Expedition Through Iowa Territory in 1844

by Captain James Allen and His Company of Dragoons

Comparing Captain Allen's journal with an anonymously-written journal of the same expedition.

Continued from previous page.

September 9. The lake that we left this morning is surely the head of the Des Moines river; we crossed the only inlet it has about two miles above the lake, where it is only a little slue; I do not find any lake on the maps corresponding with this, and I infer that it has not hitherto been explored by any of the map-makers; I have named it the "Lake of the Oaks," from the forests of immense white oak trees that border it and cover its peninsulas. Leaving this lake, our course was NW. by W., on a large, high, level and dry prairie, that seems like the dividing elevation between the waters of large rivers; it divides here the tributaries of the Missouri from those of the Mississippi. This prairie, like all of this upper country, is dotted over with little lakes, though to-day we have seen the timber of only three or four, and have touched only one of them; we passed much sign of buffalo, but have not yet seen the animal. Encamped near sunset on the border of a slue, in the open prairie, there being no timber in sight; the night cold, cloudy, and rain. Course NW. by W.; 22 miles distance.

September 10. Continued our course on the Big Prairie, and in the first eight miles saw three buffalo grazing on an eminence about a mile ahead, the first we had anywhere seen. I halted the command in a depression of the prairie, and, taking some of the officers and men, made a circuit of the animals, and put them in full chase straight to the command, at a halt, and by this means easily killed all three in less than half an hour. Lieutenant Potter killed the first one in full chase by the first shot of his pistol. They were bulls, and rather lean; but being our first buffalo, we took a quantity of the meat. The day was cold, moist; and disagreeable; marched on eight miles further, striking, at 3 p.m., a deep looking river running almost due south, and as broad as the Raccoon at Fort Des Moines. This is evidently a river of the Missouri, and we are inclined to think it the Big Sioux, but have some doubt on this; we ought, before reaching the Big Sioux, to have crossed a long stream shown on the maps as Floyd's river; but since leaving the Des Moines, we have not touched or seen such a river. Some Sioux Indians came to our encampment at the point where we struck this river. They composed two or three lodges of a roving band of prairie Indians, who seemed to be wandering here with the buffalo. They approached us with the greatest timidity, two only at first, and then three others; and they, probably, would not have come to us at all, if we had not surprised them in a place where they could not escape our observation. I had no interpreter through whom to speak to them; one of the dragoons spoke a few words of their language, but all he could understand of what they said was, that they lived on the St. Peter's river high up, and that we would find a trading-house on the river we were then on, three days down it. We caught a great many small fish in this river, but buffalomeat of the bullsseems to be the rage for to-night. The country to-day has been slightly rolling, but good for marching; the grass here is very luxuriant. Course W. by S.; distance 16 miles.

September 11. Last night a heavy white frost, the first that we have experienced; determined to follow down the river; at least to the trading house spoken of by the Indians, so marched out on the bluffs. In a few miles, killed a lone buffalo bull, and soon after came upon two lodges more of Sioux Indians. They were also much alarmed at our approach, and three men of them, whom we first saw near their lodges on horses, came to us at full gallop and in great agitation. After I had explained to them, as well as I could, that we were friends, and were travelling through their country on a mission of friendship, they seemed much pleased, and the principal man galloped off to his lodge and hoisted a little American flag; and as we passed his lodge, offered us the meat of one or two buffaloes that were curing about his camp. These lodges were on the bald prairie, far from timber, and seem to be only a stopping place to cure and eat the meat they had killed near it. This is surely a fine buffalo country, the prairie is cut up with their trails in all directions, and we have seen many small parties during the day, but, as yet, no large herd. Just before we went into camp, I saw several at a distance that I took to be cows, and allowed some of the men to give them chase. They soon killed four, but all bulls again, and we do not need the meat, except the tongues and marrow-bones. In the afternoon, Jones killed an antelope, and we saw ten more in a short distance among gentle hills of the prairie; I was surprised to meet them in this country; went late down to the river to encamp, and did not get a good site, the timber being very scarce on the borders of the river. 32 miles distance; course SW. by S.

