HEADQUARTERS HUMBOLDT MILITARY DISTRICT, Fort Humbodt, September 15, 1863.
Lieutenant Colonel R. C. DRUM,
Asst. Adjt. General, Department of the Pacific, San Francisco:
COLONEL: What disposition to make of the male Indians (the young men warriors) that have been and may be taken prisoners in this military district is a question of primary importance. To send them to an Indian reservation, it has been provedn, does no good, as they return in a few days, more than ever inclined to commit depredations. There are some 300 hostile Indians in this section which make no professions of friendship and signify no desire to live upon amicalbe terms with the white inhabitants. These are divided into several bands, having no permanent dwelling place, but all uniting at times, and always making common cause against the whites. Once in a while some of these bands are joined by young buncks from among those professing to be friendly, and it is more than suspected that small parties go out by themselves occasionally from the friendly tribes and commit outrages with comparative safety to themselves, knowing that their deeds will be attibuted to the mountain Indains. Of course no peace can be expected until the roving bands in the mountains are broken up and the trubulent young fellows from the less hostile tribes effectually cured of their predatory adventures. It has and doubtless will in the future often occur that prisoners are taken are almost positively known to be guilty of robbery and murder, still there may be no available evidence to fasten the crime beyond a doubt upon them. To keep in close confinement here prisoenres of this description seems unprofitable, while to turn them loose, or, what is much the same, send them to a reservation between which and their old haunts there is no territory to them unfamiliar, would be had policy. Could some plan be devised to rid his seciton of their presence great good would result. As laborers they could be made nearly, qual to white men, being generally young, healthy, and quick to learn. Might they not be employed upon the fortifications and other public works in the harbor of San Francisco? As Indians are the wards of Government, and as such to proved for, surely Government could with propriety make use of their services when available. At any common manuel labor they would earn fair wages over and above the cost of food and clothing, thus saving money to the Government instead of being an expense. This proposition, respectfully submitted, may not be entertained for a moment at department headquarters, but I am certain that if a few score of the mos restless of the Indians of this military district were sent in small detachments from time to time to some point so distant that their fate for the present should be uncertain to those remaining, the task of subduing and holding under wholesome restraint the various Indian tribes of the northern part of California would be much lessened.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. G. WHIPPLE,
Lieutenant Colonel First Battalion Mountaineers, California Vols.,
Commanding Humboldt Military District.