to the atrocities committed by the Indians after the close of the Rogue River Indian War of 1853 (August), and up to the 10th of October, 1855.
"October 6, 1853, James C. Kyle, a merchant of Jacksonville, in Southern Oregon, while on his return from Scottsburg with goods, and when he was within six miles of home, and two miles from Fort Lane, was killed by Indians of the Rogue River tribes.
"In January, 1854, Hiram Hulen, John Clark, John Oldfield and Wesley Mayden were killed by Rogue River, Shasta and Modoc Indians, near the Siskiyou Mountains, about halfway between Fort Lane and Fort Jones, and near the main thoroughfare between those posts.
"April 15, 1854, Edward Phillips was killed in his own house on Applegate Creek, about fourteen miles from Fort Lane, by Rogue River Indians.
"June 15, 1854, Daniel Gage, a trader of Yreka, Cal., while crossing the Siskiyou Mountains, on his return from Crescent City, Cal. with merchandise, was killed by Modoc Indians, and it is probable that Rogue River Indians had a hand in the matter also. Distance from Fort Lane, twenty miles.
"June 24, 1854, Mr. McAmy was killed near Klamath River, between Forts Lane and Jones, by Rogue River and Shasta Indians.
"August 20, 1854, Alexander Ward, Mrs. Ward and their seven children, Mrs. White and child, Samuel Mulligan, two brothers Adams, W. Babcock, John Frederick, Rudolph Shults, Mr. Ames, and a man unknown, emigrants, were killed by Indians, on Snake River, between Fort Boise (a Hudson Bay post) and the Dalles of the Columbia River, Northern Oregon.
"September, 1854, Mr. Stewart of Corvallis, Oregon, was killed on the middle emigrant road, whither he had gone to meet some friends who were coming in via the plains, by Klamath Lake Indians.
"May 8, 1855, Mr. Hill was killed on Indian Creek by Rogue River Indians. Like Phillips, he was killed in his own house.
"June 1, 1855, Jerome Dyer and Daniel McKew were killed by Rogue River Indians on the road from Jacksonville to what is now Kerbyville, about sixteen miles from Fort Lane.
"June 2, 1855, Mr. Philpot was killed near the place and by the same Indians next above mentioned. Up to this time the regular troops, particularly at Fort Lane and Fort Jones, had made little or no effort to restrain the Indians in their murderous depredation, either in the settlements or on the highways. None of the Indians had been punished except the three who were the principals in the murder of Mr. Kyle in 1853. These had been arrested through the agency of a young Rogue River chief, Jim, for which he was shot by some of the friends of the prisoners. But, on the next day after Philpot's death (June 3), about thirty United States dragoons were dispatched from Fort Lane in pursuit of the Indians who had just murdered Dyer, McKew and Philpot, and were then jeopardizing the safety of the settlements of Applegate, Deer Creek and Illinois valleys. The mountainous regions of country to which the Indians had betaken themselves rendered it almost impossible for United States troops, unused to mountain service, to pursue them with any possibility of success, and, in view of this, a company of citizens started upon the trail of the Indians, and came so near them that they left their hiding places and fled to the detachment from Fort Lane for protection. The citizens then returned home, and the Indians had the honor of a United States military escort back to the Table Rock Reservation, adjoining Fort Lane, and were there left again, unrestrained and unguarded, and allowed to roam whithersoever their thirst for white men's blood might lead them.
"July 27, 1855, Mr. Peters was killed on Humbug Creek, Cal., by Shasta and Rogue River Indians. Distance from Fort Jones about twenty miles.
"July 28, 1855, William Hennessey, Edward Parrish, Thomas Grey, Peter Hignight, John Pollack and four Frenchmen and two Mexicans, names unknown, were killed by Rogue River Indians at Buckeye Bar, on Klamath River, about fourteen miles from Fort Jones. Regular troops remained in quarters.
"Sept. 2, ------ Keene, who, with a party of other citizens of Rogue River Valley, was in search of a horse that the Indians had stolen, was killed by Rogue River and Modoc Indians on the Southern Emigrant Road, about twenty miles from Fort Lane, in the direction of Fort Jones. A detachment of troops from Fort Lane reached the spot where Keene was killed either the second or third day after, but did not follow the Indians.
"Sept, 1855, Mrs. Clark, and a young man of Yamhill County (Middle Oregon) were killed by an Indian or Indians of the Tillamook tribe. I believe that one Indian was given up by the tribe as the party who committed the deed, and I think he was hung.
"Elisha Plummer and four other persons were killed at Grand Ronde (Northern Oregon) by Cayuse and Walla Walla Indians. Troops quiet.
"Same month--Indian agent Bolon, ------ Matteese, and two others, whose names are unknown, were killed by the Yakima Indians, east of the Cascade Mountains.
"Sept. 24, 1855, Calvin Fields and John Cunningham were killed while crossing the Siskiyou Mountains (Southern Oregon) by Rogue River Indians. Distance from Fort Lane about twenty miles, in the direction of Fort Jones.
"Sept. 25, 1855, Samuel Warner killed near the same spot, and by the same Indians next above mentioned. Troops at Fort Lane and Fort Jones visited the scene of these disasters soon afterward, but returned again to their quiet quarters.
"Oct. 9, 1855, Mrs. J. B. Wagoner, Mary Wagoner, Mr. and Mrs. Jones, Mr. and Mrs. Haines and two children, George W. Harris, Daniel W. Harris, F. A. Reed, William Guin, J. Cartwright, Mr. Powell, Mr. Bunch, Mr. Fox, Mr. Hamilton, Mr. White and probably several others were killed by Rogue River Indians near Evans' Ferry on Rogue River, about 20 miles north of Fort Lane, and along the same thoroughfare leading from Yreka, California, Fort Jones, Fort Lane and Jacksonville, northward into the Umpqua and Willamette valleys.
"Oct. 9, 1855, Messrs. Hudson and Wilson, traders, were killed while en route from Crescent City, California to Indian Creek, with merchandise, by Rogue River and Klamath River Indians."
This takes me to the date I indicated at the commencement of the list of actual murders which led to the war of 1855-6. I have avoided any reference to the numerous instances where citizens have been wounded or attacked, and made good their escape; neither have I made any allusion to the vast amount of property that the Indians have destroyed. You can, in your own judgment, form some idea of the extent of this class of depredations, where actual murders have been so numerous. That they have been extensive, and grievous to bear, you cannot doubt when you have become conversant with the true history of the management of Indian affairs on the Pacific Coast for the six or eight years past.
But I have yet something to say of the origin of the unjust and unfavorable reports respecting the Oregon war that have gained so much credence with the public, and which are sure to work a great injury to Oregon and the utter pecuniary ruin of many individuals who, by force of circumstances not under their control, were compelled to make advances of supplies and means to keep the citizen-soldiers in the field for the length of time necessary to suppress hostilities, or until they could be relieved by regular troops.
Early in the spring of 1854, it became apparent that the Indians of Oregon--of Southern Oregon particularly--meditated a resumption of hostilities, notwithstanding the treaty of the 10th of September previous. Nothing, however, could be definitely ascertained respecting their intentions in this particular until some time in June, 1854, when a general war council was held on Klamath River, at a point about sixteen miles from Fort Jones, and perhaps thirty-five or forty miles from Fort Lane. In this council nearly every Indian tribe of Southern Oregon, and the tribes located in close proximity to the southern boundary of the Territory, but in the state of California, were represented, and it was there decided that they would prepare at once for the extermination of the citizens of that whole region of country. Their place of meeting was admirably adapted by nature for their clandestine gathering, and the public knew nothing of it until some time after their council had broken up, and probably would not have known it at all had not an Indian, who was exceedingly friendly to a citizen of Scott's Valley (Northern California), divulged the secret to his white friend just at the time that the council was to convene. This gentleman immediately notified the Indian agent for the northern part of the state of California of what the Indian had informed him, and, as some of the Shasta and Scott's Valley Indians were well disposed, the agent set about ascertaining, through them, the result of the council. In a letter on this subject, he says:
"I was informed by several chiefs of the Scott's and Shasta valley tribes that runners had been sent to summon them to a general war council, to be held at a point on the Klamath called Horse Creek. I consulted with Lieut. J. C. Bonnycastle, U.S.A., then stationed at Fort Jones. He and myself concurred in the propriety of advising the chiefs who had reported the movement to attend the war council and report to us the whole proceedings. The chiefs returned from the council and reported the tribes of Illinois River, Rogue River, and the Upper Klamath River and their tributaries represented in the council, and that all but themselves (the chiefs who had reported the movement to me) were for combining and commencing in concert an indiscriminate slaughter of the whites.
" * * * The Scott's Valley and Shasta Valley tribes remained steadfastly friendly, while the Illinois, Rogue and Upper Klamath River tribes commenced depredations and continued (at least a portion of them) until the latter part of the spring of 1856.
" * * * The Upper Klamath or Klamath Lake Indians (with the exception of the tribe of which La Lakes is chief) commenced their depredations by killing whites and stealing stock, and a report was current among the friendly Indians that those hostile intended to destroy the immigrants as fast as they came from the valley of the Humboldt."
Soon after this council had broken up, Tipsy's tribe of Rogue River Indians, who had previously murdered Phillips (April 15), started to join the other tribes, who were designated by the council to operate against the immigrants on the road leading from the Humboldt River to Rogue River and Shasta Valleys, and passing the whole distance within a few miles of Jacksonville and Yreka through an unsettled country occupied exclusively by numerous tribes of Indians who were, as they are yet, intensely hostile. Tipsy and his tribe had proceeded about fifteen miles, when, near the summit of the Siskiyou Mountains, at a point where the road between Jacksonville and Yreka and Fort Lane and Fort Jones crosses, they fell in with Messrs. Gage and Claymer's mule train, fully freighted with merchandise. They killed Mr. Gage and captured the train and loading, Mr. Claymer and, I think, another man making their escape.
By this time the result of the council at Horse Creek had become known to the people of the vicinity, and strong fears were entertained for the safety of the immigrants on the route above indicated. And it coming to the knowledge of numerous citizens of Rogue River and of Yreka and vicinity that their friends who were then en route to Oregon and California contemplated taking this route they sought to obtain the requisite aid and protection of the military at Fort Lane, and, I think, at Fort Jones. But, failing in this, they were necessitated to look for aid in another direction--in the enrollment of a volunteer corps for this especial purpose.
At the session of the Legislature of 1853-4, just after the close of the Rogue River Indian War of 1853, a militia law was enacted by which each council district in the Territory was constituted a regimental district for militia purposes, and under the provisions of this law, at the annual election in June (1854) the usual regimental officers were chosen by the voters of each district respectively. As a general thing, Democrats were chosen to these offices, but in the Ninth District, which included all of Southern Oregon proper, and where Indian difficulties were most likely to occur, John E. Ross, a Whig, and who had rendered eminent service on that frontier on former occasions, was elected colonel. It was on him, therefore, and on a member of the Governor's staff, who was also a Whig, residing at Jacksonville, that the citizens of Southern Oregon were compelled to depend to represent to the Territorial Executive the necessities of the case, and to procure authority for the enrollment of the requisite force to afford protection to the immigrants, whom the Indians had declared in council they would and were preparing to annihilate.
All attempts to persuade the officers of the regular service to dispatch troops to the relief of the immigrants having proved unavailing, a messenger was dispatched to the Governor, the Hon. Jno. W. Davis, formerly of Indiana, with a statement of the condition of Indian affairs in Southern Oregon, and an inquiry whether it was in his power to render any aid in the premises whatever. He replied by conferring upon Colonel Ross full authority to enlist such a number of men and for such a length of time as he should "deem expedient and necessary," and at the same time requiring the Quartermaster General of the Territory to render all the assistance in his power in the way of mounting, equipping, arming and subsisting the command so called into service.
Upon the receipt of this authority from the Governor, Colonel Ross ordered the enrollment of a company of mounted volunteers. A company was immediately enrolled, organized and dispatched on the service for which it was intended, but in the election of its officers a captain was chosen who, though a Democrat, was decidedly obnoxious to certain Democratic leaders, because he would not carry politics into all his affairs, whether of a business or social character, to the extent that they desired. Politics, however, had no influence in the organization of the volunteer corps, and were not even alluded to. But here were at least three men engaged in an honorable and praiseworthy service, and occupying prominent positions in the same, who had just given unpardonable offense to the Democratic Party. The two Whigs who had just been elected, one a colonel of militia, and the other (the Quartermaster General) a member of the Legislature, in direct opposition to regular Democratic nominees, and the captain whom the volunteers had chosen to command them, though having violent enemies in his own party ranks, had just been elected to the Legislature also. Of course the employment of these men in a commendable service by a Democratic Executive naturally excited the ire of some of the Democratic Party managers, and numerous were the schemes devised (in secret, because the necessity of the service being rendered was apparent to everyone) to counteract the public good will that might possibly accrue to their hated opponents for the performance of a simple and imperative duty. Here, then, is the true source of all the calumny and the maledictions that have been promulgated against the people of Oregon in connection with Indian matters, and that now weigh so heavily against the equitable liquidation of their war debt. The fountain, though small at first, with its malignant stream directed against only a few individuals, has now grown to gigantic proportions, and is directed to the injury of an entire community.
As I have indicated, the men who had the control in organizing, commanding and subsisting the volunteer corps thus brought into the field were not at first openly denounced, nor were their motives impugned. Such a course on the part of Democratic leaders would have been highly injurious to the Democracy of Southern Oregon, where experience had so often demonstrated, and where it was universally acknowledged that armed protection to the yearly overland immigration to Oregon was a thing absolutely necessary. Subsequent events, however, rendered it safe and expedient that, as a party measure, this service should be publicly denounced as uncalled for and unnecessary, and procured through the representations of those who were at its head for the sole purpose of speculation.
No precaution was taken to guard the other principal immigrant road leading into Oregon, the northern, and the fact that some twenty or more persons were most cruelly murdered on that route (Aug. 20, see list) that might have been saved by a force like that employed on the southern route where the Indians were more generally hostile, but where the immigration passed unharmed, very naturally exposed the Territorial Executive to public censure and rendered the southern expedition popular with the people. In the meantime, or just after the service on the southern road had been ordered, Gov. Davis resigned and left the Territory for his home in Indiana. It was said, and generally believed, that the party leaders in Oregon, because of his impartial and just administration as Governor, and want of proscriptiveness toward men of other political views, drove him into the resignation of his office, and the recommendation, as his successor, of the Secretary of the Territory, a man whom they could use.
When the news of the massacre just referred to reached the Executive at Salem (the Secretary of the Territory being then acting Governor), a genuine Democratic bluster was made [which], like all Democratic blusters and professions, ended in nothing but smoke with no powder burnt. The acting Governor issued a pompous proclamation for volunteers to proceed at once to the relief of the immigration coming in by the northern route, and required the service of at least three Democratic generals, with Democratic colonels and majors to match, forthwith. Intensely patriotic speeches were made, for which there was not the slightest need, to encourage enlistments. But, to make a long story short, the whole demonstration was mere gammon. The number of volunteers called for in the Governor's proclamation enrolled themselves at once, mounted, equipped and ready for the order to march, when lo! they were told by the Governor that they might return to their homes, that it was not the proper time to go into a hostile Indian country. Many of those who enlisted had friends whom they expected by this route, who were menaced by hostile savages, and you can imagine how well this permit to go home was received by those who had confidently expected to be able to aid their friends when aid was most needed. Not only the volunteers but the people at large were disappointed at the action of the Governor, and what he had done with the aid of three of the four generals on his staff, and various other officers for the safety of the immigration on the northern road, was severely criticized by the public, and often referred to in striking and unfavorable contrast with what had been quietly done, under the authority of his predecessor, on the southern road, where the service was more dangerous and difficult, and where the immigration had been guarded and conducted to their destination unscathed and unharmed.
Thus the matter stood until the following spring (1855), when in a caucus, preliminary to the Territorial Democratic convention for the nomination of a Delegate to Congress, a plan was arranged to draw the attention of the public from the blunders the Democracy had committed the previous year by declaring the service rendered on the southern road, and which had become deservedly popular, a fraud upon the general government, and intended as such by those who were chiefly instrumental in obtaining for it the sanction of Gov. Davis, and its endorsement by the Legislature, Democratic as it was, at its session of 1854-55. Not deeming it prudent, however, to give publicity to the offspring of their schemes in an authoritative or official manner, through fear of alienating from the party Democrats who were pecuniarily interested in the matter, the party chiefs directed some of their numerous emissaries in the southern part of the Territory, selecting such as were the most irresponsible and vindictive and whose animosity was the most bitter toward the men whom Gov. Davis had designated to direct and sustain the service in question, to give vent to their spleen through the columns of the Oregon Statesman, over anonymous and borrowed signatures. The U.S. District Judge, now Supreme Judge of the State, the prosecuting attorney, and the Indian agent of the district, and the sheriff of the county in which the parties who had become so odious to the Democracy resided, and the Quartermaster General of the Territory (the old one having been removed from office at the time this caucus programme was arranged), also a resident of the same county as the accused, and now an Indian agent, were the first whose services were required in this work of misrepresentation and malicious defamation. The honorable judge borrowed the signature of a genuine representative of border ruffianism, who could scarcely write his own name, much less a newspaper article, but who, notwithstanding, was soon after appointed Receiver of the Umpqua Land Office.
These worthies, thus working together in complete unity, having but one object in view, devised and published, as directed, some of the vilest calumnies that it was possible for Democratic ingenuity to concoct. Charges of the most flagrant and vicious character they profusely and gratuitously promulgated against the offending parties through their local papers, and not content with the limited field that Oregon presented for their work thus begun, they fabricated additional charges against one of these political offenders concerning his connection with a former service, which had in part been paid by the general government (Rogue River War of 1853), and through the voluntary agency of the Governor had them secretly placed on file in one or more of the departments at Washington, whereby the honest dues of many a poor claimant had been, and are yet, wrongfully withheld. And not being yet satisfied with the result of their labors in this respect, and after having taken the precaution to consult with the military at Fort Lane respecting apprehended difficulties, and receiving the positive assurance that the military force there was amply sufficient and prepared to repel any Indian hostilities that might, or that were likely to, occur, nearly all the Democratic leaders in the Territory openly joined with their political comrades, and in the absence of an iota of evidence to sustain them publicly decried the two or three individuals and their particular friends, against whom the Democracy had so long directed their malignant efforts, as disturbers of the public peace, and as publicly charged them with "inciting the Indians to acts of hostility against the whites, for the sole purpose of getting another opportunity to plunder the public treasury."
Here, then, is the beginning of the text, or rather the first of a series of allegations proceeding directly from the immaculate Democracy of Oregon, from which Gen. Wool and Superintendent Palmer doubtless drew their first impressions that the war did actually originate with the citizens of Oregon for the purpose indicated, and they so reported to their departments without knowing anything of the truth or falsity of the libelous accusations they thus placed upon the records at Washington, where they must soon find their way to the American public and weigh heavily against those thus wantonly and maliciously accused.
Mr. Palmer is understood to have said, since he was ousted from the Indian Superintendency, that it really was this Democratic authority that misled him in the premises, and I have no doubt that if Gen. Wool would lay aside his prejudice and the supreme contempt that he has for volunteer service, he, too, would acknowledge the same thing.
The decrial of the service of 1854 commenced as per programme in June, 1855, during an excited political canvass, but in which it is proper to state neither of the men whom this decrial was intended most to injure was personally interested. But without particular reference again to the service of '54, I quote with special reference to the service of 1855-6, from the Statesman, beginning with the number issued on the 13th of October, 1855. In alluding to the reports published in the Oregonian, an opposition paper, concerning the murders and depredations that the Indians of Rogue River Valley and vicinity had committed in that region during a short period previous (see list), the Statesman says:
"There always will be a few enterprising spirits (meaning citizens whom it was deemed expedient to accuse with inciting the Indians in hostilities) dead broke and too lazy to work, whose voices are always for war, though not for fight, because in the confusion incident to such a state of things they have a license to go gypsying 'round the country upon Cayuse ponies, plundering honest men for a living." * * *
"It is time these alarms about Indian massacres, wars and difficulties in Southern Oregon should come to an end. It is true Indian difficulties may occur, but in this valley it is not likely, unless some of us are very anxious for it. During the past six months peace has not been interrupted for one hour in the Upper Rogue River Valley."
Again the same paper says:
"There has never been any Indian difficulty in Rogue River Valley. All the stories (alluding to the murders just cited) are got up by the defunct * * * set to cover up and justify themselves. They would like to have a difficulty if they could."
"No fears are entertained of an outbreak of the Rogue River Indians. They are peaceably and quietly disposed, as they have been all summer."
In the next number, Oct. 20, appears the following:
"We have private intimation that it has been the organized and deliberate purpose of some individuals south (Southern Oregon) to incite Indian hostilities, so as to create opportunities to plunder the public treasury."
These representations, as will be seen by referring to the list of persons killed, were made immediately after several cold-blooded massacres had been committed by the Indians of Southern Oregon, by which upward of forty citizens of that vicinity had lost their lives--a fact that was well known to the parties who concocted and gave publicity to the foregoing libelous and vituperative accusations.
The Indians having massacred eighteen persons or upward at Evans' Ferry on the 9th of October, and the fact being known that all the tribes in the vicinity had combined some time previous for hostile purposes against the whites, and the regular troops at Fort Lane, if well disposed, being inadequate to the emergency, it became apparent to everyone that a volunteer force must be raised. Col. Ross' term of office had not yet expired, and he still held his commission from the Governor as Colonel of the Ninth Militia District, wherein volunteer service was again required. Many of the Colonel's friends urged him to enroll the requisite force immediately, which he deemed it his duty to do by virtue of his commission, but knowing that the political prejudice existing against him at Executive headquarters would render an attempt on his part to procure the necessary supplies for his command an utter failure, without making his reasons known he wisely declined moving in the matter until provision should be made for the subsistence of the men whom he might call into the service. Accordingly a meeting of the citizens of Rogue River Valley convened at Jacksonville, at which supplies were contributed and resolutions passed formally requesting Col. Ross to call into service the requisite force, and to take the field forthwith. This was on the 12th of October, and on the third day after the massacre at Evans'. He issued his call for volunteers on the same day, and before the next morning had a not inconsiderable number of men under orders and stationed where danger seemed most imminent, along the highways and near the settlements. During all these preparations and the organization of the regiment, politics were not alluded to. All, even some of those who were the well-paid emissaries of the Democracy, and had been the most virulent in their denunciations of the Colonel, readily asserted that Col. Ross should take the command, and even aided in providing subsistence for the troops--being careful, however, not to stultify themselves with their political masters by retracting that which they had falsely written. Col. Ross so disposed of his force as to render the greatest amount of protection to the settlements, and at the same time to cooperate with the regular troops from Fort Lane and Fort Jones in their movements against the enemy.
Immediately upon the organization of his regiment, Col. Ross, under date Oct. 13, reported his doings and the condition of affairs in his district to the Governor, stating what the Indians had recently done, and showing the absolute necessity for the step he had taken, but the Governor treated his report with contempt, not deigning to reply, nor even to acknowledge its receipt. This proved no barrier to the service, however, for there was no time to devote to the consideration of points of etiquette. Every man of the service was on active duty in the field, and such as had not enlisted were barricading and providing places of safety for families and their movable effects.
