Olympia, 2 April 1856

Commanding 9th Infantry, Ft Vancouver.

Sir: I have respectfully to suggest the propriety of a thorough understanding between the regular and volunteer service, so their joint efforts may be applied to the protection of the settlements and the prosecution of the war.

The recent attack on the Cascades must convince all persons that this is no time for forms, but for vigorous, energetic and united action.

We have the worst country in the world for summer operations. The Indians, basing their operations on the mountain region about Rainier, St. Helens and Adams, a region affording inexhaustible quantities of food, numerous and inaccessible retreats, can defy the utmost energies of a vastly superior force to do ought else than protect the settlements.

We are now rapidly approaching that condition of things, and it becomes a paramount duty to prepare for it.

Not only in my judgment is the present force in the field, both regulars and volunteers, inadequate, but it should be strengthened, and that rapidly, or the force of Oregon Volunteers will be left to contend single handed against a vastly superior force.

I am now raising an additional company in Lewis county for the protection of the people, and to watch the passes in that quarter. A company has already been raised in Clarke county which will, if practicable, be mounted.

The effect, in that settled portion of the Territory ought to be to keep the farmers on their claims. In Clarke county, I learn the inhabitants have gone to Vancouver and St. Helens.

There should be blockhouses on the Washougal settlement and on the Lewis River.

I therefore propose to apply the company raised in Clarke county in ranging duty, and every effort will be made to induce settlers to return to their farms and secure themselves by blockhouses.

I am most anxious to arrange my operations that no force need be thrown away, and I will ask you to communicate with me and make such suggestions as may seem to you appropriate.

I am, sir, etc
ISAAC I. STEVENS, Gov., Wash. Terr.

Fort Vancouver, W.T., 10 April 1856

Governor I. I. Stevens, Olympia, W.T.

Governor: I have this moment received your communication of the 2nd instant, and in reply, have to say, that I am now using all the force at my disposal for the protection of the settlements, and in restoring confidence to the farmers east, west and north of us. In the first place, I am erecting blockhouses at either extremity of the Cascade portage; they will be completed in a few days. 

I have also organized a detachment of mounted infantry under an enterprising officer, to range over the whole country and afford protection to the farmers. The panic is subsiding; the people are now beginning to return to their vocations; all they require is union among themselves, and the knowledge of the fact that scouting parties are constantly moving over the country.

The temporary success the enemy met with at the Cascades, has not given him confidence; my sudden return and total dispersion of all the Indians at that point, with a loss of twelve or fifteen of their warriors, with all their baggage and animals, will have convinced them that they are safe only in their mountain retreats. 

The unfortunate affair at the Cascades, it is hoped, may arouse our people to the necessity of having their arms always with them; had such been the case, many valuable lives might have been spared.

We must keep an eye on the "Friendly" Indians. I am well satisfied that they knew full well at the Cascades that an attack was to be made, and that many of them joined the hostile party. However, I have given them a lesson which they will long remember. Ten of these Indians, including their chief, have been hung by sentence of a military commission. 

The residue, some forty men and seventy or eighty women and children have been placed on an island without any means of leaving it, and under the observation of troops. As soon as our lines of communication are well secured, and quiet and confidence established in the settlements, I shall be prepared to advance into the country of the Yakimas.

A strong post must be established in the heart of that country. It will not do to march through an Indian country simply; we should make them understand that we are going to make a permanent settlement with them. Break up their fisheries, and harrass them constantly, in order that they will have no time to lay in a supply of food. By this course, I think they may be brought to terms, perhaps not until next winter; it is only a question of time, it must be accomplished in the end.

I return immediately to the Cascades.
with great respect, etc,

20 April 1856


1st. B. F. Shaw is elected Lieut. Colonel of the 2nd Regiment, W. T. Vols., and will assume command of the Central and Southern Battalions.

2nd. H. J. G. Maxon is elected Major of 2nd Regt., W. T. Volunteers and will assume command of the Southern Battalion.

3rd. Edward Gibson is appointed extra aid to the Commander in Chief.

4th. 1st Lieut. W. W. DeLacy is appointed Adjutant of the Southern Battalion.

5th. Humphrey Hill is appointed Adjutant of the Northern Battalion.

6th. B. F. Ruth is appointed Adjutant of the Central Battalion.

7th. Justin Millard is appointed Surgeon in the 2nd Regt., W. T. Vols.

8th. Christopher C. Pagett is appointed Asst. Q.M. and Commissary, and is assigned to duty with Captain Warbass' Company.

9th. Albert Eggers is appointed Assistant Surgeon.

1Oth. U. G. Warbass is appointed Assistant Surgeon.

11th. Officers elected by Co. L, 2nd Regt: Henri M. Chase, Captain; V. L. Fontaine, 1st Lieut; Louis Raboin, 2nd Lieut. (Walla Walla county) Should be "M" Co.

