War of the Rebellion: Serial 102 Page 0934 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter LX.

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views be sound or unsound they are worthy of courteous consideration, as being held by those who are equally interested with the Indian superintendents and agents in a correct administration of Indian affairs. I assume, of course, that it is equally the purpose of the War and Interior Departments to preserve peace with the Indians, and in that view to adopt toward them a policy dictated a like by wisdom and humanity, and executed with at least common honesty. It is not at all surprising that difference of opinion as to the policy of our Indian system should arise between officers serving under the War Department and those serving under the Department of the Interior, and especially is it common in particular instances for officers of those Departments to disagree about the proper course to be pursued. The officer serving under the War Department reports the case and his views thereon to the War Department in official communications, and instructs those under his command to execute his purpose so far as the matter is within his own jurisdiction, as is frequently the case, and would be so more frequently still but for the reasons hereinafter stated. He writes his views and intentions officially to the Indian superintendent or agent. It will not be disputed that when such differences of opinion arise they should be referred by each officer in official communications to the head of the Department under which he is serving, and that when such differences of opinion are so serious as to require the action of higher authority the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Interior are the proper persons to decide upon what should be done and to instruct the officers of their respective Departments accordingly.

Whilst it is the practice of army officers to guide themselves by these rules of official propriety, I regret that the same cannot be said of the agents of the Interior Department serving on the frontier. If the views of army commanders in the same region to noeir own, resort is had to the public papers of the frontier, not to dis-attack his personal character and motives. It has come to such a pass that I am myself very unwilling to write to any of these agents on official business, lest, if he does not agree with me, I find the substance of my letter and all that I propose to do paraded in the newspapers in the unfairest possible manner, and my motives made the subject of gross abuse and misrepresentation. Of course, this is not done over the signature of any official, but there does not exist a doubt about the authors. It is unnecessary to say to You that such a course utterly destroys all hope of any harmonious action between officers of the War and Interior Departments on Indian affairs, brings the Government into disrepute, and is in all respects improper and ungentlemanlike. Besides all this, it at once establishes conflicts of authority between the War and Interior Departments on the frontier, alarms and confuses the people to be protected against Indians, and puts in the popular mind two of the great administrative Departments of the Government in opposition to each other in matters of common public interest. As the military are very properly prohibited from using the newspapers for the discussion of the public business confided to them, they are placed in a false and very difficult position. I believe it to be only necessary to bring this subject to Your attention to secure such restrictions in future as the interests of the Government and its authority and respectability require. If the views of the Army on this question of Indian policy be unwise they will not, of course, be adopted, but it is surely proper that the mere expression of them to the War Department, or in official com-