September 12. Twelve horses and mules were missing this morning, and under a strong suspicion that the Sioux had been among themsome known to have been picketed in the best manner are among them. Three of mine, one of Dr. Griffin's, and two of Lieutenant Potter's, are also in the number. I remained encamped all of the day, sending parties in all directions in search of the missing horses, and recovered all except four. Lieutenant Potter and Dr. Griffin and four dragoons are yet out, and will be out all night; it is very unusual for any of the horses to stray from camp at night, at this distance and time from home. Last night was very dark; the horses were picketed in very tall grass, where sentinels could not watch them closely, and I think it very probable that Indians came in and loosened and drove off all that are gone, and have probably secured some of them. The Sioux are great rascals, and capable of all kinds of theft.

September 13. Sent out a party on our back trail, and marched on down the river. In about twelve miles, came to a great and picturesque fall of the river, where we found Doctor Griffin and Lieutenant Potter and party, who had been searching for lost horses, and encamped here last night; they had seen no traces of them, and had resigned themselves to their loss. Doctor G. and Lieutenant P. were sitting on a rock, and "smoking away their horses to the Sioux," (referring to the Indian custom of giving away horses on a ceremony of smoking.) These falls present a remarkable feature of the river and country; the river, until now, running nearly due south, makes above the falls a bend to the west, and round to northeast, and passes the falls in a due east course, and continues below in a northeast course for six miles, when it resumes its former direction. The rock of these falls is massive quartz, and is the first rock formation, or rock in place, that we have seen since we left the St. Peter's river. It crosses the river here north and south and is not seen elsewhere, the bluffs or general level of the country covering it some 250 feet. The fall, as near as I could measure it, is 100 feet in 400 yards, and is made up of several perpendicular fallsone 20, one 18, and one 10 feet. The rock in the course and on the borders of the stream is split, broken, and piled up in the most irregular and fantastic shapes, and presents deep and frightful chasms, extending from the stream in all directions. There is no timber here on the borders or bluffs, and only a little on a small island at the head of the rapids. After spending an hour or two at these rapids, moved down the river 12 miles, and encamped on a little stream near the main river. As we were going into camp, saw a herd of more than 100 buffaloes at the site of the encampment, gave them chase, and killed two cows and a calf, which (it being dark when they were slaughtered) were left on the prairie for the night, with the hunters to guard them from the wolves. Distance 24 miles; course SE. The party sent to hunt horses this morning came up at night, found none; so the four yet lost are abandonedone horse and one mule being public.

September 14. Went a little out of our course to pick up the meat killed last night, and continued over a rough country, much cut up by various and little brooks; encamped at the mouth of one of them, and killed a buffalo bull standing across the river, six men firing at him by volley, and each ball taking effect. Buffalo have been in sight almost always since we struck this river, and we might have killed hundreds by delaying for the purpose. Distance 18 miles; course S. by E.

Monday 9th Sept.  Took up the line of march at the usual hour and headed the chain of lakes, where we struck a large Sioux trail made in the Spring and leading to some point on the St. Peters. Our course which to this point (5 m) had been N. W. was changed to W. S. W. After marching a few miles no timber at all to be seen except in rear. We camped at dark on a slue, in the middle of a immense level prairie. The prairie marched over this day was of a level and sandy character, in some places rolling.  Course W. S. W. Distance 26 miles.

Tuesday 10th  Made a very early start and marched in direction W. S. W. Saw three buffalo which were killed in short order, all being keen for the sport of running them. It was quite exciting. Also saw antelope. Saw a River in a W. course supposed to be the Big Sioux. Capt. Allen encamped on it early. Two sioux Indians shortly after came visiting our camp and showed every sign of wishing to be considered friendly. More came after a while, their lodges quite near. They said that there was a trading House two days travel down the river. River now about 15 yards wide and full of fish. Timber not very abundant. Prairie passed over slightly rolling and hard. Course of river S. W. S. we had a heavy frost this night.  Course W. S. W. Distance 14 miles.

