No. 292.
Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. West.

Sir: With reference to my note of the 17th ultimo in relation to the raids of Canadian Indians into the northwestern Territories of this country, I now have the honor to iuclose herewith, for your information, a [Page 500] copy of a telegram to the War Department respecting the fight of a detachment of troops under Captain Norwood, of the Second Cavalry, with British Cree Indians, near White Horse Lake.

I have, &c.,


Adjutant-General, Division Missouri, Chicago, III.:

Following received from Colonel Ruger, dated Helena, the 20th:

“The following received:

“‘Fort Assinniboine, April 20.

“‘Captain Norwood, Second Cavalry, with his command, returned to post at 6 o’clock this p.m., having traveled 115 miles since evening of the 18th instant. He had a fight with the raiding Crees, who had stolen stock and were heading for the line near eastern end of White Horse Lake. The fight lasted about one hour, the Crees fighting desperately from shelter. We had no casualties, and two Crees were left behind on the field. The stolen stock stampeded back during the fight towards the Marias, and the rest of the Crees, about fifteen in number, escaped across the line on their ponies. Captain Norwood received information that the war party from Walsh numbered about 100, but that they divided into small bands. I think that the camp of the Sweet Grass Hills should be established without delay, and that we need about ten more Indian scouts, whose services are of the utmost importance. Should the Crees continue their warfare against the settlements, which I fear they will now do with increased vigor, having lost a prominent leader and medicine man, who was among the killed, the number of mounted troops at this post is not sufficient to give protection to our settlements along the line of our frontier. Full report will leave by mail to-morrow.

Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding.

“I have ordered the commanding officer, Fort Assinniboine, to establish a camp of the two troops of cavalry and two companies of infantry on Sweet Grass Hills; the commanding officer Fort Shaw to send two companies and the mounted detachment to the Marias near Whoop-up crossing, to keep that region scouted and protect settlers. Have ordered commanding officer Fort Maginnis to have two troops ready for the field. I will order them to Benton, thence to the Marias camp or Assinniboine, as may seem best. Request authority be granted for ten additional Indian scouts at Fort Assinniboine. Effect of Captain Norwood’s encounter may be to keep Crees north of line; however, think the precautionary measures taken are necessary.

Commanding District.”

Brigadier-General, Commanding.


Respectfully forwarded to the Adjutant-General for the information of the General of the Army.

Lieutenant-General, Commanding.