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Indian Territory in 1865, August to December

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Following the unsuccessful skirmish at Perryville, the evening of August 25, Steele was "pushed rapidly down the country,"840 so observed the wary Bankhead to whom fresh orders to assist Steele had been communicated.841 Boggy Depot to the Texan commander seemed the proper place to defend842 and near there he now waited; but Steele on East Boggy, full sixty miles from Red River and from comparative safety, begged him to come forward to Middle Boggy, a battle was surely impending.843 No battle occurred, notwithstanding; for Blunt had given up the pursuit. He had come to know that not all of Steele's command was ahead of him,844 that McIntosh with the Creeks had gone west within the Creek country, the Creeks having refused to leave it,845 and that Cabell had gone east, towards Fort Smith.846 It was Fort Smith that now engaged Blunt's attention and thither he directed his steps, Colonel W.F. Cloud847 of the Second Kansas Cavalry, who, acting under orders from General McNeil,848 had cooperated with him at Perryville, being sent on in advance. Fort Smith surrendered with ease, not a blow being struck in her defence;849 but there was Cabell yet to be dealt with.

Steele's conduct, his adoption of the Fabian policy, severely criticized in some quarters, in Indian Territory, in Arkansas, in Texas, had yet been condoned and, indeed, approved850 by General Kirby Smith, the person most competent to judge fairly; because he possessed a full comprehension of the situation in Steele's command. Smith knew and others might have known that the situation had been largely created by envy, hatred, and malice, by corruption in high places, by peculation in low, by desertions in white regiments and by defection in Indian.

The Confederate government was not unaware of the increasing dissatisfaction among its Indian allies. It had innumerable sources of information, the chief of which and, perhaps, not the most reliable or the least factional, were the tribal delegates851 in Congress. Late in May, Commissioner Scott852 set out upon a tour of inspection, similar to the one he had made during the days of the Pike regime. On his way through Arkansas, he stopped at Little Rock to consult with General Holmes and to get his bearings before venturing again among the tribes; but Holmes was ill, too ill to attend to business,853 and no interview with him was likely to be deemed advisable for some time to come. Scott had, therefore, to resume his journey without instructions or advice from the district commander, not regrettable from some points of view since it enabled him to approach his difficult and delicate task with an open mind and with no preconceived notions derived from Holmes's prejudices.

Scott entered the Indian Territory in July and was at once beset with complaints and solicitations, individual and tribal. On his own account, he made not a few discoveries. On the eighth of August he reported854 to Holmes upon things that have already been considered here, defective powder, deficient artillery, and the like; but not a word did he say about the Cooper855 and Boudinot intrigues. It was too early to commit himself on matters so personal and yet so fundamental. The Indians were not so reticent. The evil influence that Cooper had over them, due largely to the fact that he professed himself to be interested in Indian Territory to the exclusion of all other parts of the country, was beginning to find expression in various communications to President Davis and others in authority. Just how far Stand Watie was privy to Cooper's schemes and in sympathy with them, it is impossible to say. Boudinot was Cooper's able coadjutor, fellow conspirator, while Boudinot and Watie were relatives and friends.

Watie's energies, especially his intellectual, were apparently being exerted in directions far removed from the realm of selfish and petty intrigue. He was a man of vision, of deep penetration likewise, and he was a patriot. Personal ambition was not his besetting sin. If he had only had real military ability and the qualities that make for discipline and for genuine leadership among men, he might have accomplished great things for Indian Territory and for the Confederacy. Almost simultaneously with the forwarding of Scott's first report to Holmes, he personally made reports856 and issued appeals,857 some of which, because of their grasp, because of their earnestness, and because of their spirit of noble self-reliance, call for very special mention. Watie's purpose in making and in issuing them was evidently nothing more and nothing less than to dispel despondency and to arouse to action.

