destructive fire from as many different points. The vast number of the Indians enabled them to form two-thirds of a circle, 5 or 6 miles in extent, along the whole line of which they were seeking for some weak point upon which to precipitate themselves. The firing was incessant and rapid from each side; but as soon as I had completed the details of the designated order of march, and closed up the train, the column issued in line of battle upon the prairie, in the face of the immense force opposed to it, and I resumed my march without any delay. This proof of confidence in our own strength completely destroyed the hopes of the savages, and completed their discomfiture. With yells of disappointment and rage, they fired a few parting volleys, and then retreated with all expedition. It was not possible, with our jaded horses, to overtake their fleet and comparatively fresh ponies.
This engagement was the last desperate effort of the combined Dakota bands to prevent a farther advanced on our part toward their families. It would be difficult to estimate the number of warriors, but no cool and dispassionate observer would probably have placed it at a less figure then from 2,200 to 2,500. No such concentration of force has, so far as my information extends, ever been made by the savages of the American continent. It is rendered certain, from information received from various sources, including that obtained from the savages themselves, in their conversations with our half-breed scouts, that the remnant of the bands who escaped with Little Crow had successively joined the Sissetons, the Cut-heads, and finally the Chank-ton-ais, the most powerful single band of the Dakotas, and, together with all these, had formed an enormous camp of nearly, or quite, 10,000 souls.
To assert that the courage and discipline displayed by officers and men in the successive engagements with this formidable and hitherto untried enemy were signally displayed would but ill express the admiration I feel for their perfect steadiness, and the alacrity with which they courted an encounter with the savage foe. No one for a moment seemed to doubt the result, however great the preponderance against us in numerical force. These wild warriors of the plains had never been met in battle by American troops, and they have ever boasted that no hostile army, however numerous, would dare to set foot upon the soil of which they claimed to be the undisputed masters. Now that they have been thus met, and their utmost force defied, resisted, and utterly broken and routed, the lesson will be a valuable one, not only in its effect upon these particular bands, but upon all the tribes of the North-west.
When we went into camp on the banks of Apple River a few mounted Indians could alone be seen. Early the next morning I dispatched Colonel McPhaill, with the companies of the Mounted Rangers and the two 6-pounders, to harass and retard the retreat of the Indians across the Missouri River, and followed with the main column as rapidly as possible. We reached the woods on the border of that stream shortly after noon on the 29th, but the Indians had crossed their families during the preceding night, and it took but a short time for the men to follow them on their ponies. The hills on the opposite side were covered with the men, and they had probably formed the determination to oppose our passage of the river, both sides of which were here covered with a dense growth of underbrush and timber for a space of more than a mile. I dispatched Colonel Crooks with his regiment, which was in the advance, to clear the woods to the river of Indians, which he successfully accomplished without loss, although fired upon fiercely from the opposite side. He reported to me that a large quantity of trans-