Meadows Battle Site
Camas Meadows Battle Sites in southeastern Idaho consist of Gen. Oliver O. Howard's Camp Calloway and about 3 miles away, Capt. Randolph B. Norwood's encounter site. These two skirmish sites, which are associated with the 1877 Nez Perce War, represent yet another unsuccessful attempt by General Howard to capture the fleeing Nez Perce.
At a rest stop on I-15 at Dubois, Idaho, an interpretive sign, "Nez Perce War," briefly summarizes the events of the 1877 war in this area. Access is over 25 miles of seasonal paved and unpaved road east of Interstate Highway 15. Both sites are difficult to find.
A half-mile dirt track through the sagebrush from remote, paved County Road A-2 leads to Captain Norwood's encounter site. There is one large interpretive sign. The concrete monument at the site summarizes the 1877 war and gives a detailed account of the Camas Meadows battle. A small parking area accommodates three to four cars. On the slightly elevated ridges on either side of the parking area are stacked stone barricades a foot or so high. Some of these have obviously been constructed recently, but several seem to be original. There are no modern structures in view, thus giving visitors a sense of what the siege might have been like.
To get to General Howard's camp, visitors must hike across cattle pastures on private property from a privately owned gated ranch road. The campsite is marked by a white gravestone inscribed "Bernard A. Brooks, Michigan, Trumpeter 1 U.S. Cav., August 20, 1877" Stone rifle pits also are found at General Howard's Camp on the elevated ridges. Very little development is visible to interrupt the feeling of the historic scene. Both sites are remote and the horizon lines are far away; visitors can get the feeling of the monumental effort it will took to cross the country on horse back or on foot.
The general area is uncultivated grazing land interspersed with volcanic rock outcroppings and sage. This site is in the traditional area of the Shoshone Bannock Tribes. The Idaho State Lands Department owns Norwood's encounter site. Howard's camp is on private land. There is much local interest in their preservation but concern about whether attention should be attracted to them.
This information was taken from the General Management Plan dated September 1997 for the Nez Perce National Historical Park included in Clark County, as prepared by the U.S. Department of Interior, National Park Service.
© 2005-2013 Michael Shaw
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