Owen's River Valley, July 22, 1863.
Colonel R. C. DRUM, U. S. Army,
Assistant Adjutant-General, San Francisco, Cal.:
COLONEL: I have the honor to state that upon the evening of July 10, 1863, I had the Indians assembled upon the camp parade ground, where, as they passed by file, they were counted and found to number 998. Many more came in afterward, who must have increased the number to considerably over 1,000. I then caused them all to be seated except the chiefs, whom I called to the center of the parade ground, and there announced through the interpreter, Jose Chico, the orders with regard to their removal. I had taken the precaution to have the troops so stationed that their presence did not excite the suspicions of the Indians, and yet at the time I made the announcement escape they quietly submitted, Captain George remarking, "American captain sabe mucho, Indian poco. " The acting commissary of subsistence furnished them with rations until the 31st of July. During the night the troops slept upon their arms on the parade ground, ready at a moment's notice to prevent any attempt at escape. The night passed off quietly, and on the morning of the 11th the rations and as many of the women and children as could be were placed in the wagons, and the whole, guarded by about seventy men, composed of detachments of Companies G and E, left Camp Independence. The weather being very hot, the Indians making an unwilling march, and with so little transportation the sufferings upon the route were intense. At Walker's Pass I found that the water was insufficient for the troops, Indians and animals, and fearing to meet another train at Desert Springs, I made a night march through the pass across the summit, and followed down the South Fork of the Kern River till its junction with the North Fork, with the intention of passing through Walker's Basin. Along this whole route good water and grass are found, which well compensates for the difference in the length of the road. Fearing that to be gathered at Walker's Pass, and as the train passed down Kern River Valls collected to furnish them through to the reservation. I am satisfied that had I crossed the desert many lives would have been lost from want of water, and that great suffering at least has been avoided by the route through Walker's Basin. On the evening of July 17, while encamped at Hot Springs Valley, three miles from Keysville, on the left bank of Kern River, I had the honor to receive your letter of instructions, dated July 9, 1863, relative to the removal of the troops from Camp Independence and also Special Orders, Numbers 162, relative to the abandonment of Camp Independence. On the morning of July 18 I placed Captain Noble in command of the expedition and, accompanied by Captain Ropes and one man, started back to Camp Independence, where I arrived on the 21st of July; distance, supposed, about 150 miles. Captain Noble, after having delivered the Indians over to the Indian superintendent, will go on to Fort Tejon with the detachment belonging to his company. The train will return, via Kern River, escorted by the detachment of Company G, which is ordered to encamp opposite the mouth of the Kelsey Canon, on the South Fork of Kern River. Mr. Banning's teams are en route to this camp with barley, which I have ordered to be distributed along the route. I intend to employ these teams on their return trip to carry what loads they can to Tejon, and hope that with these (Banning's)