Records Relating to Investigations of the Ft. Philip Kearney (or Fetterman) Massacre
Testimony of Col. Henry B. Carrington- Page 1
M740 roll 1 of 1
National Archives & Records Administration
Transcribed by Billy Markland

Col. H.B. Carrington being duly sworn testifies as follows.

My name is Henry B. Carrington, forty three years of age, Colonel 18th U.S. Infantry, and now commanding Post Fort McPherson, Nebraska, late commanding post Philip Kearney, Dakota Territory, and previously thereto, commanding "Mountain District", Department of the Platte, which command embraced the route from Fort Reno Westward to Virginia City, via the Big Horn and Yellow Stone rivers, and being the new route I occupied during the summer of 1866.

The Mountain District was organized under the direction of Major General Pope, commanding Department of the Missouri, and contemplated the establishment of the following posts in said district, viz; Fort Reno, formerly known as Fort Connor, but to be removed westward, on the new emigrant line towards Virginia City, about forty miles; Fort Ransom, to be built on, or near Big Horn river, and a third post upon the Upper Yellowstone river, name not designated.

The route to be controlled and protected, requiring supervision of the District Commander, and through which he had to communicate either east or West, was from the North Platte (Bridger's Ferry) and Virginia City, the line extending five hundred and forty five miles, viz; -

Bridger's Ferry to Fort Reno 115 miles
Fort Reno " Fort Phil Kearney 65 "
Fort Phil Kearney " Fort C.F. Smith 91 "
Fort C.F. Smith " Clark's Fork 63 "
Clark's Fork " Yellow Stone Ferry 90 "
Yellow Stone Ferry " Bozeman City 51 "
Bozeman City " Virginia City 70 "
      545 miles

This order involved and directed the abandonment of Fort Reno (formerly Fort Connor) leaving all the posts within the new "Mountain District" to be built entire.

Immediately on the receipt of the order announcing the establishment of the "Mountain District"; viz; April 13th 1866, I issued General Order No. 1, assuming command, and made requisition for Commissary and Quarter Masters supplies for one year, upon the full basis of eight hundred men, and fifty per cent additional for wastage and contingencies. I also telegraphed to General Dodge for steam saw mills, and he started one forthwith.

My reasons for this were these. I received orders to march "without delay", having then my Head Quarters at Fort Kearney, Nebraska, and commanding "East sub District of Nebraska". The force assigned to me for occupation of the "Mountain District", was designated by the order establishing the District, to be the 2nd Battalion 18th U.S. Infantry, viz; the battalion of my own regiment, then serving with me at Fort Kearney. I expected it to be recruited to the full standard and that other troops would be furnished, and made my estimate large.

But, on the date that I had orders to "march forthwith" I had only two hundred and twenty men present, including those in hospital.

I telegraphed the Ordnance Officer at Leavenworth, and obtained authority to arm my band with Spencer Carbines then in Magazine.

Believing my command however to be inadequate to the establishment of the line, I determined to occupy the site of the first post as the base of further advance, asking General Cooke for instructions, as follows-

Fort Kearney N.T.
April 26th 1866.

Asst. Adj't. General
Dept. of the Platte
Omaha N.T.


I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of telegram to await arrival of recruits, the same answered by telegram. I also furnish, for the information of the General Commanding, the following statement of preparations made for movement under previous orders to "move without delay".
1st    Two hundred excellent horses, well equipped, mount the principal part of the force with me, so that I can move with expedition of satisfying orders.
2nd    I have proper tools for prompt erection of quarters and defenses, and under authority of General Callender, have armed my band with Spencer carbines, to make their services valuable every way.
3rd    I have purchased, under authority of General Haines, potatoes and onions for seed, and use, and have ample other seeds if practicable to use them this season.
4th    By favor of Brigadier General McCullum, I have good instruments, "Transit and Level", for surveys of routes, posts, elevations and distances, for the information of the Genl. Commanding.
5th    I have fifty good teams, and although I should have ten more, which are here, and can be spared, I can move without delay with what I have to establish new Fort Reno, if desired.
6th    Pursuant to request of General Pope, I furnished him statement of assignment of recruits from general recruiting service, giving to the 2nd Battalion, five hundred and eleven, to secure maximum strength. That force will not be excessive to make the new line secure from the start.

I should be gratified to receive such general instructions as may seem best to the General Commanding, and respectfully suggest, that it would be of value to my future operations, if I could reach Laramie in time for the meeting of the Indian tribes in council, and thereby form the acquaintance of many with whom I will have subsequent relations.

I observe, in Special Order No. 40, c.5. Head Quarters U.S. Forces, Kansas Territories, that the post upon the Upper Yellow Stone (supposed to refer to the vicinity of Clark's pass) is omitted. It was mentioned in General Order No. 33 c.6. Department Mo. I supposed the omission was made in view of the small force at my present disposal. Please instruct me as to the views of the General Commanding in this respect.
I am
Very respectfully
Your Obd't. Serv't.

Henry B. Carrington
Col. 18th U.S. Inf.
Comd'g. Mount. District

Being advised by the War Department, that the General Superintendent of the recruiting service, had directed nearly one thousand recruits to be forwarded from general depot for my regiment, and that five hundred had reached Fort Leavenworth, while a steamer had left St. Louis with the remainder, I telegraphed to General Cooke, who had then assumed command of the Department of the Platte (just organized) and to Major General Dodge then commanding the U.S. Forces for Kansas and Territories, suggesting the propriety of delay of movement, the spring being so backward, until the arrival of the recruits.

On the 26th of April 1866, I received telegram from General Cooke, to "await their arrival".

On the 16th day of May, Major General Sherman reached Fort Kearney, Nebraska, and upon full consultation with him, I matured my plans for the establishment of the new posts and the occupation of the proposed new line to Montana.

Two days later, viz. May 19th 1866, recruits having arrived, I marched, reaching the vicinity of Fort Laramie, June 14th in nineteen marching days. Having advices that United States Commissioners were to meet Indian Tribes at Laramie, to negotiate a treaty, I moved the command compactly, avoiding by day and night, all communication with Indians, except such as came through directly to my own Headquarters, thereby to prevent the possibility of any collision between soldiers, or others of my command, with any friendly Indians on the route.

The following were the arrangements made as per Special Orders Nos. 5, 6, 7, & 8.

Head Quarters Mountain District
Department of the Platte
Enroute to Laramie D.T.
June 11th 1866.

General Order
No. 5

The troops and train of this command will hereafter be camped, and parked, closely together, and in the following manner, whenever the camping ground permits.

All the trains will be parked, forming one closely locked square. If the wagons do not close together, this interval will be closed by means of ropes stretched from wagon to wagon, so that no animal may be able to escape.

Head Quarters will camp on one front of the square, the 2nd Battalion on the second, the mounted portion of the command on the third, and the Quartermaster employees on the fourth front, and all outside of the square.

In the fourth front, a sufficiently large opening will be left to permit the public animals to be driven in, in the evening, to stay there during the night. After sunset all animals must be within that square, and the Quarter Master will be held responsible for the strict observance of this order. The second Battalion will furnish the guard for its own and the fourth front. The mounted command will furnish the guard for its own and the front occupied by Head Quarters.

