Immediately after the arrest of Colonel Weer, the same night, the entire white portion of the diverse command commenced a retrograde movement. Morning found the three Indian regiments on the old camping ground with but meager verbal and indefinite orders or instructions from Colonel Salomon. The evening before Colonel Weer's arrest the First Indian Regiment had been ordered by him to move on the Verdigris River in the vicinity of Vann's Ford, and the commander had sent a detachment of 200 mounted men in advance under command of Adjutant Ellithorpe.
A detachment of 200 men, Third Indian Regiment, had also been sent to Fort Gibson in command of Major Foreman, and were then occupying that point and continued to do so for thirty-six hours thereafter.
The commanders, finding themselves in the condition in which they were left and also doubt and confusion among the rank and file of their respective regiments, held a council, and decided that the safety and preservation of the commands depended upon consolidation, which was accordingly done, and I as ranking officer took command of the brigade, and moved the remainder of our forces to the Verdigris. At the Verdigris the First Regiment, being without the restraining influence of white soldiers and upon their own lands, became uncontrollable, as will be seen by the official report of Lieutenant Colonel S. H. Wattles, a copy of which I herewith send,marked C.*
During the night of our stay on the Verdigris a large number of Second Indian Regiment deserted, as will be seen by the official report of Lieutenant Colonel D. B. Corwin, also herewith sent and marked D.*
That I might effect a change from the demoralized condition of the First and Second Indian Regiments, as well as place the command where forage and water could be obtained, I at once (after thoroughly scouring the country) marched the Third Indian Regiment to Prior Creek, where we obtained good water and passable forage.
On the 23rd instant I received an order from Colonel Salomon to bring my command to the present camp, which order I obeyed, my command being without one day's rations and not one ounce of medical stores on hand.
Having become well satisfied that the whole Indian country north of the Arkansas River could be easily held with a small addition to my present force, I held an interview with Colonel Salomon, resulting in his leaving me one section of Allen's battery, with a little over half rations for the whole command for ten days. I am now occupying the whole Indian country north of the Arkansas River with frequent and constant parties. I have now forwarded to Colonel Salomon a request that he leave me the remainder of Allen's battery and a detachment of infantry, with an additional supply of subsistence. Should he comply with this request I have no doubt but I can hold the Indian country and protect the loyal people from pillage and murder, which will almost certainly take place in the event of our evacuation, and which in many instances has already taken place in some of the remote districts. Small parties of the enemy range the country, committing the most brutal outrages. The presence of my command here will effectually remedy this evil.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. W. FURNAS,
Commanding Indian Brigade.