Note: This extraction was created from compiled
Congressional document images, attached to “The Indian Question”, by General
Henry Beebee Carrington in his 1884 publication.[i]
The spelling was corrected wherever obvious errors existed in the digital image
conversions to text. The individual reports are represented in BLUE Headings to
facilitate each one. Each are separated by a line “~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~” for ease of reading. Although this report claims to have
submitted “all of the information available” on the massacre, the Crazy Horse
were omitted. Those reports clearly define the method of attack, and original
planning created for the battle. To better understand what occurred, it is
essential that the reader take note of his statements. This attack was
essentially same as that used later against General Custer.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
MASSACRE OF TROOPS NEAR FORT PHIL. KEARNEY.
THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR
IN ANSWER TO
A resolution of the House of January
29, 1867, relative to Indian massacre of United
States troops near Fort
FEBRUARY 5. 1867. --Referred to the Committee On Indian Affairs and ordered to
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, Washington, D.C., February 5, 1867.
SIR: In obedience to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 29th
ultimo, requesting the Secretary of the Interior to furnish to the House
"such information as he my have in his possession in relation to the late
massacre of United States troops at Fort Philip Kearney, and the causes which
produced the same; and also as to the causes which, in his judgment, have led to
the present alarming condition of our relations with the Indian tribes of the
interior," I have the honor herewith to transmit a report from the
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, dated the 4th instant, with twelve accompanying
papers, which contain all the information that has yet reached this department,
on the subject.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
O.H. BROWNING, Secretary.
Hon. Schuyler Colfax,
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, Office Indian Affairs, February 4, 1867.
Sir: I have received from you the resolutions of the Senate and House of
Representatives in relation to the recent outbreak at Fort Phil. Kearney. These
resolutions contain three distinct propositions, to each of which a separate
answer is necessary. It requires this department to furnish all the information
in its possession in relation to the late massacre at Fort Phil. Kearney;
secondly, the causes which produced the same; and thirdly, the causes which
have led to the present alarming condition of our relations with the Indian
tribes of the Interior.
In answer to the first question, I will say that we had, prior to the
occurrence of this disaster, very reliable information of the temper of the
Indians in that section of the country, and although this temper did not amount
to a positive feeling of hostility, yet I know from the various sources of
information at the command of this bureau that there was a feeling of
dissatisfaction growing out of the treaty of Fort Laramie of last summer. That
the tribes occupying the Powder river country had great
cause of dissatisfaction with the provisions of this treaty is not peculiar.
From the extract, which I here furnish from the special report of Agent
Chandler, (marked No. 1,) it will be easily understood why this dissatisfaction
existed. Knowing that this feeling existed among these Indians, it was my
intention to recommend the appointment, at an early day, of a commission of
good men to visit their country and consult with the leading chiefs and headmen
of these tribes and ascertain(s) what their condition really and justly
required. It seems to me to be unreasonable to require these people to abandon
their hunting grounds, while the chase is their only means of support, until
some other means of existence is provided for them. That another means of
support can be provided is beyond any doubt. The country is extensive enough to
give them a home and at the same time remove them from the highway of the
travel of the whites. It is due, however, to the cause of truth to say that,
however injudicious the provisions of this treaty are, most of the bands of
Sioux Indians occupying that country were determined to abide by it, and I have
positive information that these well-disposed Indians have faithfully adhered
to this determination. Hence many of the chiefs of different bands, such as
Spotted Tail, Swift Bear, One That Walks Under the Ground, and many others,
have actually moved to the south side of the Platte, where they are at this
time, to keep out of the way of any trouble. They are yet friendly. Another
leading chief, by the name of Iron Shell, is, with his band, in the Sand Hills
north of the Platte, and friendly. With proper
management, these friendly deposed bands can be used to the best advantage by
the government, and I am anxious that nothing should occur to drive them from
us. Although these bands are friendly, it is nevertheless but too true that it
is more policy than anything else that makes them so. They feel as if they were
unjustly treated, and this feeling is universal among them. From all the
information I can get-and it is, I think, pretty reliable-none of these chiefs
had anything to do with the affair at Fort Phil. Kearney. An order issued by
General Cooke, at Omaha, on the 31st
day of July last (herewith sent, marked No. 32,) in relation to arms and
ammunition, has had a very bad effect. I am satisfied that such orders are not
only unwise, but really cruel, and therefore calculated to produce the very
worst effect. Indians are men, and when hungry will, like us, resort to any
means to obtain food, and as the chase is their only means of subsistence, if
you deprive them of the power of procuring it, you certainly produce great
dissatisfaction. If it were true that arms and ammunition could be accumulated
by them, to war against us, it certainly would be unwise to give it to them;
but this is not the fact. No Indian will buy two guns. One he absolutely needs,
and as he has no means of taking care of powder, he necessarily will take, when
offered to him, but a very limited quantity. It is true that formerly they
hunted with bows and arrows, killing buffalo, antelope, and deer with the same;
but to hunt successfully with bow and arrow requires horses, and as the valleys
of that country are now more or less filled by white men prospecting for gold
and silver, their means of subsisting their horses have passed away, and they
now have but few horses. I mention these facts so as to place before the
country, as briefly as briefly as possible, the condition as well as the wants
of the Indians.
I herewith send copies of two letters (marked 3 and 4) and my report on same
marked 4 ˝) from the surgeon at the post of Phil. Kearney, giving an account of
the first difficulty on the 6th of December, and of the last one, on
the 21st of the same month. Although these letters were written by
an officer at the post, with all his sympathies for his comrades, it is very
evident, from a careful perusal and a just understanding of them, that these
Indians did not come to that fort in any very great force, nor with a view of
making war. To say that a wagon train was attacked by three hundred Indians,
and yet no one was killed, is simply ridiculous. There were, perhaps some five
or six men with this train, and if three hundred Indians had really attacked
them it is not doubted that one or more of them would have been killed. But the
report was made of an attack by three hundred Indians; this led to a sortie from
the fort, and even then, it appears, the Indians did not wish to fight, as they
retreated, and no soldier was killed until several Indians had been dispatched
by our soldiers. It seems that then some Indians hovered around the fort till
the 21st, the day of the fatal disaster. To say that they came to the fort to
challenge the force at that point to a fight is simply absurd. Nevertheless a
fight did take place, and the facts are all set forth in the letter marked No.
4, dated 1st of January of this year.
