Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

goes off for a month, will not learn much, particularly when his parents are influencing him against the ways of the whites.

Mr. GUNCKEL. It has been stated here by Indian agents and others that the example of the Army, officers and men, is uniformly bad, as to intemperance, licentiousness, idleness, and tyrannical conduct toward the Indians.

General DAVIS. I would suggest, in the first place, that the Indian Bureau would make as bad a case as possible against the Army. That is very natural, and I expect it. I think that they would like to divert attention from some of the corruptions of that Bureau, which are too well known. With reference to the intemperance, gambling, and licentiousness of the Army at Indian agencies, I do not know for certainty; but from what I have been told, and from my own observation, I do not think that the employés of the Indian Bureau have much to be said in their favor in those respects. I asked at some of the agencies whether the employés of the agencies had their squaws. They told me yes, they did, the same as ever. At one place they said they had not, that the agent did not allow it, but that it was understood that they had their domestic associations, if not in the buildings just outside at the tapers. And such, I imagine, you will find to be the case at every Indian trading-post you can visit. I am speaking now of the civil employés of the Indian agencies. The troops at those agencies where stationed åre called upon by the agent for guards, protection, &c. If a man is killed at one of those agencies, the troops can do nothing with the murderer unless the Indian agent calls upon them to take action in the case.

Mr. GUNCKEL. Do you mean to say that the average Indian agent is no better morally than the average private in the Army?

General DAVIS. I am speaking of the employés of the Indian Bureau. I would say with reference to the Indian agents that they are no better on the average than the officers of the Army.

Mr. MACDOUGALL. You think it will be fair to compare the agents with the officers and the privates with the other employés ?

Answer. The officers will compare favorably with the agents and the men with the employés.

General DAVIS. I presume that you gentlemen are all well posted in human nature, and if you put a lot of men at a frontier station, in the full vigor and prime of life, with certain inducements and influences about them, it is very natural and probable that certain indulgences will be practiced, which perhaps we do not approve of, and should not, there more than in large centers of civilization.

Mr. MACDOUGALL. Have any of the officers in that frontier country their families with them?

General DAVIS. O, yes; most of those who are married have their familes.

By Mr. ALBRIGHT:

Question. If you were to abandon the military posts you have named, and which you recommend as fit to be abandoned, would you suggest the building of other new posts, or the enlargement of old ones?

Answer. I would suggest the enlargement of old ones, and in some cases new ones would be advisable, better selections being made for the posts.

Question. Many of those old posts that you have spoken of are in a bad state of dilapidation?

Answer. They are mostly in a greater or les state of dilapidation, and are requiring constant repairs.

Question. If the posts that you have named should be abandoned, and the troops concentrated in other posts, would that, in your judg. ment, necessitate a change in the branches of the Army, either to have inore infantry, or more cavalry, or more artillery than now?

Answer. It would not necessarily. The distribution of these troops depends entirely upon the War Department, through the General-in Chief, the division and department commanders. A station of cavalry has always to have accommodations for the horses. It cavalry is sent to a post and there are no accommodations there in the way of stables, they will have to be built. The distribution, as I understand your question, does not necessarily affect the strength of the Army or the relative strength of the different arms of the service.

Question. If your recommendation should be a lopted with reference to the abandonment of posts and the concentration of troops in fewer posts, my question is, whether or not then there might not be less cavalry or artillery and an increase of infantry, and in that way a great saving be effected!

Answer. My opinion is that the military force we now bave is not too large.

Question. Can it be changed in its character !

Answer. I would not change it at all. I think that the interests of the country, and the protection which the people have a right to demand in our western country, require all the force that we have. The artillery is stationed more in the East and on the sea-coast. It has got to protect our forts and public property, and I presume that all the artillery we have is necessary. I have not any personal knowledge of the absolute necessity of artillery at those various posts, not having visited them to ascertain.

Question. A concentration of troops at fewer posts would not necessitate a change in the character or number of the present force?

Answer. No, sir; not necessarily; but it would lessen its expense and increase its efficiency.

Question. You spoke of a saving of 50 per cent. On wbat was that?

Answer. It was estimated on all the elements of expense which enter into this question, and which embrace transportation, waste, and destruction of supplies, cost of buildings, keeping them in repair, and all those things. It is quite a complex question. I merely express it in general terms.

