Fisk, in command of this post, informed me that Captain Earl, commanding one of the companies that had marched to Fort Lyon with Lieutenant-Colonel Clark, had left early in the morning for Fort Riley, having passed this post without reporting to him, and that he had ordered Captain [D. S.] Whittenhall to Fort Leavenworth, for the purpose of procuring arms, &c.
Upon inquiring for the papers relating to the stopping of the train with Indian goods, it was reported to me that Captain Whittenhall had taken more or less of them from the adjutant's office and carried them away with him; and as I found five different tribes of Indians assembled in the neighborhood of this post, and, from the best information I could get, very much excited, I at once dispatched a messenger, Lieutenant Wise, with an order to Captains Earle and Whittenhall, copies of which orders I herewith inclose, as also their replies.*
The conduct of these two officers has been highly improper and unmilitary in my opinion, and, from conversation in the presence of Lieutenant [William] Wise at their camp on Walnut Creek and other officer at this post before they left, leaves no doubt in my mind but what is was their intention to disobey any order that might be issued be me. It is not my wish to find fault with any one who from a want of knowledge commits an error, but when an officer wilfully and knowingly sets all orders at defiance, and tries, as these two officers have done, to pettifog themselves beyond my jurisdiction by taking a byway to get off the Santa Fe road, and then say they are not in my district, I think their conduct should be taken notice of; and if the general does not order their arrest and trial for gross disobedience of orders I shall be very much disappointed.
I have had, with the Indian agent, Major Colley, " a talk" with all the different tribes, and find the Apaches, Arapahoes, and Cheyennes very well disposed, but the Kiowas and Comanches very doubtful. They without doubt have been tampered with from the South, and are more than half disposed to take up the hatchet. From a tribe of about 500 lodges only four chiefs could be got to come into council, and they were not of the highest grade. They were told firmly, but kindly, that their Great Father expected their whole tribe to be friends to the whites and that they would not listen to bad men; if they did they would displease him, and that he would not give them any more goods.
Last fall a promise was made the Kiowas and Comanches to meet them in council in September and make a treaty with them. If it was so, the promise should be kept; and, in view of this fact, Major Colley has agreed to meet them about the 1st of October next at or near the Cimarron Crossing of the Arkansas River, and give them their goods and have another talk with them; and if I am to remain in command of this district I most sincerely trust that some one will be authorized to meet and treat with them. If it was not for the friendly Indians of this country our trains on this route would not, in my opinion, be safe a single day; consequently it is of the greatest importance that good faith should be kept with our friends, and that a respectable force should at all times be kept at these different outposts.
Should General Blunt order the troops of my regiment that are now in New Mexico on this frontier I shall be able with them to protect all the route now under my command. Some two or three of these Indian tribes have taken their camps and are leaving for their buffalo hunt,