and from which it could be hauled at certainly less expense than from Fort Leavenworth. The corps through the section above referred to I examined closely, and they promise an abundant harvest. Hay can be had in any quantity within from three to ten miles of the post, and should not cost over $15 or $20 per ton delivered and stacked. The quartermaster's and commissary stores are in some buildings known as Ben"ts New Fort, about one mile below, on the river. It would, I think, be better if the post were completed and the stores provided with storage there.
The Cimaron route branches off from the Raton at or near Fort Union in a northeasterly direction, crosses the Ocate Creek, Red River, NcNeiss", Whetstone, and Rabbit Ear Creeks, Cimarron River where the Aubrey Cut-off branches in a northern direction, Sand Creek, and a sand desert of fifty of sixty miles to the Arkansas River, which it crosses, uniting with the Raton route. The grass on the Cimarron route is as good as on the other, but the fuel and water not so plentiful; yet there is enough for passing trains. During very dry seasons the water is quite scarce, and some of it, especially at the Cimarron River, is brackish. It is the route, however, generally traveled by merchants" trains, and now that rebel raids from Arkansas and Texas are not to be feared, should be the route traveled by the Government contractors, as it is nearly if not quite 100 miles shorter than the Raton route, and the contract is so much per 100 pounds per 100 miles. The only encampment of troops on this route is at Cedar Bluffs, a point near what is known as Upper Cimarron Spring, about 140 miles from Fort Union, or nearly half way between that post and the Cimarron Crossing, which is just 300 miles. This Christopher Carson, and is supplied from Fort Union. The command will return to Fort Union in November. A permanent camp or post should be established on this route at or near the present one of Colonel Carson's, where fuel and water can be procured in sufficient quantities. Three companies, one of cavalry and two of infantry, would suffice for the garrison.
From the Cimarron Crossing, where the two routes unite, the road passes down the river about thirty miles to Fort Dodge. This post consists of a few huts made of poles set endwise in the ground and covered with a dirt and tents, inclosed by a ditch and a dirt embankment, and garrisoned, I believe, by five companies of volunteers under a Major Armstrong. A few days before I passed two Indians drove off almost all the public animals from this post. These had hardly gotten the stock away before a large number of their people, estimated variously at from 500 to 5,000, showed themselves on the surrounding hills.
The grain for Fort Dodge is hauled from Forts Riley and Leavenwortbottom near the post and should not cost over $20 per ton, delivered and stacked. Fuel and building material, like that used in making the huts that they now have, can, I was informed by the post quartermaster, be obtained in sufficient quantities within fifteen miles of the post on either side of the river.
From Fort Lyon to Fort Dodge, a distance of about 200 miles, there are no troops. I am of the opinion that a four-company post, two of cavalry and two of infantry, should be established about half way between these two posts, and that if the troops were active it would protect the travel more from the Indians than anything else that could be done.