Modoc War

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Modoc War

Modoc War, 1872–73, series of battles between the Modoc and the U.S. army fought as a result of the attempt to force a group of the Modoc to return to the Klamath Reservation in S Oregon. Beginning in Nov., 1872, U.S. soldiers were engaged in sieges against the Modoc who were encamped in the lava beds near Tule Lake, Calif. The soldiers, after losing battle after battle, increased their forces to 1,000 by Mar., 1873. During peace negotiations Gen E. R. S. Canby and Eleazer Thomas were killed; the soldiers intensified their efforts to subdue the Modoc and finally in late May, 1873, Captain Jack and his much reduced force of 30 warriors were captured. Captain Jack and three other leaders were hanged in October. The Modoc War proved costly to both sides: 87 soldiers were killed and 83 were wounded. Although the Modoc lost only 8 warriors and an unlisted number of women and children in the fighting, they were thereafter divided as a people.

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