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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PLATTE
IN THE FIELD, CROW CREEK CROSSING
July 21, 1867.




GENERAL: Brevet Major General Augur, commanding department of the Platte, directs me to say that, he expects you to assume command of all the troops at or in the vicinity of this place, and also general supervision of all detachments engaged in escorting or protecting employes [sic] of the Union Pacific railroad as far east as Larren's Fork, and as far west as the crest of the Black Hills.

He wishes you to furnish such additional escort and protection to parties of employes [sic], engineers, &c., as may be necessary to the successful prosecution of this work. He further instructs me to say that he wishes vou to assume such necessary control over all the inhabitants of this country as will be needful to preserve good order and protect, public and private property from depredation, and to take such measures and precautions as, in the absence of all civil law here, will preserve the peace and quiet of the community and secure them in the pursuit of their legitimate callings.

Until such time as the civil authorities may establish courts of law, and otherwise secure the legal rights of the people and public corporations at this place, he wishes you to protect the legal rights of the Union Pacific Railroad Company from infringements, and secure their property from illegal seizure and occupation.

In the discharge of these duties the general trusts you to exercise a sound discretion in so shaping your course as to avoid, as, much as may be possible, the appearance of an assumption by the military of an improper control or exercise, of authority over citizens, while he expects you at, the same time to assume so much authority as will render life and property secure at this place.


I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
LEWIS MERRILL,
Brevet Lieutenant Colonel, Acting Assistant Inspector General.

Brevet Brigadier General J. D. Stevenson,
Col. 30th U.S. Infantry, near Fort. Sedgwick, C. T.

Official:
WILLIAM H. BISBEE,
Captain, Aide-de-camp and A. A. A. G.


A.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PLATTE,
Omaha, Nebraska,
July 31, 1867.




GENERAL : Brevet Major General Augur instructs me to say to you that he directs you to assume command of all the troops in the vicinity of Fort Sedgwick, and to take also general supervision and control of all detachments engaged in escorting or protecting employes [sic] of the Union Pacific railroad as far west as Larren's Fork, at which point General Stevenson's control begins.

He wishes you to furnish such additional escorts and protection to parties of employes [sic], engineers, &c.; as may be necessary to the successful prosecution of the work.

He further instructs me to say that he directs you to assume such necessary control over all the inhabitants of the country in the vicinity of your command as may be needful to preserve good Order and protect life and public and private property from injury, depredation, or illegal seizure and occupation; in the ab scence of all civil law to take such measures and precautions as will insure peace and quiet to the community, and secure them in the peaceful pursuit of their legitimate callings.

Until such time as the civil authorities may, by the establishment of courts of justice and otherwise, secure the legal rights of the people and public corporations in the country under your control, he wishes you to protect the legal rights of the Union Pacific Railroad Company from infringement, and secure their property from illegal seizure, and occupation.

This task is rendered the easier and your remedies clearer by (the fact that Julesburg railroad station, the point at which such crimes and misdemeanors are most likely to occur, is entirely within the military reservation of Fort Sedgwick, giving you unquestionable control of persons whom you may permit to occupy buildings or lands within the town site.

At this place particularly he expects you to enforce, either through the voluntary aid of the better class of citizens or other means, as your discretion may indicate best, such police regulations as will prevent crime and disorder.

In the discharge of these duties the general trusts you to exercise a sound discretion in so shaping your course as to avoid an unnecessary appearance of an assumption by the military of an improper control or exercise of authority over citizens, but at the same time expects that vigorous measures even will not be wanting to insure the successful accomplishment of the objects contemplated in these instructions.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. G. LITCHFIELD,
Brevet Lieutenant Colonel, Acting Assistant Adjutant General.

Brevet Brigadier General J. H. POTTER,
Commanding Fort Sedgwick, Colorado Territory

Official :
WILLIAM H. BISBEE,
Captain, Aide-de-camp and Assistant Adjutant General.



HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PLATTE,
Omaha, Nebraska, July 31, 1867.



GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of military operations within this department since January 23, the time I assumed command thereof.

