FORT DALLES, O. T., 4 October 1856
Hon. I. I. Stevens,
Gov. & Supt of Indian Affairs, W.T.
Governor: I had the honor to receive sometime since, your communication of the 19th of August, making requisition on me for the delivery of Leschi, Nelson, Quimuth and Stehi, with a view of their being sent to the Sound, to be tried by civil authority.
I delayed action on the subject, expecting your speedy return from Walla Walla, when I was anxious to have a personal interview with you.
You know the circumstances under which the Indians referred to were permitted to come in and remain with the friendly Yakimas. Although I have made no promises that they should not be held to account for their former acts, yet, in the present unsettled state of our Indian relations, I think it would be unwise to seize them, and transport them for the trial. I would, therefore, respectfully suggest that the delivery of the Indians be suspended for the present.
I am sir, etc.
G. WRIGHT, COL. 9TH INF, COMDG
Dalles, O. T., 4 October 1856
Col. G. Wright, Comdg Columbia River District
Ft. Dalles, O.T.
Sir: I have received your letter of this date, in answer to my requisition for the delivery of Leschi, Nelson, Quimuth, Kitsap and Stehi, to be sent to the Sound to be tried by the civil authorities.
These men are notorious murders, and committed acts of atrocity under circumstances of treachery and blood thirstiness almost beyond example. All belong to bands with whom treaties have been made, and in the case of all, except Nelson, the treaty has been sanctioned by the Senate, and the execution of the treaty has been placed in my hand.
Whether a treaty has been made or not, I am of the opinion that men guilty of such acts should at least be tried, and if convicted, punished, more especially, should this be done in cases where, by treaty stipulations, provision is made for the punishment of such offenses.
If the condition of things is so unsettled in the Yakima that the seizing of these men, after such arrangements as to time, etc, as necessarily comes within the direction of the force making the seizure, will lead to war, the sooner the war commences, the better. Nothing, in my judgement, will be gained by a temporizing policy.
The war commenced on our part in consequence of the attempt to arrest the murderers of Bolan, Mattice and others, on the requisition of the acting Governor of Washington Territory. If this demand is not inflexibly insisted upon, and peace is made under milder terms, it will be, it seems to me, a criminal abandonment of the great duty of protecting our citizens, will depreciate our standing with the Indians, and pave the way for wars hereafter.
I must, therefore, again respectfully make requisition for the delivery of the Indians mentioned, in order that they may be sent to the Sound to be tried by the civil court. The particular mode and the special time of making the seizure rests with your discretion.
I shall send Special Agent Shaw to the Yakima to take charge of the Indians you have officially reported to me to be friendly, and of the Indians that I propose to incorporate with them.
He will have instructions not under any circumstances to receive these Indians on the reservation.
I am, sir, etc.
ISAAC I. STEVENS, GOV & SUPT OF IND AFF.
EXECUTIVE OFFICE, WASH. TERR.
Olympia, 22 October 1856
Hon ROBERT B. McCLELLAND
Secretary of Interior, Washington, D.C.
Sir: Herewith I have the honor to transmit to you a copy of an order issued by Lieut. Col. Steptoe, commanding in the Walla Walla Valley.
By reference to the Act of Congress, approved 27 September 1850, entitled "An Act creating the office of the Surveyor General of public lands in Oregon, etc.," and Acts of 14 February 1853, and 17 July 1854, amendatory thereto, applicable alike to Washington Territory, all the public domain in this territory was thrown open to settler, they being required, in order to perfect the donation thus offered to them to perform certain acts of "residence and cultivation." By reference to the 4th and 5th sections of the Act first mentioned, it will be found that the words which at once vest a right in the occupant of the soil dependent simply upon the performance of a condition subsequent, a mere act of volition on his part. By the language of the statute referred to, it would seem that all title had passed from the general government, and it simply remained for the settler to fulfill the conditions.
Under the provisions of this Act, some fifty to seventy-five citizens had taken claims in the territory lying east of the Cascade mountains, and affected by the enclosed order, and resided upon them until driven off by the Indians.
By an order of a military officer of the United States they are now forbidden to return to their homes, and impliedly threatened with expulsion should they do so.
