HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, Mo., August 1, 1865.
Major General G. M. DODGE,
Commanding U. S. Forces in Field in
Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, and Utah:
GENERAL: I have telegraphed You several times in regard to a reduction of forces and expenditures in Your command, and rely upon Your reducing both as rapidly as possible. I desire in this communication to ask Your attention to my views on the subject of military operations and future military dispositions on the plains, and to request that You will conform to them as far as practicable. The military expeditions now marching against the Indians cannot and should not be arrested until the campaign is terminated, which I confidently expect will be the case as early as October 1. Whatever be the results of these expeditions, I wish You on their completion to return at once to a simple arrangement for the defense of the overland routes to Santa Fe and to California, so far as those routes lie within the territory under your jurisdiction. I Of course You will be able by this means to muster out of service a force in the aggregate equal to the whole forces composing the several expeditions now in progress. I myself consider five regiments of infantry and two regiments of cavalry (the former filled up to 900, the latter to 1,200 men each) sufficient for the purpose and for whatever military aid may be needed in Utah. You should select the most important points along the overland routes for permanent stations for the troops assigned to the protection of the routes, choosing points as nearly as circumstances will allow so as to divide the line to be protected into nearly equal intervals. These posts should be as numerous as the force designated will admit of, care being taken that no post is left without a garrison strong enough to defend it and furnish some help to other posts or to trains when needed. Each of these posts. In places where proper timber for stockades cannot be had, good field intrenchment should be thrown up. Each post should be supplied with two small pieces of artill officers for the posts should be selected with great care and frequent inspections of the condition of the garrisons and of the posts should be made by an officer of Your own staff. By the middle of September it is hoped that You will have selected the positions for these posts, which should be immediately protected by carefully constructed stockades or field intrenchments. This precaution is essential, whether the military operations of this season terminate in peace with the Indians or not. I desire, therefore, that You will reduce the forces under Your command to this number, viz, five regiments of infantry or their equivalent in force, say 4,500 men, and two regiments of cavalry (2,400 men) as soon as the expeditions now in progress have returned.
This force, as it seems to me, will be quite sufficient for the simple protection of the routes in question, and their reduction to this number is most necessary by the manifest anxiety of the Government to reduce the army to its lowest limit. I have informed You several times of the telegrams and orders received on this subject, and I trust You understand that it is essential that we should conform to them. Neither You nor I are responsible for results. I wish You to dismiss or return to their regiments every orderly or clerk not absolutely needed for official business; and also all employees in the public service not so needed.