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About Oregon free press. (Oregon City [Or.]) 1848-1848 | View Entire Issue (May 27, 1848)
LATEST FROM THE ARMY. ? '
Ft. Waters, May 14, 1848.
Yesterday afternoon the detachment reached this
place, after a fatiguing march of eleven days, and are
encamped in and around, the fort. We found much
difficulty in crossing the streams on our route, having
to ferry the baggage and ourselves in small canoes,
and swim our horses and oxen.
After crossing DeSliutcs, a detachment of 40 men,
with three days' rations, were sent to scour the coun
try up John Days' river, and bring in cattle if any
could be found. They were out five days, finding
nothing but a few Indians, and consequently two days
without provisions suffering every thing, during that
time, that hunger could inflict.
At our first camp on this side of John Days' liver,
we were met by three? of the principal men of tho
Nez Perce nation. Their object was to ofTer the servi
ces of a number of their men to assist us in the ivar,
and have the Americans appoint them a Chief in the
place of Ellis, who, they informed us, requested them,
when dying, to remain at peace with the uhites.
YVc received them in a friendly manner, and next
morning, Col. Lee left the detachment and came on to
me lorl with them, where they are yet detained, in
council with the officers. There are also two Cayuse
chiefs, viz: Tawatoe and Sticcas, and one Spokan and
one Peluche chief, all wishing peace.
The fact is, all the Indians in the upper country are
much alarmed at the presence of so large a forcoas we
nou; have in the field.
Teloquoit,and the murderers, arc scattered along the
Columbia, between here and Fort Colville, and we yet
Lave hopes of getting their slock and part of them, at
least. It is said that Tamsuckie is close by the Fort,
hid, and that the Nez Perces know his whereabouts.
Five Crows tias find his arm amputated by the Indians,
and has returned to bis place on the Umatilla, to die.
This morning C'jl. Lee, for some reason inexplicable
to be, declined, in presence of the whole army, to lake
the chief command; and consequently, Waters is our
Colonel. Lee was then elected Lieutenant Colonel.
I need not describe to you the appearance of the Fort,
or its comforts to a fatigued soldier but one of our
boys remarked this morning that he would prefer pur
gatory to thai place, as much as ne would a decent
coffee house, to it. Fleas and dust, exposed to the
scorching rays of the sun, and a continual noise and
uproar, may give yon some idea of its beauties. It is
not a very desirable thing to have a situation as a sol
dier in the service of 0. T., which abbreviation our
men interpret 'Old Tom and curse the territory round
ly by that name.
An amusing little incident occurred on the road
which I had almost forgotten to mention. The day
we readied the branch of the Umatilla, our company
had been Guarding the wag ns and did not reach camp
until about ft o'clock at night. In one of the wagons
was a small box filled with butter and cheese, intend
ed for the use of the chief Officer and his Staff. It be
came evident, from the sly grimaces and exceeding
good humor of the men, next morning, thal.somelbing
had transpired that pleased them but the cause was
not discovered until the gentlemen sent their servant
for a plate of butler, when lo! the bird had flown.
It was passed over good naluredly,and we gave lo the
little rivulet the name of Butter Creek.
We shall move from here in three days at furlbcr
est, and, 1 suppose, with about 350 or 400 men. There
arc now at this place, as near as can he ascertained,
471 men. The rugged country over which we have to
pass, precludes the possibility of taking either of the
cannon with us; but they will be needed atlhe Fort.
Our route, I understand, is in the direction of Spauld
ing's Mission. Walker and Eels wrili that Teloquoit
is treating with the Ponderays, and they believe we
uill have that nation to fight. Let 'em come.
The man referred lo in my last letter as having been
killed by a fall from a horse, was named Borden, from
A young man by the name of Ford died the day he
fore we reached the Fort. The men now are generally
healthy. The days here arc excessively hot, vnd the
nights very cold. JUAN.
Ft. VVatUrs, May 14, '48.
Dear Sir Tho recruits, under command of Col. Lee,
left Ft. VVascqpam on the 3d of May for this post were
detained one day at DcShutcs river, in consequence of
high wind, but on the next day all crossed over, and
on the following day arrived at'john Day's river, which
we found quite full, but were not detained long as In
dians were ready with their canoes lo assiit in crossing,
and on the 13th inst., we reached this place, finding
every thing moving on in something like military or
der. Col. Lee, on his arrival at this place, and after con
versing with Lieut. Col. Waters, became satisfied that
lie was willing, at least, if not desirous of taking
command of the Regiment. Col. Lee immediately
gave up the command to him. Objections were made
to this, as many had come with the cxpeclalion that
he (Lee) would be their commander. He told us that
before he accepted the appointment of Colonel, if Lt.
Col. Waters wished the command, he would resign
that he only did himself, as well as Col. Wafers, jus
tice, in thus acting. Major Magoone, according to the
custom of promotion in the regular service, became
entitled to the office of Lieut. Colonel, which he refused
to accept, provided tho services of Col. Lee could not be
had in that capacity. The Major then called for an
expression of the Regiment, and desired that all who
were in favor orLee would pass over the ditch, which
was near, when a "perfect rush" was made, with
yells, and throwing of hats into the air, until not a man
Col. Waters is an unassuming man will not act
hastily is ever ready to consult upon all important
matters and, on the whole, I think will give general
A number of the Nez Perces are here, and wish to
have another chief appointed in the place of Ellis.
Some of their young men wish lo join the army.
Several of the Spokans also, are here, who ofTer as
sistance. They say the murderers arc in the Pelouche
country that they know where they are at this lime.
You will, no doubt, have communications from many
friends, and consequently get all the news.
B. F. Burch will probably be Adjutant under the
new arrangement. The appointment has been offered
loghim, and he is now acting in that capacity.
Yours, Respectfully, J. S. R.
G. L. Curry, Esq.
FOn THE Fit EE PRESS.
Mr. Editor Permit 'me, sir, through the medium of
your paper, to offer a sentiment to the citizen? of Or
egon. There has been a great deal said upon the sub
ject of i'Roiiiiiition of the manufacture and vending of
ardent spirits; but not one word as to the mode of
carrying it into effect. Now, sir, I am well assured,
that if there was some plan proposed, by which the
conscientious scruples of manv of our good citizens
could be removed, as regards the power of the people,
under our Federal Constitution, to legislate against the
manufacture, vending, etc., of ardent spirits, that there
would be an overwhelming majority of votes cast at
the ensuing election in favor of prohibition. Now, sir,
the plan which I wish to suggest is (his, (let the re
sult of the popular vole be as it will,) that the people
instruct the Legislature to enact a law compelling
every person, who may wish lo manufacture, or vend,
ardent spirits in any way whatever, (except for sac
ramental, medical, or mechanical purposes,) to pay
into the territorial treasury a sum not less than two
thousand dollars, annually, and to affix just such pen
alties for every violation, as an absolute prohibitory
law would require. The above plan would certainly
not infringe upon the natural or constitutional rights
of any man, but in my humble opinion, would be much
more ant to effect the much desired object. Moro upon
this subject, anon. II.