Government by any movements is seeking to obtain is indemnity for the past and assurance of continued peace in the future on the part of the tribes, with such terms and condition only as shall be most just, liberal, and beneficial to all parties concerned. You may communicate to all these tribes that it is not the desire or design of the Government or its military officers to destroy, injure, or punish them in any manner if they will do justly and act rightly without it, but, on the other hand, if they will so do and act, to defend them against their enemies and to protect all their interest. But continued resistance to the Government must result in their entire destruction at an early day.
Very respectfully, Your obedient servant,
JOHN B. SANBORN,
Brevet Major-General, Commanding.
HEADQUARTERS NORTHWEST INDIAN EXPEDITION,
Camp Numbers 30, Dak. Ter., Devil's Lake, July 30, 1865.
ASST. ADJT. General, DEPARTMENT OF THE NORTHWEST:
SIR: In compliance with instructions form the general commanding the department, I caused a thorough reconnaissance to be made of the country about Devil's Lake with a view of determining the best point for the location of a military post. The report of Major Von Minden, topographical engineer of the expedition, with his maps, showing the locality selected, I hereby forward. Every one who has visited that part of the lake selected speaks in the highest terms of its advantages as regards comforts and conveniences for the establishment of a post. It is, in fact, an oasis in the desert, dreary prairies of Dakota. Far remote as it is from the borders of civilization, with a dreary and inhospitable country intervening, for a long time it is likely to be an isolated point. Should a garrison be stationed here, and on that account and also on account of the richness of the soil and the quality of timber, the game and fish that about, it might be used as a convenient point to assemble together such Indians who are disposed to be friendly and to adopt somewhat the civilized modes of living in preference to that of constant warfare. In stating this I do not wish to be understood as advocating the making of a treaty with any body of Indians and granting them annuities in consideration of their agreeing to live on a certain reservation near the lake, or of advocating the establishment of an Indian agency. I consider Indian treaties a humburg and Indian agencies too frequently establishments for fraud and corruption, where the agent, the trader, and the various other functionaries of the agency holding sinecure positions, appropriate to themselves a large portion of the sums appropriated by Congress to fulfill the treaty stipulation for bettering the condition of the savage. Our Indian agencies have already caused us not only trouble enough, but in my belief have been the cause of some of our most terrible Indian wars. But this subject is too wo every honest man who has for a long time lived in the Indian country to call for any comment from me in this letter.
The Indians can be controlled, governed, and made at least a harmless part of our community if their affairs are properly attended to and placed in the hands of honest men, or at least so regulated by laws and regulations that it will be impossible for any one to act dishonestly forward them if they wish. In regard to sending the necessary supplies