CHIEF JOSEPH, or Young Joseph, as it became the habit to call him during his father's lifetime, fought for that which the white man calls patriotism when it has been crowned with success. He and the survivors of his band are now exiles in the Indian Territory. He has appealed to the authorities at Washington, claiming that by the terms of his surrender, as he understood them, they were to be allowed to return to Idaho, and to settle on the Nez Percé Reservation. [Thirty-two women and children and one man have since been allowed to return to Idaho.--ED.] This reservation lies at the bottom of the trouble with Joseph's people. They prided themselves on having received Lewis and Clarke, Bonneville, Fremont, and other white men, with the hand of friendship, and on never having falsified their early promises. Up to the time of Joseph's outbreak, though Nez-Percés had been killed by white men, only one white man had fallen by the hand of a Chu-lé-ap-lu, the slayer being Sa-poon-mas, of Big Thunder's band.
Joseph's father joined the other independent chiefs of the tribe in a formal treaty concluded in the Walla-Walla Valley on June 11, 1855, but which was not ratified until I859. By this treaty, the Indians gave up all claim to the country excepting certain specified tracts. Old Joseph and Appush-wa-hite (Looking-glass) entered into the contract with great reluctance, and only on the express stipulation that the Wallowa and Imnaha Valleys should be guaranteed them as their especial district. Soon the white man wanted these valleys, and in I863, a supplementary treaty was made (ratified I867), taking those valleys away from Old Joseph. But he would have nothing to do with this second treaty, he and his band becoming known as the non-treaty Nez-Percés. He said: "I have kept my faith; let the whites keep theirs." A majority of the other chiefs, however, agreed to the new allotment, for their particular interests were not injured; and the commissioners for the United States claimed that Joseph was bound by a majority of his peers. False as novas the whole theory of treating with the Indiana the inevitable evil results could have been softened only by good faith on both sides. The faith pledged to Joseph in I855, when the country was a wilderness, could not now be kept in its spirit, and through that loop-hole the commissioners sought escape. But no matter how consistent their action may have seemed to them, to the Indians it was false and absurd. With them, as with all warlike, nomadic peoples, the decision of a majority is not regarded as binding the minority; this principle is unknown. In their institutions, the autonomy of the individual is so complete that a chief approaches absolutism only in proportion to his personal strength of character, and the strongest never dreams of such an attempt at power, but acts upon the will of his people expressed in council; and if there be but one man who dissents, his right to depart from the action of the others is unquestioned. [The character of the tribal Germans as presented by Caesar and Tacitus is in many respects in interesting parallelism with that of the native North Americans.] So Old Joseph would not leave his valleys, and there he died and was buried, and Im-mut-tu-ya-lat-lat (Thunder Rolling in the Mountains), or " Young Joseph," took his place. On the same principle, "Young Joseph," since his confinement in the Indian Territory, points out that to his mind the essential thing about a contract, namely, " the agreement of the minds," was wanting in this supplementary treaty. His parable in effect is as follows: "A man comes to me, and says, 'Joseph, I like your horses, and I want to buy them.' .I say I do not want to sell them. Then he goes to my neighbor and says, 'Joseph has some good horses, but he will not sell them,' and my neighbor says, 'Pay me and you may have them.' And he does so, and then comes to me, and says, 'Joseph, I have bought your horses."'
He first came into notice as chief during the Modoc troubles of I873. His band became very restless and defiant. A commission was ordered, and on its recommendation the Wallowa was set aside for Joseph's exclusive use by an executive order of June, I873. But this valley was so beautiful and fertile that two years later the order was revoked. Joseph, however, resisted intrusions into his territory; and in 1876 one of his Indians was killed by a white man, in a quarrel over some stock. This led General Howard, the commander of the military department, to ask for another commission to "settle the whole matter, before war is even thought of." This commission recommended that if the principle of decision by majorities should be held to apply, Joseph ought to be required to go upon the reservation. Thereupon, at the request of the Interior Department, General Howard was directed to occupy the Wallowa Valley with troops, been given the key position to hold, broke and fled, panic-stricken
This demoralized the soldiers, and the sad affair was only saved from being a rout and total massacre by the coolness of the few who preserved military order and thereby escaped alive. The Nez-Percés returned to their camp completely victorious, and probably suffered very slight loss. During the heat of this fight Joseph's wife gave birth to a daughter. At his surrender this was the only child left to him, his other daughter, a girl about ten years of age, having been cut off from camp, and lost during the razz* of the Anal engagement.
