War of the Rebellion: Serial 102 Page 0413 Chapter LX. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -UNION.

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hostilities of the Indians in Minnesota. I have had full statements from General Sibley, and also seen Colonel Smith, who resides at or near Mankato and commands the militia in that region. The band of Indians that committed the murders in that neighborhood were from the great hive of hostile Sioux that are located near Devil's Lake. A half-breed deserter (Carpenter) was taken with the clothes and money belonging to Jewett, the head of the murdered family. He made the statement to Colonel Smith and others. The party consisted of sixteen Indians. Nine similar parties had started out, and more would follow when the grass is better. Horse stealing and revenge are the purposes to be accomplished. His party was on foot, and hide in the thick underbrush of the region of the big timbers. Our troops have had several skirmishes with this little band, but the broken ground and thick underbrush have aide the Indians in so far escaping our soldiers. In view of Carpenter's statements and the corroborating intelligence from various other sources, the State authorities are organizing militia and already have some 200 on duty in the vicinity. This little band at this early season of the year is regarded as a commencement of trouble, and the people of the State are much excited. Our troops are well treated, and will do all they can to confront the supposed danger and allay needless apprehension. But a movement must be made upon Devil's Lake, the center of their villainy. In your letter of February 1 last past you seem to have contemplated this and designated a force which you deemed sufficient. * Your subsequent design to send an expedition west from General Sully's command, and your subsequent withdrawal of Brackett's cavalry from this district, show that you must have overlooked the matter of General Sibley's expedition to Devil's Lake, as we have not a force remaining which can be made available for the purpose. The hostile Indians at Devil's Lake can therefore be attacked best by sending a force from General Sully's command, and it seems to me necessary to do this. I would make some co-operating move from this district, but the main force must be obtained from the other district. The settlements must be protected as our first duty. If my views are approved I would immediately forward transportation to Sioux City, so as to hurry up troops to Fort Rice or Berthold, as may seem best, according to the conditions of river navigation. I do not feel at liberty to charge the programme of the general's move to the Black Hills by General Sully without his approval, but feel it my duty to take the force designed for that move, or ask for immediate re-enforcement of cavalry for General Sibley's district, to operate on the base of the savages at Devil's Lake. About 500 would do, but 1,000 would be better as a moving force in that region. The troops distributed in this district are barely enough to garrison the forts and pursue the hostile bands now threatening the frontier settlements of General Sibley's command. The river is quite low above La Crosse, but cavalry could be sent here very speedily, and I would be glad to carry out both proposed plans of General Pope, viz, to send expeditions north to Devil's Lake and west to the Black Hills, but to do this we would have to have more cavalry. I desire the general's early response to these suggestions. I will start back to Milwaukee to-morrow evening, where I shall hope to receive early intelligence from you.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

S. R. CURTIS.

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* See Pope to Sibley, Part I, p. 718.

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