Second Lieutenant 3rd Artillery, 1 July 1837, First Lieutenant, 9 July 1838. Captain, March 3, 1847. Major 9th Infantry, March 3, 1855. Lieutenant Colonel, 10th Infantry, September 9, 1861. Resigned his commission November 1, 1861.

Brevet Major, April 18, 1847 for gallant and meritorious conduct at Cerro Gordo, Brevet Lieutenant Colonel, September 13, 1847 for gallant and meritorious conduct at Chapultepec.

William H. Powell, List of Officers of the Army of the United States. New York: L. R. Hamersley and Company, 1900. p.613.

Steptoe's Defeat in Eastern Washington

In the Summer of 1858 officers and men at the several military posts on Puget Sound were shocked to learn that soldiers in Eastern Washington under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Edward Steptoe had met with and were defeated by a combined force of more than one thousand Indians from several tribes including the Spokans and Couer d'Alenes. 

Cut off from the real news the officers at Fort Steilacoom and other posts on Puget Sound had to rely on fragmentary messages from friends and partial accounts many which proved to be highly inaccurate. Weeks were to pass before the total impact of the Steptoe defeat was felt.

The troops on the Sound were in generally not called upon to join Colonel George Wright who was sent into Eastern Washington. The men were, however, put on alert for possible Indian troubles west of the Mountains. Leaders of the Nisqually tribe traveled to Fort Steilacoom to inform Colonel Silas Casey of Indian reactions to the victory and to urge a show of force to keep the peace.

Career officers could not believe that an element of the United States Army could lose to Indians in the field and the consequences of the action were discussed for weeks. Fragmentary reports continued to come and all were relieved when the force under the control of Colonel Wright destroyed the Indian concentrations.

The Indians west of the mountains stayed quiet and no show of force was necessary. There was, however, a considerable amount of soul searching when it was learned that Steptoe would have experienced even greater casualties if it had not been for the allied Nez Perce Indians who "rescued" Steptoe's command and had a large war party in the field.

Discussions continued for weeks and it was finally decided that the reasons for Steptoe's defeat could be assigned to overconfidence on the part of the commander, poor reconnaissance, green troops and too little ammunition. For all concerned it was an unsettling experience.

Walter Evans, "Three year Indian War ends, but Chief Kamiakin escapes," The Seattle Post Intelligencer, Northwest. January 11, 1976.

Dateline Northwest.

However, this year the simmering problems boiled over again when Col. Steptoe set out from Ft. Walla Walla on May 8 with a command of 159 men. His object was to make a reconnaissance of the country, examine the affairs at Ft. Colville and to seize some cattle thieves among the Palouses.

On May 14, a group of Indians appeared and told Steptoe the Spokanes would resist his coming into their country. Two days later, on Sunday, May 16, the Indians appeared in force. There followed what must certainly have been some of the most tense hours ever endured by American soldiers in the 82 years of this country's existence.

While the chiefs and the officers talked, the troops sat on the alert in their saddles, arms ready, while 100 yards away the Indians taunted them. When it became apparent that a battle was inevitable, Col. Steptoe took the troops to better ground while the Indians rode on the right flank, constantly taunting the soldiers and jeering at them.

Steptoe halted the command at a small lake and the troopers sat in their saddles three more hours while the leaders parleyed. The Indians, Spokanes, Coeur d'Alenes and Palouses, with some disaffected Yakimas, continued to insult the soldiers with words and gestures. The hostiles pointed out that "this is Sunday, but we will fight tomorrow."

When the Indians withdrew at sunset, Col. Steptoe decided to return to Walla Walla. He sent a messenger to the fort, telling of his predicament.

The next morning, Monday, May 17, the command was strung out for some 1,000 yards and Indians began massing at the rear. About then Father Joseph Joset, missionary to the Spokanes, arrived and warned the soldiers the Indians were going to attack.

Col. Steptoe ordered the soldiers not to initiate any conflict and not to reply to the Indians' fire unless there was acute danger to the command or the individual soldier.

Lt. Gaston's horse was shot out from under him and a ball grazed his hand, but still the soldiers did not return the Indian fire.

The battle spirit of the Indians continued to grow and, as the troops went for the high ground, the Indians took it ahead of them. Gregg's company dislodged the hostiles from one hill, only to see Them moving toward another, higher eminence that commanded the field. Gregg then took that.

Taylor and Gaston had their troops, now returning the Indians' fire, charge, only to have the hostiles fall back out of range at the charge, then move forward again.

