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State Agency Records - Governor. Military Correspondence - #30193

Title: Governor. Military Correspondence

Dates: 1889-1904

Record Series: 30193

Quantity: .5 foot

Abstract:  Series consists of correspondence to the Governor concerning ordnance, recruitment of soldiers, and Indian surveillance. Correspondents include Major James McLaughlin, Major General Nelson A. Miles, Adjutant Generals of the North Dakota National Guard, county sheriffs, and concerned citizens.

Copyright: Public records are not subject to copyright restrictions, although record series may contain copyrighted material. Consideration of such copyrights is the responsibility of the author and publisher.

Access: These records are available for public inspection under provision of the North Dakota Century Code, 55-02.1-08.

Citation: Researchers are requested to cite the record group, series name and number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.


Box 1:
1 Military Correspondence 1889
2 Military Correspondence 1890
3 Military Correspondence 1891
4 Military Correspondence 1892
5 Military Correspondence 1893
6 Military Correspondence 1894
7 Military Correspondence 1894
8 Military Correspondence 1895
9 Military Correspondence 1896
10 Military Correspondence 1897
11 Military Correspondence 1898
12 Military Correspondence 1899
13 Military Correspondence 1900
14 Military Correspondence 1904

Excerpted letters from November and December 1890:

Western Union
Received at Bismarck No. Dak. 4P Nov. 20, 1890
Dates: Washington CD to via Casselton ND
To: Gov of North Dakota
Referring to your telegram regarding Indians everything has been done as you have doubtless learned for protection of the settlers & the same policy will continue. You can depend on the watchfulness of the officers in command as it has been done in the present case. Measures of prevention will be taken whenever there is good reason to anticipate trouble. Copy of this has been sent to Senator Pierce in response to his telegram.
Redfield Proctor
Secretary of War

Western Union
Received at Bismarck No. Dak. 132 PM 11/22/1890
Dates: Depot Hotel Huron SD
To: Hon John Miller
Reports from Campbell County say five hundred Indians crossed the river near Labeau last night settlers are panic stricken have you any information on subject answer here
Governor S.D.

To John Miller Governor Bismarck N. Dak Nov 25th 1890
Dear Sir
The citizens of Lakota in meeting assembled last evening, instructed me to correspond with you, to ascertain whether it would be possible for you to procure for them about 50 stand of arms & ammunition. A volunteer organization was perfected at said meeting some 40 names being enrolled to protect families and homes in case of emergency. The cause of this action is on account of the many rumors of discontent, and the fear of an uprising of the Indians at Fort Totten, and the fact that the troops have been taken from there and sent south, leaving but 8 or 10 men to look after over 400 Indian braves. This has been an uneasy feeling which has been intensified by a small band of Indians arriving and camping near the town at midnight on the 23rd inst. A number of families have left out county and others expect to leave soon. If the troops were returned to the Fort a better feeling would prevail. Please inform us as soon as possible if our request can be complied with. I am on my way to Fort Totten to ascertain what state of affairs exists at the present time. If anything startling appears will let you know.
Yours very Respectfully
D. S. Dodds

To John Miller Governor Bismarck N. Dak Nov 75th 1890
Dear Sir
Have just received yours of the 26th inst. I am glad to hear the people are feeling more secure in your vicinity. Our people would feel the same if there was a company of troops stationed at Fort Totten. I found everything apparently all right – no excitement among the Indians appearing on the surface. But every man I talked with (save one) civilian or official, thought it absolutely necessary that a company of soldiers should be stationed at the Fort at once. The exceptional man being connected with the Indians by marriage didn’t fear any trouble. There are over 400 males on the Reservation who could take part in an uprising if so disposed. The agent has but 5 white employees to depend on and 11 Indian police that he thinks there are not over 25 Winchesters among the Indians, but plenty of shotguns. He don’t think there will be any trouble unless other Indians come among them and excite them and he is watching very close. He issues Rations in a day or two but has only half rations for them and hardly any clothing. The appropriation being too small. The Indians wanted to have a ghost dance last week, but the agent forbid them, they attempted to, and the Indian police stopped them, which made them angry. The Chiefs have said that they would hold a council this week, demand permission to dance next Saturday and if refused they would dance anyway. Major Waugh’s public opinion is that everything is all right, but his private opinion is that if troops were at the Fort and if there were arms at important points they would feel more satisfied. I believe troops should be sent here and that arms should be sent at once. Yours Respectfully
D. S. Dodds

Western Union
Received at Bismarck No. Dak 441 P Dec 3, 1890
Dated: Oberon ND
To: Hon John Miller
There is not the slightest danger of trouble from my Indians, They take no stock in Messiah Craze & are attending to their own business and are perfectly harmless.
John H. Waugh

Western Union
Received at Bismarck No. Dak 7 PM Dec 3, 1890
Dated: Chicago Ills
To: Gov’r Miller
Your telegram received up to the present time. The only depredations reported here have been those of disaffected Indians against the loyal portion namely those that were not disposed to join the hostile element. Every effort is being made to disintegrate the hostile element & reduce their number & influence as much as possible. Every day that an outbreak can be prevented lessens the danger in the future & so far the officers have been reasonably successful. It may however be impossible to restrain the turbulent element & should an outbreak occur it would be impossible to guard every home & citizen scattered over that vast extent of country & much harm would be done in a short time. Everything possible would be done by the troops to give protection to the settlers in addition to the serious work of fighting & pursuing the Indians until they were captured or destroyed. Concerning arms for settlers in remote & unprotected places & in cases where they have no arms of their own it is presumed that the general gov’t could furnish a limited amount to the states for such purposes & they issued & controlled by the governors. A large number of troops are being moved into that section of country & every effort is being made to avoid our Indian war or stop it as soon as possible should one occur. There is no occasion thus far for any citizens leaving their homes and should an outbreak occur the officers are directed to notify the citizens as far as possible. In turn I would suggest that the citizens give accurate facts to the military through the telegraph or mail of any movement of Indians in their vicinity but they should be earnestly cautioned against sending alarming reports that are not founded on facts.
Nelson A. Miles
Major General Commanding

