HOME



The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised


The Battle of Big Bend


Port Orford Correspondence of the Statesman.
Port Orford, March 23, 1856.
    Editor Statesman--The steamer is now due from San Francisco, and we avail ourselves of this opportunity of communicating such intelligence as we have received from the seat of war, and such other matter which may be of interest to the readers of the Statesman.
    On the 13th inst., a detachment of U.S. soldiers, 150 strong, under command of Col. Buchanan, together with some forty volunteers under command of Capt. George Abbott, left Crescent City for the scene of hostilities on Rogue River, and on the same day another detachment of U.S. soldiers, numbering something over one hundred, under command of Capt. Augur, left this place to meet Col. Buchanan at a designated point on Rogue River, for the purpose of commencing active operations against the Indians.
    In addition to this force we have heard from reliable sources that orders have been forwarded to Capt. Smith, commanding at Fort Lane, to march immediately with two companies of U.S. soldiers to cooperate with those from this place and Crescent City.
    On the evening of the 21st inst., Mr. Chas. Foster arrived here with advices from Capt. Augur. As yet no regular engagements had taken place, but on their arrival at the designated point on Rogue River (which was at the mouth of Illinois River), they discovered some ten or twelve Indians, and strange to say on being fired upon they stood their ground and promptly returned the fire of the troops. Five Indians were killed, and no loss occurred to the whites, either in killed or wounded.
    On account of the roughness of the country south of Rogue River, Col. Buchanan was unable to meet Capt. Augur at the point designated, consequently he was compelled to march direct to the mouth of Rogue River, and Capt. Augur on his arrival at the point agreed upon, finding that the Colonel had not arrived, and after waiting some little time, took up the line of march for the mouth of Rogue River, some twenty or twenty-five miles distant from the Illinois River. After leaving camp, and yet in full view, a company of some five or six Indians came into camp and threw powder into the fire, discharged their rifles and made several other demonstrations of victory, and not being satisfied with this proceeding, followed the command one day, and on the following morning after the soldiers had left camp repeated the same proceeding as at the previous camp. This occurred on the 21st inst., since which we have received no intelligence.
    As soon as the intelligence of the massacre of the 22nd ult. at Rogue River reached the commanding officer at this post, an effort was at once made to collect all the friendly Indians north of this place, reaching as far as the Coquille River, which effort proved unusually successful, and they remained quiet and peaceable until last evening, when the Coquille Indians left for parts unknown.
    On inquiry of those remaining in camp, we are informed that a white man came to their lodge during the early part of the night and informed them that the whites were coming to kill them early in the morning, and a regular stampede was as a matter of course the result. What action may be taken by the commanding officer I am unable to say, but we suppose that something will be done to ascertain whether any white men have been the means of the Indians leaving, and if so, proceedings will be commenced against any person so vile and treacherous as to commit so base a wrong.
Yours &c.,            J. C. F.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, April 29, 1856, page 1


    There is no Indian war news from Crescent City of any importance. The Herald says:
    "Yesterday we had the pleasure of meeting Capt. D. L. Floyd-Jones and Lieut. G. P. Ihrie, from Col. Buchanan's command, at the mouth of Rogue River, and only regret that their sojourn will be so limited in our midst. By them we are informed that two detachments have proceeded up Rogue River on each side, to attack the Indians supposed to be congregated at or about the mouth of Illinois River, and that the Colonel intends to establish his headquarters in the Big Bend of Rogue River, the stronghold of the Indians."
New York Times, May 30, 1856, page 2


Rogue River Correspondence of the Statesman.
Fort Lamerick, May 17, 1856.
    Mr. Bush--Dear Sir:--A party of scouts which was sent out from this place, on the 15th inst., have just returned and report that they have discovered the Indians in or near the big bend of Rogue River, about fifteen miles below this place. They suppose that the combined forces of the Indians are encamped there, and our forces here are inadequate for the emergency at present, as we have only about sixty men rank and file in the fort--a portion of our battalion has gone out to headquarters for supplies, which we were obliged to do or else desert our post, as the packers have "flared up" and swear they have no particular fancy for packing in this portion of country, and consequently we have been obliged to furnish packers, beef drovers &c. out of the ranks. Maj. Bruce was left here with us in command of one hundred men, the companies of Capts. Williams and Wilkinson, but as their term of service was about to expire, they left for Grave Creek to be disbanded on the 13th last. Maj. Latshaw and a small command as escort came in with supplies on the same day, and on the 14th he returned via Camas Prairie to Roseburg, for means of subsistence, and took with him a portion of our battalion as packers, drovers and escorts, and we have but few men left, but we sent an express to the Major this morning, and I think that he will hasten the transportation of supplies to this place, and also additional forces.
    We have erected quite an extensive fort here (Lower Meadows) and expect to hold this position, as it is in the main thoroughfare for the enemy up and down Rogue River. The express is starting, and I must desist writing for the present.
Yours in haste,            VOLUNTEER.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, June 3, 1856, page 1


Fort Meadows, May 19th, 1856.
    Dear Bush--I avail myself of a moment's leisure to say that since our arrival here (20 days) we have not been able to see the face of a hostile Indian. Our scouts after almost daily excursions have at length discovered the stopping place of a part of the Indians, on the Big Bend. They present the appearance of being numerous, but some are of opinion their numbers are principally composed of squaws and papooses, thinking their men are off trying to effect a treaty. We are making ready to start for the ranch--will march on them in the night--divide into three companies--two cross the river (where the Indians are), one below and one above--the third company will attack the Indians from this side [of] the river simultaneously with the two companies across the river. We think we will be able to make a clean sweep of them. I am anxious for the time to roll on, so that I may be able to give your readers the earliest news of the result.
    The Indians have laid quash ["afraid"] since the fight here. I hope their spirit of hostility is quite subdued, and a treaty of peace on just and permanent grounds may take place, that in future we may not be troubled with the red devils.
    Our battalion is in good health and spirits; we are eligibly located, with pure living water and wholesome mountain air. A heavy frost this morning makes a fire feel comfortable. More anon.
    Respectfully yours,                        H. H. KING.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, June 17, 1856, page 3


NORTHERN CALIFORNIA.
    NARROW ESCAPE.--The government train, loaded with stores for the troops at the mouth of Rogue River, says the Crescent City Herald, which left our city some few weeks since, escorted by Captain D. F. Jones' company United States infantry, about two hundred hostile Indians awaited in ambush the arrival of the train, between Chetco and Pistol River. Unfortunately for the Indians,when they supposed the train was completely in their power, Captain Ord's company from the mouth of on its way down to meet and help escort the train up to Col. Buchanan's headquarters, when they discovered two Indian spies looking out for Captain Jones and his train. Captain Ord immediately sent out a detachment from his company who came in contact with the main body of the Indians, and succeeded in dispersing and killing six of their number.
    Northing has been heard of Col. Buchanan's command, says the Crescent City Herald, up to the departure of the last steamer from Port Orford. The command when last heard from was up Rogue River about twenty miles.
Summit County Beaton, Akron, Ohio, July 9, 1856, page 3


SOUTHERN OREGON.
    We understand, says the Table Rock Sentinel, that the companies of captains Keith and Blakely, and one other company, have been left at the Big Meadows, for the purpose of erecting fortifications at that place. The Southern Battalion have pretty near all returned from their expedition to the Meadows, and an impression is extant that they will not make another expedition, as there is considerable dissatisfaction in relation to affairs connected with the late expedition. The term of enlistment of many of the volunteers is about terminated, and it would not be very astonishing if the volunteers were, as a general thing, discharged. The Indians may fall in with Col. Buchanan, as he, with U.S. troops, are somewhere down Rogue River. If the U.S. troops and the Indians do meet, it would not be very strange if the preliminaries of a treaty were talked over. This war of extermination is not what many bargained for. The only way to ensure life, end the war and restore peace to Southern Oregon is to obtain a treaty and send the Indians out of the country.
Summit County Beaton, Akron, Ohio, July 9, 1856, page 3


Headquarters, Camp Oak Grove, Illinois River, O.T.
    Dist. Southn. Oregon & Northn. Cal.
        May 22nd 1856.
Sir,
    I have the honor to report the operations of the troops of this command since my interview with the Commanding General of the Department on board of the steamer Columbia on the night of the 1st inst.
    Having completed the business that took me to Fort Orford, I started on the 5th for the mouth of Rogue River, escorted by Capt. Augur's company, and brought friendly Indians, and the prisoner boy, through whom I expected to hold interviews with the hostiles. On my march I was met by an express from Capt. Smith, informing me of the arrival of the supply train from Crescent City, and transmitting the enclosed report of Capt. Ord's skirmish with the Indians at the mouth of the Chetco. It will be seen that his arrival at that point took them completely by surprise, as they were only prepared to annoy Capt. Floyd-Jones, whilst the train should be crossing, and did not anticipate the approach of a force from any other direction. Capt. Ord left the mouth of Rogue River on the 27th, agreeably to my previous orders, "to meet the train at the mouth of the Chetco for the purpose of strengthening the escort," and the movement was, fortunately, so well timed that both commands met there during the skirmish, and both participated in it. I regret to have to report the loss of Sergeant Smith of Ord's compy., mortally wounded in a hand-to-hand encounter with one of the enemy. On the 7th I arrived at the mouth of Rogue River, dispatched 2 of my Indians, squaws, with a message to the hostiles on the night of the 8th, and on the morning of the 9th broke up my camp and started up the river on the south side, with Ord's, Floyd-Jones' and Reynolds' companies, and the supply train. I sent Smith up on the north side with his own, Augur's, and the detachment of "E" Company, in order to lose no time in learning the result of my message. Having been obliged to search out and open my trail for the greater part of my route, I did not reach the Illinois as soon as I had expected, so that Smith had to wait for me opposite the mouth, from the 12th to the 15th. I reached the hill above the Cosaiteny [sic] village on the 15th and there found my two friendly Indian men, who had been sent out the previous day, with Old Joshua, and 3 of the Tututni waiting for me. They stayed in my camp that night, and after a talk on the following morning agreed to meet me at this point with their people on the next evening. They also informed me that Capt. Smith was at the mouth of this river, and that he had a great many Indians in his camp. On the morning of the 15th I sent an Indian express to him with orders to meet me here on that afternoon, which he did whilst I was selecting a site for my camp, the lately hostile Indians having ferried him across Rogue River in their canoes. On the 16th, Old Joshua, chief of the tribe at the mouth of Rogue River, the Chetco chief and several others came in to have a talk, when I told them that they must come in unconditionally, and to this they finally agreed, those on the river promising to be at the forks, 3 miles below this, in two days, and the Chetco chief to return here with his own and probably the Pistol River tribes in a fortnight. On the 18th I dispatched the supply train, under the escort of Capt. Ord, to Fort Orford for provisions, and on his reaching the mouth of this river he found almost the entire force of the upper Indians on the opposite bank of Rogue River, but they did not attempt to oppose his crossing. The lower or coast Indians were on this side at the point where they had promised to be. The others had come down from "the Meadows" in consequence of an invitation sent to them by Capt. Smith a few days before, and as soon as I heard of it I sent the Captain with his company to say that I wanted to see them here. He met and had a talk with George, who told him that "I must go there to see them, if I wanted to talk"! This, of course, I could not think of doing, and therefore sent word to him the next morning, by one of his men who had come into camp, "that I wished to know whether or not he was coming to see me, and if yes, that I was waiting for him," for I felt assured in my own mind that his coming to me would be the first great step towards bringing him under my control. He came about noon, accompanied by Limpy, and, in the course of the interview told me what they wanted, when I told him what I required, which he promised to communicate to the other chiefs. The following morning all of the upper river chiefs, including Old John, as well as those of the lower tribes with whom I had previously talked, came in to have a grand council, when I told them that "they must all go to the Coast Reservation." To this they unanimously demurred, saying that "they wanted to stop fighting, but to remain in their own country, where the whites might dig gold if they wished." They said, moreover, that they wished to talk the matter over among themselves and promised to give me their answer the next morning. Yesterday, George came in to bring their answer, which was the same as before. "They did not want to fight, nor did they want to go to the reservation. They wanted to stay in peace, in the country where they had always lived." Being anxious to exhaust all proper means to induce them to come in without further bloodshed, I took pains to explain the necessity for their doing what I required, and gave them until this morning to decide, promising them "peace and kind treatment if they should yield, or war and all its evils if they should refuse." This morning, the 22nd, George and Limpy came in and, I am happy to say, have promised to be at the Big Bend by the 20th, with all of their people, to go where I have promised them that they should be sent, to join Sam on the upper part of the Coast Reservation. George expects, also, to bring with him the Galice Creeks and Applegates, who have hitherto been with Old John, for he says that they want to come in. This will leave Old John with only his own band and the Klamaths, amounting to 29 warriors, which will comprise the entire remaining hostile force in the field. Some of these will doubtless desert him, and I shall not be surprised to find that all have come in by the time the others reach Fort Lane. All of the Indians who have promised to come in are very anxious to go at once to their new homes, in which I shall gratify them, for their own and the interests of the country will be best consulted by their removal. The upper tribes will go by the way of Fort Lane, escorted by Capt. Smith and Augur's companies, and the coast Indians, escorted by Ord's, Floyd-Jones' and Reynolds' companies under the command of Capt. Ord by the way of Fort Orford and the coast. This will take from under my immediate command the largest part of my troops, but their services will be indispensable to protect the Indians on their way to the reservation. George wishes to have Capt. Smith stationed near his people after their removal, but was satisfied when I told him that the General alone could decide on that. There will be 3 posts required for the purpose of guarding the reservation, one at the northern pass, one near or at the southern extremity about the Siuslaw, and the third at a pass between these, if, as I am informed that there is, there be any pass between them. The upper, or northern and middle posts should each be garrisoned with at least 3 companies, and the southern, or lower, with not less than two.
    After the removal of the Indians, the question of the future location of the 5 companies that compose their escort will necessarily arise, and on this point I respectfully request instructions by the return of the steamer. Whilst I feel that I have the fullest authority to dispose of them in the field, their future permanent locations can only be designated by the General, and, as a reward for their services, as well as because the interests of the service really demand it, I respectfully request that the necessary orders in the case be issued at once.
I am, sir,
    Respectfully
        Your obt. servt.
            Robt. C. Buchanan
                Bvt. Lt. Col. Major 4th Inf.
                    Commdg. Dist.
To
    Capt. D. R. Jones
        Asst. Adjt. Genl.
            Dept. of the Pac.
                Benicia, Cal.
NARA M689, Letters Received by the Office of the Adjutant General 1881-1889, Roll 567, Papers Relating to the Death of Mary Wagoner.


