December 9, 2005
Nevada's Online State News Journal
[From Thompson & West's History of Nevada 1881, With Illustrations And Biographical Sketches Of Its Prominent Men And Pioneers, pp. 158-165]
158 HISTORY OF THE STATE OF NEVADA.
INDIANS AND THEIR WARS IN NEVADA.
Washoe Regiment Organization—The March to Pyramid Lake—Just Before the Battle—The Battle-Ground—The Battle—After the Battle—Other Events About Pyramid Lake--End of the Campaign—Death of Wm. Allen—Expedition of Colonel Lander.
THE road to California was the back door outlet from danger that hundreds traveled, and many who remained in the Territory were so badly frightened that they would have been useless if the Indians had made a further advance.
Across the mountains in California the news of the massacre had created an intense excitement, and sent a thrill of generous and chivalric promptings for assistance home to every heart. At Downieville, within thirty-six hours after the message came that the gallant Meredith had fallen a victim to the knife of the savage, a company of one hundred and sixty-five men was raised, armed, equipped and with forty rounds of ammunition were, five days later, in Virginia City, having traversed the mountains on foot. From Nevada City, San Juan, Sacrament) and Placerville, organized companies surmounted
INDIANS, AND THEIR WARS IN NEVADA. 159
the icy barriers of the Sierra, and added their numbers to those at Virginia, who were eager to be led against the foe. The Governor of California sent for the Nevadans to use in their own defense, five hundred Minié muskets with plenty of ammunition.
Gold Hill, Carson, Genoa, Silver City, Dayton and Virginia City, furnished their quota of volunteers; the citizens generally contributed to provision the force, and the following was the result of a complete and thorough organization of the command.
WASHOE REGIMENT ORGANIZATION.
Consisting of eight companies of Infantry and six of Cavalry.
John C. Hays Colonel Commanding
J. Saunders Lieutenant Colonel
Dan. E. Hungerford Major
E. J. Bryant Surgeon
____ Perkins Surgeon
____ Bell Surgeon
Chas. S. Fairfax Adjutant
J. S. Plunkett Acting Adjutant of Infantry
Alex Miot Department Quartermaster
Benjamin G. Lippincott Regimental Quartermaster
John McNish Assistant Regimental Quartermaster
R. N. Snowden Commissary
(Known as Spy Company.)
L B. Fleeson Captain
(Known as Sierra Guards.)
E. J. Smith Captain
J. B. Preasch First Lieutenant
Wm. Wells Second Lieutenant
J. Halliday Third Lieutenant
Number of men Forty-seven
(Known as Truckee Rangers.)
Alanson W. Nightingill Captain
(Known as Sierra Guards.)
J. B. Reed Captain
N. P. Pierce First Lieutenant
D. C. Ralston Orderly
Number of men Fourteen
(Known as Carson Rangers.)
P. H. Clayton Captain
(Known as Nevada Rifles.)
J. B. Van Hagan Captain
(Known as Sierra Guards.)
F. F. Patterson Captain
C. S. Champney First Lieutenant
T. Maddux Second Lieutenant
A. Walker Third Lieutenant
Number of men Forty-one
(Known as San Juan Rifles.)
N. C. Miller Captain
(Known as Sacramento Guards.)
A. G. Snowden Captain
Joseph Virgo Captain
(Known as Virginia Rifles.)
E. T. [F.] Storey Captain
Number of men 106
(Known as Carson Rifles.)
J. L. Blackburn Captain
A. L. Turner First Lieutenant
Theo. Winters Orderly Sergeant
(Known as Silver City Guards.)
____ Ford Captain
(Known as Highland Rangers or Vaqueros.)
S. B. Wallace Captain
Robert Lyon First Lieutenant
Joseph F. Triplett Second Lieutenant
Number of men Twenty
(Known as Sierra Guards.)
Creed Haymond Captain
Geo. A. Davis First Sergeant
H. M. Harshbarger Second Sergeant
Number of men Nine
Total rank and file 544
Companies A, C, F, H, L, N, and one-half of Captain Storey's company K were mounted. The entire command was armed with Minié-rifles and muskets without bayonets.
THE MARCH TO PYRAMID LAKE.
