Captain Strout’s Report

There were eighteen wounded, Captain Strout in his official report says: “The loss of the corn pang in this encounter was three men killed and fifteen wounded, some of them severely, all were, however, brought from the field.”

The reader will notice a material discrepancy in regard to the dead. That the 3d Regiment boys did not bury them, or Strout did not take them with him, requires no proof.

Captain Strout continues, “in addition to this, they lost most of their rations, cooking utensils, tents, and a portion of their ammunition and arms. Some of their horses became unmanageable and ran away. Some were abandoned, making with those killed by the enemy, an aggregate loss of nine. The loss inflicted on the enemy could not be determined with any degree of certainty, but Captain Strout was of the opinion that their killed and wounded was two or three times as great as ours, doubtful.

About one half the savages were mounted, partly on large fine horses, plundered from the settlements, and partly on Indian ponies. The latter were so well trained, that their riders would drive them at a rapid rate to within any desirable distance, when both pony and rider would instantly lie down in the tall grass and thus conceal them selves from the sharp-shooters of the Company, (of which there must have been many, judging from the effect of the volley fired at the Indian on the fence.)

The Indians engaged in the skirmish were estimated at about one hundred and fifty to two hundred.

From Mr. Cross of Cedar Lake our men procured lint for the wounded, and proceeded on their way to Hutchinson, arriving at that point Wednesday afternoon.

Mr. Cross was killed by the Indians a few days after, as heretofore related.

On arriving at Hutchinson, the wounded were placed in the Sumner House, where they received all the kind attention from both men and women of Hutchinson that could be asked or desired, for all of which the boys united in a “God bless them with long life and plenty of this world’s goods to make them happy both here and hereafter.”

We have given a some what detailed account of the Acton conflict, as it was the only one that took place in the County deserving the name of a battle. Our report is made up partly from the official report of Captain Strout, but principally, and more reliably from the vivid recollection of Jesse V. Branham, Jr. Esq. one of the Forest City scouts sent out to head off Strout, and who was with him the day of the battle and supposed to have been mortally wounded by an Indian bullet. Strout’s official report was a mixture of truth and folly, inconsistent with a just regard for the character of his soldiers, who cheerfully volunteered to take the field under all the adverse circumstances attendant on a hasty collection of men from work shops and the counter, totally ignorant of the art of war, and unused to the discipline of a military camp.

Strout himself was as little qualified for the post he occupied, as were any of the men for the practice of war. His pusillanimous course when he first entered on Indian Territory, marked him as an ill-qualified and unsafe leader.

Alluding to the different onsets of the Indians during the day, Strout says in his official report,
“on none of these occasions, however, did a single man falter or attempt a flight.”

Branham says the teamsters ran with their teams and the men ran “pell-mell to keep up” and when Strout adds, in his report, that he had lost, during the battle, most of their rations, cooking utensils, tenth, ammunition and arms, and nine or ten horses, it certainly looks as though Branham had the Truth on his side.

The fault was with the Captain, not the men. It pains us deeply to feel compelled, in the light of historical truth, to speak of Capt. Strout as we do, well remembering the old adage, that to avoid speaking ill of those of whom we have but little reason to speak well, is the temperance of aversion, and seldom found in ordinary minds.

Meeker County

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