Wednesday 11th Sept.  Made an early start and marched in direction W.S.W. following the general direction of the river, which at this point made a bend Southward (a considerable bend). Capt. Allen made a short cut across it. Early in the day a single buffalo was seen, and killed. Jones killed an antelope which came in range of his rifle, attracted by the profound bordering of red which that worthy individual sported on his hunting shirt, sometimes allows its curiousity to get the better of its judgement. Another herd of buffalo, started late one evening and chased, by some of the more ardent spirits. Four were killed. Soon after the advanced party, Capt. Allen and Orderly Bugler Marsh and Howlett seen two indians (Sioux) who seemed somewhat afraid to approach, but on being beckoned to by the worthy ones, approached at full speed which is their custom, and were disposed to be remarkably friendly, stretching out their hands at every one. They said there were a large fork two days journey down the river where there was a trading House. We soon after this came across their lodges which were conical and neatly constructed by well dressed skins. We encamped at dark on the River, which is but Little lower than when we first struck it, the looks of the Banks and timber is very like the Misouri river. Prairies passed over high rolling and hard.  Course S. W. S. Distance 30 miles.

Thursday 12th.  During the night 8 or 10 horses and mules got away either stolen or strayed away on their own accord. Capt. Allen sent out parties in search of them all recovered but four. This day very fine. Buffalo seen in great abundance. Large cat fish caught in the River. The river here is about the size of Raccoon River at its mouth.

Friday 13th Sept.  Took up the line of march at an early hour and kept down the river, which now where S. E. by the by some think that this is Floyds River. After marching about 12 miles we came to a beautiful waterfall in the river. Singularly large boulders of Granite, Magnificent bluffs, Great bends &c., in turn encircled admiration. The falls are about 60 feet in height, not a perpendicular fall but a succession of them. The bed was entirely of Rock in ledges. The river at this place makes a great bend to N.E. in which direction it continues to the Fork, ten miles below. It there takes a S. S. E. course. We crossed over lovely prairies. A herd of Buffalo seen and chased, some killed. We encamped at sun down in the Fork of the Sioux river, and another stream ten feet wide coming from the N. W.  Course S. Distance 25 miles.

Saturday 14th  We made this morning rather a late start and followed a S. E. S. course that being the direction in which the river ran. Crossed the Fork coming in from N. W. Struck another Fork of small size, in which the camp was made. The river at this point is of a respectable size. it is clear and full of fish, timber scattering. A large bull killed close to camp by riflemen. Prairies passed over very high rolling and stony. River here larger than Raccoon River at its mouth.  Course S. E. S. Distance 16 miles.

September 15. Ascended very high bluffs, and marched SE. over smooth prairie till 12, then SW. till 4 1/2 p.m.; at 1 struck a clear little river coming down from the east which I take to be the stream at the mouth of which the Indians we first met told us we would find a trading-house; saw what we supposed to be a party of Indians far to our left, in the forenoon, but it may have been buffalo. Followed down the clear stream, and encamped near its mouth on the main river. We can see no signs of a trading house here, no trails or appearance of near habitation, and I believe the Indians have lied to us respecting the existence of a trading-house in this country. The little stream, above referred to, is 30 feet broad, 2 1/2 feet deep, and runs three miles per hour; the banks are low, and it runs over pebbles and sand. General course S.; distance 22 miles.