Watie's appeal may have had the effect designed but it was an effect doomed to be counteracted almost at once. Blunt's offensive had more of menace to the Creeks and their southern neighbors than had Steele's defensive of hope. The amnesty to deserters,858 that issued under authority from Richmond on the twenty-sixth of August, even though conditional upon a return to duty, was a confession of weakness and it availed little when the Choctaws protested against the failure to supply them with arms and ammunition, proper in quality and quantity, for Smith to tell them that such things, intended to meet treaty requirements but diverted, had been lost in the fall of Vicksburg.859 Had not white men been always singularly adept at making excuses for breaking their promises to red?

In September, when everything seemed very dark for the Confederacy on the southwestern front, desperate efforts were made to rally anew the Indians.

Proposals860 from Blunt were known to have reached both the Creeks and the Choctaws and were being considered, by the one, more or less secretly and, by the other, in open council. Israel G. Vore,861 who had become the agent of the Creeks and whose influence was considerable, was called upon to neutralize the Federal advances. In a more official way, Commissioner Scott worked with the Choctaws, among whom there was still a strong element loyal to the Confederacy, loyal enough, at all events, to recruit for a new regiment to fight in its cause.

Nothing was more likely to bring reassurance to the Indians than military activity; but military activity of any account was obviously out of the question unless some combination of commands could be devised, such a combination, for example, as Magruder had in mind when he proposed that the forces of Steele, Cooper, Bankhead, and Cabell should cooperate to recover Forts Smith and Gibson, something more easily said than done. It was no sooner said than brigade transfers rendered it quite impracticable, Cabell and Bankhead both being needed to give support to Price. In charge now of the Northern Sub-district of Texas was Henry E. McCulloch. From him Steele felt he had a right to expect cooperation, since their commands were territorially in conjunction, and to consult with him he journeyed to Bonham.862

Viewed in the light of subsequent events, the journey was productive of more evil than good. With Steele absent, the command in Indian Territory devolved upon Cooper863 and Cooper employed the occasion to ingratiate himself with the Indians, to increase his influence with them, and to undermine the man who he still insisted had supplanted him. When Steele returned from Texas he noticed very evident signs of insubordination. There were times when he found it almost impossible to locate Cooper within the limits of the command or to keep in touch with him. Cooper was displaying great activity, was making plans to recover Fort Smith, and conducting himself generally in a very independent way. October had, however, brought a change in the status of Fort Smith; for General Smith had completely detached the commands of Indian Territory and Arkansas from each other.864 It was not to Holmes that Steele reported thenceforth but to Smith direct. Taken in connection with the need that soon arose, on account of the chaos in northern Texas, for McCulloch865 to become absorbed in home affairs, the separation from Arkansas left Indian Territory stranded.

Fort Smith, moreover, was about to become Blunt's headquarters and it was while he was engaged in transferring his effects from Fort Scott to that place that the massacre of Baxter Springs occurred, Blunt arriving upon the scene too late to prevent the murderous surprise having its full effect. The Baxter Springs massacre was another guerrilla outrage, perpetrated by Quantrill and his band866 who, their bloody work accomplished at the Federal outpost, passed on down through the Cherokee Nation, killing outright whatever Indians or negroes they fell in with. It was their boast that they never burdened themselves with prisoners. The gang crossed the Arkansas about eighteen miles above Fort Gibson867 and arrived at Cooper's camp on the Canadian, October twelfth.868

Scarcely had Blunt established his headquarters at Fort Smith, when political influences long hostile to him, Schofield at their head,869 had accumulated force sufficient to effect his removal. He was relieved, under Schofield's orders of October 19, and Brigadier-general John McNeil then assumed command of the District of the Frontier.870 Colonel Phillips continued in charge at Fort Gibson,871 his presence being somewhat of a reassurance to the Cherokees, who, appreciating Blunt's energetic administration, regretted his recall.872

