required by the honorable Secretary of War. It may be proper to make mention of certain additional facts to show the necessity of maintaining these frontier defenses:
From Fort Abercrombie, the extreme northwestern post, to the line of Iowa, the distance is between 300 and 400 miles, and the troops are so stationed in small detachments as to cover the settlements, which are more or less exposed to the raids of hostile Sioux Indians, along the entire border. Fort Abercrombie is on the great route of intercommunication to the British Possessions, and is so situated as to operate as a check upon the Sioux on the one side and the Chippewas on the other. Fort Ripley, on the Upper Mississippi, is the only post in the Chippewa country proper, two minor stations heretofore occupied by detachments having been necessarily evacuated. Fort Ridgely is an important post on the Minnesota River, 120 miles above Fort Snelling, commanding the approaches to the settlements by the valley of that stream. Fort Snelling is the general rendezvous and depot of supplies in this district, and it is also used as the military prison for the Department of the Northwest. The garrisons of all the posts have been reduced to as low a limit as in consistent with safety. The expeditionary force dispatched from this district to re-enforce Brigadier-General Sully, on Missouri, will relieve the companies of the Thirtieth Wisconsin Volunteers temporarily assigned to duty in this district at Forts Ridgely and Wadsworth (which companies will then join the remainder of the regiment in General Sully's district) and build and occupy Forts Hays [sic], at Devil's Lake, Major-General Pope having ordered Forts Wadsworth and Hays to be garrisoned by four companies of cavalry and four companies of infantry each, those posts being designated at points in the heart of the country inhabited by the powerful upper bands of Sioux or Dakotas. In view of the great number of hostile Indians within striking distance of the settlements of Minnesota, it would be dangerous, in my judgment, further to diminish the military force in this district until this formidable Indian war is brought to a close. Should the campaign of General Sully result in the defeat and severe chastisement of the concentrated bands of Sioux, against whom his operations are directed, there is good reason to believe that there will be a general submission of these savages of the Government within the next year, as some of those who suffered so severely from the expeditions of last year have expressed a desire to be restored to their former friendly relations with their Great Father in Washington.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. H. SIBLEY,
HEADQUARTERS NORTHWESTERN INDIAN EXPEDITON,
Fort Rice, Dak. Ter., July 7, 1864.
Department of the Northwest:
SIR: I have the honor to report that I located Fort Rice this day at a point on the Missouri River on the west bank, a little above the outlet of Long Lake, and about eight miles by water above the mouth of the Cannon Ball River. On the 3rd of July I put the troops in motion from Swan Lake, the Minnesota column having joined me there. The