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tion of Maj. H. M. Lazelle, First Infantry. The balance of this command is still occupying its camp.
A most unprovoked murder was committed on the 6th of August last, at a point on the Missouri River about 20 miles from Fort Berthold. The victim was recruit Edward Frazier, of the Eleventh Regiment of Infantry, on his way up the river on steamer Josephine, under charge of Lieutenant Groesbeck, Sixth Infantry. A small party of Indians was seen on the shore as the steamer rounded a point. A single shot was fired and Frazier fell mortally wounded. Every endeavor is being made to discover the perpetrator of this foul outrage and bring him to justice, but so far but little information has been obtained.
As was to be expected, any attempt to place the control of Indian affairs under two departments so radically opposed in principle as the Military and Indian Departments, has resulted in clashing of authority and a state of affairs which is working to the detriment of the Indian. The average Indian agent, intent upon the spiritual welfare of the red man, desirous of elevating his soul, and achieving what has never yet been reached in a single generation-making a civilized man of him—but too frequently neglects his bodily wants, and while the agent is preparing him for heaven, as he thinks, is actually making a hell for him upon earth by leaving him unclothed and unfed, whilst but too frequently the price of his clothing and food is put into the agent's pocket. The Army officer, on the other hand, compelled by the system of responsibility under which he has been educated to account strictly for every cent's worth of property he receives from the government, and anxious, by feeding and clothing the Indian, to keep him peaceful, and thus avoid wars in which he and not the soul-saving Indian agent takes part, and which are not only tedious and harassing, but without glory, attends first to the Indian's bodily wants, and hence gains credit in the minds of a great many well-meaning people of being not only utterly regardless of his spiritual needs, but entirely opposed to any steps being taken toward advancing him in the scale of civilization. If the system of responsibility which prevails in the Army existed in the Indian Department, much of the now well-founded charge of looseness and fraud would be avoided. But under the total lack of system in that department, the responsibility is so loose and fraud so easy, that the wonder is not that peenlation should sometimes occur, but that it does not happen in all cases. Nor does the attempt to intermingle the two systems by requiring Army officers to inspect Indian supplies and witness the issuing of annuities work favorably, for the reason that, whilst the country at large is led to believe there can be no frauds now that officers of the Army are performing this inspection duty, but few are aware of the fact that from the defective system of responsibility in the Indian Department these inspections form no check whatever upon the operations of the Indian agents, whose accounts seem to pass scrutiny in Washington just as well without these inspections as with them. In several instances in this department officers of the Army have, at the request of the Interior Department, been assigned to duty in charge of Indian agencies to put a stop to frauds apparently inseparable from the system which has prevailed for so many years. In other instances a sort of divided responsibility is exercised by the military and the civil agents of the Interior Department, which has resulted in inevitable clashing between the two. In one case it was openly charged by the agent that a prominent and distinguished officer of the Army in command near the agency had instigated an assanlt upon him by the Indians, when, in fact, the
officer had personally rescued the agent from violence at the hands of the incensed Indians of his agency.
In consequence of this state of affairs the question as to how best to provide for the red man, now surely and rapidly being pressed off this continent by advancing civilization, still remains unsolved. The reservation system, as heretofore followed, does not work toward the protection of the Indian, for the reason that the moment the white man wants the land assigned to the Indian he goes and takes it, and the laws of the country and the force at its disposal are entirely inadequate to protect the Indians against encroachment and imposition. More especially is this the case whenever gold is discovered, whether in paying quantities or not, to exist on the reservation. A recent and prominent example of this is the case of the Black Hills, and influences are now at work which sooner or later will force every peaceful tribe in the western country into a hostile attitude toward the whites. Gradually but surely the Crows, friendly for so many years, are being encroached upon by miners and settlements, and more recently the Blackfeet reservation north of the Missouri River has been invaded by an influx of miners in search of gold in the Bear Paw Mountains. In this last case the President of the United States has directed a force to be placed at the disposal of the United States marshal of the district of Montana for the removal of the intruders, and orders were accordingly issued from the headquarters of this department on the 28th of August last.