When the troops under the latter two officers attempted to reach the hill where Gregg's command had been joined by Steptoe and Winder's company, a vicious, hand-to-hand battle ensued in which several were wounded on both sides.

Although the hill provided a good defensive position, the troops were without water and Steptoe determined to push toward a small river southwest of the hill. With Taylor and Gaston on the exposed flanks, the troops moved down the long slope just before noon.

Lt. Gaston was mortally wounded in the first attack.

A half-hour later - the troops had moved barely a half-mile - Capt. Taylor was shot from his horse.

There followed one of those vignettes of war in which men rise above themselves.

Capt Taylor's mortally wounded body was an immediate target of the Indians, who wished to count coup on him and take his scalp. Pvt. R. P. Kerse of Company C, Pvt. Victor DeMoy of Company C and Pvt. Francis Poisell ran out to protect the captain. DeMoy, in a hand-to-hand fight, suffered the wound which later proved fatal to him. But they brought the captain back under heavy fire. He was shot through the neck and lingered only a little while before succumbing to the wound.

With the command completely surrounded, Steptoe decided to make a stand. He wheeled the command left and made his way to the summit of a hill. There the soldiers ringed the summit and lay down in the tall, rank grass to fire at the Indians. The wounded and the animals were at the center of the hill, in the most protected area.

After an Indian charge was beaten off in the early afternoon, the battle died down slowly. As it turned out, it was just in time. The troops, officers found, had no more than three rounds of ammunition per man.

After a couple of conferences among the officers, a night escape was decided upon. The men who had fallen on or near the hill were buried, the howitzers cached, the 15 wounded men lashed to their saddles and given a companion to assist them on the flight.

Kamiakin, it is reported, attempted to rouse the Indians to continue the fight into the night, but was unsuccessful. Although sentries were set out, they evidently went to sleep. With noisy accouterments muffled to keep sound down to a minimum and the  light-colored horses blanketed to make them harder to see, the command moved out about 10 p.m. The animals not actually needed for the escape were left on the hill.

Along the way DeMoy and Sgt. William Williams, the most seriously wounded, asked to be laid beside the trail. They were later killed or died from their wounds.

The command made remarkable time. By dawn they were at the Palouse River. By 10 p.m., after 24 hours of hard travel, they were 75 miles away from the battlefield at a Nez Perce camp on the Snake River.

The next day, May 9, they left the Nez Perce camp and were headed south when they ran into reinforcements from Ft. Walla Walla under Capt. F. T. Dent, who had led his men on a forced march. They returned to the fort.

Indians have said they suffered nine killed and several wounded - perhaps as many as 50. The soldiers lost seven killed and 13 wounded.

Dateline Northwest.

Walter Evans, "Three year Indian War ends, but Chief Kamiakin escapes." Seattle Post Intelligencer, Northwest. January 11, 1976.

Marcia J. Cass, "The Century old Battle of Steptoe Butte," The Seattle Times. May 11, 1958.

Colonel Edward J. Steptoe lay on his bunk at Fort Walla Walla and read over once again the message he just had relayed to his troops from Colonel George Wright, commanding officer at The Dalles.

The message read, "Proceed immediately to the 49th parallel, between the boundary of the United States and Canada, and begin setting up a military post."

Colonel Steptoe no doubt said to himself. "This is in the Couer d'Alene Indian territory and the Couer d'Alenes are none too friendly."

Nevertheless the next morning, May 5, 1858, a company of some one hundred fifty soldiers set out from Fort Walla Walla to execute this dangerous mission.

Included were Captain Charles Winder, Captain O. H. T. Taylor, Lieutenant H. B. Flemming, a Lieutenant Gregg, Lieutenant William Gaston, Thomas J. Beall, master of the pack train; an interpreter, John McBean, and two Nez Perce Indians scouts, Timothy and Levi.

As the troop formed a line to leave all were gayly laughing and singing. The whole cavalcade moved out to the north. Once beyond the shouting distance of the fort the laughter and singing died out slowly.

The third day the column swung over towards the breaks of the Snake River, eight miles below the present town of Lewiston, Idaho. John McBean deserted and Steptoe appointed Charles Conness interpreter. The expedition had lost its first man.

With the help of the scout, Timothy, Indian canoes were made and the company cross the Snake River.

Travel from this point on was comparatively easy until the troops arrived at Tillio Lake, about sixteen miles north of Rosalia. Here the hostile Couer d'Alenes made their first appearance.

