Today in History:

135 Series I Volume XLI-I Serial 83 - Price's Missouri Expedition Part I


mand, from the various posts and stations in his district, early in the spring, and commenced to move up the Missouri River, leaving only such detachments as were necessary to cover the frontier from small Indian raids during his absence. He was re-enforced by about 1,500 mounted men from Minnesota, leaving General Sibley with about 700 effective men to protect the frontier settlements of Minnesota during the summer.

The mouth of Burdache Creek, on the Upper Missouri, was selected as the point where the Minnesota troops should join the forces of General Sully moving up the Missouri, and the junction of these forces was made on the 30th of June. The spring rise in the Missouri River did not come down until very late in the season, and Sully only reached the mouth of Cannon Ball River, at which point he was to establish a strong post, which was to be his depot of supplies, on the 7th of July. He established Fort Rice at that point, distant from Sioux City 450 miles, and garrisoned it with five companies of the Thirtieth Wisconsin Volunteers. The Indians, who had been concentrated on and near the Missouri River about fifty miles above this post, had meantime crossed to the southwest side of the river and occupied a strong position in a very difficulty country near the Little Missouri River, due west, and about 200 miles from Fort Rice.

On the 26th of July General Sully marched upon these Indians with the following forces: Eighth Minnesota Volunteers (mounted) and six companies of Second Minnesota Cavalry, with four light guns, under command of Colonel M. T. Thomas, Eighth Minnesota Volunteers; eleven companies Sixth Iowa Cavalry, three companies Seventh Iowa Cavalry, two companies Dakota cavalry, four companies Brackett's battalion cavalry, on small company of scouts, and four mountain howitzers, all under command of


, numbering in all 2,200 men. A small emigrant train for Idaho, which had accompanied the Minnesota troops from that State, followed the movement of Sully's force. At the head of Hear River he corraled his trains, and, leaving a sufficient guard with them, he marched rapidly to the northwest, to the point where the combined forces of the Indians were assembled. On the morning of July 28 he came upon them, between 5,000 and 6,000 warriors, strongly posted in a wooded country, very much cut up with high, rugged hills, and deep, impassable ravines. He had an hour's talk with some of the Indian chiefs, who were very defiant and impudent, after action for a time was sharp and severe, but the artillery and long-range to give way on all sides. They were so closely pressed by Sully's forces that they abandoned their extensive camps, leaving all their robes, lodges, colts,and utensils of every description, and all the winter supply of provisions which they had been so long collecting. The action resulted in a running fight of nine miles, the Indians finally scattering completely, and escaping with nothing but their wounded, which, according to the Indian custom, they carried off, as also as many of their killed as they could. One hundred and twenty-five dead warriors were left on the field.

I have transmitted heretofore the reports of General Sully and of the various commanders of his force, as also a statement of the immense quantity of Indian goods and supplies destroyed by General Sully in the captured camp of the Indians. Finding the country nearly impracticable, having only a small supply of provisions or means to carry them, and ascertaining that the retreat of the mass of the Indians was