Today in History:

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


on 18th instant. I cannot speak in too high terms of praise of the conduct of the officers and men of my command. To Captain Murphy, Seventh Iowa; Captain Wilcox, Seventh Iowa, and Captain Weatherwax, First Nebraska Cavalry, I am greatly indebted for their ceaseless efforts to carry out my instructions, instilling every officer and man of their commands with zeal to repair the injuries done to the telegraph with utmost dispatch. Having accomplished the work assigned me, I directed the troops to return to their respective posts and put themselves in readiness for the field immediately.

I beg respectfully to call the attention of the general commanding district to my monthly report of military operations in this sub-district, and the fact that every prediction therein contained has been verified. My frequent requests for additional troops, I am aware, have been seconded strongly by him but for some reason unknown to me a perfect silence is the only response I have received in reply to urgent demands for more troops.

I see but one method of protecting this road through my sub-district which is applicable to all other portions of the road, and unless adopted I fear that additional trouble with the Indians will follow. I would establish posts every twenty-five miles along the road, with garrisons of 100 men each. At each post the Overland Stage Company should have a stage station. Halfway between these posts that company should have stage stations and permanent guards of twenty-five men, and one commissioned officer should be stationed at these for protection of property and furnishing relays of mounted escorts to the coaches, which escorts should accompany the stages from post to post each way. By this means the transit of the mails and passengers would be insured; but I feel satisfied that no assurance of safety can be given otherwise.

I would also earnestly beg that steps be taken at once to establish a telegraph office at every military post. The importance of this is too apparent to need comment, for where a large force of the enemy threatens any one post under present distribution of telegraph offices no re-enforcements can be obtained except from those posts where telegraph offices are already established, numbering now only five in a distance of 210 miles, and separated from fifty to sixty miles apart. The attention of the general commanding is earnestly entreated to this improvement in the defense of this road.

This Indian war has been steadily increasing in magnitude since its commencement, and I have no doubt a concentration of hostile Indians will take place next spring on some of the branches of Big Cheyenne River, having a system of raiding operations in view along the full extent of the line from Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains. Last spring, though superior in extent to the anticipated operations of the coming season, the Indians succeeded in distracting plans of pursuit by simultaneous attacks hundreds of miles apart, and I look for a repetition of that plan for the reason that it was then successful. I think it altogether probable that the road east of Fort Kearny will be attacked in the spring, and we should make timely provisions for defense at once, by establishing new posts and giving that portion of the line protection. To this end I would recommend posts at Wood River, Center, Grand Island, and another halfway from Grand Island to Columbus; one at Columbus, for the protection of the road to Omaha; and on the road to Atchison I would recommend posts at Sand Hill Station, Mud Creek, Pawnee Ranch, Little Blue Station, and Big Sandy Station. These additional posts would call for an addi-