The American Indian as Participant in the Civil War
Annie Heloise Abel

Part 1 out of 9

Produced by Suzanne Shell, Leonard Johnson, and the Distributed
Proofreading Team

[Illustration: Facsimile of Negro Bill of Sale]


_Professor of History, Smith College_


My former colleagues and students at Goucher
College and in the College Courses for
Teachers, Johns Hopkins University
this book is affectionately dedicated






The Indian alliance, so assiduously sought by the Southern Confederacy
and so laboriously built up, soon revealed itself to be most unstable.
Direct and unmistakable signs of its instability appeared in
connection with the first real military test to which it was
subjected, the Battle of Pea Ridge or Elkhorn, as it is better known
in the South, the battle that stands out in the history of the War
of Secession as being the most decisive victory to date of the Union
forces in the West and as marking the turning point in the political
relationship of the State of Missouri with the Confederate government.

In the short time during which, following the removal of General
Fremont, General David Hunter was in full command of the Department of
the West--and it was practically not more than one week--he completely
reversed the policy of vigorous offensive that had obtained under men,
subordinate to his predecessor.[1] In southwest Missouri, he abandoned
the advanced position of the Federals and fell back upon Sedalia
and Rolla, railway termini. That he did this at the suggestion
of President Lincoln[2] and with the tacit approval of General
McClellan[3] makes no

[Footnote 1: _The Century Company's War Book_, vol. i, 314-315.]

[Footnote 2: _Official Records_, first ser., vol. iii, 553-554.
Hereafter, except where otherwise designated, the _first series_
will always be understood.]

[Footnote 3:--Ibid., 568.]

difference now, as it made no difference then, in the consideration
of the consequences; yet the consequences were, none the less, rather
serious. They were such, in fact, as to increase very greatly the
confusion on the border and to give the Confederates that chance of
recovery which soon made it necessary for their foes to do the work of
Nathaniel Lyon all over again.

It has been most truthfully said[4] that never, throughout the period
of the entire war, did the southern government fully realize the
surpassingly great importance of its Trans-Mississippi District;
notwithstanding that when that district was originally organized,[5]
in January, 1862, some faint idea of what it might, peradventure,
accomplish did seem to penetrate,[6] although ever so vaguely, the
minds of those then in authority. It was organized under pressure from
the West as was natural, and under circumstances to which meagre and
tentative reference has already been made in the first volume of this
work.[7] In the main, the circumstances were such as developed out of
the persistent refusal of General McCulloch to cooeperate with General

There was much to be said in justification of McCulloch's obstinacy.
To understand this it is well to recall that, under the plan, lying
back of this first

[Footnote 4: _Official Records_, vol. liii, supplement, 781-782;
Edwards, _Shelby and His Men_, 105.]

[Footnote 5:--Ibid., vol. viii, 734.]

[Footnote 6: It is doubtful if even this ought to be conceded in view
of the fact that President Davis later admitted that Van Dorn entered
upon the Pea Ridge campaign for the sole purpose of effecting "a
diversion in behalf of General Johnston" [_Rise and Fall of the
Confederate Government_, vol. ii, 51]. Moreover, Van Dorn had
scarcely been assigned to the command of the Trans-Mississippi
District before Beauregard was devising plans for bringing him
east again [Greene, _The Mississippi_, II; Roman, _Military
Operations of General Beauregard_, vol. i, 240-244].]

[Footnote 7: Abel, _American Indian as Slaveholder and
Secessionist_, 225-226 and _footnote_ 522.]

appointment to the Confederate command, was the expectation that he
would secure the Indian Territory. Obviously, the best way to do that
was to occupy it, provided the tribes, whose domicile it was, were
willing. But, if the Cherokees can be taken to have voiced the opinion
of all, they were not willing, notwithstanding that a sensationally
reported[8] Federal activity under Colonel James Montgomery,[9] in the
neighborhood of the frontier posts, Cobb, Arbuckle, and Washita, was
designed to alarm them and had notably influenced, if it had not
actually inspired, the selection and appointment of the Texan

Unable, by reason of the Cherokee objection thereto, to enter the
Indian country; because entrance in the face of that objection would
inevitably force the Ross faction of the Cherokees and, possibly
also, Indians of other tribes into the arms of the Union, McCulloch
intrenched himself on its northeast border, in Arkansas, and there
awaited a more favorable opportunity for accomplishing his main
purpose. He seems to have desired the Confederate government to add
the contiguous portion of Arkansas to his command, but in that he
was disappointed.[11] Nevertheless, Arkansas early interpreted his
presence in the state to imply that he was there primarily for her
defence and, by the middle of June, that idea had so far gained
general acceptance that C.C. Danley, speaking for the Arkansas
Military Board, urged President Davis "to meet

[Footnote 8: _Official Records_, vol. liii, supplement, 679.]

[Footnote 9: The name of Montgomery was not one for even Indians to
conjure with. James Montgomery was the most notorious of bushwhackers.
For an account of some of his earlier adventures, see Spring,
_Kansas_, 241, 247-250, and for a characterization of the man
himself, Robinson, _Kansas Conflict_, 435.]

[Footnote 10: _Official Records_, vol. liii, supplement, 682.]

[Footnote 11: Snead, _Fight for Missouri_, 229-230.]

the exigent necessities of the State" by sending a second general
officer there, who should command in the northeastern part.[12]

McCulloch's relations with leading Confederates in Arkansas seem
to have been, from the first, in the highest degree friendly, even
cordial, and it is more than likely that, aside from his unwillingness
to offend the neutrality-loving Cherokees, the best explanation for
his eventual readiness to make the defence of Arkansas his chief
concern, instead of merely a means to the accomplishment of his
original task, may be found in that fact. On the twenty-second of May,
the Arkansas State Convention instructed Brigadier-general N. Bart
Pearce, then in command of the state troops, to cooeperate with the
Confederate commander "to the full extent of his ability"[13] and,
on the twenty-eighth of the same month, the Arkansas Military Board
invited that same person, who, of course, was Ben McCulloch, to
assume command himself of the Arkansas local forces.[14] Sympathetic
understanding of this variety, so early established, was bound to
produce good results and McCulloch henceforth identified himself most
thoroughly with Confederate interests in the state in which he was, by
dint of untoward circumstances, obliged to bide his time.

It was far otherwise as respected relations between McCulloch and
the Missouri leaders. McCulloch had little or no tolerance for the
rough-and-ready methods of men like Claiborne Jackson and Sterling
Price. He regarded their plans as impractical, chimerical, and their
warfare as after the guerrilla order, too much like

[Footnote 12: _Official Records_, vol. liii, supplement,

[Footnote 13:--Ibid., 687.]

[Footnote 14:--Ibid., 691.]

that to which Missourians and Kansans had accustomed themselves
during the period of border conflict, following the passage of the
Kansas-Nebraska Bill. McCulloch himself was a man of system. He
believed in organization that made for efficiency. Just prior to the
Battle of Wilson's Creek, he put himself on record as strongly opposed
to allowing unarmed men and camp followers to infest his ranks,
demoralizing them.[15] It was not to be expected, therefore, that
there could ever be much in common between him and Sterling Price. For
a brief period, it is true, the two men did apparently act in fullest
harmony; but it was when the safety of Price's own state, Missouri,
was the thing directly in hand. That was in early August of 1861.
Price put himself and his command subject to McCulloch's orders.[16]
The result was the successful engagement, August 10 at Wilson's Creek,
on Missouri soil. On the fourteenth of the same month, Price reassumed
control of the Missouri State Guard[17] and, from that time on, he and
McCulloch drifted farther and farther apart; but, as their aims were
so entirely different, it was not to be wondered at.

Undoubtedly, all would have been well had McCulloch been disposed to
make the defence of Missouri his only aim. Magnanimity was asked of
him such as the Missouri leaders never so much as contemplated showing
in return. It seems never to have occurred to either Jackson or
Price that cooeperation might, perchance, involve such an exchange of
courtesies as would require Price to lend a hand in some project that
McCulloch might devise for the well-being of his own particular

[Footnote 15: _Official Records_, vol. liii, supplement, 721.]

[Footnote 16:--Ibid., 720.]

[Footnote 17:--Ibid., 727.]

charge. The assistance was eventually asked for and refused, refused
upon the ground, familiar in United States history, that it would be
impossible to get the Missouri troops to cross the state line. Of
course, Price's conduct was not without extenuation. His position
was not identical with McCulloch's. His force was a state force,
McCulloch's a Confederate, or a national. Besides, Missouri had yet
to be gained, officially, for the Confederacy. She expected secession
states and the Confederacy itself to force the situation for her.
And, furthermore, she was in far greater danger of invasion than
was Arkansas. The Kansans were her implacable and dreaded foes and
Arkansas had none like them to fear.

In reality, the seat of all the trouble between McCulloch and Price
lay in particularism, a phase of state rights, and, in its last
analysis, provincialism. Now particularism was especially pronounced
and especially pernicious in the middle southwest. Missouri had always
more than her share of it. Her politicians were impregnated by it.
They were interested in their own locality exclusively and seemed
quite incapable of taking any broad survey of events that did not
immediately affect themselves or their own limited concerns. In the
issue between McCulloch and Price, this was all too apparent. The
politicians complained unceasingly of McCulloch's neglect of Missouri
and, finally, taking their case to headquarters, represented to
President Davis that the best interests of the Confederate cause in
their state were being glaringly sacrificed by McCulloch's too literal
interpretation of his official instructions, in the strict observance
of which he was keeping close to the Indian boundary.

President Davis had personally no great liking for

Price and certainly none for his peculiar method of fighting. Some
people thought him greatly prejudiced[18] against Price and, in the
first instance, perhaps, on nothing more substantial than the fact
that Price was not a Westpointer.[19] It would be nearer the truth to
say that Davis gauged the western situation pretty accurately and knew
where the source of trouble lay. That he did gauge the situation and
that accurately is indicated by a suggestion of his, made in early
December, for sending out Colonel Henry Heth of Virginia to command
the Arkansas and Missouri divisions in combination.[20] Heth had no
local attachments in the region and "had not been connected with any
of the troops on that line of operations."[21] Unfortunately, for
subsequent events his nomination[22] was not confirmed.

Two days later, December 5, 1861, General McCulloch was granted[23]
permission to proceed to Richmond, there to explain in person, as he
had long wanted to do, all matters in controversy between him and
Price. On the third of January, 1862, the Confederate Congress
called[24] for information on the subject, doubtless under pressure of
political importunity. The upshot of it all was, the organization of
the Trans-Mississippi District of Department No. 2 and the appointment
of Earl Van Dorn as major-general to command it. Whether or no, he was
the choice[25] of General A.S. Johnston, department commander, his
appointment bid fair, at the

[Footnote 18: _Official Records_, vol. liii, supplement,

[Footnote 19: Ibid., 762.]

