ordered all Federal prisoners in my hands into close confinement to await your answer to this letter. That answer will decide their fate and fix the character of the war so far as we are concerned. I send this letter under a flag of truce to Brigadier-General Steele at Helena, of whom I beg the courtesy to forward it to you. Please send your answer through him also.
I am, general, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
THE. H. HOLMES,
HEADQUARTERS MILITARY EXPEDITION,
Camp Release, October 11, 1862.
Major General JOHN POPE,
Commanding Military District of the Northwest:
GENERAL: Henry Belland has just arrived with your dispatch of 7th instant.
Those of the 6th, referred to, have not yet been received. Your orders relative to the disposition of the Indians will be obeyed as promptly as possible. They will interfere somewhat with my forward movement, as I designed to leave on the 12th with a portion, or rather the larger part, of my command in pursuit of the refugee Indians. As the order is imperative to send all below, I shall suspend the execution of the sentenced Indians, about 20 in number, and dispatch them with others who I shall arrest in the neighboring camp this afternoon, to Fort Snelling, to be subject to your direction. The number to be sent down, including the 300 men, women, and children, supposed to be contained in the camp near my own, will be nearly or quite 1,500; and I trust you have given orders to have them supplied with provisions along the route, there will be great suffering among them. They must necessarily travel slowly, and they will therefore be many days in reaching Fort Snelling. I shall endeavor to have them en route within two or three days. As I must weaken my force by dispatching at least three companies of infantry to guard the prisoners, I hope you will give orders to Colonel Montgomery to receive the latter at Saint Peter and escort them below with his command or part of it, so as to permit the companies of my corps to return and rejoin me from that place.
From the tenor of your dispatch I judge that you do not intend that the infantry shall be employed in the expedition to the Yanktons, but that Colonel Crooks will be dispatched thither with the 600 cavalry you propose to send up. Understanding this to be your intention, I shall, after having disembarrassed myself of the prisoners, sweep the country between this point and Big Stone Lake, with a view to catch the refugee Indians if they are scattered into small parties, or fight them if they assemble in force, which I do not believe they will, unless assisted by the Sissetons and Yanktons; that is not probable, but is still possible. I shall do all I can to find Little Crow and the few lodges, but the Indians believe him to be fleeing toward the Red River, to take refuge under the British flag. I shall offer a reward for his apprehension, as you direct.
There are many pretty good houses on the Indian reservation near the lower agency which add value to the land, and can be of no future service to the Indians under the plan of operations adopted by you. There I shall not destroy, unless ordered to do so by you. The corn