12th. Co. K (Mounted Rifles): Francis M. P. Goff, Captain; Israel Hedges, 1st Lieut; Thomas Waite, 2nd Lieut.

13th. Co. J (Mounted Rifles): Bluford Miller, Capt; Anthony W. Pressly, 1st Lieut; Andrew Sheppard, 2nd Lieut.

14th. Co. M (Lewis County): Edward Warbass, Capt; John W. Anderson, 1st Lieut; John B. Bouchard, 2nd Lieut. Should be L Co.

15th. Clark County Rangers: William Kelly, Capt; John D. Biles, 1st Lieut; Patrick Ahern, 2nd Lieut.

16th. Daniel Smalley is elected Captain of Co. G, vice J. J. H. Van Bokkelen elected Major of Northern Battalion, 2nd Regt.

17th. Arthur A. Denny is elected lst Lieut. of Co. A, 2nd Regt., vice H. H. Peixotto, resigned.

18th. J. Q. Cole elected 1st Lieut. Company E.

Olympia, 24 April 1856

Commanding, Columbia River District

Sir: My object in addressing you is to ascertain whether it is a point of your plan of campaign soon to occupy the Walla Walla country. Should the Oregon Volunteers be disbanded, and the Walla Walla not be occupied, my train will require a considerable escort.

In this event, will you furnish me with an escort of one company on my requisition.

Very respectfully, etc.
Governor of Washington Territory 

Headquarters, Northern Dist., Dept. of the Pacific
Camp at Dalles, O. T., 27 April 1856

Governor Isaac I. Stevens,
Olympia, W. T.

Governor: Your communication of the 24th instant has this moment reached me; and in reply, I have to say, that it forms no part of my present plan of campaign to occupy the Walla Walla country. I cross the Columbia River tomorrow morning with five companies, and march into the heart of the Yakima country, with the hope of terminating the war in that quarter at an early date.

The expedition to the Walla Walla has been deferred for the present, as we are assured that the Indians in that district, and on the Snake River are peaceably inclined. It has been deemed advisable to operate with a strong force in the Yakima country.

Your communication has been forwarded to the Major General, commanding the department, for his action in the matter.

With great respect, etc,
G. Wright, Col., 9th Inf., Comdg.

8 May 1856

Col. George Wright,
Commanding Northern District.

Sir: Your favor of the 27th instant reached me last evening. My object in writing is to state, that my information in regard to the Indians on the Walla Walla and on the Snake River is that they are determined to prosecute the war.

This was the declaration made by the prominent chiefs of the Cayuses to the express of Mr. McDonald some weeks ago. This is the opinion of my agent in the Nez Perce country, and of the Nez Perce chiefs, and it would seem to be indicated by the recent attack by the Indians on the volunteers at the Umatilla.

I have, therefore, thought it my duty to communicate these views, and I will suggest that you receive with great caution any information of their peaceable intentions, to the end that you may not be thrown off your guard.

Very respectfully, etc,
Isaac I. Stevens, Gov. of Wash. Terr.

Olympia, 12 May 1856

General John E. Wool
Commanding Pacific Division, USA, Beneicia, Calif.

Sir: I have received a letter from your aide-de-camp, Lieut. Richard Arnold, of 4 April, returning to me with its inclosures, my letter to you of the 20th of March, and stating that it was done by your direction.

It can only be construed as evidencing a determination on your part to have not further communication with the Executive of the Territory of Washington, at the very time when, from the circumstances of the country, and the nature of their respective duties, there should and must often be such communcations.

It is a matter which is not to be decided by personal feelings, but of consideration of public duty, which alone should govern public acts, I shall therefore, continue in my official capacity to communicate with the Major General, commanding the Department of the Pacific, whenever, in my judgement, duty and paramount interests of the Territory shall demand such communcation to be made, casting upon that officer whatever responsibility before the country and his superiors, may attach to his refusal to receive said communcations. My duty shall be done. Let others do their duty.

I am, sir, very respectfully, etc.,
Governor of Washington Territory

Vancouver, 15 May 1856

Sir: A steamer arrived this morning from the Dalles bringing information that Colonel Wright's command was on the bank of the Nachess River and 1200 armed Indians were on the opposite bank inviting him to give them battle. Col. Wright could not cross the River in face of the enemy and sent for reinforcements. One company of regulars start from here today, and another starts from the Dalles tomorrow for the camp of Colonel Wright, but doubtless a battle will have been fought before reinforcements arrive. 

Colonel Wright is not in immediate danger, but cannot safely return. This is all the information I can get. The Steamer "Fashion" will arrive this afternoon with official information, probably from Col. Wright. I send this by steamer which starts immediately for Monticello and give this to Clerk of boat to hand to Expressman Wallace who will be, taken on board some 15 miles below this place.