Col. Ross having stationed troops at points the most seriously threatened by the Indians, whose encroachments upon the settlements had thus been suddenly checked, the local emissaries of the Democracy, feeling somewhat secure again in the safety of their persons and property, and at an intimation from their chiefs that the employment in the service, above the capacity of privates, of men who were not Democrats, was exceedingly distasteful to them and dangerous to the perpetuity of their party in power, the work of defamation was again commenced. The Colonel with some of those intimately connected with him in the conduct of the service were violently accused by the Democratic press of having "deliberately incited Indian hostilities," in order to take the lead in repelling them, and at the same time to make for themselves and their friends a profitable job. These accusations, though unsustained by even a particle of evidence, were necessary to furnish a plausible pretext for the removal of Ross' regiment from the field, and the substitution of a force organized in strict accordance with pure Democratic Party discipline. Accordingly on the 7th of November, after Ross had been in the field nearly a month, where he had done admirable service, and had got the various departments of the service in healthy working order, he received a copy of a proclamation of the Governor directing a new organization to be made, and ordering the old one from the field. This proclamation had been partially anticipated by indiscreet and overexultant Democrats who had betrayed some of the secret workings at headquarters tending to this result, and much objection was made to the infusion of politics into the conduct of the war. But either to submit to the proscription of the Democratic Party, who had thus introduced strict party discipline into the management of the war, or to see the country devastated and its inhabitants tortured and murdered by the Indians were the alternatives. The volunteers could not return to their homes, because their own safety, as well as that of their neighbors, depended upon their keeping their organization as a military body and remaining in the field. In view of these circumstances, Col. Ross issued an order for his regiment to assemble at a given point on the 9th inst., there to be discharged from the service, such as chose to do so to enlist again under the proclamation of the Governor. As many of the regiment as could possibly leave their posts without giving the Indians another opportunity to strike a blow at the settlements assembled as directed, and on the following day, Nov. 10, were discharged from the service of the regiment, some of them joining the new organization. Those who could not be discharged without involving certain destruction to some of the settlements remained at their posts until they were relieved by the new companies.
In the selection of his chief officers, Col. Ross chose such as were the best qualified, from actual experience in service of this character on former occasions, to fill the various offices to which it was his privilege to appoint, and in doing so selected as his mustering officer and acting adjutant the man against whom the Democracy had been the most virulent, and whom for a long time they had been trying to crush.
I now adduce a little more Democratic testimony confirmatory of all that Gen. Wool has said of the Oregon war, placing the extracts from the two authorities in juxtaposition.
At this time, the Legislature being in session at Corvallis, Dr. Henry, a resident of Middle Oregon, and withal a recent convert to the Democratic Party (having previously been a Whig), being now on this return from the war south, proposed that the use of the Representatives' Hall should be given him in order that he might explain the cause of the war, and show how unjust and ruinous was the policy that his party had adopted respecting it. He had left home early in October for a trip to California, overland, and had proceeded on his journey to within a few miles of Evans' Ferry (Rogue River) when the memorable massacre and general outbreak of the Indians of that vicinity took place. Being thus prevented from prosecuting his journey any further, and it being unsafe then to turn back, he joined the command of Col. Ross, and served with it in the capacity of surgeon for which there was much necessity, until this command was ordered from the field, and he had, moreover, made himself acquainted with the origin of the war and the causes which led to it.
The use of the hall was granted to the Doctor, and as genuine a set of graceless demagogues and vile ruffians as ever crossed the borders of Missouri into Kansas were congregated to hoot him down. He made his speech, notwithstanding, and to show something of the spirit that prevailed with the Democracy, even at this time, I give a few extracts from the Democratic rendering of the Doctor's speech, and what was then said by some of those who were appointed to browbeat the Doctor into Democratic submission again. The report of the proceedings of this meeting as it appears in the Statesman of Dec. 8, 1855, is headed "Dr. Henry on Exhibition."
"He assured the benighted audience 'on honor' that * * * were marvelously proper men, sorely abused and decried. The charge that any of that Know-Nothing, peculating faction had incited hostilities south, he said was most wicked, and he challenged any man present to prefer such a charge. Two or three most prominent and respectable citizens south responded aye, to the call, and afterward rose and stated their belief that such was the fact--that hostilities had thus been deliberately incited was the candid belief of the southern community.
* * * "Capt. Tichenor (a member of the Legislative Assembly) in a couple of offhand speeches gave the audience much information in relation to Indian affairs south and on the coast. Among other things he stated * * * but that it was the opinion of Lieut. Kautz, U.S.A., and his own opinion that the war had been deliberately brought about by the machinations of the above-mentioned faction.
"The Hon. Delazon Smith closed up on the Doctor with the lash of his eloquence, wit, satire and sarcasm. If ever a subject was flayed, dissected and bones hung up to dry, Dr. Henry was the individual at the end of the evening's performance. On the subject of the Doctor's crocodile appeal not to bring 'party into war matters,' Mr. Smith was cruelly severe.
"Whatever may have been the opinion heretofore concerning the conduct of a politically, morally and pecuniarily bankrupt faction south, relative to Indian disturbances, we venture assert that every man, of whatever political faith * * *
"Left the house satisfied that that faction were not guiltless of the accusations made, and that Dr. Henry himself was found down south, just as hostilities commenced, by previous understanding with that faction, and for the purpose of cooperating with them."
One of the "most prominent and respectable" citizens who "responded aye" to Dr. Henry was the district judge of whom I have spoken before. The "Hon. Delazon Smith," who was so "cruelly severe" on the Doctor, is the same august personage who was recently United States Senator from Oregon, and was, at the time this speech was made, a member of the Legislative Assembly, and I think Speaker of the House.
Almost simultaneously with the outbreak of the Indians in Southern Oregon, the Indians of Northern Oregon with those of the Territory of Washington commenced hostilities by murdering several citizens, including the Indian Agent Bolon.
As soon as the news of the hostility of the northern Indians reached the Governor, which was before he could be made to realize the condition of Indian affairs in the southern part of the Territory, he issued a call for a volunteer force for the northern region of country, and set himself about getting his staff and accounting departments in working order. Being absent from the capital, and consequently from the clique or the Democratic guardians, who generally controlled him in all his official actions, and the emergency being so great, he thoughtlessly, perhaps, commissioned men who were not of the Democratic Party, but in most instances, if not all, were fully competent to fulfill the duties of the offices to which he had designated them. In the meantime matters had arrived at such a pitch south that, prejudiced as he was against that section of country, he could not help seeing that something must be speedily done to relieve the settlements there. Without paying any regard to the report of Col. Ross, who was already in the field with the requisite force, he issued his proclamation for the new enrollment of volunteers for service in that direction. But he had received an intimation by this time from his guardians at the capital that some of his appointments for the northern service were distasteful to them because they were not strictly Democratic; none but Democrats were appointed by the Executive to any office in the service thereafter, and means were taken to procure the discharge of those who were already commissioned and were faithfully and efficiently discharging their military duties, but who had voted at the general election in June previous against the regular nominee of the Democratic Party. The Governor not wishing to stultify himself by removing from office, without good cause, those whom he had but recently appointed, did not yield strict obedience to the mandates of his party so to do. Accordingly petitions were got up and numerously signed by members of the Democratic Party, and directed to the Governor, praying for the immediate discharge from the service of those whom he had appointed, and that their places be filled with Democrats. Here is the petition itself:
"Please get all the names you can to the following petition, and forward it to Governor Curry as early as possible--by first mail, if can be:
"To His Excellency Gov. Curry: The undersigned, Democratic anti-Know-Nothing voters of Oregon, earnestly petition your excellency to cause to be displaced all members of the Know-Nothing Party, or supporters of that party (and those who vote their ticket, we hold as such), holding public station directly or indirectly under you, and their places be filled by competent Democrats."
At this time the Democracy recognized as Know-Nothings all who did not vote the straight Democratic ticket--so of course all, except Democrats, were intended to be excluded from serving in the war unless in the capacity of privates in the ranks. The petition was signed by all the leading Democrats of the Territory, including the Chief Justice, certainly, and the two Associates if they had an opportunity to sign it: Delazon Smith, our late U.S. Senator; L. F. Grover, late member of Congress; the Territorial printer &c. &c. &c.
Every Democratic paper in the Territory, save one, the Democratic Standard, either yielded direct assent to, or did not dissent from this line of policy, and the Governor, to extricate himself from the difficulties he had got into respecting his appointments, yielded up his rights as commander-in-chief, as constituted by virtue of the organic law of the Territory, to a strongly Democratic Legislature which had then convened.
In urging the removal of the proscribed parties from office, the following appeal is made to the Democracy and the Whigs who voted the Democratic ticket, for their signatures:
"As an humble worker in the Democratic vineyard we ask--and we ask it as an act of right and justice, not as a favor--that every Know-Nothing, at heart, in deed, in fact, from chief to subaltern, holding Democratic appointments, be dismissed, and we will not cease to ask till this act of justice is accomplished.
* * *"We know no policy--no prudential considerations--which commands silence when violence has been done to Democratic principle and Democratic usage, though that violence has been done by Democratic hands, unintentionally it undoubtedly was.
* * *"And we urge upon Democrats--upon Whigs who voted the Democratic ticket--in every county in the Territory, to promptly petition for such removal. Give expression to your objections to these appointments by petition, and forward them to headquarters without delay. Ask for a clean sweep and thorough work, and you will have it. Gov. Curry is too true a Democrat to either desire to retain such enemies to liberal, to Republican principles--such traditional enemies of the Democratic Party--or to unheed your prayer. Send in the petitions, and send them in quickly. Let these men--all--go out of office before they realize they are in. Already is the work of petitioning going on * * * and we have yet to hear of the first Democrat who has not promptly and eagerly subscribed his name on being shown a petition."
(Statesman, Nov. 3, 1855.
This sort of appeal to the Democratic masses was kept up for weeks, and finally accomplished its end as I have stated, by the Governor yielding his right to appoint to the Legislature.
The Democratic Standard, the Democratic paper I have mentioned as having opposed the proscriptive policy indicated in the petition and the foregoing appeal, comments as follows in its issue of November 15, 1855:
"In the field are men of every political party, alike periling their lives in the defense of the country: at home, also, are men of the same parties, alike yielding up their property to the government for the necessities of this war, having common interests in its successful issue, and who will alike suffer if it fail to accomplish a lasting peace to the Territory. How, then, we ask, can it be considered a party war? * * * It is then the height of treason against the interests of Oregon to attempt to distort the objects of this war, and to make it a mere piece of machinery, grand and imposing, but only intended for the perfection of certain partisan and selfish aggrandizements."
For these sentiments the Standard was soundly berated by its Democratic cotemporaries. It was accused of rendering aid to the enemies of the Democratic Party by being too timid to give in its support to this "bold proposition," as the Democracy styled their proscription of all who were not Democrats from serving in the war except as privates.
The proscriptive policy was put into execution as soon as the Governor had yielded up to his party the right to appoint his staff officers, and was rigidly adhered to throughout the war, and it was not until the proscribed parties were discharged from the service, and their places filled by Simon-pure Democrats, that the war was acknowledged legitimate and just by the Democracy of Oregon.
Soon after the petition that I have quoted was put in circulation for signatures, the chiefs of the various departments of the service gave in their adherence and subscribed to the doctrine therein enunciated, and as a pledge of their sincerity forthwith discharged from their respective departments the obnoxious parties who as a general thing were the most competent men they had employed. So thorough were these removals, that when the Legislature was ready to assume the prerogative of the Governor with respect to these appointments, only one man, a clerk, who was not a Democrat, was employed in either of these departments. And to show how rigidly they enforced obedience to their party edicts, even in matters of a strict military character, I quote from the proceedings of the Democratic nominating caucus convened with especial reference to this subject. All the chiefs of the departments, save one, having strictly complied with their party disciples and requirements, had thus secured their retention in the respective offices to which the Governor had called them. Here is the resolution respecting the delinquent in whose department the clerk just referred to was still retained.
"Resolved, That M. M. McCarver, Commissary General, be informed that the condition of his election as chief of the Commissary Department is that he shall not employ * * * or any person of like Know-Nothing political character.
"On motion of Mr. Smith of Linn (the Hon. Delazon, late U.S. Senator), a committee of three were appointed to call upon Gen. McCarver and inform him of the condition of his election.
"Messrs. Grover (late member of Congress), * * * and * * * were appointed said committee."
(Oregon Statesman, Feb. 5, 1856.
Gen. McCarver was elected "Chief of the Commissary Department."
I have now adduced sufficient testimony, I think, from purely Democratic records, too, to prove conclusively that the Democracy of Oregon are in reality the true source of all the prejudice which now exists in the public mind against the allowance of the Oregon war debt by Congress, and against the people of Oregon generally in connection with Indian affairs of that region. I have cited the Oregon Statesman exclusively to justify this position because it was the chief organ of the Democratic Party there, the organ of the Executive, too, and the official paper of the Territory as it is now, of the new state. These records, however, exclusively Democratic as they are, are now denied in toto by the very man that made them. They now assert in as positive terms as it is possible to express that these records never existed.
From the very commencement of hostilities, until the organization of the volunteer army had been arranged "according to Democratic usage," the Democracy, as I have shown, were profuse and exceedingly bitter in their denunciation of the war, alleging that, so far at least as the war in Southern Oregon was concerned, it had been unjustly and "deliberately brought on" by a set of mercenary men, leaders of a "faction" that was "morally and politically bankrupt," for "purposes of speculation and political aggrandizement." These demonstrations of the war were universally indulged in by the Democracy of the Territory (with the exception named), except where it was expedient to magnify the doings of some political favorite engaged in its prosecution. Not a word was said or published by the Democracy condemnatory, contradicting or in refutation of the report that Gen. Wool and Superintendent Palmer had forwarded to the Departments at Washington until after the war had been raging for nearly or quite three months, and after the Legislature had convened and arranged the programme for introducing genuine modern Democracy into the management of the war, and had actually put their schemes in this respect into execution. Then, and not till then, did the Democracy of Oregon cease to misrepresent and distort the objects of the war, and to deem it expedient and good for the party to turn traitor to and denounce some of their former friends and associates who had aided them in their work of defamation, and whom, perhaps, they had wholly misled on the war question. General Wool and Superintendent Palmer, who, as I have shown, followed close in the wake of the champions of Democracy with regard to this matter, were among the first whom the Democracy thus repudiated and denounced. The Legislature petitioned the President of the United States for the immediate recall of General Wool from the command of the Department of the Pacific, and for the removal of Mr. Palmer from the Indian Superintendency of Oregon; preferring, in their memorials, charges of which many of the members themselves were the most guilty, who, doubtless, had been chiefly instrumental in leading General Wool and Mr. Palmer to commit the very errors for which they were thus censured. Superintendent Palmer was removed, and General Wool, at his own request, it is said, was superseded in his command by General Clark.
But while the Democracy of Oregon emphatically deny their own record respecting this war, at home, they are now, and have been for two years past, secretly pursuing at Washington the same proscriptive policy with regard to its payment that they inaugurated in its management. Not intending that it should affect in any manner the officers and other claimants of their own party, they have trumped up and secretly placed on file in some of the Departments at Washington charges of gross fraud and other misconduct that were calculated to affect only certain named persons whom they had proscribed and forbidden to take any part in the war except as I have specified, and in the way of furnishing supplies. But these charges, contrary to the expectations of those who created them, have proved prejudicial to the entire service; all who are in any way interested in its payment, whether Democrats or Republicans, are now made joint sufferers together. Men of the Departments in which these charges were placed, and members of Congress who were expected to aid in carrying out this policy of the Democracy of Oregon, had axes to grind too. Democratic members of Congress who made the greatest noise and talked the loudest in favor of retrenchment in the expenses of the general government found it very convenient to denounce the Oregon war debt as a swindle, an intended fraud upon the Treasury of the United States, while, at the same time, they were strenuous advocates of the $30,000,000 election fund and other measures of a like character. Mr. Faulkner, the late chairman of the Military Committee of the lower House of Congress, and to whom this war matter was especially referred by his committee, has within the last three months sought to secure his reelection to Congress by declaring the debt a stupendous fraud, and avowing his eternal hostility to its payment; and, furthermore, assuring his constituency that if they would but return him to Congress again, he would surely prevent its being paid. This was the first public and open denunciation of the debt, though all the evidence, and all the papers concerning it, had been under his exclusive control for something like eighteen months prior to the adjournment of the last Congress. But in the meantime he had seemingly made arrangements with other parties, the Third Auditor of the Treasury for one, who was known to entertain the most violent antipathy against volunteer service rendered anywhere, but more particularly that of the Pacific Coast, to forestall public opinion against the debt to the utmost extent of his power. The Auditor, apparently glad of the opportunity thus offered to give expression to his hatred and contempt for volunteer service, and being in the confidence of the Democratic leaders in Oregon, who had informed him of their desires in the premises, expecting his cooperation with them, took hold of the work assigned him by Mr. Faulkner with a will, and greatly exceeded his instructions from his Oregon correspondents by directing his efforts against the entire debt in lieu of the individual claims that they had designated. He performed his work however to the satisfaction of Mr. Faulkner and those who were with him in this scheme to stave off the payment of this debt by the present Administration. Ever since it came to the knowledge of the public that this Administration had become exceedingly profligate in its expenditure, up to the time that the recent election in Virginia took place, Mr. Faulkner had been very anxious to gain notoriety as an advocate of retrenchment and reform in the administration of the government, and hoping by this means to secure his reelection to Congress. For some time previous to the last adjournment of Congress, various articles were published in The Washington States and other Democratic papers denouncing the debt as a fraud, and highly applauding Mr. Faulkner for his perseverance in establishing that fact and "thereby saving some six millions of dollars to the United States Treasury." These puffs of course were for home consumption in Mr. Faulkner's own district, and they were evidently from his own pen, or that of some particular friend knowing the hobby he would ride in the next canvass for Congress. I cite these facts to show wherein Mr. Faulkner could be personally benefited by assuming the position he did with regard to this matter. There is no doubt, however, that this position of Mr. Faulkner, and that of the Administration on the same subject, are precisely the same; though for the sake of retaining Oregon loyal to the Democratic Party until the next Presidential race is run, the latter professes, in as quiet a way as possible, to desire an equitable and just settlement of the debt. The war, as I have shown, was inevitable, and the debt created under Democratic auspices. But this Administration intends to entail the burden of its payment on its successor, if it is possible to do so without incurring the loss of Oregon for the next Democratic Presidential candidate. The Democracy are fearful that figures will tell against the party in the next Presidential campaign, and for this reason, acknowledging in as private a manner as possible that the debt is just, dare not urge nor allow its payment. Faulkner. himself, in private conversation, has acknowledged that he considered the war legitimate, and that the debt ought to be paid. Even Gen. Lane, Oregon's own Representative, dare not urge the payment of the debt farther than to hoodwink his constituents, through fear of injuring his party and lessening his own chances for the next Presidency. He has staked his all upon the mere chance, if it amounts to that, of getting the nomination at Charleston, and he works only with that object in view, and seems to regard any measure that looks likely to promote his own personal interests as being just the thing for Oregon. For these reasons he has accomplished no good for Oregon for years past, and, if his associations at Washington indicate anything, he consorts with those who are clandestinely at work to defeat the payment of Oregon's war claim, though professedly in its favor. He has never attempted to refute the charges of Gen. Wool and Mr. Palmer by showing the facts connected with the war, which would effectually have done away with the reproach and the prejudice that those charges have produced. However, he may be partially excusable for not bringing facts to bear against the allegations of Gen. Wool and Mr. Palmer; for, in the first place, they were of a purely Democratic origin, and to have shown this would have ensured the downfall of his party in Oregon, through whose agency he expected to attain to the honors of a United States Senator--another step, as he thought, toward the Presidency; and, in the next place, he knew but little about the war himself. He had been absent from Oregon, as its Delegate in Congress, for nearly six years when the claim was presented for the action of Congress thereon, and consequently could know but very little about Oregon matters at home, except what he could learn from politicians there, whom he supposed were in his interest. But Democracy is not always true to its Democratic Representatives even, still less to the public interest. The clique to whom Lane had been twice indebted for his election as Delegate, and who had managed the war to their own liking, entertained a secret desire to oust him from the Delegateship at the next election, if Oregon had remained a Territory, and to defeat his election as a United States Senator, if it became a state. For this reason they withheld from him, as well as from Congress, much information respecting the origin and other particulars of the war that, had he been prosecuting its payment in good faith, would have been of infinite value to him. Feeling conscious that if the debt should be recognized by Congress during Lane's term as Delegate, it would endanger their party organization to attempt openly to defeat him, and not realizing that he was averse to its recognition during the continuance of the present Administration, they secretly sought to throw stumbling blocks in the way of its payment themselves, in order to obtain a plausible pretext for charging him with a gross dereliction of duty. The statistics representing the names and number of citizens killed by Indians, in times of peace, prior to the war of 1855-6, from which I have quoted, were obtained at considerable expense, and put in documentary form for some legislative endorsement, by one of the persons whom the Democracy had proscribed his part in the war. The Legislature, however, would take no action in the matter unless it should appear upon their records as a genuine Democratic production. It was a matter of much importance that it should be of record in order that it might be cited in justification of the war, and to show the Christian forbearance that had ever been exercised toward the Indians by the people of Oregon. For these reasons the author of the document had it placed in the hands of the Committee on Military Affairs, who reported it to the Legislature as the result of their own labor and investigations. It was then accepted, and attached to a joint resolution of the Assembly, requesting Lane to urge the application to pay the Oregon volunteers, and in the same manner the Secretary of the Territory was instructed to transmit copies of the same to the President, the Secretary of War and Gen. Lane. The Secretary of the Territory positively refused to comply with these instructions, and the very person who first arranged the document which the Legislature had assumed made the number of copies called for by the resolution, paid the Secretary for comparing with the original records, and for affixing his official seal. The Secretary was and is yet a prominent member of the clique who have controlled the Democracy of Oregon for years past, and is exceedingly anxious to take Lane's place in the United States Senate.
Thus has this war matter been managed from the time of the general outbreak of the Indians, in 1855, up to the present time. The whole thing from beginning to end has been in the hands, and under the exclusive control, of leading Democratic politicians, who seek only to make it a stepping stone to political promotions, by advocating its payment where it is popular to do so and repudiating it altogether wherever this is the more popular course. Unrighteous and unjust as this policy must appear at first glance, yet it is the more to be deprecated when we take into consideration the fact that the war was precipitated upon the people of Oregon by Democratic appointments of pusillanimous and otherwise grossly incompetent Indian agents, and the like appointment of officers to command the military posts in the Indian country.
Had the proper and just course been pursued by the Indian Department and the military at Fort Lane and Fort Jones toward the Indians of Table Rock Reserve who, in company with other Indians, committed the numerous and long succession of murders in Southern Oregon during the summer of 1855, the war in that region, though fully determined upon by the Indians, would have been obviated. But these Indians were freely permitted by both the Indian agent and the military at Fort Lane to leave their reservation at any time, and to commit any depredations they might choose upon citizens, and to return again to receive the protection of United States troops. Once only did the military of Fort Lane pursue and bring back to the reserve these Indians, and not then until they had murdered three citizens (Dyer, McKew and Philpot) and were in danger of being dealt with by the neighbors of the murdered men. But in this instance, as in all others, as soon as they had reached the reserve they were left wholly unrestrained, to go whithersoever they would, a liberty that they soon availed themselves of, as the history of the Buckeye Bar massacre before noticed will fully show.
