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Transcriber's Note: The detailed map of the territory explored by Maj. Raynolds can be found at the David Rumsey Map Collection along with a plethora of other maps. Through the kind permission of Mr. Rumsey, I have been allowed to link directly to the copywrited image he and his associates have created by the restoral of the original map drawn by F. V. Hayden. You will find their work was superlative. This link will open a separate browser window which will allow the reader to follow along with the expedition's progress. When using the map viewer, it will be necessary to "zoom in" several times but, after doing so, you will be able to see the dotted line with dates indicating the expedition's route and camp sites. To open the map directly, please click on the following link (you may have to stop any "pop-up" blocker software you have running to see the resulting window):

Map of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers






Journal of Captain W. F. Raynolds, United States Army, Corps of Engineers.




CHAPTER I.
PRELIMINARY—FROM FORT PIERRE TO FORT SARPY.



After receiving my instructions I remained in Washington until the 25th of April, engaged in organizing my party, procuring instruments, and arranging the other preliminaries of the expedition.

Fisrt. [sic-First] Lieutenant H. E. Maynadier was assigned to duty with me, and, as contemplated by my instructions, the party was organized for operation in two divisions.

The services of the following persons were procured as assistants, viz; J. D. Hutton, as topographer and assistant artist; J. H. Snowden, as topographer; H. C. Fillebrown, as meteorologist and assistant astronomer; Antoin Schonborn, as meteorologist and artist; Dr. F. V. Hayden, as naturalist and surgeon; Dr. M. C. Hines, as surgeon and assistant naturalist, George Wallace, as time-keeper and computer.

After engaging the services of these gentlemen, and having completed the organization of my party, I received verbal orders from Hon. John B. Floyd, Secretary of War, to employ and take with me the following persons, (without any special duty being assigned to them,) viz : W. D. Stuart, of Virginia; J. M. Lee, of Virginia; P. 0. Warring, of Virginia; Wainwright Heileman, of Virginia; George H. Trook, of the District of Columbia; J. P. A. Vincent, of Illinois; Calvin G. Wilson, of Illinois.

These gentlemen were subsequently assigned as assistants in the various branches, and helped to lighten the labors of the expedition.

Private business detained me a few days in Ohio, and I arrived at St. Louis on May 6.

After perfecting my preliminary arrangements in St. Louis, I repaired to Fort Leavenworth, and St. Joseph, Missouri, to complete the outfit, and joined the steamer conveying the party up the river at St. Joseph on June 4.

The party embarked at !St. Louis May 28, upon the steamers Spread Eagle and Chippewa, owned by Messrs P. Chouteau, Jr., & Co., and employed in their Indian traffic on the Upper Missouri.

Their cargoes consisted of the annual shipment of goods for the American Fur Company; the annuities for the Indians of the Upper Missouri and Blackfeet agencies; the articles destined for the Dakota, or Sioux Indians, under the treaty negotiated by General Harney, which had been entrusted to me for distribution ; all our outfit, including animals, provisions, and camp equipage, and also a large amount of supplies designed for Lieutenant Mullin's wagon road expedition.

The boats were thus heavily laden, and were able to travel only during the day, and, above Sioux City, they were compelled to halt also each day to procure their supply of fuel.

Above Sioux City we found the Yancton Sioux at their old camping ground under their chief, Smutty Bear.  Upon our arrival they visited the steamers in full costume, and received the usual feast of coffee and hard bread.  This is the band that recently sold their lands and are now concentrated upon a reservation and commencing to learn the arts of civilization.  Their agent not being with us, we only exchanged friendly greetings, and after a brief halt resumed our progress up the river.

June 13.—We reached Fort Randall, the highest point occupied by United States troops.  The post was under command of Captain Lovell, 2d infantry, and garrisoned by four companies of that regiment.

At this point I was joined by Lieutenant Caleb Smith, 2d infantry, with 30 men who were detailed as my escort.  Lieutenant Smith was acting as officer of the day when we arrived, but having been relieved embarked his command upon the steamers during the night, so that we were able to depart early the following morning.

June 18.—We arrived at Fort Pierre about noon.  We found the principal chief's embraced in the Harney treaty awaiting our arrival, although but few of the warriors were present. This is accounted for by the scarcity of game near Fort Pierre and the uncertainty of the time of our arrival, as it would be manifestly impossible for a large body of Indians to subsist long in the vicinity of this point.

The Dakotas are, and have long been, the most formidable Indians in this region, and before leaving Washington I had been informed by the Secretary of War, and also by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, that I might expect trouble from them.

In 1857 their depredations along the Platte had resulted in the despatch [sic] of General Harney to that frontier with a suitable force, followed by the severe chastisement of the marauders.  Subsequently General Harney negotiated a treaty with them, in which it was stipulated that they should keep the peace while the United States agreed to donate a large amount of supplies, clothing, arms, &c.  The latter had been entrusted to me to deliver under the provisions of the treaty.

The tribe is divided into ten distinct bands, and inhabits the country upon each side of the Missouri from the Niobrara to the Yellowstone.  One band, the Yanctons, as I have before stated, has made a treaty with the government and gone upon a reservation.  The remaining nine contend that such treaty was negotiated without their consent, and deny the right of the Yanctons to sell their lands without the permission of all.

I had been informed that this treaty was the chief cause of the prevalent dissatisfaction, and also that they believed the goods to be given them to be intended to purchase their lands.  It was therefore a matter of primary importance that I should at once ascertain their disposition and intentions.

Upon the landing of the steamer I requested that the chiefs would come on board, within an hour, for "a talk;" and all present, to the number of about 50, soon appeared, decked in full court dress, with feathers and paint in profusion.  I was assisted in this council by Colonel Vaughn, former agent for these Indians, and at the time agent for the Blackfeet of the Upper Missouri, and by Major Schoonover, the successor of Colonel Vaughn in this agency.

I opened the council by informing them that I was glad to meet them; that they had waited long for the goods promised by General Harney, which would have been given them last fall had not the river frozen up ; and that these goods were entirely distinct from their regular annuities, which would be delivered by their agent, who was present.  I impressed upon them the fact that my business was simply to carry out the terms of the Harney treaty, and then discharge other duties that had been assigned me by the President.  I also sought to make them clearly realize the distinction between the duties with which I was charged and those of their agent, and carefully avoided giving them any intimation of my knowledge of their reported disaffection, or affording them any grounds for even an idea that under any circumstances the right to pass through their country would be relinquished.  I closed by inviting them to speak freely.  They then asked to be allowed until the next day to deliberate, and promised that they would then give me an answer.

Upon meeting in council the following morning, I suggested to the chiefs that as I had an interpreter in whom I could confide, it was desirable that they should select one in whom they would also be willing to trust.

Thereupon they selected Jean Lefrombois, the interpreter of the trading house.  All things being then in readiness, Bear Rib, the head chief of the Unkpapa band, spoke as follows:

MY BROTHER:  To whom does this land belong?  I believe it belongs to me.  Look at me and at this ground.  Which do you think is the oldest?  The ground, and on it I was born.  I have no instruction; I give my own ideas.  The land was born before us; I do not know how many years; it is much older than I.

Here we are.  We are nine nations, (or bands.)  Here are our principal men gathered together.  When you tell us anything we wish to say "yes," (that is consent,) to what we like, and you will do the same.  There are none of the Yanctons here.  Where are they?  It is said I have a father, (the agent,) and when he tells me anything I say "yes;" and when I ask him anything, I want him to say "yes."

I call you my brother.  What you told me yesterday I believe is true, and I slept satisfied last night.  The Yanctons below us are poor people.  I don't know where their land is.  I pity them.  These lower Yanctons I know did own a piece of land, but they sold it long ago.  I do not know where they got any more.  Since I have been born I do not know who owns two, three, four or more pieces of land.  When I get land it is all in one piece, and we were born and still live on it.  These Yanctons, we took pity on them.  They have no land.  We lent them what they had to grow corn on it.  We gave them a thousand horses to keep that land for us, but I never told them to steal it and go and sell it.  I call you my brother, and I want you to take pity on me, and if any one steals anything from me I want the privilege of calling for it.  If those men, who did it secretly, had asked me to make a treaty for its sale, I should not have consented.

We who are here all understand each other, but I do not agree that they should steal the land and sell it.  If the white people want my land, and I should give it to them, where should I stay?  I have no place else to go.  To-day I talk very good, say good words, and why do they not report them to my great father?  What I say to-day I assume will go to my great father?

My brother, what I tell you I tell my father (agent) also.  He takes my words and puts them into the water, and makes other reports of what words I send to my great father.  I believe there are poor people below who put other words in the place of those I say.  My brother, look at me; you do not find me poor, but when this ground is gone then 1 will be poor indeed.

My brother, I will speak no bad words.  What I say I will tell you as a good friend ; and what I tell you I wish you to say "yes" to in the same way.  When my great father sends white people to this country I do not strike them, but help them, and act as their friend.  I know this: if I should go below and have no money, the whites would not let me go.

Everything our great father sends to tell me I know is for our good, and I always listen to him.  One thing I am thinking about, and I am going to tell you.  General Harney has been here and made ten chiefs.  What he said I have not forgotten.  General Harney told us that no whites were going to travel through this country ; but I see wagons landed and you wish to go through.  For my own part I am willing, as you are sent by the great father.  I always listen to the whites.  I am an Indian, and not bad.  What I think is good.  I hope you will take pity on me, and that the white people below will keep away.

I hear that a reservation has been kept for the Yanctons below.  I will speak again on this subject.  If you were to ask me for a piece of land I would not give it.  I cannot spare it, and I like it very much.  All this country on each side of this river belongs to me.  I know that from the Mississippi to this river the country all belongs to us, and that we have traveled from the Yellowstone to the Platte.  All this country, as I have said, is ours, and if you, my brother, should ask me for it I would not give it to you, for I like it and I hope you will listen to me.


Two Bears, head chief of the Yanctonais, followed in a long speech in the same strain, asking many questions in regard to the Yancton treaty, to which I replied as best I could, finding my data in a copy of the treaty in possession of Major Schoonover.  He closed by earnestly appealing to me not to go through their country.

To this I replied that one of the stipulations of the Harney treaty was that persons travelling by authority should not be molested, and that it was only upon condition that they would carry out that agreement that I should give them the promised goods, thus claiming the privilege of transit as a right and not as a favor.  I also told them I could only obey my instructions, and that I had no orders with reference to talking about the Yancton treaty.  Their language I would report, but I could do nothing more.

The "talk" continued throughout the day, others of the chiefs speaking, and all dwelling on the Yancton treaty and their unwillingness that I should pass through their country, urging that I should go around by the Yellowstone.  Finding, however, that I was firm upon this latter point, they then inquired if the tribes would be held responsible if some of the young men, whom the chiefs could not restrain, should give me trouble.

I replied that the President would undoubtedly hold the entire nation responsible if I should be molested, adding that I was fully able to defend myself, if necessary, and that I should certainly do so I also declared that even if I was entirely alone I was unquestionably entitled to the right of transit through their country, and if I was attacked the President would send soldiers and wipe the entire nation from existence.  After further conference, without satisfactory results, I declared I should talk no longer, and demanded an immediate answer to the simple question: Would they take the goods and guarantee my safe passage through their territory, as stipulated in the Harney treaty, or should I keep the former and force my way through?  The presentation of this alternative was sufficient, and they replied, "you can go."  I then demanded that they should furnish the expedition a competent guide, and stated my readiness to deliver to them their goods.  They replied that their people were not present, and therefore they would not be able to remove the latter.  It was then arranged that I should deliver them, with the understanding that they should be stored at this point until the chiefs could assemble their people for their removal.  All questions being thus amicably settled, the council closed with the shaking of hands.

Shortly after the close of this conference I visited the trading-house, where the chiefs were lodged in a large apartment specially devoted to their accommodation.  I found myself "behind the scenes" and in the midst of the revelations usually attending such investigations.

The Indians were lounging about the room literally au naturel.  They had discarded their gaudy vestments and barbaric trappings, and with these their glory had departed.  A filthy cloth about the loins, a worn buffalo robe, or a greasy blanket, constituted the only covering to their nakedness.  They were lying about on the floor in all conceivable postures, their whole air and appearance indicating ignorance and indolence while the inevitable pipe was being passed from hand to hand.  Dirt and degradation were the inseparable accompaniments of this scene, which produced an ineffaceable impression upon my mind, banishing all ideas of dignity in the Indian character, and leaving a vividly realizing sense of the fact that the red men are savages.

It having been decided that we should leave the river at this point, our equipment was landed hastily from the steamer, and we pitched our tents upon the bank about dark.  Sentinels were posted, and thus we quietly passed our first night in camp.

From June 20 to June 28, we remained at Fort Pierre, delivering the goods to the Indians, purchasing such articles for our outfit as were needed and obtainable, loading our wagons, and perfecting the other arrangements for our journey.  I had hoped to obtain horses from the Indians, but they were so perverse that nothing could be procured from them, save through the medium of the regular traders.  Whether this was the unbiased and deliberate action of the Indians, or the result of the influence of the traders, I am not prepared to say.  It is certain, however, that it operated exclusively for the benefit of the traders, from whom we were compelled to make all indispensable purchases, paying such prices as they were pleased to demand.