Headquarters, Camp, Big Bend, R. River
    Dist. Southn. Or. & Northn. Cal.
        May 30th 1856.
Sir,
    I have the honor to continue the report of my operations and enclose the reports of Capts. Smith 1st Drags. and Augur 4th Inf. of their well-contested engagements with the enemy on the 27th & 28th instants, with a list of killed and wounded and sketch of the battle ground.
    Before alluding further to these reports, it will not be amiss to mention the occurrences of the few days immediately preceding them, in order that the chain of events may be unbroken. On the 24th I sent Capt. Smith with his compy. and the detachment of "B" 4th Infy. to the point in order that he might meet and receive George and Limpy and their people here on the 20th, according to their agreement, and as the greater part of my animals were with the train at Fort Orford Capt. Augur was sent with his company to bring Smith's pack animals back to Oak Grove. He returned on the 25th, and on the 26th I broke up my camp at that point, and crossed Rogue River at the mouth of the Illinois. On the 27th I dispatched Maj. Reynolds to meet Capt. Ord and strengthen his escort to the train, and started myself with Augur's company for the point at which the Fort Orford train diverges to this place, leaving Capt. Floyd-Jones in camp at the mouth of the Illinois. Before reaching the point at which I intended to encamp that afternoon an express from Capt. Floyd-Jones overtook me with the information that Genl. Palmer, Supt. of Indian Affairs, was at the mouth of the Illinois, and that Capt. Ord was returning with the train by way of the south side of Rogue River. I continued on to my camp ground, and just after arriving there an express from Capt. Smith brought me word that he was apprehensive of an attack by Old John and many others of the Indians who had promised to come in. It then became necessary for me to concentrate my force at once at the mouth of the Illinois, in order to prevent the lower Indians from passing up Rogue River in their canoes to John's assistance, to be in position to reinforce Smith if he should actually require it, and to reinforce Ord, should any demonstration be made against the train. I accordingly returned with Augur's company to Floyd-Jones' camp, and sent expresses to Reynolds and Smith, ordering the former to join me the next morning, and directing the latter to notify me at once should he be attacked. The latter expressman did not return tome until the next morning, when he brought me the information that Smith had been fighting all night and was still fighting when he left the point that he had been able to reach, which was only within good hearing distance of the battle. As soon as I heard this, I dispatched Capt. Augur to reinforce Smith, and am happy to say that his arrival on the ground was most opportune, as it immediately changed the face of affairs and caused the complete rout of the enemy.
    This battle of the "Big Bend," whether measured by its duration or by the loss that we sustained, must be considered a severe one, and the officers and men engaged in it are worthy of all praise. Capt. Smith's command, surrounded as it was by an active, wily and vindictive foe, sustained itself most gallantly during a fierce conflict of 30 hours, and is fully entitled to the commendation of the Department, whilst the prompt, gallant and well-timed charge of Capt. Augur's company is deserving of equal credit. All did their duty nobly, and I would respectfully recommend to the especial notice of the Commanding General and through him to that of the War Department, the officers engaged in the action, Capt. A. J. Smith, 1st Drags., Capt. C. C. Augur, 4th Infy., Asst. Surgn. C. H. Crane, U.S.A. and 1st Lieut. N. B. Sweitzer, 1st Drags. Our loss in the two days was 11 killed, including 1 Indian boy, servant to Lt. Sweitzer, and 18 wounded including W. Swett, one of our citizen guides. That of the enemy is unknown, though it must have been considerable, as their attempts to carry the position of Capt. Smith were frequent and most daring. Their numbers were about 150, whilst Smith had 96 men on the 27th when the battle commenced, and Augur's company when he joined added 82 men.
    I must not omit to mention that Genl. Palmer, who had joined our camp on the 27th, volunteered with two other gentlemen of the Indian Department, who were with him, Messrs. Olney and Wright, to accompany Capt. Augur, and rendered valuable service. The day after the action, the General sent a message to George informing him that if he would now come in and deliver up his arms, and do what I required, he would be allowed to do so. This afternoon they have come in with a number of their people, and say that more are coming.
    Within half an hour after Augur left me on the 28th, Reynolds arrived, and that evening Ord reached the Illinois with the train. He joined me the next day, when I immediately started with my united force for this place, and, having cut my trail as I moved, reached here today about 11 a.m. with everything in good order.
I am, sir,
    Respectfully
        Your obt. servt.
            Robt. C. Buchanan
                Bvt. Lt. Col. Major 4th Inf.
                    Commdg. Dist.
To
    Capt. D. R. Jones
        Asst. Adjt. Genl.
            Dept. of the Pac.
                Benicia, Cal.
NARA M689, Letters Received by the Office of the Adjutant General 1881-1889, Roll 567, Papers Relating to the Death of Mary Wagoner.


Camp "Big Bend," Rogue River, O.T.
    May 30th, 1856.
Sir,
    I have the honor to submit a report of the operations of my company ("G," 4th Infy.) on the 28th inst. Immediately after receiving instructions to that officer from the commanding officer of the district in person, I left the mouth of Illinois River with my company, consisting of myself and fifty-four enlisted men, for the "Big Bend" of Rogue River, to assist Captain Smith's command, reported to be contending there with a vastly superior force of the upper and lower Rogue River Indians. Owing to the difficulties of the trail, portions of which I had to cut out, I did not arrive there until about 4 o'clock p.m. of the same day.
    On coming into the plain at the "Big Bend," I discovered Captain Smith's command on the top of the first of a range of high hills running obliquely to the direction of the river and terminating at its bank about a mile from where I entered the plain, which was nearly abreast of Captain Smith and about midway between him and the river--distant from me about half a mile--I found the crests and river slopes of these hills covered with Indians, some of them women and children, who ran for the river at the point terminating the hills so soon as the company appeared. Deeming it better not to lose time by going with my command to Captain Smith, I immediately started it in double-quick time to endeavor to intercept the women and children, but before I could reach the river they had all crossed with their canoes. The men still remained upon the hills and kept up a continuous fire upon the company, the scattered growth of oak trees covering the hills affording them ample cover. The company being deployed as skirmishers, I faced them to the left, and they charged up the hill very gallantly, driving the Indians before them at every point. This secured the first hill, the Indians taking up a position behind a second one about fifty yards in advance, from which they continued to fire upon whoever exposed themselves. My men had been marching all day in a very hot sun, and had come the last mile at a run, and were nearly exhausted. I therefore rested them here about ten minutes. I then sent a party of twenty men under my first Sergt. Kellehard to gain the top of the second hill behind which the Indians were lying, and to charge down on their right flank. At the same time I sent another party under Sergt. Hunter to intercept them in case they should endeavor to escape by the foot of the hill. Both parties succeeded very handsomely in the duty assigned them and drove the Indians entirely away. They retreated down a precipitous and almost impassable ravine, and were seen ascending the mountain on the other side, and soon after disappeared. I then returned with my company, carrying my killed and wounded, and reported to Captain Smith.
    It affords me pleasure to be able to report that my N.C. officers and men behaved throughout in a most satisfactory manner, and I beg leave to mention Sergts. Kellehard, Clifford & Hunter, Corpls. Cox & Walter & privates Boling, Boland, Kieman & Smith & Clatey & Murray. I append a list of killed and wounded in this affair and can state confidently that all the men included in it were doing their duty most gallantly.
Very respectfully sir
    Your obt. servt.
        C. C. Augur
            Capt. 4th Inf.
                Comdg. Co. G
To
    Lieut. J. G. Chandler, 3rd Arty.
        A.A.A.G. District
            N. Cal. & S. Oregon
   
Nominal list of killed and wounded of Co. "G" 4th Infy. in the affair with Indians at the "Big Bend," May 28, 1856.
Killed.
1. John Sweeney, private
2. John Wilkinson, private.
Wounded.
1. Corp. William C. Walter (severely)
2. Pvt. Michael Dolan (slightly)
3.   "    John Witt (severely)
C. C. Augur
    Capt. 4th Inf.
        Comdg. Co. G
NARA M689, Letters Received by the Office of the Adjutant General 1881-1889, Roll 567, Papers Relating to the Death of Mary Wagoner.


    June 3rd, 1856.--An express of two men, Walker and Foster, arrived this morning from the troops whom they left at the Big Bend of Rogue River. The express before this brought the news of the main camp being a few miles this side of Rogue River, near the mouth of the Illinois. Whilst remaining there awaiting for the pack train which left Fort Orford last Friday week, the Colonel sent Major Reynolds a day's travel on the trail to this post to meet the pack train, and with instructions about getting in some of the lower Indians. About the same time Captain Andrew Smith, of the First Dragoons, was ordered to the Big Bend with his and a portion of E Company, in all about ninety men, on foot, to assist in getting in old George and Limpy's bands. On arriving there, old George sent him word that the other hostile tribes had surrounded and prevented his coming in as soon as he expected, and warned Smith that the hostile bands, headed by Old John, intended attacking his camp (Smith's), and would at first attempt a little strategy, Old John to pretend that he desired peace, and wished to have a talk; in the meantime, to send into Smith's camp a body of naked, unarmed Indians, equal in number to the soldiers, and at the moment that the latter became most unsuspecting and careless, to seize upon their arms. This was to have been done at a given signal, and each Indian to grab a soldier's musket when the fight, or rather massacre, was to begin. Sure enough, on the following day, some fifty or sixty athletic Indians, naked and unarmed, came into camp, saying that Old John desired to have a talk. Smith ordered them to leave, and they did, but only went a few hundred yards and picked up their guns, which had been secreted, and commenced an attack. They were immediately joined by many others. Smith now found himself surrounded by from three to four hundred Indians, who kept firing into his camp from the morning of the twenty-eighth instant, to the afternoon of the twenty-ninth, when Captain Augur arrived on the ground with his Company G, Fourth Infantry. Smith's men raised a shout, and the two commands charged the enemy, and completely routed them. The number lost by the latter is not known, as the dead were carried off the field.
    The troops had twenty-nine killed and wounded, nine killed on the field, and several deaths from severe wounds before the expressman left, which was on the thirty-first ultimo. All of the killed and wounded but five belonged to Smith's command. Smith's position was on a rising piece of ground, surrounded by a rather open woods. He took this as the best position he could secure in the immediate neighborhood, after he had been informed of the contemplated attack. It does not appear that he had attempted to throw up any defenses previous to the fight, doubtless deeming it inexpedient and bad policy. After getting Old George's warning, he dispatched a messenger to Col. Buchanan, who forthwith sent to the "Soldiers' Camp" for Reynold's company to come to headquarters, so as to enable him to dispatch reinforcements to Smith, if necessary.
    When the second express arrived from the latter, stating that the Indians had surrounded and cut him off from water, etc., Captain Augur's company, which, together with Jones' F, Fourth Infantry, had been engaged in cutting a trail from opposite the mouth of the Illinois to the Big Bend, was immediately dispatched to his relief. About the same time, the Colonel was informed that the pack train was coming up on the opposite side of the river. This, instead of returning on the same trail it came to Fort Orford, had taken a much more circuitous and longer, but perhaps better one, under the circumstances, i.e. instead of going an almost due east course to the mouth of the Illinois, as the Colonel had anticipated, Captain Ord had crossed Rogue River forty-five miles below that point, and gone up its south side. He did this because the road was better, and because he had reasons to suppose that the Indians would attack his train if he returned on the same route that he came. However, when the Colonel was informed what route the train had taken, he kept F Company to assist in getting it across Rogue River, near the mouth of the Illinois. When this was accomplished, and Major Reynolds' company (H, Third Artillery), had arrived, the whole force marched for the Big Bend, where it was when the express left on the thirty-first.
    It is pretty well ascertained that a part of nearly all the hostile bands of Rogue River were engaged in Smith's fight, except those of George, Limpy and Joshua, and even some few of these, but against the orders of their chiefs. Had Smith not received warning from old George, every man of his command would have been butchered, and even as it was, they would all have been slain had not Captain Augur arrived as soon as he did, for they were entirely cut off from water, and only held out as long as they did, by digging holes in the ground on the night of the twenty-eighth (the night after the first day's attack), with their tin pans, and throwing up a little embankment of dirt. It is related that the Indians charged bravely up to this temporary defense; and in one instance, a party of them crawled up and threw into the entrenchment a stick, to make the men carelessly jerk up their heads, that they might get a better shot at them. On this occasion, a little Indian boy, whom the troops had with them as an interpreter, raised himself a little, and was instantly killed. It is related that the men behaved gallantly; but as they were miserably armed with short musketoons, loaded with ball, it is believed that they did not do half the execution that might have been accomplished, had they had good rifles, or even the government musket, loaded with buckshot and ball. The other companies were armed with the latter, but Smith's, being a dragoon company, dismounted for the occasion, retained their musketoons.
    The more I see of Indian fighting, the more am I convinced that the present system of arming men with musketoons or muskets, for this species of warfare, is a great error. They should have rifles, and be taught to shoot well by constant practice; and the present custom of employing soldiers while in garrison, on almost continuous hard fatigue duty, without any or very little drilling at target shooting, should be abolished.
    During the fight with Captain Smith, a party of a hundred and fifty volunteers, under the command of Major Latshaw, came across George and Limpy's camps and captured some women, children and provisions. It is asserted that but few, if any, of the warriors belonging to these chiefs were engaged against Smith's command, but that they were only waiting to surrender; still, I presume, the volunteers were not aware of this, and it is highly probable that the proximity of the latter aided to hasten the retreat of the hostile Indians.
Dr. Rodney Glisan, Journal of Army Life, 1874, pages 332+


