Monday, April 22, 2013

Military Expedition into Idaho, Salmon River Gold Mines Flourishing

On April 22, 1863, the Oregonian, in Portland, reported that “a detachment of fifty men, belonging to Capt. Harris’ company of Oregon Cavalry, left Fort Dalles on Tuesday morning for Fort Walla Walla, on their way to the Boise country.”

The item said that the force would acquire what reinforcements it could at Fort Walla Walla. With the Civil War raging in the East, the Army was hard pressed to find units to spare. A few weeks earlier, the Oregonian had described the hostility of the Indians, and how few troops were available. Their advice: “Every one who goes to Boise should go well armed.”

The previous month, an advance guard for a larger expedition had entered the region, intent upon building a fort in the Boise Valley. However, site selection and construction would not even begin for another six week or so.

Also on April 22nd, the Golden Age, in Lewiston, announced that rich new gold fields had been found near Florence and Warren’s Camp. The reports out of Warren’s “were so extravagant,” the newspaper said, that they “did not wish to use them at present.” They would wait for some confirmation.
Early Florence. Idaho State Historical Society.

From Florence, a local claimed that “two thousand men could get constant employment there during the summer.” Moreover, if enough men did show up, “More gold would be taken out this season than was taken out last year.”

References: “From the Upper Columbia,” Oregonian, Portland (April 29, 1863).
Carolyn Thomas Foreman, “Colonel Pinkney Lugenbeel,” Chronicles of Oklahoma, Vol. 24, No. 4, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City (1946).
“Military Expedition to Boise,” Oregonian, Portland (April 22, 1863).

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