Olympia, 22 December 1855

The proceedings of the above Commission are truly approved as far as concerns the Indian BIS-TIAN; he will be retained in custody until further orders.

Actg Gov, WT


In view of the unsettled condition of the Indians between the Cascades and Bitter Root Mountains, a portion of the Indians being now in arms against the Government, and the remaining tribes with the exception of the Nez Perces being in an excited state, that portion of Walla Walla County of the Territory of Washington lying between the above limits is hereby erected into a Military District, and Colonel B. F. Shaw of the Militia of the Territory of Washington is hereby assigned to the command of that District according to his rank in said Militia. 

He will organize the Militia thereof according to the laws of the Territory, call it immediately into service and generally take such measures for the protection of the settlers and friendly Indians as may in his judgment be necessary and as he may hereafter receive instructions thereon from superior authority.

Given under my hand at the Headquarters Camp, Washington Territory Volunteers, Walla Walla Valley, Washington Territory this 27th day of December 1855.


Olympia, W.T.
28 December 1855

Captain G. Gansevoort
Comdg U S Sloop of War "Decatur"

Sir: Under the present relations existing in this territory between the Citizens of the United States and the Indians residing within our limits, I have to request your cooperation with the Officers of the Indian Department in such measures as have been adopted for our self-preservation, and for the protection of such Indians as may at present be deemed friendly.

In order to remove the Indians residing on the eastern side of Puget Sound as far as possible from the influence of the hostile bands and from communication with them, and at the same time to protect them from any careless or outward conduct on the part of the troops now in the field, they have been ordered to certain localities, designated by the Indian Agents, on the Western side of the Sound.

This order has been very generally and cheerfully complied with at all points with the exception of a small band at the town of Seattle. This point from its proximity to the hostile ground must necessarily, for the protection of all concerned, be subjected to the same policy that has been carried out through other parts of the Territory.

Orders have been given to the Indian Agent for the Puget Sound District to this effect and in case of difficulty he has been directed to apply to you for assistance.

This request is not confined to this particular place or the circumstances connected with it, but to any and all occasions in which it might be necessary to strengthen the influence of the Officers of the Indian Department of this Territory.

In conclusion I will say that the Indians residing on Puget Sound, as far as at present is ascertained are friendly and it requires but a judicious and friendly but firm course to maintain the present amicable relations.

The Indians that have thus far been collected have been placed in charge of Special Agents who have decided not to allow them to leave their present locality without a pass from the Agent in Charge. That you may be aware of the persons at present holding this authority I furnish their names - A. J. Simmons, J. B. Webber, D. S. Maynard, H. H. Tobin, N. D. Hill, Robert C. Fay and E. C. Fitzhugh. Should any more special agents be appointed, you will be informed of same.

Actg Gov., Wash Terr.


Walla Walla Valley, W.T.
31 December 1855


The inhabitants of Walla Walla County are called upon to enroll themselves for the protection of themselves and families, and for such aid as they may be able to render in prosecuting the existing war against the Indians.

Colonel B. F. Shaw, of the Militia of Washington Territory, is assigned to the command of the military district embraced in Walla Walla County, and will see that the inhabitants are duly organized.

When the settlers and friendly Indians are moved to the place already designated for their winter camp, he will have such defensive works thrown up as may be necessary.

Colonel Shaw will give to the same end, the necessary directions to the settlers on the Spokane, and at Colville and at Colville Valley.

It is believed that this call will be responded to by every inhabitant in the county. The inhabitants will thus render aid in prosecuting the war, whilst protecting themselves.

The settlers in this valley will be called upon to act as their own guards. It is believed that, with the force which will remain in the valley till offensive operations are resumed, they are entirely competent to perform this service.

Colonel Shaw will cooperate with the force from Oregon in the defense of the Walla Walla Valley, or in the offensive operations against the Indians. The importance of the entire harmony and unity of action between the two territories in the prosecution of the existing war cannot be too strongly impressed upon the minds of all.

Sidney S. Ford, Jr., is commissioned as Captain, and Green McCafferty as 1st Lieut. of the volunteers from Washington, in the existing war against the Indians, and will report to Col, Shaw for duty.



