HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE NORTHWEST, No. 198.
Milwaukee, Wis., November 28, 1864.
Brigadier General C. T. Campbell, U. S. Volunteers, is hereby assigned to the temporary command of the Military District of Wisconsin during the absence of Brigadier General T. C. H. Smith and until further orders.
By command of Brigadier General A. Sully:
J. F. MELINE,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
HDQRS. DIST. OF MINNESOTA, DEPT. OF THE NORTHWEST, Saint Paul, Minn., November 28, 1864.
Major General JOHN POPE,
Commanding Department of the Northwest, Milwaukee, Wis.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to reply to your dispatch of 23rd instant directing me to report in writing briefly and as soon as practicable my opinion on certain specified points, to wit:
First. I believe our Indian system to be essentially defective in the mode of making treaties and in the loose manner in which their stipulations are carried out. There should in future be no recognition of the Indian tribes as quasi independent. That equivocal relation has been to main cause of trouble in dealing with these people. The British Government admits no right of possession, far less of eminent domain, on the part of the tribes resident in their territories.
Second. The policy of treaty making, involving large annuities to the Indians, is a direct incentive to fraud on the part of unprincipled men, whether Government agents or traders, and is a fruitful source of discontent among the savages, leading more or less directly to hostilities against the whites.
Third. I have always held the opinion that the Indian Bureau should be attached to the War Department, as it was previous to the creation by law of the Department of the Interior.
Fourth. In my report of 12th of August last* I indicated in strong terms my conviction that a permanent peace with the hostile Sioux bands could only be effected by placing them at a remote distance from the whites under the immediate charge of a competent military force. I mentioned Devil's Lake as a proper point of concentration for all those Sioux who are already under the protection of the Government, or who may hereafter submit to the conditions of peace offered them.
Fifth and Sixth. I am satisfied that all the intercourse between the Government and the Sioux and Chippewa tribes, including the regulations for trade, would be much more simple and satisfactory if confined strictly to the military channels.
Seventh. It is generally conceded that the country on the Missouri River selected as a reservation for the Sioux and Winnebagoes is entirely unfit for purposes of cultivation, while its geographical position is objectionable, as the Indians cannot be confined within its limits, but stray away at pleasure. Many of the Sioux prisoners who were removed from this district in the spring of 1863 to that reservation have already made their way back to their old hunting grounds in Minnesota, and are a source of embarrassment to the military authorities, as it is difficult to distinguish them from the hostile Sioux. They will prove a great annoyance also to the white settlers on the border, unless effective measures are taken to return them to their own country.
*See Part II, p.676.