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41st Congress,
2nd Session.

SENATE

Ex. Doc.
No. 67.

 

LETTER

OF

THE SECRETARY OF WAR

communicating,

In compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 14th instant, the report of the commander of the department of Alaska upon the late bombardment of the Indian village at Wrangel, in that Territory.


March 21, 1870.--Referred to the Committee on Military Affairs and ordered to be printed.


WAR DEPARTMENT,   

March 19, 1870.

The Secretary of War has the honor to submit to the Senate of the United States, in obedience to the resolution of March 14, 1870, the accompanying report of the commander of the department of Alaska upon the late bombardment of the Indian village at Wrangel, in the Territory of Alaska.

WM. W. BELKNAP,

Secretary of War.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF ALASKA,

Steamer Newbern, January 18, 1870.

General: Since my last communication with the Headquarters Military Division of the Pacific, the following difficulties with the Indians have occurred, which I think should be specially reported.  On the morning of the 16th ultimo Policeman J. C. Parker, of the village of Sitka, shot an Indian under circumstances which I thought unjustifiable, and ordered his immediate arrest.  In order to get at all the facts of the case, I ordered a board of officers to assemble and investigate it thoroughly.  The board, after taking all testimony bearing on the case, pronounced the shooting unjustifiable, and I ordered Parker to be kept in confinement until such time as a competent court might demand him for trial, or his release be ordered by proper authority.  This is the second Indian Parker has killed within the past year.  The killing in both cases was pronounced unjustifiable by the board of officers who investigated them.

The next affair I desire to mention occurred at Fort Wrangel on Christmas Day.  The official reports of Lieutenants Borrowe and Loucks, herewith transmitted, describe the commencement of this disturbance so minutely, and the course taken by them to put it down, that I deem it unnecessary to make any lengthy report upon the subject.  While at Fort Wrangel I called the principal chiefs of the tribe together and held a talk with them.  Their version of the affair agreed in all essential points with the reports of the officers.  They express themselves satisfied with the settlement of it, and say they will continue peaceable.  After a very thorough investigation of the whole affair, I am satisfied Lieutenant Borrowe acted with promptness and good judgment; a less decided course would probably not have settled it with as little bloodshed as the one pursued.  I anticipate no further trouble with this tribe for some time to come.

In conclusion, I would state that in my opinion the chief cause of this affair was the sale of liquor to some of the Indians by two white me professing to be miners living at the post.  These me procured the liquor under pretext of its being for their own use.  The Indian Siwan, who bit off the laundress's finger, and who, with this brother, resisted the guards sent to arrest him, was drunk; their women were also intoxicated.  The Indian Scutd-doo, who shot Mr. Smith, was more or less under the influence of liquor.  The white men have been arrested, and are now in confinement.

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

JEFF. C. DAVIS,
Brevet Major General Commanding

Brevet Major. Gen. Wm. D. Whipple,
Ass't Adj. Gen'l, Headquarters Mil. Div. of the Pacific.

HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE PACIFIC,
San Francisco, February 8, 1870.

Respectfully forwarded to the Adjutant General.
GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major General U.S.A. Commanding.

Official:
E.D. TOWNSEND,
Adjutant General.


HEADQUARTERS FORT WRANGEL,
Wrangel Island, A. T., December 30, 1869

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report for the information of the major general commanding the department:

About ten minutes after 11 o'clock on the night of December 25, 1869, it was reported to me that one of the laundresses, Mrs. Jacob Muller, had been badly injured by a Stickine Indian, named Lowan, he having while in her house, just outside of the stockade, and in the act of shaking hands with her, bitten off the third finger of her right hand between the first and second joints, her husband, quartermaster sergeant of this battery, and a citizen, named Campbell, being present at the time.  Learning what had taken place, and that the Indian had escaped to the ranch, not withstanding the effort of the sergeant to arrest him, I immediately sent Lieutenant Loucks with a detachment of twenty men to take him, with instructions to bring him n, if possible, without bloodshed, and only to use their arms in case of resistance or in self-defense.  Lieutenant Loucks immediately proceeded to execute the order given him, and returned, bringing with him the dead body of the Indian Lowan and his brother Estone, the latter being badly wounded in the arm, the case of violent measures having been resorted to.  The report of Lieutenant Loucks, herewith appended and marked A, will fully explain.  Apprehending trouble, I had turned out the entire force under my command, and as soon as firing was heard at the ranch I immediately sent a detachment of ten men as far as the store of the post trader, some three hundred yards from the garrison, with instructions to act in concert with Lieutenant Loucks's party, should they require assistance.  A picket guard was stationed around the camp, and everything placed in a condition of defense.

