times by our troops, and some are of the friendly or farmer Indians
Scouting is no child's play with them, as they are sure of a terrible death if captured by the hostile Sioux
Two of them are men who helped Mr. Riggs
and the families of the mission at Yellow Medicine
to escape from the savages last fall.
Other-day, who was formerly a leading chief of the Sioux
, and who is now a farmer near St. Paul
, was expected to join the force, but failed for some reason.
The scouts camp in low tents just high enough to creep into, and are constantly at work at their dangerous and tedious tasks.
I said that they had wild experiences.
A few days ago, four of them had wandered over on to the Coteau Ridge
, twenty miles from camp, expecting to find Indian lodges there, by reason of a war-club which had been found and interpreted.
After they left camp, another party of twenty left for another locality, intending to be gone through the night.
While the smaller company was wandering through the bushes, they suddenly came upon the remains of a recent fire, and near by were fresh moccasin tracks.
They did not doubt the presence of Indians
, and moved cautiously.
At last, in the distance, they heard the tread of horses' feet, and then the crackling of bushes.
They put spurs to their horses and started for the heights of the Cotteau Ridge
Finally they dismounted in an open space, got their carbines in readiness, and awaited the approach.
But instead of one direction, their pursuers seemed to be coming in from every side, and to be constantly increasing.
Fearing lest they should be overpowered by numbers, four took to flight again, and then there was a long and sharp chase of miles through the darkness.
But the pursuers gained, and the four dismounted again and waited for the worst.
The party soon came up, and fortunately there was a recognition before shots were exchanged.
The men of both companies were scouts, and had thus been manoeuvring for Indian warfare.
Such meetings are not infrequent.
The scouts have found quite a number of bodies of persons who were massacred last fall.
A few days since they found a body with a purse of gold upon it. They have all sorts of experiences, dodging about in Indian style, leaving fictitious and deceitful signs, meeting herds of buffalo and elk, and hunting for forage and water.
They bring in all sorts of trophies.
One night they discovered an old Indian pack ox, that looks some as I imagine the infernal bovines ought to, and yesterday a nest of young eagles, a pemican and wolf were brought in. Their life is a hard one, but they enjoy it. It is a rich treat to hear their stories of experience and adventure while engaged as fur traders and hunters on the prairies.
One of the Indian
by name, has offered to carry the mail to and from the expedition throughout the campaign, whether it be one hundred or three hundred miles, and however dangerous the venture.
He wants the privilege of killing one horse to every trip, and good pay for his labor, which he will be sure to get. He cannot be induced to speak of any danger.
It is to his pluck that I am indebted for this opportunity to send a letter.
He is an old Red River Indian, and came into camp in a genuine Pembina
cart a few days since.