OFFICIAL REPORT OF THE FIGHT SOUTH.
Head Qrs. Big Meadows, June 6, '56.
To His Excellency Geo. L. Curry, Governor of Oregon.
    DEAR SIR--Enclosed I send the report of the expedition under the command of Maj. Latshaw down Rogue River. You will see by it that the troops are doing good service to the country, and rendering themselves worthy of being citizen-soldiers of Oregon. The prisoners taken have been most kindly treated, and on yesterday I had them delivered to the Indian agent, Mr. Metcalfe, who came to this place with me and will start today with the command in pursuit of Applegate John, or any other hostile Indians we may fall in with. Should Col. Buchanan, of the U.S.A., act in concert with the command under myself, we will soon bring the war to a close; should he not, I will leave him to reconcile his acts to his country, and shall do the best I can with such troops as are still left, subject to my order.
    All the forces now in the field will be out of the service on the 28th of this month, and we must move with alacrity to accomplish anything. Nevertheless, I shall leave nothing undone to bring peace to the country. I shall move in about one hour, with the force now under my command, amounting to 150 men, down to the Big Bend of Rogue River, where we shall be likely to fall in with Capt. Bledsoe's company of 50 men. Hoping to render good service to the country, I have the honor to remain,
Very respy. your obdt. servt.
    JOHN K. LAMERICK,
        Brig. General, O.T.
----
Head Quarters Southern Army,
    Fort Lamerick, June 5, 1856.
Gen. John K. Lamerick--
    Sir: Herewith I have the honor to submit a report of the operations of the forces under my command since the receipt of your order of May 17th, which reached me while on the march, in obedience to an order of the same tenor and date from Lieut. Colonel Chapman.
    I reached Fort Lamerick and assumed the command, on the 24th, of the following forces: Company C, under command of Capt. Keith, and Company D, under Capt. Blakely, of the 2nd battalion of recruits, commanded by Major Massey; also, two small detachments of companies A and B, of the same battalion, under Lieuts. Phillips and McClure, with Company A, Capt. Noland of the 1st battalion of recruits. With this force, on the 27th, I moved down Rogue River to the Big Bend, near the mouth of Illinois River, encamping for the night within a half mile of the Indian camp discovered by Adjt. Munson, but which Capt. Barnes, of the spy company, reported abandoned, and the Indians on the move. In the evening the spies reported Indians a short distance below. At midnight Maj. Massey proceeded to reconnoiter their position, and succeeded in placing Capt. Blakely, with 32 men, within 150 yards of the enemy's camp, though separated by the river. Early on the following morning, I moved with the main body, intending to reach a point above the enemy and drive them down the river, while Maj. Massey and Capt. Blakely should cut off their retreat. Lieut. Cox was left with a covering party of 20 men for Major Massey. To effect this movement we had to ascend a ridge or spur of the mountain which separated our camp from that of the enemy. At the foot of the ridge the men were deployed in skirmishing order, while Capt. Keith was ordered to leave 10 men on our left, in charge of a sergeant.
    Upon arriving at the summit of the ridge, Maj. Massey and Capt. Keith discovered that the enemy had moved down the river, but Lieut. Hawley, in charge of a detachment of Capt. Keith's company, discovered a small body of the enemy and succeeded in killing one of their number and mortally wounding another. At the same time Capt. Blakely exchanged several shots with them on the right, with what effect is not ascertained. A detail of men, under Lt. Phillips, was now sent back to bring up the camp.
    Having made these dispositions of my men, with the remainder of the force I moved down the river in pursuit of the enemy, who fled before us or took to the mountains. We took 7 women and 5 children prisoners, and killed one warrior and wounded another, who was taken prisoner. The wounded Indian was taken by Mr. Benton Kent, who swam the river and brought him over in a canoe.
    During the day we took from the enemy three horses and one mule. The chiefs, George and Limpy, narrowly escaped being taken. At sunset we returned to camp. On the 29th, leaving Lieut. Hawley in charge of the camp, I proceeded below with the main body. About one mile from camp I ordered a halt, and a party of 15 men, under Lieut. Riggs, crossed the stream and proceeded up the river on the opposite side, where they found several lodges which had been hastily abandoned, and two old women who had been left. Capt. Keith was ordered to cross with 50 men and make a reconnaissance down the river on the south side, but while he was preparing to fulfill the order his command was fired into from the opposite shore, and E. H. Heuston, 1st sergeant of his company, was severely wounded, but Capt. Keith effected a crossing with his command, aided by Capt. Noland with 10 men of his company, and charged upon the enemy, routing and driving them up the side of the mountain. The Capt. formed a junction with the men who had crossed previously and succeeded in cutting off two of the enemy, who were killed, and it is supposed several were wounded. Capts. Noland and Keith deserve great credit for the alacrity and promptness with which they crossed the river and charged the enemy. They recrossed the river at the camp, being fired into in the act. I regret to report that another of my men, Daniel Cooley, of Capt. Williams' company, was wounded on the morning of the 30th.
    On the 30th, having left Lt. Hawley with 50 men to protect the camp, I proceeded down the river with the residue of my force, 162 men rank and file. In consequence of the great caution necessary to be used on the march, and the ruggedness of the country, we made but about five miles the first day. On the following day, about three miles above the Big Bend, we met Capt. Tichenor and Mr. Foster, who informed us that Col. Buchanan was encamped at the Bend, and that George and Limpy, with most of their bands, had fled to him for protection, after our attack upon them of the 28th and 29th.
    Capt. Smith, with his company, 1st U.S. Dragoons, was attacked in his camp by Chief John, on the 27th, and after fifty-six hours of desperate defense was relieved by Capt. Augur, 4th Infantry, having lost 10 killed and about 20 wounded. The Shastas, Tututnis, Klamaths and other Coast Indians are known to be on the river about 12 miles below the camp of Col. Buchanan. He has hopes of making terms with them, but I am satisfied from those whose opportunities of knowing and judging correctly are most to be relied upon, that such hopes are groundless until greater losses are inflicted upon the enemy.
    I returned to headquarters at this post on the 4th inst.
    I have to express my acknowledgments to the officers and men of my command for the zeal and promptness with which they have discharged their several duties. To Lieuts. Phillips and McClure I am particularly indebted, as well as to Lieut. Yates, who was left in command of this post in my absence. Lieut. Hawley, whose health prevented him from taking an active part on the field, has rendered important service while in command of our camp near the battle ground of the 27th and 28th. Capt. Blakely rendered good service in the advance on the 28th. Capt. Barnes and his company of spies have responded nobly and promptly to every call made upon them.
WILLIAM LATSHAW,
    Maj. Commanding 1st Battalion
        2nd Regiment O.M. Vols.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, June 24, 1856, page 1


Rogue River Correspondence of the Statesman.
Near "Big Bend," Rogue River,
    June 3rd, 1856.
    We left Fort Meadows on the 27th ult., with companies C and D (Capt. Keith of C and Capt. Blakely of D, Maj. Massey in command), together with a part of Capts. Noland's, Robinson's, Williams' and Barnes' spy companies, Maj. Latshaw commanding the whole; we camped for the night some 10 miles below the Fort, near where the scouts under Adjutant Munson had previously espied the Indians. At 12 o'clock at night, Maj. Massey, with Capt. Blakely and 30 men, moved down the river some 3 miles, where the Indians were discovered in considerable numbers. Here they awaited the movement of the whole train (a little over 200 men, packers included). As soon as the companies came up, a brisk firing commenced from our men, the Indians retreating without firing a gun, leaving 4 horses and 1 mule, together with a number of blankets and camp equipage.
    Capt. Blakely, with a few men, moved down the river some 2 miles, where three Indian men and three squaws were discovered. Pursuit was instantly made, some endeavoring to cut off their retreat by ascending a mountain, intending to get in the advance, but failed on account of the difficulties in the ascent. Additional forces coming up moved hastily in pursuit, overtook and killed one squaw, taking the other two, with one papoose, prisoners. The bucks were so closely pursued that before they succeeded in crossing the river two were wounded, one of them afterwards, with two more squaws and one child, were taken. This buck proved to be one of the chiefs of the Galice Creek band (the tenas chief). He succeeded in making his escape the next day (29th) through the mismanagement of Jno. McCall, one of the spy company. The hyas chief was also wounded, as we have since learned.
    This morning (29th) an Indian came in hallooing distance of the camp, calling for a "klose wawa" ["good talk"]. One of the squaws was permitted to leave with him, on the promise of bringing in their tillicums ["people"]. We were marched out this evening (30th) down the river, and halted about a mile from camp (leaving 50 men in camp) to give the Indians a chance to come into camp!! After lying here an hour or two we were fired at from across the river; orderly Huston of Keith's company was wounded in the hip, a deep flesh wound. Nine of our men were reconnoitering at the same time across the river. Capts. Keith and Noland, with a part of their companies, crossed the river under the protection of Capt. Blakely's company, and completely routed the Indians. One scalp was taken by a young man by the name of Skinner; two others reported by the Indians killed. The next morning (31st) an Indian concealed himself among the rocks across the river, and fired into camp, or near to it. Mr. Daniel Cooley, of Capt. Williams' company, who was on the riverbank looking for a pistol lost the day before, was wounded by this devil, the ball passing through his hand and thigh, making only a flesh wound in the thigh.
    Yesterday (June 2nd) we held our election, which resulted as follows: For seat of government, Eugene City 127, Salem 15, Corvallis 27, Portland 2.
    The main part of the companies went down the river to Capt. Smith, of the regulars. He had been fighting Old John over two days, an account of which I presume you already have, and therefore will not attempt a description of it. Limpy and George fled from our fire, and gave themselves up to Capt. Smith--they are flocking in to Smith by the score. Col. Buchanan came up in time to save Smith from Old John's party, who had them completely surrounded.
    Two old squaws came in last night, begging muckamuck ["food"], and said Cow Creek Jim was waiting to come in--they were permitted to leave, and Jim came--we are now waiting for his band to come in. John is hyas ticka ['greatly wants to"] fight with the regulars. but does not want to fight with volunteers. It is hoped that all the Indians (except John's party) will give in in a few days. John knows his neck is forfeited, and will hold on while a man is with him.
    The health of the battalion is not good--considerable diarrhea exists--no deaths in any of the companies. Broke up camp the 4th, and returned to the Fort. In our march, while going through a clump of thick brush on the mountain, Jim made a break and escaped. One squaw slipped off last night unnoticed by the guard. Gen. Lamerick got into [the] Fort this evening in company with Mr. Metcalfe, Indian agent.
    This morning (5th) Gen. Lamerick gave us a speech, and read Gen. Lane's speech in Congress to the volunteers. Three hearty cheers went up for Lamerick, and three still louder for old Jo.
    Our sick are in better condition this morning, all convalescent; the wounded are doing well. Two of the squaws had a fight a few moments ago. One of them, Jim's klootchman ["wife"], stabbed the other; not much hope of her death, I fear.
    We have had considerable rain the last few days. Rogue River is rapidly on the rise. Snow in abundance on the mountains. The weather is now fine. Grasshoppers are making their appearance in considerable quantities.
    Can we see the Statesman occasionally? It does not come to the Fort except by some private individual, and then half worn out. But I must close for want of time. More anon.
Yours, &c.,            PACIFICUS.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, June 24, 1856, page 1


