Today in History:

948 Series I Volume XLI-II Serial 84 - Price's Missouri Expedition Part II


8th instant we struck the foot of the Coteau of the Missouri, where we camped at noon. Here we found strong indications of the presence of Indians, the cherry bushes, which they had cut in great quantities, not being yet wilted. One of my men found a small brass kettle which,they had left in the bushes. We found their campaign-ground in a deep ravine. At the head of the ravine we discovered a stick, split and stuck in the ground, another stick being inserted in the split, pointing west. The point of the stick was painted red. Another one was found pointing in the same direction with a piece of a calico attached to the point. No trail was found.

On Sunday, the 14th instant, my flankers brought in a detachment of thirty-two Sioux chiefs armed with a pass from General Sully. They said they were on the way to Fort Rice to get permission from the post commandant to go farther south. They stated that on the night of the 11th instant we camped within four miles and a half of their bands, which numbered about 900. We reached Fort Rice on the 15th instant about noon, and reported to Colonel Daniel J. Dill, commanding that post. On the 16th instant I received the following order from Captain Fisk:

FORT RICE, DAK. TER., August 16, 1864.

Lieutenant PHILLIPS,

Commanding Detachment Company I, Second Minnesota Cavalry:

SIR: Upon my arrival here I find they by the failure of mails, or from some other cause, General Sully did not receive the instructions from General Pope (of which I have a copy) directing him to furnish, if possible, a cavalry escort for my emigrant train (this to the Yellowstone) and that there are no mounted troops at this or other posts to be spared for further escort. Wherefore I call upon you to continue to perform for me, with the detachment you have, such scouting and guard duty as may be required from here to the mouth of Big Horn,on the Yellowstone, from which point, or perhaps sooner, you will return over the same trail,via this post, to Fort Wadsworth. You will provide yourself with thirty days' rations for forty-five men, and be in readiness to start with me by Monday next, the 22nd instant. What seems to be an absolute emergency impels me to make this demand, and I trust you will cheerfully comply. I will endeavor to communicate with Major Clowney and to inform him what I have been obliged to do in the premises.


Captain and Assistant Quartermaster,

Commanding North Overland Expedition for Protection of Emigrants.

To which order Colonel Dill annexed the following approval:

This appears to be a reasonable demand, inasmuch as there are no mounted troops at this post or others to spare, and I think it necessary that Captain Fisk should have an escort.


Colonel Thirtieth Wisconsin Infty. Vols., Commanding Fort Rice, Dak. Ter.

On receipt of which order and approval I entered the following protest:

FORT RICE, DAK. TER., August 16, 1864.


Commanding Overland Expedition for the Protection of Emigrants:

SIR: Under the existing circumstances, I consider it my duty to enter my protest against your demand that the detachment of Company I, Second Regiment Cavalry Minnesota Volunteers, of which I am in command, should continue to act as escort to your expedition through to the mouth of the Big Horn, for the following reasons: First, I am ordered by Special Orders, No. 19, headquarters Fort Wadsworth, camp on Kettle Lake, July 31, 1864, to act as escort to your expedition as far as the Missouri, after which to report to that post without delay,and as Major Clowney is the ranking officer, and as he depends upon my detachment to act as escort to the returning train from Fort Wadsworth to Fort Ridgely, I consider it my