24 March 2020

A Reconnaissance [guest post by Edward Fox, 24 March 1873]


[From the New York Herald, 1873; story by Edward Fox]
T
he new members of the Peace Commission, Messrs. Dyer, Indian Agent for Oregon, and the Rev. E. Thomas, of Petaluma, California, are hourly expected at Van Bremer’s ranch, and we shall probably have divine service next Sunday in Captain Jack’s cave.
Last Friday General Canby and General Gillem, accompanied by Colonels Biddle and Perry, and the troops M and F of the First cavalry, made a reconnoissance of the lava beds. They arrived at the top of the bluffs about noon, and there the cavalry were dismounted and the Generals surveyed the lava beds through their field glasses. Several Indians were seen on a ledge of rocks about a mile distant from the foot of the bluffs, and they shouted for some one to come down and talk. Acting Assistant Surgeon Cabaness was then half way down the bluffs, and he immediately asked permission of General Canby to go and see what they wanted.
His request was granted, and he presently returned, saying that Captain Jack wished to talk with Generals Canby and Gillem. As he asked for one more to come down, the Herald correspondent joined him and returned to the Modocs’ outpost. William and three other Indians were there in full war paint, and some of them stripped to their waist, so as to be free from all encumbrances while fighting.
We then agreed that Generals Canby and Gillem were to meet Captain Jack at a juniper tree situated half way between the foot of the bluffs and the Modoc outposts. Assistant Surgeon Cabaness then went back to inform General Canby of the arrangement, and shortly after he had returned from his mission Captain Jack arrived.
The latter at first objected to going to the juniper tree; but, as Dr. Cabaness and the Herald correspondant offered to remain as hostages for his safety, he finally agreed to the proposition. Jack was accompanied by Scar-faced Charley, the curly-headed Doctor, Curly Jack and two other Indians.
The talk did not amount to much, as Captain Jack simply signified his wish for peace and to be left where he was or on Lost River. He also informed General Canby that if he had anything to give him he might send it down to the lava beds. He made no answer when General Canby asked him why he did not come out when the wagons were sent to meet him. As soon as the conference was over Dr. Cabaness and the Herald correspondent left the outpost and returned to the top of the bluffs. Two of the Indians had their shot-pouches covered with scalps that were taken in the last fight. The troops returned to camp the same evening, arriving at about midnight.
The Lost River camp was broken up yesterday and the troops from there went into camp on the east side of the Tule Lake, about three miles from Captain Jack’s cave.
Major Green, of the First cavalry, arrived at Van Bremer’s to-day and took command of the troops from Dorris’ and Van Bremer’s, who will go into camp on Tule Lake at the foot of the bluffs in two or three days, as soon as the road is passable.
The Rev. Mr. Thomas, the new Peace Commissioner, will arrive at Van Bremer’s to-morrow evening and join Mr. Meacham.
It is now reported that the Indian Bureau intend giving Captain Jack a reservation on Lost River. There is no doubt in my mind that they will not be satisfied with anything else. They will then have to place a military post on the reservation to protect the Indians from the Oregonians.

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