Tour Locations | The Modoc War: A Homeland Lost
LOCATION 77 | The Modoc War: A Homeland Lost
Now On CR113
You should now be on CR 113.
Leading up to January 17th, the Army was almost giddy with overconfidence. Two days before the attack Colonel Wheaton wrote:
[WHEATON:] We leave for Captain Jack's Gibraltar...a more enthusiastic set of regulars and volunteers I never had the pleasure to command."
[CHEEWA:] But as with many of the best-laid plans of men, a strange incident occurred the day before the attack on the eastern front, signaling a bad start for the US Army. The incident not only tipped off the Modocs but also resulted in three US soldiers being wounded before the battle even started.
Captain Bernard was the one in charge of the east flank. And on January 16th, he decided to reposition his troops closer to the Stronghold. Except, a fog rolled in. And if you've ever seen Tule Fog - named for the kind of grasslands it blankets like the ones that surround Tule Lake - it's an especially dense, low-laying fog with sometimes zero visibility. Bernard's men were forced to advance slowly in 25-yard intervals. As it got later, the fog lifted - just enough for the soldiers to realize they'd inched almost into the Stronghold. Bernard didn't want to enter the Stronghold unsupported, so he ordered a retreat.
But the Modocs weren't about to let Bernard scoot quietly. They opened fire. Soldiers were shot, and the troops immediately fell back. They spent the rest of the night huddled between rocks, cold and attending to their wounded at a position soon to be known as Hospital Rock, instead of preparing for the next day's battle.