1st. Wm. Craig is appointed Aid to the Commander in Chief, during the existing Indian War, to rank as Lieut. Colonel.

2nd. The Nez Perce volunteers, who have formed a portion of the force from Washington, operating against the hostile Indians, will return to the Nez Perce country, and there be mustered out of the service, by Lieut. Colonel Craig, who will send a copy of this muster roll and descriptive list to the office of the Adjutant General at Olympia.

3rd. Especial thanks are due the Nez Perce volunteers for their cheerful obedience to orders, and exemplary deportment, whilst in the service of the Territory. 

4th. Lieut. Colonel Craig will take the necessary, measures for the protection of the Nez Perce tribes of Indians against any hostile efforts from the tribes in arms, and will call upon Colonel B. F. Shaw in command of the military district of Walla Walla for aid and supplies.

5th. It being necessary for the Commander in Chief to go to the settlements without delay, Lieut. Colonel James Doty will assume the command of the Walla Walla Battalion, consisting of the Stevens Guards and Spokane Invincibles. They will be moved to the Dalles, as soon as the weather moderates, and there be must­ered out of the service.

6th. The Commander in Chief returns his thanks to the Battalion for the alacrity with which they have obeyed his orders and discharged their duty, for their constancy and manliness in the rapid movement which they made from Spokane to this valley, in bad weather and in an inclement season - a movement began and nearly half accomplished with the certain knowledge that a large force of hostile Indians was to be met in this valley, and no expectation that aid was at hand and would be extended in season.

7th. But aid was at hand, and the Commander-in-Chief would do injustice to his own feelings and those of the men of his immediate command, if, in this General Order, he did not acknowledge the services of the gallant volunteers of Oregon, who successfully met in arms in this valley, the combined forces of hostile Indians at the time he was moving from the Spokane to the Nez Perce country.

Gov. & Comdr in Chief


Ft. Steilacoom, W.T.
21 January 1856

Hon Isaac I. Stevens, Gov., W.T.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your notes of yesterday's date.

It is my desire to cooperate most cordially with your excellency and the Volunteers in the prosecution of the war against the Indians. I shall be glad to confer with you, to exhibit the force and means I have at hand, and as soon as arrangements can be made which shall offer reasonable hopes of success, I will take the field. Until I meet you I shall continue the measures I have employed for some time past to keep the enemy quiet, to ascertain his position and strength and the best way to reach him. Our first blows ought to be vigorous and rapid.

I am, Sir, very respectfully, etc.
E.D. KEYES Capt. 3d Arty, Comdg


Fort Vancouver, W.T.
16 January 1856

His Excellency Isaac I. Stevens,
Governor of Washington Territory

Dear Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge yours of the 17th instant and beg leave to state in reply that from the instructions received from Major General Wool, commanding Department of the Pacific, and his policy pursued, I am left no discretion nor judgment in the matters requiring the action you consider necessary.

The General has thought proper to put a stop upon my course of action in the Campaign against the hostile Indians, and it only remains for me to carry out his views entirely, which necessarily compel me to frankly state to you, that the troops will not be sent now to the Walla Walla country though I have ordered Brevet Major Fitzgerald's company of Dragoons to the Dalles preparatory.

Very respectfully, etc.
G. J. Rains, Maj
4th Inf & Brig Gen, WTV

PS: A copy of your letter will be forwarded to Gen. Wool, comdg. Col. Wright and the 9th Infantry have arrived, but it is mounted troops we want.



Whereas, during the past three months a band of hostile Indians have been spreading alarms amongst the settlers, residing on Puget Sound - murdering families, destroying property, causing claims to be abandoned and preventing usual avocations of the farmer, thereby a large portion of the Territory has become deserted, and positive want, if not starvation stares us in the face during the coming year; and whereas, the term of service of the troops already called into the field, either has, or is about to expire, and that by a vigorous prosecution of the War, it is believed that a peace can soon be conquered, or our enemies west of the Cascade Mountains be annihilated, especially from the friendly attitude, up to this time, maintained by the Indians residing immediately upon the waters of Puget Sound.