Very respectfully, etc.
Joseph Cushman

Gov. I I Stevens, C in C & Supt of Indian Affairs.


Thursday, 15 May 56 - 10;00 A.M. Started on our march from Fort Hays, crossed White River at Emigrant crossing after entering Porter's Prairie, took a northeast course from Fort Pike. Went through an open country, good land and easily cleared but rather wet at this season of the year. 

Travelled seven miles from Fort Pike and camped on a dry prairie containing one hundred acres of splendid grass with a stream of water running on the eastern side of it. The country to the east of the prairie is level and good land, easily cleared as most of the large timber is dead and scattering.

Friday, 16th. Started early and went down on to a place of bottom land with the same stream running through it. After crossing it in a northeast direction two miles, raised a ridge gravelly and covered with burnt timber. Travelled with train in northeast direction. During the day, Captain Smalley scouted the country to the eastward reports that the country bears the same appearance to base of the mountains. Found no new signs. Train travelled eight miles and struck Green River at a good crossing but the river high. Scouted river bottom on south side but found no new signs but plenty of old signs. Crossed Green River and think it is as far up as the river can be crossed as immediately above the banks become high and show signs of anthracite coal. Camped on the northern side.

Saturday 17th. Started out Lieut. Mounts with party down stream and Captain Smalley with a party upstream to examine country. Captain Smalley reported banks of river high and no signs of Indians. Lieut. Mounts reported a large vine maple bottom two miles in width and extending some distance down stream. Suppose that our camp is some 8 to 10 miles above the Indian village. In the bottom Lieut. 

Mounts found signs of Indians and horses supposed to be about three months old. Their trails lead to the settlements. Started with train from camp at 3:00 PM in northeast direction. Had to cut road the same as yesterday; after travelling four miles struck small lake (the same as we camped upon before in our march through from Fort Tilton). This afternoon we travelled through a poor country of burnt timber. Found no signs of Indians having been on the lake since we left it. Found feed on the borders of the lake.

Sunday 18th. A little after daylight, scouting parties under Captain Smalley and Lieut. Mounts started out to examine the country both to the right and left of our old trail. Started with train at 10 AM following old trail found signs of three or four Indians with one horse travelling north. Scouting parties connected with train at 3 PM Report finding about a mile from trail on another small lake and lndian camp and from the appearance of a carcass of a bear they had not left over a week. 

From top of hill could see a large lake on south side of river (Green River) with level land around suppose to be prairie. Excepting these two lakes, all the country scouted is high hills and rolling land covered with burnt timber. Banks of river high and about 3 miles from trail. Travelled 8 miles northeast and struck Green river where banks were very high. Left river and travalled nearly northwest five miles and struck burnt prairie. Camped at western end near a spring of water on the side hill. 

To the south of some bark shanties there is a trail leading to it and is the only water within five miles. Staked the horses on the northern side of the hill where there is a little grass. Traveled this day with train - 12 miles.

Monday 19th. Started scouts ahead. After leaving Burnt Prairie raised a divide and travelled in an eastern direction four miles and then descended steep hill to crossing on Cedar River. Crossed and found as much water in Cedar as in either of the other rivers. Travelled up Cedar River eight miles. The land for the most part is rocky and of little account. 

Struck Rattlesnake Prairie which lays about a mile back from the river with a high hill between it and the river. It contains about 200 acres most of it covered with grass and I think supplied with plenty of water the year through. Camped.

Tuesday 20th. Started all the party through to Ranger's Prairie excepting myself, Captain Smalley, and eleven others who started for summit. On leaving Prairie had to raise a high hill after which the trail followed the ridge until we had travelled 10 miles from camp when we had to descend to the borders of lake. Followed the borders of the lake travelling on a side hill trail two miles till we struck some low land with several streams running through it. 

Raised a hill and travelled two miles and camped not far from River. Captain Smalley still ahead with advance party.

Wednesday 21st. Started early to overtake Captain Smalley leaving blankets at camp. After travelling four miles found Captain Smalley's camp. He had gone. Followed on his track, the trail gradually rising up hill towards the Summit. Travelled twelve miles and found snow in patches, met Captain Smalley returning from Summit. He reported having been three miles further and struck water running down eastern slope. After passing lake, reports the snow does not extend over 2-1/2 miles and not over two feet deep. Returned and camped at old camping ground.

Thursday 22nd. Started early returning by same route. Travelled 24 miles and reached Ranger's prairie where we found the boys encamped. Ranger's prairie is six miles long and three wide. The land between it and Rattlesnake prairie is good but timbered. There is also two other prairies in the immediate neighborhood.

There is a very large extent of good land in this neighborhood and well supplied with water.

Major, Comdg No. Bn., WTV

PS Our trail to the Pass from Rattlesnake prairie bore south. The Pass lays about ten miles to the southwest of the Prairie.