Had the Federal Cherokees been authoritatively apprised of the real situation in the Indian Territory farther south, they need never have been anxious as to the safety of Fort Gibson. Steele's situation was peculiarly complex. As private personage and as commander he elicits commiseration. Small and incapable was his force,873 intriguing and intractable were his subordinates. Of the white force Magruder874 was doing his utmost to deprive him, and of the Indian Steele found it next to impossible to keep account. Insignificant as it was, it was yet scattered here, there, and everywhere,875 Cooper conniving at its desultory dispersion. Instead of strengthening his superior's hands, Cooper was, in fact, steadily weakening them and all for his own advancement. He disparaged Steele's work, discredited it with the Indians,876 and, whenever possible, allowed a false construction to be put upon his acts. In connection with the movements of the white troops, is a case in point to be found. Rumor had it that Bankhead's brigade, now Gano's,877 was to be called away for coast defense. Cooper knew perfectly well that such was not Steele's intention and yet he suffered the Indians to believe that it was; in order that they might with impunity charge Steele with having violated their treaty pledges.878 To nothing did they hold so rigidly as to the promise that white troops were always to support Indian.

In the role of Indian superintendent ex officio, Steele had no fewer difficulties and perplexities than in that of military chief. The feeding of indigents was a problem not easily solved, if solvable. In the absence of legislative provision, Hindman had instituted the questionable practice of furnishing relief to civilians at the cost of the army commissary and no other course had ever been deemed expedient by his successors. In July, 1863, Steele had ordered879 practically all distribution agencies to be abolished, his reason being that only refugees,880 Indians out of their own country, ought, in the season of ripened and ripening crops, to need subsistence and such subsistence, being limited in amount and derived altogether from the army supply, could be most economically handled by the regular commissaries. As winter approached and the necessity for feeding on a large scale became again pronounced, he was disposed to keep the whole matter still under army regulations so as to "avoid increasing competition."881 The army exchequer could be subsequently reimbursed when specific appropriations for Indians should be made. Supplies of clothing had naturally to be otherwise provided for and for those he contracted882 in northern Texas. Steele's whole policy with regard to the indigents was subjected to the severest criticism;883 for it was based upon the idea that to be forewarned is to be forearmed. Disappointed speculators and grafters were chief among his critics and, in spite of all his precautions, they outwitted him. Peculation appeared on every hand, white sharper's abounded, and Indians, relatively affluent, subsisted at government expense.

Another source of embarrassment was developed by the application of war measures, primarily intended for the states only, to the Indian country. Indian property was impressed884 as occasion arose. Very frequently was this the case in the matter of transportation facilities, in that also of negro labor. It was Steele's opinion that the impressment law and the grain tithe law were not operative as against the Indians885 but his necessities forced the practice, and execution by the army, under his orders, only intensified Indian opposition to him.

Indian opposition to Steele in tangible form took two directions, one of which, the advancement of Douglas H. Cooper, has already been frequently referred to. The other was the advancement of Stand Watie. During the summer, Stand Watie, as chief of the Confederate Cherokees, had authorized the formation of a Cherokee brigade,886 the object being, the dislodgment of the Federals from Fort Gibson and their consequent retirement from the Cherokee country. The brigade had not materialized; but all Stand Watie's subsequent efforts were directed towards the accomplishment of its patriotic object. Love of country best explains his whole military endeavor. The enemy in the Cherokee country he harassed, the enemy elsewhere, he left for others to deal with. Generally speaking, in consequence, the autumn months of 1863 found Watie hovering around the Arkansas, the Cherokees and their neighbors with him, while Cooper, almost equally particularistic because the Choctaws and Chickasaws were his main support, concerned himself with plans for the recovery of Fort Smith.

The fervid patriotism of one leader and the overweening personal ambition of the other divided the Indians, then, into two camps and it was but natural that the idea should soon evolve that Indian interests could be best subserved by the formation of two distinct Indian brigades. To this idea General Smith, when appealed to, subscribed;887 but General Steele was dubious about the propriety of putting Stand Watie in charge of one of the brigades. "He appears to exercise," said Steele, "no restraint over his men in keeping them together, and his requisitions upon the depots seem to be made with utter disregard of the numbers present or even on his rolls."888 General Smith conceived it would be possible, by organizing the Indians into their own brigades and satisfying them that way, to draw off the white contingent and make of it a separate brigade, still operating, however, within the Indian country. To Cooper, the thought of a separate white brigade was most unwelcome. The Indians could be an effective force only in close conjunction with white troops. The separation of whites and Indians would inevitably mean, although not at present intended, the isolation of the latter and, perhaps, their ultimate abandonment.

