An English Westerners' Society Publication

"A Stinging Blow"

The Battle of the Big Hole: 9 August 1877


Francis B. Taunton



The Battle of the Big Hole took place on the 9th August, 1877 when a force led by Colonel John Gibbon attacked a Nez Perce village.  This was one of a number of engagements in a war that had started when approximately 800 Nez Perce men, women and children fled Northern Idaho in June 1877. Gibbon who had just under 200 soldiers and civilians had planned to launch his assault at about 4 A.M., when he had hoped to achieve surprise. Unfortunately the movements of his command were discovered and the attack commenced early. Despite having artillery support in the form of a mountain howitzer, Gibbon lost the advantage as the Nez Perce fought back and even captured the gun. This short paper reviews the engagement and provides a critical perspective on the problems confronting the U.S. Army in its campaigns during the latter quarter of the 19th Century.

English Westerners' Society Brand Book Volume 38 No. 3

Price 4.00 ($8.00) to Subscribing Members of EWS includes postage and packaging.

Price 4.00 ($8.00) to Non Subscribing Members through EWS excludes postage and packaging.

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