On the twenty-fourth of May the Washoe regiment moved from Virginia City down Gold Cañon cheered by the citizens of Gold Hill and Silver City as it passed through those towns, camping the first night at Miller's ranch, below Dayton, a village known at that time as "Chinatown." The next day was spent in receiving commissary stores, the quality of which was the cause of considerable complaint.
The march was resumed on the twenty-sixth, and the next camp was at Reed's Station, from where Michael Bushy was sent out over the Twenty-six-mile Desert as a scout, to learn if there were any Indians in the immediate front. In May, two years later, the remains of that unfortunate scout were found by Warren Wasson, aided by Pah-Utes, within eight miles of Williams' Station, where he had
160 HISTORY OF THE STATE OF NEVADA.
been killed by them. They said that the white man, whose bones were lying there on the sand, had been riding a horse that was tired out, and as he approached the station they sallied forth to capture him. He turned back as they appeared, and a race for life ensued. As the Indians approached too close to him he would halt and level his rifle, thus bringing the pursuers to a halt and cover behind sagebrush. In this way eight miles were skirmished over, but those delays enabled some of them to pass him, who, secreting themselves, shot the brave scout in the back as he faced to the rear in beating off his pursuers. Bushy was a celebrated Indian fighter, and had figured conspicuously in the wars with them in Oregon and Washington Territory. His bones are now preserved in a box at James Smalls' Station, on the bank of Lake Tahoe; having been placed there in anticipation of being claimed by his brother who lived in Oregon.
On the evening of the twenty-eighth the command bivouacked in a meadow by the banks of the Carson River, at the point where that stream turns to flow north towards Williams' Station, which is about one mile further below. The next morning the Indians fired into the camp from behind some rocks, on the hill to the north, and then retreated, with loss upon neither side, as far as known. While camped at this place the body of James Flemming, one of the men murdered at the station, was found and buried.
On the evening of May 31st the regiment was joined, at the present site of Wadsworth, by the following United States troops:
Captain Jasper M. Stewart Commanding.
Captain T. Moore Quartermaster.
Charles C. Keeney Surgeon.
COMPANY O, THIRD ARTILLERY.
Captain Jasper M. Stewart, with enlisted men 82
DETACHMENT OF COMPANY I, THIRD ARTILLERY.
Lieutenant Gibson, with two howitzers, and enlisted men 10
COMPANY A, SIXTH INFANTRY.
Captain F. F. Flint, with enlisted men 62
COMPANY H, SIXTH INFANTRY.
Lieut. McCreary with enlisted men 53
Total United States force, rank and file 207
Total Volunteer force, rank and file 544
Total Command 754
By mutual consent Col. Jack Hays assumed command of both divisions, and that night they camped near the lower crossing on the Truckee River. A couple of men, while walking out in the evening, discovered in the vicinity of this camp the body of one of the victims of the late massacre, and a writer who was of the party thus describes what had been found:—
The body was that of a small-sized man, and was traced a distance of two hundred feet from the spot where it had fallen, and whence it had been dragged by some wild beast, which had partially devoured it; the throat was cut as was afterward found, invariably, with all the slain, scarcely any of whom were scalped; it was perforated with bullets, and, as if the grim archer, Death, had wished to leave the special sign of his presence, the feathered shaft of an arrow, blood-begrimmed, which had sped through the heart of the unfortunate, protruded through the breast. Upon the fourth finger of the left hand was a gold ring, without inscription upon its face, which was heart-shaped. As he was recognized by no one, it may serve as desirable, however sad, information to some anxious inquirer after his fate, to mention that the third and fourth toes of one of the feet were webbed to the second joint, and of the other to the first.
The camping ground of the night of June 1st was some eight miles farther down the Truckee River, at the point since known as Fort Storey, called a fort because of slight earth-works that were thrown up at that point by the command, and named in memory of the gallant gentleman killed near there a few days later. On the evening of the arrival at this place, S. C. Fletcher, of Capt. Storey's command, was killed by an accidental discharge of his gun, the ball passing through his head, and the next morning he was buried with military honors.
JUST BEFORE THE BATTLE.
The forces under Colonel Hays were now in the enemy's country, and, without being aware of the fact, were but about one mile from where the body of Major Ormsby still lay unburied. The former disaster had taught the whites that it required something besides a tin horn and a riata, to either corral or stampede the Pah-Ute tribe. In fact, they had come to believe them more formidable than they really were, and had largely over-estimated their numbers. In consequence of this the movements of the troops were marked by considerable caution.
