« ZurückWeiter »
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,
embracing Minnesota, Montana, and Dakota, and also the Department of Texas.
Question. State whether you personally visited the posts and stations of the Army.
Answer. I visited all the posts in the Department of Dakota, and a large part of those in Texas.
Question. State whether your attention has been directed to the question of a reduction in the number of posts.
Answer. Yes, sir. When I inspected the Department of Texas I particularly inquired into the location of the posts, the positions it was necessary to occupy in order to cover the frontier against the inroads of Indians; and in my report I made recommendations with reference to the location of troops, and the number of companies which it would be necessary to keep at each post.
Question. State whether you think that the number of posts in Texas can be reduced, or the number of troops at the posts. If any changes ought to be made, what do you think they ought to be?
Answer. There are two lines of posts in Texas. One covers the frontier, and protects the settled portions of Texas, commencing on the Rio Grande, at Fort Brown, and extending up the river as far as the settlements go, then sweeping around in a semicircle toward Fort Sill, in the Indian Territory. That line of posts is intended to prevent the incursions of Indians into the settled parts of the State. There are one or two posts on this line which might perhaps be abandoned and located at other points, but I do not think that the number of posts can be materially changed. I made some recommendations with reference to the minimum amount of cavalry and of infantry that should be kept at each post. I recommended that one regiment of infantry might be dispensed with; that if it was needed elsewhere it could be taken away without injury to the service. The other line of posts extends on the stage-road running toward El Paso, from the settled portions of Texas. It is an eastern and western line. It leaves the frontier line of posts at about Fort Concho, and runs to the southern part of New Mexico across the Staked Plains, almost on the line proposed for the Southern Pacific Railroad. It is a line of posts that was established under the treaty with Mexico by which we agreed to prevent the Indians making incursions into Mexico. Fort Stockton is one of the posts; the next beyond is Fort Davis, and the next Fort Quitman. I understand that we have since paid money to Mexico in order to relieve us from that treaty obligation, but still there is a considerable amount of travel over that road. General Reynolds encouraged it and sent military escorts with persons driving cattle by that route, and the posts have been kept up since partly with a view of keeping open that line and partly from the knowledge that if the building of the Southern Pacific Railroad is pushed forward the posts would be needed there.
Question. So far as the settlements in Texas are concerned do these forts afford any protection?
Answer. These posts do not.
Question. What posts do you enumerate under that clause?
Answer. Leaving Fort Bliss, there would be Fort Quitman, Fort Davis, and Camp Stockton that do not cover the settlements.
Question. State the comparative expense of maintaining those posts, at Camp Stockton, Fort Davis, and Fort Quitman. Are they more or less expensive by reason of their remoteness?
Answer. They are more expensive than the posts nearer, because provisions have to be transported farther. In the north of Texas there
are two important posts-Forts Richardson and Griffin-intended, in connection with Fort Sill, to guard that part of the State. An attempt to consolidate them and make one post take the place of the two has been made, but thus far, on account of the difficulties of the country, it has not been found possible. I think that in most cases serious difficulties would be found in changing or giving up established posts which have grown out of past necessities.
Question. Can troops operate almost as well from the present positions? Answer. Yes; they accomplish the purpose had in view where they are. Question. Going farther to the north, what do you think of the posts in Kansas?
Answer. I cannot speak in regard to them, because it requires a study of each particular post, and I have not been there. I do not know the country sufficiently, and do not know why the posts were located where they are or why they are kept there. With reference to the posts in the Department of Dakota, the necessity for a great number of them arises from the vastness of the country. I do not think that a person who has not gone over that country can form any adequate idea of its great extent. From Fort Benton to Sioux City by the river is two thousand one hundred miles. The first post you arrive at, coming down the river, is Fort Buford, at a distance of some seven hundred miles. The river is comparatively safe in that portion of it, because the Indians. there are not very bad. High up the river are the Crows, who are always considered friendly to the whites. Lower down are the Mandans and other tribes that are partially friendly. The Sioux go occasionally into that country, but not to any great extent. Their habitual place of resort is on the Missouri, below the Yellowstone, and when they make expeditions for war or hunting they generally go out south of the Yellowstone, although occasionally they do go up the river. For this reason no posts are regarded as necessary until you get to Fort Buford. There is now a project, however, got up by transportation people and by the people of Montana, to establish a line of boats from the end of the railroad at Bismarck to the mouth of the Mussel Shell, and to haul goods thence overland about two hundred miles, to the settlements in Montana. If that is done it will make a post necessary at the mouth of the Mussel Shell, and possibly other posts.
