War of the Rebellion: Serial 102 Page 0765 Chapter LX. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records

the official acts and letters of army officers. It is impossible under such a system even to arrive at any co-operation or harmonious under-standing between military commanders and officers of the Indian Department on any matters of public business. When there is a difference of opinion on any matter pertaining to Indian affairs between military commanders and Indian agents, for former refers the question to the War Department for a decision. The Indian agent should be compelled to do the same and to keep such official differences, either of act or of opinion, out of the public papers. As I said before, unless the Interior Department enforces the same rules in this respect in reference to its officers that are enforced by the War Department, the Government is brought into disrepute and the public service into confusion and inefficiency.

I trust that this matter will engage you attention. I think we are now reaping the harvest of bad policy and bad management of our Indian affairs. The Indians seem to be hostile and active all over the plains, and keep up these hostilities from day to day in the constant expectation of having a treaty made with them which will exempt them from punishment for what they have already done, and at the same time furnish them with blankets, powder and ball, and such other supplies as they need. This has hitherto been the practice of our Indian Department and the Indians naturally expect from day to day that the same thing will happen now. It has long been a saying of the Sioux Indians along the Platte, that whenever they are poor they have only to go down to the Overland Route and kill a few white men, and there will be a treaty of peace, which will supply all they need. Under such a system we cannot expect peace on the frontier except for short periods. At this time, especially, and doubtless for the future, the pursuance of such a policy is mot unfortunate. The opening of the mining regions in the Territories has attracted such crowds of emigrants that the Indian country is penetrated in every directions; highways are made through it and the game driven off or destroyed. The Indians of the pling rapidly forced into narrower and narrower limits, where they will be less and less able every day to subsist themselves by hunting. Of course they lose no opportunity to rid themselves and their country of these swarms of white people, and as the habitual carelessness and ignorance of danger, or of the proper precautions against it, of emigrants crossing the plains is every day exhibited, the opportunities for attacking and murdering small parties are not wanting to the alert and watchful Indians. Some different system is needed for the future or we are likely to have an Indian war to the end of time, or at least until the Indian is exterminated. I wrote fully to the Government on this subject more than a year since, and the War Department published my letter in the Official Army and Navy Gazette. As I proposed to do away with the present system of making treaties presenting the Indians with goods and money, and paying them annuities of both, and thus to a great extent do away with the complicated machinery of the Indian Bureau, I was of course attacked by all the officers and hangers on of that Bureau in all the public papers of the frontier. You understand all these matters well and are fully acquainted with the frauds and the abuses of the present system. I only hope you will fully represent the matter to Congress for the good of the Indian and for the sake of humanity, as well as for the best interests of the Government.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN. POPE,

Major-General, Commanding.