Sunday, July 21, 2019

Invading Idaho

Commander K. at the Idaho Military Museum
Boise Idaho

A visitor to Idaho is immediately struck by the state's deep pride in its military history.  Major highways that criss cross the state honor Medal of Honor winners from the state and Vietnam veterans.  Astonishingly nearly 300,000 US Naval personnel trained at Farragut Naval Training Station in Northern Idaho on beautiful Lake Pend Oreille during World War II.  Even President Roosevelt himself visited the state during the war.  The state has fine military attractions such as the Idaho Military Museum in Boise ( and the Warhawk Air Museum in Nampa (

Farragut Naval Training Stati
In our book America Invaded  ( we had this to say about fighting that has taken place in the state of Idaho...

"Idaho is more famous for her potatoes than for invasions, but fighting has taken place within her borders . Humans have inhabited the area we know today as Idaho for thousands and thousands of years. The Nez Perce and Coeur d’Alene tribes were established in the region long before the arrival of Europeans. Idaho’s rugged mountain terrain and lack of a coastline delayed the arrival of Europeans until the nineteenth century.

In 1803, David Thompson, a British fur trader with the Hudson’s Bay Company, arrived in what is now Idaho. Fort Boise was established in 1834 on the Snake River by the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Not long after Thompson, Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery made its way through Idaho. In August 1805, Lewis described what he saw along what is today the Idaho-Montana border: “We proceeded on to the top of the dividing ridge from which I discovered immense ranges of high mountains still to the West of us with their tops partially covered with snow.” Later, Lewis and Clark camped near the present site of Lewiston. Lewis and Clark State College can be found in Lewiston today.

Fur Trader Statue
Idaho Falls, ID

Andrew Henry, an American fur trader, explored Idaho and founded Fort Henry around 1810. is was the rst fur-trading post west of the Mississippi River.

A man who would feature large in the early history of Idaho, and who would exemplify the competition for power in the region, was Donald Mackenzie. He was born in Scotland and was working for the Canadian North West Company when he arrived in the area. He eventually signed up with the American Paci c Fur Company. However, during the War of 1812, American fur-trading operations in the area were curtailed due to fear of British actions. Mackenzie rejoined the North West Company and did more exploring in their service.
And in the period after the war, Britons and Americans continued to compete in the area. In the 1820s, American fur traders and explorers William H. Ashley and Jedediah Smith arrived in Idaho.

The Battle of Pierre’s Hole in 1832 saw a group of American trappers with Native American allies clash with a party of Gros Ventre, another Native American tribe.

French Canadians may have played a role in naming Idaho’s capital city of Boise, exclaiming “Les bois, les bois” on seeing its tree-lined riverbank in the 1820s. French fur traders named the Indians they encountered Nez Perce or “Pierced Nose,” although it remains a matter of dispute whether they did actually pierce their noses. e name of the Coeur d’Alene tribe (and also an Idaho city) is French and means “Heart of an Awl,” and was given by French Canadian fur traders.

Commander K. Idaho Falls

Idaho was part of the Oregon Country that was claimed by both Britain and the United States. The Oregon Treaty of 1846 established the American claim on Idaho.

As settlers increasingly moved into the area, occasional clashes with local Native Americans erupted. For instance, in 1851, the so-called Clark Massacre saw Shoshone attack a wagon train, killing some of its members and seizing horses.

Gold was rst discovered in the Idaho territory in 1860 along Clearwater River. A gold rush was ignited, bringing more American settlers to the territory. is led directly to more encroachment onto lands that belonged to Native Americans.

The largest battle recorded in the state was the Bear River Massacre, which took place during the US Civil War on January 29, 1863, in south- eastern Idaho. Colonel Patrick Connor, a native of Ireland, led US Army forces against the Shoshone tribe in response to attacks on American miners. Twenty-one American soldiers, mostly from California, were killed, along with at least ten times as many Shoshone, including many women and
children. Bear Hunter, the Shoshone chief, was among those killed that day. A second Fort Boise was built in Boise by the Union Army in 1863 to help secure the Oregon Trail. e facility was closed in 1912. Gold from Idaho helped to nance the Union cause during the Civil War. Idaho was part of the Territory of Washington until the Idaho Territory was formed in 1863.

Idaho would see some action during the so-called Snake War of 
1864–1868. As tensions between Native Americans and miners continued, a series of clashes erupted. At first, volunteers and then, increasingly after the end of the Civil War, US troops tried to counter occasional Native American raids.

Lewis and Clark
The Nez Perce tribe had welcomed Lewis and Clark when they passed through Idaho in 1805, providing food and materiel support for their journey. In their journals, Clark described Twisted Hair, a Nez Perce chief, as being “A Chearfull man with apparent Siencerity.” An 1855 treaty between the US government and the Nez Perce tribe seemed to guarantee the preservation of their homelands. Gold fever, however, would alter the arrangement. A revised 1863 treaty reduced the Nez Perce lands by 90 percent. Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce was a voice counseling patience and moderation. Violence, however, flared up on June 14, 1877, when Nez Perce warriors killed four settlers. American soldiers responded quickly.

The Battle of White Bird Canyon, fought on June 17, 1877, during the Nez Perce War, was a rare defeat for American forces during the Indian wars. thirty-four soldiers under Captain David Perry were killed while only three men of the Nez Perce were wounded. US forces would once again su er at the hands of the Nez Perce at the Battle of Camas Creek in southeastern Idaho on August 20, 1877. The Nez Perce were later defeated at the Battle of Big Hole, and many ed into Canada. Chief Joseph was resettled onto a reservation in Colville, Washington.

In 1890, Idaho became the forty-third state to join the Union.

Commander K. at the Warhawk Air Museum
Nampa, Idaho

The USS Idaho was a New Mexico-class battleship that served in both world wars and was nicknamed Big Spud. United States Army Air Force crews began training in Mountain Home in 1943.

A Japanese balloon bomb, or Fu-Go, landed in Boise in February 1945, along with more than half a dozen throughout the state. Little damage was done."

For much more on Fighting in the other 49 states please get your copy of America Invaded ( 

You can find signed copies of our books at 
these web sites...

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