J. J. H. VAN B.

19 May 1856

To His Excellency, Isaac I. Stevens
Governor of Washington

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 18th instant, requesting me to approve your requisition on the military storekeeper at this post for howitzers, rifles, ammunition, etc.

In reply, I have to say, that it will be impossible for me to grant the authority desired. My instructions from the Major General commanding the Department of the Pacific on the subject of issuing arms, etc, to troops not in the service of the United States, are postive, and I cannot depart from them.

In case of any descent upon this portion of the Territory, my command will do all in its power for the safety and protection of the citizens and property, and will cooperate with the troops of the Territory as far as practicable.

My command consists of one company, and a few recruits. A company of the 9th Infantry left here Thursday, last, to join the command of Colonel Wright.

I am sir, respectfully, etc,
Lieut. Col., 4th Inf., Comdg Post.

PS. It may be proper to state that there are no mountain howitzers here for the use of the post, all having been forwarded some time since, to Fort Dalles, and I am informed by the ordnance officer that there are but enough rifles for the troops of the district.


His Excellency, I. I. Stevens
Governor of Washington Territory

Sir: I called a council of the officers of the Central and Southern battalions now at this post, to take into consideration the expediency of a movement across the mountains. The following was the result:

We unanimously concluded that the expedition is highly necessary for the following reasons:

1st. Our crossing the mountains with our horse will force Col. Casey to remain here with his foot, or rather, it will devolve the necessity of protecting the settlements on him. But if we remain here until he starts, then we will be forced to remain and protect the settlements, while he will march a force of footmen into a country, where horsemen are alone needed, thus rendering both forces inefficient.

2nd. Yakimas are the ruling power among the Indians, in this war, and hence the necessity of breaking their main body before we can attack them in detail.

3rd. Col. Wright, with his footmen, cannot follow them if he does whip them.

4th. By remaining here, we can never know what our enemy is doing 150 miles off.

5th. The Volunteers must make a fight before going out of service.

6th. With the troops that are left, we can, with good management effectually protect them.

7th. It is necessary to have depots of provisions in the Yakima country before winter.

8th. The enemy on this side of the mountains has been repeatedly defeated, whilst on the other side, he has never been checked.


Olympia, 24 May 1856

Honorable Jefferson Davis,
Secretary of War, Washington City, D.C.

Sir: Although the exact phase which the Indian war will assume the present summer is not yet fully developed, enough is known to point out clearly the preparations which should be made to meet probable contingencies.

I propose, therefore, in this communication to set forth the present condition of the war, and the measures of preparation and precaution taken by me as Executive of the Territory, and the Commander in Chief of the Volunteer force.


The war has been prosecuted with exceeding vigor, energy and success. The Indians have been defeated in two battles, one by the regulars at the crossing of White River, the other by the volunteers at Connell's Prairie. The Indians have been repeatedly struck since by the regulars, by the volunteers, and by the Indian auxillaries. 

The country has been thoroughly and repeatedly scouted in every direction, and is now firmly held by blockhouses and roads. Two hundred Indians have been got back of Seattle by the volunteers, and those believed to have been engaged in the war, are now being tried by a military commission ordered by me at Seattle.

On the Puyallup and Nisqually, the Indians have been got into the number of nearly three hundred. Some have been tried by a commission ordered by Lieut. Col. Casey, others by a commission held under my orders.

The principle adopted in all these commissions is to try and punish summarily those accused and proved to be instigators of the war, and parties to murder. The remainder are sent to reservations in charge of local agents.

The main body of the hostiles have been driven across the mountains, and under the lead of Leschi, are in camp of the confederates hostile force on the Nachess Pass.

Their spies are on this side - are constantly communicating information to them, and the plan of the hostiles is to send parties through different passes to lay waste and burn the settlements.

This suggests the plan to be pursued to meet the emergency -

1. To move over the Nachess with two hundred horsemen, to strike the enemy in conjunction with the regular troops, to closely pursue and drive him across the Columbia. Thus the war will be transferred from the settlements to the interior.

2. But as small parties may defy the utmost exertions and vigilance of a vastly superior force, and cross the mountains to the settlements, troops should be in position to watch the passes, and at suitable points in reserve to protect a point unexpectedly attacked.

A volunteer force of one hundred strong is in the neighborhood of the falls of the Snoqualamie, at the depot at Fort Tilton, below the falls, at a post on a large prairie above the falls, and at an advance post on Cedar Creek. Their orders are to watch the passes, to send scouts over across the mountains, to maintain their position in case of attack by a superior force, and send back for reinforcements.

This flank is a very important one, and must be maintained at all hazards, because it gives direct access to the great body of friendly Indians on the reservation, and if broken, considerable accessions might accrue to the hostiles.

