Today in History:

30 Series I Volume L-II Serial 106 - Pacific Part II


Fort Vancouver, Wash. Ter., July 18, 1862.


First Cavalry Oregon Volunteers, Commanding Expedition to

Nez Perce Reservation, Fort Walla Walla, Wash. Ter.:

SIR: Having repaired with your command to Lewiston, as directed in Special Orders, Numbers 35, from these headquarters, you will select some eligible point for a permanent encampment, but returning to Fort Walla Walla by the 1st of November. The position chosen by Captain A. J. Smith, First Dragoons, in the spring of 1861, may be a good one, but there is in this office no definite information on the subject. You may find it desirable to choose a point nearer to Lewiston, in order more effectually to carry out the following instructions: The general commanding desires that you use every exertion to preserve order and quiet between the whites and the Indians; to protect the whites from hostile Indians in that region, and especially to prevent the sale of ardent spirits or wine to the Indians. A copy of the act of Congress of the 13th of February, 1862, on that subject, is herewith inclosed. * Besides the other penalties therein named, you will notice that it is competent for you to take and destroy any ardent spirits or wine found in the possession of those who sell liquor to Indians. The sale of liquor to whites, and the introduction of it for their use, cannot under the circumstances be interfered with, but its sale to Indians is in flagrant violation of the laws. A measure is now before Congress, which has passed the Senate, which, if it passes both Houses, will enable the superintendent of Indian affairs to negotiate for the purchase of a portion of the land from the Nez Perce Indians. A town site at or near Lewiston seems essential for the supply of the large mining population which has for several months been gathering in the Salmon River and other mining regions. It will thus be idel to attempt the removal of the whites from the Indian reservation. But it is incumbent upon the Government to protect the Indians of both sexes from all violence and outrage on the part of the whites, and the general commanding desires that yost of your power for their protection, and to assist the Indian agent on that reservation in the discharge of that duty. Say to their chiefs that the Nez Perce Indians have long been the faithful friends and allies of our people and our Government. They have been perseveringly so amid every temptation arising during the last fourteen years from the revolt on several occasions of neighboring tribes. The faith of several branches of the Government stands pledged for their protection. Therefore General Alvord, who nine years ago was a witness of their fidelity and their praiseworthy desire for advances in education and civilization, is much concerned to find the tribe thus dispossessed of their lands; also subjected to so much maltreatment from the whites. He enjoins upon you that every effort should be made vigilantly to protect all peaceable Indians from injury and violence from all whites, whether soldiers or citizens. The preservation of order and discipline among your own men will be very important, and an essential preliminary to the preservation of order among others. It will be advisable for you to give notice to all dealers in ardent spirits and wine that the law empowers you to take and destroy any liquor found in the possession of those who sell it to Indians.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


First Lieutenant, Ninth Infantry, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.