Question. Who is demanding this?
Answer. Some of the transportation people; and I presume they are connected with the Northern Pacific Railroad Company. I presume that the object is to make more business for their road, so as to make the portion already finished pay expenses.
Mr. HAWLEY, of Connecticut. Is not the Missouri River the Indian frontier, and is there any necessity for military posts east of the Missouri River?
General BAIRD. Yes, it is; leaving Fort Buford, the western side of the Missouri River is occupied by the Sioux, who are exceedingly hostile, on that bank of the river. Some of them occasionally cross over to the eastern side of the river, and there they are comparatively friendly; that is to say, at times they would not kill a white man if met on the east side of the river, and they certainly would do so if they encountered him on the west side. The posts from Buford down are located at points near where the Indians reside, near the Indian agencies, and at other places where it is necessary to supervise and overawe the Indians. I do not think that the number of posts along the Missouri River can be materially changed. Going east of the Missouri River there are several posts on the border of Minnesota and
Dakota, one or two of which are necessary. Fort Totten is a necessary post. It has been occupied by two companies of infantry; but during the present winter they had to make room there for two companies of cavalry in addition that had made part of General Stanley's expedi tion in the summer. There is a little reservation of friendly Indians near by, and the object of establishing the post was to keep these friendly Indians from communicating with the hostile Indians. They are all Sioux, but these are domesticated Sioux. It is much the same thing at Fort Wadsworth. This post is quite near to the settlements, but there is an Indian reservation in the vicinity. Fort Ransom, marked on the map, is already abandoned, I believe. Fort Seward, on the North Pacific Railroad, is still of temporary utility, but may soon be abandoned.
By the CHAIRMAN :
Question. Is there any danger there from the Indians?
Answer. No; I think not. It is possible that the Indians might raid upon the settlers there, but not probable. In winter it seems to be necessary to keep a body of men at Fort Seward, so as to be able to communicate with the other posts.
Question. Is Fort Snelling necessary?
Answer. I think not.
Question. Is Fort Ridgely necessary?
Answer. That is abandoned. Fort Abercrombie was necessary two or three years ago, but it is not necessary any longer, except to shelter teams and men during the winter. Further than that, it is of no use whatever.
Question. Would you make the same statement about Fort Snelling? Answer. That is my judgment.
Question. What would you say of Pembina ?
Answer. I do not think that Pembina was necessary when it was built.
Question. How many men can take care of such forts as may be neces sary for store-houses and for the protection of men and animals in the winter-how many men can take care of them in the summer?
Answer. A very few men-ten or a dozen, perhaps.
Question. Are these posts in such condition as that they need extensive repairs, looking to the short time that they can be used?
Answer. I think not. These posts were built of very poor materials. They do not last very long. Fort Snelling is a permanent post, and is the headquarters of a regiment, but of course the military is of no more use there than a post at Indianapolis would be. Three or four men would be all that would be needed to keep the place in order.
Question. What have you to say about those posts in Western Montana, about the head-waters of the Missouri River? Can any of them be dispensed with?
Answer. I think one might-Fort Benton.
By Mr. HAWLEY, of Connecticut:
Question. You spoke of Pembina not being needed when it was built. Are there not liable to be border disturbances occasionally, and is not a military force necessary there as a police force?
Answer. That is true. The recent political troubles that have arisen on the other side of the line, and the arrest of some of our people, would show that. This commission can appreciate as fully as a soldier the necessity of a force for such a purpose. When you get into Montana, on the head-waters of the Missouri and on the Yellowstone, there is an