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As stated in office report of the 25th of May last, the cost to the government for feeding these Indians under the management of the War Department has amounted to not far from $1,500,000 annually, including the first cost of the subsistence and the transportation of the same to the reservation. Taking the first cost of the subsistence furnished by the War Department as a basis, and the cost to the government for each ration furnished to the Indians on said reservation has been from twenty-four to twenty-nine cents. The contract with Mr. Simerly stipulates that rations of beef, flour, and salt shall be furnished at a cost of nineteen cents each; this would make a difference of at least five cents on each ration in favor of the present arrangement, without taking into consideration the cost of transportation under the War Department, and taking as a basis the whole number of Indians to be fed to be 7,000, the difference for a full year would be $127,750.
Assuming that there will be 7,000 of these Indians to be subsisted and cared for the present fiscal year, and that the department commences to feed them on the 1st of September next, and continues to feed them to the end of the present fiscal year, at a cost of 19 cents per ration, as under the contract with Mr. Simerly, it will cost the government $404,320. The sum of $100,000 has been appropriated for the purpose, but, as will be seen, this sum is totally inadequate for the purpose, and it will require at least a further sum of $304,320 to feed and properly care for said Indians during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1868.
This matter has been brought to the notice of the department and of Congress so often that I do not consider it necessary or advisable, at the present time, to make a lengthy report on the subject. The fact that, in order to keep these Indians on the reservation, and thus prevent them from scattering through the whole territory to rob and steal for an existence, they must be fed and provided for until such time as they are able to subsist themselves by their farming operations, must be apparent to all; and I am of the opinion that if the attention of Congress be again invited to the matter, such steps will be taken for the care of said Indians as, in its wisdoin, may be considered just and proper.
I therefore submit herewith an estimate for $304,320 to supply a deficiency in the appropriation made by the 39th Congress for the relief of the Navajo Indians, now at or near Fort Sumner, and respectfully request that the same, with such favorable recommendation as you may deem prvper, be transmitted to the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives for the action of Congress. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
N. G. TAYLOR, Commissioner. Hon. W. T. OTTO,
Acting Secretary of the Interior.
Estimate of appropriation required to supply a deficiency in the appropriation
for the relief of the Navajo Indians now at or near Fort Sumner for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1868.
For this amount, or so much thereof as may be necessary, to supply a deficiency in the appropriation for the relief of the Navajo Indians now at or near Fort Sumner, in New Mexico, to be expended under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1867, $304,320.
THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR,
In compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 8th instant, information
touching the origin and progress of Indian hostilities on the frontier.
JULY 13, 1867.-Read, referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs, and ordered to be
DePARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
Washington, D. C., July 13, 1867. Sır: In compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 8th instant, calling for reports made to this department by commissioners heretofore appointed, or by superintendents or agents of Indian tribes, together with any other authentic and reliable information in its possession touching the origin and progress of existing Indian hostilities on the frontier, &c., I have the honor to transmit herewith a report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, dated the 12th instant, with accompanying printed reports :
Reports of Generals Buford and Sanborn, marked A and B, and copies of reports, letters, and telegrams, numbered 1 to 45, inclusive, referred to in said report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W.T. OTTO, Acting Secretary. Hon. Bexs. F. WADE,
President of the United States Senate.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
Office Indian Affairs, July 12, 1867. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, by reference from your department, of Senate resolution of the 8th instant, calling upon the Secretary of the Interior to communicate to the Senate any reports made to his department by commissioners heretofore appointed, or by superintendents or agents of Indian tribes, together with any other authentic and reliable information in his possession touching the origin and progress of the existing Indian hostilities on the frontier ; also to communicate, as far as he can, the extent of the disaffection among the Indian tribes, whether they are waging war as tribes or as individuals, and if as individuals, what disposition has been or is likely to be made of the friendly Indians formerly belonging to the hostile bands; and that he make such suggestions as in his judgment will lead to the most speedy termination of pending hostilities and prevent Indian wars in the future.
In compliance with your instructions to report all the facts in regard to these difficulties now in possession of this office; with such suggestions and views as I may deem necessary and proper in the premises, I would respectfully invite your attention to the enclosed printed copy of the reports of the Secretaries of War and Interior relative to the Fort Phil. Kearney massacre, which, it is thought, will show the cause of the commencement of the present hostilities, or at least of those at or near said fort, where hostile demonstrations by any considerable force was first made by the Indians. The views in regard to the visit of the Indians who made these demonstrations which resulted in the massacre of our troops, expressed by my predecessor in his report of the 4th of February last, are not correct, as will be seen from the report of General Buford, of the commissioners appointed by the President to visit the Indian country, (see copy herewith marked A,) and from General Sanborn's report, also herewith, B.
