whole country, from the Mississippi to the Pacific. Two thousand men has always been considered a very large force, as it has been a very unusual amount of force to be used in any of our most important expeditions against the Indians; and surely now, when the country is in the most pressing need of troops at Murfreesborough and Vicksburg, you should consider carefully before, with more than twice that number of men in Minnesota alone, you apply for additional troops. I am sure you know, general, that I am very desirous of supporting you in every possible way, and of assuring success in all your operations, but your application for more troops has so surprised me that I scarcely know what to expect. Be good enough to send me, at once, a return of all the troops in your district, and, if you continue to ask for re-enforcements, I must refer your letter to Washington, for the information of the Government. A vigorous campaign must be opened against the Indians as soon as the spring opens, both from Minnesota and from the Missouri River. The routes of travel can only be made secure in this way. I shall with difficulty be able to assemble one-third of your force on the Upper Missouri (certainly I shall not be able to assemble one- half), and that force is considered abundant by both officers and agents in that section. I have little idea that any attack will be directed toward Minnesota while such a force as you have is in that State. On the contrary, all the information that reaches me makes it certain to my mind that if the Indians make any concerted movement it will be against the settlements in Dakota and along the Missouri River. Such an attack is confidently expected by everybody in that region, and yet no one living there has placed the amount of force necessary for security, and to crush out the Indians, at more than 2,500. I beg you to reconsider carefully your application for more troops, as I shall dislike much to be obliged to forward it to Washington.
I am, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major- General, Commanding.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, Mo., February 22, 1863.
Honorable CHARLES H. HOWLAND,
House of Representatives, Jefferson City:
Yours (private) of the 19th is duly received. I know there are many aspirants for this command, which I neither sought nor desired, and some in the State who do not like to have a change. I always keep my trunk ready packed, knowing that a soldier must be toujours pret. For myself, I am not the least anxious to remain. I have administered the department just five months. If success affords proof of my ability, I have no reason to doubt a fair public verdict, and the care, labor, and conflict of commands incident to the position are exprocuring a substitute which would fill the position with more fairness and success and at the same time give less occasion for doubts and dissatisfaction. I have traversed most of this district in peace and in war; I have watched the varying hopes, fears, and purposes of rebel leaders; I know their desire to take advantage of every social, religious, or political sentiment, and I know how they rejoice at differences which they seek to augment amongst us, and I am doing all I can to keep our Union ranks steadily united against them. shift of commanders is