After this fight or massacre" at White Bird Creek, the Indians had the country to themselves- The whites fled to Idaho City, and hurriedly constructed a stockade; and the hostiles gathered into the mountain glens most of the horses of the region, and pillaged the settlements and slaughtered the cattle. General Howard concentrated all the troops of his department as quickly as possible, and, putting himself at their head, moved on the hostiles. These abandoned their lair in the White Bird Canon, and crossed the Salmon River into the heart of the Craig Mountains just as the troops reached the river-bank. Now began a doubling chase in this rugged country. Joseph, with his great herds of horses and ranch cattle, which he killed as he needed them, chose the nearly inaccessible paths; and the incessant rain, the slippery or rocky steeps, all combined to foil the breathless efforts of his pursuers. Returning to the Camas Prairie in a wide sweep through the mountains, Joseph penned up two companies of cavalry in a stockade, and cut off and killed St. Rains and ten men who had been sent out to reconnoiter.
Encouraged by this continued success, which he hoped would draw malcontents to him from the neighboring reservation, Joseph went into camp on the North Fork of the Clear eater, and here, by redoubled exertions, the troops overtook him on the morning of July It. It was a test case--all the hostiles under Joseph against all the soldiers under General Howard. The Indians, naturally a brave tribe, now flushed by success and rendered desperate by their lot, seemed not unwilling to try the issue. Leaving their picturesque camp and cone-like teepees protected by the broad mountain stream, they crossed over to meet us, and, swarming out of the river bottom, occupied the rocks and fir-crowned heights of the ravines transverse to the main valley, leaving the troops only the alternative to deploy as skirmishers, and throw themselves flat on the sunburnt grass of the open. Joseph promptly took the initiative, and tried the favorite and hitherto successful tactics of working around our flanks and getting in the rear; but in this he was checked each time, and our line finally developed into a crescent with the baggage and hospital at the rear and center. Nothing could be bolder or more aggressive than the conduct of these Indians. Twice this day they massed under shelter, and, leaving their war-horses in the timber, charged our line so savagely that they were only repelled by as fierce a counter-charge, the two lines advancing rapidly till they almost met; and when the Indians turned they did so only to regain cover. Their fire was deadly, the proportion of wounded to killed being but two to one. A large number of the casualties occurred in the short time before each man had protected himself by earth thrown up with his trowel bayonet. At one point of the line, one man, raising his head too high, was shot through the brain; another soldier, lying on his back and trying to get the last few drops of warm water from his canteen, was robbed of the water by a bullet taking off the canteen's neck while it was at his lips. An officer, holding up his arm, was shot through the wrist; another, jumping to his feet for an instant, fell with a bullet through the breast. So all day long under the hot July sun, without water and without food, our men crawled about in the parched grass, shooting and being shot. The wounded were carried back to an awning where the surgeons were at work; the dead were left where they fell. All day long the Indians fought hard for the mastery. Among the rocks and scrubby pines their brown naked bodies were seen flying from shelter to shelter. Their yells were incessant as they cheered each other on or signaled a successful shot.
Joseph, White Bird, and Too-hul-hul-suit, all seemed to be in command, but--and as one of Joseph's band told the writer--Joseph was after this fight called "the war-chief" He was everywhere along the line; running from point to point, he directed the flanking movements and the charges. It was his long fierce calls which sometimes we heard loudly in front of us, and sometimes faintly resounding from the distant rocks. As darkness covered us, the rifles grew silent, till only an occasional shot indicated each side's watchfulness.
