In 1858, warriors from the Spokane, Palouse, and Coeur d’Alene tribes routed an expeditionary force commanded by Colonel Edward Steptoe. The running battle resulted in seven soldiers dead, two soldiers missing, two howitzer cannons buried, the complete loss of the pack train, and three interpreters killed. Colonel Steptoe and his command escaped in the middle of the night nearly out of ammunition and in desperate condition. The mounted infantry known as Dragoons rode through the next day covering approximately seventy miles to the relative safety of the Snake River.
The Steptoe Battle otherwise known as the Battle of Pine Creek marks the beginning of the Coeur d’Alene War that disarmed the tribes in the region. After Steptoe’s defeat, Colonel George Wright led an expedition into the Northeastern corner of Washington that completely subjugated the Spokane, Palouse, and Coeur d’Alene’s to American policy. Following the war, the United States Army disarmed the tribes and slaughtered three hundred horses to eliminate their ability to maneuver on a battlefield. The terms of peace laid out by Colonel Wright destroyed the tribe’s capability to mount resistance against the United States ever again.
In 1855, miners discovered Gold in the Colville mines of northeastern Washington Territory. Newspapers such as the Oregonian began running daily advertisements to attract miners into the region. Exciting articles with bold titles of “Colville Gold Mines” exclaimed that, “with a common pan we made $6, $8, $10, and as high as $20 per man!” This news created an influx of white settlement to Washington. Territorial Governor, Isaac I. Stevens encouraged the settlement and proposed to consolidate fourteen tribes w...
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...hether the Dragoons were really down to their final two rounds when they made their daring nighttime escape they still managed to return to Fort Walla Walla with minimal loses.
Avery, M.W. History and Government of the State of Washington. Seattle:
University of Washington Press, 1961.
Boyden, T.G. Warrior of the Mist: Biography of Qualchan Chief Owhi’s Son.
Fairfield: Ye Galleon Press, 1996.
Kip, Lawrence. Indian War in the Pacific Northwest. Linclon:
University of Nebraska Press, 1999.
Pioneer and Democrat. (Olympia) 28 May-29 October 1858.
Plan of Steptoes Battlefield on the Ingossman Creek: May 15th, 16th, 17th 1858.
Washington Territory: U.S. Topographical Engineers. 1858.
The Oregonian. (Portland) 23 June 1855-22 October 1858.
United States Secretary of War. Topographical Memoir of Colonel Wright’s
Campaign 1859. Washington: 1859
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