Palmer in Difficulty.
    Passengers by the Columbia state that as she touched at Port Orford Lieut. Macfeely came on board, and reported that Capt. Smith, who had gone up Rogue River as an escort to Gen. Palmer, had been for several days in the vicinity of a strong Indian force, somewhere near the Big Bend of Rogue River, trying to treat with the Indians; that after various "talks" with the Indians, the redskins pitched into the "peacemakers," killing 12 and wounding some 17 others. The Indians made the attack in the night.
Oregon Argus, Oregon City, June 14, 1856, page 2


Port Orford Correspondence of the Statesman.
Port Orford, June 6, 1856.
    Ed. Statesman: By express we learn that a severe engagement took place on the 28th and 29th ult. between a detachment of U.S. troops, under command of Capt. Smith, and some three hundred Indians, under command of old John, George and Limpy.
    Some two weeks since, Col. Buchanan left this place with a portion of his command, and previous to his leaving he secured the services of some two or three of the friendly Indians residing on the reserve, for the purpose of communicating with the hostile Indians as soon as he should arrive at the scene of hostilities. By this proceeding an interview was had, and the result was far from satisfactory to Col. Buchanan. The whole command of Col. Buchanan was, during the interview, encamped at or near the mouth of Illinois River, and at the close of the interview Capt. Smith, with his command, consisting of one hundred and ten men, was dispatched up Rogue River to what is called Big Bend, at which place an interview was had with the well-known chiefs Limpy and George, which resulted in an agreement on their part to proceed to their camp and bring their women and children, give up their arms, and comply with any wish that Capt. Smith should think proper to dictate. But instead of a compliance on the part of these notorious chiefs, Capt. Smith received, on the very day agreed upon for the return of Limpy and George, the startling intelligence, prepare for war. This occurred on the 26th or 27th ult., and on the following morning the Indians made their appearance, and on arriving within five or six hundred yards [of] Capt. Smith's camp they halted and dispatched a messenger to Smith, with a confirmation of the message received the day previous, and that an attack was to follow immediately.
    The engagement commenced about six o'clock a.m. and continued over 40 hours. As soon as Capt. Smith received intimation of an attack, he dispatched a messenger to Col. Buchanan for assistance, but Col. Buchanan played the Yankee, and said that he guessed there was no danger. The messenger, Mr. Charles Foster, returned to Capt. Smith's camp, but found him in a very precarious situation, his camp surrounded, and Mr. Foster could hold no communication with Capt. Smith, but was compelled to return to Col. Buchanan's camp, after having several shots fired at him by the Indians. On his arrival at Col. Buchanan's camp, he found every company of his command absent on duty except one, and several hours passed before any assistance could be sent to Capt. Smith. Gen. Palmer, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, and N. Olney, Indian agent, were at Col. Buchanan's camp when the express arrived, calling for assistance, both of whom accompanied Capt. Augur, who, with his command, was dispatched to assist Capt. Smith.
    Capt. Smith, previous to the attack, had selected his position on an elevated piece of ground, which he supposed would be an advantageous situation to himself, but unfortunately it proved otherwise. The attacks of the Indians were conducted with that degree of bravery and determination that Capt. Smith found it necessary to entrench himself as the only means of safety, and during the engagement we regret to say that Capt. Smith could not, in his situation, obtain any advantage over the Indians. Several attempts were made to charge, but each effort proved of no avail, when on the arrival of Capt. Augur a successful charge was made, with Gen. Palmer and Mr. N. Olney first and foremost in it. The Indians were routed and driven to the river, where they met a company of volunteers detached from Gen. Lamerick's command, who immediately attacked the Indians in their retreat. They, finding their retreat intercepted, changed their course and crossed the river, and as they reached the opposite bank they met still another company from the same command, who gave them a still more deleterious reception than they had yet received, which resulted in a good thorough cleaning out of the most unprincipled savages, we believe, west of the Rocky Mountains. Yet from these results we do not look for peace, but on the contrary a continuation of hostilities.
    In this engagement ten U.S. soldiers were killed, and nineteen wounded. The Indians no doubt suffered severely, but we are informed that it was impossible to say how many were killed or wounded.
    During the engagement a Mr. Sweat was severely wounded, but not mortally. Mr. S. is entitled to great credit for the inestimable services that he has rendered to Col. Buchanan during the war, both as guide and expressman. So, also, is Mr. Chas. Foster entitled to equal credit for acting in the capacity. Mr. Foster and Mr. John Walker arrived at this place on the morning of the 2nd inst., bringing the news of the engagement.
Yours, &c.,            J. C. F. [James C. Franklin]
Oregon Statesman, Salem, June 24, 1856, page 2


Incidents of Indian War in Oregon.
Camp at Big Bend of Rogue River,
    Oregon Territory, June 6, 1856.
    Editor of Evening Bulletin:--You have undoubtedly, ere this, had accounts of Captain Ord's severe fights with the Indians at Mikonotunne village and at Chetco River, on which occasions he drove them, by repeated charges and flank fires, from superior positions, killing twelve bucks, wounding several, and capturing one squaw and papoose.
    About the same time of his fight at Chetco River, a detachment of volunteers, in ambush, at the mouth of Brush Creek, "bagged" eleven of a canoeload of thirteen bucks, which was handsomely done, and for which they deserve much credit. The squaw and papoose were captured by Private McCue, of Ord's company, and delivered by him to his captain, who bestowed upon the mother the euphonious cognomen of "Hiawatha," and upon the child the mellifluous appellation of "Minnehaha." On hearing this, several were heard to laugh "Ha! Ha!"
    Shortly after this coup de main, the lineal descendant of one of Macbeth's witches came in to Fort Orford, and reported that "the Indians were tired of fighting and wanted to make peace." Col Buchanan, through the same ancient, rugged channel, sends them word he would soon be at the mouth of Illinois River, O.T., "with the olive branch in one hand and the sword in the other." Preparations were immediately made, and Capt. A. J. Smith, 1st Dragoons, in command of three companies, was sent up the north side of Rogue River, while Col. Buchanan with companies went up the south side. A junction of the two commands, after a slight episode of "Japhet in search of a wife," was effected on the 15th May, and camp, in all "the pomp and circumstance of war," was established in an oak grove, bordering a mountain stream, which divides a pretty bottom on Illinois River, about three miles from where it empties into Rogue River.
    During the march on the south side, another little episode of "Joanne in search of a husband" was added to the poetry of our campaign: "Hiawatha" absconded, taking "Minnehaha" with her! Notwithstanding the kindest treatment possible extended to her, in "the dead hour of midnight" she eloped, having first thrown snuff in our eyes by spanking "Minnehaha" so soundly as to awaken the sleeping camp by its cries. She evidently preferred her native heath to crests of inhospitable mountain ridges, fish of waters and roots of earth to the pork and hard bread of our commissariat, and the fond, encouraging smile of her warrior to the stern, relentless expression of the soldier. Pursuit and search were made to no purpose, as you might as well look for a hailstone in the sea as an Indian in these "mountains piled on mountains." (In the last quotation you have a faithful description of Southern Oregon and Northern California.) She's departed for the society of more "congenial spirits," and oh! may she never feel
"How sharper than a serpent's thanks it is
to have a toothless child."
    Our camp, in Oak Grove, apart from one particular shuddering reminiscence, will long be remembered as the abode of nearly all the creeping, crawling, jumping and flying insects, snakes, vermin and bats that can be found in the ologies. To these pleasant companions, add a luxuriant growth of "poisonous oak," and you have a true picture of the animal and vegetable life that surrounded us.
    According to invitation, all the different tribes of Indians, or portions thereof, assembled at the mouth of Illinois River, and their chiefs cautiously, and [a] few at a time made their appearance in our camp, "to talk." After several days' council, it was understood that all were willing to "come in," and go to the reservation, except the principal and most formidable band, headed by a vindictive, cunning Indian, named "John," who was told to vacate by a certain time, and "expect to fight." The balance were regarded as "good friends, tired of fighting, and wanting peace." Off they all go, the hostiles to fight, the friendly to bring their women, children, "lame, halt and blind" and "traps" to the Big Bend of Rogue River, O.T., where they would be met, taken care of, and escorted to the reservation by the U.S. troops.
    Capt. Smith, 1st Dragoons, with two companies, in all but 99 men, left on the 24th May for Big Bend for this purpose. Capt. Ord's company, in the meantime, was sent to Fort Orford, as escort to the supply train. On the 26th, Col. B., with the remaining three companies, moved down to Rogue River, crossed and camped.
    On the 27th Maj. Reynolds' company left to meet the return train, expected on the north side of Rogue River. Col. B., with Captain Augur's company, moved, the same morning, to near the summit of [a] mountain ridge, leaving Capt. Jones' company at the mouth of the Illinois.
    This division of the command was owing, no doubt, to the Col's conclusion that we had "conquered a peace," and that we could now behold
"Our victorious wreaths bound with boughs;
Our monuments hung up with bruised arms;
Our stern meetings changed to merry alarums;
Our dreadful measures to delightful marches;"
"And all go berry as a marriage well."

But, as Stephen says, "You can't always tell."
    The Col. had hardly got underway when he received a communication from Capt. Jones, at the river, that Gen. Palmer, Superintendent of Indian Affairs in Oregon, had arrived, and that Ord was at the mouth of Rogue River! An express was sent to Reynolds, directing him at a certain camp ahead, and orders sent to Ord to join Reynolds, instanter.
    The Col. reached his camp, and barely got his packs off when another express reached him, informing him that "Ord was coming up Rogue River, on the south side, and that Smith was attacked by the Indians!"
    Off starts another express to Reynolds, ordering him back the next day to the mouth of the Illinois. On go the packs and down the hill goes the Colonel, somewhat like unto that eminent king, who
"------- with forty thousand men
Marched up a hill, and then marched down again."
    On his arrival at Jones' camp, an express was dispatched to Smith, who returned the next morning, almost exhausted, reporting Smith surrounded and still fighting, himself unable to reach Smith, and twice fired at. Augur's company was dispatched to the rescue, and shortly after Reynolds' company joined the Colonel, having completed its "back tracks," according to instructions. Towards evening, an express from the scene of battle returned, reporting "Augur's arrival there at 5 p.m., found Smith still fighting, and Indians compelled to retreat by the simultaneous charging of Augur's company and Smith's command, in which Augur had two killed and three wounded."
    At this time, Ord, with supply train, reached our crossing on Illinois River, and an express was sent him, informing him of the new and unexpected phase of "Indian affairs." On the 29th, Ord came down to the mouth of the Illinois, crossed over, and camp was broken for Big Bend. We traveled that night, at the rate of about one-third of a mile per hour, till 11½ p.m., over the darkest, roughest trail I ever saw. Packs were strewn along the last two miles, in beautiful confusion, and some dumped in the river. Finally, we camped, pell-mell, on a timbered beach, and waited daylight. The next day, having gathered up the scattered packs, we reached Big Bend, and gave our gallant comrades a warm grasp of the hand and benison of the heart that can only be appreciated by those who have seen "tight papers." The Indians had been driven off, but ten fresh graves and 19 wounded men, stretched upon the ground, told how desperate and stubborn had been the unequal struggle. Shortly after our arrival, another spirit of that heroic band winged its flight to kindred spirits that fought and died in Mexico.
    Capt. Smith, on reaching Big Bend, and expecting about 200 friendly Indians to come in, camped near the river bottom, on a creek. On the 26th May, he received word from "George," the chief of the second important band, "to look out," that "John" was going to attack him the next morning. That night, he moved his two companies to the crest of a slightly timbered hill that bounds the river flat, called Big Bend, on the west. The next morning, Smith saw an unusual number of armed Indians were surrounding him, and gradually edging their way to the camp. On being told to leave the key of his position, they refused, and a detachment was sent to drive them away. The Indians, failing to get in his camp, as was their plan, took their positions behind the scattering trees, and "let loose the dogs of war." From every side the Indians came in swarms, driving in the pickets, and charging with unprecedented boldness and bravery. Bullets hurtled through the air like driving hail; the soldiers and Indians fell in every direction. All that day and all that night an incessant and infernal fire was kept up, and Indians were coming in from below, in canoeloads. To the sharp cracking of rifles, the roar of musketry and the thunder of a 12-pound mountain howitzer, and added the groans of the wounded and dying and the fiendish yells of the Indians. During the night the dead and wounded were gathered in, and every available thing--tents, blankets, cooking utensils, provisions and saddles--were used in making a breastwork; a trench and [a] few rifle pits were dug, and morning looked upon them still surrounded, with nine killed and eighteen wounded. The heavy firing had ceased, and the Indians were biding their time, confident of capturing all. So certain were they of this that they had brought with them a coil of rope, cut in pieces, with which to hang them. The little water, brought with them on the night of the 26th, was consumed by the wounded, and all were suffering for want of it. This the Indians knew, and this they tauntingly told them on the second day, during which time but few shots, in comparison with the day before, were exchanged, though one soldier was killed, and one wounded.
    Smith, officers and men (twelve, one, two, three and four o'clock having passed without relief) gave up all hope of an additional force that day, and intended that night to strengthen their position and dig more rifle pits. All were exhausted, nearly dead for sleep, and indifferent to death. Bullets still dropped in among them, stirring up the dirt and smashing the crockery. Huzzah! a shout of "there they are!" and every man sprung to his feet and charged! Augur's company was seen charging across the flat, and Indians making down the ridge for the river.
    Such a relief can only be experienced, never expressed. So closely were the Indians pursued by Smith's men that they dropped three of their rifles. They succeeded, however, in crossing the river, foiled and defeated by the arrival of Augur's company. All that was wanted was a diversion, and this Augur's arrival made.
    The three companies camped in the center of the flat: The dead were buried, the wounded attended to, the first meal since the morning of the 27th was eaten, and the remaining of the two companies were soon sleeping their first sleep since the night of the 25th.
    The two companies were Company "C," 1st Dragoons, and Company "E," 4th Infantry. The officers were: Capt. A. J. Smith and First Lieut. N. B. Sweitzer, of the 1st Dragoons, and Asst. Surgeon C. H. Crane, U.S. army.
    The men behaved splendidly, and did all that men could do; the officers, who expected every minute to be their last, merit more praise than I am able to bestow. Capt. Smith was once knocked down by the concussion of the balls.
    The loss of the Indians no one can tell, as the squaws pack off the killed and wounded. Cesspools of blood were found the next day, in the ravine where they occupied, and which smelled like those slaughterhouses in the suburbs of your city.
    Since our arrival, "George" and his band, together with smaller bands, have "come in," and given up their arms. The women are three times the number of the men, and many of the former are in mourning, which consists in covering the head and face with tar. As soon as our wounded, who will recover, can be moved, we "up tent pins" for Fort Orford, thence to the reservation with the Indians.
    "John," the head devil, and fiend incarnate, is still out, but will, I think, either come in, or go to the headwaters of the Klamath.
    The number of Indians in the fight are estimated at 300, of whom 160 had rifles. It was, on their part, a desperate and final fight for ammunition, as during the second day "John's" men were running about begging caps from each other. That they failed--Deum laudamus.
TONY TRAMP.
San Francisco Bulletin, June 28, 1856, page 3


