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Miles, Nelson Appleton, 1839-1925 / Personal recollections and observations of General Nelson A. Miles embracing a brief view of the Civil War, or, From New England to the Golden Gate : and the story of his Indian campaigns, with comments on the exploration, development and progress of our great western empire

Chapter XX. The Nez PercĂ© campaign,   pp. 259-269 ff. PDF (4.7 MB)

Page 260

Indians from the disputed territory. This incensed the owners of the soil
to a very high degree, and yet many were so opposed to war that they
decided to relinquish their cherished lands under the pressure of force.
   Chief Joseph and others had gone into the hills and mountains to
gather up their stock with a view to removing it, at the very time that a
cted element took advantage of these conditions to
[tate hostilities. A young man whose brother had
tilled the year before by a white man, went out and
this man, killed him, and brought his horse into the
As he stood beside the stolen horse, stroking his mane,
   "You will now have to go to war, as I have com-
d itby killing the man who killed my brother. Troops
will be sent against all of you."
   This act did, in fact, start hostilities, as it created
intense excitement and feeling against the Indians
on the part of the whites, and troops were sent to
arrest alleged depredations and hostilities. Then oc-
curred some sharp fighting by troops under General
CHIEF JOSEPH.     Howard, the Indians retreating east over the moun-
tains, up what is known as the Lolo trail and Clark's Fork of the Columbia,
thence east through what is known as Big Hole Basin, where they were
overtaken by the command of General Gibbon.    Then a sharp and
desperate fight occurred in which General Gibbon was wounded and
his attack repelled. The Indians retreating were followed by General
Howard's command through Yellowstone Park and out over Clark's Fork
Pass, a tributary of the Yellowstone. In fact they came near intercepting
General Sherman in his tour through the Yellowstone Park.
   From the unofficial reports and newspaper accounts I have already
mentioned, I judged that the Indians would, should they evade the troops
in western Montana, endeavor to reach the Judith Basin, and, if pursued,
would move north of the Missouri River. I ordered (August 3) First Lieu-
tenant G. C. Doane, Second Cavalry, with Company E, Seventh Cavalry,
and the Crow allies, to the Missouri at and west of the Musselshell, with
structions to " intercept, capture or destroy the Nez Perces."
On the 10th of
August, to the same end, I sent General Sturgis, colonel Seventh Cavalry,
six companies of his regiment, to Judith Gap  a point they subsequently
passed  at the same time ordering Lieutenant Doane, then en route under in-
structions above cited, to report to him. Such general instructions as the
facts at hand rendered practicable were furnished General Sturgis, and he

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