Tohotonimmi LbNA # 16710
|Owner||colls & DB|
|Placed Date||Jul 19 2005|
|Last Update||May 22 2012|
On May 6, 1858, Lt. Col. Edward J. Steptoe and 158 men set out from Fort Walla Walla to investigate the killing of 2 miners near Fort Colville. The troops were poorly armed and poorly trained. When the detachment reached this location, they were met by between 600 and 1600 angry Native American warriors from the Spokan, Yakima, Palouse, Cayuse, and Coeur d'Alene tribes. Even though Steptoe was in clear violation of a recently signed treaty, he demanded passage through this territory en route to Colville.
The chiefs were not convinced that Steptoe's passage would be peaceful. By the next morning, Col. Steptoe's officers convinced him continuing the journey would be folly and he agreed to return to Walla Walla. But, it was too late. The warriors attacked at 8:00 AM.
Accounts differ as to how the soldiers were able to escape. Some say an Indian guided the soldiers to safety. Another story says a Jesuit priest interceeded on the soldiers' behalf. A third account suggests the Indians let the soldiers leave. Regardless, Steptoe not only lost the battle, he also lost his army career. Years later, offical reports and US Army training manuals would refer to the battle as "The Steptoe Disaster." While less than 10 soldiers were killed, the engagement would have a far reaching effect. In October of that year, Col. George Wright would seek and obtain harsh retribution.
To the Letterbox:
Rosalia is about 30 miles south of Spokane on US 195. In Rosalia, follow signs to the Steptoe Battlefield. It is just above the Neal Wyer Memorial Field, the modern battlefield and home of the Rosalia HS Spartans.
From the southeast corner of the iron fence, take 20 paces due east. In the distance you can see a 20th century structure that looks out of place. Your compass should read 140 degrees. As you approach this structure,pause to consider what the soldiers must have felt as hundreds of angry warriors lined the crest of the surrounding hills. From the lock, pace north till you come to the lone pine. Further NNE, and uphill, you'll see a another structure similar to the first two waypoints in this clue. It is from the 19th century and mostly fallen on hard times.
Tohotonimmi sits at the feet of the upright member of the community, about 30 yards from the tree.
While you're here, check out the nearby "Steptoe Butte" LB. Also in Whitman County you can find the Washington Mystery Box, "HangGlider's Home Away from Home", another great box.