ANOTHER BATTLE--PROSPECT OF PEACE.
    Dates from the scene of war on Rogue River have been received up to the 6th of June. The council expected to be held with the different tribes of the Rogue River Indians at the last dates had taken place. It was held on the ---- day of May. The result of the "talk" was an agreement on the part of the different chiefs of tribes (save one) to come in, give up their arms, and to permit themselves to be taken from their country and placed on reserves, where they would be under the care and protection of the United States government. They pled hard to remain in their country, but the alternative was pressed upon them, and as they were sick of being hunted, and no longer victorious when fought, they consented to the terms. The dissentient chief, John, had received too much injury at the hands of the whites to incline to peace, and persisted in a dogged determination to remain in his country and hostile to the last. His band is, however, not large--it is supposed not to number more than fifty warriors, and they poorly provided with ammunition.
    The Indian chiefs, after the termination of the council, were sent by the commanding officer, Colonel Buchanan, to their villages to bring in their women and children and prepare for their exodus. Colonel Buchanan promised, as soon as his provision train arrived from Port Orford, to conduct them to the reserve. He sent Captain Smith, First Dragoons, on the 24th of May, to the Big Bend of Rogue River, with ninety-odd men, to receive and escort to the main camp such tribes as might be desirous to come in, in that direction. Captain Ord he had sent to Port Orford for provisions. The main camp Colonel Buchanan moved to the junction of the Illinois River with Rogue River, seven miles below the Big Bend, where he was to await the promised coming in of the Indians.
    It appears that after the council a reaction took place among the Indians upon the subject of leaving the country. They besides had no idea of the country they were going to, and did not fully expect the good treatment promised at the council. They determined to make one more desperate stand for their homes, and the opportunity presented by Captain Smith's being detached from the main body, and they being in such numbers and together, was too good a one to be lost.
    When the Captain arrived at the Big Bend, the Indians sent word to him that they would be in on the succeeding day. Receiving word that night that John, the hostile chief, might attack him, and that matters were suspicious, the Captain changed his position in the night so as better to resist an attack. He had a mountain howitzer with him, but his men were armed with the short musketoon mainly. When the Indians came in, as they promised, it was, however, pretty apparent that they came in to fight, and not to surrender themselves. First thirty Indians came, armed with rifles, and upon the Captain's refusing to permit them to approach without laying down their arms, they refused to accede to the condition, and were kept out of camp. Upon this two hundred more warriors came down; they were also told to keep off. They, however, surrounded the camp, getting advantageous positions by degrees in different places all around the little spur upon which the Captain had taken his position. The Captain did not wish to open the fight, for he did not want to lay himself open to the imputation of a breach of the agreement with regard to the peace, and as it was not certain what they were going to do, until they displayed their plan, the Captain could not properly take advantage of some excellent opportunities which he had of opening upon them with the howitzer. He told them he had been sent with "the olive branch," and that he would not, therefore, commence a fight with them.
    The Indians soon began the fight, however, and maintained it with the most desperate courage from 10 a.m. (on the 28th May) until 4 p.m. of the succeeding day. Having the little body of troops completely in their power, as they thought, without cover and surrounded, themselves in the thicket and in overwhelming numbers, the Indians determined to massacre the whole party. Sometimes body of them would charge upon the troops to drive them from their position, but as often were they driven back. Their rifles, however, did the most execution, as they fired well at long range, in which respect they had the advantage of the short musketoon used by dragoon troops. On the second day, Captain Smith, finding his force so reduced by the first day's loss in killed and wounded that he could not defend the whole of the ground he had occupied, contracted his position and threw up a kind of breastwork of his baggage and camp equipage, and managed to dig some rifle pits. These arrangements prevented the loss on that day of but one man wounded and one killed. On the first day the troops lost eight men killed and fifteen wounded. On the second day the Captain dispatched a messenger to Col. Buchanan for some troops. The messenger, before reaching Col. Buchanan's camp, met Capt. Augur, 4th Infantry, with his company, who, upon hearing the condition of affairs, hurried to Captain Smith's support. Capt. Augur, upon reaching the field, charged upon the Indians nearest him, whom he completely routed. Capt. Smith then immediately sent two parties from his command to charge the enemy at other points, who also drove them from their positions. These successes caused the flight of the entire body of Indians. Capt. Augur lost two men killed and two wounded. Capt. Augur, it seems, had been sent by Col. Buchanan to open the trail from his camp to where Capt. Smith was. Col. B.'s intention was to move his camp thither as soon as his provisions should arrive from Port Orford, expecting Capt. Smith would have collected the Indians disposed to emigrate according to the treaty. Capt. Augur was, therefore, not far distant, fortunately, from Capt. Smith, when the messenger met him.
    The Indians lost many killed and wounded, but the number could not be ascertained, for they were fighting in such positions that the bodies of those falling could be dragged into the thicket by the squaws and hidden. The howlings of the Indians, with the tar and ashes on their heads, as they mourned in camp some nights after this fight, show that the Indians suffered severely. Their defeat has induced a return of their disposition to abandon resistance and emigrate. Col. Buchanan, two days after the fight, marched his force to Capt. Smith's position (Big Bend of Rogue River), where many of the Indians, with their families, have come in and given up their arms.
    Brevet Major Reynolds with his company, Third Artillery, Captain Augur and company, Fourth Infantry, and Captain Bledsoe's company of volunteers, were sent down Rogue River on the 3rd of June to destroy an Indian village, disarm the Indians and capture some canoes. News had reached the camp at the Big Bend on the 5th of June that Major Reynolds had destroyed the village and had an engagement with Indians, in which he killed some three or four of them and had captured some canoes. On the same day information reached the camp that captains Augur and Bledsoe had attacked a considerable settlement of Indians on Rogue River, below its junction with the Illinois, and had killed fifteen Indians and taken some squaws and children prisoners, and captured some canoes. Indians from Galice Creek and Cow Creek, with their families, were daily expected at Colonel Buchanan's camp, and George's and Limpy's bands, with their families, had already arrived and given up their arms.
    The Rogue River Indians are powerful, athletic and brave men, and are well armed and well accustomed to the use of arms. When it is added to this that their country abounds in thickets and mountains, precipices and cañons offering shelter and protection to the Indian, but full of obstructions to the movements of his pursuers; that every fastness, pass and nook is known to the Indians, while to the white man it is a new and strange country--that the Indian can subsist on food of the most simple character, even a few roots sustaining life, and hence his movements are rapid and unencumbered, while the white man must have food of a more substantial nature and dies without it; and that as the country is wild, this food must be brought to him, and his movements are necessarily dependent upon his means of transporting his provisions, it cannot but be acknowledged that success obtained against such a foe, and under such circumstances so disadvantageous, reflects the highest credit upon the troops and exhibits in a conscious manner their perseverance, fortitude and gallantry.
    These affairs, together with the Mikonotunne village and at the mouth of the Chetco, where a force under Capt. Ord, Third Artillery, defeated a band of Rogue River and Chetco Indians combined who were endeavoring to surprise a provision train for the troops, together with other affairs with the Indians of less note, in which the troops have been engaged, have so disheartened and dispirited the Rogue River tribes that they never in any contingency will again be the formidable enemies of the whites that they have been. A certain result, at least, of the campaign so far has been that the greater part of them have been brought to terms and forced to submit to removal from their country.

New York Herald, July 15, 1856, page 3


Port Orford Correspondence of the Statesman.
Port Orford, June 7, 1856.
    Editor Statesman--Doubtless the news of the recent protracted fight at the Big Bend of Rogue River, between the U.S. Dragoons under Capt. Smith and the Shasta and Klamath Indians led on by old John, will have reached you before this is received. It is said that the Superintendent of Indian Affairs and the Indian agents joined in the conflict and fought side by side, with the regulars. Gen. Palmer used his pistol with good effect, till he obtained a musket as it fell from the hand of a dying soldier. Agent Nathan Olney rendered signal service, and William Wright with the memory of his brother's blood fresh on his mind entered upon the work in a manner becoming a man who seeks to avenge the murder of his kindred. On the second day's fight the regulars were frequently taunted with the question "Ticka chuck? Halo chuck, Boston" &c. It seems that the Indians had completely surrounded the regulars and cut them off from water. Capt. Smith lost ten killed and twenty-one wounded. Col. Buchanan came at the close of the second day's fight to the relief of Smith and succeeded in routing the Indians with a loss from his command of 1 killed and 2 wounded. Old John says he wants no peace. All the settlers in this vicinity are flocking in to this place again for protection. Matters have never looked worse than at present.
    Between thirty and forty of the Pistol River Indians who were at this place have recently left. They will probably join the war party. Limpy and George have been whipped out by the volunteers and have surrendered unconditionally to the regulars. We have had amid other disasters two wrecks here lately--the schooners Iowa and San Francisco, a total loss in both cases.
    At the late election there were four candidates for joint representative from Coos and Curry counties.
    The following is the result of the vote. Owing to Indian difficulties, but few persons attended the election. A. E. Rogers, 63; P. B. Marple, 56; J. C. Franklin, 44; William Tichenor, 17.
    Mr. Rogers, the member-elect, is a hard Democrat--a man of intelligence and energy, and will make a useful member. Capt. Bledsoe's company did not vote.
    Yours,                        ORFORD.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, June 17, 1856, page 2


Rogue River Correspondence of the Statesman.
Head Qrs., Big Bend, June 8, '56.
    A. Bush--Dear Sir: A command of 50 men arrived here yesterday under Maj. Latshaw. 100 men of his command will be here tomorrow, and then he will move down the river where there are a ranch of Coast Indians.
    On the 5th inst. a company of volunteers commanded by Capt. Bledsoe and two companies of regulars from Col. Buchanan's command left this place and moved down the river on opposite sides. On the same day Capt. Bledsoe had a skirmish with a party and killed five. On the 6th, Capt. Bledsoe marched down the south side of the river, and two companies of regulars on the north side until they reached a village of the enemy, and made a simultaneous attack upon the Indians, killed fifteen and drove most of the others into the river, and a great many of them were drowned. Col. Buchanan has sent a messenger to them giving them leave to come in and surrender by Tuesday next, and the prospect is in favor of their coming in. There are now 240 Indians who have surrendered themselves to us unconditionally, and they are constantly coming in. They consist of Limpy, George, Kiola, the Galice Creek tyee and all their people.
    Gen. Lamerick is here with the command and will expedite matters as much as possible. J. C. Hale, his former aide de camp, has resigned, and Lieut. L. C. Hawley is appointed in his stead. There is considerable sickness among the men, in consequence of exposure and fatigue which they have undergone for the past six weeks. I send this by Mr. Charles Williams, Gen. Lamerick's special expressman. I shall write again whenever opportunity affords.
In haste, yours,            VOLUNTEER.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, June 24, 1856, page 2


EXCITING INTELLIGENCE FROM THE MEADOWS.
Reported Attack on Capt. Smith's Camp--Twelve Soldiers Killed and Twenty-Five Wounded.
    The Jacksonville Sentinel publish the following extra, for which we are indebted to the Pacific Express:
Jacksonville, June 9, 1856.
    A report was received here yesterday evening that Capt. Smith, with 80 or 90 regulars, had been attacked by the Indians in the vicinity of the Meadows, and had suffered severe loss. Not considering the news to be very authentic, we did not issue an extra, but later arrivals have corroborated it, and we now lay it before our readers--not yet able to vouch for the truth of the matter.
    Report says that the bands of Limpy, George and John came to Capt. Smith's camp a few days since, for the purpose of making a treaty. Capt. Smith informed them that the only terms on which he would treat was that they should give up their arms and leave the river and go to the Yamhill reserve. Limpy and George consented to these terms, but John refused, saying this was his land and he intended to remain here. Smith said to him that the country would be filled with soldiers, and all his tribe hunted down and killed. John and his band then left Smith's camp. The next day, thirty of his warriors, unarmed, returned to Smith's camp, ostensibly to have another talk, but having been warned by friendly Indians that they intended to steal guns from the soldiers, he would not permit them to come into his camp. They went away, and soon after John's entire band attacked Smith's command. A company of volunteers soon came to Smith's assistance, when the enemy was routed and driven into the river, and it is said quite a number were killed and wounded and nine taken prisoners.
    It is said that Capt. Smith received three flesh wounds. Twelve of his men are reported killed and twenty-five wounded.
    The absence of details leaves us to discredit the above. We give it as we received it. Many persons here believe it is true, while others doubt.