The affair at Fort Philip Kearney, on the 21st December preceding, had made it necessary to strengthen the garrisons of some of the posts in that vicinity. This had been done by my predecessor, and the re-enforcements had reached their destinations about the time of my arrival. The supplies for these posts had been regulated on the basis of the then existing- garrisons, and of course additional supplies had to be sent to them. This, in mid-winter, was an expensive, difficult, and perilous task, and involved a great loss of animals and material, and great suffering on the part of necessary escort. But it was done, and the troops supplied with everything but fresh beef and vegetables. The former was run off by Indians, and, with the vegetables, could not be replaced at that season. There was, in consequence, some suffering and a few deaths from scurvy.

The thirtieth infantry, which had been ordered to this department early in January, I found en route to Fort Laramie, suffering greatly from the severity of the weather. As there were no quarters for them at Laramie, or in fact at any point in the department, and as there seemed to be no present necessity for their services above, I determined to stop them at the first point where they could be supplied. This was at Fort Sedgwick. The regiment went into camp there, and passed the entire winter—one of the severest known in this country — in their tents—men, officers, and many officers' families. Although it was the only thing to be done under the circumstances, I anticipated serious results from their exposure; but fortunately, and due mainly to the indefatigable exertions and good example of their commander, Brevet Brigadier General J. H. Potter, they came out in the spring, in spite of their hardships and sufferings, in quite as good health and discipline as any command in the department.

As early as February the Indians commenced a system of attacks upon small parties and trains along the Montana route, and, as the season advanced, extended them to all my lines, and have kept it up during the whole summer. This has constituted the Indian war in this department. It is more in the nature of disconnected raids for stealing animals and getting other plunder than of a systematic and permanent war. The raiding parties have been small, and scattered along the various lines of communication in the department.

This department embraces the States of Iowa and Nebraska, and the Territories of Utah and that part of Dakota west of the one hundred and fourth meridian. It embraces within it the Union Pacific railroad, in its various stages of location, construction, and completion, from Omaha to Salt Lake City, about eleven hundred miles: the overland mail route from North Platte, (now from Julesburg,) via Denver, to Salt Lake City; the two lines of overland telegraph; the overland emigrant roads between same points, and the route to Montana known as the Powder River route.

It has been my duty and my determination, as far as possible with the means at my disposal, to afford protection to all these various lines, regarding them not merely of local interest but of material importance to the whole country. But when you consider the great, extent of these lines, the nature of the country through which they pass, and the character of the enemy against whose efforts they have to be guarded, the difficulties of the undertaking will be seen.

The Montana route alone, between Laramie and C. F. Smith, near the Yellowstone, has occupied two regiments of infantry (eighteenth and twenty-seventh) and half a regiment of cavalry, (second,) and they have merely maintained themselves upon it and kept it open for their own supplies. The troops at the posts upon it have to fight almost daily to secure their supplies of wood and hay. It has been unsafe as an emigrant road, though much required, and has not been used at all for that purpose.

The question of abandoning the posts on this line has been submitted to me for my opinion, and I have reported against it for the following reasons substantially: Were the question a new one, and arising as to whether they should now be established, I should regard it as unnecessary and unwise to do so until more satisfactory arrangements had been made with the tribes through whose country it passes, knowing how impossible it is to make any route through a hostile Indian country perfectly safe for purposes of emigration or traffic. But the question is not a new one. The posts are established, and large sums have been expended upon them for storehouses and quarters for troops. It cannot be supposed that the present Indian troubles along it can continue for any very great length of time. They will be terminated, either by treaty or the subjugation of the hostile tribes. When this time arrives, unless this country is abandoned to the Indians, this route substantially must become the great high way between Colorado, Nebraska, and Montana. Its proximity, in its whole extent, to what will undoubtedly become Indian country, will render necessary the very posts now existing along it.

If therefore these posts are now given up, it will be at a loss of all that has been expended upon them, and with almost a certainty that their re-establishment will be demanded in a few years. Aside from this view there is one of policy, arising from our present relations with the tribes claiming this country. That the establishment of these posts produced the exciting [sic] state of hostilities in that country is undoubtedly true, and up to this time the Indians demand their abandonment as sine qua non to any negotiation, even for that country. To yield to their demands would be regarded by them as evidence of our inability to hold them, and would, I fear, embolden them to enlarge the sphere of their hostilities, and diminish very materially, the chances for a permanent peace with them.

