Our Name and the Battle of Battle Ground

The "Battle" of Battle Ground

Battle Ground owes its name to an 1855 encounter between a company of Washington Volunteers from Fort Vancouver led by Captain William Strong and members of the Klickitat tribe that fled an internment near Fort Vancouver. 

At the time, there was a much distrust and fear between settlers and Native Americans of the area.  Captain Strong and his company followed the Klickitat tribe members to a location northeast of Fort Vancouver in current central Clark County.  The encounter, that many expected would turn violent and become a battle, never did.  Captain Strong made an agreement with Klickitat leader Chief Umtuch that tribe members would return to the fort the next day.  But, in a mysterious turn of events, still unsolved today, Chief Umtuch was killed.   

Captain Strong made the decision to withdraw his troops, allow the tribe members the time they needed to honor their fallen Chief, and trusted their word that they would return to the fort.  

While peace prevailed and the tribe members honored their word by returning to the fort, Captain Strong was criticized and mocked by many for his actions.  The area where he had met up with the tribe became referred to as “Strong’s Battle Ground”.  Soon after, the area began to  appear on maps as Battle Ground.  

Local historians recount history and the Battle of Battle Ground

Many thanks to the Friends of the Battle Ground Community Library who shared the story of the Battle of Battle Ground with a beautiful and comprehensive exhibit in 2016. 

Accompanying the exhibit was a brochure that provides an historical account of the "Battle" of Battle Ground, Territory Washington, 1855. It provides a well-researched account of the time period and the actions of Captain William Strong and Chief Umtuch that lead to peace in an area now named Battle Ground.

Battle of Battle Ground Brochure