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  Battle of Castle Crags

Two articles from the Shasta Courier.

Shasta Courier, August 4, 1855, page 2.
INDIANS ON THE UPPER SACRAMENTO. - We are informed by Mr. Harvey Boyer that a party of Indians attacked several white men one day last week near Castle Rock and wounded one of them very seriously by shooting an arrow through both of his cheeks. The others escaped unharmed.

Shasta Courier, August 11, 1855, page 2.
UPPER SACRAMENTO INDIANS. - The Indians on the Upper Sacramento have recently exhibited quite a degree of hostility towards the whites. We learn from Mr. Bradbury, a trader on Shotgun Creek, that a party of whites attacked a party of Indians near Castle Rock, some days since, for stealing flour, &c., of Mr. McCloud and killed two of them certain, and wounded other two severely if not fatally. Friendly Indians say this party is the same that stole the mules of Mr. Greathouse on Trinity mountain some time since. They also formed a portion of that large band that committed so many murders and robberies in 1851-52.

In this encounter two of the attacking party were severely hurt. A Mr. Miller was wounded in the right corner of the mouth by an arrow entering there and coming out below the left ear. A Mr. James Lean received a still more dangerous wound. In his case the arrow struck below the left eye and severed an artery leading over the head, which come very near resulting in death. He is at present, however, fast recovering.

See also The Literature of Joaquin Miller at the College of the Siskiyous Mt. Shasta Collection. The below excerpt from Mount Shasta: An Annotated Bibliography by William C. Miesse. The first edition was published by the COS Library in 1993. The Web version was revised and updated in 2002, copyright College of the Siskiyous Library.

[MS216]. Miller, Joaquin 1837-1913. The Battle of Castle Crags. In: Rosenus, Alan. Selected Writings of Joaquin Miller. No place: Urion Press, 1977.

First published as a pamphlet, circa 1894, issued as a promotional booklet for the Tavern of Castle Crags (see Blanck, Jacob., 'Bibliography of American Literature,' #13837). The 1894 booklet includes ten photographs and single page descriptions of 'The Soda Springs' by E. McD, J. and 'The Tavern of Castle Crags' which are not in the Rosenus selection.

Part fiction and part fact, this account is only one of several Joaquin Miller wrote about this 1855 battle. But probably this widely distributed pamphlet rekindled local interest, for Miller's famous 'Life Among the Modocs' was most popular earlier, in the 1870s, in the now enduring legend of the Battle of Castle Crags.

The pamphlet contains details of the battle itself; for example, Miller explains that the fight took place in the saddle region of a ridge between Castle Lake and Battle Rock. Battle Rock, according to Miller, is that tall spire located far in the northwest section of the Crags. It is the thumb-like spire rising above Lake Siskiyou when viewed from present-day Mount Shasta City. Miller describes how around 1892 he returned to the battle area accompanied by Gibson, who was the white leader of the fight. With them was an Indian man who had also been in the fight, on Miller's side, but at different place during the battle. This Indian's story, first published in this pamphlet, adds much to the dramatic narrative, especially the part about two bloodied enemy warriors being thrown down into Castle Lake (p. 35).

Thanks to Bill Miesse and to Dennis Freeman and the College of the Siskiyous Library for the above information.

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