Part of our in-depth series exploring the Mountain Pacific Forts
The following is from the book, Encyclopedia of Indian Wars, by Gregory F. Michno.
In September 1855, Yakimas cut the throat of Indian agent Andrew J. Bolon, and Yakima chief Kamiakin announced that he would kill all whites who entered his country. The tribes of the Columbia River basin had united to stop the increasing incursions into the area. In response, district commander Maj. Gabriel J. Rains ordered an expedition to awe the Indians, and Capt. Granville O. Haller was to lead it. Haller's 4th Infantry Companies I and K and a detachment of H left Fort Dalles in early October with a howitzer.
A three-day march brought Haller to Toppenish Creek, east of present-day Fort Simcoe State Park, Washington, where he ran into Kamiakin, Palouse chief Owhi, and possibly up to 1,500 Yakima and Palouse Indians. Haller's was not a large enough force to intimidate the combined tribes arrayed against him. Nevertheless, the infantry took position on a ridge top and fought for nearly three days before retreating. Haller then struggled for three more days to get his men back in one piece to Fort Dalles. They lost the howitzer and the pack train, and Haller was lucky to escape with most of his command.
Five men were killed and 17 wounded in the expedition. Approximately 20 warriors were wounded or killed. The defeat emboldened the rest of the northwestern tribes to take action.
We have a version of the 1855 battle from Bill Yenne is his book, Indian Wars.
Captain Granville Haller led a 4th Infantry Regiment contingent out of Fort Dalles on the Columbia River to strike the large Yakima force that Kamiakin was assembling on Toppenish Creek not far from the present city of Yakima. On October 6, Haller was overwhelmed by 1,500 Yakima and Palouse warriors and forced into a retreat. Over the next three days, he fought his way back to Fort Dalles, losing five men killed in action.
Join the discussion