Paiute War History

Paiute War

George Crookes was sent to Fort Boise in 1866 as commander of the 23rd Infantry Regiment and tasked with a mission that would later face him in the southwest. Under the terms of a treaty reached in 1864, the tribes of the Upper Great Basin, which included the Klamath, Modoc, and Paiute bands, agreed to settle on the Klamath Lake Reservation in southern Oregon.

However, not all bands of these tribes subscribed to the treaty, and raids against travelers and southern settlers took place throughout eastern Oregon and the Idaho region. Rogue’s first job after the Civil War was to bring the band of outlaws into compliance.

On December 18, 1866, he went into the field with forty-five men of the 1st Cavalry in search of a band of Peyote raiders in southern Oregon. Eight days later, he successfully attacked them on the Owehi River, killing 30 and capturing seven.

‘Aborigines of North America’, 1873. From Left to right: Iriouois (Iroquois), Assiniboine, Crow, Pawnee woman, Assiniboine in gala dress, Dakotah (Lakota) or Sioux warrior, Dakotah (Lakota) or Sioux woman.

A month later, on January 29, 1867, Crook’s 1st Cavalry troops ambushed another renegade peyote band at Steins Mountain, killing sixty and capturing twenty-seven. His offensive continued into the summer. In July, he led one hundred and one cavalry troops and roughly the same number of Indian scouts on a sweep through the area that killed or captured thirty-six Paiute.

In September 1867, Crooks led his command into the desolate lava beds of northeastern California, which were recognized as some of the most difficult terrain in which any Indian war would be fought.

On 26 September, Crooks led a 280-man mixed force of the 1st Cavalry and 23rd Infantry Regiment, primarily against a hundred-man force of Paiute warriors, who had taken a defensive position in a section of the lava bed.

Which was aptly known as Infernal Caverns. In two days of fighting, the rookie killed twenty Indians and captured or wounded another fourteen, but he lost eight of his men.

The relentless campaign of the crook eventually achieved the desired objective. On July 1, 1868, the last of the illegal Paiute leaders, Weiwea, came to sign a treaty agreeing to live on a reservation at Fort Harney in central Oregon.

He eventually credits Crooks for letting him down. The US military also recognized Crook for his achievement. Divisional Commander General Halleck made him Acting Chief of the Department of Columbia, a position he would hold until his reassignment to the Southwest—a position he would hold until Crook had the permanent general rank.

Illustration of a War of the Sixth Coalition 1812 – 1814, Russian campaign 1812, Italian soldiers of the 15th Division (General Pino) marching ,Napoleonic Wars, Russia, Italians, army, IV Corps (Prince Eugene de Beauharnais), 19th century, infantry

June 16, 1860, Austin, Nevada: C McCandless ran a small trading post at the Dry Creek Pony Express station near Simpson Park Mountain in present-day Lander County, Nevada. McCandless lived with a Paiute woman, and when her clan asked to bring her back, she refused. Soon he saw several of the woman’s relatives hanging around the trading post, and he warned Pony Express employees of impending trouble.

One morning, when stationkeeper Ralph M. Lozier opened his door to fetch water, a peyote shot him. Another Pony Express employee, John Applegate, ran to the door and was shot in the hip and groin.

A third worker, Lafayette “Bowley” Bolwinkle, who was sleeping inside, got out of bed, grabbed his gun, ran to the door, and began firing. McCandless dashed across the street from the trading post and went strong with Bowle. They piled sacks of grain at the door and exchanged shots with angry Paiutes. Applegate sought a revolver to shoot at the Indians in excruciating pain, but shot himself in the head instead.

After some time the firing stopped. McCandless and Bolwinkle raced to the next station. Some Indians chased them but soon gave up and plundered the station and post. When McCandless and Bolwinkle arrived at the next station, a ten-mile run had left Bolly’s bare feet badly cut.

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