War of the Rebellion: Serial 084 Page 0039 Chapter LIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

Search Civil War Original Records

guilty of participation in the murders and other crimes, and condemned to be hung. The President subsequently ordered the execution of thirty-eighth of these criminals, who were accordingly hung, and the remainder, who have thus far survived the trying effects of close imprisonment, are now in military custody at Davenport, Iowa. Some 250 or 300 of the warriors implicated in the outbreak escaped with their families and joined the upper and powerful bands of Sioux or Dakotas, who roam over the great plains between the Upper Missouri and the British boundary line, subsisting on the buffalo almost exclusively. The Government recognized the necessity of inflicting proper chastisement upon the murders and those bands who had harbored and protected them, and in pursuance with the orders of Major-General Pope, General Sully ascended the Missouri early in 1863 with a column of mounted troops, and another mixed force of infantry and cavalry under my command marched from this direction, it being General Pope's intention that the two expeditions should co-operate and finally unite at Devil's Lake, with a view to such ulterior movements as circumstances might indicate as proper to be made. In consequence of the extremely low stage of water in the Missouri. General Sully's command did not reach the point of junction designated, and upon my arrival within thirty-five miles of Devil's Lake I ascertained that the great body of the Indians were on the Missouri Coteau. I immediately changed the direction of the march from northwest to southwest, and leaving one-third of my force, comprising the men and animals least efficient in consequence of fatigue and overwork, in an intrenched camp near Lake Jessie (see accompanying map*), I made force marches in the direction of the Missouri, fell in with and fought the concentrated strength of the upper and lower bands of Sioux, and defeated them in three separate engagements, driving them across the Missouri with a great loss in warriors, subsistence, buffalo robes and other clothing, and all their transportation, amounting to 150 or more wagons, carts, &c. If it had been possible for General Sully to have interposed his forces between the retreating savages and the river, the destruction of the great body of the Indians would have been rendered certain, and the war soon thereafter ended. But in spite of the efforts of that enterprising and active officer the great obstacles in his way could not be overcome, and I could not open communication with him. The season was one of unparalleled heat and drought, and both branches of the expedition suffered alike for the want of good and sufficient water, and of grass for the animals. General Sully finally reached within a few miles of my line of march, about a month subsequent to my return from the Missouri, and on the 3rd of September fell upon and defeated a body of Sioux encamped near the James River, inflicting a severe loss upon them. Since these events occurred the hostile combination has been strengthened by other powerful bands of the Teton Sioux or Dakotas, from the south and west of the Upper Missouri, who avowed their purpose to prosecute the war and to put an entire stop to the emigration to Idaho by way of the Upper Missouri River and overland. During the past winter most of the refugee murderers, being entirely destitute of food and clothing, which they lost during the engagements of the previous season, as before stated, crossed into British territory and made their way to Fort Garry and the surrounding settlements, where they were enabled to subsist themselves until spring, exacting supplies from Her Majesty's subjects. These refugees have for the most part

---------------

*Probably May 2, Plate XXXIII, of the Atlas.

---------------