Bear River Expedition - Letter September 10, 1859
HEADQUARTERS BEAR RIVER EXPEDITION,
Camp on Bear River, U. T., September 10, 1859.
SIR: I have the honor to report that I have directed the remainder of the surplus teams to be sent to Camp Floyd, and they will leave this camp to-morrow.
Lieutenant Livingston, second dragoons, on his return from Captain Wallen's camp, found on Raft river a party of emigrants, consisting of six men, two women, and three children, whose train had been attacked by Indians about twenty-five miles west of Fort Hall, on Lander's road. Lieutenant Livingston sent a small party back to the place where the train was attacked, and found five men "killed," and that one woman and two children were missing. These persons are now here, and are perfectly destitute. I send them down by the train, and recommend them to the kindness of the commanding general and the officers at the post.
Every effort has been made by this command to reach these Indians, but without success. Captain McLaws and two companies were within twenty-five miles of the place of this attack, and at the same time, yet in a scout of twenty days he did not see an Indian. I am convinced that there are no Indians in this vicinity, and I have determined that I will leave a guard here, and with the remainder of this command proceed to Fort Hall, and by sending out a number of parties in different directions at the same time, make another effort to reach these rascals. I am convinced it is of no use to follow them, unless a number of parties act in concert; they keep their spies on the mountains and can thus avoid the troops. I shall be prepared to be absent from this camp for thirty days if I find it necessary.
The Indian that I had in confinement here escaped from the guard the night after I wrote last. I have not been able to communicate with the Indians at all. He told my interpreter that if I released him he would not come back.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major Seventh Infantry.
Major F. J. PORTER,
Assistant Adjutant General, U. S. A., Camp Floyd, U. T.