Question. You think there could be a great saving of expense in adopting your suggestion ?

Answer. In my opinion.
Question. And no detriment would come to the country?

Answer. On the contrary, I think it would be a benefit to the troops and the country in every way. I do not know of a single detriment to the country which would result from the concentration of troops into fewer and larger garrisons. The distribution of troops into small posts is expensive, weakens the otherwise efficient condition of the troops, impairs discipline, and is unsatisfactory.

By the CIAIRMAN: Question. Have you had your attention directed to any part of the South? Answer. No, sir; I have not been South recently.

By Mr. ALBRIGHT: Question. Say that the strength of the Army at these posts is 21,000 men; what proportion of them is unfit for duty from the various casualties the troops are subject to?

Auswer. From 25 to 30 per cent. I have found over 50 per cent. in small posts. Generally the proportion is greater where the post is small. Where there are more troops together the percentage is less. I am speaking of the number taken out from active military operationsthe sick, those in confinement, those on special and detached service, &c.

Question. At the different posts that you have inspected, what proportion of the troops that were present in camp did you find physically unfit for military duty on account of climate, exposure, &c.?

Auswer. Generally the number uwtit physically for active duty was not very large. Most of the posts are healthy. Your question would only exclude the sick; it would not exclude those on special duty. But special duties are so constantly required of them that you have not the men for the ordinary military duties of the post. The number of sick has been very small, ranging from 2 to 10 per cent., the larger percentage being owing to the season, or to some epidemic or endemic. But the number of sick is generally small, because in that northern or northwestern climate most of the localities are healthy. Of course, in the summer seasons in certain portions of the country there is an increase of febrile diseases, intermittent fevers, and malarial complaints. Diarrhea or dysentery is one of the prevalent diseases in certain localities and at certain seasons; and in the higher altitudes neuralgia and rheumatism prevail to some extent. These may be mentioned as the prevalent diseases; but the aggregate is not a large percentage.

By Mr. MACDOUGALL: Question. Do you think that the Army, situated as it is in the West, could take charge of Indian affairs without any increase of officers or men ?

Answer. I do not think it would require any increase of officers or men. In order to carry out the policy of the administration and of the people it would be necessary, of course, to have some civil assistance in the way of farmers and mechanics and teachers.

Question. Is the Army so situated in regard to transportation as that rations and supplies for Indians can be transported without additional expense?

Answer. The rations and supplies can be transported equally as cheap as at present in every case, and much cheaper in some cases. In some cases we have transported for the Indian Bureau to considerable extent. And, inasmuch as the Army has frequently to send escorts for the transportation of its own supplies, the Indian supplies could be transported at the same time in connection with the Army transportation, and thus sare the expense of additioval escorts.

Question. Have you any idea of the annual cost of transportation to the Government ? Answer. I have not; but it can be obtained from reports.

By the CHAIRMAN: Question. When you traveled in the region of the Sioux, had you au opportunity to ascertain the number of warriors they had ?

Answer. I could tell, approximately, by referring to notes, in some cases. I had reports from the different post commanders, and others.

Question. Were these notes taken with reference to a report to be made by you?

Answer. We get information in relation to the Indians as to their habits, their characteristics, their peaceful or hostile character, how

they live, whether they are fed and clothed by the Government, whether they subsist by hunting or by farming, their forces, and whether mounted or dismounted, how they are armed, and everything in connec tion with them. These reports we get in the best way we can. They come from officers, the agents, the interpreters, the Indians themselves, and from scouts and citizens.

Question. Have you made a report on that subject?

Answer. I have made a general report.

Question. Has it been printed?

Answer. I think it has not. In several cases I forwarded the reports with my remarks, and I made a general report with reference to Indians. Question. Can you state with any definiteness as to the condition of these Sioux Indians-their military force, &c.?

Answer. Quite a number of them are armed with the best improved muskets. They have the Henry rifle, or the Winchester. They have some of our own Springfield breech-loading arms and Remington; and many of them are well supplied with Colt's and other revolving pistols. Some of them have muzzle-loading arms, but a great many of them have the improved breech-loading arms, with metallic ammunition.

