The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 178
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
and surrendered. By then, the majority of the members of the tribes had
long since become prisoners of the U.S. Army.
The overall field operations of the campaign against the Indians was
commanded by Col. Nelson A. Miles. On July 27, 1874, Colonel Miles re-
ceived orders to organize an expedition at Fort Dodge, Kansas, and move
south of the Arkansas River to campaign against the Indians. Miles
formed his eight troops of cavalry into two battalions under Majors
Charles Compton and James Biddle. Capt. H. B. Bristol commanded the
infantry, and Lt. James Pope commanded an artillery detachment that in-
cluded one ten-pounder Parrott rifle and two ten-barreled .50o-caliber
Gatling guns. Altogether, Miles's command totaled 744 men. The march
towards the Texas plains was made in stifling heat, as the summer of 1874
was excessively hot and dry. Most of the streams and water holes had dried
up early in the summer, and the scarcity of water brought intense suffer-
ing to the troops.15
After departing Fort Dodge on August 11, Colonel Miles established a
supply camp at Camp Supply, Indian Territory, and dispatched his scouts
to locate the Indians. The scouts, commanded by Lt. Frank Baldwin, re-
ported Indian movements toward the southwest, and Miles took up the
pursuit with all haste. At Sweetwater Creek, the scouts discovered a large
Indian trail leading southwestward. The trail was plainly marked with ar-
ticles the Indians had discarded in their haste to outrun the soldiers. As
the troops pushed on to the North Fork of the Red River, the trail grew
larger as other Indian bands joined from the north, east, and south. With
the chase growing warm, Miles detached his supply train so he could pur-
sue the Indians with greater speed. Miles wanted to deal the Indians a
harsh blow and secure a decisive victory early in the campaign.'6
By the morning of August 30, the military, after traveling over the
" A number of previous researchers have indicated that Miles took a mountain howitzer with
him on his campaign, but this is incorrect. Miles tested the howitzer at Fort Dodge but found its
range to be inadequate, stating, "I judge after careful trial that the mountain howitzers would be
of httle use, as they have too short a range, the extreme range being not above 1 loo or 1 oo yards,
and at that range their fire is very inaccurate, so that they could be easily silenced by rifles of the
present improved pattern." Miles goes on to state, "I took from Fort Dodge, at which place the
howitzers were left, a three-inch Parrott gun with ammunition." Miles to the Assistant Adjutant
General, Aug. 19, 1874, Microfilm M-1495, Roll 8, pp. 338-339 (National Archives); J. T. Mar-
shall, a newspaper reporter who served during the campaign as a civilian scout, also states that
Miles had a ten-pounder Parrott rifle.J. T. Marshall, The Mles Expedition of 1874-i875: An Eyewzt-
ness Account of the Red River War (Austin: Encino Press, 1971), 17. The fact that Miles used a Parrott
rifle at the Battle of Red River was confirmed through the archeological investigations, which re-
covered fragments of exploded Parrott shells.
'" Lt. Frank Baldwin estimated the number of Indians at 3,000. W. C. Brown, "Baldwin Indian
Territory Expedition, From His Own Diaries," W C Brown Papers (University of Colorado Li-
brary; cited hereafter as Baldwin I T. Expedition); Robert C Carriker (ed.), "Thomas McFadden's
Diary of an Indian Campaign, 1874," Southwestern Hstorical Quarterly, 75 (Oct., 1971), 203, Jerry
Rogers, "To the Canyon of the Tule: Colonel Nelson A. Miles and the Indian Territory Expedition,
1874," Texas Mzlztary Hstory, 7, no. 3 (1968), 267-294.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/230/: accessed May 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.