Now, I understand this was the fact: These Indians being in absolute want of
guns and ammunition to make their winter hunt, were on a friendly visit to the
fort, desiring to communicate with the commanding officer, to get the order
refusing them guns and ammunition rescinded, so that they might be enabled to
procure their winter supply of buffalo. It has been currently reported that
some 3,000 to 5,000 warriors were assembled to invest this fort. This is not,
and cannot by any possibility be true, as this would pre-suppose a population
of 21,000 to 35,000 Indians in that section of country (being one warrior in
seven.) This number of Indians is not there, nor could that number of warriors
feed themselves and their horses at this season of the year in that latitude.
The whole is an exaggeration; and although I regret the unfortunate death of so
many brave soldiers, yet there can be no doubt that it was owing to the foolish
and rash management of the officer in command at that post.
Nevertheless, there is a band of Sioux Indians in that country, of the
tribe, headed by a chief of the name of Red Cloud, that are badly disposed.
This is the only band, so far as I am informed, that is hostile as a band; but
I have no doubt that around him and under his banner are gathered all the badly
disposed Indians of the country. They flock to his standard as individuals, not
as tribes, and I think this band with its adherents should be severely
chastised by the military. With this view, I have recommended to you the
appointment of the commissioners whose names you have presented to the
President, to proceed to that country at as early a day as possible, with the
view of finding all the facts which have led to the affair, and of separating,
if possible, the friendly from the unfriendly tribes. By doing so we would be
doing justice to those who are innocent, and also avoid a general Indian war,
which, if once started, will extend over the entire country, from the Missouri
river to the Rocky mountains and from the mouth of the Yellowstone to the
Mexican line. This war should be avoided, if possible, as it would cost
millions of dollars, and last for many years.
I submit to you a letter from the War Department, (No. 5,) enclosing the
extract from the report of General Sherman, (No. 6.) Such an order, in my
opinion, would lead to the very result it is designed to obviate. I submit to
you the copy of my report on this subject of the 23d of January, being document
No. 7 herewith sent.
It cannot be doubted that the Indians have many just causes of complaint. The
policy heretofore pursued, I think, has been a bad one; and bad as it was, it
has not been justly carried out. Homes should be provided for them, and we have
territory enough to give them; their annuities should be greatly increased, and
goods of a good quality and adapted to their wants should he furnished them,
and also at the proper season of the year. It is a notorious fact that very
inferior goods have for some years been given to them, and also at a period too
In conclusion, permit me to say that I know of but one remedy for all the evils
now existing in our Indian relations. It is the appointment of commissioners,
without regard to the politics or religion of the persons appointed, to be
composed of men of high character, to proceed to all the States and Territories
containing an Indian population; one commission, say of five persons, for each
of these States and Territories, to study the Indian question in each one,
viz., ascertain the number of Indians, their present status, and how many can
be aggregated on one or two reservations, and to select these reservations,
which should be ample, and report to this department next fall. These
commissions should take all the time necessary to master the subject, and, if
necessary, spend months in mastering it. The Indians should be then made to go
on these reservations, and when there, furnished with stocks of cattle and
sheep to raise. At first the cattle and sheep would he eaten by them; but it
would not be long before they would find out that the milk of the cow, and the
wool of the sheep, and the meat of the beef, as well as the hide and tallow,
are all very good things: and in place of giving them large quantities of light
and useless goods, paints, and beads give them a reasonable allowance of heavy
goods until they can make them themselves, and furnish them with spinning and
weaving machines. Near this reservation, but not on it, I would advise the
location of a military garrison; not too near, for well-known reasons, but
within a distance, which would secure to the garrison all power to suppress and
control the occupants of the reservation, with a resident agent on the
reservation, and in the midst of them. After they are thus localized and made
to depend on their own care in raising their flocks of sheep and herds of
cattle, I would then introduce the schoolmaster and the missionary, and not
before. It is worse than useless to attempt to educate and to christianize a
few members of a tribe of barbarians. Elevate the whole tribe together; it is
slower, but every step taken is maintained.
I have, perhaps, gone beyond the requirements of the resolution submitted to
me; nevertheless, I think the views herein suggested are germane to the
subject. The question is of the greatest importance, and well worthy the
attention of statesmen.
Since writing the above my attention has been called to one of the city papers
of to-day, containing what purports to be the action of the military in
relation to the question of furnishing in limited quantities, to friendly
Indians, arms and ammunition. I enclose a slip from one of these papers, and if
it be true that the military has interfered in the way there stated, it
accounts fully for most of our Indian troubles, and this strengthens my
previous views, that it is owing to the unwarranted interference of the
military that we have the numerous conflicts with these people. How anybody,
military or civil, could possibly object to the order given by Special Agents
Irwin and Bogy to the trader Butterfield is indeed surprising. The law
authorizes traders to deal in arms and ammunition with tribes at peace, and
this is all that these special agents say. Their order is correct according to
law and reason, and the military should not be allowed to interfere. In this
case, as in all other cases coming under my observation, this interference has
been imperious, and unless it is checked it will lead to the most disastrous
consequences; nothing less than the destruction of our entire western settlements,
including Nebraska, Kansas, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Dakota,
Nevada, and Arizona, and the entire column of western emigration. This I wish
I enclose you copies of the letter of Governor Edmunds of the 26th
September last, enclosing report of Agent Hanson of the 15th of the
same month, being document No. 8; also copy of letter of Governor Faulk of the
9th January last, enclosing report of the 31st December,
being document No. 9.
Permit me to call particular attention to these reports. The reading of them
will satisfy any one of the cause of our present difficulties. All can be
traced to the order of General Cooke of the 31st of July, forbidding
the traders from dealing in arms and ammunition; and if we have any trouble
with the Cheyennes and Arapahoes, now or very recently perfectly quiet, all
newspaper reports to the contrary notwithstanding, it can be traced to the
action of Major Douglass, sustained by his superior officer. The special
commissioners who visited these Indians last fall were discreet and prudent
men, and I am satisfied if their action had not been interfered with that no
trouble whatever would exist there. As it is I look for an outbreak every day.
The newspaper reports daily seen are generally false. One of them yesterday,
connecting the name of Mr. Comstock, is known to be one of the meanest and most
worthless fellows on the frontier, although reported to be an interpreter,
scout, and guide, all of which is false; he is neither one of these things but
a gambler and thief.
I also enclose you extracts from a letter of General Hancock to Agent
Leavenworth, as an evidence of the animus actuating these military commanders,
being document No. 10.
