HDQRS. EXPEDITION AGAINST THE SNAKE INDIANS, Camp no. 56, Salmon Falls, Idaho Ter., September 22, 1863.
His Excellency Governor A. C. GIBBS,
GOVERNOR: Under proper circumstances I would be glad to send you accounts of battles fought and won by the First Oragon Voluntter Cavalry, but, as in bargains, it takes two parties to make a fight. We have searched thus far in vain, and I am well satisfied that so far as the country at present examined, and we have examined thoroughly all within the scope of our route and instructions, that there are, if any, very few Indians except the few we find at our present camp. They are destitute and bege permission to live at the falls, feeling, I am satisfied, their utter helplessness as well as dependence upon our charity. There are in some points of the country evidences of periodical visits by considerable numbers of Indians, especially in Camas Prairie, but I think it is generally in the spring and composed entirely of the Indians treated with by the Governor of Utah. I will continue my examination of the country as far as Malheur River on the west side of Snake River. If I find no Indians I will at least be able to form a tolerably correct opinion as to the numbers and tribes who inhabit or visit the country. I am now of the opinion, taking into consideration those treatd with, that the number occupying this section of country has been largely overestimated; that they are generally poor and destitute almost to starvation, and have depended in a great measure for winter food upon the charities of the emigration and such stock as was abandoned or could be stolen from them, eating during the winter all stock stolen or picked up. The emigration has been very sma men, I think the emigration for the East has been the largest. Parties are constantly passing even as late as this - in most instances, I think, of men who have families on the other side, and the largest number of them of last year's emigration. Trade appears to increase to Salt Lake, and a daily line of stages from Salt Lake to the Boise Mienes is talked of for next season. I think the next summer will witness a continuous line of settlements from Boise River to Salk Lake. As you have no doubt learned ere this, Captain Harris' resignation has been accepted. This will make a vacancy of second lieutenant. I respectfully ask that the appointment may be given to Sergt. Major Samuel M. Parsons. He is very competent, qualified in every respect, and personally worthy of promotion. As to the vacant captaincy, the rank of the first lieutenant, I presume, will govern in the matter. All of them are worthy of promotion, and any of them capable of making excellent commanders of companies. I am glad that Company G has been mustered in. I have not learned anything of Captain Darragh's success, and fear from the great disappointment we have all experienced in the emigration, as well as the unexpected hostility to soldiers of a very large proportion of the people, that he will not meet with the success his merits and perseverance deserve. The command continues in excellent health, and with the exception of a few men lost while waiting on Boise River for supplies, maintain their usual good reputation for soldierly bearing and patriotism, though of course a little restive under the disappointment of not having had as yet an opportunity of trying their mettle in actual conflict with the enemies of their country's flag. I expect to leave this camp about the 25th and to reach Walla Walla some time between the 1st and 10th of November. In the meantime I do not expect to have an opportunity of writing till we reach the line of travel from Walla Walla