Maj. Wynkoop's Report on the Indian Expedition.
Maj. Wynkoop's Report on
the Indian Expedition.

Report

Camp Weld, C.T.
August 13th 1863
Col. J. M. Chivington
    1st Cav of Colorado
        Comdg Mil. Dist. of Colorado
    Colonel
        I have the honor to submit the following report of my proceedings after having received orders to march in command of a Battalion of the 1st Cav. of Coldo for the purpose of co-opperating [sic] with Gen. Connor of California in punishing certain tribes of hostile Indians infesting the overland stage route supposed to consist of portions of the Ute and Shoshone Tribes, having left Camp Weld with Cos. A and G 1st Cav of Col and been joined at Camp Collins eighty miles north of this point by Cos. M. I. & B. I proceeded on the route to Fort Bridger on the second days march from Camp Collins and while in the vicinity of Virginia Dale Station I received an order from the Head Quarters of this District to return, as our services were considered unnecessary in consequence of Gen. Connor having made a satisfactory treaty with the hostile Indians, but on my return march when not far from the City of Denver official notice having been received of depredations and atrocities that had been committed by the Ute Indians in the neighborhood of Fort Halleck since the receipt of the Despatch from Gen. Connor, I was ordered to return on the route I had previously traversed for the purpose of hunting down and punishing the aforementioned Indians using my own discretion in regard to the manner of doing so. I immediately proceeded by forced marches to Fort Halleck and having ascertained the direction that the Indians had taken from that point I proceeded thirty miles north of Fort Halleck on the Overland trail Route then diverging I struck in a Southerly direction and after proceeding over a country by which I was guided alone by the compass for the distance of eighty miles I found myself at the North Western entrance of the North park here having ascertained through scouting parties the direction that the Indians trail had taken I established a Camp leaving the wagons and taking a force of one hundred and sixty picked men and fifty packed animals. I struck down through the North Park; I started with fifteen days rations but in consequence of having animals who had never before been packed and who became unmanageble our rations through wastage was reduced to about ten days; we found while traversing the North Park game in abundance consisting of Antelope, Bears, Elk, Deer, and Grouse, while the rivers were alive with fish after a two days march we left the Park at the South western extremity crossing a Range and coming into a Valley called by my guides the Old Park here we found the well defined trail the Utes had taken in their retreat and I took it for the purpose of following the same wherever it might lead and with the hope of coming upon their permanent Village, the only evidence after leaving the North Park that a white mans foot had ever pressed the ground we were marching over was the fact that we crossed the trail made by Sir George Gore the English Baronet in 1854 under the guidance of Bridger, that fact being established by the names of himself and party rudely carved on trees bearing the date of 1854; having taken up the trail of the Indians I followed it by rapid marches for the distance of about eighty miles in a westerly direction passing the waters of the Bear and White Rivers and coming on the waters of Grand from that point the trail struck directly South; in the vicinity of our last camp before proceeding in a Southerly direction was a peculiar Sulphur Spring which I hope some day may be scientifically investigated it has formed for itself a basin in the shape of a cauldron and of a crust produced by the continual overflow of the water; it is as near as we could ascertain about sixty eight feet above the level of the river, 'tis of a circular form perfectly symetrical [sic] and as my horses feet struck the crust forming the outside of this immense Cauldron it gave forth a hollow sound leaving the impression that were it possible for you to break through you might soon be engulphed in an ocean of boiling water.
    I continued to follow the trail until the locality became a matter of doubt and our rations were about exhausted the animals were worn out and our only safety consisted in reaching in the course of a short time some point of civilization; at our last Camp before turning back which had presumed to be on Eagle River, the trail turned again to the west and although a false report came to me from the Scouts, I had in advance that the Indians were within a days march the incorrectness of which I soon ascertained had ample evidence that the trail was no fresher than when we first struck it; I started to return in a North Easterly direction eventually & taking Georgia Gulch which is situated west of the South Park and of the Snowy Range, our last Camp previous to the return march was one hundred and fifty miles S.W. of Georgia Gulch; we had traveled during our march through portions of the Territories of Colorado, Nebraska, Idaho, Utah, and found ourselves on the confines of New Mexico.
    The officers and men composing the Expedition though not in the midst of carnage proved by their endurance and patient submission to hardships and privations that they were well worthy of the representation previously earned on well fought fields
    I have the honor to be most respectfully
            Your obedient Servant
            E. W. Wynkoop,         Major 1st Cav. of Coldo
        Cmdg Indian Expedition

[Written along the right hand side of the last page:]

E? C?m? (too faint to read)
Colorado Cavalry Exp.

[Written along the left hand side of the last page:]

'A' File

Cdg? (?) Hd Qts(?)

Enclosure

    A detailed map accompanied this report which I am not at liberty to reproduce. The note on the bottom of the map, which shows the territory that the expedition explored in Colorado, Idaho and Nebraska, says:

    "The above Map is copied from the Government Maps in my office and the position of the Military Posts, is as near accurate as can be obtained

        John Pierce
            Sur Genl of Col & Utah"

    The map shows the locations, (moving from West to East and North to South) of Fort Bridger, Fort Halleck, Ft. Laramie, then south to Fort Collins, southeast to Camp Cu??, and then southwest to Fort Schofield. Denver is next with Camp Weld just south of the city, followed by Fairplay to the south and west. South and east of that is Colorado City. Caņon City is below with Pueblo to the east. Camp Fillmore is just below Pueblo and farther to the east on the Arkansas River is Ft. Lyon, (of Sand Creek Massacre fame.) Finally, farthest south is Fort Carland.


Source:

Edward W. Wynkoop
MSS SC 194
Letter, 1863
L. Tom Perry Special Collections Library
Harold B. Lee Library
Brigham Young University
Provo, Utah

Created September 5, 2003; Revised September 5, 2003
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