On the 23d of June we were visited by a party of some 40 warriors of the Brule Sioux, under their sub-chief, the Medicine Cap, or as he is generally known, the Frog.  This chief seemed to exercise much greater authority over his warriors than is usual, and he is one of the finest representatives of the Indian race I have met.  About 35 years of age, straight as an arrow, over six feet in height, possessed of striking features, a keen black eye, and an expressive face, he is physically one of nature's noblemen.  I was near the trading-house at the time of his arrival.  He ordered his men not to come in but to seat themselves on the outside at some distance and wait for him.  These orders were obeyed as quietly and promptly as if by a body of well-trained troops.  He then entered the trading-house, accompanied by three of the old men of his band, and I followed.  After a prolonged conversation I extended to him an invitation to visit my camp, which he readily accepted.  Accordingly early in the afternoon my sentinels reported the approach of a body of Indians from the direction of the trading-house.  They proved to be the Brules, but the Frog was not in the number.  They came to our lines but did not attempt to cross, and instead, quietly took seats upon the grass just beyond the limits of our encampment.  After the lapse of an hour the chief, accompanied by the old men of his band and an interpreter, was discovered approaching from the trading-house.  He walked directly to my tent and apologized for the delay by explaining that he had been in search of an interpreter, knowing that the visit would be useless unless he could talk.  I expressed my pleasure at seeing him and also my admiration at the discipline he maintained in his band.

He replied that they were good people; their hearts were good to the whites, and he had tried to restrain the Indians and keep peace with the whites.  He added that he had with him but a small party of men, who had come to trade, having left their families and lodges behind them, as they wished to return as soon as possible ; they could not bring their lodges for the reason that it required too many horses to carry the poles.

At this I remarked that a white man had improved upon their lodges and made much money by it, (alluding to the Sibley tent,) and pointed to one that was pitched near by.  He looked at it, and observing how perfectly smooth it was replied, "It must have a great many poles."  I answered, "No; only one."  With a start of surprise he exclaimed, "Let me go and see it."  He examined it carefully, but when he saw the single pole standing on an iron tripod for a base, with the iron ring and chain at the top, he remarked, sorrowfully, "Ah!  that is iron; we cannot have it."  I asked, "Why, cannot that be made of wood?"  After examining it carefully he replied, "I think it can ; I have a man in my tribe I think can make one.  He can make an excellent axe helve, and I think he can make that; I will have him try."

The interest and eagerness for improvement exhibited by this Indian was wholly in contradiction to the usually received opinion that they are indifferent or lack curiosity.  I should not be surprised to learn that he had extemporized Sibley tents for his band.  I also showed him the goods I had left for the Brules, with which he seemed much pleased, saying they would come with their head chief and get them.  Before parting I made him a small present from my limited stock of Indian goods, with which he was greatly delighted.

Tuesday, June 28.—All of our arrangements having been perfected, we broke camp early this morning.  The multiplicity of little things demanding attention, the fact that our animals were unused to work, the inexperience of our drivers, and many minor causes, produced innumerable delays, however, so that although we were up at 4 a. m., 9 o'clock had arrived before the train was in motion.  All things considered, our start was a success, and we had far less trouble than was anticipated with refractory mules and similar annoyances.

My original intention was to ascend the Missouri to the mouth of the Shayenne, and thence push up the valley of that stream, but from the representations of the traders and Indians I was satisfied that travel by this route would be arduous if not impracticable, and as it was essential that our animals should become fully accustomed to work before attempting difficult roads, I determined to follow the ordinary course of the traders to the Shayenne.

We started directly west, following the road to Fort Laramie.  At the distance of about a mile from camp we reached the bluffs, at the foot of which were a number of Indian graves, the bodies being either enclosed in boxes, many of which were not more than four feet in length, although containing the remains of adults, or else wrapped in skins or blankets and laid upon scaffolds of poles from four to six feet in height.  Some of the bodies were rolled in scarlet blankets and flags, and other votive offerings of cloth or ornaments decorated all the scaffolds.  The scene was well calculated to remind us that we had left civilization and were now among savages.

Through a convenient ravine, a long gradual slope of about two miles brought us without difficulty to the summit of the bluffs, where we entered upon a wide table-laud so nearly level that the eye could not detect the course of the drainage.

Passing some four miles over this high prairie, we reached the descent to the valley of Willow creek, a tributary to the Wakpa Shieha, or Bad river, or, as called by the traders, the Teton.  The declivity was abrupt, and in descending it the awkwardness of one of the drivers resulted in the inversion of the relative positions of his cart, its contents, and himself.  No serious damage resulted, however, and we soon reached the bed of Willow creek, and encamped after a day's march of eight and a half miles.

This point is the trader's usual camping ground for the first night after leaving Fort Pierre, the rule being a short march for the first day.  We found here but a scanty supply of poor water, stagnant in pools in the bed of the stream.  Fuel is also scarce, the timber being limited to a few cottonwoods and willows.  The grass is tolerably good.  The valley of the stream is narrow with high hills on each side.  We were accompanied to camp by one of the employés of the trading post, and the afternoon was occupied in writing final adieu to friends, to be sent back to Fort Pierre, and there await the return of the steamers from the mouth of the Yellowstone.

Wednesday, June 29.—We left camp at 6 1/2 o'clock, a. m., crossing Willow creek and climbing a long and steep ascent before again reaching the table-land.  Our day's march was over high and somewhat broken country, the ground being parched and dry, and the whole landscape characterized by the sombre tints of autumn.  The general avidity was occasionally relieved by narrow strips of green verdure marking the course of the drainage during the melting of snow or in wet weather.  Now should be the commencement of harvest, but no crops would ripen here for lack of moisture.

Our route lay along the divide between branches of the Teton river, having Willow creek upon the right for the first seven or eight miles.  About ten miles from camp we crossed the bed of Frozen Man's creek, a small prairie drain now dry.  Its valley promises tolerable grass but no wood.  We encamped after a march of 15 miles on Water Holes creek, where, as the name indicates, a small supply of water was found standing in pools.  The pasturage was passable, but our suppers were cooked with fuel brought from our previous encampment on Willow creek.  During the day we did not see a stick of wood large enough for a riding switch.

Thursday, June 30.—This morning we lost one of our Indian horses.  During the night he slipped his halter, and not being accustomed to the herd, wandered off and, by his wildness, defied all efforts at recapture.  When last seen he was travelling towards Fort Laramie at a rate of speed that justified the expectation of his early arrival at that post.

Since leaving Fort Pierre we have been following the Fort Laramie road, but this morning, about two miles from camp, abandoned it, diverging to the north and crossing the ridge separating the waters of the Teton from those of the Shayenne.  The country is high but not broken, offering no special obstructions to the passage of wagons.

We encamped at night near the head of a small tributary of the Shayenne, which the guide calls Hermaphrodite creek.  Its water was also found in stagnant pools, and was quite warm, although not unpalatable. The distance travelled to-day was 19 3/4 miles.  The night was cloudy, a fact which prevented astronomical observations.

Friday, July 1.—We left camp this morning at 5 1/2 o'clock, the character of the country traversed being unchanged.  To our right the valley of the Shayenne could be seen in the distance, the neighboring bluffs presenting a rugged and forbidding appearance.

Six miles from camp we crossed the bed of another stream, Dry Wood creek by name, now consisting only of a series of water holes, and resembling in its general characteristics those previously described.

At about 10 miles distance from the starting point of the day, we entered upon a high plateau stretching out five or six miles and ending at the bluffs of the Shayenne.  Here we found our first serious obstructions.  The descent was very abrupt, and at one point it was found necessary to attach ropes to our wagons and carts, and, having them thus steadied, to lower them down by hand.  A little labor will, however, render the road perfectly, practicable.

Upon reaching the river bottom we crossed the mouth of Plum creek, an insignificant stream, in whose passage we experienced more trouble from mud than water, and encamped about a mile beyond in a grove of cottonwood trees, upon the banks of the Shayenne, which, at this point, is muddy and rapid, resembling the Missouri upon a diminished scale.  It is the first running water we have seen since leaving the Missouri, a distance of 63 miles,

In the country travelled by us thus far, there is not suitable timber sufficient to construct a single log cabin 15 feet square, and if half a dozen settlers were to locate upon it they would exhaust the entire stock of fuel before the first winter had elapsed, with the imminent danger of meeting death by freezing.  It is practicable, however, for ordinary frontier travel at the proper season, although the scarcity of wood and water and the quality of the grass would forbid attempts of this nature upon any extended scale.  That the country is totally unfit for agricultural purposes appears to me unquestionable.

Saturday, July 2.—I determined to spend the day in the valley of the Shayenne, and explore this stream above and below the point at which we had reached it.  In order that no time should be lost, however, we struck our tents and crossing the river encamped about three miles above our previous position.

Difficulty was experienced in fording the Shayenne, its bed being little else than a quicksand.  At the point ultimately selected the water was but two and a half feet deep, just touching the body of the carts but doing no harm.  By rapid driving all the teams crossed in safety excepting one cart, which sunk in the sand, thus compelling us to unload it.  The chronometers I directed to be carried over by hand, thereby nearly losing one, the horse of its bearer, Mr. Fillebrown, sinking in the quicksand, but he, having the presence of mind to dismount, came over with his burden in safety.

The valley of the Shayenne is about a mile in width, with a fringe of cottonwood trees bordering the stream.  The soil is good, the surface being covered with a heavy growth of long grass.  The trees are short, gnarled, and very much scattered, presenting the general appearance of old orchards, and there is no difficulty in passing through in any direction.

Our camp is in one of those open groves, and the refreshing grass and grateful shade is in striking contrast with our previous encampments.  The bluffs bordering the river are about 500 feet in height, being in most places impassable for wagons, and are covered with the bunch grass of the prairie.

Before leaving camp this morning I directed Mr. Hutton to descend the river, as far as compatible with a return in the evening, sketching its course and ascertaining its general character.  Mr. Snowden also received the same instructions as to explorations up stream, and each gentleman was accompanied by an attendant.

Both returned promptly, and Mr. Hutton reported that the valley below remained of the same character as at our crossing, the bluffs, however, becoming more broken and impracticable.  Mr. Snowden reported that above the river impinged frequently upon the bluffs on either side, so that it would be impossible to follow the valley without making frequent crossings.  This determined me to leave the river and proceed along the bluffs on the north side—a course in accordance with the advice of our Indian guide.

The day has been very sultry, the thermometer standing at 100° in the shade; the difference between the wet and dry bulbs being 30°.  The exposure to wind and sun is telling upon the faces and lips of the party, totally unaccustomed thereto, but, in other respects, the continued good health of all is remarkable.

Sunday, July 3.—We remained in camp to-day, believing this to be my duty to my Maker, my country, and the party.  I have determined that nothing but absolute necessity shall induce me to move camp on the Sabbath, recognizing as I do that the solemn command for its observance is as binding upon the plains as elsewhere.  Consequently nothing save the necessary guard duty was required of any of the party.

After dinner I invited all who were willing to attend a short religious service, consisting of the reading of a portion of Scripture, and of a short sermon, and closing with prayer.  I am glad to be able to say the service was well attended.

Towards night a heavy gale arose, requiring all hands to turn out and fasten down their tents.  After dark a bright light was observed in the prairie to the north of us, which Bridger interpreted as indicating that the Indians are watching our movements.

Monday, July 4.—We had not the time to show our patriotism by remaining in camp to-day, and therefore concluded to do so by marching.  We left camp before 6 o'clock, and passing up the valley a short distance, availed ourselves of a convenient ravine to climb the hills upon the north side of the river.  The ascent was long and tedious, but most of the teams reached the summit without doubling, and we then started along the divide between the Shayenne and Cherry creek, which soon became very narrow, until about six miles from camp, the river turned more to the southwest, our route continuing along the divide nearly west.

The day was intensely hot, the thermometer standing at 107° in the shade, and our sufferings were extreme.  No tree nor shrub afforded shelter from the beating rays of the sun, while a brisk breeze from the southwest, sweeping over the parched and heated soil, struck us like a blast from a furnace.  Both men and animals were almost overcome by fatigue and great thirst, the only water upon the route being one or two small pools that were found to be far too salty for use.  All who could be spared from the train scattered over the country in pursuit of water, and ultimately, after a terrible march of 19 miles, a pool was found that could at least be swallowed, although the taste resembled that of a weak solution of Epsom salts.  Here we determined to encamp, and gladly sought shelter beneath the wagons and carts from the blazing sun.

Before leaving the steamers the party had been presented by Mr. Chouteau with a basket of champagne, which had been kept with special reference to the celebration of the national birthday.  After camping, therefore, it was brought forth, and although warmer than is generally desirable, our thirst and exhaustion rendered it very enjoyable and refreshing.  As to myself, the heat and labor's of the day brought on a high fever, and I laid down with the reflection that this was a Fourth of July not soon to be forgotten.