Unless, therefore, it becomes the policy of the government to give up this whole country to the Indians, which is a different question entirely, I do not recommend the giving up of these posts.

The Union Pacific railroad, besides its great national importance, is very essential to the interests of the department, in the way of moving troops and supplies at a great saving of time and money. I have, therefore, endeavored in every way possible to assist in its construction, deeming its completion to the Black Hills even, in its effect upon Indian affairs, as equivalent to a successful campaign. The thirtieth infantry, part of the fourth, part of the thirty-sixth, four companies of cavalry, and four companies Pawnee scouts, have been occupied in its care during the entire summer, escorting engineers and commissioners and protecting grading and working parties.

The overland mail stages have required guards at their stations between Julesburg and Denver, and between Forts Sanders and Bridger, as also guards to their coaches on parts of their routes. Part of the fourth infantry and part of the thirty-sixth infantry are now occupied on that duty.

The telegraph lines have asked for guards at some of their most exposed stations and I have furnished them, as well as escorts for their repairers when, ever required.

The surveyor genera! of Nebraska has also required escorts for some of his surveying parties, and I have furnished all I had to spare, a company and a half.

The extent and variety of the duties required of the troops has necessitated their separation into small commands, and their being scattered, as it were, over the country, a necessity very destructive in its results upon the discipline and instruction of both officers and men, though it enlarges their experience, develops individuality, and contributes very essentially to a correct knowledge of the country. As the winter approaches this separation will diminish, and the troops be collected at posts where quarters and supplies have been prepared for them, and were the winter can be devoted to their drill and instruction.

I have arranged that each regiment shall occupy adjacent posts, and the commanders will all be field officers, except in a few cases of detached companies. The fourth infantry will occupy Forts Sedgwick and Laramie; one company at Fort Morgan; the eighteenth infantry, Forts Fetterman and Reno; the twenty seventh infantry, Forts Philip Kearney and C. F. Smith; the thirtieth infantry, Fort D. A. Russell, and three or four detached posts along the railroad; the thirty-sixth infantry, Forts Sanders, Bridger, and Camp Douglas, at Salt Lake City. Each regiment occupying, as it were, a district of its own, under its own commander.

The great expense of wintering cavalry at distant posts has determined me, as soon as the season for scouting passes, to bring all mounted troops and all animals not absolutely required at the posts to winter at posts along the line of railroad.

This will also enable me to make available quarters and stables already constructed at posts where few or no troops are required in summer, and save the construction of new ones at advanced posts.

The second cavalry will therefore come to Forts D. A. Russell and McPherson, except two companies at Laramie and one at Sanders.

The two hundred Indian scouts authorized for this department were all enlisted from the Pawnees, and organized into four companies of fifty each under Major North, an efficient officer, who had commanded a company of them during the war. They were officered from men most of whom could speak their language, and mounted on common Indian ponies. I have never seen more obedient, or better behaved troops, and they have done most excellent service. Should it become necessary another year to carry on a war against the hostile tribes, I respectfully recommend, that Congress be asked to permit me to organize three battalions of four hundred each, from the friendly tribes in this department. It opens to these people a useful career, renders them tractable and obedient, and educates and civilizes them more effectually than can be done in any other way. They are peculiarly qualified, too, for service on the plains. They are unequalled as riders, know the country thoroughly, are hardly ever sick, and never desert, and are careful of their horses. Moreover, I have never seen one under the influence of liquor, though they have had every opportunity of getting it. As the season for active operations closes they can be discharged to go home and look after their families for the winter. This they prefer. I propose to discharge my Pawnee scouts- early in December.

You are familiar with the reasons which induced the abandonment of the contemplated expedition against, the northern tribes: the lateness of the season the great delay in getting supplies in readiness at Laramie, our starting point — there being no depot of any kind in the department — and more emphatically the inadequacy of my force to make a campaign as contemplated, and at the same time give sufficient protection to insure confidence along the railroad and other routes. All these were considered in concluding to postpone the expedition, and to put all my force on the various routes.