About 10 o'clock a.m. of the morning of December 26, 1869, the sergeant of the guard reported several shots in the direction of the store, and in a few minutes word was brought to me that Mr. Leon Smith, partner of the post trader, W. R. Lear, had been shot near the door of the store.  Mr. Smith was soon after brought in to the garrison and taken to the hospital, where his wounds were examined by the surgeon, who pronounced them of a most serious character, fourteen shots having penetrated the body on the left side, just below the heart, and three in the left wrist.  Nothing further occurred during the night, and at daylight in the morning I sent Lieutenant Loucks again to the ranch with a detachment under a flag of truce, with instructions to see the chief of the tribe, Shakes, and demand of him the murderer, the Indians to turn the man over to him there, or failing in that, I gave them until 12 o'clock that day to bring him in, notifying them that if at that hour the man Scutd-dor,, whom I knew to be in the ranch, was not in my custody, I should open fire upon them from the garrison.  I also directed Lieutenant Loucks to inform the principal chiefs of the tribe, Shakes, Torryat, Shonta, Hank, and Quammanasty, that I wished to see and talk with them at the post as soon as practicable.  This message I had sent to each of the chiefs by an Indian woman before Lieutenant Loucks left the post, and I am confident that it was delivered.  For the result of Lieutenant Loucks's interview with Shakes and Torryat, I would respectfully call your attention to his report.  On the return of Lieutenant Loucks to the post, and reporting to me the refusal of the chiefs to come to the garrison, their indisposition to deliver up the murderer, and the hostile disposition manifested by those present, all of whom were armed, I consulted with the officers present as to the propriety of carrying out my threat of firing on the village, and they were unanimous in the opinion that nothing but the most decided measures would insure the safety of the post.  At 12 o'clock no signs were made of any disposition on the part of the Indians to comply with my orders; but their intentions to fight were made evident by the numerous persons engaged in carrying their goods to what they considered places of safety.  I waited, however, without avail until nearly 2 o'clock, hoping that they might change their determination; and at 2 o'clock I opened with solid shot on the house in which I knew the murderer, Scutdor, resided; several shots struck the house, but the Indians maintained their position and returned the fire from the ranch, several of their shots striking in close proximity to the men.  Later in the day fire was opened on the gun detachments from the hills in rear of and commanding the post, but fortunately without effect.  This was replied to from the upper windows of the hospital, and, in connection with a few rounds of canister in that direction, soon drove they away.  Firing was kept up on their part all of the afternoon, and a slow fire from the 6-pounder gun on the village was maintained until dark.  The next morning, just at day break, they opened on the garrison from the ranch with musketry, which was immediately replied to, and seeing that they were determined not only to resist, but had become the assailants, I resolved to shell them, but having only solid shot for the 6-pounder, and the distance being too great for canister, I still continued the fire from that gun with shot and from the mountain howitzer with shell.  The practice was excellent, considering that I have no breech sights for any of the guns at the post -- notwithstanding that three requisitions had been made for the same -- and after four shells had been fired, two bursting immediately in front of the houses, and two solid shots just through the house of the principal chief, Shakes, a flag of truce was seen approaching the post, and firing on my part ceased.  The flag of truce bore a message from Shakes that he and the other chiefs wished to talk with me, and I replied that I would talk with them in the garrison; but that the murderer must be brought in, for without him "talk was useless."