Tuesday, July 5.—A change of wind in the night brought an agreeable change of temperature, and morning found me well and ready for an early start.  Two miles from camp we found a pool of fresh water, with which our canteens were filled.  Two or three miles further other pools were found, all being in the beds of small streams which drain into the Shayenne.  Our day's march was over a gently rolling country, through which several herds of antelope were roaming, being the first game that has been seen.  The hills are covered with grass, but it is parched and dry, and only in the valleys is there any relief from the universally brown appearance of the landscape.  The soil is good, and if irrigation were possible, would yield bountifully; but, judging from the present season, the want of moisture is beyond remedy.

The valley of the Shayenne has been visible upon the left most of the time since we abandoned it, so that it can be traced with considerable accuracy.  The hills by the river are very broken, and we have kept near the divide for the purpose of finding good travelling.  Our Indian guide states that Cherry creek lies but a short distance to the north.  Owing to the hardships of yesterday I did not attempt a long march to day, but halted on a small branch of the Shayenne, after travelling 12 1/2 miles.  We found water again in holes and the grass tolerably good, but wood as usual is scarce.

Wednesday, July 6.—The stream upon which we were encamped last night is called by our Indian guide Painted Wood creek, a title for which the only possible excuse is the presence of so little wood of any description.

We have been travelling for some days upon an old Indian trail, which has materially aided us.  Soon after leaving camp this morning, however, we discovered that this was carrying us too far to the north, and we therefore abandoned it, continuing nearly due west and keeping near the upper part of the drainage into the Shayenne, the streams all running to the southeast into that river.  The country continues unchanged—a high rolling prairie, with no distinctive characteristic from that previously described.

I despatched [sic] Mr. Hutton to locate the forks of the Shayenne, but he returned at night without succeeding, reporting that the country in the immediate vicinity of the river is very broken, being impassable on horseback in most places, so that he had not the time to penetrate as far as would be necessary and return at night, as he had been instructed.  Another attempt will be made to-morrow.

Here the river bluffs are visible apparently about ten miles to our left, and the country in the distance does not threaten any difficulty in its crossing, but it is only by close inspection that its true character can be determined.  Cherry creek can be seen three or four miles to our right, and our Indian guide states that there is running water in it only in the wet season.  Its valley is level and open, and contains but little timber.  As the soil here is excellent, I question if the scarcity of timber is not due entirely to the absence of moisture.

Our camp is upon another branch of the Shayenne, and water is still only found in holes, while wood also continues very scarce.  After getting into camp I attempted some computations, but found the weather too hot for mental labor, the thermometer standing at 104° in the shade.

Thursday, July 7.—An early start was effected this morning with the intention of a long day's march.  We travelled for three miles up a gentle slope, reaching the divide between the Shayenne and Owl Feather creek, the tributary of Cherry creek, which we have seen on our right for the past two days.  Six miles from camp we reached the creek itself, and found it in a wide open valley, with it's banks lined by trees, presenting a prospect beautiful in itself, and especially pleasing from its variety.  The water in this stream is also standing in pools, but is abundant.  The relics of a large encampment prove this to be a favorite resort of the Indians, and the "signs" also indicate the recent presence of buffaloes.

Twelve miles from camp, Owl Feather creek bent to the northwest, and we left it advancing still westward.  By a long and gradual slope, we again ascended the divide between it and the Shayenne, the summit being the highest point yet reached.  From it we had our first view of the Black Hills.  Behind the entire line of our day's march was visible, and in the north could be seen the far remote buttes about the sources of the Moreau.  Nothing, however, save the Black Hills, towards which we were advancing, was visible that threatened to intercept our march, the neighboring country resembling that we had already crossed without noteworthy difficulty.

We descended a short distance from the summit of the ridge, and encamped upon another tributary of the Shayenne.  I immediately ordered a well to be dug in the bed of the stream, and at a depth of three feet found water of the temperature of 54° Fahr., which was an immense improvement upon any we have tasted since being deprived of the ice-water of the steamers.  Water for our animals was found as usual in holes, but wood at this camp was still very scarce.  The grass was tolerably fair.

There has been more gravel noticeable in the soil passed over to-day than heretofore, and occasional outcroppings of an inferior sandstone show decided geological changes, indicating that we are approaching the upheaval of the Black Hills.

Mr. Hutton spent the day away from the train in locating the forks of the Shayenne, his efforts being crowned with success.  He reports the country near the river as generally impassable, even on horseback, so that a march up the river bank would have been impossible.  Clouds obscured the sky at night, and prevented observations.

Friday, July 8.—We left camp at 5 a. m., and, about four miles out, crossed a branch of the stream upon which we had been encamped.  Water, in holes here, enabled us to refresh our animals, and we then pushed on through a fine level country, crossing several small drains emptying into the Shayenne.

The road presented no obstacles whatever for 11 miles, when we reached the bed of "Thick-timbered creek," the descent to which was steep, although not very difficult.  This creek takes its name from a few cottonwoods, elms, &c., in its valley, the presence of a little timber being a rarity sufficient to justify such a recognition of the fact.  After a further march, we encamped on Iriquois [sic] creek, a tributary of the Shayenne, whose water is very salt [sic], and totally unfit for drinking.  We found some that was better by digging, but even this augmented rather than allayed thirst.  Nevertheless, as we had already travelled over 16 miles, and the thermometer now stood at 110° Fahr. in the shade, there was no remedy.

We have now been out 10 travelling days, and are 140 miles from Fort Pierre.  The whole country traversed is entirely unfit for the residence of whites, although the soil, aside from its lack of moisture, might be pronounced good.

A few antelope are the only living things we have met in this desolate tract, but buffaloes have evidently been here, and may return at more favorable seasons of the year.  Six bulls were seen to-day in the distance, as we drove into camp, being our first sight of these famous "lords of the prairie."  We are now approaching the Black Hills, however, and will soon have them around us in abundance.

The stream upon which we are encamped now has water only in holes, but the marks along the valley prove unmistakably that at times it is deep and probably impassable.  The banks are abrupt, but a crossing was found without, difficulty.  To-morrow we hope to reach the north fork of the Shayenne, and once more see running water.

As yet we have met no Indians, nor any indications of their presence here for months, although the fires burning around us nightly show that they are watching our movements.  Our Indian guide, who was furnished at Fort Pierre by the chiefs in council, has been very efficient, perpetually watching for good roads, and, since he has learned the requirements of our wagons, rarely mistaking.  I have furnished him a mule, and he now seems extremely happy and talks of accompanying us through the entire trip.  His felicity is probably explained by the fact that he has been abundantly fed ; a full stomach constituting the Indian idea of the acme of all human happiness.

Dark clouds at night prevented astronomical observations, and seem to promise rain, a most acceptable boon, if it shall cool the heated air.

Saturday, July 9.—We left camp at 5 a. m., and after about four miles march came upon a small pool of water which had been fresh, but now gave irrefutable evidence that at least one buffalo was in this region, the color and flavor of the barn being unmistakable.  This fact, however, did not prevent its being used freely, nor the taking away of a supply in our canteens—anything that will not create thirst being acceptable.

The country is here very level, considering our proximity to the Shayenne, and an occasional turn to avoid a hill or gully was all that was required till we approached the river, when the abruptness of the descent necessitated considerable search to find a suitable road for our wagons.  We were successful, however, and by noon crossed the stream, and pitched our tents in a grove of young cottonwoods on its banks.

The river here is a clear, beautiful stream, about 30 yards in width and two feet deep, flowing over a stony or gravel bottom.  The banks are steep and of loose sand, rendering care necessary in the selection of the points at which we entered and emerged from the stream in our fording, but this was the only difficulty encountered.

Our camp is on a gentle slope on the southwest side of the river, above the mouth of Bear Butte creek, with a row of cottonwoods between us and the water, and the spot is far more inviting than any we have found since commencing our life under canvas.  Timber here is still scarce, and all that is visible could be easily transplanted into a plot of a quarter of an acre.  Very little can be found that is fit for fuel, and none that could be used for building purposes.  The scarcity of timber is, in fact, one of the most salient features of the country.  From the Missouri to this point, a distance of 155 miles, we have scarcely seen trees enough, on the average, to furnish shade for a single person in each square mile traversed—certainly not, if we except those in the valley of the Shayenne.

The thermometer for the past week has ranged from 100° to 110° Fahr., and yet our marches have averaged 15 miles per day.  This evening we have had quite a storm, accompanied with rain, which it is to be hoped will cool the air.

Sunday, July 10.—We remained in camp to-day, in accordance with my previously expressed determination.  The rain last night failed to cool the air, as the thermometer this afternoon stands at 100°.  This evening a storm seems to be impending in the northwest.

Monday, July 11.—We left camp at 5 o'clock and 20 minutes a. m.. and travelled westward near the divide between Bear Butte creek and Cottonwood creek, the river bearing off to the north.  Our route laid over a fine level country, crossing no streams, the drainage tending towards Bear Butte creek, and the ridge upon the right being somewhat broken.

The day was very fine, the thermometer not rising above 80° Fahr.. and the men and animals being in excellent condition, after the rest of yesterday, we made rapid progress.  After travelling 13 miles I ordered the train to incline to the left for water, which we found in the north fork of Bear Butte creek, where we encamped, after having marched 16.8 miles.  We had scarcely pitched oar tents before we were visited by a heavy rain, coming from the west out of the Black Hills.

After dinner, as the storm seemed to be over, a large party started for the summit of Bear butte, which was not a mile from our camp.  Before reaching it, however, they were drenched by another shower.  This hill is very steep and the ascent difficult, a large part of the path laying over rock debris, which, on the steep slope, furnished only a very treacherous footing.  The butte is composed of trap, and its upper portions are mainly destitute of vegetation.  On the summit are a few stunted pines.  Its height is about 4,500 feet above the level of the sea, or 1,500 above our camp, and the top was reached by the party in an hour.  This peak is detached from the main group of the Black Hills, and, being at some distance from them, forms a prominent landmark, as is evident from the fact that it has been plainly discernible by us since the 7th.

Rain fell most of the afternoon, but before sundown the sky was illuminated in the west, and a beautiful rainbow spanned the butte in front of our camp.  The mountain was nearly in the centre of the arch, clothed in delicate purple tints, the contrast with the dark clouds in the back-ground forming a scene of singular and great beauty.

Since dark the rain has been falling steadily, and the prospect now seems gloomy for a march to-morrow.  Some of our recruits are just experiencing the first discomforts of camp life.

Tuesday, July 12.—The morning was dark and cloudy, but we left camp before 6 o'clock, a. m., travelling over a comparatively level road, and our course bearing a little north of west.  Eight and a half miles from camp we reached Cottonwood creek, in the valley of which we found a few stunted oaks, the first thus far seen.  There is a small bottom at the point we crossed the creek, but hills narrow upon the stream just above. All the grass upon the creek had been recently burned, and to the south among the hills the smoke was still rising.  This creek is about three feet wide, and flows over a gravel bed.

Ascending the hills to the west by a long but easy slope, we travelled over a flat divide for two miles, and descended by another gentle declivity to the east fork of Crooked, or Roman-nosed creek, passing which we continued on to the west fork of the same stream.  Having crossed the burnt district we found grass again upon the west bank, and encamped here, having travelled 15 1/2 miles. We have been all day skirting the Black Hills, lying upon our left and rising in a succession of dark ridges, while on our right is an extended prairie view, varied by several marked isolated hills.  We are now encamped on a little mountain brook, with an abundant supply of fresh water, wood, and excellent grass.  The soil in these valleys is good, and the country much more habitable than the plains.

Wednesday, July 13.—We left camp at 5 1/2 o'clock, passing down the valley of the stream upon which we had encamped for a mile and a half, and then, crossing a ridge of low hills, we entered, at the distance of four and a half miles, a small ravine and creek that gave us considerable trouble, as we were compelled to cut down the steep banks, which were 15 feet in height on each side, and could not spare the time requisite to make a good road.

Leaving this stream our route bore off to the left, crossing through a gap a spur of the mountain, eight miles from our morning camp.  The road in this gap was rocky and uneven, making hard work for the animals.  Two miles further on, after an easy march, we came to a fine running stream, 15 or 80 feet wide and a foot deep, crossing our route at right angles. Our Indian guide called it Mi-ni Lu-sa, or Running Water.  Half a mile beyond we came upon a small brook flowing through a muddy bottom, the Indian name being Kle-kle-wak-pa-la, or Miry creek.  It was not more than 10 feet wide, but as the first of the party entered it I discovered that their animals sank far into the mud.  I therefore drove off in quest of a better ford, the Indian guide seating himself quietly upon the bank as I did so.

After a prolonged but unsuccessful search I returned, when the interpreter said, "the guide declares that you may look, but you can find no better crossing than this."  A thorough investigation convinced me that this was true, and we soon reached the opposite bank without especial trouble.  This is but one of many instances in which our guide has manifested a perfect and minute knowledge of the country, that has been invaluable to the expedition.

After a march of about two miles further we encamped on a stream, which, from its color, was unanimously called Red Earth creek, the banks opposite and above being a bright red, and the earth tinging the water.  Our Indian calls it Wo-ke-o-ke-lo-ka-wak-pa, or the river that heads in a basin or springs.  It is 30 or 40 feet wide, and four or five feet deep.  At the suggestion of the guide, some of the party commenced angling and caught a few fish of the mullet species, and also one or two catfish weighing from one to three pounds each.

