Information leads me to believe we shall find and fight him at or near Lac-qui-Parle, 70 miles above this.
I am glad to learn that you have taken the direction of military affairs in the Northwest. This Indian war is a formidable one, and will tax the resources of the States within your military district if it is to be brought to a speedy close.
Our wants are now principally rations of hard bread and pork, forage and clothing, especially blankets. If I had 400 or 500 good mounted men I would fell more certainly in bringing this campaign to a speedy and successful issue. If the Indians decide to fight up-as I hope they will-we shall have a bloody and desperate battle, for it is a life-and-death struggle with them; but I have little doubt that we can whip them, although my troops are entirely undisciplined, excepting the few belonging to the Third Regiment.
Very respectfully, yours,
H. H. SIBLEY,
HEADQUARTERS MILITARY EXPEDITION, In Camp, four miles from Ridgely, September 19, 1862.
Major General JOHN POPE,
Commanding Department of the Northwest, Saint Paul:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your dispatch of 17th instant, which arrived by special messenger this evening, and thank you for the kind manner in which you refer to me as commanding officer of this expedition. I may be allowed to state in this connection that I would not have been displeased to learn that you had selected as my successor in command some one of the gentlemen under your orders who has military qualifications, for to such I make little pretension.
I am glad to perceive that you have so just an appreciation of the magnitude of the war in which we are engaged with the Sioux or Dakotas, the most warlike and powerful of the tribes on this continent. You have doubtless been apprised of the difficulties and delays which have had to be encountered in the conduct of this expedition. At one time we have wanted bullets and at another bread. The men are new levies, except about 250 of the new regiment, and even these latter have with them but two or three commissioned officers; a deficiency which I trust will be promptly remedied.
You will see by the date of this communication that I have crossed the Minnesota River near Fort Ridgely and am on my way in search of the Indians, preferring to move up on the south side of the river, as there might be trouble in crossing at a point higher up. The last communication from the Indian camp was by flag of truce, several days since, when the savages were assembled in force about 15 miles from Lac-qui-Parle and about 60 miles above Ridgely. The half-breeds I have with me think it probable the camp has been removed to Lac-qui-Parle, and that I shall find them there. I hope such will prove to be the case, but it may be they are moving upward, in which case I shall probably fail to overtake them, as they have many horses and teams and I have but 27 horsemen all told. My force is about 1,450 men. I shall be rejoiced to be re-enforced by even a portion of the mounted men you propose to send me.
Having thus stated the condition and prospects of the march I beg