Willamette Valley Volunteers and Fort Waters
When settlers in the Willamette Valley heard about the attack, they organized a volunteer militia and marched towards Waiilatpu. During the trip, they encountered and fought hostile Cayuse.
After one battle, the militia burned an Indian village. In retaliation, the Cayuse set fire to and partially destroyed most of the buildings of the mission. The troops arrived to find the mission abandoned, the buildings in ruins, and the bodies of the Whitmans and others dug up by wolves.
The Volunteers established Fort Waters on the mission site, converting the Mission House into a barracks and hospital, turning irrigation ditches into defensive trenches, and building a wall around the area. They reburied the bodies: digging a deeper burial pit and covering the grave with a wagon bed and dirt to deter wolves.
The Volunteers chased the Cayuse for months, before giving up on the enterprise. They stayed long enough to ensure that the 1848 Oregon Trail emigrants got through Cayuse territory safely, then abandoned the fort. In 1851, Indian Agent Anson Dart visited the site and reported that there were no remains from the fort.