On the morning of June 2d a detail, eighty strong, was made, forty from Capt. J. B. Van Hagan's company, and the balance from Capt. E. F. Storey's command, each of those officers taking charge of his own men. This detail was ordered to scout down the Truckee, to the Pah-Ute village at its mouth, unless the enemy was discovered before reaching that point. In the event of meeting the Indians, an engagement was to be avoided, and they were to fall back to Camp Storey, with such information as could be obtained, to assist in a general advance.
They moved out on to the upland, and striking the Indian trail, followed it toward the Pah-Ute village, finding along the way many of the ghastly remains of those who had fallen in the recent affray. Arriving at the point where the trail led abruptly down into the bottom, or meadow, where the battle of Pyramid Lake had occurred, they halted for a consultation, that resulted in a portion
INDIANS, AND THEIR WARS IN NEVADA. 161
of the commands going down into the valley and the balance remaining on the table-land above. It was here where Spear and Snowden fell. The party going on soon came to the body of Meredith, but were signaled from the heights that the enemy were in sight, and then fell back on a trot to the reserves. The Indians were advancing rapidly from the direction of the Lake, about three hundred on horseback in the form of a wedge with the point advanced, while about the same number on foot came running up the valley in a "go as you please style."
An orderly retreat immediately followed, at a trot march, with instructions to keep ranks and not to fire. In this way they were followed for several miles, and obliged to listen without response to the music of whistling balls from a long-range rifle handled by an Indian riding in advance of all his fellows. That rifle was probably the globe-sighted one that had been taken from the nerveless hand of the dead Elliott. One of the whites named Andrew Hasey was wounded in the hips so severely that it was several years before he recovered, yet it was not known at the time that he was at all injured, as he made no allusion to the fact, and afterward acknowledged his condition only when loss of blood had weakened him to such an extent that some of his comrades were enabled to pass him in a charge on foot up the side of a mountain to capture Rocky Peak from the redskins.
The officers commanding the retreating force, after passing the rough, gully-cut ground between the mountain and river on the east side of the Truckee, saw the main body of troops under Colonel Hays coming out to meet them, and they determined to make a stand where they were. They accordingly formed their men in line and faced the advancing enemy.
THE BATTLE- GROUND.
When the battle took place, the form of the ground surface had been created by nature, apparently in the special interests of the Indians, for use on an occasion like the one presented. On the west lay a high mountain with steep, sloping, rocky sides, that served as a lookout and signal station, as well as a barrier to a flank movement on that side. On the east flowed the Truckee River that prevented a flank movement in that direction, leaving the Indians with nothing to do but take care of the open, treeless front. There had at one time in the past lay a sloping plain of soil, sand and rocks, between the river and mountain, about one-half mile wide, that narrowed toward the north. The rains and cloud-bursts, in the past centuries, had poured their waters upon the sides of that mountain, that flowed down over the plain into the river, cutting water-courses that were deepest as the margin of the stream was approached. Thus nature's breastworks were formed, behind which a retreating force could make successive stands greatly to the disadvantage of the victors. These dry channels gradually approached each other as their course neared the Truckee until all were merged into one within two hundred yards of the river, creating a level bottom, out of which Major Ormsby was passing toward the south when killed. One-fourth of the way down from the mountain to the river, was a round, rocky butte, or peak, possibly two hundred feet high; to the south of it was level country, to the north, and between it and the river, the gullies as described lay in continuous succession. About one mile to the north, these natural earthworks ceased at a narrow pass between the river and mountain, beyond which was the open plain.
The Storey and Van Hagan details, when facing the enemy, soon found themselves under fire from the Indians, who in numbers had taken possession of the round, rocky butte. They had also formed a line extending from the river to well up the side of the mountain; but their number was mostly invisible, having secreted themselves behind sage-brush, in slight depressions of the ground, behind small as well as large rocks; and there did not seem to be so very many of them after all. How the large force that was soon unmasked got out on the plain so quickly, south of the gullied ground, seemed miraculous to those who had never experienced the facility with which those sons of the desert could disappear from view when there seemed to be nothing behind which they could secrete themselves.
