they be so, you will demand the immediate surrender of General McNeil to the Confederate authorities, and if this demand is not complied with, you will inform said commanding officer that you are ordered to execute the first ten United States officers who may be captured and fall into your hands.
Very respectfully, yours,
[DECEMBER 8, 1862.-For Curtis, to Halleck, in reference to expedition from Helena to Grenada, see Series I, Vol. XVIII, Part II, p. 528.]
[DECEMBER 8, 1862,-For Grant to Steele, in reference to Sherman's expedition against Vicksburg, see Series I, Vol. XVII, Part II, p. 392.]
MADISON, December 8, 1862.
Dispatches and private letters just received indicate a fearful collision between the United States forces and the citizens. Combinations, embracing thousands of men in all parts of the State, are said to be forming, and in a few days our troops, with the Indian prisoners, will be literally besieged. I shall concentrate all the men I can at Mankato. But should the President pardon the condemned Indians, there will be a determined effort to get them in possession, which will be resented, and may cost the lives of thousands of our citizens. Ask the President to keep secret his decision, whatever it may be, until I have prepared myself as best I can. God knows how much the excitement is increasing and extending. Telegraph without delay to headquarters.
H. H. SIBLEY,
DECEMBER 8, 1862.
General CURTIS, Saint Louis:
I learn that General M. Jeff. Thompson is moving up to Black River, to gather the corn on it for Holmes' army. I shall gather it before him. I send a brigade to the crossing at Reeves' Station to-morrow morning, to gather all the corn between its position and Benton's. Look at the map; it will cover about 17 miles of the river. I shall move with all the cavalry in the evening, or next day, for the double purpose of making the bridge reconnaissance on Current River, which you indicated to me, and to get in Jeff.'s rear. He is said to have Preston's, White's, Jeffers', and Boone's regiment with him.
Washington, December 9, 1862.
Major-General CURTIS, Saint Louis, Mo.:
It is represented to the War Department by reliable authorities that two companies of cavalry and one of infantry are sufficient at Fort