Now, therefore, I, Isaac I. Stevens, Governor of the Territory of Washington, do hereby call upon the citizens of the said territory for six companies of Volunteers to serve six months, unless sooner discharged; one to enroll at Port Townsend in the county of Jefferson; one at Seattle in the county of King; one at Steilacoom, in the county of Pierce; two at Olympia, in the county of Thurston; and one at Vancouver, in the county of Clarke. 

Said companies to consist of one Captain, one First and one Second Lieutenant, four sergeants, four corporals and sixty privates - to organize by electing their own officers, and report to the Adjutant General at Olympia and wait further orders.

And furthermore, in view of the impoverished state of the Territory, and the exigiencies of the occasion, I do most earnestly call upon the citizens of this Territory for their cooperation, and to furnish such supplies on the credit of the United States Government, to be paid for by appropriations, which is expected will be made at the present session of Congress.

In testiimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty third day of January, 1856.

Governor of Washington Territory,
BY THE GOVERNOR: and Commander in Chief of the Militia


31 January 1856

Governor Stevens:

Dear Sir: I have some scruples of conscience in troubling you at this busy time. But, I would much like to call your attention to 2a few facts in connection with a Memorial which has passed the Legislature for a Military road from the Columbia River near this place, to intersect the road from Vancouver to Steilacoom. I need not tell you how much a good road from the river to the sound is needed, especially in a time like this, when it may be necessary to concentrate the whole military force at one of the two extremes of the Territory. 

But in order to make a road that will be of greatest benefit to the Territory I think it should combine the following advantages. To have a good landing place on the river where any class of vessels can land at all times of the year. To be the nearest point on the river to the Sound - and to have good ground to make the road on, clear of grades. And all these advantages are combined in the road the Memorial asks for. A copy of the report of Commissioners who located a Territorial road, over the route from Boisfort Prairie to this place is in the Secretary's office. 

A good road is already opened to the Boisfort from Fords and there is less than 25 miles of road to make over a good route, in order to have what I believe to be a better road than can be made 2to the river at any other point. I have explored all the country west of the Cowlitz pretty thoroughly and believe this to be the only practicable route for a road without incurring a very great expense. I believe the road asked for in the Memorial would be the shortest and could be made at less cost per mile than any other west of the Cowlitz River. 

There is one peculiarity of our side of the river, not generally known. At the mouth of the Cowlitz and for 8 miles below is low bottom land subject to overflow which extends to Vancouver. So that from the point where our territorial road terminates, to Vancouver, there is no landing place not subject to overflow. From that point down the river there is only one other landing (Cathlemet) above the mouth of the river where it would be possible to make a road from on account of the very high bluffs - so that any road made to the river will be obliged to terminate at one of these three points, Vancouver, Oak Point or Cathlemet or else depend on the Oregon side for a shipping point. 

My object in writing now is to ask you (if you think it of enough importance to do so) to use your influence with the War Department or with the gentlemen who have charge of the road from Steilacoom to Vancouver to have a reconnaissance made on the route of our Territorial road in connection with that road. If you notice the maps of the survey, you will see that by crossing the Chehalis at Cochran's Ferry, taking the road to Boisfort and from thence the route of the Territorial road to this place, as far as where it crosses the 3rd standard parallel, east of township line between 3 or 4 west and from there southeast to Monticello and so on up the river, that it would be as near or nearer than to take the old road to the landing, and then the east side of the Cowlitz and Columbia, as I believe is the route decided upon. 

I think it would justify a reconnaissance of the route and then the practicability of the road could be decided on by those who are disinterested and competent to judge. If the route is found to be a good one and the road to Vancouver located over it, it would answer the purpose of both roads if that road should not be brought that way. Congress could have reliable information concerning the importance of the road asked for in the Memorial. I have written much more than I intended but trust to your kindness to excuse my prolixity.

Allow me to congratulate you on your safe return from your dangerous and laborious expedition. And also allow me to say that I very much approve of the energetic measures you have adopted in the conduct of the Indian war. This first Indian War should be so conducted as to make it the last one.

Respectfully yours, etc,