HEADQUARTERS NORTHWEST INDIAN EXPEDITION,
Camp Numbers 37, Fort Berthold, Dak. Ter., August 15, 1865.
ASST. ADJT. General, DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI:
SIR: I beg leave through Your office to make some remarks in regard to the Indians living here, and to use it upon the Government to do something to better their condition. There are three nations, the Arickarees, Gros Ventres, and Mandans, all speaking different languages, but banded together for protection against their powerful neighbors, the Sioux. For although in point of bravery I do not think they are behind other Indians (yet their numbers are very small and fast decreasing), they dare not go far from their village to hunt, and are quiet poor. They have been always friendly to have whites, and with care and proper management might be civilized. In their habits they are different from other Indians, taking considerable pains in building their houses and cultivating the soil with very good success, and another remarkable difference is in the male portion not being too proud or too lazy to work. It was partly for their protection, as well as to stop illegal trading with hostile Sioux, that I left a company here. I have also organized about forty soldiers, to whom I have issued arms, and I would recommend that a cheap uniform be issued to these soldiers. I do not think on some accounts it is a good plan to issue them U. s. uniforms. There should be some distinction. In my talk with the chiefs and principal men they expressed a desire to have with them some one who would teach their children to read and write, and work like white people. Of course any one sent would be obliged first to learn their language. They have a treaty with the Government by which they (with other nations) get a part of $50,000 every year, but have no idea what that portion is, and the treaty does not state. All they know is that seven years ago they got a very handsome present from Government every year, and since that it has been growing less and less till this year, when their agent, Mr. Wilkinson, told them they were to receive nothing. The com however, tells me that after the agent left (for the agents for the Indians don't live in the country, they only visit them once a year) twenty-five sacks of flour and twenty-four boxes of hard bread reached here directed to the agent. They also stated they had lost 400 horses during the last year stolen (mostly stolen by Sioux); forty-two of them were stolen by Yanktons. As these Indians get a very large annuity, or at least Government appropriates them a large annuity, I would respectfully suggest that a sufficient amount be stopped out of the Yankton annuity to remunerate them. During this spring the Yanktons and Two-Kettles made an attack upon them, and were driven off by the assistance of the troops. The Yanktons have made a treaty by which they pledge themselves to remain on their reservation. Permits have, however, sometimes been granted them by me (at the request of the agent) to go beyond the reservation a short way to hunt. Otherwise they would starve to death at their agency.
With much respect, Your obedient servant,
SPECIAL ORDERS, HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF ARKANSAS, Numbers 193.
Little Rock, Ark., August 16, 1865.
* * * *
5. The Fifty-fourth Illinois Infantry Volunteers is relieved from duty at Pine Bluff, and will be reported without delay to the commanding