in this district during the approaching season, and the general interest manifested by the people on the frontier to learn what dispositions are to be made for their defense, I deem it to be my duty to state what is proper to be made public on this subject through the medium of the journals in this city. The programme fixed upon by Major-General Pope embraces three distinct objects:
First, the chastisement and subjection of the bands of savages on both sides of the Missouri River who continue refractory and hostile.
Second, the protection of the overland route to Idaho by the establishment of strong military posts within the Indian country at convenient distances.
Third, the security of the Minnesota and Iowa frontier against hostile raids.
To effect the first purpose a powerful column of troops will take the field as early as the season will permit, to seek and attack the Indians who are reliably reported to have made a formidable combination to dispute the passage of a force into their country, and to attack steamers bound for the upper Missouri River, and any overland expedition en route for the gold regions of Idaho. The points where military posts are to be established are not yet determined upon with sufficient precision to enable me to mention their precise location, but they will be selected with the double view of protecting the route to Idaho and of deterring the savages from making a demonstration in force toward the white settlements, should they be disposed to do so.
The third object mentioned, that of guarding the frontier against petty raids, is to be accomplished by the occupation by the troops of such stations outside the line of settlements as will serve to check the passage of hostile parties so far as the number of men that can be spared from field operations will permit, and by the constant patrol of strong parties of cavalry on both sides of the Minnesota River.
Scouts will also be posted at the most exposed points to give timely warning of the approach of danger. It must be remembered, however, that hostilities exist between our Government and the Sioux bands, and while they continue the settlers on the frontier should be prepared to co-operate in the destruction of any small parties of savages, who, driven to desperation by their present miserable state of destitution, may choose to incur the inevitable risks of an attempt to penetrate within the lines for purpose of plunder. I would respectfully suggest in this connection that the thousand baseless and exaggerated rumors always put in circulation by frightened people should find no place in the public prints, as they are prolific of injury to the best interests of the State. All information of a reliable character will be immediately and cheerfully furnished from these headquarters when of importance sufficient to be communicated.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. H. SIBLEY,
[MARCH 10, 1864.-For Sherman to Grant, referring to operations on Red River, see Vol. XXXII, Part III, p.50.]