After Chief Joseph and his band´s final battle in Montana a few people appearantly made it across the Medicine Line to join Sitting Bull´s band. White Bird is supposed to be among them. Anyone with any information on this?
Everything happens for a reason that only the Great Spirit knows and we wonder about.
Interesting! There must be information on this incident in the archives somewhere. You got any good ideas kola? The RCMP officers at Fort Walsh obviously kept journals.
Fascinating to note is also that the Dakota bands in Canada knew about the ongoing battle between the Nez Percé and the US Army and some considered crossing the border to help against the bluecoats. After all, it is not that far.
Everything happens for a reason that only the Great Spirit knows and we wonder about.
Yes, there were actually plans to try to rescue the Nez Perce. Last year, well known historian Jerome Greene published a fine book about the Nez Perce in Canada. It is titled "Beyond Bear's Paw", University of Oklahoma Press. It is well written and researched, a good start!
Some time ago I read "The Last Indian War - The Nez Perce Story" by Elliot West. Highly recommended. I learned that Chief Joseph was not as influential in the campaign as I had previously understood. Much of the strategy, movement and war leadership was ascribed to several others, whose names I can't remember.
one of the names you are looking for is "Looking Glass". A skilled tactician and a brave warrior for the Nez Perce. He planned much of the escape strategy, although not perfectly. He was killed while trying to fight his way to Canada. I think a Cheyenne scout working for the Cavalry killed him ... but don't quote me on that. Anyway, he did not surrender.
Looking Glass was not killed by an Cheyenne scout. On the morning of his death, he was on a hill. US soldiers saw him and fired a volley at him. The soldiers were about 500 – 6oo yards away. A bullet smashed the head and killed him instantly.
This is stated in a book by Duncan MacDonald , I own a german copy.
Shot by the scout Milan Tripp or hit by a shell from a twelve pounder. Take your pick - though I have to admit, I think I've also read somewhere that another 'suspect' was one of the Cheyenne scouts...
I know there are various versions regarding the death of Looking Glass. We can read these various versions ( truncated ) in the book by Jerome Greene :
Nez Perce Summer, 1877: The U.S. Army and the Nee-Me-Poo Crisis ( page 476 )
Despite of these versions, I think, the MacDonald version was right, because in 1878 Duncan MacDonald visited Nez Perce in Canada to gather information for a series of newspaper articles. Just my opinion. Probably, we'll never have an evidence for the right version.
YES ... White Bird and some of his people made it. They stayed in Canada and found a new home. So the drive northwards for the Nez Perce was not a wrong idea ... it worked. The problem was that it did not work for most of them. But in truth, if the Crow Nation had provided more shelter and help, many more might have made it. Keep in mind that they were fighting the whole way from western Idaho, and Chief Looking Glass took them across the Bitterroot Mountains in an effort to shake off the US Cavalry.
I truly wish we had proper accounts of what happened out there - but we don't. It appears the Nez Perce got split into at least three groups after they left the Crow lands and turned north. The main group with Chief Joseph was caught by the Cavalry and forced to surrender. Chief Looking Glass and his group fought an died. But White Bird made it across the border. This is complete speculation on my part - but I don't believe the splitting up was an accident. Look Glass was very clever, and he knew if that if he divided his people, some might reach freedom. And so they did! I also cannot prove anything about what I am going to say ... but I believe it in my heart. Chief Looking Glass understood the dangers from his pursuers and chose to make a stand and fight. By doing this - he died so that White Bird would take some people to freedom. Looking Glass was a great man!
Duncan MacDonald, "The Nez Perces: the history of their troubles and the campaign of 1877," Idaho Yesterdays. XXI (Winter, 1978), p. 2-10. (Part two of a series). From April of 1878 through March of 1879, the Deer Lodge (Montana) New North-West published a series of articles on the Nez Perce war as seen by White Bird and his associates. The author of the series was Duncan MacDonald, son of the Hudson's Bay Company's Angus MacDonald and a sister of the Nez Perce leader Eagle of the Light. MacDonald was thoroughly fluent in both Nez Perce and English, and he spent some time interviewing White Bird and his companions in Canada after the war.
Excerpt, regarding death of Looking Glass :
On the evening of the fourth day a flag of truce was raised for the third time. Gen. Miles told the Indians that if they surrendered he would treat them well; that he would take them to Tongue River that winter and in the spring would send them back to Idaho. He furthermore said that any promises he might make to them would be fulfilled. Joseph wanted to surrender but the other chiefs kept him from doing so. They feared that in case they were to surrender to Gen. Miles, they would be treated similarly to the Indians who surrendered to Col. Wright on the Columbia in 1858. After surrendering, the principals were all hung by command of the officer to whom they surrendered. Joseph endeavored to persuade the chiefs that the best thing they could do was to accede to the demands made by Gen. Miles. Looking Glass and White Bird then said: "Joseph, you do not know the Americans as well as we do. Never in the world will they fulfill the promises made the Indians. The commanding officer speaks sweet, but it is doubtful whether he will send the Indians back to their country." Next morning Joseph told Looking Glass he had concluded to surrender to Gen. Miles. The latter chief then went to White Bird, told him the conclusion arrived at by Joseph and said: "We will leave here tonight. I know we will never see our country again." Near the Indian camp was a ridge on which some of the warriors lay watching the movements of the soldiers. Looking Glass, his brother and the other chiefs were in the camp talking over the proposed flight in the evening. Looking Glass requested his brother to get him his pipe, saying he wanted a smoke. While his brother had gone for the pipe Looking Glass had his attention attracted by the movement of the warriors on the ridge. He started towards them. He was asked to remain where he was, but the chief replied that he would return shortly; that he wanted to see what the warriors on the ridge were doing. He reached the place where the warriors were. It was some 500 or 600 yards from the soldiers' position. He raised himself up to view the surroundings. As he did so a volley from the guns of the soldiers was directed towards him, and one of the bullets entered his forehead, throwing him some distance down the hill and killing him instantly.
in some ways that account helps quite a lot. it certainly reinforces my impression that Looking Glass had excellent judgment about battle tactics and the character of his enemy. I don't really fault Chief Joseph - he had the difficult job of trying to decide for his whole people. Looking Glass was right however! Perhaps the account given by MacDonald is the truth. But I have also heard accounts that Looking Glass was killed by a Cheyenne scout working for the Cavalry. And the story by MacDonald does not make sense to me for the following reason. if it happened as he stated - then the US Cavalry would have been able to catch all of the people with Looking Glass and White Bird together. The followers of Looking Glass would have been demoralized, and the US Cavalry could have gone after White Bird straight away. So I don't know if the exact sequence of events is really as described. Like so many things from this period of time ... we are left wondering about the details. Yet I keep all my admiration for Chief Looking Glass - no matter how exactly it played out.
I think you would like to refer the incident, where Hump engaged a Nez Perce sharpshooter, left the Nez Perce dead and Hump wounded. The incident is reported in the book : "Yellowstone Kelly": The Memoirs of Luther S. Kelly ( 1926 )
That killed Nez Perce was not Looking Glass. There is no hint in MacDonald`s report, that Looking Glass acted as a sharpshooter directly before his death.