OMAHA, NEBR. TER., February 3, 1864.
Captain GEORGE S. HAMPTON, A. A. G., Dist. of Nebraska:
CAPTAIN: On the 20th ultimo I left Omahaa, in obedience to instructions from district headquarters directing me to proceed to Niobrara, and such other points in this district as I might find it necessary, for the purpose of making a thorough investigation in reference to the allegations contained in the communication of Major J. B. Hoffman, U. S. Indian agent, to the Governor of Dakota Territory, charging a party of soldiers at Niobrara with criminal conduct toward some Indians belonging to the Ponca Agency. Arriving at Dakota City on the 22nd, I found that Sergt. Joseph W. West and several other soldiers belonging to Company B, Seventh Iowa Cavalry, had just returned from Niobrara, where they were stationed at the time of the alleged troubles complain of by Major Hoffman. I accordingly proceeded to take their testimony in regard to the matter in question, swearing each one to testify the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I examined them separately and apart from each other. Their testimony is herewith inclosed, marked A.*
At Niobrara, where I arrived on the 27th, I found it impossible to find any one among the citizens who knew anything on the subject. Herewith I inclose the testimony of William G. Huddlestone, James Young, and Henry Sturgis, marked B.* They seem to know but little about the matter, but their names having been mentioned in connection with these Indian troubles, I deemed it best to examine them on the subject. Other citizens of that locality, with whom I conversed, agree in their denunciations of the depredations committed by the Indians. They appear to be in constant dread, and I am satisfied some of them would desert their farms and leave the neighborhood were it not for the presence of the soldiers.
The statements of the Indians to Major Hoffman, I am satisfied, are untrue in several particulars. The soldiers had no wagons with them, either on Bozee Creek or on the Running Wter, nor did they carry off the lodges and provisions of the Indians, as is charged. What really did take place in those two affairs is only known to the soldiers on the one side and the Indians on the other. Having satisfied myself that the Indians have falsely testified as to the carrying off of their lodges and provisions in wagons, I can place but little reliance in their version of the trouble in question. The testimony of the soldiers, examined as they were separate and apart, agrees in every essential particular. The impassable state of the roads prevented me from visiting other points referred to in the documents furnished me. I am satisfied, however, that nothing could be elicited in addition to the accompanying testimony, except in the examination of more of the soldiers who took part in the several affairs.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Captain Co. Aa, First Batt., Nebraska Vol. Cavalry.
MEMPHIS, TENN., February 4, 1864.
Major General N. P. BANKS, Commanding Department of the Gulf:
GENERAL: Arrived last evening and find Captain Eddy able to furnish all the transportation wanted almost immediately, an abun-
* Not found.