Another talk was now inaugurated. We were asked who we were, where we came from, and where we were going. They were informed that we were Americans, came from the expedition under General sully, and were going to the James River. They then told us that they were Yanktons, and the friends of the whites. That many of them were in the employ of General Sully, and that they had some troops and interpreters in their camp by order of General Sully, and they were surprised that they should have been fired on by Americans. They were told that they were not good Indians when they attempted to get into my camp at night, and that when they acted as bad Indians they must expect to be treated as bad Indians; that if they had white men with them let one of them come to the camp and I would receive him, but that the Indians could not come even after telling me they were good Indians. It was now daylight, and an interpreter named Louis Agar approached and entered the camp. He satisfied me as to the character of the Indians and twenty-five or thirty of them came forward with a flag of truce and exhibited their credentials from General Sully. With but little subsequent negotiation peaceful relations were established and friendship reigned. There were about 425 lodges, say 500 men, many of them armed with Springfield rifles, which accounts for the balls passing over us at the long range at which they fired. They said they mistook us for Missouri Indians come to steal horses, but as the discovery of our trail by some young men who had been out hunting in the afternoon was the first information they had of our being in the country I cannot credit them with such a mistake. Missouri Indians would not come to steal horses with wagons and carts in their train. The facts is, as I figure it, that they knew we were whites, and although they had no idea of killing us they intended to surprise us, and having done so and got us in their power they expected to extort from us such property as they chose. This idea is sustained by their dividing at the foot of the lake, those passing up the south side being intended to represent another camp. In their first conversation they said nothing about being employed by the Government or having any connection with it. A few Burnside cartridges brought that fat to their minds. During their stay in camp, which was but short, the Indians behaved very well. They were very polity in their requests for caps, matches, &c., and department in apparent doubt as to the object as well as the result of their nocturnal expedition. Although affairs at one time looked serious, and the prospect of a long fight was so clear as to be disagreeable to contemplate, the result afforded me much satisfaction by demonstrating the sterling metal of the men I had with me At the most trying moment, when called upon to open hostilities against a host of men within the range of their sight sufficient to swallow our entire party if cut into mouthfuls, there was no wavering. The appalling influence of a firs fire did not affect them. They were cool and collected during the entire trouble, waiting for and obeying orders like veteran troops, and appeared to have no thought but how to kill two at a blow. With such men it is safe to travel.
We left camp on Wednesday at 6 a. m. and encamped at 3.30 p. m. at a lake near Divided Hills. During this day we marched the direction of our route from east-southeast to south. This was owing to the representations of Indians supposed to know the country thoroughly that the route we were traveling would lead us to the Bone Hill.
On Thursday we again traveled south, and about noon struck the trail of Colonel Thomas about twenty-five miles from the foot of the