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

Part 5 out of 9

1859-1865, C 1892.]

Creek, about twelve miles south of Fort Scott, was raided by
guerrillas;[594] but even that had no effect upon their determination
to remain. The Neutral Lands, although greatly intruded upon by white
people, were legally their own and they declined to budge from them at
the instance of Superintendent Coffin.

Arrangements were undertaken for supplying the Cherokee refugees with
material relief;[595] but scarcely had anything been done to that end
when, to Coffin's utter surprise, as he said, the military authorities
"took forcible possession of them" and had them all conveyed to
Neosho, Missouri, presumably out of his reach. But Coffin would
not release his hold and detailed the new Cherokee agent, James
Harlan,[596] and Special Agent A.G. Proctor to follow them there.

John Ross, his family, and a few friends were, meanwhile, constituting
another kind of refugee in the eastern part of the United States.[597]
and were criticized by some

[Footnote 594: Coffin to Dole, November 14, 1862, Indian Office
General Files, _Southern Superintendency_, 1859-1862.]

[Footnote 595: Coffin to Mix, August 31, 1863, Indian Office General
Files, _Southern Superintendency_, 1863-1864, C 466. A.M. Jordan,
who acted as commissary to the Cherokees at Camp Drywood, reported to
Dole, December 6, 1862, that he was feeding about a thousand who were
then there [ibid., _Cherokee_, I 847 of 1862].]

[Footnote 596: Charles W. Chatterton, of Springfield, Illinois, who
had been appointed Cherokee agent in the place of John Crawford,
removed [Dole to Coffin, March 18, 1862, ibid., _Letter Book_,
no. 67 pp. 492-493] had died, August 31, at the Sac and Fox Agency
[Hutchinson to Mix September 1, 1862, Ibid., General Files,
_Cherokee_, H 538 of 1862]; [Coffin to Dole, September 13,
1862, Ibid., C 1827: W.H. Herndon to Dole, November 15, 1862,
Ibid., H 605]. Harlan was not regularly commissioned as
Cherokee agent until January, 1863 [Coffin to Dole, April 7, 1863,
Ibid., C 143 of 1863; Harlan to Dole, January 26, 1863,
Ibid., H 37 of 1863].]

[Footnote 597: John Ross asked help for his own family and for the
families of various relations, thirty-four persons in all. He wanted
five hundred dollars for each person [Ross to Dole, October 13, 1862,
Ibid., R 1857 of 1862]. Later, he asked for seventeen thousand
dollars, likewise for maintenance [Ross to Dole, November 19, 1862,
Ibid.]. The beginning of the next year, he notified the
department that some of his party were about to return home (cont.)]

of their opponents for living in too sumptuous a manner.[598]

The removal, under military supervision, of the Cherokee refugees,
had some justification in various facts, Blunt's firm conviction that
Coffin and his instigators or abettors were exploiting the Indian
service, that the refugees at Leroy were not being properly cared for,
and that those on the Neutral Lands had put themselves directly under
the protection of the army.[599] His then was the responsibility. When
planning his second Indian Expedition, Blunt had discovered that the
Indian men were not at all inclined to accompany it unless they could
have some stronger guarantee than any yet given that their families
would be well looked after in their absence. They had returned from
the first expedition to find their women and children and aged men,
sick, ill-fed, and unhappy.

It was with knowledge of such things and with the hope that they would
soon be put a stop to and their repetition prevented by a return of
the refugees to Indian Territory, that John Ross, in October, made a
personal appeal to President Lincoln and interceded with him to send
a military force down, sufficient to over-awe the Confederates and to
take actual possession

[Footnote 597: (cont.) [Ibid., R 14 of 1863] and requested that
transportation from Leavenworth and supplies be furnished them [Indian
Office General Files, _Cherokee_, R 13 of 1863]. Dole informed
Coffin that the request should be granted [see Office letter of
January 6, 1863] and continued forwarding to John Ross his share of
the former remittance [Indian Office _Letter Book_, no. 69, 503].
To make the monetary allowance to John Ross, Cherokee chief, the
Chickasaw funds were drawn upon [Second Auditor, E.B. Trench, to Dole,
June 19, 1863, Ibid., General Files, _Cherokee_, A 202 of
1863; Office letter of June 20, 1863].]

[Footnote 598: Ross and others to Dole, July 29, 1864 [Ibid.,
General Files, _Cherokee_, 1859-1865, R 360]; Secretary of the
Interior to Ross, August 25, 1864 [Ibid., I 651]; John Ross
and Evan Jones to Dole, August 26, 1864 [Ibid., R 378]; Office
letter of October 14, 1864; Coffin's letter of July 8, 1864.]

[Footnote 599: Blunt to Smith, November 21, 1862.]

of the land. Lincoln's sympathies and sense of justice were
immediately aroused and he inquired of General Curtis, in the
field, as to the practicability of occupying "the Cherokee country
consistently with the public service."[600] Curtis evaded the direct
issue, which was the Federal obligation to protect its wards, by
boasting that he had just driven the enemy into the Indian Territory
"and beyond" and by doubting "the expediency of occupying ground so
remote from supplies."[601]

General Blunt's force continued to hold the northeastern part of the
Cherokee country until the end of October when it fell back, crossed
the line, and moved along the Bentonville road in order to meet its
supply train from Fort Scott.[602] Blunt's division finally took its
stand on Prairie Creek[603] and, on the twelfth of November, made its
main camp on Lindsay's prairie, near the Indian boundary.[604] The
rout of Cooper at Fort Wayne had shaken the faith of many Indians in
the invincibility of the Confederate arms. They had disbanded and gone
home, declaring "their purpose to join the Federal troops the first
opportunity" that presented itself.[605] To secure them and to
reconnoitre once more, Colonel Phillips had started out near the
beginning of November and, from the third to the fifth, had made his
way down through the Cherokee Nation, by way of Tahlequah and Park
Hill, to Webber's Falls on the Arkansas.[606] His return was by

[Footnote 600: Lincoln to Curtis, October 10, 1862, _Official
Records_, vol. xiii, 723.]

[Footnote 601: Curtis to Lincoln, October 10, 1862, Ibid.]

[Footnote 602: Britton, _Civil War on the Border_, vol. i,

[Footnote 603:--Ibid., 379.]

[Footnote 604:--Ibid., 380; Bishop, _Loyalty on the
Frontier_, 56.]

[Footnote 605: Blunt to Schofield, November 9, 1862, _Official
Records_, vol. xiii, 785.]

[Footnote 606: H.W. Martin to Coffin, December 20, 1862, Indian Office
General Files, _Southern Superintendency_, 1859-1862, C 1950.]

Dwight's Mission. His view of the country through which he passed must
have been discouraging.[607] There was little to subsist upon and the
few Indians lingering there were in a deplorable state of deprivation,
little food, little clothing[608] and it was winter-time.

So desolate and abandoned did the Cherokee country appear that General
Blunt considered it would be easily possible to hold it with his
Indian force alone, three regiments, yet he said no more about the
immediate return of the refugees,[609] but issued an order for their
removal to Neosho. The wisdom of his action might well be questioned
since the expense of supporting them there would be immeasurably
greater than in Kansas[610] unless, indeed, the military authorities
intended to assume the entire charge of them.[611] Special Agent
Martin regarded some talk that was rife of letting them forage upon
the impoverished people of Missouri as

[Footnote 607: It was not discouraging to Blunt, however. His letter
referring to it was even sanguine [_Official Records_, vol. xiii,

[Footnote 608: Martin to Coffin, December 20, 1862.]

[Footnote 609: The Interior Department considered it, however, and
consulted with the War Department as late as the twenty-sixth. See
_Register of Letters Received_, vol. D., p. 155.]

[Footnote 610: Coffin to Henning, December 28, 1862, Indian Office
Consolidated Files, _Cherokee_, C 17 of 1863.]

[Footnote 611: Coffin's letter to Dole of December 20 [Indian Office
General Files, _Southern Superintendency_, 1859-1862, C 1950]
would imply that the superintendent expected that to be the case. He
said, having reference to Martin's report, "... The statement of facts
which he makes, from all the information I have from other sources, I
have no doubt are strictly true and will no doubt meet your serious

"If the Programme as fixed up by the Military Officers, and which I
learn Dr. Gillpatrick is the bearer to your city and the solicitor
general to procure its adoption is carried out, the Indian Department,
superintendent, and agents may all be dispensed with. The proposition
reminds me of the Fable of the Wolves and the Shepherds, the wolves
represented to the shepherds that it was very expensive keeping dogs
to guard the sheep, which was wholly unnecessary; that if they would
kill off the dogs, they, the wolves, would protect the sheep without
any compensation whatever."]

sheer humbug. The army was not doing that and why should the
defenceless Indians be expected to do it. As it was, they seem to
have been reduced to plundering in Kansas.[612] On the whole, it
is difficult to explain Blunt's plan for the concentration of the
Cherokee refugees at Neosho, since there were, at the time, many
indications that Hindman was considering another advance and an
invasion of southwest Missouri.

The November operations of the Federals in northeastern Arkansas
were directed toward arresting Hindman's progress, if progress were
contemplated. Meanwhile, Phillips with detachments of his Indian
brigade was continuing his reconnoissances and, when word came that
Stand Watie had ventured north of the Arkansas, Blunt sent him to
compel a recrossing.[613] Stand Watie's exploit was undoubtedly
a preliminary to a general Confederate plan for the recovery of
northwestern Arkansas and the Indian Territory, a plan, which Blunt,
vigorous and aggressive, was determined to circumvent. In the action
at Cane Hill,[614] the latter part of November, and in the Battle of
Prairie Grove,[615] December seventh, the mettle of the Federals was
put to a severe test which it stood successfully and Blunt's cardinal
purpose was fully accomplished.[616] In both engagements, the Indians
played a part and played it

[Footnote 612: These Indians must have been the ones referred to in
Richard C. Vaughn's letter to Colonel W.D. Wood, December i, 1862
[_Official Records_, vol. xxii, part i, 796].]

[Footnote 613: Britton, _Civil War on the Border_, vol. i, p.

[Footnote 614:--Ibid., vol. i, chapter xxix.]

[Footnote 615:--Ibid., vol. i, chapter xxx; _Official
Records_, vol. xxii, part i, 66-82, 82-158, vol. liii, supplement,
458-461, 866, 867; Livermore, _The Story of the Civil War_, part
iii, bk. 1, 84-85.]

[Footnote 616: One opinion is to the effect that the result of
the Battle of Prairie Grove, Fayetteville, or Illinois Creek, was
virtually to end the war north of the Arkansas River [Ibid., p.
85; _Official Records_, vol. xxii, part i, 82]. (cont.)]

conspicuously and well, the northern regiments so well,[617] indeed,
that shortly afterwards two additional ones, the Fourth and the Fifth,
were projected.[618] Towards the end of the year, Phillips, whom Blunt
had sent upon another excursion into Indian Territory,[619] could

[Footnote 616: (cont.) Bishop wrote, "After the battle of Prairie
Grove, and the gradual retrogression of the Army of the Frontier into
Missouri, Fayetteville was still held as a military post, and those of
us who remained there were given to understand that the place would
not be abandoned ... The demoralized enemy had fallen back to Little
Rock, with the exception of weak nomadic forces that, like Stygian
ghosts, wandered up and down the Arkansas from Dardanelle to Fort
Smith...." [_Loyalty on the Frontier_, 205]. Schofield was of
the opinion, however, that the Battle of Prairie Grove was a hard-won
victory. "Blunt and Herron were badly beaten in detail, and owed
their escape to a false report of my arrival with re-enforcements."
[_Official Records_, vol. xxii, part ii, p. 6].]

