Page images
PDF
EPUB

charge, which was done with a will. The Indians retreated at full speed for seven miles into the bluffs, when it became so dark that was inadvisable to pursue them farther. Five of the Indians were killed. Could not ascertain the number wounded, as they were in every instance assisted off the field by their comrades. Our loss 1

horse.

At daybreak next morning, November 20, I sent Captain Curr with forty mounted men to pursue the Indians. He moved to scene action evening previous, and followed Indian trail up Plum Creek finding many articles of value abandoned by the enemy, showing that their retreat had been precipitate. Twenty-five miles from Pha Creek Station found one of the enemy's horses with leg broken by musket-ball. Trail then became so much divided that it could not b followed. Captain Curran then marched northward to Mullahla's Station and camped.

On the following morning, November 21, he moved southward int the bluffs, searching carefully for indications of Indians. Failed to find any. Returned to camp evening of 21st. Weather was very c and several of his men returned with feet and ears frozen. Captan Curran found timber in small quantities on Plum Creek for a distan of twenty miles from this post; after that there was neither timber water to be found on the creek. Grass was abundant, but dead. La very broken between Plum Creek and Platte River.

On the 25th instant, at 9 p. m., the coach from Kearny was attacke four miles east of this post, wounding 3 passengers. Captain Curra was at once sent out with thirty mounted men. The night was in tensely dark and no sign of the Indians could be found. A small tra was met in a dangerous situation and escorted to the post.

Were

On the 26th, at 4 p. m., a train of five wagons with twenty men was attacked five miles east of this post by about seventy-five Indians The men being but poorly armed were soon overpowered and left the wagons, retreating toward this post. Two of them were killed and wounded. I was soon notified of the attack by a patrol that had ser the occurrence from an island in the river, where wood-choppers at work, and mounting thirty men as hastily as possible, I pursued the Indians sixteen miles to Spring Creek, where they were re-enforced. and sheltering themselves in the deep ravines or cañons could not be dislodged. A sharp fight here ensued, the Indians being dismounted as well as ourselves. Result not decisive. Enemy's loss, 3 killed: number wounded, unknown. Our loss, 1 private, McGinnis, Company E, First Nebraska Cavalry, slightly wounded, 1' horse killed, and wounded. In their retreat the Indians were so closely pressed that they abandoned one horse, a number of spears, and the two scalps they had taken from the murdered men. The latter were brought to this post for burial. The wounded were skillfully cared for by Assistant

Surgeon Larsh, and are now in a fair way for recovery.

with fifty mounted men and one 12-pounder mountain howitzer. Pro At daylight on the following morning, November 27, I moved sont ceeded to the scene of the engagement the evening previous, hoping to find the Indians still in that vicinity. Failing to do so, I moved south west about eighteen miles until I struck the Curtis trail, where /

encamped for the night.

The next morning, 28th, I continued the march southward, crossin several small streams which were so much swollen that I was somewha delayed in crossing my howitzer, so that it was night-fall before I reache

the Republican, where I encamped.

[ocr errors]

On the following morning, November 29, moved down the river a short distance and met Captain Gillette's party from Fort Kearny. Learning from him that fresh trails had been seen leading northward and none to the south, I deemed it advisable to follow the trails spoken of, which I did, moving down the river to the mouth of Spring Creek, then up that stream about twelve miles, where I found seven Indian lodges recently occupied and capable of containing about 150 Indians. Camped at this point for the night.

Next morning, 30th, I found upon close examination that the Indians had separated or spread out so as to leave no trail that could be followed, and think they must have gone eastward, for had they gone west I should have been almost certain to have seen their trail as I moved south. From this point I marched to the head of Spring Creek, where Captain Gillette, with his command, moved in the direction of Fort Kearny, and I with mine to this post, arriving here about 6 p. m.; distance traveled, about 100 miles. The country passed over was very broken in the vicinity of Spring Creek, and in many places near the Republican. Timber was found in small quantities on both of the above-mentioned streams.

On the 27th I encamped on the open prairie, near a small lake, without any timber at all. Grass was plenty, but dead, and of but little value as forage. Dismounted guards were furnished the overland stage until the 26th, since when a mounted escort of ten men has been provided between this post and Mullahla's Station. The accompanying diagrams* indicate the routes pursued by scouting parties herein mentioned.

I remain, lieutenant,. very respectfully, &c.,

THOS. J. MAJORS, Captain, Commanding Post.

No. 3.

Report of Capt. William W. Ivory, First Nebraska Cavalry.

PLUM CREEK STATION, NEBR.,

October 17, 1864.

