Served in the UNION ARMY during the CIVIL WAR for the State of Minnesota.

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03 Sep 1864 1
Fort Rice 1

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Capt. Fisk's Expedition.

Fort Rice

Capt Fisk Expedition - Casualty

St. Cloud Democrat., October 13, 1864, Image 2

Capt. Fisk's Expedition.
The Situation when Messengers left tor Fort Rice


[The following letter though giving no later details than the letters, we have published from Fort Rice, will be read with interest, giving as it does the situation of Captain Fisk's little party when the messengers left for assistance. – ED PRESS

BATTLE FIELD, Sept. 6,1864
Circumstances would not admit of my writing you from Fort Rice, but I take the first opportunity to give you an account of our true position. We left Fort Rice with an escort of fifty, men only. We had a pleasant march Until the 3d instant, when we were attacked by about two or three hundred red skins We lost and buried that day two of our men and tour of the Cavalry scouts, besides four wounded. The next day and today we have fought them, marching all the time, until Captain Fisk halted the train and threw up entrenchments, rifle-pits, etc., and this evening sends fifteen men back to Fort Rice for reinforcements.

We have only had one man wounded by them since the first attack, but have taken several scalps and four or five ponies. We have given them more than they bargained for today.
Capt. Fisk, Lieut, Johnson, and in fact his whole party, are all right. We are bound to go to Idaho or die. I will give you full and correct detail when I get there.

As I write there are Indians coursing around our camp, but we are good for them.  

The names of the' members of our party who were killed on the 3d were, Louis Neade of St. Anthony Walter Grimes of St. Paul, formerly of White Bear, and Walter Fewer of St Anthony.

Our wounded are Jefferson Dilleto, severely, and Albert Libby of Anoka, slightly. They are both doing well. The names of those killed in the cavalry escort I do not know and cannot learn at this time.

Mrs. W. K. Leonard of Anoka, deserves great credit for her services rendered in attending to our wounded. She is truly a noble woman.

Joseph Delany is all right as yet Your correspondent has the peculiar felicity of knowing that he has picked off two red skins, but the opportunity to continue this amusement seems likely to be presented longer than will be agreeable. I can see the red devils now on every surrounding hill. You must not believe all the frightful stories you will hear about us. I must close this hasty communication as the couriers are about to start for Fort Rice. G. W. M

Fisk's Expedition

Early History of North Dakota p305.PNG
2 images


Captain Fisk's party left Fort Rice August 23, 1864. The battle of Red Buttes, as the attack on Capt. James L. Fisk's expedition was called, occurred September 2, 1864.

When 160 miles west of Fort Rice and 22 miles east of the Bad Lands near Dickinson, one of the wagons met with an accident. Two men and one wagon were left to assist the man with the overturned wagon ; also a guard of nine soldiers. Another man of the immigrant party had returned to the dinner camp to recover a lost revolver. Of this party eight were killed and four afterward died of wounds. One escaped through being sent to warn the train, which corralled, and a party was sent to their defense. The fight continued until sunset. One of the defenders, Jefferson Dilts, being more reckless than the rest, and who was mortally wounded, was credited with having killed eleven Indians, and many others were known to have been killed.

The immigrants lost in this affair one wagon loaded with liquors and cigars. and one containing among other things 4,000 cartridges for carbines and several carbines and muskets, and they also "lost" a box of poisoned hard bread. The corral was formed in low ground and six of the dead that were recovered were buried that night by lantern light.

A terrific thunderstorm occurred that night and water next morning was from one to three feet deep in their camp. As they moved next morning they were surrounded by drunken Indians, some smoking cigars, some of the Indians being reckless in their intoxicated condition. The train moved about two miles and again corralled.

Moving out the next morning, they were surrounded by a much stronger and more desperate force which attacked on both sides of the train. Reaching suitable ground, the train corralled and fortified, building breastworks of sod about six feet in height and large enough to enclose the entire train, and made ready for a siege which continued sixteen days before relief came. The next day they were again surrounded by a force of from three to five hundred Indians, but the mountain howitzer in the fort kept them at a respectful distance and no further casualties occurred.

That night Lieutenant Smith with thirteen men returned to Fort Rice for reinforcements which were, it will be seen, promptly sent by General Sully.

The men of Fisk's party who were killed were Louis Nudick, who went back for his revolver; Walter Grimes and Walter Fewer, teamsters; and the wounded, Jefferson Dilts and Albert Libby. Six soldiers were also killed and four wounded. The fort was called Fort Dilts, in honor of Jefferson Dilts, the wounded scout who died of his wounds and was buried under its walls. A spring was found near the fort, which furnished an abundance of water.


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