The various proposals and counter-proposals all converged in an opposition to Steele. His presence in the Indian country seemed to block the advancement of everybody. Cooper resented his authority over himself and Stand Watie interpreted his waiting policy as due to inertness and ineptitude. So small a hold did the Federals really have on the Indian country that if Steele would only exert himself it could easily be broken. But Steele was neither aggressive nor venturesome. His task was truly beyond him. Discouraged, he asked to be relieved and he was relieved, Brigadier-general Samuel B. Maxey being chosen as his successor.889 Again Cooper had been passed over, notwithstanding that his Indian friends had done everything they could for him. They had made allegations against Steele; in order that a major-generalship might be secured for Cooper and brigadier-generalships for some of themselves.890 Boudinot was believed by Steele to be at the bottom of the whole scheme; but it had been in process of concoction for a long time and Steele had few friends. General Smith was the staunchest of that few and even Holmes891 was not among them.

Obviously, with things in such a chaotic state, military operations in the Indian country, during the autumn and early winter were almost negligible.892 Steele expected that the Federals would attempt a drive from Fort Smith to the Red River and he collected what forces he could for that contingency. Little reliance was to be placed upon the Cherokees since they were intent upon recovering Fort Gibson; but the Choctaws through whose country the hostile force would proceed, were the drive made, aroused themselves as in the first days of the war. They recruited their regiments anew and they organized a militia; but the drive was never made.893

The only military activity anywhere was in the Cherokee country and it was almost too insignificant for mention. Towards the end of November, the Federal force there was greatly reduced in numbers, the white and negro contingents being called away to Fort Smith.894 The Indian Home Guards under Phillips were alone in occupation. With a detachment of the Third Indian, Watie had one lone skirmish, although about one half of Phillips's brigade was out scouting. The skirmish occurred on Barren Fork, a tributary of the Illinois, on the eighteenth of December.895 Late in November, Watie had planned a daring cavalry raid into the Neosho Valley.896 The skirmish on Barren Fork arrested him in his course somewhat; but, as the Federals, satisfied with a rather petty success, did not pursue him, he went on and succeeded in entering southwest Missouri. The raid did little damage and was only another of the disjointed individual undertakings that Steele deplored but that the Confederates were being more and more compelled to make.


