[Washington, D.C. April 14, 1873]. 2pp. on a single sheet, 7 3/4 x 5 1/4 inches. Text bordered in black. Dbd. Minor wear along one edge. Very good. Item #WRCAM55697
A black-bordered announcement of the murder of General Edward R.S. Canby (1817-73), Mexican-American War and Civil War hero, at the hands of Kintpuash (Captain Jack), leader of the Modocs in northern California. The order was issued just seventy-two hours after Canby's murder, as the manhunt was one for Captain Jack. Canby was the only general killed during the Indian Wars, and Captain Jack became the only Native American chief ever convicted of war crimes. After evading the American army throughout the rest of April and all of May, Captain Jack surrendered on June 1. He was tried in a military court, found guilty of Canby's murder, and hanged on October 3, 1873. The last of the Indian Wars to occur in California and Oregon, the Modoc War, which took place from 1872 to 1873, resulted in the removal of the Modoc people to Indian Territory, where they remained prisoners until 1909; some Modocs subsequently returned to the Klamath Reservation in Oregon upon release. Most importantly, the brief war undermined confidence in General Grant's peace policy and renewed public support for reliance on force in the future. Canby was shot and killed along with two other peace commissioners while meeting with the Modocs, supposedly in friendly council, to negotiate their removal. Allegedly, Captain Jack was shamed by his fellow tribesmen into killing Canby after the negotiations stalled. At the same meeting, a Modoc warrior named Boston Charley murdered a California minister named Eleazar Thomas. Written by William Whipple, and issued at the command of General Sherman three days after Canby's murder, the obituary recounts Canby's illustrious military career and lauds his sacrifice: "Thus perished one of the kindest and best gentlemen of this or any country, whose social equaled his military virtues." The Modoc people would likely have disagreed with Whipple's assessment of Canby, and resisted the government's insistence that they leave "their present rocky fastness on the northern border of California to a reservation where the tribe could be maintained and protected by the proper civil agents of the Government." OCLC records just one separately-catalogued copy of this general order, at Yale, though there are surely others in serial collections of general orders. OCLC 28290652.