There are at least two studies for this scene. This one is a vertical format, and the other, Watching the Caravan (CR# 397D), is more horizontal. The message and the figural treatment are the same in both, but it would appear that Miller favored this arrangement as both known finished watercolors (CR# 397C and CR# 397B) utilize this figural arrangement. The original version of this, painted around 1837 (CR# 397A), is more of a square design and reversed in compositional orientation.
The warrior in the foreground appears to be warning his cohorts with the gesture of his outstretched left arm. Perhaps he is cautioning them not to fire. Even though the inscription on the drawing reads in part “War Ground,” the Indians are severely outnumbered and the members of the troop of travelers below are fully cognizant of their presence.
Peter H. Hassrick
LL: AJM/Indians/Pawnee Indians watching/ the Caravan/-‘War Ground’
The artist; [?]; present owner