The American Presidency Project
John T. Woolley & Gerhard Peters • Santa Barbara, California return to original document
• Franklin Pierce
Special Message
January 16, 1855

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

I transmit herewith a letter of the Secretary of War upon the subject of Indian hostilities. The employment of volunteer troops, as suggested by the Secretary, seems to afford the only practicable means of providing for the present emergency.

There is much reason to believe that other cases similar in character to those particularly referred to in the accompanying papers will at an early day require vigorous measures and the exhibition of a strong military force. The proposed temporary provision to meet a special demand, so far from obviating, in my judgment only serves to illustrate the urgent necessity of an increase of the Regular Army, at least to the extent recommended in my late annual message. Unless by the plan proposed, or some other equally effective, a force can be early brought into the field adequate to the suppression of existing hostilities, the combination of predatory bands will be extended and the difficulty of restoring order and security greatly magnified. On the other hand, without a permanent military force of sufficient strength to control the unfriendly Indians, it may be expected that hostilities will soon be renewed and that years of border warfare will afflict the country, retarding the progress of settlement, exposing emigrant trains to savage barbarities and consuming millions of the public money.

The state of things made known in various letters recently received at the War Department, extracts from a portion of which are herewith inclosed, is calculated to augment the deep solicitude which this matter has for some time past awakened, and which has been earnestly expressed in previous messages and in the annual reports of the Secretary of War.

I respectfully submit that the facts now communicated urgently call for immediate action on the part of Congress.

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

Citation: Franklin Pierce: "Special Message", January 16, 1855. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=67576.
 
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