Ambush at Midday - The Thomas-Wright Battle of April 26, 1873

Ambush at Midday - The Thomas-Wright Battle of April 26, 1873 (HM1NE5)

Location: , CA Siskiyou County
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Country: United States of America
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N 41° 46.154', W 121° 32.368'

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Last Victor for the Modocs

Forced to flee the stronghold, the Modoc took cover amid the craggy lava features in this area. A group under Scarface Charley watched from the Schonchin Flow as Army troops marched from Gillems Camp toward their concealed position.

Officers Thomas and Wright were leading an artillery reconnaissance patrol to Hardin Butte. The soldiers were unenthusiastic and ill-prepared for an encounter. When the patrol stopped for lunch in the depression before you, a few scouts were sent out, but most soldiers rested. Fearing discovery by this group double their size, the Modoc opened fire from high, protected places such as this outcropping. About two-thirds of the patrol was killed or wounded in the battle, the Modoc suffered no casualties.
A soldier not involved in the battle described the outcome: "At the first fire, the troops were so demoralized that the offices could do nothing with them. Wright was severely wounded ... and his company, with one or two exceptions deserted him and fled like a pack of sheep; then the slaughter began."
Scarface Charley halted the battle, showing mercy for the few surviving soldiers: "All you fellows that ain't dead had better go home. We don't want to kill you all in one day."

Last Victor for the Modoc

The Modoc way of life was inseparable from this land. When settlers moved into the area, the Modoc adopted elements of white culture and sometimes got along with those settlers who acknowledged the Modoc right to stay on their homeland. Disputes between the groups often escalated, however, leading to serious conflict and eventually war.
At the Thomas-Wright Battle, Scarface Charley's show of mercy reflected one aspect of Modoc views on the war. Many Modoc were not were not interested in indiscriminate killing, but were determined to defend their land and culture. After this battle, they were never again successful in doing so.
HM NumberHM1NE5
Placed ByNational Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, August 30th, 2015 at 1:01pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)10T E 621395 N 4625185
Decimal Degrees41.76923333, -121.53946667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 41° 46.154', W 121° 32.368'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds41° 46' 9.24" N, 121° 32' 22.08" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near Unnamed Road, CA , US
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