[Footnote 20:--Ibid., vol. viii, 725.]

[Footnote 21:--Ibid., 701.]

[Footnote 22: Wright, _General Officers of the Confederate Army_,
33, 67.]

[Footnote 23: _Official Records_, vol. viii, 702.]

[Footnote 24: _Journal of the Congress of the Confederate
States_, vol. i, 637.]

[Footnote 25: Formby, _American Civil War_, 129.]

time it was made, to put an end to all local disputes and to give
Missouri the attention she craved. The ordnance department of the
Confederacy had awakened to a sense of the value of the lead mines[26]
at Granby and Van Dorn was instructed especially to protect them.[27]
His appointment, moreover, anticipated an early encounter with the
Federals in Missouri. In preparation for the struggle that all knew
was impending, it was of transcendent importance that one mind and one
interest should control, absolutely.

The Trans-Mississippi District would appear to have been constituted
and its limits to have been defined without adequate reference to
existing arrangements. The limits were, "That part of the State of
Louisiana north of Red River, the Indian Territory west of Arkansas,
and the States of Arkansas and Missouri, excepting therefrom the tract
of country east of the Saint Francis, bordering on the Mississippi
River, from the mouth of the Saint Francis to Scott County,
Missouri...."[28] Van Dorn, in assuming command of the district,
January 29, 1862, issued orders in such form that Indian Territory was
listed last among the limits[29] and it was a previous arrangement
affecting Indian Territory that was most ignored in the whole scheme
of organization.

It will be remembered that, in November of the preceding year, the
Department of Indian Territory had been created and Brigadier-general
Albert Pike assigned to the same.[30] His authority was not explicitly

[Footnote 26: _Official Records_, vol. liii, supplement, 767,

[Footnote 27: Van Dora's protection, if given, was given to little
purpose; for the mines were soon abandoned [Britton, _Memoirs of the
Rebellion on the Border, 1863_, 120].]

[Footnote 28: _Official Records_, vol. viii, 734.]

[Footnote 29:--Ibid., 745.]

[Footnote 30:--Ibid., 690.]

superseded by that which later clothed Van Dorn and yet his department
was now to be absorbed by a military district, which was itself merely
a section of another department. The name and organization of the
Department of Indian Territory remained to breed confusion, disorder,
and serious discontent at a slightly subsequent time. Of course, since
the ratification of the treaties of alliance with the tribes, there
was no question to be raised concerning the status of Indian Territory
as definitely a possession of the Southern Confederacy. Indeed, it
had, in a way, been counted as such, actual and prospective, ever
since the enactment of the marque and reprisal law of May 6, 1861.[31]

Albert Pike, having accepted the appointment of department
commander in Indian Territory under somewhat the same kind of a
protest--professed consciousness of unfitness for the post--as he had
accepted the earlier one of commissioner, diplomatic, to the tribes,
lost no time in getting into touch with his new duties. There was much
to be attended to before he could proceed west. His appointment had
come and had been accepted in November. Christmas was now near at hand
and he had yet to render an account of his mission of treaty-making.
In late December, he sent in his official report[32] to President
Davis and, that done, held himself in readiness to respond to any
interpellating call that the Provincial Congress might see fit to
make. The intervals of time, free from devotion to the completion
of the older task, were spent by him in close attention to the
preliminary details of the newer, in securing funds and in purchasing
supplies and equipment

[Footnote 31: Richardson, _Messages and Papers of the
Confederacy_, vol. i, 105.]

[Footnote 32: The official report of Commissioner Pike, in manuscript,
and bearing his signature, is to be found in the Adjutant-general's
office of the U.S. War Department.]

generally, also in selecting a site for his headquarters. By command
of Secretary of War, Judah P. Benjamin, Major N.B. Pearce[33] was
made chief commissary of subsistence for Indian Territory and Western
Arkansas and Major G.W. Clarke,[34] depot quartermaster. In the sequel
of events, both appointments came to be of a significance rather

The site chosen for department headquarters was a place situated near
the junction of the Verdigris and Arkansas Rivers and not far from
Fort Gibson.[35] The fortifications erected there received the name of
Cantonment Davis and upon them, in spite of Pike's decidedly moderate
estimate in the beginning, the Confederacy was said by a contemporary
to have spent "upwards of a million dollars."[36] In view of the
ostensible object of the very formation of the department and of
Pike's appointment to its command, the defence of Indian Territory,
and, in view of the existing location of enemy troops, challenging
that defence, the selection of the site was a reasonably wise one;
but, as subsequent pages will reveal, the commander did not retain it
long as his headquarters. Troubles came thick and fast upon him and he
had barely reached Cantonment Davis before they began. His delay in
reaching that place, which he did do, February 25,[37] was caused
by various occurrences that made it difficult for him to get his
materials together, his funds and the like. The very difficulties
presaged disaster.

Pike's great purpose--and, perhaps, it would be no exaggeration to
say, his only purpose--throughout the

[Footnote 33: _Official Records_, vol. liii, supplement, 764.]

[Footnote 34:--Ibid, 770.]

[Footnote 35:--Ibid, 764.]

[Footnote 36: Britton, _Memoirs of the Rebellion on the Border_,

[Footnote 37: _Official Records_, vol. viii, 286.]

full extent of his active connection with the Confederacy was to save
to that Confederacy the Indian Territory. The Indian occupants in and
for themselves, unflattering as it may seem to them for historical
investigators to have to admit it, were not objects of his solicitude
except in so far as they contributed to his real and ultimate
endeavor. He never at any time or under any circumstances advocated
their use generally as soldiers outside of Indian Territory in regular
campaign work and offensively.[38] As guerrillas he would have used
them.[39] He would have sent them on predatory expeditions into Kansas
or any other near-by state where pillaging would have been profitable
or retaliatory; but never as an organized force, subject to the rules
of civilized warfare because fully cognizant of them.[40] It is
doubtful if he would ever have allowed them, had he consulted only his
own inclination, to so much as cross the line except under stress of
an attack from without. He would never have sanctioned their joining
an unprovoked invading force. In the treaties

[Footnote 38: The provision in the treaties to the effect that
the alliance consummated between the Indians and the Confederate
government was to be both offensive and defensive must not be taken
too literally or be construed so broadly as to militate against this
fact: for to its truth Pike, when in distress later on and accused of
leading a horde of tomahawking villains, repeatedly bore witness. The
keeping back of a foe, bent upon regaining Indian Territory or of
marauding, might well be said to partake of the character of offensive
warfare and yet not be that in intent or in the ordinary acceptation
of the term. Everything would have to depend upon the point of view.]

[Footnote 39: A restricted use of the Indians in offensive guerrilla
action Pike would doubtless have permitted and justified. Indeed, he
seems even to have recommended it in the first days of his interest in
the subject of securing Indian Territory. No other interpretation can
possibly be given to his suggestion that a battalion be raised
from Indians that more strictly belonged to Kansas [_Official
Records_, vol. iii, 581]. It is also conceivable that the force
he had reference to in his letter to Benjamin, November 27, 1861
[Ibid., vol. viii, 698] was to be, in part, Indian.]

[Footnote 40: Harrell, _Confederate Military History_, vol. x,

which he negotiated he pledged distinctly and explicitly the opposite
course of action, unless, indeed, the Indian consent were first
obtained.[41] The Indian troops, however and wherever raised under the
provisions of those treaties, were expected by Pike to constitute,
primarily, a home guard and nothing more. If by chance it should
happen that, in performing their function as a home guard, they should
have to cross their own boundary in order to expel or to punish an
intruder, well and good; but their intrinsic character as something
resembling a police patrol could not be deemed thereby affected.
Moreover, Pike did not believe that acting alone they could even be a
thoroughly adequate home force. He, therefore, urged again and again
that their contingent should be supplemented by a white force and by
one sufficiently large to give dignity and poise and self-restraint
to the whole, when both forces were combined, as they always ought to

At the time of Pike's assumption of his ill-defined command, or
within a short period thereafter, the Indian force in the pay of the
Confederacy and subject to his orders may be roughly placed at four
full regiments and some miscellaneous troops.[43] The dispersion[44]
of Colonel John Drew's Cherokees, when about to attack
Opoeth-le-yo-ho-la, forced a slight reoerganization and that, taken
in connection with the accretions to the command that came in the
interval before the Pea Ridge campaign brought the force approximately
to four full

[Footnote 41: In illustration of this, take the statement of the Creek
Treaty, article xxxvi.]

[Footnote 42: Aside from the early requests for white troops, which
were antecedent to his own appointment as brigadier-general, Pike's
insistence upon the need for the same can be vouched for by reference
to his letter to R.W. Johnson, January 5, 1862 [_Official
Records_, vol. liii, supplement, 795-796].]

[Footnote 43: Pike to Benjamin, November 27, 1861, Ibid, vol.
viii, 697.]

[Footnote 44: _Official Records_, vol. viii, 8, 17-18.]

regiments, two battalions, and some detached companies. The four
regiments were, the First Regiment Choctaw and Chickasaw Mounted
Rifles under Colonel Douglas H. Cooper, the First Creek Regiment under
Colonel D.N. McIntosh, the First Regiment Cherokee Mounted Rifles
under Colonel John Drew, and the Second Regiment Cherokee Mounted
Rifles under Colonel Stand Watie. The battalions were, the Choctaw
and Chickasaw and the Creek and Seminole, the latter under
Lieutenant-colonel Chilly McIntosh and Major John Jumper.

Major-general Earl Van Dorn formally assumed command of the newly
created Trans-Mississippi District of Department No. 2, January 29,
1862.[45] He was then at Little Rock, Arkansas. By February 6, he had
moved up to Jacksonport and, a week or so later, to Pocahontas, where
his slowly-assembling army was to rendezvous. His call for troops had
already gone forth and was being promptly answered,[46] requisition
having been made upon all the state units within the district,
Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, also Texas. Indian Territory, through
Pike[47] and his subordinates,[48] was yet to be communicated with;
but Van Dorn had, at the moment, no other plan in view for Indian
troops than to use them to advantage as a means of defence and as a
corps of observation.[49] His immediate object, according to his own
showing and according to the circumstances that had brought about the
formation of the district, was to protect Arkansas[50] against

[Footnote 45: _Official Records_, vol. viii, 745-746.]

[Footnote 46:--Ibid., vol. liii, supplement, 776-779, 783-785,
790, 793-794.]

[Footnote 47:--Ibid., vol. viii, 749, 763-764.]

[Footnote 48:--Ibid., 764-765.]

