no position could they confer more signal benefit to the Government than in this military district as a part of the proposed expedition. No other increase of force would in my judgment be requisite, but I consider that less than the number indicated for offensive and defensive purposes would be insufficient. I assume as a fixed fact that you will direct a formidable movement of troops up the Missouri River, to chastise the Teton Sioux, so as to render safe the emigrant route leads me to the belief that these Tetons have sent tobacco to the Assinimboines, Blackfeet, Crows, and other tribes with whom they have hitherto waged war from time immemorial, inviting them to form a general combination against the Americans as a matter of self-preservation. Should this prove correct these allied tribes can bring into the field 8,000 or 9,000 warriors, and sooner or later these men must be met and conquered.
I need not mention to one whose knowledge and experience in Indian affairs are son accurate as your own that halt-way measures in dealing with the red man are not only inconclusive and pernicious in their results, but are always doubly expensive to the Government. The great distance to be traversed in operating against the upper bands is the most formidable obstacle to their speedy subjugation, but this must be overcome so far as it is possible.
I had progressed thus far with this dispatch when I had the honor to receive your instructions of 18th instant, fixing the general programme for the district commanded, respectively, by General Sully and myself during the coming season. In obedience to your directions I proceed in as brief a space as possible to give you my views as to the location of the military posts contemplated by you.
First. About 80 miles a little southwest from Fort Abercrombie, and somewhat more than half that distance northwest from Big Stone Lake, is Re Ipahan, or the head of the Coteau de Prairie, an abrupt termination of the dividing ridge about midway between the valleys of the Red River and Minnesota and the James River, about 600 feet above the surrounding plain, and well supplied with good water and timber. I regard it as the most commanding and eligible site for a military post in all that region. It can be reached and supplied with facility either from Fort Ridgely or Abercrombie. A strong force stationed there could readily operate toward the James or
Cheyenne Rivers, while it would entirely protect the approach to Lake Traverse, Big Stone Lake, and the Minnesota Valley. The general impression is that the overland route to Idaho will pass within or south of the head of the Coteau. I therefore respectfully and earnestly recommend that a post be established at the point specified instead of at Devil's Lake, which would be extremely difficult of access and of comparatively little importance, as the Indians seem for the past year to have abandoned that region in consequence of the northeastern extremity of Devil's Lake would have a good effect in breaking up the intercourse between the British half-breeds and the prairie bands of Sioux, but that position would be too remote from the Missouri River to be supplied from thence and must depend upon being furnished by way of Pembina and Saint Joseph.
I would also respectfully suggest that a post on the James River, on a west line from Pembina, would be untenable for the lack of timber. The main valley of the James, above the mouth of Snake River, is singularly destitute of wood. In fact, so far as my infor-