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prairie battery of two sections, commanded by Captain N. Pope. This formed the First brigade. Ten companies of the Eighth Minnesota infantry, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Rodgers; six companies of the Second Minnesota cavalry, under Colonel McLaren, and two sections of the Third Minnesota battery, under Captain Jones, formed the Second brigade, under command of Colonel Thomas. The whole of my force numbering on the field about two thousand two hundred men.
Finding it was impossible to charge, owing to the country being intersected with deep rávines filled with timber, I dismounted and deployed six companies of the Sixth Iowa on the right, and three companies of the Seventh lowa, and on the left six companies of the Eighth Minnesota infantry; placed Pope's battery in the centre, supported by two companies of cavalry; the Second cavalry on the left, drawn up by squadrons; Brackett's Minnesota battalion on the right in the same order; Jones' battery and four companies of cavalry as a reserve. The few wagons I had closed up, and the rear guard, composed of three companies, followed. In this order we advanced, driving in the Indians until we reached the plain between the hills and mountains. Here large bodies of Indians flanked me; the Second cavalry drove them from the left. A very large body of Indians collected on my right for a charge. I directed Brackett to charge them. This he did gallantly, driving them in a circle of about three miles to the base of the mountains and beyond my line of skirmishers, killing many of them. The Indians, seeing his position, collected in large numbers on him, but he repelled them, assisted by some well directed shots from Jones' battery. About this time a large body of Indians, who we ascertained afterward had been out hunting for me came up on my rear. I brought a piece of Jones' battery to the rear, and with the rear guard dispersed them.
The Indians seeing that the day would not be favorable for them, had commenced taking down their lodges, and sending back their families. I swung the left of my line round to the right and closed on them, sending Pope with his guns and the Dakota cavalry (two companies) forward. The artillery fire soon drove them out of their strong positions in the ravines, and Jones' battery, with Brackett's battalion moving upon the right, soon put them to flight, the whole of my line advancing
at the same time.
By sunset no Indians were on the ground. A body, however, appeared on top of the mountain over which they had retreated. I sent Major Camp, Eighth Minnesota, with four companies Eighth Minnesota forward; they ascended to the top of the hill putting the Indians to flight, and killing several. The total number of killed, judging from what we saw, was from one hundred to one hundred and fifty. I saw them during the fight carry off a great many
dead or wounded. The very strong position they held, and the advantages they had to retreat over a broken country prevented me from killing more. We slept on the battle-ground that night.
The next morning before daylight we started to go round the mountain, as I could not get up it with wagons and artillery in front. After six miles' march I came in sight of the trail on the other side of the mountain, but could not get to it. One sight of the country convinced me there was no use trying to follow up the Indians through such a country and find them. I went on to the top of the hill, and as far as I could see with my glass (some thirty miles), the country was cut up in all directions by deep ravines, sometimes near one hundred feet deep, filled with timber, the banks almost perpendicular. I therefore thought the next best thing to do was to destroy their camp. This I did, ordering Colonel McLaren, Second cavalry, on that duty. I enclose you a report of property destroyed by him. That afternoon I marched six miles from the battle-ground and camped. About dark a large body of Indians came on to my pickets and killed two. A command was immediately sent after them, but they fled in all directions. They made no further demonstrations on my march to this point, which I reached yesterday, my animals well tired out, having made a march of over one hundred and sixtyfive miles in six days one day being occupied in the fight.
The officers and men of my command behaved well, and all appeared desirous to carry out my instructions as well as they could.
My thanks are due to the officers of my staff for communicating my orders promptly, sometimes being obliged to expose themselves very much in so doing. Captain Pell, AdjutantGeneral; Major Wood, Fifteenth New York cavalry, chief of cavalry; Captain Marsh, Sixth Iowa cavalry, Inspector-General; Captain Von Winden, Brackett's batallion, acting Topographical Engineer; Lieutenant Ellison, Sixth Iowa cavalry, acting Ordnance Officer; Lieutenant Bacon, Dacotah cavalry, acting Assistant Quartermaster; and I was also obliged to accept the services of Surgeon Freeman, Medical Director, to carry orders.