Parties of men are now at work putting up the telegraph line, for which an appropriation was made at the last session of Congress, between Bismarck and Forts Stevenson, Buford, and Keogh, and from the latter post to Deadwood. This line, it is supposed, will be finished this year, and it is proposed in the spring to connect the posts of Fort Keogh and Custer, and the town of Bozeman, Mont., with a continuation of the line, thus bringing all posts on the Missouri River above Bismarck, the two posts on the Yellowstone, Keogh and Custer, and Fort Ellis, Mont., in telegraphic communication with department headquarters, a matter which will very much facilitate departmental work.
In addition to this I would strongly urge that an appropriation be asked for to construct a telegraph line from Helena, Mont., via Fort Shaw and Fort Benton, to the site of the proposed new post near the Bear Paw Mountains. The advantage of these telegraph lines in communicating orders and insuring a prompt co-operation in the movement of troops to intercept roving bands of hostile Indians in the vast region through which they run cannot be overestimated.
In December last the force in the department was decreased by the departure of the Twentieth Infantry, ordered to the Department of Texas, and this is the only change made in the strength of the cominand since the date of the last annual report. There are now in this department seven regiments of infantry and two of cavalry, besides four additional companies of cavalry, temporarily on duty at the Red Cloud and Spotted Tail Agencies, from the Department of the Platte. These ninetyeight companies are located at twenty-two different posts scattered over an immense expanse of country, extending over a length of more than twenty-three degrees of longitude, and varying in width from four to over six degrees of latitude. Something more than 375,000 square miles of territory is to be defended by troops which, in the aggregate, amount to 5,000 men, or one soldier to 75 square miles.
Surely no other country on the face of the globe expects so great a service from so small a number of men, and yet this is about one-fifth the total strength of the Army allowed by act of Congress.
The smallest of these twenty-two posts is occupied by single companies, the largest one by fourteen companies. Many of these posts were originally established for the protection of some particular locality as the necessity for such protection developed itself. Some kind of temporary shelter had to be put up at once for the protection, in a rigorous climate, of the troops and stores, and in numerous instances these buildings have been but little, if any, improved upon, and many of the officers and men are to-day occupying buildings but little better than those with which the hardy pioneer of the wilderness shelters his head for a single winter.
Of course such a system is expensive in the extreme, both in material and blood, and Congress apparently can never be made to open its eyes to the fact. When it does, after repeated and urgent solicitations, make appropriations for posts deemed of vital importance for the protection of our rapidly growing settlements, they are usually so small as to compel the military authorities to keep the particular sum appropriated for the posts for the purchase of the necessary material, and to eke out the scanty sum by drawing upon the transportation-fund to transport the material out to the place where it is required; and this is one reason which makes the annual appropriation for transportation in the Army so large. No one can form the slightest conception of the vast extent of the country which our small force is called upon to occupy and expected to defend until he comes to travel over it, and still less can any one form an estimate of the cost of building material, labor, and the common necessities of life until he is called upon, as our officers and soldiers have been for years, to live in that region, much of it cut off from all the ordinary facilities surrounding civilized life. The vast region of which this department forms only a part, and which a few years ago was designated on all geographies as "unexplored," has, since the advance of the Pacific railroads, been rapidly filling up with an enterprising population, apparently searching out that “Great American Desert,” which then was supposed to occupy so large a part of this continent.' Up to this time the explorers have failed to find it, but in its place have discovered vast grazing-fields, upon which countless heads of wild buffalo and other game have been subsisting for ages, and which are found just as suitable for the use of domestic cattle. Much of the ground, too, is found adapted to agricultural purposes, and yields, especially in small grains, enormous crops which it requires at first irrigation to produce. But the necessity for irrigation lessens year by year as civilization advances, and man by his labors produces those climatic changes which are known to follow his footsteps. Besides these pastoral and agricultural interests there are vast mineral deposits which necessarily are much more gradually developed.
