HDQRS. DIST. OF MINNESOTA, DEPT. OF THE NORTHWEST,
Saint Paul, Minn., August 8, 1864.
Major General JOHN POPE,
Commanding Department of the Northwest, Milwaukee, Wis.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that I have received a dispatch overland from Brigadier-General Sully, dated Fort Rice, 15th ultimo, a copy of which I inclose. It contains nothing of special importance. Major J. R. Brown, with twelve scouts, was ordered by General Sully to report at Fort Wadsworth, and with that small party succeeded in crossing that dangerous part of the country in safety, although his camp was surrounded by several hundred Indians calling themselves Yanktons, at night, who were only kept from taking it by a coup de main by being received in a warm manner by the tenants of the camp, who fired upon them without any ceremony. Some of them subsequently came within hailing distance and called out that they were friends of the Americans and had papers to that effect from General Sully, which proved to be the fact, and friendly relations were soon established. The Indian camp was composed of 425 lodges, with between 500 to 600 men, and their attempted nocturnal approach upon our people was certainly suspicious in a very high degree. Many of these savages were armed with Springfield muskets, according to Major Brown's account. Query, Where did they obtain these arms? These is a large camp of 400 lodges still higher up the Coteau, which is composed entirely of Minnesota Sioux, including White Lodge, Sleepy Eyes, Five Lodges, and other bands of Sissetons, who are opposed to making peace with the whites, and numbers the greater part of the most desperate villains in the country. I am fearful that these wretches, upon learning that all of the expeditionary force has crossed the Missouri, may attempt some demonstrations upon the frontier. The relations of the upper bands of Sioux on this side of the Missouri would soon be simplified, and proper arrangements made with them,but for the persistent and mischievous interference of the Red River half-breeds, who do not hesitate to spread the most astounding falsehoods as to the mode of treatment experienced by those who have surrendered or signed the conditions of peace. The latter are represented to have been summarily hung, and it is almost impossible to correct such misstatements in the face of such influences as are perpetually at work to counteract the benevolent intentions of the Government. Every man of these half-breeds should be kept out of our Territory, for until some stringent measures are authorized to be taken by the Government these pole will be a continual bar to a restoration of peace with the prairie bands.
I have received dispatches from Major Clowney, of 1st instant, from the head of the Coteau, and of the 29th ultimo, copies* of which are inclosed. A thorough exploration of the valley of the James River, between the mouth of Elm River and that of Bone Hill River, a distance of sixty or seventy miles, by a force under Captain burton, of the Thirtieth Wisconsin Volunteers, has verified my frequent statements to you that no timber for a military post would be found on the upper James River. As instructed in such a contingency, Major Clowney has selected a very desirable spot between two large lakes, called Kettle Lakes, as the site of the new post, and he reports, and private advices corroborate his statements, that the points is a highly eligible one for a fort, there being an abundance of good timber, mostly
*See pp. 463, 514.