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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1864

Dakota superintendency,   pp. 259-293 PDF (15.0 MB)

Page 291

DAKOTA SUPERINTENDENCY.                      291 
country and utterly destroyed the entire crop of all our farmers. Fields
of corn 
of twenty, thirty, and forty acres, in this vicinity, that a week ago bade
fair to 
yield (notwithstanding the drought) forty or fifty bushels to the acre, were,
twenty-four hours, perfectly denuded of every leaf and ear, and nothing left
standing but the bare stalk. They were equally destructive to potatoes, and
nearly all garden vegetables. 
Thus the crop is not only lost, but, in the case of the Indians, all the
that has been expended for labor on it is a total loss to them. The destruction
is complete throughout the Territory. I can but anticipate from these causes
(drought and grasshoppers) that it will be absolutely necessary for the govern-
ment to provide much more bountifully for the Indians than heretofore to
them from  starvation next winter, or else to station among them a much 
larger military force, to keep them under subjection, than has heretofore
deemed necessary. 
I do not believe, owing to the exorbitant prices now prevailing, that the
annuities of the Indians will be adequate to effect this object, however
and/economical the agents may be'in its expenditure. 
The Poncas and Yanktons are now out on their summer hunt, and I have 
thought it best to try to reach them by messengers and urge upon them to
out as long as they can make the hunt profitable, and at the same time to
upon them the saving and husbanding of all their meat, so that when they
come in they may be as well provided for as possible for the winter. The
prospect is gloomy indeed for all our citizens. Everything we have to eat
got to come from Iowa, or further east, and has to be teamed a distance of
hundred miles or more for the next twelve months.  You may well imagine 
that, under these circumstances, the approaching winter is looked upon by
with much apprehension, when our citizens see, as they do, that almost famine
prices prevail in the States. 
That these Indians will have to be aided by the government much beyond 
what they have heretofore received, I have not the least doubt, and I write
thus early in order that you may be fully advised as to their present prospective
condition for the next five months, so that you may be prepared in time 
Lshould you see the matter as here presented) to take such steps as you may
eem best in the premises. 
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
Governor and ex-ojlcio Superintendent. 
No. 135. 
Yancton, August 26, 1864. 
SIR: I had the honor, on the 15th instant, to forward you a letter, in which
you were made acquainted with the fact of my having relieved Mr. J. B. 
floffman at the Ponca agency. In one paragraph of that letter I remark as
follows: "I will, in a few days, transmit to you a schedule of the property
money turned over to me, at which time I shall take the liberty to make some
suggestions, for your consideration, as to the management and maintenance
the Indians," &c. 
That these Indians have got to be largely supported during the coming win-
ter 1 have not the least doubt; (this must necessarily be the case also with
Yanctons.) Of this fact I think you will be convinced on' perusing my letter
of the 5th instant, and from information you will likely receive iii person

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