Steptoe was warned to turn back by his Indians, who refused to aid in the crossing of the treacherous Spokane River. He decided to heed their warning, as he knew both his ammunition and forces were inadequate for any large scale battle.

That night the troops camped by the edge of the lake and in the gray mist of the morning turned back toward Fort Walla. Near midday the troops halted. On a little open hillside Steptoe was holding a conference with Saltise, chief of the Couer d'Alenes.

Suddenly Levi, who was in hearing distance of the talk rode up and spoke to the chief. "You talk with a forked tongue," Levi said," To the white man you say you want peace, to your people you say wait a little, hold on, don't start yet." With that Levi knocked Saltise sprawling in the dust.

Without a word Saltise rose to his feet and with all the dignity he could gather went back to his braves. He gave a brief command and rode away at the head of his band without looking back.

The company went on to North Pine Creek. The date was May 17, 1858. Lieutenant Gaston, in charge of sixteen men on the right flank, saw a long line of horsemen closing in on one side of his troops. Then a shot range in the distance, signaling the beginning of the famous battle of Steptoe Butte.

When the firing began Gaston sent a message to Steptoe asking for orders. Steptoe sent word for him to hold fire. Just then one of Gaston's men fell from his horse, fatally wounded.

Gaston sent another message to Steptoe. He refused to see his men shot down without any resistance. At this moment hell broke loose. A blast of fire ran along the line. The advancing Indians wavered, broke, then charged down the hill.

Gaston was forced to retreat to the main command that battled at the crossing of the North Pine. He was ordered to occupy points to the right of the trail ahead.

Most of the men were without ammunition now. Using their guns as clubs, they attempted to stop the charge. Bodies crashed against bodies. There was a heavy thud of steel meeting flesh and a gentle wind carried the dust cloud away as the fighting swept toward the head of the line.

Eventually Steptoe's command was pushed back so far that it was forced to make a stand on a high knoll about the point occupied by Gaston and his little squad of soldiers.

After a wavering halt Gregg and Gaston were ordered to charge. The charge was partly successful; a few Indians were killed, all soldiers survived. Gaston then returned to the point he formerly had occupied. Soon the command moved on.

Steptoe sent Beall, the pack train leader, with a message to Gaston. Gaston was to deploy his men as skirmishers on the left flank. Gaston was soon afterward killed on the skirmish line. The body was never recovered.

Captain Taylor was killed near the present site of the school house in Rosalia. He was shot twice in the neck, with wounds that rendered him speechless. One of the men tried to understand a message the dying captain wished to send to his wife and children at Walla Walla, but could get none of it.

Toward the evening of the battle there was no ammunition left. So here remained a little group completely helpless surrounded by hundreds of Indians, and Fort Walla a hundred and fifty miles away.

Steptoe made camp by the winding creek. "Escape. We must escape!" Steptoe brooded as he stared into a low burning fire.

Timothy stepped before the fire and told Steptoe that he would find a way out. Some of the men immediately objecting saying that the Indian surely would give them away. But Steptoe had confidence in his Indian friend and let him go.

Timothy was gone about two hours and everyone was beginning to give him up for lost. Then he reappeared and in the glow of the campfire explained the method of escape. He told the men that by crossing a high knoll they could avoid the Indians completely.

Some thought this a trick, but Steptoe gave orders that everyone would go. Fire were left burning, horses picketed except for a few that were taken and guns were buried.

The little troop marched all night and all day until it reached the Snake River. Here some of Timothy's men met it and helped it across the river with canoes. On the other side, Timothy told Steptoe to let his men rest and his braves would keep watch.

The next day toward noon the small band of men arrived at Walla, minus two officers, six soldiers, one packer and one Indian. This as the last day of may, 1858.

A thankful people sought some way to memorialize Colonel Steptoe so selected as his monument the most prominent thing in an otherwise rolling prairie country, a 3,613 foot high conical mound.

The mound, Steptoe Butte, can be scaled by automobile. The approaches bear permanent markers to the memory of the soldier whose name it bears.

Marcia J. Cass, "The Century old Battle of Steptoe Butte," The Seattle Times. May 11, 1958.

Joseph McEvoy, "Steptoe's Battle,"
Tacoma Sunday Ledger. June 2, 1893.

