St. Louis, M.T.
July 2nd. 1815
Government having appointed Commissoners to treat with the Indians of the Mississippi and its vicinnity and have invited the different Tribes or nations to send Deputies to a council at Portage Du Souix, the 6h July it is presumed a great number will attend when I consider it an object of great moment, as do the Commissioners (see the enclosed note from there secretary) to preserve good order and to impress them at the same time with an Idea of our strength and importance as a nation. I have therefore taken the necessary steps to concentrate my force as much as circumstances will permit and to make such disposition of the means under my controle as best to effect the object and give security to the frontier. I have found it adviseable and have called on the Governors of Missourie and Illinoies Territories, for a major and two companie of militia (viz) a major and one company from Missourie and one company from Illinois, and have reduced the Garrison at Belle Fountain to a mear safe Guard, principally invaleads and with the force from that place, I have maned two of the largest Gun Boats, (the Governor Clark and Commodore Perry) which are well officered and equiped and already at the Portage. Colo Miller of the 3rd. Infantry is there with about 275 Regulars which he brought on; this officer I have ordered to make Command of the Troops at that place, and any that may arrive. Governor Clark and myself returned from the Portage last evening, having visited that place, to fix on the Encampment &c., and the Govenor has fixed on the place for his Concil House, which I have directed Colo. Miller to have prepared, the Indians already begin to come in, we found some few there, on our arrival, and about twenty canoe Loads arrived when we were there, from what little I have noticed of the deportment of the Indians since I arrived, I think they appear to attach much consequence to themselves, and hold the americans in great contempt as warriors, little better than squaws, however the circumstance of the Brittish having avacuated Prarire du Shein, and Burnt there works, has apparently changed the tone of some of them, and not unlikely all may subscribe to such a treaty as we wish, yet I do not believe we shall have peace long withthem, or that those Indians wille ver respect us as a nation, untill they are well chastised-- I am exstremly awkwardly situated, having much to do and but little to do with, I have neither Quartermaster nor funds for the Department, and know not where I am to git any; the pay master is absent in kentuckey for funds for to pay off the Troops, many of which have not been paid, for more than a year, and the few U.S. troops which I have sen are litterally naked, a part of Captn. Wilkinson Compy 24th Infty. have been about two years in service and have not drawn a particle of Clothing there is not an officer of the present peace establishment, that was in this quarter, when I arrived; I am therefore compelled to continue those on duty, who are droped from the Rolls of the Army, as also the men for during the war, as no arraingment as yet has been made by the Inspectors Dept. to my knowledge for there Discharge and settlement, in fact I fell as if every man we can put on duty at this time quite to little, my call on the Govenors would have been greater, but it is distressing at this season, to call the farmer from his fields. What we may want in numbers, I will endeavour to make up for vigilence, no confidence can as yet be placed in those treacherous beings the indians, in fact they are far from being satisfied.
The state of Colo Russells health when i releived him was exstremely delicate, he is now at Kaskaskas exstremely ill, quite mentally derainged, his bad health prevented his giving me the necessary information respecting the situation of the District &c. &c., therefore I must report to you as I become acquainted. I find there is the remains of two companies of the 7th. Infantry which belongs to the Troops at Belle Fontain, Viz late Poses and Taylors companies, nine of those men are at Vincinnes, and in all about 50 or 55 for 5 years there are also 3 of the 5th. Infty. and about 13 of the 1st. Infantry in this District, they would all form a good company. I have the Honor to be With great respect sir your obt. servt.
Signed Dl. Bissell Br. Gen