Daily Alta California, San Francisco, June 19, 1856, page 2


    Things look decidedly warlike. Gen. Palmer has been for some time with the command of Col. Buchanan, talking and endeavoring to treat with the Indians assembled near the mouth of Illinois River. "John" with a band of about 500 warriors was in that vicinity. On the 1st instant Capt. Smith with about 90 men was at the "Big Bend," about eight miles distant from the main command, when he was surrounded with these Indians. Thus surrounded and cut off from water he was subjected to a murderous fire for the most of two days until he was relieved by Buchanan's company of about 400 men. On the second day they often taunted them with the often repeated question, "Mika hias ticka chuck?" Of Capt. Smith's command 10 were killed and twenty-one wounded. Of Buchanan's command one killed and two wounded. Capt. Bledsoe's company of volunteers was in the vicinity and has probably joined with the regulars. "John" says he asks no peace but will fight to the last. Thirty or forty Pistol Creek Indians have recently left Port Orford. Although the two volunteer companies have received general orders to disband, under the circumstances it will not probably be done.
"Umpqua Correspondence of the Statesman," letter of June 10, Oregon Statesman, Salem, June 17, 1856, page 2


    FROM THE MOUTH OF ROGUE RIVER.--In our last issue we were sanguine, for our advices from above made us so, that peace would soon be made with the Indians. Since then, by the arrival of the schooner Gold Beach from Port Orford, we learn that a severe fight had taken place at Big Bend, on Rogue River. It appears that just as the Gold Beach was about leaving, an express arrived at Port Orford, stating that Capt. Smith's company had been attacked by the Indians, and that he was obliged to send to Col. Buchanan for reinforcements, on the arrival of which an engagement took place, resulting in the defeat of the Indians. Report says that there were ten whites killed and seventeen wounded. The accounts, however, are too meager to be credited to any great extent.--Crescent City Herald, 11th.
Sonoma County Journal, Petaluma, California, June 21, 1856, page 2


From the War South.
    Dear Argus--I have been waiting two days to get the particulars concerning the Indian fight in the Big Bend of Rogue River in order to give you a correct account of it, but I delay no longer to give you the best information I have. It seems that Col. Buchanan permitted an escort of regulars under Capt. Smith to accompany Gen. Palmer up Rogue River to make a treaty if possible with Tyee John. Upon reaching the place of their destination, and being in the neighborhood of the Indians, John sent word to Smith that he would attack him next morning. Capt. Smith immediately stationed his men, some 75 in number, upon an elevated situation, deemed a good one for defense. Next morning John was punctual to his appointment, and came near enough to hail the whites and tell them that the intended to whip them, and hang the survivors. Smith, having no idea of being hung just yet, showed fight and gave the Indians as good as they sent. The battle lasted thirty-two hours without intermission. About night of the second day's engagement a reinforcement from Buchanan arrived just as the Indians were about charging on the whites. The Indians had Smith surrounded, and kept him away from water during the fight of two days and a night. Smith lost eleven men killed, besides having about twenty wounded. When the reinforcement arrived John retreated across the river and camped. The volunteers about the same time fell in with another band of Indians commanded by George and Limpy, and drove them down the river. They ran to Col. Buchanan's camp, gave up their arms, and are now prisoners of war. In the meantime Lamerick went down on the south side of the river and gave battle to John's band, which fled to the river and in attempting to cross were repulsed by the fire of the regulars on the north side. When the express left they were still fighting, and most people think the Indians will be used up this time, but I expect it will turn out absent as it has generally done before.
    Gen. Palmer is said to have been in the fight with John's band.
        Yours in haste;                ALKA.
Roseburg, June 15, 1856.
Oregon Argus, Oregon City, June 21, 1856, page 2


News of the Battle on Rogue River Confirmed.
    Day before yesterday, the 19th, we published from the Jacksonville Sentinel extra an account of a battle between the whites and Indians, near Smith's camp, in the vicinity of the Meadows. This was given as rumor only by the Sentinel, but we have just learned from a private source, by way of Port Orford, that the reports published were true. We have also some additional particulars. On the day after the fight at Smith's camp, Captain Ord, with a company of regulars, and Capt. Bledsoe with a company of volunteers, started down the river, one on the north and one on the south side, and after marching a few miles two Indian sentinels were discovered by Capt. Ord's party, and before they could give an alarm to their camp [they] were taken and killed. The party then cautiously proceeded down the stream and suddenly came upon the main body of the Indians, encamped securely, as they supposed, and attacked them before they could prepare for resistance. Several of them were killed and some taken prisoners, while the remainder plunged into the river, but in making the other shore, Bledsoe's men met them and took twenty scalps after a desperate struggle. It was thought that very few warriors escaped.
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, June 21, 1856, page 2


Indian Hostilities on Rogue River.
    We have at length full confirmation of the fact that a battle was fought on Rogue River, between Captain Smith's command and the Indians, in which Captain Smith lost eleven killed and twenty-one wounded. The report heretofore published is, in the main, correct. We obtain this news from the Yreka Union extra, of the 18th June. It is made up from the extra of the Jacksonville Sentinel, of the 14th. There had been a consultation with the savages about the 1st of June, which resulted in nothing. The report proceeds:
    About the 5th of June, Captain Smith, in command of some eighty regulars, advanced about fifteen miles above Col. Buchanan's command, and encamped near the Big Bend of Rogue River. In the evening, old George informed the Captain that the movements of the Indians looked suspicious. Captain Smith, after dark, moved his camp further up the mountainside, and posted double guards. During the night the Indians, under old John and Enos, surrounded the camp, and about sunrise in the morning fired on the guard, killing eleven men and wounding twenty-one. The battle continued until next day about noon--thirty-six hours.
    During the battle two Rogue River Indians were with Captain Smith, and stated that they understood the conversation that was going on between John and Enos. They heard John say, "Enos, you have always told me that you could whip the soldiers; now, if you can, why don't you charge on them with your knives and kill them, and save your powder and balls?" He accordingly made the charge, but did not effect anything. During the battle old John was seen swinging ropes, and was heard to say that he intended to hang Captain Smith. The Indians obtained the body of one of the dead soldiers and hung it up, and tied a stick on the shoulder to represent a gun.
    On the day of the battle a Mr. Sloan was dispatched from Col. Buchanan to Capt. Smith. Before reaching his destination, he came upon a body of Indians, but made his escape by leaving his mule, and returned to Col. Buchanan, who immediately set out for the scene of action, arriving the next day about 10 o'clock. In a short time the Indians drew off.
    It is not known what number of Indians were killed in the engagement. It is not known in what direction the Indians went.
    MOVEMENTS OF THE VOLUNTEERS.--Major Latshaw, with about 120 volunteers, was moving down Rogue River and was fired upon by the Indians from the opposite side of the river, but fortunately one company of about fifty men were on the same side the Indians were, and only a short distance above when the firing commenced, and they immediately charged upon the Indians, killing five and wounding several, and took about twenty squaws and young Indians prisoners.
    The Indians were of George and Limpy's bands. They immediately fled to Col. Buchanan, and some sixty-five warriors placed themselves under his protection--giving up about forty rifles and thirty-five revolvers.
    Maj. Latshaw continued down the river with his command, and arrived at the camp of the United States troops in the evening, after Col. Buchanan had driven the Indians from their attack on Capt. Smith. We have not been able to learn whether Maj. Latshaw lost any men or not.
    TREATY.--We are informed that Buchanan's command is proceeding down Rogue River with George and Limpy, their warriors and women and children, to a place near the mouth of the river, for the purpose of making a treaty. Joel Palmer is there, and has made arrangements to have beef furnished those Indians.
Sacramento Daily Union, June 24, 1856, page 1