Every advantage of position was now in the Indians' favor. The whites had fallen back until both forces were on level ground with the earthworks in the rear of the Pah-Utes.
Captains Storey and Van Hagan decided to make a charge with a part of their command on foot, and take the rocky butte before the main body, under Colonel Hays, had come up, which they did in gallant style, and retained the position, although for some time subject to a flank fire from the direction of the river, as well as from the side of the mountain. They were relieved from this dilemma of finding themselves inside of the enemy's lines, by the arrival of the main force. The regulars deployed in open order as skirmishers, and passed to the west of the butte, and along the side of the mountain, driving everything before them, while the volunteers on foot moved forward in the same order to the east of it, firing as they advanced. In this manner a continuous line, about one mile long, extending from the river to near the top of the mountain, was formed, and a general engagement began, the Indians having a corresponding line to oppose the advance.
The following description of the struggle that ensued, from the pen of an anonymous writer who claimed to have been a participant, was published
162 HISTORY OF THE STATE OF NEVADA.
in the Territorial Enterprise, on the second anniversary of the battle:—
The gallant Storey, he whose voice shook with sorrowful emotion over the death of one of the humblest of his followers, backed by the Virginia Rifles, now rages foremost in the fray. All the cavalry are ordered to the front, where, dismounting, they advance on foot, while every fifth or sixth man is left behind to hold the horses. The infantry are posted in reserve. The regulars deploy as skirmishers, and advance slowly, steadily, surely. A few of them fall. The Indians fall back; their name is legion. Whence came they all, those painted swarms of yelling demons? The plains, the ravines, the hill-sides, the mountain-top, every rock, and bush, and sand-drift! Wherever a human form can be concealed they gradually retire from, carrying away, as well as they can, their dead and wounded. The afternoon wears in one continuous, incessant discharge of musketry and rifles. Charge after charge is made upon the rocky fastnesses, and deep rifts in the earth, which conceal the foe, and always with success. Though they contest the field inch by inch, with obstinate determination, and expose themselves with frantic valor to the deadly balls of our unerring long-range Miniés, they are driven from it. Driven from the rocks, the gullies, the ravines, the hill-sides and mountain-tops, till, ere the sunset, they flee beyond the practicability of pursuit, and the battle-field, with its bloody trophies—seventy of their dead concealed in the cliffs—are our own. But the victory, though complete, was not gained without the sacrifice which the Moloch of war so insatiably claims for its bloody altar.
The gentle, the generous, the lion-hearted Storey, at the head of his command, and in the thickest of the fight, fell mortally wounded—shot through the lungs--but remained on the field till the conclusion of the battle. John Cameron and A. H. Phelps, privates in Captain Storey's command, were also fatally wounded. Both were shot in (the head; and that evening, after being carried into camp, died the death of the high-soulled and chivalric, who shield the lives of their fellow-men by the sacrifice of their own. Andrew Hasey, of the Nevada Rifles, too, was dangerously wounded by a ball in the hip, and after undergoing two years of torture, and a severe surgical operation, recently performed in San Francisco, is but now recovering. A number of other casualties occurred during the fight, especially among the regulars, four of whom were injured.
Thus ended the battle of Truckee, I believe it is safe to affirm, when all things are taken into consideration, the most obstinately-contested of any which has taken place between the whites and Indians on this coast. It is reported on the authority of a spy from the regulars, who was with the Pah-Utes in the battle, that their loss in the engagement was 160 killed, and an immense number wounded. Most of their slain and all of their wounded they contrived to carry away during the fight. Seventy of their dead were afterward found concealed among the cliffs in the mountain, after the expedition returned to Virginia City.
Certainly not over two-thirds of the force were actually engaged in the conflict; about 200 being held as a reserve. and fifty to guard the camp. But when the disparity of weapons is considered, our men being all armed with long-range rifles, and rifled muskets, carrying a heavy ball 1,000 yards, and having plenty of ammunition, it is a matter of surprise, notwithstanding their numbers, that for full five hours the Indians were able to make head against the incessant discharges of five hundred rapidly-loaded Miniés in the hands of men who unflinchingly and continuously advanced upon them. That the younger Winnemucca, their war chief; is an extraordinary man; and the Pah-Utes, whatever their other qualities may be, are a bold and fearless race, whom it were folly to despise as enemies, seems now, at least, to be sufficiently attested.
