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western limits on our great plains; the tracts beyond must ever be occupied by a pastoral people, whether civilized or savage. If the Indian is not doomed to speedy extirpation, if he is to have a permanent home, here is where it must be located, and the military posts should contemplate a permanency which they have not heretofore possessed.
Posts situated near the Indians' homes, designed to restrain, might be garrisoned by infantry, and they should be large from the outset, to command immediate respect. Those situated near the settlements for protection should be cavalry, both on account of the facility with which they can move to threatened points, or pursue the offenders, and for the comparative ease with which the horses could be maintained during the winter, and be ready for early and efficient service in the spring.
With good commanders, and forces sufficient to sustain them in the measures they may take for chastising or restraining the Indians, and protecting them from the injustice of the whites, peace can be maintained without exterminating the red man, whose manliness has much to admire, and whose fate deserves our sympathy.
Upon the principles I have mentioned, I should recommend that an infantry post be maintained in the neighborhood of Fort Pierre. O all the points yet occupied in the Dacota country this is the most central. Good prairie roads lead from it in every direction, and the experienced guides and traders of the American Fur Company hare explored them all. Formerly, it was no uncommon thing to see sis hundred lodges camped around this fort at one time. A spot to which so many could assemble must be no unimportant one from which to pursue them to their homes. A navigable river leads direct to the place, and the post can be supplied with certainty, if proper preparations are made. I have the opinions of the most successful steamboat captains to this effect.
A permanent establishment here, with the occasional movement of troops between it and Fort Laramie, must entirely drive the disaffected and dangerous Dacotas from all the country south of this route.
Another post of, say four companies, should be kept up at the mouth of l'Eau qui Court to restrain the Poncas.
A cavalry post should be established in the neighborhood of the mouth of Big Sioux river, as protection to the settlements in Iowa and Nebraska from the Ihanktonwans and Isanties, and co-operate with the troops at Fort Pierre. Forage could be economically procured at this point, and it is probably the most western in this latitude, or north of it, that horses could reasonably be maintained so as to be prepared for an early spring campaign.
Future necessities may require the establishment of a post near the Moreau river, among the Unkpapas, or on the left bank in the country of the Ihanktonwannas.
On the line of the Platte, Fort Kearny must, for a long time, be beyond the frontier settlements, and is a necessary post for the protection of emigrants.
Fort Laramie will always be in the Indian country as long as there is one, and makes a most valuable point for protection to travel.
West of Fort Laramie temporary protection should be afforded, when necessary, by patrols and escorts, and also between Forts Laramie and Kearny.
Not less than one regiment, four companies, at Fort Kearny, and six at Fort Laramie should be kept on this line.
A winter campaign could not often be made with success in the Dacota country, and all that should be attempted is to preserve the men and animals for early spring operations, when the emaciated condition of the Indian horses would prevent them escaping and insure their easy capture.
The present war should not be abandoned until the Unkpapas, Minikanyes, and Ihanktonwannas have felt or acknowledged the power of the general government, and be made to entertain for our citizens a feeling of respect, in which they have heretofore been sadly wanting. If active operations are to be carried on during the coming season in the Dacota country, it is against them the forces should be directed, from both Fort Laramie and Fort Pierre.
The punishment inflicted on the Brulés and Ogalalas at Blue Water has taught them a useful lesson, which they will not soon forget.
The Pawnees, about eight hundred warriors, with whom the Dacotas are at war, and the Poncas, three hundred warriors, with whom they are friendly, occupy the southeastern part of Nebraska ; to the southwest are the Shyennes, one thousand, between whom and the Ogalala Dacotas the most friendly relations exist. The Crows, a powerful and warlike tribe, occupy the country between the Black Hills and Wind River mountains, about the sources of the Yellowstone. They made a treaty of peace with the Dacotas at Horse creek, in 1849, but they are enemies at heart. The small bands of Mandans, Aricarees, and Minnitares, and the powerful one of the Assinniboins, are on the north.
Very little is known as to the accurate geography and topography of the Crow country and Black Hills, and, in fact, of any portion of Nebraska west of the Missouri, and the road from Fort Pierre to Fort Laramie.
The same causes that brought on the war with the Sioux will, doubt, continue to operate, and the time is not distant when we shall have a similar necessity for chastising the Crows and northern Missouri Dacotas, who have, as yet, seen nothing of the power of the United States, nor feel any respect for it. It seems to me, therefore, in a purely military point of view, of the greatest importance to gain a knowledge of that region, while the peaceful disposition of these tribes may permit, and before they become maddened by the encroachments of the white man. It is, therefore, respectfully requested that a recommendation be made to Congress, through the proper channel, for an appropriation of $50,000, for military and geographical explorations in the territory of Nebraska.
A reconnaissance, which could be made at small expense on the Fur Company's steamboat, should be inade of the Missouri river from Fort Pierre to the mouth of the Yellowstone; one should also be made of Loup Fork of the Platte, and of the country between White river and l’Tau qui Court, for the purpose of seeking good communication between Fort Laramie and the Missouri river. Routes from Fort Laramie to the Yellowstone, and of the country around and between the forks of the Shyenne, deserve examination. The future necessities of Indian warfare will undoubtedly render information in this territory of the last degree valuable.
