CAMP RELEASE, OPPOSITE MOUTH OF CHIPPEWA RIVER, September 27, 1862.
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your dispatch of 19th [17th?] instant. It reached me last evening by Colonel Crooks. In reply you will permit me to remark that celerity of movement cannot well take place when my troops are entirely unsupplied with sufficient rations and are necessitated to dig potatoes from the Indian field to supply the want of breadstuffs.
To tell you the truth in few words, general, there never has been a time when this expedition has not been in actual want of indispensable articles. Either bread or bullets have in their turn been scantily dealt out, and to-day I find myself with half of the command having been two days without bread; the hard bread dealt out to them, although small in quantity, being in part moldy and unfit for use. If a provision be without a ration of any kind, and must of course fall back. My dispatch to Governor Ramsey, giving a hasty account of the battle of the 23rd instant, I desired him to submit to your examination. It contained two errors, which I wish to correct. I omitted in my enumeration of the forces engaged on our side Captain Woodward's company of the Sixth Regiment, which behaved well under the lead of their captain; and I erred in my statement of the number of the enemy, as I find from the half-breeds, who were formed to be present, that the hostiles actually engaged in the fight were nearly 500 instead of 300.
Yesterday I came to this point with my command, having been met by several half-breeds with a flag of truce. I encamped within 500 yards of a large camps of about 150 lodges of friendly Indians and half-breeds, who had separated themselves from Little Crow and the miserable crew with him, and had rescued from them most of the white captives awaiting my arrival.
About 2 o'clock in the afternoon I paid a formal visit to this camp, attended by the members of my staff and the commanding officers of corps, with two companies of infantry as an escort.
Leaving the latter on the outside of the line of lodges I entered the camp, where I found that regular rifle pits had been constructed, in anticipation of an attack by the hostile Indians. I told the interpreter to call the chiefs and headmen together, for I had something to say to them. The Indians and half-breeds assembled accordingly in considerable numbers, and I proceeded to give them very briefly my views of the late proceedings: my determination that the guilty parties should be pursued and overtaken, if possible, and I made a demand that all the captives should be delivered to me instantly, that I might take them to my camp. After speeches, in which they severely condemned the war party and denied any participation in their proceedings and gave me assurance that they would not have dared to come and shake my hand if their own were stained with the blood of the whites, they assembled the captive women and children, and formally delivered them up to me to the number of 91 pure whites. When taking the names of such as had been instrumental in obtaining the release of the prisoners from the hostile Indians and telling the principal men I would hold another council with them to-day I conducted the poor captives to my camp, where I had prepared tents for their accommodation. There were some instances of stolidity among them, but for the most part the poor creatures, relived of the horrible sus-