The packers and non-combatants had been set cooking, and during the evening a sort of pancake and plenty of ammunition were distributed to each man. A spring in a ravine was secured, but one man sent to fill canteens never returned, and it was found that the enemy were in possession of it. Next day, however, the spring was retaken. All through and, if necessary, to drive Joseph upon the reservation. Indian runners were sent out to inform the " non-treaties" of the decision against them. They refused to hearken to such messages, and prepared to defend themselves.
Joseph would not believe that his case had been truthfully presented, and yet not determined in his favor. He hastened to the agent at Umatilla, and declared that the interpreter at Lapwai could not have spoken the truth to the mixed commission. He begged for another interview. Two councils were held, one at Umatilla, and one at Walla-Walla, in neither of which Joseph appeared, but sent his brother Ollicut (killed in the last fight) to represent him. A general council was called to meet at Lapwai. Joseph and all the non-treaty bands were to be present. For several days the motley hordes poured in from the mountains. There were men, women, and children, with troops of horses, and all the picturesque paraphernalia of the camp.
They came singing the monotonous chants of the wilderness, with gaudy blankets flaunting in the wind or girded at the loins. The horses were daubed with color and plumed with eagle feathers. As they galloped and curveted, the fantastic head-dresses, crests, and flowing locks of their riders, the red leggings or bare brown legs, arms, and breasts, the eagle-feather and bear-claw trimmings, made a highly colored and animated picture.
On May 3d, the first day of the council, Joseph spoke of the importance of the subjects to be discussed, and asked for delay till all could be present, and for plenty of time for deliberation. He was told that White Bird would be waited for if he wished it. Here an old foods (priest) stood up and said to the interpreter: ' For the sake of the children and the children's children of both whites and Indians, tell the truth ! " The orders of the Government were interpreted to the Indians, and they were told that the department commander and the Indian agent were there to hear all they had to say, no matter how long it might take; but that the Indians must comprehend at the outset that the views of the Government would be enforced.
On the second day White Bird was present, and the debate became so hot and so hostile that Joseph suddenly asked for an adjournment. The next day the council opened more calmly, but finally Too-hul-hul-suit, whose anger had forced Joseph to seek the adjournment the day before, said plainly: " The others may do as they like. Swill atop go on the reservation." For this he was arrested and confined. Thereafter Joseph and White Bird managed the council smoothly. They either agreed or seemed to agree to everything, and promised to be on the reservation by June I4. At their request Too-hul-hul-suit was released. On June 14, 1877, the non-treaty bands began their horrible murders of men, women, and children. The small band which began the work swept over the Camas Prairie and Salmon River country, falling upon the unsuspicious dwellers in the lonely cabins, firing the houses, and throwing the living into the flames. Soon after his capture, while he was a prisoner in a little tent on the bank of the Missouri, Joseph said to the writer: " I intended to go on the reservation. I knew nothing of these murders. Had I been at home, they would not have happened; but I was away on the other side of the Salmon River, killing some beef for my wife, who was sick, and I was called back by messengers telling me what the young men had done. Then I knew I must lead them in fight, for the whites would not believe my story." Nevertheless, the story may be true. About a year after this talk with Joseph, an Indian in Idaho told me that after the last council with General Howard, at Lapwai, the allied bands of non-treaties met in a rocky canon near the Salmon River, and argued peace and war for ten days; that Joseph urged peace, and the others war, even taunting him with cowardice; that on the last day two young men whose fathers had been killed by the whites took three companions and committed the first murders.
