Battle of To-hots-nim-me
Troops under the command of Col. Edward Steptoe left Fort Walla Walla, guided by several Nez Perce warriors, in the spring of 1858 to investigate the murder of two gold miners in the Fort Colville region a few miles north of the Spokane River. The Steptoe campaign had not anticipated any problems with the Indian Tribes living north of the Snake River. Col. Steptoe thought that he could intimidate the Coeur d’Alene Indians with a show of government force and didn’t appreciate that he was riding through sovereign Indian lands. Chief Vincent, a Coeur d’Alene leader, was against war but was determined to provide security for his people. The Coeur d’Alene and Spokane Indians were digging camas roots at a spring encampment located at the western extent of Coeur d’Alene territory as the Steptoe Command marched on a trail leading directly into the encampment. Chief Vincent parlayed with Col. Steptoe three times before Steptoe agreed to return to Ft. Walla Walla. However, Palouse Indians who weren’t part of the parlays began firing into the retreating troops, which resulted in a six mile running battle. Recently discovered Field Note Maps made by T. Kolecki during the Wright Campaign which followed Steptoe’s crushing defeat identify camp sites, trails and battle details which explain the course of the events.
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16 camp 35th Congress 35th Congressional Record Babb Road Battle of To-hots-nim-me bluff campsite canyon Cataldo Cataldo Mission Chapman Lake Chatcolet Chief Vincent Coeur d’Alene Indians Coeur d’Alene lands Coeur d’Alene Tribe Colonel column Colville dragoons Drawing by Randall encampment of Seelah Father Joset Field Note Maps fight fire Fort Colville Fort Walla Walla Gaston Gregg hilltops horses Idaho Indian trail Ingossomen Creek Joe River Kolecki Map Lapwai Trail Latah Creek loess hill Malkapsi Manring Papers marched mission Nedwhauld Nez Perce scouts North Pine Creek northwest numbers Palouse Indians Palouse Prairie Palouse River Pine Creek Plaza Randall Johnson ravine Reconnaissance Map Red Wolf Red Wolf Crossing retreat ride Rock Creek Rosalia route running battle second parley Seelah sheet of water Snake River soldiers Spokane Indians Steptoe Battlefield Map Stevens Stubblefield Lake third parley treaties troops Tucannon River U.S. Army Walla Walla warriors Washington Territory Whitman County