September 16. Crossed the clear stream near its mouth, and again ascended the bluffs, which here are near 300 feet high, and much brokenthe breaks running far out from the main river; the obstructions forced us to leave the river far on our right, and made the line of our march very crooked. I sent two men to follow the river as closely as practicable and look if there were any appearances of a trading-house in the neighborhood. They found none, and so it is demonstrated that the Indians have basely lied and deceived us in this respect, and for what purpose I am unable to conceive. It is said of the Sioux, that they are prouder of, and more habituated to, lying than truth-telling, and here is pretty good evidence in support of the charge. Encamped on a slue at a bunch of willows far out on the prairie, horses and mules much fatigued; we have not seen any buffalo to-day, nor any fresh sign of them; we are apparently out of their present range. Distance 20 miles; course S. by W.

September 17. Marched SW. to strike the river, and encamped on it at 11 a.m., to rest the horses and get an observation for latitude. The river here is a large stream, larger than the Des Moines, below Raccoon, not quite so broad, but is deeper, and runs more water. It has increased much since we last saw it, (30 miles above,) and must have received tributaries from the west that we could not see for our distance from it. The bluffs here are not so abrupt as above, and the bottoms are broader and more fertile; but the timber of the river does not increase, only a few elms and willows skirting the banks, which are deep and muddy like those of streams near the Missouri. I cannot yet determine what river this may be, whether Floyd's river or the Big Sioux. I shall follow it down further, and see more of its character; and if the season were not so late, I would cross it and explore further west. But my horses are much worn, and the grass and prairie are killed by the frost, and it is incumbent to hurry home. The river here seems to abound in catfish; the men caught 20 or 30 large ones in a few hours with fishhooks. Distance 10 miles; course SW.

September 18. Continued down the river with the greatest difficulty, having to rise and descend the bluffs, which have increased in height and steepness. After going over several points, fell again into the valley of the river, and soon saw a great opening to the westward, which I at once recognised as the valley of the Missouri. I had not expected to meet that river for 30 miles yet, and was surprised at seeing it here; though as OUR river here only runs into the valley of the Missouri, it may yet be several miles to its mouth. Encamped early, on a little brook, to feed on luxuriant pea-vine in its little shaded valley. Course S.; distance 16 miles.

September 19. Endeavored to follow down the valley of the river, but could not; it washes the bluffs so often in its bends, we were again driven over the bluffs, which here are 500 or 600 feet high, and broken almost every mile by deep ravines, that, from the heights, look like great chasms in the earth. Of course we had all sorts of trouble, upset one wagon twice, killed one mule, and broke another wagon square off at the hounds. The romance of marching through a wilderness country is much abated. General course S.; distance 10 miles.

September 20. Remained encamped to repair wagons; but, in the meantime, I determined to find the mouth of the river that we had traced so far. Doctor Griffin, Lieutenant Calhoun, Lieutenant Potter, and J. C. Calhoun, jr., volunteered to accompany me, and leaving Lieutenant Noble in charge of the camp, we set out early for this purpose. We encountered bluffs, ravines, vine, valleys, tall grass, and swamp, and plum-bush, and willow thickets, worse than any thing we had seen; but worked our way along, and, in the distance of seven miles, reached really the point where this river unites with the Missouri. It comes to the Missouri in a due south course, and the Missouri meets it perpendicularly, as coming from the west. Both, at their junction, wash the base of a steep bluff, some 500 feet high, and the great river then pursues its general course to the southward and eastward. Opposite to this point, there appears to be a large island of the Missouri, but we could not see enough to know if it were really an island, or a peninsula in one of the great bends of this river. I have learned all I can, now of the river which we have followed down to its mouth. I shall consider it the Big Sioux, until I shall be better informed. To-morrow I shall march for home by the nearest route I can find. It has rained most of the day, and is cold and disagreeable.

September 21. Spent the whole day at hard labor in making ten miles out from the river over these terrible hills; made two bridges across brooks, and encamped at the last one. Course NE.; distance 10 miles.

Sunday 15th  Made a good start and marched in direction S. E. E. until we struck a stream one fourth as large as Sioux river, and running S. W. S. Supposing that the trading house was in the fork of Sioux Capt. Allen followed it down. We camped on the Sioux prairies passed over high rolling and dry, until the Fork is neared, when it becomes level as a floor, weather delightful.  Course S. E. E. Distance 21 miles.

