using more troops than are needed. These troops have just been sent me from the East, transported thousands of miles at large expense, to operate against the Indians. I have just got them well on their way into the Indian country, and now it is asked that they be mustered out. If it is the intention of Government to muster these men out, if would have been far better to have done if before ewe made our arrangements to fight the Indians and thereby have saved the immense expense of transportation and the derangement of plans. It seems that Government does not appreciate the magnitude of the difficulties on the plains that we have had to overcome, and with which we have to contend. First. Last spring we did not have a serviceable horse on the plains. Every man there had to be remounted. Second. We were almost entirely out of stores of all kinds. Third. The troops called for were sent in June, dismounted, dissatisfied, and mutinous. The press throughout the West encouraged them, and the State authorities protested openly against their going on the plains. The result is that about one-fourth have deserted, so that of the troops sent me from the East I have not got more than three-fourths for service. The force may look large on paper, but it is very small in the field when You contemplate the ground it has to cover and the work it has to do. Now that I have got the troops well under way, got subsistence stores en route to feed them, and am just getting matters where ewe may hope for decisive results as the fruit of our efforts, and the orders come to muster out. The troops on the plains have heard of these orders and disaffection increases. Two regiments mutinied openly, absolutely refusing to go out to fight. In all my experience in the army I have never labored more earnestly or worked so hard as I have to bring about a successful issue with these Indians, and I assure You it seems a most thankless job. I desire that the Government may understand that it has either got to abandon the country west entirely to the Indians or meet the war issue presented. If the latter, I submit if it is not better to use the force and means in readiness, and make quick work of it, than to weaken our force ad drag along from year to year at a largely increased cost of blood and treasure. There are about 15,000 warriors in open hostility against us on the north, and about 10,000 on the south. Against these I have had to organize columns that were each strong enough to take care of themselves offensively, while at the same time I have had to hold troops enough to guard 3,500 miles of overland route. Every coach (daily) and every train must be guarded, even a day's delay bringing complaint that we are not protecting the mail lines. I submit if under these circumstances Government will not think more troops should be on the plains instead of less. I believe I appreciate as fully as any one can the importance of speedily settling our Indian troubles, of reducing expenses, and of bringing everything to a peace basis, and in all of my operations I have refused to buy a horse, mule, or wagon. I have wasted weeks to pick them up wherever I could find them, and have been delayey. I have turned out my own soldiers to built bridges washed away by the floods, to put up our own hay, to build shelters for our stock, and have in every way I could possibly think of endeavored to avoid and reduce expenses.
General Grant will, I am satisfied, give me credit for never calling upon Government for troops or of urging any expense except what was actually necessary since I have been in the service, and I most certainly do not propose to commence a career of profligacy now. The