Captain Jack's Stronghold

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Captain Jack's Stronghold
Captain Jack's Stronghold
Captain Jack's Stronghold is located in California
Captain Jack's Stronghold
Nearest city Tulelake, California
Coordinates 41°49′18″N 121°30′18″W / 41.82167°N 121.50500°W / 41.82167; -121.50500Coordinates: 41°49′18″N 121°30′18″W / 41.82167°N 121.50500°W / 41.82167; -121.50500
Area 460 acres (190 ha)
Built 1873
Governing body National Park Service
NRHP Reference # 73000259[1]
CHISL # 9[2]
Added to NRHP September 20, 1973

Captain Jack's Stronghold, named for Modoc chief Captain Jack (Kintpuash in Modoc), is a part of Lava Beds National Monument. The stronghold can be accessed from the Perez turnoff, off Highway 139 between Tulelake and Canby, California. The Modoc people had long used this area for hunting and gathering as it was part of their traditional territory.

During the Modoc War, Captain Jack's band settled here following the Battle of Lost River. With only 53 warriors, and numerous women and children in their band of 160, they held off for several months a United States Army force outnumbering them by as much as 10 to 1. The Modoc used the lava beds as defensive stronghold because of the rough terrain, rocks that could be used in fortification, and irregular pathways to evade pursuers.

In the First Battle of the Stronghold, January 17, 1873, 51 Modoc warriors defeated an Army force of 225 soldiers supported by 104 Oregon and California volunteers,[3] killing 35 and wounding several others, while suffering no casualties or serious woundings.

During the Second Battle of the Stronghold, April 15 - 17, the reinforced Army of over six hundred men captured the Modoc spring and cut off their route to Tule Lake, forcing the Modoc to disperse when their water supplies ran out. After fleeing the Stronghold, the band of Modoc splintered, and the last group, made up of Captain Jack, John Schonchin, Black Jim, and Boston Charley, were captured on June 1, 1873. All four were hanged on October 3, 1873, at Fort Klamath, convicted of war crimes in the murders in April 1873 of General Edward Canby and Reverend Eleazer Thomas at a peace commission meeting. Canby was the only general to be killed in the Indian Wars.



  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  2. ^ "Captain Jack's Stronghold". Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  3. ^ Brown, D: Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, page 219. Holt, Rinehart & Winston Inc, 1970.