840: Official Records, vol. xxii, part ii, 983.
841: W.T. Carrington to Bankhead, August 22, 1863, ibid., 975.
842: Bankhead to Turner, August 23, 1863, ibid., 977. Near Boggy Depot, "the Fort Gibson and Fort Smith roads" forked. At Boggy Depot, moreover, were "all the stores of the Indian Department." With Boggy Depot in the hands of the enemy, Bankhead's whole front would be uncovered [Bankhead to Turner August 20, 1863, ibid., 972].
843: Duval to Bankhead and other commanders, August 27, 1863, ibid., 981.
844: Blunt to Schofield, August 27, 1863, ibid., part i, 597. He thought, however, that Stand Watie was with Steele but he was not. He was absent on a scout [Steele to Boggs, August 30, 1863, ibid., part ii, 984].
845: Steele to Snead, September 11, 1863, ibid., part ii, 1012.
846: Cabell's brigade, as already indicated, had had to be sent back "to avoid the contagion of demoralization." [Official Records, vol. xxii, part ii, 983; Steele to Snead, September 11, 1863, ibid., 1012].
847: Cloud had arrived at Fort Gibson, August 21 [Cloud to McNeil, August 22, 1863, ibid., 466].
848: John McNeil was commanding the District of Southwestern Missouri. The orders originated with Schofield [ibid., part i, 15].
849: Cabell had taken a position on the Poteau. Steele had been much averse to his running the risk of having himself shut up in Fort Smith [Steele to Cabell, September 1, 1863, ibid., part ii, 987].
850: "The general commanding is satisfied that the Fabian policy is the true one to adopt when not well satisfied that circumstances warrant a different course..." [G.M. Bryan to Steele, September 8, 1863, ibid., 999]. Smith believed in "abandoning a part to save the whole" [Letter to General R. Taylor, September 3, 1863, ibid., 989]; but President Davis and men of the states interested had impressed it upon him that that would never do. It must have been with some idea of justifying Steele's procedure in mind that Smith wrote to Stand Watie, September 8th [ibid., 999-1000]. Watie had lodged a complaint with him, August 9th, against the Confederate subordination of the Indian interests. To that Smith replied in words that must have made a powerful appeal to the Cherokee chief, who had already, in fact on the selfsame day that he wrote to Smith, made an equally powerful one to his own tribe and to other tribes. Watie's appeal will be taken up later, the noble sounding part of Smith's may as well find a place for quotation here.
"I know that your people have cause for complaint. Their sufferings and the apparent ill-faith of our Government would naturally produce dissatisfaction. That your patriotic band of followers deserve the thanks of our Government I know. They have won the respect and esteem of our people by their steadfast loyalty and heroic bravery. Tell them to remain true; encourage them in their despondency; bid them struggle on through the dark gloom which now envelops our affairs, and bid them remember the insurmountable difficulties with which our Government has been surrounded; that she has never been untrue to her engagements, though some of her agents may have been remiss and even criminally negligent. Our cause is the same—a just and holy one; we must stand and struggle on together, till that just and good Providence, who always supports the right, crowns our efforts with success. I can make you no definite promises. I have your interest at heart, and will endeavor faithfully and honestly to support you in your efforts and in those of your people to redeem their homes from an oppressor's rule...
"What might have been done and has not is with the past; it is needless to comment upon it, and I can only assure you that I feel the importance of your country to our cause..."
That Smith was no more sincere than other white men had been, when addressing Indians, goes almost without saying. It was necessary to pacify Stand Watie and promises would no longer suffice. Candor was a better means to the end sought. Had Smith only not so very recently had his interview with the governors of the southwestern states, his tone might not have been so conciliatory. In anticipation of that interview and in advance of it, for it might come too late, some Arkansans, with R.W. Johnson among them, had impressed it upon Governor Flanagin that both Arkansas and Indian Territory were necessary to the Confederacy. In their communication, appeared these fatal admissions, fatal to any claim of disinterestedness:
"Negro slavery exists in the Indian Territory, and is profitable and desirable there, affording a practical issue of the right of expansion, for which the war began..." [July 25, 1863, Official Records, vol. xxii, part ii, 945].