Your early attention is called to the matter, for it certainly must be doubted whether the commanding officer of a department or district can legally exercise an authority which abrogates a statute of the United States, and deprives citizens of vested rights.
I I STEVENS, GOV. OF WASH. TERR.
COPY OF ORDER
FORT DALLES, O. T.
20 August 1856
THE UNDERSIGNED, HAVING BEEN DESIGNATED TO ESTABLISH A MILITARY POST IN THE WALLA WALLA COUNTRY, AND WITH A VIEW TO PREVENT ALL MISUNDERSTANDING ON THE SUBJECT, BELIEVES IT PROPER TO MAKE KNOWN THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS HE HAS RECENTLY RECEIVED FROM THE PACIFIC MILITARY DEPARTMENT:
"NO EMIGRANT OR OTHER WHITE PERSON, EXCEPT THE HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY, OR PERSONS CEDED RIGHTS FROM THE INDIANS, WILL BE PERMITTED TO SETTLE OR REMAIN IN THE INDIAN COUNTRY, OR ON LAND NOT SETTLED OR NOT CONFIRMED BY THE SENATE AND APPROVED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
THESE ORDERS ARE NOT, HOWEVER, TO APPLY TO THE MINERS ENGAGED IN COLLECTING GOLD AT THE COLVILLE MINES."
EDWARD J. STEPTOE
LIEUT. COL., US ARMY
COMMANDING WALLA WALLA DISTRICT
EXECUTIVE OFFICE, OLYMPIA, W. T.
22 October 1856
HON JEFFERSON DAVIS
Secretary of War, Washington City, D.C.
Sir: In my report of the 14th of August, informing you of the successful operations of the volunteers under Lieut. Col. Shaw, and my having determined to raise no more troops, in consequence of four companies of regulars under Lieut. Col. Steptoe being about to be sent to Walla Walla, I expressed the opinion that the Nez Perces would probably continue friendly, and advised you that I should push forward to the Walla Walla to meet the tribes in Council
In this connection, I will refer you to Shaw's report of the victory of the Grand Ronde - his message to the Nez Perces on learning they had given evidence of hostility, and the records of three councils held with the Nez Perces by Lt. Col. Shaw, Capt. Robie and Lt. Col. Craig, respectively, all going to establish the fact that the Nez Perces, much disaffected previously, preferred friendship on meeting the volunteers on Mill Creek - exhibited hostility when Capt. Robie was in their country, and again sent friendly messages on learning the decisive blow struck at the Grand Ronde.
It was in view of the proceedings at the first council held with the Nez Perce by Shaw on Mill Creek, that I expressed the opinion in my letter of 24 July, that they were friendly, and of the effect of a decisive victory, in connection with their expressions at the third council in reply to Shaw's message, that I believed that friendship had been confirmed, and the general combination broken up, as reported in my communication of 14 August.
I appointed the Council when I had just learned of the battle of Grand Ronde, and of Captain Robie having been almost driven out of the Nez Perce country.
On reaching the Walla Walla valley, to which point, trains with Indian supplies were on their way under Captain Robie I made the necessary arrangements for sending home the volunteers to be mustered out of service on the arrival in the valley of the regular troops under Lt. Col. Steptoe.
On the 29th of July, one of my pack trains, mostly laden with Indian supplies, was captured by the Indians, a most unfortunate occurence, as thereby much of the prestige of the Grand Ronde was lost.
Lt. Col. Steptoe's force was encamped in the valley on the 5th of Sept., some five miles below the Council ground.
Captain Robie, with the remaining pack train and a large wagon train of Indian supplies, reached the valley on the 7th of September, and the three following days, the Nez Perces and all the hostile bands, except the Yakimas, reached the valley and encamped near me.
On the evening of the 10th, the Indians being all in except the Yakimas, and none friendly except a portion of the Nez Perces, and orders having been given to all volunteers to go home the next day, I made requisition upon Lieut. Col. Steptoe for two companies of his troops and his mountain howitzers, and to my surprise, learned from his answer, that he had moved his camp to a point on Mill Creek, some seven or eight miles above my camp, and that his orders from Gen. Wool did not allow him to comply with my requisition.