By order of

Col. H.B. Carrington
Comd'g. District
(sd) Fred Phisterer
1st Lt. & Regt. Adjt. 18th U.S. Infy.
1st Brev. Capt. U.S.A., A.A.A. Genl.

Head Quarters Mountain District
Department of the Platte
Enroute to Laramie D.T.
June 12th 1866.

Special Order
No. 6

  1. Straggling for hunting, or other purposes, will at once be discontinued.
  2. Soldiers requiring rest or relief, must avail themselves of the regular intervals of rest on the march, as established by Battalion or Detachment Commanders.
  3. Orderlies will remain with the Officers for whom they are detailed, except when sent with orders.
  4. The mounted men attached to Head Quarters, will march in front of Head Quarters train, when not otherwise ordered, and all mounted men will carry their rifles by a uniform method and in readiness for use.
  5. The Regimental Band, 18th U.S. Infantry, will accompany the Head Quarters train, and will not stray from it, unless by special permission of the Regimental Adjutant.
  6. No soldier will be permitted to visit ranches or posts, or other sutlers than the one accompanying the command, or, to leave the guard limits except for wood and water, without permission of his Battalion or Detachment Commander. Except in cases of trivial import, or such as only concern Regimental Head Quarters, or the mounted men of such, the permission above referred to must have the approval of the Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion, 18th U.S. Infantry.
  7. Wagon masters, their Assistants, teamsters, and all employees or attache[d] connected with, or accompanying this command, will conform to these instructions, and such as they receive pursuant thereto from Captain F. Phisterer, A.A.A. General, and Lieutenant F.H. Brown, Chief Quartermaster.
  8. Order and silence, after 9 o'clock P.M. will be observed by all within the command, whether soldiers or otherwise, and the Chief Quartermaster will so instruct Wagon Masters and their Assistants. The Officer of the day, of the 2nd Battalion will cause the arrest of all offensives against this paragraph.

By order of

Col. H.B. Carrington
Comd'g. District
(sd) Fred Phisterer
1st Lieut. & Regtl. Adjt. 18th U.S. Infy.
Bvt. Capt. U.S.A., A.A.A. Genl.

Head Quarters Mountain District
Department of the Platte
Enroute to Laramie D.T.

June 13th 1866.

Special Orders
No. 7

The pending treaty between the United States and the Sioux Indians at Fort Laramie, renders it the duty of every soldier to treat all Indians with kindness. Every Indian who is wronged, will visit his vengeance upon any white man he may meet. As soldiers are sent to preserve the peace of the border, and prevent warfare, as much as to fight well, if warfare becomes indispensable, it will be considered a very gross offense for a soldier to wrong or insult an Indian. This order becomes specially necessary as complaint has already been made by a chief of the Sioux, of the theft of his gun. Fortunately the gun has been found for return to him. But, to prevent any cause of complaint hereafter, all bargaining with Indians on the march, except with the approval of a commissioned Officer, is forbidden. Soldiers will attend to their own duties as soldiers, and all intercourse with Indian lodges or individual Indians while at Laramie, or on the march from Laramie Westward, will be through Head Quarters. Indian visitors will be kindly and patiently received, their chiefs only being admitted within the lines, and such chiefs will be courteously conducted to Head Quarters for the transaction of their business.

By order of

Col. H.B. Carrington
Comd'g. District
(sd) Fred Phisterer
1st Lieut. Regtl. Adjt. 18th U.S. Infy.
Bvt. Capt. U.S.A., A.A.A. Genl.

Head Quarters Mountain Dist.
Department of the Platte
En route to Ft. Reno, D.T.
June 21st 1866

Special Orders
No. 8

The instructions heretofore given respecting the encampment of the command belonging to the Mountain District, Department Platte, derive special importance from the doubtful attitude of certain Indian tribes which lie in advance of the command, and along or near its route. A careful and prompt conformity to orders will save the reorganization of a camp after it is once established.

The following additional instructions are given.

1st No mule will be unharnessed, or turned loose, until the wagon master shall be so instructed by the Chief Quartermaster
2nd When the trains are parked, the Chief Quartermaster will report at Head Quarters for orders, or any additional instructions, before the wagon masters receive their instructions.
3rd All wagon masters will accordingly report to the Chief Quartermaster, after trains are parked, and will, with all their assistants and subordinates, be held to strict obedience to orders received from, or through, this office.
4th Commanding Officers of Battalions or Detachments, will report daily at 8 o'clock P.M. at the Office of the Acting Assistant Adjutant General, for marching orders for the day following, and during the march. Immediate report will be made of Indian signs, or the appearance of Indians, indicative of doubtful or hostile intentions, also of any serious difficulties of the road impeding or interrupting the march, or of any other substantial cause of delay, which will throw any portion of the command behind, or break up the close order of march.
5th Assignments of commands to their respective locations in camp, will be made from Head Quarters, and will be carried into effect under the direction of the Chief Quarter Master, and those assignments will be daily made on survey of the ground selected, with view of the greatest compactness and efficiency in case of alarm, access to grass, water, etc.
6th As the only probable risk to be entertained on the march, will be that of attempt to stampede or steal stock, the wagons will be corralled closely, so as to prevent any possible outbreak of animals, if alarmed, and no regard will be paid to night feeding of animals, inconsistent with their perfect security, and wagon masters, herdsmen, and drivers, must observe the same regard to orders, the same silence after tattoo, and the same rules as to leaving camp without due authority, which govern the officers and soldiers of this command.
7th No discharge of fire arms within or near the camp, or during the march, except the discharge of pieces by the guard, will be permitted, unless by due authority, and no firing will be permitted on the march, even upon Indians showing hostile intent, except under immediate orders of a Commissioned Officer, and not then, without reference to Head Quarters, unless an attack be so sudden as to require instant repulse.
8th Bands of Indians met on the march, desiring parley or conference, will be referred to Head Quarters, or passed with simple recognition, and common courtesy, and previous orders respecting intercourse, or dealings between soldiers and Indians, will be rigidly enforced.
9th Head Quarters, with pioneer party, will, as a general rule move in advance; then will follow the infantry command, then Head Quarters train, the train of the Second Battalion, and the present mounted rear guard thereof; then the supply trains, and in rear of all wagons, the mounted command.
10th Unless otherwise at any time ordered, when the command halts for rest, trains will also halt, so as to preserve the entiety [sic] of the command, and prevent inconvenience to the troops by the passing or sudden stopping of trains.
11th The Camp of the infantry, and the mounted detachment will conform in front to the line of wagons they cover, and in depth, will, as at general Head Quarters, be restricted to the space actually necessary to give a reasonable distinctness of position to Quarters for officers and companies.
12th The trains must be kept compactly closed up, and the Chief Quarter Master is charged with the direct enforcement of these instructions.
13th Immediately after coming in camp, the Commanding Officer of the Mounted Detachment will report to the field Officer of the day, six non-commissioned officers and forty two (42) privates, for picket duty. These men are to form a cordon, or line of pickets beyond the grazing grounds, and will be returned to their camp, by the senior non-commissioned officer with them, after all the animals have been driven in and corralled. On the approach of Indians they will give the herders timely notice to collect and drive in the stock, and make report thereof to Head Quarters.
14th Every evening at five (5) o'clock the Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion, will cause one company officer and one company to report to the A.A. Adjutant General for outpost duty. The Officer with this company will perform the duties of a field Officer of the day, and report to the Colonel Commanding for orders. The company thus detailed, will, previous to reporting, be inspected by the Adjutant of the 2nd Battalion, and every man thereof should be supplied with ten (10) rounds of ammunition.