In view of the foregoing facts, Oregon must look to the Republicans in Congress for that justice with regard to the payment of this debt which the Democracy, whose child it is, have so long denied them. I would not, however, urge the Republicans to support the payment of the debt until they have investigated the matter thoroughly, and have become so conversant with its details as to be able to place the facts upon the records of Congress, so that the country may know the justice of the claim and the erroneous opinions that prevail respecting it. I am too thorough a Republican myself to desire that the Republicans in Congress should support the payment of this claim without showing upon the record good and sufficient reasons for so doing. But I would have them examine the subject thoroughly, and advocate the payment of the debt solely upon its merits, well ascertained and fully set forth for the information of all concerned. As I have said before, the subject will bear close examination, and no one will be the loser thereby. If the Republicans would but take the trouble to investigate this matter themselves, taking nothing for granted without the most positive proof, they would find that the employment of United States troops for the protection of frontier settlements is worse than money thrown away, and also that our Indian policy is wholly defective. More than this, it would be seen that had the Indian Department of Oregon and the military stationed there simply performed their plainest duties, the war of 1856, with all the evils it bred, might and would have been avoided.
C. S. DREW.New York Weekly Tribune, September 24, 1859, pages 9-10
Lowell, Mass, July 12, 1859.
COMMUNICATIONBelieving that the rights and interests of the people of Oregon, as connected with the allowance of their war debt, now pending before Congress, are seriously endangered because of the evil reports that have been placed upon record respecting it, and the origin of the war on account of which it was created, I have thought it proper to present to you at this time a circumstantial account of the origin and the early prosecution of the war in question, for which pay is now claimed and is justly due. In the arrangement of this account, I have alluded to other Indian wars and difficulties that have occurred in Oregon, because their history, too, has been grossly perverted and then made use of in making up a case against the war under consideration. I have, however, confined myself mainly to the simple statement of facts, leaving comments to be made by those who shall hereafter discuss the subject to which these facts relate. Much that I have stated touching matters in Southern Oregon and Northern California is the result of my own observation, having resided in that section of country some seven years, commencing with the year 1851. From November, 1852, until after the closing scenes of the war of 1855-56, I was a resident of Rogue River Valley, and participated with my fellow citizens in suppressing Indian hostilities that occurred there during that period. For this reason, I have gone more into the details of Indian murders, volunteer service, &c., in that region, than in any other.
C. S. DREW,
LATE ADJUTANT OF THE SECOND REGIMENT OF OREGON MOUNTED
An account of the origin and early prosecution of the Indian war in Oregon,
May 2, 1860.--Referred to the Committee on Military Affairs and the Militia. Motion to print referred to the Committee on Printing.
May 9, 1860.--Report in favor of printing submitted, considered, and agreed to.
To the honorable the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled.
List of actual murders from November 1847, to January 1857.In 1847, November 29.--Dr. Marcus Whitman, a Protestant missionary, Mrs. Whitman, two orphan children, and thirteen other persons, eleven of them newly arrived overland from the East, were murdered by Cayuse Indians at and near the mission established by Dr. Whitman, in Walla Walla Valley. The Indians were in no manner provoked to the commission of this massacre. Oregon, at that time, had only a government of its own, the laws of the United States not having been extended over it until the following year.
1850.--Early in the summer, eleven men, names unknown, were murdered by Indians of Southern Oregon, at what is now Port Orford. They had embarked at San Francisco for a cruise along the Oregon coast south of the Columbia River, with the view to ascertain what inducements that region of country offered to settlement. They proceeded to Port Orford Bay, where they come to anchor; and satisfying themselves that this bay possessed merits as a harbor, went on shore to make a cursory examination of the country adjacent. Hardly had they touched the beach, however, when they were attacked by a large body of Indians, and every man of them was killed on the spot. They had seen no Indians before the moment of the attack, and, therefore, could have given no provocation. The Indians were not punished.
August.--Messrs. Spink and Cushing, packers, were murdered, and their train and loading destroyed by Indians, on Klamath River. No provocation given and none claimed. The murderers were not punished.
In 1851, January.--James Sloan, ---- Janalshan, ---- Bender, and ---- Blackburn were killed by Indians, at Blackburn's ferry, on Klamath River. The Indians attacked this place in large numbers; but it was defended by the citizens until relief came from distant settlements, when the Indians withdrew. The Indians destroyed several thousand dollars' worth of stores and other property. No provocation given and none claimed. The Indians were not punished. The parties killed are believed to have been formerly of Ohio.
May.--Four men, miners, names unknown, were murdered at two different places (two in each) on the road between Rogue River and Grave Creek, by Rogue River Indians. No provocation is known to have been given. The Indians claimed none. They were not punished.
Same month.--William Mosier and ---- Reaver (or Reavis) were murdered near Yreka, California, by Rogue River and Shasta Indians. No cause known, and none supposed to exist. The murderers were not punished.
About this time ---- Dilley, a packer, was murdered by Rogue River Indians, near a place now known as Camp Stuart, so called from it being the place where Captain Stuart, United States army, died of wounds received at the hands of those Indians in the following autumn. No provocation was given for the murder of Mr. Dilley. The Indians were not punished.
August.--Cornelius Doherty, recently from Texas, and Jeremiah Ryan, of Maryland; John Holland, of New Hampshire; J. P. Pepper and P. Murphy, of New York, also newly arrived on the Pacific coast, were murdered by Southern Oregon Indians, at the mouth of Coquille River. Three of their five companions who escaped were severely wounded at this time. The Indians had not the slightest cause for the commission of this murder, as I shall proceed to show by and by.
October.--Mr. Moffitt, a drover, was mortally wounded by Rogue River Indians, near Camp Stuart. No provocation given or claimed. Major Kearny, United States army, visited Rogue River Valley about this time, and obtained a promise from the Indians that they would commit no more depredations upon the whites.
In 1852, June 2.--Calvin Woodman, a miner of Scotts River, was murdered in Scotts Valley, by Indians of the Rogue River tribes. No provocation was given. The Indian who actually fired the fatal shot was afterwards captured, as was his accomplice, by a company of volunteers of Yreka. The criminals were then tried before a citizens' jury, where, their guilt being proved beyond a doubt, the principal was hung; but, it being difficult to make the Indians understand why an accessory should be punished with the principal, the accomplice was set at liberty. Mr. Woodman was a native of Maine.
Same month.--James L. Freaner, John Brando, ---- Jackson, ---- Warren, and a Mexican called Adobe John, were murdered in Pit River Valley, by the Indians of that name. This was a party that left Yreka to view and locate a wagon road from Sacramento Valley to the southern boundary of Oregon, for which Colonel Freaner and others had procured a charter. Nothing definite as to the fate of this party was known until some four years afterwards, when the Indians themselves boastfully disclosed the particulars. Of course they did not plead justification. Colonel Freaner was the "mustang" of Mexican war notoriety. Brando was a native of Maine.
About this time an American, name supposed to be Lockwood, and three Mexicans, all packers, were murdered near Sugar Loaf Mountain, on the old trail between Shasta City and Yreka, by the Indians just mentioned. A German was also murdered at this place, some two days after, by the same Indians. A partner of the German, though very severely wounded, made his escape to Yreka. All these murders were entirely unprovoked, and for none of them were the Indians punished.
August.--Mr. Coats, John Ormsby, James Long, Felix Martin, Mr. Wood, and thirty-four others, whose names are not known, were murdered by Modoc and other Indians on the Southern Oregon emigrant road.
December.--William Grendage, Peter Hunter, Mr. Bruner, Mr. Palmer, William Allen, two brothers Bacon, and one other, whose name is unknown, were murdered by Rogue River Indians, near the mouth of Galice Creek.
In 1853, May or June.--An American and a Mexican, miners, were murdered in their cabin, in the neighborhood of Cow Creek, by Southern Oregon Indians. No provocation, and no punishment.
August 4.--Edward Edwards, a farmer, residing six miles from Jacksonville, was murdered at noonday at his own house by Rogue River Indians, who had secreted themselves in some brush near by. No provocation given, nor were the Indians called to an account.
August 5.--Thomas Wills, merchant, of Jacksonville, was shot and mortally wounded by Rogue River Indians just as he was entering the town. No provocation, and no attempt at punishment.
August 6.--Richard Nolan and another person, whose name is not known, miners, of Jackson Creek, were murdered at their claims, about a mile from Jacksonville, by Rogue River Indians--the same party, probably, who shot Mr. Wills. No provocation.
August 17.--John Gibbs, William Hudgins, ---- Whittier, and two others were murdered by a tribe of Rogue River Indians, who were professedly friendly, and were at the time being wholly subsisted and maintained by Mr. Gibbs and other citizens at private expense.
October 6.--James C. Kyle, a merchant, of Jacksonville, was murdered within six miles of home, and two from Fort Lane, by Rogue River Indians, belonging to Table Rock reservation. The murder was entirely unprovoked. A Mr. Bell and partner and a miner called Jack were murdered by Indians of Lower Rogue River, about this time, and, as in the other case, without any provocation.
In 1854, January.--Hiram Hulen, J. Clark, J. Oldfield, and Wesley Mayden were murdered by Rogue River, Shasta, and Modoc Indians while looking for stock which these Indians had stolen. Distance from Fort Lane about 25 miles, and about 30 from Fort Jones. Mr. Clark formerly lived in Michigan, and Mayden in Minnesota. The Indians were not punished.
April 15.--Edward Phillips, a miner, of Applegate Creek, was murdered in his own house by Rogue River Indians. Distance from Fort Lane about 14 miles. The murder was wholly unprovoked, and no attempt was made to punish the Indians for it. Mr. Phillips was a native of New York.
June 15.--Daniel Gage was murdered by Modoc Indians on the road between Jacksonville and Yreka. Distance from Fort Jones about 35 miles, and Fort Lane about 20 miles. No provocation given, and the Indians were not punished. The Indians destroyed the most of Mr. Gage's (and Claymer's) pack train and a valuable lot of merchandise,
June 24.--Mr. McAmy was killed, near De Witt's ferry on Klamath River, by Rogue River and Shasta Indians.
Thomas O'Neil was murdered by Klamath Indians about this time. It is not known whether there was any provocation in this or the foregoing case. It is certain, however, that the Indians were never called to an account in either.
August 19.--W. G. Perry and George Lake, emigrating from Iowa, and E. B. Cantrell from Illinois, were murdered by Indians east of Fort Boise; and.
About the same time, John Crittenden, John Badger, Alexander Sawyer, and ---- Wood, also emigrating to Oregon, were murdered at Gravelly Ford, by the Snake Indians.
August 20.--Alexander Ward, Mrs. Ward, and their seven children, Mrs. White and child, Samuel Mulligan, two brothers Adams, W. Babcock, John Frederick, Rudolph Shultz, Mr. Ames, and a man unknown, emigrants from Missouri and Western States, were killed by the Indians on Snake River. No provocation given.
September.--Stewart, of Corvallis, Oregon, was murdered by Klamath Indians, on the Middle Oregon emigrant road, where he had gone to meet some friends whom he expected overland, via this route. This murder was entirely unprovoked. The Indians were not punished.
November 2.--Alfred French was murdered by Indians of Southern Oregon, near Crescent City, California. The murder was wholly unprovoked. It is not probable that more than three of the Indians actually participated in this affair, but many were accessory to it, both before and after the fact. The particulars of the murder were not ascertained until after a jail-full or more of the Indians had been arrested for the act, when they gave such information as led to the discovery of Mr. French's body and the arrest and conviction of the principal in his murder. Mr. French was formerly connected with the publication of The Independence Chronicle, at Independence, Missouri.
In 1855, May 8.--Hill, a miner on Indian Creek, was murdered by Rogue River Indians. The murder was entirely unprovoked, and was committed in his own house. The Indians were not punished.
June 1.--Jerome Dyer and Daniel McKew were murdered on the road between Jacksonville and Illinois Valley, by Rogue River Indians from Table Rock reservation. Distance from Fort Lane, about sixteen miles.
June 2.--Philpot was murdered by the Indians just mentioned. No provocation given in either case.
July 27.--Peters, a miner, was murdered near Yreka by Rogue River and Shasta Indians. Distance from Fort Jones, about twenty miles.
July 28.--William Hennessey, Edward Parrish, Austin W. Gay, Peter Hignight, John Pollock, four Frenchmen and two Mexicans, names unknown, were murdered at Buckeye Bar, on Klamath River, by Rogue River Indians from Table Rock reservation, aided, probably, by some of the Shasta and Klamath tribes. Distance from Fort Jones, about fourteen miles. No provocation given, either in this case or that of Mr. Peters.
September 2.--Granville M. Keene was killed by Modoc and Rogue River Indians, near the head of Rogue River Valley. He was killed while in pursuit of a horse which these Indians had stolen.
About this time, Mrs. Clark and her son, of Yamhill County (Middle Oregon), were murdered by Indians of the Tillamook tribe. No provocation given. One Indian was hung for this murder.
About this time, also, Agent A. J. Bolon, ---- Matteese, Elisha Plummer, and six others whose names are unknown, were murdered by the Yakima and other Indians of Northern Oregon and Washington Territory.
September 24.--Calvin M. Fields and John Cunningham were murdered on the road between Jacksonville and Yreka, by Rogue River Indians from Table Rock reserve, aided, probably, by Indians from the Klamath Lake country.
September 25.--Samuel Warner was murdered near the place where Fields and Cunningham were, and by the same Indians. No provocation given in either of the cases just cited. Distance from Fort Lane to where the three last-mentioned persons were killed, about twenty-five miles.
October 9.--Mrs. J. B. Wagoner, Mary Wagoner, Mr. and Mrs. J. K. Jones, Mr. and Mrs. Haines and two children, George W. Harris, Daniel W. Harris, Frank A. Reed, William Gwin, James W. Cartwright, Powell, Bunch, Fox, Hamilton, White, and probably several others, were killed between Evans' ferry (Rogue River) and Grave Creek by Rogue River Indians from Table Rock reserve; aided by Indians of the Umpqua tribes. Distance from Fort Lane about twenty miles. No provocation given.
Same day.--Messrs. Hudson and Wilson, packers, were murdered on the road between Crescent City and Indian Creek, by Rogue River and Klamath Indians. No provocation.
October 16.--Holland Bailey, farmer, was murdered in Cow Creek Valley by Cow Crock and Umpqua Indians, No provocation given,
November 16.--Charles Scott and Theodore Snow, miners, were murdered on the road between Yreka and Scotts Bar, probably by runners from the Rogue River Indians to those on Salmon and Lower Klamath rivers.
In 1856, February 23.--Indian agent Ben Wright, John Poland, H. Braun, E. W. Howe, Mr. Wagner, Barney Castle, George McCluskey, Mr. Lara, W. R. Tullus, James Seroc and two sons, Mr. Smith, Mr. Warner, John Geisel and three children, S. Heidrick, Pat. McCullough, and four others, names unknown, were murdered by a tribe of Rogue River Indians who were in charge of Agent Wright and were professedly friendly.
March 2l.--Whiting and Bell, partners in trade, were murdered near Port Orford, by Southern Oregon Indians.
March 26.--George Griswold, Norman Palmer, Mr. and Mrs. Brown, Mr. Watkins, James St. Clair, and eleven others were killed at the Cascades (on the Columbia River) by Indians of that vicinity. No provocation given.
June.--Charles Green and Thomas Stewart, miners, were murdered on McKinney's Creek, near Fort Jones, by Shasta or Klamath Indians. No provocation given. The Indians were not called to an account.
In 1857, January.--Harry Lockhart, Z. Rogers, Adam Boles, D. Bryant, and a German called John were murdered by the Pit River Indians in the valley of that name. No provocation given. Mr. Rogers was a native of Maine.
I have now proceeded with these recitals of Indian murders as far as it seems necessary for present purposes that I should, though they might still be continued. The hostility of the Modoc, Pit River and Klamath Indians has continued unabated since the date last mentioned, down to the present, and the murders and other depredations committed by them have continued in about the same ratio as before. The Rogue Rivers and other tribes of Southern Oregon, after having been repulsed in their attempt to devastate that region of country in 1855, by "Oregon volunteers," surrendered themselves into the keeping of the regularly constituted authorities of the general government, and were removed to quarters where they are subsisted at the public expense, and where it is hoped they may be forever restrained from a renewal of their bloody work of former years.
In arranging the foregoing list, I have had recourse to H. Mis. Doc. No. 47, 2nd session, 35th Congress, which contains many of the names mentioned, and much information with regard to the service of volunteers for which pay is now claimed at the hands of Congress. None are included in the list who were killed while bearing arms against the Indians by whom they were killed. The list of actual murders foots up as follows: Total number of persons murdered between November, 1847, and January, 1857, a period of a little over nine years, as per list, 259. Twelve others, whose names are not in my possession, are known to have been killed by the Indians of Southern Oregon and their immediate allies, in 1854-55-56, and I estimate the number killed during these three years by the Indians of Northern Oregon and the Territory of Washington, that are not included in the list, at 26; and among them Colonel Moses, collector at Puget Sound. This gives a total of 297. Add to this number the 64 that were murdered at different times and various places in Oregon, prior to 1847, and it is increased to (361) three hundred and sixty-one. Of these, 237 were murdered by the Indians of Southern Oregon and their allies, the Shastas, and the Klamath, and Pit Rivers; and 124 by the Indians of Northern and Middle Oregon, and the Territory of Washington. Of the 237 charged to the Indians of Southern Oregon, &c., 169 were committed after the spring of 1852, the time when the Rogue River country commenced being settled; 119 after the establishment of Fort Orford and Fort Jones, the latter in November, 1852, and 100 after the establishment of Fort Lane, in September, 1853, while all three of these posts were garrisoned by United States troops. Of the 124 committed by the Indians of Washington Territory, Northern and Middle Oregon, 81 were committed after the first of 1854. In the remaining number, I have included the crew of the ill-fated Tonquin. But, in no other instance have I gone back to an earlier period than 1834, the date of the first efforts of Protestant missionaries to Christianize the Oregon Indians.
I have included the murder of the Agent Wright, &c., in the list, though it occurred (February 23) some months after the war in the Rogue River country had commenced. But it was perpetrated by a tribe of Indians who were professedly friendly, and were being subsisted by the Indian Department. For similar reasons, I have included the massacre at the Cascades (March 26), and some others of lesser note, in the same category.
Massacre by the Coquille Indians--Account of the same by one of the survivors.As the Indians of Oregon, especially the Rogue River and contiguous tribes, are so often represented as the perfect embodiment of all that is generous and noble, I trust that a sample or two of their wonted magnanimity will not be considered out of place here. One of the survivors of the massacre by the Coquille Indians, in August, 1851, in his account of that affair, says: ''We left Port Orford with only about five days ration, and had been out twenty. We had failed to reach the settlements, and were now trying to make our way back to whence we came. On our arrival at the Coquille River, our leader, who was also our guide, gave out from hunger and fatigue, and declared that he could proceed with us no further. Just at this time, we discovered a small party of Indians coming up the river in canoes. This was a most welcome sight, as it gave us hope that from them we might obtain something to eat. In this, however, we were sorely disappointed, for they would furnish us with nothing whatever in the shape of food.
"After some deliberation as to what we should do, we decided to trust to the professed friendship of the Indians, and to take passage with them to the mouth of the river, as we could then keep our guide along with us. Accordingly we engaged our passage, for which we gave the Indians all our blankets.
"We had proceeded down the river but a short distance when we came to a small Indian village, where the Indians were preparing to catch salmon. Here we made another unsuccessful attempt to obtain food. Proceeding on, not yet knowing what stream we were on, the next day, about noon, we arrived opposite a large Indian town within sight of the river's mouth. It had been our intention to proceed immediately to Port Orford via the beach the moment we should arrive at the coast; but the Indians thus far had manifested no particular hostility towards us, except to refuse us food, which our guide was anxious to make one more effort now to obtain. Against this the rest of our company remonstrated; but as all the company, except the guide, were recently arrived on the Pacific coast, and consequently knew nothing of the treacherous character of the Indians, his counsels finally prevailed, and we changed our course for the Indian town. Before reaching it, however, we perceived there were as many as one hundred warriors collected in the vicinity of where we were to land; but as they seemed to comprehend our condition, and manifested a disposition to minister to our necessities by showing us food, &c., our confidence in their friendship, which had at first been somewhat shaken, was again restored, and we prepared to disembark, determined to sell the shirts off our back for any quantity of food, however small. We had only touched the shore, however, when we were set upon by the entire body of the Indians and completely overpowered before we had time to make even a show of defense. Five of our number fell on the spot, and the other five, three of them severely wounded, barely escaped. How any of us escaped seems miraculous. We gave the Indians no cause for their attack upon us. We paid them what they required for our passage, and offered to them pay for whatever we tried to obtain of them."
It was the neighbors of these Indians, it will be remembered, who murdered the party of eleven at Port Orford the year before. What is true with regard to the perfidy and treachery of any one of these tribes, is true of all that ever infested any portion of Southern Oregon. None ever lost an opportunity to murder a white man unless controlled by fear of punishment or the loss of annuities, and instances are very rare in which they have been controlled even by these considerations. War has ever been their most cherished passion, and in order to secure its indulgence there is, as a general rule, no present advantage that they will not sacrifice, and no future consequences that they will in the least regard. It is claimed that, in the fall of 1851, the Coquille Indians, to whom the statement I have just quoted refers, were chastised by a force of United States troops under the command of Lieut. Colonel Casey. But the action of these troops amounted to little more than a march into the country occupied by these Indians, and then out of it. The Indians were not in the least subdued, and continued their depredations as before, though fortunately with less success, because their former acts of perfidy had learned the whites to guard against them. No attempt, I believe, has ever been made to punish the Indians who murdered the party of eleven at Port Orford in 1850.
Attempted outbreak of the Rogue River Indians--The murder of Calvin Woodman, June 2, 1852, in Scotts Valley, and the escape of the murderer to Rogue River, led to a timely prevention of a general outbreak of the Rogue River, Shasta, and surrounding tribes, which must have been exceedingly disastrous to the young settlements then just planted in that region. At the time of this murder, the tribes of Rogue River Valley and the Modocs had already entered into arrangements with each other for the extermination of the whites of the Rogue River country, and also such of the overland immigration as should attempt to pass in over the Southern Oregon route. But, fortunately, the trail of the murderers of Mr. Woodman brought to the camp of the most warlike tribe of the Rogue Rivers (Sam's) a company of Yreka volunteers, under the command of E. Steele, Esq., a gentleman favorably known to the Indians, but who, now that they were bent on war, had no influence whatever over them. After some skirmishing, however, which was participated in by a volunteer company from Jacksonville, the Indians, finding themselves out-generaled, and that the loss in killed was all on their side, expressed a willingness to "make another peace." Fighting was then suspended, and the Indian agent sent for, to whom they promised they would remain peaceable in future; but it amounted to nothing but a promise after all, as subsequent events fully prove. A detailed account of this affair may be found in H. Mis. Doc. 47, second session Thirty-fifth Congress, pages 47-50.
Massacre of immigrants &c., by the Modoc tribes, &c., &c.
Though Indian hostilities in the Rogue River country were quelled for the time, unfortunately, it was not so along the Southern Oregon emigrant road, near its western terminus. The Modocs, agreeable, no doubt, to the programme arranged with the Rogue Rivers, commenced an indiscriminate slaughter of the first immigrant trains that came within their reach, and so thoroughly did they perform their hellish work, that it seems almost a miracle that one man should escape from their hands to carry the sad tidings to the settlements. But so it was. One man, out of a party of eighty, saved himself when his companions were falling and being hacked in pieces all around him, by mounting a pack horse, without saddle or bridle or other equipments, and charging directly through the Indian forces. After riding in this manner over one hundred miles, he reached Yreka, and made the acts of the Indians known. A company of volunteers was immediately organized, and under the command of Captain Ben Wright, dispatched to the scene of difficulty, where it arrived just in season to save the destruction of a train of "sixteen wagons and somewhere between forty and sixty persons." (See H. Mis. Doc. 47, second session Thirty-fifth Congress, pages 41-42.)
