White River/Payallup River Battle, Washington

Yakama Chief Kamiakin

Yakama Chief Kamiakin

In early November, two groups of soldiers planned attacks against the Indians to punish them for the defeat of Major Granville O. Haller at the Battle of Toppenish Creek. From Fort Dalles, Major Gabriel J. Rains led an expedition of 370 men to the Yakima Valley where he found Chief Kamiakin leading a force of Yakama warriors well-placed on the crest of a hill. The army bombarded the Indians with cannon fire for several hours and then Major Rains ordered Captain Ferdinand Augur to charge the hill. Augur was able to drive off the Indians and they scattered. Major Rains and his troops did not pursue them.

In the meantime, another column of about 100 volunteer soldiers led by Captain Maurice Maloney, had been organized in the Puget Sound area. Approaching the Indians from west of the Cascades, the troops marched east up the White River, but he found his route over the Cascades blocked with snow.

As they retreated, about 150 warriors of the Puyallup, Nisqually, and Squaxon tribes pursued and confronted them on November 7, 1855. After a day-long fight, the Indians pulled back, but the soldiers followed them to the Puyallup River. The action continued for another day or two until the Indians finally broke off. In the various confrontations, the Indians had about 30 casualties and in Captain Maloney’s group, 22 were killed and three wounded.

© Kathy Weiser-Alexander, updated December 2020.

Also See:

Index of Tribes

Indian Conflicts of Washington

Washington Main Page

Yakima War