ANOTHER BATTLE--PROSPECT OF PEACE.
    Dates from the scene of war on Rogue River have been received up to the 6th of June. The council expected to be held with the different tribes of the Rogue River Indians at the last dates had taken place. It was held on the -- day of May. The result of the "talk" was an agreement on the part of the different chiefs of tribes (save one) to come in, give up their arms, and to permit themselves to be taken from their country and placed on reserves, where they would be under the care and protection of the United States government. They pled hard to remain in their country, but the alternative was pressed upon them, and as they were sick of being hunted, and no longer victorious when fought, they consented to the terms. The dissentient chief, John, had received too much injury at the hands of the whites to incline to peace, and persisted in a dogged determination to remain in his country and hostile to the last. His band is, however, not large--it is supposed not to number more than fifty warriors, and they poorly provided with ammunition.
    The Indian chiefs, after the termination of the council, were sent by the commanding officer, Colonel Buchanan, to their villages to bring in their women and children and prepare for their exodus. Colonel Buchanan promised, as soon as his provision train arrived from Port Orford, to conduct them to the reserve. He sent Captain Smith, First Dragoons, on the 24th of May, to the Big Bend of Rogue River, with ninety-odd men, to receive and escort to the main camp such tribes as might be desirous to come in, in that direction. Captain Ord he had sent to Port Orford for provisions. The main camp Colonel Buchanan moved to the junction of the Illinois River with Rogue River, seven miles below Big Bend, where he was to await the promised coming in of the Indians.
    It appears that after the council a reaction took place among the Indians upon the subject of leaving the country. They besides had no idea of the country they were going to, and did not fully expect the good treatment promised at the council. They determined to make one more desperate stand for their homes, and the opportunity presented by Captain Smith's being detached from the main body, and they being in such numbers and together, was too good a one to be lost.
    When the Captain arrived at the Big Bend, the Indians sent word to him that they would be in on the succeeding day. Receiving word that night that John, the hostile chief, might attack him, and that matters were suspicious, the Captain changed his position in the night, so as better to resist the attack. He had a mountain howitzer with him, but his men were armed with the short musketoon mainly. When the Indians came in, as they promised, it was, however, pretty apparent that they came in to fight, and not to surrender themselves. First thirty Indians came, armed with rifles, and upon the Captain's refusing to permit them to approach without laying down their arms, they refused to accede to the condition, and were kept out of camp. Upon this two hundred more warriors came down; they were also told to keep off. They, however, surrounded the camp, getting advantageous positions by degrees in different places, all around the little spur upon which the Captain had taken his position. The Captain did not wish to open the fight, for he did not want to lay himself open to the imputation of a breach of the agreement with regard to the peace, and as it was not certain what they were going to do until they displayed their plan, the Captain could not properly take advantage of some excellent opportunities which he had of opening upon them with the howitzer. He told them he had been sent with "the olive branch," and that he would not, therefore, commence a fight with them.
    The Indians soon began the fight, however, and maintained it with the most desperate courage from 10 a.m. (on the 28th May) until 4 p.m. of the succeeding day. Having the little body of troops completely in their power, as they thought, without cover and surrounded, themselves in the thicket and in overwhelming numbers, the Indians determined to massacre the whole party. Sometimes bodies of them would charge upon the troops to drive them from their position, but as often were they driven back. Their rifles, however, did the most execution, as they fired well at long range, in which respect they had the advantage of the short musketoon used by dragoon troops. On the second day, Captain Smith, finding his force so reduced by the first day's loss in killed and wounded that he could not defend the whole of the ground he had occupied, contracted his position and threw up a kind of breastwork of his baggage and camp equipage, and managed to dig some rifle pits. These arrangements prevented the loss on that day of but one man wounded and one killed. On the first day the troops lost eight men killed and fifteen wounded. On the second day the Captain dispatched a messenger to Col. Buchanan for some troops. The messenger, before reaching Col. Buchanan's camp, met Capt. Augur, 4th Infantry, with his company, who, upon hearing the condition of affairs, hurried to Captain Smith's support. Capt. Augur, upon reaching the field, charged upon the Indians nearest him, whom he completely routed. Capt. Smith then immediately sent two parties from his command to charge the enemy at other points, who also drove them from their positions. These successes caused the flight of the entire body of Indians. Capt. Augur lost two men killed and two wounded. Capt. Augur, it seems, had been sent by Col. Buchanan to open the trail from his camp to where Capt. Smith was. Col. B.'s intention was to move his camp thither as soon as his provisions should arrive from Port Orford, expecting Capt. Smith would have collected the Indians disposed to emigrate according to the treaty. Capt. Augur was, therefore, not far distant, fortunately, from Capt. Smith, when the messenger met him.
    The Indians lost many killed and wounded, but the number could not be ascertained, for they were fighting in such positions that the bodies of those falling could be dragged into the thicket by the squaws and hidden. The howlings of the Indians, with the tar and ashes on their heads, as they mourned in camp some nights after this fight, show that the Indians suffered severely. Their defeat has induced a return of their disposition to abandon resistance and emigrate. Col. Buchanan, two days after the fight, marched his force to Capt. Smith's position (Big Bend of Rogue River), where many of the Indians, with their families, have come in and given up their arms.
    Brevet Major Reynolds with his company, Third Artillery, Captain Augur and company, Fourth Infantry, and Captain Bledsoe's company of volunteers, were sent down Rogue River on the 3rd of June, to destroy an Indian village, disarm the Indians and capture some canoes. News had reached the camp at the Big Bend on the 5th of June that Major Reynolds had destroyed the village and had an engagement with Indians in which he killed some three or four of them and had captured some canoes. On the same day information reached the camp that captains Augur and Bledsoe had attacked a considerable settlement of Indians on Rogue River, below its junction with the Illinois, and had killed fifteen Indians and taken some squaws and children prisoners and captured some canoes. Indians from Galice Creek and Cow Creek, with their families, were daily expected at Colonel Buchanan's camp, and George's and Limpy's bands, with their families, had already arrived and given up their arms.
    The Rogue River Indians are powerful, athletic and brave men, and are well armed and well accustomed to the use of arms. When it is added to this that their country abounds in thickets and mountains, precipices and canons, offering shelter and protection to the Indian, but full of obstructions to the movements of his pursuers, that every fastness, pass and nook is known to the Indian, while to the white man it is a new and strange country--that the Indian can subsist on food of the most simple character, even a few roots sustaining life, and hence his movements are rapid and unencumbered, while the white man must have food of a more substantial nature, and dies without it, and that as the country is wild, this food must be brought to him, and his movements are necessarily dependent upon his means of transporting his provisions; it cannot but be acknowledged that success obtained against such a foe, and under such circumstances so disadvantageous, reflects the highest credit upon the troops, and exhibits in a conspicuous manner their perseverance, fortitude and gallantry.
    These affairs, together with those of the
Mikonotunne village and at the mouth of the Chetco, where a force under Capt. Ord, Third Artillery, defeated a band of Rogue River and Chetco Indians combined, who were endeavoring to surprise a provision train for the troops, together with other affairs with the Indians of less note, in which the troops have been engaged, have so disheartened and dispirited the Rogue River tribes that they never in any contingency will again be the formidable enemies of the whites that they have been. A certain result, at least, of the campaign so far has been that the greater part of them have been brought to terms and forced to submit to removal from their country.
(From the Jacksonville Sentinel Extra.)
Jacksonville, June 9, 1856.
    A report was received here yesterday evening that Capt. Smith, with 80 or 90 regulars, had been attacked by the Indians in the vicinity of the Meadows, and had suffered severe loss.
    Report says that the bands of Limpy, George and John came to Capt. Smith's camp a few days since, for the purpose of making a treaty. Capt. Smith informed them that the only terms on which he would treat was that they should give up their arms and leave the river, and go to the Yamhill reserve. Limpy and George consented to these terms, but John refused, saying this was his land and he intended to remain here. Smith said to him that the country would be filled with soldiers, and all his tribe hunted down and killed. John and his band then left Smith's camp.
    The next day, thirty of his warriors, unarmed, returned to Smith's camp, ostensibly to have another talk, but having been warned by friendly Indians that they intended to steal guns from the soldiers, he would not permit them to come into his camp. They went away, and soon after, John's entire band attacked Smith's command. A company of volunteers soon came to Smith's assistance, when the enemy was routed and driven into the river, and it is said quite a number were killed and wounded, and nine taken prisoners.
    It is said that Capt. Smith received three flesh wounds. Twelve of his men are reported killed, and twenty-five wounded.
    The absence of details leaves us to discredit the above. We give it as we received it. Many persons here believe it is true, while others doubt.
New York Herald, July 15, 1856, page 3


From Crescent City.
    We have the Herald of June 25. From Mr. Nolan, Orderly Sergeant in Captain Bledsoe's company of volunteers serving against the Indians in Southern Oregon, we learn that a fight came off on the 11th of this month on Rogue River, about four miles below the mouth of Illinois River, between two hundred and fifty Indians of the Shasta Costas, Mikonotunnes, Tututnis, Joshua and Euchre tribes, and the company of volunteers under Captain Bledsoe, forty-one in number, who had the day before killed six Indians on their march down the river, and Company G of regular troops under Captain Augur, numbering about sixty. The regulars were on the north, and the volunteers on the south side of the river. The regulars commenced the fight about 12 o'clock, killed six Indians, and drove the balance into and across the river, when the volunteers received them, and after a half hour's fighting completely routed them, killing twenty-four and taking six prisoners. Besides the above there were fifty Indians drowned and missing--at least such is the report of the Indians themselves. The Indians had previously fortified themselves in a position about six miles below where the fight came off, but had removed to the position where they were found, thinking it a stronger one. The volunteers burnt, at both of the positions spoken of, some sixty houses, most of them strongly built of logs. The regulars lost no men, the volunteers had two men wounded and one killed, named Bray.
    On Thursday, the 12th inst., four of the principal chiefs came into Major Reynolds' camp at the mouth of Illinois River, and wished to make a treaty. He ordered them to report themselves to Captain Augur, and the day after some two hundred Indians, men, women and children, went to the camp of Captain Augur, and gave themselves up to be sent to the reservation. They were sent to the mouth of Rogue River.
    We learn further from the same source, that on Tuesday, the 17th inst., a detachment of volunteers, under Lieutenant Cox, of Captain Blakely's company, numbering twenty-five men, attacked a body of about thirty Indians, two miles above Whaleshead, on the coast, and defeated them, killing three and taking twenty-two prisoners. After the fight, five of the Pistol River Indians came in and gave themselves up.
    Captain Bledsoe's company deserve great credit for their conduct in the above affairs, and we rejoice the more that most of them are Crescent City men.
----
Battle at Rogue River.
ELEVEN MEN KILLED AND TWENTY-ONE WOUNDED--
COLONEL BUCHANAN, MAJOR LATSHAW AND CAPT. SMITH'S FORCES ENGAGED.
    The Yreka Union, of June 18, furnishes us with the following extra:
    Through the promptness of C. C. Beekman's Yreka and Oregon Express, we are placed in possession of the Jacksonville Sentinel Extra, from which we take the following startling intelligence from Rogue River--
    On yesterday (June 13), we had a conversation with Capt. John F. Miller, direct from Grave Creek, who informed us that he had seen and conversed with several of the volunteers who had just returned from the lower Rogue River country, and that he learned from them that, about the 1st instant, John, George and Limpy had come into Col. Buchanan's camp, on Rogue River, a short distance above the mouth, for the purpose of talking over a treaty, that George and Limpy were willing to treat and leave the country, but John would not consent to leave. The chiefs then left. About that time, about the 5th inst., Capt. Smith, in command of some eighty regulars, advanced about fifteen miles above Col. Buchanan's command, and encamped near the Big Bend of Rogue River.
    In the evening, old George informed the Captain that the movements of the Indians looked suspicious. Captain Smith, after dark, moved his camp further up the mountainside, and posted double guards. During the night the Indians, under old John and Enos, surrounded the camp, and about sunrise in the morning fired on the guard--killing eleven men and wounding twenty-one. The battle continued until next day about noon--thirty-six hours.
    During the battle two Rogue River Indians were with Captain Smith, and stated that they understood the conversation that was going on between John and Enos. They heard John say, "Enos, you have always told me that you could whip the soldiers; now, if you can, why don't you charge on them with your knives and kill them, and save your powder and balls?" He accordingly made the charge, but did not effect anything. During the battle old John was seen swinging ropes, and was heard to say that he intended to hang Captain Smith. The Indians obtained the body of one of the dead soldiers and hung it up, and tied a stick on the shoulder to represent a gun.
    On the day of the battle a Mr. Sloan was dispatched from Col. Buchanan to Capt. Smith; before reaching his destination he came upon a body of Indians, but made his escape by leaving his mule, and returned to Col. Buchanan, who immediately set out for the scene of action, arriving the next day about 10 o'clock. In a short time the Indians drew off.
    It is not known what number of Indians were killed in the engagement. It is not known in what direction the Indians went.
    Major Latshaw, with about 120 volunteers, was moving down Rogue River and was fired upon by the Indians from the opposite side of the river, but fortunately one company of about fifty men were on the same side the Indians were, and only a short distance above, when the firing commenced, and they immediately charged upon the Indians, killing five and wounding several, and took about twenty squaws and young Indians prisoners.
    The Indians were of George and Limpy's bands. They immediately fled to Col. Buchanan, and some sixty-five warriors placed themselves under his protection--giving up about forty rifles and thirty-five revolvers.
    Maj. Latshaw continued down the river with his command, and arrived at the camp of the United States troops in the evening, after Col. Buchanan had driven the Indians from their attack on Capt. Smith. We have not been able to learn whether Maj. Latshaw lost any men or not.
    We have not yet obtained any report only from those who have seen returned volunteers, and heard them stating what they knew about the expedition.
    We are informed that Col. Buchanan's command is proceeding down Rogue River with George and Limpy, their warriors and women and children, to a place near the mouth of the river, for the purpose of making a treaty. Joel Palmer is there, and has made arrangements to have beef furnished those Indians. Well, he had better take them to his Yamhill reservation. The people of Southern Oregon will be glad to get clear of the savages.
New York Herald, July 28, 1856, pages 2-3


    Christopher Frazier, of Dinwiddie County, and Isaiah Birch, of Fairfax County, Va., were killed at the battle of Big Bend, Rogue River, Oregon Territory, fought on the 27th, 28th and 29th of May last. Said men were private soldiers, Company C, 1st Regiment U.S. Dragoons, Captain Smith. For particulars inquire at the Adjutant General's Office, Washington, D.C.
The Intelligencer, Wheeling, West Virginia, October 25, 1856, page 2


    In March 1856 [Major General Augur] was ordered to Fort Orford, and upon his assuming command there at once took the field against the Indians in Southern Oregon and Northern California, his command consisting of his own company and Major J. F. Reynolds' Company H, of the Third Artillery. After two successful engagements with the Indians at the mouth of the Illinois River and at the Tututni Rancheria, he joined Colonel Buchanan's battalion, then engaged at the mouth of Rogue River, and was constantly detached by that cautious commander whenever Indians would appear in large numbers in the vicinity of his camps, himself acting as a reserve and coming in after the Indians would be defeated for the full credit of the victory. The most noteworthy of these engagements was the one at the Big Bend of Rogue River, where at the head of fifty-four men of his company Captain Augur charged upon four hundred Indians who had surrounded Captain A. J. Smith, and had already placed most of his men hors de combat. This signal action was claimed by both General Lamerick, who was twelve miles further up the river, and by Colonel Buchanan, who was seven miles below, as a victory gained by themselves at the head of their respective commands, although neither of them arrived on the ground until an express from Captain Augur informed them that he had relieved Captain Smith and had driven off the Indians from the river.
"Reminiscences of a Soldier," Sacramento Daily Union, July 2, 1864, page 1


A REMINISCENCE OF SOUTHERN OREGON.
The Last Battle Field of the Rogue River War.

Correspondence of the Curry County Post.