I shall march towards the Yellowstone in two days, bearing a little south, and I expect to overtake the enemy again on my way.
I would beg leave also to add that the day after the fight, when I returned to the enemy's camp, some Indians came forward and planted a white flag on the hill-side, some men, however, fired on them and they retreated. I saw the flag too late.
I enclose you the list of killed and wounded and reports of different commanders. With much respect, Your obedient servant, ALFRED SULLY, Brigadier-General, Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the Northwest.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND MINNESOTA CAVALRY,
Captain John H. Pell, A. A G.:
I have the honor, most respectfully, to report that, in accordance with Special Orders, No. 62, Headquarters Northwestern Indian Expedition, Camp No. 34, July twenty-nine, 1864, I proceeded to the Indian camp with four companies of Second Minnesota cavalry, Major Rich commanding, and two companies of Dakota cavalry, Cap-ed tain Miner commanding; four companies of the Sixth Iowa, and three campanies Eighth Minnesota infantry, under Major Camp. On arriving at the camp a few straggling Indians were seen lurking about the Bluffs. I immediately dismounted, and deployed company G, Second Minnesota cavalry, who skirmished through the timber and remained in a position to protect the working parties. I commenced by disposing of the various forces so as to destroy with the least delay the vast quantities of goods left in the timber and ravines adjacent to the camp. The men gathered into heaps and burned tons of dried buffalo meat packed in buffalo skin cases, great quantities of dried berries, buffalo robes, tanned buffalo, elk, and antelope skins, household utensils, such as brass and copper kettles, mess pans, &c., riding saddles, dray poles for ponies and dogs.
Finding that one day was too short a time to make the destruction complete, I ordered the men to gather only the lodge-poles in heaps and burn them, and then deployed the men, and fired the woods in every direction; the destruction was thus complete, and everywhere was manifest the rapid flight of the Indians, leaving everything, even their dogs and colts tied to the pickets. In skirmishing the timber dead Indians were found, killed by exploding shells. After a thorough examination of the camping ground, and by judging from the amount of lodge-poles burnt, I should judge the camp to have numbered fourteen hundred lodges. I would report that after the work of destruction commenced the Indians carried a white flag on the bluff close to the camp. As I could not interpret the meaning at this particular time, I did not feel called upon to report the fact to you until I had accomplished the object and carried
out order No. 62.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient servant,
was first formed, was in rear of Captain Pope's battery of artillery, to support the battery, which position I held until after passing around the high butte on the left, where the Indians had made a strong stand, driving them from the butte down towards their camp on double-quick, frequently halted by Captain Pope, while he would send them a few shells. When arriving near the foot of the hill Captain Pope orderme to go ahead, deployed as skirmishers, so that he should not be surprised by parties secreted in ravines. When arriving at a point of timber before us a bold party of warriors came dashing at us; the Captain ordered me to halt, which order was obeyed. The Captain sent them a few shells, scattering them in every direction. The Captain then desired to get a position on a point some distance to the left, where he intended to shell the timber; my position was then on the right-gained the point without any difficulty: only a few indians made their appearance, whom we drove back by a few rounds with carbines. The Captain then shelled the timber a short time; he then desired to gain another point still further to the left; he then ordered me to march my company, by file, near the timber on the right. When we reached the point, as I was getting my company into line, and the Captain planting his pieces, the Indians fired on us, killing one of my horses and wounding another. I immediately ordered the men to dismount, every fourth man holding horses, and made a charge on the enemy, firing into the dense thicket, killing two Indians and wounding one, which my Winnebago boys afterwards killed, scalped and beheaded. I then returned to the battery, marched some distance to the left, where we remained until ordered into camp. My officers and men behaved bravely. On the twenty-ninth marched with headquarters, first brigade, having no action.
