few if any traces of Indians being found, and thenceforward the command proceeded by daily marches. In Fort Noeuff Valley we came across two lodges of Indians, (Shoshones,) who came unhesitatingly into camp with their squaws, satisfactorily answered all questions propounded, and gave evidence of friendly disposition toward the whites. Giving them to understand the determination of the Government to punish summarily all bad Indians, and receiving assurances of future good conduct on their part, I passed on without molesting these Indians. At Snake River ferry were several large trains of emigrants bound north to the mines, and here recruiting their animals. Here also was an encampment of several lodges of Shoshones (or Snake) Indians, numbering in all, including those who came in the next day, two hundred and fifty or three hundred. They were well mounted, and had grazing in the vicinity a considerable quantity of stock. These Indians were reliably represented to me as friendly and peaceable, and have been living at the ferry during the past winter. Being accompanied by Judge Doty, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Utah, a conference was held with the Indians on the night of our arrival, attended by the chiefs, old and young men, and squaws. Through an interpreter many questions were asked as to the locality of hostile chiefs and their bands, and the power of Government duly impressed upon them. They were informed that the troops had been sent to this region to protect good Indians and whites, and equally to punish bad Indians and bad white men. That it was my determination to visit the most summary punishment, even to extermination, on Indians who committed depredations upon the lives and property of emigrants or settlers. They were also assured that if bad whites trespassed upon their rights, the report of the facts to me or my officers would be followed by punishment on the malefactors, and a prompt remedy of all grievances to the extent of my power. After the customary smoking with the chiefs, and a grand dance by men and squaws, I ordered the distribution among them of a small quantity of bacon, flour, and sugar. The conference was satisfactory, and the exhibition of the force at my command in that far-off region, as well as our safe march through a country rarely travelled by whites, had a good effect. I learned from them that Pocotello, the great chief of the hostile Shoshones, had gone a large distance off on the Lower Snake, probably in the vicinity of the Humboldt, and that Sagnitch, one of the leaders, who escaped wounded from the battle of Bear River, was somewhere in the south, near the Mormon settlements of Cache Valley, and San Pitch was still further east. The region immediately about the Snake River, at this ferry (which is about ten miles east of old Fort Hall) is a dry, barren, sand plain, the road to the ferry being exceedingly heavy and difficult to travel. Grass, of tolerable quality and quantity, is to be found several miles to the eastward, on the Blackfoot Creek, which here empties into the Snake, after running, perhaps, thirty miles parallel with and not far from the river. The Snake here is a rapid stream, two hundred and fifty yards in width, and at this season is twenty feet in depth, and is seldom or never fordable at this point. Beyond and to the northward the plain of sage and greasewood extends some fifty miles to a high range of mountains, three high buttes in the midst of the plain, forming a prominent landmark. The distance from Soda Springs to this ferry via Fort Bridger and Fort Hall emigrant road, is upward of seventy miles, pursuing a north-westerly course. Emigrants from the East via this road for the new mines, leaving the ferry, travel up the Snake River in nearly an easterly direction about seventy miles to a point nearly due north of Soda Springs along two sides of a triangle, either of which is seventy miles along, and a distance of one hundred and forty miles. The infantry, with the settlers, not having yet arrived, detachments under Lieutenants Bradley and Ustick were despatched north and south to explore the country, and find a route for a direct and practicable wagon-road to the settlement in Cache Valley, and to report on the character of the country explored. On the twentieth, company H, Third infantry, arrived, after a long and tedious trip, accompanied by their charge, the settlers for the new town. A suitable spot was selected on the north bank of the Bear River, near the Great Bend, and four miles east of where the Soda Springs Valley opens into old Crater Valley, and striking Snake River seventy miles above and east of the present ferry. At this point a ferry has been established, and in a short time a good boat will be in running order. With the main body of the cavalry, train, etc., I left the Blackfoot about fifteen miles east of the ferry, and pursuing a south-easterly course across the divide, on a good natural road, arrived at Soda Springs on the seventeenth of May, passing through large and fertile valleys, lying along Ross's fork of Snake River and the North branch of the Fort Noeuff. With the design of finding a practicable route for a wagon-road through some pass in the mountains, whereby a more direct course could be made, I sent Lieutenant Clark with a detachment of twenty-five men, with five days rations, and orders to cross the Blackfoot near its source at the base of the Foot Hills, and proceeding up the Snake River for sixty or seventy-five miles, turn to the south, seek out such pass, and join the command at Soda Springs. His expedition was eminently successful, finding a good pass for a road along the base of the triangle before mentioned ; the latter is some fifty miles in length and twenty in breadth, The site was surveyed immediately east of the Springs, as was, also, one square mile for a military reservation, adjoining on the east the town site, in latitude about forty-two and a half degrees
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.