South Heart N. D.
Dec. 3, 1890

To His Excellency
John Miller
Gov. of N. Dakota

Hoping you will pardon me for intruding upon your time, I will take the liberty of writing to you.
Several of the settlers around South Heart are very much frightened concerning the Indians and especially Mrs. J. M. Taft who requested me to write to you to see if there was really any danger, as several reports have come in telling of Indians within sixty or seventy miles from here, and some few persons have left their homes.
I do not see any special cause whatever for alarm, as we have not seen and heard but very little of them. If you would kindly answer Mrs. Taft of this place you would confer a great favor upon her.
Very Respectfully
Julia Finger

Dec 5, 1890
The Governor of North Dakota
Hon John Miller
Bismarck ND
Dear Sir
Yours of the 2nd received. In regard to any danger from Indians along the line of the Great Northern R.R. I would say that from information which I have received from persons passing through that section, people who were not excited by blood thirsty newspaper reports, I think and believe that there is no immediate danger whatever – in fact no danger at this time whatever may be the outcome in the spring
If you think my going to Yates(?) and towns west would help to quiet matters let me know and what you
Would want me to say to people for you and I will be ready any day next week.
I am in communication with the Secy of War and Adj General of the Army and am preparing my report which should be in by 2nd Monday in January.
As to Col Bentley looking after orders etc. I would say that I would not presume to issue orders without your knowledge and by your direction and Col Bentley knows that. Or should.
There was no orders issued. By your direction I notified all Commanders of Companies to hold their men well in hand and await orders.
I did not notify Bismarck Co. for they were on the ground and the Col also I suppose if he was not engaged in kicking about the Adjutant General and official notices.
I am your Obedient Servant
William DeVoy

Western Union
Received at Bismarck No. Dak. 1146 AM Dec 12, 1890     
Dated: Grand Forks N.D.
To: Governor Miller Bismarck ND
Sheriff Eddy County asks for one hundred & fifty arms. Band Indians encamped near New Rockford & trouble anticipated. Later dispatch says Indians not hostile yet and no disturbance. I believe there is no danger
Wm DeVoy Adjt Gen’l

Ashley McIntosh Co. N.D.
Hon John Miller Governor
Bismarck N.D.
The undersigned Sheriffs of McIntosh Co. very respectfully requests 40 stands of arms and 1,000 rounds of ammunition, be forwarded to this place as soon as possible, as a precautionary measure, against the threatened Indian trouble.
I have the honor to be
Very respectfully
C. D. Johnson
Sheriff McIntosh Co.

Ashley N.D.
Dec. 12, 1890
Hon John Miller
My Dear Sir:
To day Sheriff Johnson called for arms & Ammunition. I trust the requisition will be honored. While our people are not much ___over the Indian trouble, still if they had arms it would have a tendency to strengthen & sustain the ___. In case the U.S. Government send arms to N.D. they might be sent direct to this place. If bonds are required, can be furnished here. As the mst line is only about 30 miles from Fort Yates & so near the Reservation, our people are more apprehensive of trouble that those more remote.
Very respectfully
Geo. H. Fay

Western Union
Received at Bismarck No. Dak. 9 AM Dec 15, 1890
Dated: New Rockford ND
To: John Miller, Gov
Indians gone back to Reservation done no harm
Jas E. Daley

New Rockford N.D. 12/15/1890
John Miller Governor Dak
Dear Sir
In regards to the Indians they have done no bad acts here as yet but they are getting terrible bold. They will go up to any farm house and demand anything they want – and scare the families to Death. Where there happens to be no man about the house of course the people is more scart than hurt. The night the alarm was in town it was after 10 o’clock. They came to my office for me to do something at once. I am well acquainted with a good many of the Indians that was here. They was having a big Dance among them selves. I went to them and had a talk with them. They said they would not hurt anyone they was having their own fun and was not going out of their tepies nor they did not till morning. The come into town & done some trading and went home. The citizens is begging for some Protection and have no Guns here no ammunition. If they should make a break any time this is their Direct road to any other Reservation except Turtle Mountains in case they would be going to assist them. If you would like any more information I should be glad to do all I can
James E. Daley

Western Union
Received at Bismarck No. Dak. 10:30 am Dec 16 1890
Dated: Minnewaukan ND
To: John Miller Governor
This town on Border of reservation no soldiers at Ft Totten citizens uneasy no protection whatever send fifty stand arms and ammunition soon as possible by Express I. M. McDonald

War Department Signal Service, U.S. Army
Dec 17th 1890
Dated: Ft Yates N.D.
To: Gov Miller Bismarck ND
No uneasiness need be apprehended from Sioux Indians in North Dakota. Some of the Grand River Indians have fled south towards the Upper Moreau River. They are in small parties badly frightened and without a leader. Several messengers have been sent after them and I expect their return.
McLaughlin Agt

War Department Signal Service, U.S. Army
Dated: Ft Yates N.D.
To: Gov Miller Bismarck
Your telegram of today received. Everything quiet and peaceful. The only dancing is in Sitting Bulls vicinity. Think his followers have decreased somewhat. Large majority of Indians on reservation are undoubtedly loyal to government. Do not believe there will be an outbreak. There are sufficient troops at Lincoln and Yates for active service and they will do all in their power to protect settlers. Use this as you think best
W. F. Drum
Lt. Col. Cavalry Post

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