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Doc. 126.-the Indian campaign.

Official report of Colonel William Crooks.

headquarters Sixth Minnesota infantry, camp Williston, D. T., August 5, 186.
Captain R. C. Olin, Assist. Adjutant-General:
sir: Pursuant to order of Brigadier-General H. H. Sibley, this regiment reported at Camp Pope, Minnesota, for services in the expedition directed against the Sioux Indians.

The march was taken up early on the morning of the sixteenth, and on the twenty-sixth day of June, the forces encamped at the foot of Lake Traverse, a distance of one hundred and nineteen miles from Camp Pope.

From this point a train was despatched to Fort Abercrombie for supplies; the guard consisting of three companies of infantry, including company H of the Sixth regiment, Captain Tattersall commanding one battalion of cavalry, Major Parker commanding, and one section of artillery, the whole under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Averill, of this regiment. The brigade left Lake Traverse on the thirtieth of June, and reached the first crossing of the Sheyenne River on the evening of the fourth of July, distant from the foot of Lake Traverse seventy-four miles.

At this point, called Camp Hayes, the command lay over six days awaiting the arrival of the supply train from Fort Abercrombie. The train arrived on the ninth of July, and the expedition resumed the line of march on the morning of the eleventh. From this point to the second crossing of the Sheyenne, where we arrived on the seventeenth, the distance was eighty-three miles. On the morning of the eighteenth, we resumed the march and reached Camp Atcheson, on Lake Emily, the day's march being twelve miles. [430]

At this point I was directed to lay out an intrenched camp, and a force was selected from the several regiments to hold the same, with a view to disembarrassing the active force of all men unable to march; and of all supplies not actually necessary in a more rapid pursuit of the enemy. Companies G and C of my regiment were designated by me as part of the garrison, together with invalids from all other companies.

Having put the command in light marching order, on the morning of the twentieth of July, with twenty-five days rations, the command again commenced with renewed energy the pursuit of the Sioux, and at noon, on the twenty-fourth, at a distance of seventy-eight miles from Camp Atcheson, a shout from the advance told that our pursuit had not been in vain. The savages lined the crest of the surrounding hills, covering their camp some five miles to the southwest. By direction of the General, the Sixth regiment, together with company M of the Mounted Rangers, under command of Lieutenant Johnson, and a section of artillery, under command of Lieutenant Weston, occupied the east front, and threw up earthworks supporting the guns.

About this time Surgeon Weiser, of the Mounted Rangers, in company with others, rode up the heights and engaged in conversation with the Indians, who, true to their proverbial treachery, pierced his manly heart at the moment he offered them bread. Observing this act, I at once deployed companies E, I, and K well to the front, and with company E, under command of Captain Schoennemann, together with Captain Chase's company A, of the Ninth regiment, on Schoennemann's left, supported by Captains Slaughter and Braden, drove the savages for three miles, and prevented their turning our left.

Lieutenant-Colonel Averill was directed by me to advance three companies to support the extreme left, where a strong demonstration was being made; Major McLaren remaining in command of the reserve and camp.

The movements were well and regularly made, the officers and men displaying those traits of most consequence to soldiers.

My advance was checked by an order to draw in my lines to the lines of the skirmishers of the other regiments to my right, and to report in person to the Brigadier-General commanding. Having turned the command over to Lieutenant-Colonel Averill, with instructions to draw in his men, I reported to General. Sibley, and in conformity with his orders, I despatched a messenger to Major McLaren to come forward with all haste with five companies, to the support of the Mounted Rangers, who were driving the Indians on toward their camp, at the moment supported by the Seventh infantry and Captain A. J. Edgerton's company of the Tenth. The Major came forward at a double-quick, with companies A, B, D, I, and K, and reported to me some four miles in the advance, where General Sibley was awaiting the arrival of reenforcements. I immediately reported to the General the arrival of my men, and soon thereafter was ordered to return to camp.