News of the outrages was received at Fort Lapwai, the nearest military post, not far from Lewiston, June Is, and by eight o'clock in the evening the garrison, consisting of two companies of cavalry, was on the march. By dawn of the next day they entered White Bird Canyon, a basaltic-walled, rough-ridged defile leading from the table-land of Camas Prairie to the Salmon River, six miles distant. Into this canon the troops marched, accompanied by some citizen volunteers. The Nez Percé record had been one of such unbroken peacefulness toward white men, that no one knew what sort of antagonists they would prove. Our advance was met four miles from the entrance to the canyon by nearly the entire hostile force--some three hundred warriors. Leaving their women and children and noncombatants--in all about seven hundred souls --in the camp behind them, they advanced, throwing out a line of mounted skirmishers which deployed and maneuvered in fine order. They came on yelling, under cover of a herd of horses driven ahead of them, and by military skill and savage adroitness combined they soon turned our flank and poured in a deadly fire. The citizen volunteers, who had the night, from the vast Indian camp in the river-bottom, rose the wail of the death-song and the dull drumming of the tooats. The dirge of the widows drifted to us through the summer night--now plaintive and faint, now suddenly bursting into shrieks, as if their very heart-strings had snapped. But mingling with these unpleasant sounds came the rapid movement of the scalp-chant, hum,hum,hum, hurrying to the climax of fierce war-whoops.
With the dawn the stray popping of rifles grew more and more rapid, till as the sun shot up into the sky both sides were hard at work again. Joseph, unlike his men, did not strip off his clothes for battle, as is the Indian custom, but wore his shirt, breech-clout, and moccasins; and though (as I was told by one of his men) he was wholly reckless of himself in directing the various fights, he did not receive a wound.
On this second day, the Indians being more determined, if possible, than on the day before, and our side having received reinforcements, General Howard, at two o'clock in the afternoon, ordered a charge upon their position. Colonel Marcus Miller led the attack, which was desperately resisted. Some of the Indians made no effort to retreat, and were killed in their rifle-pits. But this ended the fight. They fled across the river, hastily gathered the women and children who had not been sent off the night before, and throwing on pack-animals such effects as they could secure in their haste, they were soon seen speckling the distant hills, as they streamed away to Kamiah ferry and the Lo Lo trail.
Much of their camp was taken standing, the packs and robes lying about, and the meat cooking at the fire. Evidently, the enemy had not anticipated defeat. We followed them to Kamiah ferry, which they destroyed, and disputed the river, while they robbed their kinsmen, the Kamiah Indians, and collected their herds in a mountain glade. At this place Joseph sent in a flag of truce; some of the wounded and some young braves came in, but he did not. The writer was told long afterward, by an Indian of that region, that Joseph wished to surrender rather than leave the country or bring further misery on his people, but that, in council, he was overruled by the older chiefs, Ap-push-wa-hite (Looking-glass), White Bird, and Too-hul-hul-suit; and Joseph would not desert the common cause. According to this informant, Joseph's last appeal was to call a council in the dale, and passionately condemn the proposed retreat from Idaho. " What are we fighting for ? " he asked. " Is it for our lives ? No. It is for this land where the bones of our fathers are buried. I do not want to take my women among strangers. I do not want to die in a strange land. Some of you tried to say, once, that I was afraid of the whites. Stay here with me now, and you shall have plenty of fighting. We will put our women behind us in these mountains, and die on our own land fighting for them. I would rather do that than run I know not where."
But, the retreat being decided on, he led this caravan, two thousand horses and more, women, children, old men, and old women, the wounded, palsied, and blind, by a seemingly impassable trail, interlaced with fallen trees, through the ruggedest mountains, to the Bitter Root Valley, where (a fact unprecedented in Indian warfare) he made a treaty of forbearance with the inhabitants, passing by settlements containing banks and stores, and near farms rich with stock, but taking nothing and hurting no one. So he pushed on; he crossed the Rocky Mountains twice, the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers, and was within one day's march of Canada when he was taken. Not knowing that General Gibbon had been summoned by telegraph to intercept him, Joseph, after leaving Bitter Root Valley, encamped to rest awhile on the banks of Big Hole Creek, in the valley of the Big Hole, situated in Montana.