851: Only two of the tribes, entitled to a delegate in the Confederate Congress, seem to have availed themselves of the privilege in 1863, the Cherokee and the Choctaw, which may account for the persistence with which, in one form or another, a measure for filling vacancies in the Indian representation came up for discussion or for reference [See Journal, vols. iii, vi]. It became law in January, 1864 [ibid., vol. iii, 521]. A companion measure, for the regulation of Indian elections, had a like bearing. It became law earlier, in May, 1863 [ibid., 420, vi, 459]. In the Official Records, fourth ser. vol. in, 1189, footnote o, the statement is made that the name of Elias C. Boudinot appeared first on the roll, January 8, 1864; but it must be erroneous, since Boudinot, as the delegate from the Cherokee Nation, was very active in Congress all through the year 1863. His colleague from the Choctaw Nation was Robert M. Jones. On December 10, when Indian affairs had become exceedingly critical, Representative Hanly moved that one of the Indian delegates should be requested to attend the sessions of the Committee on Indian Affairs (Journal, vol. vi, 520). This proposition eventually developed into something very much more important,
"Resolved, First, That each Delegate from the several Indian nations with whom treaties have been made and concluded by the Confederate States of America shall have and be entitled to a seat upon the floor of this House, may propose and introduce measures being for the benefit of his particular nation, and be heard in respect and regard thereto, or other matters in which his nation may be particularly interested.
"Second. That, furthermore, it shall be the duty of the Speaker of this House to appoint one Delegate from one of the Indian nations upon the Committee on Indian Affairs, and the Delegate so appointed shall have and possess all the rights and privileges of other members of such committee, except the right to vote on questions pending before such committee"—Journal, vol. vi, 529. The Speaker appointed Boudinot to the position thus created.
852: In February, upon the nomination of President Davis and the recommendation of Secretary Seddon, Scott had been appointed to the position of full commissioner [ibid., vol. iii, 69].
853: During the illness of Holmes, which was protracted, Price commanded in the District of Arkansas.
854: Official Records, vol. xxii, part ii, 1097.
855: On August 14, Cooper complained to Smith that Steele had been given the place that rightfully should have been his [ibid., 987]. Smith looked into the matter and made his reply, strictly non-partisan, September 1st [ibid., 1037]. The authorities at Richmond declared against Cooper's claims and pretensions, yet, in no wise, did he abandon them.
856: Watie's report to Scott, August 8, 1863 [Official Records, vol. xxii, part ii, 1104-1105] was full of very just criticism, but not at all factional.
857: The appeal to the Creeks, through their governor, is to be found in Official Records, vol. xxii, part ii, 1105-1106, and that to the Choctaws and Chickasaws, ibid., 1106-1107.
858: Ibid., 980.
859: Smith to Principal Chief, Choctaw Nation, August 13, 1863, ibid., 967; Bryan to Hon. R.M. Jones, September 19, 1863, ibid., 1021.
860: Steele to Snead, September 11, 1863, Official Records, vol. xxii, part ii, 1013; Bankhead to Steele, September 15, 1863, ibid., 1016.
861: In the spring of 1863, Vore was engaged in disbursing funds, more particularly, in paying the Indian troops [Steele to Anderson, April 17, 1863, Confederate Records, chap. 2, no. 270, pp. 197-198]. In November, 1862, the Creeks had requested that Vore be made their agent and the appointment was conferred upon him the following May [Scott to Seddon, December 12, 1863, Official Records, vol. xxii, part ii, 1095]. The Creeks were inclined to be displeased at the delay, especially as they later had no reason to regret their choice [Moty Kanard to Davis, August 17, 1863. ibid., 1107]. It was Cooper, apparently, who suggested sending up Vore to have him work upon the Creeks [ibid., 1000].
862: His destination was apparently to be Shreveport, the department headquarters [Crosby to Bankhead, September 23, 1863. Confederate Records, chap. 2, no. 268. p. 251].
863: Cooper's headquarters, in the interval, were to be at Fort Washita [ibid.,], where a company of Bass's regiment had been placed in garrison [Duval to Cooper, July 15, 1863, ibid., p. 145].
864: Official Records, vol. xxii, part ii, 1045.
865: McCulloch was being greatly embarrassed by the rapid spread of unionist sentiment and by desertions from his army. The expedient of furloughing was restarted to. To his credit, be it said, that no embarrassments, no dawning of the idea that he was fighting in a failing cause, could make him forget the ordinary dictates of humanity. His scornful repudiation of Quantrill and his methods was characteristic of the man. For that repudiation, see, particularly, McCulloch to Turner, October 22, 1863, ibid., vol. xxvi. part ii, 348.
