Rather, the Union argues, Washington was ill-informed in its preparations for the campaign. Furthermore, the paper condemns Washington for seeking to force the removal of the Modocs from their native country in which they co-exist successfully with the whites.
Another example of the paper being protective of the military occurs on January 10, 1873, when the army was having little success flushing the Indians out of 'Lava Bed.' The Army cavalry was made to retreat after an attempted advance. The Union described this failed mission in a five sentence article. The last sentence of the article noted that the Army was expecting the arrival of Howitzer guns the following week. The title of the article, did not reference the failed offensive, but instead read was "The Modoc War- The Howitzers Coming."
Most of the articles give daily updates as to the war. If there was any combat the previous day, the articles attempt to describe the action with great detail. The explosion of shells, the wails of hurt Indians and the sequence of advances, retreats and counter-advances are routinely spelled out so as to recreate the day for the reader. Like today's newspaper accounts of wars, these articles stress the casualty count, including them in headlines.
The stories are typically written with a lead and not as inverted pyramids.
The murders of General Canby and Reverend Thomas were probably the most sensational story of the war and the one most heavily written about by the Union. When the Modocs shot and killed two peace negotiators on April 11, 1873, (including the very popular General Canby), the Union ran multiple stories each day for the next three or four days concerning the 'treachery' and 'diabolical slaughter.'
On April 15, 1873, the Union in this instance even printed a resolution passed by the city of Portland condemning the murders.
The Union also ran multiple stories on General Canby's funeral. The taking of the Lava Bed stronghold the following week also dominated the Union, which regularly reported on dispatches regarding the shelling of the stronghold and the Modocs subsequent abandonment.
For the next several weeks, the paper gave nearly updates as to the Army's attempts to find and arrest or kill the Modocs.
After fleeing the Lava Bed, the Modocs eluded and frustrated the Army's efforts to corral them. On May 12, 1873, the Union ran a long editorial entitled "The Modocs: A Blundering War"
which read as another scathing indictment on Washington's policy throughout the campaign, but especially in response to the murders of April 11, 1873. Also, conspicuous in this article is the labeling of Captain Jack as "bold, brave and able." While not defending the murders, the article definitely identifies the motives of the Modocs in terms of warfare desperation and not inherent savagery.
The Union also paid very close attention to the disposition of the Modocs after the war ended. The Union gave accurate accounts of the number of Modocs taken into custody and those massacred as they were being transported into federal custody.
The Union ran many editorials advocating against the extermination of the tribe in the face of growing, if not majority, support for it.
Although war activities concluded in June of 1873, the trial of the Modocs implicated in the April 11 murders, the execution of Captain Jack and his co-murderers, and the removal of the Modocs to Wyoming continued to receive regular coverage daily through the last week of July (and about 3-5 articles a week after that) for the remainder of 1873.
Beck, Warren, and Ynez Hasse. "California and The Indian Wars: The Modoc War 1872-1873." The California State Military Museum. California State Military Department, 04-12 1998. Web. .
Sacramento Daily Union, February 21, 1873
"Whose Blunder Was It?" Sacramento Daily Union, January 1, 1873
"The Modoc War- The Howitzers Coming," Sacramento Daily Union, February 21, 1873
"The Modoc War- The Fight Still Progressing…," Sacramento Daily Union, April 18, 1873
"The Modoc War," Sacramento Daily Union, April 18, 1873
"Mass Meeting at Portland- Resolutions On The Modoc Massacre," Sacramento Daily Union, April 15, 1873