[Footnote 49: Van Dorn to Price, February 14, 1862, Ibid.,

[Footnote 50: Arkansas seemed, at the time, to be but feebly
protected. R.W. Johnson deprecated the calling of Arkansas troops
eastward. They were (cont.)]

invasion and to relieve Missouri; his plan of operations was to
conduct a spring campaign in the latter state, "to attempt St. Louis,"
as he himself put it, and to drive the Federals out; his ulterior
motive may have been and, in the light of subsequent events, probably
was, to effect a diversion for General A.S. Johnston; but, if that
were really so, it was not, at the time, divulged or so much as hinted

Ostensibly, the great object that Van Dorn had in mind was the relief
of Missouri. And he may have dreamed, that feat accomplished, that it
would be possible to carry the war into the enemy's country beyond the
Ohio; but, alas, it was his misfortune at this juncture to be called
upon to realise, to his great discomfiture, the truth of Robert Burns'
homely philosophy,

The best-laid schemes o' mice and men
Gang aft a-gley.

His own schemes and plans were all rendered utterly futile by the
unexpected movement of the Federal forces from Rolla, to which safe
place, it will be remembered, they had been drawn back by order
of General Hunter. They were now advancing by forced marches via
Springfield into northwestern Arkansas and were driving before them
the Confederates under McCulloch and Price.

The Federal forces comprised four huge divisions and were led by
Brigadier-general Samuel R. Curtis. Towards the end of the previous
December, on Christmas Day in fact, Curtis had been given "command of
the Southwestern District of Missouri, including the

[Footnote 50: (cont.) text of continuation: needed at home, not only
for the defence of Arkansas, but for that of the adjoining territory
[_Official Records_, vol. liii, supplement, 781-782]. There were,
in fact, only two Arkansas regiments absent and they were guarding the
Mississippi River [Ibid., 786]. By the middle of February, or
thereabouts, Price and McCulloch were in desperate straits and
were steadily "falling back before a superior force to the Boston
Mountains" [Ibid., 787].]

country south of the Osage and west of the Meramec River."[51] Under
orders of November 9, the old Department of the West, of which Fremont
had had charge and subsequently Hunter, but for only a brief period,
had been reorganized and divided into two distinct departments, the
Department of Missouri with Halleck in command and the Department of
Kansas with Hunter. Curtis, at the time when he made his memorable
advance movement from Rolla was, therefore, serving under Halleck.

In furtherance of Van Dorn's original plan, General Pike had been
ordered to march with all speed and join forces with the main army.
At the time of the issuance of the order, he seems to have offered no
objections to taking his Indians out of their own territory. Disaster
had not yet overtaken them or him and he had not yet met with the
injustice that was afterwards his regular lot. If his were regarded
as more or less of a puppet command, he was not yet aware of it and,
oblivious of all scorn felt for Indian soldiers, kept his eye single
on the assistance he was to render in the accomplishment of Van Dorn's
object. It was anything but easy, however, for him to move with
dispatch. He had difficulty in getting such of his brigade as was
Indian and as had collected at Cantonment Davis, a Choctaw and
Chickasaw battalion and the First Creek Regiment, to stir. They had
not been paid their money and had not been furnished with arms and
clothing as promised. Pike had the necessary funds with him, but time
would be needed in which to distribute them, and the order had been
for him to move promptly. It was something much more easily said than
done. Nevertheless, he did what he could, paid outright the Choctaws
and Chickasaws, a performance that occupied

[Footnote 51: _Official Records_, vol. liii, supplement, vol.
viii, 462.]

three precious days, and agreed to pay McIntosh's Creek regiment at
the Illinois River. To keep that promise he tarried at Park Hill
one day, expecting there to be overtaken by additional Choctaws and
Chickasaws who had been left behind at Fort Gibson. When they did not
appear, he went forward towards Evansville and upward to Cincinnati, a
small town on the Arkansas side of the Cherokee line. There his Indian
force was augmented by Stand Watie's regiment[52] of Cherokees and at
Smith's Mill by John

[Footnote 52: Watie's regiment of Cherokees was scarcely in either
marching or fighting trim. The following letter from John Ross to
Pike, which is number nine in the John Ross _Papers_ in the
Indian Office, is elucidative. It is a copy used in the action against
John Ross at the close of the war. The italics indicate underscorings
that were probably not in the original.


To BRIG. GEN'L.A. PIKE, Com'dy Indian Department.

Sir: I have deemed it my duty to address you on the present
occasion--You have doubtless ere this received my communication
enclosing the action of the National Council with regard to the final
ratification of our Treaty--Col. Drew's Regiment promptly took up the
line of march on the receipt of your order from Fort Smith towards
Fayetteville. _I accompanied the Troops some 12 miles East of this
and I am happy to assure you in the most confident manner that in my
opinion this Regiment will not fail to do their whole duty, whenever
the Conflict with the common Enemy shall take place_. There are so
many conflicting reports as to your whereabouts and consequently much
interest is felt by the People to know where the Head Qrs. of
your military operations will be established during the present
emergencies--_I had intended going up to see the Troops of our
Regiment; also to visit the Head Qrs of the Army at Cane Hill in view
of affording every aid in any manner within the reach of my power to
repel the Enemy_. But I am sorry to say I have been dissuaded from
going at present in consequence of some unwarrantable conduct on the
part of many _base, reckless and unprincipled persons belonging to
Watie's Regiment who are under no subordination or restraint of their
leaders in domineering over and trampling upon the rights of peaceable
and unoffending citizens_. I have at all times in the most
unequivocal manner assured the People that you will not only promptly
discountenance, but will take steps to put a stop to such proceedings
for the protection of their persons and property and to _redress
their wrongs_--This is not the time for _crimination_ and
_recrimination_; at a proper time _I have certain specific
complaints to report for your investigation_. Pardon me for again
reiterating that (cont.)]

Drew's.[53] The Cherokees had been in much confusion all winter. Civil
war within their nation impended.[54] None the less, Pike, assuming
that all would be well when the call for action came, had ordered
all the Cherokee and Creek regiments to hurry to the help of
McCulloch.[55] He had done this upon the first intimation of the
Federal advance. The Cherokees had proceeded only so far, the Creeks
not at all, and the main body of the Choctaws and Chickasaws, into
whose minds some unscrupulous merchants had instilled mercenary
motives and the elements of discord generally, were lingering far in
the background. Pike's white force was, moreover, ridiculously small,
some Texas cavalry, dignified by him as collectively a squadron,
Captain O.G. Welch in command. There had as yet not been even a
pretense of giving him the three regiments of white men earlier asked
for. Toward the close of the afternoon of March 6, Pike "came up with
the rear of McCulloch's division,"[56] which proved to be the very
division he was to follow, but he was one day late for the fray.

The Battle of Pea Ridge, in its preliminary stages, was already being
fought. It was a three day fight, counting the skirmish at Bentonville
on the sixth between General Franz Sigel's detachment and General
Sterling Price's advance guard as the work of the first day.[57] The
real battle comprised the engagement at

[Footnote 52: (cont.) the mass of the People _are all right
in Sentiment for the support of the Treaty of Alliance with the
Confederate States_. I shall be happy to hear from you--I have the
honor to be your ob't Serv't

John Ross, Prin'l Chief, Cherokee Nation.]

[Footnote 53: Pike's Report, March 14, 1862, _Official Records_,
vol. viii, 286-292.]

[Footnote 54: James McIntosh to S. Cooper, January 4, 1862,
Ibid., 732; D.H. Cooper to Pike, February 10, 1862,
Ibid., vol. xiii, 896.]

[Footnote 55:--Ibid., 819.]

[Footnote 56:--Ibid., vol. viii, 287.]

[Footnote 57:--Ibid., 208-215, 304-306.]

Leetown on the seventh and that at Elkhorn Tavern[58] on the eighth.
At Leetown, Pike's Cherokee contingent[59] played what he, in somewhat
quixotic fashion, perhaps, chose to regard as a very important part.
The Indians, then as always, were chiefly pony-mounted, "entirely
undisciplined," as the term discipline is usually understood,
and "armed very indifferently with common rifles and ordinary
shot-guns."[60] The ponies, in the end, proved fleet of foot, as
was to have been expected, and, at one stage of the game, had to
be tethered in the rear while their masters fought from the
vantage-ground of trees.[61] The Indian's most effective work was
done, throughout, under cover of the woods. Indians, as Pike well
knew, could never be induced to face shells in the open. It was he who
advised their climbing the trees and he did it without discounting, in
the slightest, their innate bravery.[62] There came a time, too, when
he gave countenance to another of their

[Footnote 58: The Elkhorn Tavern engagement is sometimes referred to,
and most appropriately, as the Sugar Creek [Phisterer, _Statistical
Record_, 95]. Colonel Eugene A. Carr of the Third Illinois Cavalry,
commanding the Fourth Division of Curtis's army, described the
tavern itself as "situated on the west side of the Springfield and
Fayetteville road, at the head of a gorge known as Cross Timber Hollow
(the head of Sugar Creek) ..." [_Official Records_, vol. viii,
258]. "Sugar Creek Hollow," wrote Curtis, "extends for miles, a gorge,
with rough precipitate sides ..." [Ibid., 589]. It was there
the closing scenes of the great battle were enacted.]

[Footnote 59: The practice, indulged in by both the Federals and the
Confederates, of greatly overestimating the size of the enemy force
was resorted to even in connection with the Indians. Pike gave the
number of his whole command as about a thousand men, Indians and
whites together [_Official Records_, vol. viii, 288; xiii, 820]
notwithstanding that he had led Van Dorn to expect that he would have
a force of "about 8,000 or 9,000 men and three batteries of artillery"
[Ibid., vol. viii, 749]. General Curtis surmised that Pike
contributed five regiments [Ibid., 196] and Wiley Britton, who
had excellent opportunity of knowing better because he had access to
the records of both sides, put the figures at "three regiments of
Indians and two regiments of Texas cavalry" [_Civil War on the
Border_, vol. i, 245].]

[Footnote 60: _Official Records_, vol. xiii, 819.]

[Footnote 61:--Ibid., vol. viii, 288.]

[Footnote 62:--Ibid.]

peculiarities. He allowed Colonel Drew's men to fight in a way that
was "their own fashion,"[63] with bow and arrow and with tomahawk.[64]
This, as was only meet it should, called down upon him and them the
opprobrium of friends and foes alike.[65] The Indian war-whoop was
indulged in, of itself enough to terrify. It was hideous.

The service that the Cherokees rendered at different times during the
two days action was not, however, to be despised, even though not
sufficiently conspicuous to be deemed worthy of comment by Van
Dorn.[66] At Leetown, with the aid of a few Texans, they managed to
get possession of a battery and to hold it against repeated endeavors
of the Federals to regain. The death of McCulloch and of McIntosh made
Pike the ranking officer in his part of the field. It fell to him to

[Footnote 63: _Official Records_, vol. viii, 289.]

[Footnote 64:--Ibid., 195.]

