with your orders. The commission is proceeding with the trials of prisoners as rapidly as possible. More than 120 cases have been disposed of, the greater part of whom have been found guilty of murder and other atrocious crimes, and there remain still nearly 300 to be tried. I shall report to you the names of all when the commission has ended its labors and I have had time to review its proceedings, and I shall suspend the executions until the pleasure of the President is known. To-morrow or the following day I shall move my camp to the lower agency, where I will organize the cavalry expedition and then proceed with the prisoners to South Bend or Mankato and await orders, as you direct. It is very desirable that 50 or 60 mule teams be sent me to Fort Ridgely, laden with forage, so as to prevent the delay incident to procuring corn, &c., at the lower agency, for the purpose of the expedition against the western bands of Sioux. Forage in abundance must be furnished or the experiment will be a total failure at this late season of the year, and involve a great expenditure in horses, if not in men, without any result. I pray you to have this attended to, and have the mule teams, complete with their loads, pushed forward from Fort Snelling with the least practicable delay.
Warm clothing and a good supply of blankets for the men are also indispensable. The horse teams I have with me are nearly worn-out by incessant labor, and the greater part are utterly unfit for a long expedition line the one contemplated.
I cannot but regret that you propose to deprive me of the Sixth and Seventh Regiments, for they have become somewhat accustomed to Indian fighting and cannot readily be replaced by others. I would respectfully request that these regiments be retained on this frontier, if consistent with the public advantage, and the other and later regiments be sent south in their stead.
I have made no mention of your expressed intentions to any one, nor shall I do so until I have further instructions from you. I have ordered the mounted force to concentrate at the lower agency, where forage can be had for the horses. They will act as escort and guard in the transfer of the prisoners to that point.
Lieutenant-Colonel Marshall has just arrived with his detachment and 39 men and about 100 women and children prisoners. Among the former are known to be several murderers and rascals, who will of course be made to pay the penalty of their crimes. I have now about 400 Indian men in irons and between 60 and 70 under surveillance here and at the Yellow Medicine.
Lieutenant-Colonel Marshall proceeded to within 35 miles of the James River and he passed within 26 miles of Big Stone Lake. He took captive all the Indians to be found in the district of country visited by him, and the prisoners report the Sissetons and Eastern Yanktonnais to be several days' march farther west. When his report is received it will be transmitted to your headquarters. He was ably assisted by Major Brown, of my staff, who accompanied him, as well as by Captain Valentine of the Sixth, and Curtis of the Seventh, Regiments, and Lieutenant Swan, in immediate command of the mounted men, whose companies, with a mounted howitzer, under the charge of Sergeant O'Shea, composed his force.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. H. SIBLEY,
The Winnebagoes referred to by you will be tried by the military