Larry & Lee Ann's Journey travel blog

It's a beautiful morning with lovely scenery as we travel US 93...

The Nez Perce (Nee-Me-Poo) National Historic Trail stretches from Wallowa Lake, Oregon,...

We've climbed Chief Joseph Pass twice now! It's not too bad :)

We've arrived at the Battlefield on Mt 43...

The remodeled visitor center opened at the Big Hole National Battlefield on...

Larry reading the informational boards & taking in the panoramic view outside...

View out the window of the Visitor Center to our left of...

It's a lovely valley...

More beauty...

On our way along the self guided path to the Seige Site...

We've climbed above the treeline now...

Pretty snowcapped mountain to our right...

This pretty little mule deer was interested in what we were doing...

She kept moving with us as we checked out the 6 ton...

Larry, checking out the shallow rifle pits & trenches the men dug...

The trail is down to this now as we make our way...

This info board was at the end of the trail...

Youngsters played in the willows & tall grass by the willows by...

A view of the Visitor Center...Quite a distance from where we are...

Making our way back to the parking area to begin our 1.2...

The grasses are so pretty...

Larry reading aloud as we make our way along the self-guided trail...

View dead ahead as we walk along...Very sobering in this valley

Makes us feel so sad & so sorry for this particular group...

View to our left...

Almost to the Nez Perce camp which included 89 tipis arranged roughly...

It is so quiet out here...Almost eerily

It's easy to see why they stopped here, hunting, gathering tipi poles...

Interesting necklace hanging from this tipi...

Larry, photographing Chief Joseph's tipi location...

Me, walking past Chief Joseph's tipi & his brother Ollokot's as well...So...

Info in museum...

12 pound Mountain Howitzer...

Info...

Quiver, bow & arrows mentioned in the last pic...

And finally...

Mitchell's rifle...

View of the Visitor Center as we eat our picnic lunch after...


Today Larry & I backtracked about 50 miles to the Big Hole National Battlefield. We'd been told by several folks that it was not to be missed & boy were they right. Larry & I were not familiar with this particular Battlefield or the history of the area pertaining to it. This Battlefield is a true memorial to the people who fought and died here on August 9th & 10th, 1877.

We started our visit viewing a sobering 26-minute video program. Wow, it brought both of us to tears. Unbelievable, and oh so sad. The museum of photographs, quotations and personal belongings of some of the battle participants and non-combatants provide orientation to the park and its story. A short drive to the lower parking area connects with foot trails to the Nez Perce Camp, the Siege Area, and the Howitzer Capture site where a self guided trail guide took us to points of interest on the Battlefield.

In case you are not familiar with Big Hole, about 750 non-treaty Nez Perce were fleeing from US Army troops charged with enforcing the US government's demands that all Nez Perce move to a reservation 1/10th the size of their original 7,000,000 homeland. In doing so, the Army was enforcing a national policy of placing all American Indians on reservations to make way for States. Here, just before day break on August 9, 1877, military forces attacked the non-treaty Nez Perce as they rested after six weeks of conflicts and flight from military forces. U.S. Army forces performed a predawn attack on the 800 men, women and children encamped at Big Hole. The Nez Perce mounted a fierce resistance and managed to overwhelm the attacking force, cornering them on a hillside. Meanwhile, the women and children fled the battlefield after burying their dead.

During the day and a half battle, the Nez Perce lost an estimated 60 to 90 men, women and children, although it is believed that actual losses may have been much higher with a good portion being women and children. U.S. Forces lost 28 and an additional 40 serious casualties. The confrontation was the most violent battle between the Nez Perce and the U.S. Government forces.

After the battle the Nez Perce fled east through Yellowstone National Park, then headed north. In October 1877, only 40 miles from the Canadian border in Montana's Bear Paw Mountains, the starving and exhausted Nez Percé surrendered to the U.S. Forces commanded by General Oliver O. Howard. Approximately 300 Nez Perce had managed to escape to Canada prior to the surrender. More than 400 Nez Perce were imprisoned in Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. There, more Nez Perce died than were killed in all the fighting. Some Nez Perce were eventually allowed to return to the Nez Perce Indian Reservation in Lapwai, Idaho, but Chief Joseph & others were forced to settle on the Colville Indian Reservation in northwestern Washington State & the Umatilla Indian Reservation in north-central Oregon. Chief Joseph died in Washington in 1904.

Upon the final surrender by Chief Joseph he was quoted as saying, "Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever".

One final note. Mitch loaned us a 1975 TV film entitled 'I Will Fight No More Forever' starring James Whitmore, Sam Elliott & Ned Romero as Chief Joseph. We watched it this evening & of course after having just visited there today it really brought this Battlefield to life. They did a great job re-enacting this tragic event. If you have an interest in this area, we highly recommend you see it. Thanks Mitch!



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