[Footnote 65: The northern press took up the matter and the New York
_Tribune_ was particularly virulent against Pike. In its issue of
March 27, 1862, it published the following in bitter sarcasm:

"The Albert Pike who led the Aboriginal Corps of Tomahawkers and
Scalpers at the battle of Pea Ridge, formerly kept school in
Fairhaven, Mass., where he was indicted for playing the part of
Squeers, and cruelly beating and starving a boy in his family. He
escaped by some hocus-pocus law, and emigrated to the West, where
the violence of his nature has been admirably enhanced. As his name
indicates, he is a ferocious fish, and has fought duels enough to
qualify himself to be a leader of savages. We suppose that upon
the recent occasion, he got himself up in good style, war-paint,
nose-ring, and all. This new Pontiac is also a poet, and wrote 'Hymns
to the Gods' in _Blackwood_; but he has left Jupiter, Juno, and
the rest, and betaken himself to the culture of the Great Spirit, or
rather of two great spirits, whisky being the second."]

[Footnote 66: Van Dorn did not make his detailed official report of
this battle until the news had leaked out that the Indians had mangled
the bodies of the dead and committed other atrocities. He was probably
then desirous of being as silent as he dared be concerning Indian
participation, since he, in virtue of his being chief in command, was
the person mainly responsible for it. In October of the preceding
year, McCulloch had favored using the Indians against Kansas
[_Official Records_, vol. iii, 719, 721]. Cooper objected
strongly to their being kept "at home" [Ibid., 614] and one
of the leading chiefs insisted that they did not intend to use the
scalping knife [Ibid., 625].]

McCulloch's broken army and with it to join Van Dorn. On the eighth,
Colonel Watie's men under orders from Van Dorn took position on the
high ridges where they could watch the movements of the enemy and
give timely notice of any attempt to turn the Confederate left flank.
Colonel Drew's regiment, meanwhile, not having received the word
passed along the line to move forward, remained in the woods near
Leetown, the last in the field. Subsequently, finding themselves
deserted, they drew back towards Camp Stephens, where they were soon
joined by "General Cooper, with his regiment and battalion of Choctaws
and Chickasaws, and" by "Colonel McIntosh with 200 men of his regiment
of Creeks."[67] The delinquent wayfarers were both fortunate and
unfortunate in thus tardily arriving upon the scene. They had missed
the fight but they had also missed the temptation to revert to the
savagery that was soon to bring fearful ignominy upon their neighbors.
To the very last of the Pea Ridge engagement, Stand Watie's men were
active. They covered the retreat of the main army, to a certain
extent. They were mostly half-breeds and, so far as can be definitely
ascertained, were entirely guiltless of the atrocities charged against
the others.

General Pike gave the permission to fight "in their own fashion"
specifically to the First Cherokee Mounted Rifles, who were, for the
most part, full-blooded Indians; but he later confessed that, in his
treaty negotiations with the tribes, they had generally stipulated
that they should, if they fought at all, be allowed to fight as they
knew how.[68] Yet they probably did not mean, thereby, to commit
atrocities and the Cherokee National Council lost no time, after the
Indian shortcomings

[Footnote 67: _Official Records_, vol. viii, 292.]

[Footnote 68:--Ibid., vol. xiii, 819.]

at the Battle of Pea Ridge had become known, in putting itself on
record as standing opposed to the sort of thing that had occurred,

_Resolved_, That in the opinion of the National Council,
the war now existing between the said United States and the
Confederate States and their Indian allies should be conducted on
the most humane principles which govern the usages of war among
civilized nations, and that it be and is earnestly recommended to
the troops of this nation in the service of the Confederate States
to avoid any acts toward captured or fallen foes that would be
incompatible with such usages.[69]

The atrocities committed by the Indians became almost immediately
a matter for correspondence between the opposing commanders. The
Federals charged mutilation of dead bodies on the battle-field and the
tomahawking and scalping of prisoners. The Confederates recriminated
as against persons "alleged to be Germans." The case involving the
Indians was reported to the joint committee of Congress on the
_Conduct of the Present War_;[70] but at least one piece of
evidence was not, at that time, forthcoming, a piece that, in a
certain sense, might be taken to exonerate the whites. It came to the
knowledge of General Blunt during the summer and was the Indians' own
confession. It bore only indirectly upon the actual atrocities but
showed that the red men were quite equal to making their own plans in
fighting and were not to be relied upon to do things decently and
in order. Drew's men, when they deserted the Confederates after the
skirmish of July third at Locust Grove, confided to the Federals the
intelligence "that the killing of the white rebels by the Indians in"
the Pea Ridge "fight was determined

[Footnote 69: _Official Records_, vol. xiii, 826.]

[Footnote 70: By vote of the committee, General Curtis had been
instructed to furnish information on the subject of the employment of
Indians by the Confederates [_Journal_, 92].]

upon before they went into battle."[71] Presumptively, if the
Cherokees could plot to kill their own allies, they could be found
despicable enough and cruel enough to mutilate the dead,[72] were the
chance given them and that without any direction, instruction, or
encouragement from white men being needed.

The Confederate defeat at Pea Ridge was decisive and, as far as Van
Dorn's idea of relieving Missouri was concerned, fatally conclusive.
As early as the twenty-first of February, Beauregard had expressed a
wish to have him east of the Mississippi[73] and March had not yet
expired before Van Dorn was writing in such a way as to elicit the
consummation of the wish. The Federals were in occupation of the
northern part of Arkansas; but Van Dorn was very confident they would
not be able to subsist there long or "do much harm in the west."
In his opinion, therefore, it was incumbent upon the Confederates,
instead of dividing their strength between the east and the west, to
concentrate on the saving of the Mississippi.[74] To all appearances,
it was there that the situation was most critical. In due time, came
the order for Van Dorn to repair eastward and to take with him all the
troops that might be found available.

The completeness of Curtis's victory, the loss to the Southerners, by
death or capture, of some of their best-loved and ablest commanders,
McCulloch, McIntosh, Hebert, and the nature of the country through
which the Federals pursued their fleeing forces, to say nothing of the
miscellaneous and badly-trained character of

[Footnote 71: _Official Records_, vol. xiii, 486.]

[Footnote 72: The same charge was made against the Indians who fought
at Wilson's Creek [Leavenworth _Daily Conservative_, August 24,

[Footnote 73: Roman, _Military Operations of General Beauregard_,
vol. i, 240.]

[Footnote 74: _Official Records_, vol. viii, 796.]

those forces, to which, by the way, Van Dorn ascribed[75] much of
his recent ill-success, all helped to make the retirement of the
Confederates from the Pea Ridge battle-ground pretty much of a
helter-skelter affair. From all accounts, the Indians conducted
themselves as well as the best. The desire of everybody was to get
to a place of safety and that right speedily. Colonel Watie and his
regiment made their way to Camp Stephens,[76] near which place the
baggage train had been left[77] and where Cooper and Drew with their
men had found refuge already. Some two hundred of Watie's Indians
were detailed to help take ammunition back to the main army.[78] The
baggage train moved on to Elm Springs, the remainder of the Indians,
under Cooper, assisting in protecting it as far as that place.[79]
At Walnut Grove, the Watie detail, having failed to deliver the
ammunition because of the departure of the army prior to their
arrival, rejoined their comrades and all moved on to Cincinnati, where
Pike, who with a few companions had wandered several days among the
mountains, came up with them.[80]

In Van Dorn's calculations for troops that should accompany him east
or follow in his wake, the Indians had no place. Before his own plans
took final shape and while he was still arranging for an Army of the
West, his orders for the Indians were, that they should make their way
back as best they could to their own country and there operate "to cut
off trains, annoy the enemy in his marches, and to prevent him as far
as possible from supplying his troops from Missouri and

[Footnote 75: _Official Records_, vol. viii, 282.]

[Footnote 76:--Ibid.. 291.]

[Footnote 77:--Ibid., 317.]

[Footnote 78:--Ibid., 318.]

[Footnote 79:--Ibid.; Britton, _Civil War on the Border_,
vol. i, 273.]

[Footnote 80: _Official Records_, vol. viii, 292.]

Kansas."[81] A little later, but still anterior to Van Dorn's summons
east, more minute particulars of the programme were addressed to Pike.
Maury wrote,

The general commanding has decided to march with his army against
the enemy now invading the northeastern part of the State. Upon
you, therefore, will devolve the necessity of impeding his advance
into this region. It is not expected that you will give battle to
a large force, but by felling trees, burning bridges, removing
supplies of forage and subsistence, attacking his trains,
stampeding his animals, cutting off his detachments, and other
similar means, you will be able materially to harass his army and
protect this region of country. You must endeavor by every means
to maintain yourself in the Territory independent of this army.
In case only of absolute necessity you may move southward. If the
enemy threatens to march through the Indian Territory or descend
the Arkansas River you may call on troops from Southwestern
Arkansas and Texas to rally to your aid. You may reward your
Indian troops by giving them such stores as you may think proper
when they make captures from the enemy, but you will please
endeavor to restrain them from committing any barbarities upon the
wounded, prisoners, or dead who may fall into their hands. You may
purchase your supplies of subsistence from wherever you can most
advantageously do so. You will draw your ammunition from Little
Rock or from New Orleans via Red River. Please communicate with
the general commanding when practicable.[82]

It was an elaborate programme but scarcely a noble one. Its note of
selfishness sounded high. The Indians were simply to be made to serve
the ends of the white men. Their methods of warfare were regarded as
distinctly inferior. Pea Ridge was, in fact, the first and last time
that they were allowed to participate in the war on a big scale.
Henceforth, they were rarely ever anything more than scouts and
skirmishers and that was all they were really fitted to be.

[Footnote 81: _Official Records_, vol. viii, 282, 790; vol. liii,
supplement, 796.]

[Footnote 82:--Ibid., vol. viii, 795-796.]


The Indian Expedition had its beginnings, fatefully or otherwise,
in "Lane's Kansas Brigade." On January 29, 1861, President Buchanan
signed the bill for the admission of Kansas into the Union and the
matter about which there had been so much of bitter controversy was at
last professedly settled; but, alas, for the peace of the border, the
radicals, the extremists, the fanatics, call them what one may, who
had been responsible for the controversy and for its bitterness, were
still unsettled. James Lane was chief among them. His was a turbulent
spirit and it permitted its owner no cessation from strife. With
President Lincoln's first call for volunteers, April 15, 1861, Lane's
martial activities began. Within three days, he had gathered together
a company of warriors,[83] the nucleus, psychologically speaking,
of what was to be his notorious, jayhawking, marauding brigade. His
enthusiasm was infectious. It communicated itself to reflective men
like Carl Schurz[84] and was probably the secret of Lane's

[Footnote 83: John Hay records in his _Diary_, "The White House
is turned into barracks. Jim Lane marshaled his Kansas warriors to-day
at Willard's and placed them at the disposal of Major Hunter,
who turned them to-night into the East Room. It is a splendid
company--worthy such an armory. Besides the Western Jayhawkers it
comprises some of the best _material_ in the East. Senator
Pomeroy and old Anthony Bleecker stood shoulder to shoulder in the
ranks. Jim Lane walked proudly up and down the ranks with a new sword
that the Major had given him. The Major has made me his aid, and
I labored under some uncertainty, as to whether I should speak to
privates or not."--THAYER, _Life and Letters of John Hay_, vol.
i, 92.]