I also enclose copies of reports, letters, and telegrams received at this office since the reports of late Commissioner Bogy were made, as contained in said printed copy of reports. These papers, numbered from 1 to 45, inclusive, in ihe order of their dates, contain all the reliable information I have in regard to the matter since the 21st of February last.
A careful examination of these papers has led me to the following conclusions :
1st. That the tribes and parts of tribes involved in the war are the following, namely: As tribes, the Northern Cheyennes and Arapahoes, numbering about one hundred and eighty lodges-say 300 warriors; the Minneconjoux band of the Teton Sioux nation, 300 lodges, about 500 warriors ; those of the Ogallallas band of Sioux, who would not consent to cede the right of way
for the Montana road, via Powder river, and the right to plant military posts in their country, 130 lodges, about 250 warriors; those of the Brulé band of Sioux, who coincided with these Ogallallas in opposing the cession of the road and post privileges, some 150 lodges, about 300 warriors; those of the Two Kettle band of Sioux, entertaining the same views, about 150 lodges, and some 300 warriors, making, in all, about 1,600 to 1,800 effective warriors.
These were the Indians who perpetrated the Phil. Kearney massacre and who have been carrying on the war in the north.
On the plains further south the only Indians known to be making hostile demonstrations are the Southern Cheyennes and Arapahoes, numbering some 200 lodges, and about 500 warriors, with possibly a few individuals from other tribes.
I am led to the conclusion, secondly, that the causes of the war are easily traced and readily understood when a few facts are known. These facts I proceed to cull from the official records.
In December, 1864, occurred the horrible Sand Creek massacre of friendly Cheyennes and Arapahoes in Colorado Territory. Exasperated and maddened by this cold-blooded butchery of their women and children, disarmed warriors and old men, the remnant of these Indians sought the aid and protection of the Comanches and Kiowas, and obtained both. The combination which followed embraced all the tribes of the plains from the Red River of the South to the Red River of the North, and resulted in the general Indian war of 1865, which cost our people many valuable lives and $40,000,000 in money. Peace was concluded with all the southern Indians in October, 1865. Peace was likewise made with the Missouri river Indians late in the same autumn, and the Indians engaged in the recent hostilities gave notice that they also were willing to bury the tomahawk.
Commissioners were accordingly sent to treat with these Indians at Laramie in June, 1866. Unfortunately a new complication arose.
The commissioners insisted that the Indians grant the United States the right of establishing military posts at the base of the Big Horn mountain, (now Fort Phil. Kearney,) and on the headwaters of the Yellowstone river, (now Fort C. F. Smitb,) the only remaining reliable hunting grounds of these Indians. The Indians occupying the country in the vicinity of the proposed military posts refused to grant the required rights. While this matter was still under consideration a military command arrived on its way to plant these forts, and the Indians being informed that the posts were to be immediately established and garrisoned by these troops, with or without their consent, at once withdrew from the council, refusing to accept presents, and very soon went to war upon all the troops who attempted to pass over this road. Such was the origin of the war on the Montana road.
In April of the current year the Southern Cheyennes and Arapahoes were peacefully occupying their village on the grounds assigned to them as hunting grounds by the treaty of October, 1865, when a military command under Major General Hancock, without any known provocation, burned down their homes of 300 lodges, (including, perhaps, 100 lodges of friendly Sioux,) and all their provisions, clothing, utensils, and property of every description. In view of these facts, it is scarcely deemed necessary to seek further for reasons for the hostility of the Southern Cheyennes and Arapahoes.
Wbile searching for the origin of our existing Indian war, I beg leave to insert here an extract from a letter of Lieutenant General Sherman, dated Fort Lyon, Colorado, September 30, 1866, forwarded to the Secretary of War by General Grant, and referred to this office :
"Craig (formerly a colonel or captain in the army, and owner of a large ranche on the Huerfano) may be taken as the best sample of the class of men who are settling along the east base of the mountains. He has thoroughly proven the ability to produce, but then comes the more difficult problem of consamption. Who is to buy his corn? The miners of Colorado, in the mountains, two hundred miles distant, will take some; but the cost of hauling is enormous. The few travellers and stage companies will buy a little, but he, and all situated like him, look to our military for a market, and that is the real pressure for garrisons and an Indian war. The Utes are harmless and peaceable, and the Cheyennes and Arapahoes are off after the buffaloes, God only knows where, and I don't see how we can make a decent excuse for an Indian war. I have travelled all the way from Laramie without a single soldier or escort. I meet single men, unarmed, travelling along the road, as in Missouri. Cattle and horses graze loose, far from their owners, most tempting to a starving Indian, and though the Indians might easily make a descent on these scattered ranches, yet they have not done so, and I see no external signs of a fear of such an event, though all the people are clamorous for military protection. I received at Puebla a petition to that effect, signed by so many names that I could not help answering that the names to the petition exceeded in number the strength of any of our small garrisons. Still, I do think that the efforts of these people to transform the desert into productive farms is worthy of encouragement of the general government, and I will treat of the subject again at length.