It is due to me, in final conclusion, to say that I entertain for these
different distinguished military officers the very highest regard, and no one
would go further to defend and protect them in the discharge of their proper
duties, but I honestly believe that in relation to our Indian affairs and the
tremendous efforts to get possession of this branch of business they are wrong;
and, so believing, I am willing to declare it unhesitatingly.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
LEWIS V, BOGY, Commissioner.
Hon. O.H. BROWNING,
Secretary of the Interior.
Extracts from the report of Special Agent E.B.
Chandler to Superintendent H.B. Denman.
Fort Laramie, January 13,
Sir: I have the honor to report my arrival at the Upper Platte agency on the 29th
I find in the immediate vicinity of Fort Laramie three hundred and twenty
Indians of various tribes and bands, and of whom the greater part are squaws
and children. Of the latter many of them are half-breeds.
Ten miles from this place is an encampment of one hundred and sixty-five
Ogallallas of the Bad Face band, whose chief is known by the name of Big Mouth.
Other small bands of the same Indians, said to number one hundred and thirty
persons in the aggregate, are encamped at various places within a distance of
fifteen miles from the fort, who, together with those referred to above,
receive subsistence from the government. I have been unable to visit all the
camps of these small bands; therefore, of my own knowledge, cannot definitely state
their numbers; but from observation and from information received from Agent
Patrick and Mr. Scott, the government interpreter for this agency, I have no
doubt that the whole number of professedly friendly Indians here of all ages
amount to six hundred persons.
Of the other friendly bands of Sioux who participated in the late treaty, made
at this place in June last, are those led by Spotted Tail, Standing Elk, Swift
Bear, The Man Who Walks Under the Ground, and perhaps others of less
reputation. I have been informed by traders, who have been recently among them,
that they are encamped on the Republican river, at a point about one hundred
and forty miles from Fort Sedgwick, in Colorado Territory, and that their
numbers do not exceed eight hundred persons of all ages, old men, women, and
children largely predominating. Their conduct is represented to be good, and,
the game in that vicinity being abundant, they live comfortably without present
need of aid from the government.
In compliance with your instructions to report upon the terms and character of
the treaty concluded by the late peace commissioners at this place with the
Sioux Indians, I have to say that I have been unable to find a copy of that
instrument at this post. A treaty prepared and signed by said commissioners for
the Arapaho Indians is in the possession of Agent Patrick, and said to be
identical in terms with the Sioux and Cheyenne treaties, with the only variance
of different amounts of annuities to each. The amount stipulated in the treaty
with the Sioux tribe (as I have been told by Mr. Patrick and others who heard
the original treaty read) is seventy thousand dollars annually for twenty
years, the Cheyennes fifteen thousand dollars for the same length of time
annually. This large amount was paid in consideration of the provisions of
article 3 of that instrument, which, if my information be correct, is as
"The said tribe represented in council shall withdraw from the routes
overland already established, or hereafter to be established, through their
country, and in consideration thereof the government of the United States agree
to pay to the said tribe the sum of seventy thousand dollars annually for
twenty years, payable in such articles as theSecretary of the Interior may direct:
Provided, That the said tribe shall faithfully conform to the provisions of
The "routes overland" spoken of in said article 3 referred really to
the Powder River road to Montana, the Indians, as I am informed, being willing
to concede the use of all others now open through their country without
remuneration. This they claimed led through their best hunting ground, and they
believed the use of the same by the whites would result in driving out the
game, leaving them without the means of future subsistence, and for a long time
seemed indisposed to comply with this, the main and most important condition of
the treaty, upon any terms. At the opening of the council, however, Colonel E.
B. Tailor, in a speech, promised the Indians that the travel on said road
should be confined strictly to the line thereof, and that emigrants and
travelers generally should not be allowed to molest or disturb the game in the
country through which they passed. With this promise, impossible of
performance, well calculated, and, as I believe, designed to deceive them, the
distribution of a large amount of presents, and the obligation of the
government to pay an extravagant annuity, the treaty was at length concluded
with parties holding subordinate and irresponsible positions in the tribe, and
representing inconsiderable numbers. That they were unable and did not control
the action of the bands, which they assumed to represent, will be clearly
proven by subsequent facts.
That Red Cloud, Red Leaf, and the Man Afraid of His Horses were the principal,
leading and most influential chiefs of the tribe, was well known and
acknowledged by residents of the country generally; that the commissioners
considered Red Cloud the most prominent chief of the Sioux tribe was clearly proven
by the pains taken to procure his attendance at the treaty, and the
distinguished consideration shown to him more than to any other chief after his
arrival, as well an by public acknowledgment of the fact by one of said
commissioners; that these commissioners were determined to make a treaty upon
some terms, either with or without the consent of the tribe, was clearly
apparent from all their official acts; that Commissioner Taylor repeatedly
asserted that he was sent here by the government for the purpose of making a
treaty, and it should be accomplished if made with but two Indians, can be
proved by numerous officers and citizens at and near this poet who heard him.
Within two weeks after the conclusion of the so-called treaty, Spotted Tail,
Standing Elk, (and all others of the professedly friendly Indiana now on the
Republican,) then on their way to that place, told ranchmen and traders of
their acquaintance whom they met, that many of their young men had determined
to go to war, and had left them and gone to the Powder river country, and they
advised all who had occasion to go far from home to "go prepared, and look
out for their hair."
At their crossing of the South Platte river, some days subsequently, parties
who met and conversed with these Indians report their numbers to be less than
one hundred lodges, and their party made up principally of old men, squaws, and
children. The statement of their chiefs at this time, in explaining the absence
of these young men, was substantially the same as given before.
I am informed by Captain Besbee (late of Fort Philip Kearney) that early in the
month of July last the troops at that place, while pursuing hostile Indians who
had stolen stock from the fort, captured from them a horse loaded entirely with
Indian goods which had been distributed and brought from the Fort Laramie
treaty. He further states that, from information obtained from scouts and
mail-carriers, he believes there is a very large body of hostile Indians in
Tongue River valley, many of whom are Sioux, and that for a long time past he
considers the fort to have been in a state of siege by them.
From the foregoing facts, and the statements of various parties who were
present at the treaty, and were well acquainted with the facts and
circumstances attending the same, giving to each the weight which I believe it
justly entitled to receive, I have arrived clearly to the opinion that the
so-called treaty with the Sioux Indians, concluded at Fort Laramie in June
last, was little better than a farce, entitled to no consideration from the
government, and ought not to be ratified.
In relation to the treaty made with the Cheyennes, by order of Colonel E.B.
