Chiefs Ollokot and Toohoolhoolzote were the outstanding leaders of my company. These men were always in lead of every fight.... Brave men with swiftest horses were always at the front in war movements.

We rode on through the night darkness. Before reaching the soldier camp, all stopped, and the leaders held council. How make attack? The older men did this planning. Some wanted to leave the horses and enter the soldier camp afoot. Chief Looking Glass and others thought the horses must not be left out. This last plan was chosen — to go mounted.

Chief Joseph was not along.

Then we went. It was not yet daylight when we ran into soldiers. They must have been guard soldiers. I heard a white man's voice call, "Who are you there?'

Then a gun sounded back of us....

The soldier camp was alarmed.

Yellow Wolf

. . We were awakened by a disconcerting concert of demoniacal yells and a cracking of rifles, while the whizzing of bullets could be heard well overhead. Everyone was out in a minute, and all we could see was a magnified imitation of a swarm of fireflies flitting in the alders, as the rifles spoke; while the tramping of hundreds of hoofs added to the din.

Sgt. H.J. Davis

Calloway and his [Virginia City] volunteers, not so used to sudden alarms, find it hard to get in order. One takes another's gun, some get the wrong belts, others drop their percussion caps; their horses get into a regular stampede, and rush in the darkness toward the herd of mules, and all the animals scamper off together, while the citizens plunge into the water above their knees, and cross to the regular troops at a double-quick.

Gen. Oliver Otis Howard

I heard them cry like babies. They were bad scared.

Yellow Wolf

The stampeded horses gone, we do not stay to fight soldiers. We leave them firing like crazy people in the darkness. Nothing they can hit.


... I ordered Major Sanford to have the cavalry saddle up at once and to move out just as soon as it was light enough to see, and to attempt to recover the lost animals. Carr's, Norwood's, and Jackson's companies galloped out a few minutes later, accompanied by Major Sanford in command. The moving column of Indians and animals could then just be discovered four or five miles away.

Gen. O.O. Howard
August 27, 1877

After traveling a way, driving our captured horses, sun broke. We could begin to see our prize. Getting more light, we looked. Eeh! Nothing but mules-all mules! ... I did not know, did not understand why the Indians could not know mules. Why they did not get the cavalry horses. That was the object the chiefs had in mind-why the raid was made.

Yellow Wolf

We looked back. Soldiers are coming! ... Then we divided our company. Some went ahead with the mules; others of us waited for the soldiers. Then we fought, shooting from anywhere we found hiding.

Yellow Wolf



The Nez Perce Flight to Canada - An Introduction

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