The grass at this camp is good, and wood and water abundant.  Our road to day was the first that could be called bad, yet the picks and shovels were brought into requisition but twice, and the march of 13 miles was accomplished in seven hours.  With the exception of the scarcity of good water and of timber east of the Shayenne, there are no obstacles in this country to the passage of troops.  A very few trains, however, would consume the entire stock of fuel to be found at many of our camping places.

Thursday, July 14—We left camp at 5 1/2 a. m., but before going three miles were compelled to cross two streams, which occasioned some trouble.  One was a dashing mountain torrent, eight feet wide and as many inches in depth ; its source being a spring which formed a pool of the area of a quarter of an acre, a mile to our left in the prairie.  This pool gave the name to a neighboring butte, called by Lieutenant Warren Crow peak, but by our Indian Basin butte.

A mile or two further we crossed Red Earth creek, (Wo-ke-o-ke-lo-ka,) after considerable detention, resulting from the fact that we were compelled to cut down the banks on each side to make a passable road for our wagons.  So great were these delays that, upon reaching the opposite bank, we found that we had averaged only a mile in an hour since leaving camp.  Still, notwithstanding these hindrances to our small party, the obstructions would cease to be formidable before the pioneer force of a large body, and would cause little or no delay.

After passing Red Earth creek our route inclined to the right, towards the ridge we had crossed, and we then continued in a northerly direction towards the north fork of the Shayenne.  After advancing nine miles from our previous camp our line of march had inclined so much to the right that we were travelling considerably cast of north.

Here we crossed a small stream running to the eastward, on the left of which was a high, rocky ridge, to whose summit I rode.  It proved to be the last outlier of the Black Hills.  To the north stretched out a broken prairie as far as the eye could pierce, while in the south lay the Black Hills, and in the distance the peak of Bear butte bounded the landscape.  The ridge upon which I stood was formed of an inferior soft sandstone, and it continued to about a mile below the point at which we had crossed the stream.

Our Indian having declared that after leaving this point we should find no more water until we reached the north fork of the Shayenne, I determined to encamp near the end of the bluff.

As we were pitching our tents, however, it was discovered that neither was there any water here, the stream having suddenly disappeared in the sand.  I determined to risk digging rather than turn back, and was fortunately successful.  This incident affords an excellent illustration of the nature of streams in this region; and it is not safe to follow down their beds in pursuit of water, the supply being generally greatest in the vicinity of their sources.

Wood is abundant at this camp, the valley containing a large grove of ash, elms, and oaks.  The grass is also excellent.  The country travelled today has been broken, the rocky formation jutting out in denuded peaks upon all sides.   The valleys contain good soil, which would amply repay cultivation.  Upon the sides of the bluffs a few scattered pines flourish; and in the valleys the timber consists of ash, elm, and oak, the trees, however, being universally too small for building purposes.

Friday, July 15.—We left camp at 5 a. m., our course bearing about north-northwest.  At the outset the country before us appeared to be a slightly undulating prairie; but after advancing six or eight miles, and upon approaching the river, we found it to be crossed by a number of rather formidable ravines, commencing in several adjacent low pine hills, and filled with scrub oak, cherry, plum, and other underbrush.  They were all crossed, however, without serious delay, and in a few miles further we ascended a ridge upon our right and looked down upon the north fork of the Shayenne.

The descent to the river was 150 feet in height, but not difficult.  The valley is a mile in width, rocky and covered with cactus.  We crossed the stream and encamped on the left bank amid rather poor pasturage, wood, however, being abundant.  The river is muddy from recent rains, and contains about two-thirds of the volume of water which we found in its banks at the mouth of Bear Butte creek.  I was anxious to follow up the valley from this point, but the Indian guide pronounces it impossible, and declares the only feasible route to lay along the ridge on the left bank.  His knowledge of the country has been proven to be so accurate, and is so serviceable, that I shall not reject his advice.

I had to-day the first opportunity of testing my Maynard rifle, hitting a deer at a distance of over 300 yards.  The weapon is a capital one, when in order, but it has been found difficult on the plains to give it the required attention.

Saturday, July 16.—We started at 5 a. m., and leaving the river ascended the ridge to the northeast of the camp.  It was quite steep towards the summit, the slope of clay and rock being covered with stunted oaks and pines.  This ridge is 400 feet above the stream, and our route lay along its crest to the north-west.  We adhered so closely to the divide that during the entire day's march the land sloped from us upon both sides; but finally we turned to the left, descending again to the river (which was distant from our course about one and a half mile) for the purpose of encamping.  We shall, of course, be compelled to-morrow to retrace our steps, as the river bottom is impracticable for teams.

We passed to-day over the most barren and desolate region yet seen, and a few scattered tufts of grass, with large quantities of artemesia, constituted the only vegetation.  About five miles from our last night's encampment, shale slate was found cropping out near the top of the ridge, and in close vicinity were seen large quantities of iron pyrites, imparting to the whole surface of the hill a blackened and burnt appearance. Some of our Frenchmen called it "terre brulé," a not inappropriate name.

A few stunted pines were visible on the neighboring ridges, and "signs" of buffalo are abundant; but the latter seem to have gone to more favored regions, as the short and thin grass on these hills would furnish only miserable pasturage.  Even upon the river bank it is quite poor, and the general desolation of the scene is extreme.  Civilized life could find no home in this region, and if the savage desires its continued possession, I can see no present reason for its disputing.

We have not yet met any Indians, nor any indications of their recent presence.  The site of our camp is, however, marked by the remains of an immense Indian lodge, the frame of which consists of large poles, over thirty feet in length.  Close by is also a high post, around which a perfect circle of buffalo skulls has been arranged.

Sunday, July 17.—We passed the day in camp, holding the usual religious services.

Monday, July 18.—Starting about 5 o'clock in the morning we retraced our steps to the top of the ridge traveled on Saturday.  The ascent was long and steep, the summit being 350 feet above the camp.  We followed the ridge for five or six miles, it gradually becoming narrow and crooked, and constantly increasing in height until ultimately we found ourselves upon a bluff from which we enjoyed a commanding view of the adjacent country.

Before us lay the valley of two rivers; that of the Chan-cho-ka-wah-pa, or Thick-wooded river, more commonly known as the Little Missouri, whose course could be traced far off to the northeast, where it was finally lost to sight behind the whitish bluffs that filled the northern horizon—on its way it was joined by two considerable branches rising to the north; in another direction stretched the valley of the north fork of the Shayenne, which, at a point two miles from our previous camp, has suddenly deflected to the southwest, and was flowing from that direction.

Between the rivers lay a broad plain, so apparently level that only the test of the barometer revealed a slight slope upwards towards the Little Missouri.  The centre of this tract, which was about ten miles in diameter, was marked by a small pool without visible outlet.  Far in the distance, up the valley of the Shayenne, the eye also noted the singular peak of Bear Lodge, rising like an enormous tower, and, from its resemblance to an Indian lodge, suggesting the origin of its title.  Both the Shayenne and Little Missouri are sizable streams at this point.  Notwithstanding their present proximity, however, the Little Missouri empties into the Missouri in latitude 47° 15', and the Shayenne in latitude 44° 40', the river distance between their mouths being over 600 miles.

Descending from the bluff and crossing the plain, which was found to be covered with cactus, we reached the Little Missouri after a six-miles' march, and followed it up one or two miles until it became necessary to cross its bed, when, as that would plainly require much labor, we pitched our tents upon the right bank, having travelled 15 miles.  Wood and water is sufficient for camping purposes, but grass is scarce at this point.

In the evening we were the victims of an alarm.  A cry was raised, followed by a rush of the animals about 10 o'clock p. m., but the alertness of my men prevented a stampede, and it was found on investigation that the caving in of a portion of the river bank had originated the disturbance.  No damage resulted and quiet was soon restored.

Tuesday, July 19.--The point for crossing having been selected last night, work was commenced at 4 o'clock this morning with pick and shovel.  It required two hours of hard labor to level the banks sufficiently for our vehicles, and it was not until half-past 6 that the train was in motion.

After passing the stream, we continued up the valley on its left bank, over a level plain, clumps of sage constituting the only vegetation on its naked surface.  The whole plain was cut up by gullies from one to three feet in depth, hidden by the sage until they were reached, rendering travel very difficult.  We were compelled to send several of the party in advance to reconnoiter, and, while our progress was slow, the wear and tear upon both animals and men was excessive, and neither can long withstand such severe trials.  But little work with pick and shovel was required, however, passable crossings having been found for all save one of the ravines.

About 1 o'clock we were glad to encamp after a march of 13 miles.  Our camp is again on the Little Missouri, the grass in the bottom affording tolerable pasturage for our animals.

A party of five started early this morning for Bear Lodge, but they returned late in the afternoon, without any positive conviction that they had even seen it.  They secured, however, the entire benefit of two or three heavy showers that we had observed passing to our left, but which did not visit us.  They represent the country between our route and the Shayenne as rugged in the extreme, so that it is evident that we have passed as near that river as is possible, unless a road can be found in its valley—a contingency they were not able to settle, and I do not deem probable.

Our camp adjoins a deep gully that requires digging down before it can be crossed, and our wearied men are now engaged upon this work.  Dark clouds at night prevented observations.

Wednesday, July 20.—The valley up which we travelled yesterday is bounded on our right by hills covered with stunted pines, and this morning we turned to the west and pushed across this ridge, which separates two of the branches of the Little Missouri.  The streams are not more than six miles apart, and the hill between, although rising to the height of only 250 foot above our camp, severely tasked our mules in the ascent.

The valley into which we subsequently entered was even more desolate and barren than that left, and no grass could be found, except in the immediate neighborhood of the stream, and even there it is scarce.  We are now in the buffalo region, and small herds are to be seen in all directions.  Their presence may explain some of the prevalent barrenness, as they consume all the grass in their paths.

We continued up the valley of the second fork of the Little Missouri for over six miles, and, finding a point in, which the grass looked more promising than elsewhere, encamped after a march of 13 miles.  Lieutenant Maynadier and our hunter started off this afternoon in quest of buffalo, and after a long and bard ride reached camp three hours after the train, bringing a supply of meat.  Bridger and some of the soldiers also went out after encamping, and returned having killed three cows each.  We are therefore abundantly supplied with choice bits of this celebrated game, and roast ribs and hump are the order of the day in camp.

Mr. Hutton and our Sioux interpreter, Zephyr Rencontre, made a second attempt to-day to reach Bear Lodge.  They returned to camp about 3 p. m. and report having found it, and that it is, as I had supposed, an isolated rock upon the bank of the river, striking only from the fact that it rises in a valley, and from our point of vision, on the morning of the 18th, it was not brought in contrast with the surrounding heights; but by no means forming a prominent landmark when viewed from the north.

We have been in sight all day of two very high peaks which must be those called the Little Missouri buttes by Lieutenant Warren, although he speaks of having seen three from his point of view on Inyan Kara peak.  They are by far the loftiest points in sight, if indeed they do not surpass the peaks of the Black Hills.

About an hour after the train was in motion, our Indian guide was missing and has not been since seen.  When last noticed be was looking for a point at which to cross a gully, and having found one uttered his usual cry of "wash-te," (good,) and then sought shelter from a slight shower under a neighboring pine.  He remained there until all the train had passed, and then quietly slipped away.  Mr. Hutton reports having seen signal fires near Bear Lodge, and the probability is that he has gone to join his tribe.  I cannot believe that he meditates mischief, but think he is afraid to remain with us longer, as we are now nearly out of the Sioux country, and will soon be among the Crows.  He has spoken repeatedly along the route of accompanying us through the entire trip, but his courage has probably failed with the prospect of meeting the hereditary enemies of his tribe.

His services have been of the greatest value; his minute knowledge of the country having excellently qualified him for his important duties, while his invariable good humor and honest face had made him a universal favorite with all the party, and had given foundation for the hope that he was an exception to the usual rule as to Indian honesty.  He has, however, testified to his thorough training as a savage, by taking with him the mule, saddle and bridle, that I had furnished him.  The important nature of the assistance he has rendered us will far more than compensate for the value of the stolen property; hut his method of collecting his pay was peculiarly Indian, and hardly to he justified by civilized law or the code of natural honesty.

Although it is certain that the Indians are watching our movements, and, doubtless, our guide has joined them, I cannot yet believe that they intend hostilities; but, for reasons of prudence, and to guard against possibilities, I have ordered the guard to be doubled.

Thursday, July 21.—The night passed quietly and we did not start until about 6 o'clock.  Our route lay up the fork of the Little Missouri, some little distance from the stream, that we might avoid the numberless gullies and the inevitable sage, whose perpetual recurrence rendered our line of march very devious.

We crossed several tributaries of the Little Missouri, now dry, one being distinguished by a little timber upon its banks.  Barren sage and cactus plains and naked hills describe the country through which we have passed to-day, the latter having been apparently once covered with grass, since eaten off by the buffaloes, which have been to-day seen in large numbers upon all sides.  Some of these animals came very boldly up to the train, and, in one or two instances, with very ludicrous results.

