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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/304

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296 CHARLES WILKES I have stated these views in order to show the necessity of prompt action on the part of the Government in taking posses- sion of the country in order to obviate difficulties that a longer delay will bring about and prevent many persons from settling advantageously. For the military occupation of the country I conceive that it would be necessary to establish a post at some central point, viz, Walla Walla, and I herewith inclose you a topographical sketch of the surrounding country within 30 miles. As respects its position with reference to the country, you will be well informed by the map. It appears to me to be peculiarly adapted to the general de- fense of the territory in order to preserve peace and quietness among the Indian tribes. The Nez Perces, Snakes, and Blackfeet are those generally engaged in committing depredations on each other and requir- ing more looking after than those of the other tribes. They are in and around this section of country. The facilities for maintaining a post and at a moderate ex- pense are great; the river abounds with salmon during a greater part of the year and the herds thrive exceedingly well. Cattle are numerous, particularly horses, which are the best that the country affords. Grains of all kind flourish, and at about 25 miles distant the missionaries have an establishment from which I have but little doubt the troops could be supplied. The climate is remarkably fine and healthy. There is, per- haps, no point from which operations could be carried on with so much facility to all parts of the territory as this, it being situated, as it were, at the forks of the two principal branches of the Columbia. Any number of horses could be kept at little or no expense, and a force could reach almost any part of the lower territory with the least possible delay. The permanent land force I conceive necessary to keep this territory quiet and peaceable would be one company of dra- goon? and one of infantry, say, 200 men. The only Indians of the country south of 49 who are dis- posed to make war upon the whites are the Klamets, residing