Battle of the Clearwater
In the weeks following the Battle at White Bird, General Oliver O. Howard pursued the Nez Perce across the Reservation. After crossing two rivers, the Salmon and the South fork of the Clearwater, the General caught up with them. On July 11, 1877, Howard crossed the South Fork of the Clearwater above the Nez Perce camp hoping to take it by surprise. Alert Nez Perce, however, foiled his plan and the first day's fighting came to a draw.
On July 12, Howard used infantry, cavalry, and artillery to gain the upper hand. In the face of this force, the Nez Perce began to slowly withdraw towards Kamiah. While Howard captured their camp and a great deal of supplies, he did not aggressively pursue the Nez Perce. They went north to Kamiah and began to head east, over the Lolo Trail to western Montana.
Please note: The battlefield is on private property and is not accessible. There is a historical marker located on Highway 13 south of Stites, Idaho that tells the story of the battle.
Did You Know?
In September of 1805 Lewis and Clark crossed into Nez Perce country. A debate ensued among the Nez Perce. Should they assist these strangers or attack them? A female Nez Perce elder, Wetxuuwíis (Wet-k'hoo-wees)urged her people to do them no harm. Her words were heeded; the expedition was welcomed.