LIEUTENANT: I respectfully report that in obedience to orders received from Capt. Thomas J. Majors, I left here on the morning of the 13th instant to scout the country on Plum Creek, and opposite to Freeman's ranch, the scene of the attack on the stage on the evening of the 12th. I scoured the country around and on Plum Creek some fifteen miles. I then struck across the hills and examined the cañons for a breadth of seven miles down to Freeman's and French's ranches, and to within two miles of Captain Ribble's station (Mullahıla's). I then crossed to one of the islands opposite Freeman's ranch, made a thorough examination of the ground for three miles, found traces of the Indian moccasin tracks, &c. It being dark and my horses nearly given out, I camped. In the morning, 14th, I sent a squad of nine men and corporal across the Platte to scout the country on the north side and join me in the evening at this place. I then started for camp, the twenty-four hours' rations ordered out with [me] being exhausted. At the road near Freeman's I got information that a party of Captain Ribble's men, who were out looking for the same Indians I was after, had been attacked

Omitted as unimportant.

by a band of Cheyennes, supposed to be forty warriors, under the command of one of their big chiefs, White Antelope. They killed and scalped 2 of Ribble's men, wounded 2, and captured and killed 7 or 8 of his horses. After some fight the small party, only eight men, had to retreat to their station at Mullahla's, six miles from where the men were killed. This occurred the same day I went out, the 13th, but late in the evening and nearly on the same ground my men had gone over. On hearing this report I started for Captain Ribble's station, and sent word to my men to all join me there. After being joined by Captain Curran's command, some fifteen men, by order received from Captain Majors, we marched for the scene of the attack the day previous. Found the dead bodies of Ribble's company some six miles south of his station. We scouted the country for two to three miles, it being nearly dark when we got out. We returned to Mullahla's ranch and camped. Captain Majors joined the command before we had got out that evening. The next morning, the 15th, we started in the direction of Plum Creek over the ground partly scouted the day before, traveled some fifteen miles south, then ten miles southeast to a lake, finding no trace of the Indians. We then marched for camp at this post, where we arrived about 9 o'clock at night. I would respectfully give it as my opinion, which I hope the captain commanding will forward to district headquarters, that if I had [had] reasonably good horses on this scout, I would more than likely have come on the Indians in their rear about the time of their attack on Sergeant Bangs' party, as I would, if the horses had been able to stand it, have marched some miles farther out. As it was I was under the necessity of marching most of the time at a walk, to enable me to scout the country between this and the point opposite Freeman's ranch, on Plum Creek, and from there to the Platte, as I understand from verbal instructions by the captain commanding. I started out with twenty-seven horses, every one that was fit to travel, out of forty-five horses. Two of them gave out the first five miles and four were unfit to travel out of a walk, that I sent back; and out of the whole number of horses that I had the first evening. when I got to the Platte not five of them could have galloped five miles. I am almost certain with the men I had out if they were properly mounted I could have found the Indians and whipped them, as I would have crossed the Platte with my men the first evening out, and as it proved after, we would more than likely have come up to them on the north side, for the Indians crossed the road and river that night some five miles below this post.

Very respectfully,

WM. W. IVORY, Captain Squadron H, First Nebr. Car. Vet. Vols.

Lieut. LOUIS J. BOYER,

Acting Post Adjutant.

No. i.

Report of Capt. John R. Porter, First Nebraska Militia Infantry.

MIDWAY, October 28, 1864.

DEAR SIR: We had a fight to-day with the Indians; killed 2 and took 3 prisoners. About noon there were twenty-five or thirty Indians came down on the opposite side of the river and run our hay-makers over. I ordered my men to saddle, and we crossed the river. We run them fifteen miles; when we got within shooting distance shot 1 there

1 got him.

Ran about two miles, when 2 more gave up and we k them prisoners; then kept up a running fire to the bluffs on the er side of Buffalo Creek. When near the bluffs we killed another 1 took 1 more prisoner. We lost 1 good horse, saddle, bridle, and ipments. The boys behaved nobly. I think several carried lead with them, as there were a good many shots fired at them. All my n arrived in camp 10 p. m.; none killed or wounded. All of them ve some Indian trophy, and feel as though they had not served their ty days for nothing.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN R. PORTER,

Captain, Commanding Post, Midway, Nebr. Ter.

Col. R. R. LIVINGSTON,

Commanding Eastern Sub-District, Nebraska Territory.

No. 5.

port of Capt. Thomas B. Stevenson, First Nebraska Militia Infantry.

ss.

