shuts of the patriotic people on the Pacific shores to the heart of the Nation, and strengthen the arms of our brave soldiers who are fighting for the preservation of the Union.
HEADQUARTERS HUMBOLDT MILITARY DISTRICT,
Fort Gaston, Cal., February 16, 1864.
Lieutenant Colonel R. C. DRUM, U. S. Army,
Asst. Adjt. General, Department of the Pacific, San Francisco:
COLONEL: In obedience to instructions from department headquarters of January 28 I report that there are at Fort Humboldt about 200 Indian prisoners. It is impossible for me to give the exact number at the present time, owing to recent captures and deatchs, but the above is nearly correct. As soon as another mail arrives I shall be able to report the precise number. At this post there are at the present time 106 Indians considered as prisoners, though they are obliged to support themselves, and consequently are not strictly so. They should, however, be removed to a place of safety. If taken to Smith's River Reservation they would not remain. The country between here and there is perfectly familiar to them, and nearly the whole distance inhabited by Indians with whom they are acquainted and on friendly terms. Thirty-nine of these 106 are full-grown bucks, more or less related to and friends of the hostile bands. Should they be taken to Smith's River it is almost certain they would return within a few days, and in all probability would join those in the mountains. Indeed, there would be no other course for them. By leaving the reservation they declare themselves enemies, and would expect to be treated as such. That Indians can escape from the reservations has been repeatedly demonstrated, notwithstanding the greatest vigilance of the troops stationed in the vicinity and the most untiring exertion of the officers and employes of the Indian Department. The only certain preventive against their escape and return to thei rold haunts is to have them taken at first to a point so remote that they cannot find their way back. Mendocino for the Trinity Indians would be better than Smith's river. The Indian prisoners at Fort Humboldt would perhaps remain at Smith's River if tkaen there, though some of them have once escaped from that reservation, and even if they should run off would not be such formidable enemies as those from this section. As between Smith's River and Mendocino-though both are objectionable-I respectfully suggest the former as the safer place for the Indians now held as prisoners at Fort Humboldt. My remarks upon this subject I hope may not be deemed intrusive. It is of importance to Government and to the people that the right course be pursued; that when once captured the Indians may never again be allowed to run at large and war upon the citizens. Wereit practicable to have the Indians removed as they are captured to the island recently taken possession of on the southern coast, by order of the department commander, or held close as prisoners until that course could be pursued, many of the difficulties now in the way of a final statement of Indian affairs in Northern California would be obviated, and the end sought more speedily attained.
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.
48 R R-VOL L, PT II