The regular forces in conjunction with a small volunteer company raised in Seattle, is now occupying the country on White and Green Rivers, the lower portion of Cedar Creek, and the country about Black River and Duwamish Lake. They also occupy the lower crossing of the Puyallup and the country about Steilacoom.

The volunteer force occupies the country with posts thence to Vancouver. The report and map already forwarded will explain where posts have been established. Since the report has been transmitted, a post has been established at South Prairie, a large blockhouse built on the Tenalquot plains, a short line of communication opened from Yelm to Grand Mound, and a wagon road nearly pushed through from the Cowlitz Landing to Monticello. Two ferries have been established on the Cowlitz

A company of nearly ninety men has been raised on the Cowlitz. It is divided into an active and reserved list. The former, consisting of about forty men, is constantly engaged on scouting duty up the Cowlitz River, and towards Lewis River pass. A small company of Indian auxiliaries will be employed with them. The reserved list meets once a week for inspection. But except for the day of inspection, they are not provided with rations, nor will payment for services be recommended by me.

It is here proper to state the utmost cordiality pervades between the regular and volunteer forces. They have scouted together, and have practically held the whole field in cooperation, and brought about the present condition of things. All this has been essentially done in the rainy season. The toils, hardships, and marches, and the blows struck by all troops in heavy rains and inclement weather, is worthy of special commendation.

But the passes are now open, leaves are on the trees, food is abundant for the Indians. I consider this the critical period of the war west of the Cascades. Let us look, therefore, to


It is not to be disguised that the tribes east of the mountains thus far consider themselves the victors. When Colonel Wright commenced his march into the Yakima country early this month, they practically held the whole country for which they had been fighting. Not a white man now is to be found from the Dalles to the Walla Walla; not a house stands, and Colonel Wright, at the last advices, was on the Nachess in presence of twelve to fifteen hundred warriors, determined to fight. All the confederated bands are there.

Colonel Wright met the hostiles on the 8th day of May - made an ineffectual attempt to treat with them till the 14th. On the evening of the eleventh, he dispatched an express to the Dalles for reinforcements, and on the 13th or 14th, three companies went to his assistance, and probably reached him on the 16th or 17th inst. His force then would number some 250 effectual men.

If the Indians are so emboldened by their success as to believe they can overcome Colonel Wright in a hard fight, it will be fortunate, as the regular force will strike a severe blow, and may drive them across the Columbia.

It seems to me probable that they will simply attempt to harrass and annoy him, will steal his animals, will draw him further north into their country, will send parties to the rear to compel him to make detachments, will gain time, so that his provisions may be consumed, and reduce his operations mainly to occupy a post or two and supplying them.

Two hundred horsemen on the Nachess, well supplied and numbered under a vigorous officer, at this juncture, will, with the operation of the regular troops, drive him across the Columbia. This force I am now organizing at Camp Montgomery. It will be ready in ten days.

In this view, the Walla Walla country must be held, communication be established with the Nez Perce auxiliary, and the enemy restricted to the country north of the Snake River, and on the immediate banks of the Columbia, north of the Snake.

I am organizing a force of two hundred men to occupy the Walla Walla. One hundred men are already at the Dalles. They will move with one hundred day's provisions, and some to spare for the Nez Perce auxiliaries, and the troops which may be concentrated there from the Yakima country.

The Yakima and Walla Walla country firmly held, the passes well watched over the Cascades - the main force of the enemy on the Snake and upper Columbia - we may then be able to disband the bulk of the remaining volunteers on the Sound.

This most favorable view of the progress of the war, which cannot be developed in a shorter period than four to six weeks, will practically keep in service all the volunteers for their six month's term of service, and may render it necessary to extend the term on the part of those occupying the Walla Walla.

I cannot too strongly urge the policy of accumulating supplies in the Yakima country and in the Walla Walla, in readiness to wage winter campaign.

On the first of November, there should be six month's supplies for all the troops in both the Yakima and Walla Walla country. There should be ample supplies of forage. There should be a post and ferry at or near the sight of old Fort Walla Walla, and at or near the mouth of the Palouse.

With proper preparations, a winter campaign can be waged, and the war ended. I have personal knowledge of the winter features of the country.

To diminish transportation, make use of ox teams; send forward salt; return the wagons with two yokes instead of three; use fresh and dried beef as much as possible, and reduce the ration of flour to one half pound a day.

Troops would be perfectly healthy with one-third of a pound per man each day, using fresh or dried beef.

Thus, to transfer the war from the settlements on the Sound and the Columbia River to the interior, to strike such blows as opportunities may offer, and to be in readiness to prepare for a vigorous winter campaign, I shall, in ten days be ready to move over the Nachess with two hundred horsemen and 150 pack animals, and to the Walla Walla with two hundred horsemen and 100 day's provisions.

For the lower Columbia, a company has been organized in Clarke county. Several blockhouses have been built. A portion are constantly kept scouting. The remainder will form a reserve list without pay or rations.

