Today in History:

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


cheerfulness and courage, their readiness to obey, and promptness and skill to execute could to be surpassed. The expedition was organized into four squadrons, the first composed of a detachment from Company D, Seventh Iowa Cavalry, officered by Captain Fouts and Lieutenant Haywood: the second, of a detachment from Company I, Eleventh Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, officered by Captain Apt, Lieutenants Harlan and Moloney; the third, of a detachment from Company H, Eleventh Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, commanded by Lieutenant Ellsworth; the fourth, of a detachment composed of men from Companies A, B, C and D, of the First Battalion, Eleventh Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, officered by Lieutenants Patton and Herriman; and the howitzer in charge of Lieutenant Brown, commanding a squad of men, Eleventh Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, sufficient to man the piece. Assistant Surgeon Zeigler, Eleventh Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, accompanied the expedition. Captains Glenn, regimental commissary and Reeves assistant district inspector, both of the Eunteer Cavalry, were also with it as volunteers without command, being anxious to take part in an Indian fight, in which they were fully gratified. Lieutenant Harlan acted as quartermaster and commissary and Lieutenants Herriman an Moloney as adjutants, the first at the commencement of the expedition and the last at its close. All did their duty well and I do not feel at liberty to particularize, except in the case of Lieutenant Patton and his party. Their charge was a very brilliant affair; challenged and received universal praise. Mr. Martin Hogan, telegraph, operator, was employed as guide and did valuable service. The howitzer, under command of Lieutenant Brown, was admirably served, but did not prove as useful as was expected owing to the defective character of the ammunition many of the shells failing to burst at all and some bursting at the muzzle of the gun. I append the report of Lieutenant Brown upon the subject and ask that proper steps be taken to condemn such of our ammunition as is worthless or doubtful and that better be furnished to the troops stationed in the mountains. Much of the howitzer ammunition at Fort Laramie has been in the magazine for eight or ten years. All supplies for this service should be of the best quality, as they are forwarded but once in the year and mistakes cannot be seasonably corrected. The casualties attending the expedition were much fewer than could have been anticipated. It arises from fact that the Indians, when near us, fired to high, not understanding their new arms and ammunition, and that our men obeyed orders, fought systematically, and manifested great prudence and adroitness in imitating the Indian cunning. Moving and fighting in the Indian country is a distinct branch of the service that few understand and that can only be learned by actual service.

In the engagement at Mud Springs 3 men were wounded seriously and 4 slightly. In the battle at the mouth of Rush Creek 2 men were killed, 9 wounded. In addition tere seriously frost-bitten in our night marches, making a total of 28 killed and disabled. The total loss of the Indians in all the engagements is variously estimated from 100 to 150. I append the report of Asst. Surg. A. F. Zeigler, and as to casualties also his supplemental report, detailing the brutalities inflicted upon the body of private W. H. Hartshorn, Company C. It is well to know the character of the enemy we have to deal with. This party of Indians has rarely been equaled in size. It is usually difficult for large numbers to remain long together for lack of subsistence but in this case their stolen stock and plundered stores furnished them abundant supplies. The party was made up of all the