April 22, 1889.
DEAR SIR: In answer to your questions: I was in the war of 1847-'48. The company was called out by an act of the Oregon legislature--Governor Abrnethy. T.W. Smith was designated by the governor to organize a company in Washington County some time about the middle of December, 1847. I belonged to Capt. Thompson, of Yamhill County, and was the first to arrive at the rendezvous on the bank of the Willamette, near Portland, and owing to the absence of our captain we become fourth, or Company D: first company, Mackwell's. of Marion; second, Owens's of Polk; third, Lawrence Hall's, of Washington; fourth, Thompson's, of Yam Hill, to which I belonged. The companies were not lettered but numbered, as I understood it, and were generally by their captains.
Capt. L. Hall was mustered in on the 9th of January, 1848; in a few days the whole regiment started for The Dalles. The two companies, that is Hall's and Thompson's, were together until we were discharged. We were together at the battle of the Des Chutes: I can not recollect the date of this or another battle. At the battle of Well Springs or Sandy Hollows we formed on the right of Hall's company. At the battle of Toucannon and Touchet we were together for two days and nights. On the retreat from Tucannon to the Touchet Hall's company was rear on the right, Thompson's on the left. The two companies came home together, arriving in Oregon City June 20, 1848. Were mustered out by proclamation of the governor. Green Rowland, of North Yam Hill, Oregon, has the names of all the volunteers of 1847 and 1848. Whether he can separate into companies or not I do not know.
I have the rheumatism so it is hard for me to write. If this is not sufficiently plain let me know wherein; I will try to explain.
Very respectfully, yours,
WM. D. STILLWELL.
Capt. WM. E. BIRKHIMER,
Vancouver Barracks, Washington Territory.
April 22, 1889.
DEAR SIR: I see by a letter of United States Senator J.H. Mitchell, of Oregon, that you are the person to investigate the organization of a company of volunteers to fight the Cayuse and other Indians in 1847 and 1848 after the murder of Doctor Whitman and settlers, who are now asking for pensions for their services and losses by a memorial of the Oregon Legislature.
I was one of the persons who volunteered their services at that time; was living at Butte Creek, Clackamas County, Oregon.
Governor Abernethy called the companies; General Neal Gillam was in command. There was six companies, three on the east side of Willamette River and three on west. The six companies was composed of 280 men, with the following captains: Captains Mechy, Maxon, English, Hall, Owens, and Thompson. I was under Captain Maxon's command. We had the first fight at The Dalles, which did not amount to much. Had skirmishing along from this up to the Wells Springs, and at the Wells Springs we had a general fight with the Cayuse Indians, at which place 60 men were shot, but no one killed. I was the only man which was entirely shot through at this place. I was shot through the right lung with an ounce ball, which passed entirely through me, which has disabled me most of my life, I was taken from this place to Dr. Whitman's mission building on a litter 100 miles, at which place three men were detailed to go to Washington City, D. C., for help. Their names are as follows: Joe Meek, Mountain Robison, and Mat. Bowman.
After their visit to Washington, D. C., General Joe Lane was sent out and took charge of the Territory of Oregon. The company soon after this was out of ammunition, and was obliged to return to the valley to get ammunition from the emigrants; at which time I was brought back. General Gilllam was in charge of the party, but near the John Day, by an accident of a gun, he was killed, and the party came on with Captain Maxon to The Dalles. For any further particulars I refer you to the following persons, who were with me at the time I was shot: Ashby Pearse, Jason Wheeler, Albany, Oregon; Jack Batty, James Officers, Molally, Clackamas County, Oregon; Richard Pollard, Prineville, Oregon; Col. Lawrence Hall, if living. If I can give you any more information which will be of use, will be glad to do so.
I hope you may do something for the few of us yet alive, as I believe if any men are entitled to a pension we should be, under the many hardships we had to overcome.
Trusting I may hear from you, ever respectfully yours,
N. G. MCDONALD,
Capt. Wm. E. BIRKHIMER,
DEAR SIR: Capt. Lawrence Hall's Company of Oregon Volunteers was organized in Portland during December, 1847, and immediately proceeded to The Dalles, and in January, 1848, the company participated in the fight at Buck Hollow on the Des Chutes River, then returned to The Dalles; then proceeded to Whitman Station on Walla Walla River, where we arrived in February. We participated in a fight at Sand Hollow and drove the Indians back on the road up in what is now Morrow County, Oregon.
The first work we did there was to build a wall for self-defense and a corral for the stock.
On March 12, 1848, there was a general forward movement of the four companies at the station, but on the morning of the 13th of March, 1848, the main portion of the command returned to Fort Waters.
A detachment of Capt. Lawrence Hall's company, with detachments of the other companies, 92 men in all, moved forward under Colonel Gilllam, traveled till 2 o'clock and camped, and moved again at sundown, traveling during the night till two hours before day, and camped till daylight on the morning of March 14, 1848. About sunrise we started down the valley of Tucannon, and had gone but a short distance till a war party of Indians appeared in front of us. They fell back and we pressed forward, gathering their cattle and homes till about 10 o'clock, when we had about 750 head of cattle and homes, as near as I can remember, at which time the Indians attacked us, about 450 or 500 strong, and the fight lasted till daylight next morning, when we started for Fort Waters (the Indians having recovered their stock during the night. We continued our march till about 2 o'clock p. m., when the Indians headed us off and renewed the fight on the Touchet.
The Indians fought desperately for about three hours, when we succeeded in driving them back, and proceded on our way to Fort Waters. On our side one man was killed and a number wounded. I was wounded myself; a bullet passed through my leg, about six inches below the knee, raking a small splinter off the bone, which wound has bothered me about walking ever since.
At Tucannon and on the Touchet the following of our company participated in the fighting:
Lieut. John Enyart, Sergeants Thomas Cornelius and Peter S. Enyart; and Privates F.H. Ramsay, S.A. Holcomb, William Walters, Joseph Scott, John Lou Signou, Gilbert Mouden, Parren Northup, R.W. Smith. The above are all I remember at present.
Thomas Cornelius, Corneliusville, Washington County.
William Walters, near Dayton, Wash.
S.A. Holcomb, Hillsborough, Washington County.
F.H. Ramsay, --, Multnomah County.
Robert Walker, Greenville, Washington County.
Noah Job, Hillsborough, Washington County.
A.C. Brown, Forest Grove, Washington County.
David Harper, Gales Creek, Washington County.
Albert Stewart, Asa Williams, Greenville, Washington County.
All alive that I remember at present. The following deceased:
Abram Enyart, Lieut. John Enyart [brothers of mine], Gilbert Munden.
That is about all I can give at present without study.
I remain, yours, truly,
PETER S. ENYART.