I say to my surprise, for in my interview with Col. Wright at Vancouver, referred to in my report of the 14th of August, I understood, as I went to the interior in my capacity simply as Superintendent of Indian Affairs, that in effecting the objects of the Council, I was to have the cooperation of the military force he was about to send there - a cooperation which the good of the service urgently demanded.
I had already raised nearly two hundred six month's men to strengthen the command of Lieut. Col. Shaw, under a proclamation issued immediately after the receipt of the battle of Grand Ronde and I had four month's supplies to subsist them. This proclamation was revoked on my arrival at Fort Vancouver, and the troops raised under it disbanded.
In interviews held afterwards with Col. Wright at the Dalles, I dwelt upon the subjects to be gained by the Council - referred to the effect of the presence of his troops there and left with the belief that it was arranged and agreed on thing between the Colonel and myself, that I was to have the countenance and support of the regular force in the Walla Walla to carry into effect the beneficient designs of the Council.
Colonel Wright stated that other duties would prevent his accompanying me - and he had entire confidence in Lieut. Col. Steptoe, the officer in command, and his presence would be unnecessary. Acccordingly, previous to Lieut. Col. Steptoe reaching the valley, I sent him two letters, each urging him to camp near me, my object being to show the Indians the strength of our people, and the unity of our Councils; and I also wrote Captain D. A. Russell, on his way from Yakima with three companies, to the same effect.
On the arrival of Lieut. Col. Steptoe in the valley, I urged him personnaly to camp near me.
The requisition was refused, and I was therefore obliged to countermand the order sending home the volunteers whose terms of enlistment had all expired, and of which only Goff's company, 69 rank and file, remained a portion of whom, too, were on their way down, and had to be called back. This force only remained to guard my camp.
The Council opened on the 11th, and continued on the 12th and 13th, when so alarming was the condition of affairs, that I deemed it my duty, on the morning of the 13th, to address a confidential note to Steptoe, advising him that one half of the Nez Perces were unquestionable hostile - that all the other tribes were hostile, with very few exceptions, and that a company of his troops was essential to the security of my camp, and at his suggestion, I moved my party, train and supplies, with Goff's company of volunteers, to the vicinity of his camp.
I met Kamiakin and his followers on my way there, and it is probably owing to no one being advised of my intention to move till the order was given an hour before I started that I was not attacked on the road. Kamiakin had unquestionably an understanding, as subsequent events showed, with all the Indians except the friendly Nez Perces (about one half the nation) and a small number of friendly Indians of other tribes, to make an attack that day or evening upon my camp. He found me on the road to his great surprise, and had no time to perfect his arrangements. I had learned in the night that Kamiakin had encamped on the Touchet the night before, and that he would be in this day.
The Council reopened on the 16th, all the Indians camped near Kamiakin and his band being only separated from the Council ground by the narrow skirt of woods in the bottom of Mill Creek, and was closed the next day, all my efforts, both to make arrangments with the hostiles, and to do away with the disaffection of the Nez Perces having proved abortive.
On the 18th, at a separate Council with the Nez Perces, all, both hostile and friendly Nez Perces, advised the sub-agent, William Craig, not to return to the Nez Perce country, as his life would be in danger, and they were afraid he would be killed.
At the conclusion of this Council, in a brief address to the Indians, I expressed my regrets that I had failed in my mission - that no one said "yes" to my proposition, and had only to say "follow your own hearts;" "those who wish to go to war, go."
My propositions were unconditional submission to the justice and mercy of the government, and the rendition for trial of murderers.
In the afternoon, Lieut. Col. Steptoe informed these Indians that he came here to establish a post, not to fight them, and trusted they would get along as friends, and appointed the next day a little after noon, for a special conference.
The Indians did not, however, come to see Steptoe at the time appointed. They previously set fire to his grass, and following me as I set out about eleven o'clock, on my way to the Dalles, they attacked me within three miles of Steptoe's camp at about one o'clock in the afternoon.
So satisfied was I that the Indians would carry into effect their avowed determination in the councils in their own camps for several nights previous, to attack me, that in starting, I formed my whole party, and moved in order of battle.
I moved on under fire one mile to water, when forming a corral of the wagons, and holding the adjacent hills and the brush on the stream by pickets, I made arrangements to defend my position and fight the Indians. Our position in a low, open basin, some 500 or 600 yards across, was good, and with the aid of our corral, we could defend against a vastly superior force of the enemy.