Monday 16th Sept.  Made an early start and crossed near its mouth. Bad crossing. Marched in S. E. direction and had to cross several ugly slues. Very little game seen. Jones and Sergt Williams sent to Explore the river by order of Capt. Allen, returned and reported that there was no sign of a trading house. Camped late on a branch where a few willows grew the only timber nearer than that on the river which was six miles off prairies passed over very lofty and rolling. Horses beginning to fail considerably.  Course S. E. Distance 22 miles.

Tuesday 17th  Made an early start and struck the Sioux at a point 5 or 6 miles from our last camp. The river at this point is quite as broad as the Des Moines river at Fort Des Moines and has more water. It runs here in a S.S.E. direction. Capt. Allen camped here to rest his horses for the remainder of the day. The grass at this time were turned twas dying fast and afforded but little nourishment to the horses. The river resembles the Misouri in regard to aspect of banks bluffs and bottom.  Course S. E. S. Distance 6 miles. Latitude 42°-48.9.

Wednesday 18th  Took up the line of March at an early hour. Pursued a S.S.E. course following the divide of the river. Hounds of mule team broke. Detained some time in consequence. After marching west 12 miles we unexpectedly came in view of a large body of timber running S. E. I supposed it might be the misouri river or the bottom. We now struck a terrible range of bluffs, steep and difficult to surmount. They look like an uneven potatoe field. We camped among them on a clear branch bordered by low ground covered with Pea Vines.  Course S. S. E. Distance 15 miles.

Thursday 19th  Took up the line of march at an early hour, followed the river Sioux which preserved its S. E. S. course. Very steep and high bluffs rendered our progress very slow. Fine view from the bluffs of the Misouri bottom was truly splendid. The bottom averages about 7 miles in width and extending for hundreds of miles above and below, the bluffs run paralell to the river. They are full of ravines thick with pea Vines and containing fine timber and cool clear water. The bluffs are chalky and conical covered with poor grass. They are pebbled in a most singular manner. We camped in a ravine about four miles from the mouth of Sioux river, which here is as large as Des Moines river at its mouth. Turkey and deer in abundance. We had rain on us during the night.  Course S. E. S. Distance 9 miles.

Friday 20th  Capt. Allen decided to remain in camp to day, in order to get the hounds of a waggon repaired. It rained this day and turned out cool. Cpt. Allen rode to the mouth of Sioux river. During the night it turned very cool. As a extraordinary circumstance I will mention that a mule died this day.

Saturday 21st  Made an early start. Capt. Allen appears determined to make a straight cut for Fort Des Moines I. T. We left the Misouri and made an effort to disentangle us from the bluffs, which are six or seven miles broad. We met with difficulty in crossing deep cut branches which were now frequently met with.  Course S. E. E. Distance 8 miles.

September 22. The country continues broken, but not so bad as yesterday. Crossed a large creek on our tenth mile, which may be Floyd's river, if that we left yesterday is the Big Sioux. It is slightly skirted with timber, and looks as though it may be 50 miles longa very pretty, clear stream; crossed two little brooks without any timber, and encamped on a slue. Course E. by S.; distance 15 miles.

September 23. Crossed three little brooks, deep and miry, with a very little timber on their banks. One of these, though almost without current, was generally forty feet broad, and six feet deep; it occupied us two hours to find any thing like a practicable ford. The prairie rises very gently from these brooks, and is easy to travel over. Encamped on the prairie away from timber, but had taken some for cook-fires from the last brook. Course E.; distance 15 miles.

September 24. At 11 a. m. came to the Little Sioux river, running to the SW. It is a clear, pretty stream, as large here as the Raccoon is at medium stage at its mouth; midside deep to our horses; its banks are bordered with narrow groves of large timber, cotton-wood, walnut, oak, &c. We had to prepare the banks for crossing, and then to help some of the weak horses out of the mud at the shore; got all over before sunset, and encamped. Here is the site of a large Indian encampment, supposed to be Pottawatomies, who seemed to have hunted extensively on this river about two months ago. Course E. by S.; distance 10 miles.

