above Fort Pierre. The force under General Sully will be strong enough to beat the Indians, if found concentrated on the river. If the Indians fail to make this concentration, heavy forces of cavalry will scour the country on both sides of the river, and after driving the Indians into the interior, will pursue them during the summer and either force a battle of a peace.
It is recommended, therefore, to emigrants by water, the they communicate with General Sully on the upper Missouri River, and do not attempt to pass in advance of his forces until notified by him that it will be safe. As many as possible of the boats carrying emigrants should go together, under some sort of organization, and it will be found judicious to protect the vulnerable parts of the boats by planking them so as to be bullet-proof. It is scarcely necessary to any that the navigation of the upper Missouri is difficult, and that the river in many places is very narrow and tortuous. Indians in ambush and under cover of the banks would have every advantage over even an equal number of whites on steam-boats. By keeping in the rear of General Sully and only continuing their voyage up the river after he has notified them that danger is past, the emigrants will no doubt be able to prosecute their journey in safety.
Such of the emigrants as are going with trains overland from any point on the Missouri above Fort Randall are recommended to select a point of rendezvous on the river at which to assemble as large a force as possible, and there make some organization which will place the whole body under the direction of those members of the party most experienced in Indian warfare and travel on the plains. Not less than 300 men in a body should attempt to cross the plains at present, from any point on the Missouri River above Fort Pierre. It is hoped that by the middle of the summer the expedition against the Indians will have rendered the travel across any portion of the upper plains as safe as travel usually is in the Indian country, where, under any circumstances, men should journey in considerable parties and with every precaution. The danger from Indians is confined almost entirely to the south side of the Missouri and to the immediate banks of the river.
A large cavalry force will set out from Minnesota as early as possible in the spring, for the Missouri River, near the mouth of Long Lake, and emigrants from that State can avail themselves of the protection of this force, if they think it necessary.
These suggestions and this advice are communicated thus publicly that they may reach as many as possible of those who propose to emigrate to the gold regions this summer. It is essential to their security that they consider and act upon this advice carefully. It is proper to repeat whit emphasis that the country along the banks of the Missouri, above Fort Pierre, will most likely be unsafe until General Sully passes up.
Major General, U. S. Army, Commanding Dept. of the Northwest.
WASHINGTON, March 15, 1864-10.30 a. m.
A dispatch just received from General Banks, dated March 6. He expects to effect a junction with Sherman's forces on Red River by
39 R R-VOL XXXIV, PT II