The next day the camp was moved some four miles in order to recruit the animals, and the command rested until Sunday morning, the twenty-sixth of July, when the march was resumed, and having marched fourteen miles, the Sixth regiment leading, the Indians again assembled for battle. The regiment at once deployed skirmishers and advanced steadily, driving the Indians; Lieutenant-Colonel Averill, with marked coolness and judgment, commanding the extended line of skirmishers, while the reserve, under Major McLaren, was but too eager to engage. At two o'clock P. M., General Sibley, coming to the extreme front and observing the state of affairs, pushed cavalry to our right, with a view to massing the Indians in front, also ordering Captain Jones forward with his fieldpieces. Major McLaren was now ordered to take the reserve to camp, a mile and a half to the rear, the front being held by three companies of the Sixth, and company A of the Ninth; the whole supporting Lieutenant Whipple, with his section of the battery.

The Indians observing McLaren's movement, having made a feint to the left, made a desperate attack on the north front, with a view to destroying our transportation; but the Major had his men well in hand, and throwing them rapidly upon the enemy, completely foiled this, their last move, and the savages giving a parting volley, typical of their rage and disappointment, left a field where heavy loss and defeat but retold their doom.

Too much praise cannot be awarded Captain Oscar Taylor, of the Mounted Rangers, who chafed for an order to advance, and who bore his part nobly when that order was finally given. His horses being exhausted, this officer dismounted his men, and as skirmishers, added their strength to that of company A, Sixth regiment, where, under the immediate eye of Colonel Averill, they did splendid service. Lieutenant Whipple, in direct charge of the guns, was as usual cool and efficient; and Captain Jones had but another opportunity of congratulating himself upon the efficiency of his battery

The march was resumed on the morning of the twenty-seventh, and in the afternoon we camped on Stony Lake, having marched eighteen miles. No demonstrations were made by the Indians during the night, but as the column was forming on the morning of the twenty-eighth, and the transportation was somewhat scattered, the wily foe saw his opportunity, and to the number of two thousand mounted men at least, made a most daring charge upon us. The Sixth regiment holding the centre of the column, and being upon the north side of the lake, Lieutenant-Colonel Averill commenced deploying the right wing, and having deployed strongly from my left, so as to hold the lake, the advance was ordered. The men went boldly forward and worked splendidly, Lieutenant-Colonel Averill displaying much judgment in an oblique formation to cover a threatened [431] movement on my right by the Indians in great force, who, whooping and yelling, charged our lines. The consequences must have been destructive in the extreme had the lake and flank not been stiffly held. The savages were driven back reeling under their repulse, and the General commanding coolly and determinately formed his column of march in the face of the attack, the object of which was manifold: first, to destroy our transportation, and second, to delay our advance, allowing their families more time to escape.

No time was lost, the column moved on, and by nine A. M. our advance saw the masses of the retreating foe. The pursuit was continued until late, when we encamped on Apple River. Men and horses were not in a condition to pursue that night, but early on the morning of the twenty-ninth, with the regiment in the advance, pursuit was commenced, and after marching six miles and overcoming a rise of ground, our eyes first beheld the timber on the Missouri River, distant nine miles.

General Sibley had, with much forethought, early that morning, despatched Colonel McPhaill and his regiment, with Captain Jones and his field-pieces, to the front, with the view to intercepting the savages ere they crossed the river. Rapidly McPhaill pushed forward, but the Indian rear was covered by a dense forest, and a tangle of prickly ash and thorn bushes almost impenetrable. Our advance was soon up, and by order of the General the Sixth regiment was ordered to scour the woods to the river, and ascertain the exact position of the enemy. I deployed companies D, I, and K, commanded by Captains Whitney, Slaughter, and Braden, as skirmishers under the command of Major McLaren, while the five other companies under Colonel Averill were held as reserve. Captain Jones accompanied me with Whipple's and Western's sections of his battery. We advanced slowly but surely, shelling the woods in my advance, and we reached the river to find the enemy just crossed, after abandoning all their transportation and losing many of their women and children drowned in their hasty flight. Lieutenant-Colonel Averill with the reserve, received the fire of an enemy in large numbers concealed in the tall rushes across the river, and returned it with spirit; but an order having reached me to return, a retrograde movement was ordered.