866: Quantrill's bold dash from the Missouri to the Canadian had been projected in a spirit of bravado, deviltry, and downright savagery, and had undoubtedly been incited by the execution of Ewing's notorious order, Number Eleven [Official Records, vol. xxii, part ii, 473]. That order, as modified by Schofield, had authorized the depopulating of those counties of Missouri, Jackson, Cass, Bates, and a part of Vernon, where the guerrillas were believed to have their chief recruiting stations and where secessionist feeling had always been dominant. It was at once retaliatory and precautionary and on a par with the instructions for the removal of the Acadians on the eve of the breaking out of the French and Indian War. The banished Missourians have, however, as yet found no Longfellow to sentimentalize over them or to idealize, in a story of Evangeline, their misfortunes and their character. History has been spared the consequent and inevitable distortion.
867: Britton, Civil War on the Border, vol. ii, 224.
868: Quantrill to Price, October 13, 1863, Official Records, vol. xxii, part i, 700-701.
869: In the matter of domestic politics in Kansas, particularly as they were shaped by the excitement over the guerrilla outrages, Schofield belonged to the party of Moderates, "Paw Paws" as its members were called in derision, and Blunt, like Lane, Wilder, and others, to that of the Extremists, or Radicals. Of the Extremists the "Red Legs" were the active wing, those who indulged in retaliatory and provocative outrages. Schofield's animosity against Blunt, to some extent richly deserved, amounted almost to a persecution. He instituted an investigation of the District of the Frontier and it was upon the basis of the findings of the committee of investigation that he ordered Blunt's retirement [Schofield to Townsend, October 3, 1863, Official Records, vol. xxii, part ii, 595-597; Blunt to Curtis, November 30, 1864, ibid., vol. xli, part iv, 727-729]. For evidence of continued animosity see the correspondence of Champion Vaughan, ibid., vol. xxii, part ii, 738, 742.
870: Official Records, vol. xxii, part ii, 666.
871: For the condition and movements of the Indian Brigade from November 20, 1863, to December 20, 1863, see Daily Conservative, January 3, 1864.
872: The resolutions, commendatory of his work, to which Blunt refers in his letter to Curtis of November 30, were passed by the Cherokee National Council, October 20, 1863. The text of them is to be found, as also Chief Christie's letter of transmittal, in Official Records, vol. xxxiv, part ii, 790-791.
873: Steele reported that on October first he had "Seminoles, 106; Chickasaws, 208; Creeks, 305; Choctaws, 1,024; Choctaw militia, 200, and whites, 999" [Official Records, vol. xxii, part i, 34]. Concerning the condition of his entire command, the best understanding can be obtained from the inspection report of Smith's assistant inspector-general, W.C. Schaumburg, [ibid., part ii, 1049-1053], October 26, 1863. Schaumburg exhibits conditions as simply deplorable, Indians poorly mounted, ignorant of drill, destitute of suitable arms; posts dilapidated; and prominent tribesmen, like Colonel Tandy Walker, indulging in petty graft, drawing government rations for members of their families and for their negro slaves. McCulloch was also of the opinion that conditions in Indian Territory were pretty bad [Official Records, vol. xxii, part i, 1065], and that the red men were absolutely unreliable [ibid., vol. xxvi, part ii, 378].
874: For Magruder's insolent and overbearing attitude towards Steele, see his correspondence in ibid., part ii. Magruder wanted Indian Territory attached to the District of Texas [p. 295] and was much disgusted that Gano's brigade was beyond his reach; inasmuch as Smith himself had placed it in Indian Territory and Steele could retain it there if he so pleased [pp. 349, 369, 371].
875: Official Records, vol. xxii, part ii, 1063, 1065, 1076, 1109.
876: Cooper's influence was greatest with the Choctaws and Chickasaws. The Choctaw wavering of which there were numerous signs [ibid., 1019, 1024], the disposition of the Choctaw Council towards neutrality [ibid., 1042, 1046], which Scott was called upon to check [ibid., 1030-1031], and the Choctaw complaint about the absence or inadequacy of arms [ibid., 1021] were all made the most of, in order to accentuate Steele's incapacity for his task. October 7, the Chickasaw Legislature petitioned for the elevation of Cooper to the full command in Indian Territory [ibid., 1123-1124]. It was, of course, a covert attack upon Steele.
