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7 Series I Volume L-I Serial 105 - Pacific Part I

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Page 7 Chapter LXII. OPERATIONS ABOUT FORT HUMBOLDT, CAL.

Lieutenant Lynn, operating against the Indians in the Eel River country since the middle of January last. In his letter to me dated Camp Armstrong, South Fork of Eel River, February 9, 1861, speaking of the Indians, Lieutenant Lynn says:

They have no principal man exercising any control except on the field of battle. They avoid combat and run on all occasions. Having no chief or principal man, it is impossible to treat with them. Being scattered over a wide area, and but few in any one locality, it is impossible to cover one's self with glory in fighting them. I have already many times wishes they were braver, so as to give us at least the ghost of a chance for the display of our chivalrous qualities. In place of this, being most always on the alert, with the eye of the eagle and the ken of a sparrowhawk, they discover their foes, give the war whoop, and run. They, suspecting, as I suppose, our arrival, committed a few depredations and fled to the Bald Hills and other tribes. Just here or in this vicinity there may possibly be a hostile strggling Indian here and there, but they are not numerous, nor resident long in a place. I have endeavored with scrupulous exactitude to carry out literally your instructions. I have modeled my orders upon them, and every scouting or hunting party has been enjoined to respect them. A scouting party has been out almost every day. Already the whole country for many miles around, in all directions, has been quite throughly scoured, but few trophies and no Indians have been taken.

* *

In regard to the number and character ond their losses in cattle, &c., he says:

It is my conviction that there are about a dozen altogether, and that they are renegades from the States, vagabonds from society, escaped convicts from justice, and outlaws forced to leave their homes and seek a livelihood in parts unknown. They are clothed like the best clad of the natives, and you would misktake them for natives did you not know them. They indulge in the most extravagent style of conversation; yea, so extravagant that truth is almost out of the pale of their thoughts. On my arrival they had many hard stories to tell of the depredations committed by the Indians and wrongs undredressed received from them, with no provocation, according to them, on the part of the white men. They told me, also, where I could find several rancherias. I thought I would put their knowledge to the test. Their cattle and horses, which had grazed in the mountains and mountain gorges weeks and months unseen and unheard of, were collected and losses found much less-yea, very much less, perhaps tw-thirds less-than reckoned or anticipated. I let two volunteer detachments, guided by them, proceed to two of their rancherias. Both expeditions were complete failures. No rancherias were found. One of the citizens, mistaking another citizn-both of the same party-for an Indian, fired upon him and killed him, but no instantly; died the following night about 10 o'clock. The other rancherias they had told of could not be found either. They were so ashamed of their ignorance of the Indians and their rancherias that they would not present themselves.

* *

Whenever they do anything or see anything they magnify it a hundredfold, and on their return boast of their fast running and of their wounding so many Diggers. 'Tis a little strange that in firing on so many Indians they never kill any, or that we never have the pleasure of seeing some of their marvelous exploita.

The latter part of February I heard that the Indians had attacked and burnt the house of Mr. Larrabee (in his absence), situated on Van. Dusen's Fork of the Eel River, and killed the cook, a white woman. Accordingly I directed Lieutenant Lynn to proceed with his detachment to and endeavor to punish the Indians in that vicinity. The result is not yet known. This attack cannot be wondred at when it is known that about a year ago it was reported, and I believed never contradicted, that Mr. Hgan, living with and a partner of Mr. Larrabee, had an Indian called Yo-keel-la-bah tied to a tree and shot in cold blood. He had been in the habit of visiting the house in a friendly manner, and always expresed himself friendly disposed toward the whites. He was of great service to me in that vicinity during the summer and fall of 1859.

The mules composing our pack train have been worked very hard for the last year. Many of them are almost completely broken down and


Page 7 Chapter LXII. OPERATIONS ABOUT FORT HUMBOLDT, CAL.

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