Taylor, on the 11th day of October last, I am of the opinion that it
ought not to be ratified by the government, it having been made with but an
inconsiderable portion of the tribe, and signed by parties who were not then
principal chiefs and headmen.
Respecting the tribes and bands of Indians now at war with the United States, I
think all north of the North Platte river may be considered hostile. From
information received by a friendly Indian sent from here to the Powder river
country, (and who started home from the encampments of the hostile bands on the
day of the massacre at Fort Philip Kearney.) I learn the names of the different
tribes and bands then at war to be the Minneconjous, Brules, Ogallallas, Crows,
Uncpapahs, Blackfeet, Sans Arcs, Arapahoes, a portion of the Cheyennes, and
some others whose names I have now forgotten. His estimate of their strength at
that time was eleven thousand six hundred warriors. Later estimates have been
much higher, but I think his the most reliable up to the present time. Since he
was there, however, it is probable that these Indians have been re-enforced.
Red Cloud, Red Leaf, and The Man Afraid of His Horses, are supposed to be the
principal instigators and leaders in the war.
Respecting the friendly Indians belonging to this agency, I would recommend,
with a view to justice alone, that they receive protection and the necessary
subsistence from the United States. Their situation is such that I deem it
hardly possible for them to live upon their own resources for a considerable
length of time without returning north of the Platte river, where they would
not be permitted to maintain a neutrality, were they otherwise so disposed. The
hostility to the whites has become so general among all the tribes in this
portion of the country, and their warriors are so numerous, that no small body
of friendly Indians will be tolerated within their reach. In my opinion, then,
the alternative of feeding or fighting them must soon be chosen, as economy, as
well as justice, would indicate the adoption of the former policy. I have no
hesitation in recommending its adoption.
Besides the foregoing considerations in favor of liberal treatment to them, the
precedent of kindness and liberality, as the reward of honesty and good faith
[shown?] to those now hostile to the government, would be eminently favorable
to an early and satisfactory peace.
Although I am fully satisfied that an extensive Indian war is inevitable, and
that severe chastisement must be inflicted before they will make or abide a
treaty, the conditions of which would be acceptable to the government; yet, if
a reservation should be provided affording protection and subsistence, I have
no doubt that the comparatively small number who would now consent to be put
upon it would be rapidly and largely increased.
From the information, which I have been able to obtain upon this subject, I
believe that two hundred lodges would come into this arrangement at once. I am
also equally certain that unless they are provided for in a manner satisfactory
to themselves, all will soon be at war.
I would therefore earnestly recommend that a temporary reservation within the
protection of a military post be chosen at an early day, and all Indians
belonging to the Upper Platte agency then at peace with the United States be
invited to come upon the same, subject to such rules, regulations, and instructions
as the honorable Secretary of the Interior Department shall see fit to impose.
[General Order No. 10. ]
DEPARTMENT OF THE PLATTE,
Omaha, Nebraska Territory,
July 31, 1866.
On information received that unauthorized persons sell arms and ammunition to
Indians, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs has instructed Indian agents to
prohibit traders from selling these articles to the Indians, and all commanders
of troops within the department will co-operate in the enforcement of these
instructions, and will take vigilant and decisive measures for the
prevention of all sale, barter, or gift of arms or ammunition to Indians within
reach of their power.
By order of Brigadier General Cooke.
PHIL. KEARNEY, DAKOTA TERRITORY,
December 15, 1866.
I am in the enjoyment of good health at this time. Lieutenant Wands and family
are in good health. I mess with them.
A few days ago a wagon train had gone up to the mountain five or six miles from
this post for the purpose of cutting pine timber for buildings. On their return
they were attacked by about 300 Indians. We have a mounted guard on post on top
of a very high point near the fort, who telegraphed to us by means of a flag of
the condition of the wood train. The mounted cavalry and infantry were
immediately ordered out to relieve them. They started in two parties, Colonel
Carrington and fourteen men going in one direction, and about thirty in
another. The larger party, among whom was Captain Brown, Lieutenant Wands,
(Lieutenant Grummond was with the colonel,) Captain Fetterman, and Lieutenant
Bingham, who was a cavalry officer, came upon the Indians suddenly, and charged
them. The fight continued for a distance of eight miles or more. Wands killed a
horse and probably some Indians at one time while dismounted; and in the fight
the cavalry broke and were brought back (some of them) by Captain Brown and
Lieutenant Wands leveling their guns at them, and telling them that they would
shoot them. Most of the men and officers had breech-loading guns. While the
fight was going on, Lieutenant Bingham, of the cavalry, called out to the
others, "Come on," beckoned, and went off with some of the men
in the direction of the colonel, who was seen approaching at the distance of
half a mile. This was just what the Indians wanted. Captains Brown and
Fetterman, and Lieutenant Wands, with ten or eleven men, remained and fought
the whole of them, and whipped them. Wands was slightly wounded in a finger.
Lieutenant Grummond left the colonel's party, and meeting Lieutenant Bingham,
they and three or four men started in the pursuit of about thirty Indians, who
were apparently retreating; an Indian's horse had almost given out, and
Lieutenant Bingham wounded the horse by a pistol-shot, (Lieutenants Grummond
and Bingham had nothing but pistols.) The Indian then took to his heels, they
following him, cutting at him with their swords. Bingham lost one pistol, and
after firing the other, so excited did he become that he threw it away. At this
time they saw two large bodies of Indians flanking them, when they concluded to
run through them; drawing their swords, they laid about them right and left.
Lieutenant Bingham did not follow the rest and was killed, stripped and
scalped; two sergeants and one more were wounded. Lieutenant Grummond ran
against the Indians, and cutting right and left with his sword, got through
with the balance. After a while they were surrounded again by a large number of
Indians, drawn in a circle around them with spears, at a charge, and firing
upon them; they halted, and Lieutenant Grummond then told the rest to follow
him; they did, he using his sword as before. All got through; but Sergeant
Bowers no doubt turned around and fired upon his pursuers; they overtook and
put an arrow in him and split his skull open above the eyes. They did not scalp
him. Our people found him a short time afterwards; he was living and in great
agony, but died in a short time. We buried Bingham with masonic honors so far
as we could. There were seven masons, one an enlisted man, in the cavalry.
C. M. HINES.
PHIL. KEARNEY, D.T.,
January 1, 1867.
