McNeil suggests that full power should be given to some person to settle with them the terms of peace. There are some important facts connected with this matter which should not be lost sight of. The wealthy Indian land-holders nearly all joined the rebels, and are now among those suing for peace. The feeling of hostility on the part of the loyal Indians toward these rebels is very intense. I believe the feud between them is of longer standing than he present rebellion. It will, I believe, be practically impossible for the disloyal Indians to return and occupy their lands. They would all be murdered by the loyal or poor Indians. It is an important question whether the lands owned by the disloyal Indians should not all be declared forfeited to the Government; also, if forfeited, whether they should be given to the loyal Indians or be held by the Government, with a view to the ultimate extinction of the Indian tittle to a portion of territory which must, before many years, be required for the use of white men.
I presume the question of forfeiture is the only one which need be decided soon. My present information leads me to believe that the lands owned by hostile Indians should be declared forfeited, and that they should not be permitted to return among the loyal. Their future peace seems to require that they be kept separate. This will, of course, embarrass very much any negotiations for peace, yet I see now ay of securing peace among the Indians on any other terms.
My personal knowledge of these matters is too limited to justify the expression of a very decided opinion as to what policy should be adopted. I desire simply to call your attention to what seems to be the important questions to be decided, and to ask for instructions. I believe there is no civil officer of the Government now in that Territory empowered to treat with the Indians.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. M. SCHOFIELD,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF SOUTHWESTERN MISSOURI,
Springfield, Mo., November 12, 1863.
Commanding Department of the Missouri:
GENERAL: I have now been here a little more than two weeks, and have endeavored to make myself familiar with the military necessities of the district. The chief end to be accomplished by the Government in this district now seems to be to restore confidence on the part of the loyal citizens in its power, ability, and determination to protect them in their persons and property from the raids of portions of the rebel armies and the lawless bands who infest almost every neighborhood. To secure this end fully, the following forces will be required, probably for a year to come, to be stationed and used at or near the following points, viz: Fayetteville, four companies of cavalry and one section of artillery; Huntsville, three companies of cavalry and one section of artillery; Carrollton, three companies of cavalry; Jasper, three companies of cavalry; Yellville, four companies of cavalry; Buffalo Landing, four companies of cavalry; Gainesville, one company of cavalry; Forsyth, one company of cavalry; Saline, one company of cavalry; Cassville, four companies of cavalry; Pineville, three companies of cavalry; Neosho, one company of cavalry; Mount Vernon, one company of cavalry;
45 R R-VOL XXII, PT II