The fight continued till late in the night. Two charges were made to disperse the Indians, the last led by Lieut. Col. Shaw in person, with twenty-four men, but, whilst driving before him some one hundred and fifty Indians, an equal number pushed into his rear, and he was compelled to cut his way through them towards camp, when drawing up his men, and, aided by the teamsters and pickets, who gallantly sprang forward, he drove the Indians back in full charge upon the corral.
Just before the charge, the friendly Nez Perces, fifty in number, who had been assigned to holding the ridge on the south of the corral, were told by the enemy "they come not to fight the Nez Perces, but the whites, go to your camp, or we wipe you out." Their camps with their women and children, was on a stream about a mile distant - upon which I directed the Nez Perce to retire, as I did not require their assistance, and I was fearful that my men might not be able to distinguish them from the hostiles, and thus friendly Indians might be killed.
Towards night I notified Lt. Col. Steptoe that I was fighting the Indians; that I should move the next morning, and expressed the opinion that a company of his troops would be of service. In his reply he stated that the Indians had burnt up his grass, and suggested that I should return to his camp, and place at his disposal my wagons, in order that he might move his whole command and his suppilies to the Umatilla, or some other point, where sustanence could be found for his animals.
To this arrangement I assented, and Lieut. Col. Steptoe sent to my camp Lieut. Davidson, with detachments from the companies of dragoons and artillery with a mountain howitzer. They reached my camp about 2 o'clock in the morning, everything in order, and most of the men at the corral asleep. A picket had been driven in an hour and a half before by the enemy; that on the hill south of the corral, but the enemy was immediately dislodged, and all points were held, and ground pits being dug.
The howitzer having been fired on the way out, it was believed nothing would be gained by waiting till morning, and the whole force immediately returned to Lt. Col. Steptoe's camp.
Soon after sunrise, the enemy attacked the camp, but were soon dislodged by the howitzer and a charge by a detachment of Steptoe's command.
On my arrival at the camp, I urged Lt Col. Steptoe to build a blockhouse immediately to leave one company to defend it with all his supplies, then march below, and return with additional forces and additional supplies, and by a vigorous winter campaign, to whip the Indians into submission. I placed at his disposal for the building, my teams and Indian employees.
The blockhouse and stockade were built in a little more than ten days. My Indian storeroom was rebuilt at one corner of the stockade.
On the 23rd of September we started for the Dalles, which we reached on the 2nd of October. Nothing of interest occurred on the road.
In the action of the 19th, my whole force consisted of Goff's company of sixty-nine rank and file, and the teamsters, herders and Indian employees, numbering about fifty men. Our train consisted of about 500 animals, none of which was captured by the enemy. We fought four hundred and fifty Indians, and had one man mortally wounded, one dangerously, and two slightly. We killed and wounded thirteen Indians.
One half of the Nez Perces, one hundred and twenty warrriors, all the Yakimas and Palouses, two hundred warriors; the great bulk of the Cayuses and Umatillas, 50 warriors; 70 of the Walla Wallas and Indians from other bands were in the fight. The principal war chiefs were the son of Owhi, and Isle de Pere chief, Quiltomec; the latter of whom had two horses shot under him, and who showed me a letter from Colonel Wright, acknowledging his valuable services in bringing about the peace of the Yakimas.
I have failed, therefore, in making the desired arrangements with the Indians in the Walla Walla, and the failure, to be attributed in part to the want of cooperation with me as Superintendent of Indian Affairs, on the part of the regular troops, has its causes also in the whole plan of operations of the troops since Col. Wright assumed command.
The Nez Perces, entirely friendly last December and January, became first disaffected in consequence of the then chief of the Cayuses, Ume Howlish, and the friendly Cayuses going into the Nez Perce country, contrary to my positive orders. I refused to allow them to go there in December last, saying to them "I have ordered the Nez Perces to keep hostiles out of their country.
If you go there, your friends in the war party will come, they cannot be kept out. Through them disaffection will spread among a portion of the Nez Perces." Ume Howlish, my prisoner, was sent into the Nez Perce country by Col. Wright, and from the time of arrival there, all the efforts made by the agent, Craig, to prevent the spread of disaffection, were abortive. What I apprehended and predicted already came to pass.
