ordered the Second Kansas and Rabb's battery to this place by rapid marches.
On the 17th, several of the Second Kansas arrived from Colonel Cloud, through whom he reported to me verbally. Fearing my orders had not reached him, I sent his own messengers back this morning, repeating the orders, so that I expect these troops to arrive at any hour. As soon as I get them up, I shall move against the enemy if I am able to be hauled in my carriage, and will run the risk of being able to sit on my mule when the tug of war comes.
Steele has fallen back to Briartown, on the Canadian. I think he has withdrawn what troops he had at Fort Smith and concentrated them at this one point, and from indications the last few days I think he has concluded he may have to abandon this country, as the rebels have been engaged lately in moving their families south to Red River. General Steele sent his own family south from Fort Smith a few days since. It try now it I am not sick. If I succeed as I expect when I cross the river, I shall occupy Fort Smith permanently with a part of the force, making this the main depot for supplies, and convey them from here to that point in the transportation belonging to the command until they can come through some other channel. I can then fatten by stock, which needs it badly.
The weather is very warm, 98 degrees in the shade, and I am losing many horses that give out on scouts and have to be abandoned. I have been buying up all the horses that are to be had, but the deficiency cannot be supplied in that way. If I succeed as I wish, I hope to capture some from the enemy. The mules, many of them, are awful, though better than when I came, but the weather is so hot that, together with the flies and tough grass, they do not improve any now, and can only hold their own when they are not used.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
JAS. G. BLUNT,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE NORTHWEST,
Milwaukee, August 20, 1863.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to transmit inclosed reports of Brigadier-General Sibley and his subordinates, of the late Indian campaign,* and the battles fought with the hostile Sioux. The results of this expedition furnish a sufficient commentary upon the representations and recommendations made to you and the Secretary of War by irresponsible persons concerning the organization and conduct of this expedition and the condition of Indian affairs in Minnesota. It is easy for persons who are not responsible for results to find fault and give advice, but nothing is more certain than that if the suggestions of Mr. Williamson and others had been adopted, and any force sent against the Indians much smaller than Sibley took with him, such force would have been cut to pieces or driven back, and the whole of the hostile Indians precipitated upon the frontier settlements of Minnesota and Iowa. Of course, the military authorities would have been held accountable, and
*Probably those on pp.352-372, Part I.