their regiment as soon as practicable." I shall, of course, obey the order as soon as possible, but the men in question being divided among the sections of the battery stationed, respectively, at Forts Snelling, Ripley, and Ridgely, and at Pembina, considerable time must elapse before they can be relieved, and my regard for the interests of the public service in this district prompts me to make a statement of that facts connected with the transfer, with the hope that it may lead the military authorities at Washington to change the order, which, if carried doubt, must seriously impair the efficiency of the only battery in the district, at a time when, under your instructions, I am preparing the force under my command for active operations in the field.
The transfers from the several regiments of infantry to the battery were made by your order, and with the consent of officers and men. The Ninth Regiment finished 26 enlisted men, and other regiments in about the same proportion. The battery is now perfectly organized, participated in the campaign of last summer, and has lately been filled by enlistments to the maximum. If, after having fully consented to the transfer, the commanding officer of one regiment can procure a retransfer of his men, others will claim the same privilege, and the battery will thus be rendered utterly useless in the important operations directed by you in this military district. I trust you will deem the subject of sufficient importance to justify you in appealing to the honorable Secretary of War for a change in the order. The battery is now in prime condition, and all the transfers long since properly made, as the muster-rolls will show.
I am, general, with great respect, your obedient servant,
H. H. SIBLEY,
HDQRS. DIST. OF MINN., DEPT. OF THE NORTHWEST,
Saint Paul, Minn., February 6, 1864.
Major General JOHN POPE,
GENERAL: I have the honor to return the dispatch of Captain Whitney,* requesting that the men composing the escort to the Missouri Reservation train might be allowed by the honorable Secretary of War $10 each to reimburse them for clothing rendered necessary, in addition to the ordinary supply, to protect them in crossing the prairies at the inclement season when the service was performed, together with the explanations required. The companies had formed part of the expeditionary force of last summer against the Indians, accomplishing a march of 1,200 miles. They were then detailed to act as escort to the Missouri train, under your orders, in accordance with directions from Army Headquarters. They preformed the second march of 750 miles to the Missouri River and back, leaving on the 5th of November, 1863, and returning on the 4th January, 1864.
The extracts from Captain Whitney's report will show how necessary my order was that the command should be furnished with a supply of extra clothing to enable them to encounter the severe storms and cold weather to which they would be exposed in crossing the great prairies. The service was cheerfully performed in the face