After Lieutenant Rains's squad, including scout William Foster, were all killed on July 3, long-distance skirmishing between Nez Perce warriors and the troops entrenched at Cottonwood continued for the rest of that day and all through July 4.
The Indians opened fire at day-break and kept it up until noon. At that time we could see a small party approaching from Mount Idaho to our aid....
Pvt. Frederick Mayer
July 5, 1877
Capt. Randall called for 25 volunteers to go to the assistance of the soldiers at Cottonwood. Seventeen was all that could go.... There was seven men in that bunch that had no business in such an expedition. While they were good and brave men but they had never been under fire and were not good marksmen.
Luther P. Wilmot
I said, "Boys, if our Captain [Randall] should be killed he might serve as a breastwork-he is so big [236 pounds and six feet tall]. But this poor fellow," indicating Houser, "is so thin that a prairie dog could not hide behind him." Thus, laughing and joking, we rode along at a brisk canter.
E. J. Bunker
Mount Idaho volunteer
...The next sun the families moved to a spring, Piswah llppilp Pah [Place of Red Rock]. While this was doing, a small bunch of young warriors went separately... Coming to the wagon road, . . . we saw them-about twenty armed horsemen. Not uniformed soldiers, but more like citizens. Not riding a close company, but strung out along the road. When they saw us, they bunched and came a little faster. Came straight towards us! Seemed to me they cared not for us.... We now knew there was to be a fight.
... I took the liberty of taking the first shot that was fired by our party I had to dismount to do it, and when / fired, my horse frightened and nearly broke away from me. When I mounted the horse and started to overtake my company they had gotten quite a distance ahead of me, and as it seemed lonesome where I was I let my horse move a lively gait. I had not gone far when I reached Frank Vansise whose horse was shot. I took him up behind me and we lumbered along at a lively gait until we reached the command...
Captain Randall must have been shot where he ordered the halt as it was poor place to make a defense. Then, Indians were in our rear and to our right, which left the way open for the volunteers to retreat to Cottonwood, a distance of one and a half miles.
Our force at that time was reduced by three wounded, two killed, and one sent to guard D. H. Howser, one of the wounded. Four others went to the soldiers to solicit assistance for the dead and wounded.
Henry C. Johnson
The Nez Perce Flight to Canada - An Introduction
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