After making a reconnoissance and finding (with slight loss) that the Indians had a rear guard holding the narrow Lo Lo trail, we hurried to reach the Bitter Root Valley by the Mullan road; but Joseph made a demonstration in the shape of a raid on Kamiah, and such were the reports and the popular feeling that General Howard abandoned the Millan road and returned to push in on the Lo Lo trail. For ten days we toiled along this pathway. The marching hour was sunrise, the camping hour sunset. Often the hillsides were so steep that we could not sleep comfortably without digging out a bed. Each cavalryman had been required to start with ten pounds of grain for his horse, but several times horses and patient pack-mules were tied up at night without a mouthful of any kind of fodder. Meanwhile, General Gibbon had hurried down from Fort Shaw, and, finding that he was three days too late to head off Joseph, pressed on his trail over the Rockies toward the Big Hole. On August 6 we were still locked in the mountains, but were encamped in a beautiful glen, where, for the first time, there was good grazing. Hot springs gave delightful baths, and a cold brook furnished trout for supper. Every one, down to the most stoical mule in the pack-train, felt cheered. Soon a courier from General Gibbon arrived in hot haste, informing us of his intentions and whereabouts. A sergeant was sent with similar information to General Gibbon; and before daylight next morning we were harder at work than ever, trying to overtake Gibbon before he should strike the Indians. For three days we pushed on with no word from our courier. Then (August 10) General Howard, with an aide-de-camp and twenty Indian scouts and twenty cavalrymen, commanded by Lieutenant Bacon, made a forced march ahead of his command to join Gibbon. The latter had discovered Joseph's camp in the bottom-land of the head-waters of the Big Hole. This bottom-land was covered with thickets of willow bushes, and was full of treacherous bogs. Jutting into it from the western side were the timber-covered knolls and promontories of the Rocky Mountain foot-hills, while away to the east rolled the open Big Hole prairie. At dawn General Gibbon made his attack; and though he had less than one-third the force of the enemy, so complete was the surprise that with almost any other Indians there would have been a rout. The soldiers poured into the camp, firing into the teepees [the conical skin tents], and, in the gray light, shooting indiscriminately everything that moved. Naked warriors with only their rifles and cartridge-belts ran into the willows and to the prairie knolls overlooking the camp, and instantly from these positions of vantage opened a telling fire. Women and children, roused from sleep, ran away screaming with terror, or, surrounded by enemies, begged by signs for mercy. (It is needless to say that no women or children were intentionally killed.) Some few women armed themselves in desperation, but most of them fled or hid under the overhanging banks of the creek or in the bushes.
The yells of the soldiers, the wild war-whoops of the Indians, the screams of the terrified women and children, the rattle of rifle shots, shouts of command, the cursing of the maddened soldiers already firing the nearest teepees, contributed to the horrors of the battle, which was made more terrible by the presence of mothers and babies in the blue rifle smoke that made the dawn more dim. Joseph soon had his men strongly posted on the commanding positions, and their destructive fire stopped further firing of the camp, and drove the soldiers to one of the timbered knolls. General Gibbon s horse was killed, and he himself was shot through the thigh; but he kept command, and, sitting propped against a tree, directed the construction of some rifle-pits and log fortifications.
Stung by the attack, but more (as Joseph afterward explained) by the loss of their women and children, the Indians took the offensive most savagely. They fired the long grass and timber, but a fortunate change of the wind saved the wooded knoll. They wormed through the grass to within forty or fifty feet of the rifle-pits. They climbed to the treetops. One of them was so securely perched behind a dead log that he killed four men in one rifle-pit before he himself was picked off, and then his naked yellow body fell so close to the fortification that his friends did not venture to recover it. This night, after burying the dead, Joseph sent his women and impedimenta under escort by way of the Lemhi country, where they again made a treaty of forbearance with the settlers. All the next day the fight continued, but about midnight the last of the warriors withdrew and hastened after the main body.