The Looking Glass, the prominent man of the lower Nez Perces, endeavored to betray me on the Spokane as I was coming in from the Blackfoot Council, and I was satisfied from the time that he was only awaiting a favorable moment to join bands with Kamiakin in a war upon the Whites.
Col. Wright's management of affairs in the Yakima furnished opportunity. The war commenced in the Yakima on our part in consequence of the attempt, first to seize the murderers of the agent Bolon, and the miners who had passed through their country; and, second, to punish the tribe for making common cause with them and driving Major Hiller out of the country.
It is greatly to be deplored that Col. Wright had not first severely chastised the Indians, and insisted upon not only the rendition of the murderers, but upon the absolute and unconditional submission of the whole tribe to the justice and mercy of the government.
The long delays which occurred in the Yakima, the talking and not fighting, this attempt to pacify Indians and not reducing them to submission, thus giving safe conduct to murderers and assassins, and not seizing them for summary and exemplary punishment, gave to Kamiakin the whole field of the interior, and by threats, lies and promises, he has brought into the combination one half of the Nez Perce nation, and the least thing may cause the Spokanes, Cour d' Alenes, Colvilles and Okinikanes to join them.
I state boldly, that the cause of the Nez Perces becoming disaffected and finally going into the war, is the operations of Col. Wright east of the Cascades operations so feeble, so procrastinating, so entirely unequal to the emergency, that not only has the most severe blow been struck at the credit of the government and the prosperity and character of this remote section of the country, but the impression has been made upon the Indians that the people and the soldiers were a different people.
I repeat to you officially, that when the Indians attacked me, they expected Colonel Steptoe would not assist me, and when they awoke from their delusion, Kamiakin said "I will now let these people know who Kamiakin is." One of the good effects of the fight is, that the Indians have learned that we are one people, a fact which had not previously been made apparent to them by the operations of the regular troops.
Is, sir, the army sent here to protect our people, and to punish Indian tribes who, without cause, and in cold blood, and in spite of solemn treaties, murder our people, burn our houses and wipe out our entire settlements?
Is it the duty of Gen. Wool and his officers to refuse to cooperate with me in my appropriate duties as Supt. of Indian Affairs, and thus practically to assume these duties to themselves?
Is it the duty of General Wool, in his scheme to pacifying the Indians, to trample down the laws of Congress - to issue edicts prohibiting settlers returning to their claims, and thus for at least one county, Walla Walla, make himself dictator of the country?
Is it simply in consequence of his ignorance of the laws of Congress, and the peculiar circumstances under which these territories have grown up, that he has undertaken to say to people of the whole country of the Walla Walla, having its representative in the legislature, "the Indians drove you away, you shall not go back?" I beg leave, herewith to enclose a copy of a communication on this subject, which I have this day addressed to the Department of the Interior.
I will respectfully call your attention to my report of this date to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs giving an elaborate account of Indian operations east of the Cascade mountains, including the proceedings of the Walla Walla council, and I will conclude this communication by the following extracts from it:
"In this connection it is my duty to report to the Department the admirable conduct of the Volunteers and the Indian employees, not only during the Council but in all the operations east of the Cascade mountains. There was not a single instance of injury either to the person or property of a friendly Indian, or the injury to the property or person of the hostiles during the Council."
"The kindness and forbearance of officers and men, agents and employees, even when treated with rudeness by the hostiles, was extraordinary. The strayed cattle and horses of the Indians were herded and returned to them. The volunteers were well supplied, and were not tempted to plunder for assistance. I have the permission of Lt. Col. Steptoe to refer to him and his officers as witnesses of what I have stated, and have the assurances from Lt. Col. Steptoe that he has so reported it."
"Whilst it is my duty to acknowledge in the warmest terms the assistance rendered me by Lt. Col. Steptoe, when I was attacked, to Col. Wright, and of Col. Wright, that he had forwarded the report to Gen. Wool."
I am, sir, etc.,
ISAAC I. STEVENS, GOV., WASH. TERR.