[Footnote 617: And yet it was only a short time previously that Major
A.C. Ellithorpe, commanding the First Regiment Indian Home Guards, had
had cause to complain seriously of the Creeks of that regiment. On
November 7, he wrote from Camp Bowen that Opoeth-le-yo-ho-la was
enticing the Indians away from the performance of their duties. "You
will now perceive that we are on the border of the Indian country and
a very large portion of the Indians are now scouting through their own
Territory. What I now desire is that every man who was enlisted as a
soldier shall at once return to his command by the way of Fort Scott
unless otherwise ordered by competent authority...." [Indian Office
Land Files, _Southern Superintendency_, 1855-1870, C 1933].
Coffin, as usual, appeared as an apologist for the Indians and
attempted to exonerate Opoeth-le-yo-ho-la from all blame [Letter to
Dole, December 3, 1862, Ibid.]. He called the aged chief, "that
noble old Roman of the Indians," and the chief himself protested
against the injustice and untruth of Ellithrope's accusation
[Opoeth-le-yo-ho-la to Coffin, November 24, 1862, Ibid.].]

[Footnote 618: Officers for these two regiments were appointed by the
president, December 26, 1862, and ordered to report to Blunt, who, in
turn ordered them to report to Phillips. When the officers arrived in
Indian Territory, they found no such regiments as the Fourth and Fifth
Indian [_U.S. Senate Report_, 41st congress, third session, no.
359]. They never did materialize as a matter of fact; but the officers
did duty, nevertheless, and were regularly mustered out of the service
in 1863. In 1864, Congress passed an act for the adjudication of their
claim for salary [_U.S. Statutes at Large_, vol. xiii, 413]. It
is rather surprising that the regiments were not organized; inasmuch
as many new recruits were constantly presenting themselves.]

[Footnote 619: Phillips to Blunt, December 25, 1862 [_Official
Records_, vol. xxii, part i, 873-874].]

that Stand Watie and Cooper had been pushed considerably below
the Arkansas, that many of the buildings at Fort Davis had been
demolished,[620] that one of the Creek regiments was about to retire
from the Confederate service, and that the Choctaws, once so deeply
committed, were wavering in their allegiance to the South.[621]

[Footnote 620: The buildings at Fort Davis were burnt, and
deliberately, by Phillips's orders. [See his own admission,
Ibid., part ii, 56, 62].]

[Footnote 621: Blunt to Weed, December 30, 1862, Ibid., part i,


As though the Indians had not afflictions enough to endure merely
because of their proximity to the contending whites, life was made
miserable for them, during the period of the Civil War, as much as
before and after, by the insatiable land-hunger of politicians,
speculators, and would-be captains of industry, who were more often
than not, rogues in the disguise of public benefactors. Nearly all
of them were citizens of Kansas. The cessions of 1854, negotiated
by George W. Manypenny, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, were but a
prelude to the many that followed. For years and years there was in
reality never a time when some sort of negotiation, _sub rosa_
or official, was not going on. The order of procedure was pretty much
what it had always been: a promise that the remaining land should be
the Indian's, undisturbed by white men and protected by government
guarantee, forever; encroachment by enterprising, covetous, and
lawless whites; conflict between the two races, the outraged and the
aggressive; the advent of the schemer, the man with political capital
and undeveloped or perverted sense of honor, whose vision was such
that he saw the Indian owner as the only obstacle in the way of
vast material and national progress; political pressure upon the
administration in Washington, lobbying in Congress; authorization of
negotiations with the bewildered Indians; delimitation of the meaning
of the solemn and grandly-sounding word, _forever_.

When the war broke out, negotiations, begun in the

border warfare days, were still going on. This was most true as
regarded the Osages, whose immense holding in southern Kansas
was something not to be tolerated, so the politicians reasoned,
indefinitely. Petitions,[622] praying that the lands be opened to
white settlement were constantly being sent in and intruders,[623] who
intended to force action, becoming more and more numerous and more
and more recalcitrant. One of the first official communications of
Superintendent Coffin embodied a plea for getting a treaty of cession
for which the signs had seemed favorable the previous year.
Coffin, however, discredited[624] a certain Dr. J.B. Chapman, who,
notwithstanding he represented white capitalists,[625] had yet found
favor with the Osages. To their

[Footnote 622: For example, take the petitions forwarded by M.W.
Delahay, surveyor-general of Kansas [Indian Office Consolidated Files,
_Neosho_, D 455 of 1861]. One of the petitions contains this
statement: "... The lands being largely settled upon and improved and
those adjacent being all claimed and settled upon by residents--while
a large emigration from Texas and other rebellious States are forced
to seek homes in a more northern and uncongenial climate greatly
against their interests and inclinations...."]

[Footnote 623: Intruders upon the Osage lands, as upon the Cherokee
Neutral, were numerous for years before the war. Agent Dorn was
continually complaining of them, chiefly because they were free-state
in politics. He again and again asked for military assistance in
removing them. See his letter to Greenwood, February 26, 1860,
_Neosho_, 1833-1865, D 107. Buchanan's administration had
conceived the idea of locating other Kansas Indians upon the huge
Osage Reserve. See Dorn to Greenwood, March 26, 1860, Ibid., D
119. Apparently, the fragments of tribes in the northeastern corner of
Indian Territory had been approached on the same subject, but they did
not favor it and Agent Dorn was doubtful if the Osages would [Dorn to
Greenwood, April 17, 1860, Ibid., D 129].]

[Footnote 624: He described him as a self-appointed guardian of the
Osages, as a scamp and a nuisance [Coffin to Dole, June 17, 1861,
Ibid., C 1223 of 1861].]

[Footnote 625: Chapman, August 26, 1860, inquired of Greenwood whether
there was any prospect of a treaty being negotiated with the Osages
and whether the capitalists he represented would be likely to secure
railroad rights to the South by it. He asserted that the Delawares had
been "humbugged" by their treaty, it having been negotiated "in the
interests of the Democrats at Leavenworth" [Ibid., C 702 of

everlasting sorrow and despoliation, the Indians have been fated to
place a child-like trust in those least worthy.

The defection of portions of the southern tribes offered an undreamed
of opportunity for Kansas politicians to accomplish their purposes.
They had earlier thought of removing the Kansas tribes, one by one,
to Indian Territory; but the tribes already there had a lien upon
the land, titles, and other rights, that could not be ignored. Their
possession was to continue so long as the grass should grow and the
water should run. It was not for the government to say that they
should open their doors to anybody. An early intimation that the
Kansans saw their opportunity was a resolution[626] submitted by James
H. Lane to the Senate, March 17, 1862, proposing an inquiry into "the
propriety and expediency of extending the southern boundary of Kansas
to the northern boundary of Texas, so as to include within the
boundaries of Kansas the territory known as the Indian territory."
Obviously, the proposition had a military object immediately in view;
but Commissioner Dole, to whom it was referred, saw its ulterior
meaning and reported[627] adversely upon it as he had upon an earlier
proposition to erect a regular territorial form of government in the
Indian country south of Kansas.[628] He was "unable to perceive any
advantage to be derived from the adoption of such a measure, since the
same military power that would be required to enforce the authority
of territorial officers is all-sufficient to protect and enforce the
authority of such officers as are required in the management of our
present system

[Footnote 626: _United State Congressional Globe_, 37th congress,
second session, part ii, p. 1246.]

[Footnote 627: Dole to Smith, April 2, 1862, Indian Office _Report
Book_, no. 12, 353-354.]

[Footnote 628: Dole to Smith, March 17, 1862, Ibid., 335-337.]

of Indian relations."[629] And he insisted that the whole of the
present Indian country should be left to the Indians.[630] The honor
of the government was pledged to that end. Almost coincidently he
negatived[631] another suggestion, one advocated by Pomeroy for the
confiscation of the Cherokee Neutral Lands.[632] For the time being,
Dole was strongly opposed to throwing either the Neutral Lands or the
Osage Reserve open to white settlers.

Behind Pomeroy's suggestion was the spirit of retaliation, of meting
out punishment to the Indians, who, because they had been so basely
deserted by the United States government, had gone over to the
Confederacy; but the Kansas politicians saw a chance to kill two birds
with one stone, vindictively punish the southern Indians for their
defection and rid Kansas of the northern Indians, both emigrant and
indigenous. The intruders upon Indian lands, the speculators and the
politicians, would get the spoils of victory. Against the idea of
punishing the southern Indians for what after all was far from being
entirely their fault, the friends of justice marshaled their forces.
Dole was not exactly of their number; for he had other ends to serve
in resisting measures advanced by the Kansans, yet, to his credit be
it said that he did always hold firmly to the notion that tribes like
the Cherokee were more sinned against than sinning. The government
had been the first to shirk responsibility and to violate sacred
obligations. It had failed to give the protection guaranteed by
treaties and it was not giving it yet adequately.

[Footnote 629: Dole to Smith, March 17, 1862, Indian Office _Report
Book_, no. 12, 335.]

[Footnote 630: Report of April 2, 1862.]

[Footnote 631: Dole to Smith, March 20, 1862, Indian Office _Report
Book_, no. 12, 343-344.]

[Footnote 632: _Daily Conservative_, May 10, 1862. Note the
arguments in favor of confiscation as quoted from the _Western

The true friends of justice were men of the stamp of W.S.
Robertson[633] and the Reverend Evan Jones,[634] who went out of
their way to plead the Indian's cause and to detail the extenuating
circumstances surrounding his lamentable failure to keep faith.
Supporting the men of the opposite camp was even the Legislature of
Kansas. In no other way can a memorial from the General Assembly,
urging the extinguishment of the title of certain Indian lands in
Kansas, be interpreted.[635]

It is not easy to determine always just what motives did actuate
Commissioner Dole. They were not entirely above suspicion and his
name is indissolubly connected with some very nefarious Indian
transactions; but fortunately they have not to be recounted here. At
the very time when he was offering unanswerable arguments against
the propositions of Lane and Pomeroy, he was entertaining something
similar to those propositions in his own mind. A special agent,
Augustus Wattles, who had been sufficiently familiar and mixed-up with
the free state and pro-slavery controversy to be called upon to give
testimony before the Senate

[Footnote 633: Robertson wrote to the Secretary of the Interior,
January 7, 1862, asking most earnestly "that decisive measures be
not taken against the oppressed and betrayed people of the Creek and
Cherokee tribes, until everything is heard about their struggle in the
present crisis" [Department of the Interior, _Register of Letters
Received_, "Indians," no. 4]. The letter was referred to the
Indian Office and Mix replied to it, February 14, 1862 [Indian Office
_Letter Book_, no. 67, p. 357]. The concluding paragraph of
the letter is indicative of the government feeling, "... In reply
I transmit herewith for your information the Annual Report of this
Office, which will show ... what policy has governed the Office as to
this matter, and that it is in consonance with your wish...."]

[Footnote 634: Jones wrote frequently and at great length on the
subject of justice to the Cherokees. One of his most heartfelt appeals
was that of January 21, 1862 [Indian Office Consolidated Files,
_Cherokee_, J 556 of 1862].]

[Footnote 635: Cyrus Aldrich, representative from Minnesota and
chairman of the House Committee on Indian Affairs referred the
memorial to the Indian Office [_Letters Registered_, vol. 58,
_Southern Superintendency_, A. 484 of 1862].]

Harper's Ferry Investigating Committee[636] and who had been on the
editorial staff of the New York Tribune,[637] had, in 1861, been sent
by the Indian Office to inspect the houses that Robert S. Stevens had
contracted to build for the Sacs and Foxes of Mississippi and for the
Kaws.[638] The whole project of the house-building was a fraud upon
the Indians, a scheme for using up their funds or for transferring
them to the pockets of promoters like Stevens[639] and M.C.
Dickey[640] without the trouble of giving value received.