I am, sir, very respectfully,

In the meantime, during the foregoing campaign against the Indians west of the Cascades and while searching out for small bands of Indians who had been discovered, it became apparent that some of the old time employees of the Hudson Bay Company were giving aid and comfort to these Indian bands and even furnishing them with food and arms. Their homes were on the outskirts of the settlements and all were married to or living with Indian Women. 

Governor Stevens therefore ordered all of them to move into the settlements which they did for a short time and then returned to their claims. Late in March, Captain Maxon finding them back on their claims, arrested Charles Wren, John McLeod, L. A. Smith, Henry Smith and John McField and sent them to Fort Steilacoom following which he advised Governor Stevens he considered them guilty of treason for aiding the hostile Indians. Within two days after their arrival at Fort Steilacoom, Frank Clark and W. H. Wallace, Steilacoom lawyers, were engaged by the men, and immediately prepared to sue out a writ of habeas corpus for their release. 

Governor Stevens, learning that one of the lawyers was enroute to Judge Chenowith's home on Whidby Island to present the writ, issued a Proclamation on 3 April 1856 declaring MARTIAL LAW in Pierce county.

The proclamation caused some excitement and the public awaited developments with some expectation. As the day for opening the court neared, Judge Chenowith, claiming that he was too ill to travel, asked Judge Lander to preside for him. Judge Lander at that time was in command of Company A, 2nd Regiment, WTV, with station on the Duwamish. However, he arrived at Steilacoom on the appointed day and opened court. However, he adjourned it immediately and sent a message asking Governor Stevens to revoke his proclamation. Governor Stevens refused and directed Col. B. F. Shaw to enforce the proclamation.

On the morning of 7 May, Judge Lander again opened court. As soon as the court was called, Colonel Shaw with a detachment of volunteers, entered the court room and arrested Judge Lander and his clerk and took them, with their records to Olympia. Both were liberated the following day. For his action some of the citizens criticized the Governor for his actions at a meeting apparently instigated by the lawyers. Resolutions to this effect were adopted at this meeting and forwarded to The Congress and President. 

A week after Judge Lander's arrest, he announced that court would be held in Olympia in his own district where the Governor's proclamation did not apply. However the day before the court was to convene, Governor Stevens issued another proclamation declaring Thurston county under MARTIAL LAW. This action was also disregarded by Judge Lander who convened the court on May 14th. 

He immediately issued a warrant for Governor Stevens to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt of court. Learning that a detachment of mounted volunteers had arrived in Olympia, Judge Lander adjourned the Court and went to the office of the Clerk. Captain Bluford Miller, in command of the detachment, came to the Clerk's office and arrested both of them. The clerk was later released and Judge Lander was taken to Camp Montgomery where he was detained until MARTIAL LAW was terminated by Governor Stevens on 26 May 1856.

In the meantime, the prisoners had had a hearing before a Military Commission held at Camp Montgomery, the proceedings of which were as follows:


1. Charge: Relieving the Enemy.

1st Specification: In this that the said Lyon A. Smith, John McLeod and Charles Wren, the accused, did at divers times between the first day of November, 1855 and the 26th day of April 1856, in the county of Pierce and Territory of Washington, relieve certain hostile Indians waging war against the United States in said Territory, with victuals and ammunition.

2nd Specification: In this that the said accused, during the time mentioned above, were ordered by the Commander-in-Chief to retire from their land claims in said county (the same being frequented and infested by hostile Indians) to Olympia, Steilacoom, or Fort Nisqually, and although the accused did temporarily obey such order, they afterwards, during said time and the continuance of the war, return to their land claims without authority or permission from the said Commander-in-Chief.

2. Charge: Knowingly Harboring the Enemy.

1st Specification: In this that the said accused, did, at divers times between the said 1st of November 1855 and 26 April 1856, receive at their houses in the county of aforesaid, visits from hostile Indians, waging war against the United States, knowing the said Indians to be engaged in war against the United States.

3. Charge: Knowingly Protecting the Enemy.

1st Specification: In this that the said accused did at various times during said period and the continuance of the said war, receive divers Indians at their houses, knowing them to be hostile and engaged in war against the United States, and afforded them shelter.

2nd Specification: In this that the said accused did at various times and in divers ways during said time and the continuance of the Indian War, exhibited friendship towards certain Indians, knowing them to be engaged in war against the United States in said Territory.

3rd Specification: In this that the said accused have at various times claimed and pretended to a right to live on their farms (situated in a locality infested and frequented by said hostile Indians) and remain neutral in a war in which as good citizens it was their duty to afford aid and assistance to the Military of the United States.

4th Specification: In this that the said accused at divers times during the said period, possessing knowledge of the whereabouts and movements of said hostile Indians, neglected and failed to give intelligence thereof to the Military of the United States (when they could have done so conveniently), and when they did give such notice, it was not until the possibility of such information being useful had ceased from lapse of time.

