Nez Perce
Forlorn Hope: The Battle of White Bird Canyon
NPS Logo


I owe a deep debt of gratitude to William A. Olson of Boise, Idaho, whose suggestions and assistance were of inestimable value. Fifteen years ago, Bill became interested in the Battle of White Bird Canyon while vacationing in the area. As the years passed, his interest deepened and his knowledge grew. It was my pleasure to visit the scenes of the Salmon River killings and to spend several days walking White Bird Battlefield with him. Bill and I fought the battle many times, and, like the United States Army, our victory was one of knowledge rather than of arms.

I wish to especially thank Mrs. Sara D. Jackson of the National Archives, Merle W. Wells of the Idaho Historical Society, and Earle Connette and Mrs. Elain White of the Washington State University Archives for their assistance in locating many of the materials used in preparing this volume. I also wish to thank Mr. Richard McWhorter of Prosser, Washington, who made the McWhorter Collection at the Washington State University available for study.

Historians of the National Park Service who read chapters of the manuscript or assisted in gathering information were Robert M. Utley, Frank B. Sarles, Don Rickey, Jr., Edwin C. Bearss, Erwin N. Thompson, Aubrey Haines, and John A. Hussey. I particularly wish to thank Robert L. Burns, Superintendent of Nez Perce National Historical Park, who participated in the field study and took many of the photographs used to illustrate this volume. Student Trainee Michael Kannensohn of the University of South Florida assisted in gathering biographical data on enlisted men.

Others who provided information and assistance were Sam Watters and Richard Half Moon (whose ancestors were on the winning side in the White Bird Fight), The Rev. E. Paul Hovey and Marcus J. Ware of Lewiston, C. H. Ketcham of Grangeville, Miss Mary K. Dempsey of the Montana Historical Society, Mrs. Anna M. Ibbotson of the Washington State Historical Society, and Glenn R. Downing of The Museum, Idaho State University.

Mrs. Maxine Gresham, Mrs. Dee Highnote, Miss Tisha Norris, and Mrs. Juanita Darmstead typed the drafts and final copy. My wife Joan was a continual source of assistance in proofreading the manuscript and in sharpening the narrative.

The maps were prepared by Harry Scott. Cover design is by William Sunde.

<<< Previous <<< Contents >>> Next >>>

Last Updated: 09-Mar-2003