From a letter[641] of protest, written by Stevens against Wattles's
mission of inspection, it can be inferred that there was a movement on
foot to induce the Indians to emigrate southward. Stevens, not wholly
disinterested, thought it a poor time to attempt changes in tribal

[Footnote 636: Robinson, _Kansas Conflict_, 358.]

[Footnote 637:--Ibid., 370. For other facts touching Wattles
and his earlier career, see Villard, _John Brown_, index; Wilson,
_John Brown: Soldier of Fortune_, index.]

[Footnote 638; On the entire subject of negotiations with the Indians
of Kansas, see Abel, _Indian Reservations in Kansas and the
Extinguishment of Their Titles_. The house-building project is
fully narrated there.]

[Footnote 639: For additional information about Stevens, see _Daily
Conservative_, February 11, 12, 13, 28, 1862. Senator Lane
denounced him as a defaulter to the government in the house-building
project. See _Lane_ to Dole, April 22, 1862; Smith to Dole, May
13 1862; Dole to Lane, May 5, 1862, _Daily Conservative_, May 21,
1862. In July, Lane, hearing that certificates of indebtedness were
about to be issued to Stevens on his building contract for the
Sacs and Foxes, entered a "solemn protest against such action" and
requested that the Department would let the matter lie over until the
assembling of Congress [Interior Department, _Register of Letters
Received_, January 2, 1862 to December 27, 1865, "Indians," no. 4].
Governor Robinson's enemies regarded him as the partner of Stevens
[_Daily Conservative_, November 22, 1861] in the matter of some
other affairs, and that fact may help to explain Senator Lane's bitter
animosity. The names of Robinson and Stevens were connected in the
bond difficulty, which lay at the bottom of Robinson's impeachment.]

[Footnote 640: Dickey's interest in the house-building is seen in
the following: Dickey to Greenwood, February 26, 1861, Indian Office
General Files, _Kansas_, 1855-1862, D250; same to same, March 1,
1861, Ibid., D 251.]

[Footnote 641: Stevens to Mix, August 24, 1861, Indian Office Special
Files, no. 201, _Sac and Fox_, S439 of 1861.]

policy. His conclusions were right, his premises, necessarily
unrevealed, were false. Wattles became involved in the emigration
movement, if he did not initiate it, and, subsequent to making his
report upon the house-building, received a private communication from
Dole, asking his opinion "of a plan for confederating the various
Indian tribes, in Kansas and Nebraska, into one, and giving them
a Territory and a Territorial Government with political
privileges."[642] This was in 1861, long before any scheme that Lane
or Pomeroy had devised would have matured. Wattles started upon a tour
of observation and inquiry among the Kansas tribes and discovered
that, with few exceptions, they were all willing and even anxious to
exchange their present homes for homes in Indian Territory. Some had
already discussed the matter tentatively and on their own account
with the Creeks and Cherokees. On his way east, after completing his
investigations, Wattles stopped in New York and "consulted with our
political friends" there "concerning this movement, and they not only
gave it their approbation, but were anxious that this administration
should have the credit of originating and carrying out so wise and so
noble a scheme for civilizing and perpetuating the Indian race."
Would Wattles and his friends have said the same had they been fully
cognizant of the conditions under which the emigrant tribes had been
placed in the West?

In February of 1862, the House of Representatives called[643] for the
papers relating to the Wattles mission[644] and, in March, Wattles
expatiated upon the

[Footnote 642: Wattles to Dole, January 10, 1862, Indian Office
Special Files, no. 201, _Central Superintendency_, W 528 of

[Footnote 643: Department of the Interior, _Register of Letters
Received_, "Indians," no. 4, p. 439.]

[Footnote 644: The papers relating to the mission are collected in
Indian Office Special Files, no. 201.]

emigration and consolidation scheme in a report to Secretary
Smith.[645] Then, yet in advance of congressional authorization, began
a systematic course of Indian negotiation, all having in view the
relieving of Kansas from her aboriginal encumbrance. No means were too
underhand, too far-fetched, too villainous to be resorted to. Every
advantage was taken of the Indian's predicament, of his pitiful
weakness, political and moral. The reputed treason of the southern
tribes was made the most of. Reconstruction measures had begun for the
Indians before the war was over and while its issue was very far from
being determined in favor of the North.

As if urged thereto by some influence malign or fate sinister, the
loyal portion of two of the southern tribes, the Creeks and the
Seminoles, took in April, 1862, a certain action that, all unbeknown
to them, expedited the northern schemes for Indian undoing. The action
referred to was tribal reoerganization. Each of the two groups of
refugees elected chiefs and headmen and notified the United States
government that it was prepared to do business as a nation.[646] The
business in mind had to do with annuity payments[647] and other dues
but the Indian Office soon extended it to include treaty-making.

[Footnote 645: Indian Office Consolidated Files, _Central
Superintendency_, W 528 of 1862; Department of the Interior,
_Register of Letters Received_, "Indians," no. 4, p. 517.]

[Footnote 646: Ok-ta-ha-ras Harjo and others to Dole, April 5, 1862,
Indian Office General Files, _Creek_, 1860-1869, O 45; Coffin to
Dole, April 15, 1862, transmitting communication of Billy Bowlegs
and others, April 14, 1862 ibid., _Seminole_, 1858-1869, C1594;
_Letters Registered_, vol. 58.]

[Footnote 647: On the outside of the Seminole petition, the office
instruction for its answer of May 7, 1862, reads as follows: "Say that
by resolution of Congress the annuities were authorized to be used to
prevent starvation and suffering amongst them and that being the only
fund in our hands must not be diverted from that purpose at present."]

Negotiations with the Osages had been going on intermittently all this
time. No opportunity to press the point of a land cession had ever
been neglected and much had been made, in connection with the project
for territorial organization, of the fact that the Osages had
memorialized Congress for a civil government, they thinking by means
of it to prevent further frauds and impositions being practiced upon
them.[648] Coffin and Elder, suspicious of each other, jealously
watched every avenue of approach to Osage confidence. On the ninth of
March, Elder inquired if Coffin had been regularly commissioned to
open up negotiations anew and asked to be associated with him if he
had.[649] A treaty was started but not finished for Elder received a
private letter from Dole that seemed to confine the negotiations to
a mere ascertaining of views.[650] Then the Indians grown weary of
uncertainty took matters into their own hands and appointed several
prominent tribesmen for the express purpose of negotiating a treaty
that would end the "suspense as to their future destiny."[651] From
the treaty of cession that Coffin drafted, he having taken a miserably
unfair advantage of Osage isolation and destitution, the Osages turned
away in disgust.[652] In November, some of their leading men journeyed
up to Leroy to invite the dissatisfied Opoeth-le-yo-ho-la to winter
with them.[653] Coffin seized the occasion to reopen the subject of a
cession and the Indians manifested

[Footnote 648: Indian Office Consolidated Files, _Neosho_, A
476 of 1862. See also Indian Office report to the Secretary of the
Interior, May 6, 1862. The Commissioner's letter and the memorial were
sent to Aldrich, May 9, 1862.]

[Footnote 649: Indian Office Consolidated Files, _Neosho_, E 94.
of 1862.]

[Footnote 650: Coffin to Dole, April 5, 1862, Ibid., C 1583.]

[Footnote 651: Communication of April 10, 1862, transmitted by Chapman
to Dole, Ibid., C 1640.]

[Footnote 652: Elder to Coffin, July 9, 1862, Ibid., E 114.]

[Footnote 653: Coffin to Dole, November 16, 1862, Ibid., C

a willingness to sell a part of their Reserve; but again Coffin was
too grasping and another season of waiting intervened.

With slightly better success the Kickapoos were approached. Their
lands were coveted by the Atchison and Pike's Peak Railway Company
and Agent O.B. Keith used his good offices in the interest of that
corporation.[654] Good offices they were, from the standpoint of
benefit to the grantees, but most disreputable from that of the
grantors. He bribed the chiefs outrageously and the lesser men
among the Kickapoos indignantly protested.[655] Rival political and
capitalistic concerns, emanating from St. Joseph, Missouri, and from
the northern tier of counties in Kansas,[656] took up the quarrel and
never rested until they had forced a hearing from the government. The
treaty was arrested after it had reached the presidential proclamation
stage and was in serious danger of complete invalidation.[657] It
passed muster only when a Senate amendment had rendered it reasonably
acceptable to the Kickapoos.

Not much headway was made with Indian treaty-making in 1862.[658] In
March, 1863, an element

[Footnote 654: Indian Office Consolidated Files, _Kickapoo_, I
655 of 1862 and I 361 of 1864.]

[Footnote 655:--Ibid., B 355 of 1863 and I 361 of 1864.]

[Footnote 656: Albert W. Horton to Pomeroy, June 20, 1863 and O.B.
Keith to Pomeroy, June 20, 1863, Indian Office Consolidated Files,
_Kickapoo_, G 59 and P 64 of 1863.]

[Footnote 657: Lane and A.C. Wilder requested the Interior Department,
September 1, 1863, "that no rights be permitted to attach to R.R.
Co. until charges of fraud in connection with Kickapoo Treaty are
settled." Their request was replied to, September 12, 1863 [Interior
Department, _Register of Letters Received_, January 2, 1862 to
December 27, 1865, "Indians," no. 4, 361].]

[Footnote 658: Dole, however, seems to have become thoroughly
reconciled to the idea. He submitted his views upon the subject once
more in connection with a memorial that Pomeroy referred to the
Secretary of the Interior "for the concentration of the Indian tribes
of the West and especially those of Kansas, in the Indian country ...
" [Dole to Smith, November 22, 1862, Indian Office _Report Book_,
no. 12, pp. 505-506; Department of the Interior, _Register of
Letters Received_, vol. D, November 22, 1862]. (cont.)]

conditioning a greater degree of success was introduced into the
government policy.[659] That was by the Indian appropriation act,
which, in addition to continuing the practice of applying tribal
annuities to the relief of refugees, authorized the president to
negotiate with Kansas tribes for their removal from Kansas and with
the loyal portion of Indian Territory tribes for cessions of land
on which to accommodate them.[660] As Dole pertinently remarked to
Secretary Usher, the measure was all very well as a policy in prospect
but it was one that most certainly could not be carried out until
Indian Territory was in Federal possession. Blunt was still striving
after possession or re-possession but his force was not "sufficient to
insure beyond peradventure his success."[661]

Scarcely had the law been enacted when John Ross and other Cherokees,
living in exile and in affluence, offered to consider proposals for
a retrocession to the United States public domain of their Neutral
Lands. The Indian Office was not yet prepared to treat and not until
November did Ross and his associates[662] get any

[Footnote 658: (cont.) December 26, 1862, Dole wrote to Smith thus:
"... It being in contemplation to extinguish the Indian title to lands
... in Kansas and provide them with homes in the Indian Territory ...
I would recommend that a commissioner should be appointed to negotiate
... I would accordingly suggest that Robt. S. Corwin be appointed ..."
[Indian Office _Report Book_, no. 13, pp. 12-13]. Now Corwin's
reputation was not such as would warrant his selection for the post.
He was not a man of strict integrity. His name is connected with many
shady transactions in the early history of Kansas.]

[Footnote 659: Presumably, Lane was the chief promoter of it. See
Baptiste Peoria to Dole, February 9, 1863, Indian Office General
Files, _Osage River_, 1863-1867.]

[Footnote 660: _U.S. Statutes at Large_, vol. xii, 793.]

[Footnote 661: Dole to Usher, July 29, 1863, Indian Office _Report
Book_, no. 13, p. 211.]

