It was April 11, 1873, the middle of the Modoc War. Though greatly outnumbered, Modoc warriors had easily defeated the Army in the first battle for the Stronghold in January, and soldiers had waited through the winter while peach talks dragged on. At last, the restless troops were moved to Hospital Rock and Gillems Camp, much closer to the Modoc.
At midday, soldiers spotted three Modoc crossing the lave beds in front of you waving a white flag. When two officers approached them, they opened fire. Moving the camps had driven the Modoc to act; this offensive would spark the second battle for the Stronghold.
At the time of the attack, the Modoc has been living for months in the Stronghold caves instead of their usual warm winter dwellings. In spring when they saw the Army camps moving closer, some became concerned. They called for an end to negotiations. It seemed apparent that the whites would never grant their wish to be left alone in their homeland.
Lieutenant William Sherwood (picture at bottom center) was mortally wounded, and died several days later at the crude field hospital that gave Hospital Rock its name. An urgent message warning of treachery was sent to the peace commissioners meeting nearby, Unfortunately, it arrived too late - they too had been attacked.