Some time in July, the command returned to The Dalles. There was an expedition started to the Walla Walla Country under the command of Colonel Steptoe. They arrived in the valley on the 18th day of August, 1856 and camped on a piece of land which now comprises my ranch.

We moved up the Jameison creek about three miles, camping with the two companies of volunteers commanded by Governor Stevens, whose object it was to make a treaty with the Indians but he failed to come to terms with them. Colonel Steptoe moved up Mill Creek about seven miles to build his quarters for the winter, Governor Stevens moving with his command to near the camp of Colonel Steptoe.

The Indians evaded all terms of a treaty, and nothing was accomplished by either command in this respect. Colonel Steptoe was built his quarters on the ground now known as McQuirk's ranch, having them nearly completed when Governor Stevens left with his command to go back to Olympia. He proceeded as far as Russell creek, when he was surrounded by Indians and was compelled to camp away from wood and water and to fight Indians all the afternoon. He got an Indian by the name of Dick, of the Nez Perce tribe, to take word back to Colonel Steptoe's camp. He carried the message with about five hundred Indians pursuing him. 

Colonel Steptoe immediately sent his command to relieve him. We had to bring the cannon to bear before we could stir the Indians, but that brought them to time. The Indians were shooting all around us, but we reached the governor's camp without losing a man. The governor accompanied us back to our camp on Mill Creek, and the next morning we were surrounded, but we made it hot for the Indians.

There were about five hundred Indians across Mill creek on a hill. The cannon was brought to bear on them. The first shell struck a cottonwood tree and completely wrecked it. The Indians saw the result and disappeared and did not return.

Governor Stevens remained in Colonel Steptoe's camp about ten days, when Company E of the First dragoons & Company L of the Third artillery, U.S.A., of Steptoes command accompanied him to The Dalles. Company K of the Fourth infantry in Walla Walla valley was left to take care of government property until Steptoes command should return. 

When he came back he immediately began the completion of their winter quarters on the banks of Mill creek, where now is Main Street bridge in Walla Walla.

On the 24th of December, 1856, on the day I received my discharge at the expiration of my term of service I went to work for the quartermaster, where I worked two years. When the old garrison was removed to the present site of the garrison, I took charge of the quartermasters stable and remained in charge until 1861, the troops being all called away to go to war in the east, which was then just breaking out. That ends my military career.

On March 10,1859, I was married in Portland, Oregon, and moved to my ranch on Mill creek where I still live. I am the father of nine children, six boys and three girls. My eldest son, P. A. McEvoy, was the first white boy born in Walla Walla County. He is now employed by the Union Express Company at Portland and has worked for that company continuously for fourteen years.

Just one word concerning the defeat of Steptoe in the Palouse Country.

The defeat was not due to neglect on Steptoes part, but was the fault of Lieutenant Fleming of the 9th Infantry. There were four boxes of ammunition left at the quartermaster's store at Walla Walla through the neglect of the lieutenant. After the train had gone I carried the boxes into the store. This was the cause of the defeat. When the call was made for ammunition it was found to be at Fort Walla Walla, one hundred miles away from the battle ground.

Joseph McEvoy, Walla Walla, Washington. "Steptoe's battle," The Weekly Ledger, June 2, 1893.


"The Steptoe Disaster," Franklin Flyer. XIX (July, 1986.) p. 1-3.

Because of the Indian uprisings and general Indian unrest in the Inland Empire, a U.S. Army post had been established at Steptoeville by Lieutenant Edward L. Steptoe in 1856, naming the post Fort Walla Walla.

This is not to be confused with the Hudson's Bay Company fur trading post which had existed at Wallula ever since 1818. This post, too carried the name Fort Walla Walla, but there was no connection whatsoever between the two.

It was from the army post, Fort Walla Walla, that Lt. Steptoe set forth on May 6, 1858 with three companies of dragoons and 25 mounted infantrymen, accompanied by several Nez Perce Indians who served as guides. Several depreciations had been made by the Palouse Indians against white settlers near Walla Walla, and Steptoe also wanted to question them about the murder of two white men near the Palouse River.

When Steptoe's expedition reached the Palouse River the Spokane Indians informed him that they were unwilling for him to enter into their territory, and he was told that they would resist ... Lieutenant Gregg wrote in his diary, a few days' march after leaving Walla Walla, 

"We reached the Palouse River. When we were about to pass into Spokane Country the Spokanes said they would resist our entrance into their country. The Spokanes had always been regarded as friendly to the whites, and when we left Walla Walla no one thought of having an encounter with them or with any other Indians on this march."