By order of

Col. H.B. Carrington
Comd'g. District
(sd) Fred Phisterer
1st Lieut. & Regt. Adjt. 18th U.S. Inf.
Bvt. Capt. U.S.A., A.A.A. Genl.

On June 16th while encamped four miles east of Laramie, I was visited by "Standing Elk", Chief of the "Brules" (a band of the Sioux). He was thoroughly friendly, was entertained in my tent, and asked "where I was going" I told him. He answered me as follows:

"There is a treaty being made at Laramie with the Sioux that are in the country where you are going. The fighting men in that country have not come to Laramie, and you will have to fight them. They will not give you the road unless you whip them"

Upon reaching Laramie in advance of my command, I was introduced to several Chiefs who were presented to me by Colonel Maynadier and Mr. Taylor of the Commission.

Without exception, every Chief to whom I was thus introduced as the "White Chief going up to occupy Powder river, the Big Horn country and the Yellow Stone", treated me coldly, as per reference to my communications to Department Headquarters, which read as follows.

Head Quarters Mount. Dist.
Department of the Platte
In camp near Fort Laramie
June 16th 1866

Asst. Adj't. General
Dept. of the Platte

I have the honor to state that I reached this point on Thursday, in nineteen marching days from Kearney, having halted Sundays, and been delayed three days at Sedgwick, crossing the Platte.

The march has been made with success, but two desertions, viz: recruits who were teamsters, no deaths, no serious sickness.

I find at this post a supply of hard bread for only four days for my command, and in poor condition, not a single utensil for baking flour, only one thousand rounds of ammunition, Cal. 58. I brought what I could, and shall find 36,000 rounds at Fort Reno, giving me at total of 60,000 rounds, obviously very inadequate. I find myself greatly in need of Officers, but must wait the arrival of new appointments, or until others are relieved from recruiting Service. I move tomorrow.

I am
Very respectfully,
Your obd't. Servt.

Henry B. Carrington
Col. 18th U.S. Infantry
Comd'g. Mount. Dist.

Head Quarters Mountain Dist.
Department of the Platte
In camp near Fort Laramie
June 16th 1866.

Litchfield, H.G. Major
A.A.A. Genl.

I respectfully urge that the supplies of ammunition in route from Laramie, per order, be forwarded forthwith. The entire supply of 58 cal. at Laramie being only one thousand rounds, renders many troops almost powerless, in case of delay of supplies and remoteness from base.

All the Commissioners agree that I go to occupy a region which the Indians will only surrender for a great equivalent. Even my arrival has started among them many absurd rumors, but I apprehend no serious difficulty. Patience, forbearance and common sense in dealing with the Sioux and Cheyennes, will do much with all who really desire peace, but it is indispensable that ample supplies of ammunition come promptly.

I am
Very respectfully,
Your obd't. Servt.

Henry B. Carrington
Col. 18th U.S. Infantry
Comd'g. Mount. Dist.

The communications referred to in my letter of June 16th, to the Department Commander, show that I had then no confidence in the favorable operation of the proposed treaty as far as related to my new command.

I informed the Department Commander by said letter of the 16th day of June 1866, that Mr. Taylor, then a member of the Treaty Commission, told me "not to place too much confidence in the result of a treaty so far as it would effect me". But having no authority to await the action of the Treaty Commissioners, although I had suggested the propriety of my meeting the Commissioners, I moved with my command to Fort Reno.

In this movement I had the assurance of support, eastward, by order of General Cooke, locating a post at the foot of the Black Hills with four companies of the 18th Infantry, with two other companies to operate and keep a road open thence to Fort Reno. The order was revoked. My command reached Fort Reno at 12. M. June 28th 1866.

I met no Indian signs on the march, except on June 16th near Horseshoe Creek. Just before my arrival at Bridger's Ferry, Indians came down in advance of my train and ran off stock belonging to Mr. Mills, who was in charge at Bridger's Ferry.

The morning after reaching Fort Reno, a messenger came in and told me the Indians were running off the stock of Mr. Leighton, the Sutler.

As before leaving Fort Kearney, the order of General Pope designated two hundred horses to be furnished for mounted Infantry of the Mountain District, until cavalry could be supplied, I mounted two hundred men at Kearney from horses of the 7th Iowa Cavalry, and the [13th?] Nebraska Cavalry, then mustered out.

Upon the alarm at Fort Reno, therefore, having mounted men, I started ninety in pursuit of the Indians. They rode that afternoon and night, recaptured no stock, but captured one pony with woman's apparel, evidently belonging to a squaw, with bags of sugar, coffee, navy tobacco, one army stable frock, and unfolded goods, which had been recently procured at Laramie.

This fact only re-affirmed my idea of hostility to my future work. At Fort Reno, below the post, I found several trains in camp and waiting for the protection it was understood would be furnished by the troops.

These emigrants were impatient to proceed, but so mixed with mule and ox trains, that they had no concert of purpose.

They were naturally restless under the circumstances, and could not agree among themselves. I settled this by enforcement of the following order viz: -

Head Quarters Mountain Dist.
Department of the Platte
Fort Reno, Powder River, D.T.
June 30th 1866.

General Order
No. 4

The following regulations will govern emigrants and all citizens passing to Montana, via "Reno Station", "Fort Reno", "Big Horn", and "Upper Yellow Stone" Posts.

1st All trains, whether large or small, must stop at "Reno Station", formerly Fort Reno, on Powder river, and report to the Post Commander.
2nd Thirty armed men constitute a party, which upon selection of its commander, or conductor, will be allowed to proceed. The reduction of this number will depend upon the general conduct of trains, and the condition and safety of the route, of which due notice will be given.
3rd When a train shall have organized, the Conductor will present to the Post Commander, a list of the men accompanying the said train, upon which list, if satisfactory, he will endorse, "Permission given to pass to Fort Reno". Upon arrival of a train at "Fort Reno", the Conductor will report with his list, endorsed as above mentioned, to the Post Commander, to receive the same endorsed approval, as in the first instance, to pass to the next post. This examination and approval must be had at each post, so that the last post Commander on the Upper Yellow Stone, will have the evidence that the train has passed all posts.
4th The constant separation and scattering of trains pretending to act in concert, must be stopped, and for the information of emigrants, and well disposed citizens, the following reasons are given, -viz.- First: Nearly all danger from Indians lies in the recklessness of travellers [sic]. A small party when separated, either sell whiskey to, or fire upon scattering Indians or get in dispute with them, and somebody is hurt. An insult to an Indian is resented by the Indian against the first white men they meet, and innocent travellers suffer. Again: The new route is short and will be made perfectly secure. The co-operation of citizens is therefore essential for their own personal comfort, as well as for the interests of the public at large, and if citizens ask, as they will of course rightly expect, the protection and aid of Government troops, they must themselves be equally diligent in avoiding difficulties with Indians, or among themselves, and the consideration paid to any complaint, will be measured by the apparent good faith with which citizens regard the regulations for the management of the route.
5th When trains scatter, and upon reporting at any post, there shall be found a substantial variation from the list furnished, all of the remaining teams will be stopped until the residue of the train arrives, or is accounted for, and until this is done they will not be permitted to unite with other trains to complete numbers, which their insubordination or haste has lost or scattered.
6th The main object being perfect security to travel, all citizens are cautioned against any unnecessary dealings with Indians; against giving or selling ardent spirits; against personal quarrels with them, or any acts having a tendency to irritate them, or develop hostile acts or plans. A faithful and wise regard for these instructions will, with the aid of the Government troops, ensure peace, which is all important and can be made certain.
7th A copy of these instructions will be properly and publicly posted at the office of each Post or station Commandant, and all conductors of trains will have their attention called thereto with instructions to notify all who travel in their charges.