    While at the Big Bend of Rogue River, in this county, a few days since, I took a stroll to the battle ground of the last fought battle of the Rogue River Indian War of 1856, and as I was on the ground a few days after the battle, I had quite a curiosity to see if there remained any traces of that battle to this time.
It seemed but a day,
Yet twenty-seven long years have rolled away.
    And to my surprise, traces of the battle are yet to be seen. The ditch that was dug by Captain Smith and his little company of about 100, in which he managed to entrench his men and keep the Indians off until relieved by another company, still remains to mark the spot. The grass that was then besmeared with human blood has faded and gone; so have many of the survivors of that last battle. The river that was then winding its way through the mountains, as if trying to crawl into the deep blue sea, is still to be seen on its way to the briny deep; but the little specks upon the water when viewed from the mountaintops as the Indians in their canoes were hurrying away are seen no more; the loud, clear voice of the Indian chief that was heard from mountaintop to mountaintop, as he was urging his warriors on in their last efforts for their country, is hushed and silent now. All, all traces of what was once a happy yet barbarous race are fast fading away. Smith lost in that engagement, in killed and wounded, about 26 men. The killed were buried in a beautiful little valley of about two hundred acres nearby, and here, while I think about it, I would suggest that Curry County appropriate a sufficient sum to erect a small monument to the memory of those brave men who gave up their lives for the homes that we now enjoy. At present there is nothing to mark their resting place, and ere long, if it is not now, the ground will be plowed up and crops raised over their remains unless something is done to mark the spot.
    While standing alone on that little butte where the battle was fought, and reflecting on the past, it recalled many little incidents of the war which had long been forgotten; one that perhaps is worthy of note is that at the time Captain Smith was attacked by the Indians he had with him two friendly Indian boys. He was surrounded for several days and nights, without any water for his wounded and dying men, except what the two boys packed a distance of about one mile. They would slip out at night, under cover of darkness, go to the river and return with what water they could carry. Poor boys! After fighting bravely all day and carrying water to the soldiers at night, they were both killed during the engagement.
    After reinforcements came to Captain Smith the Indians fled and were on their way up the river, but had not gone many miles when met by the volunteers who were on their way down the river. They gave the Indians battle and put them to flight. The Indians then returned to Big Bend and gave themselves up to Captain Smith, who was then an officer in the regular army. Thus ended the Rogue River war of 1856, except the picking up of a few straggling Indians along the coast.
    I counted in the lofty pines and scraggy oaks many scars that were made by the guns during that battle. They are healing over, and in a few more years all traces of that engagement will be gone. I, like those lofty pines, while standing on the battle field of life have received many scars, which are slowly, and I hope surely healing over; and as I was viewing the surroundings of this lonely place, the solemn thought came over me, "O, where, where will I be twenty-seven long years from now?"
Will I be on a brighter, happier shore,
Or returned to dust forever more.
S. B. GARDNER,
One of the Eugene City volunteers
Sunday Oregonian, Portland, February 10, 1884, page 8


    . . . we returned to Big Bend and tried to make a treaty. While we were camping one night a friendly squaw stole through the close trees and bushes to our campfire, and she warned us that attempt at a treaty was in vain, but we persisted and held our camp. The result was that nine men were killed on guard and we had the dickens of a time until
Captain Ord was relieved. Then we licked them, and in the end the conquered Indians helped carry our wounded to the hospital at Port Orford, and we conducted the Indians safely to the reservation in the Willamette Valley.
Walter S. Kitchen, "How I Came to Be in 165 Battles," San Francisco Call, October 13, 1901, magazine section page 1


    [John W. Noah], in company with Jim Purdy, took a dispatch from Big Bend on Rogue River to Whiskey Bar, when reinforcements were needed. He secured these reinforcements, went back with the troops and fought the battle under Col. Kelsey in which the Indians were badly defeated.
"Death of John W. Noah," The Plaindealer, Roseburg, December 30, 1901, page 1


    In 1855 I enlisted at Eugene in Captain Matlock's company for the Rogue River Indian War. See this scar on my head? That was made by one of those black obsidian arrowheads going through my hand. This broad scar on my arm was where an arrow went through. It had an arrowhead made out of hoop iron. The nastiest wound I got was in a big fight on the Big Meadows on Evans Creek. [The Big Meadows/Big Bend fight was on Rogue River near Billings Creek.] I got an arrow through my leg. I broke it off and pulled the arrow out and went on fighting. I tied up the wound, but my leg began swelling. My leg got so big my trousers were skin tight. They took me to a barn, and I lay on the barn floor for 22 days. The doctor said I had blood poison, and he got out his kit of saws and knives to take off my leg near the hip. I refused to have it cut off. He insisted and said I would die if it didn't come off. I said I would die with all my legs on, so he said all right, go ahead and die. An old German came in and saw me. He said, "Don't let them saw your leg off. I will fix it for you." He came back with some stuff in a big bottle that smelled like horse liniment. He made a fire and got some water scalding hot and put a blanket around my leg and poured that hot water on. For hours he kept soaking my leg in water so hot it nearly took the skin off. He would pour the medicine onto the wound, and he told me to keep the cloth on the wound soaked with the medicine. It burnt like fire, but I kept the cloth wet with it. Next day my leg was all over wrinkles, but it was a heap smaller. In a day or two it was the same size as the other leg, and pretty soon the wound quit running and healed up.
John Sidney Montgomery, quoted by
Fred Lockley, "Oregon: In Early Days," Oregon Journal, Portland, February 20, 1915, page 4


    During the early part of 1856 Lieutenant Colonel R. C. Buchanan of the Fourth Infantry was in command and kept us in the field constantly. He had two batteries of the Third Artillery, four companies of the Fourth Infantry and our troop--Troop C of the First Dragoons. Our hardest fight was in May at the Big Bend of the Rogue River. We were 50 strong, and we stood off a vastly superior force of Indians for a day and a half until we were relieved by Captain C. C. Augur of the Fourth Infantry. More than a third of our force of 90 men were killed or wounded in the 36 hours' fighting. Captain John's band finally surrendered.
Michael Kinney, quoted by Fred Lockley, "Oregon: In Early Days," Oregon Journal, Portland, May 12, 1915, page 6


    On March 26 Captain Ord with Company B of the Third Artillery and a detachment of men from the Fourth Infantry, our force amounting to one hundred and twelve men in all, attacked the Indians at their village twelve miles above the mouth of the Rogue River. This conflict is known as the Mikonotunne Village Indian fight, and in the encounter we lost one man. On March 20 Company B of the Third Artillery had a brush with the Indians near the mouth of the Rogue River, and on March 24 Company C of the First Dragoons and a detachment from my company, Company E of the Fourth Infantry, had a fight with the Indians on the Illinois River near the big bend of the Rogue. Captain Smith, with part of Company C of the First Dragoons and part of Company E of the Fourth Infantry, left Fort Lane on March 14. They followed the course of the Illinois River toward its mouth and on the 24th they discovered Indians. Leaving Lieutenant Sweitzer and the men of Company E in charge of the pack train, Captain Smith, with the dragoons, attacked the Indians, who fled. Lieutenant Sweitzer later charged a number of Indians, who also retreated. One of his men was wounded by a bullet in the neck. Captain Smith reached Port Orford on April 5.
     On March 13 Captain Augur marched from Port Orford to Oak Flat, but finding that Colonel Buchanan had not yet arrived, he camped. The Indians attacked him near the mouth of the Illinois River but retired after five of their number had been killed. Captain Abbott of the volunteers started south to meet Colonel Buchanan but was attacked at the mouth of the [Pistol] River. His men dug in on the beach or took refuge behind drift logs. The next day Captain Ord, with Lieutenant Jones and one hundred and twelve regulars, came to their relief and drove off the Indians, with the loss of one soldier. A number of Indians were killed. The soldiers destroyed the Indian village and returned to Port Orford.
     General Palmer, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, arranged for the Indians to meet with him and the soldiers for a council. Lieutenant Colonel Buchanan, who was in command of our regiment while our regular colonel was on leave of absence, sent word to the various chiefs to meet for a council at Oak Flat. On May 21 the Indians attended the meeting [and] were willing to make peace. They said that they were tired of fighting and promised to deliver up their guns and surrender. Tyee John was the only one to hold out. He said he was willing to live in peace with the whites but that this was his country long before the white men came here and he would not leave it and go on a reservation. He said that his heart was sick of fighting and that he was willing to go back to Deer Creek and live peacefully. Captain Smith told the Indians that if any of them were found off the reservation with guns in their hands they would be hanged. The Upper Rogue River Indians agreed to surrender to Captain Smith on May 26 at the Meadows. Those along the Lower Rogue River and the coast Indians agreed to come to a point six miles below the mouth of the Illinois River. Captain Smith was to escort the Upper Rogue River Indians to Fort Lane. Major Reynolds was sent to meet the pack train from Crescent City, which was under the escort of Captain Ord. Captain Augur and his troops camped just below the big bend of the Rogue River and Captain Smith, of whose command I was a member, was sent to the big bend to receive the surrender of George's and Limpy's bands of hostiles, as well as the Galice Creek, Cow Creek and Applegate bands of Indians.
     We reached there at about dusk and went into camp where the town of Agness is now situated, one of the most beautiful spots I have ever seen. [Agness is several miles downstream from Big Bend.] Not long after dark two squaws swam the Rogue River and came to our camp and asked to see Captain Smith. They told him that Tyee John and a band of warriors were going to attack the soldiers at daybreak. We were camped on a grassy plateau beside the river. Captain Smith ordered us to break camp and establish ourselves on a ridge about a quarter of a mile back from the river. We had two days' rations. Captain Tichenor, founder of Port [Orford], was the contractor who had charge of the government pack train and was serving as guide. Captain Smith told him to make his way back to Oak Flat, where the rest of the troops were stationed, to secure reinforcements. Lieutenant Sweitzer was detailed by Captain Smith to select a site that could be defended and chose for our camp a knoll about eight hundred feet long and one hundred and fifty feet wide. The approach from the south and the north was quite steep, while on the east the approach was more easily negotiated. We moved camp that night
     The next morning a number of Indians approached our camp, calling out to Captain Smith that they had come to surrender. They came closer and sized up our six-pounder and looked critically at our arrangements. Captain Smith told them to lay down their arms as agreed, but instead of doing so they went back to discuss the matter with the other Indians. Lieutenant Sweitzer was in command of the detachment of Company E, in which I was serving. We were guarding the western approach to our camp. As the Indians disappeared we saw our sentinel fall, and a second later saw the powder smoke rise and heard the report of the gun that had been used to shoot him. We were ordered to take refuge behind trees, but there were more soldiers than trees. The Indians had climbed to the top of a nearby knoll and were picking us off. They had better guns than we had. We had musketoons, while they had rifles. One of our men, without any orders, digging with his bayonet and using his tin plate as a shovel, dug himself in. The other men, seeing what he was doing, followed his example and we soon had rifle pits that protected us somewhat. The eastern slope was commanded by our howitzer, so the Indians did not attempt to attack us from that side. They would charge up the side of our knoll and we would repulse them, but not without loss. They kept this up all day. We had moved camp the night before and had had little or no sleep, and we got but little sleep this night, either. We had used all the water in our canteens and the wounded were moaning for water.
    The next morning at daybreak the Indians attacked again. They knew we were thirsty and they would call out, "Mika hias ticka chuck." One of the Indians who could speak English would keep calling out, "One more sun no water, no muck-a-muck, no soldier. All dead." When Captain Smith threatened to hang any Indian found off the reservation they had made a lot of ropes of cedar bark to hang us. Chief John, who was in command of the Indians and who had a strong voice, would call out to Captain Smith, "O, Captain Smith: If you promise to go on the reservation and not travel around the country I will not hang you. See this rope. It is for you because you do not want to stay on a reservation where you can have plenty of plows and wagons, plenty to eat, and white men to teach you." All of the second day, as we fought off their attacks, with our throats parched for water in the hot spring sunshine, they would call out tauntingly, "Halo, chick Boston. Mika hias ticka chuck." (No water, white man. Wouldn't you like some water?) They would call out that white soldiers were not worth the powder and lead it would take to kill them, so they had plenty of ropes to hang us with. They did not know that we had sent Captain Tichenor out for help, and of course we did not know whether he had been able to get through to Oak Flat or had been captured, but you can believe that we watched with straining eyes all of that second day. Eleven of our men were dead and sixteen or seventeen wounded, and many of the injured were delirious and begging for water.
     Late in the afternoon Chief John called out to his warriors to charge and not to stop until they had killed or captured all the soldiers. Just as the Indians were starting up the hill to finish us we saw Captain Augur with seventy-five men of Company G, Fourth Infantry, emerging from the ravine. We gave them a cheer as best we could and jumped out of our rifle pits and charged the Indians. We were answered by a ringing cheer from our comrades of Company G as they charged the Indians from the rear. Chief John turned to meet the new attack, but it didn't last long, and soon the Indians were streaking away like race horses. Captain Augur was riding a white mule. As they charged he took a gun from one of his men and led them in the attack. He was said to be the handsomest officer in the entire army, and he certainly looked good to us. Captain Augur lost two men in the fight. We dug a pit on the flat where the town of Agness is now situated and in it we buried our dead. We captured the Indian canoes and some Indians. In each canoe we placed one wounded man, one prisoner and two soldiers and went down the river to Oak Flat, where Buchanan had established his headquarters. From there the Indians were taken to Port Orford and thence to the Siletz Reservation. Afterward we went back to Northern California.
Patrick Hasson, quoted in Fred Lockley, History of the Columbia River Valley from The Dalles to the Sea, vol. II, Chicago 1928, pages 593-598



    "In reading it I was thrilled to find on pages 21 to 23 [of A Trilogy in the Anabasis of the West, by R. J. Hendricks] an account of the Battle of the Meadows. The five men mentioned in page 23 as lost by Augur were buried under some big trees down in my father's lower field, as my childhood home was there.
    "The 'high knoll' I have ranged again and again for wildflowers.
    "Our garden was an old Indian camp sown thick with arrowheads. It is no wonder Smith's men suffered from thirst. That knoll is PLENTY DRY, though a lovely little stream below would have helped if they had been able to go near it.
    "I was glad to find a clearer account of the battle. All we Morris youngsters knew was that the last major battle of the Rogue River Indian War had been fought ON OUR LAND, and that it sheltered the bodies of five or six of the white victims."
Delia Morris Stephenson, quoted by R. J. Hendricks, "Bits for Breakfast," Oregon Statesman, Salem, April 16, 1938, page 4




Last revised May 17, 2017