A review of Mr. Lockwood's letter leads me properly to speak of the condition of Indian affairs in Minnesota, and to answer very briefly the fault-findings and misrepresentations which certain parties have carried to the Government. Without commenting on the motives of this spirit of carping and finding fault, I shall assume that the parties making these objections to Sibley's expedition, and the military arrangement in Minnesota, really believe what they say, and entertain in good faith the apprehensions they express. What are the facts? Even after Sibley's successful campaign of last autumn (which, by the way, was followed by the same representations and fault-finding), my intention of sending a large part of the force under his command to Grant's having become known, I was assailed by a storm of remonstrance and entreaty against sending a man away from the State. I was assured solemnly that the whole region west of the Mississippi was in imminent danger from Indians, and, if any of the troops were sent away,the country west of the river would be abandoned, and the inhabitants would precipitate themselves upon the river towns. In fact, I was informed by the highest authority that the exodus was already begun, in consequence of my purpose to remove the troops having become known. To such an extent was this carried, that I was compelled to address a letter to the Governor for publication, promising that the troops should remain at their stations along the frontier for the winter. Of course, no movement against the Indians was practicable until the spring opened.
It was,and is my belief that the Government wishes this Indian war brought to a close as soon as possible, and the troops sent where they are greatly needed. This, therefore, was, and is, my first object. The question was,now this could best be done. I knew perfectly well that any attempt to send troops south from Minnesota would lead to the same apprehension and remonstrances which met me in the autumn. I knew, too, that if I allowed the troops to remain posted along the frontier, their stay in the State would be unlimited, as the people certainly would never consent to their being sent out of the country,and would abandon their farms and the settlements at the first movement of the kind. I need not tell you what a storm of remonstrance an entreaty would have been visited upon the authorities at Washington, nor how impossible to have resisted it. It became necessary, therefore, as soon as the spring opened, to make, as rapidly as possible, such a campaign against the Indians as would assure the security of the frontier and restore confidence to the people. Unless this could be done, there was no hope of being able to sent the troops south. In this view, the expeditions of Sibley and Sully were organized. Sibley's campaign is probably over by this time, as on the 22nd instant he was to reach Devil's Lake, where the Indians were still concentrating as late as the 11th of July. He will return with little delay,and will probably reach fort Snelling with the larger part of his command by the last of August or the first week in September. Sully, as soon as he hears of Sibley's arrival at Devil's Lake and its result, will cross to the south side of the Missouri and deal with the Sioux in that region.
From these two expeditions I expect the happiest results - an end of the Indian war, the security of the frontier, and the departure of a large part of the troops south, without objection. By pursuing any other course, they would, by mere force of entreaty and remonstrance, backed up by strong influence, have been forced to spend another winter, and perhaps another, in Minnesota. No one knows better than yourself how difficult it is to get troops away from any frontier settlement where momentary necessity has occasioned their being posted. People who