Soon after the chiefs were seen coming over, and a party behind them with the murderer, who was easily recognized by his dress.  Just as they were leaving the ranch a scuffle, evidently rearranged, took place, and the prisoner escaped and was seen making for the bush, no attempt to re-arrest him being made.  The chiefs on their arrival at the garrison were received by myself and the other officers, ad a conference ensured.  They were then informed that until "the murderer was brought in no terms would be extended to them; that on that basis alone I would treat."  Finding me determined to have the man at all hazards, they then asked what time would be given, and stated that as a proof of their good intentions they would surrender to me the mother of the murderer.  I informed them that they must, as they proposed, bring me the hostage at once, and in addition, the sub-chief of the tribe to which the murderer belonged, the head chief being absent up the Stickine River; and that, if the murderer himself was not in my possession by six o-clock the following evening, I would open on them and destroy the entire ranch, together with its occupants.

This closed the conference, and during the afternoon of the same day the woman and the sub-chief were brought in and placed in confinement.  That evening, about nine o'clock, the murderer Scutdor was brought in by the chiefs and surrendered to me.  The next morning, December 27, a court was organized by general post order No. 76, for the trial of the murderer, who was indentified by the five chiefs of the tribe and by his own confession.  For the proceedings of the trial I have the honor to call your attention to the accompanying report appended and marked B.  In pursuance of the sentence of the court, the man was duly executed by hanging, at twelve o'clock and thirty minutes, on the 29th of December, 1869, in full view of the entire ranch, the five chiefs and the Indian doctor being in immediate attendance at the gallows.  The execution passed off without accident, and the body remained hanging until sun down, when, by my permission, it was taken away by his friends.

Too much praise cannot be awarded to the officers and men of this command for their coolness and general good behavior, particularly when it is remembered that twenty-two of the men were new recruits, many of whom had never seen any service.  I would particularly call the attention of the major general commanding the department to First Lieutenant M. R. Loucks, Second Artillery, whose promptness and decision in carrying out the instructions given him entitle him to the greatest praise, particularly in his interview with the chiefs on his second visit to the ranch.

I would also call your attention to the report of Acting Assistant Surgeon H. M. Rick, United States Army, marked C, of the casualties which occurred during the trouble.

In conclusion, I can only say that, though regretting that extreme measures had to be resorted to, yet under the circumstances I consider nothing else would have accomplished the object in view -- that of bringing Mr. Smith's murderer to justice, and reducing the Indians to a state of subjection to the United States authority.  Everything is now quiet, and I have no reason to anticipate any future trouble; yet my vigilance is not remitted, nor will it be, as I have no confidence in any promises made by Indians.  They have shown their hostile feelings in this instance, and it is only through fear and the knowledge that any crime committed by them will meet with prompt punishment, that will keep them in proper subjection.

I would also request that the thirty-pound Parrot gun asked for in my last requisition may be sent to me at as early a date as practicable, for, had that gun been in position, I think two percussion shells would have brought the Indians to terms.

Mr. Smith died at eleven o'clock of the night of the 26th of December, 1869.  His sufferings were terrible, and death must have been a relief.

Trusting that my action may meet with the approval of the major general commanding the department,

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

W. BORROWE,
First Lieutenant Second Artillery.

Brevet Captain S. B. McINTYRE,
A.A.A. General, Department Alaska, Sitka, Alaska.

A true copy.
SAM'L B. McINTIRE,
First Lieut. Second Artillery, and Bvt. Capt. U.S.A., A.A.A.G.


A.

FORT WRANGEL, WRANGLE ISLAND, A. T.,
December 26, 1869.

SIR: About 12 o'clock midnight, on the night of the 25th December, 1869, it was reported through the garrison that the wife of Quartermaster Sergeant Muller, batter I, Second Artillery, had had her finger bitten off by an Indian.  I proceeded to her quarters to verify the report, and there saw that the third finger of her right hand had been bitten or torn off by an Indian named Si-wau, as all present stated.  I returned for my saber and belt, reported to the commanding officer, then set off for the Indian village with a detachment of twenty me to arrest the Indian Si-wau.  Having arrived in that portion of the village nearest to the garrison, I intended to enter Tow-ye-at's house, expecting to find there the Indian I wanted.

Before entering Tow-ye-at's house, I met an Indian in a red cap and shirt, named Scudt-doo,* who, upon being asked to do so, told me that Si-wau had left Tow-ye-at's house and gone to another near by, which he pointed out to me.  In entered the house with twelve men, leaving the remainder to guard the entrance outside.  Si-wau was sitting down near the fire opposite the entrance, with nothing on but pants.  The position of the detachment in the house formed in single rank along the nearest side of the quadrangular space, with instructions to fire whenever

*This is the Indian who subsequently shot Mr. Smith.