By order of

Col. H.B. Carrington
Comd'g. Post
(sd) Fred Phisterer
1st Lieut. & Regt. Adjt. 18th U.S. Inf.
Bvt. Capt. A.A.A. Genl.

Head Quarters, Mountain District
Department of the Platte
Fort Reno, Powder River
June 28th 1866.

Litchfield H.G. Major
A.A.A. Genl.

I have the honor to report that I reached this post at 12. M. this day. From supplies in depot at this Post, I am ordered by the Chief Commissary for the Division of the Mississippi, to make up, with supplies drawn at Laramie, the complement of four and a half (4 ½) months, for the two company posts at "Big Horn" and "Upper Yellow Stone" respectively.

To effect this purpose; to secure a complete chain of posts, to keep up my mail communications, and ensure a proper system for the movement of rapidly increasing emigration along the new route to Montana, I shall leave an Officer and a proper detail when I leave this post, to protect my supplies and advance the interests of the service in this command. The present garrison consists of two companies of the 5th Regiment U.S. Volunteers. A courier from Laramie brought me a telegram from Major General Pope, dated at Julesburg, requiring said companies, which belong to his command, to move to Cottonwood. I have therefore issued an order relieving them, and directing their movements without delay, to Laramie.

During the latter twenty (20) miles of march, I found indications of cannel coal, and I have specimens of a very superior quality. For twenty miles about this post, no hay can be cut, and sage brush and cacti form the great feature of the vegetation, while the grasshoppers are rapidly destroying what else is valuable.

Mr. Bridger and Mr. Brannan, (General Connor's guide) as well as Officers and citizens, indicate the vicinity of Tongue river, as on direct route, as abundant in wood, water, and rich meadow grass, well protected from winds.

I am of the opinion however, until I test the matter, by personal examination, that I shall find at Piney Fork, or near it, the elements of a good post site.

No Indians were met in route, and the parking of trains, and system of pickets must have kept them out of sight. The day before we reached the ferry, three Indians drove away two horses, within half a mile of the ranche [sic], at midday. The command came through in good order.

I am
Very respectfully
Your Obd't. Serv't.

Henry B. Carrington
Col. 18th U.S. Infantry
Comd'g., Mount. Dist.

Head Quarters, Mountain District
Department of the Platte
Fort Reno, Powder River
July 13th 1866.

Litchfield H.G. Major
A.A.A. Genl.

I have the honor to report that about 2 o'clock, P.M. yesterday, a messenger reported that a party of Indians descended a ravine about two miles down Powder river, and drove off a herd of mules belonging to citizen A.C. Leighton. Mr. Leighton is sutler at this Post, and has heretofore grazed his stock in security without guard. My own herds were not touched, having armed men in charge.

A mounted detachment was started in pursuit with all possible dispatch, but as the night was dark and cloudy, the trail was lost. After a march of nearly fifty miles, they returned this morning. The interpreter, who is a good scout, and from marriage with a Sioux squaw, is familiar with their insignia, pronounced the band to be Sioux, and seven in number. He captured one pony, with saddle, a new frock for a squaw, of goods similar to that recently sold at Laramie, five pounds of sugar, one army stable frock, one army blanket and some navy tobacco. It is certain that this party received their goods at Laramie, and they should be compelled by the chiefs to return this property, or the same should be charged to them, on account of any grant made by the Government in ratification of treaty stipulations, and paid to Mr. Leighton.

The courier who will take this letter to Laramie, will also convey to Colonel Maynadier, or the Commission, if still in session, a statement of the facts, with copy of schedule of Mr. Leighton's loss, which I also furnish herewith.

It is very fortunate that I procured horses at Kearney, for while General Pope's order directed the rendezvous of horses of volunteers, at Laramie, and the issue of two hundred for the Mountain District, I could not even find horses to make an exchange of twelve at that post. In nearly all respects, I find that I did not err in anticipating deficiencies and indifferent quality of supplies en route. I was unable to draw sufficient hard bread to last from post to post. Much that was procured was musty. Flour drawn at Laramie was musty, caked and very poor, to a considerable extent, with no supply of baking utensils. At this point, and for several marches, there has been no grass, and for nearly one hundred miles, no good water except by digging.

I propose, as soon as possible, to revise and shorten the route, having, on one day's march, by following a ridge breaking off from Connor's Trail, lessened the distance six miles. I shall communicate fully, and often as possible. I am of the opinion that I should have a larger force, and from conversation with General Sherman at Kearney, thought it not unlikely that he would obtain the 2nd Infantry, now at Louisville, and I then receive the support of another Battalion of the 18th Infantry. It cannot be improper for me to add that my facilities for communications and the general welfare of my district, would in my judgement be enhanced, if the whole line of the Platte, now intervening between Laramie and general Head Quarters, were in the Department of the Platte. This is a question for the action of the General Commanding the Military Division of the Mississippi, of course, but affects this command.

I am
Very respectfully

Your Obd't. Serv't.
Henry B. Carrington
Col. 18th U.S. Infantry
Comd'g., Mount. Dist.

The command moved west, July 10th 1866, twenty eight miles, to Crazy Woman's Fork, mercury 112° in the shade. At this point four companies were left, to burn charcoal, to weld tires, and repair wagons disabled by the march.

I moved on with the residue, and at 11 o'clock A.M. 13th July 1866, encamped upon Piney fork of Clear fork of Powder river. After organization of the camp, and about 1 o'clock P.M. I made a reconnaisance [sic] towards the mountains and up Piney fork, to determine whether the position was a judicious one for the establishment of a post.

On the following morning, the 14th of July, I left camp at 5 o'clock, with three Officers and twenty men, for reconnaisance [sic] to Goose Creek and Tongue river, upon the recommendation of Major Bridger, my chief guide, with a view to determine whether any better location could be there established for a central post. This reconnaisance [sic] included a scope of seventy miles, and was made without meeting Indians.

Upon returning to camp in the evening, I found that the Officer of the day had in arrest a messenger from "Black Horse" and other chiefs of the Cheyenne Indians, who sent me a message as follows:

"We wish to know does the White Chief want peace or war? Tell him to come to me with a Black White Man" (meaning Jack Stead, my interpreter).

Being in the guard house, a second messenger came, and finding the previous messenger confined in camp, left, but was not molested.

The young man in the guard house was a white man, and had been in the employ of my Quartermaster as a teamster, at Fort Reno, and was there discharged and employed by a man called "French Pete", who, with a small outfit, and having a Sioux wife, moved in advance of my command, having evidently the purpose of trading with the Indians.