A few days after Captain Wright's company had left Yreka, another company was organized, and left for the same destination, under the command of Captain Charles McDermitt, who was then sheriff of Siskiyou County (California), in which Yreka is situated; and about the same time a company from Jacksonville (Oregon), went out on the same service, under command of Colonel John E. Ross, and these volunteer forces were soon after followed by Major Fitzgerald, United States army, with a small detachment of dragoons. With all these forces in the field, the Indians were kept from the road, and were unable to commit any more depredations upon the immigration of that season. Twenty-two bodies were found by Captain Wright's company, and fourteen by the company from Jacksonville. Three others were found by other parties, making the total number of persons actually ascertained to have been killed, thirty-nine, as I have stated.
In order to become fully assured that the last of the immigration had passed the most dangerous portions of the road, the force of Captain Wright remained upon the trail some days after the other companies had retired from the field. The Indians, now that there was little hope of more immigrants to murder and plunder, turned their attention to the few volunteers left, hardly thirty men, rank and file, and by double-dealing and treachery attempted to cut them off. By means of a squaw, they expressed a desire to make a treaty. Captain Wright, though having no confidence whatever in their professions, informed them that he was ready to hear what they had to say at any time. Accordingly, they appointed the next morning as the time for a talk, and at the same time requested that some fifty or more of them, who were to take part in the proceedings of the next day, should come into camp and remain overnight. This request, too, was granted. Unbeknown to the Indians, however, they were closely watched during the night, and there was no time that their intended victims were not ready for immediate action; that they meditated an attack in the morning when the time arrived for the proposed talk appeared evident before they had long been in camp, and by morning, Wright, who understood something of their language, knew all their plans, and had arranged his own accordingly. I need not enter into detail in alluding to this affair, but suffice it to say, the ''biters were bitten;" hence, the wails of a few pseudo-philanthropists and demagogues who pervert the truth respecting this matter, and then use their perversions to the disparagement of volunteer service subsequently rendered against the same enemy.
Colonel Ross expended nearly one thousand dollars in this campaign, and the members of his company also contributed freely of their means, and neither he nor they have ever asked for, or received, one dime in payment, either for such expenditures or for services rendered. Captain Steele, also, who, as I have shown, ventured very material aid in suppressing the outbreak in Rogue River Valley, expended between $2,000 and $3,000 in that service, which has never been refunded to him from any source, nor have his services been paid. I cite these as instances in which "the plunder of the Indians and the federal treasury" has not been the object of "Oregon volunteers," and others of that vicinity, Oregon officials and other public functionaries to the contrary notwithstanding. It is, indeed, susceptible of the clearest proofs that, in no case, have Oregon volunteers been actuated by any such motives.
Fort Jones was established by Major Fitzgerald after his return from this campaign; but as it was seldom garrisoned by more troops than necessary to hold possession, it was never of much utility.
Massacre of miners by Rogue River Indians--Trial of the IndiansThe principals in the Galice Creek massacre were the chief "Taylor" and his tribe (Rogue Rivers), with a few individuals from other tribes in that immediate vicinity. The victims were miners. Nothing was known of the fate of these men until some weeks after the murder, when "Taylor," and others of his tribe, visited Vannoy's ferry for the purpose of trading; and exhibiting more gold dust than it was customary for any Indians to have at one time, they were suspicioned of having obtained it by foul means. They were questioned then as to the whereabout of these men. They stated in reply that the party had been washed off from an island on which they were encamped by high water, and all drowned. A further investigation led to the discovery that every one of this party had been murdered by "Taylor" and his band. "Taylor" and some of his headmen were then arrested by the citizens of the neighborhood; and there being no courts yet established in that part of the Territory, they were brought before a citizens' jury, where they were tried, convicted, and sentenced to be hung. Finding that this decree was about to be executed, and seeing no possible chance to escape, they related the particulars of the affair themselves, and boasted of the part they had taken in it. They gave a minute account of the manner in which they tortured their victims after they had disabled them, stabbing them in numerous places with knives, as they said, "just to see 'em jump." Of course, they did not plead justification; but, strange as it may seem, their white apologists now make this plea for them.
before a citizens' jury--Their conviction, confession, and execution.
Origin of the Rogue River Indian war of 1853--Organization of volunteer troops--Owing to the prompt chastisement inflicted upon "Taylor " and his band, Indian murders in the Rogue River country were less frequent during the early part of 1853, and the Indians generally were more profuse than usual in their professions of friendship. These professions, however, proved only a blind under which these same Indians matured plans for a renewal of hostilities on a larger scale. By resorting to this ruse, the Indians of Rogue River were enabled to augment their strength, unobserved by the whites, by the accession of warriors from the surrounding tribes; and, in the meantime, being allowed to visit the premises of the settlers when so disposed, they managed to steal a considerable number of guns, revolvers, &c., with more or less ammunition. The rubbish thrown into the streets they examined closely, and anything they found in the shape of lead, or other metal that they could mold into bullets, they carried away. These signs, to the few settlers in that region who knew much of Indian character, foreshadowed evil; but the greater portion of the citizens there still placed the utmost reliance in the fair professions of the Indians; and it was not until Edwards, Wills, Nolan, and others had been murdered, and the Indians had appeared in force at Table Rock again, and declared for war, that they became aware of the danger with which they were threatened. There was then no time to parley, and volunteer companies were organized forthwith, and so disposed as to hold the enemy in check until the aid of the regular troops at Fort Jones could be invoked, for which purpose messengers were immediately dispatched to that post. The messengers reached Fort Jones at noon, August 8th, and six hours after Captain B. R. Alden, Fourth United States Infantry, with a detachment of about twenty men--all his available force--was on the march for the scene of difficulty, where he arrived on the 10th.
List of volunteers killed and wounded--Treaty of September 10--
Continued hostility of the Indians.
Meanwhile, the danger becoming more and more imminent, and it being ascertained that not more than a half score or so of regular troops could possibly be brought into the field for weeks to come, if at all, additional volunteer companies were enrolled, and the term of service of all made "for during the war, unless sooner discharged." Such of the volunteer companies as were organized when Captain Alden arrived placed themselves at the disposal of that officer, and, at his suggestion, were by him formally received into the United States service. Other companies were afterwards raised and received into the service in the like manner. What transpired subsequently, in the field, is principally of record, and need not be repeated here. For those to ponder, however, who seek to disparage the service rendered on this occasion by volunteers, and who so grossly misrepresent and distort the object of the war, I append the list of killed and wounded, which I believe has never been published.
LIFT OF KILLED--OWENS' COMPANY.
John Scarborough, in affair on Evans Creek, August 24.
LAMERICK'S COMPANY.William B. Rose, on detached service, August 10.
MILLER'S COMPANY.Frank Garnett, in affair of Lieutenant Griffin, on Applegate Creek, August 10.
WILLIAMS' COMPANY.Thomas Phillips, in affair on Applegate Creek, September 14.
LIST OP WOUNDED--COMMISSIONED OFFICERS.First Lieutenant Simeon Ely, in his affair on Battle Creek, August 17.
First Lieutenant B. B. Griffin, in his affair on Applegate Creek, August 10.
PRIVATES--MILLER'S COMPANY.George W. Anderson, in affair of Lieutenant Griffin, August 10.
LAMERICK'S COMPANY.John R. Hardin, mortally, August 10; died August 14.
John W. Hillman, by accidental discharge of gun, August 19.
Isaac Adams, by accidental discharge of gun, August 19.
GOODALL'S COMPANY.Zebulon Sheets, in affair of Lieut. Ely, Battle Creek, August 17.
John Alban, in affair of Lieut. Ely, Battle Creek, August 17.
James Carrol, in affair of Lieut. Ely, Battle Creek, August 17.
Henry Flesher, in affair on Evans' Creek, August 24.
C. C. Abbott, mortally (died September 2), in affair on Evans' Creek, August 24.
RHODES' COMPANY.Thomas Hays, in affair on Evans' Creek, August 24.
Total killed and died of wounds received during the war, fifteen--including Captain Alden, who died of his wounds in 1855. Wounded, thirteen; of whom Lieutenant Ely, Anderson, Carrol, and Hillman were disabled for life. Total killed and wounded, twenty-eight.
From the foregoing it would seem that, if the early settlers of Rogue River Valley were the "unprincipled and ungovernable wretches" they are represented to have been--"far deeper down in the scale of human degradation than any Rogue River Indian was ever known to be," and that they provoked and instigated this war from mercenary motives, as is alleged (House Doc. 114, 2nd session 35th Congress, pages 40-43), they paid dearly for it; and it must appear surpassing strange that they should "originate" another war, so soon after as 1855, with these same Indians. These allegations and innuendos, however, to which I have alluded, both as regards the character of the difficulties of that region, are without the least resemblance of truth, and can never be sustained under oath, either in whole or in part, without subjecting the affiant to the pains and penalties of perjury. But something more of this hereafter.
The last engagement with the Indians in this war occurred on the 24th day of August, and on the 10th of September a treaty was signed, the terms of which are well known. The Indians were well satisfied with the sale of their lands, and with the country set apart for their exclusive occupation; which, indeed, was of their own choosing, and included much of their best hunting grounds, and, what was of infinitely greater value to them, all their old fisheries. But the spirit of war was still rife in the minds of the young warriors, and the older ones, including most of the chiefs, encouraged it. But one chief only would bide the stipulations of the treaty with regard to the surrender of criminals to be tried by law, and he, for aiding in the capture of a fugitive, was killed by Indians who were bent on a renewal of hostilities whatever the consequence might be. It was in the indulgence of this passion for war that they murdered Mr. Kyle (October 6) in less than one month after the treaty had been signed. This murder was committed, it will be remembered, within about two miles of Fort Lane. In justice to the troops, however, then stationed at that post, it must be said that it was mainly through their exertions that the principal in the murder of Kyle, and the two alleged by the Indians to have been the principals in the murder of Edwards (August 4) and Wills (August 5), were arrested, and finally brought to punishment. It was for aiding in the arrest of these criminals that the chief "Jim," whom I have mentioned as being willing to fulfill his treaty obligations, was killed.
The murder of Kyle gave a fresh impulse to the war spirit that was then pretty generally prevailing among the Indians, and for awhile it seemed very apparent that open warfare would be immediately resumed. But the action of the military just mentioned seemed not to have been anticipated by the Indians who had been taught to regard the regular troops as their especial friends and allies, and served for the moment to disconcert their schemes, and finally to remove their field of operations to a more respectful distance from the military posts. Accordingly, such as were to continue in the actual commission of depredations--and these included the chiefs John, George, and Limpy, who were parties to the treaty just signed, and Tipsy Tyee, who promised at its signing to conform to its requirements--selected the Siskiyou Mountains, towards Yreka, and other mountainous localities towards Crescent City for the scenes of their perfidious and bloody operations in the future. Such as remained upon the reserve in compliance with the treaty were under the immediate control of "Sam," the principal chief of the tribes of Rogue River Valley, who succeeded in establishing the most friendly relations with the military and the Indian departments, and at the same time converted the reservation into a rendezvous, as well as a retreat, for the Indians who were actively engaged in depredating upon the lives and property of the whites, receiving a full share of the plunder thus obtained. Thousands of dollars' worth of property--mostly stock and provisions--were thus lost to the settlers residing even in the immediate vicinity of the reserve, where it was supposed order could be maintained very conveniently by the troops at Fort Lane, for which not one dime has ever been paid by way of remuneration. In connection with the Modoc and Shasta Indians these depredations were continued across the Siskiyou Mountains into the settlements of Cottonwood and of Shasta Valley, and so seriously was life and property jeopardized in that region, especially in the district of Cottonwood, that Captain Alden, still commanding at Fort Jones, placed in the hands of the settlers there all the muskets he could possibly spare from his post in order that they might be the better enabled to defend themselves whenever necessary. That this precaution on the part of Captain Alden was imperatively demanded by the exigencies of the times appears very evident from the murders committed in that vicinity by the Indians in January, 1854, saying nothing of the depredations upon property, which were then of almost daily occurrence, and continued to be so long afterwards.
The murder of Gibbs, &c.--Treachery of the Indians.The killing of Gibbs, Hudgins, Whittier, and others (August 17), though occurring after hostilities in Rogue River Valley had become general, was nevertheless an outright murder, because it was committed by a tribe of Indians who were professedly friendly, and were, at the time, being wholly subsisted at the private expense of Mr. Gibbs and some of his neighbors, and provided with comfortable quarters within a stockade which the settlers of the vicinity had built for their mutual protection. The Indians being thus comfortably situated were enabled to choose their own time and mode of attack, an advantage they soon availed themselves of by murdering their immediate benefactor, and four other persons who had just arrived overland from the East, and had stopped at this place to remain a few days to avoid the dangers of the war that was raging further on. Mr. Gibbs was shot with his own rifle by an Indian whom he had often employed, oftener fed, and sometimes clothed gratuitously, and in whom he had the utmost confidence. Several persons were wounded at this time, some of them severely, and a considerable amount of property belonging to Mr. Dunn, on whose premises the stockade was built, and to other parties, destroyed. No loss whatever occurred on the part of the Indians.
Continuation of hostilities by the Indians of Southern Oregon, in 1854--The murder of Hulen, Clark, Oldfield, and Mayden (in January) was no new demonstration of hostility on the part of the Indians, but a continuation of that kind of warfare which they had resumed after the close of the Rogue River war of 1853, and the military at Fort Lane had manifested a disposition to compel them to observe their treaty stipulations by taking part in the arrest and trial of the murderers of Edwards, Wills, and Kyle. Hulen and his companions, as will be seen by referring to the list, were killed while in pursuit of stock which the Indians had stolen and driven to the mountains. The troops at Fort Lane interfered with the Indians in this instance only to the extent of marching to the cave (about twenty-five miles distant), into which the Indians had retired alter accomplishing their bloody work, firing two shots from a howitzer, which served only to frighten the Indians into making another promise to behave better in future, and here the matter was dropped and the troops marched back again to Fort Lane, having accomplished simply--nothing. It was to the neighborhood in which Hulen and other victims lived that Captain Alden disbursed the arms, as before mentioned--a precaution that proved to be taken none too soon, and with good cause.
A council of war held by the tribes of Southern Oregon and Northern
California--A war of extermination the theme--Volunteers ordered to
the relief of the overland immigration.
The Indians now being assured by what had just transpired that they could settle all difficulties with the military and Indian departments by falsely accusing the whites of being "the first aggressors," and by renewing their old promise of better conduct in future, began again to prepare themselves for more extended operations. The better to conceal their intentions, however, they affected to entertain the kindliest feelings towards the whites, alleging on every convenient occasion, that they were desirous that peace and confidence should be fully restored, and that it should become permanent. But in the meantime they were very assiduous in their efforts to procure arms and ammunition, to obtain which they scrupled at nothing. It was for this purpose that they murdered Phillips (April 15), and Gage (June 15), securing in both instances that which they so much coveted.
About the time of the murder of Gage nearly all the tribes of Southern Oregon and of Northern California met in council at a place on Klamath River, about sixteen miles from Fort Jones, and, perhaps, forty miles from Fort Lane. This council was convened clandestinely and on purpose to arrange a programme for the prosecution of the war then in contemplation. And, but for the influence exercised over the Scotts Valley Indians by E. Steele, Esq., whom I have mentioned as having acted a prominent part in suppressing Indian hostilities in 1852, the fact that this council convened at all would, probably, never have been known to the whites--at any rate, not until after its plans had fully matured and were being put in execution. The fact that this council was to convene was first made known to Mr. Steele, who immediately communicated it to Judge A. M. Rosborough, then an Indian agent for Northern California. Agent Rosborough took prompt cognizance of the matter, and ascertained precisely what the object of the council was. He says (H. Mis. Doc. No. 47, Thirty-fifth Congress, second Session) "In June, 1854, I was informed by several chiefs of the Scotts and Shasta Valley tribes that runners had been sent to their tribes to summon them to a general war council to be held at a point on the Klamath called Horse Creek. I consulted with Lieutenant J. C. Bonnycastle, United States army, then stationed at Fort Jones. He and myself concurred in the propriety of advising the chiefs who had reported the movement to attend the war council and report to us the whole proceedings.
"The chiefs returned from the council and reported the tribes of Illinois River, Rogue River, and the Upper Klamath River, and its tributaries represented in the council, and all but themselves (the chiefs who had reported the movement to me) were for combining, and commencing in concert an indiscriminate slaughter of the whites.
"The Upper Klamath or Klamath Lake Indians (with the exception of the tribe of which Lalakes is chief) commenced their depredations by killing whites and stealing stock, and a report was current among the friendly Indians that those hostiles intended to destroy the immigrants as fast as they came from the valley of the Humboldt."
To frustrate the plans of the Indians with regard to the immigration, Governor Davis, of Oregon, in the absence of any action by United States troops, caused a company of volunteers to be enrolled at Jacksonville and dispatched with all possible haste to the scene of danger in the Klamath Lake country. Just in advance of this company on its march into the hostile country were a few citizens from Yreka, who were going to meet some friends and warn them of the impending danger. But on their arrival at the place where the massacre of August, 1852, took place, they found the Indians in force along both sides of the road, well prepared, and evidently with the intent to resume their bloody work of former years upon the first of the immigration that should come within their reach. After some skirmishing they fell back to the Oregon company, which they joined, and thus accomplished the purpose for which they set out. The company remained m the field for some three months, and the good that it accomplished can never be computed except by those on whose behalf it was rendered. Every individual of that year's immigration that passed the Humboldt for Yreka or Jacksonville were guarded through the hostile country, and, so far as injuries by Indians were concerned, either in person or property, reached their destination unarmed. As in all other instances, however, where volunteers have been called into the field in Oregon, the motive which actuated and sustained this service has been grossly misrepresented; by those, too, who should have removed the necessity for its rendition. This being the case, a word in its vindication may not be out of place here. I quote from the reports of officers of the Indian Department, who, be it observed, seldom acknowledge the justness or necessity of any volunteer service ever rendered in the suppression of the Indian wars and difficulties, of which Oregon has been so prolific. General Palmer, in 1854, while Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Oregon, reports officially respecting the hostile disposition of the Modocs and Piutes, against whom this expedition was sent, as follows: They "have always evinced a deadly hostility to the whites, and have probably committed more outrages than any other interior tribe. The Modocs boast, the Klamaths told me, of having, within the last four years, murdered thirty-six whites." In a subsequent communication, not official (see House Mis. Doc. No. 47, Thirty-fifth Congress, second session), he says: "That portion of the southern emigrant road between the headwaters of Humboldt River to the crossing of the Siskiyou Mountains has ever been infested by Indians who seldom allow an opportunity to pass without stealing, plundering, and murdering emigrants, if they had the power to do so." Respecting the service of the volunteers, he adds: "In August, 1854, I visited the Indians inhabiting the country about Klamath Lake. That visit, and the presents distributed, the sending messengers to the Modocs, Mo-e-twas (Piutes), and Shoshones, together with the presence of a mounted and well-armed volunteer force in their country, contributed to restrain those lawless bands from committing their usual depredations.
"Previous to my expedition to the Klamath country, I had expected that a detachment of United States dragoons would be directed to scour the country between Fort Lane and Fort Boise, on Snake River, crossing the mountains on the emigrant road (the southern) and passing through the country of the Modocs and Shoshones, but from some cause this was not done. * * *
"There can be no doubt but that the presence of the volunteer force * * * tended materially to render a safe conduct of the emigrants through the country occupied by these lawless tribes in 1854."
Mr. Palmer visited only the tribe of Lalakes, whom Agent Rosborough represents, and doubtless correctly, as being friendly. Without an escort similar to the one he anticipated, which he mentions, it would have been the height of folly for him to have attempted to visit the hostile tribes, whom the volunteers were sent to hold in check until the immigration should pass them. Mr. Palmer was fully aware of this, and, prior to his setting out for the Klamath country, wrote to Mr. Culver, the agent for the Table Rock reserve Indians, and residing at Fort Lane, that he should anticipate the arrival in that country of troops from that post about the time he should reach it. Mr. Culver replied that no troops would be sent into that country from Fort Lane, but that "fortunately a company of volunteers had been sent out by the Governor, which would doubtless answer the desired purpose." I quote Mr. Culver from memory, as this correspondence does not appear in the regular report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. It may be found, however, on the files of the Commissioner's office. Thus it is evident that Mr. Culver, at the very time this volunteer service was called into requisition, considered it necessary, even for the protection and safety of the highest functionary of the Indian Department in Oregon, whose errand among the Indians was one exclusively of peace, or, in other words, to purchase their friendship for a valuable consideration in such goods as they most desired, and had previously obtained only by murdering and plundering the whites. Mr. Culver's report is entitled to much weight, because his location was such that it enabled him to know of his own knowledge whereof he states. His testimony, too, with regard to the disposition of the Indians at this time, in and around Rogue River Valley, is corroborative of what I have before stated. He says, in his report of July 20 (see Report Commissioner of Indian Affairs, page 296:) "It was, and is now, a general belief among the settlers in the valley that a war with the Indians here this summer is inevitable, and on two or three occasions it appeared as though such a calamity was indeed near at hand. But, by prompt attention, aided by the generous forbearance of our citizens," &c., "peace has, so far, been preserved." This peace was pretty generally observed in Rogue River Valley during the remainder of the year, but only because the proceedings of the council on the Klamath had been discovered. After the Indians became aware that their plans were known to the whites, and that the service of volunteers was again called into requisition to thwart their purposes with regard to the immigration on the Southern Oregon road, those of Rogue River Valley and the immediate vicinity ceased their depredations upon the lives and property of the settlers, in a great degree, and quietly resumed the garb of friendship, which, as a general rule, they retained until the following spring. But while this was the happy result of the precautionary measures adopted by Governor Davis, with regard to the safety of the immigration via the Southern Oregon route, unfortunately no such measures were taken for the safety of that upon the northern route, and the consequences, as will be seen, were widely different.
The massacre of immigrants near Fort Boise--Statement concerning same.The murder of some twenty-two persons (August 19 and 20) on the Northern Oregon emigrant route, near Fort Boise, was the direct result of an overweening confidence in the Indians on the part of the military and Indian departments, and participated in, perhaps, to some extent, by the Oregon public. If the military stationed in the northern part of Oregon had gone out upon the road, instead of remaining in quarters during the summer, and warned the immigration against the perfidy and treachery of the Indians, and afforded such protection as the exigencies of the case demanded, or had volunteers been appointed to this service, as upon the southern route, the victims of the Ward massacre, at least (seventeen in number), would doubtless have been saved. But, as the fact that this massacre occurred is generally admitted, I will confine my remarks respecting it to some of its details, just to show some of the gross inconsistencies--to call them by a mild name--of the demagogues and pseudo-philanthropists who seek to disguise the real Oregon Indian by representing him as possessing such ennobling traits of character as are seldom found within the realms of civilization. I quote from a statement made to an Oregon newspaper (The Oregonian) by a gentleman who was one of a party of citizens that went to the scene of the massacre a day or two after it was committed, to rescue, if possible, any persons who might be found alive. On arriving at the place where the attack was made, they found the body of Mr. Ward and five others, and, within a short distance, the body of Mr. Ames. Proceeding along the trail the Indians had taken, about two hundred yards from where the first bodies were found, the body of Miss Ward was discovered. The correspondent says:
"She had been shot through the head with a musket. Her person was much bruised, her hands showing signs of her having fought most desperately to resist the fiendish attacks of these savages upon her youthful person. The marks of teeth were plainly visible upon her left cheek. A hot iron had been thrust into her private parts, doubtless while she was alive, to punish her for her resistance and their (the Indians) being unable to accomplish their hellish ends upon one so young. * * *
"The body of Mrs. White was found, stripped of its clothing. She had been scalped, her head beat in with clubs, and a musket ball had passed through it. Her person showed signs of the most brutal violence. * * *
"Here the body of Mrs. Ward and three children were found. That of Mrs. Ward was lying in the encampment (just deserted), in front of the fire. It was robbed of all its covering and was much scarred by brutish bruises. Her face bore a deep wound, inflicted with a tomahawk, which probably caused her death. They had also violated her person; and what rendered the sight still more shocking, she was soon to have become a mother again. The children were lying on the fire, having been held there by the hair of their heads until burned to death, and the mother doubtless compelled to witness the scene. Several parts of limbs were picked up some distance from the fire, having been dragged away by the wolves or the Indians' dogs."
