From Chaps. 49/50, Louisiana Purchase, 1831
With replenished provisions and repaired damage, we went to the Osage agency, near Fort Gibson, and left with Captain Edgar Hawkins and twenty-five soldiers from the fort. Each company at Fort Gibson was assigned horses of matching color. These men were all on bay horses. They had come to the agency to serve as our escorts, which was a welcomed surprise. Fort Gibson was the most southwesterly outpost on the United States frontier, and I knew Colonel Arbuckle's infantry was already strained because of clashes among border Indians along the Red River. "Yes, there have been killings," confirmed Hawkins, "and Colonel Arbuckle's also been ordered to hold his companies in readiness for service in Louisiana."
"Indians?" I asked.
"No, disturbances by the colored population."
I headed our party toward the Arkansas border, where the threat of Indian attack was minimal. A soldier became ill two days out and we halted. We weren't stopped an hour when one to two hundred Osage warriors, naked and armed for battle, came rushing toward us.
The soldiers ran around looking for their weapons and shouting orders to one another while the interpreter, the hired man, and I calmly stacked our baggage and stood near it. As soon as the Osages reached us and a vigorous hand-shaking ceremony began, the soldiers' relief supplanted any fear. The Osages crowded thickly about us and inquired as to the chief of our party. I was pointed out and their chief instantly came to me. Through Stephen, he told me to make my people take care of their possessions, lest some of his should steal. The soldiers would listen to none of that. Having exposed fear, they now compensated with an air of nonchalance.
In a very few minutes after the Indians had mingled with them, one soldier announced that the cartridges were missing out of a box swinging on his back. Another cried, "My rammer's gone!" Others complained until it was evident that while the soldiers were gaping at the uncouth appearance of the warriors, the warriors were picking them clean. After their chief made them return all the stolen property, the soldiers rather suddenly decided their ill comrade was well enough to move on, and we bade the Osages farewell.