“After spending part of a day and the night at Craig's, I resumed the journey down the Huerfano twenty miles, to its mouth, there forded the Arkansas, and turned up five miles to the house of Colonel Boone, a man of note in this quarter. He has a good two-story frame house, with his family, embracing the wife of Colonel Elmer Otis, but she happened to be away on a visit to some neighbor, and I did not see her. Colonel Boone was at home, and I talked with him freely on the above and all other points of interest. He is an old Indian man, was on the plains with General Ashley as early as 1824, and has been more or less connected with the Indians ever since. He also made the treaty with the Cheyennes and Arapahoes in 1860. He cultivates a farm and lives. seemingly, as little apprehensive of danger from Indians as the rest of the people. After camping a night near his house, we turned down the Arkansas and travelled, in three days, one hundred miles to this post, Fort Lyon. I did not see or hear of an Indian the whole distance, though we passed through the whole length of the Cheyenne and Arapaho reservation."
The above letter is dated September 30, 1866. I learn from the papers herewith, particularly from General Sanborn's report of the 8th instant, thirdly, that a portion of our commission met representatives of all or nearly all the hostile bands of the north at Fort Laramie, as late as the 12th of June last, and went into council with them; that they professed a willingness to make peace, agreed to cease offensive war until autumn, with a view of making a satisfactory treaty in the interim, and I am informed by one of the commission now in Washington, namely, General Sanborn, that they are willing to stipulate, that the Montana road, with necessary military posts to protect it, may go through their country west of the Big Horn mountain, which would avoid their choice hunting-grounds. He is satisfied, also, that they will for a reasonable compensation agree, by treaty, to the present location of the road and posts. I conclude, fourth, that while the hostile bands are willing to make a lasting peace upon anything like equitable terms, and while the friendly Indians are exceedingly reluctant to go into war with the United States, yet a further and persistent disregard and violation of the natural rights of the Indians, and of the treaty obligations of the government towards them, such as have characterized our military operations among them for the past twelve months, will soon result in an Indian war of gigantic proportions, and of prolonged ard indefinite duration, at an appalling expense of life, and at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. If we desire this result, if we want the war we have provoked enlarged and intensified till our whole frontier is in a blaze, till our infant Territories are isolated and besieged, and Pacificoverland communication cut off, we have only to press a little further the policy we are now pursuing and we will get all we desire. From the facts before me I conclude, fifth, that we can have all we want from the Indians, and peace without war, if we so will, with entire security on all our frontiers, and in all our territoriat domain, at a cost of less than two days' expenses of the existing war, to wit, a quarter of a million dollars, and in less than one hundred days. But how shall peace be so easily and so soon made ? Simply by retracing our wrong steps and by doing right. Pay the northern Cheyennes and Arapahoes and the hostile Sioux for the trespass we have committed upon their recognized rights, and negotiate with them by fair treaty for the privileges of way and of military posts on their lands so far as we may need them. This is only doing them justice, as our established policy requires, and this makes them our friends at once, renders travel and transportation safe, and garrisons almost useless. Restore to the southern Cheyennes their village and their property we so wantonly and foolishly burned and destroyed, or pay them a fair price for them, and they will come back from the war path and resume the avocations of peace.
It is believed that the destruction by our forces of the Cheyenne village and property, valued at $100,000, in April last, has already cost the government more than $5,000,000 in money, one hundred lives of citizens and soldiers, and jeoparded all our material interests on the plains and along hundreds of miles of our frontier.
It will be seen among the papers herewith that Lieutenant General Sherman, in a despatch to the Secretary of War, dated Fort McPherson, Nebraska, June 17, 1867, among other things, says: "My opinion is if fifty Indians are allowed to remain between the Arkansas and Platte, we will have to guard every stage station, every train and all railroad working parties. In other words, fifty hostile Indians will checkmate three thousand soldiers." Now if this be true between the Arkansas and the Platte, of which region he is speaking, what a tremendous army will be required in the field if we conclude to precipitate a general Indian war, and to prosecute it to a successful result !