“As soon as I had called out I saw it was Indians in the camp, and I and Owens cried out together, ‘Indians.’ There were no orders given, things went on too fast, and the Colonel had men with him that did not need to be told their duty. The Colonel and I, Maxwell, Owens, Godey and Stepp jumped together and went to the assistance of our Delawares.
“I don’t know who fired first and who didn’t; but I think it was Stepp’s shot that killed the Klamath chief; for it was at the crack of Stepp’s gun that he fell. He had an English half-axe slung to his wrist by a cord, and there were forty arrows left in his quiver; the most beautiful and warlike arrows I ever saw. He must have been the bravest man among them, from the way he was armed, and judging from his cap.
“When the Klamaths saw him fall, they ran; but we lay, every man with his rifle cocked, until daylight, expecting another attack. In the morning we found, by the tracks, that from fifteen to twenty of the Klamaths had attacked us. They had killed three of our men and wounded one of the Delawares, who scalped the chief, whom they left where he fell.
“Our dead men we carried on mules; but after going about ten miles we found it impossible to get them any farther through the thick timber. And finding a secret place we buried them under logs and chunks, having no way to dig a grave. It was only a few days before this, that some of these same Indians had come into our camp; and although we had only meat for two days and felt sure that we should have to eat mules for ten or fifteen days to come, the Colonel divided with them, and even had a mule unpacked to give them some tobacco and knives.”
In consequence of the war declared between the United States and Mexico, Colonel Fremont thought it expedient to return to California. He judged it, however, to be necessary first, as a lesson to the savages, to punish them severely for their wanton murder of his men. Kit Carson, at the head of ten chosen mountaineers, was sent forward in search of their strongholds. If he discovered them without being seen himself he was to return for reinforcements. If seen he was to act as he thought best.
He soon discovered an Indian trail, and followed it to an Indian encampment of fifty lodges, containing one hundred and fifty warriors. The agitation in the camp evidenced that the Indians had obtained warning of danger. Carson decided to attack them instantly, in the midst of their confusion. The Indians for a moment made a bold stand. But as bullet after bullet pierced them, from the invisible missiles of their foe, whom they could not reach with arrows, they turned in a panic and fled. Mr. Carson wishing to inflict chastisement which would not soon be forgotten, ordered all their valuables to be collected in their lodges and then applied the torch. The flames leaped high in the air and in an hour nothing remained of the Indian village, but glowing embers and the bodies of their dead warriors.