This, and other cases cited, I think, is sufficient evidence that it is with the real, and not the imaginative or poetic Indian that the people of Oregon have had to deal. The author of the foregoing statement has for several years held a prominent position in one of the departments of the regular service in Oregon, and is a man of well-known integrity. His statement is corroborated, too, by Agent R. R. Thompson. (See report Com. Indian Affairs, 1854, page 278.)
Hostile demonstrations of the Southern Oregon Indians, in 1855--OriginThe timely discovery, in June, 1854, that the Indians of Southern Oregon and Northern California, in a council convened for the purpose, had formally declared a war of extermination against the whites of that region, and the precaution that followed on the part of the latter caused the tribes of Rogue River Valley and vicinity to delay, for the time, the execution of their part of the programme which the council had adopted. But in the meantime a more extensive combination was effected, including, it is believed, nearly all the tribes of Oregon and Washington, and Northern California. During the progress of these arrangements, comparatively few depredations were committed by the Southern Oregon tribes or their immediate neighbors. But as soon as spring set in, the more impatient among them resumed their depredations upon property, and occasionally upon life. As early as June, however, these depredations, both upon life and property, became more frequent, and were participated in by nearly all the tribes in the vicinity, those upon reservations as well as those who were not. The murder of Dyer, McKew, and Philpot (June 1, 2) was perpetrated by a party or tribe of Indians from Table Rock reserve, and within a very few miles of Fort Lane. Troops from that post went in pursuit of the murderers on this occasion, but being unable to capture them, a company of volunteers, under command of Captain Fry, and neighbors to the murdered men, started upon their trail, and soon compelled them to flee to the regulars as a means of safety. The volunteers then returned home, and the Indians were escorted back to the reserve by the troops, where, after receiving a slight reprimand from the officers in charge, they were allowed to depart again whithersoever they would, with no restraint upon them whatever.
of the war of 1855-56--Organization of Colonel Ross' regiment of
volunteers--Organization of the volunteer force under the proclamation
of Governor Curry--List of the killed and wounded of Ross' regiment--Ditto (partial) of the first and second regiments,
The murder of eleven men, July 28, on Klamath River, was also participated in by.the Indians of Table Rock reservation, to which they were traced by volunteers, enlisted for the purpose, in the vicinity of where the outrage was committed. Property was found among these Indians which belonged to their victims, and was surrendered to the volunteers through and by the advice of the military and Indian officers at the reserve; but the murderers were not surrendered, even upon an executive requisition. Two only were ever surrendered for trial, and these not until after the war, which soon followed, had commenced. Nor did the depredations of the Indians cease with the murders just cited, but, on the contrary, they became more frequent, and were committed in a more defiant and daring manner. The murder of Keene, Fields, Cunningham, and Warner soon followed, though with regard to these cases the proof is not positive against the reserve Indians--that is, it is not positively evident that they were interested in them as principals, but there can be no doubt that they were accessories after the fact, if not before, as the trail of the murderers was traced to an encampment of reserve Indians, who had gone outside their reserve limits in defiance of the proper authority, and had insolently and positively refused to return. That the reserve Indians were engaged in the massacre of October 9, near Evans' ferry, is generally admitted, even by those who apologize for the act.
The massacre near Evans' ferry (Rogue River), October 9, was a premeditated affair, whatever has or may be said to the contrary notwithstanding, and instigated chiefly by the Indians of Table Rock reserve, by whom it was consummated with the aid of Indians from the Umpqua and others that were not in annuity with the United States. All the chiefs (except "Sam"), with their respective tribes, were absent from the Table Rock reserve at this time, and had been off and on, at will, for a long time previous. "Sam'' remained upon the reserve even after the war that followed this massacre had become general--not, however, because he was averse to it; but to play the spy upon the regular troops, into whose confidence he had succeeded in ingratiating himself to the fullest extent, and to direct the movements of those tribes who were openly prosecuting the war accordingly. As I have already indicated, the military and Indian departments had ceased some time previous to have any controlling influence over these reserve Indians, or any others, and so far as either of these departments were concerned, the Indians were the absolute masters of the country--going when and where they pleased, murdering and plundering whom they pleased, and returning to claim and receive the protection of the authorities they had set at defiance, whenever necessitated to do so by the citizens, whom they had outraged beyond further endurance. That this was emphatically the case, is proved beyond all question, I think, by the facts I have adduced respecting the murders and other depredations these reserve Indians had previously committed, for which no punishment was inflicted, and no guarantee taken that such atrocities should not be continued. At different times and places during the four and a half months immediately preceding this massacre, be it observed, these Indians had murdered in cold blood not less than nineteen unsuspecting citizens, wounded many more, and destroyed a no small amount of property. Yet they were represented as perfectly harmless and peaceable by those having them or who should have had them in charge, and no means were taken to prevent the continuance of the atrocities just cited, on whose authors, except in the case of two who participated in the massacre on Klamath River, July 28, no punishment was ever inflicted. But to the massacre under consideration.
For several weeks prior to the 9th of October, such of the reserve Indians and others as were afterwards found to have been designated to commence the general slaughter of the settlers in and around Rogue River Valley, were in the habit of holding nightly powwows in different parts of the country--off the reserve, of course--and generally in pretty close proximity to the settlements; so near as to be distinctly heard, and to create misgivings as to their meaning. Very frequently, too, parties of them would visit the settlers in the daytime, and very often painted and otherwise decorated in their customary war style. But when interrogated as to the meaning of these warlike demonstrations, they invariably replied that they were merely on a hunting excursion, and that their powwows were simply meetings for the purpose of gambling. These representations seemed not altogether out of character, and for the time served to allay the suspicions of the settlers. But it soon became evident that the number of the Indians was increasing at such a rate as would soon place the destruction of the settlements in their power, if such was their design. Their meetings, too, became more boisterous as they grew larger, and the parties visiting the whites became more insolent and overbearing, and wore a more warlike appearance. Such was the state of things on the morning of the 9th of October, and such had been the state of things for some time previous in the very neighborhood in which the massacre took place.
In the execution of their bloody work, the Indians divided their force into several parties and made their attack at different points in the neighborhood almost simultaneous. The chiefs, "George'' and "Limpy," commanded in person along the road; but the leadership of the several parties designated to murder the families were delegated to such warriors as had either been in the employ of, or had been suffered to loiter about the premises of their intended victims until they had learned where and how to deal the surest and most fatal blow. Those who were foremost in the attack at Wagoner's, Jones', Haines', Harris', and so on, were well known to those families, had been in their service from time to time, and had often received favors and kindness from them when out of it. In the attack upon Jones' house, he was killed at the onset, and Mrs. Jones mortally wounded, though not utterly disabled for the moment. Seeing her husband dying, and the Indians cutting him in pieces, she fled towards some brush which was near by, whither she was immediately followed by an Indian who had been in the employ of her husband, and in whom she had placed the greatest confidence. Seeing none but this Indian following her, and thinking that perhaps he might still be her friend she awaited his approach, and then implored his protection. His reply was, "You damned b--h, I'll kill you," and thereupon fired at her with his revolver. The shot took effect only in her arm, but she fell as if dead; and he, supposing his shot had been fatal, left her and returned to his companions. Mrs. Jones escaped to Vannoy's ferry, where she died the next day. At Wagoner's, no one escaped to tell the particulars of the attack there; but the Indians themselves, even now, boast of the affair, and do not hesitate to say who were engaged in it. Their story of the matter does not conflict with what I have stated. They state, also, the manner in which they accomplished their purpose. It seems that the house was first set on fire, and Mrs. Wagoner and her daughter were then compelled to remain in it until burned to death. Their nearly consumed remains were found in the smoldering ruins of the house on the following day. The Indians were equally successful at Haines'. At Harris', however, they were suspected before they could get possession of the house, and consequently their work was less complete. Finding themselves suspicioned, they commenced the attack somewhat prematurely, and consequently succeeded in killing only three of the five they intended. Mr. Harris received a fatal wound at the first fire; but falling partially into the house, his wife and daughter, the latter severely wounded, succeeded in drawing him inside and barring the door so effectually as to keep the Indians without. While dying, Mr. Harris instructed his wife how to load and use the rifle, and bade her defend herself to the last; an order that she most heroically obeyed. For nearly twenty-four hours she defended herself against the besiegers, and was then rescued by some volunteers from Jacksonville. Master Harris and Mr. Reed were in a field close by when the attack was made, and both fell a prey to the enemy. The other victims of this massacre were mostly travelers, some of whom belonged in the Willamette Valley. Mr. Gwin was an employ of the Table Rock agency, and was killed on the reserve.
There were circumstances preceding this massacre, and intimately connected with it, which I think it highly important that they should be understood. The people of the vicinity, in which this lamentable affair occurred, had been repeatedly warned by their friends, who resided in nearer proximity to Fort Lane and Table Rock agency, of the overt acts and the general insubordination of the reserve Indians, and the utter inability of the Indian and military authorities to restrain or control them; and that, as a consequence, a war must soon ensue. But these wholesome warnings were, in every instance, counteracted by the officials in charge at the reserve, and by politicians who sought to gain an advantage over their opponents in Southern Oregon by charging them with inciting the Indians to acts of hostility "in order to create opportunities to plunder the public treasury." Though, as the list shows, the Indians had recently committed numerous murders and other aggressions union the citizens of Southern Oregon and Northern California, and had been permitted to repeat them at will, so far as any authority of the general government was concerned, yet these politicians, orally, and through the medium of a licentious press, continued to assure the public that the Indians meditated no harm, and, at the same time, alleging that the murders, &c., that the Indians had already committed were instigated by certain white men having "plunder for their object." And officers, of both the Indian and military departments, who had been grossly derelict and had otherwise erred in the performance of their duty in the premises, found the reproduction and repetition of these false accusations very convenient to shield their derelictions and incompetency from public scrutiny.
Mrs. Wagoner, one of the victims of the massacre, had been warned of the hostile attitude of the reserve Indians by her friends at Jacksonville, where she was visiting on the 7th (two days before her death), and where she was urged to remain until the Indians should return to the reserve, or means be taken to guard the settlements against them. She decided to go home, however, and accordingly on the morning of the 8th set out on her journey, calling at Fort Lane on her way to inquire whether, indeed, any cause existed for the apprehensions her friends had expressed, and receiving the customary assurance from the commanding officer at that post that such apprehensions were utterly groundless. Here, too, she was joined by two of the politicians I have already alluded to, who were journeying her way and accompanied her home, where they remained overnight. On reaching home, Mrs. Wagoner informed her husband of what she had been told, and stated it as her opinion that matters were much worse than the officers at the fort, and the gentlemen who came with her, would acknowledge. He then sought his guests, of whom he made inquiry respecting these matters himself, and received substantially the same answers that had been given to his wife. They represented the Indians at the agency as being perfectly quiet, when they knew that the opposite was the case, and that for weeks the Indians there had set all authority at defiance, and had murdered citizens with perfect impunity. They took this occasion also to repeat certain calumnies which they, in connection with others, had devised and promulgated against a few political offenders residing at Jacksonville, which were to the effect that these individuals were trying to incite Indian hostilities so as to gain an "opportunity to plunder the public treasury." The object of these calumnies was to bring reproach upon the parties accused by creating the public impression that they were the cause of the murders and depredations the Indians had already committed, and should be held accountable if worse results followed. In the morning Mr. Wagoner's guests departed for their homes just in time to escape the fate that on that day befell their hostess and her daughter, and all other persons in that immediate vicinity. Mr. Wagoner, from whom I received these statements, happened to be absent from his house when the Indians made the attack and therefore escaped. His first knowledge of the affair was, when, on his return to within sight of his premises, he found his house in flames and surrounded by the Indians.
As the list of murders indicates, the treaty of September 10, 1853 with the Rogue River Indians, and the establishment of Fort Lane at that time, afforded no protection to the citizens of that region, no barrier whatever against Indian murders and depredations, which the legitimate authorities permitted to increase unatoned, until forbearance on the part of the whites could no longer be exercised without involving the loss of many lives and the total destruction of all the settlements in the Rogue River country. During the period that intervened between the close of the war with those Indians in 1853, to the open declaration of war by the same Indians in October, 1855, the people of Rogue River Valley did not molest nor interfere with them in any manner whatever, but left their management and all dealings with them wholly and exclusively to the military and Indian Department. Yet, as the list proves, the adoption of this policy served only to increase the difficulty, since Indian murders and depredations became more and more frequent, those departments proving utterly incapable of suppressing them or of bringing their perpetrators to justice. The murder of Dyer and McKew, June 1; Philpot, June 2; Peters, July 27; Hennessey, Parrish, and the nine others, July 28; Keene, September 2; Field and Cunningham, September 24, and Warner the next day; all occurring within four and a half mouths prior to the massacre of October 9, saying nothing of those committed previous to June 1, were left to be atoned for to the military and Indian authorities; but I believe that in no instance were the Indians punished for any of these offenses, or any restraint whatever put upon them. After the killing of the three first named, a detachment of regular troops belonging to Fort Lane went in pursuit of the Indians, and, after having secured them, through the efforts of citizens, however, whom the Indians had marked for their prey, let them go again without holding them to any account, or placing them under any restraint whatever. In the case of Peters, Hennessey, Parrish, &c., volunteers were raised in the neighborhood where the massacre occurred, who traced the Indians directly to Table Rock reserve, where they found property which had belonged to their murdered friends. Such of this property as could be identified was surrendered to the friends of the victims through the instrumentality of the Indian agent and the officer in charge at Fort Jones. But as to the offenders, if they were demanded at this time to be given up, by other than the volunteers, the demand was totally disregarded then, as afterwards. Two only of these Indians, out of, probably, twenty-five or thirty, directly engaged in the massacre, having for their accessories every Indian upon the reservation, were ever surrendered for trial by law; and these, not because of the justness of the demand, but to keep up a show of friendship until the plans for a general war then in contemplation should be more fully matured. Upon the promise of the authorities at the reservation that the Indians should be justly dealt with for this offense, the volunteers returned home. This promise, however, was never fulfilled. But it is due to the officer in command at Fort Lane to state that it was currently reported that he attempted to fulfill his part of the promise by trying, some weeks after the massacre took place, to arrest those who were actually engaged in it, but was forced to desist by the whole body of the reserve Indians appearing in arms against him and forcing him to retire to his post; leaving them masters of the field and exceedingly jubilant over their victory. In the case of Keene, a detachment of troops from Fort Lane reached the scene of the murder, about twenty miles distant, on the third day after it had been committed, but did not pursue the Indians. In the case of Field, Cunningham, and Warner, however, I am glad to say, there was a commendable effort made by Major Fitzgerald, United States army, who had just then arrived at Fort Lane with his troop, to trace up the murderers; and, in so doing, very gladly accepted the service of citizens, who acted as guides. The Indians, however, had too great a start to be overtaken, but were traced to within a short distance of the camp of the Butte Creeks, who, some time before, had left the reserve in defiance of the proper authority, and now, as they had repeatedly done, refused to return, and dared the Indian agent to make the attempt to compel them. He, however, made no effort to enforce his authority, either with regard to this particular tribe, or those others who had left the reserve with the same hostile intentions, and were already menacing the settlements of Illinois Valley and its tributaries, Applegate and Deer creeks, as well as those which came to be the scene of the massacre of October 9.
From early in the previous spring up to the very moment of the outbreak in October, the Indians had been under very little restraint from either the Indian or military departments, and on this account had been active in making preparations again to carry out the programme arranged by the Klamath council in June, 1854. It was to this end that they left the reservation (all except the chief Sam and his tribe), and took up positions at different points in and around Rogue River Valley, that, in a warlike view, possessed the greatest advantages. The chief "John," with his tribe, took to the mountains between Rogue River and Illinois Valleys, where he could have easy access to both, as well as the settlements on Applegate and Deer creeks. "George" and "Limpy" took stations further down Rogue River, and in close proximity to the settlements which became the scene of their bloody operations of October 9. The Butte Creeks, in conjunction with the Modocs, occupied the country along the eastern limits of Rogue River Valley from the reservation southerly to and across the Siskiyou Mountains, thus completing a cordon of outposts around Rogue River Valley and the settlements of Applegate and Deer creeks, and partially around those of Illinois River. Some of these positions the Indians had occupied for weeks, and some, indeed, for months, prior to the 1st of October, though generally not by so large a number as at that date. These things were fully known to the military at Fort Lane, as well as to the Agent Ambrose; but yet they continued to assure the public that no danger need be apprehended.
From the time that Major Fitzgerald traced the murderers of Field, Cunningham, and Warner, to or very near the camp of the Butte Creeks, when the purpose of the Indians that were in a state of insubordination to the regular constituted authority became too apparent to be misunderstood, a company of volunteers acted as a safeguard for the Butte Creek settlement, and for the settlements of Upper Rogue River Valley, which contained not only many families, but all the flour mills in the Rogue River country, which it was essential to the public welfare should be saved, whatever might be the result of the threatening demonstrations the Indians were making. The greater portion of this company, however, remained in the Butte Creek neighborhood to watch the movements of the hostiles there. In the meantime the Indian agent and the military made several ineffectual attempts to induce the Indians, the Butte Creeks particularly, to return to the reserve. The last effort made by the regular troops was on Saturday, October 6th; but, meeting with no better success than before, they returned to quarters, leaving the volunteers still to guard against the enemy, as he was now proved beyond all doubt to be. The Agent Ambrose, taking with him Mr. Lupton, who was well and favorably known to these Indians, made his last effort to induce them to return to the reserve on Sunday, October 7th. Their reply to him was that they would not return; that they had decided on war, and were now prepared for it; that they could easily kill all the "Boston men" (meaning citizens), because they were all cowards and would not fight, a conclusion they would very naturally come to after being permitted to go scot-free for the numerous murders they had committed during the two previous years. In this state of defiant insubordination the agent left them, and, after visiting the camp of the volunteers, where he left Lupton, returned home.
With the termination of the last-mentioned interview with the Indians ended all hope that peace could be restored, or the settlements of Rogue River Valley preserved from destruction, unless compulsory measures were at once adopted to disperse the hostiles, and if nothing more, compel them to seek the protection of the authorities at the reservation, as had been their custom in times past when punishment for their enormities was likely to be inflicted by citizens. They were gaining, too, in strength by daily accessions from contiguous tribes who were not in annuity with the United States (the Modocs and others), and in addition to their declarations for war, had just taken possession of the house of one of the settlers of that neighborhood--its inmates, Mr. Ducker and wife, escaping under the cover of night while their would-be-murderers were approaching. Accordingly on the evening of the 7th, when the result of the agent's efforts of that day was made known to the volunteers, it was decided to delay action no longer than was absolutely necessary. The order of attack was then arranged, and the next morning put into execution. The attack was commenced while it was yet too dark to distinguish one Indian from another, and by this reason it so happened that several squaws and children were killed. None were killed after it became light enough to distinguish the sexes. I mention this fact because the action of the volunteers on this occasion has been grossly misrepresented. They are accused of having attacked a "few squaws and decrepit old men," and murdered them with more than savage cruelty. Such, however, is not the fact. If no other testimony could be obtained to refute the accusation, the loss on the part of the volunteers would be good evidence that there were other than cripples, squaws, and children in the fight on the other side. Two of the whites, Lupton and Sheppard, were wounded, mortally, and some seven others more or less severely. It is true, as has been said, that the bodies of but few warriors were found on the ground after the action was over. But this was owing to the fact that the Indians observed their usual custom in such cases, and carried off their warriors as fast as they became disabled or killed. But few warriors escaped, and such of the tribe as remained when the affair ended, returned to the reserve somewhat wiser for their experience, if less in number, and were there properly cared for. This is the affair in which Lupton has been represented as the leader. But it is due to truth, as well as to the volunteers who served on that occasion, to state that he had no lot or part in it except in the way I have indicated. He was not even a private of the volunteer corps, had nothing whatever to do with its organization, nor had he the control of a single individual belonging to it. He came to the volunteer camp as I have stated, in company with the Indian agent, to whom, as well to the military at Fort Lane, the purpose and every movement of the volunteers from the day of their organization, about a week previous, was fully known. Even the affair itself occurred within hearing of the fort, and the agency, not over a half hour's march for dragoons from the former, and perhaps an hour's ride from the latter, and though the action last some seven hours, yet no protest against the proceedings of the volunteers came from either of those authorities, at that time, or at any time previous, and for very good reasons. The troops and the Indian agent had lost all control, little as they ever had, over the Indians, and the service of the volunteers was absolutely necessary, not only to save the settlements of the Upper Rogue River Valley from certain destruction, but also for the safety of the regular troops themselves. For the Indians, since their repeated and unsuccessful resistance to the regular military authority, held regular troops in not much higher estimation than they did citizens, upon whom they had been permitted to depredate almost unceasingly, and with perfect impunity, during the two previous years.
The precaution taken by the people of the upper Rogue River Valley with regard to the Butte Creek Indians served to put the people of Illinois River upon their guard against that portion of the Indian force that had obtained a position in that vicinity, and thus frustrated the enemy's designs with regard to that region of country. The Indian agent, too, some time in September, had privately intimated to certain of his friends there that a general war with the Indians was inevitable, and that they had better lose no time in preparing for it. Acting upon this intimation, and in view of the hostile attitude the Indians generally had assumed, a messenger was sent to Crescent City, California, for arms. This was on or about the first of October; at any rate, it was before the affair with the Butte Creeks had taken place. Some twenty rifles, belonging to the State of California, were by this means obtained and brought into Illinois Valley, just as hostilities had become general and arms of this description much needed. By the timely precaution of the people of Illinois Valley, Deer Creek, &c., their settlements were saved, though their loss in stock was considerable.
Unlike their neighbors just mentioned, the citizens near Evans' ferry took no measures to guard against the Indians, even those stationed in close proximity to them, and therefore were easily overcome, as I have shown in my statement respecting the massacre that occurred there (October 9), to which I need not refer in detail now. As to the report, however, that this massacre was a ''retaliatory act"--the result of the affair with the Butte Creek Indians on the 8th--I have to say, that in truth it has no foundation whatever; that it originated with a clique of politicians, who had for their object the injury of a few men whom they could not control in political matters, and for this reason sought to render them odious to the community in which they lived, by charging them with being the instigators of the various murders which the Indians had from time to time committed. I have referred to a couple of the representatives of this clique in my ''remarks" upon the massacre here mentioned; they who counseled Mr. Wagoner and his family falsely on the morning of October 9th, and had also done the same at other points along the road they traveled the day previous. It was not until this report and these accusations had gained a wide publicity in Oregon, that they were appropriated by officers of the army and of the Indian Department, and ingrafted in their reports. And it will here be observed, that the identical officers who have thus placed these misrepresentations upon record, are those who permitted the Indians to become their masters, and were solely responsible for the difficulties and enormities thereby engendered.