I sent the same night a messenger to the Chief of the Indians, inviting them in, as per the following letter:

Head Quarters Mountain District
Piney Fork
July 14th, 1866

To the Great Chief of the Cheyennes


A young white man tells me that you wish to come and have a talk with me.

I shall be happy to have you come and tell me what you wish. The Great Father at Washington wishes to be your friend, and so do I and all my soldiers.

I tell all the white men that go on the road, that if they hunt Indians or steal their ponies, I will follow and catch them and punish them. I will not let white men do hurt to the Indians who wish peace.

I wish the Indians would also find who stole mules and horses on Powder river, and who stole mules and horses at Rock Creek two nights past.

You may come and see me with two other Chiefs, and two of your big fighting men, when the sun is overhead, after two sleeps.

You may come and talk and no one shall hurt you, and when you wish to go, you may go in peace and no one shall hurt you.

I will tell all my chiefs and soldiers that you are my friends, and they will obey.

Your White friend

Henry B. Carrington
Col. 18th U.S. Infantry
Comd'g. Mount. Dist.

Before the time fixed by 2nd letter from an interview with the Indians referred to, I concluded in my own judgement, what would be the best point for the establishment of the principal post for the Mountain District, surveyed the position and occupied it on the morning of July 15th 1866.

Reference to the map herewith furnished, and the accompanying diagram of Fort Phil Kearney, will give the key to future references to the fort and its neighboring country.

During the reconnaissance of Saturday, the 14th of July, down the Tongue river, I found two bush tepees, with Indian signs, but did not cross any Indians.
On Monday following, I had my first interview with the Indians of that country.

The principal chiefs were "Black Horse", "Pretty Bear", "Dull Knife", "Red Arm", "Little Moon", "Man that stands alone on the ground" "Wolf that lies down", "Rabbit that jumps", "Bob Tail", and "Dead White Leg", the brave soldier.

These chiefs claimed to represent one hundred and seventy six lodges of Cheyenne Indians, - had been hunting in the valley of Goose Creek and Tongue river, - claimed to have been affiliated with a bunch of Cheyennes just north of the Black Hills, and that the majority of that band had gone to Arkansas.

Two of these chiefs had Comanche wives, married in former visits, to the Southern Cheyennes.

They represented that on the day of my arrival, the 13th of July, Sioux Indians were encamped near them, and told them, - "I would be there that noon, - that I had left half my white soldiers on the road, at Crazy Woman's Fork – that I had sent men out from Fort Reno to chase Indians who had stolen mules, but the white soldiers did not catch them – that they, (the Sioux) had a "Sun-dance", which was not over, and were insisting that they, the Cheyennes, must unite with them and not let the white soldiers go further west. – That if I would go back to Powder river, (Fort Reno) a fort of last year, the white soldiers might stay there, but should build no new forts."

Responsive to my question they further stated "that the band of Sioux referred to, was led by Red Cloud, and numbered five hundred warriors; that they, the Cheyennes, were weak and could not fight the Sioux, and if I would give them provisions they would make a lasting peace, to go wherever I told them, away from the Sioux and away from this road."

They represented "The man afraid of his horses" to be one days march down Tongue river, below Red Cloud's camp, that both had visited Laramie to make a treaty, but before the white men from Washington had finished their talk, the "Little White Chief", (meaning myself), took soldiers by Laramie to take their hunting grounds, and make a road through them, before they had their presents, and before they said "yes", - that the white men said roads in the treaty and cheated the Indians, telling them they wanted "road", meaning one, and not north of Big Horn Mountains."

The whole interview with this band of Cheyennes was frank, and although, as will be seen by my subsequent reports, I long entertained some doubt as to their good faith, yet events confirmed the information they furnished me, and proved them sincere.

As bearing upon the subsequent massacre of Lieutenant Daniels, and the attack upon Kirkendall's train, I will add that they further stated that a party of Red Cloud's men had gone towards Powder river to cut off further approach of travel.

After a session of about four hours, the Indians became very restless, and said "they wanted to talk among themselves" which I permitted.

Black Horse then stated to me, (which he had not done before) "that when he gave me the strength of their band, he did not tell me that nearly all their young men, (about one hundred and twenty five), had been gone two moons (two months) to Arkansas, partly on a war party and partly on a hunt, but should have been back four days past. They had left their squaws with only thirty Indians, mostly old men, and they feared if they staid [sic] long in the White man's camp, the Sioux would attack the camp in their absence."

They offered to give me one hundred men on the return of that party, to go with me on the warpath after the Sioux. I declined accepting, telling them "I had men enough to fight the Sioux, but if they kept good faith with the white men, and had trouble with the Sioux nearby, I would help them." I gave them provisions and they returned to their village. Up to this, no attack had been made upon my command or any of its trains.

Just before the conference adjourned, Brevet Major Haymond, with the command of four companies, (left at Crazy Woman's Fork) arrived, and encamped just at the crossing of Big Piney Fork, by the Virginia City road. This was Sunday July 15th. At 5 o'clock a.m. of Tuesday July 17th the trains of Brevet Major Haymond were attacked by the Indians.

They passed his pickets, taking first the bell mule or mare of Hill's train and one hundred seventy four head of stock.

From the official report of Major Haymond, of which I give the substance, he started, with one orderly, in pursuit, instructing his mounted men to saddle and follow as quickly as possible, but made no report at Head Quarters, evidently supposing he could regain the stock, without a fight. His party, thus scattered, and ultimately surrounded by about three hundred Indians, according to his estimate, sent for reinforcements. Fifty (50) mounted men, and two (2) companies of infantry were immediately dispatched, but he deemed best to abandon pursuit and return to camp.

His casualties were two killed, and three wounded by arrows.

On his return, he found, in Peno Valley, the family of "French Pete", so called, (real name "Gasseau"). His wife was a Sioux squaw, and she, with five children, were in the bushes trying to crawl towards camp. The following bodies were found dead and mutilated, but not scalped, "Pierre Gasseau", "Wm. Donnaire", "______ Moss", one other white man (name unknown), "Henry Arrison", partner of "Gasseau", and "Joseph Donaldson", a government citizen teamster. These were all buried on the spot, except Arrison and Donaldson, whose remains were brought to camp.

The cattle and wagon loads of goods belonging to Gasseau, and which the Indians had not time to destroy, were also brought to camp and taken charge of by John W. Hugus, Administrator.
The squaw gave the following narrative, viz: -

"That the Cheyennes had been trading with French Pete, and that the chiefs who had visited me on Sunday were with them, until midnight of the 16th talking and trading, that early in the evening a party of Sioux came up from the valley and asked Black Horse what the white men said to him, and if the white chief was going back, and he told them the white chief was not going back, but was going on"

They asked what the white chief gave them and he told them "he gave them all they wanted to eat, and told him to tell the Sioux and Arapahoes, and all the Indians in Tongue river valley, that the Great Father had left at Laramie presents for them all, and they could get them whenever they went there and signed the treaty which was all ready for them to sign."

The Sioux then unstrung their bows and whipped "Black Horse" and the other Cheyenne Chiefs over their backs and faces, saying "Coo"; which by the Indians is deemed a matter of prowness, and a feat which gives them credit, counting their "Coo" in a fight almost as proudly as they do scalps. After the Sioux left, "Black Horse" told French Pete, that he was going with his village up to the mountains, and advised him to go right to the fort or send a messenger to the white soldiers, or the Sioux would kill him. He sent no messenger but was several miles on his approach to camp, at the time he was killed in the morning.