Three large bulls charged down upon us at one point in the march, to the great alarm of one of the escort, who dropped his gun, and, raising his hands, exclaimed, in all the accents of mortal terror, "Elephants! elephants! my God!  I did not know that there were elephants in this country !" On another occasion, as a band was passing close by the train, one of the teams started in full pursuit, and was with great difficulty checked.  It was probably the first buffalo chase on record with a six-mule team.

As we approached the head of the stream we commenced looking for water and a camp, and a spring was ultimately found that flowed after cleaning out, and by digging we obtained the luxury of pure and cool water of the temperature of 50°.  Another attempt at digging at a distance of 30 feet brought water, however, from a different strata, the temperature being 10° higher, or 60°.

We are now within a mile or two of the drainage of Powder river, and as soon as we shall have passed the creek before us will be out of the Sioux or Dakota country.  The fires still continue in the distance ; but no Indians have made their appearance, and their promise to permit us to pass through unmolested has been unbroken.  Except for purposes of communication with our Indian guide the interpreter has been useless.  My American guide, Bridger, is now on familiar ground and appears to be entirely at home in this country.  I therefore anticipate no difficulty in dispensing with the services of our fugitive Indian.

The grass at this camp is tolerable, indeed would he abundant if it were not for buffalo visits.  Of wood there is also no lack.

Friday, July 22.—Our route this morning was nearly west and directly up the valley in which we were encamped.  Numerous ravines entered it upon both sides, all being more or less wooded.  Taking advantage of a convenient spur, we ascended to the summit of the ridge by a long and gradual slope of about two mad a half miles from camp, and from the point thus reached looked down upon the valley of Powder river.

The view unfolded before us was grand, though uninviting from the appearance of desolation and the hardships threatened in our future marches.  Rugged, chalk-like hills stretched off to the distant horizon, barren and forbidding, the surface of the interlying valleys being variegated with clumps of trees, denoting the occasional presence of water-courses, hardly worthy to be dignified with the name of streams.  The gorges of the ridge upon which we stood, however, were filled with pines, many over two feet in diameter, that would excellently answer for building purposes and the other uses of lumber.  The ridge at the point of our crossing is 4,288 feet above the sea level, while the elevation on each side is considerably higher.  This seems to be a continuation of the Black Hills and of the great outlier of the Rocky mountains, which further south forms the eastern boundary of "the parks."  No evidence of upheaval can he observed however, nor are there any reasons for calling this elevation a mountain, yet it forms one of the great topographical features of the country, and upon many of the old maps it appears as the Black mountains.

Our route, after running along this spur for a mile or two, turned down an abrupt winding hill to a lower spur, between two of the small branches of Little Powder river.  We followed this crest over an exceedingly bad road, which, in many places, was not of sufficient width to permit the passage of a single wagon for about six miles, when we were compelled to abandon it, and descend to the valley on our left.  There we expected to find water, but the bed of the stream was perfectly dry, and an attempt to supply the deficiency by digging also failed.  We were commencing to contemplate the pleasant prospect of passing the night thirsty, when word was brought that some of the party had found water upon the north side of the ridge.  There being no certainty of its presence ahead, and the guide confessing his ignorance as to where any could be found, I concluded to retrace our steps something over a mile across the ridge to a point at which it was known to exist.

The spur, along the summit of which we had been travelling and which we now crossed, is as perfect a specimen of "bad lands" as can be found in the country.  It is almost wholly devoid of vegetation. Its sides have been washed into deep and impassable ravines by fierce rains, and with the numerous spurs of similar characteristics that radiate from it upon all sides it presents a phase of desolation peculiar to this region.

The entire district is totally unfit for the home of the white man, and indeed it seems to have been deserted by the Indians.  Animal life has not entirely forsaken it, however; for, among the scattered pines in the heads of the ravines, several grizzly bears have been started by the party, and scattered bands of buffalo have been seen roaming among the barren hills in the distance, as if in search of food.

We encamped about 3 p. m., having marched 15 miles.  The water is salt, and so impregnated with buffalo urine as to be scarcely usable.  Grass is very scarce, but there is a fair supply of fuel.

Saturday, July 23.—Our route to-day was directly down the branches of Little Powder river upon which we had been encamped.  Our guide Bridger favored following the bank of the stream, but it was ascertained to be impracticable, as we found ourselves to be in a perfect labyrinth of gullies, whose crossing would necessitate an immense amount of labor with the pick arid shovel, attended, of course, with serious delay.

We, therefore, again ascended the ridge, although this was a divergence of two miles from our direct path, and, with many short turns and much difficult climbing, ultimately reached its summit, where a passable road was found, bearing generally in the right direction.  We followed this till, coming to a valley that was apparently practicable, we descended it, only to find it wholly impassable.  We then crossed the ridge, between the valley of our camp fork and the Little Powder, and with great trouble descended into the valley of the latter, where a ride of half a mile across the bottom brought us to the stream itself.  It is now small and insignificant, being not over five feet wide and two or three inches in depth; but its bed, 100 yards in width, with banks 15 or 20 feet in height, shows that, at times, it is a large river, while the driftwood above its banks proves its occasional great depth.

The valley is from half a mile to two miles in width, and a fringe of cottonwood trees gives it an appearance more inviting than a closer examination justifies.

We encamped upon its west side, in a grove of cottonwoods.  The grass is very scarce, the buffaloes having recently consumed very thoroughly such little as there naturally would be, and we are compelled to give our animals a wide stretch of grazing to satisfy their wants.  The arduous work of the week has told upon them and they plainly show the need of rest and nourishing food.  Indeed we all shall rejoice at the welcome quiet of the sabbath [sic].

Sunday, July 24.—The day was spent in camp with the customary religious services, which, I am glad to be able to say, were better attended than previously.

Monday, July 25.—On leaving camp this morning we travelled almost due north down the valley of the Little Powder, which we found to be a mile or more in width, the stream keeping in a remarkably crooked channel, necessitating its crossing five times in the first five miles and 10 in the day's march.

A fine growth of cottonwood is found on its banks, but the greater portion of the valley is a mere sage plain, with little or no grass.  The river is now very low, and in many places the water is only standing in pools.  The bluffs bounding the valley are barren and present a chalk-like appearance, and it is only upon their summits that grass could at any time grow, and even this has been now consumed by the buffaloes, which have been far more numerously visible to-day than heretofore.

At a few low points we found a coarse grass that the buffaloes had rejected, but our mules ate it with avidity.  The supply was not sufficient, however, and the deficiency was met, both last night and to-night, by hewing down cottonwood trees and allowing the animals to feed upon the bark.  This they did with apparent relish, and the branches were peeled as thoroughly as it could have been done by hand.  This is an expedient that is frequently resorted to by the Indians when the grass fails or is covered by snow; and Bridger asserts that, in cases of necessity, animals can be subsisted upon this bark through an entire winter.

Tuesday, July 26.—I this morning gave directions for the command to continue its march down the stream, while I, with two companions, ascended the high grounds upon the left of the route, to obtain a more extended view of the surrounding country, and if possible see the valley of the main Powder river.  The hills were rugged and bare, rising to the height of about 500 feet above the level of the stream.  From their summit the Powder was in plain sight, at a distance not exceeding four miles.

The landscape before us was wide in extent, but characterized by forbidding desolation.  The valleys of the Powder and its branch were marked by narrow and sinuous belts of green, but these, with here and there a solitary pine of stunted growth, constituted all the verdure that relieved the monotony of barrenness.  Naked broken hills rose upon all sides, broken into irregular peaks, and with their sides torn in to deep and impassable gullies by the mountain torrents—a petrified representation of an angry sea in all the fury of a storm.

At scattered points herds of buffalo were feeding upon the scanty brown grass that had struggled into existence upon the more gentle slopes of the hills, and on one of the neighboring peaks a magnificent bull had stationed himself as if on the outlook, his motionless form standing out in clear and bold relief against the distant sky.  If he was searching for more promising pasture grounds in the vicinity, his instinct or his vision must have been indeed keen to have reached satisfactory results.  The scarcity of grass is indeed becoming serious, and it is only in rare spots that we can find sufficient pasturage to herd our mules.  The soil is also poor, and I doubt if a single section of land in sight would produce sufficient to furnish an ordinary family with a respectable meal.

The descent from the hill was difficult even upon horseback, and I only reached the train after it had stopped on the main river and had commenced preparations to dig down the banks for a crossing.  As this would consume considerable time, and the grass was better upon this than the opposite side, I ordered a halt for the night.  We were enabled to obtain a meridian altitude of the sun, which gave us for our latitude 45° 27' 51".  Dark clouds and a threatening storm prevented observations at night.

During the afternoon several frightened buffaloes charged through camp and were shot by the party.  The river at this point is about 80 yards wide, and about two feet deep.  The bed is a quicksand, making it necessary to be very cautious in crossing, and both above and below our camp the stream is divided by islands and bars into several channels.

Wednesday, July 27.—The river banks having been sufficiently cut down to enable our teams to reach the water, we were ready to resume our forward movement at 5 1/2 o'clock this morning.  Before starting we thought the river had fallen considerably, but on entering the stream it was found that the bed had been deepened by the shifting of the sand banks in the current, and it was thus deeper than when first reached last night.  The work of cutting down the banks thus proved almost useless, for by the time half of the teams had crossed it became necessary to seek another ford, which was ultimately found about half a mile above.  By 7 o'clock we were all safely on the left bank.  Our route lay now down the valley of Powder river, which was covered with large sage bushes, through which we were compelled to break a road.  After travelling thus about six miles we reached a point at which the stream flowed against a cut bank, and a deep gully rendered it necessary that we should either cross the stream, or abandon it and ascend the hills.  The river bed being a mere quick sand, and it having been demonstrated by trial that it could not be crossed even on horseback, we were compelled to accept the latter alternative.  After a long and hard pull over lands washed and badly cut up by rains, we reached a fine open plain, sloping almost imperceptibly to a stream, distant some six or eight miles.  We passed easily and rapidly along the crest separating this stream from Powder river, the hills between our course and the river valley being so abrupt as to prevent our descending into the latter again, until we had marched nearly eight miles.  When we did finally regain the valley it was found to be filled with buffalo, and although the party was greatly fatigued with the arduous labors of the day, a general chase commenced, resulting in the increase of our stock of provisions by a bountiful supply of fresh meat.  One large band charged directly upon the train and were only turned by a well-directed volley.  The grass on the river surpassed our expectations in its quality, thus indicating that the buffalo have been in the valley but a short time.  Their lowing is heard all about our camp this evening.

While upon the hill to-day, and as I was riding rapidly in advance of the train with the view of finding a route by which we could return to the valley, I lost a much valued seal, and as this mishap occurred near the source of the branch we had discovered by leaving the river, I named the creek after the motto of the seal. My hard gallop near the head of "Mizpah" creek will not be easily forgotten.  The distance travelled to-day was 19 1/2 miles, and we readied camp at 3 p. m.

Thursday, July 28.—We made no effort for an early start this morning, as our mules had suffered severely in the labors of yesterday and needed rest.  We left camp, however, about 6 1/2 o'clock, continuing down the river and keeping in a wide open plain upon the left bank.  Several ravines intercepted our course, making considerable detours necessary, but with one exception all were crossed without using the pick and shovel.  At 11 1/2 o'clock we hurried towards the river to find a camping ground, but owing to the scarcity of grass our search was continued till after 1, when a halt was ordered, and as the prospect appeared to be growing worse rather than improving we pitched our tents for the night.  This scarcity of grass has become the leading feature in the country, and can, of course, be partially explained by the presence of the buffalo in such large numbers.  These animals have thoroughly consumed such poor pasturage as the valley affords, and as a result our mules fare badly.  The prevalent desolation shows no signs of abatement.  The eye grows weary with the constant sight of barren hills and blue sage.

The buffaloes are very poor and their meat tough and unpalatable, but the supply is abundant, and their chase affords capital sport for the party.  Antelope in bands of from five to ten are also seen almost every hour, and my great surprise is that the game succeeds in finding in this desert sufficient food to sustain life.  The presence of these animals in such large numbers in this barren region is explained by the fact that this valley is a species of neutral ground between the Sioux and the Crows and other bands nearer the mountains, or, more correctly speaking, the common war ground visited only by war parties, who never disturb the game, as they would thereby give notice to their enemies of their presence.  For this reason the buffalo remain here undisturbed, and indeed would seem to make the valley a place of refuge.

This afternoon a buffalo calf chased by wolves sought safety in camp, but was killed before the reason of its unexpected visit had been ascertained.  The day has been very sultry, and the thermometer at 2 p. m. stood at 100°, but before sundown a smart shower passed over us from the northwest, which, with the wind, brought a most grateful and refreshing change of temperature. We travelled to-day 15 1/2 miles.  Since leaving Fort Pierre have marched 373 miles.

Friday, July 29.—We left camp about the usual hour, and after a march of about a mile reached a deep and impassable gully.  An attempt to cross the river failed, its bed proving to be mud and quicksand, and we were compelled to diverge towards the hills, ultimately succeeding in crossing the gully with considerable difficulty.  Two miles further on a second of three obstructions was encountered, and two hours were consumed in cutting down the banks.  The depth of this gully was, by measurement, 37 feet, and the slope, after the cutting down, 24°.