The want of a sufficient depot in the department was greatly felt during the past spring. One is now being established at Fort D. A. Russell, and I respectfully urge that at least one year's supplies of everything required for troops be kept constantly on hand there. Another thing from which we experienced great, inconvenience was the lateness of the season at which our contractors for freight, got successfully at work. This was mainly due to the fact that the contracts were not let in Washington until in March. I respectfully recommend that in future these contracts be let on the first of January. This will enable the contractors to get their teams in readiness to commence their work as soon as the condition of the grass will permit.

The recent organization of a new pay district, under Brevet Brigadier General B. Alvord, with his headquarters in this city, has supplied a want hitherto much felt in arrangements for paying the troops. With the present organization there need be no apprehension that officers and men will not hereafter in this department be promptly and regularly paid.

The new breech-loading rifle (altered Springfield) issued this year to the troops in this department has increased their efficiency wonderfully. All reports concur in regarding this arm as nearly perfect for infantry, and the ammunition with it as the best ever furnished to troops.
'
The rapid extension of the Union Pacific railroad has opened up a new and attractive country, and towns spring up as if by magic along its route. Many of these are beyond the limits of organized civil law, and of necessity depend upon the military authorities for the preservation of peace and order. Our power, in this respect, is limited to the arrest and confinement of offenders, or the sending them out of the country. It is a very delicate and unpleasant duty thus forced upon us, and one from which we would gladly be relieved by the establishment and enforcement of the civil laws. We have endeavored, however, so to regulate and limit our action in this matter as simply to give confidence and security to legitimate enterprises, and to repress disorders and crimes. I enclose, marked A, copies of my instructions to the commanding officers at Forts Sedgwick and D. A. Russell in reference to the exercise of this authority at their neighboring towns of Julesburg and Cheyenne.

Two new posts have been established in the department this year: Fort Fetterman where the Montana route crosses the North Platte, at the month of La Prele. This renders Fort Casper unnecessary, and it has been abandoned. Fort D. A. Russell has been located the foot of the Black Hills, where the railroad crosses Crow creek. This will also be our depot for the department.

To the chiefs of the several staff departments at these headquarters—Brevet Brigadier General W. Myers, chief quartermaster; Brevet Lieutenant Colonel J. W. Barriger, chief commissary ; Brevet Lieutenant Colonel H. G. Litchfield, Acting adjutant general; Brevet Captain C. Comly, chief ordnance officer; Brevet Lieutenant Colonel R. H. Alexander, medical director; Brevet lieutenant Colonel Lewis Merrill, acting inspector general; Captain W. H. Bisbee, acting judge advocate; and Lieutenant R. W. Petriken, chief engineer—I am indebted for a faithful and efficient administration of their several departments.

In conclusion I am happy to state, from a personal examination of most of the troops in the department, that there is apparently an anxious desire on their part for increased professional proficiency and usefulness, and it is believed that when the recruits, now en route, shall have joined, and the whole command shall have received the instruction which the winter's leisure will afford opportunity to impart, they will be efficiently prepared for any work which the exigencies of another year may require of them.

While, it would be difficult for any amount of force to prevent occasional depredations at some point of our extended lines, it has been impossible to prevent them altogether with my limited force. There is, too, abundant evidence to show that, in a majority of instances, when stock from private trains has been run off by Indians, it has been the result of gross neglect and carelessness on the part of those intrusted [sic] with guarding it. Travelling day after day, and seeing no signs of Indians, precautions are relaxed or abandoned altogether. Herders become careless, and soon comes the moment the Indians have followed and waited for, when the capture of the herd is an easy task, and one almost without peril.

Notwithstanding, I believe there has been no material interruption to their current business on any of these important routes. I enclose list of casualties in the department during past year, and also list of skirmishes and engagements with Indians, in all of which the troops have behaved well; particularly in the attacks of the Indians upon the working parties at Phillip Kearney, C. F. Smith, and Fort Reno. This does not embrace the many affairs of escorts to engineers and trains constantly out, and frequently engaged with raiding parties of Indians.

I enclose also a map, prepared by Lieutenant Petriken, of the engineers, showing the routes over which I have passed during the summer. It is believed to be the most correct one of this part of the country.

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

C. C. Augur
Brevet Major General U. S. A., Commanding.

Brevet Major General W. A. NICHOLS,
A. G., Military Division of the Missouri, St. Louis, Mo.