Rocky Boy Tribe
Chippewa Indians of

May 17, 1858 Battle of Pine Creek

By 1858, Americans were well established in western Washington and yet determined to improve an old Ojibway Road later named Mullan Road. Battle of Pine Creek was a part of Mullan Road War. A list of Mullan Road War battles is above. American Soldiers were stationed in forts in Oregon and Washington and more numerous by 1858. Thus, American leaders resumed a hostile stance. They were determined to invade eastern Oregon, eastern Washington, Idaho and Montana. That old Ojibway Road was strategically important in their plans of invading. Location of Battle of Pine Creek is 15.0 miles west of Coeur d'Alene Reservation, almost adjacent to Rosalia, Washington. From Fort Walla Walla, 159 American Soldiers led by Lieutenant Colonel Edward Steptoe, proceeded towards what is now Rosalia, Washington. Their goal was to prepare for improving that old Ojibway Road. Ojibway scouts discovered their movements and notified their commanders who prepared their soldiers for battle. Before battle commenced on Monday May 17, 1858, a period of short negotiations followed which proved futile. Ojibway leaders dealt with extremely hostile American responses. After a failure in an attempt at peace, a battle followed which was won by Ojibway Soldiers. It forced Steptoes force to retreat from battle, to return to Fort Walla Walla. Ojibway Soldiers possibly numbered near 1,000. Their casualties were much heavier as a result of their white enemy having superior weapons. As many as 50 (estimates vary from 9 to 50) Ojibway Soldiers may have been killed in battle and another 40 to 50 wounded. American casualties were 7 killed and as many as 13 wounded or near 15% of their total force.

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