To give a clear idea of the hostilities commencing immediately thereafter, and of the distribution of the forces along my line, I give the following analysis of my command.

My own garrison consisted of four companies of Infantry, about twenty of each were mounted. Five companies, under command of Brevet Major Haymond, I had assigned to establish and build a fort at the Upper Yellow Stone, and two companies under Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Kinney, I had assigned to build a fort on the Big Horn river, to be known as Fort Ransom, but subsequently changed to Fort C.F. Smith. Upon request made, I was authorized to retain Fort Reno as a two company post. This rendered the occupation of the post of Yellow Stone impossible with the force at my command and its establishment was suspended by order of the Department Commander.

Being instructed to look to existing supplies at Fort Reno for the Commisariat [sic] at New Fort Reno, (now Fort Philip Kearney,) I was obliged to send at once to Reno for provisions, making the garrison at Fort Reno two companies, and sending Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Kinney's command of two companies to the Big Horn river, according to original purpose.

Captain J.B. Burrows, of the 18th Infantry, took command of the detachment of the escort of the supply train.

About 1 o'clock a.m. July 24th 1866, a courier came from Clear Fork, which is about sixteen miles East from Fort Philip Kearney, with the following dispatch –

"Col. Carrington

There is a train engaged three miles from here. I cannot send them any help. The Sioux are very numerous. Send a force at once.

(sd) J.B. Burrows"
Clear Fork
Time 7:15 P.M.

Upon the reverse of this dispatch was the following.

July 23rd 1866

Comd'g. Officer


We have received the papers from you, through Black Horse, and we would inform you that about three miles from this watering place, Mr. Kerkendall's train has been engaged all this afternoon. Troops should be sent immediately as we are not in position to leave this bull-out-fit [sic] and they cannot come in, by no means.


(sd) Thos. Dillon"

I immediately dispatched Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Kinney with sixty infantry and one howitzer with wagons, to their relief. They joined before daylight. At their approach the Indians fled.

Captain Burrows, in his report, states that while moving eastward and approaching the first train, which he saw corralled, he saw the body of Terrence Collary G. Co. 2nd Battalion 18th U.S. Infantry, who, without his knowledge, had left him to pursue Buffalo, and had been killed by the Indians, before they had been discovered by the command.

Upon reaching the first wagons, he found them to contain five officers of the 18th Infantry, with their baggage and servants, and an escort of ten men, on their way to Head Quarters, under command of Lieutenant G. M. Templeton 18th Infantry. He reported (as per Official report in my possession) that the party reached Crazy Woman's Fork about 10 P.M. July 31st - that Lieutenant Daniels, 18th Infantry, rode forward to select camping ground – that about fifty Indians suddenly appeared and gave chase – that Lieutenant Daniels was killed, stripped and scalped.

Captain Burrows took this train back with his supply train to Reno, comming [sic] up next with Dillon's train, and afterwards with Kerkendall's train at Crazy Woman's Fork.

A body of nearly three hundred Indians appeared in sight that day, having their families, and being evidently moving. They were led by Black Horse , a Cheyenne Chief, who acted in accordance with my instructions given him at the council, viz; - to approach no train on the road, unless they were absolutely needy, and then only by one messenger sent in advance, who should hold up in full sight the paper I gave him. That paper read as follows, and was a duplicate original of one given to each of the Chiefs who met me in council, July 16th -

Head Quarters Mountain District
Fort Reno (near Fort Phil Kearney)
July 16th. 1866.

To Military Officers, soldiers and Emigrants.

Black Horse, a Cheyenne Chief, having come in and shaken hands and agreed to a lasting peace with the whites, and all travellers on the road, it is my direction that he be treated kindly, and in no way be molested in hunting, while he remains at peace.

When any Indian is seen who holds up this paper, he must be treated kindly.

(sd) Henry B. Carrington
Col. 18th U.S. Infantry
Comd'g. Mount. Dist.

These Cheyennes received provisions from Captain Burrows, and passed both Dillon's and Kerkendall's trains with friendly communications. "Black Horse" and "Little Moon" told them that the Sioux were on the war path after the whites, and would probably reach there by morning. This was disbelieved, but, by morning was proven to be truth. Captain Burrows and those trains reached Reno and returned to Head Quarters safely, without again seeing Indians.

The month of July 1866, in which occurred the events so far narrated, developed small action hostilities against the post, (Fort Phil Kearney) where my Head Quarters were established, but still the opposition to emigration was decided.

On the 22nd July, at Buffalo Springs, about seventeen miles from Fort Reno, (southward) on the route to Fort Laramie, a citizens train was attacked and one man killed and one wounded.

The same day the Indians appeared at Fort Reno, driving off one mule (government property).

July 23rd a citizen train was attacked at the Dry Fork of the Cheyenne and two men were killed.

On July 28th Indians attempted to surround Fort Reno (old) and to drive off government stock. They failed, but took the cattle of Jno. B. Sloss, a citizen. Mounted men sent in pursuit recaptured the cattle.

July 29th a citizen train was attacked at Brown's Springs, which is four and a half miles eastward of the South Fork of the Cheyenne. Eight men were killed and two wounded, one whom died.

One fact in this skirmish requires record, viz: - that while the men were well armed with Henry and other special arms, they were killed, although the force of Indians was small, viz: - less than eighty. The Indians professed friendship, and one man was killed by an Indian who just after shaking hands with him and accepting tobacco, shot him in the back.

Some of the party were in pursuit of game, and some in pursuit of Indians on the hill. Two were in advance and were shot while parlying, and a mile from the camp. Those casualties occurred near Fort Reno, the eastern part of my command, during the month of July.

Finding that aggressive operations had begun in my rear, threatening my communications, I advised Department Headquarters [sic] of the absolute failure of the Laramie treaty, so far as it effected my command, and called attention to previous communications of the same tenor.

The following letters to the Adjutant General of the Army and to the Department Commander, gave summary of the condition of affairs and operations on this line up to July 30th 1866.

Fort Philip Kearney
July 29th 1866

Adjutant General
U.S. Army
Washington D.C.

Letter of June 30th as to recruiting detail, received and complied with. I have to give sergeants important duties, having, for a line of one hundred miles, active Indian hostilities. Lieutenant Daniels en route to join me, with escort of fifteen men, was scalped and horribly mutilated. I have lost three men killed and wounded besides Lieutenant Daniels. I need officers, and either Indian auxiliaries, or men of any regiment, to build my posts, prepare for Winter, and clear out the Indians. I can resist all attacks, and do much active fighting, but I have a long line to watch and cover. The Indians are aggressive to stop the new route.

Henry B. Carrington
Col. 18th Infantry
Comd'g. Mount. Dist.

By Courier from Fort Philip Kearney, D.T
Piney Fork
July 30th 1866.

Litchfield H.G.
Major, A.A.A. Genl

Character of Indian Affairs hostile. The treaty does not yet benefit this route. Major Haymond, with four companies halted to burn charcoal and repair wagons, at Crazy Woman's Fork, but joined me on the fifteenth. The next day Indians drove off his herds. All but seventy head were recovered. He lost two men killed and five wounded in pursuit.