4. Charge: Holding Correspondence with the Enemy.

1st Specification: In this that the said accused have at various times and in divers ways during said period in said county, held correspondence with certain Indians, knowing them to be engaged in a war against the United States.

5. Charge: Giving Intelligence to the Enemy.

1st Specification: In this that the said accused have at various times during said period and the continuance of said Indian war, given intelligence to certain hostile Indians in said county, knowing them to be engaged in a war against the United States in said Territory.

Governor and Commander in Chief

20 May 1856


12 o'clock M, 20 May 1856

The court met pursuant to the said order.


Lieut. Col. J. S. Hurd Aide de Camp to Commander in Chief
Major H. J. G. Maxon Commanding Southern Battalion, 2nd Regt.
Captain C. W. Swindal 2nd Regt., W.T.V.
Captain W. W. DeLacy 2nd Regt., W.T.V.
Lieut. A. Shepherd 2nd Regt., W.T.V.
Victor Monroe - Judge Advocate
Quincy A. Brooks - Recorder

The Order convening this Court not being present, the Court adjourned until tomorrow at 12 o'clock M.

Camp Montgomery, Wash. Terr.
12 o'clock M, 21 May 1856

The Court met pursuant to adjournment. The following is the order constituting this court and which was omitted to be inserted in yesterdays' proceedings, viz:

Office, Adj Gen, W. T. Volunteers

Olympia, 16 May 1856

A general court martial or Military Commission will assemble at Camp Montgomery on the 20th of May 1856 for the purpose of trying such persons as may be brought before it. 

Lieut. Col. Hurd Captain Swindal
Major Maxon Lieut. Shepherd
Capt. DeLacy Supernumerary - Lieut. S. B. Curtis
Judge Advocate - Victor Monroe, Esq.

JAMES TILTON, Adj Gen W. T. Vols

Present: Lieut. Col. J. S. Hurd, Major H. J. G. Maxon, Captain C. W. Swindal, Capt. W. W. DeLacey, Lieut. A. Shepard and Supernumerary Lieut. S. B. Curtis.

Present also the Judge Advocate and Recorder.

The recorder, at the request of the Judge Advocate, read the order convening the Court.

The recorder, at the request of the Judge Advocate, also read the charges and specifications against Lyon A. Smith, Charles Wren and John McLeod.

The Judge Advocate then made a written application (marked A appended), asking an adjournment of the Court in order to obtain authority to ammend the charges. Whereupon the Court was cleared for deliberation and after mature consideration the Court adjourned until tomorrow at one o'clock P.M.

Camp Montgomery, Washington Territory
1 o'clock P.M., 22 May 1856

The Court met pursuant to adjournment. Present: Lt, Col. Hurd, Major Maxon, Capt. Swindal, Capt. DeLacey, Lt. A. Shepherd and Lt. Curtis. Present also the Judge Advocate and Recorder.

The Judge Advocate presented a 4th specification ordered by the Commander in Chief, which was ordered by the Court to be filed, and which is annexed to the original specifications.

The Judge Advocate asked leave to amend the phraseology in the second specification, substituting the word "they" for "he." Whereupon the Court was cleared for deliberation and after mature consideration the Court ordered the proposed amendments be made.

A copy of the 4th Specification having been delivered to Lyon A. Smith, Charles Wren and John McLeod, the orderly Sergeant brought into Court Lyon A. Smith.

The Judge Advocate read aloud to the prisoner the order convening the Court and the Charges and Specifications and asked him if he had any cause of challange to any member of the Court mentioned in the Warrant Order, to which the accused answered that he had no objection to any member of the court.

The Judge Advocate then administered the oath prescribed by law to all the members of the court and to the Supernumary, and the President Lieut. Col. J. S. Hurd administered the required oath to the Judge Advocate.

The prisoner asked to be allowed as Counsel, Wm. H. Wallace, B. F. Kendall and Frank Clark, Esqrs. Whereupon the Court was cleared for deliberation and after mature consideration granted the request of the prisoner and allowed said gentlemen to act as his counsel.

The prisoner, by his counsel, then offered a written protest or plea to the jurisdiction, appended to these proceedings, which was read by the Judge Advocate. The Judge Advocate having asked time to reply to the plea of the prisoner, the Court adjourned until tomorrow at 8 o'clock A.M.

Camp Montgomery, Washington Territory
8 o'clock A.M., 23 May 1856

The Court met pursuant to adjournment. Present: All the members of the Court, Supernumerary, Judge Advocate and the Recorder. Lyon A. Smith, the accused, also present.