General Howard with his small party bivouacked this same night about twelve miles from Gibbon's position, being unable to proceed because of the darkness. At twilight he had captured some citizen stragglers from Gibbon's wagon camp, who told a dismal tale of utter annihilation. General Howard was too experienced in deserters' stories to credit all this, but nevertheless he caused camp fires to be built as if his whole command was at hand, and with the earliest dawn was sweeping along at a gallop to give the aid of his fifty rifles to Gibbon. Some naked and mutilated bodies of our people were passed, a howitzer wheel was found by the trail, and the wagon camp was found silent and deserted; so it was with forebodings that we rode on, to be cheered, however, as we turned the point of a hill and came suddenly upon Gibbon's camp, and were received with hearty hurrahs. The commander himself was dressing his wound, and directing the soldiers in the care of their comrades; for no medical officer was with this command, and about one-half of them were killed or wounded.
Joseph had turned north-eastward toward the National Park of the Yellowstone, and his rearguard had crossed the Corinne stage-road a fever hours before General Howard's command reached the same point. This was a great disappointment, as we had every reason to believe that this time we would intercept him. The next night we encamped in a prairie dotted with clumps of cottonwood trees and camas meadows. [Camas is a tuber which forms a staple article of food with the Indians] That night, just before dawn, our sleeping camp was startled into half-bewildered consciousness by a rattling fire of rifles, accompanied with the zee-zip of bullets through the air and through tent canvas, and by unearthly war-whoops. It was a ; back hit from Joseph. Our men, still half-stupid with sleep, groped about for shoes; and cartridge-belts and swore at the mislaid a articles; but each one knew his drill, and as fast as he equipped himself he crawled away from the dangerous white tents, formed on the line, and began replying to the enemy. The mule-herd, successfully stampeded, was flying in a terror momentarily increased by the naked Indians yelling demoniacally at its heels, while Indians in front were shaking the bells stolen from the necks of the lead-animals. These Indians had crawled in among the herd during the night, and cut the hobbles and taken off the bells. Our cavalry were at the picket line trying to saddle, and at the same time to control, their frightened horses, while the Indians who had remained behind were doing their best to stampede and add to the disappearing mule-herd. Our own Indian scouts, naked and lithe and silent, glided through the bushes and from rock to rock. The dawn showed the mule-herd far away over the prairie, disappearing toward the hills. The cavalry was already in hot pursuit, and overtook and recaptured the herd, but only for a moment; for Joseph had so calculated his plans that at this point our troops ran into an ambush of the whole Indian force, and could not pay any attention to the herd, the most of which Joseph finally secured. The foot troops then moved to the support of the cavalry, and the engagement became general, and was only ended at about two o'clock in the afternoon by the withdrawal of the Indians. We then returned to our camp, and made a reduction and rearrangement of baggage to suit the crippled pack-train. Joseph said after his surrender that about forty of his youngest men had made all the noise and firing of the first attack. The herd being stampeded, all joined in at the rear, and hurried to where he was waiting to receive them and cover their retreat. He said that that night he was camped about twenty miles from us, and had been watching us all day, and at sunset or a little later had started the stampeding party on their dangerous expedition. He said further that he was tired of always finding General Howard close behind him, and wanted to " set him afoot," but that he was very much disappointed in finding the cavalry horses picketed that night, for he would rather have had the horses than the mules, and expected to get them both; for said he, "You didn't picket your horses other nights, so I didn't expect it this time."
