02 April 2020

Another Big Talk [guest post by Edward Fox, 2 April 1873]


[From the New York Herald, 1873; story by Edward Fox]
L
ast Monday morning [March 31] the troops moved from Van Bremen’s [sic] ranch and camped that evening on Klamath Lake. They started again early yesterday morning, and arrived at the top of the bluffs about noon. The Peace Commissioners were with the command, and were evidently much disappointed at not finding the Indians out to meet them, as they had promised to come out Tuesday morning to talk. The afternoon was devoted to the business of going into camp at the foot of the bluffs on the southern shore of Tule Lake. The wagons were obliged to remain up above, and the baggage and provisions were packed down on tents. The camp is tolerably well located on the west side of the lava beds and is about two and a half miles from Captain Jack’s cave. There is plenty of water and grass, but wood is scarce and has to be packed from the top of the bluffs.
Yesterday evening Boston Charley came in from Captain Jack’s and said that His Royal Highness would be ready to talk to-day.
The night passed away very quietly, with the exception of a scare on the part of two members of the Peace Commission, Messrs. Meacham and Dwyer. These gentlemen are certainly rather nervous regarding the safety of their hair, and the former aroused General Gillem in the middle of the night with some … yarn [a warning from Toby Riddle] that the Modocs were going to attack the camp. General Gillem put out an extra picket in order to calm the fears of the disciples of moral suasion, who also took the precaution to sleep with his boots on, in order to be ready for a run across the rocks. The Rev. Mr. Thomas is the only Peace Commissioner here who appears to understand his business and treats with the Indians as if he was not afraid of them.
This afternoon General Canby, the Peace Commissioners, Mr. Riddle and [wife] and the old chief Schonchin and the staff had a talk with Captain Jack, John Schonchin, Scar-Faced Charley, Shacknasty Jim, Hooker Jim and four or five others of the leading men of the tribe. The powwow was held about half a mile out of camp, and the press representatives were excluded by orders of the Peace Commissioners, and not by the Indians, as the latter had nothing to conceal. Jack and Schonchin both made long speeches, in which they recapitulated what they said to the Herald correspondent on the occasion of his first visit relative to his stay on Klamath reservation and the origin of the first fight. The Peace Commissioners, never having heard this speech before, were much delighted, and intimated after their return that they have great hopes of arranging a treaty to-morrow.
Mary, Jack’s sister, came in during the afternoon and was given ninety pounds of biscuit, which she carried back to reinforce the commissary of the warriors in the lava beds. Wild Gal my Hostess has come in and states she does not intend going back, as her William has taken unto himself another bride—a Mormon practice to which she decidedly objects.
There is to be another big talk to-morrow, and I sincerely hope the Peace Commissioners will gain their end. I am, however, rather sceptical on that point, and maintain that the Modocs will have to be “licked” before they can be induced to go on a distant reservation.
Orders have been sent to Colonel Mason, commanding the forces on the east side of the lake, to move up and camp at Hospital Rock, a point about a mile and a half to eastward of Captain Jack’s stronghold.

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