Catalog Archive
Auction 181, Lot 731

Two Important Reports on Indian Wars in Oregon and Washington Territories

"[Lot of 2] Indian Affairs in Oregon and Washington Territories, &c. Message from the President… [and] Message from the President of the United States ... at the Commencement of the Second Session of the Thirty-Fifth Congress. Volume I", U.S. Government

Subject: Documents- Indian Wars

Period: 1858 (published)

Publication:

Color: Black & White

Size:
6 x 9.1 inches
15.2 x 23.1 cm
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A. Indian Affairs in Oregon and Washington Territories, &c. Message from the President…, H.R. Doc. 112, 35th Congress, 1st Session. This correspondence concerned the status of treaties that had been negotiated with various Indian tribes (but not yet ratified by the Congress) and J. Ross Browne’s role in advising the tribes. Gen. N.S. Clarke and some Indian agents believed the tribes did not want the treaties because the concept and implications of treaties (e.g. moving to reservations) were not understood and treaties had not been negotiated with the genuine tribal leadership. Clarke believed a “serious war” would ensue if the treaties were enforced, and he issued directions to the military that the treaties were not in force. Browne was advising the tribes that the treaties would be confirmed. The confusion about the treaties contributed to ongoing hostilities as documented in the following item. 21 pages. Disbound. Condition: Very good with a hint of toning and a small stain on the front page.

B. Message from the President of the United States ... at the Commencement of the Second Session of the Thirty-Fifth Congress. Volume I, H.R. Doc. 2, 35th Congress, 2nd Session. Most of the volume consists of the Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs with numerous eyewitness reports of the Indian Wars throughout Oregon and Washington, including the Rogue River. The most significant report is from an unidentified officer engaged in the Battle of Pine Creek or Steptoe Disaster, here titled “The fight with the Indians near the Pelouse river.” Col. Steptoe did not expect to encounter hostilities so the soldiers under his command left the fort with only 40 rounds of ammunition each and without their swords. They entered Spokane country, apparently in violation of a treaty, and encountered a force of 600 to 800 Indians who were already upset at the prospect of the wagon road Mullan was rumored to be building. Hostilities ensued and the superior forces of the Indians were prevailing, but the Indians withdrew at dusk to complete the attack the next day. To the soldiers “it became apparent that on the morrow we must ‘go under,’ and that not one of us would escape. It was plain that nearly destitute of ammunition, we were completely surrounded by six to eight hundred Indians,...Therefore, it was determined to run the gauntlet, so that if possible some might escape. Abandoning everything, we mounted and left the hill at 9 o’clock [at night], and after a ride of ninety miles, mostly at a gallop, and without a rest, we reached Snake River…and were met by our friends, the Nez Perce (p.626).” Following the defeat, Steptoe was put on sick leave where he remained until he resigned. Later that summer Col. Wright commanded a larger force that defeated the Indians and forced them onto reservations. President Buchanan’s message also includes his famous proclamation about Utah, dated April 6, 1858, in which he refers to the Utah "rebellion," and insists that the inhabitants submit to the authority of the United States government or face military action. 750 pages. Hardbound in original brown cloth with gilt title on spine. Condition: Text is very good with light toning. Front hinge is starting, covers are worn with bumped corners, and there is an old paper label on the spine.

References:

Condition: B+

See description above.

Estimate: $180 - $220

Sold for: $120

Closed on 2/10/2021

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