Captain, Commanding Independent Company Indian Scouts.
battle of the twenty-eighth of July, 1864, my SIR: I have the honor to report that in the command was held in reserve for a time in rear of the battery of the First brigade, until a space occurred in the skirmishers on the left between the Eighth Minnesota infantry and Seventh Iowa cavalry, when I was sent with company A, of my command, to occupy said space. When, after driving the Indians for some two miles, a large quantity of Indians appeared on a hill in front of us. When we charged up the hill and fired several volleys, at short range, with good effect; when Captain Pope, with his battery, company B, of my command, company M, Sixth Iowa cavalry, and the Nebraska scouts came promptly to my support, which caused the Indians to retreat. I then, with company A, Dakota cavalry, passed to the left of a hill, which was in our front, when the battery, with company -B of my command, went to the right,
when, after a little skirmishing, the Indians went up the mountains, which were in front of the command.
with the Prairie battery for their coolness and prompt obedience of orders; and it may not be improper here to mention Captain Miner's and We then halted, and soon after returned and Tripp's companies of Dakota cavalry, Captain compared with the rest of the command. On the Williams's company of the Sixth Iowa cavalry, battle field, at an early hour next morning, after and the Nebraska scouts, who gave me all the ascertaining that it was impossible to follow the assistance in their power and were very efficient. Indians further with any prospect of success, I│I am, Captain, with great respect, your obedient went to the Indian camp with both companies of my command, in accordance with orders, for the purpose of destroying the property of said Indians, and although several other companies Captain JOHN H. PELL, were at work destroying the property of the Indians my two companies destroyed some seven hundred skin lodges, a large quantity of buffalo robes, camp equipage, and provisions.
The casualties in my command was only one soldier of company A, slightly wounded. In conclusion, I beg leave to state that in my opinion great wisdom was displayed in the conducting of said battle by our most worthy General. I am sir,
Your most obedient servant,
Captain Commanding Dakota Cavalry. Brigadier-General ALFRED SULLY,
HEADQUARTERS PRAIRIE BATTERY,
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that, in the late fight with Indians at Tah-kah-o-kuty, on Thursday, July twenty-eight, I was ordered to take position with my battery in advance and fifty yards in rear of the line of skirmishers in front, with orders to fire when I got within range. I advanced slowly to within about nine hundred yards of the Indians, when I run one piece forward in front of the skirmishing line and fired three rounds of spherical case shot, killing five or six and wounding several Indians. I was then ordered to move to the left, with instructions to head them off and drive them towards the right. I advanced at a full run, supported by four companies of cavalry, sending one section of the battery and two companies of cavalry on either side of the high butte to the left of our line of battle, wheeling and firing as often as I got within range. The line of skirmishers was a mile in rear of the battery. We succeeded in clearing the knolls on the left and driving the Indians into the ravines under the mountains. I shelled them out of there and forced them into the hills, where it was impossible to follow with either artillery or cavalry. We moved again to the left, hoping to find an opening to get the battery on top of the hills, but unfortunately did not succeed in finding a road.
Captain Commanding Prairie Battery.
A. A. G.
CAMP No. 36, N.W. INDIAN EXPEDITION, August 2, 1864. CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that on the twenty-eighth of July, 1864, the command broke camp on a branch of the Knife river at an early hour, and marched in a northwestern direction. My battalion was marching in rear of the left column of the first brigade. At about ten o'clock, A. M., information was brought in by the guides that a large body of Indians had been discovered a few miles directly in our front. I was ordered to move my men to the head of the left column. After marching a short distance the Indians appeared in large numbers in front, and I was ordered to dismount my men and deploy them in front as skirmishers. My formation was in the centre, the Sixth Iowa cavalry being on my right and the Eight Minnesota on the left. As soon as the formation was completed the whole line commenced advancing, and after marching from one and a half to two miles a still larger number of Indians could be seen maneuvering on the base of a large and abrupt range of wooded hills a few miles in front. They soon advanced to meet our line, which continued steadily to advance, and a scattering fire was commenced, the first volley being fired at an Indian who appeared in front brandishing a war club and apparently directing the movements of the others, this being the opening fire of the fight. The fire then became general and continued with intervals along our whole line. Although my men had never before been under fire, they continued to advance steadily and deliberately, and met and repelled the charges made by the Indians from time to time with great firmness and composure.
