The First Rogue River Campaign


The first Rogue River campaign began early in 1853 when hostilities developed between white settlers and
the local Indian tribes under chiefs known to the white settlers as Jo, Sam, and Jim. Mostly fought by
civilian volunteers, over two hundred men formed militia companies that were placed under the command
of Captain Bradford Alden (4th US, company E., commander of Fort Jones, California). Another eighty
volunteers from Yreka, under the command of Captain Goodall, also participated. On the 15th of August, a
party was sent to Salem with a request of the governor to requisition Colonel Bonneville (then Lieutenant
Colonel, 4th Infantry) in command of Fort Vancouver for a howitzer, rifles, and ammunition. The requisition
was granted and a howitzer, under the command of Second Lieutenant A. Kautz (4th US) with an escort of
fourty volunteers was dispatched. Although they did not arrive until September, after hostilities had ceased,
the presence of the howitzer, in part, caused the Indians to accept the harsh terms of the treaty.

The company from Yreka was involved in a battle with the Indians along Evan Creek on the 17th of August, in
which 6 men were killed and 4 wounded. On August 21st, 1853, overall command was passed from Captain
Alden to General Lane (General of Oregon Volunteers also US Senator). Troops surprised the Indians in
camp on the 25th of August. Although the Indians put up a vigorous resistance, in the afternoon they called
out for a parley, whereupon firing ceased. The Indians, stating they were tired of war, agreed to meet one
week later near Table Rock, at which time they would give up their arms and make a treaty of peace. For two
days the camps were less than 400 yards apart. Starting on the 29th, the two parties started toward Table Rock.
A preliminary council was held on September 4th during which hostages were given and the 8th was set for
treaty making. It was during this time that the howitzer under the command of Second Lieutenant Kautz and
the volunteers arrived.