This is evidently so, as they have left our overland routes. He reports his command in good condition, and the trails very heavy. I shall be in Laramie to-morrow.
G. M. DODGE,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, Mo., August 28, 1865.
Honorable NEWTON EDMUNDS,
Governor and ex Officio Commissioner of Indian Affairs,
Yankton, Dak. Ter.:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Your letter of the 17th instant. I communicate freely with the Secretary of the Interior on the subject of Indian affairs, in accordance with an understanding between us at the conference held in Washington in July, and I am and shall always be very glad to confer freely with You, or any other gentleman holding high official position under the Interior Department, on the subject of our Indian difficulties. I shall be glad to receive from You at any time whatever suggestions You may deem useful in relation to the operations of the military forces in the region of country over which Your superintendence extends, and will always receive and consider Your suggestions with the greatest respect. Unless there be harmony and cordial co-operation between the military authorities and the officials of the Interior Department in the Indian country, no good result can be hoped for in the settlement of our Indian affairs. I rejoice to infer from Your letter that You are willing to establish these harmonious relations, and proceed to answer Your letter in the same spirit of frankness in which it seems to be written. In view of reports from General Sully, of much later date than the paragraph quoted in Your letter, I recommended to Secretary of the Interior (to whom I have sent copies of all reports from officers in the Indian country) the appointment of commissioners to negotiate with the Indians of the Upper Missouri, and have received from him a letter informing me of the appointment of commissioners for that purpose, of whom You are one. Generals Curtis and Sibley, also on the commission, have not yet reached here, though letters received from General Curtis inform me that he will be here in a day or two. I will send up by him orders to General Sully and all other military commanders in that region to assist You in every way in their power in Your negotiations, and to furnish You with escorts, transportation, and whatever else You require which it is in their power to furnish. I have only one suggestion to make to You in relation to negotiations of peace with the Indians is question, and I deem it of so much importance, in view of permanent peace, that I ask Your earnest consideration of it. The Indians are unwilling to make peace simply on condition that they are not molested by white men. I am greatly opposed to money or other annuities being given to Indians, as it is my belief that they consider such presents as evidences of fear on the part of the Government, and of a desire to bribe them to keep the peace. Such a belief on the part of the Indians has a most unfortunate effect upon them, and simply leads to the renewal of hostilities in the hope of more presents of money and goods. I am satisfied that You will find tree to as favorable terms of peace without the promise of money and goods as with it, and that such a treaty will be much more likely to be permanent. I beg You will consult General Sully, and whomsoever else You please, on this subject. I am very