to surrender themselves or otherwise submit at discretion, may have overlooked the important consideration which was pressed upon his attention and that of Major Brown, that the appointment of agents to meet these savages was the result of their own urgent solicitation, to afford them a last opportunity to avert from themselves the ruin which a continuance of hostilities on their part would inevitably entail upon them, and was not initiated by the military authorities for any other purpose. You have been made acquainted with the general tenor of the instructions to these agents, in which this fact was made prominent, and if any other impression had been given by Father Andre or by his messengers, as would appear by the letter (extract of which you inclosed) addressed to you from Fort Berthold, a very grave error has been committed by himself or by his employes which he should hasten to correct.
You will understand, if the messengers of the good father have ignorantly or willfully misrepresented the facts, that the Government asks nothing as a favor at the hands of these savages, and will not even receive their submission if trammeled by any conditions whatever. If the war is to be continued it is far better that the issue should be made now and the question definitely settled than to patch up a hollow truce with these prairie bands which would be subject to be broken at any moment.
General Sibley has positive and detailed information front he Missouri of the existence of a formidable combination of the several bands of Sioux on both sides of that river, to hermetically seal their country against further intrusion by emigrants to the gold mines, and that the intention is to attack steamers or land expeditions wherever they are to be found. A formidable column of mounted troops will ascend the Missouri as soon as the season is sufficiently advanced to permit it, to encounter and disperse this concentration of warriors, and to bring them to a realizing sense of their utter inability successfully to contend with the power they have provoked.
At the same time posts powerfully garrisoned will be established at various points in the Indian country, to protect the route to Idaho, and as the most effectual mode of guarding the frontier. The savages have made the sad mistake for themselves of supposing that the Government was so much occupied in suppressing the gigantic rebellion at the South as to be unable to protect its citizens on the Northwestern border. They will, ere long, be disabused of this erroneous impression, when it will be too late to save themselves from its disastrous consequences.
Requisitions have been made and transmitted to Detroit for Canadian horses for the use of your battalion, which will be filled at an early day.
By command of Brigadier-General Sibley:
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. C. OLIN,
HDQRS. DIST. OF MINN., DEPT. OF THE NORTHWEST,
Saint Paul, Minn., March 9, 1864.
Editors of PIONEER and Editors of PRESS, Saint Paul:
GENTLEMEN: In consequence of the many applications made to me for information with regard to the contemplated military operations