[Footnote 84: It would seem to have communicated itself to Carl
Schurz, although Schurz, in his _Reminiscences_, makes no
definite admission of the fact. Hay (cont.)]

mysterious influence with the temperate, humane, just, and so very
much more magnanimous Lincoln, who, in the first days of the war, as
in the later and the last, had his hours of discouragement and deep
depression. For dejection of any sort, the wild excitement and
boundless confidence of a zealot like Lane must have been somewhat of
an antidote, also a stimulant.

The first Kansas state legislature convened March 26, 1861, and set
itself at once to work to put the new machinery of government into
operation. After much political wire-pulling that involved the promise
of spoils to come,[85] James H. Lane and Samuel C. Pomeroy[86] were
declared to be elected United States senators, the term of office of
each to begin with the first session of the thirty-seventh congress.
That session was

[Footnote 84: (cont.) says, "Going into Nicolay's room this morning,
C. Schurz, and J. Lane were sitting. Jim was at the window, filling
his soul with gall by steady telescopic contemplation of a Secession
flag impudently flaunting over a roof in Alexandria. 'Let me tell
you,' said he to the elegant Teuton, 'we have got to whip these
scoundrels like hell, C. Schurz. They did a good thing stoning our
men at Baltimore and shooting away the flag at Sumter. It has set the
great North a-howling for blood, and they'll have it.'

"'I heard,' said Schurz, 'you preached a sermon to your men

"'No, sir! this is not time for preaching. When I went to Mexico there
were four preachers in my regiment. In less than a week I issued
orders for them all to stop preaching and go to playing cards. In a
month or so, they were the biggest devils and best fighters I had.'

"An hour afterwards, C. Schurz told me he was going home to arm his
clansmen for the wars. He has obtained three months' leave of absence
from his diplomatic duties, and permission to raise a cavalry
regiment. He will make a wonderful land pirate; bold, quick,
brilliant, and reckless. He will be hard to control and difficult to
direct. Still, we shall see. He is a wonderful man."--THAYER, _Life
and Letters of John Hay_, vol. i, 102-103.]

[Footnote 85: In Connelley's _James Henry Lane, the "Grim Chieftain"
of Kansas_, the following is quoted as coming from Lane himself:

"Of the fifty-six men in the Legislature who voted for Jim Lane,
five-and-forty now wear shoulder-straps. Doesn't Jim Lane look out for
his friends?"]

[Footnote 86: John Brown's rating of Pomeroy, as given by Stearns in
his _Life and Public Services of George Luther Stearns_, 133-134,
would show him to have been a considerably less pugnacious individual
than was Lane.]


the extra one, called for July, 1861. Immediately, a difficulty arose
due to the fact that, subsequent to his election to the senatorship
and in addition thereto, Lane had accepted a colonelcy tendered by
Oliver P. Morton[87] of Indiana, his own native state.[88] Lane's
friends very plausibly contended that a military commission from one
state could not invalidate the title to represent another state in the
Federal senate. The actual fight over the contested seat came in the
next session and, quite regardless of consequences likely to prejudice
his case, Lane went on recruiting for his brigade. Indeed, he
commended himself to Fremont, who, in his capacity as major-general of
volunteers and in charge of the Western Military District, assigned
him to duty in Kansas, thus greatly complicating an already delicate
situation and immeasurably heaping up difficulties, embarrassments,
and disasters for the frontier.

The same indifference towards the West that characterized the
governing authorities in the South was exhibited by eastern men in the
North and, correspondingly, the West, Federal and Confederate,
was unduly sensitive to the indifference, perhaps, also, a trifle
unnecessarily alarmed by symptoms of its own danger. Nevertheless, its
danger was real. Each state gave in its adherence to the Confederacy
separately and, therefore, every single state in the slavery belt had
a problem to solve. The fight for Missouri was fought

[Footnote 87: Morton, war governor of Indiana, who had taken
tremendous interest in the struggle for Kansas and in the events
leading up to the organization of the Republican party, was one of the
most energetic of men in raising troops for the defence of the Union,
especially in the earliest stages of the war. See Foulke's _Life of
Oliver P. Morton_, vol. i.]

[Footnote 88: Some doubt on this point exists. John Speer, Lane's
intimate friend and, in a sense, his biographer, says Lane claimed
Lawrenceburg, Indiana, as his birthplace. By some people he is thought
to have been born in Kentucky.]

on the border and nowhere else. The great evil of squatter sovereignty
days was now epidemic in its most malignant form. Those days had bred
intense hatred between Missourian and Kansan and had developed a
disregard of the value of human life and a ruthlessness and brutality
in fighting, concomitant with it, that the East, in its most primitive
times, had never been called upon to experience. Granted that the
spirit of the crusader had inspired many a free-soiler to venture into
the trans-Missouri region after the Kansas-Nebraska bill had become
law and that real exaltation of soul had transformed some very
mercenary and altogether mundane characters unexpectedly into martyrs;
granted, also, that the pro-slavery man honestly felt that his
cause was just and that his sacred rights of property, under the
constitution, were being violated, his preserves encroached upon, it
yet remains true that great crimes were committed in the name of great
causes and that villains stalked where only saints should have trod.
The irregular warfare of the border, from fifty-four on, while it may,
to military history as a whole, be as unimportant as the quarrels of
kites and crows, was yet a big part of the life of the frontiersman
and frightful in its possibilities. Sherman's march to the sea or
through the Carolinas, disgraceful to modern civilization as each
undeniably was, lacked the sickening phase, guerrilla atrocities, that
made the Civil War in the West, to those at least who were in line
to experience it at close range, an awful nightmare. Union and
Confederate soldiers might well fraternize in eastern camps because
there they so rarely had any cause for personal hostility towards each
other, but not in western. The fight on the border was constant and to
the death.

The leaders in the West or many of them, on both sides, were men of
ungovernable tempers, of violent and unrestrained passions, sometimes
of distressingly base proclivities, although, in the matter of both
vices and virtues, there was considerable difference of degree among
them. Lane and Shelby and Montgomery and Quantrill were hardly types,
rather should it be said they were extreme cases. They seem never to
have taken chances on each other's inactivity. Their motto invariably
was, to be prepared for the worst, and their practice, retaliation.

It was scarcely to be supposed that a man like Lane, who had never
known moderation in the course of the long struggle for Kansas or been
over scrupulous about anything would, in the event of his adopted
state's being exposed anew to her old enemy, the Missourian, be able
to pose contentedly as a legislator or stay quietly in Washington,
his role of guardian of the White House being finished.[89] The
anticipated danger to Kansas visibly threatened in the summer of 1861
and the critical moment saw Lane again in the West, energetic beyond
precedent. He took up his position at Fort Scott, it being his
conviction that, from that point and from the line of the Little
Osage, the entire eastern section of the state, inclusive of Fort
Leavenworth, could best be protected.[90]

[Footnote 89: As Villard tells us [_Memoirs_, vol. i, 169],
Lane was in command of the "Frontier Guards," one of the two special
patrols that protected the White House in the early days of the war.
There were those, however, who resented his presence there. For
example, note the diary entry of Hay, "Going to my room, I met the
Captain. He was a little boozy and very eloquent. He dilated on the
troubles of the time and bewailed the existence of a garrison in the
White House 'to give _eclat_ to Jim Lane.'"--Thayer, op. cit.,
vol. i, 94. The White House guard was in reality under General Hunter
[_Report of the Military Services of General David Hunter_, 8].]

[Footnote 90: _Official Records_, vol. iii, 453, 455.]

Fort Scott was the ranking town among the few Federal strongholds in
the middle Southwest. It was within convenient, if not easy, distance
of Crawford Seminary which, situated to the southward in the Quapaw
Nation, was the headquarters of the Neosho Agency; but no more
perturbed place could be imagined than was that same Neosho Agency at
the opening of the Civil War. Bad white men, always in evidence at
moments of crisis, were known to be interfering with the Osages,
exciting them by their own marauding to deviltry and mischief of the
worst description.[91] As a

[Footnote 91: A letter from Superintendent W.G. Coffin of date, July,
30, 1861 [Indian Office Special Files, no. 201, _Schools_, C.
1275 of 1861] bears evidence of this as bear also the following
letters, the one, private in character, from Augustus Wattles, the
other, without specific date, from William Brooks:


MONEKA, KANSAS, May 20, 1861.

Dear Sir, A messenger has this moment left me, who came up from the
Osages yesterday--a distance of about forty miles. The gentleman lives
on the line joining the Osage Indians, and has, since my acquaintance
with him about three years.

A short time ago, perhaps three weeks, a number of lawless white men
went into the Nation and stole a number of ponies. The Indians made
chase, had a fight and killed several, reported from three to five,
and retook their ponies.

A company of men is now getting up here and in other counties, to go
and fight the Indians. I am appealed to by the Indians to act as their

They represent that they are loyal to the U.S. Government and will
fight for their Great Father, at Washington, but must be protected
from bad white men at home. The Government must not think them enemies
when they only fight thieves and robbers.

Rob't B. Mitchell, who was recently appointed Maj. General of this
State by Gov. Robinson, has resigned, and is now raising volunteers to
fight the Indians. He has always been a Democrat in sympathy with the
pro-slavery party, and his enlisting men now to take them away from
the Missouri frontier, when we are daily threatened with an attack
from that State, and union men are fleeing to us for protection from
there, is certainly a very questionable policy. It could operate no
worse against us, if it were gotten up by a traitor to draw our
men off on purpose to give the Missourians a chance when we are
unprepared. (cont.)]

tribe, the Osages were not very dependable at the best of times and
now that they saw confusion all around

[Footnote 91: (cont.) I presume you have it in your power to prevent
any attack on the Indians in Kansas till such time as they can be
treated with. And such order to the Commander of the Western Division
of the U.S. Army would stop further proceedings.

I shall start to-morrow for Council Grove and meet the Kansas Indians
before General Mitchell's force can get there. As the point of attack
is secret, I fear it may be the Osages, for the purpose of creating
a necessity for a treaty with himself by which he can secure a large
quantity of land for himself and followers. He is acquainted with all
the old Democratic schemes of swindling Indians.

The necessity for prompt action on the part of the Indian Department
increases every day. The element of discord in the community here
now, was once, the pro-slavery party. I see their intention to breed
disturbances with the Indians is malicious and selfish. They are
active and unscrupulous, and must be met promptly and decisively.

