to be in a very low state. General Sibley depends upon your exertions, aided by those of other officers, to bring the command into a condition of efficiency and entire subordination. The post of Fort Abercrombie is an exceedingly important one, and its commandant will be required to exercise a wise discretion in dealing with the questions which are continually arising outside of the routine of his duties inside of the garrison. Copies of instructions heretofore given from these headquarters to Major Hatch and Captain Mix will be furnished you herewith for your guidance. You will bear in mind that the exercise of vigilance is absolutely necessary at so remote a post where the large amount of public property on hand is a great temptation to the hostile Sioux, who are in the habit of roaming through the country from Devil's Lake down the Cheyenne and along other tributaries of the Red River of the North, and who would not hesitate to assault the fort if a want of due caution on the part of the garrison or other contingency should lead them to believe they would succeed. You will be especially careful, should the post be visited by Indians under the semblance of peaceful intentions, to allow no opportunity of examining the defenses or obtaining other knowledge which would give them an advantage in case of attack.
The Chippewa Indians from Leech Lake and from other bands have lately manifested a desire to open communicate with the Sioux camp, near the Big Bend of the Cheyenne, who have acceded to the terms of peace offered them by the Government, and are now encamped with the scouts. Their professed desire is peace, but it would be contrary to the plainest dictates of public policy to encourage any intercourse between the Sioux and Chippewas in any form whatever. You will, therefore, kindly but firmly intimate to any Chippewas who may be known as endeavoring to reach the Sioux camps that they will not be permitted to do so, but that they must confine themselves to the country in which they have hitherto lived and hunted. There is an evident intention also on the part of the Chippewas to trespass upon the region of the upper Minnesota and its tributaries, from which the Sioux have been lately expelled. This should be prevented as far as practicable, for it not only affords facilities for conference with the Sioux, but is attended with constant danger of collision with the whites, most of whom cannot be expected to distinguish between Chippewas and Sioux. You will perceive that the policy of General Sibley is to discourage all attempts of the Chippewas to take advantage of the course of events, either in extending their area of hunting to country not belonging to them or in inaugurating new associations either with the whites or with the Sioux. Much will have necessarily to be left to your judgement in carrying out these intentions, so that while no harshness or ill usage can justly be complained of by these Indians on the part of the military, yet that they must be led to understand that the wishes of their great farther, the President, must be listened to and obeyed. Under the orders of the major-general commanding the department ammunition is allowed to be taken through the country to the British possessions and to the settlements within our own boundary upon filling at these headquarters a proper bond that none of it shall be disposed of in any way to the Indians in arms against the Government. This being done, a permit is issued from these headquarters, which will, of course, be respected.
There is said to be a suspicious individual among the Chippewas who was at Fort Abercrombie lately when a party of that tribe visited the post, and who encamped with some of the half-breeds near the fort.