OFFICE OF THE ADJUTANT GENERAL
Olympia, W.T., 30 October 1856
GENERAL ORDERS NO. 7
Disbandment of the Staff and Line
1st. The Volunteers of Washington Territory of both Staff and Line are hereby disbanded.
2nd. The Adjutant General, Quartermaster General and Commissary General, with such officers and employees that may require to protect and finish the muster rolls and accounts are retained in service till further orders.
3rd. All officers, commanding companies, will be discharged upon rendition of their muster rolls at the office of the Adjutant General and their settlement of accounts with the Quartermaster General.
4th. The senior officers of the late Second Regiment, Washington Territory Volunteers and the military clerk to the Commander in Chief will be retained in service till further orders.
5th. No purchase of property or supplies, after this date, will be made by any officer or employee without special permission from the Quartermaster General.
6th. The Commander in Chief desires me to express to the officers and men of the right wing of the Second Regiment commanded by Lieut. Col. Shaw, the Northern Battalion, commanded by Major Van Bokkelen, the Central command by Major Blankenship and the Southern command by Major Maxon, his most cordial thanks for the signal gallantry, resolute confidence and excellent discipline they have displayed and maintained during their six months arduous, faithful and efficient service.
The nature of the vast region of country traversed, the wily and resolute character of the savages over-awed or subdued, and the privations endured by the citizen soldiery of the Second Regiment are well known and appreciated by the inhabitants of Washington Territory, who will know how to honor for all future time, the devoted and fearless men who have maintained the foothold of civilization upon this remote frontier.
History will present the fact with credit and honor to the Volunteer Force that during the six months of active service of one thousand of the citizens of Washington Territory, not a single friendly Indian has been harmed in a volunteer camp, or scout - no Indian has been plundered or molested and the captured property of defeated savages has been, in every case, turned over to the proper officers and faithfully accounted by them.
To the efficient staff, commissioned and non commissioned, both personnel of transportation and supply, the Commander in Chief, begs to make his hearty acknowledgement.
Devotion to the service, aided by the patriotism and generosity of the citizens has enabled a widely scattered community of 1700 American citizens to keep on foot, feed, clothe, arm and partly mount, one thousand most efficient and serviceable troops.
With these facts for the future historian, the year 1856, although disastrous in material prosperity, is rich in honorable achievements and will be dealt upon by the descendents of the troops now returning to the avocation of peace, with pride and exultation.
By order of the Commander in Chief:
JAMES TILTON, Adj Gen Wash Terr Vols
HEADQUARTERS, PUGET SOUND DISTRICT
Fort Steilacoom, W.T., 6 November 1856
His Excellency I. I. Stevens,
Gov. & Supt of Indian Affairs, Olympia, W.T.
Sir: Yours of the 4th inst, is just received. Neither Lieut. McKibbin or any other officer, has been authorized by me to permit Indians to leave the reservation without authority of their agent; and if Lieut. McKibbin has so far exceeded his authority, such orders will be given to him as will prevent its recurrence.
The Indians near the outlet of the Dewamish Lake, are those who were permitted by the Indian agent, by my request, to go to that point, for the purpose of constructing a fish weir. I understand they are catching a large number of fish, and I trust, will be permitted to stop until the run of fish has passed.
As I remarked to you, in a communication a few days since, I will again repeat, that as hostilities had ceased in this district, I wished to be released from the responsibility of the charge of any of these Indians, when it has been refused by your agents, and I considered it my bounden duty to do so, in order that the peace and tranquility of the community may be preserved.
With regards to reports which your agents and others carry to you about hostile Indians, etc., I would merely say that I find it necessary to receive all such reports with great caution.
The one which I had the honor to receive from you, a few days since, stating that more than one hundred Indians had left the reservation for the purpose of joining Leschi, proves to have been what I believed at the time, a baseless fabrication. With a sincere desire to do justice to all, I will say that it is my firm belief, after weighed, I trust, with due consideration, all the circumstances connected with the matter, that if, in dealing with the Indians on the Sound, a spirit of justice is exercised, and those who have charge of them are actuated by an eye single to their duties, and the peace of the country, there need be no further difficulty. If, on the contrary, undue credence is given to the many reports which are constantly being circulated in this community (most of them false) made either from mere wantonness, the spirit of revenge, or from interested motives, the acts of outrage on the Indians, which their belief, by unreflecting persons will investigate, may lead to retaliation and the peace of the country endangered.
