Battle Ground, Washington

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Battle Ground is a city in Clark County, Washington, United States. The population was 16,812 on July 1, 2008. According to the Washington State Office of Financial Management [1], Battle Ground ranked 4th of 279 eligible incorporated communities in population growth between 2000 and 2005.


Origin of the name "Battle Ground"

The city is ironically named for the absence of a battle. In 1855 many of the soldiers at nearby Fort Vancouver were away fighting an uprising by the Yakima Indian tribe. Nervous settlers organized a company of volunteers to guard the undermanned fort. Fearing that the friendly Klickitat Tribe on the Lewis River would join the uprising, the volunteers ordered them into the Vancouver Barracks near the fort.

When some of the Klickitats escaped, Captain William Strong, the post commander, led a detachment of volunteers to bring them back. They overtook the Klickitats near the current location of the city, but rather than engaging them in battle, Captain Strong talked them into agreeing to return to the fort peacefully. Somehow during this episode the Klickitat leader, Chief Umtuch, was slain in battle. The circumstances of his death are unclear: some said he was killed by a soldier, others by an accidental gunshot from his own men. In any event, the Klickitats promised to return to the fort after burying their chief, a ceremony that would take several days, so Strong returned without them.

The settlers had been expecting a battle, and when Strong returned empty-handed, they accused him of cowardice. The Klickitats did return as promised, but criticism of Strong continued. The women of the fort awarded him a petticoat of many colors in mock celebration of his courage. And the area where the Klickitats were encountered became known as "Strong's Battle Ground," and later simply "Battle Ground."


Battle Ground was officially incorporated on June 18, 1951.


Battle Ground is located at 45°46′50″N 122°32′22″W / 45.78056°N 122.53944°W / 45.78056; -122.53944 (45.780595, -122.539408).[3]

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