The loss of pack-animals, and the destitution and sickness among the men, compelled a halt of three days, during which time Joseph reached the Lower Geyser Basin of the National Park, and captured some tourists. His young men first came upon them and shot the men. A Mr. Oldham was shot through both cheeks, but we found him wandering through the woods. Mr. Taft also escaped. A Mr. Cowan was shot from his horse, and again shot through the head while his wife held him in her arms. He was left by the roadside supposed to be dead, but the wife and her sister were not harmed, and after being held in Joseph's camp for some time were released. White Bird took them out of camp, showed them their ponies, and said, " Go. That is the way. Do not stop to water your horses. Hurry ! hurry ! " Both he and Joseph feared they would be waylaid by the young warriors. Mr. Cowan was found by us in a dying condition, but strange to say recovered; and he and his wife were eventually restored to each other. A miner named Snively also escaped to us from the hostile camp. He said he was well treated, and that Joseph used him as guide, for he was wandering in these mysterious regions without any exact knowledge of the country. The time he thus lost enabled us to take a shorter line and press closely on him. General Sturgis and the Seventh Cavalry, fresh in the field, were ahead of Joseph; and again we confidently expected to hold him in the mountains, from which there was but one pass in the direction Joseph was going, and another toward the Stinking Water. But every attempt to communicate with Sturgis was, as we afterward found, unsuccessful. The bodies were found of every courier sent out, of every miner or white man caught in the mountains; for at this juncture the Indians spared nobody. Joseph made a feint toward the Stinking Water pass, and having got General Sturgis moving in that direction, he slipped out under cover of the hills, by way of Clarke's Fork, and crossed the Yellowstone toward the Musselshell basin. He had led his whole people much over a thousand miles through the ruggedest wilderness of the continent, and now he again paused to rest at Rocky Canon. But Sturgis, reinforced by General Howard's freshest cavalry, overtook him here, and again he started the caravan of women, children, and old men, under escort, while he and the warriors held their position and protected the retreat. Thus he made a running fight of two days, extending one hundred and fifty miles to the lakes near the Musselshell. Here he distanced all pursuit, and was never again overtaken until he had crossed the Missouri, nearly completing a retreat of almost two thousand miles, and was within thirty or forty miles of the British line, and not much farther from the vast hostile camp of Sitting Bull. During this march every vicissitude of climate had been felt: the cold, drenching rains of early spring, and the heat of summer, the autumn extremes of temperature, when the midday in the mountains was very hot, and at night water froze an inch thick in the buckets. Or The men who pursued Joseph through his entire course were mostly foot troops. They severe necessarily reduced to the most meager; supplies, and found the country ahead of them swept clean by the hostile tribe. 4
On September I2, General Howard sent word to General Miles that Joseph had foiled ; all attempts to stop him, and earnestly requested him to make every effort to intercept the Indians. This dispatch was received by General Miles September I7, and the next day he began the march which resulted in Joseph's capture. Joseph, who did not know of any other available troops in the field, and was watching only Generals Howard and Sturgis, was encamped along Eagle Creek. The country around was all bare, rolling, grass prairie, at this time covered with a light fall of snow. The camp lay in the sheltering hollows--the lowest, and therefore for fighting purposes the worst situation. A blinding snow-storm shielded General Miles's approach on the morning of September 3o, till he was almost upon them. Instantly, on discovering the advance, the Indians seized the crests of the knolls immediately surrounding their camp, and the cavalry charge was successfully repulsed. Every officer or non-commissioned officer who wore a badge of rank was killed or wounded, save one. Joseph and his elder daughter were on the other side of the creek, among the horse-herd, when the first charge was made. Calling to the girl to follow, he dashed across and joined his men, taking command; but his daughter and many others were cut off by the cavalry charge, which captured and drove off the herd. These people fled to the distant hills; some were murdered by the Sioux; some probably perished from the severe weather; but Joseph's daughter was restored to him some six months afterward. The troops held most of the higher crests commanding the camp. The Indians with wonderful labor and ingenuity literally honeycombed a portion of the site of their camp, and other more advantageous transverse gulches, with subterranean dwelling-places, communicating galleries, etc. Their dead horses were utilized as fortifications and as food. Here they held their own, refusing all offers of surrender, and saying in effect: If you want us, come and take us. Joseph visited General Miles under flag of truce, but at that time would not surrender. His people held Lieutenant Jerome as a hostage till Joseph was returned to them. Had he not lost the herd that moved his motley horde, it is more than probable that Joseph would have made another of his successful fights in retreat. On October 4 General Howard, with two aides, two friendly Nez-Percés (both of whom had daughters in the hostile camp), and an interpreter, arrived in Miles's camp while the firing was still going on. The two old Nez-Percés, " George " and " Captain John," rode into Joseph's camp next day. They told him General Howard was there, with promises of good treatment; that his whole command was only two or three days behind him. With tears in their eyes they begged Joseph to surrender. Joseph asked if he would be allowed to return to Idaho. He was told that he would, unless higher authority ordered otherwise.