On the 12th of October Colonel John E. Ross, of the ninth regimental district of Oregon, by virtue of his commission, and pursuant to a resolution of the citizens of Jacksonville and that vicinity, assumed command in his district, and commenced the organization of a regiment of mounted volunteers for the defense of the settlements in the Rogue River country against the hordes of hostile Indians by which they were menaced on every hand. On the 14th he had nine companies, consisting of about 500 men, under his command, and on duty in the most exposed portions of his district, including the settlements of Rogue River and Illinois Valleys, and those of Applegate Creek, Deer Creek, Butte Creek, Galice Creek, Grave Creek, Cow Creek (in the adjoining county, Douglas), and Sterling. Several of these companies, however, had been organized and on duty at some of the points mentioned since the day of the massacre at Evans'. The regiment, between the 14th of October and 1st of November, was increased to fifteen companies, consisting, rank and file, of about 750 men. The almost instantaneous appearance of so large a force in the field disconcerted the plans of the Indians, and those under the chief ''John" sought their mountain retreats to await a more favorable opportunity to carry out their cherished designs, but, in the meantime, continued to destroy such property, stock, &c., as they could get at without incurring too much risk. Those under "George" and "Limpy," however, who commanded at the massacre on the 9th, attacked the settlement at the mouth of Galice Creek on the morning of the 17th, but were repulsed by Captain Lewis, who had just been stationed there with a company of about forty men. The Indians kept up the attack during the day, and retired under the cover of night. The loss on the part of the volunteers was four killed and seven wounded. Among the latter was Captain Lewis himself. No whites were killed except such as belonged to the company. What the loss of the Indians was is not known; undoubtedly, it was considerable.
On the 22nd of October the Indians attacked the settlements in Cow Creek Valley, but, as Captain Rinearson, with about sixty men, was on duty in that quarter, they were unable to effect a very great slaughter of the settlers, but they destroyed a very large amount of property. In this affair. Captain Rinearson had one man killed and one wounded. Some of the settlers were wounded, and, if I remember correctly, several were killed.
Finding their plans for the destruction of the settlements anticipated at every point by the volunteers, the Indians concentrated the greater part of their force in the Grave Creek Hills, securing a position almost impregnable, and affording them easy access to several of the settlements. Here they were attacked on the 31st of October by a considerable force of regulars and volunteers--the former under the command of Captain Smith, United States army, commanding at Fort Lane, and the latter under Colonel Ross. In addition to these, however, there were two other companies of volunteers under the command of Major Martin, which were a part of a new organization that had been ordered by the Governor to supersede Ross in the command in his district. The Indians, however, had secured a position so well fortified by nature that, without field-pieces, which the troops did not have, it was impossible to dislodge them. The siege was kept up for nearly two days, when the troops withdrew, having in the meantime become destitute of rations and short of ammunition. The loss in this affair on the part of the volunteers was seven killed and twenty-two wounded. Of the regulars several were killed and a number wounded, among the latter Lieutenant Gibson. What the loss of the Indians was is not known. They claim to have lost in killed not more than ten. Probably their loss was much greater. When the troops withdrew it was with the intention to return and renew the siege as soon as the requisite artillery and about ten days' rations could be procured. This, however, was prevented by the promulgation of the Governor's celebrated "General Orders No. 10," which directed Colonel Ross to leave the field, so as to leave the way clear for the new volunteer organization to which I have already alluded. Some pretext for this action on the part of the Governor being considered necessary by his political advisers, it was alleged in the same document ''that armed parties (meaning Ross' regiment, cooperating with the regular troops) had taken the field in Southern Oregon with the avowed purpose of waging a war of extermination against the Indians in that section of the Territory, and had slaughtered, without respect to age or sex, a band of friendly Indians, on their reservation, in despite of the authority of the Indian agent and the commanding officer of the United States troops stationed there." Not one of these allegations, however, was true in any particular--a fact that was as well known to those who devised them as to those against whom they were directed. Never, in any instance, from the time it was set apart for the exclusive occupation of the Indians, did the whites, in any capacity, invade the reservation, or interfere with the Indians thereon, nor did they ever commence or contemplate a war of extermination.
I have already demonstrated that the Indians, even those who were known to have been at different times active participants in highway robberies, murders, and all sorts of enormities, when upon the reservation, were perfectly secure, so far as citizens were concerned; and that they never had cause to apprehend danger when there, from any source whatever. And, so far as any contempt "of the authority of the Indian agent and the commanding officer of the United States troops'' is concerned, no such contempt was ever manifested. In confirmation of this, I will state that on the occasion referred to, arms and ammunition were supplied to these "armed parties" by the said "commanding officer of the United States troops," and the bond of indemnity given for the same by Colonel Ross was witnessed by the said "Indian agent." These arms were musketoons, about thirty in number, and such as were not returned at the close of Ross' service were paid for at the government price. On the 9th of November, Colonel Ross assembled at Vannoy's ferry such companies of his command as could be temporarily spared from their posts, and there mustered them out of the service, to wit, four companies: Alcorn's, Bruce's, Wilkinson's, and R. L. Williams', in order that they might be organized into a battalion, according to the proclamation of the Governor. The other companies he discharged, as their places could be occupied by the new corps. Things being now fixed more to the Governor's mind, and more in accordance with the aims of his advisers who conceived that by supplanting Ross in the command in his district, they had gained a political advantage, an account of the war, somewhat in detail, was now commenced and continued until the close of the service. This account, being of record, though in many particulars exceedingly erroneous, as I have instanced by citing the Governor's General Orders No. 10, is already in the possession of Congress, where, I trust, the errors I have pointed out, if no more, may be totally refuted, and that justice, simple justice, may be meted out to all concerned.
As regards the accusation which is so often repeated, to wit: That the war was originated solely "for the purpose of speculation," it would seem as though the facts I have already adduced, ought to be sufficient to prove that charge utterly unfounded. But in further corroboration of testimony on this head, I will here remark, that the first supplies that were furnished to Colonel Ross' command were raised in the form of a contribution. That is, at the convention which passed the resolution calling upon the colonel to take the field, farmers, merchants, and others came forward and obligated themselves each to advance or furnish a stated amount; some, such a number of beeves; others, such a quantity of flour, and so on, until full rations were thus guaranteed. The people of that region had too much experience in such matters to regard this as a good opportunity for a profitable investment, and accordingly, every member of the community contributed, as he thought his means would warrant, and the necessities of the case demanded. The very great number of the bills of purchase are illustrative of this fact. Money was worth from three to five percent, a month on three and four months' paper, and, as a consequence, all articles of supply had a corresponding value. Hence, it was no object, in a pecuniary point of view, to furnish supplies at the prices specified, nor would it have been had those prices been doubled. The prices agreed upon, however, approximate very nearly to those paid in cash by the officers of the regular service at Fort Lane and Fort Jones, in the neighborhood of which, except in a few instances, supplies for the volunteers were procured. Some of the supplies for Ross' command, as well as for the subsequent service, were procured at Crescent City, California, which fact is additional proof that the charge of ''speculation," preferred with such a flourish, has no foundation in truth whatever, as, indeed, it has none.
List of killed and wounded of the ninth regiment,, Colonel Ross.
LEWIS' COMPANY.In affair at Galice Creek, October 17:
Killed--Privates J. W. Pickett, Samuel Sanders.
Wounded--Captain W. B. Lewis; Privates W. A. J. Moore, Milton Blacklige, Donald Lewis, Allen Evans, John Erixson, "Umpqua Joe" (Indian), Israel Adams, mortally, died November 17; Benj. Tufts, mortally, died November 26.
RINEARSON'S COMPANY.In affair at Cow Creek, October 22:
Killed--Private Charles Johnson.
Wounded--Private Daniel Boon.
In affair at "Bloody Springs," October 31-November 1:
Killed--Privates J. W. Miller, James Pearcy, Henry Pearl.
Wounded--W. H. Crouch, Ephraim Yager, Enoch Miller.
WELTON'S COMPANY.In affair at "Bloody Springs," October 31:
Wounded--Private John Kennedy, mortally; died November 7.
R. L. WILLIAMS' COMPANY.In affair at "Bloody Springs," October 31--November 1:
Killed--Private John Winters.
Wounded--Thomas Ryan, William Stannus.
HARRIS' COMPANY.In affair at "Bloody Springs" October 31--November 1:
Killed--Private J. A. Pedigo.
Wounded--Privates L. F. Allen, John Goldsby, Thomas Gill, C. B. Hinton, Wm. Ira Mayfield, Wm. M. Hand, Wm. Purnell, Wm. White.
BRUCE'S COMPANY.In affair at "Bloody Springs," October 31:
Wounded--Private C. C. Goodwin.
Total killed and mortally wounded during the service, eleven. Wounded more or less severely, twenty-two.
Partial list of the killed and wounded of the second regiment Oregon Mounted Volunteers.
BAILEY'S COMPANY.In affair at "Bloody Springs," October 31--November 1:
Killed--Private John Gillespie.
Wounded--Privates John Paukey, John Walden, John C. Richardson, J. Laphar, T. J. Aubrey.
In affair January 23, 1856:
Killed--Privates J. L. Gardner, Thomas Gage.
Wounded--Private Jeremiah Taylor.
KEENEY'S COMPANY.In an affair at Little Meadows, November 27:
Killed--Private William Lewis,
Wounded--Private J. N. Rice,
" Private D. Sexton, ]
" Private Robert Gammill, ] Williams' company.
" Private J. Long, Rice's company.
GORDON'S COMPANY.In an affair at "Bloody Springs," November 1:
Wounded--Privates J. M. Fordyce, William Wilson, and Hawkins Shelton.
Total, four killed and thirteen wounded.
Partial list of the hilled and wounded of the first regiment Oregon Mounted Volunteers,
CORNELIUS' COMPANY.In an affair in Yakima Valley, November 8:
Wounded--Privates Stephen Waymire and G. Holmes.
In affair of Colonel Kelley, in Walla Walla Valley, December 7, 8, 9, and 10:
Killed--Captain Bennett and Lieutenant Barrows. Privates Henry Crow, John Kelso, S. S. VanHagerman, Jesse Fleming, and J. Sturtevant.
Wounded--Captains Wilson, Layton, Munson, and Lieutenant Shephard. Privates F. Duval, Casper Snook, T. J. Payne, F. Crabtree, Nathan Frye, Isaac Miller, A. M. Addington, J. B. Lewis, G. W. Smith, Ira Allen, and John Smith.
Total, seven killed and seventeen wounded.
Total loss of the three regiments, as herein specified, twenty-two killed and fifty-two wounded. The lists of the first and second regiments, however, are quite imperfect, especially that of the second. Their loss was considerable more than is here represented, probably enough to increase the number of killed to thirty-five, and the wounded in a corresponding proportion. None of the losses, on the part of the volunteers of Washington Territory, are herein enumerated.
The number of persons not connected with the service, who were murdered during the war by Indians openly at war, and consequently not included in any list, is not known. I estimate it at forty. It is probably more; I think it cannot be less. This increases the number of citizens killed during the war, allowing my estimate with regard to the first and second regiments to be correct, to seventy-five. A recapitulation gives the following result:
Murdered in times of peace, and by Indians supposed to be friendly--361
Murdered by Indians avowedly hostile--40
Killed while in service, war 1853, 1855, and 1856--50
Of this number, three hundred and eighty-seven were killed during the nine years preceding 1857.
---Having now alluded to some of the many difficulties which the Indians of Oregon have precipitated upon the settlers there, I will briefly allude to the official reports of Superintendent Palmer, wherein he claims, specifically, that the Indians of Southern Oregon have been ill-used by the whites. In his report, under date of September 11, 1854 (Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs for the same year, page 257), he alleges that "seven squaws and two children were killed and several men and children wounded" by the miners of Althouse and Sailor Diggings; that, on the 15th of February, and prior to the 8th of May, "twenty-three Indians and several squaws were killed (page 25 same report), under the direction of a Mr. Miller, at the mouth of Chetco River; that, on the 28th of January, sixteen Indians were killed, at the mouth of Coquille River (page 269), by volunteers under the command of Captain G. H. Abbott."
Superintendent Palmer's a report relative to Indian difficulties in 1854.
Now with regard to the killing of the "seven squaws" &c., it is probable that Mr. Palmer derived his information from the Indians themselves, who hoped by such a story to elicit his sympathy and thus obtain a larger amount of presents, or that he derived it from other sources equally as unreliable; for, though it was sufficient to incorporate in his report, he did not consider it of sufficient account to cause the arrest of the alleged offenders.
With regard to the affair at Miller's, Mr. Palmer assumes (upon Indian testimony no doubt) that the whites were wholly in the wrong. But his report in this respect is inconsistent with itself, inasmuch as he states that "Miller was subsequently arrested and placed in the custody of the military at Port Orford; but on his examination before a justice of the peace, was set at large on the ground of justification, and want of sufficient evidence to commit." (Page 259.)
Respecting the affair of Captain Abbott, some of the most prominent and law-abiding citizens of Oregon were engaged in it, and there is no doubt but what it was absolutely necessary as a measure of self-defense. It was conducted in a deliberative open manner, and all the proceedings promptly reported to the Indian agent in that district, with the request that they should be forwarded to the Indian superintendent. (Page 274.) It is understood, too, that the agent, F. M. Smith, upon whose report of this matter Mr. Palmer relied when he reported to the Commissioner, afterwards made a counter report exonerating the citizens from all blame. That it so appeared to the government is evident from the fact that Captain Abbott has since been appointed to an Indian agency within the Oregon Superintendency.
In the report of the Indian Commissioner of 1855, there seems to be no charges preferred by Mr. Palmer of the character just mentioned. In the Commissioner's report for 1856, Mr. Palmer has published charges against the people of Oregon similar in every respect to those preferred by General Wool, none of which can be sustained by testimony. But as the charges promulgated by each of these officers are contained in substance, in the memoir and report of Captain T. J. Cram, relative to the Territories of Oregon and Washington, and to which I shall hereafter allude, I need not refer to them here. Suffice it to say, that if Oregon's friends would but display half the effort to render a true history of these Indian matters, that her enemies make to establish a false one, neither Congress or the country could long be deceived respecting them
----"The Topographical Memoir and Report of Captain T, J. Cram relative to the Territories of Oregon and Washington" (House Doc. No. 114, Thirty-fifth Congress, second session.)
No one who has ever sought to bring reproach upon the people of Oregon, in connection with the Indian wars and difficulties--which, in their own defense, they have been compelled to suppress--has done so more unscrupulously than the author of the above-mentioned document. The following extracts, and the remarks relative thereto, will exhibit the end he had in view:
"The discovery of gold in the Rogue River Valley attracted, with some well-disposed persons, many of the most unprincipled and ungovernable white men from all countries, * * * acknowledging no law but that of force, and in their hearts and acts far deeper down in the scale of human degradation * * * than any Rogue River Indian was known to be, before or since the discovery of gold in his valley." (Page 40.)
Captain Cram has overdone the thing so far here, that he has evidently defeated himself. The discoverers of gold in Rogue River Valley were formerly of Ohio, and those who were "attracted" by this discovery were, as a general thing, natives of Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Kentucky, as were those also who settled upon the agricultural lands, and none of them bore the least resemblance to the "unprincipled and ungovernable wretches" our captain has described. Indeed, there was nothing in that country to call such a community of "wretches" together. The discovery of the mines led to no excitement, and was hardly known beyond the limits of Oregon and the northern tier of counties in California for months afterwards. There was no wealth in the country, except what was in the ground, where everyone had to dig for it if he got it. The Indians did not own a hoof of stock, or possess any kind of property, except a few guns, which they had obtained by murder, robbery, and theft, that could be of the least utility to the whites, even had they have been the "wretches" they are represented.
"In the autumn of 1852, a party of citizens, under conduct of one Captain Ben Wright massacred over thirty Indians out of forty-eight, who had come into his camp by invitation, to make a peace. * * *
" * * * As a natural result of this treachery, the tribe (Modocs) combined with the Rogue River Indians in the following summer (1853), and attacked a settlement near Jacksonville.
"We thus have what are believed to be the provocation and beginning of the Rogue River war of 1853." (Pages 40, 41.)
As regards the "treachery" here spoken of, it happened to be all on the other side, as I have shown in my statements respecting Indian difficulties in 1852; and as to its "result," I have to say, that the Indians referred to had no hand in the attack upon "a settlement near Jacksonville," at the time mentioned. That they were hostile, is true. So they ever had been from the time they first set eyes on a white man, and so they are even now. But in 1853 their field of operations was along the Southern Oregon emigrant road, where they had murdered not less than thirty-nine unoffending citizens the year before, and in the settlements of Cottonwood and Shasta Valley, near Yreka, California. For this reason a detachment of United States dragoons, from Fort Jones, and a company of volunteers from Jacksonville, were sent to give armed protection to the immigration passing through their country. What the "provocation and beginning of the Rogue River war of 1853" was, I have already shown by citing the facts. What the Indians themselves said was the cause of it, after it was concluded, was that a Mexican, who was temporarily residing at Jacksonville, had purchased a squaw of them, for which he had not paid the full price agreed upon.
"The gallant general who figured as the hero of the closing scene of this three days' war was elected and took his seat in Congress as delegate from Oregon soon after. * * * The notorious Ben Wright not long after was appointed sub-Indian agent at Port Orford, and came to his death in the spring of 1855 (February 23, 1856) by treachery at the hands of Indians on Rogue River--in their view, a just retribution for his own treachery." (Page 43.)
General Lane was elected delegate to Congress in June, two months before the Indian outbreak in Rogue River Valley occurred. He was appointed to the command of the volunteers in the war by Acting Governor George L. Curry. He superseded Captain B. R. Alden, fourth United States infantry, who had been elected colonel by the volunteers at the captain's own request. The appointment of Wright, at the instance, and during the administration of Indian Superintendent Palmer, whose sympathy for, and confidence in, the Indians was unlimited, is the most positive proof that the charge so often reiterated against him is entirely destitute of any foundation whatever. Instances are known where Superintendent Palmer took the word of a lying, thieving Indian in preference to that of one of his agents, whose statement could have been corroborated by the oaths of numerous respectable witnesses. Is it a supposable case, then, that he would have been instrumental in getting the appointment to an agency of a man who treacherously murdered Indians by the wholesale? Certainly not.
"It was the design to gather all the bands along the coast of Oregon and place them upon it (the coast reservation), there to teach them agriculture and the arts, and to forever prevent whites from acquiring the rights of soil upon it; it is certainly not to be denied that some of the Indians, especially in the upper part of the Rogue River Valley, may have objected to the treaty, and evinced some reluctance to comply, but they had two years' time allowed in which they were to make preparations and go, and it is believed (by whom?) that had the whites shown patience, and forborne to interfere, the Superintendent would have had them all removed within the time specified, and Oregon would have been saved the shame reflected upon her by the commission of those most outrageous deeds that followed, such, for example, as that perpetrated by one Lupton and his party, 'who killed twenty-five friendly Indians, eighteen of whom were women and children,' and that perpetrated by one Hank Brown and party, at Lookingglass Prairie, in killing from eight to ten friendly Indians, invited there by the settlers for protection and safety. From such acts of cruelty can it be at all surprising that a retaliatory spirit was manifested on the part of the Indians?" (Pages 43, 44.)
These are the grounds upon which General Wool, Captain Cram, and their associates base their charge that the war in Southern Oregon in 1855-56 originated exclusively with the people there. The utter falsity of the accusation concerning "one Lupton and his party," I have previously shown. The story about ''Hank Brown and his party" was trumped up by political demagogues who wished to oust Colonel Ross from the command in his regimental district, and first appeared in the Oregon Statesman, a paper devoted exclusively to the interests of the party in which these demagogues held prominent positions. It was nothing more than a sensation article, written for a specific purpose, and without the least regard to truth.
"The design to gather all the bands along the coast of Oregon" upon a reservation did not include any of the tribes of Rogue River Valley, as intimated; consequently they had no occasion to "evince reluctance to comply. " These were parties to the treaty of the 10th of September, 1853, and, though failing in every particular to comply with their treaty stipulations, were still receiving their annuities. The Indians who were included in this design, however, were the same who so "treacherously murdered" the agent, Wright, and some twenty-three others, February 23, 1856, while "the whites" were exercising that same ''patience and forbearance" that Captain Cram thinks would have been so very beneficial.
"Now, can any conscientious man believe that the intelligent, industrious officer Captain Smith (United States army), who was then (at the beginning of open hostilities in 1855), and who had been, in command at Fort Lane, in the very center of these Indians (of Rogue River Valley), during the period of more than two years previous, would not have known and reported to headquarters a. necessity, if there was one, of more military force than that of the United States already there to meet the exigency in the district of which he was the responsible commandant? No report was made by him or either of the commandants of Fort Jones or Fort Orford expressive of any such necessity." (Pages 44, 45.)
That no such report was made by either of the officers mentioned is but too true. But if Captain Smith, "the responsible commandant" in the Rogue River district, did not think additional military force necessary, why did he furnish guns and ammunition to Colonel Ross, who was at the time in command of a volunteer regiment, and was operating against the identical Indians referred to? The fact that he did so is, I think, a. sufficient answer to the interrogatory quoted. But may there not be some hidden motive for coining and persisting in the false declaration that no additional force was necessary at this time? Major Fitzgerald, United States army, with his troop of dragoons, was at Fort Lane when the Indians threw off their disguise of friendship and commenced the open and indiscriminate slaughter of the whites, and, so far as he was permitted (he was not in command at that post), entered into the campaign that followed with a zeal never before or since manifested in that region by any officers of the regular service in command of troops. But for some reason (?) yet unknown, he was ordered from the field at the very moment when his services were of the greatest value, and directed to proceed forthwith with his company to Fort Vancouver, distant a march of 21 days (see p. 56), where, upon his arrival, he was sent into winter quarters, and his valuable services thus lost to the people of Oregon during the war. This was certainly a very great blunder, or something infinitely worse, on the part of "the commanding general" (Wool), and to own the additional "military force" necessary would be equal to an acknowledgment of his error. But there are circumstances connected with this matter that very naturally give rise to the apprehension that this act of General Wool was not wholly a blunder, but that it was in part the result of that deep-rooted prejudice which he has so often manifested in his official reports against the people of Oregon. Major Fitzgerald's policy, too, with regard to the control of the Indians, as shown by his acts, was widely different from that of the general and the commandants at the several posts mentioned. He was for enforcing treaty stipulations, and holding the Indians strictly amenable to white men's laws, as far as was necessary to the public security. They practiced the reverse of this, seeking to secure these ends by coaxing and flattery, and accomplishing absolutely nothing except in the way of ministering to the Indians' vanity and to their inherent hatred of the whites, by teaching them that the citizens were their inferiors and aggressors upon their rights. In his sympathies, too, the major was with the whites, upon whom he must have regarded this war as having been precipitated in consequence of the derelictions and the unsound policy of his brother officers commanding at the several posts in the Rogue River country, and that vicinity. He took an active part in tracing the Indians who murdered Field, Cunningham, and Warner (September 24, 25), and, along with volunteers, went promptly to the relief of the settlements that were attacked by the Indians (October 9.) After the organization of Colonel Ross' regiment he cooperated with that officer in securing and removing to Fort Lane and turning over to Captain Smith several Indians who were supposed to be spies, but against whom positive proof of this was wanting. This was the last service that he was permitted to render on behalf of the people of Southern Oregon. Having presented the material facts connected with the recall of the major from the field at the critical period mentioned, I leave it for others to form their own conclusions as to the motives that induced it.
"The governor says he was moved to call out this force (two battalions to succeed Ross) 'by a petition,' * * * which (according to Captain Cram), if granted, would bring occupation for eight hundred men and as many horses for the ensuing winter, and they would only have to ride about and kill Indians until planting time next spring." (Page 45.)
Evidently [he was] a little too anxious to make out a case. Planting time in Rogue River Valley is from September to about the first of April.