Matters in this part of the country do not suit me. I have written to you
before that the treaty at Laramie did not amount to anything; the three posts,
Reno, Kearney, and C.F. Smith, are really in a state of siege. All the Sioux,
including those that committed the atrocities in Minnesota, are in our
neighborhood. Fort Reno has a garrison of three companies of infantry, (not
full,) one piece of artillery; Fort Phil. Kearney, four pieces of artillery, five
companies of infantry, (one-half effective,) and a few mounted men - all
together, soldiers and employes, about 400 men, (effective;) Fort C.F. Smith,
two pieces of artillery, two companies of infantry (not full) and twenty eight
mounted men. So you can perceive that these forts are in a state of siege. The
mass of the Indians are on Tongue river about fifty miles from this post. Our
communications with Fort Smith are entirely cut off. There are 1,500 lodges of
Indians at that point, and their confederates, Blackfeet, Cheyennes, Arapahoes,
&c. The whole number of warriors must amount to four or five thousand, well
mounted and armed. They have several times attacked the wood trains of ours.
Once we whipped them badly. For some time back they were in the habit of coming
on the bluffs near this fort, calling out to us and challenging us to the
fight. Colonel Carrington shelled them, at one time killing a pony. On Friday
morning, 21st of December, they made their appearance in small
numbers near the fort, challenging us in the usual manner. Colonel Carrington
shelled them, killing the pony I have mentioned, and driving about thirty
Indians from their covert. Captain and Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Fetterman,
Captain Brown and Lieutenant Grummond were ordered out by the colonel to
protect our wood train, which had been attacked. Captain Fetterman commanded
the infantry, Lieutenant Grummond the cavalry, (twenty-seven men,) and Captain
Brown some mounted teamsters and citizens, the whole amounting to eighty-one
men, about fifty of whom were armed with the Spencer carbine and pistols, one
or two with Henry rifles, and the balance with the Springfield musket. No men
were better armed. Instead of obeying orders, these officers (than whom there
were none better or braver in the service) allowed themselves to be decoyed
from the position ordered to be taken, and the whole command were butchered,
(eighty-one officers and men.) I was ordered by Colonel Carrington, with one
man, to go out to the wood train, (five miles off,) and if I found them safe to
join the other command. I went out about three miles, when I saw that the wood
train was in no danger. I then, obeying orders, attempted to reach the party
under fire, and found it impossible. At that time I had four men with me; sent
to the fort for re-enforcements; forty men, under the captain, were sent out,
and we reached the field just in time to see the last man killed. If I had
obeyed my instructions I would have been killed. These poor fellows when
killed, the greater number, were in one heap. We brought in about fifty in
wagons, like you see hogs brought to market. I have no more to write at
present. I will write more in detail by next mail.
I remain, your brother,
C. M. HINES,
A.A. Surgeon U.S.A.
OF THE INTERIOR, OFFICE INDIAN AFFAIRS,
Washington, D. C.,
January 31, 1867.
SIR: Referring to a recent report from
this office, dated 23d instant, upon the subject of the existing disturbances in
Western Dakota, I have the honor to submit herewith, as confirming the views
therein set forth, a copy of a letter under date of the 1st instant
from Acting Assistant Surgeon C. M. Hines, on duty at Fort Phil. Kearney,
giving an account of the reported massacre of United States soldiers on the 21st
ultimo. A previous letter of Dr. Hines, written, like this, to his brother in
this city, had given an account of a slight skirmish with the Indians on the 6th
of December. It is proper to state that the letter herewith is by the writer
authorized to be given to the public, so that its statements, being those of an
officer present at the time and familiar with the circumstances, but written to
a friend and unofficially, and without any coloring beyond that which appears
to have affected the minds of the whole command, may be fairly taken as
representing the true state of feeling at the time and place. If I am correct
in this view of the case, then I feel justified in commenting freely upon the
facts presented. And first, I notice that the military authorities appear to
have had very little idea of their real condition. With a respectable force in
garrison, well armed and well supplied, and with the "mass of the Indians
on Tongue river, fifty miles from" the post, the garrison felt itself
besieged. The tribes of Indians at hand are described as the Sioux and
"their confederates, Blackfeet, Cheyennes, Arapahoes," &c ,
while, from the information obtained from parties familiar with the tribes,
their habits, and ordinary ranges, I do not hesitate to express the opinion
that not a single warrior from the Blackfeet bands is or has been among the
Sioux; and as to the Arapahoes and Cheyennes, if there are any of them in that
quarter, they are isolated individuals only. Further, as to the tribes
represented, the writer says that the "Sioux that committed the atrocities
in Minnesota" are in the neighborhood of the post; while, if the truth is
ever known, it will be found that not one of those bands of Sioux was at the
time less than about 500 miles distant. As to the numbers of the Indians thus
holding the posts under siege, the 1,500 lodges mentioned by the writer would
represent a population of some 9,000, while the "4,000 or 5,000 well
mounted and armed warriors" would represent a population of 24,000 to
30,000 Indians, an enormous exaggeration of the number which could by any
possibility be in that country, showing the terrible state of demoralization
into which the minds of the most intelligent men must have fallen. If we note
other items of the account, as the alleged attack upon the wood train, which,
after all, as would appear from another portion of the letter, was not
attacked, or, if attacked, nobody was hurt, the challenge by the Indians, and
the result of the shelling by Colonel Carrington, being the dislodging of some
thirty Indians from their covert, and other circumstances, the whole affair
seems incredible, but for the sad certainty of the bringing back to the post of
the bodies of officers and men killed in the conflict, and I find it difficult
to account for the tragedy upon any other theory than that heretofore advanced
by this office, to wit: that the Indians, almost in a state of starvation
having made repeated attempts at a conference, that they might make peace and
obtain supplies for their families, and the rescinding of the order prohibiting
them from obtaining arms and ammunition, were rendered desperate, and resorted
to the stratagem which proved too successful. It seems as if the officer
commanding could have avoided the catastrophe; and it seems also that men thus
armed could have repelled an attack by all the Indians in Western Dakota. I do
not wish to justify the Indians in their hostilities; but they are but men,
with the necessities of life for themselves and their families staring them in
the face; and if their overtures for peace are continually and wantonly
repelled, they go to war, and they wage war after their own savage fashion. I
have felt it my duty to express frankly my opinions in transmitting the within
letter; and having done so, I have only to say that I see no surer or better
means of preventing such occurrences in the future than by such measures as I
have already recommended a commission of judicious men to visit the region in
question, with proper powers and instructions.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
LEWIS V. BOGY,
Washington, January 18, 1867.
