FORT VANCOUVER, WASH. TER., July 6, 1865.
ACTING ASSISTNAT ADJUTANT-GENERAL,
Headquarters District of Oregon:
SIR: I have the honor to submit to the consideration of the colonel commanding some observations on the existing state of affairs in the Boise and Snake River country and to offer some suggestions on the dispositions of troops in the Sub-District of Boise. The Owyhee mines and the routes of travel leading to them from California are more exposed to Indian raids than any other portion of the country, and will need military protection summer and winter for at least two years to come. During the past spring quite extensive depredations were committed on the Owhyee River and Jordan Creek, and on the roads leading to them, at a time when the only troops in that part of the country were a single company of infantry at Fort Boise, and a part of that was out on the Overland Stage Line. The early spring and and breaking up of winter is the time invariably selected by the Indians for their horse-stealing expeditions. To prevent these, troops will have to be wintered in the country where their services are required. I would recommend that the camp established in Jordan Creek Valley be made a winter camp, if a site can be found that will afford any facilities for constructing shelter for the troops and procuring forage for animals. Lieutenant Hobart's camp, on Jordan Creek, for the summer was located with regard only to the facilities necessary for a summer camp, but he has instructions to examine the country had report upon its natural resources, with a view of making a winter camp if it should be considered advisable. The Overland Stage Line will require protection from Salmon Falls to the Goose Creek Pass, a distance of 120 miles. For this duty forty or fifty men, half of them mounted, will be sufficient. They can be camped at Rock Creek, and can construct shelter for themselves and gather forage for their horses at that place. To enable the military authorities to afford any protection whatever to this line during the winter, a winter camp is absolutely essential. The large mining population collected in the Boise country has driven the hostile Indians entirely from the north side of Snake River, and this part of the country has escaped from Indian depredations the past year. The camp in Cames Prairie is not necessary to the protection of that part of the country. It might be abandoned and the troops composing it be posted at or near Fort Hall, on Snake River, until late in the fall, for the protection of the immigration. A band of Bannock Indians under Pocatello have been encamped on the Port Neuf River for several weeks. They have conducted themselves peaceably thus far, but are liable at any time to break out in open hostilities, and could, if so disposed, cut off the immigration entirely, unless some military force be sent into the vicinity.
The day before leaving Fort Boise I learned by letter from the sheriff of Oneida County, addressed to Governor Smith, that a bandmbering about 200 men, women, and children had collected at Soda Springs since the withdrawl of the troops from that place, and were threatening and aggressive in their manner and deportment. Trouble with them was apprehended. If Captain Palmer's command, now in camp at Cames Prairie, was re-enforced to seventy or eighty men and posted on the Snake River bottom, below the Blackfoot Ferry, and keep there until, say, the 15th of October, any outbreak on the immigration now in contemplation by these Indians might be checked, prevented entirely. The warlike attitude assumed by all the Indians of