Upon reading the minutes of the preceedings of yesterday, the prisoner made the following written request:

Mr. President:

L. A. Smith requests that the plea to the jurisdiction be copied into and form a part of the record of the trial.

L. A. Smith

The court was cleared for deliberation and after consideration the Court ordered the plea to be entered on the Record and is as follows:

Mr. President:

Lyon A. Smith protests against the competency of this commission or court martial for want of jurisdiction on these several grounds:

1st. The allegations and charges set forth in the specifications constitutes the crime of "Treason" which can only be tried in the civil courts of the United States.

2nd. Citizens cannot be tried either by court martial or Military commission.

3rd. This is not a legally constituted tribunal inasmuch as the present Volunteer forces of this Territory are not organized under the Militia Laws of this Territory or under any law of the United States and that this court has been ordered by a person incompetent to do so.

4th. That neither Militia nor volunteer forces, until mustered into the service of the United States are amenable to or authorized to institute any military court as they have no authority conferred to the Constitution and laws of the United States or by the Statutes of this Territory.

5th. That the order for this court or Military commission makes it a special commission and does not designate the person to be tried by said commission.

Lyon A. Smith, by Attorney.

The Judge Advocate then read the following paper, viz:

Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Court:

The allegations and charges set forth in the specifications against L. A. Smith, the accused, are that he did knowingly harbor, protect and assist with victuals, ammunition, shelter, sympathy and friendship, certain marauding bands of hostile Indians waging unlawful war in Washington Territory against the United States. And any persons guilty of such an offense is subject to the jurisdiction of a court martial or military commission whether he be a citizen or an alien.

This is a legally constituted tribunal having been called by Isaac I. Stevens, Governor of the Territory of Washington and Commander in Chief of the Volunteer forces (Militia) of the Territory, now in the field, called out by his Proclamation and cooperating with the regular forces against the common enemy now waging war in said territory against the United States. The said Isaac I. Stevens in his capacity of Governor and Commander in Chief, being perfectly competent to call out such forces.

The Warrant Order of this court martial or military commission does not make it a special commission but on the contrary it is a general commission to try all persons brought before it, and under the charge and specification filed against the accused, he has been regularly brought before the court. It is therefore asked that the protest or plea of L. A. Smith filed may be over-ruled and that he be required to answer.


Whereupon the court room was cleared for deliberation, and after a short time spent in consideration, the Court was opened, the prisoner brought in, and the President announced that the decision of the Court would be made known at 1 o'clock this afternoon to which time the Court Was adjourned.

Camp Montgomery, Washington Territory
1 o'clock P.M., 23 May 1856

The court met pursuant to adjournment. Present: All members, supernumerary, Judge Advocate, Recorder and L. A. Smith, the accused.

The Court was then cleared for deliberation and after mature consideration the Court opened and gave the following opinion, viz:

The charges against Lyon A. Smith is "Aiding and comforting the enemy." We are of the opinion that such an offense constitutes the crime of Treason and that this Court has no jurisdiction as a Military Court to try and punish a prisoner for such an offense.

We are, however, of the opinion that this Court was ordered by competent authority, and that is is legally and constitutionally created and has jurisdiction of such crimes as are cognizable by military tribunals.

The Court then adjourned until Monday, 26 May 1856 at one o'clock P.M.


I certify that the following is a correct copy of the testimony and proceedings had before a General Court Martial or Military Commission held at Camp Montgomery, W. T. commencing on the 20th day of May 1856 and ending on this day in pursuance of an Order as set forth in the proceedings of said Court Martial on the 21st day of May 1856. Witness my hand at Camp Montgomery, W. T., 23 May 1856.


On 26 May 1856, the commission again convened and tried two Volunteers for the murder of an Indian by the name of "Mowitch."  After hearing the testimony, the Court, cleared Joseph Brannon and James A. Lake, both of Olympia. Brannon was a member of Co. C, 2nd Regt. and served in the first phase of the war in Co. B, 1st Regt. as 4th Sergeant. Lake was a Corporal in the Pioneer Company.

This Commission was one of three known Commissions appointed by Governor Stevens during the Indian Wars. A Commission composed of Captain Franklin Matthias, Lieut. Eustis Huger, Lieut. David A. Neely, with W. W. Ward as Judge Advocate was convened from 15 to 26 May in Seattle for the trial of 15 Indians suspected of participating in the attack on Seattle. The Commission, after 10 days of hearing testimony, found all the Indians NOT GUILTY.

Another Commission was convened at the Dalles on 18 June 1856 to try two Indians accused of murdering settlers. This Commission composed of Capt. F. M. Goff, Lieut. Israel Hedges, Lieut. A. W. Presley with A. Townsend as Judge Advocate found both prisoners guilty and sentenced them both to be hanged. However, the Reviewing Officer, Governor Stevens, remitted the sentence of one to confinement at Fort Dalles for duration of war and approved the hanging for the other at Ft Dalles on Friday, 20 June 1856 between the hours of 12 noon and 2 P.M.