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Site of Deadliest Native American Massacre Identified in Idaho


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Red Dawn, Fire People
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« on: May 03, 2015, 02:40:01 am »



A mural in the Preston, Idaho, post office, painted by Edmond J. Fitzgerald in 1941, commemorates “The Battle of Bear River.” (Photo courtesy U.S. Postal Service)

According to accounts from the time, at dawn on January 29, 1863, a regiment of 200 California Volunteers approached a village where some 390 members of the Northwestern Band of Shoshone were wintering, near the confluence of the Bear River and a frozen creek.

The aim of the regiment’s commander, Col. Patrick Connor, was to “chastise” the Shoshone, as he put it in a letter to the War Department, for a series of recent raids and deadly attacks on white settlers.

Having spotted the village from a nearby bluff to the southeast, Connor sent troops down to the floodplain and across the Bear, where they opened fire.

Shoshone riflemen returned fire, killing about 14 of the Volunteers. In response, Connor sent down another wave of troops to surround and subdue the village.

“That set up what initially was a battle, but that lasted a very short period of time,” Cannon said.

“The Shoshone probably ran out of ammunition, and they were overwhelmed by the California Volunteers.

“And then that’s when it becomes a massacre, when [the Volunteers] flanked and routed the village and started killing men, women and children where they stood.”

Witnesses describe Shoshone fleeing into the frozen river, where some drowned and others later froze to death. Another account tells of a baby found alive the next day, perched high in a tree, presumably placed there by a parent in a desperate bid to protect it.

Although the final counts vary, most estimates place the toll at 23 soldiers, and approximately 250  Shoshone, killed in the span of about four hours.



http://westerndigs.org/site-of-deadliest-native-american-massacre-identified-in-idaho/
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