Just prior to the fire of Colonel Averill's reserve, Lieutenant F. J. H. Beever, an English gentleman of qualities worthy of the best, a fellow of Oxford University, and a volunteer aid to the General, rode up alone and delivered the order to return. I wrote a short despatch and directed him to return at once, as my communication might prove of much value to the General.

All being accomplished that was desired, the regiment returned and joined the camp near the mouth of Apple River, with the loss of private N. Miller, of company K. On my return to camp I learned that Beever had never reported, and we had just grounds to believe him lost. Guns were fired and rockets sent up, but our friend did not return.

At noon on the thirtieth of July, a detachment consisting of companies A, I, and K, of the Sixth regiment, commanded by Captains Grant, Slaughter, and Braden; A, B, and H of the Seventh, commanded by Captains Arnold, Gillfillan, and Stevens, and B, F, and K of the Tenth infantry, commanded by Captains Edgerton, White, and O'Connor, and companies L and M of the cavalry, commanded by Captain Davy and Lieutenant Johnson; Lieutenant Whipple's and Lieutenant Dwelle's sections of the battery, together with a detachment of company A, Ninth regiment infantry as pioneers, under Lieutenant Jones; the whole under my command, was ordered to proceed to the place where I had been the day before, with directions to destroy the transportation left by the Indians, and to find the body of Lieutenant Beever and that of private Miller, if dead, and engage the savages if the opportunity presented. Lieutenant-Colonel Jennison of the Tenth infantry, Major McLaren of the Sixth, and Major Bradley of the Seventh, commanded the detachments of the respective regiments. All the objects contemplated were fully accomplished.

It was apparent that Lieutenant Beever, on his way back with my despatch, became embarrassed by the many trails left by an alarmed and conquered enemy, lost his way, and after bravely confronting a large party of savages and dealing death into their ranks, had fallen pierced by arrows and bullets, his favorite horse lying dead near him. He was buried in the trenches with the honors due his rank, and every heart beat in sympathy with the family of this brave stranger, as we retraced our steps toward the boundary of our own State.

I take pleasure in mentioning the services of Surgeon and Acting Medical Director Wharton, of Assistant Surgeons Daniels and Potter, for duties performed wherever they were needed, in and out of the regiment, also to Lieutenants Carver and Snow for assistance fearlessly rendered in the field. Lieutenant-Colonel Averill and Major McLaren have proven themselves worthy of the regiment.

For the officers of the line and men I proudly say that they did all that they were ordered to do with an alacrity and a spirit which promise well for the future.

I made the distance from Fort Snelling to the Missouri by our line of march, five hundred and eighty-five miles.

I have the honor to remain, Captain,

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

William Crooks, Colonel Commanding Sixth Minnesota Infantry.

Report of Colonel James H. Baker.

headquarters Tenth regiment Minnesota infantry, camp Williston, August 5, 1863.
Captain R. C. Olin, Assist. Adjutant-General:
I have the honor herewith to submit a report of such part as was borne by my regiment, or [432] any portion of it, in the several actions from July twenty-fourth, at Big Mound to the Missouri River.

About half-past 3 o'clock on Friday, the twenty-fourth of July, while on the march, doing escort duty in the centre, I received information from the General commanding that a large force of Indians were immediately in our front, accompanied by an order communicated by Lieutenant Beever to prepare my regiment for action, which order was immediately executed. Meantime the train was being corraled on the side of the lake, after which I received orders to form my regiment on the color line indicated for it, immediately in front of the corral and fronting outward from the lake, and to throw up intrenchments along this line, which was speedily done. The action of this day began on my right, more immediately in front of the Seventh, (which regiment, being in advance during the day's march, was entitled to the forward position,) by the artillery, under Captain Jones, when at half-past 4 P. M. I received an order by Captain Olin to deploy a company to support this battery. I immediately deployed company B, Captain Edgerton, and that company, though fatigued already with an ordinary day's march, continued with the battery, (marching for many miles on the double-quick,) during the entire pursuit of the enemy for fifteen miles, and throughout the night, till sunrise the next morning, when they returned from the pursuit to the camp, having made, during the day and night, the almost unparalleled march of quite fifty miles.