Same night a small train camping with Cheyennes, were attacked by Sioux and all whites were murdered. Colonel Sawyer arrived with train and sixty men, but, for one hundred miles had been constantly threatened and compelled to camp on hills away from water. A supply train from Reno, with a company, was unable to cover an emigrant train behind them, until I sent additional force. Six officers and one officer's wife, with escort of fifteen men, coming to join me, were attacked at Crazy Woman's Fork. Lieutenant Daniels, a little in advance, was shot, scalped, and barbarously tortured with a stake inserted from below.

An Indian put on his cloths and advanced in sight of the party. Two citizen trains arrived yesterday having had trouble below Reno. The Sioux shook hands and then shot one of the party. There is no safety for emigrants armed only with revolvers. They should have rifles or shot guns and have double the usual force. My ammunition has not arrived, neither has my Leavenworth supply train. Working parties keep arms in constant readiness for use, and with this dispatch I send an escort to look for advices, and guard emigrants and supplies.

My infantry make poor riders, and as I can only fight Indians successfully on foot, my horses suffer in pursuit and in fight.

I am equal to any attack they may make, but have to build quarters, and prepare for winter, escort trains and guarantee the whole road from the Platte to Virginia City, with eight companies of Infantry. I have to economize ammunition and yet from Kearney out, I picked up all I could get. I sent two officers on recruiting service, under perimtory [sic] orders from Washington leaving me crippled and obliged to entrust too much to non-commissioned officers.

I telegraph fully as there is at Laramie, and elsewhere, a false security which results in emigrant trains scattering between posts, and involving danger to themselves and others.

The Sioux of Tongue river, a few miles distant, threatened, (by Cheyenne Messenger) to drive out the troops, but will not dare make the venture. Eight Cheyenne Chiefs, with six hundred of their tribe, met me in Council and promised peace. It is yet a question I can only solve by a visit in force to their village, whether they have public stock and have kept their faith. They are, however, at war with the Sioux. I submit that I should have either Indian Auxiliaries, or additional companies from my own regiment. It is a critical period with the road, and many more outrages will injure it. Still, if emigrants will properly arm and keep together, having due warning, I have confidence in the route.

I very much desire that a telegraph be sent to Virginia City, and answered to me at Laramie, whether Colonel Sawyer's train, and those that preceeded [sic] my arrival here, went safely through. My couriers will remain three days at Laramie for dispatches and mail.

I should have the names of the chiefs that signed the treaty, to secure their services in return of stock to emigrants, or in otherwise testing their good faith.

I am
Very respectfully
Your Obd't. Servt.

Henry B. Carrington
Col. 18th U.S. Infantry
Comd'g. Mount. Dist.
Department Platte

Fort Philip Kearney D.T.
Piney Forks
July 30th. 1866.

Litchfield H.G. Major
A.A.A. General

I have the honor to furnish copy of telegram to be sent from Laramie, and more fully to present the progress of my movement and the status of surrounding Indian tribes.

1st Movement

Owing to large supplies at Reno, I left Company "B", Captain Proctor in command (twenty two of the men mounted).

On the 9th instant, I marched to Crazy Woman's Fork, twenty six miles, (not 23.)

This march, without water, succeeding a dry route from Laramie, and the mercury reaching 113° in the shade, and the atmosphere highly rarified, loosened so many tires, and crippled so many wagons, that I left Brevet Major Haymond, to burn charcoal, and repair, as he was under orders for Upper Yellowstone post, at the time.

On the 13th instant, at noon, I reached a point within two miles of this post and camped. During the afternoon I visited the source of Piney Forks, to determine the eligibility of the location.

On the 14th at 5. A.M. I started with a small party to visit Goose Creek, and Tongue river valleys, having received very flattering reports as to their resources, from my chief guide Thomas [sic] Bridger.

After a ride of thirteen hours, and nearly seventy miles, I found less cottonwood on the streams, and that the pine region would be eighteen miles distant. Neither in respect of grass, timber, water or fuel, nor in any military sense, could I find any position, even proximately [sic] equal to this. Besides all, it was too remote from Reno, as will appear more fully from further details.

II.         Location of Fort Philip Kearney

As will be seen from [the] map, the two Pineys leave deep gorges of the Big Horn Mountains about five or five and a half miles from the post, and make that [sic] exit about five miles apart. Between the two, shortly before they unite, and surrounded by fine grass and gradual slopes, is a singular plateau, about nine hundred by six hundred feet in extent, with a natural glacis from each side of the parallelogram falling off about sixty feet at an angle of 45°.

An engineer would hardly make a more perfect grade for the sweep of fire.

On the crest, I placed a good stockade of pine, of which the quantity is exhaustless and near enough for two loads per day. The south east slope is so near the little Piney, it can be carried through the Fort.

No rifle can reach the garrison, but hills and slopes are commanded by artillery, which I brought from Reno for each post.

A signal hill a half mile distant, where I keep a day picket commands a view of the road eastward for eleven miles, to the north east overlooks the "Mauvais Terres", and over the Tongue river valley, takes in the Panther Mountains. Within sight, and less than two miles from the post, I have opened an exhaustless bed of cannel coal. The water is clear, cold, and rapid.

I had previously examined Clear Fork, but it was low, remote from timber, and without military elements of any value. Fort Philip Kearney is, in all directions familiarly related to the Indians.

1st It occupies the very heart of their hunting grounds. In my ride of the 14th I saw Bear, buffalo, elk, deer, antelope, rabbits and sage hens.
2nd It is the natural middle and semi-neutral ground of Crows, Snakes, Cheyennes, Sioux and Arapahoes. Not that all claim equal right to, or, in fact equally visit this tract, but it is to all a favorite field.
3rd It is a natural source of recuperation and supply to moving, hunting, and roving bands of all tribes, and their lodge trails cross in great numbers from north to South between Piney junction, near the post, and the mountains that lie behind. Independent of, but related to these elements, is another, which gives me active duty, but makes the post very valuable.

(The mountains five miles distant are precipitous, but the gorges are full of pine, hemlock, balsam, fir, and spruce. This ridge is about eight hundred feet above the Piney bottoms, but behind, and stretching to the foot of the next, or "snow capped range", is a sweep of prairie, as rich in game as it is in grass and flowers. Here Indians hunt unmolested by travel, and from this great basin, or plateau, them move unexpectedly, north, south, east or west. Their fires are visible, and I doubt not I shall find there much stolen stock. From Clear river to Big Horn, is the point most vital to the Indians, and it will be seen, that while the Head Quarters post is so located as to command the Indian haunts and hunting grounds, it lends easy support to all others).

In fact, the Crow and Snakes near the Upper Yellowstone, while at war with the Arapahoes, Sioux and Cheyennes, are still friendly with the whites, and emigrants will find little troubles after the permanent establishment of Big Horn post, if troops and ammunition be furnished to give me the means of punishing Indian marauders. In thirty days, this post can be held by a small force against any force, giving me the means of more offensive measures.

I trust my supply trains will come up, and that your full expectations will be realized as to the success of the new route, so direct and important to all emigrants to and from Montana.