Question. Where do they get them?

Answer. They get them from traders, as reported; and in some cases, I think, Indians (not Sioux) were furnished by the Indian Bureau, by direction of the Government.

Question. What traders do you mean; post traders or Indian traders? Answer. Indian traders; and, perhaps, post traders and others. The Mountain Crows, I was told, were well armed with breech-loaders, and with 300 rounds of ammunition to a man. They were furnished at their agency. Arms were shipped up the Missouri River by boats and traders, as reported. At all events, Indians have them and use them. Question. Do you know anything of their supply of ammunition?

Answer. I do not know how much they have, I only know that they have ammunition. In the issue of rations they count men, women, and children; say, "there are 3,000 Indians," and they count for so many rations. Oftentimes not half that number of Indians are there to draw them. So I am told and believe. If you ask the agents where they are, they say it is impossible to count them; that the Sioux do not wish to be counted; that it is "bad medicine." But if it is "bad medicine" to count them, it is "bad medicine" to issue rations for them when not present. I asked the question, how it was that beef at certain places was contracted for at so low a rate for Indians. The gentleman I was speaking to asked me how long I had been in the Indian country. I said, twenty-odd years. He said, "Then it is not necessary to explain to you how it is; you are probably well posted." Well, I had my own views in regard to the matter. I presume that the scales on which they weighed the beef according to their purchase were not the same on which they weighed it according to their issue.

Mr. THORNBURGH. You think the scales were doctored?

General DAVIS. I think they do not issue what is reported to be issued.

Mr. MACDOUGALL. Have you any idea of what becomes of the discrep ancy between the number of rations charged to the Government and the number actually issued to the Indians?

General DAVIS. How can an Indian agent, with $1,500 a year salary, make $10,000 a year, more or less, after supporting himself?

By Mr. ALBRIGHT:

Question. Are not the Indians, under their present management, being

speedily brought under Christian and civilizing influences, and taught the arts of peace?

Answer. They are probably being brought under those influences, but not very speedily, in some cases.

Question. Are they being taught agriculture?

Answer. In some cases they are, and are doing very well; in other cases it amounts to but little, the bands and their characteristics are so very different. I speak of the more wild and hostile Indians.

Question. Do you regard that as the result of the present Indian policy?

Answer. Some of these Indians cultivated the ground long ago-long before this recent change in the Indian policy. A great deal has been given to Indians under this policy which they did not get before. There never was so much contributed before to furnish them with seeds and labor, to cultivate the ground for them, and to give them schools. think that this is having a civilizing and Christianizing influence. But I do not think that in many cases this influence is exerted to the best advantage, or that the result is commensurate with the expense that is incurred therefor. I think that in many cases the success of the schools is very much exaggerated, and that the conversion of the Indians to Christianity, as we say, is somewhat misrepresented.

Question. Would you, from your experience of the Indian country, suggest a concentration of the Indians on fewer reservations?

Answer. Probably fewer reservations would be better; but I am decidedly of opinion that they should be put upon reservations, and should be made comfortable as far as possible and protected. But at the same time they must be made to stop robbing and murdering, and be made to submit to the orders and control of the United States Government. They laugh at persuasion and leniency; they call it weakness or fear. I believe in justice and firmness in the management of Indian affairs, and I think that with that course we would have little trouble. I am as much in favor of seeing the Indians have justice as I am of seeing the whites have justice; but I believe in justice on both sides, and I would rigidly enforce it so far as in my power. I would decide what the Indians were to have; and what I promised them they should have. Then, if they violated the laws governing them, and committed murder and robbery, I would punish them, and I would punish the whites, if they intruded upon the Indians; but I would protect the whites against their merciless ravages and tortures.

WASHINGTON, D. C., January 20, 1873. Examination of Gen. ABSALOM BAIRD, one of the inspector-generals of the Army.

By the CHAIRMAN :

Question. Have you made any inspection of the Army in the Military Division of the Missouri within the last two years?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. What departments in that division did you visit?

Answer. I have been twice connected with that portion of the country, first in General Halleck's command, afterwards in that of General Sheridan. Within the last two years I have inspected the whole Department of Dakota, which is at present commanded by General Terry,

« ZurückWeiter »