SIR: I have the honor to transmit
herewith a copy of a report from General Grant, in relation to an official
communication made by Lieutenant General Sherman, having in view the
restriction of the Sioux Indians to districts lying north of the Platte, west
of the Missouri, and east of the new road to Montana; of the Arapahoes,
Cheyennes, Comanches, Kiowas, Apaches, and Navajoes to the region south of the
Arkansas and east of Fort Union.
This recommendation, as the Lieutenant General states, is made with a view to
keep open the great routes to the mountain territories, to render safe the
prosecution of work on the Pacific railroads, and to prevent apprehension of
Indian depredations. General Grant approves the proposition, if it does not
conflict with treaty obligations.
I will thank you for an expression of your views upon the subject, in order
that if the course proposed shall be determined upon, the necessary measures
may at once be commenced.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
Hon. 0. H. BROWNING,
Secretary of the Interior.
ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES,
January 15, 1867
SIR: In a report by General Sherman, forwarded with my annual report, dated
November 21, 1866, the following passage occurs:
"I propose the coming year, (with your consent, and with that of the
Secretary of the Interior, in whose control these Indians are supposed to be,)
to restrict the Sioux north of the Platte, west of the Missouri river and east
of the new road to Montana, which starts from Laramie to Virginia City by way
of Forts Reno, Philip Kearney, C.F. Smith, &c.
"All Sioux found outside of these limits without a written pass from some
military commander defining clearly their object, should be dealt with
summarily. In like manner I would restrict the Arapahoes, Cheyennes, Comanches,
Kiowas, Apaches, and Navajoes, south of the Arkansas and east of Fort Union.
This would leave for our people exclusively the use of the wide belt east and
west, between the Platte and the Arkansas in which lie the two great railroads,
and over which passes the bulk of travel to the mountain Territories. As long
as these Indians can hunt the buffalo and antelope within the described limits,
we will have the depredations of last summer, and, worse yet, the exaggerations
of danger raised by our own people, often for a very base purpose. It is our
duty, and it shall be my study, to make the progress of construction of the
great Pacific railways that lie in this belt of country as safe as possible, as
also to protect the stage and telegraph lines against any hostile bands; but
they are so long that to guard them perfectly is an impossibility, unless we
can restrict the Indians as herein stated. I beg you will submit this
proposition to the honorable Secretary of the Interior, that we may know that
we do not violate some one of the solemn treaties made with these Indians, who
are very captious, and claim to the very letter the execution on our part of
those treaties, the obligation of which they seem to comprehend perfectly.
*I approve this proposition of General Sherman, provided it does not conflict
with our treaty obligations with the Indians, nor between the Platte and
Arkansas rivers. The protection of the Pacific railroad, so that not only the
portion already completed shall be entirely safe, but that the portion yet to
be constructed shall in no way be delayed either by actual or apprehended
danger, is indispensable.
"Aside from the great value of this road to the country benefited by it,
it has the strongest claims upon the military service, as it will be one of its
most efficient aids in the control of the Indians in the vast regions through
which it passes.
I respectfully request that I may be informed at an early day whether this
proposition is approved by you and the Secretary of the Interior, that measures
may be taken to carry it into effect.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U.S. GRANT, General.
Hon. E.M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
OF THE INTERIOR, OFFICE INDIAN AFFAIRS,
January 23, 1867.
SIR. The letter of the Secretary of War of the 18th instant, containing
extracts from the report of General Sherman to General Grant, with the approval
of the same by General Grant, having been referred to me for a report thereon,
I beg leave to say:
General Sherman says, "that he proposes to restrict the Sioux Indians to
the district of country between the Platte, the Missouri river, and the Road to
which starts from Laramie for Virginia City, by the way of Forts Reno, Phil.
Kearney, and C.F. Smith, and that any Indian found outside of these limits
without a written pass shall be summarily dealt with." He proposes also to
restrict the Arapahoes and Cheyennes, Comanches, Kiowas, Apaches, and Navajoes
south of the Arkansas and east of Fort Union; the object of this arrangement
being, to leave open the wide belt of country between the Platte and the
That the belt of country lying between the Platte river on the north and the
Arkansas river on the south should be opened to the whites by the removal of
the Indians now occupying it is a necessity, which cannot be doubted. The fact
that railroads are now being built through this country, and that it is the
highway for the thousands of emigrants going to our western territories,
imposes on the government the necessity of affording to them complete
protection. To effect this object, the removal of the Indians from this strip
of country is, therefore, an absolute necessity. On this subject I agree with
the view expressed by General Sherman, but I entirely dissent from the position
he assumes in his report as to the mode of accomplishing this object. As
already said, the time has come when these Indians must abandon this portion of
country, and if they will not do so willingly, when other homes are provided
for them, force will have to be used. The spread of our white settlements
throughout this vast section of country cannot and should not be checked, as it
cannot be prevented. The question now presenting itself is, how is this to be
accomplished? Will the order to be issued by the commanding officer of the
western department have this magical effect? On the contrary, will it not lead
to resistance on the part of the Indians whom you thus undertake to remove from
the hunting grounds over which they and their forefathers have roamed for
generation? And will not this resistance lead to trouble and war with them, in
which the lives of thousands of persons will be sacrificed, the railroads now
already being far advanced in the country destroyed, the profitable trade of
the prairies, even with these very Indians themselves, annihilated, and the government
involved in millions of dollar of expense? This country yet belongs to these
Indians; it has not been ceded by them. Now cannot a policy be adopted which
will effect the same object without involving the disasters above enumerated? I
think such a policy could be devised. There is one fact, which cannot be denied
by any one, acquainted with Indians: it is, that their chiefs are all superior
men; they are always their best men. No one becomes a chief until he has proven
his valor in war and wisdom in council. These chiefs control their different
tribes, with the exception of a few bad men found among them, as among us. With
proper means, I m satisfied that these chiefs can all be made to see and fully
understand their position, and the necessity imposed upon the government of
securing this belt of country for the whites. Admitting you can satisfy them of
this fact, the next question is, can you induce them to remove to another
locality? I have no doubt that if proper steps are taken this can be done. It
is true they may not entirely abandon this country this season, but they can be
kept quiet-which is all that is wanted for the present-and their minds directed
to the new home which you will provide for them. That this new home may be in
the district of country described by General Sherman is very possible. In my
opinion it is too late to abandon the system of treaties with Indians. With
judicious management, I think they can all be made to abandon the country
needed by our people, and to settle down on reservations, which should be
larger than formerly made. Annuities ought to be increased, and stock, cattle
sheep, and horses given to them to raise. It is of little consequence to this
government if a few hundred thousand dollars, more or less, per annum be
expended, provided these people are kept quiet, and, at the same time, means of
subsistence be furnished to them to support themselves for the few years which,
in all probability, they will yet exist.
