Missouri river, on terms entirely satisfactory to the Government, will be made this winter; a peace which involves neither presents nor annuities of any description, but a peace simply based upon good behavior. With the Yancktonnais and other Sioux tribes north and east of the Missouri there will be somewhat longer delay in coming to satisfactory terms. About half these Indians desire to make peace at once, but there are many who wish to keep up the war. These last are encouraged in their purpose by half-breeds and other British subjects, and as they have a safe refuge in the British possessions, and are there supplied with means to carry on hostilities, it will probably require the hardships and privations of a winter in those arctic regions to bring them to their senses. They took refuge there after the late battles in a perfectly destitute condition, and are already beginning to rob and plunder, and in places, to commit murder in the English settlements. They will soon become as odious and dangerous to the British settlements as they have been to our own. By spring most likely everything will be satisfactorily settled. As matters stand, and are likely to stand this winter, however, with these Indians, there is no manner of danger to the frontier settlements of Minnesota or Dakota. The Indians are driven far away, and a cold, barren and bleak prairie region, many hundreds of miles in extent, and impassable in winter, interposes between them and the frontier settlements. In Minnesota there have been no active operations, there being no hostile Indians, except a few straggling thieves, east of the Missouri river. With the small force under his command judiciously posted, General Sibley has kept everything quiet on the Minnesota border, nor is there ever again the likelihood of any Indian hostilities from Sioux on the Minnesota frontier, beyond such small thieving raids as are incident to the situation, and must always occur so long as there are Indians on our western borders. With these, should they occur, a small force will be able to deal conclusively. For details, of which the foregoing report is a brief summary, I have the honor to refer you to the reports of Generals Sully and Sibley herewith and heretofore transmitted. In some manner the British Government should either prevent hostile Indians who reside within the boundaries of the United States from seeking refuge in British territory, or should secure the United States against the raids of such Indians, or should permit the United States forces to pursue into British territory all Indians who belong south of the line, and who are at war with citizens of the United States. One of these three demands is certainly reasonable, and will effect the desired purpose. In the same connection it will be necessary to prohibit half-breeds and other British subjects from coming into the territory of the United States to trade with Indians, whether hostile to us or not, who live south of the British line. The hostile Sioux have for the past two years been supplied with ammunition, provisions, &c., to carry on hostilities against the United States by British subjects, both in their own territory and in ours. A state of hostility between the Sioux and citizens of the United States, of course, throws all the trade with such Indians into the hands of British traders. Hence the anxiety of these traders to prevent peace with the Sioux Indians. I have the honor again to ask attention to my letter of February 6, 1864, to the Secretary of War, on the subject of our Indian system, and to beg, in view of the interests of the Government as well as of humanity, that such legislative or executive action be recommended as will, as far as practicable, correct the evils therein set forth. I transmit enclosed a copy of that letter and a copy of trade regulations with Indians, which I have heretofore forwarded, and which I deem necessary to protect Indians and white men alike against Indian traders. It is my purpose, by forcing all traders with Indians to locate their trading posts in the immediate vicinity of the military posts, and nowhere else, to make these military posts the neuclei of extensive Indian camps, and as far as possible to induce the Indians to make their permanent homes so near to the posts that they will constantly be under the supervision and control of the garrisons. If there be no other places to trade except the military posts, the Indian will necessarily resort to them, and will there remain, except when he is engaged in hunting during the summer season. If fair dealing with Indians can be enforced, there never will be danger of any Indian wars. The object of these trade regulations is to secure these two results; but unless they are adopted and enforced by military authority, we cannot hope for any permanent peace with the Indian tribes. The regulations themselves are so full, and their object so manifest, that it is unnecessary to go further into detail concerning them. The only other white men I would permit to have intercourse with the Indians are the missionaries. I trust that some arrangements will be made with the authorities of our home missionary societies to furnish to each military post good practical men, with their families, whose business shall be to teach the Indians the useful arts of life; the Indian men to cultivate the soil, the Indian women to sew and to do such other work as they are fitted for, and all to keep themselves clean and decent. These are the first lessons to be taught to Indians. Religious instruction will come afterward in its natural order. The failure of our missionaries among Indians is due, I think, mainly to the fact that they have reversed the proper order of instruction, and have attempted to make the Indian a member of the church while he was still a wild savage. Of course, if anything is to be gained by it, the Indian will profess his belief
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Doc . 16 . operations in Tennessee .
Doc . 19 . the siege of Suffolk, Virginia .
Doc . 36 . General Rousseau 's expedition.
Doc . 59 . battles of Spottsylvania , Va: battle of Sunday , May 8 , 1864 .
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.