I should give the signal.  With Si-wau there were Esteen, his brother, Si-wau's klootehman, (wife) and old Klootchman, (woman) who was sitting up, and perhaps a few others sleeping in different parts of the house.  I tapped Si-wau on the shoulder, saying that I wanted him to come with me.  He arose from his sitting posture and said he would put on his vest; after that he wished to get his coat.  Feeling convinced that this was merely to gain time, that he wished to trifle with me, I began to be more urgent.  Siwau appeared less and less inclined to come away with me, and in this, the latter part of the parley, he became impudent and menacing in raising his hands as if to strike me.  I admonished him against such actions, and tried my utmost to avoid extreme measures in arresting him.  About this time, Esteen, probably apprehending danger to his brother Si-wau, rushed forward in front of the detachment, extending his arms theatrically and exclaiming, as I supposed under the circumstances, "Shoot; kill me; I am not afraid."  Si-wau seeing this, also rushed upon the detachment, endeavoring to snatch a musket away from one of the men on the right of the detachment.  Still wishing to avoid loss of life if possible, I tried to give him two or three saber cuts over the head to stun without killing him.

In doing this I had given the preconcerted signal (by raising my hand) to fire.  I should judge about six or eight shots were fired during the melee, and only ceasing by the Indian Si-wau falling at the feet of the detachment dead.  Esteen and the others running to their holes everything became quiet.  I then directed the detachment not to renew the firing until further orders.  I had Esteen pulled out and discovered he was bleeding profusely from a wound in his right arm near the shoulder.  Two handkerchiefs were tied around his arm above the wound to check the bleeding.  My first thought was to arrest him also, for interference, but afterward considering that he was intoxicated, and that his interference was to protect his brother Si-wau, who, in my opinion, was in the same condition of intoxication, I concluded that he had been sufficiently punished and directed that he be carried over to the hospital for treatment, and that the dead Indian should be carried over to the guard-house.

While preparing to carry over the two Indians, a tumult of challenging by the guard outside the house, and Indians shouting to their friends, began.  Leaving First Sergeant Dean to superintend preparations for the transportation of the Indians, I went outside and found three, near the door, the sub chief, Tow-ye-at, who, I suppose, did the shouting, and was the cause of the challenging.  At that time I could not see whether Tow-ye-at was armed or not, although the men said he had a knife, and to beware of him.  I told him (Tow-ye-at) that I had finished my business, and that I was about to return with the men.  I told him that if he wished to say anything to the soldier Ty-ee, he could do so in the morning.  With that I gently led him toward the house and advised him to go to bed.  That was the last I aw of Tow-ye-at that night.

The two Indians were accordingly brought over and the result reported to the commanding officer.  I dismissed the detachment, and supposing no further disturbance would occur, was sitting in post surgeon's quarters, when, about an hour or thereabouts after my return, a shot was heard from the direction of the store of the post trader.  Taking with me Private Magee I ran down there, and while on the way Private Magee drew my attention to an object lying on the ground near the plank walk running between the store and the garrison.  Upon the plank walk running between the store and the garrison.  Upon examination it probed to be Mr. Leon Smith, the Partner of William King Lear, the post trader.  Mr. Smith was lying on his breast upon a low stump alongside of the plank walk, with arms extended and a revolving pistol fallen from the grasp of the right hand.  I first supposed him dead, but by placing him in a more comfortable position and speaking to him, he groaned merely.  I then sent to the garrison for a stretcher and men.  At about this time Gleason and Henderson came up.

In order to preserve the body from attempted mutilation, the three present posted themselves near by to look out for Indians in ambush.  After a few moments I went up in front of the store, and told those inside to bring out a blanket with which to carry Mr. Smith to the hospital.  This done, I posted three men, who had been previously sent to defend the store, behind obstacles in front of it.  After having remained with the pickets a short time in order to understand the condition of things around the store, and to observe any movements in the village, I returned to the garrison to inquire into the circumstances of the shooting of Mr. Smith, and to receive orders in the case.  Directly after reveille, according to instructions, I proceeded with a detachment of twenty men under a flag of truce to the Indian village, to demand that the chiefs should come over to the garrison to settle the difficulty by giving upon the murderer of Mr. Smith, at or before 12 o'clock p.m. that day; or, failing in this, that the commanding officer would open fire upon the Indian village at the expiration of the time allowed in which the surrender of the murderer was to have been made.