The foregoing is evidently an overdrawn, yet in the main correct, description, but as to the number killed of the enemy is wholly at sea. The Pah-Utes now acknowledge the loss of but four killed and seven wounded; and the most rigid and persistent cross-questioning made at different times and under different circumstances failed to draw anything from any of them that indicated a concealment of the truth; yet such may be the case, as Joseph F. Triplett, of Elko County, writes that the number killed was forty-six; and states that he obtained the information soon after the war from Captain Natchez, Captain Breckenridge, Big George and Buffalo Jim, all Pah-Utes. Mr. Triplett was in the engagement. In conversation with many other persons who were of the command, not one of them saw over three dead Indians, or knew whether over that number were killed.
The battle-ground was not selected by Colonel Hayes, but was fought over from necessity, the engagement having been forced at that point by the persistent pursuit of the enemy.
AFTER THE BATTLE.
The bodies of James Cameron and A. H. Phelps were buried on the third of June, near Camp Storey, and the earthworks that gave the name of fort to the camp were thrown up to render the place more defensible, in the absence of the main forces, that were to go in pursuit of the enemy. The body of Major Ormsby was also temporarily buried, being later taken up and removed to Carson City for final interment. In the forenoon of the day of the battle the bodies of two men had been found and buried with Odd Fellows ceremonies at the camp. The following is a description, taken from the same anonymous correspondent before-mentioned, of those victims as they were found:
McLeod, a man of unusually large proportions, was found lying upon his face, a strip of flesh including the sinew, having been cut from the center of his back its whole length. Of the sinews of their enemies the Indians are said frequently to make bow strings. McCarthy and McLeod lay a few feet apart upon a sandy plain high above, and a mile back from the river. Three or four hundred feet from them lay Jones, but the two former were in the center of a circle perhaps two hundred feet in diameter, which was beaten by feet apparently as hard as the main trail to Pyramid Lake, used doubtless by the Indians for centuries. It was surmised that these two men had made such formidable resistance, that their final destruction was deemed worthy of the peculiar distinction of a war dance, of exultant rejoicing.
INDIANS, AND THEIR WARS IN NEVADA. 163
The appearance of McCarthy was inexpressibly impressive; he was of but medium size, with long, bushy beard and heavy mustache; the crushing of the frontal bone immediately above the eyes, left the aspect of the forehead high and square. He lay on his back; the chest was raised and expanded; the mouth firmly closed, the beard barely permitting a slight view of the compressed lips. The right knee was partially bent as in the act to spring forward, and the right arm drawn back to its uttermost in a curve above the head, as if in the full tide of strength it were about to strike; the countenance and whole attitude exhibiting stern defiance, even triumph over death.
On the fourth of June the march from Fort Storey to Pyramid Lake was resumed ; a company under Capt. Joseph Virgo, of Sacramento, being left behind with the wounded, among whom was Captain Storey. On the way to the Lake the little advancing army was constantly passing the exposed, nude remains of the decomposing bodies of those who had fallen along the trail, on the previous 12th of May. They buried them where they were found except in the cases of Wm. S. Spear, Henry Meredith and Snowden, whose remains were taken up and brought to the settlements, from where they were sent to their former homes in California. The Pah-Ute village was found deserted, not a redskin was to be found in the country; but their trail led northward, and on the fifth the pursuit of them was resumed.
OTHER EVENTS ABOUT PYRAMID LAKE.
There was a force of possibly thirty men, under Captain Weatherlow, from Honey Lake Valley, in the mountains west of; and towards the north end of Pyramid Lake; and the following letter of confident power prowess, to Governor Roop, tells all concerning him or his command:—
JUNE 4TH, 1860.
DEAR GOV.: With my small party I am scouting around Pyramid Lake. The last two days have been on the north side of it, and am now on the west side, within two miles of the lake. I have not seen an Indian, although I am in view of the ground on which Major Ormsby fought the Indians. Would to God I had fifty men, I would clean out all the Indians from this region. Thus far I have been waiting for the troops from Carson to attack them, and then to cut off retreating parties, but the movements of the troops are so dilatory that I fear the Indians will scatter off before there is anything done. If there is any more men in the valley who will come, and can get a fit-out, send them along, for my party is too small to venture much; yet all are anxious for a brush with the redskins. You need feel no alarm of being attacked in the valley; there is no Indians about to make it, at least on the north.
