CAMP AT THE WESTERN BASE
OF THE SIERRA NEVADA MOUNTAINS,
110 Mile east of Fort Klamath, July 18, 1864.
ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL, U. S. Army,
Hdqrs. Department of the Pacific, San Francisco, Cal.:
COLONEL: Yesterday the petty chief and two others of the band of Indians of this vicinity came into camp by my direction, and with them a party of men representing themselves to be from Owyhee and ostensibly bound for Surprise Valley and the settlements of Northern California. The Indians came unarmed and remained at camp last night. This morning, after gaining what information I could respecting their country, numbers, &c., I dismissed them and sent them from camp in company with the two Indian messengers who had brought the. Soon after their departure the messengers returned and stated that the other three had been ambushed and fired upon by four of the party of citizens who came yesterday, and they thought all were killed. I immediately dispatched a detachment of ten men in pursuit, who succeeded only in finding the body of a Mr. Burton, one of the attacking party, with all of his equipments. These were brought to camp, and subsequently two of the survivors came in, and shortly after the other arrived with a detachment which I had sent to re-enforce the first sent out. The object of the attack upon these Indians was to get possession of some horses which they were reported to have, but for which the aggressors set up no claim whatever, neither for themselves nor for anybody else. The only excuse offered in justification of the act is that about a year ago the leader of the party (the four) lost some stock on the Malheur, and, to use one of their own expressions in the premises, this was their first chance to get even. They got possession of two horses, but the unarmed Indians being joined just then by armed comrades, the result is as atated. Both of the horses, however, remained near Burton's body, and have been brought in with it. They are inferior animals and poorly repay the cost of getting them. No evidence being at hand that their ownership is not property vested in the Indians, I shall direct their return to them. No Indian depredations are reported to have been committed in this vicinity, though the principal traveled route from Red Bluff and Fort Crook to John Day's River and vicinity passes directly through the country which these Indians occupy. Several trains with families are on the road to the southward of me, and these I have notified to hurry forward to this point. I shall halt here a few days until I can ascertain, if possible, what the result of this affair will be.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. S. DREW,
Lieutenant-Colonel First Cavalry Oregon Volunteers,
Commanding Fort Klamath and Owyhee Expedition.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC, Numbers 35.
San Francisco, Cal., July 19, 1864.
There being probable danger of an attempt to take possession of steamers on this coast by men introducing themselves as passengers, and them rising on the officers and crew, the following regulations will be enforced:
1. Every person coming as a passenger on board of American mearchant steamers plying coastwise between American ports, or between