more scrupulous in the faithful observance of their treaty obligations than the Cherokees. Allow me further to appeal to my long public and private life to sustain the assertion that my policy has ever been to preserve peace and good feeling among my people and the observance of law and order. That the horses of civil war with which this beautiful country is threatened are greatly to be deprecated, and I trust that it may be averted by the observance of the strict principles of civilized and honorable warfare by the army now invading our country under your command.
I cannot, under existing circumstances, entertain the proposition for an official interview between us at your camp. I have therefore respectfully to decline to comply with your request.
I have the honor to be, colonel, your obedient servant,
Principal Chief Cherokee Nation.
[Inclosure No. 2.]
HEADQUARTERS INDIAN EXPEDITION, Camp on Grand River, July 12, 1862.
Captain THOMAS MOONLIGHT,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Fort Leavenworth, Kans.:
CAPTAIN: I am now located, with all the command save the Kansas Second and Fifth and one company of the Kansas Sixth under Major Ransom, on Grand River, some 12 miles above Fort Gibson. My position is the best the country affords, though not all that can be desired. The country is suffering with a drought equal to that in kansas a year or two ago.
The rebels are threatening to burn me out of the country and have already made several attempts. It is almost incredible, but nevertheless true, that the grass on the prairies burns at this present writing with as much facility as in the all or winter. We have difficulty in keeping our own camp from taking fire. There is no corn in the country. My only dependence for forage is on grass.
The Cherokee country is completely conquered. No rebel force amounting to anything is on this side of the Arkansas. They are, however, endeavoring to concentrate south of it. I am unable to follow their detached parties with much vigor, from the fact that my horses are growing weak on grass and there is no subsistence for the men in the country,so that wagons have to accompany all parties. I am,however, scouring the country and keeping it under control.
I propose by proclamation to invite the rebel Cherokees to return home, promising them protection in case of their submission to Federal authority. The negro question is a very difficult one. Nearly all their negroes are escaping and are very insolent. I propose to invite the nation to abolish slavery by a vote and accept compensation from the Government. The President should be telegraphed to recommend to Congress so to amend the emancipation resolution as to enable the Indian nations to avail themselves of its benefits.
John Ross refused to come to see me. I inclose documents sent by him to me. Please say to the general that I am much embarrassed for want of instructions as to the Indians. The superintendent should be with me. I may be ground between the millstones of the War and Indian Departments. The Pin or friendly Indians are bitter against the half-breeds and want to exterminate them. In short I would like to turn this Indian business over to its own department.