With all our labor it was found impossible, with our small force, to construct a decent road, and we were enabled to haul but one wagon across with a ten-mule team.  I was satisfied that it was wiser, upon all considerations, to make a circuit of ten miles rather than so task our jaded animals.  I therefore ordered the escort wagons which were the lightest and whose teams were in the best order, to cross the gully under command of Lieutenant Smith, and directed him to push on to the river bank and encamp.  The rest of the train, under Lieutenant Maynadier, advanced to a point where the ravine became more level, and then by a detour of three or four miles effected an actual advance of as many rods, reaching camp an hour and a half after Lieutenant Smith.

I drove to the summit of the neighboring hills, but found no change in the barrenness of the prospect.  We encamped in the best grass found in the valley of Powder river.  The total distance travelled was only 10 1/2 miles, but it has been the most trying and vexatious day's march yet made, and a few such would seriously dispirit the entire party.  Clouds at night prevented observations.

Saturday, July 30.—We continued our route down the river, along a level road, the chief obstruction being found in the interminable sage, which vastly augments the labor of the teams.  One or two gullies crossed the route, but were passed without difficulty.  About ten miles from camp we crossed the river over the first good ford yet found, the bottom being gravel, and the approaching slope easy.  A small creek emptying Into the Powder from the east required care in crossing, however, as the bed was miry, but after its passage we again reached the river bank and encamped, having travelled 13 1/2 miles.

The valley of the stream is continually becoming more narrow, and Bridger declares that it will be impossible to follow it much further.  The bluffs also commence to look very formidable, and as I hope to have the Yellowstone explored next season, I have almost determined to accept Bridger's advice, and strike across the country for Fort Sarpy, the Fur Company's trading-house on the Yellowstone; by so doing we shall obtain some knowledge of the regions back from the river, which cannot be procured by simply following the Powder to its mouth, and then ascending the valley of the Yellowstone.  We shall also thus avoid twice travelling over a portion of our route.

We have tolerably good grass in this camp, which our mules greatly need; wood and water is, of course, abundant.

Sunday, July 31.—The day was spent in camp with the customary religious observances.  I find that the entire party eagerly anticipate throughout the week the welcome rest of the Sabbath, and upon Monday morning our labors are resumed with renewed vigor, an illustration of the physical advantages of this heaven-appointed day of rest.

Monday, August 1.—Our route to-day was still down the valley of Powder river, along its right bank.  The road has not been bad, being crossed by only two or three not very formidable gullies.  About ten miles from camp we recrossed the river at a tolerably good ford; the bed of the stream having a stony bottom, and fewer quicksands than we had found higher up.

The valley is becoming still narrower and more barren.  We passed little or no grass, and as early as 11 o'clock I decided to halt upon the first tolerable pasturage and recruit [sic] our animals.  The hills are, as usual, desolate and forbidding in appearance, while the valley is but little more inviting, though over both numerous small bands of buffalo are roaming.  After a march of 15 1/4 miles, we encamped for the night, the grass being still scanty and of very poor quality.

After reaching camp, Bridger started in search of a route across the hills towards Tongue river.  We are now within 40 or 50 miles of the mouth of the Powder, and the character of the stream cannot change materially in that distance, and its further exploration is comparatively useless.  It is, moreover, absolutely essential that we should, as soon as possible, enter a region better provided with grass for the benefit of our animals, and I hope to do so by crossing the hills.

We know that the valley of Mizpah creek, the head of which we saw on the 27th, is not far to the west of us, and our first object will be to reach and pass it.  As matters now stand, we shall be compelled either to abbreviate our marches very materially or our animals will soon be entirely broken down.  Bridger returned late at night after a six-hours' ride and makes a rather discouraging report, but thinks we will be able to succeed in at least crossing the Mizpah.  From that point we shall be compelled to make a second examination to ascertain the most feasible route to Tongue river.

Tuesday, August 2.—I left camp before the train in company with the guide, with the purpose of looking for a route to the Mizpah.  A liberal, use of the pick and shovel made one that was practicable to the top of the ridge, and from that point a broad, open valley lay before us, and a march of only six miles brought us to the banks of the creek.

The valley of the Mizpah is little, if any, less than that of the Powder, and the border of cottonwood trees gives it all the appearance of a considerable stream, but at present it is nothing but a beautiful clear-running brook.  From the marks of the driftwood on the banks it is evident, however, that at times it is not less than 20 feet deep and 400 yards in width, and, as we saw its source some 30 miles above this point, and know that there it is 200 feet above Powder river, its fall must be such as to give it an almost irresistible current.

The summit of the ridge over which we passed is about as perfect a specimen, on rather a small scale, of "bad lands" as any yet seen.  It is entirely destitute of vegetation, and the strata in the washed hillsides are beautifully variegated, exhibiting all colors from the jet black of a lignite seam, through the red and yellow of burnt material, to an almost perfectly white clay, all arranged with the regularity of masonry, and presenting an appearance of peculiar and rare beauty.

Our camp is in a pleasant valley, but surrounded on all aides by these "badland" hills.  Had we come down the valley of the Mizpah from the point at which we touched it on the 27th ultimo to this point, we would probably have found better travelling, and better grass, and have decidedly shortened the distance.

Wednesday, August 3.—After encamping yesterday the guide and both the topographers started in advance to ascertain the best route by which to leave the valley.  They went in different directions, but all agreed upon a single road as the only one that would prove feasible.  This morning we therefore ascended the stream for about two miles to the selected point, thence turning directly west, up a small branch of the Mizpah, towards the dividing ridge, which lay between us and Tongue river.  The road was almost impracticable, and the constant labor of every available man was required to enable us to make any progress whatever.  We halted several times with the view of finding a better route, but repeated disappointments testified to the excellence of the original judgment of our guide and the topographers.  The ascent was not specially steep, but a series of gullies crossed the path, of which every one was necessarily dug down before it could be passed.  Contrary to expectations, however, we ultimately accomplished a march of nine miles and encamped at a point within about one and a half mile of the summit.  Water was obtained by digging, and sage and buffalo chips furnished fuel.  The grass on the hills was scarce but excellent in quality.  Beyond camp much work is necessary to render the road passable, and all hands are industriously engaged this afternoon in the manufacture of a western highway.

After the halt I rode in advance some four or five miles, passing the summit, and obtaining a view of the country about Tongue river.  It differs but little from that over which we have just passed, but the valley of the river appears far more inviting than that of the Powder, and I trust we have left behind us the worst of the washed lands.

Thursday, August 4 .—Starting this morning at about 6 o'clock, we passed over the divide between Powder and Tongue rivers.  The summit was reached in a march of about an hour, the road being but a slight improvement upon that of yesterday, but as these difficulties seemed nearly at an end we all felt animated with renewed vigor.  Upon reaching the ridge we followed its crest for a mile or more towards the north, and then struck off on a spur leading directly towards Tongue river.

Here our hopes of good travelling reached an untimely end, and progress only augmented our toil and darkened our prospects.  We were soon again among the "bad lands," whose acquaintance we had formed upon the Powder, and this amalgamation of sterile clay and stone, washed into gullies and totally devoid of vegetable life, surrounded us upon all sides.  The steepness of the descent also rendered it impossible for us to abandon the ridge and enter the valley, until, after a long march, we reached a deep gorge badly torn up by irregular ravines.  By arduous labor with the spade, however, we made a road over its rough surface, and finally reached the plain, and headed for a belt of timber in the distance indicating the presence of a water-course.  Our progress was delayed by other gullies, so that we did not reach the stream and encamp until about 2 o'clock p. m.

We found water in abundance standing in pools, but of poor quality.  The grass was scanty and miserable, and it was only after a long search, that we found pasturage of any description for our tired beasts.  A further advance, however, was clearly impossible.  We therefore remained here after a laborious march of eight hours, the distance travelled being 13 1/2 miles.

The work to-day has been the most arduous by far yet imposed upon the expedition, and I should have pronounced the road travelled impracticable, if it had not been actually passed over.

Friday, August 5.—The stream upon which we are encamped is called by Bridger Pumpkin creek, taking its name from a species of wild gourd that is said to be found upon its banks.  Its bed is some 30 or 40 yards wide, and in the wet season would be impassable.  The stream is not of great length, but empties into Tongue river some six or eight miles below this point.  Our route this morning lay down its valley, crossing the creek every few hundred yards, as its course is very crooked, and the nature of the country prevents our leaving its banks.  The soil is sandy and the strength of our mules has consequently been much over tasked.

After a march of this character for six miles, we passed over a low ridge to Tongue river, which at first resembled a mere tributary of Pumpkin creek.  Its valley is no wider, and at this point there is but little timber, and, as the water was wholly invisible, the creek apparently was the larger.  Upon a closer approach, however, Tongue river was found to be a fine rapid stream, from 70 to 100 yards in width and 13 inches deep, flowing over a gravelly bottom.  Its water is clear and for the season very cold.

Upon reaching its banks, we looked in vain for grass for our animals.  The little that was found proved totally insufficient, and we therefore encamped in a grove of young cottonwoods, and supplied the deficiency in pasturage by our previous expedient of lopping off and feeding to the mules and horses the young and succulent boughs.

The point of junction of Tongue river and the Yellowstone was pointed out by Bridger to-day as we passed along, and, as it is not more than 12 or 15 miles distant, the Yellowstone cannot be correctly located upon our maps by about 15 miles.  Bridger now advises that we travel up Tongue river some distance, before crossing to the west, for the purpose of avoiding the bluffs on the Yellowstone.  This is not in accordance with my pre-conceived plan, but I shall accept his advice out of deference to his remarkable knowledge of the country.

After encamping, some of the party succeeded in catching several very fine cat-fish over 18 inches long, furnishing an agreeable variety in our monotonous bill of fare.

A rather novel hunting adventure also afforded us considerable amusement.  A drove of buffalo were feeding in the vicinity, and a bull of unusual size was discovered a little distance from camp.  Nearly a score of men started to bring down the game.  By great caution they crept up within range, and a volley felled the brute to the ground.  The entire party rushed up in hot haste to the supposed carcass, when the animal slowly raised up on its fore feet and, with threatening head, commenced approaching them, dragging along the ground its hind quarters, which had been paralyzed by a ball grazing the spine, the spectacle was at first appalling, and all the hunters promptly took to their heels to avoid the dreaded charge they supposed to be imminent.  A few minutes revealed, however, the ridiculousness of their situation, and vengeance was speedily wreaked upon the buffalo by his prompt despatching and butchering.

Saturday, August 6.—Our march to-day has been short and easy, and we advanced only about five and a half miles up the level valley of Tongue river.  The stream is very sinuous, and we were compelled to cross it three times, but in so doing found no especial difficulty.  It is entirely free from quicksands and was not deep enough to embarrass fording.  Its valley is much narrower than that of Powder river, but the adjacent bills are less "washed" and barren.  Timber is scarcer, and grass decidedly more abundant, the latter fact being chiefly explained by the presence of the buffalo in fewer numbers.

Our camp is in a fine grove of cottonwoods, with an excellent growth of grass beneath them, which, with the rest of to-morrow, will, I trust, recuperate our animals, whose condition has become so reduced that short marches have latterly [sic] been an absolute necessity.

This afternoon has been intensely warm, the thermometer standing at 106° Fahr. in the shade, and the difference between the wet and dry bulb being 37°.  This latter is more remarkable when it is considered that we are in a grove of quite large trees and on the immediate banks of one of the most considerable streams in this country.  Is not this dryness of the climate the cause of the great scarcity of vegetation in this region, and is not this the leading fact to be considered in forming an estimate of its agricultural character?  If the present extreme drought is regular and prevails each season, the scarcity of trees is sufficiently explained, and the impossibility of the soil, however good, repaying cultivation fairly demonstrated.  An examination of the soil itself in many places reveals no sufficient reason for the scarcity of timber, which is found only on the banks of water-courses, and in ravines near the summits of the highest hills, where moisture is moat abundant, and we must therefore seek other causes.  Are they not found in the dryness that so universally prevails elsewhere?

Sunday, August 7.—The day was spent in camp with the usual service, the firing of three shots from a revolver answering for the church bell of civilization.  The atmosphere to-day was remarkably clear, and the temperature delightful, a high northwest wind last night having cooled the air.  At 7 1/2 o'clock this morning the thermometer marked 60°, but it was colder in the night and must have been 10° lower.  The change from yesterday is most refreshing.

This afternoon was marked by a curious optical illusion.  About 3 o'clock it was reported to me that two Indians had been discovered upon the brow of a neighboring hill looking down upon our camp.  The use of our best glasses apparently justified this opinion, as two forms were distinctly visible upon a ridge, distant about a mile and a half, one standing and the other in a recumbent posture.

We concluded they were Crows, and, as this tribe is friendly, it was determined to bring them into camp and have a "talk," and a party started for that purpose.  The fact that we had seen no human faces save our own since leaving Fort Pierre was an additional and powerful inducement.  The absolute motionlessness of the figures aroused my suspicions, however, and I resorted to one of Troughton and Simms's large astronomical telescopes, and by use of the most powerful terrestrial eye-piece, studied the supposed strangers very carefully.