[Footnote 662: His associates were then the three men, Lewis Downing,
James McDaniel, and Evan Jones, who had been appointed delegates with
him, (cont.)]

real encouragement[663] to renew their offer, yet the Cherokees had
as early as February repudiated their alliance with the southern
Confederacy. That the United States government was only awaiting a
time most propitious for itself is evident from the fact that, when,
in the spring following, refugees from the Neutral Lands were given
an opportunity to begin their backward trek, they were told that they
would not be permitted to linger at their old homes but would have to
go on all the way to Fort Gibson, one hundred twenty miles farther
south.[664] That was one way of ridding Kansas of her Indians and a
way not very creditable to a professed and powerful guardian.

Almost simultaneously with Ross's first application came an offer from
the oppressed Delawares to look for a new home in the far west, in
Washington Territory. The majority preferred to go to the Cherokee
country.[665] Some of the tribe had already lived there and wanted to
return. Had the minority gained their point, the Delawares would have
traversed the whole continent within the space of about two and a half
centuries. They would have wandered from the Atlantic to the Pacific,
from the Susquehanna River to the Willamette, in a desperate effort to
escape the avaricious pioneer, and, to their own chagrin, they would
have found him on the western coast also. Never again would there be
any place for them free from his influence.

In the summer of 1863, negotiations were undertaken

[Footnote 662: (cont.) by the newly-constructed national council, for
doing business with the United States government [Commissioner of
Indian Affairs, _Report_, 1863, p. 23].]

[Footnote 663: See Office letter of November 19, 1863.]

[Footnote 664: David M. Harlan to Dole, December 20, 1864, Indian
Office General Files, Cherokee 1859-1865, H 1033.]

[Footnote 665: Johnson to Dole, May 24, 1863, ibid., _Delaware_,

in deadly earnest. A commencement was made with the Creeks in May,
Agent Cutler calling the chiefs in council and laying before them
the draft of a treaty that had been prepared, upon the advice
of Coffin,[666] in Washington and that had been entrusted for
transmission to the unscrupulous ex-agent, Perry Fuller.[667] The
Creek chiefs consented to sell a tract of land for locating other
Indians upon, but declared themselves opposed to any plan for
"sectionizing" their country and asked that they might be consulted as
to the Indians who were to share it with them. The month before they
had prayed to be allowed to go back home. Well fed and clothed though
they were, and quite satisfied with their agent, they were terribly
homesick.[668] Might they not go down and clean out their country for
themselves? It seemed impossible for the army to do it.[669]

Coffin next came forward with a suggestion that Indian colonization in
Texas would be far preferable to colonization elsewhere, although if
nothing better could be done, he would advocate the selection of the
Osage land on the Arkansas and its tributaries.[670] Why he wanted to
steer clear of the Indian Territory is not

[Footnote 666: "... I would most respectfully suggest that a Treaty be
gotten up by you and the Sec. of the Interior, and sent to me and Gov.
Carney and some other suitable com. to have ratified in due form and
returned. And you will pardon me for saying that the Treaty should
be a model for all that are to follow with the broken and greatly
reduced, and fragmental tribes in the Indian Territory, and may
be made greatly to promote the interests of the Indians and the
Government especially in view of the removal of the Indians
from Kansas and Nebraska as contemplated by recent Act of
Congress."--COFFIN to Dole, March 22, 1863, Ibid., Land Files,
_Southern Superintendency_, 1855-1870, C 117.]

[Footnote 667: Cutler to Dole, May, 1863, Ibid., General Files,
_Creek_, 1860-1869, C 240.]

[Footnote 668: Ok-ta-ha-ras Harjo and others to "Our Father," April 1,
1863, (Indian Office General Files, _Creek_, 1860-1869).]

[Footnote 669: Same to same, May 16, 1863, Ibid., O 6.]

[Footnote 670: Coffin to Dole, May 23, 1863, Ibid., Land Files,
_Southern Superintendency_, 1855-1870.]

evident. The Pottawatomies[671] asked to be allowed to settle on the
Creek land,[672] but the Creeks were letting their treaty hang fire.
They wanted it made in Washington, D.C., and they wanted one of their
great men, Mik-ko-hut-kah, then with the army, to assist in its
negotiation.[673] Opoeth-le-yo-ho-la had died in the spring[674] and
they were seemingly feeling a little helpless and forlorn.

Thinking to make better progress with the treaties and better terms
if he himself controlled the government end of the negotiations,
Commissioner Dole undertook a trip west in the late summer.[675] By
the third of September the Creek treaty was an accomplished fact.[676]
Aside from the cession of land for the accommodation of Indian
emigrants, its most important provision was a recognition of the
binding force of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. In due course,
the treaty went to the Senate and, in March, was accepted by that body
with amendments.[677] It went back to the

[Footnote 671: A treaty had been made with the Pottawatomies by W.W.
Ross, their agent, November 15, 1861 [ibid., _Pottawatomie_,
I 547 of 1862]. Its negotiation was so permeated by fraud that the
Indians refused to let it stand [Dole to Smith, January 15, 1862].
At this time, 1863, Superintendent Branch, against whom charges of
gambling, drunkenness, licentiousness, and misuse of annuity funds
had been preferred by Agent Ross [Indian Office General Files,
_Pottawatomie_, R 21 and 143 of 1863], was endeavoring to
persuade Father De Smet to establish a Roman Catholic Mission on their
Reserve. De Smet declined because of the exigencies of the war. His
letter of January 5, 1863, has no file mark.]

[Footnote 672: Cutler to Dole, June 6, 1863, Indian Office General
Files, _Creek_, 1860-1869.]

[Footnote 673:--Ibid.]

[Footnote 674: Coffin to Dole, March 22, 1863.]

[Footnote 675: Proctor's letter of July 31, 1863 would indicate that
Dole went to the Cherokee Agency before the Sac and Fox. Proctor was
writing from the former place and he said, "Mr. Dole leaves to-day
for Kansas ..." [Indian Office General Files, _Southern
Superintendency_, 1863-1864, C 466].]

[Footnote 676: Indian Office Land Files, _Treaties_, Box 3,

[Footnote 677: Usher to Dole, March 23, 1864, Ibid.,]

Indians but they rejected it altogether.[678] The Senate amendments
were not such as they could conscientiously and honorably submit
to and maintain their dignity as a preeminently loyal and
semi-independent people.[679] One of the amendments was particularly
obnoxious. It affected the provision that deprived the southern Creeks
of all claims upon the old home.[680] Dole's Creek treaty of 1863 was
never ratified.

Other treaties negotiated by Dole were with the Sacs and Foxes of
Mississippi,[681] the Osages, the Shawnees,[682]

[Footnote 678: Its binding force upon them was, however, a subject
of discussion afterwards and for many years [Superintendent Byers
to Lewis V. Bogy, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, February 7, 1867,
Ibid., General Files, _Creek_, 1860-1869, B 94].]

[Footnote 679: For an interpretation of the treaty relative to the
claims of the loyal Creeks, see Dole to Lane, January 27, 1864
[ibid., _Report Book_, no. 13, pp. 287-291]. It is interesting to
note that a certain Mundy Durant who had been sixty years in the Creek
Nation, put in a claim, February 23, 1864, in behalf of the "loyal
Africans." He asked "that they have guaranteed to them equal rights
with the Indians ..." "All of our boys," said he, "are in the army and
I feel they should be remembered ..." [Ibid., General Files,
_Creek_, 1860-1869, D 362].]

[Footnote 680: Article IV. Both the Creeks and the Seminoles, in
apprising the Indian Office of the fact that they had organized as a
nation, had voiced the idea that the southern Indians had forfeited
all their rights "to any part of the property or annuities ..."]

[Footnote 681: The Sacs and Foxes brought forward a claim against
the southern refugees, for the "rent of 204 buildings," amounting to
$14,688.00 [Indian Office Land Files, _Southern Superintendency_,
1855-1870, Letter of May 14, 1864. See also Dole to Usher, March 25,
1865, Ibid., also I 952, C 1264, and C 1298, Ibid.,].
Coffin thought the best way to settle their claim was to give them a
part of the Creek cession [Coffin to Martin, May 23, 1864, and Martin
to Dole, May 26, 1864, Ibid., General Files, _Sac and
Fox_, 1862-1866, M 284]. The Sac and Fox chiefs were willing to
submit the case to the arbitrament of Judge James Steele. Martin was
of the opinion that should their treaty, then pending, fail it would
be some time before they would consent to make another. This treaty
had been obtained with difficulty, only by Dole's "extraordinary
exertions with the tribe" [Martin to Dole, May 2, 1864, Ibid.,
M 270].]

[Footnote 682: Negotiations with the Shawnees had been undertaken in
1862. In June, Black Bob, the chief of the Shawnees on the Big Blue
Reserve in Johnson County, Kansas, protested against a treaty then
before Congress. He claimed it was a fraud (cont.)]

and the New York Indians. He attempted one with the Kaws but
failed.[683] The Osages, who had

[Footnote 682: (cont.) [Telegram, A.H. Baldwin to Dole, June 4, 1862,
ibid., _Shawnee_, 1855-1862, B 1340 of 1862], which was the red
man's usual appraisement of the white man's dealings. A rough draft
of another treaty seems to have been sent to Agent Abbott for the
Shawnees on July 18 and another, substantially the same, December 29.
One of the matters that called for adjustment was the Shawnee contract
with the Methodist Episcopal Church South, Dole affirming that "as the
principal members of that corporation, and those who control it are
now in rebellion against the U.S. Government, the said contract is
to be regarded as terminated...." [Indian Office Land Files,
_Shawnee_, 1860-1865, I 865]. Usher's letter to Dole of December
27, 1862 was the basis of the instruction. Dole's negotiations of 1863
were impeached as were all the previous, Black Bob and Paschal Fish,
the first and second chiefs of the Chillicothe Band of Shawnees,
leading the opposition. Agent Abbott was charged with using
questionable means for obtaining Indian approval [Ibid.,
General Files, _Shawnee_, 1863-1875]. Conditions at the Shawnee
Agency had been in a bad state for a long time, since before the
war. Guerrilla attacks and threatened attacks had greatly disturbed
domestic politics. They had interfered with the regular tribal

"Last fall (1862), owing to the constant disturbance on the border of
Mo., the election was postponed from time to time, until the 12th of
January. Olathe had been sacked, Shawnee had been burned, and the
members of the Black Bob settlement had been robbed and driven from
their homes, and it had not been considered safe for any considerable
number to congregate together from the fact that the Shawnees usually
all come on horseback, and the bushwhackers having ample means to know
what was going on, would take the opportunity to make a dash among
them, and secure their horses.

"De Soto was designated as the place to hold the election it being
some twenty miles from the border ..."--Abbott to Dole, April 6, 1863,
Ibid., Land Files, _Shawnee_, 1860-1865, A 158. In the
summer, the Shawnees made preparations for seeking a new home. Their
confidence in Abbott must have been by that time somewhat restored,
since the prospecting delegation invited him to join it [ibid.,
_Shawnee_, A 755 of 1864]. A chief source of grievance against him
and cause for distrust of him had reference to certain depredation
claims of the Shawnees [Ibid., General Files, _Shawnee_,
1855-1862, I 801].]

[Footnote 683: The Kaw lands had been greatly depredated upon and
encroached upon [Ibid., Land Files, _Kansas_, 1862]. Dole
anticipated that troubles were likely to ensue at any moment. He,
therefore, desired to put the Kaws upon the Cherokee land just as soon
as it was out of danger [Dole to H.W. Farnsworth, October 24, 1863,
ibid., _Letter Book_, no. 72, p. 57]. Jeremiah Hadley, the agent
for a contemplated Mission School among the Kaws, was much exercised
as to how a removal might affect his contract and work. See his letter
to Dole, November 17, 1863.

