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A cross marks the area where US Army General Canby was killed. He was treacherously shot during a peace negotiation.
Photo Credit: guyonthego

Lava Beds National Monument (Battlefield)

Hill Road enters the park either from the north or south
Park is open in summer 8-6 and other times from 8:30-5:00.
530-667-8113 3 hours
November 2012 Summer, Fall, Spring
$10-29 Tulelake California
Website Historical Battlefields
First review
 
In addition to volcanic landscape formations, Lava Beds National Monument includes several historical sites associated with an interesting but obscure 1872-1873 US/Modoc Indian War. The primary historical sites associated with these events include two battlefield areas and remnants of a US Army camp.

The Modoc Indians lived in the monument area for thousands of years. By the 1860s, Americans began forcing the Modoc from their lands. The war resulted when some Modoc resisted reservation life. The resisting Modoc Indians were led by Kientpoos, called Captain Jack by settlers. After fighting commenced, Kientpoos and about 50-60 of his followers held out at a natural fortress called Captain Jack’s stronghold for several months against much larger forces. When their water source was cut off, the Modoc Indians retreated south and ambushed a US Army patrol sent after them. Due to scarcity of resources and infighting among tribe members, the Modoc soon surrendered and the war ended. Kientpoos and several others were executed for killing a US general during prior peace negotiations.

Captain Jack’s Stronghold was an impressive site to visit. The lava formations were perfectly suited for defense, enabling the small Indian band to hold off a US Army force ten times their number. The historical experience is significantly enhanced with an in-depth park trail guide. Note that walking in this area can be difficult as the trail can get narrow and rocky. The Thomas-Wright Battlefield was an enjoyable walk but a less interesting historical site because there was less to see. The trail leads to a vantage point where one can appreciate the relative positions, but the engagement was one-sided and over quickly. While the Gillems US Army Camp site had little to see and scant information, the Camby Cross located where the US General was killed is worth a brief stop. Overall, if you enjoy military history and don’t mind a more challenging walk, a visit here is time well spent.
Author:
guyonthego
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Lava Beds National Monument

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