Respectfully yours, etc., CAPT. WEATHERLOW.
Gov. Isaac Roop.
It would seem that the Captain got out of the way just in time, from the north end of the lake, to escape an opportunity of having the brush his men seemed so desirous of; and if his courage was equal to his assertion, it is fortunate that he did not have the fifty men.
Captain Thomas F. Condon and Warren Wasson had induced a few men, ten in all, including themselves, to move to the north from Carson, and occupy a pass to the west of the south end of Pyramid Lake. This pass was the outlet through which the Pah-Utes were likely to attempt a retreat in the direction of Honey Lake Valley, if defeated by the Washoe regiment, under Colonel Hays. It was important this exit should be guarded—just as important as the attempt was reckless, with such a mere handful of men. Their number was increased on the way, May 31st, by a detachment from the valley that the movement was designed to protect, and the pass was occupied by the entire force under Captain Thomas F. Condon, now swelled to thirty-four men, on the first day of June. This was the day before the battle; and but for the approach of the whites from the south, along the river, they might have found themselves in a hornet's nest.
On the second of June snow fell two feet deep on the tops of the mountains, north and south of the Pass, and on the night of the fourth this command reached the opposite side of the river from Captain Stewart's command, at the south end of Pyramid Lake, where they discovered the charred remains of seven white men. Their limbs were burned off, but the face and balance of their bodies had not been touched by the flames, even their beards being unscorched. They were left unburied for about one week, with the hope that some one might identify them, but no one did at that time.
They were supposed to be a party of California prospectors, who had last been seen passing down the Truckee River by O. M. Evans, the day after the massacre of the whites. They knew nothing of the trouble with the Pah-Utes, and were never heard from after the thirteenth of May. Their names were:
N. H. Canfield, Daniel King,
Spero Anderson, _____ Courtright,
John Gibson, _____ Cenovitch.
END OF THE CAMPAIGN-DEATH OF WILLIAM S. ALLEN.
As before stated, the command moved towards the north on the fifth. There is a high range of mountains running northerly along the east bank of Pyramid Lake, that separates that body of water from what is known as Mud Lake; and the forces under Colonel Hays took up their line of march along the eastern base of this chain of mountains, at a cañon, running from the lowland up into the rocky range, the command was halted; and Captain Robert Lyon, William S. Allen, Samuel Buckland, Ben. Webster, and S. C. Springer were sent forward as scouts. They passed along up towards the upper end of this canon; but as they were nearing the summit there intervened in their front an immense rock, where Buckland, Webster, and Springer halted, while Lyon and Allen passed
164 HISTORY OF THE STATE OF NEVADA.
around and up to the farther side. The following is a description of what followed, written by Captain Lyon:
We had seen no Indians when going up, but as we stopped on the very top of the mountain, we were fired upon by them from an ambush and Will Allen was killed; a ball passed through his mouth and brain. He dropped at my feet and never spoke; and there died one of the bravest, truest-hearted men that ever trod the soil of Nevada. I reached from my saddle and tried to raise Will's body on my horse. I did not think of Indians or of danger; I only saw the bleeding mouth and fast glazing eyes of my friend; but in less than a minute I was surrounded. I believe they intended to capture me alive and secure my horse without injuring him by a chance shot. They had lain secreted behind the cliffs and rocks, and saw us walk quietly into their trap. The first yell of the savages as they sprang out from rocks and cliffs to grab my horse revealed to me my peril. My rifle and the reins of my bridle were in my left hand; but I had no time to use my rifle. My right hand instinctively snatched from its holster my trusty revolver, and with one careless shot at the closing circle of my foes I gave Selim the reins and in a second I was flying down the steep mountain followed by yells and whizzing bullets from the Indians. My faithful horse seemed to comprehend the danger, and he put forth every effort, bounding over the rocks like a frightened deer. That was his first and best race, and the stake was liberty for him and life to me, and Selim won it. I rode past two squads of Indians on my way down the mountain. They fired at me as I flew past them, but did not hit me.
