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Chief Joseph
A letter from the War Department reporting
the surrender of Chief Joseph


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Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt, popularly known as Chief Joseph, or Young Joseph (March 3, 1840 – September 21, 1904) was the leader of the Wal-lam-wat-kain (Wallowa) band of Nez Perce during General Oliver O. Howard's attempt to forcibly remove his band and the other "non-treaty" Nez Perce to a reservation in Idaho. For his principled resistance to the removal, he became renowned as a humanitarian and peacemaker.

Chief Joseph led his tribe on an epic, 1700 mile journey for four months. He and his men outfought and outmanuevered the entire U.S Army west of the Mississippi. Sadly his journey ended at Bear Paw, Montana. Where, because his people were starving and freezing to death, he surrendered to the Colenel Miles. Upon his surrender to Colonel Miles, Chef Joseph said, "Hear me, my chiefs, I am tired, my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever." He devoted himself thereafter to the tribe's welfare. Died at the Colville Reservation, State of Washington on September 21, 1904

This offering is an ALS, October 10, 1877 on stationary with heading of the Army of the United States to Secretary of the Tresuary John Sherman documenting that Chief Joseph had surrendered to Colonel "Nelson" Miles. The actual surrender date of Chief Joseph was October 5th. The letter was signed by an unknown individual in Army Headquarters.The letter is in good condition.The letter is framed with two photographs of Chief Joseph (overall framing dimensions 42 in x 30 in).

After the Civil War where he became a general, Miles played a leading role in nearly every phase of the army's campaign against the tribes of the Great Plains. In 1874-1875, he was a field commander in the force that defeated the Kiowa, Comanche and Southern Cheyenne along the Red River. In 1876-1877, he led the winter campaign that scoured the northern Plains after Custer's defeat at the Little Bighorn, forcing the Lakota and their allies onto reservations. Then, in the winter of 1877, he drove his troops on a forced march across Montana to intercept the Nez Percé band led by Chief Joseph that had eluded or defeated every unit sent against it over the course of a 1,500 mile retreat from Oregon to the Canadian border. Throughout the rest of his career Miles would quarrel with General Oliver O. Howard, whose troops had doggedly pursued the Nez Percé over those 1,500 miles, as to who rightly deserved the credit for Joseph's capture.(1)

Also included with this letter is a signed 3x5 general's card. Signed by Nelson Miles who was mentioned in the above letter.

(1) Ref:

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