of the animals, and other sings in and around camp we judged it to be at least three days old. Forming an estimate from the distance that had traveled the day previous to encamping here I concluded that they must be some 80 or 90 miles ahead of me. This camp was about 10 miles from the Fort Smith road and about 15 miles from the Canadian River, between the road and river. I had some knowledge of the country for about 250 miles down the Canadian River from Utah Creek. I knew a trail on the north side of the Canadian that intersects the Fort Smith road about 225 miles below the mouth of Utah Creek. I had marched over that trail in September last, while scouting after Indians. It was then reported to me to be shorter than the Fort Smith road.
The party of whom we were in pursuit were evidently trying to leave the country without being detected. The direction they were traveling would indicate that they were going to Fort Smith. They were following a trail that had been recently made by horses, mules, and pack-animals, about 40 in number. This led me to believe that they might be part of the same party. I afterward ascertained that their trail had been made by Mexicans, who were trading with the Indians, and would join at some point below. It was also evident that they knew of our presence in that part of the country. I feared that they might have spies, who would watch our movements, and as I was following, to all appearances, a superior number, I feared I might be led into some trap and get surprised ourselves by them. I therefore concluded to cross the river and follow the trail that leads down the north side, and march as rapidly as possible to the junction of the trail with the Fort Smith road. Having arrived at this conclusion, I informed Sergeant Marvin of what I had determined on doing, and instructed him to march that evening to the river, and, agreeing to meet him that night some time, I took one man and followed the trail to the next camp, distant about 10 miles, and which I supposed to be a noon camp, that there were 5 wagons; also that there was a lady with the party. I here turned about and joined my men the same night.
After arriving in camp, on October 30, at a point about 175 miles below the mouth of the Utah Creek, I concluded to reconnoiter the country southward in search of the Fort Smith road, as I had been informed by my guide that the Fort Smith road came near the river opposite this camp. I took Corporal Allen and Private [James] Baird, rode cautiously to the river and crossed over, but was not successful in finding the road. Thinking that we must soon come to the road, we rode on southward about 15 miles till about midnight, when I gave up the search, turned about, and rode for camp, where I arrived next day about 11 a.m., and immediately resumed the march for the junction of the trail with the road.
On November 2, about noon, I arrived at a point opposite where the Fort Smith road comes to the river from the bluffs, and about 250 miles below the mouth of Utah Creek. I placed a spy on a lookout on a high bluff, where he could sea across the river and watch the maneuvering of any party on the Fort Smith road for many miles either way. Examining the road, I found that the party of whom we were in search had not yet passed. There being a village of Indians a few miles below, I concluded to go down to the village with their agent (Stapp), to see and have a talk with them, and then return by way of the Fort Smith road to meet the truant party. I was not of sight of my last camp before my spy of the lookout discovered the party approaching and immediately