I passed the three men where they had halted, and further on met Colonel Hays and Lance Nightingill in advance, followed by all our horsemen coming up the bill on a gallop. They halted, and when I asked Colonel Hays to let my company go with me to recover Allen's body, he answered: "We will all go." Again we dismounted, detailed every tenth man to hold the horses, and marched foot to the top of the mountain; but the Indians had taken Allen's horse, arms and clothing and fled, and that was their last hostile act of the war of 1860. W e placed the corpse on one of my pack-horses and started back to our camp on the Truckee, where we arrived about 2 o'clock the next morning.
The next morning the volunteer army started on their return to Virginia City, where they surrendered their rifles and were dismissed. Captain Storey's remains were carried to Virginia City, while my company now reduced to twenty, with sad hearts carried our dead comrade back to Carson City, where he was buried with military honors. A Carson company brought in the remains of Major Ormsby, and to-day their tombs can be seen near together in the Carson cemetery.
On the seventh of June the volunteer forces under Colonel Hays were disbanded, as appears from the muster-out rolls of the Quartermaster, but the troops under Captain Stewart remained at Pyramid Lake, where earth-works were thrown up that received the name of Fort Haven, in honor of General Haven, of California, who had volunteered as a private in Colonel Hays' command.
EXPEDITION OF COLONEL LANDER.
In the spring and summer of 1860 Colonel F. W. Lander, in the service of the General Government was engaged in surveying and constructing a wagon road crossing the Sierra Nevada and the Great Basin, and while the events of the Pyramid Lake War were transpiring, was in the vicinity of Honey Lake. Early in August, having about seventy armed men at his command, he encountered the Indians in the Black Rock country, and had a skirmish with them, losing one man named Alexander Painter, after whom a valley in Roop County was named. The loss of the Indians was not ascertained. This encounter resulted in a peace talk with one of the chiefs of the Pah-Utes, Numaga, which resulted in, measurably, quieting the savages. This chief reported that his followers were in almost a famishing condition, the result of their war against the whites and being driven from their homes about Pyramid Lake. For services thus and subsequently rendered, Colonel Lander was honored by having his name given to a county created soon after the organization of the Territory of Nevada. In the war of the Rebellion Lander became a prominent General of volunteers, and died of wounds received in battle in Virginia in 1863.
THE PAH-UTES AFTER THE WAR.
The brave men who had so quickly volunteered to avenge the savage massacre of the Ormsby party and protect the panic-stricken people of Nevada, returned to their homes in California, leaving the force of regulars under Captain Stewart to hold the Indians in check. This body of disciplined men under the charge of skillful officers had done most efficient service, and by their coolness, ease of maneuver on the battle-field and ready obedience to orders, gave an example of soldierly duty that greatly strengthened the inexperienced volunteers, giving them the confidence and courage that insured a decisive victory. On the 8th of June, the day after the departure of the volunteers, Captain Stewart engaged Mr. Warren Wasson as scout, who kept a journal of all his transactions and affairs with the Indians. Major Frederick Dodge was at the time Indian Agent, whose efforts, aided by Mr. Wasson, were to pacify the savages, entice them to their reservations and supply them with comforts and necessities. After the battle the Pah-Utes remained in considerable force in the vicinity of Pyramid Lake, maintaining a hostile attitude and committing depredations, but the punishment given and force displayed admonished them to keep the peace. Wasson was scout and express rider, passing through many thrilling scenes and dangers in the performance of his duties. Late in June some locations for farming purposes were made on the Truckee and near Pyramid Lake by Messrs. J. D. Roberts, Thos. Marsh, Robert Reed, Hans Parlan, O. Spevey, Anderson Spain, Washington Cox Corey and M. A.