 When within about a hundred yards of the village, my interpreter pointed out an Indian in a red coat as the one that the Indian chiefs were demanded to surrender.  My instructions, and especially the flag of truce at the head of the detachment, was well as the lack of positive proof of identity, precluded any exercise of force to make any arrest this time, or to bring him down with a volley.  I there met Tow-ye-at in his war paint and fighting costume, and communicated to him the demands of the commanding officer.  Tow-ye-at refused both the interview and the surrender of the murderer.  He stated twice that if fire was opened upon the village he would die in his house.  I explained to them all that the commanding officer was not angry with all of them, only with the murderer of Mr. Smith, ad that if the murderer was surrendered friendship and good feeling would return; and still earnestly wishing and endeavoring to avoid the necessity of opening fire, I proposed even that the commanding officer might meet the chiefs half way between the garrison and the village, all parties to the interview without an armed escort.  Tow-ye-at refused the demands and the modifications which I did assume to make in order to discover the least desire on their part to avoid trouble.  Tow-ye-at was stiff.  The members of his tribe were continually assembling, armed with Hudson Bay muskets, iron spears, pistols, &c., and more than half surrounding me at different times during the interview, in their eagerness and, judging from the aspect of affairs generally, evidently determined to have revenge for the killing of one and wounding of another Indian the night before.  I insisted and repeated to Tow-ye-at that by having the interview everything could be satisfactorily arranged; but all this to no purpose.  After a talk of an hour or so with Tow-ye-at and his friends, including also Mo-naw-is-ty, and may of his friends who were within hearing, Shakes at the head of his own tribe came over and took part in the interview.  His manner as he approached was quite self-important.  His friends, like Tow-ye-at, were, with few exceptions, armed with flint-lock muskets, with thumb and finger ready to cock their pieces and open fire in grand style.  With Shakes's friends, added to those already on the grounds, about one-half of the bucks of the Stakeen tribe were assembled, I then informed Shakes of the demands of the commanding officer, but with no more success than with Tow-ye-at, with the addition, however, that if the commanding officer wished to see him, he (the commanding officer) could come over to the village to do so.

I told them all again that their village would be destroyed like the Kaik village last winter, and that whenever American steamer found them the same thing would be done again.  I also made inquiries in reference to Corporal Northrop, Battery I, Second Artillery, who, it was supposed, had been in the village the night previous, and not been seen since that night.  All said that he had gone; some said over to the garrison in a canoe, and other said he was drunk in the bushes.

I explained to them until I was tired of it, that the commanding officer only wished a friendly interview, and that it was but one Indian he wanted, the murderer of Mr. Smith.

Shakes indicated that he had no more to say, and believing myself that the whole matter had been fully explained to them all, nothing remained but to return to make my report of the result.

The Indians, so far from acceding to the demands in the beginning of the interview, became more and more stubborn as their numbers increased, and instead of facilitating a peaceful settlement of the difficulties, it seemed to me more probable they might have been increased by an accident even.

I consider that under the circumstances everything possible was done to effect a peaceful settlement, and nothing remained but to execute the threat attached or included in the demand.

Respectfully submitted.

M.R. LOUCKS,
First Lieut. Second Artillery, Officer of the Day.

First Lieutenant W. BORROWE,
Second Artillery, Commanding.

A true copy.
SAM'L B. McINTIRE,
First Lieut. Second Artillery and Bvt. Capt. U.S.A., A.A.A.G.


B.

FORT WRANGEL, WRANGEL ISLAND, ALASKA,
December 28, 1869.

Proceedings of a trial of a Stakeen Indian, named Scutd-doo, at Fort Wrangel, Wrangel Island, Alaska, in accordance with the following order, viz:

HEADQUARTERS FORT WRANGEL, WRANGEL ISLAND, A.T.,
December 27, 1869

[General Orders No. 76.]