September 25. Had smooth, easy marching for ten miles, when we crossed a little creek, and in five or six miles further crossed another and larger one, both running toward the Missouri. The west bank of the last was very muddy, and hard to rise, which kept us till night at the stream; nothing but a little willow brush for fire, and it was cold. Course E.; distance 15 miles.

September 26. In 12 miles crossed a creek like a large prairie slue, but running a good deal of water; eight miles more brought us to a stream that I took at first to be Soldier's river, but afterwards thought it might be a branch of Raccoon, though where we crossed, it was running towards the Missouri. The stream winds in short and abrupt crooks through a deep narrow valley, is thirty feet broad, two feet deep, and runs one mile per hour; is skirted with narrow strips of soft maple, hickory, walnut, &c.; all about us looks like Des Moines country, and not like that drained by the water of the Missouri. It is probable that the small streams we have crossed since we left the "Little Sioux," may unite to form the "Soldier's river" of the Missouri, shown on the maps, and that we have passed it. Encamped on this stream, after crossing. Course E.; distance 20 miles.

September 27. Met another ugly prairie slue at the end of eight miles, which it took three hours to cross, when we came to a country full of marshes and old shallow grass lakes, like that of the Upper Des Moines. Encamped on the prairie among the marshes, and near an island of timber, that we could not reach for the ugly marsh that surrounded it. The frosts are becoming severe, and the horses are failing fast. Course E.; distance 12 miles.

September 28. Spent the whole forenoon in travelling ten miles to make four on our course; four fifths of the country was marsh, which turned us to all points of the compass. At 12 we reached a small lake, from which an Indian trail, after much winding around the peninsulas of the lake, led us out to better ground, and went on south. Followed it ten miles, and encamped on the open prairie; no timber near us; had taken a little wood from the lake mentioned. Course SE.; distance 20 miles.

Sunday 22nd  Made a very early start and marched in a E. course for the purpose of getting on a level prairie. A few miles brought us to a large creek making into the Misouri. It was difficult to cross. It may be Floyds River. Came across slues between ridges, which were difficult to cross. John Happs team gave out and a horse out of the Hospital waggon. Camped late on a slue bare of trees.  Course E. Distance 13 miles.

Monday 23rd  Made an early start. Soon struck a small creek running S. Contained numerous slues running S. W. They were difficult to cross. Encamped late on a dry slue.  Course S. E. Distance 16 miles.

Tuesday 24th  Made an early start and struck a river 60 feet broad, supposed to be the little Sioux. It was difficult to cross, though not more than belly deep. Hard to get some of the horses over so weak. Course of this river S. The crossing is about 40 miles from its mouth. Timber and pea Vines in abundance on this stream. Camped on the little Sioux.  Course S. E. E. Distance 8 miles.

Wednesday 25th  Made an early start course S. E. E. Met with but little mud. After having marched several miles struck a creek running S. E. [Maple River]. Some difficulty in crossing. We encamped on it. Had to leave a horse at little Sioux as he was too weak to travel. 3rd horse left from that cause. Hope to get to Fort Des Moines in 10 days.  Course S. E. E. Distance 15 miles.

Thursday 26th  Resumed the march at an early hour. Pursued a S.E.E. course, in a few miles the aspect of prairies beginning to change. Prairie low and marshy similar to the Des Moines prairies. Struck a considerable stream (40 feet wide) in the evening, supposed it to be soldiers river. Its course here S: S. E. Saw Elk. None killed. Out of meat. Camped on this river 60 miles from its mouth. We had a heavy frost during the night  Course S. E. E. Distance 19 miles.

