HDQRS. DIST. OF MINNESOTA, DEPT. OF THE NORTHWEST,
Saint Paul, Minn., September 16, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report for your information certain facts which have lately transpired, that may, and probably will, have a most important bearing upon the future relations between the Government and the upper bands of Sioux inhabiting the country on the north and east of the Missouri River.
My previous dispatches have fully advised you of the great concentration of Indian warriors, to oppose the column under my command in penetrating the immense prairies between the Red River of the North and the Missouri River, and their utter rout and retreat across the latter stream, with the loss of their subsistence, clothing, and means of transportation, which fell into my hands and were destroyed.
The state of destitution in which they found themselves and their utter inability to contend with our disciplined troops in the open field have so terrified the large majority of these savages that they have expressed a fervent desire to re-establish peace with the Government at any price.
Standing Buffalo, a leading chief of the Sisseton Sioux, and who has been consistent in his opposition to the hostilities initiated by the Minday, Wakomton, and Wakpeton bands in 1862, lately visited Saint Joseph, near the British line, accompanied by several deputies from the other upper bands, and held a conference with Father Andre, a Catholic priest, who is held in high estimation alike by the half-breed hunters and by the Sioux Indians. So far as I can ascertain, these deputies the represented all those powerful bands not immediately implicated in the murders and outrages perpetrated on the Minnesota frontier during the past year, but who participated with the refugees from Wood Lake in the engagements with the expeditionary force under my command in the month of July last. In fact, in the communication made to me by Father Andre, he distinctly states as one of the happy results of the expedition, that "judging from the anxiety displayed by these men (the deputies), the greater portion of the Sioux are desirous of an opportunity to offer their submission, and the murderers, once abandoned by the other Indians, can be easily reduced."
The combination of Indians defeated by my column in the late engagements may be thus classified: Minnesota River bands, remnants, 250 warriors; Sisseton Sioux, 450 warriors; E. Yanktonnais, 1,200 warriors; other straggling bands, including Teton Sioux, from the west side of the Missouri River, probably 400 warriors; making an aggregate force of from 2,300 to 2,500 warriors. These constitute the full strength of the Dakota or Sioux Indians inhabiting the prairies on the east side of the Missouri River, with few and insignificant exceptions. The small number of those who succeeded in effecting their escape after the decisive conflict of Wood Lake, and whose crimes against humanity preclude any hope of pardon on the part of the Government, when deserted by the great bands they hoped to complicate inextricably in their hostilities against the whites will be rendered powerless for evil, as justly remarked by Father Andre.
That gentleman, in the communication referred to, gives the substance of the appeal of Standing Buffalo for peace:
He wished me to assure you that neither he nor his men had taken any part in the war against the whites; that he was prepared now, as he always had been, to submit to such disposition as would be satisfactory to the Government, and he regretted very much that he could not meet you in your camp to give you this assurance.