An abortive treaty was likewise made with the Wyandots, whom Dole

recently[684] so generously consented to receive the unwelcome

[Footnote 683: (cont.) designed to place upon the Seneca-Shawnee
lands. Both the Wyandots and the Seneca-Shawnees objected to the
ratification of the treaty [Coffin to Dole, January 28, 1864, Indian
Office Consolidated Files, _Neosho_, C 639 of 1864].]

[Footnote 684: They had recently done another thing that, at the time
of occurrence, the Federals in Kansas deemed highly commendable. They
had murderously attacked a group of Confederate recruiting officers,
whom they had overtaken or waylaid on the plains. The following
contemporary documents, when taken in connection with Britton's
account [_Civil War on the Border_, vol. ii, 228], W.L. Bartles's
address [Kansas Historical Society, _Collections_, vol. viii,
62-66], and Elder's letter to Blunt, May 17, 1863, _Official
Records_, vol. xxii, part ii, 286, amply describe the affair:


"I have just returned to this place from the Grand Council of the
Great and Little Osage Indians. I found them feeling decidedly fine
over their recent success in destroying a band of nineteen rebels
attempting to pass through their country. A band of the Little Osages
met them first and demanded their arms and that they should go with
them to Humboldt (as we instructed them to do at the Council at
Belmont). The rebels refused and shot one of the Osages dead. The
Osages then fired on them. They ran and a running fight was kept up
for some 15 miles. The rebel guide was killed early in the action.
After crossing Lightning Creek, the rebels turned up the creek toward
the camp of the Big Hill Camp. The Little Osages had sent a runner
to aprise the Big Hills of the presence of the rebels and they were
coming down the creek 400 strong, and met the rebels, drove them to
the creek and surrounded them. The rebels displayed a white flag but
the Indians disregarded it. They killed all of them as they supposed;
but afterwards learned that two of them, badly wounded, got down a
steep bank of the creek and made their escape down the creek. They
scalped them all and cut their heads off. They killed 4 of their
horses (which the Indians greatly regretted) and captured 13, about 50
revolvers, most of the rebels having 4 revolvers, a carbine and
saber. There were 3 colonels, one lieutenant-colonel, one major and 4
captains. They had full authority to organise enroll and muster into
rebel service all the rebels in Colorado and New Mexico where they
were doubtless bound. Major Dowdney [Doudna] in command of troops at
Humboldt went down with a detachment and buried them and secured the
papers, letting the Indians keep all the horses, arms, etc. I have no
doubt that this will afford more protection to the frontiers of Kansas
than anything that has yet been done and from the frequency and
boldness of the raids recently something of the kind was very much
needed. The Indians are very much elated over it. I gave them all
the encouragement I could, distributed between two and three hundred
dollars worth of goods amongst them. There was a representative at the
Council from the Osages that have gone South, many of them now in the
army. He stated that they were all now very anxious to get back, and
wished to know if they should meet the loyal Osages on the hunt on the
Plains and come in with them if they could be suffered to stay. I gave
him a letter to them promising them if they returned immediately and

refugees on the Ottawa Reserve,[685] were distinctly overreached by
the government representatives, working in the interest of corporate
wealth. In August, the chief men of the Osages had gone up to the Sac
and Fox Agency to confer with Dole,[686] but Dole was being

[Footnote 684: (cont.) joined their loyal brethren in protecting the
frontiers, running down Bushwhackers, and ridding the country of
rebels, they should be protected. I advised them to come immediately
to Humboldt and report to Major Dowdney and he would furnish them
powder and lead to go on the hunt. This seemed to give great
satisfaction to all the chiefs as they are exceedingly desirous to
have them back and the representative started immediately back with
the letter, and the Indians as well as the Fathers of the Mission have
no doubt but they will return. If so, it will very materially weaken
the rebel force now sorely pressing Col. Phillips' command at Fort

"The Osages are now very desirous to make a treaty are willing to sell
25 miles in width by 50 off the east end of their reservation and 20
miles wide off the north side, but I will write more fully of this
in a day or two."--COFFIN to Dole, June 10, 1863, Indian Office
Consolidated Files, _Neosho_, C 299 of 1863.


"It will be remembered that sometime in the month of May last a party
consisting of nineteen rebel officers duly commissioned and authorised
to organise the Indians and what rebels they might find in Colorado
and New Mexico against the Government of the United States while
passing through the country of the Great and Little Osages were
attacked and the whole party slaughtered by these Indians. As an
encouragement to those Indians to continue their friendship and
loyalty to our Government, I would respectfully recommend that medals
be given to the Head Chief of the combined tribes, White Hair, and the
Head Chief of the Little Bear and the chiefs of the Big Hill bands,
Clarimore and Beaver, four in all who were chiefly instrumental in the
destruction of those emissaries.

"I believe the bestowal of the medals would be a well deserved
acknowledgment to those chiefs for an important service rendered and
promotive of good."--COFFIN to Dole, Indian Office Consolidated Files,
_Neosho_. C 596.]

[Footnote 685: Coffin to Dole, July 13, 1863, Ibid., General
Files, _Southern Superintendency_, 1863-1864. Coffin had been
directed, by an office letter of June 24 to have the refugees removed.
See also, Dole to Hutchinson, June 24, 1863, ibid., _Letter
Book_, no. 71, p. 69. Other primary sources bearing upon this
matter are, Hutchinson to ?, June 11, 1863, ibid., _Ottawa_,
1863-1873, H 230; Elder to Dole, August 10, 1863, _Neosho_, E 22
of 1863; Hutchinson to Dole, August 21, 1863, _Ottawa_, D 236 of
1863; Mix to Elder, September 11, 1863, ibid., _Letter Book_, no.
71, p. 383.]

[Footnote 686: "About 100 of the Osages with their Chiefs and headmen
visited the Sac and Fox agency to meet me on the 20th to Council and
probably make a treaty to dispose of a part of their reserve. I was
detained with the Delawares and Quantrels raid upon Lawrence and did
not reach the reserve (cont.)]

unavoidably detained by the Delawares and by Quantrill's raid upon
Lawrence,[687] so, becoming impatient, they left. The commissioner
followed them to Leroy and before the month was out, he was able to
report a treaty as made.[688] It was apparently done over-night and

[Footnote 686: (cont.) until the 25th and found the Osages had left
that day for their homes. I followed them to this place [Leroy] 40
miles south of the Sac and Fox agency and have been in Council with
them for two days. I have some doubt about succeeding in a treaty as
the Indians do not understand parting with their lands in trust. I
could purchase all we want at present for not exceeding 25 cts pr acre
but doubt whether the Senate would ratify such a purchase--as they
have adopted the Homestead policy with the Gov't lands and would not
wish to purchase of the Indians to give to the whites. I propose to
purchase 25 miles by 40 in the S.E. corner of their reserve @ 5 pr.
ct making a dividend of 10,000 annually. I have two reasons for this
purchase. 1st I want the land for other Kansas tribes and 2nd The
Indians are paupers now and must have this much money any way or
starve. Then I propose to take in trust the north half of their
reserve--to be sold for their benefit as the Sac and Fox and other
tribes dispose of their lands. To this last the Indians object they
want to sell outright and I may fail in consequence. We shall not
differ much about the details--if we can agree on the main points--I
shall know to-day--

"From here I return to the Sac and Fox agency where I have some hopes
of making a treaty with them or at least agree upon the main points so
soon as they can be provided with another home--The fact that we have
failed to drive the traitors out of the Indian Country interfers very
much with my operations here--from the Sac and Fox Reserve I may go to
the Pottawatamies but rather expect that I will return to Leavenworth
where I shall again council with the Delawares and from there go to
the Kickapoos--Senator Pomeroy is here with me and will probably
remain with me--Judge Johnston is also with me and assisting me as
Clerk since Mr. Whiting left. This is not considered as a very safe
country as Bush Whackers are plenty and bold--You may show this to Sec
Usher--"--Indian Office Consolidated Files, _Neosho_, D 195 of

[Footnote 687: Connelley, _Quantrill and the Border Wars_,

[Footnote 688: "I arrived here last night from Leroy, after having
succeeded in effecting a treaty with the Osage Indians by which the
Govt. obtain of them by purchase thirty miles in extent off the East
end of their reserve (at a cost of 300,000$ to remain on interest
_forever_ at _5 pr ct_--which gives them an annuity of
15000$ annually)--They also cede to the U.S. _in trust_ twenty
miles off the North side of the Bal. of their reserve the full extent
east and west--to be disposed of as the Sec. Int. shall direct for
their benefit--with the usual reserves to half breeds--provision for
schools etc.--I have been all this afternoon in Council with the
Delewares who have to the No. of 30 or 40 followed me out here for the
purpose of again talking over (cont.)]

it was not a conclusive thing; for, in October, the Osage chiefs were
still making propositions[689] and

[Footnote 688: (cont.) the proposed treaty with them. They had trouble
after I left them at Leavenworth, but our council today has done good
and they have just left for home with the agreement to call a council
and send a delegation to the Cherokees to look up a new home--When
will Jno. Ross leave for his people. I wish he could be there when the
Delaware delegation goes down--as I am exceedingly anxious that they
get a home of the Cherokees.

"I think there is but little doubt but I shall make a treaty with the
Sac and Foxes as they say they are _satisfied_ to remove to a
part of the Land I have purchased of the Osages--on the line next the
Cherokees--I can make a treaty with the Creeks and may do so but I
think I will make it _conditional_ upon the signatures of some of
the Chiefs now in the army--Those here are very anxious to treat and
sell us a large tract of the country The trouble with the Southern
Indians is their claims for losses by the war I will have to put in
a clause of some kind to satisfy them on that subject--That they are
entitled to it I have no doubt--but what view Congress will take
of it--or the Senate in ratifying the treaty of course I cannot
tell--Some of the Wyandots are here--

"I have just closed a Council with the Sac and Foxes and have heard
many fine speeches. We meet again day after tomorrow--as tomorrow
must be appropriated to the Creeks--I think I shall have a success
here--The Sack and Foxes to the No of say two hundred have a dance out
on the green They are dressed and painted for the occasion and as it
is in honor of my visit I must go out and witness it * * * Well we
have had an extensive dance which cost me a beef and while waiting for
a Chipaway Chief who comes as I learn to complain of his agent I go on
with my Letter--The New York Indians are tolerably well represented
and I shall talk with them tonight--This is a grand jubilee amongst
the Indians here. So many tribes and parts of tribes or their Chiefs
gathered here to see the Comr. Paint and feathers are in great demand
and singing, whooping--and the Drum is constantly ringing in my
ears. I am satisfied that it is a good arrangement to have them here
together it is cheaper and better and saves much time.

"I made a great mistake that I did not bring maps of the reserves
and especially of the Indian Territory--I do the best I can from the

"I have had no mail for Eight Days as my mail is at Leavenworth. I
expect my letters day after tomorrow when I hope to have a late letter
from you as well as one from the Sec.--Will you please send Hutchinson
some money he must have funds to pay for surveying and alloting the
Ottawa reserve The survey is finished and pay demanded."

[Indian Office Consolidated Files, _Neosho_, D 198 of 1863].]

[Footnote 689: The propositions were in the form of a memorandum,
drawn up by White Hair, principal chief of the Great and Little
Osages, and Little Bear, principal chief of the Little Osages, who, in
conjunction with Charles Mograin, assistant head chief of the Great
and Little Osages, had been (cont.)]

making them after the fashion of the Creeks long before at Indian
Springs.[690] Dole had finally to be told that the rank and file of
the Osages would not allow their chiefs to confer with him except
in general council.[691] As a matter of fact, not one of the Dole
treaties could run the gauntlet of criticism and, consequently, the
whole project of treaty-making in 1862 and 1863 accomplished nothing
beneficial. It only served to complicate a situation already serious
and to forecast that when the great test should come, as come it
surely would, the government would be found wanting, lacking in
magnanimity, lacking in justice, and all too willing to sacrifice its
honor for big interests and transient causes.

