THE INDIAN WARS
Constituted in 1855 at Fort Monroe, Virginia, the 9th Infantry Regiment was the primary force of the US Army in the Washington Territories (present day states of Washington, Idaho and Montana). In the January of 1856, Lieutenant Colonel Casey, under the direction of Colonel George Wright, marched his troops to Fort Steilacoom to assist in the ongoing Puget Sound Wars west of the Cascade Mountains. In less than 24 hour of their arrival in the Washington Territories, the regiment was engaged and began combat operation against the Nisqually, Muckleshoot, Puyallup, and Klickitat tribes. After a month of fighting, in February 1856, the regiment claimed a great victory which resulted in the death of Chief Kanaskat, the military leader who united the tribes to fight against the US Army in the area. The wars west of the Cascade Mountains would end less than 30 days later in March of 1856. In May of 1858, Major Edward Steptoe, the commander of the regiment at the time, suffered a humiliating defeat during a failed expedition into hostile Indian Territory. His troops were under equipped, under manned, and under informed for their expedition causing the regiment to retreat and ultimately cost Major Steptoe his position as commander. Colonel George Wright would assume command and assemble the troops of the 9th Infantry Regiment. The regiment then embarked on the historical campaign against the Indian war tribes of the Washington Territories in response to the defeat of Major Steptoe. From August 31 - September 5, 1858, the 9th Infantry Regiment would prevail in two major victories within a weeks’ time: first at the Battle of Four Lakes and next at the Battle of Spokane Plains. Their superior weapons, training, and battle tactics overwhelmed the Indian War Tribes as the Regiment successfully embarked on what was the largest campaign ever assembled, at that point, for a war in the West. In a final blow against the war tribes of the region, Colonel Wright and his troops massacred nearly 800 horses. Referred to as "their Gettysburg," this massacre would prove to be a devastating blow to the tribes and would break their will, ending the Indian Wars in the Washington Territories. Colonel Wright's campaign would prove to be the war to end all future conflicts with the tribes. To this date there have been no further altercations between the tribes of Washington and the United States or its settlers.