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2007 Catalog > 70. Fletcher, Map of the Nez Perce Indian Campaign.


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70. Robert H. Fletcher. “Department of Columbia Map of the Nez Perce Indian Campaign” (Washington, D.C.: War Department, 1877). Uncolored lithograph. 21 1/4 x 45 1/4" at neat line. Sheet size: 24 x 47". Seven vignettes of battle sites along the bottom, plus an inset map showing: “Scene of the Outbreak.” Two repaired splits to vertical folds; minor darkening along old folds; very faint damp stains along four outer folds. Overall excellent.

Price: SOLD.

This detailed map of the West from Omaha to Fort Townsend, Washington, chronicles the historic, skillful, and ultimately tragic fighting retreat of the Nez Percé Indians from the U.S. Army in the winter of 1877. In the face of the relentless pursuit of troops first under General O. O. Howard and then under Colonel Nelson Miles, Chiefs Joseph and White Bird and their small band of about 800 people (including women and children) fought one of the most amazing battles of the Indian Wars.

The conflict began when President Ulysses S. Grant opened the Nez Percé homeland in eastern Oregon to white settlement. General Howard delivered an ultimatum requiring the Nez Percé to leave the region, including a threat to comply. Young warriors responded with a series of murderous raids on white settlers. Chief Joseph realized retribution was inevitable and he fled the onset of Howard’s army. Waging a series of battles against the pursuing Howard, Chief Joseph and other chiefs led the tribe on a remarkable escape attempt through Montana, then back north across present-day Yellowstone Park. The Indians traveled more than 1,700 miles while outmaneuvering ten units of pursuing U.S. soldiers. The map, with notes and vignettes, records their retreat through the Bitter Root Mountains, twice across the Rockies, across the Missouri River, and to the Bear Paw Mountains. They surrendered on Eagle Creek, within 30 miles of their destination across the Canadian border. An extraordinary map, it documents the final Indian war in the region that encompasses Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Dakota.

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