I hope you will excuse this, as it appears necessary for me to step
a little out of my orders to notify you of current events. I am very
respectfully Your Ob't Ser'vt AUGUSTUS WATTLES, _Special Agent_

[Indian Office Special Files, no. 201.]

Washington, D.C.

Hon. Sir: Permit me to inform you, by this means, of the efforts that
have been and are now being made in Southern Kansas to arouse both the
"Osages" and "Cherokees" _to rebel_, and bear arms against the
U.S. Government--At a public meeting near the South E. corner of the
"Osage Nation" called by the settlements for the devising of some
means by which to protect themselves from "unlawful characters," Mr.
John Mathis, who resides in the Osage Nation and has an Osage family,
also Mr. "Robert Foster" who lives in the Cherokee Nation and has a
Cherokee family endeavered by public speeches and otherwise to induce
"Osages", "Cherokees", as well as Americans who live on the "Neutral
Lands" to bear arms against the U.S. Government--_aledging that
there was no U.S. Government_. There was 25 men who joined them and
they proceeded to organise a "_Secession Company_" electing as
Capt R.D. Foster and 1st Lieutenant James Patton--This meeting was
held June 4th 1861--at "McGhees Residence"--The peace of this section
of country requires the removal of these men from the Indian country,
or some measures that will restrain them from exciting the Indians in
Southern Kansas.

Yours Respectfully WM BROOKS.

You will understand why you are addressed by a private individual on
this subject instead of the Agent, since A.J. Dorn, the present Indian
Agent, is an avowed "Secessionist" and consequently would favor,
rather than suppress the move. WM BROOKS.

[Ibid., _Southern Superintendency_, B567 of 1861]]

them their most natural inclination was to pay back old scores and
to make an alliance where such alliance could be most profitable to
themselves. The "remnants" of tribes, Senecas, Shawnees, and Quapaws,
associated with them in the agency, Neosho, that is, although not of
evil disposition, were similarly agitated and with good reason.
Rumors of dissensions among the Cherokees, not so very far away, were
naturally having a disquieting effect upon the neighboring but less
highly organized tribes as was also the unrest in Missouri, in the
southwestern counties of which, however, Union sentiment thus far
dominated.[92] Its continuance would undoubtedly turn upon military
success or failure and that, men like Lyon and Lane knew only too

As the days passed, the Cherokee troubles gained in intensity, so
much so that the agent, John Crawford, even then a secessionist
sympathiser, reported that internecine strife might at any hour be
provoked.[93] So confused was everything that in July the people of
southeastern Kansas were generally apprehensive of an attack from the
direction of either Indian Territory or Arkansas.[94] Kansas troops
had been called to Missouri; but, at the same time, Lyon was
complaining that men from the West, where they were greatly needed,
were being called by Scott to Virginia.[95] On August 6 two emergency
calls went forth, one from Fremont for a brigade from California that
could be stationed at El Paso and moved as occasion might require,
either upon San Antonio or into the Indian Territory,[96]

[Footnote 92: Branch to Mix, June 22, 1861, enclosing letter from
Agent Elder, June 15, 1861 [Indian Office Files, _Neosho_, B 547
of 1861].]

[Footnote 93:--Ibid., _Cherokee_, C 1200 of 1861].

[Footnote 94: _Official Records_, vol. iii, 405.]

[Footnote 95:--Ibid., 397, 408.]

[Footnote 96:--Ibid., 428.]

the other from Congressmen John S. Phelps and Francis P. Blair junior,
who addressed Lincoln upon the subject of enlisting Missouri troops
for an invasion of Arkansas in order to ward off any contemplated
attack upon southwestern Missouri and to keep the Indians west of
Arkansas in subjection.[97] On August 10 came the disastrous Federal
defeat at Wilson's Creek. It was immediately subsequent to that event
and in anticipation of a Kansas invasion by Price and McCulloch that
Lane resolved to take position at Fort Scott.[98]

The Battle of Wilson's Creek, lost to the Federals largely because of
Fremont's failure to support Lyon, was an unmitigated disaster in more
than one sense. The death of Lyon, which the battle caused, was of
itself a severe blow to the Union side as represented in Missouri; but
the moral effect of the Federal defeat upon the Indians was equally
worthy of note. It was instantaneous and striking. It rallied the
wavering Cherokees for the Confederacy[99] and their defection was
something that could not be easily counterbalanced and was certainly
not counterbalanced by the almost coincident, cheap, disreputable, and
very general Osage offer, made towards the end of August, of services
to the United States in exchange for flour and whiskey.[100]

The disaster in its effect upon Lane was, however, little short of
exhilarating. It brought him sympathy, understanding, and a fair
measure of support from people who, not until the eleventh hour, had
really comprehended their own danger and it inspired him to redouble
his efforts to organize a brigade that should

[Footnote 97: _Official Records_, vol. iii, 430.]

[Footnote 98:--Ibid., 446.]

[Footnote 99: The Daily Conservative (Leavenworth), October 5, 1861.]

[Footnote 100:--Ibid., August 30, 1861, quoting from the Fort
Scott _Democrat_.]

adequately protect Kansas and recover ground lost. Prior to the
battle, "scarcely a battalion had been recruited for each" of the five
regiments, the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Kansas, which
he had been empowered by the War Department to raise.[101] It was in
the days of gathering reinforcements, for which he made an earnest
plea on August 29,[102] that he developed a disposition to utilize the
loyal Indians in his undertaking. The Indians, in their turn, were
looking to him for much needed assistance. About a month previous to
the disaster of August 10, Agent Elder had been obliged to make Fort
Scott, for the time being, the Neosho Agency headquarters, everything
being desperately insecure at Crawford's Seminary.[103]

[Footnote 101: Britton, _Civil War on the Border_, vol. i, 122.]

[Footnote 102: _Official Records_, vol. iii, 465.]

[Footnote 103: The following letter, an enclosure of a report from
Branch to Dole, August 14, 1861, gives some slight indication of its

Fort Scott, July 27, 1861.

Sir--I deem it important to inform the Department of the situation
of this Agency at this time. After entering upon the duties of this
office as per instructions--and attending to all the business that
seemed to require my immediate attention--I repaired to Franklin Co.
Kan. to remove my family to the Agency.

Leaving the Agency in care of James Killebrew Esq the Gov't Farmer for
the Quapaw Nation. Soon after I left I was informed by him that the
Agency had been surrounded by a band of armed men, and instituted an
inquiry for "_that Abolition Superintendent and Agent_." After
various interrogatories and answers they returned in the direction of
Missouri and Arkansas lines from whence they were supposed to
have come. He has since written me and Special Agent Whitney and
Superintendent Coffin told me that it would be very unsafe for me to
stay at that place under the present excited state of public feeling
in that vicinity. I however started with my family on the 6th July and
arrived at Fort Scott on the 9th intending to go direct to the Agency.
Here I learned from Capt Jennison commanding a detachment of Kansas
Militia, who had been scouting in that vicinity, that the country
was full of marauding parties from Gov. Jackson's Camp in S.W. Mo.
I therefore concluded to remain here and watch the course of events
believing as I did the Federal troops (cont.)]

Lane, conjecturing rightly that Price, moving northwestward from
Springfield, which place he had left on the twenty-sixth of August,
would threaten, if he did not actually attempt, an invasion of Kansas
at the point of its greatest vulnerability, the extreme southeast,
hastened his preparations for the defence and at the very end of the
month appeared in person at Fort Scott, where all the forces he could
muster, many of them refugee Missourians, had been rendezvousing. On
the second of September, the two armies, if such be not too dignified
a name for them, came into initiatory action at Dry Wood Creek,[104]
Missouri, a reconnoitering party of the Federals, in a venture across
the line, having

[Footnote 103: (cont.) would soon repair thither and so quell the
rebellion as to render my stay here no longer necessary. But as yet
the Union forces have not penetrated that far south, and Jackson with
a large force is quartered within 20 or 25 miles of the Agency--I was
informed by Mr. Killebrew on the 23d inst. that everything at the
Agency was safe--but the house and roads were guarded--Hence I have
assumed the responsibility of establishing my office here temporarily
until I can hear from the department.

And I most sincerely hope the course I have thus been compelled to
pursue will receive the approval of the department.

I desire instructions relative to the papers and a valuable safe
(being the only moveables there of value) which can only be moved
_at present_ under the protection of a guard. And also
instructions as to the course I am to pursue relative to the locality
of the Agency.

I feel confident that the difficulty now attending the locality at
Crawford Seminary will not continue long--if not then I shall move
directly there unless instructions arrive of a different character.

All mail matter should be directed to Fort Scott for the Mail Carrier
has been repeatedly arrested and the mails may be robbed--Very
respectfully your Obedient Servant

PETER P. ELDER, _U.S. Neosho Agent_.

H.B. BRANCH Esq, Superintendent of Ind. Affairs C.S.
St. Joseph, Mo.
[Indian Office Files, _Neosho_, B 719 of 1861].]

[Footnote 104: For additional information about the Dry Wood Creek
affair and about the events leading up to and succeeding it, see
_Official Records_, vol. liii, supplement, 436; Britton, _Civil
War on the Border_, vol. i, chapter x; Connelley, _Quantrill and
the Border Wars_, 199.]

fallen in with the advance of the Confederates and, being numerically
outmatched, having been compelled to beat a retreat. In its later
stages, Lane personally conducted that retreat, which, taken as a
whole, did not end even with the recrossing of the state boundary,
although the pursuit did not continue beyond it. Confident that Price
would follow up his victory and attack Fort Scott, Lane resolved to
abandon the place, leaving a detachment to collect the stores and
ammunition and to follow him later. He then hurried on himself to
Fort Lincoln on the north bank of the Little Osage, fourteen miles
northwest. There he halted and hastily erected breastworks of a
certain sort[105]. Meanwhile, the citizens of Fort Scott, finding
themselves left in the lurch, vacated their homes and followed in the
wake of the army[106]. Then came a period, luckily short, of direful
confusion. Home guards were drafted in and other preparations made to
meet the emergency of Price's coming. Humboldt was now suggested as
suitable and safe headquarters for the Neosho Agency[107]; but, most
opportunely, as the narrative will soon show, the change had to wait
upon the approval of the Indian Office, which could not be had for
some days and, in the meantime, events proved that Price was not the
menace and Fort Scott not the target.

It soon transpired that Price had no immediate intention of invading
Kansas[108]. For the present, it was

[Footnote 105: In ridicule of Lane's fortifications, see Spring,
_Kansas_, 275.]

[Footnote 106: As soon as the citizens, panic-stricken, were gone, the
detachment which Lane had left in charge, under Colonel C.R. Jennison,
commenced pillaging their homes [Britton, _Civil War on the
Border_, vol. i, 130.]]

