proceeded to report to the commanding officer at the post on James River with twelve scouts named in said order, it is proper I should report to you the incidents of the march to this place.
I crossed to the east side of the Missouri and encamped on Long Lake River, about five miles from its mouth, on Friday, July 15, 1864, the party being fully provisioned to include July 25. On Saturday, July 16, I marched about twenty-five miles to the head of the Beaver River, where I remained until Monday morning. The distance made on Monday was about twenty miles to a camp on the sources of what we supposed to be Burdache Creek.
On Tuesday morning the march was resumed at the usual hour (5 o'clock), and at 9 a. m. we entered an extremely rough and broken section of the Missouri Coteau. Up to this time the few signs of small parties of Indians that were discovered were from three to five days old, and the quiet condition of the buffalo, antelopes, &c., along the route gave assurance that there were no Indians in the vicinity. Upon approaching this broken region, however, all the animals appeared frightened and restless, and after we entered the broken region the buffalo were frequently seen passing rapidly in small bands. This, in connection with a fresh pony track found near the line of march, gave evidence of a camp of Indians (or probably Red River half-breeds) being in the vicinity and every precaution was used to prevent a surprise and to repel an attack should it become necessary. At 9.40 a. m. Paul Mazaka-te-mannee, who marched some distance in advance of the main body of the party, reported having seen several lodges in the vicinity of a large lake some three miles east. He was satisfied from the appearance of the camp that it was no occupied by half-breeds, and from the large number of horses seen grazing that it was a large one, and the main portion of the lodges hidden from view by an intervening ridge of land. The want of water and the unfavorable formation of the country induced me to change direction to the south, which enabled me to pass down a wide ravine, where our march could not be discovered from the vicinity of the camp. A march of about five miles brought us to a large lake, the northeast end of which had the shape of a horseshoe. The grass on this peninsula was very short, except in the immediate vicinity of the lake. I selected a position for a camp near the center of the peninsula beyond the range of a common fusee from any sheltered point, and from which any approach upon the surface of the ground could be rapidly detected in every direction. Earth-works were immediately commenced by as many men as the supply of tools could accommodate. Two hunters were sent across the lake to endeavor to obtain a further supply of meat from a small band of buffalo grazing near the lake, and the remainder were employed in cutting and carrying grass. At 6 p. m. the earth-works, in connection with the wagon, cart, and buggy that formed our train, were amply sufficient for the protection of the men and animals against any attack from prairie Indians, with their usual supply of arms and ammunition. The meat of a fine cow had been brought into camp, a supply of water sufficient for two days, and supply of fuel had been secured; a supply of grass, sufficient for the animals for three or four days had been obtained (and used temporarily to strengthen the defenses); yet no Indians had been seen, although a close watch with glasses had been unremitted. When I crossed the Missouri each of the twelve scouts and the man in my employ had twenty rounds of ammunition, and I had 1,000 rounds additional, therefore the supply was ample, if judiciously, used, to meet all emergencies,and will the advantages of location and with the