The advance continued in this way about one hour when the Eighth Minnesota, being severely pressed, fell back leaving my left entirely unsupported and a large break in the line. This I attempted to obviate for some time by extending my intervals and allowing my left to bend slightly to the rear until a battery and its sup
It is impossible to say how many Indians were killed in this movement, as the dead were car-ports taking up their position on our left, I reried off as soon as they fell; but from what saw and from information since received, I think the number will not fall below thirty killed and wounded; my loss was nothing.
Great praise is due the detailed men on duty
formed my line and continued to advance. At this time a battery with its support took up its position on our left, and a force of cavalry on our right, and advancing in front of our line drove the Indians out of our reach, when we
ceased firing and followed in rear of the cavalry to the foot of the bluffs.
The whole fight lasted about six hours, during which time the Indians were driven a distance of about ten miles.
It is to be regretted that because of the nature of the ground and the Indian way of fighting, much of our fire was wasted. The ground over which we advanced was very uneven, and the Indians would gather behind knolls and in ravines on our front, and fire upon us and scatter away on their swift-footed ponies.
Too much praise cannot be given to officers and men of my command for the calm bearing and good judgment evinced upon all occasions and under all circumstances.
My troops took no part in any action on the twenty-ninth. As to casualties I am happy to state that I lost no men either in killed or wounded.
and company B, Second Minnesota cavalry, and a shell from Lieutenant Whipple's six-pounder. At this time Colonel McLaren with two more companies of his regiment were sent to the front, immediately on the left of the Eighth regiment, when they were dismounted and took possession of a range of sharp hills, which was rapidly done by a sharp skirmish.
At this point the left of the whole line was halted and the right thrown forward. After a few minutes the whole line advanced in the same direction, the whole brigade moving as rapidly as possible, much of the time on the run, over broken ground, the firing being kept up briskly and with good effect. After advancing about two miles the miserable enemy rapidly retired. The Second cavalry was mounted and pushed rapidly forward, and the Eighth regiment closed to the right by companies; and the whole line closed on the enemy's abandoned camp, which was a splendid position for defence. After arriving in the camp four companies of the Eighth regiment were sent forward to escort Captain Jones' battery to the front, for the purpose of shelling a ravine containing water. These companies, under Major Camp, being deployed, advanced through the ravine and ascended the steep hills rapidly, and, in a lively skirmish, drove the rear guard of the enemy from the sight of camp.
At dusk the command was withdrawn a short distance to the left and bivouacked for the night. At an early hour in the morning of the twenty-ninth, the brigade took the advance to the left, searching for a passage after the Indians over the immense hill. After advancing five or six miles the attempt was abandoned, as the ground was so broken that it was impossi
At eleven o'clock A. M., I received notice that the Indian camp was found, and my brigade was ordered from the rear to the left of the First brigade, and also to direct Captain Jones, Third Minnesota battery, to report to the Brigadier-ble to proceed. General commanding, which was promptly done, and advance the command in column, company K, Eighth Minnesota volunteers, having the advance as skirmishers. After advancing about two miles, six companies of the Eighth Minnesota volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Rogers commanding, were dismounted and deployed to the front on the left of the First brigade, at three paces intervals. The Second Minnesota cavalry were held in reserve marching in columns of squadrons at half distance one hundred paces in rear of the line on the left.
After advancing about one mile a light fire was commenced on the enemy, who began to appear in large numbers in front, and rapidly passed to the left flank and rear. The left of the Eighth Minnesota was thrown slightly to the rear, and two companies of the Second Minnesota cavalry dismounted and deployed still further to the left in that direction.
At this time large numbers of Indians were passing in that direction, and attacked the rear guard of the main train which was promptly repulsed by the guard, which consisted of companies B and D Eighth Minnesota volunteers,
The command then countermarched, and returned to the Indian camp, when Colonel McLaren, with four companies of his regiment, three companies of the Eighth Minnesota volunteers, and a large portion of the First brigade, worked with a will for six hours, destroying the abandoned property of the Indians, which was a very large proportion of all the property belonging to the camp of one thousand six hundred lodges. Late in the afternoon the return march was resumed, and we again camped on the battle-ground.
