The Indians of the First Regiment showed signs of serious demoralization and became unmanageable, while a large number of the Second deserted. It was thought that deprivation in the midst of plenty, the lack of good water and of the restraining influence of white troops had had much to do with the upheaval, although there had been much less plundering since they left than when they were present. With much of truth back of possible hatred and malice, the special agents reported that such protection as the white men had recently given Indian Territory “would ruin any country on earth."
With the hope that the morale of the men would be restored were they to be more widely distributed and their physical conditions improved, Colonel Furnas concluded to break camp on the Verdigris and return to the Grand. He accordingly marched the Third Indian to Pryor Creek but had scarcely done so when orders came from Salomon, under cover of his usurped authority as commander of the Indian Expedition, for him to cross the Grand and advance northeastward to Horse Creek and vicinity, there to pitch his tents. The new camp was christened Camp Wattles. It extended from Horse to Wolf Creek and constituted a point from which the component parts of the Indian Brigade did
[Footnote 381: Weer to Moonlight, July 12, 1862.]
[Footnote 382: Furnas to Blunt, July 25, 1862.]
[Footnote 383: Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Report, 1862, 160-161.]
[Footnote 384: Named in honor of Nathaniel Pryor of the Lewis and Clark expedition and of general frontier fame, and, therefore, incorrectly called Prior Creek in Furnas’s report.]
extensive scouting for another brief period. In reality, Furnas was endeavoring to hold the whole of the Indian country north of the Arkansas and south of the border.
Meanwhile, Salomon had established himself in the neighborhood of Hudson’s Crossing, at what he called, Camp Quapaw. The camp was on Quapaw land. His idea was, and he so communicated to Blunt, that he had selected “the most commanding point in this (the trans-Missouri) country not only from a military view as a key to the valleys of Spring River, Shoal Creek, Neosho, and Grand River, but also as the only point in this country now where an army could be sustained with a limited supply of forage and subsistence, offering ample grazing and good water." No regular investigation into his conduct touching the retrograde movement, such as justice to Weer would seem to have demanded, was made. He submitted the facts to Blunt and Blunt, at first alarmed lest a complete abandonment of Indian Territory would result, acquiesced when, he found that the Indian regiments were holding their own there. Salomon, indeed, so far strengthened Furnas’s hand as to supply him with ten days rations and a section of Allen’s battery.
[Footnote 385: For accounts of the movements of the Indian Expedition after the occurrence of Salomon’s retrograde movement, see the Daily Conservative, August 16, 21, 26, 1862.]