seek to bring the military purpose to an unsuccessful issue. This can now be done only by inducing the War Department to order off a sufficient number of troops to prevent success. Second, these applications for removing troops are made thought the influence and by the agency of the political opponents of the Government, who seek means to make war upon the Administration. A continuance of Indian hostilities, and the number of emigrants crossing the plains, will furnish them with abundant material. Hence, they also are anxious to send away troops from the frontier.
Your experience in California has no doubt made you familiar with these difficulties which surround every military commander on the frontier. The very persons to raise a clamor against the Government for removing troops from the frontier and leaving the inhabitants and the emigrants to the mercy of hostile. Indians are the people who are now unaging the authorities in Washington to do the very thing they will hereafter complain of. The force inn this department is very small, not exceeding 3,800 men all told. Such a force would not add much to any army in the South, whilst here they can, during the prevent summer, settle the Indian question throughout the Northwest, from Minnesota to the Rocky Mountains, on a foundation which will last many years and save the Government millions of dollars. These questions must ve settled some time.
We can do it now. Is it not best?
I am obliged to send to General Sully nearly the whole force in Minnesota to furnish him with the force he deems absolutely necessary to deal with the hostile bands which are combining to prevent the navigation of the Missouri River and the passage of emigrants across the plains. Only 700 man all together will be left in Minnesota, all of whom I shall send South as soon as I can possibly take them away. You may rely confidently on my not retaining a men in this department more than in needed, nor a moment after he can be spared.
I would suggest respectfully that of necessity I must be better acquainted with the necessities of this department and the whole field of operations than irresponsible parties from Saint Paul or elsewhere in Minnesota, who neither know the condition of affairs west of them nor force stationed there. Whilst these people in Minnesota are unaging that troops be sent South, the people farther west and the great horde of emigrants are applying here and at washington for more troops and more post to protect the emigration. I know that I shall do the best I can for the public interests, and I hope I am not actuated in the views herein expressed by any sort of wish to keep troops in this department which are not needed here. I beg, general, that you will give this letter some consideration, and, if you think it necessary, that you will refer it to the Secretary of War.
I am, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE NORTHWEST,
Milwaukee, Wis., March 30, 1864.
Brigadier General H. H. SIBLEY, Commanding district of Minnesota:
GENERAL: Your letter of the 24th instant is received. In relation to the post on James River, I stated to you that I wished it