At dusk two of the pickets, members of company D, Second Minnesota cavalry, were surprised and killed by a small party of Indians, which is the only casualty of consequence which occurred in the command during the engagement.
The complete success of our force was owing to the self-possession and bravery of both offcers and men, the superiority of their arms, their skill in handling them, and the ready and cheerful obedience to all orders.
It is useless to mention individuals when the whole command did their duty so well. I take pleasure in recommending them to the Briga
REBELLION RECORD, 1862-65.
dier-General commanding the expedition as
Your obedient servant,
M. T. THOMAS,
Captain J. H. PELL, A. A. G.
HEADQUARTERS SIXTH TONA. 4, July 29, 1864.'}
ers on the right, company G dismounted and skirmishing in the advance, three companies (B, E, and F) remaining mounted, and used as a reserve, under command of Captain D. C. Cram. After advancing and skirmishing about three and near a high butte in front of our left. The miles, the Indians gathered in large numbers on Prairie battery took position, and after firing a few rounds dislodged and scattered them. We continued to advance for about two miles furenemy before us, when they again massed in ther, constantly skirmishing and driving the large numbers on our right front. A part of the Minnesota battery, supported by company E, Sixth Iowa cavalry, was placed in position on they moving still further to our right, near the our right, and after a few rounds scattered them, high bluffs, which extended some distance in that direction. A charge was here made upon them by Brackett's battalion of Minnesota cavalry, and they were again driven more to our front, gradually falling back to their strongest position in the range of bluffs before indicated. Our line continued to advance, but by direction of the General commanding was not to move in advance of the Seventh Iowa cavalry on our left, but was to present a connected and continuous line. We were delayed for an hour or more awaiting the advance of the Seventh Iowa cavalry.
SIR: I have the honor to report the operations of eleven companies of the Sixth Iowa volunteer cavalry on the twenty-eighth and twenty-ninth of July, 1864 (company K having been left in garrison at Fort Randall, D. T.), in connection with the battle with the Indians at Tah-kah-okuty. On the morning of the twenty-eighth instant, the two brigades took up the line of march from their camp (number thirty-four) and Big Knife river, in a direction west of north. The First brigade, consisting of the Sixth Iowa volunteer cavalry, three companies of the Seventh Iowa volunteer cavalry, Brackett's battalion of Minnesota cavalry, two companies of Dakota cavalry, the Prairie battery, and one company of Indian scouts, being in advance. About eleven o'clock, A. M., the guides announced that they had discovered Indians in large numbers at a place called Tah-kah-o-kuty, directly in our front, and at a distance of but a few miles, as reported by them, but which eventually proved to be at least ten miles away. The position occupied by the Indians consisted of a ridge of buttes, varying from four hundred to eight hundred feet in height, the sides of which were covered with timber and large rocks. Deep wooded ravines, almost inaccessible to cavalry, protected nearly the whole front of these buttes. South of this position were lower ranges of buttes, over which it was necessary to pass to reach the almost impregnable positioned occupied by the enemy. These lower ranges were broken, uneven, and stony.
Upon the announcement of the presence of Indians in our front, the line of battle was immediately formed by the General commanding: the Seventh Iowa volunteer cavalry being in the center, the Sixth Iowa cavalry on the right, and the Eighth Minnesota infantry on the left, the Prairie battery, supported by company M, Sixth Iowa cavalry, and the Indian scouts advancing in the interval between the Sixth and Seventh Iowa cavalry. One battalion, composed of companies A, G, L, and D, of the Sixth Iowa volunteer cavalry, was commanded by Captain John Galligan, company A; one battalion (companies B, E, and F), by Captain D. C. Cram, company B; and one battalion (companies C, H, and I) by Major House, company G, were thrown in advance of the line of skirmishers. Strong parties of Indians came out well mounted (some of them on American horses), and attacked us from eight to ten miles from their position in the Bluffs. Six companies, viz: A, C, D, H, I, and L were dismounted and deployed as skirmish
ward, on the right and left, driving the enemy
Your obedient servant,
A. A. G., First Brigade North-western Indian Expedition.