To the Assistant Adjutant-General,
Department of the Columbia, Vancouver Barracks, Wash.


[Oregonian, March 22, 1889.]

Authentic information desired in regard to the organization and services of
"Captain Lawrence Hall's company of Oregon volunteers."

Under recent date Capt. William E. Birkhimer writes the following note, which is self-explanatory:

Vancouver Barracks, Wash.,
March 16, 1889.

Having been designated to investigate the matter of the service of certain volunteers, pursuant to the following resolution:


"Resolved, That the Secretary of War be, and is hereby, directed to cause an investigation to be made into the organization and service of what has been commonly known in Oregon as "Capt. Lawence [sic] Hall's company of Oregon volunteers," which, it is alleged, was organized in the early part of the year 1848 for service and which served in the Indian war in Oregon, known as the "Cayuse war," and to report to the Senate, at his earliest convenience, all the facts relating to such alleged organization, whether of record or otherwise, together with the names of the officers and privates constituting such company.

"Anson G. McCook, Secretary."

I will thank any one having knowledge of the organization and services of the company mentioned to communicate it. The information which it is conceived will meet the purposes of the Senate resolution and best serve those interested should cover these points, viz:

First. Anything authentic regarding the organization of the company.

Second. The character of the services - where and when - that it rendered. This should likewise be confined to facts, as nothing else will serve any useful purpose.

Third. The names and residences of the members of the company, with the rank of each, and the names and post-office addresses of surviving members.

It is suggested to those who may be interested in this matter that they can perhaps best serve themselves as well as more satifactorily develop the facts by calling upon me and making the statement in person.

Wm. E. Birkhimer,
Captain and Acting Judge-Advocate, U.S. Army.

[Oregon and Washington Territory papers please copy.]
A true copy.

Wm. E. Birkhimer,
Captain and Acting Judge-Advocate, U.S. Army.


Dalles, February 15, 1848.

Dear Sir: This is perhaps the last time I shall be able to write during the campaign, for this is the last sheet of paper that I am owner of, and it is impossible to get any more in the army. I have the pleasure to inform you that Perin [meaning P.G. Northrup. - Eds.] and myself are well, and have enjoyed good health, with a little exception, since we started. We have had one brush with the De Chute Indians. You will probably have heard all about it before this letter shall come to hand. It took place on the 30th of January last and continued for nearly two hours, and resulted in the total defeat and rout of the Indians. The number of killed and wounded could not be known, but has been variously estimated at twenty. We do not have to lament the loss of any; one man only wounded, and he is fast recovering. The battle took place on the east side of the De Chute River, near 35 miles from this place, near their village, in a large canyon. Their town was burnt, and, together with it, a great deal of property, amounting to $3,000 in value. Two men of our party were killed about the same time, within 3 miles of this place, and also one shot by accident by a sentinel. Perin says he shot two Indians during the fight, one of which was a chief. Those who saw him speak in the highest terms of his bravery and coolness. When the charge was ordered he rushed ahead with some two or three others [John Engart, S.Y. Cook, - Eds.], near 200 yards in advance of the company, and took a position behind a knoll, from which place he had several good shots at the Indians not more than 60 yards off. He says while he was there the balls whistled about some of them, cutting the grass just above his head. The Indians at last, being severely galled by the firing from that place, took advantage of the little party when their guns were all empty and made a charge and run them from their favoite place. In their retreat Perin came very near being cut off. One Indian, mounted on a swift horse, with spear in hand, rushed within 20 feet of him. He was, however, fired on by Capt. Lawrence Hall, and was glad to wheel and make his escape. I have given up the charge of the boats, and Colonel Gilliam has given me the appointment of wagon-master. This leaves me free to act as I please, and releases me from guard duty. The army is just on the eve of marching for the Blue Mountains, and everything is noise and bustle. Perin has requested me when I wrote to you to write also for him. I do not know what to say for him, unless it is to give you his best respects and say that he is well.

Please to accept of my kind wishes for yourself and Mrs. Northrup, and give my love to Mary.

I must conclude by subscribing myself, your most obedient,

I.W. Smith.

Mr. J. L. Northrup.