[Footnote 107: H.C. Whitney to Mix, September 6, 1861, Indian Office
Consolidated Files, _Neosho_, W 455 of 1861.]

[Footnote 108: By the fifth of September, Lane had credible
information that Price had broken camp at Dry Wood and was moving
towards Lexington [Britton, _Civil War on the Border_, vol. i,

enough for his purpose to have struck terror into the hearts of the
people of Union sentiments inhabiting the Cherokee Neutral Lands,
where, indeed, intense excitement continued to prevail until there was
no longer any room to doubt that Price was really gone from the near
vicinity and was heading for the Missouri River. Yet his departure was
far from meaning the complete removal of all cause for anxiety, since
marauding bands infested the country roundabout and were constantly
setting forth, from some well concealed lair, on expeditions of
robbery, devastation, and murder. It was one of those marauding bands
that in this same month of September, 1861, sacked and in part burnt
Humboldt, for which dastardly and quite unwarrantable deed, James G.
Blunt, acting under orders from Lane, took speedy vengeance; and the
world was soon well rid of the instigator and leader of the outrage,
the desperado, John Matthews.[109]

[Footnote 109: (a)

Sept. 25, 1861.

HON. WM.P. DOLE, Com. of Ind. Af'rs

Dear Sir, We have just returned from a successful expedition into the
Indian Country, And I thought you would be glad to hear the news.

Probably you know that Mathews, formerly an Indian Trader amongst the
Osages has been committing depredations at the head of a band of half
breed Cherokees, all summer.

He has killed a number of settlers and taken their property; but as
most of them were on the Cherokee neuteral lands I could not tell
whether to blame him much or not, as I did not understand the
condition of those lands.

A few days ago he came up to Humbolt and pillaged the town. Gen. Lane
ordered the home guards, composed mostly of old men, too old for
regular service, to go down and take or disperse this company under

He detailed Lieut. Col. Blunt of Montgomery's regiment to the command,
and we started about 200 strong. We went to Humbolt and followed down
through the Osage as far as the Quapaw Agency where we came up with
them, about 60 strong.

Mathews and 10 men were killed at the first fire, the others (cont.)]

As soon as Lane had definite knowledge that Price had turned away from
the border and was moving northward, he determined to follow after and

[Footnote 109: (cont.) retreated. We found on Mathews a Commission
from Ben. McCulloch, authorizing him to enlist the Quapaw and other
Indians and operate on the Kansas frontier.

The Osage Indians are loyal, and I think most of the others would be
if your Agents were always ready to speak a word of confidence for our
Government, and on hand to counteract the influence of the Secession

There is no more danger in doing this than in any of the Army service.
If an Agent is killed in the discharge of his duty, another can be
appointed the same as in any other service. A few prompt Agents, might
save a vast amount of plundering which it is now contemplated to do in

Ben. McCulloch promises his rangers, and the Indians that he will
winter them in Kansas and expel the settlers.

I can see the Indians gain confidence in him precisely as they loose
it in us. It need somebody amongst them to represent our power and
strength and purposes, and to give them courage and confidence in the
U.S. Government.

There is another view which some take and you may take the same, i.e.
let them go--fight and conquer them--take their lands and stop their

I can only say that whatever the Government determines on the people
here will sustain. The President was never more popular. He is the
President of the Constitution and the laws. And notwithstanding what
the papers say about his difference with Fremont, every heart reposes
confidence in the President.

So far as I can learn from personal inquiry, the Indians are not yet
committed to active efforts against the Gov. AUG. WATTLES.

[Indian Office Special Files, no. 201, _Central Superintendency_,
W 474 of 1861.]


SACK AND FOX AGENCY, Dec. 17th 1861.

HON.W.P. DOLE, Commissioner of Indian Affairs

Dear Sir: After receiving the cattle and making arrangements for their
keeping at Leroy I went and paid a visit to the Ruins of Humboldt
which certainly present a gloomy appearance. All the best part of the
town was burnt. Thurstons House that I had rented for an office tho
near half a mile from town was burnt tho his dwelling and mill near
by were spared. All my books and papers that were there were lost. My
trunk and what little me and my son had left after the sacking were
all burnt including to Land Warrents one 160 acres and one 120. Our
Minne Rifle and ammunition Saddle bridle, etc.... About 4 or 5 Hundred
Sacks of Whitney's Corn were burnt. As soon as I can I will try to
make out a list of the Papers from the (cont.)]

him, if possible, in the rear. Governor Robinson was much opposed[110]
to any such provocative and apparently purposeless action, no one
knowing better than he Lane's vindictive mercilessness. Lane persisted
notwithstanding Robinson's objections and, for the time being, found
his policies actually endorsed by Prince at Fort Leavenworth.[111] The
attack upon Humboldt, having revealed the exposed condition of the
settlements north of the Osage lands, necessitated his leaving a much
larger force in his own rear than he had intended.[112] It also
made it seem advisable for him to order the building of a series of
stockades, the one of most immediate interest being at Leroy.[113] By
the fourteenth of September, Lane found himself within twenty-four
miles of Harrisonville but Price still far ahead. On the
twenty-second, having made a detour for the purpose of destroying some
of his opponent's stores, he performed the atrocious and downright
inexcusable exploit of burning Osceola.[114] Lexington, besieged,
had fallen into Price's hands two days before. Thus had the foolish
Federal practice of acting in

[Footnote 109: (cont.) Department [that] were burnt. As I had some at
Leavenworth I cannot do so til I see what is there. As Mr. Hutchinson
is not here I leave this morning for the Kaw Agency to endeavour to
carry out your Instructions there and will return here as soon as I
get through there. They are building some stone houses here and I am
much pleased with the result. The difference in cost is not near
so much as we expected but I will write you fully on a careful
examination as you requested. Very respectfully your obedient Servant

W.G. COFFIN, _Superintendent of Indian Affairs_
Southern Superintendency

[Indian Office Files, _Southern Superintendency_, C 1432 of

[Footnote 110: _Official Records_, vol. iii, 468-469.]

[Footnote 111:--Ibid., 483.]

[Footnote 112:--Ibid., 490.]

[Footnote 113:--Ibid.]

[Footnote 114:--Ibid., 196; vol. liii, supplement, 743;
Britton, _Civil War on the Border_, vol. i, 147-148; Connelley,
_Quantrill and the Border Wars_, 208-209, 295.]

detachments instead of in force produced its own calamitous result.
There had never been any appreciable cooerdination among the parts
of Fremont's army. Each worked upon a campaign of its own. To some
extent, the same criticism might be held applicable to the opposing
Confederate force also, especially when the friction between Price and
McCulloch be taken fully into account; but Price's energy was far in
excess of Fremont's and he, having once made a plan, invariably saw
to its accomplishment. Lincoln viewed Fremont's supineness with
increasing apprehension and finally after the fall of Lexington
directed Scott to instruct for greater activity. Presumably, Fremont
had already aroused himself somewhat; for, on the eighteenth, he had
ordered Lane to proceed to Kansas City and from thence to cooeperate
with Sturgis,[115] Lane slowly obeyed[116] but managed, while obeying,
to do considerable marauding, which worked greatly to the general
detestation and lasting discredit of his brigade. For a man,
temperamentally constituted as Lane was, warfare had no terrors and
its votaries, no scruples. The grim chieftain as he has been somewhat
fantastically called, was cruel, indomitable, and disgustingly
licentious, a person who would have hesitated at nothing to accomplish
his purpose. It was to be expected, then, that he would see nothing
terrible in the letting loose of the bad white man, the half-civilized
Indian, or the wholly barbarous negro upon society. He believed that
the institution of slavery should look out for itself[117] and, like
Governor Robinson,[118] Senator Pomeroy, Secretary Cameron, John

[Footnote 115: _Official Records_, vol. iii, 500.]

[Footnote 116:--Ibid., 505-506.]

[Footnote 117:--Ibid., 516.]

[Footnote 118: Spring, _Kansas_, 272.]

Cochrane,[119] Thaddeus Stevens[120] and many another, fully endorsed
the principle underlying Fremont's abortive Emancipation Proclamation.
He advocated immediate emancipation both as a political and a military

There was no doubt by this time that Lane had it in mind to utilize
the Indians. In the dog days of August, when he was desperately
marshaling his brigade, the Indians presented themselves, in idea, as
a likely military contingent. The various Indian agents in Kansas
were accordingly communicated with and Special Agent Augustus
Wattles authorized to make the needful preparations for Indian
enlistment.[122] Not much could be done in furtherance of the scheme
while Lane was engaged in Missouri but, in October, when he was
back in Kansas, his interest again manifested itself. He was then
recruiting among all kinds of people, the more hot-blooded the better.
His energy was likened to frenzy and the more sober-minded took
alarm. It was the moment for his political opponents to interpose
and Governor Robinson from among them did interpose, being firmly
convinced that Lane, by his intemperate zeal and by his guerrilla-like
fighting was provoking Missouri to reprisals and thus precipitating
upon Kansas the very troubles that he professed to wish to ward off.
Incidentally, Robinson, unlike Fremont, was vehemently opposed to
Indian enlistment.

Feeling between Robinson and Lane became exceedingly tense in October.
Price was again moving

[Footnote 119: _Daily Conservative_, November 22, 1861.]

[Footnote 120: Woodburn, _Life of Thaddeus Stevens_, 183.]

[Footnote 121: Lane's speech at Springfield, November 7, 1861
[_Daily Conservative_, November 17, 1861].]

[Footnote 122: For a full discussion of the progress of the movement,
see Abel, _American Indian as Slaveholder and Secessionist_, 227

suspiciously near to Kansas. On the third he was known to have left
Warrensburg, ostensibly to join McCulloch in Bates County[123] and, on
the eighth, he was reported as still proceeding in a southwestwardly
direction, possibly to attack Fort Scott.[124] His movements gave
opportunity for a popular expression of opinion among Lane's
adherents. On the evening of the eighth, a large meeting was held in
Stockton's Hall to consider the whole situation and, amidst great
enthusiasm, Lane was importuned to go to Washington,[125] there to lay
the case of the piteous need of Kansas, in actuality more imaginary
than real, before the president. Nothing loath to assume such
responsibility but not finding it convenient to leave his military
task just then, Lane resorted to letter-writing. On the ninth, he
complained[126] to Lincoln that Robinson was attempting to break
up his brigade and had secured the cooeperation of Prince to that
end.[127] The anti-Robinson press[128] went farther and accused
Robinson and Prince of not being big enough, in the face of grave
danger to the commonwealth, to forget old scores.[129] As a
solution of the problem before them, Lane suggested to Lincoln the
establishment of a new military district that should include Kansas,
Indian Territory, and Arkansas, and be under his command.[130] So
anxious was Lane to be

[Footnote 123: _Official Records_, vol. iii, 525, 526, 527.]