[Footnote 689: (cont.) solicited by their people, when in council at
Humboldt, July 4, to proceed to Washington and interview their Great
Father [Coffin to Dole, July 16, 1863, Indian Office Consolidated
Files, _Neosho_, C 365 of 1863]. The propositions were to the
effect that the Osages would gladly sell thirty miles by twenty miles
off the southeast corner of their Reserve and one-half of the Reserve
on the north for $1,350,000, which should draw six per cent interest
until paid [Ibid., D 239 of 1863]. John Schoenmaker of the
Osage Mission was apprehensive that the Roman Catholic interests would
be disregarded as in the Potawatomi Treaty. See letter to Coffin, June

[Footnote 690: Abel, _Indian Consolidation West of the

[Footnote 691: Charles Mograin warned Dole of this.]


As with the war as a whole, so with that part of it waged on the
Arkansas frontier, the year 1863 proved critical. Its midsummer season
saw the turning-point in the respective fortunes of the North and the
South, both in the east and in the west. The beginning of 1863 was a
time for recording great depletion of resources in Indian Territory,
as elsewhere, great disorganization within Southern Indian ranks, and
much privation, suffering, and resultant dissatisfaction among the
tribes generally. The moment called for more or less sweeping changes
in western commands. Those most nearly affecting the Arkansas frontier
were the establishment of Indian Territory as a separate military
entity[692] and the detachment of western Louisiana

[Footnote 692: The establishment of a separate command for Indian
Territory was not accomplished all at once. In December, 1862, Steele
had been ordered to report to Holmes for duty and, in the first
week of January, he was given the Indian Territory post, subject to
Hindman. On or about the eighth, he assumed command [_Official
Records_, vol. xxii, part i, 28] at Fort Smith. In less than a
week thereafter, his command was separated from that of Hindman
[Ibid., part ii, 771]. The following document shows exactly
what had been the previous relation between the two:

Head Qrs. Dept. Indn. Terry.
Ft. Smith, Jan. 31st, 1863.

COLONEL: Your special No. 22, par. viii has been recd. I would
respectfully suggest that when assigned to this command by Maj. Gen'l
Hindman the command was styled in orders, "1st Div'n 1st Corps Trans.
Miss. Army." The special order referred to, it is respectfully
suggested, may be susceptible of misconstruction as there are under my
command two separate Brigades, one under the command (cont.)]

and Texas from the Trans-Mississippi Department.[693] Both were
accomplished in January and both were directly due to a somewhat tardy
realization of the vast strategic importance of the Indian country.
Unwieldy, geographically, the Trans-Mississippi Department had long
since shown itself to be. Moreover, it was no longer even passably
safe to leave the interests of Indian Territory subordinated to those
of Arkansas.[694]

The man chosen, after others, his seniors in rank, had declined the
dubious honor,[695] for the command of Indian Territory was William
Steele, brigadier-general, northern born, of southern sympathies. Thus
was ignored whatever claim Douglas H. Cooper might have been thought
to have by reason of his intimate and long acquaintance with Indian
affairs and his influence, surpassingly great, with certain of the
tribes. Cooper's unfortunate weakness, addiction to intemperance, had
stood more or less in the way of his promotion right along just as
it had decreased his military efficiency on at least one memorable
occasion and had hindered the confirmation of his appointment as
superintendent of Indian affairs in the Arkansas and Red River
constituency. In this narrative, as events are divulged, it will be
seen that the preference for Steele exasperated Cooper, who was not a
big enough man to put love of country before the gratification of his

[Footnote 692: (cont.) of Gen'l D.H. Cooper and one under command of
Col. J.W. Speight.

I am, Col., Very Res'py W. STEELE, _Brig. Gen'l_.,
Col. S.S. Anderson, A.A.G.

P.S. Please find enclosed printed Gen. Order, no. 4, which I have
assumed the responsibility of issuing on receipt of Lt. Gen'l Holmes'
order declaring my command in the Ind'n country independent.

(Sd) W. STEELE, _Brig. Gen'l_.

[A.G.O., _Confederate Records_, chap. 2, no. 270, p. 65].]

[Footnote 693: _Official Records_, vol. xxii, part ii, 771-772.]

[Footnote 694:--Ibid., 771.]

[Footnote 695:--Ibid., 843; _Confederate Records_, chap.
2, no. 270, pp. 25-27.]


ambition, consequently friction developed between him and his rival
highly detrimental to the service to which each owed his best thought,
his best endeavor.[696]

Conditions in Indian Territory, at the time Steele took command, were
conceivably the worst that could by any possibility be imagined. The
land had been stripped of its supplies, the troops were scarcely
worthy of the name.[697] Around Fort Smith, in Arkansas, things
were equally bad.[698] People were clamoring for protection against
marauders, some were wanting only the opportunity to move themselves
and their effects far away out of the reach of danger, others were
demanding that the unionists be cleaned out just as secessionists had,
in some cases, been. Confusion worse confounded prevailed. Hindman
had resorted to a system of almost wholesale furloughing to save
expense.[699] Most of the Indians had taken advantage of it and
were off duty when Steele arrived. Many had preferred to subsist at
government cost.[700] There was so little in their own homes for them
to get. Forage was practically non-existent and Steele soon had it
impressed [701] upon him that troops in the Indian Territory ought, as
Hindman had come to think months before,[702] to be all unmounted.

Although fully realizing that it was incumbent upon him to hold Fort
Smith as a sort of key to his entire command, Steele knew it would be
impossible to

[Footnote 696: It might as well be said, at the outset, that Cooper
was not the ranking officer of Steele. He claimed that he was
[_Official Records_, vol. xxii, part ii, 1037-1038]; but the
government disallowed the contention [Ibid., 1038].]

[Footnote 697:--Ibid., part i, 28; part ii, 862, 883, 909.]

[Footnote 698: _Confederate Records_, chap. 2, no. 270, pp.

[Footnote 699: _Official Records_, vol. xxii, part ii, 895, 909.]

[Footnote 700:--Ibid., part i, 30.]

[Footnote 701: _Confederate Records_, chap. 2, no. 270, p. 31.]

[Footnote 702: _Official Records_, vol. xiii, 51.]

maintain any considerable force there. He, therefore, resolved to
take big chances and to attempt to hold it with as few men as his
commissary justified, trusting that he would be shielded from attack
"by the inclemency of the season and the waters of the Arkansas."[703]
The larger portion of his army[704] was sent southward, in the
direction of Red River.[705] But lack of food and forage was, by no
manner of means, the only difficulty that confronted Steele. He was
short of guns, particularly of good guns,[706] and distressingly short
of money.[707] The soldiers had not been paid for months.

The opening of 1863 saw changes, equally momentous, in Federal
commands. Somewhat captiously, General Schofield discounted recent
achievements of Blunt and advised that Blunt's District of Kansas
should be completely disassociated from the Division of the Army of
the Frontier,[708] which he had, at Schofield's own earlier request,
been commanding. It was another instance of personal jealousy,
interstate rivalry, and local

[Footnote 703: _Official Records_, vol. xxii, part i, 30.]

[Footnote 704: Perhaps the word, _army_, is inapplicable here.
Steele himself was in doubt as to whether he was in command of an army
or of a department [_Confederate Records_, chap. 2, no. 270, p.

[Footnote 705: _Confederate Records_, chap. 2, no. 270, p. 36.
See also, Steele to Anderson, January 22, 1863 [ibid., 50-51], which
besides detailing the movements of Steele's men furnishes, on the
authority of "Mr. Thomas J. Parks of the Cherokee Nation," evidence
of brutal murders and atrocities committed by Blunt's army "whilst
on their march through the northwestern portion of this State in the
direction of Kansas."]

[Footnote 706: Crosby's telegram, February first, to the Chief of
Ordnance is sufficient attestation,

"Many of Cooper's men have inferior guns and many none at all. Can you
supply?" [Ibid., 65-66].]

[Footnote 707: The detention and the misapplication of funds by
William Quesenbury seem to have been largely responsible for Steele's
monetary embarrassment [ibid., 28, 63-64, 75, 76, 77, 79-81, 101,
147]. Cotton speculation in Texas was alluring men with ready money
southward [ibid., 94, 104].]

[Footnote 708: _Official Records_, vol. xxii, part ii, 6.]

conflict of interests.[709] So petty was Schofield and so much in a
mood for disparagement that he went the length of condemning the work
of Blunt and Herron[710] in checking Hindman's advance as but a series
of blunders and their success at Prairie Grove as but due to an
accident.[711] General Curtis, without, perhaps, having any particular
regard for the aggrieved parties himself, resented Schofield's
insinuations against their military capacity, all the more so, no
doubt, because he was not above making the same kind of criticisms
himself and was not impervious to them. In the sequel, Schofield
reorganized the divisions of his command, relieved Blunt altogether,
and personally resumed the direction of the Army of the Frontier.[712]
Blunt went back to his District of Kansas and made his headquarters at
Fort Leavenworth.

In some respects, the reorganization decided upon by Schofield proved
a consummation devoutly to be wished; for, within the reconstituted
First Division was placed an Indian Brigade, which was consigned to
the charge of a man the best fitted of all around to have it, Colonel
William A. Phillips.[713] And that was not all; inasmuch as the Indian
Brigade, consisting of the three regiments of Indian Home Guards, a
battalion of the Sixth Kansas Cavalry, and a four-gun battery that had
been captured at the Battle of Old

[Footnote 709: It seems unnecessary and inappropriate to drag into the
present narrative the political squabbles that disgraced Missouri,
Kansas, Arkansas, and Colorado during the war. Lane was against
Schofield, Gamble against Curtis.]

[Footnote 710: Yet both Blunt and Herron were, at this very time, in
line for promotion, as was Schofield, to the rank of major-general
[_Official Records_, vol. xxii, part ii, II, 95.]]

[Footnote 711:--Ibid., 6, 12, 95; _Confederate Military
History_, vol. x, 195.]

[Footnote 712:--Ibid., 22.]

[Footnote 713: Britton, _Civil War on the Border_ vol. ii,

Fort Wayne,[714] was almost immediately detached from the rest of
Schofield's First Division and assigned to discretionary "service in
the Indian Nation and on the western border of Arkansas."[715] It
continued so detached even after Schofield's command had been deprived
by Curtis of the two districts over which the brigade was to range,
the eighth and the ninth.[716] Thus, at the beginning of 1863, had the
Indian Territory in a sense come into its own. Both the Confederates
and the Federals had given it a certain measure of military autonomy
or, at all events, a certain opportunity to be considered in and for

Indian Territory as a separate military entity came altogether too
late into the reckonings of the North and the South. It was now a
devastated land, in large areas, desolate. General Curtis and many
another like him might well express regret that the red man had to be
offered up in the white man's slaughter.[717] It was unavailing regret
and would ever be. Just as with the aborigines who lay athwart the
path of empire and had to yield or be crushed so with the civilized
Indian of 1860. The contending forces of a fratricidal war had little
mercy for each other and none at all for him. Words of sympathy were
empty indeed. His fate was inevitable. He was between the upper and
the nether mill-stones and, for him, there was no escape.

Indian Territory was really in a terrible condition. Late in 1862, it
had been advertised even by southern men as lost to the Confederate
cause and had been

[Footnote 714: It is not very clear whether or not the constituents of
the Indian Brigade were all at once decided upon. They are listed as
they appear in Britton, _Civil War on the Border_, vol. ii,
3. Schofield seems to have hesitated in the matter [_Official
Records_, vol. xxii, part ii, 26].]