Friday 27th  Made an early start and marched in direction S.E.E. In a few miles came across a slue 5 yards broad and deep. Course south. Difficult to cross. Saw timber E. Went there and found lakes of small size, surrounded by impassable slues. Camped in the vicinity. Character of country tolerably changed. Level and marshy slues not miry country pitching East.  Course S.E.E. Distance 12 miles.

Saturday 28th  Took up the line of march at an early hour. Course E. S. E. Country low and flat, but not miry. In a few miles came to a lake of some size. There was a large Indian encampment at this point. We struck a large Indian trail running S. E. Followed it until camping time. Camped on a dry slue on the prairie. Saw timber a few miles to our right, Raccoon River probably. Weather pleasant, nights cool, horses looking badly. About 80 miles from Fort Des Moines I think.  Course E. S. E. Distance 15 miles.

September 29. At 12 m. crossed a little creek coming from the NE., and turning south; turned into it at night to encamp, and found it much enlarged by a much larger stream coming in from the west just above our encampment. This seemed to be the west branch of the Raccoon, and we are now on the main branch of that river; the prairie, though somewhat hilly, has been easy to march over all day. The bluffs of this stream, where we are encamped, are high and steep; its valley is about a mile broad and well timbered. Course S.; distance 20 miles.

September 30. Started late, everything being tired from the too long march of yesterday. The grass has been so much deadened by the many frosts, that it no longer gives the horses a good subsistence; the horses and mules have failed wonderfully since we left the Little Sioux, though we have walked (on foot) most of the way. Followed down the bluffs of the Raccoon on our right, and crossed two small creeks running into it, both running in deep valleys clothed with heavy, good timber. Encamped on the last. Course SE.; distance 12 miles.

October 1. Marched on the dry ridge between Raccoon and Beaver, the timber of both being in sight nearly all the way. Killed a fine bear on the prairie in chase; Sergeant Williams shot him dead on first fire with his carbine from his horse at a gallop. We move slowly from previous fatigue. Encamped on Beaver river. Course SE. by S.; distance 16 miles.

October 2. The route was a little rough, being intersected by ravines both of Raccoon and Beaver; hoped to reach home, but could not from weariness of the teams. Encamped again on the Beaver, near our trail going out. Course SE.; distance 16 miles.

October 3. Struck our trail going out, and followed it home. Distance eight miles. Reached Fort Des Moines at 1 p.m., having marched, since we left the post, 740 miles, and having been absent 54 days.

Sunday 29th  Started early and followed the Indian (Sauk) trail its course was S. S. E. After marching a few miles struck a stream a few yards broad and was supposed to be the Raccoon River or beaver. Camped on it 11 miles lower down. Timber on it heavy. It is about half as large as Raccoon River is at the Garrison, a fork coming in here from S.W. Hickory and Oak in abundance on the stream. Prairies becoming more high and rolling. Marching pretty good. Raccoon River 15 yards wide at camp.  Course E. S. E. Distance 19 miles.

Monday 30th  Made an early start. Followed the trail which pursued a S. E. S. direction. Prairies dry and slightly rolling. Came to a branch of small size, making into Raccoon from W. about 8 miles from camp. Four miles beyond came to another from N. W. making into Raccoon about the same point. This stream barely timbered, crossed it and camped on it at an early hour. Raccoon River heavily timbered here. Weather warm.  Course S. E. S. Distance 13 miles.

Tuesday 1st Oct.  An early start was made direction S.E.S. Saw timber in N.W.W. direction, it was supposed to be Beaver River. After marching 14 miles, camped on this stream which proved to be Beaver. Some sauk Indians met, they said we were 15 miles from the Garrison.  Course S. E. S. Distance 19 miles.

Wednesday 2nd  Made an early start kept down the river, camped late on it. Our camp nearly Opposite to our first camp. Prairie passed over low and dry.  Course S. E. Distance 18 miles.

Thursday 3rd  Made an early start and soon struck our old trail, Marched merrily to the Garrison where we arrived early. It is needless to report that all were glad to get back again.  Course S. E. Distance 8 miles.

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