When I expected to leave Kearney with only two hundred men, I mounted them, and drew Spencer Carbines for my band, so as to use every man. I found Spencer ammunition at Reno and thereby am relieved from some trouble on that account, but having drawn, en route, all I could, I have not now for my Springfield rifles, fifty rounds to the man.

III.         Aspect of Indian Affairs

In Tongue river valley, on the mountain plateau northwest of me, towards the "Mauvais Terres" eastward to the Black Hills, and down Powder river, the Indians ever will steal and murder when they can.

The only apparent exception was in a visit of eight Cheyenne Chiefs with one hundred and twenty five lodges, who agreed upon permanent peace and desire to leave this part of the country, being themselves threatened by Sioux, and at war with the Snakes and Crows. I am not fully satisfied, as before stated, in telegram, that they keep faith. I shall put them to the test and learn whether they have public or stolen private horses.

The Indian Commissioners, before they adjourned, passed a resolution which they sent me by the courier who brought my mail, advising me that a treaty had been signed by them and left at Laramie, with certain presents for Arapahoes and Cheyennes, requesting me to inform such tribes within my command of the fact, that they might go and sign and receive their presents.

Having received no copy of the treaty, and no names of chiefs who have already signed it, I do not see how I can give to the Indians (if they wish peace) any indication of what they are to sign or receive. The Commissioners announce "a satisfactory treaty with the O'Gallalla [sic] and Brule bands", and yet some of those Sioux are in my command, hostile.

The Indians who are about me, who are most interested in this route, and who carry barbarity as far as almost any savage precedent, either have not signed a treaty, or fight me with the donations of the United States. If it be true, as Mr. Bridger, and other gentlemen affirm, that they saw Indians with Kegs of powder, "presents", I can only say that some of that powder I could now use, and I found at Laramie, only one thousand rounds of infantry ammunition for [the] Springfield or Enfield rifle, for United States troops.

I know very well, that when, on arrival at Laramie, I was introduced to certain chiefs, as the "White Chief" who was to advance on the new route, the introduction was not agreeable to the Indians, and they could not conceal it.

If "Red Cloud" and "The man afraid of his horses", signed the treaty, they have the power to restore much stolen stock. The Commissioners did all they could, but, as when I left I wrote you, so since; my impressions derived from closest scrutiny of the Indians I saw, are confirmed, - that I shall have to whip the Indians, and they have given me every provocation. My policy has been to treat them kindly. I do not allow emigrants to scatter or to trade whiskey or other commodities, and so far as travel has reached me, good order is preserved generally, but the present status is one of War, and I shall expect of Indians professing friendship, that they show it in other manner than begging.

Every murder and robbery has been reported to me with exact particulars, by Indians, conforming to accounts given by sufferers. Lieutenant Daniel's party was saved by the fact that Captain Burrows, whom I had sent with eighty wagons to Reno for supplies, overtook them while yet the Indians were in sight. Kerkendall's train was worn out by camping on the tops of hills, away from water.

Colonels Sawyer, Cunningham, Cheeney and others, have either lost stock or men, or been forced to restless precaution and defence [sic].

With Daniels I lost a Corporal. In the skirmish at Reno Creek, one teamster and some soldiers were killed and five men wounded. "Gasseau" ("French Pete") whose wife is a Sioux, was murdered with his teamsters and his partner from St. Louis, Henry Arrison.

A party of deserters from Fort Casper, four in number, crossed the mountains for the gold regions, were attacked near Peno Creek, lost one of their number, and starting back for Reno, surrendered themselves at this post.

It will be seen that the range of hostile action is from the Black Hills, (Colonel Sawyer's route) to about thirty miles west of Fort Philip Kearney. I have no means of learning whether trains that passed before my arrival have reached Virginia City, but from the Indians seen, their arms, dress, and their statements, I expect to hear of other depredations.

IV.        Emigration

This is large. All, however, report that they were assured at Laramie of perfect security, and therefore neglected to procure proper arms and ammunition. I, of course, can spare neither, except when they have Spencer Arms, in which case I furnish a moderate supply. I do not believe emigrants should abandon the route. It is too late for hundreds of them to do so, and I have so dispersed my small command that the outrages perpetuated in my rear, must be less frequent.

I saw no Indians on the march, corralling so closely and picketing so carefully that no force could have done harm. Their very absence, and my observations at Laramie, led me to distrust danger. But not less than sixty well armed men should leave Laramie, and if Indian women are at all to be believed, they expect to harrass [sic] the whole time.

V. My Present force

I establish Big Horn with two companies. It is necessary to do this for two good reasons independent and confirmatory of your own actions.

A large force of miners from Virginia City have recently located in the mountains, furnishing no mean auxiliaries in fighting Indians. It is near the western limit of the best hunting grounds. It assures Indians that this movement is not temporary expedition, but a substantial fixed occupation. It covers outgoing trains and escorts, and puts me in more ready possession of facts above and beyond. But my eight companies of eighty effective men each, with quarters to build, and five hundred and sixty of them new recruits from general depot (although largely from old volunteers) do not give me a fixed, adequate command for the present emergency.

My own supply trains are to be guarded, trains are to be escorted, a courier line is to be maintained. Whatever my own force, I cannot settle down and say I have not the men. I must do all this, however arduous. The work is my mission here and I must meet it. But when, with this dispatch, I send two officers from the ten, on recruiting service, (four being already on the same service,) when two Officers for every ten days, alternate as Officer of the day, and in twin command detachments, when I am my own engineer, draftsman, and visit my pickets and guards nightly with scarcely a day or night without attempts to steal stock or surprise pickets, you will see that much is being done, while I ought to have all my Officers and some cavalry or Indian Auxiliaries at each post.

I don not, as you will see, consider every post in danger, neither do I , at present, apprehend any general outbreak. I do not think the tribes can agree will enough, but I shall have fifty veterans whose term will expire about February, and with casualties, my force must diminish much by Spring. I need not say I want men, as the General Commanding has had experience in the same warfare.

VI.        My personal relation to the Command

The passage of either Army bill, will make one of my battalions the 18th Infantry. I desire to elect this battalion and that the General Commanding, if he shall deem best to furnish the War Department, or Lieutenant General, with copy of this report, will urge my request. The 2nd Battalion consolidated all the veterans, when the others were recruited. I filled my 24 Co. Regiment in one year, the only one filled. I have entered upon an important duty which I desire to fulfill, and take its risks and discomforts with the purpose and confidence that the result will neither disappoint the General Commanding or the authorities at Washington.

VII.        I have the honor to forward

  1. A plan of Fort Philip Kearney
  2. Plan of log buildings
  3. Sketch of location
  4. Report of Captain and Brevet Major Haymond of skirmish with Indians at Peno Creek.
  5. Report of Captain Burrows of encounter with Indians, when relieving Lieutenant Daniel's party.
  6. Report of Lieutenant Templeton of murder of Lieut. Daniels.

I am
Very respectfully
Your Obd't. Servt.

Henry B. Carrington
Col. 18th U.S. Infantry
Comd'g. Mount. District
Dept. Platte

The foregoing report, I was advised by General Cooke, was forwarded to General Grant, with endorsement, speaking of "the energy, industry, and activity of Colonel Carrington", and and [sic] calling special attention to Colonel Carrington's statements "as to want of ammunition and Officers".

A copy of this endorsement was sent me in full, which gave me assurance that I had the support and confidence of the Department Commander.

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