The resemblance to human beings was still striking, but it was plainly evident that they were only curiously shaped rocks, to which the afternoon light had imparted an additionally strange appearance.  This opinion was soon verified upon the return of the disgusted party that had visited the hill, and failed to discover their mistake until they had almost reached its summit.

Monday, August 8.—Our march to-day was also short and still up the valley of Tongue river towards the point from which we shall strike across the country to the Rosebud.  The valley here is very narrow, and Bridger calls it the cañon of Tongue river.  Twice we have been compelled to abandon it and cross spurs of hills against which it flows, but above this point the river bottom is wider and looks more inviting.

The hills we have passed are very broken, and would probably have proved impassable had we attempted to leave the river valley.  The road was tolerably good, the sage constituting the chief obstruction, and the descent of the first spur crossed being steep, necessitating considerable work with the pick.  The river we passed three times to-day without much difficulty, and our camp is now upon its left bank.

The sickness of one of our teamsters, occasioned by bathing and exposure to the sun, constitutes our first case of decided illness, and this is not serious.  The health of the party has thus far been unusually excellent.

A magnificent buck elk was shot just after encamping, being the first of that species of game yet seen.  His horns were about four feet long and still in the velvet. The flesh is not considered as great a delicacy as that of the buffalo, but it is a change, and of course agreeable.

The night was beautifully clear, and well improved in the matter of astronomical observations.

Tuesday, August 9.—We this morning left Tongue river and started across the hills to the westward, passing up the valley of a dry creek, leaving the river near our camp.  We found the road a vast improvement upon that previously traversed.  The ascent was gradual, and brought us to the foot of a long, crooked spur, up which we passed without much trouble, but with hard pulling.

Near the summit we found a few stunted pines, out of which, as I was riding in advance of the train, I started an enormous grizzly bear with her cubs.  After reaching the summit we travelled for some five miles over a high, undulating prairie, which drained into the Yellowstone, and from thence over rolling hills covered with pines.  The ravines upon each side of us were impassable, and the selection of the road proved Bridger's excellence as a guide.  To the right of our course lay a range of beautifully rose-tinted hills, their summits crowned with pine and forming a marked feature in the landscape.

All the ravines in this part of our route were dry, and search was made in vain for water.  We were, therefore, compelled to continue on across a ridge separating us from another branch of the Yellowstone.  We then found the country entirely changed, its surface being more level and destitute of timber.  Two or three miles beyond the crest of the ridge a spring was found that promised, by cleaning out. a sufficient supply of water, and we therefore halted, after a march of 18 1/2 miles.

Grass at this camp is scanty, and wood still scarcer, consisting only of small pines obtained from the sides of the distant hill.  The difficult ascent from the valley to-day exhausted our mules at the outset, and rendered the day's march one of the most severe of the expedition.  The country traversed has been worthless for agricultural purposes, and the pines are small and of no utility save for fuel.  From the last ridge crossed we obtained our first view of the Wolf or Chetish mountain in the distance.

Wednesday, August 10.—After the train started from camp this morning I ascended a rugged butte in the vicinity, from which a view was obtained of both the Yellowstone and the Rosebud.  Desolation still characterized the landscape.  Naked hills were its salient features, the barrenness being only relieved by scattered pines upon rocky spurs on the left, and stunted cottonwoods and occasional strips of verdure in the river valleys.  The hills were generally of a dull brownish yellow, but here and there formations broke to the surface, of chalky white, or tinted with a delicate vermillion [sic], while jagged rocks cropped out upon many of the most abrupt slopes.

Our course lay to the west, the broken country upon the right rendering a detour necessary to the southward.  During the first half of the march we passed over high, rolling plateau, destitute of grass or water, but affording an excellent road.  We then entered with much difficulty a ravine draining into the Rosebud, and thus reached the valley of a dry fork, down which we passed to the Rosebud itself, where we encamped upon a small spot of salt grass scarcely large enough for the picketing of our mules; the scarcity of pasturage still continuing in this region.

The Rosebud shows evidences of being occasionally an important stream, but now contains no running water whatever, its bed being a mere succession of stagnant pools, which, from the fact that the water is several feet below the general level, are very difficult of access.  The entire river bottom is covered with sage, and a scattered growth of cottonwood upon its banks completes the picture.  The distant hills in the south in which the stream finds its source are plainly visible, and a marked gap in them apparently denotes an easy road in that direction.

After reaching the camp, Bridger examined the country to the west for several miles, and reports a good road for that distance, but seems uncertain as to its continuance.  If our vague information relative to the position of Fort Sarpy is correct we should reach that post this week.

Thursday, August 11.—Our route to-day lay directly over the hills to the westward, and nearly parallel with the course of the Yellowstone.  The first three or four miles was one continued ascent, and then our course was intercepted by the head of a wide valley of the old washed lands.  With great labor we reached the main ridge bounding the valley of the Rosebud, upon which we found a good, although hilly and crooked, road, tending nearly in the right direction.

Upon each side were steep gorges filled with stunted pines, with here and there a cotton wood or cherry bush.  At 11 o'clock I sent out parties to look for water, but none could be found.  The search proving unsuccessful, I rode in advance of the train until I came in sight of a valley containing the almost unfailing indications of water.  I then ordered the train to descend into it by continuing along the circuitous but easy route on the spur, while I took a shorter path with the view of selecting a camping ground.

To my great disappointment I found the valley entirely devoid of grass and water, although filled with sage, cottonwood, and willow.  I examined the bed of the stream very thoroughly in both directions without success, and climbed a bluff to obtain a more extended view of the neighboring country.  To my astonishment the train was not in sight, and I therefore drove hastily back to ascertain the cause of its disappearance.  I found it encamped but a short distance back, upon (probably) the only pool of water in the valley, which had been accidentally found in the course of the long detour, and I had entirely missed.  The men had wisely gone into camp without waiting for orders.

I am becoming very anxious to reach Fort Sarpy and the Yellowstone, as our mules are rapidly breaking down, and I assume that there we shall obtain better pasturage.  If good grass can be found to-morrow I shall halt over Saturday and Sunday, and devote the time to procuring more definite knowledge of our exact locality.  Bridger calls the stream we are now upon, Emmel's fork.

Friday, August 12.—We this morning moved to the southwest out of the valley of Emmel's fork, and with hard pulling ascended the hills to the west, upon whose summits we found comparatively good travelling.  Our course was still to the south of west till we reached a wide and deep valley which intercepted our path, and was so marked that it was at first thought to be that of the Yellowstone, but from its location and bearing it was soon evident to all that it was only the main fork of the stream upon which we had encamped last night.

The country upon the opposite side of the valley was very rough and uninviting, and it was therefore determined not to cross it, but to turn northward to the Yellowstone.  Avoiding the breaks in the bluff we found an excellent road to the point at which the two forks unite.  It was here indispensable that we should descend to the level of the stream, and finally this was effected with the greatest trouble and labor, only arduous exertions and the most watchful care bringing the wagons safely down the steep hillside and over the formidable rocks.  Our progress in the valley was also difficult, and we went into camp at the first water reached.

The western fork, down which we have travelled for the last five miles of our day's march, evidently heads in the Wolf mountains, which have been in sight for the past few days, and it must drain a large area of country.  I was surprised to find that the water in its bed is confined to a few pools, and is of the poorest quality.  The valley is from one to two miles wide and distinguished by a considerable growth of cotton wood.  Sage is abundant but the grass is rather poor.

Dr. Hayden has been for one or two days impatiently anxious to examine the geology of the range of Wolf mountains, visible at a distance of 20 miles in the southwest.  I had promised him the opportunity, but to-day he disappeared without orders or permission, and at night has not rejoined the train. The distance of the journey undoubtedly explains the latter fact, and as his party consists of four men they are doubtless able to defend and take care of themselves.

Saturday, August 13.—Dr. Hayden and party not having returned, I determined not to move camp to-day, but await them in my present position, improving the delay by sending out an expedition to seek the Yellowstone.  An additional advantage resulting from this course will be that it will give our animals the benefit of two days' rest.  The Yellowstone party, consisting of one of my topographers, Mr. Hutton, with the guide and interpreter, mounted on our three best horses, left camp at an early hour this morning, going northward.

Dr. Hayden and his companions returned about the middle of the afternoon.  The ride, which they expected to be about 10 miles, proved to be over 20, and they had undergone many hardships, as their jaded appearance testified.  As I had supposed, they had visited the Wolf mountains to gratify the impatience of the geologist.  I improved this incident to issue an order forbidding any one to be absent from the train overnight without explicit permission, deeming this to be indispensable to the safety of the party, and feeling justified in so doing by the serious responsibility for so many lives resting upon me.

In the afternoon the party returned from the Yellowstone, having reached it by travelling some 12 miles.  Their report of the road is by no means favorable, and, far worse, they have seen no indications of the passage up of the boats with our provisions.  We have now, however, the advantage of knowing our location, with the power of determining our future actions accordingly.  Years have elapsed since our guide passed through this special region, and he has forgotten some of the minutiae, though he seems perfectly familiar with its general features.  We are all totally ignorant of the site of the Sarpy trading-house, as it has only been built within the last few years, and since any of the expedition visited this country.

Sunday, August 14.—We passed the day in camp as usual, and held the customary religious services.  With these two days of rest I hope we shall have no further trouble with our beasts, as they have recruited wonderfully.

Large fires are visible in the Wolf mountains this afternoon, probably the signals of Indians who are undoubtedly watching our movements, although they have not yet showed themselves.  The day has been exceedingly warm, the thermometer standing at 108° Fahr., the difference between the wet and dry bulbs being 40°.  A high northwest wind this afternoon gives promise of more agreeable weather.  Last night, however, I was cold under two blankets, and the change is most remarkable between the day and night temperatures.

Monday, August 15.—We left camp at 6 1/2 o'clock, our course bearing down the valley of Emmel's fork, upon which we had encamped.  The stream is very crooked, winding from bluff to bluff upon either side, and thus rendering its passage necessary almost every half mile.  The lowness of the water made the crossing of the bed a comparatively easy matter, but we were compelled to dig down the banks upon each occasion, and this greatly retarded our progress.

After a march in this fashion down the valley about half way to the Yellowstone, the bed of the creek became so miry that its further crossing was impossible, and we therefore climbed with much difficulty the spur of hills upon our left and, crossing it, descended thence to the valley of the Yellowstone, a small ravine, materially facilitating the latter portion of the march.

From the summit of the hill we obtained our first view of the Yellowstone valley itself, of which over 50 square miles was visible, literally black with buffalo, grazing in an enormous herd whose numbers defy computation, but must be estimated by hundreds of thousands.  We found the distance from the foot of the hills to the water about three miles, three-fourths of the intervening country consisting of a barren plain elevated about 100 feet above the water, covered doubtless at times with grass, but now cropped as closely as any village common and presenting an appearance of extreme barrenness.

A short and abrupt descent of a few feet leads from the terrace, upon which we are encamped, to the water's edge.  The bank is covered with a rich growth of weeds and salt grass, which, fortunately for us, the buffalo do not relish but our mules devour with avidity.  Large cottonwood trees also border the stream, so that we can say, what we have not been able to say for a long time, wood, water, and grass are abundant.  The distance travelled to-day is 16.4 miles, and the total, since leaving Fort Pierre, 546 miles.

There are no evidences of the passage of the boats at this point, and as we are in some doubt as to whether we are above or below the station for which they are bound, (Fort Sarpy,) I have organized two small parties, the first to ascend the valley as far as the mouth of the Big Horn, and the second to descend until they obtain some information of the whereabouts of our supplies or their own provisions fail.

Both parties will take with them supplies for six days, and the first will be under the charge of Lieutenant Maynadier, the second under Mr. Snowden.  Should these parties return without tidings of the boats, we shall have to adopt the Indian method of "making meat," and start for Fort Laramie with the expectation of subsisting on meat diet.  Fortunately, buffalo are abundant and there is no danger of starvation at present.

Tuesday, August 16.—Lieutenant Maynadier and Mr. Snowden started with their parties this morning by 7 o'clock, that of Lieutenant Maynadier numbering seven and that of Mr. Snowden six persons.  These are considered sufficiently strong, as we are now in the country of the Crow Indians, and they are not regarded as hostile.  Moreover, our animals are in such poor condition that it is very desirable to use them as little as possible.

As I hope to have an opportunity of sending down the river by Major Schoonover, agent for the Crows, who is to come up in the boats with their annuities, I have set all hands at work making copies of notes and repacking all articles that we wish to be relieved of, such as geological and other specimens, in order that we may reduce our baggage to the smallest possible compass.  I also wish to have a field map completed to send back, that in case of accident some record of the work accomplished may be preserved.

This is the first actual halt made since leaving Fort Pierre, so that, for lack of opportunity, we are materially behind in this class of work.  All our wagons and carts are emptied, their contents are being thoroughly overhauled, and invoices are being made of the stock on hand.  We have work of this description sufficient to occupy all the party for several days, so that our halt is beneficial for other reasons than the rest afforded the animals.