Prompt and decided action being absolutely necessary, the following-named officers and citizens will assemble at this post to-morrow, the 28th instant, at 12 o'clock m., for the trial of an Indian named Scutd-doo, for the willful murder on the morning of December 26, 1869, of Leon Smith, a citizen of the United States, at Wrangel Island, Alaska.

Detail: First Lieutenant Wm. Borrowe, Second artillery; First Lieutenant M. R. Loucks, Second artillery; Acting Assistant Surgeon H. M. Kirke U.S.A.; William K. Lear, post trader.  First Lieutenant M. R. Loucks will act as recorder.

WM. BORROWE.
First Lieutenant Second Artillery, Commanding

 

FORT WRANGEL, WRANGEL ISLAND,
December 28, 1869--12 o'clock m.

Present: All the officers and citizens named in the above order; also the following named Stakeen chiefs:

1.  Shakes, Kah-out-tay Hah Kotsk.  2.  Tou-ye-at Hoots.  3.  Shus-ta-ack Koun Kay.  4.  Qu-naw-is-tay Kosh-Keh.  5.  Kalh-Keh.

Present: Scutd-doo, Wish-tah, the prisoner.

First Lieutenant Wm. Borrowe, Second Artillery, stated that the prisoner, on the night of the 27th December, 1869, confessed himself to be the Indian who murdered Mr. Leon Smith.

Each one of the above mentioned chiefs identified the prisoner as the murderer of Mr. Leon Smith, the partner of the post trader at Fort Wrangel, Alaska Territory.  Shakes, as well as all the other chiefs, upon being asked what punishment should be inflicted upon the prisoner for his crime, say they agree to whatever punishment that may be necessary.  It is then announced that it is the will of the officers and citizens present during the trial that the prisoner, the Indian Scutd-doo, at mid-day December 29, 1869, shall be hanged by the neck until dead, in presence of the troops, citizens, and the five Stakeen chiefs, and that he should remain so hanging until nightfall, when his friends could remove the body.  To which all the chiefs assented.

The prisoner, upon hearing this, replied, very well; that he had killed a tyhee, and not a common man; that he would see Mr. Smith in the other world, and, as it were, explain to him how it all happened; that he did not intend to kill Mr. Leon Smith, particularly; had it been any one else it would have been all the same.

WM. BORROWE,
First Lieutenant Second Artillery, President.

M. R. LOUCKS,
First Lieutenant Second Artillery, Recorder.

H. M. KIRKE,
Acting Assistant Surgeon U.S.A., Member of Court.

The prisoner was then returned to the guard for confinement, till the hour of his execution, whereupon the trial closed.

WM. BORROWE,
First Lieutenant Second Artillery, President.

M. R. LOUCKS,
First Lieutenant Second Artillery, Recorder.

H. M. KIRKE,
Acting Assistant Surgeon U.S.A., Member of Court.


HEADQUARTERS FOR WRANGEL, WRANGEL ISLAND, ALASKA TERRITORY,
December 28, 1869.

The foregoing proceedings are approved, ad the sentence of the court will be carried into effect; the prisoner, Scutd-doo, will be executed at 12 o'clock m. of the 29th of December, 1869.

WM. BORROWE,
First Lieutenant Second Artillery, President.

A true copy.

SAML. B. McINTIRE,
First Lieut. Second Artillery, ad Bvt. Capt. U.S.A., A.A.A.G.
S. Ex. Doc. 67---2


C.

POST HOSPITAL, FOR WRANGEL,
WRANGEL ISLAND, ALASKA TERRITORY,
December 29, 1869

SIR:  I have the honor to report as the result of the late Indian trouble:

One (1) white man, Mr. Leon Smith, Killed.

One (1) Indian killed.

One (1) white woman, company laundress, finger bitten off.

One (1) Indian severely wounded, by gun-shot fracture of the right humerus.

One (1) Indian hung.

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

H. M. KIRKE,
Acting Assistant Surgeon United States Army,
In charge of Post Hospital.

First Lieutenant WM. BORROWE,
Second United States Artillery, Commanding Post.

A true copy.
SAML. B. McINTIRE,
First Lieutenant Second Artillery, and Brevet Captain U.S.A.,
Acting Assistant Adjutant General.

 

 



 


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