HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
May 17, 1865-4. 15 p. m.
The Fifty-third Wisconsin numbers about 400. They start to-day.
J. W. BARNES,
HDQRS. DIST. OF MINNESOTA, DEPT. OF THE NORTHWEST,
Saint Paul, Minn. May 17, 1865.
Major C. S. CHARLOT,
Asst. Adjt. General, Hdqrs. Dept. of the Northwest, Milwaukee, Wis.:
MAJOR: I respectfully inclose for the pursual of Major-General Curtis copy of a dispatch just received from the lieutenant in command of a detachment of troops stationed at Chengwatona, not far distant from the line of Wisconsin, on the waters of the Upper Saint Croix. * It contains a confirmation of the reports I have heretofore made to department headquarters of the unfriendly attitude and intentions of the Chippewas and confirms my belief that they are holding communication with the hostile Sioux bands and secretly preparing for an onslaught upon the border settlements. I venture to repeat the opinion I have so often expressed heretofore that there is by no means a sufficient force of troops in this extensive district to guard the frontier menaced west by the Sioux and north by the Chippewas, far less to form an expeditionary force to operate against distant camps. I hope Major-General Curtis will indicate that, in his judgment, it is absolutely indispensable for the safety of the border settlers of Iowa and Minnesota that General Sully's columns should be dispatched as promptly as possible to attack the Sioux camps in the vicinity of Devil's defense of their own families. The offensive is the only true policy for checking the forays of the savages into our settlements, for a mere defensive attitude, by however formidable a force, can never entirely prevent the passage of small parties of the sneaking, stealthy horse thieves and murders who infest the sparely settled counties of the States named. There is a vast amount of denunciation expended upon the military authorities of this district for not performing the impossible task of detecting and destroying all of these vermin who crawl through the woods and prairies on their nefarious mission of death.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. H. SIBLEY,
HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES,
Washington, May 18, 1865-4. 30 p. m.
New Orleans, La.:
Your expedition against Galveston is suspended by recent orders. You will fit Steele out with a force of not less than 6,000 men immediately for the Rio Grande. Send him equipped with artillery, ammunition for an ordinary campaign, and forty days' rations for the men.
*See Gardner to Prescott, May 14, p. 441.