Very respectfully, etc,
Silas Casey, Lt Col, 9th Inf, Comd.
EXECUTIVE OFFICER, WASHINGTON TERRITORY
Olympia, 8 November 1856
Lieut. Col. Silas Casey
Comdg. Ft. Steilacoom, W.T.
Sir: I have received your letters of the 2nd and 6th of November by the hands of Lieut. Nugen.
My reasons for declining to receive the Indians at your post have been already stated and remain in full force. When the murderers and those accused of murder, are, in compliance with my requisition, placed by you in the hands of the civil authorities, the Indians will be received. The agents have positive orders to receive none of these Indians except by written instructions. These Indians have been, or will be indicted by the grand jury of the several counties. As you have proclaimed hostilities have ceased, they are in your military possession.
I enclose the report to me of my local agent, Page, in regards to the alleged interference of Lieut. McKibbin with his Indians. I am glad to be informed of the steps you have taken in the matter.
In regard to your observations about the reports which my "agents and others carry to me," as well as the reiterations of former observations in reference to the exercise of the spirit of justice, and the efforts of the persons in charge of the Indians being "actuated by an eye single to those duties and the peace of the country," I have simply to state that the tone of them is offensive, and comes with ill grace from the authority that has done little, to that which has done so much. It is not my disposition to retaliate, but the occasion makes it proper for me to state that the greatest difficulty I have had to encounter in stopping the whiskey traffic with the Indians at Steilacoom and Bellingham Bay, has been the conduct of your own command. It would seem to be more appropriate that you should first control and then reform the conduct of your own people, before going out of your way to instruct and rebuke another branch of the public service - a service too, which, both from its experience and the success which has attended its labors, is entitled to the presumption that it is as much interested and as much devoted to the peace of the country as yourself, and as well qualified, to say the least, to consider dispassionately and judge wisely of affairs at the present juncture.
I have also been informed of your thanking God, in the presence of Mr. Wells, who informed you how the Muckleshoot reservation was laid off, that the iniquity of it was not upon your hands a remark highly presumptious and insulting, as well from the fact the business did not concern you, as from the fact that the reservation was laid off both in the way I arranged with the Indians at the Council on Fox Island, and to their satisfaction on the ground.
I am also informed by Col. Simmons personally, that he did give you notice that he would receive no more Indians. I presume you did not listen to him, being altogether too pre-occupied with your own views, to listen to a gentleman in regard to a business which he and his superiors "are the proper persons to judge."
Very respectfully, etc,
I. I. STEVENS
Governor, and Supt of Ind. Affairs.
NB. I will respectfully ask you to send me a copy of my letter notifying you that one hundred Indians had left to join Leschi.
HEADQUARTERS, PUGET SOUND DISTRICT
Ft. Steliacoom, W. T. 12 November 1856
His Excellency I I Stevens
Governor, W. T.
Governor: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 8th instant.
By reference to your communication of the 25th instant., I find the following: "In regard to Leschi I will state that from recent information in my possession, I am almost certain that he is now endeavoring to raise a force to prosecute the war anew."
The expressman, who brought your letter informed me, that information had been received in Olympia that one hundred fifty Indians had left the reservation and joined Leschi. I was informed by Mr. Ford, the next day, that he himself had conveyed to you that or similar information, and that he had since ascertained that it is not so.
When I addressed you my communication I had not yours before me, and inadvertently confounded my information. It was an error on my part, and I cheerfully correct it.
I have enclosed a copy of a communication received by me from Lieut. McKibbin with regard the charge of your agent.
Very respectfully, etc.
SILAS CASEY, Lt. Col., 9th Inf, Comdg.
EXECUTIVE OFFICE, Terr. of Wash.
Olympia, 21 November 1856
Hon Jefferson Davis,
Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.
Sir: Referring to my communication of the 22nd of October, giving the particulars of the Council held by me at the Walla Walla, the previous month, and my views in reference to the operations of the regular troops under Col. Wright, I have now to report that I learn from reliable troops under Col. Wright, though not from Col. Wright himself, that, in his recent trip to Walla Walla, he met the Nez Perce chief who attacked my party, and effected another quasi peace by surrendering to their demands. My informant states that "some Chiefs, Eagle from the Light, Red Wolfe, etc., met Col. Wright in a "Talk" the other day." "The Colonel took the ground which I urged you to take - that the treaty of Walla Walla ought not be insisted upon."
