MILITARY EXPEDITION, HDQRS. NEAR FORT RIDGELY,
September 13, 1862.
General O. MALMROS,
Adjutant-General, Saint Paul:
SIR: Since my last dispatch I have received, under the escort of Captain Folsom, with 60 men of the Ninth Regiment, 50,000 cartridges; and I have ordered Captain Folsom to remain on temporary duty at Fort Ridgely with his detachment, as I wish to take with me on the expedition a part of the garrison, who are except Indian fighters, and will be valuable as scouts and skirmishers. I send a special messenger four days ago to request Major Welch to join me with the Third Regiment, but he has not returned, and has probably failed to find him. I have hoped to be re-enforced with some cavalry, but I can learn of none on the way, and although I have but 25 of that description of force with me, I expect to make an advance in the direction of the enemy on the morning of the 16th, as I learn that the clothing train will be here to-day and the provision train is expected to-morrow. There have been five murders committed on or near the Little Cottonwood within the past week by a small war party, who lost two of their number in a skirmish, probably with some men of Captain Dan's company, which I dispatched to that line on my arrival at Saint Peter.
The war parties are now all in, as I am reliably assured, and the Indians concentrating to meet me at Red Irons Village, 12 miles above Yellow Medicine. I received a communication from Little Crow yesterday by the same men who brought his former letter. I send herewith a copy of his letter* and of my reply, which was taken back by the bearer of the flag of truce yesterday afternoon. These men represent that the Indians are very much divided in sentiment and are quarreling among themselves; that Little Crow's life has been threatened, and that those who have opposed the ear and taken no part in it are organizing themselves so as to make a separate camp when the time comes and claim our protection. I have a communication from Wabashaw and Toopee, one of the civilized Indians, brought privately by Robertson, one of the men who bore the flag of truce, which, if reliable-as it may be-would seem to indicate such a determination. But I shall be on my guard against any treachery which may be intended under cover of these flags of truce, as you will see by my reply to Wabashaw, sent to him in a like private manner, and a copy of which is also inclosed.*
Matters are now assuming a definite shape, and as it has always been, and still is, my opinion, corroborated by all the information I can obtain, that the war arty among the Indians intend to make a desperate stand against my forces, I think it probable that within ten days we shall have overtaken and fought them, with what result time will show. While writing this dispatch Mr. George McLeod, whom I sent for the Third Regiment, has arrived, and reports Major Welch and his command within 6 or 8 miles of this camp, they having made a rapid march to join me. I shall thus be enabled to march with between 1,500 and 1,600 men, and if I can be joined with a couple of hundred or more of mounted men it will be of very great advantage.
[H. H. SIBLEY,