INDIANS, AND THEIR WARS IN NEVADA. 165
Braly. The last two afterwards discovered the mines at Aurora, and gave their names to Mounts Corey and Braly. By the middle of July the soldiers had all left Fort Haven and engaged in the building of Fort Churchill, leaving Wasson alone to manage the Indians as Agent left in charge by Major Dodge. Great efforts and consummate sagacity were required to maintain peace. In the absence of soldiers large numbers of the dusky warriors returned with the intention of massacring the whites, but through the efforts of Numaga and Oderkeo, the peace-loving chiefs, further bloodshed was prevented at that time. The last of July Major Dodge, then stopping at Buckland's on the Carson River, directed Wasson to post notices on the Pyramid Lake Reservation, defining the boundaries and warning all intruders to leave. These notices were printed, and dated May 20, 1860. On the fifth of September Major Dodge left for Washington, leaving Mr. Wasson to act in his stead as Indian Agent. While acting as such he directed his protegés in the arts of peace, causing them to construct some adobe buildings, to cut hay and other work, both at the Pyramid and Walker Lake Reservations. In December, 1860, he called all the tribe together and gave to each man a hickory shirt and pair of blue overalls, and to each woman some calico, needles and thread. A decrepit old Indian arriving late at the "potlatch," was greatly disappointed because nothing had been saved for him, and all the other Pah-Utes seemed delighted at his misery and the dilemma of the Agent. But Wasson quickly stripped himself, and gave his white linen shirt and cotton flannel drawers to the laggard savage, thus satisfying all and making a lasting impression upon the Indians.
Among those under the Agent's charge was Captain Truckee, who possessed papers attesting to his services under Fremont, given him by that explorer. This Indian had acted in a friendly manner to the early emigrants who gave his name to the Truckee River. He died October 8, 1860, in the Pine Nut Mountains, south of Como, Lyon County.
In December, Waz-adz-zo-bah-ago, the head medicine chief of the Mono Lake band of Pah-Utes, was killed and burned to ashes, and on the third day, as related by many people of the tribe, a whirlwind came and raised the ashes in the form of a pillar, and the chief Wazadzzobahago walked out alive and well. This is an incident of fact among the Indians, and to all others as they wish to take it. Wasson, who kept the record, said if he had seen it himself he could not have believed it.
Several incidents are related of the killing of Indians, and attempts to kill by whites, who could never forget or forgive the ruthless murders of friends and relatives by these prowling savages.
INDIAN WAR THREATENED.
During April and May, 1861, over 1,500 Indians assembled at the fisheries, near the mouth of Walker River, headed by Wahe, who claimed to be second chief of all the Pah-Utes, and was really a brother of Old Winnemucca, head medicine chief of that tribe. Wahe was a treacherous, cunning, cruel, and brutal savage, being half Pah-Ute and half Bannock, combining all the bad qualities of both tribes. He claimed to be a spirit chief, and as such protected from the bullets and weapons of his enemies. This his superstitious people were made to believe, and no Pah-Ute dare resist his will, believing a cruel and sorrowful death would follow disobedience. This chief had been conspiring for some months with various bands of Indians, and the large number mentioned had gathered in council preparatory, it is supposed, to an outbreak. A servant and interpreter of Wasson, a young Pah-Ute, had dropped some hints of a suspicious character which led him to suspect the nature of the gathering and the danger of the uprising, which contemplated his death, and the securing of the arms, ammunition and supplies in his possession at the agency. He also learned that, after he was disposed of, Fort Churchill was to be approached in squads of eight or ten, admittance gained to all parts in a friendly manner, and at a signal, slaughter the entire garrison there, consisting then of only about forty men. Wasson, learning this, boldly entered the Indian camp, and by argument and persuasion diverted them from this rash and murderous attempt. He found among them Bannocks from Idaho and Oregon, and representatives of the Pah-Utes from far and wide, those from the most isolated places being most intent on commencing the raid of rapine and murder. Some had been to California and seen the strength and wealth of the whites, and some had seen the disastrous effects of the war of the previous year, and those joined with the Agent in the plea for peace. By this means the conspiracy of Wahe was thwarted, and his power overthrown. He afterwards fled to Oregon, where he remained until May, 1862, when he returned, and was killed by two of the Pah-Ute chiefs, who had been convinced that he was not a spirit chief, and could be slain by their weapons; still there was a lurking fear of his power instilled into their superstitious beliefs by long teachings, and he was cut into minute pieces, which were scattered in widely-separated places to more effectually prevent his self-resurrection.
In July, 1861, Governor Nye arrived, and assumed charge of the Indians. But the time for war in eastern Nevada had passed. The rapid influx of whites had overrun the country, intermixing with, and furnishing the Indians with more clothing and food than they had previously been able to obtain; and they found their condition much better than when their nut-pine "orchards," their mice, ants, grasshoppers, rats, snakes, rabbits, and grass-seeds constituted their resource. The murders they had committed were passed over, if not forgotten, and favors were shown them on all sides.