War of the Rebellion: Serial 106 Page 0724 OPERATIONS ON THE PACIFIC COAST. Chapter LXII.

Search Civil War Official Records

time my closets attention has been given to the subject, and I respectfully submit to the department commander the result of my observations. That the present state of affairs may be the clearer apprehended, a retrospective glance may not be amiss. In the early part of the year 1855 there was a serious difficulty with the Klamath Indians, in which several white men lost their lives and quite a number of Indians were killed. Being at that time in the employ of the Indian Department, I was dispatched to the scene of the trouble, accompanied by Captain H. M. Judah, U. S. Army, with detachment of thirty men. We found the settlers all under arms and in a great state of excitement, while many of the Indians had fled to the mounatins, as is their custom when they mean mischief. Acting in concert and assited by some of the settlers, we were fortunately able to restore peace. The Indians returned to their ranches and the settlers to their avocations. In this disturbance the Hoope Indians were with the whites and used their influence against a general war. During the succeesing two or three years there was little or no trouble from hostile Indians in the counties of Humboldt, Trinity, and Klamath. After that period, however, hostilities began to occur; at first rarely, and then more frequently but at some distance from the Lower Trinity and Klamath Rivers. This induced the belief that the guilty Indians were those living nearest to where the outrages were penetrated. No doubt this was a just conclusion in many instances, but in the last year or two circumstances have led the most candid and observant to suspect that the more powerful tribes of the Trinity and Klamath were not entirely especially the former. Recent events have demonstrated that these suspicions were not only well founded, but that the Trinity Indians of Hoopa Valley have been the prime movers in most of the outrages for years. To shield themselves from the consequences of their crimes, these Indians displayed considerable address. They have not only been particular themselves to keep within the pale of the law when near home, but have prevented other Indians from committing deeds of violence on their territory, extending each way several miles. In addition to keeping the peace near home, these cunning scoundrels were wont to put on the most innocent and friendly demeanor in their intercourse with the whites, both citizens and soldiers. With this state of afairs the Trinity (Hoopa) Indians would doubtless [have] been content, occassionally capturing a pack train, as often robbing a house or mining camp, and killing cattle almost at will, managing to have the blame fall on the smaller, irresponsible tribes, which of late years have had no permanent places of abode, but with which the Hoopas remained upon friendly terms, and when hard pressed gave them succor and protection. Unfortunately, however, for the continuance of these lawless practices, which, however pleasant and profitable to their savages, is most ruinous to every interest of the civilized portion of the community, the crimes of murder, robbery, and arson, with the train of kindred evils and consequences, have been brought home to their true authors. The majority of the Hoopas are are aware that they are not in good odor with the whites, but they are in partial ignorance of the extent of our information in regard to their barbarous deeds. Several months ago there was scarcely a doubt in my own mind of the guilt of these Indians, and I was prepared to take measures accordingly. My intentions were to have ascertained by this time the exact truth in regard to the matter, and if the proof was conclusive, to have thrown a wsufficient force into theportune moment and made the whole band prisoners. This plan was perfectly feasible, and its success would have terminated the Indian war in this