"These battalions, with the title of 'southern army,' were under the command of Brigadier General John K. Lamerick, and it is not surprising that, with such an array, and the well-known hostility of many of the citizens, some of the Indians flew to their arms and others to the United States military posts for protection." (Same page.)
''These battalions" superseded Colonel Ross' regiment (volunteers) November 10, 1855; ''Brigadier General John K. Lamerick" was not appointed to the "command" until about the 1st of February, 1856, and did not arrive in Southern Oregon for several weeks afterwards. The Indians had "flew to their arms" certainly prior to October 31, else why was Captain Smith, with three commissioned officers and eighty-five regulars, in the Grave Creek Hills fighting them on that and the following day? So, with "the well-known hostility of many of the citizens," some of the regulars, and among them "the responsible commandant" of the Rogue River district, were a little hostile too, even at that early period! As to the Indians who "flew to" Fort Lane "for protection," it might with propriety be asked why they were away from it, and why they did not return some months sooner, at the prayerful solicitation of the commanding officer there, and of their agent? They belonged upon Table Rock reservation, and had no right off from it.
"It has already been said that an immediate effect of the organization of the Governor's southern army was to cause some of the Indians to stand to their arms. One of their first acts afterwards was to attack the little party of ten, under Lieutenant Kautz, fourth infantry (United States), * * * on the 25th of October, 1855." (Page 46.)
The governor's "southern army" was not fully organized until November 10, fifteen days after this affair of Lieutenant Kautz. Only two companies of this force were raised prior to October 31, and they were present at the affair of that date, in the Grave Creek Hills. This was their first appearance in Southern Oregon, and here they cooperated with the regular troops. It is true that Colonel Ross' regiment was in the field at the time mentioned, but it had been furnished with arms by the commandant at Fort Lane, with the express approbation of the Indian agent at Table Rock reservation, and had not been, and never was, recognized by the Governor. So this cannot be the force included under the title of "southern army."
"No effort of Captain Smith could persuade the volunteers to go round and take the Indians in the rear, while the regulars would charge in front, and it seems only fifty out of two hundred and fifty of the volunteers of the Governor's southern army could be induced to take any part in the action, after coming to the point where, with resolution, they could have been instrumental in capturing the whole body of Indians in arms." (Page 47.)
This refers to the affair in the Grave Creek Hills, October 31 and November 1, at which but two companies, Gordon's and Bailey's, of the Governor's southern army was present, and these were all that were organized of that force at that time, and the list shows that Gordon had three men wounded, and Bailey five wounded and one killed. On the part of Ross' regiment, Rinearson had three men killed and three wounded; Welton, one killed; Williams, one killed and two wounded; Harris one killed and eight wounded; Bruce, one wounded. These were all the volunteer companies that were present, and their list of killed and wounded shows that if they "could not be induced to take any part in the action," they were exceedingly reckless of danger, at least. The truth about this matter is, the Indians had selected a place so well fortified by nature that it was impossible to rout them from it without artillery, which the volunteers did not possess, and the regulars had not brought with them. In proof of this, I quote Captain Cram's own words (pages 46 and 47): "Several charges were made by the regulars, but the men were picked off so effectually by the Indian rifles that but little advance was made into the thicket. * * * The greater portion of the regulars were dragoons, and their musketoons proved utterly inadequate to cope with the rifles in the hands of the Indians." Some of Ross' regiment were armed with the musketoon also. Why was this fact omitted?
"On the 9th of the same November (1855), while Major General Wool, United States army, in command of the department of the Pacific, was at Crescent City (about 110 miles from the scene of difficulty in Rogue River Valley), on his way to the field of Indian hostilities (which he did not reach by 250 miles) which had broken out in the preceding month in the Yakima country, to the north of the Columbia, he received the first intelligence of the fight just described, and it was then that he also first received authentic information of the Governor's declaration of war, and of the southern army of his volunteers being in existence." (Pages 47, 48.)
This, so far as regards "intelligence of the fight" (affair in the Grave Creek Hills), and "the Governor's declaration of war," is doubtless correct. The governor's proclamation, calling for volunteers for the service in Southern Oregon, did not reach Colonel Ross' headquarters, only two miles from Fort Lane, until November 7; and it could not have reached Crescent City earlier than the 9th; and by due course of mail the report "of the fight" could not have reached General Wool's quarters, at Benicia, until some time after he had left for "the field of Indian hostilities in the Yakima country!"
"General Wool's presence in Southern Oregon at this juncture (November 9, 1855) was exceedingly opportune.. He was personally in a position to enable himself to judge of the necessary measures to be taken for the future duties that would properly devolve on the troops under his own command in this district." (Page 48.)
Unless he had some of it in his shoes, General Wool, I believe, never set foot on an inch of Southern Oregon soil. His presence, which was so ''exceedingly opportune," and the "position that enabled him to judge of the necessary measures to be taken" was aboard one of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company's fine steamers, which touched at Crescent City, California, and Port Orford, Southern Oregon, on her trips to the Columbia River. The scene of the war then raging in Southern Oregon where troops were required, was about seventeen days' march, including time occupied in preparations after landing, from either of the towns named. In what respect, then, did the deck of a steamer off the coast of Oregon afford a better "position to judge of the necessary measures to be" adopted, than the general's own quarters at Benicia?
But did not General Wool know long previous to the 9th of November, 1855, that the Indians of Rogue River Valley were in a state of insubordination to the military and all other authority? Did he not know of the unprovoked murder by these Indians during that part of the year 1855 which had already passed--saying nothing of previous murders--of Hill, May 8; Dyer and McKew, June 1; Philpot, June 2; Peters, July 27; Hennessey, Parrish, Gay, and eight others, July 28; Keene, September 2; Field and Cunningham, September 24; Warner, September 25; Mrs. Wagoner and seventeen others, October 9? Did he not know, too, that the people of Rogue River Valley and vicinity had been defending themselves against these Indians and their allies for nearly or quite a month previous to the 9th of November? If he did not know these things, where were those commandants of Fort Lane, Fort Jones, and Fort Orford, who should have reported them; and why did he order Major Fitzgerald with his troop to strengthen Fort Lane? If he did know them, why did he order Major Fitzgerald and his troop out of the Rogue River district, and into winter quarters, when in the very height of his usefulness? These are some of the many things connected with General Wool's administration of military affairs in the Department of the Pacific that his adulators do not care to discuss, but which they strive to screen from public observation by appropriating and hurling against the people of Oregon anathemas and calumnies coined by political demagogues, and originally promulgated against a few individuals through the columns of a malignant party newspaper.
"On the 8th of March (1856), Lieutenant Colonel Buchanan landed at Crescent City, and in one week after had his command in motion. The force from Crescent City left on the 15th, and encamped at the mouth of Rogue River (Ord's company skirmishing there with the Indians) on the 20th of March." (Page 49.)
This landing at Crescent City, be it observed, was not until five months after the massacre near Evans' ferry (October 9, 1855), which led to the organization of Ross' regiment of volunteers, and precisely four months after General Wool had been "personally in position to enable himself to judge of the necessary measures to be taken for the future duties that would properly devolve on the troops under his own command in that district." From this it would seem that, at the time he secured this "position," November 9, there were no present duties to perform.
* * * "By the last of June (1856) the Rogue River war was at an end, and all the Indians that had defied the southern army' of Oregon so successfully were either at or on their way to the coast reservation in western Oregon." (Page 53.)
No allusion is made to the service of the volunteers who remained in the field during the winter, while the regular troops were in their comfortable quarters, waiting, according to the instructions of their commanding general (p. 48), "to receive and protect from violence (!) all friendly Indians who would come in and express a willingness to go, in the following spring, to the reservation set apart for them." Nor is the fact mentioned that the Governor's "southern army" participated with the regular troops, even in the closing scenes of this war, Superintendent Palmer says (Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs for 1856, pages 216 and 217): ''On the 9th (June), General Lamerick, in command of the volunteers, arrived at Big Bend (Rogue River), bringing the women and children (Indians) previously taken by Major Latshaw (volunteer), accompanied by sub-agent Metcalfe. * * * On the 2nd of June, Major Reynolds and Captain Augur (United States army) were directed, with their companies, to follow down the (Rogue) river as far as the mouth of the Illinois, and retain possession of that post, and collect any scattering Indians who might be found in that vicinity. These companies were accompanied by Captain Bledsoe and his company of volunteers, who had been operating along the coast between Port Orford and Chetco. Major Reynolds was to remain at the mouth of Illinois River, Captain Augur to pass down the north, and Captain Bledsoe down the south banks of Rogue River to the Indian village below. * * * Upon arriving at the village (of the Cistocootes--not the one above mentioned) the advance of these detachments discovered a few Indians on an island in the river, who, upon being called to, attempted to flee, when they were fired upon, and three Indians and one woman killed. * * * The village was then burned. * * * On the 3rd, Captains Augur and Bledsoe proceeded as before indicated, and upon reaching the Indian encampment a few were seen in canoes, who were hailed, but sought to make their escape. A fire was opened upon them by Captain Augur' s company; and in a few minutes a general attack was made upon the encampment, the Indians fleeing into the river and attempting to cross, but were met by Captain Bledsoe's company of volunteers. Fourteen Indians were killed in this attack, and a number, men, women, and children, were supposed to be drowned. * * * Very little resistance was made by the Indians--no one of the companies receiving the least wound from them."
I quote with regard to the killing of these Indians merely to show how circumstances sometimes alter cases. Here is an instance where regular troops and their auxiliaries hunted and slaughtered indiscriminately unresisting and retreating Indians (according to Mr. Palmer), for which they have been highly commended by Mr. Palmer himself, as well as by General Wool and the officers in charge in that vicinity, when the service was performed. But what of the affair near Table Rock on the 8th of October previous [the Lupton massacre]. The Indians then and there brought to an account were not in their villages, as were those just mentioned, nor were they upon their reservation as has been reported. They were by no means disposed to retreat, for they openly and boldly proclaimed their defiance of the authority of the military and Indian departments, as well as of all other authority, and were almost daily committing depredations upon the lives and property of the whites, and avowed their readiness and determination for a war of extermination. They did resist, for they killed two and wounded seven of those who chastised them. And yet the citizens who were compelled to participate in the affair at Table Rock are accused by General Wool, Mr. Palmer, and others, of having made war on that occasion upon a few squaws and children, and a like number of decrepit old men, while the party who hunted and killed the Indians indiscriminately, burned their villages, and met with so "very little resistance" as not to "receive the least wound," are highly commended for the act, that is that portion of the party who were of the regular service. The action of the regulars, &c., in this instance, was perfectly justifiable under the circumstances, and it had a beneficial result. I have alluded to it only for the purposes indicated.
But let us see what, at the least, must have been the result to the people of Southern Oregon if they had awaited the action of "the commanding general of the Department of the Pacific," if they had not taken up arms in their own defense. As the list of murders shows, the Indians of Table Rock reservation, in connection with surrounding tribes, had been in the prosecution of a guerrilla warfare against the citizens of Rogue River Valley and vicinity from the 1st of June, 1855 (I might with propriety name an earlier date), down to the general outbreak in the month of October following; the massacre near Evans' (October 9), and the hostile manifestations of the Indians in all other parts of the Rogue River country, being the occasion of the call for volunteers by Colonel Ross (October 12). General Wool must have known long previous to the 1st of October what the disposition was of the Indians in Rogue River Valley; that they were in a state of insubordination to the legitimate authorities, else why did he dispatch Major Fitzgerald and his company to strengthen Fort Lane; and he must have been advised of the general outbreak of these Indians as early as the 13th of October, and of Colonel Ross' action, by the 17th or the 18th. But the first we hear of him after this is his ordering Major Fitzgerald and his company out of the Rogue River country, away from Indian hostilities altogether. The next we hear of him is at Crescent City, November 9, where his "presence" was so "exceedingly opportune," and the deck of one of the Pacific Mail Steam Ship Company's steamers afforded a "position to enable himself to judge of the necessary measures to be taken" respecting affairs in the Rogue River country. Four months after this, or nearly that, we find (p. 49, Captain Cram's memoirs) that "Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Buchanan, Jr., major Fourth Infantry, was selected by the General as commanding officer to execute the plan of field operations.
"On the 5th of March, the General himself embarked with Ord's company, Lieutenant Colonel Buchanan, and a few officers of his staff * * * for the field of operations. * * * On the 8th of March, Lieutenant Colonel Buchanan landed at Crescent City, * * * and encamped at the mouth of Rogue River * * * on the 20th of March," where he was probably thirty days' march from the region of country which was the scene of difficulty when General Wool was at Crescent City on the 9th of the previous November. But if Lieutenant Colonel Buchanan had proceeded directly from Crescent City to the point where troops were required, and where the volunteers first took the field, he would not have reached it and been ready for action before April 1. This would have been five months and nineteen days after the date of the organization of Colonel Ross' regiment! And how many of the people of Southern Oregon might have been sacrificed during this period of one hundred and seventy days, if they had waited for this movement to have been made? Of course, this cannot be told precisely, but there are circumstances connected with the origin of the war upon which we can base an estimate. On the 9th of October, about one-third of the Indians then in arms, and having the day pretty much to themselves, murdered eighteen persons. On the 28th of July previous, during only a portion of the day, however, about the same number of Indians, and some of them of the same tribe too, murdered twelve persons. This would give an average of fifteen per day killed, saying nothing of the wounded, by about one-third of the number of Indians that were in the field on the 1st of October, or forty-five per day by the whole body of Indians who were then in arms in the Rogue River district. At this rate, which gives all the margin there is in favor of General Wool and his supporters, 6,615 persons would have been killed between the date of the organization of Ross' regiment (October 12) and the day on which Lieutenant Colonel Buchanan landed at Crescent City (March 8); and this number would have been increased to 7,650 before he could have reached the scene of hostilities, if the attempt had been made. Even the few regular troops who were at the several posts in the Rogue River district at the time of the general outbreak, or such of them at least as were not ordered away at that time to where the hostilities did not exist, do not appear to have been required by their commanding general to perform any other duty during the four months preceding the landing of Lieutenant Colonel Buchanan at Crescent City, than (p. 48) "to receive at their posts, and protect from violence, all friendly Indians who would come in and express a willingness to go in the following spring on the reservation set apart for them." Thus the people of that whole region of country, so far as any United States authority was concerned, were wholly at the mercy of the Indians, who, as by their own declarations and acts, were bent on a war of extermination.
It will be observed that long before Lieutenant Colonel Buchanan arrived in the field (March 20) the hostile Indians had been driven entirely out of Rogue River Valley, down that river, at the mouth of which that officer commenced his operations. Colonel Ross, with what assistance he received from the regular troops at Fort Lane, had driven them down the river, beyond the settlements in the early part of the war; and the volunteers who succeeded him, without any aid from the regulars, had continued during the winter to press them still further on in that direction until, meeting Colonel Buchanan's command coming up the river, with a detachment of which they had one engagement (at Big Meadows, May 27-28), they were compelled to surrender.
''The in-moving whites sell their rifles, revolvers, and ammunition to the Indians.* * * At the battle of Big Meadows, on Rogue River, the Indians were armed with the best of Sharps rifles and Colt's revolvers, sold to them by the whites; and it was on account of the inferiority of the arms, which his men had to use by an absurd regulation, that Captain Smith came so near losing that battle."
I believe that I am uttering the truth when I say that no Rogue River Indian was ever worth enough to purchase a Sharps rifle. And if he had have been, he could not have done so, for the simple reason that no such rifles were ever for sale in that region. The whites themselves, "incoming" or otherwise, very seldom possessed one, and those who did valued them too highly to sell them to the Indians or anybody else. To show how destitute of these rifles the people of that country were, when, if the allegation were true, the Indians must have obtained theirs, I will state, as I happen to know, that in the Rogue River Indian war of 1853, two men only were armed with these guns. One of these men was killed by the Indians, who secured his arms. When the treaty of the 10th of September (same year) was signed, the Indians gave up what worthless guns they had (they were to give up nearly all, but did not), and among them was this Sharps rifle, which they said they did not not understand or know how to use. In Colonel Ross' regiment, consisting of nearly nine hundred men, in the war of 1855-56, and in Williams', which was subsequently organized, if I remember correctly, there was not one. So far as the people of Rogue River Valley are concerned (and I believe it to have been true with regard to the people of the whole Territory, except, perhaps, in some instances near Hudson's Bay posts), I know of my own personal knowledge that from November 1852 up to the time the Indians were removed from there in 1856, they were decidedly averse to selling the Indians arms of any kind, and did not at all relish the idea that they should have them (except bows and arrows) in their possession at all. In the summer of 1854, at Jacksonville, a white man was punished with thirty lashes on the bare back and banished from the country for trafficking powder to the Indians to the value of one buckskin. Others have been treated in the like manner for the same offense, and what little clandestine trade there might have been in such articles was entirely suppressed. In other parts of Southern Oregon the sentiments of the people upon this subject were the same. In corroboration of this, I cite a resolution adopted January 28, 1854, by a meeting of the citizens of the town of Randolph and vicinity, in the Port Orford district (see p. 275, Report Commissioner of Indian Affairs for 1854), which was then without any legally established courts:
"Resolved, That if any person or persons shall sell, give, barter, or in any manner dispose of any gun, rifle, pistol, carbine, or other firearm, or any powder, lead, caps, or other ammunition to any Indian or Indians, such person or persons so offending shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor, and shall receive for the first offense thirty-nine lashes upon the bare back, and for the second offense shall suffer death."
That the Indians were unable to procure guns and ammunition is evidenced by the fact that their inability to do so was made a ground of complaint by Superintendent Palmer, who petitioned the Oregon legislature at its session of 1854-55, to repeal a law enacted by a former session (I think of 1853-54), making it a penal offense to furnish arms, &c., to the Indians, in any manner, or under any circumstances. So much for the accusation that the whites of Oregon sell their guns to the Indians. That the Indians of Rogue River Valley, many of whom were engaged in the affair of Captain Smith at Big Meadows, were armed with guns, though not "Sharps rifles," is very true. But how did they get them? The list of murders committed by them tells part of the story, and the history of their robberies and thefts, apart from these, if ever written, will tell the rest.
Having considered a few of the allegations--a fair sample of the whole--embodied in Captain Cram's memoir and report concerning the conduct of the people of Southern Oregon towards the Indians, in peace and war, with a few words more and an extract from the proceedings of the Oregon Methodist Episcopal conference, held in 1856, and having in attendance many of the early missionaries to the Indians, I draw my remarks to a close.
However plausible the statements set forth in Captain Cram's memoir may appear respecting these matters, there are none that cannot be met and fully refuted. In a word, they are pretentious, one-sided, and wholly unreliable assertions, though it is true some of them are quoted, taking the place of proof and supposition of fact. The resolution referred to is as follows:
"Whereas, our Territories have been the theater of a disastrous Indian war during the past year; and whereas an impression has, by some means, been made abroad that the people of Oregon and Washington have acted an unworthy part in bringing it on: Therefore, Resolved, That though there may have be occasional individual instances of ill-treatment of the Indians by irresponsible whites, it is the conviction of this body of ministers whose fields of labor have been in all parts of the Territories, at the beginning and during the continuance of the war, that the war has not been wantonly and wickedly provoked by our fellow-citizens, but that it has been emphatically a war of defense, and that that defense was deferred as long as Christian forbearance would warrant."
C. S. DREW,
Late Adjt. Second Reg't., Oregon Mounted Volunteers
Miscellaneous Documents of the Senate, Thirty-Sixth Congress,Document No. 59, 1860
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
From Southern Oregon.
Forest Dale, Jackson County,Editor of the Oregonian:--I have but little news to send you this week. The trial of Oldham for the murder of Dr. Alexander is over, and has resulted in an acquittal. There has been another stampede of Indians from the reserve, and the troops are in the field endeavoring to persuade their naughty pets to return to their friends, in order that the "fatted calf" may be killed, and that there may be much rejoicing thereat.
Southern Oregon, Aug. 25, 1855.
The Indians engaged in the late bloody tragedy on the Klamath are still at large, and the probability is that they will be suffered to go unpunished, unless the citizens of northern California shall rise in their might and with their own hands inflict the punishment these "red devils" so richly deserve. Thousands of dollars have already been expended by her citizens in an honest endeavor to avenge the death of so many of their friends and comrades; they traced the perpetrators of these foul deeds through the mountains to the reserve in this valley, whither the guilty had fled for protection, which was immediately offered them by the military at Fort Lane, and, as a matter of course, the pursuing party was compelled to return without having accomplished their designs.
In the event, however, that the Indians are not soon given up, the volunteers who enlisted in this cause at the commencement will return with the requisite reinforcement, and will, with renewed vigor, prosecute the object of their mission to the bitter end, and, if necessary, assistance will be rendered them by citizens of this valley, notwithstanding we are compelled in a measure to obey the mandates of "a secret political organization" known as "Durhams," whose chief has proclaimed to the world that no expedition against their particular favorites--the Indians--shall receive the sanction of his office, or, in other words, the sanction of the executive of this Territory.
Those of our citizens who are so often compelled to act on the defensive, and to make the rifle their constant companion, who have lost relatives and friends, and perhaps the fruits of years of toil, can best judge of the position in which we are placed by such manifestations on the part of those in power in Oregon.
The same line of policy should be adopted here with regard to Indians that is pursued by our companions on the other side of the Siskiyou--viz.: to commence a war of extermination, which would at once compel the military to keep the Indians garrisoned, and if the government is particularly desirous of propagating the species, would also compel them to furnish the Indians such nourishment as in such cases is required.
CLARENDON.Note--Since writing the above, information has arrived that the Indians have robbed several houses on Applegate Creek, twelve miles from Jacksonville.
Oregonian, Portland, September 8, 1855, page 2
Letter from the South.
Forest Dale, Jackson Co., O.T.Friend Dyer:--I have but little news to send you this week. Business is somewhat dull, though apparently improving. Farmers are busily engaged marketing their wheat and other products, and our merchants are laying in their winter supply of goods. The miners in this vicinity are preparing for a good winter's work--an abundance of water being anticipated.
Sept. 28th, 1855.
Three excellent flouring mills are in active operation in this valley, and a large portion of the flour manufactured is being sent to Yreka and sold or placed in storage. The past has proved an exceedingly prolific harvest, paying but a small remuneration however to the farmer, on account of the low prices for which he is compelled to sell his produce.
A young man by the name of Thomas Low, some few days since, caught his foot in the gearing of a threshing machine and so fractured the leg as to render amputation necessary. The operation was performed by Dr. C. B. Brooks of Jacksonville, under whose judicious treatment the patient is doing well.
A zealous opposition to the chastisement of Indians who have, and still are, committing depredations upon the citizens of this section of country in the settlements and on the highway is manifest on the part of several official dignitaries residing south of the California mountains, all of whom belong to the Durham herd. It is the opinion here that every one of the correspondents of the Oregon Statesman, and its echo the Umpqua Gazette, aside from the conductors of those sheets, are office holders. Such being the case, it seems to be a candid observer that no other evidence is required to establish the fact that a mutual sympathy does exist between the Indians here and the so-called Democracy of this Territory, especially as these communications have been freely endorsed by the leading stars of that secret political organization, known as the Salem clique. To the impartial reader, however, let these matters be submitted; one thing is certain, that the depredations which the Indians are constantly committing has created a violent antipathy against the entire Indian race in the minds of the majority of the citizens of both Southern Oregon and Northern California which cannot easily be eradicated, and these feelings are kept alive by the Indians visiting, whenever their own safety will admit it, the relatives of those who have suffered from their hostilities, and boasting of the tortures they have inflicted on their relatives and friends.
