War of the Rebellion: Serial 084 Page 0677 Chapter LIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records

peace, and 1,450 (Chippewas) avowedly friendly, but who, in my judgment, would not hesitate at any time to raise the tomahawk if not restrained by the fear of consequences. I am satisfied that the greater part of these Chippewas would have joined in the war upon the whites in 1862 if Little Crow and his concentrated force of Sioux warriors had not met with the decisive and disastrous defeat of Wood Lake. With this exhibit of the status of the several bands, and question naturally arises what policy shall be pursued to close the Sioux war, to secure the friendship of the wavering and discontented, and to meliorate the condition of those who, accepting the terms of peace vouchsafed them, return to their original position as wards of the United States Government? My views upon the subject are briefly these:

No permanent peace need be expected with the prairie bands of Sioux until they have all felt the power of the Government and become convinced that they cannot successfully contend against it. The Sioux on this side of the Missouri having been successfully defeated during the campaigns of 1862 and 1863, confess their inability to meet our troops in battle, and would probably all submit but for the hope that the powerful bands of Teton Sioux will concentrate in sufficient strength to drive back, if not exterminate, the force now in the field against them. Should General Sully succeed in finding these savages and defeating them in a general engagement I think the Sioux on both sides of the Missouri will be disposed to accept any terms of peace. The principal dissatisfaction of the Upper and Western Sioux arises from the fact that steamers ascend the Missouri River and emigrants to Idaho traverse the prairie by different routes, which, they insist, frighten the buffalo and drive them from their hunting grounds, and as game is their sole reliance these will warriors will strive to interrupt and prevent these movements by force of arms, until they realize the folly and inutility of continuing so unequal a contest. When they find that they must cease to depend upon the chase for food, and must work or starve, they will agree to any reasonable conditions the Government may see fit to impose.

Your plan of establishing a post of Devil's Lake, garrisoned by a strong detachment of eight or ten companies, will enable the Government to assemble all the Sioux who are enjoying its protection in the immediate vicinity of that post, and under the charge of the military commander, where the fine quality of the soil and the abundance of wood and water would enable them to support themselves by their own labor, with only a cost to the Government of necessary seed and farming implements. The great advantage of the location is its remoteness from the frontier settlements and the security of the Indians against the intrusion of improper characters from among the whites, which has hitherto proved a prolific source of evil to these people. Devil's Lake is in an isolated region, midway between the Missouri River and the British boundary line, the parallel of 48 degrees north latitude passing through the southern border of the lake. The country to the south and left is the inhospitable and broken Coteau of the Missouri, unfit for residence or cultivation. On the east and north, toward the Red River of the North, there are extensive prairies and better land, but there is no reason to believe that the whites will be tempted to emigrate there for half a century to come. The course of the upper Cheyenne River, a tributary to the Red River, is at its nearest point to Devil's Lake only a few miles distant, and the valley is well timbered at intervals and the soil of good quality, but the advance of the white settlements in that direction will not probably take place for many years. So far as my