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Bear Paw Battlefield, Chinook

#34 of 50 in Historic Sites in Montana
Must see · Battlefield · Tourist Spot
The Battle of Bear Paw was the final engagement of the Nez Perce War. Some of the Nez Perce were able to escape to Canada, but Chief Joseph was forced to surrender the majority of his followers to General Oliver O. Howard and Colonel Nelson A. Miles. The battlefield today is part of the Nez Perce National Historical Park and the Nez Perce National Historic Trail.
In June 1877, several bands of the Nez Perce, resisting relocation from their traditional lands to a reservation in west-central Idaho, attempted to escape to the east through Idaho, Montana and Wyoming over the Rocky Mountains onto the Great Plains. The Nez Perce began their journey with the mistaken notion that after crossing the next mountain range or defeating the latest army sent to oppose them they would find a peaceful new home. They came to realize, however, that the only sanctuary available to them was in Saskatchewan Canada with the Lakota led by Sitting Bull. After passing through Yellowstone National Park they headed north through Montana toward Canada.
By late September, the Nez Perce, numbering less than 800, including 200 warriors, had travelled more than one thousand miles and fought several battles in which they defeated or held off the U.S. army forces pursuing them. In the most recent of those battles, on September 13, the Nez Perce eluded the attempt of Colonel Samuel D. Sturgis to capture them at the Battle of Canyon Creek near present-day Billings, Montana. However, the Crow and Bannock scouts of Sturgis captured about 400 of the Nez Perce horses which slowed them in their race to the Canada–US border.
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Bear Paw Battlefield reviews

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  • This was a sad day. Early in the morning of September 30, Colonel Miles. They the truce. Chief Joseph surrendered his rifle. Later alargerforce of the U.S. They had a6 days siege with snipers...  more »
  • I read the book, "Thunder In The Mountains", by Daniel J. Sharfstein, a couple of years ago about the four-month Nez Perce War of 1877. It was a great read. While traveling to southern Alberta...  more »

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