Regulars & Volunteers

An Uncomfortable Alliance

The events here at Fort Fizzle brought citizen volunteers shoulder to shoulder with Army regulars. It was, however, an uncomfortable alliance. The Army regulars viewed volunteers as a disorganized, undependable mob looking for thrills and booty. Benjamin F. Potts portraitThe volunteers thought soldiers were illiterate immigrants, drunks and shiftless Easterners unable to hold a job.

Territorial Governor Benjamin F. Potts visited the breastworks twice.

Upon hearing of the imminent arrival of the Nez Perce, the Governor issued an emergency call for citizen volunteers. Missoula's newspaper ran the plea, " HELP! HELP! COME RUNNING! " Scores responded, coming from nearby communities. Leading the volunteers were their " officers", elected in democratic fashion based on prior military experience and local reputation.

back icon home iconforward icon