This extensive region our small Army is called upon to protect and defend against savages, who are all the more formidable to the miner and settler, and all the more difficult to catch by the military, as their marauding parties become smaller.
On the 6th of July, I assumed command of the department, pursuant to Special Orders No. 140, current series, Adjutant-General's Office, and General Terry having returned to his headquarters, he resumed command on the 30th July.
On the 15th of August, I again assumed command in the absence of General Terry.
The temporary character of my position, the non-receipt of subordinate reports, and the short time allowed me in which to prepare this report, will, I trust, account for its incompleteness in details. These,
however, will be given in the subordinate reports which will be forwarded when received. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN GIBBON, Bot. Maj. Gen., United States Army, Commanding. The ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL, U. S. A.,
Headquarters Military Division of the Missouri, Chicago, III.
3 A.-Roster of troops serving in the Department of Dakota, commanded by
But. Maj. Gen. John Gibbon, headquarters Saint Paul, Minn., October, 1878.
G, at Fort Custer, Mont.
H, at Fort Ellis, Mont.
I, at Fort Keogh, Mont.
K, at Fort Ellis, Mont.
L, at Fort Ellis, Mont.
M, at Fort Custer, Mont.
Company E, at New Red Cloud Agency, | Company L, at New Red Cloud Agency,
M, at New Spotted Tail Agency,
Headquarters and band at Fort Abraham | Company G, at Fort Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln, Dak.
Dak. Company A, at Fort Abraham Lincoln,
H, at Fort Abraham Lincoln,
I, at Standing Rock Agency,
K, at Standing Rock Agency,
L, at Fort Abraham Lincoln,
M, at new post near Bear Butte,
Headquarters and band at Fort Randall, Company F, at new post near Bear Butte, Dak.
Dak. Company A, at Fort Randall, Dak.
G, at Lower Brulé Agency, Dak.
H, at Fort Sully, Dak.
I, at Fort Randall, Dak.
K, at new post near Bear Butte,
Headquarters and band at Fort Shaw, | Company E, at Fort Shaw, Mont.
F, at Fort Shaw, Mont.
G, at Fort Shaw, Mont.
H, at Fort Missoula Mont.
I, at Fort Missoula, Mont.
K, at Camp Baker, Mont.
F, at Fort Keogh, Mont.
G, at Fort Keogh, Mont.
H, at Fort Keogh, Mont.
I, at Fort Keogh, Mont.
K, at Fort Keogh, Mont.
F, at Fort Buford, Dak.
G, at Fort Buford, Dak.
H, at Fort Stevenson, Dak.
I, at Fort Buford, Dak.
K, at Fort Stevenson, Dak
F, at Fort Snelling, Minn.
G, at Fort Ellis, Mont.
H, at Fort Snelling, Minn.
I, at Fort Shaw, Mont.
K, at Fort Snelling, Minn.
Elerenth Infantry. Headquarters and band at Cheyenne Company E, at Cheyenne Agency, Dak. Agency, Dak.
F, at Fort Custer, Mont. Company A, at Cheyenne Agency, Dak.
G, at Cheyenne Agency, Dak.
H, at Fort Custer, Mont.
I, at Cheyenne Agency, Dak.
K, at Cheyenne Agency, Dak.
G, at Fort Abraham Lincoln, Company A, at Fort Sisseton, Dak.
H, at Standing Rock Agency,
I, at Standing Rock Agency,
K, at Fort Pembina, Dak.
DEPARTMENT OF DAKOTA.
Bvt. Maj. Gen. Johx GIBBON, commanding, headqnarters southeast corner Fourth and Wabasha streets, Saint Paul.
Bvt. Maj. Gen. Alfred H. Terry, U. S. A.