so great an extent as to require the prompt interposition of the Government in insisting that a professedly friendly power shall not longer permit its soil to be a convenient refuge for these Ishmaelites of the prairies, where they can supply themselves with necessary articles, including munitions of war.
The remnant of the lower bands of murderers having been furnished with food and ammunition by the British authorities, as I have already informed you, it may be taken for granted that they will thereby be enabled to subsist themselves through the winter and their necessities will impel them to attempt new raids upon our settlements in the spring. Every precaution should be taken to guard these settlements against their insidious attacks in small parties, and the war be once more carried into the enemy's country as the most effectual protection to the frontier against any formidable demonstration by them. The most vigorous and effective means to pu a speedy end to this Indian war, namely, an offensive movement, will prove int he end to be vastly less expensive than the assumption of a merely defensive attitude, which would indefinitely prolong hostilities and be most calamitous in its effects upon the prosperity of Minnesota, Iowa, and Dakota Territory.
To meet the new aspect of affairs, and to prevent, if possible, another ruinous stampede of settlers from the border, I beg leave to present the following plan of operations for the ensuing season:
First, I propose that the posts from Sauk Center to the Iowa line, established last season entirely outside of the line of settlements, shall be garrisoned by detachments of the Second Regiment Minnesota Cavalry, leaving a part of one regiment of infantry to occupy Forts Ridgely, Ripley, and Abercrombie. There should not be less than two companies at either of these posts. The whole twelve companies of the regiment of cavalry will be required to secure the extensive line from Fairmont to Alexandria from hostile incursions, and to perform the necessary escort duty.
Secondly, an expedition, to consist of fourteen companies of infantry, three companies of cavalry, and two sections of mountain howitzers, should leave Fort Ridgely as soon as the great shall be sufficiently long to subsist the animals, to beat up the camps of the prairie Indians, whether they may be found on the upper Cheyenne, at Devil's Lake, or on the Missouri Coteau. I feel quite certain that hostilities will be indefinitely prolonged, unless the recent reverses experienced by these prairie warriors are followed up vigorously by the Government forces, until the Indians are made to feel that there is no safety for themselves of their families except in their unqualified submission. It would have been imprudent to hazard an advance of 600 miles into the hostile country last season with a less force than composed the expedition; but now that the savages have experienced successive federates in contending with disciplined troops, the number of companies I have specified may safely risk an encounter with any concentration of warriors north or east of the Missouri. The battalion under Major Hatch should be kept in position along the boundary line, to act in any emergency that may arise in that quarter.
To carry out this plan in will be necessary for you to procure the consent of the War Department to retain the three companies of Minnesota cavalry, now on their way to the State, who have re-enlisted into the service. Though reduced in numbers these companies would be worth many times their own force of raw cavalry, and in