I would therefore suggest that you, as the officer of the government having the
Indians in charge, inform the military authorities of your disapproval of this
contemplated order. I would also suggest that one of the greatest difficulties,
and, indeed, I think the greatest difficulty I encounter, in administering the
affairs of this bureau, is the constant interference on the part of the
military with all Indian affairs.
That there is a misapprehension on their part in relation to this matter is
beyond doubt, otherwise such constant interference by them would not occur. The
commanders of the different forts throughout the whole Indian country claim and
exercise the right of controlling the Indian agents, and of issuing orders in
relation to the trade with the Indians by the licensed traders. From observation,
both in this bureau and as a citizen of the west, I am, and have been for
years, satisfied that this was the cause of most of our Indian wars. The
military should be made to understand that they are in that country merely as a
police, to aid the agent in the discharge of his duties, and not to control
him. The law regulates the trade with Indians and no military commander should
be allowed to interfere. I am satisfied that the recent troubles at Forts
Laramie and Phil. Kearney grew out of injudicious military interference. I am
informed that General Cooke, commandant at Omaha, issued an order prohibiting
the traders to sell to the Indians arms and ammunition. Such prohibitions I
believe to be unwise, as the Indian has to depend upon the chase for his subsistence
and that of his wife and children. Arms and ammunition are of absolute
necessity; he will therefore, if possible and no matter at what cost, procure
them. Then, again, it is perfectly idle to say that he will accumulate them to
make war on the whites. No Indian will buy two guns; one he will and ought to
have; nor will be lay up any large quantity of powder, as he has no means of
keeping it. He needs one gun and a little powder, and this is his only means of
In conclusion, I will take this occasion to say that, in my opinion, the time
has come when all the Indians throughout this country should be taken on large
reservations, with fair annuities paid to them, and stock of cattle and sheep
furnished them to raise. In this way the country needed by the whites can be
relieved from their occupation, Indian wars prevented, vast expenditures to the
government thereby saved, and a future, although limited, provided for these
If this system is not adopted, I see nothing for them but total and speedy
destruction; and if this be the policy, it should be avowed openly and carried
out with energy. Either destroy them at once, or do for them that which their
necessities plainly require.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Hon. 0. H. BROWNING,
Secretary of the Interior.
Extract from letter of ex-Governor Edmunds, of
Dakota, dated September 26, 1866, transmitting Agent Hanson's report of
September 15, 1866.
"…I also have the honor to enclose a letter from Agent Hanson, in relation
to the military order prohibiting the sale of ammunition, &c., to the
Indians under his charge, and beg leave to recommend that you give this matter
early attention, as it is one of great importance to those Indians. I am
clearly of the opinion that those Indians ought not to be included as among
those to whom arms and ammunition are prohibited, and am fearful that it will
have a tendency to complicate and embarrass their management.
Your obedient servant,
Ex-officio Superintendent of Indian Affairs.
CREEK AGENCY, Dakota Territory,
September 15, 1866.
SIR: My attention has recently been called to military General Order No. 10,
dated Headquarters Department of the Platte, Omaha, Nebraska, July 31, 1866,
being, in brief, an order prohibiting traders and others selling or disposing
of, in any manner, arms of all description and ammunition to Indians.
It has been only a few days since I was made aware that the sale of ammunition
to these Indians had been prohibited. My instructions from the superintendent,
received 22d ultimo, in relation to this subject, did not include ammunition,
but only mentioned "arms of all description."
I have now the honor to object to the enforcement of such an order within this
agency. There never has been a time, to my knowledge, when the Indians of this
agency have given more satisfactory evidence of friendship and complete
acquiescence in the authority of the government than since I have been their
agent. The sincerity of their cause has been tested by the most trying of all
ordeals - actual starvation. The history of the while race scarcely furnishes a
parallel instance of such a body of people enduring such an amount of misery
with such forbearance. What better evidence does the government ask before it
is willing to cease treating these Indians as alien enemies, and deal with them
as with a people in amity with its authority? Since the formation of the new
treaties have they committed any overt act of hostility? If not, is it right to
treat these often-abused people as enemies purely upon speculation as to their
further intentions? That the order is well enough when applied to some sections
of the military district, where war still exists, is apparent, but that the
Indians of this agency should be held responsible or made to pay any share of
the penalty for the continued hostility of the Indians of the Platte, or
elsewhere, is not just.
The government has furnished many of these Indians with double-barrel shotguns.
This spring I distributed eighteen, and the commission about as many more.
These went into the hands of Indians who always have been friendly to the
government, and to now refuse to permit them to purchase ammunition for these
same guns is, under existing circumstances, without any sufficient reason that
I am able to observe.
A large delegation of the Lower Brule, Lower Yanctonais, and Two Kettle bands
called on me yesterday, and asked me to have this matter changed; I have
thereupon to request that the order above referred to may be so far modified as
to place the sale of ammunition within this agency to Indians within my
control. In this way none but reliable ones will get such, and only in such
quantities as in my judgment, they may need for their hunting purposes.
I desire to draw your attention to one other military order, now being enforced
at Forts Sully and Rice, which prohibit Indians and traders stopping in these
reservations. This order I have not yet been able to see; but the Indians have
counseled with me concerning it, and they complain that it does not allow them
to camp within eight or ten miles of Fort Sully, and thus excludes them from
the timber along the Missouri, where they have been for many years accustomed
to seek shelter from the freezing winter blasts of this region.
While I am of the opinion that the military forces within this agency should be
as far separated as possible from the Indians, for reasons of a moral nature,
if no other, I see no necessity, and but gross injustice, in this military
order. Surely, a military reservation extending from fifteen to twenty miles
along both sides of the Missouri river, embracing all the best timbered lands
between Forts Sully and Rice, is large enough to spare to these Indians a
wintering place, and I trust your department of the government is generous
enough to accord to them this right.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
United States Indian Agent.
Extract of report of Governor Faulk, of January 9
1867, transmitting monthly report of Agent Hanson of December 31, 1866.