[Footnote 124:--Ibid, 527.]

[Footnote 125: _Daily Conservative_, October 9, 10, 1861.]

[Footnote 126: _Official Records_, vol. iii, 529.]

[Footnote 127: _Daily Conservative_, October 9, 15, 1861.]

[Footnote 128: Chief among the papers against Robinson, in the matter
of his longstanding feud with Lane, was the _Daily Conservative_
with D.W. Wilder as its editor. Another anti-Robinson paper was
the Lawrence _Republican_. The Cincinnati _Gazette_ was
decidedly friendly to Lane.]

[Footnote 129: _Daily Conservative_, October 15, 1861.]

[Footnote 130: _Official Records_, vol. iii, 529-530. Lane
outlined his plan for a separate department in his speech in
Stockton's Hall [_Daily Conservative_, October 9, 1861]. (cont.)]

identified with what he thought was the rescue of Kansas that he
proposed resigning his seat in the senate that he might be entirely
untrammelled.[131] Perchance, also, he had some inkling that with
Frederick P. Stanton[132] contesting the seat, a bitter partisan fight
was in prospect, a not altogether welcome diversion.[133] Stanton,
prominent in and out of office in territorial days, was an old
political antagonist of the Lane faction and one of the four
candidates whose names had been before the legislature in March. In
the second half of October, Lane's brigade notably contributed to
Fremont's show of activity and then, anticipatory perhaps to greater
changes, it was detached from the main column and given the liberty
of moving independently down the Missouri line to the Cherokee

Lane's efforts towards securing Indian enlistment did not stop with
soliciting the Kansas tribes. Thoroughly aware, since the time of his
sojourn at Fort Scott, if not before, of the delicate situation
in Indian Territory, of the divided allegiance there, and of the
despairing cry for help that had gone forth from the Union element to
Washington, he conceived it eminently fitting and practicable that
that same Union element should have its loyalty put to good uses and
be itself induced to take up arms in behalf of the cause it affected
so ardently to endorse. To an ex-teacher among the Seminoles, E.H.
Carruth, was entrusted the task of recruiting.

The situation in Indian Territory was more than

[Footnote 130: (cont.) Robinson was opposed to the idea [Ibid.,
November 2, 6, 1861].]

[Footnote 131: _Official Records_, vol. iii, 530.]

[Footnote 132: Martin, _First Two Years of Kansas_, 24;
_Biographical Congressional Directory_, 1771-1903.]

[Footnote 133: _Daily Conservative_, November 1, 1861, gives
Robinson the credit of inciting Stanton to contest the seat.]

[Footnote 134: _Daily Conservative_, October 30, 1861.]

delicate. It was precarious and had been so almost from the beginning.
The withdrawal of troops from the frontier posts had left the
Territory absolutely destitute of the protection solemnly guaranteed
its inhabitants by treaty with the United States government.
Appeal[135] to the War Department for a restoration of what was a
sacred obligation had been without effect all the summer. Southern
emissaries had had, therefore, an entirely free hand to accomplish
whatever purpose they might have in mind with the tribes. In
September,[136] the Indian Office through Charles E. Mix, acting
commissioner of Indian affairs in the absence of William P. Dole, who
was then away on a mission to the Kansas tribes, again begged the War
Department[137] to look into matters so extremely urgent. National
honor would of itself have dictated a policy of intervention before

[Footnote 135: Secretary Cameron's reply to Secretary Smith's first
request was uncompromising in the extreme and prophetic of his
persistent refusal to recognize the obligation resting upon the United
States to protect its defenceless "wards." This is Cameron's letter of
May 10, 1861:

"In answer to your letter of the 4th instant, I have the honor
to state that on the 17th April instructions were issued by this
Department to remove the troops stationed at Forts Cobb, Arbuckle,
Washita, and Smith, to Fort Leavenworth, leaving it to the discretion
of the Commanding Officer to replace them, or not, by Arkansas

"The exigencies of the service will not admit any change in these
orders." [Interior Department Files, _Bundle no. 1 (1849-1864)

Secretary Smith wrote to Cameron again on the thirtieth [Interior
Department _Letter Press Book_, vol. iii, 125], enclosing Dole's
letter of the same date [Interior Department, _File Box, January 1
to December 1, 1861_; Indian Office _Report Book_, no. 12,
176], but to no purpose.]

[Footnote 136: Indian Office _Report Book_, no. 12, 218-219.]

[Footnote 137: Although his refusal to keep faith with the Indians is
not usually cited among the things making for Cameron's unfitness for
the office of Secretary of War, it might well and justifiably be. No
student of history questions to-day that the appointment of Simon
Cameron to the portfolio of war, to which Thaddeus Stevens had
aspirations [Woodburn, _Life of Thaddeus Stevens_, 239], was
one of the worst administrative mistakes Lincoln ever made. It was
certainly one of the four cabinet appointment errors noted by Weed
[_Autobiography_, 607].]

the poor neglected Indians had been driven to the last desperate
straits. The next month, October, nothing at all having been done in
the interval, Dole submitted[138] to Secretary Smith new evidence of
a most alarmingly serious state of affairs and asked that the
president's attention be at once elicited. The apparent result was
that about the middle of November, Dole was able to write with
confidence--and he was writing at the request of the president--that
the United States was prepared to maintain itself in its authority
over the Indians at all hazards.[139]

Boastful words those were and not to be made good until many precious
months had elapsed and many sad regrettable scenes enacted. In early
November occurred the reorganization of the Department of the West
which meant the formation of a Department of Kansas separate and
distinct from a Department of Missouri, an arrangement that afforded
ample opportunity for a closer attention to local exigencies in both
states than had heretofore been possible or than, upon trial, was
subsequently to be deemed altogether desirable. It necessarily
increased the chances for local patronage and exposed military matters
to the grave danger of becoming hopelessly entangled with political.

The need for change of some sort was, however, very evident and the
demand for it, insistent. If the southern Indians were not soon
secured, they were bound to menace, not only Kansas, but Colorado[140]
and to help materially in blocking the way to Texas, New Mexico,

[Footnote 138: Indian Office _Report Book_ no. 12, 225.]

[Footnote 139: Dole to Hunter, November 16, 1861, ibid., _Letter
Book_, no. 67, pp. 80-82.]

[Footnote 140: On conditions in Colorado Territory, the following are
enlightening: ibid., _Consolidated Files_, C 195 of 1861; C 1213
of 1861; C 1270 of 1861; C 1369 of 1861; V 43 of 1861; _Official
Records_, vol. iv, 73.]

and Arizona. Their own domestic affairs had now reached a supremely
critical stage.[141] It was high time

[Footnote 141: In addition to what may be obtained on the subject from
the first volume of this work, two letters of slightly later date
furnish particulars, as do also the records of a council held by Agent
Cuther with certain chiefs at Leroy.

(a). LAWRENCE, KANSAS, Dec. 14th, 1861.

HON.W.P. DOLE, Commissioner of Ind. Affairs

Dear Sir, It is with reluctance that I again intrude on your valuable
time. But I am induced to do so by the conviction that the subject
of our Indian relations is really a matter of serious concern: as
involving the justice and honor of our own Government, and the deepest
interests--the very existence, indeed--of a helpless and dependent
people. And knowing that it is your wish to be furnished with every
item of information which may, in any way, throw light on the subject,
I venture to trouble you with another letter.

Mico Hat-ki, the Creek man referred to in my letter of Oct. 31st has
been back to the Creek Nation, and returned about the middle of
last month. He was accompanied, to this place, by one of his former
companions, but had left some of their present company at LeRoy. They
were expecting to have a meeting with some of the Indians, at LeRoy,
to consult about the proper course to be pursued, in order to
protect the loyal and peaceable Indians, from the hostility of the
disaffected, who have become troublesome and menacing in their

With this man and his companion, I had considerable conversation, and
find that the Secessionists and disaffected Half-breeds are carrying
things with a high hand. While the loyal Indians are not in
a condition to resist them, by reason of the proximity of an
overwhelming rebel force.

From them (repeating their former statements, regarding the defection
of certain parties, and the loyalty of others, with the addition of
some further particulars) I learn the following facts: Viz. That
M Kennard, the Principal Chief of the Lower Creeks, most of the
McIntoshes, George Stidham, and others have joined the rebels, and
organized a military force in their interest; for the purpose of
intimidating and harrassing the loyal Indians. They name some of the
officers, but are not sufficiently conversant with military terms to
distinguish the different grades, with much exactness. Unee McIntosh,
however, is the highest in rank, (a Colonel I presume) and Sam
Cho-co-ti, George Stidham, Chilly McIntosh, are all officers in the
Lower Creek rebel force.

Among the Upper Creeks, John Smith, Timiny Barnet and Wm. Robinson,
are leaders.

Among the Seminoles, John Jumper, the Principal Chief, is on the side
of the rebels. Pas-co-fa, the second chief, stands neutral. Fraser
McClish, though himself a Chickasaw, has raised a company (cont.)]

for the Federal government to do something to attest its own
competency. There was need for it to do that,

[Footnote 141: (cont.) among the Seminoles in favor of the rebellion.
They say the full Indians will kill him.

The Choctaws are divided in much the same way as the other Tribes, the
disaffected being principally among the Half-breeds.

The Chickasaw Governor, Harris, is a Secessionist; and so are most, if
not all, the Colberts. The full Indians are loyal to the Government,
as are some of the mixed bloods also, and here, I remark, from my own
knowledge, that this Governor Harris was the first to propose the
adoption of concerted measures, among the Southern Tribes, on the
subject of Secession. This was instantly and earnestly opposed by John
Ross, as being out of place, and an ungrateful violation of the Treaty
obligations, by which the Tribes had placed themselves under the
exclusive protection of the United States; and, under which, they had
enjoyed a long course of peace and prosperity.

They say, there are about four hundred Secessionists, among the
Cherokees. But whether organized or not, I did not understand. I
presume they meant such as were formerly designated by the term
Warriors, somewhat analogous to the class among ourselves, who are fit
for military duty, though they may or may not be actually organized
and under arms. So that the _Thousands of Indians_ in
the secession papers, as figuring in the armies, are enormous
exaggerations; and most of them sheer fabrications.

Albert Pike, of Little Rock, boasts of having visited and made treaty
alliances with the Comanches, and other tribes, on behalf of the
"Confederate States," but the Indians do not believe him. And, in
blunt style, say "he tells lies."

They make favorable mention of O-poth-le-yo-ho-lo, an ex-Creek Chief,
a true patriot of former days. But, it seems, he has been molested and
forced to leave his home to avoid the annoyance and violence of the
rebel party. There are, however, more than three thousand young men,
of the warrior class, who adhere to his principles, and hold true


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