Will you please convey my hearty congratulations to the officers and men of your command, and my assurance that, at the earliest moment consistent with the safety of the State from Indian depredations, they shall be transferred to the seat of war in the South, where their soldierly qualities and the military experience acquired in this campaign will have a wider field and will secure for them the national reputation which they are so capable of achieving? To them and to you I tender my hearty thanks.
I am, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE NORTHWEST,
Milwaukee, Wis., August 29, 1863.
Brigadier General H. H. SIBLEY:
GENERAL: The termination of your campaign brings us at once to the question, what is to be done with your troops? From General Sully I have heard under date of the 16th instant. He was then 70 miles above Fort Pierre, and, having left this boats and baggage, was moving rapidly up the Missouri, with rations for thirty days. He has a depot at Fort Pierre, to which he will return for fresh supplies, but will keep the field on the Upper Missouri and in Nebraska and Dakota, as the case may be, till November 1. I send you a copy of my last letter to him, from which you will see the disposition for the winter which I propose to make of the large cavalry force under his command. I myself have no idea that the Indians whom you drove across the Missouri River will ever return for hostile purposes, or in any other way, unless permission is obtained from Washington. The presence of Sully on the Upper Missouri River with this large cavalry force, ready to fall on the rear of any war party which comes to the north side of the Missouri, would render such an operation too hazardous, even (which I do not believe) should the Indians feel disposed to undertake it. Small parties of eight or ten may traverse this long distance to commit some small depredations, but they will not be dangerous, and the mounted force along the frontier of Minnesota will be abundantly able to pursue and destroy them. If they make no such forays by the middle of October, it is not at all likely they will do so this winter. Under all views of the case, therefore, I consider 2,000 men enough to be left in Minnesota this winter. It is my purpose to leave one entire regiment of infantry, 500 mounted men, to be re-enlisted from the regiment of Mounted Rangers for one year, and the 500 mounted men of Hatch's battalion. They are under your orders, as all other military force in your district.
I suggest the following disposition of this force, leaving it, however, to your judgment of modify the arrangement as you think judicious: Three companies of infantry and 100 mounted men at Abercrombie, which post should at once be stockaded, or otherwise put in a complete condition for defense; three companies of infantry and 100 mounted men at Ripley, and ten companies of infantry and 100 mounted men at Ridgeley, which should also be made defensible. The other two companies of the infantry regiment to be divided into squads of 20 men, and stationed at convenient points along the frontier south and north of Ridgley. The remaining 700 mounted men to be stationed at points between the line of small infantry posts, and to patrol between their respective stations at short intervals. At all these small posts a sufficient