Wednesday, August 17.—We remained in camp awaiting the return of the exploring parties and busily plotting, computing, copying notes, repacking supplies, &c, &c.

Two Crow Indians came into camp about 3 p. m., being the first human beings outside of the party seen for 50 days.  They report having passed Lieutenant Maynadier and his party this morning, and state that the boat with our supplies was at the mouth of Tongue river 15 days since, in which case it should have reached this point by this time.  Their village of 100 lodges is two days' march behind them, and they have come down to receive their annuities.

These Indians are of much lighter color than the Sioux, and have a less savage and repulsive expression.  They are well formed and of medium height.  In their costume the most striking feature is a cap made of par fleche, or prepared buffalo hide, consisting of a large visor shading the eyes, with the addition of a band of the same material encircling the head, the upper edge of which is cut into points, imparting a decidedly regal appearance.  It is entirely crownless, however, and thus affords no protection whatever to the head.  They are well mounted, and armed with both gun and bow and arrows.  They do not present a very formidable appearance, but have the reputation of being as good warriors as any tribe in this region.

Thursday, August 18.—We are still in camp and employed as yesterday.  Lieutenant Maynadier and party returned about noon.  They report that Fort Sarpy is only about nine miles above camp and in this bottom.  The party ascended the river some 20 miles above the trading-house, and reached a bluff impassable even on horseback, at which point it will be necessary either to cross the stream or leave it and make a detour through the hills.  Lieutenant Maynadier reports that it is useless to attempt to reach the mouth of the Big Horn by the valley upon this side.  As it is possible that Mr. Snowden's party may have passed the boats without seeing them, I have engaged the Indians, who are yet with us, to go down the river, and carry a letter to Mr. Meldrum, the agent of the American Fur Company, who is expected up in them.

Our hunter finds no difficulty in abundantly supplying us with meat, and in a short time to-day killed seven buffaloes.  Men with carts were sent out to bring in the choice pieces.

Friday, August 19.—The Indians left camp early this morning for the boat.  About 10 a. m. a band of 30 or 40 savages were seen coming up the river and proved to be Crows, headed by "Two Face," a sub-chief, who rode into camp in full court costume, announcing his name by the expressive procedure of touching his face and holding up two fingers.  He calmly took temporary possession of the largest tent, making himself completely at home.  He had supposed that it was my quarters, judging from its size that it belonged to the commander, a mistake that I was in no haste to correct.  He soon discovered his error, however, and transferred his hospitality (the only term for his general appropriation of things) to my tent.  From him I learned that his band had left the boat the day previous and that Mr. Snowden and his party were close at hand.

The latter arrived about noon bringing with him Major Schoonover, the Indian agent.  Mr. Snowden met the boats 41 miles below, (by land,) and reported that it would require five or six days for them to reach our camp.  He also brought a request from Mr. Meldrum that I would send him the assistance of a number of men and animals, a request I shall gladly comply with, as I am very anxious to shorten my stay here as greatly as possible.

Major Schoonover reports that during the journey up a small war party of Sioux obtained possession of the horses belonging to the boats and were induced to return them only with great difficulty and under circumstances that were at one time seriously threatening.  This outrage was the more aggravated from the fact that Major Schoonover is also the agent for the Sioux, and thus they were robbing their own agent.

The reputation of this tribe for principle is poor, even among savages, and they will plunder friend or foe alike if immunity is certain.  The Sioux also informed Major Schoonover that a band of 350 picked warriors had started to intercept and attack my expedition.  If the story is true, their courage failed, for their distant signal fires have been the only evidences of their neighborhood.

Our party, however, is formidable in numbers and excellently armed, and the latter fact I impressed upon the Sioux chiefs at Fort Pierre by affording them occular [sic] demonstration of the improved quality of our fire-arms.  While I do not overrate our own strength in frontier warfare, I entertain no apprehensions of Indian hostilities, for the savages are too cowardly to attack where there is a prospect of a resistance so determined and so effective.  The story told Major Schoonover was probably a mere piece of Indian bravado.

Saturday, August 20.—Lieutenant Maynadier left camp this morning with four men and twelve mules to meet the boats and hasten their difficult ascent up the river, and I hope that by this means we shall gain a day or two in the date of our departure.

Letter-writing to distant friends and families has occupied the energies of all, and the mail will be carried down the river by Major Schoonover in a batteau [sic] as far as Sioux City, reaching there, the nearest frontier post-office, at a distance of 1,000 miles from our camp, a fact that illustrates the marvellous [sic] extent of the great system in the west and our remoteness from civilization.  The letters will probably reach their destinations about midwinter.

Sunday, August 21.—We passed this Sabbath as its predecessors, in camp, and with religious services.

The Indian messengers sent to the boats returned during the day with a note from Mr. Meldrum, stating that he was ten miles below the mouth of the Rosebud and would reach this point in seven days from the date of his letter, (the 19th.)  I hope that the assistance sent him will materially shorten this interval, as the delay is greatly to be regretted from the fact that we shall now be troubled to reach winter quarters before cold weather.  The nights are already becoming uncomfortably chilly.

Monday, August 22.—The Crows are encamped in large numbers a mile or two up the river and in close vicinity to camp, and are becoming very troublesome.  Like all Indians, they are importunate beggars, and about camp they take constant and the most disagreeable liberties, thronging into our tents, rolling their filthy bodies up in our blankets, and prying into everything accessible.  Their personal uncleanliness is disgusting and their bodies are covered with vermin.  They have no ideas of chastity, and greater general degradation could be with difficulty imagined.  The men take pride in appearing in all the tawdry finery they can obtain.  The common dress is woollen [sic] clothing, such as pantaloons, shirts, and hats, purchased from the traders, blankets (which are plenty) and buffalo skins forming the outer covering.

The full state dress, used by the chiefs and great warriors on extraordinary occasions, is quite imposing, consisting of moccasins ornamented with beads, leggings of skins, embroidered also with beads and porcupine quills dyed the most brilliant colors, and a large outer covering somewhat resembling the Mexican serapa, but made of skin and richly decorated.  Ermine skins are highly prized by them, and almost invariably the serapa is fringed with them.  Vermillion is freely used as a war paint, and it is not uncommon to see the entire face as brilliant as the best Chinese pigment can make it.

The chief of the lower band, Two Bears, wore moccasins consisting of the paws of a grizzly bear, with the claws and horny portion of the foot preserved.  Eagle feathers are used to ornament the head, and a Crow glories in his long hair, which is worn straight down the back, frequently reaching to the knees.  This is filled with gum, forming a compact mass, and is generally dotted over with white spots of paint.

Only in cases of extreme grief—mourning for friends, &c.—is the hair ever cut.  A more senseless display of grief, common among them, is to gash the forehead and allow the blood to flow over the face, remaining there until worn off by time or obliterated by dirt.

As among all savages, the women are the mere slaves of the men, doing all the menial service.  A case in point caused considerable amusement in our party.  A young Indian, almost a mere lad, with a stout and fine looking squaw wife, has pitched his lodge a short distance from camp, upon the opposite side of a small branch of the river.  In all their visits to camp the wife carries her liege-lord upon her shoulders through the water with the most obsequious devotion.

The Crows are fairer than the Sioux, many of the mountain band being sallow and hardly a shade darker than whites who undergo similar exposure.  This fact was so marked that the first seen were supposed to be half-breeds, but we were assured that they were of pure Indian descent.

Tuesday, August 23.—Soon after dinner to-day Lieutenant Maynadier returned to camp, and with him came Mr. Robert Meldrum, the agent of the Fur Company, who is in charge of the long-expected boats, which are still some 20 miles below.  It has been found almost impossible to navigate the Yellowstone, the water being too low, although the vessels, which are batteaux, draw only 16 inches.  At Mr. Meldrum's suggestion I shall send down a number of the wagons to-morrow to receive part of the freight and thus lighten the load.

The afternoon and evening was spent in conversation with Mr. Meldrum, obtaining information from him with reference to the most feasible routes before us and the peculiarities of life among the Indians.  He is undoubtedly the best living authority in regard to the Crows, outside of the tribe, having spent over 30 years in their country, during that time visiting the regions of civilization but once, and on that occasion spending only 19 days in St. Louis.  He has long lived among these Indians, assuming their dress and habits, and by his skill and success in leading their war parties has acquired distinction, rising to the second post of authority in the tribe.  He of course speaks their language perfectly, and says that it has become more natural to him than his mother tongue.  I noted the alacrity with which he ceased speaking English whenever an opportunity offered.

The Indians were so troublesome about camp to-day that I posted a double guard at night for the purpose of freeing us from the annoyance of their visits.

Wednesday, August 24.—Six wagons started this morning for the boats under the wagon master, accompanied by a guard, with Mr. Meldrum acting as guide.

The Crows are still swarming about camp, although they have not been quite as troublesome as for a few days past.  The men do not seem dishonest, and Mr. Meldrum says that we need not distrust them, but added that the women and children would steal everything possible, and it has therefore been found necessary to keep a rather strict watch upon all portable articles.

Our mules and the beasts of the Indians have thoroughly consumed the grass in this vicinity, and it will be soon necessary to find new pasturage.  Our animals are immensely improved in condition by the rest and nourishing food obtained during our halt.

Thursday, August 25.—The wagons that were sent to meet the boats returned this evening with full loads, and there are now hopes that we shall be able to resume our march from this point in a few days.  The day was chiefly spent writing and computing.  The Indians, save two or three lodges, all left to-day and ascended the river to Fort Sarpy, where they will await the arrival of the boats with their annuities.

Friday, August 26.—The long-expected boats came up this evening, but our supplies are so confused with those of the Fur Company and of the Indian agent, that it will be necessary to unload the cargoes entirely, and I have therefore concluded to have them push directly on to the fort where we will join them on Monday.

The afternoon and evening were spent in obtaining information in regard to the country between the Yellowstone and the Platte.  I had a skeleton map prepared showing those points with which we are acquainted, and Mr. Meldrum has filled in the leading features from memory.  The information thus obtained will be of the greatest value, as it will enable a separate party to reach the head of Powder river, a matter of much importance as I cannot obtain a second guide, and propose exploring two routes from this point.  As we shall pass through the country we shall have an opportunity of verifying Mr. Meldrum's statements and testing the accuracy of his typographical knowledge.

High winds prevailed at night and the sky was obscured by scattered clouds, but not sufficiently to prevent observations.

Saturday, August 27.—The entire day was consumed in preparations for the resumption of our journey, and especially in arranging for the division of the expedition into two parties for separate explorations.

Sunday, August 28.—The Sabbath was spent quietly in camp, and in the evening the northern sky was illuminated by an aurora borealis of unrivalled splendor.  It was preceded by a dull reddish light just over the northwestern horizon, and more immediately heralded by brilliant streaks, flashing irregularly up the northern heavens.  In a short time this became continuous, and between 9 and 10 o'clock so vivid that the north star was entirely obscured and distinct shadows were cast.  From 11 o'clock till midnight the grandeur of the celestial display surpassed all attempts at description.  Vast sheets of glowing light rose successively to the zenith in irregular pulsations, while the illumination filled the entire arch of the heavens, and the horizon of the northwest was marked with all the gorgeous coloring of sunset.  Shortly after midnight its brilliancy began to pale, breaking the spell that had enchained the party during a spectacle of such unwonted magnificence.

Monday, August 29.—We struck our tents and resumed our march early in the morning.  An accident to one of the escort teamsters, who was thrown from his horse and struck by one of the wagon wheels in the head, receiving a severe scalp wound, delayed us some time, as, after his injuries had received proper attention from Dr. Hines, we were compelled to empty one of the spring wagons carrying the instruments, and thus extemporize an ambulance.  For this reason we did not reach Fort Sarpy until after 10 o'clock, having traversed during our 10-mile march the wide open valley of the Yellowstone, differing in no essential respect from that in which we have been encamped for the past two weeks.

We found the trading-house situated in the timber on what during high water would be an island, a channel, now dry, passing to the south of it.  The "fort" is an enclosure about 100 feet square, of upright cottonwood logs 15 feet high, the outer wall also forming the exterior of a row of log cabins which are occupied as dwelling houses, store houses, shops, and stables.  The roofs of these structures are nearly flat, and formed of timber covered to the depth of about a foot with dirt, thus making an excellent parapet for purposes of defence, the preparations for resistance to possible attacks being further perfected by loopholes in the upper part of the outer row of logs.  The entrance is through a heavy gate which is always carefully closed at night.  No flanking arrangements whatever exist, and the "fort" is thus a decidedly primitive affair.  It is amply sufficient, however, to protect its inmates against the schemes and the martial science of the Indians.

We found that the boats had but just arrived, and everything was still in confusion, while the agent of the Fur Company had promptly commenced traffic with the savages, considerately allowing our matters to take care of themselves.  I found assembled at this point the two largest of the three bands into which the Crows are divided, and I therefore determined to improve the opportunity by holding a council to-morrow and explaining to them the purposes of my visit to their country.  The necessary notifications have been accordingly sent to the various chiefs.





Chapter 2