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ways had gone for their families, and the troops, on their raising a white flag, were to allow them to pass. I cautioned my men not to fire until I ordered it; with my fighting force, consisting of seventeen men, I advanced upon them, about an hour by the sun, with every precaution, ready to fight or talk. They were on a very small mound, but only some ten Indians in sight. I advanced, and some five of them came forward with the flag, and when my party were within some thirty paces, they dropped the flag, set fire to a lot of rubbish they had collected, and about thirty rose up from among the Spanish bayonets, within ten paces of us, with about twelve rifles, and the rest with arrows, besides eight or ten attacked us mounted with lances and arrows. My men gave one yell, and went right in their midst, and fought hand to hand ; the Indians, from their heavy fire, beating us back a little, until I rallied my men with their six shooters. Our being within four or five paces, our shots were so heavy we drove them back. One of my men hung his rifle on the cantle of his saddle, to use his six shooter, and an Indian took it off. I forced them back until all the shots of my rifles and six shooters were expended. I then found I could not reload, owing to their deadly fire. I fell back a short distance to do so; if I had had two six shooters to a man, I would have killed and wounded near all of them. The Indians were then busy gathering up their dead and wounded, and leaving, weeping and moaning their loss. In the engagement I killed nine, and wounded ten or twelve. I regret to be compelled to report my loss : one man killed ; one man missing, supposed to be killed ; one man dangerously wounded ; myself and three men severely wounded ; one horse killed, and three wounded. After the engagement I had but eleven men to protect my wounded men and horses. I then withdrew to water, which I found about ten o'clock at night. I immediately sent an express to Lieutenant Fink, 8th infantry, commanding Camp Hudson, for a wagon to transport my wounded to his camp. So soon as my wounded were cared for, Lieutenant Fink cheerfully joined me with fifteen men, and we proceeded to the place of action to bury the dead, and make search for the missing man, but no traces of him could be found. From this place the Indians had scattered in all directions. Owing to my small force and the broken down condition of my horses, I was unable to make any further pursuit. I then came to Camp Hudson, and from thence to this post, where I shall remain a day or two to recruit my men and horses, and then proceed to Fort Mason.
It is due my non-commissioned officers and men, one and all, to say, during the scout, in all their sufferings for water, they did their duty cheerfully, and that during the action they did all men could do, accomplishing more than could be expected from their number and the odds against which they had to contend.
From what my guide says, I suppose they were Camanches and Lipans. There were two chiefs; one was killed by my sergeant. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN B. HOOD,
Lieutenant 2d cavalry. Lieutenant CAAS. W. PHIFER,
Post Adjutant, Fort Mason, Texas.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF Texas,
San Antonio, August 5, 1857. Sir: Lieutenant Hood's report was transmitted last mail ; from subsequent information, not official, I think Lieutenant Hood's estimate of the Indian party was much too small. The same party, it appears, attacked the California mail guard five days after, and near the place where Lieutenant Hood had the fight, and they estimated the Indians to be over one hundred. These affairs were in the vicinity of Camp Hudson, where Lieutenant Fink of the 8th infantry is stationed with a company of infantry. If this company had have been furnished with some fifteen or twenty horses, the second attack would not probably have been made. Lieutenant Hood's affair was a most gallant one, and much credit is due to both the officers and men. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
D. E. TWIGGS, Brevet Major General U. S. A., Commanding Dep't. Lieutenant Colonel L. THOMAS,
Assistant Adjutant General,
AUGUST 19, 1857. This combat was, as the commander of the department nost justly remarks, “a most gallant one,” and I shall take pleasure in taking some further notice of it. Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC,
San Francisco, California, September 14, 1857. SiR : I enclose a report, by Brevet Major Haller, of the murder of a citizen on Whid bey's Island, Puget's Sound, by northern Indians.
This circumstance induces me to bring to your attention the condition of things on the Sound, and renew an application made by my predecessor.
The defence of Puget Sound is to be made good against two enemies, the one, domestic; the other, foreign.
1st. Our own Indians, resident on the shores and along the tributaries of the Sound, estimated at 10,444.
2d. The northern Indians from the British and Russian possessions-annual visitors.
The former reside on the Sound and its tributaries in the winter, and ascend the salmon streams in the fishing season to lay in supplies of fish and berries for the winter.
The winter homes, the hunting and fishing—the only sources of food of this people—are all, more or less, at the mercy of the army.
To defend isolated farm houses against violence, or secure them against the sudden onslaught of an irritated tribe, is not possible, nor is perfect freedom from such dangers expected by our frontier popula
tion ; but to chastise those who perpetrate or encourage outrages is possible; and severe punishment gives future security. Such partial protection against these domestic Indians can be given by the army with the use of the usual means.
Against the northern Indians an army prepared in the usual manner is of no avail.
These Indians are bold and expert boatmen, and daring warriors. They leave their northern homes in large bodies, and enter the Sound in light, well-managed canoes, carrying from twenty to eighty warriors. They have long been the terror of the Sound Indians, and hence are insolent and defiant.
Even their excursions, not begun for mischievous ends, are likely so to terminate, if their violence be not submitted to by those whom they encounter.