[Footnote 715:--Ibid., 33.]

[Footnote 716: On the subject of the reduction of Schofield's command,
see Ibid., 40.]

[Footnote 717: Curtis to Phillips, February 17, 1863, Ibid.,

practically abandoned to the jayhawker. Scouting parties of both
armies, as well as guerrillas, had preyed upon it like vultures.
Indians, outside of the ranks, were tragic figures in their utter
helplessness. They dared trust nobody. It was time the Home Guard was
being made to justify its name. Indeed, as Ellithorpe reported, "to
divert them to any other operations" than those within their own gates
"will tend to demoralize them to dissolution."[718]

The winter of 1862-1863 was a severe one. Its coming had been long
deferred; but, by the middle of January, the cold weather had set
in in real earnest. Sleet and snow and a constantly descending
thermometer made campaigning quite out of the question. Colonel
Phillips, no more than did his adversary, General Steele, gave any
thought to an immediate offensive. Like Steele his one idea was to
replenish resources and to secure an outfit for his men. They had been
provided with the half worn-out baggage train of Blunt's old division.
It was their all and would be so until their commander could
supplement it by contrivances and careful management. Incidentally,
Phillips expected to hold the line of the Arkansas River; but not to
attempt to cross it until spring should come. It behooved him to look
out for Marmaduke whose expeditions into Missouri[719] were cause for
anxiety, especially as their range might at any moment be extended.

The Indian regiments of Phillips's brigade were soon reported[720]
upon by him and declared to be in a sad state. The first regiment was
still, to all intents and purposes, a Creek force, notwithstanding
that its fortunes had been varied, its desertions, incomparable.

[Footnote 718: _Official Records_, vol. xxii, part ii, 49.]

[Footnote 719: _Confederate Military History_, vol. x, 161, 162.]

[Footnote 720: _Official Records_, vol. xxii, part ii, 56-58.]

The second regiment, after many vicissitudes, and after having gotten
rid of its unmanageable elements, notably, the Osages and the Quapaws,
had become a Cherokee and the third was largely so. That third
regiment was Phillips's own and was the only one that could claim the
distinction of being disciplined and even it was exposed occasionally
to the chronic weakness of all Indian soldiers, absence without leave.
The Indian, on his own business bent, was disposed to depart whenever
he pleased, often, too, at times most inopportune, sometimes, when he
had been given a special and particular task. He knew not the usages
of army life and really meant no offence; but, all the same, his utter
disregard of army discipline made for great disorder.

It was not the chief cause of disorder, however, for that was the
unreliability of the regimental officers. The custom, from the first,
had been to have the field officers white men, a saving grace; but the
company officers, with few exceptions, had been Indians and totally
incompetent. Strange as it may seem, drilling was almost an unknown
experience to the two regiments that had been mustered in for the
First Indian Expedition. To obviate some of the difficulties already
encountered, Phillips had seen to it that the third regiment had
profited by the mistakes of its forerunners. It had, therefore, been
supplied with white first lieutenants and white sergeants, secured
from among the non-commissioned men of other commands. The result had
fully justified the innovation. After long and careful observation,
Phillips's conclusion was that it was likely to be productive of
irretrievable disaster and consequently an unpardonable error of
judgment "to put men of poor ability in an Indian regiment." Primitive
man has an inordinate respect for a strong

character. He appreciates integrity, though he may not have it among
his own gifts of nature. "An Indian company improperly officered" will
inevitably become, to somebody's discomfiture, "a frightful mess."

If any one there was so foolish as to surmise that the independent
commands, northern and southern, would be given free scope to
solve the problems of Indian Territory, unhampered by contingent
circumstances, he was foreordained to grevious disappointment.
Indian Territory had still to subserve the interests of localities,
relatively more important. It would be so to the very end. In and for
herself, she would never be allowed to do anything and her commanders,
no matter how much they might wish it otherwise--and to their lasting
honor, be it said, many of them did--would always have to subordinate
her affairs to those of the sovereign states around her; for even
northern states were sovereign in practice where Indians were
concerned. General Steele was one of the men who endeavored nobly to
take a large view of his responsibilities to Indian Territory. Colonel
Phillips, his contemporary in the opposite camp, was another; but both
met with insuperable obstacles. The attainment of their objects was
impossible from the start. Both men were predestined to failure.

Foraging or an occasional scouting when the weather permitted was the
only order of the winter days for Federals and Confederates. With
the advent of spring, however, Phillips became impatient for
more aggressive action. He had been given a large programme, no
insignificant part of which was, the restoration of refugees to their
impoverished homes; but his first business would necessarily have to
be, the occupancy of the country. Not far was he allowed to venture

it during the winter; because his superior officers wished him to
protect, before anything else, western Arkansas. Schofield and, after
Schofield's withdrawal from the command of southwestern Missouri,
Curtis had insisted upon that, while Blunt, to whom Phillips, after a
time, was made immediately accountable, was guardedly of another way
of thinking and, although not very explicit, seemed to encourage
Phillips in planning an advance.

Phillips's inability to progress far in the matter of occupancy of
Indian Territory did not preclude his keeping a close tab on Indian
affairs therein, such a tab, in fact, as amounted to fomenting an
intrigue. It will be recalled that on the occasion of his making
the excursion into the Cherokee Nation, which had resulted in his
incendiary destruction of Fort Davis, he had gained intimations of
a rather wide-spread Indian willingness to desert the Confederate
service. He had sounded Creeks and Choctaws and had found them
surprisingly responsive to his machinations. They were nothing loath
to confess that they were thoroughly disgusted with the southern
alliance. It had netted them nothing but unutterable woe. Among
those that Phillips approached, although not personally, was Colonel
McIntosh, who communicated with Phillips through two intimate friends.
McIntosh was persuaded to attempt no immediate demonstration in favor
of the North; for that would be premature, foolhardy; but to bide the
time, which could not be far distant, when the Federal troops would be
in a position to support him.[721] The psychological moment was not
yet. Blunt called Phillips back for operations outside of Indian

[Footnote 721: _Official Records_, vol. xxii, part ii, 61-62.]

Territory; but the seed of treason had been sown and sown in fertile
soil, in the heart of a McIntosh.[722]

In January, 1863, Phillips took up again the self-imposed task of
emissary.[723] The unionist Cherokees, inclusive of those in the
Indian Brigade, were contemplating holding a national council on
Cowskin Prairie, which was virtually within the Federal lines.
Secessionist Cherokees, headed by Stand Watie, were determined that
such a council should not meet if they could possibly prevent it and
prevent it they would if they could only get a footing north of the
Arkansas River. Their suspicion was, that the council, if assembled,
would declare the treaty with the Confederate States abrogated. To
circumvent Stand Watie, to conciliate some of the Cherokees by making
reparation for past outrages, and to sow discord among others,
Phillips despatched Lieutenant-colonel Lewis Downing on a scout
southward. He was just in time; for the Confederates were on the
brink of hazarding a crossing at two places, Webber's Falls and Fort
Gibson.[724] Upon the return of Downing, Phillips himself moved across
the border with the avowed intention of rendering military support,
if needed, to the Cherokee Council, which convened on the fourth of
February.[725] From Camp Ross, he continued to send out scouting
parties, secret agents,[726] and agents of distribution.

The Cherokee Council assembled without the preliminary formality of a
new election. War conditions

[Footnote 722: This remark would be especially applicable if the
Colonel McIntosh, mentioned by Phillips, was Chilly, the son of
William McIntosh of Indian Springs Treaty notoriety.]

[Footnote 723: _Official Records_, vol. xxii, part ii, 100.]

[Footnote 724:--Ibid., 85.]

[Footnote 725:--Ibid., 96-97.]

[Footnote 726:--Ibid., 100, 108.]

had made regular pollings impossible. Consequently, the council that
convened in February, 1863 was, to all intents and purposes, the
selfsame body that, in October, 1861, had confirmed the alliance with
the Confederate States. It was Phillips's intention to stand by, with
military arm upraised, until the earlier action had been rescinded.
While he waited, word came that the harvest of defection among the
Creeks had begun; for "a long line of persons"[727] was toiling
through the snow, each wearing the white badge on his hat that
Phillips and McIntosh had agreed should be their sign of fellowship.
Then came an order for Phillips to draw back within supporting
distance of Fayetteville, which, it was believed, the Confederates
were again threatening.[728] Phillips obeyed, as perforce, he had to;
but he left a detachment behind to continue guarding the Cherokee

The legislative work of the Cherokee Council, partisan body that it
was, with Lewis Downing as its presiding officer and Thomas Pegg as
acting Principal Chief, was reactionary, yet epochal. It comprised
several measures and three of transcendant importance, passed between
the eighteenth and the twenty-first:

1. An act revoking the alliance with the Confederate States and
re-asserting allegiance to the United States.

2. An act deposing all officers of any rank or character whatsoever,
inclusive of legislative, executive, judicial, who were serving in
capacities disloyal to the United States and to the Cherokee Nation.

[Footnote 727: _Official Records_, vol. xxii, part ii, 101.]

[Footnote 728:--Ibid., 111-112.]

[Footnote 729:--Ibid., 115.]

3. An act emancipating slaves throughout the Cherokee country.[730]

His detention in Arkansas was not at all to Phillips's liking. It
tried his patience sorely; for he felt the crying need of Indian
Territory for just such services as his and, try as he would, he could
not visualize that of Arkansas. Eagerly he watched for a chance to
return to the Cherokee country. One offered for the fifth of March but
had to be given up. Again and yet again in letters[731] to Curtis
and Blunt he expostulated against delay but delay could not well be
avoided. The pressure from Arkansas for assistance was too great.
Blunt sympathized with Phillips more than he dared openly admit and
tacitly sanctioned his advance. Never at any time could there
have been the slightest doubt as to the singleness of the virile
Scotchman's purpose. In imagination he saw his adopted country
repossessed of Indian Territory and of all the overland approaches to
Texas and Mexico from whence, as he supposed, the Confederacy expected
to draw her grain and other supplies. Some regard for the Indian
himself he doubtless had; but he used it as a means to the greater
end. His sense of justice was truly British in its keenness.

[Footnote 730: Ross to Dole, April 2, 1863 [Indian Office General
Files, _Cherokee_, 1859-1865, R 87]; Commissioner of Indian
Affairs, _Report_, 1863, p. 23; Britton, _Civil War on the
Border_, vol. ii, 24-25; Moore, _Rebellion Record_, vol. vi,
50; Eaton, _John Ross and the Cherokee Indians_, 196.]

[Footnote 731: Britton [_Civil War on the Border_, vol. ii, 27]
conveys the idea that, while Phillips, truly enough, wished to enter
the Indian country at the earliest day practicable, he did not care to
go there before the Indian ponies could "live on the range." He knew
that the refugees at Neosho would insist upon following in his wake.
It would be heartless to expose them to starvation and to the ravages
of diseases like the small-pox. Nevertheless, the correspondence of
Phillips, scattered through the _Official Records_, vol. xxii,
part ii, 121-367, shows conclusively that the weeks of waiting were
weary ones.]

His Indian soldiers loved him. They believed in him. He was able to
accomplish wonders in training them. He looked after their welfare and
he did his best to make the government and its agents of the Indian
Office keep faith with the refugees. Quite strenuously, too, he
advocated further enlistments from among the Indians, especially from
among those yet in Indian Territory. If the United States did not take
care, the Confederates would successfully conscript where the Federals
might easily recruit. In this matter as in many another, he had
Blunt's unwavering support; for Blunt wanted the officers of the
embryo fourth and fifth regiments to secure their commands. Blunt's
military district was none too full of men.

