chiefs of the Dakotas, who desire your advice upon the course they should pursue in view of the position held by them toward the U. S. Government, and the conditions upon which a restoration of the former peaceful relations would be vouchsafed them. Those conditions were prompted by a sincere desire on the part of Major-General Pope and myself to avert from the bands who were nor participators in the terrible massacres of 1862 the certain doom which awaits them in case of a continuance of hostilities. At their own solicitation I appointed agents to confer with them and communicate to them the only terms upon which they would be permitted to atone for their unfriendly acts in receiving, aiding,a nd abetting the refugee murderers of the lower bands.
Months have passed since my message was delivered to them, and as the season for active operations in the field is approaching,t eh these conciliatory overtures, and that they will have to suffer the consequences. There is good reason or the belief that some of the half-breeds resident on both sides of the line are interested in the continuation of the ar, and have spread reports among the Sioux bands which have engendered distrust and suspicion of the sincerity o the Government in the proffers made the savages. In any event, I am, thankful to you, sir, for the good counsel you have given these poor creatures, and if they rush upon their won destruction you will feel a consciousness of having done all in your power to save them.
I need hardly state that the U. S. Government will prosecute hostilities with refractory bands until they are either entirely subjugated or until they submit at discretion, cease to annoy emigrant passing through their country, and keep the peace generally. I am obliged for the information received from the messenger and contained in your letter relative to the number of lodges concentrating on the Missouri (which, however, as you intimate, is grossly exaggerated), and of the intended removed of the Indians southward who have wintered on the Assinniboine River. I have dispatched a copy of your communication, with inclosure, to Major-General Pope.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. H. SIBLEY,
U. S. STEAMER PENSACOLA,
Off New Orleans, La., March 18, 1864.
Major General N. P. BANKS, U. S. Army,
Commanding Army of the Gulf:
GENERAL: I have received your communication of this date, with the request that a gun-boat may be sent up to the mouth of Red River for the purpose of preventing unauthorized trade from this city. I have to inform you that Admiral Porter's fleet controls the police of the river above Donaldsonville. At this moment I learn that there are three of his vessels at the mouth of Red River, who doubtless will prevent any illicit intercourse that amy be brought to their notice.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES S. PALMER,
Commodore, Commanding U. S. Naval forces, New Orleans.
41 R R-VOL XXXIV, PT II