Notwithstanding the oft-repeated declarations made by the Indian sympathizers, as heralded forth to the world through their hireling presses, that the utmost harmony exists between the two races, a system of warfare has been carried on by the Indians here that has within the last five months in this section of country alone brought no lesser number than twenty-two of our citizens to an untimely grave. To make up this number I am compelled to note the massacres which have occurred during the present week.
On Tuesday last, as a small party of men with teams were crossing the Siskiyou Mountain on the road to Yreka, they were attacked by Indians, and two of their number, Calvin Field and John Cunningham, killed. The Indians also killed thirteen head of oxen on the spot, drove off several more, and carried away a considerable quantity of merchandise. This was not enough, however, to satisfy their savage thirst for blood, for on the following day they succeeded in killing another citizen, making the third [death], and wounding the fourth. Who is to be the next victim time alone can tell; occurrences of this kind have become so numerous within the past few months that I cannot but believe that the extirpation of every Indian tribe infesting this section of country particularly is a sacrifice due to the glory of God and the security of the lives and property of our citizens.
CLARENDON.Oregonian, Portland, October 13, 1855, page 2
Rogue River Correspondence of the Statesman.
Jacksonville, Sept. 22nd, 1855.Mr. Editor.--Naturalists give us an account of a molluscous animal called the cuttlefish. He sustains himself by preying upon other fish, and has a small bladder near the mouth, from which, when pursued, he emits an inky fluid that darkens the water around him, and thus enables him to escape. In many of his peculiar traits, and especially the latter, this little bandit of the waters is the type of a class of men not unfrequently met with. The thief who breaks from his captors, artfully mingles with the crowd in pursuit, and takes up the hue and cry of stop thief, darkens the waters that he may escape. The ingenious pettifogger who in defense of a bad cause, misleads the witnesses, confounds the testimony and mystifies the minds of the jury, darkens the waters that the guilty may escape. And to illustrate by the circumstances that have suggested this cuttlefish to my mind, when it became a matter of public notoriety that the firm of Dowell & Drew had spread their nets for a haul upon the United States Treasury by means of the now celebrated "expedition to fight the emigrants," straightaway these worthies commence to distort the public mind from the subject, and to darken the waters with their ink "bladder," in the columns of the Oregonian, over the pompous signature of "Clarendon," from the rural shades of "Forest Dale, Jackson County." About the paternity of this modern "Clarendon" there can be as little doubt as that of Chancellor Hyde who first gave the name literary celebrity. They are all stamped with the device of the Dowell & Drew mint. From end to end they teem with wars and rumors of wars (but particularly the rumors). Besides, the most casual observer cannot fail to see at a glance that they are a mere rehash of the late Qr. Mas. Gen'l.'s report of his late military operations on the southern emigrant trail, in the fall of 1854, and allowing for the difference in quantity, they contain more pure unmixed fiction than even that celebrated document, and an equal amount of pathos, bathos and hifalutin.
For instance, take the communication of the 11th of Aug. By a necessary implication it conveys, and was intended to convey, a false impression in the very first paragraph, in asserting that there had been a "resumption of Indian hostilities in this vicinity," that is, in the vicinity of "Forest Dale, Jackson County." Not a word of truth in it, although sometime prior there had been a fight in California, some sixty or seventy miles from the peaceful shadows of "Forest Dale." Yet a stranger in reading this politico-military dispatch might very reasonably conclude that "Forest Dale" was at that time besieged by the Indians, that Dowell was preparing the match to fire the magazine, as a last resort rather than surrender, while Drew in the true heroic style, stripped to the cuff [sic], and begrimed with powder, was indicting this dispatch upon a drumhead. All these letters are full of insinuations, utterly unfounded, against Capt. Smith, the commander at Fort Lane, and Dr. Ambrose, the Indian agent. It is probable that if Capt. Smith had have sanctioned this speculating "expedition to fight the emigrants," as Drew desired him to do, his name would not occur so frequently, but particularly if he had not reported to Genl. Wool that the whole thing was unnecessary, and got up for speculation. How an honest man and a faithful officer could have said anything else about it, I don't see, but at all events this accounts "for the milk in the coconut." From personal knowledge I affirm that Capt. Smith and Dr. Ambrose acted correctly in the matter of the Applegate Indians upon the reserve, who were demanded by the volunteers from California. The volunteers themselves, or those who spoke for them, expressed the opinion, and I don't think "Clarendon" can induce them to come back and retry the experiment, "of apprehending and punishing certain Indians upon the reserve," of their own will and pleasure without law or evidence. Nearly every citizen in Rogue River Valley who has a home and a permanent interest in the country approved of their action, and were at the time ready to back it by force if necessary. Opposed to these might be found--and there always will be--a few enterprising spirits "dead broke" and too lazy to work, whose voices are always for war (though not for fight), because in the confusion incident to such a state of things they have a license to go gypsying round the country, upon Cayuse ponies, plundering honest men for a living.
Again, "Clarendon" complains of "the emissaries of a partisan press," that "they have misled the public mind by denouncing men as traitors, cutthroats, swindlers &c. who have used every endeavor to promote the public good, and have spent their fortunes, however small they might be, in the service of their country." Now be it known that these generous souls who have so suffered and died for their country, and have been so abused by "the emissaries of a partisan press" are merely the firm of Dowell & Drew. They have omitted the fact, and for fear a grateful public might never discover their benefactors, I mention it. But, gentlemen, your sufferings are not real. Your imaginations are distracted. These "emissaries" never called either of you "traitors." If you are traitors they have not said it, nor do they think it. They never called you "cutthroats"--the very idea is preposterous. You are both as harmless as sucking doves. Nor do I think they ever called you "swindlers." The name sounds harsh and ugly, and the politeness of the present age delights to describe such speculations as yours by the historic names of Galphinism and Gardnerism. But in this way you seek to get up false issues, to keep the public mind upon the wrong scent, and to darken the waters so that your real iniquities may escape the public eye.
To speak of men's private fortune, or the manner in which they use it, is not the proper subject of a newspaper correspondence. But when the subject is lugged before the public with such barefaced impudence as in this last paragraph it becomes a different matter. Before the firm of Dowell & Drew can ask the credit of having "spent a fortune in the service of their country," we would like to know how and when they done it. If Drew ever "spent a fortune" it was in fast living--drinks not excepted--and not "in the service of his country." But if he did it would have been in quite as good taste to have been just before he was generous--to have spent it in repaying those poor fellows from whom much of it was borrowed.
As for Dowell when his country gets anything from him better than pack mules at four dollars per day, or flour at a dollar and a quarter a pound, it will be time to boast of a "fortune spent in her service." As it is, upon strict principles of justice and right it is not improbable that he is the gainer and his country the loser some thousands, by his valuable "endeavors for the public good."
In the letter of the 25th of Aug. "Clarendon" speaks warmly "of our citizens who are so often compelled to act on the defensive, and to make the rifle their constant companion," patrolling round "Forest Dale" I suppose, acting "on the defensive," or marching to relieve the distant settlement. Nothing of it, not a word. All imagination. They are peaceful fellows and love not the smell of villainous saltpeter, perhaps never shouldered a rifle in the valley, and if so merely in a trade. But they have got into trouble about some little speculations on account "of their country" and they wish to darken the waters until they can get out.
But here is a paragraph in which D. and D. lay aside their "constant companion their rifle" and drive the pen of the politician. I would advise them to continue the change, as the latter character is not only more congenial to their tastes, but vastly nearer the truth. But to the paragraph--"we are compelled in a measure to obey the mandates of a secret political organization known as Durhams, whose chief has proclaimed to the world that no expedition against their particular favorites--the Indians--shall receive the sanction of his office, or, in other words, the sanction of the executive of the Territory." Who ever heard before that the executive had proclaimed anything to the world upon the subject? No one. All pure fiction. But Gov. Curry did turn Drew out of the Qr. Mas. Gen'l.'s office, and that is Dowell and Drew's revenge. But then these "Durhams." Aye! there's the rub. They have ruthlessly exposed our little military speculations before we got an appropriation from Congress to foot the bills. Besides they are "a secret political organization," and we K.N.s don't like that at all.
But seriously, Dowell and Drew, it is time these alarms about Indian massacres, wars and difficulties in Southern Oregon should come to an end. It is true Indian difficulties may occur, but in this valley it is not likely without some of us are very anxious for it. During the past six months peace has not been interrupted for one hour in the upper R.R. Valley. One or two men have been killed in the valleys or mountains towards the coast. As many have been killed or wounded in the same time in drunken brawls between whites. Yet during all this time you have labored over the signature of "Clarendon" and otherwise to make the impression that there has been continual skirmishing and fighting with the Indians in Rogue River Valley and "Forest Dale." This is unjustifiable; persons at a distance are deterred from coming to the mines; emigration is turned away in some other direction, and the settlers are kept in a continual alarm and uneasiness. Now, Charley, let me say a friendly word in conclusion. If the firm of Dowell & Drew must keep up a clamor--if they must play the cuttlefish, and darken the waters, take some other subject. Have done with these false alarms about Indians. Cease trying to raise a fuss with them, but pitch into the "Durhams." They are real foes and worthy of your steel; you may hack away at them until doomsday without harming them or anybody else.
ANTI-HUMBUG.Oregon Statesman, Corvallis, October 13, 1855, page 1
For the Oregonian.
Letter from the South.
Forest Dale, Jackson Co., O.T.Editor Oregonian.--Rogue River Valley is again reaping the benefit arising from imported sympathy for the "poor Indian."
October 6th, 1855.
The entire community here has become alarmed, and if coming events ever cast their shadows before them, then we are to have a second edition of the war of '53 and the predictions of many of our citizens fully realized. Many of the residents here are removing their families to places of safety, and are shouldering their rifles in defense of their inalienable rights--the peaceful possession of homes and firesides; even men who have heretofore sustained the policy pursued by those having authority in this Territory, with regard to Indian affairs in Southern Oregon particularly--and who have ever been on the alert to mislead the public mind relative to the many expeditions and engagements of which the Indians here have been productive--and who have even come so far as to prefer false charges against men who have taken an active part in such expeditions and engagements, have signified a willingness to espouse the cause of the white man by taking up arms against the very beings (if beings they are) whose virtue, honor, integrity and loving kindness have ever been the burden of their songs--the objects of their happiest dreams.
Since the massacre of Fields, Cunningham and Warner on the 25th of September just past, I have received no positive information of the loss of any more lives, although report says that fifteen men have just been killed on Beaver Creek, on the opposite side of the Siskiyou Mountains. This does not seem incredible, as it is known that a large number of Indians are prowling about in that vicinity. On Thursday last, a party of Indians fired upon Mr. Myers and Mr. Fisk, near the residence of the former and but a short distance from the Eagle Mills, but fortunately missed both of their intended victims. On the same day another party killed several head of cattle at Vannoy's ferry on Rogue River, below the reserve, and on the following day a party of about forty miners proceeded from the Reserve to the residence of Mr. Decker, near the mouth of Butte Creek, and drove the family from the house; this I think is the third time within the last two months that Mr. Decker and family have been compelled to leave home and seek the more populous section of the settlement for protection against those government pets. On Applegate some stock has been taken, but of the amount I am not advised. Capt. Bob Williams is in that vicinity, and I expect soon to hear of the effects of his unerring rifle.
A company of volunteers, under the command of Capt. A. G. Fordyce, is already in pursuit of Indians in the vicinity of Mr. McLaughlin's, and if there is anything in the general appearance of men, this company is bound to render a good account of its stewardship.
The supplies for the volunteers already in the field have been raised by contributions; I predict, however, that in the event of a general war, as now seems inevitable, that the procurement of supplies will be almost an impossibility, for the coffers of our citizens have already been drained to such an extent, for like purposes, that they are wholly unable to furnish supplies without a fair remuneration, and it is generally thought that the Governor of Oregon, with his best of advisers, will report against such prices being paid, as they have done in other instances, where volunteer service has been rendered under similar circumstances. In the event that my prediction proves correct, or perhaps if otherwise we might with seeming propriety address the executive of this Territory, in the language of Jefferson to the British king, "open thy breast, sire, to liberal and extended thought." The great principles of right and wrong are legible to every reader, to peruse which requires not the aid of many councilors.
If however we are to judge of the future by the past, quotations from their favorite authors will be of no avail. Political supremacy instead of principles of justice has too long been the basis of a great part of the policy pursued by the champions of Durhamism relative to Indian affairs in Southern Oregon.
Respectfully yours,Oregonian, Portland, October 20, 1855, page 2
Rogue River Correspondence of the Statesman.
JACKSONVILLE, Nov. 10, 1855.A. BUSH--DEAR SIR: I am sorry that I have not better news to send you today in relation to our Indian difficulties in the south. I am informed that recent acts on the part of his premiership, Charley Drew, develops some strange and astounding transactions. Enclosed I send you a copy, of an order issued on the 7th by John E. Ross and Charley, who, it seems, had called the militia into service, and who, it seems, had done everything in their power to prevent the organization of the battalion in this county as called for in the Governor's proclamation, this man, Drew, charging that the Durham Democracy, the Democrats, and also those having control of the Indian Department in Southern Oregon, were the blamable parties for all the Indian depredations in the south. You recollect his (Drew's) "Clarendon" letters in the Oregonian. Now this man Charley is as cunning as a fox, and is chief of the Know Nothings in this county. He knows that if he could bring about hostilities, that Ross was colonel of the militia, and he could be adjutant. All those difficulties of which he prophesied in those "Clarendon" letters were not the result of accident, as the happening of Dr. Henry at Cow Creek at the particular hour of the commencement of hostilities was! Now Charley Drew and others who had figured at the head of a party in this county had lost their grip, and something must be done to save them. Circumstances, and the acts of certain hostile bands of Indians on the Klamath and Siskiyou Mountain, favored their plans, and the idea was conceived that by throwing the firebrand among the Indians, the entire blame could be saddled on the Democracy. Hundreds of our unsuspecting citizens of this county were caught in the snare, and those horrible massacres have taken place, at which our community, en masse, cry aloud for vengeance. But what does Charley say? Why, he's trying to prevent an organization under the proclamation of the Governor. The volunteers will not elect Ross major, therefore Drew cannot be adjutant. If they do not organize under the proclamation, Ross is colonel of the militia, and Drew is adjutant, and thus Drew's plans can be carried out; then Drew & Dowell's expedition to Klamath Lake, in the fall of 1854, will stand a better chance to be paid by the general government.
I stop to report better news. The battalion of four companies has been mustered into service by Capt. Lamerick, assistant adjutant general, and James Bruce, elected major. Drew & Co. refused to let the newly organized battalion have supplies until they saw that Capt. Lamerick and Major Bruce were preparing to take such portion as they needed, even without consent. Drew left Vannoy's when the organization took place, and quite a number of Ross and Drew's Indian lighters have backed out, and gone home.
HEAD QUARTERS, 9TH REG'T. O.M.
Camp Stuart, Nov. 7, '55.
REGIMENTAL ORDER.The several companies composing the 9th Regiment O.M. will assemble at Vannoy's ferry on Friday next (Nov. 9th) for the purpose of mustering into service agreeable to the proclamation of the governor of Oregon, i.e., to form a battalion of volunteers and elect a major to command.
It is required that a return of muster tolls, appraised lists, &c. &c., pertaining to the present service (that of the militia) be made as soon as practicable, and forwarded to this station, in order that the affairs of said service may be closed.
By order,Per C. S. Drew, Adj't. 9th Reg't. O.M.
Col. JOHN E ROSS.
Oregon Statesman, Corvallis, November 24, 1855, page 1
PERSONAL.--We have now on a visit to our town Maj. C. S. Drew, after quite a protracted absence to the Atlantic States. Maj. Drew is now in the volunteer service of the United States, and is stationed at Rogue River Valley. His appearance among us at this time is for a friendly visit to his old friends and acquaintances this side of the line. Maj. Drew, formerly and familiarly known by the old settlers here as Charley Drew, was one of the earliest settlers in this county and removed from here to Jacksonville in 1852, has been quite conspicuous in the early settlement and in the advancement of the interests of Southern Oregon and Northern California by influence and exertions both at home and abroad. His appointment to the office of major was received with pleasure by his numerous friends, and his station in this district gives the most entire satisfaction. We, among others, feel a hearty pleasure in once again taking him by the hand.
"Home Intelligence," The Semi-Weekly Union, Yreka, California, November 1, 1862, page 3
JACKSON COUNTY, OREGON.--"It seems that victory perches upon the Union banner everywhere in Oregon except in Jackson County, Southern Oregon, which has given the Copperheads 50 majority. The Sentinel charges the defeat to the influence of aid and comfort afforded the rebels and Copperheads by Col. Drew. The secesh of Siskiyou are also great admirers of the Colonel, but, alas, the Copperhead Colonel has no influence here, even if he does advertise for Copperhead bids to supply Fort Klamath. Drew wants to divide his favors with the Copperhead and secession press, and has given the Siskiyou vilifier of the Administration a benefit. If a man is judged by the society he keeps, Drew must be a secessionist, for he is very thick with them on his visits to Yreka, and seems to shun Union men. The secesh here get very hostile about Union men doubting Colonel Drew's loyalty, but then that is nothing new--they feel equally indignant about calling Jeff Davis disloyal."--Yreka Journal.
The Journal, on the assertion of another about as truthful as itself, willfully or ignorantly publishes an untruth. It is well known that there was a split in the abolition party of Jackson County immediately after the Oregon Republican state convention, and there were numerous "soreheads" who would not be comforted. The Sentinel, if it will admit the truth, knows this. Feigned or real ignorance alone prevents the Journal from acknowledging it. An Independent ticket was run in Jackson County, and doubtless Democrats voted it, as the party made no nominations. The Journal says Colonel Drew must be a secessionist "for he is very thick with them on his visits to Yreka, and seems to shun Union men." Doubtless if Col. Drew, when it became necessary for him to visit Yreka on business, would immediately hunt up that pink of intelligence and good breeding, the Journal man, closet himself with the sapient hombre, disclose all his plans and ask his advice as to whom he should drink with, what hotel he should put up at, the Colonel would no doubt be a "good Union man." It is well known that the abolition organ of Southern Oregon has carried on a relentless war against those in charge of this military department. That Colonel Drew has been exonerated, after a full investigation, from all the charges preferred against him; that it is through his advice and the concurrence of General Wright we now have a military post established at Klamath Lake for the protection of emigration and immigration. In all the newspaper discussion of this important question and the necessity of protecting our northeastern frontier by the establishment of military posts, not one single paragraph, so far as we can now recollect, has ever appeared in the Journal favoring the proposition. If we are wrong in this that paper can easily correct us by hunting up its record on the subject. As to the Journal's assertion that we are a "vilifier of the Administration," it is simply a falsehood. We have strenuously opposed its unconstitutional and detrimental conduct of affairs, giving it due credit for what good it has done, and shall continue to do so, the Journal and its kind, nolens volens.
The Semi-Weekly Union, Yreka, California, June 18, 1864, page 2
Letter from Col. Drew.
We are permitted to publish the following, which will no doubt be read with considerable interest:
Camp at Northwest Corner Nevada Territory, July 18, 1864.Hon. A. M. Rosborough, Yreka, Cal.: I am moving slowly, partly on account of threatened Indian difficulties in the rear, and partly because I am exploring a new route nearly all the way.
Mr. Richardson continues with me. Allen's train from Rogue River Valley left me in Surprise Valley, taking the old Lassen route to the Humboldt. Frans, from Klamath River, below Humbug, and Morgan and Taylor from the vicinity of Humboldt Bay, with cattle, are with me, and will remain with me until I reach Pueblo. I shall try hard to open a wagon road from Lassen's Pass over the Sierras via the head of Surprise Valley and the Pueblo District to the Owyhee. My route now is north of east, about the right direction, but obstacles in the shape of rocky ridges and deep canyons may compel me to vary my course temporarily, but I think not to any great extent. The route from Jacksonville and Fort Klamath to this point is a good one, with an abundance of good grass and water, and wood enough for road use. The distance from Jacksonville via Fort Klamath to Surprise Valley is 240 miles. From Fort Klamath, 154 miles.
The formation of the country begins to change to the eastward of Surprise Valley from a purely volcanic formation to slate, with now and then a boulder of quartz. Specimens of quartz, silver, copper and iron have reached me from the Pueblo District that are really rich no doubt. The quartz from the Vicksburg mines, 15 miles south of Pueblo, seems the best.
I have had some trouble on account of the acts of some of Charley Delaplain's party from the Owyhee. A man by the name of Parker and three others--one by the name of Burton--attempted to murder some unarmed Indians whom I had directed to come into camp to give information respecting their numbers, country &c. &c. As the Indians were returning home from my camp they were waylaid and fired upon by this party and required to give up their horses. By some means, it does not appear how, Parker & co. got possession of two of the Indians' horses when other armed Indians came up and fired upon the white party, killing Burton and Parker's horse. This was distant from camp probably about three miles. Parker & co. laid no claim whatever to the horses, neither for themselves nor anybody else, but state to their comrades before they left camp that to take the horses from the Indians was a "good thing" and they meant to do it. In a word it was a direct attempt at robbery and murder in which the aggressors came off second best. I mention this because it is reported that the horses belonged to his (Delaplain's) party, and that the Indians made the attack, etc. etc. He will doubtless find newspapers to advocate his side of the story, and for this reason I mention the matter to you in advance of any publication from him or any of the thieves who brought on the unfortunate difficulty.
Yours truly,The Semi-Weekly Union, Yreka, California, August 17, 1864, page 2
C. S. DREW.
State of California )
City and County of San Francisco ) ss.
Charles S. Drew, being duly sworn, deposes as follows:
My permanent residence is at Jacksonville, Oregon but am residing now temporarily in the city and county of San Francisco, California. I recently held the position of lieut. colonel of the 1st Regiment of Oregon Cavalry. My business now is quartz mining.
I was well acquainted with U.S. Indian Agent William Logan of the Oregon Indian Superintendency in his lifetime and was a fellow boarder with him at the "Russ House" in San Francisco from an early date in June 1865 until the morning of the 28th day of July 1865. I last saw the said William Logan on the 28th of July 1865 on board of the California Steam Navigation Company steamship Brother Jonathan after said vessel had left her pier, "Broadway Wharf," and was headed for the Golden Gate en route to Oregon. My intercourse with said William Logan during our stay at the "Russ House" aforesaid was of the most friendly character. I went with him early in the month of June aforesaid to the office of the U.S. Sub-Treasurer when he presented one or more checks or drafts upon the same and received currency therefor. At the same time he exhibited to me two or perhaps three other checks or drafts upon the said Sub-Treasury, remarking as he did so that they were for funds to be taken to Oregon on his return and that he would not draw them until he should so return. I think that he mentioned fifteen thousand dollars as the aggregate of the amount of the public funds for which these checks were drawn, a portion of which were for use at his agency, the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. After having gone on board of the Brother Jonathan, where I was with him up to the moment of her casting off at her wharf, he mentioned of having these funds in his possession and remarked in the same connection that he had only forty dollars in coin of his own with which to bear his expenses to Portland, Oregon, but that he could get funds to defray his expenses from that point to his agency. I inferred from his conversation on the steamer at the same time that he had a greater amount of Treasury notes than fifteen thousand dollars in his possession but do not recollect that he spoke of them as public funds.
The steamship Brother Jonathan was lost at sea on the 30th day of July 1865 while on the trip to Portland, Oregon, as before mentioned, and there can be no doubt that the said William Logan came to his death at that time and in consequence thereof and that the loss of whatever funds public or otherwise he then had in his charge is equally certain.
Signed C. S. DrewSubscribed and sworn to
before me this 16th March A.D. 1866
Geo. D. KnoxNARA Series M234 Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs 1824-81, Reel 616 Oregon Superintendency, 1870-1871, frames 208-211.
Last revised May 31, 2019