877: Dissatisfaction with Bankhead on the part of his men had been the chief cause of the transfer to Richard M. Gano. Steele had a good deal of trouble with Gano's brigade as also with Bass's regiment [See Confederate Records, chap. 2, nos. 267, 268].
878: Official Records, vol. xxii, part ii, 1063-1064, 1064-1065.
879: "I am instructed by the Gen. Com'dg to direct that you issue an order abolishing all agencies in the Indian country for feeding 'Indigents.'
"It is thought that the crops now coming in will be sufficient to support these people without any further drain upon Govt supplies.
"What little issues are absolutely necessary will be made by post commissaries."—DUVAL to Lee, July 1, 1863, Confederate Records, chap. 2, no. 268, p. 119.
880: "I beg leave to recommend to your favorable consideration the accompanying letter from the Hon. E.C. Boudinot. The necessity of feeding not only the refugees, but to some extent during the winter the other Indians, has been recognized by all commanders, the drought of last year having cut the crops very short. As the crops are now maturing I have in a great measure discontinued the issue except to refugee Cherokees and Osages, both of whom are out of their own country ..."—STEELE to Smith, July 13, 1863, ibid., pp. 142-143.
881: Steele to Scott, August 7, 1863, Confederate Records, pp. 179-180.
882: Steele to Bryan, November 9, 1863, Confederate Records, chap. 2, no. 267, p. 31. The Reserve Indians had all along been fed by contract [Steele to Scott, August 7, 1863, ibid., no. 268, pp. 179-180]. In the fall, Steele renewed the contract with Johnson and Grimes [Steele to S.A. Roberts, November 15, 1863, ibid., no. 267, p. 37] and detailed men from his command, from Martin's regiment, to assist in its execution [Steele to McCulloch, November 22, 1863, ibid., p. 41].
883: The Creeks were particularly dissatisfied. They claimed that food and raiment had been promised them, but the source of the promises Steele was powerless to determine [Steele to Vore, November 20, 1863, ibid., p. 39]. Indian soldiers on leave seemed to expect their usual allowances and Cooper, although disclaiming that he had any desire to "pander to the prejudices" of the natives, was always to be found on their side in any contention with Steele. To all appearances, the Indians had Cooper's support, in demanding all the privileges and profits of regular troops and "all the latitude of irregular, or partisan" [Steele to Cooper, November 24, 1863, ibid., pp. 44-45].
884: Concerning the request of Steele that cotton and teams be ordered exempt from impressment, see Steele to Bryan, November 9, 1863. Confederate Records, chap. 2, no. 267, p. 31. The Choctaws had considerable cotton and the question was what was to be done with it in case of an advance of the enemy. Was it to be burnt and the owners were they to be indemnified [Steele to Anderson, December 9, 1863, Confederate Records, p. 68]? Steele peremptorily forbade confiscation of Indian property and discouraged any interference "with the duties of agents, or with the National Council or government of the tribes" [Steele to Captain J.L. Randolph, enrolling officer, July 7, 1863, ibid., no. 268, p. 132].
885: Crosby to A.S. Cabell, October 6, 1863, ibid., no. 267, p. 2.
886: Official Records, vol. xxii, part ii, 1103.
887: Official Records, vol. 22, part ii, 1055-1056.
888: Ibid., 1065.
889: Special Orders, no. 214, December 11, 1863, Official Records, vol. xxii, part ii, 1094.
890: Steele to S. Cooper, December 19, 1863, ibid., 1100-1101.
891: Boudinot to Davis, December 21, 1863, ibid., 1103.
892: Steele contended that between the very natural fear that the Indians entertained that the white troops were going to be withdrawn from their country and Magruder's determination to get those same white troops, it was impossible to make any move upon military principles [Steele to Anderson, November 9, 1863, ibid., 1064-1065]. Steele refused to recognize Magruder's right to interfere with his command [Steele to Cooper, November 8, 1863, ibid., 1063-1064].
893: Steele to Gov. Samuel Garland, Nov. 30, 1863, Official Records, vol. xxii, part ii, 1082. Col. McCurtain of the Choctaw militia reported to Cooper that he expected to have fifteen hundred Choctaws assembled by December first [Steele to Cano, December 2, 1863, ibid., 1085]. The Second Choctaw regiment continued scattered and out of ammunition [Steele to Cooper, December 22, 1863, ibid., 1109]. The Seminole battalion was ordered to report to Bourland for frontier defense [Duval to Cooper, December 20, 1863, ibid., 1102].
894: Britton, Civil War on the Borde, vol. ii, 236.
895: Official Records, vol. xxii, part i, 781-782.
896: Ibid., part ii, 722, 746, 752.


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The American Indian as Participant in the Civil War, 1919

Participant in the Civil War

 

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