Lava Beds
National Monument
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Map 7

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Map 7. Attack on Thomas' Patrol, April 26, 1873.

1. April 26, 7:00 a.m., Thomas' patrol left Gillem's Camp enroute to Sand (Hardin) Butte to determine feasibility of moving artillery into lava beds. Total strength: 5 officers, 1 assistant surgeon, 59 enlisted men, 1 civilian guide, 1 civilian packer.

2. During march, Company E, 12th Infantry, failed to extend skirmishers far enough to left and right to cover ridges. Both artillery batteries tended to close on skirmishers, rather than keeping their distance as a march column, thus making one mass of troops.

3. Donald McKay and 12 Warm Springs traveled separately; they were supposed to meet main patrol at destination.

4. Twenty-four Modocs under Scarfaced Charley shadowed patrol to Sand Butte.

5. Patrol reached foot of butte at noon. Batteries A and K rested. Company E remained as skirmishers but probably rested rather than acted as a guard. Captain Thomas prepared to climb butte. Modocs attacked.

6. Lieutenant Wright ordered 4 men to advance toward Schonchin ridge to northeast. Modocs attacked them. Lieutenant Cranston took five men to clear rocks to north. Disappeared.

7. Captain Thomas ordered Company E to move to ridge to west, away from the butte. Modocs attacked Company E. Lieutenant Wright wounded; large part of company panicked.

8. Thomas then led 25-30 men from the artillery batteries (rest had fled) after Wright and Company E. Modocs attacked, inflicting great casualties.

Inset map no. 1 reflects the above, which is based on original, but fragmentary, sources. The writer considers it to be as accurate as is possible to recreate at this time. Inset map no 2 shows alternate possibilities and is based on secondary, traditional, and verbal sources.

Inset map, "Site Today" shows a "Photo Site." This marks the location shown in a recently discovered photograph that contains a number of "bodies." The photograph, not included in this report, is considered to be a post-war reenactment.


Modoc War
©1971, Argus Books
thompson/modocwarm7.htm — 11-Nov-2002