PAWNEE RANCH, October 7, 1864—10 p. m. COLONEL: Just returned from a disastrous scout to find your General der, No. 4, awaiting me. Yesterday late in the evening I discovered dians on the prairie to the number of about fifty, between the headters of Liberty and Elk Creeks. I had but four men with me. They attered in a twinkle on seeing us toward Elk Creek. The darkness vored them. I sent immediately to my first lieutenant, F. J. Bremer, mmanding Little Blue Station, to spare me all the men possible, to meet them midway between this post and his. We met at ylight this morning and moved up the east side of Liberty Creek; ence to the head of Elk Creek and down some distance without suc. I was prepared to stop out all night, the lieutenant was not. e had gone about a mile and then stopped to graze, believing there as not an Indian on Elk Creek, for he had been on the lower part the ay before. As I am informed, he crossed the creek with three men what seemed a trail; was shot dead by Indians in ambush; one of he men is wounded (I think not serious) with an arrow. The wounded an fired on the Indians several times and felled one. The men fell ack out of the thicket, Indians being concealed and believed to be umerous, though no one saw more than five at one time. A mesenger of those on the other side of the creek came to me. I advanced haste, but all was over. My lieutenant, a good soldier and worthy an, dead by a gunshot; the ground strewn with arrows; a miserable edskin carried off dead or wounded. I explored the thicket; got some occasins, Indian purses, lariats, and a gun cover in dens they had in he thicket, but the Indians evaded and escaped me. I have not men nough to hold two stations, guard the stage line, and go thirty or orty miles to seek a fight. I now propose to have fifteen mounted men nove down each side of this creek of Indian murderers, and twenty or hirty infantry scour the bed of the creek at the same time, and where ecessary burn out the thicket. Will be up to the fort soon.

Your obedient servant,

THOS. B. STEVENSON,

Captain Company A, First Regiment Nebraska Militia.

Col. R. R. LIVINGSTON,

Commanding Eastern Sub-District of Nebraska.

No. 6.

Report of Capt. Lee P. Gillette, First Nebraska Cavalry.

HEADQUARTERS POST,

Fort Kearny, Nebr. Ter., December 16, 1861. LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to report, in obedience to Circui No. 9, headquarters Eastern Sub-District of Nebraska, the followi military [operations] at this post:

On November 26, 1864, Lieut. John P. Murphy, with eighteen enlisted men of Company F, First Nebraska Cavalry Veteran Volunteers marched to Pawnee Ranch, on the Little Blue River. On morning the 28th of November he marched from that post in a westerly dire tion, scouting the country adjacent to the headwaters of the Litt Blue, and returned to this post on the 30th of November. Reports that he saw no Indians nor any signs indicating that they had been of that stream recently. The country passed over from Pawnee Rand to Fort Kearny is considerably broken, and is interspersed with Eu merous small streams. Grass and timber (along the streams) is in sul ficient quantities to supply troops marching through the country. h the same date, November 26, one commissioned officer and forty-five enlisted men of the garrison left post, under command of Capt. L. P. Gillette, on scout to Republican River, with six days' rations for me and six days' rations for animals. Marched 11.30 p. m. of that day. Moved up Platte River to Seventeen-Mile Point and went into camp Marched at daylight the following morning in a southerly direction across Platte River Bottom and over the Sand Hills; thence south west twenty-five miles to the cañons on the head of the creek Het east of Spring Creek, and went into camp. The country traveled over after leaving the Sand Hills that skirt the Platte River Bottom is high rolling prairie, and produces no timber and but very little grass.

Next morning, November 28, marched west nine miles and struck Spring Creek ten miles from its mouth; thence down that stream to Republican River and up the Republican River seven miles and camped for the night.

Next morning, 29th, marched five miles west, forming junction with troops under command of Captain Majors. Returned direct to the mouth of Spring Creek; marched up that stream eleven miles, and camped. Country passed over on last two days' march very much broken. Streams difficult to cross on account of steep banks and muddy bottom. Grass plentiful and on the streams wood in sufficient quantity to supply troops marching through the country.

On the morning of 30th marched north ten miles to the source Spring Creek; thence northeast twenty miles to Seventeen-Mile Point,

on Platte River.

interfered with the work on the fort.

of

The troops at post during the month of November have been doing ordinary patrol, escort, fatigue, and guard duty. A part of the com mand have been building fortifications, and during the month have put up 800 square yards of sod and earth embankment. The extreme cold weather and the number of men required for wood-cutting has I most respectfully request that work on the fort be suspended until spring, and that the engineer in charge be discharged. The wood detail (consisting of one commis sioned officer and twenty-five enlisted men) are cutting wood on Grami Island, eighteen miles east of Fort Kearny, and have put up 200 cords of wood, of which seventy-five cords have been delivered at post. The Platte River is at this season of the year difficult to cross, Wago

« PreviousContinue »