Birch Creek Battle

Michael has a BA in History & American Studies and an MSc in American History from the University of Edinburgh. He comes from a proud military family and has spent most of his career as an educator in the Middle East and Asia. His passion is travel, and he seizes any opportunity to share his experiences in the most immersive way possible, whether at sea or on the land.

Part of our in-depth series exploring the Mountain Pacific Forts

Picture of Birch Creek Battle Site
Birch Creek Battle Site
From the book, Encyclopedia of Indian Wars, by Gregory F. Michno.

The following is from the book, Encyclopedia of American Indian Wars, by Jerry Keenan.

8 July 1878: During the spring and early summer of 1878 some 200 Bannocks who had taken to raiding for perceived treaty violations fled pursuing army troops under the command of Gen. O.O. Howard. On 8 July Cpt. Reuben Bernard, with seven companies of cavalry, located the Indians on Birch Creek and Pilot Butte, near present-day Pendleton, Oregon. The Indians were strongly positioned along the bluffs, the slopes of which "were steeper than those of Missionary Ridge," according to General Howard. Nevertheless, Bernard's troopers advanced up the slopes, driving the defenders still higher while taking heavy casualties. The Indians were finally defeated by a two-pronged flank attack that drove them from the field.

See also: Bannock War; Buffalo Horn; Howard, Gen.
Oliver Otis
Further Reading: Brimlow, The Bannock Indian War of
; Russell, One Hundred and Three Fights and

We received the following e-mail with some interesting information regarding Birch Creek Battle Site:

I am the co-author of the book "The Rocks Are Ringing" The Bannock Paiute Indian War Oregon 1878.

The Birch Creek Battlefield looks nothing like the photo. The lava outcropped fortification the Indians defended is 4200' in elevation and looks nothing like the photo. I guess you might call us the archaeologists and historians of the Birch Creek Battlefield. The GPS maps in The Rocks are Ringing are exact.

The best way for you or anyone to find the exact location complete with color photographs and GPS Maps is our book "The Rocks Are Ringing. The Bannock-Paiute Indian War in Oregon 1878". It's a beautiful oversized edition. I could give you general directions but this nails it as well as other battlefields from the War.

Anyone wishing to purchase the large volume with color maps and photos can order by sending a Money Order for $35.00 Postpaid to the following address.
G. Hodgen
ATTN: Book Order
1417 SW 18th St.
Pendleton, Or 97801

(Sells for $70+ on Amazonbooks.)

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