At about five o'clock I received an order by Captain Pope to send Lieutenant-Colonel Jennison, with four companies, to be deployed, and to follow in the direction of the retreating enemy, as a support for the cavalry and artillery. Colonel Jennison moved forward with companies A, F, C, and K, five miles, more than half of it on the double-quick, and reported his command to the General commanding, at that time in the front. After resting about one hour, by the order of the General commanding, Colonel Jennison was directed to return with his force to camp, and arrived a little after nine o'clock P. M.

At the same time that the first order above alluded to was given, I was directed to assume command of the camp, and make the proper dispositions for its defence, which I did by completing all the intrenchments, and organizing and posting such forces as were yet left in camp, not anticipating the return of our forces that night.

The action of the twenty-sixth of July took place on the side of the camp opposite from my regiment, and consequently we did not participate in it. We were, however, constantly under arms, ready at any moment for orders or an opportunity.

On Tuesday, the twenty-eighth of July, my regiment being in the advance for the day's march, we started out of Camp Ambler at five o'clock in the morning. The General commanding, some of the scouts, and a few of the headquarters wagons had preceded my regiment out of camp, and were ascending the long sloping hill which gradually rose from Stony Lake. I had just received directly from the General commanding, orders for the disposition of my regiment during the day's march, when the scouts came from over the hill on a full run, shouting, “They are coming! They are coming!” when immediately a large body of mounted Indians began to make their appearance over the brow of the hill, and directly in the front of my advancing column. I instantly gave the necessary orders for the deployment of the regiment to the right and left, which, with the assistance of Lieutenant-Colonel Jenison, and the great alacrity of the commandants of companies, were executed with the utmost rapidity, though a portion of my line was thrown into momentary confusion by the hasty passage through it of the returning scouts and advance wagons. At this moment an Indian on the brow of the hill shouted: “We are too late; they are ready for us!” Another one replied: “But remember our children and families; we must not let them get them.” Immediately the Indians; all well mounted, filed off to the right and left along the hill in my front with the utmost rapidity. My whole regiment was deployed, but the Indians covered my entire front, and soon far outflanked on both sides, appearing in numbers that seemed almost incredible, and most seriously threatening the train to the right and left of my widely-extended line. The position of the train was at this moment eminently critical. It had begun to pass out of the corral around both ends of the small lake to mass itself in the rear of my regiment, in the usual order of march. The other regiments were not yet in position, as the time to take their respective places in the order of march had not yet arrived. Fortunately, however, Captain Jones had early moved out of camp with one section of artillery, and was in the centre of my left wing, and Lieutenant Whipple, with another near the centre of my right, which was acting under Colonel Jennison.

Simultaneously with the deployment of the regiment, we began a steady advance of the whole line up the hill upon the foe, trusting to the speedy deployment of the other infantry regiments, and the cavalry for the protection of the train, so threatened on either flank at the ends of the lake. My whole line was advancing splendidly up the hill directly upon the enemy, the artillery doing fine work, and the musketry beginning to do execution, when I received a peremptory order to halt the entire line, as a further advance would imperil the train. So ardent were both officers and men for the advance, that it was with some considerable difficulty that I could effect a halt. Believing fully that the great engagement of the expedition was now begun, and seeing in my front, and reaching far beyond either flank, more than double the number of Indians that had hitherto make their appearance, I took advantage of the halt to make every preparation for a prolonged and determined action. Meantime long-range firing continued throughout the entire [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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