post during the coming winter. I am satisfied that there is timber sufficient to build and sustain a fort. The grass, although sufficient, is difficult to obtain on account of the amount of dead grass which has accumulated from year to year. The prairies not having been burned it is impossible to use the moving machine. In an ordinary season I think there will be no trouble in obtaining sufficient within ten miles of the post, but I find it will be necessary this season to go a greater distance. Finding it impracticable and almost impossible to detach a sufficient number of men from my command to secure the amount required for the coming winter on account of having the necessary buildings to erect for protection during the winter, the time being short, I accepted a proposition of Mr. Mark Donnie, which was to secure the quantity required, provided I would furnish him the necessary implements and a proper guard, his intention being to employ half breeds to do the work. I accepted the proposition after consulting with Captain McKusick, assistant quartermaster, and deeming it the most feasible manner by which the amount required could be obtained, I detailed thirty infantry, ten cavalry, one mountain howitzer, with six men, and four scouts, the whole under command of Captain John Klatt, as guard,with orders to make an intrenched camp. Mr. Donnie, after procuring the services of some half-breeds, moved on the 6th instant about seventeen miles from this post and commenced operations, where he is now busily engaged in cutting and securing the necessary amount of hay. Since the establishment of the post I have been making preparations for the construction of all the necessary buildings by having all the men not necessarily engaged on guard duty engaged in intrenching on the lines as laid down on the plan, and securing and hewing timbers for the block-houses, preparing the saw-mill and all the tools. Captain McKusick, assistant quartermaster, will have the mill in operation, I think, this week. Some of the whip-saws will be running to-morrow. Some men also engaged in burning coal and lime; some hauling rock for foundations for block-houses; two men engaged in digging a well, and all the men busily engaged. The work under Captain McKusick, assistant quartermaster, is progressing as rapidly as possible. There will be no delay, as every officer and man is ready to do his part.
Pierre Bottineau, chief of scouts, has been busy, and up to the present time has now seen any sign of hostile Indians. Gabriel Renville has kept his men engaged and has rendered good service by urging my men to labor. He sent two men out to within fifty miles of Devil's Lake. They returned on the 9th and reported as not having seen any signs of hostile Indians. Up to the present time I have not heard of any hostile Indians being near the Coteau.
On the 8th Gabriel Renville exhibited a note (in pencil) from the commanding general dated Fort Ridgely, June 6, 1864, which he thought would entitle him to pay after my arrival on the Coteau. I respectfully ask to be instructed on the subject. He also requested the use of a few scythes to make hay. Not being able to make hay without them I instructed the assistant quartermaster to furnish them and charge them, provided they could be spared. Captain McKusick, assistant quartermaster, furnishes six, to be returned.
I would respectfully state to the commanding general that from all I have seen and all the information I have obtained since my arrival on the Coteau de Prairie, I am fully satisfied that the point selected is the best for a fort on or near the Coteau.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major Thirtieth Regiment Wisconsin Infantry Volunteers, Commanding