Today in History:

36 Series I Volume XLVIII-I Serial 101 - Powder River Expedition Part I


7, dated headquarters Fort Wingate, N. Mex., January 10, 1865, I left this post on the 11th of the same month with Second Lieutenant George C. Strong, First Cavalry New Mexico Volunteers, four non-commissioned officers, thirty-six privates, and a citizen guide, and proceeded in the direction of the Rito Quemado, Rio del Mangos, and Sierra del Datil, for the purpose of ascertaining, if possible, whether any parties of Indians had passed those places toward the Rio Grande del Norte. On the fourth day out I camped within six or seven miles of Rito Quemado, and at 2 o'clock in the morning of the next day sent a party forward to see if there was any signs of Indians at that place. At daylight I followed on with the remainder of the command, and arrived at Rito Quemado about 8 a. m. The party in advance had come onto the tracks of four horses at this place, which looked to be about six days old, and going in an easterly direction toward the Sierra del Datil. I did not follow this trail, as I wished to go to the Rio del Mangos, which lay farther south. Camped in a canon for the night, about four miles from Rito Quemado. Next day went to Rio del Mangos. At this place there was no indication whatever of any one having lately passed. Next morning started for Sierra del Datil, traveling in a northeast direction. At about 3 p. m. came upon the trail of four horses going in the direction of Rito Quemado. This trail was fresh, not looking to be over one day old, and probably the same party (on their return), whose trail I had crossed two days before at Rito Quemado. For fear they might be spies sent forward, and that a larger party might be coming, I determined to take their trail and follow it back, which I did, traveling most of the night. The next morning I came to where they had been encamped. Here I became satisfied that this was the only party, or if there were more they had no stock, for in several places I found rat-holes, which they had dug into and where their fire had been, indicated that they were living upon that animal, which would not be the case if they were returning with stock. I thought it would be useless to follow this trail any farther, and would return to the post. Taking a northeast course, I crossed the Sierra del Datil, passing La Cebolletta and arrived at the post on the 21st instant, having been absent eleven days and traveled, as near as I can calculate, 181 miles. I am satisfied that no parties of Indians, except those mentioned before, have passed either way.

I am, lieutenant, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain, First Cavalry New Mexico Volunteers.

Lieutenant J. G. DRENNAN,

First Cavalry New Mexico Volunteers and Post Adjutant.


FEBRUARY 3, 1865.

Respectfully forwarded for the information of the department commander. It appears that no large party of Navajos went to the river between Rito Quemado or Rio del Mangos and this post. If any did go they must have passed south of Sierra del Mangos.


Major, First Cavalry New Mexico Volunteers, Commanding Post.