Now the Red Wolf and Eagle from the Light belonged to the hostile party. Red Wolf's people were in the attack upon me after the adjournment of the Council. The Eagle from the Light, though hostile, brought none of his people to the Council ground.
It would seem that, to get the consent of Col. Wright to take the ground that a treaty should not be insisted upon, it was simply necessary for the malcontents to attack the Superintendent of Indian Affairs and his party. Now one half of the Nez Perce including the head Chief, Lawyer, wish the treaty to be carried out. They have suffered much from their steadfast adherence to it. Are there wishes to be disregarded?
It seems to me that we have, in this territory, fallen upon evil times. I hope and trust some energetic action may be taken to stop this trifling with public interests, and to make our flag respected by the Indians of the Interior. They scorn our people and our flag. They feel they can kill and plunder with impunity. They denominate us a nation of old women. They did not do this when the volunteers were in the field.
I now make a direct issue with Col. Wright - that he has made a concession to the Indians which he had no authority to make - that, by so doing, he has done nothing but to get the semblance of a peace, and that by his acts he has, in a measure, weakened the influence of the service having the authority to make treaties, and having charge of the friendly Indians. He has, in my judgment, abandoned his own duty, which was to reduce the Indians to submission, and has trenched upon and usurped a portion of mine.
Very respectfully, etc,
ISAAC I STEVENS, GOV. WASH. TERR.
EXECUTIVE OFFICER, Wash. Terr.
Olympia, 21 November 1856
Hon Jefferson Davis,
Secretary of War, Washington, D.C.
Sir: I have the honor to report for the information of the Department that the sales of property remaining on hand at the disbandment of the volunteer forces of this territory have been made, and have resulted in the cancelling of about one hundred and fifty thousand dollars of scrip. The sales in aggregate exceeded the original cost, particularly as regards animals, which it has been alleged have been purchased at extravagant prices. I trust that hereafter, in view of the fact that our transportation has cost us nothing - that our people have let their animals go into service from three to nine months and have not taken them back at a premium, the enemies of the territory will be more guarded in their speech.
All the papers have been kept with regularity, both as regards the service of, and issued to volunteers, and purchases and sales by the Quartermasters Department.
Our whole scrip will not exceed nine hundred and fifty thousand dollars, which, deducting the cancelled scrip, will leave not exceeding eight hundred thousand dollars to be redeemed.
But some seventy or eighty thousand of this will be charged upon the muster rolls, reducing the scrip that amount, and the estimates for the pay of the volunteers.
I indulge the hope Congress will, at this session, authorize the payment of the war debt of both territories. The people deserve well of the nation. They have protected their families and vindicated the honor of the American Flag.
The war has been especially disastrous to this territory, and the people need prompt payment of their claims.
Very respectfully, etc,
ISAAC I. STEVENS, GOV. OF WASH TERR.
Almost all early historians have published listings of those early Washington citizens who served as Volunteer militiamen.
However, some confined their listings to a particular area to coincide with the history of that locality. Others published
only partial listings.
In no instance, was this writer able to find one complete. This is due to the fact that most of these rosters, if not all, were taken from a muster roll for a particular period. As a result everyone who served was not shown. This was due to some having been discharged previous to the submission of the roster or others not having joined until after the roster had been submitted to the Adjutant General.
For this reason, it is believed that this Volume should be expanded to provide for the first time a complete listing of these Volunteers. The source document is the 3rd Auditor of the Treasury vouchers which were used as a basis to finalize the claims of the Volunteers. These vouchers also list the correct designation of the unit, which likewise has been listed in various ways in the past.
The listing will be in chronological order as shown by the number on the Audited copy of the Voucher. This will include the rosters of the Indian Auxiliaries using their tribal name. Following the listing of the 41 units of the two regiments, a diary depicting life in one of the Volunteer companies will be published in its entirety. The journal covers only the first phase of the war and is the only one of its kind found in the Indian war papers.