at Devil's Lake, on James River, and at mouth of Long Lake should be as frequent as possible. All the public wagons not absolutely needed in the District of Minnesota should be sent to the Missouri River with the cavalry force from Minnesota, as they will be needed for the supply of the post at Devil's Lake. It is suggested to General Sibley that it will be cheaper and better to supply the post at James River by contract in the manner explained t him verbally by the major-general commanding. Such further orders as may suggest themselves will be furnished, but it is believed that with these instructions and the full conversations on the subject, both with General Sully and General Sibley, which were had when they were called to these headquarters, there will be sufficient detail for their joint operations. It cannot be too strongly impressed upon them that it is eminently desirable, and indeed necessary, in view of the complete execution of the operations and dispositions herein set forth and the large emigration which will set out this season for Idaho that the troops move into the Indian country at the earliest practicable moment.
HDQRS. DIST. OF MINN., DEPT OF THE NORTHWEST,
Saint Paul, Minn., March 15, 1864.
Major General JOHN POPE,
GENERAL: I have the honor to transmit copy of a communication received this morning from the Governor of Price Rupert's Land, dated Fort Garry, 25th ultimo,* in which he also inclosed copy of his reply to certain chiefs of the Sioux bands, who sought counsel from him as to their future course with regard to the conditions upon which peace was offered to them on the part of our Government. The information communicated is in corroboration of the reports from the Missouri, that the several bands of Dakotas are concentrating for warlike purposes, although the number of lodges mentioned is obviously a gross exaggeration.
The refugees from the lower bands who have spent the winter on British sill, and were prevented from perishing by forced contributions from the settlers, are about rejoining the prairie bands, and will of course be a new and powerful element of mischief among them. The buffalo are descending the James Cheyenne Rivers, and will of course be followed by the half-starved Indians. I have intelligence from my scouts near the head of the Prairie Couteu, that such is the fact, and it make same doubly anxious to throw out in that quarter as large a force as I can space. It is reported also that a few young men are on the war-path toward the settlements, but the particular direction is not given. I have given directions that all the intervals between the outer line of stations shall be passed over daily by detachments, with a view to detect and punish any small parties who may be found in the vicinity of the settlements.
Taking everything into consideration there will be a necessity for active operations along the whole line in order to carry out your instructions, and adequately to protect the border against hostile visitations.
40 R R-VOL XXXIV, PT II