HDQRS. DIST. OF MINNESOTA, DEPT. OF THE NORTHWEST,
Saint Paul, Minn., October 17, 1864.
Major J. F. MELINE,
A. A. A. G., Hdqrs. Dept. of the Northwest, Milwaukee, Wis.:
MAJOR: My application for an order to constitute the troops in this district a separate brigade having been summarily refused by the major-general commanding, I beg leave to represent that inasmuch as I have no longer the authority to convene courts-martial or military commissions, it will be necessary to make some disposition of the two Sioux chiefs now in custody at Fort Snelling, deeply implicated in the massacres and outrages of 1862, and whom I intended to try by military commission as soon as the officers could be obtained by the return of the expeditionary force from the Missouri. There is also a desperate Sioux Indian now under guard at Fort Wadsworth taken in the attempt to steal horses, who also signalized himself by his brutality in 1862, and who should not be allowed to escape. I respectfully ask for instructions in regard to these cases, as my authority will henceforth be so restricted as to necessitate the sending of a multitude of questions for decision to department headquarters, which hitherto have been disposed of here. With reference to the reason assigned for not complying with my application, I beg leave to respectfully state that the number of troops remaining in this district after the departure of the Eighth Minnesota Volunteers and detachment of the Thirtieth Wisconsin Volunteers, will be equal to two entire regiments, including convalescents and arms of all kinds, which are, if I do not err, equivalent to a brigade.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. H. SIBLEY,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE NORTHWEST,
Milwaukee, Wis., October 17, 1864.
General N. B. BAKER, Davenport, Iowa:
GENERAL: Your dispatch of yesterday has just been received. As a measure of precaution I would suggest that some force of your State militia be sent to prominent [points] of your southern border for temporary service. You are no doubt aware that this department has been almost depleted of troops to re-enforce our armies in the South, so that to-day I have absolutely no force except four or five companies of the Invalid Corps, which are scattered all over the department aiding or enforcing the draft, aside from the forces far out on the frontier and on expeditions against the Indians. The Eighth Minnesota Regiment and four companies of the Thirtieth Wisconsin, on their way from the frontier to go south, will reach Saint Paul to-day or to-morrow, and if absolutely needed I will send them to Southern Iowa. As General Sherman is greatly in need of troops I shall be loth to divert the force from his command, but will of course do so if it becomes absolutely necessary for the protection of your State. I am sure that you will not ask for them until the necessity is imminent. I have no idea that any considerable force from Price's army will undertake to move as far north as the Iowa line, and I think for the present that a force of your militia will be sufficient to protect your borders from small parties of guerrillas. General Sully will be with you in a few days. Please keep me advised and I will not fail to do all that is in my power.