In spite of this defiance by the Spokanes, Steptoe decided to move forward. By May 15 he had reached the valley near present day Rosalia through which Ingossoman Creek flows, and which in only a few days would be a fateful escape route for Steptoe's defeated command. Ever since crossing the Snake River he had been encountering small bands of scouting Indian parties, and after camping overnight near Ingossoman Creek they encountered thousands of warriors of various tribes.

A member of Steptoe's command, Captain Windsor, wrote that now they were 150 miles from Fort Walla Walla, and only approximately 20 miles from the Spokane River, and they found themselves confronted with a "body of Indians, painted and dressed for war, bows strung and guns loaded. At first sight, with my glass I could count 70, Windsor wrote, "In a few minutes, as if by magic they appeared all around us, possibly some 800 of them. And in half an hour from 1,000 to 1,200, (the Indians say 1,600), which may be true."

Steptoe too, wrote dramatically about this confrontation: "On Sunday morning, May 16, " he wrote, "we found ourselves suddenly in the presence of ten to twelve hundred Indians of various tribes - Spokanes, Palouses, Coeur d' Alenes, Yakimas and some others. Steptoe said they were all armed, and defiant. 

He moved his expedition slowly past several hills on which the excited savages were demonstrating. Realizing that he was about to be attacked, he began moving to a safer encampment site, and during this maneuver the frenzied mass of Indians was moving parallel to him. By yells and taunts they were apparently trying to force his command to start the firing, but he succeeded in preventing his men from doing so, even those who were green and panic-stricken. Later in the evening some chiefs rode up to talk to Steptoe and to inquire what the reasons and motives of this march of intrusion were. 

He tried to convince them that he was merely passing through enroute to Colville and that he had no hostile intentions towards the Spokanes, whom he had always considered friendly. However, the chiefs would not let Steptoe proceed or to use Indian canoes to cross the Spokane River. Without the canoes he could not cross the swollen stream, thus effectively stopping him, so he decided to march back to Walla Walla.

Steptoe decided to settle into camp for the night. The chiefs had left the powwow for their own camp, which was some distance east of his. He placed a larger than usual number of guards on duty that night, and his men hardly needed to be told to take extra precautions. They spent a sleepless and probably terrifying night in camp, and by 2 a.m. the next morning they were up and ready to start back to the Snake River and the safety of Walla Walla. They had advanced only as far as Pine Creek near Plaza when the fighting commenced. 

According to Steptoe's report his beleaguered column had not marched three miles when the Indians on the adjoining hillsides began to attack his rear guard. Especially making heavy attacks on his wagon train.

Only a few of Steptoe's men were armed with carbines, and at least two companies of the dragoons carried only short muskatoons whose range was not much farther than a man could throw a baseball. None of them were armed with sabers that the mounted dragoons so desperately needed in the close fighting that soon ensued. As it turned out, the most unfortunate oversight of all was that only 40 rounds of ammunition per man were taken on this expedition. 

The reason for this was that the baggage wagons were considered overloaded and they did not have the capacity to carry more. It was not surprising, therefore, that Steptoe's command suffered the disaster that befell it. They were under furious attack during the last several miles of his retreat toward the Rosalia hill on which he hoped to make his last stand. 

Captain Taylor and Lt. Gaston both fell, fighting gallantly, according to Steptoe's report. Taylor was shot through the neck and Gaston through the body. A total of seven of Steptoe's men were killed, and thirteen were wounded. The Indian losses seemed slightly greater, he said.

Captain Winder, in charge of the baggage train, described the actual battle on the hill: "The scene beggars description. One thousand of these infuriated devils painted and dressed in war regalia, charged in all directions, yelling, whooping and firing on us. But we moved on and got a good position on a hill near present day Rosalia. Our men fought well, and the firing was hot and heavy. This fight started about 8 a.m. and lasted until dark. 

Later, in recalling this battle, Steptoe wrote: "Towards evening our ammunition began to give out and our men were suffering from thirst and fatigue ... About that desperate situation on that hill," Steptoe went on to say, "To move from one point to another we had to crawl on our hands and knees in the tall bunchgrass amid the howling of the Indians, the groans of the dying, and the whistling of balls and arrows... 

"We were kept in this position until about 8 p.m., when as night came on, it seemed apparent that on the morrow 'we must go under,' and that not a one of us would escape. It was plain that nearly destitute of ammunition we were completely surrounded by 600 to 800 Indians, and most of them were at points which we would have to pass to get away.