Accompanying this report is a map of a portion of the Dacota country, on a scale of 1 to 600,000. It embraces all the explorations within the limits compassed by it, including those of Major Long, J. N. Nicollet, Captain Fremont and Captain Stansbury. The sketches by Lieutenant Curtis of the route from Fort Pierre to the mouth of White river, and of Mr. P. Carrey, from Fort St. Vrain to Fort Laramie, were made with a pocket compass, and estimated distancesthose made by myself, are with prismatic compass and odometer measurements of distance. Barometer observations were taken on the route from Fort Pierre to Fort Kearny, and thence to Fort Laramie; the observations and results are appended to this report. A barometric profile of the route from Fort Pierre to Fort Kearny is also given. From not getting my instruments in time, I was unable to make any astronomical observations. The latitude of Fort Pierre is taken from Nicollet, that of Fort Kearny, and the latitude and longitude of Fort Laramie, are taken from Captain Stansbury. The longitude of Fort Pierre and Fort Kearny are taken from the general map, which I compiled in the office of the Pacific Railroad Exploration, and are the result of comparison of several determinations.
The longitude of no point on this map, distant from the boundary of the States, can be considered certain within 5 to 10 miles. The surveys with the compass and odometer were very carefully made.
I also present another map on a scale of 1 to 300,000, giving the location of the different bands of Indians, and such other information as I was enabled to obtain from the hunters and trappers. Though it is not reliable where surveys have not been made, still it is the best that our present knowledge will permit. To the services of Mr. Pacl Carrey, who accompanied me in the hazardous journey from Fort Pierre to Fort Kearny, I am much indebted, and also to Lieutenant Curtis, who furnished me with the sketch from Fort Pierre to the mouth of White river, and to Lieutenant Balch for his voluntary assistance on the route from Fort Laramie to Fort Pierre.
For information about portions of the country I have not visited. I had the benefit of frequent consultation with Colon Campbell
, Michael Desomet, Jean Letebre, James Boldeaux, Joseph Jewitt, James Baker, Dr. Hayden, Mr. Galpin, Henry Goulet, Alexander Culbertstone, and others, whose statements I have endeavored to combine.
To Mr. J. Hudson Snowden, who assisted me in the meteorological observations, and in working out the results, nearly all the merit is due which they may possess. These observations and results, with notes on the weather on all the routes travelled, are annexed to this report, under the head of meteorology.
A number of skins of birds were collected, among which were the
western rough legged hawk, (Archibutes ferrugineus,) from the Teton or Bad river, in longitude 1020, and the white-headed avoset, (Recurvirostra occidentalus) from the north fork of the Platte, in longitude 103°. The first of these has hitherto only been found near the Pacific coast; and the latter has been considered as peculiar to the regions west of the Rocky mountains; its occurrence in New Mexico, near Santa Fé, is recorded in Captain Stansbury's report as something remarkable.
It is, perhaps, proper to allude here to the journey performed from Fort Pierre to Fort Kearny, since nearly all the knowledge I have gained, and whatever service I may have rendered, resulted immediately from it.
When I was preparing for the undertaking, and had secured a party of six persons, exclusive of Mr. Carrey and myself, I was counselled most earnestly by my brother officers not to make it, and the commanding officer at Fort Pierre thought seriously of interposing his authority as my military superior to prevent so “rash" an attempt, which presented to him nothing but a prospect of my certain destruction. The route was known to lead through the country of the Brulés, (supposed to be our worst enemies,) and nothing was known as to their position or intention. We would, also, it was said, meet the Poncas and Pawnees, and neither would hesitate to rob, or even "wipe out” a party as small as mine, well knowing the offence would be charged upon the Brulés. Moreover, much of the route was wholly unknown and untravelled, and there was no estimating the obstacles and delays we might encounter. My intention, however, had not been formed without due consideration of these things, and careful conversation with the men of the country. The weather was as yet too warın, it being the first of August, for the war parties to have formed, and it was the season for making “sweet corn,'
so that the Indians would likely be thus engaged. The party was made up of the most experienced prairie men, four of them being half-breed Dacotas, and we were well armed ; we were determined to be constantly on our guard, and to travel in the night if we came in the vicinity of an enemy; no fire was to be lighted at night, nor tent pitched. Mr. Galpin, of the Fur Company, assured me he did not believe I would meet an Indian, and the result verified his prediction. We saw fresh trails of the Poncas on l'Eau qui Court, and of the Brulés in the Sand Hills, and some deserted Pawnee camps on Loup Fork, but no Indians. We performed the journey in fifteen days.
I was thus enabled to carry out the instructions under which I had gone to Fort Pierre to participate in the campaign under General Harney, and perform the duties required of me as topographical engineer of the expedition.
I hope this explanation will free me from any charge of having acted with rashness or imprudence.
The general conclusions which I have drawn from my own observations and studies (though I may not have fully demonstrated them) are, that the portion of Nebraska (which I have visited) lying north of White river is mostly of a clay formation, and that south of it is mainly of sand; that but a small portion of it is susceptible of cultivation west of the 97th meridian ; that the Territory is occupied by powerful tribes of roving savages, and is only adapted to a mode of life such as theirs ; that it must long remain an Indian country; that the Indians should be made to feel the power of the United States ; that the military posts, in consequence, should contemplate permanency; that Forts Laramie and Pierre are the most important positions yet occupied ; that the latter can always be supplied by steamboats on the Missouri; that the former must be supplied by way of the valley of the Platte ; that a great deal yet remains to be learned of this vast territory; and that it is of the utmost importance to acquire a thorough knowledge of it without delay. I have the honor, sir, to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. K. WARREN,
Lieutenant Topographical Engineers. Brevet Brig. Gen. W. F. HARNEY,
U. S. army, commanding Sioux expedition.
DETAILS OF ROUTES.
Latitude, longitude, altitude, and magnetic declination.
Description of route from Fort Pierre to Fort Kearny.
Fort Pierre, situated on a high bottom land on the right bank
of the Missouri river-grass very scanty, there having been
no spring rain. Left Fort Pierre, August 8, 1855.
growing npon it, for two miles; then crosses a high, nar-