Although the Nez Perce (Nee-Me-Poo) Indians gave instrumental help to Lewis and Clark on their famous expedition, they were rewarded by decades of invasive treaties and encroachment upon their homeland. In June 1877, the Nez Perce struck back and were soon swept into one of the most devastating Indian wars in American history. The conflict culminated in an epic twelve-hundred-mile chase as the U.S. Army pursued some eight hundred Nez Perce men, women, and children, who tried to fight their way to freedom in Canada.
In this enthralling account of the Nez Perce War, Bruce Hampton brings to life unforgettable characters from both sides of the conflictwarriors and women, common soldiers and celebrated generals. Looking Glass, White Bird, the legendary Chief Joseph, and fewer than three hundred warriors waged a bloody guerilla war against a modernized American army commanded by such famous generals as William Tecumseh Sherman, Nelson Miles, Oliver Otis Howard, and Philip Sheridan. Hampton also gives voice to the Native Americans from other tribes who helped the U.S. Army block the escape of the Nez Perce to Canada.
Using authoritative sources, Hampton, a Native American history scholar, presents an objective account of the Nez Perce war and offers a glimpse into the lives of the Indians struggling to maintain their homeland and way of life. Prior to 1877, the Nez Perce were a peaceful and wealthy band. Misled by the white man’s promises and faced with encroachment, a renegade band massacred 18 settlers. Fearing retribution, over 750 Nez Perce Indians began their flight toward Canada, followed by several army regiments. This war would eventually last several weeks, cover 1200 miles through three states, involve numerous battles, cost over $930,000, and result in the loss of many lives before the Indians would be forced to surrender only miles from their destination.