Having paid their visit, exhibited their insolent bearing, and, perhaps, as in the case here reported, committed murder, they are speedily placed beyond the frontier and fear of pursuit.
Against an enemy possessing such means of rapid movement and a secure retreat, the army can neither give protection to the inhabitants, nor can it inflict punishment.
The canoe moves at the speed of one of our eastern race-boats propelled by skillful oarsmen. Such boats the army cannot command; nor would its rank and file be expert enough in their management if they could.
I then suggest that the defence of the Sound against the enemy belongs of propriety to the navy; their steamers and boats can close the Sound to the excursionists or punish them.
But if it is still thought proper to devolve the duty on the army, I ask that a small and fast steamer be at its disposal, with a small battery, and only artillerists enough to man it, the steamer can overhaul the enemy and destroy him, or, should he take shelter on shore, transport the nearest garrison speedily to the scene of action.
The steamer, when not so employed, can be usefully used as a transport on the Sound and coast.
The expense of such a vessel here will, I am aware, be heavy. But it is not a question of means of protection, better or worse, of economy, more or less, but this is simply the only means of attaining the end.
I further suggest that the English and Russian authorities be persuaded to restrain their own Indians within their own borders, or led to believe that the frontier will be no barrier. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
N. S. CLARKE,
Col. 6th Infantry, But. Brig. Gen. Com'g.
Headquarters of the Army, West Point, N. Y.
BRIGGS' CLAIM, NEAR FORT TOWNSEND,
Washington Territory, August 17, 1857. MAJOR: I have the honor to report that, on the night of the 12th instant, a party of northern Indians approached the residence of Colonel J. N. Ēbey, on Whidbey's island, and decoyed him into his yard, when they fired upon him. The inmates, alarmed at the firing, escaped through a window on the opposite side of the house, and fled for safety. Daylight revealed the fact that the Indians had plundered the house, and, after severing Colonel Ebey's head from his body, carried off the former with them.
The news of Colonel Ebey's death created the greatest consternation throughout the neighborhood and country. The citizens held a public meeting in relation to their safety. The proceedings will soon be published, when I will forward a copy.
At the request of the Hon. F. A. Chenoweth, associate judge of the United States supreme court, I sent a guard (all I could possibly spare) to a station selected by Lieutenant Colouel Casey, 9th infantry, which commands a view of the straits as far as the islands of San Juan and Vancouver, and will enable a sentinel to perceive, in fair weather, the approach of hostile Indians, and apprise the post as well as the settlers of their advent.
I should be pleased, in case the general commanding approves of a guard being kept at that point, if he would designate some other company to relieve my men, as it is with difficulty I can raise, at this place, nine men for guard duty, having only forty-five men in my company, and part are at work upon the military reserve. I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. 0. HALLER,
Capt. 4th Infantry, Bvt. Maj., Com’g Post. Major W. W. MACKALL, Assistant Adjutant General U. S. A.,
Headquarters Dept. of Pacific, San Francisco, Cal.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NEW MEXICO,
Santa Fé, June 30, 1857. COLONEL: In reporting the current events of the department for the present month, I have the honor to state, for the information of the lieutenant general commanding the army, that Colonel Bonneville is still in the field, and operating, at this time, against the Coyaltero Apaches, west of the Mogollan mountains. A column of the troops, under direction of Colonel Loring of the rifles, overtook, on the 24th of last month, a party of Indians, and recovered about a thousand sheep. In the affair seven Indians, one of them a squaw, were killed ; five women and four children made prisoners. From the reports before me, I feel authorized to say that the expedition is conducted with commendable zeal.
The country on the Gila is represented as being the most beautiful
and fertile of any portion of New Mexico. Sketches of the country
Headquarters of the Army, New York.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NEw Mexico,
Santa Fé, August 1, 1857. COLONEL: I have the satisfaction to report, for the information of the lieutenant general commanding the army, that a battle was fought, on the 27th of June, on the Gila river, by a part of the troops under Colonel Bonneville and the Coyotero Indians, in which a decisive victory was won with but little injury to our side; two officers and eight men wounded ; none of them mortally. From the report of the prisoners captured, the Indians must have lost thirty-eight men and four women; the bodies of twenty warriors were counted on the battle field. The prisoners taken during the campaign amount to fortyfive, principally women and children. This is the first time that our troops have come in contact with these Indians, and the chastisement they have received will be long remembered by them. The effect produced upon contiguous bands will doubtless prove most salutary. It will be gratifying to the general to know that the officers and men evinced the same zeal and gallantry as upon all former occasions in this department.
Special notice is taken of the conduct of Captain Ewell, whose gallantry and sound judgment I have had occasion to notice in former reports. For more particular information, I beg to call the attention of the general-in-chief to the detailed reports herewith enclosed, with my hearty concurrence in their several recommendations.
The campaign under Colonel Bonneville has been prosecuted with energy and perseverance, but I have ordered it to be brought to a close, the presence of the troops being required elsewhere. The captives are, for the present, ordered to Fort Fillmore. I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Bvt. Brig. General, Commanding.
Headquarters of the Army, New York.