United States Senate.
Washington, D.C., March 2, 1889.

Sir: Referring to the investigation recently ordered by resolution of the Senate into the organization and service of the company known as "Captain Hall's company" in the Cayusa war, in Oregon, I beg to hand you the inclosed communication from S.A. Halcomb, esq., a member of said company. His communication gives the names and addresses of numerous others, which I beg may be transmitted to the officer making the investigation at Vancouver. I beg to have an acknowledgment of receipt of this.

John H. Mitchell.

Hon. W.C. Endicott,
Secretary of War.


West Union, Oregon,
February 20, 1889.

Sir: Yours of the 11th ultimo is at hand, inclosing bill 3934. That is business; the very thing that we like, and the resolution to investigate also is right. I hope you will not allow it to go to sleep for two years to come, nor one year, if it is possible to secure our rights. It can be done this year as well as next. I have always said that you could do, or cause to be done, all that we asked. I am very thankful for what you have done, and if it is completed you will see several articles in newspapers to the effect that every Senator and Congressman that we have had for thirty years had been asked to do something for us, but failed to try. We old lads are not numerous now, but our boys are numerous. They are thousands - mostly chips of [sic] the blocks. I will give you names of survivors of Captain Hall's company:

Sergt. Peter Enyart, Fossil, Gilliam County, Oregon; Sergt. T.H. Ramsay, St. John's, Multnomah County, Oregon; Sergt. T.R. Cornelius, Cornelius, Washington County, Oregon. Privates: Isaac Butler, Hillsborough, Washington County; Noah Job, Hillsborough, Washington County; J.C. Brown, Forest Grove, Washington County; I.I.Garish, Gaston, Washington County; David Harper, Gail's Creek, Washington County; Albert Stewart, Forest Grove, Washington County; Asa Williams, Greenville, Washinton County; Robert Walker, Greenville, Washington County; P.G. Northrup, Mountaindale, Washington County; S.A. Holcomb, West Union, Washington County, Oregon; Isaac N. Smith, Tillamook, Tillamook County, Oregon. All of our officers are dead except the three sergeants that I have mentioned. This is all of the company that I know to be alive at this time. There may be a few others that are still living, but I do not know where they are. Again I thank you for your noble effort in this long-neglected thing. I bid you God speed.

Truly yours,

S.A. Holcomb.

Hon. John H. Mitchell.


Washington, D. C., March 15, 1889.

SIR: Referring to the resolution recently passed in the Senate directing the Secretary of War to make an investigation as to the organization and service of Captain Hall's company in the Cayuse war, I beg to hand you the inclosed communication from Hon. R. A. Irvine, with the request that it may be forwarded to the officer at Vancouver, making the investigation, for his information. I will also be glad to be advised what officer at Vancouver is intrusted with this investigation.

I am, very respectfully,


Secretary of War.


Albany, Oregon,, March 5, 1889.

DEAR SIR: I understand there is no record of the Cayuse war at Washington City of 1848. I Understand there is a statute at Salem of 1848 that has a record of the war. General Gillan had charge of the volunteers. They was mustered into service at Portland on the 9th day of January, 1848. I know of about twenty men that was in the war, and if you need any information let me know. Captain Hall was in the same regiment. Mr. Jason Wheeler was in the war and is furnishing me this information, and he says there was a man by the name of Captain Maxwell, also Captain Inglish, also Capt. John Ross, Captain McKoy.

R. A. Irvine.

Hon. J.H. Micheal.


Washington, D. C., March 19, 1889.

SIR: I beg to hand you the inclosed communication from Mrs. L. J. Bennett, Rockford, Wash., who is the daughter of the late Capt. Lawrence Hall.

By a recent resolution of the Senate the Secretary of War was directed to make an investigation in reference to the organization and service of Captain Hall's company in the Cayuse war. I respectfully ask that the inclosed communication may be forwarded to the army officer at Vancouver, Wash., who has been directed to make the investigation.

I would also be glad to be advised as to the name and title of the officer who has been intrusted with this duty.

Very respectlhlly,


Hon. REDFIELD PROCTOR, Secretary of War.

Please Click Here To Continue Reading