Steptoe Plans Escape Maneuver

Steptoe's men were stationed around the crest of the hill in tall bunchgrass, protected by two howitzers that protected them from the enemy who tried to creep up the hill with grass tied to their heads. At nightfall the chiefs, realizing that they could easily rush the hill the next morning, ordered the attacks to cease. Their campfires could be seen everywhere surrounding the hill. After holding a brief council of war with his surviving officers Steptoe decided to try to run the gauntlet, as it were, so that at least some might escape. 

Before embarking on this desperate dash to safety, Steptoe's men buried the two howitzers in the creek, buried their dead, lashed the severely wounded on to horses, quietly called in their sentries from the outlying bunchgrass and began going stealthily off the hill and down Ingossomon Creek, " and then began our 90 mile dash to the Snake River. Our escape, mostly at a gallop and without rest brought us to the Snake River at Red Wolf's Crossing the next evening where we were met by our friends, the Nez Perces."

There is much conjecture about Steptoe's lucky escape from that Rosalia Hill on which he was so hopelessly surrounded, and with only three or four rounds of ammunition per man still remaining. Had the Indians pressed their advantage that evening, as Kamiakin had tried to persuade them to do, the annihilation of the Steptoe command would have been inevitable. 

It is incredible that his expedition could have passed unnoticed near the camp of the Coeur d' Alenes, who were guarding one of the main escape routes. Chief Seltice of that tribe declared many years later that a deal had been struck between them and Steptoe whereby the latter would be allowed to pass their camp in return for the supplies that he abandoned on the hill.

One of the sentries of the Steptoe command had been overlooked when they quietly fled from the hill at Rosalia. Apparently he had gone to sleep in the tall grass and when he later awakened he realized he had been left behind. Many weeks later he arrived back at Fort Walla Walla after negotiating the more than 100 miles from Rosalia on foot, doing his furtive traveling at night.

Steptoe's defeat and humiliating retreat to Walla Walla was looked upon as the "Steptoe disaster" by the regular army. To avenge the defeat and to restore order among the Spokanes. Coeur d' Alenes, Yakimas and Palouse tribes, the army dispatched Colonel George Wright into the interior of eastern Washington. 

Setting forth from Walla Walla with well over 500 troops a few weeks later, armed with superior long-range rifles, sufficient ammunition and supplies, he retraced Steptoe's route north across the Snake River toward Rosalia, Pine Creek, the Spokane River, and hopefully to Colville. 

Wherever the Indians tried to make a stand he subdued the combined forces of the Spokanes, Palouses and some Pend Oreilles and Coeur d' Alenes at Four Lakes and nearer the Spokane River. Wright's superior rifles proved to be the decisive equipment, and in both of the two above-mentioned battles the combined forces of the Indians didn't stand a chance. 

Their losses were heavy, while Wright did not lose a man. On top of that, he rounded up over 800 of their horses, making it impossible for them to roam over the Yakima Valley and other sections of Eastern Washington and wage war. Wright assigned some of his men to shoot the captured horses. The Indians were definitely left on foot. 

Wright also destroyed their winter caches of food, further convincing them that their resistance was futile. As the Indians surrendered, he rounded up a quota of ring leaders from each tribe and executed them by hanging, often using an upended wagon tongue on which to mount the noose, in the absence of trees. Hangman Creek near Spokane was given that name as a result of the hangings. On maps it is shown as Latah Creek.

The permanent results of the Steptoe defeat, followed only two months later with Wright's campaign showed the army the true pugnacious altitude of the Indians, and that Chief Kamiakin of the Yakimas was probably the chief agitator. It delayed by a few months, Lieutenant John Mullen's surveying the route for a wagon road from Fort Walla Walla on the Columbia to Fort Benton on the Missouri River. 

Instead, during Wright's campaign of subduing the Indians of eastern Washington, Mullan was attached to Wright's command, and Mullan proved to be a very valuable negotiator during the treaty making sessions. The Indians found him to be a fair and strict negotiator.

Wright's campaign ended Indian uprisings until the 1870's, when the Modocs in southern Oregon, the WalIowas under Chief Joseph in eastern Oregon went to war against the whites. In the meantime Washington Territory was full up with white settlers, who often cheated the Indians out of their land and their personal property.

"The Steptoe Disaster," The Franklin Flyer, XIX (July, 1986) p. 13.