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[433] line, and frequently the balls of the enemy would reach to, and even pass over my men, though it was evident that the range of the Indian guns bore no comparison to ours. About this time I twice received the order to cause the firing to cease, which order I found difficult to execute, owing to the wide extent of my line, and the intense eagerness of the men.

I then received orders that, as the train was closed up, I should form my regiment in order of battle, deployed as skirmishers, holding two companies in reserve, and that thus advancing, our order of march would be resumed in the face of the enemy. In a few minutes the dispositions being made, all was ready, and in the order of battle indicated we passed the hill, and found that the enemy had fled. We saw them but once again for a moment on a distant hill in great numbers, when they entirely disappeared. My regiment marched in deployed order of battle in echelon at the head of the column for eighteen miles, expecting and ready at any moment to meet the enemy.

The number of Indians so suddenly charging upon us was estimated at not less than from one thousand five hundred to two thousand. They were well mounted and moved about with the utmost rapidity and with their characteristic hideous yells. The artillery, under Captain Jones and Lieutenant Whipple, did great execution, as I could well observe, and the fire of my men did effective service, and enabled us to hold the enemy at bay till the train was closed up and the regular dispositions for its defence made. At least three of the enemy were seen to fall by the fire from my line, their bodies being thrown on ponies and rapidly carried away. The artillery must have killed and wounded a considerable number. Nothing could exceed the eagerness, firmness, and gallant bearing of all the officers and men of my command during this unexpected, and by far numerically, the greatest effort the Indians had yet made upon the forces of the expedition. In their courage and earnest desire to clear the enemy from the hill by a double-quick charge, my officers and men were a unit. Nothing but the imminent peril of the train could induce them to cease the advance they had so gallantly begun.

On the thirtieth of July, while at Camp Slaughter, on the Missouri, I received an order to send three companies of my regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Jennison, to join an expedition under Colonel Crooks, the object of which was to skirmish through the timber and heavy underbrush to the river, and destroy the property of the Indians known to be upon its banks. This most laborious task was assigned to companies B, F, and K, and a portion of company C. A report of their operations will, of course, be given you by the officer commanding the expedition.

I desire, Captain, to avail myself of this opportunity to express my sincere gratification at the good order, faithful devotion to every duty, most determined perseverance in the long and weary marches, uncomplaining in the severe guard and trenching labors, submitting unmurmuringly to every fatigue which has characterized the officers and men of my regiment during the tedious and arduous march we have made to the distant shores of the Missouri River. It is with justifiable pride that I here note how nobly they have performed all that has been required at their hands.

I have the honor to be, Captain,

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

J. H. Baker, Colonel Tenth Regiment Minnesota Infantry. Captain R. C. Olin, A. A. General, Dist. Minnesota.

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