Then old " Captain John " brought this reply (and his lips quivered and his eyes filled with tears as he delivered the words of his chief:
" Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before--I have it in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed. Looking-glass is dead. Too-hul-hul-suit is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men, now, who say 'yes' or 'no' [that is, vote in council]. He who led on the young men Joseph's brother, Ollicut] is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people-- some of them--have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are--perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and to see how many of them I can find; may be I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun crew stands, I will fight no more forever !" .
It was nearly sunset when Joseph came to deliver himself up. He rode from his camp in the little hollow. His hands were clasped over the pommel of his saddle, and his rifle lay across his knees; his head was bowed down. Pressing around him walked five of his warriors; their faces were upturned and earnest as they murmured to him; but he looked neither to the right nor the left, yet seemed to listen intently. So the little group came slowly up the hill to where General Howard, with an aide-decamp, and General Miles waited to receive the surrender. As he neared them, Joseph sat erect in the saddle, then gracefully and with dignity he swung himself down from his horse, and with an impulsive gesture threw his arm to its full length, and offered his rifle to General Howard. The latter motioned him toward General Miles, who received the token of submission.
Those present shook hands with Joseph, whose worn and anxious face lighted with a sad smile as silently he took each offered hand. Then, turning away, he walked to the tent provided for him.
His scalp-lock was tied with otter fur. The rest of his hair hung in a thick plait on each' side of his head. He wore buckskin leggings and a gray woolen shawl, through which were the marks of four or five bullets received in this last conflict. His forehead and wrist were also scratched by bullets. White Bird, the only other surviving chief, would not surrender, but with his immediate family passed between the lines that night and went to British Columbia. As has already been explained, Joseph could not have controlled this, even if he had known of it. In surrendering he could really act only for those willing to follow him.
On the second day after the surrender the prisoners were disposed of according to the terms of the following letter, the final result being that they were taken to Fort Leavenworth, where many died of malarious fever, and the others removed to the Indian Territory, where they now are:
"HEAD-QUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF THE COLUMBIA. IN THE FIELD. BATTLEFIELD OF EAGLE CREEK, NEAR BEARPAW MOUNTAIN, MONTANA. October 7, 1877. J
"COLONEL NELSON A. MILES, FIFTH INFANTRY COMMANDING DISTRICT OF THE YELLOWSTONE.
"COLONEL: On account of the cost of transportation of the Nez-Percé prisoners to the Pacific coast I deem it best to retain them all at some place within your district, where they can be kept under military control till next spring. Then, unless you receive instructions from higher authority, you are hereby directed to have them sent, under proper guard, to my department, where I will take charge of them and carry out the instructions I have already received.
" O. O. HOWARD,
" Brigadier-General, commanding Department."
Joseph at this time must have been about thirty-seven or thirty-eight years old. He is tall, straight, and handsome, with a mouth and chin not unlike that of Napoleon I. He was, in council, at first probably not so influential as White Bird and the group of chiefs that sustained him, but from first to last he was preeminently their " war-chief" Such was the testimony of his followers after his surrender, and such seems to be the evidence of the campaign itself.
C. E. S. Wood.