The question of supplying the friendly Sioux Indians with the small amount of
ammunition necessary to procure their subsistence is also worthy of your
attention. My own experience in the Indian country leads me to favor such a
course. When they have the arms and ammunition necessary for ordinary hunting
purposes, they are more contented and friendly, and are more self-sustaining. I
have no doubt that the order referred to by Major Hanson, prohibiting the sale
of arms and ammunition, should be revoked or in some way modified so as to
relieve friendly tribes from the danger of starvation on that account, and from
the necessity of carrying their peltry to British traders to exchange for such
purposes. The whole subject seems to be worthy of your early attention.
I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
Governor and ex-officio Superintendent of Indian Affairs.
Hon. Lewis V. Bogy,
Commissioner of Indian Affairs.
Extract from monthly report of Agent Hanson, of
December 31, 1866.
During my recent trip to Fort Sully and Fort Rice, I found the universal
complaint of friendly Indians to be regarding the prohibition of the sale of
ammunition. Under date of 15th September last, I wrote the Hon.
Commissioner of Indian Affairs upon the subject. I have the honor to again draw
attention of the Commissioner to that communication. I have advised with all
the military officers within this agency from Crow creek to Fort Rice, and I
have not yet found one not in favor of setting this order aside. The Indians
who gather at these different points are friendly to the government and enemies
to the hostile Indians, and fear them as enemies. They say they are willing to
help protect the whites if they can only be permitted to purchase the means
with which to do it. The Indians inimical to the government procure all the
ammunition they desire from traffic with the Red River half-breeds. This the
friendly Indians understand, and tell me this prohibition has driven many of
their young men into the hostile camp; and again, it is now approaching the
season of the year when the Indians settled along the Missouri river, must
subsist to a great extent upon such small game as cannot be successfully hunted
with bows and arrows. Justice to these Indians requires that the order be
immediately abrogated. I think it a very dangerous order to enforce among these
Indians. At this place, Fort Sully and Fort Rice, the Indians of known
friendship should be permitted to purchase ammunition in small quantities,
sufficient for hunting purposes. An arrangement as to the quantity and manner
of purchase can easily be made between the commander of the district, with whom
I have conferred upon this subject, and the agent. I trust this subject may be
regarded of sufficient importance to command immediate attention.
United States Indian Agent of Upper Missouri Sioux
Extract from a letter to Colonel J.H Leavenworth,
United States Indian agent, from Winfield S. Hancock, major general commanding.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas,
January 17, 1867.
It is not unlikely that a demand will be made before long upon the Cheyennes to
redress some grievances. When that time arrives you will be notified of the
They will be allowed some time to consider and talk over the matter. If you
have any fear of the result leading to hostilities, you had better place
yourself at Fort Larned or Fort Dodge, as you may think best.
If you can get any evidence concerning the reported murder of the Kaw by Bent's
band of Cheyenne, please furnish the same to me, as I am collecting all the
evidence I can in relation to the outrages committed by that tribe.
Your remark that Indians should not be allowed to visit military posts save on
business is perfectly correct as a rule, and I will call attention to that
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WINFIELD S. HANCOCK,
Major General Commanding
[From the Washington Chronicle, February 4, 1867.]
Sale of arms under authority of the Indian Bureau.
- Interesting correspondence. - Opinions of Generals Grant and Sherman. -
Necessity of transferring the bureau to the War Department.
The Secretary of War has addressed a communication to Representative Schenck,
chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs, enclosing, for the information
of the committee a copy of a letter from Major Douglass, commanding Fort Dodge,
dated January 13, in relation to the issue of large numbers of arms, with
ammunition, to the Kiowas and other Indians, and expressing his apprehension of
Indian hostilities in consequence thereof. The anxiety of the Indians for such
articles is not caused by the lack of supply, because they have plenty to last
for some time, but everything tends to show that the Indians are laying in
large supplies preparatory to an outbreak.
Major Douglass represents the Indians to be in an unsettled condition, with
much dissatisfaction on account of the unequal distribution of presents.
General Grant, on the 1st instant, enclosed a letter from Lieutenant
General Sherman to the Secretary of War. General Grant says the letter shows
the urgent necessity for an immediate transfer of the Indian Bureau to the War
Department, and the abolition of the civil Indian agents and licensed traders.
"If," he says, "the present practice is to he continued, I do
not see that any course is left open to us but to withdraw our troops to the
settlements, and call upon Congress to provide means and troops to carry on
formidable hostilities against the Indians, until all the Indians or all the
whites on the great plains, and between the settlements on the Missouri and the
Pacific slope, are exterminated. The course General Sherman has pursued in this
matter, in disregarding the permit of Mr. Bogy and others, is just right. I
will instruct him to enforce his order until it is countermanded by the President
or yourself. I would also respectfully ask that this matter be placed before
the President, and his disapproval of licensing the sale of arms to Indians be
asked. We have treaties with all tribes from time to time. If the rule is to be
followed that all tribes with which we have treaties and to which we pay
annuities can procure such articles without stint or limit, it will not be long
before the matter becomes perfectly understood by the Indians, and they avail
themselves of it to equip perfectly for war. They will get arms either by
making treaties themselves or through tribes who have such treaties."
General Sherman's letter is dated January 21st last, and addressed
to General Hancock, commanding the military division of the Missouri, in which
he says: "We, the military, are held responsible for the peace of the
frontier, and it is an absurdity to attempt it if Indian agents and traders can
legalize and encourage so dangerous a traffic." He says he regards the
paper enclosed, addressed to Mr. D.A. Butterfield, and signed by Charles Bogy,
W.R. Irwin, J.H. Leavenworth, and others, as an outrage upon our rights and
supervision of the matters, and authorizes General Hancock to disregard that
paper, and at once stop the practice.
This paper, addressed to Mr. Butterfield, is as follows:
"SIR: You having requested verbally to be informed in regard to your right
to sell arms and ammunition to Indians, we have to state as follows: You, as an
Indian trader, licensed for that purpose by the United States government are
authorized to trade or sell arms and ammunition to any Indians that are at
peace with and receiving annuities from the United States government. This rule
of course applies to any other regularly licensed trader as well as
H. Ex. Doc. 71--2
Additional Testimony and comments were made available through the considerable
and grateful efforts of Billy Markland, Overland Park, KS in his summary
collection of the: Special Commission Investigating the Fort Phil Kearny
Massacre Testimony on his web site. Refer to: http://freepages.history.rootsweb.com/~familyinformation/
for copies of the extensive number of actual reports and testimonies
that he transcribed from microfilm. These documents provide a final review of
what the commanders and the news media had to say about Indian affairs and the
massacre that occurred at Fort Phil Kearney. Included are additional remarks by