Near Chinook in Blaine County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
Bear Paw Battlefield
On September 29, 1877, about 700 Nez Perce men, women and children camped in the basin before you. Exhausted from four months of flight, they hoped to rest and hunt buffalo. This was an ideal location, providing food, water, and shelter from the wind. Just two days from the Canadian border and freedom, their long journey was about t come to a tragic end.
Early on the morning of September 30, Colonel Miles' scouts discovered the camp, As Nez Perce warriors rushed to the defense, 400 soldiers and scouts attacked. The 7th Cavalry charged the village, while the 2nd Cavalry captured the Nez Perce horses. The 5th Infantry was held in reserve. The Nez Perce repelled the attack.
Another attempt to overrun the camp was made in the early afternoon, The battle became a siege. During the six-day siege about 200 Nez Perce, which included Chief White Bird, managed to reach Canada where they joined Sitting Bull's Lakota near Fort Walsh. On the afternoon of October 5, Chief Joseph
Outside the camp I had seen men killed. Soldiers ten, Indians ten. That was not so bad. But now, when I saw our remaining warriors gone, my heart grew choked and heavy... Children crying with cold, no fire. There could be no light. Everywhere the crying, the death wail. -- Yellow Wolf. Nez Perce
I remained to help care for the wounded and bury the dead. There were fourteen men killed and thirty wounded besides a great many horses were shot and crippled...One cannot realize the feeling engendered by taking part in such a carnage as a battle produces until they have had the actual experience in warfare. It was a horrible and gruesome site. -- Alexander Cruikshank, Army Scout
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Native Americans • Wars, US Indian. In addition, it is included in the The Nez Perce Trail series list. A significant historical date for this entry is September 29, 1877.
Location. 48° 22.676′ N, 109° 12.724′ W. Marker is near Chinook, Montana, in Blaine County. Marker is on Cleveland Road (County Road 240) near S-B Road, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Chinook MT 59523, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within Nez Perce National Historical Park (here, next to this marker); ćáynim?a•lika?spe (here, next to this marker); Last Battle (here, next to this marker); Bear's Paw Battleground (here, next to this marker); Surrender of Chief Joseph (a few steps from this marker); Nez Perce Encampment (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Chief Joseph’s Surrender (about 700 feet away); Soldier Burials (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Chinook.
More about this marker. This markers is located near the Bear Paw Battlefield parking lot.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 21, 2019. It was originally submitted on November 21, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 246 times since then and 30 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on November 21, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.