March was then as now the planting season in the Arkansas Valley and,
as Phillips rightly argued, if the indigent Indians were not to be
completely pauperized, they ought to be given an opportunity to be
thrown once more upon their own resources, to be returned home in time
to put in crops. When the high waters subsided and the rivers became
fordable, he grew more insistent. There was grass in the valley of the
Arkansas and soon the Confederates would be seizing the stock that
it was supporting. He had held the line of the Arkansas by means of
scouts all winter, but scouting would not be adequate much longer. The
Confederates were beginning, in imitation of the Federals, to attach
indigents to their cause by means of relief distribution and the
"cropping season was wearing on."

At the end of March, some rather unimportant changes were made by
Curtis in the district limits of his department and coincidently
Phillips moved over the border. The first of April his camp was at
Park Hill. His great desire was to seize Fort Smith; for he

realized that not much recruiting could be done among the Choctaws
while that post remained in Confederate hands. Blunt advised caution.
It would not even do to attempt as yet any permanent occupation south
of the Arkansas. Dashes at the enemy might be made, of course,
but nothing more; for at any moment those higher up might order a
retrograde movement and anyhow no additional support could be counted
upon. Halleck was still calling for men to go to Grant's assistance
and accusing Curtis of keeping too many needlessly in the West. The
Vicksburg campaign was on.

The order that Blunt anticipated finally came and Curtis called for
Phillips to return. La Rue Harrison, foraging in Arkansas,[732] was
whining for assistance. Phillips temporized, having no intention
whatsoever of abandoning his appointed goal. His arguments were
unanswerable but Curtis like Halleck could never be made to appreciate
the plighted faith that lay back of Indian participation in the war
and the strategic importance of Indian Territory. The northern Indian
regiments, pleaded Phillips, were never intended for use in Arkansas.
Why should they go there? It was doubtful if they could ever be
induced to go there again. They had been recruited to recover the
Indian Territory and now that they were within it they were going to
stay until the object had been attained. Phillips solicited Blunt's
backing and got it, to the extent, indeed, that Blunt informed Curtis
that if he wanted Indian Territory given up he must order it himself
and take the consequences. It was not given up but Phillips suffered
great embarrassments in holding it. The only support Blunt could
render him was to send a negro regiment to Baxter Springs to protect

[Footnote 732: _Confederate Military History_, vol. x, 166-168.]

trains. Guerrillas and bushwhackers were everywhere and Phillips's
command was half-starved. Smallpox[733] broke out and, as the men
became more and more emaciated, gained ground. Phillips continued to
make occasional dashes at the enemy and in a few engagements he was
more than reasonably successful. Webber's Falls was a case in point.

As May advanced, the political situation in Missouri seemed to call
loudly for a change in department commanders and President Lincoln,
quite on his own initiative apparently, selected Schofield to succeed
Curtis,[734] Curtis having identified himself with a faction opposed
to Governor Gamble. The selection was obnoxious to many and to none
more than to Herron and to Blunt, whose military exploits Schofield
had belittled. The former threatened resignation if Schofield were
appointed but the latter restrained himself and for a brief space all
went well, Schofield even manifesting some sympathy for Phillips at
Fort Gibson, or Fort Blunt, as the post, newly fortified, was now
called. He declared that the Arkansas River must be secured its
entire length; but the Vicksburg campaign was still demanding men and
Phillips had to struggle on, unaided. Indeed, he was finally told
that if he could not hold on by himself he must fall back and let
the Indian Territory take care of itself until Vicksburg should have

[Footnote 733: Britton, _Civil War on the Border_, vol. ii, 26.]

[Footnote 734: A change had been resolved upon in March, E.V. Sumner
being the man chosen; but he died on the way out [Livermore, _Story
of the Civil War_, part iii, book i, 256]. Sumner had had a wide
experience with frontier conditions, first, in the marches of the
dragoons [Pelzer, _Marches of the Dragoons in the Mississippi
Valley_] later, in New Mexico [Abel, _Official Correspondence of
James S. Calhoun_], and, still later, in ante-bellum Kansas. His
experience had been far from uniformly fortunate but he had learned a
few very necessary lessons, lessons that Schofield had yet to con.]

The inevitable clash between Schofield and Blunt was not long
deferred. It came over a trifling matter but was fraught with larger
meanings.[735] It was probably as much to get away from Schofield's
near presence as to see to things himself in Indian Territory that led
Blunt to go down in person to Fort Gibson. He arrived there on the
eleventh of July, taking Phillips entirely by surprise. Vicksburg had
fallen about a week before.

The difficulties besetting Colonel Phillips were more than matched by
those besetting General Steele. He, too, struggled on unaided, nay,
more, he was handicapped at every turn. Scarcely had he taken command
at Fort Smith when he was apprised of the fact that the chief armorer
there had been ordered to remove all the tools to Arkadelphia.[736]
Steele was hard put to it to obtain any supplies at all.[737] Many
that he did get the promise of were diverted from their course,[738]
just as were General Pike's. This was true even in the case of
shoes.[739] He tried to fit his regiments out one by one with the
things the men required in readiness for a spring campaign[740] but it
was up-hill work. And what was perfectly incomprehensible to him was,
that when his need was so great there was yet corn available for
private parties to speculate in and to realize enormous profits
on.[741] In April, the Indian regiments, assembling and reforming
in expectation of a call to action, made special demands upon his
granaries but they were

[Footnote 735: June 9, orders issued redistricting Schofield's
Department of Missouri [_Official Records_, vol. xxii, part ii,

[Footnote 736: _Confederate Records_, chap. 2, no. 270, p. 34.]

[Footnote 737: Steele to Blair, February 10, 1863, Ibid.,

[Footnote 738: Steele to Anderson, February 8, 1863, Ibid.,

[Footnote 739: Duval to Cabell, May 15, 1863, Ibid., 244-245.]

[Footnote 740: Steele to Cabell, March 19, 1863, Ibid., 148.]

[Footnote 741: Steele to Anderson, March 22, 1863, Ibid., 158.]

nearly empty.[742] It was not possible for him to furnish corn for
seed or, finally, the necessaries of life to indigent Indians. Indian
affairs complicated, his situation tremendously.[743] He could get no
funds and no

[Footnote 742: Steele to Anderson, April 3, 1863, _Confederate
Records_, 179-180.]

[Footnote 743: For instance the officers of the First Cherokee
regiment had a serious dispute as to the ranking authority among
them [Ibid., Letter from Steele, March 14, 1863, p. 143]. The
following letters indicate that there were other troubles and other
tribes in trouble also:


"Your communication of 13 Inst. is to hand. I am directed by the
Commanding Gen'l to express to you his warmest sympathy in behalf of
your oppressed people, and his desire and determination to do all
that may be in his power to correct existing evils and ameliorate the
condition of the loyal Cherokees. The Gen'l feels proud to know that a
large portion of your people, actuated by a high spirit of patriotism,
have shown themselves steadfast and unyielding in their allegiance to
our Government notwithstanding the bitter hardships and cruel ruthless
outrages to which they have been subjected.

"It is hoped that the time is not very far distant, when your people
may again proudly walk their own soil, exalted in the feeling, perhaps
with the consciousness that our cruel and cowardly foe has been
adequately punished and humiliated.

"Your communication has been ford. to Lt Gen'l Holmes with the urgent
request that immediate steps be taken to bring your people fully
within the pale of civilized warfare.

"It is hoped that there may be no delay in a matter so vitally

"We are looking daily for the arrival of Boats from below with corn,
tis the wish of the Gen'l that the necessitous Indians sh'd be
supplied from this place. Boats w'd be sent farther up the river, were
we otherwise circumstanced. As it is the Boats have necessarily to run
the gauntlet of the enemy--The Gen'l however hopes to be able to keep
the River free to navigation until a sufficient supply of corn to
carry us through the winter can be accumulated at this place.

"You will receive notice of the arrival of corn so that it may
be conveyed to the Indians needing it."--CROSBY to Stand Watie,
commanding First Cherokee Regiment, February 16, 1863, Ibid.,
pp. 91-93.


"I am directed by Gen'l Steele to say that a delegation from the
Creeks have visited him since your departure and a full discussion has
been had of such matters as they are interested in.

"They brought with them a letter from the Principal Chief Moty Kennard
asking that the Cattle taken from the refugee Creeks be turned over to
the use of the loyal people of the nation. The Gen. Com'dg has ordered
a disposition of these Cattle to be made in accordance with the wishes
of the chief. If necessary please give such instructions as will
attain this object. (cont.)]

instructions from Richmond so he dealt with the natives as best he
could.[744] Small-pox became epidemic

[Footnote 743: (cont.) No Boats yet. Will endeavor to send one up the
river should more than one arrive."--Crosby to D.H. Cooper, February
19, 1863, Ibid., p. 97.


"I enclose, herewith, a letter from the agent of the Seminoles. You
will see from that letter the danger we are in from neglecting the
wants of the Indians. I have never had one cent of money pertaining
to the Indian superintendency, nor have I received any copies of
treaties, nor anything else that would give me an insight into the
affairs of that Department. I wrote, soon after my arrival at this
place, to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs but have received
no reply. If you have any knowledge of the whereabouts of the
superintendent who has been lately appointed I hope you will urge
upon him the necessity of coming at once and attending to these
matters."--STEELE to Anderson, April 6, 1863, Ibid., 180.


"I have today received a long letter from the Chief of the Osages,
which I enclose for your perusal. Maj. Dorn came in from Texas a few
days since, and has, I understand, gone down to Little Rock on the
steamer 'Tahlequah.' It is certainly represented that a portion of
the funds in his hands is in specie. Please have the latter surely
delivered. Please return Black Dog's letter unless you wish to forward
it."--STEELE to Holmes, May 16, 1863, Ibid., 249.


"Letters, received today, indicate a great necessity for your presence
with the tribe for whom you are Agent. I wish you, therefore, to visit
them, and relieve the discontent, as far as the means in your hands
will permit. The Osage Chief, 'Black Dog,' now acting as 1st Chief,
claims that certain money has been turned over to you for certain
purposes, for which they have received nothing."--STEELE to A.J. Dorn,
May 16, 1863, Ibid., 249.]

[Footnote 744: "Your letter of May 6th, with letter of Black Dog
enclosed, has been received and the enclosure forwarded to Lieut. Gen.
Holmes for his information. The General Com'dg desires me to express
his regrets that the affairs of the Osage and Seminole tribes should
be in such a deplorable condition, but he is almost powerless, at
present, to remedy the evils you so justly complain of. He has written
again and again to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs at Richmond
requesting instructions in the discharge of his duties as ex-officio
Superintendent of Indian Affairs, but not a word has ever been
received in reply to his reiterated requests, owing probably to the
difficulty of communication between this point and the Capital. He has
also requested that funds be sent him to liquidate the just demands of
our Indian Allies, but from the same cause his requests have met with
no response. You must readily appreciate the difficulties under which
Gen. Steele necessarily labors. In fact his action is completely
paralized by the want of instructions and funds. In connection with
this he has been compelled to exert every faculty in defending the
line of the Arkansas River against an enemy, vastly his superior in
arms, numbers, artillery and everything that adds to the efficiency of
an army, and consequently has not been able to pay (cont.)]

among his men,[745] as among Phillips's--and from like causes.

Then General Steele had difficulty in getting his men and the right
kind of men together. Lawless Arkansans were unduly desirous of
joining the Indian regiments, thinking that discipline there would be
lax enough to suit their requirements.[746] Miscellaneous conscripting
by ex-officers of Arkansan troops gave much cause for annoyance[747]
as did also Cooper's unauthorized commissioning of officers to a
regiment made

[Footnote 744: (cont.) that attention to the business of the
superintendency that he would under other circumstances.

"It was stated, some time ago, in the newspapers, that a


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