War of the Rebellion: Serial 062 Page 0069 Chapter XLVI. CORRESPONDENCE,ETC.-UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records



District of the Frontier, Fort Smith, Ark.:

Orders have been issued long since for sending supplies of all kinds to Fort Smith by boat, soon as the river is navigable. Answer to dispatch of 4th instant.


Assistant Adjutant-General.


Colonel J. C. KELTON,

A. A. G., Hdqrs.of the Army Washington, D. C.:

COLONEL: I have the honor to inclose, for the information of the General-in-Chief, a copy* of a letter from General Sibley, inclosing an extract from a newspaper published at Fort Garry, British Possessions. The facts stated in these papers are, in brief, as follows: The fragments of the lower bands of Sioux who committed the murders in Minnesota in the summer of 1862, to the number of 800 or 1,000 men, women, and children, have taken refuge in British settlements along the Red River of the North, in a destitute condition, and are now being subsisted there. The English Government has no force in that region to control these Indians, nor to restrain them from committing depredations south of the boundary line upon our settlements. By refusing us permission to pursue they are thus offering these Indians protection, and by subsisting them during the winter, when otherwise they would starve or be forced to surrender themselves prisoners, they will be enabled in the spring again to resume depredations on our frontier, with a safe refuge always over the British line.

If these hostilities were simply confined to the plunder and destruction of property, it would be easy to make reclamation, but when the lives of helpless women and children are the result, of course any satisfactory reclamation is impossible. A sufficient force of U. S. troops to exterminate these Indians is at Pembina, but a few miles from where they are now being subsisted in the English settlement, but with no power to act against them. It will be seen also from the inclosed papers that the deputy governor of the Hudson Bay settlements has offered, if these Indians will return to the territory of the United States, to supply them there with a large amount of provisions, &c. Thus the complete results of our campaign against them will be overthrown, and they will, at their ease, be prepared to resume hostilities in the spring.

Concerning such transactions there can be but one opinion: Either the English Government should protect us from hostile Indians organizing in their dominions and subsisted by their officials, or we should be permitted to act against them ourselves. The lives of innocent and helpless settlers are involved in this question, which is of a character so serious as to merit, as I doubt not it will receive, the anxious consideration and prompt and decided action of the Government. General Sibley's reference to the extradition treaty is of course inapplicable, if for no other reason that that the criminals to


*Not found as an inclosure.