The west shore. (Portland, Or.) 1875-1891, May 01, 1884, Page 132, Image 8

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N Mnrch, 1851, gold was discovered in Yreka Flats,
And in a few weeks several thousand miners were
working there and on Greenhorn Creek. In the summer
following, a numlier of men took up claims m owu
Valley and cut hay for the Yreka market Besides the
ox teams used in hauling the hay to town, they all
ranched a number of horses, mules and cattle, belonging
to themselves and parties in the mines. The Modoc
Indians made occasional forays into the valley and drove
off Hinall bands of stock to their country, a hundred miles
to the eastward. Much stock that was no doubt stolen
by whito thioves was charged to the account of theBe
savage marauders, and it is very questionable if they
wcro guilty of half of the thofta ascribed to them. Late
in tho summer they stampeded a corral of animals near
lluttovillo and made off with forty-six fine mules and
horses, many of them belonging to the pack train of
Augustas Moambor, then on his way to Yreka with a
load of goods. That this act was committed by the
Modocs there was ample evidence to show. A company
of twenty men was raised, consisting chiefly of miners
from tho vicinity of Yreka, to follow the thieves into the
heart of the Modoc country, punish them for their
roguery, and, if jMissiblo, recover the Btolen property.
Willi them, as scout and general adviser, went Ben
Wright, tho mountaineer whose exploits the following
year gavo him great notoriety on the coast, and two
Oregon Indians, who wero his close companions. Well
supplied with jerked beef, the little company set out
upon tho trail of the robbers, which they followed across
tho Butte Creek Mountains, and on the third day arrived
iu tho vicinity of Lost River. After a scout of two days
Wright and one of his Indians reported the discovery of
nn Indian village on the river bank, containing over 200
warriors, near which was being horded a large quantity
of stock. Somo of tho men wanted to rush off at once
and nmko an attack upon the rancheria; but they were
informed that such a metluxl of fighting Indians, espe
cially -, they woro in such superior numbers, would
result in tho extermination of the attacking party
slratogy mst be used to toko the enemy by surprise.
Iho bndgo acroHs Lost River, on the emigrant trail
one provided by Nature. A rocky wall crosses tJS
u o stream, running from shore to shore, on the top of
Jlach U,o water ,s very fallow, formig an excellent
which ,s known far and wide as the S
bridge. I was but a short distance from this the
Indian rnnclu-riu UhhL ltru,i..i i , . . ne
"Wft tho party rode Mw ly towa. tho vilf
though they woro but a mrtv J " . T
allayed. Kight n ih,8 f f "V SClt0ment
mdo all U.e uil pCrat l f r " and
rancheria witli tho information Unit thev ,
had gone into camp for the night. About an hour after
dark the horses were brought in and saddled up; and
leaving them with five men in the camp, with orders to
bring them on at daylight, or sooner if Bent for, the other
fifteen started back on foot on their errand of blooi
The ford at the Ivtlui'al Liiug was recrossed, and the '
two or three miles that intervened between it and the
doomed village were quickly traversed, when, to their
chagrin, the party found themselves on the wrong Bide of
the stream. The windings of the river had deceived
them, and they were now on the side opposite to the
rancheria, with, no means of crossing and no time to
return by the way of the ford. In this dilemma they
determined to attack the village from that side and
accomplish as much as the circumstances would permit
With the first signs of dawn a slight stir was made in
the Indian camp. A brave emerged from one of the
wickiups and uttered a peculiar cry, which was responded
to by three or four others, who came into camp and dis
appeared in the tent, having undoubtedly been on guard
duty. The chief who had given them the signal of
relief then turned to his pony and began to unfasten him
from his picket His uplifted hand suddenly dropped,
and the chief plunged forward upon the ground with the
death cry on his lips, as the sound of a rifle Bhot echoed
along the stream and startled the slumbering village.
As the surprised savages rushed from their wickiups
they were met by a shower of bullets from their assail
ants. They defended themselves bravely, and for some
time a stubborn contest was maintained by the parties
across the narrow, but deep, stream which separated
them. They discharged their arrows with great accu
racy and several of the men were wounded by these
missiles, while the archers endeavored to shelter them
selves behind shields made of tule rushes and pieces of
tin that had once been used for culinary purposes by
murdered emigrants. ' The battle waged fiercely until the
Modocs learned that their shields were not impervious to
bullets, and then they began tq waver, and finally fled in
haste, abandoning their village to its fate.
The five men who had been left with the animals now
came up to the deserted camp, and, thinking the battle
to be on the opposite side, jumped into the canoes they
found tied to the bank and crossed over. With these the
whole party recrossed to the village. Sixteen dead
Modocs were found, and in the abandoned wickiups were
discovered Bcalps in abundance, many of which had been
torn from the heads of white people. ;
During the next few weeks several skirmishes we"
had with the Indians, resulting in the death of a fe
more of the savages. The whites, though few in number,
had a deadly advantage in an encounter. With rifles and
revolvers they could vanquish a hundred armed siinplj
with bows and arrows; the more easily that the Indian
were unaware of the long range of those weapons. Whe
they learned that -Jo be beyond the range of an arro
was no protection from the deadly bullet, they beca
panic-Btricken and Bought only to save themselves &J
flight .