to flee in squads into the hills. I regret that no other allusion is made by General Van Dorn in his report of 27th March of the action at Elkhorn to the Indian troops engaged than the simple statement that he had ordered me to join him with my force. I did not expect that any credit would ever be given them in orders for any gallantry displayed, since that would be contrary to all precedent, but surely it would have been wise and politic to mention their presence and not to have assigned to others the whole credit of what they at least aided in doing.
Having the right to refuse to leave their own country, the Creeks said that what Hopoeithleyohola had told them was true, and as an excuse for not going demanded to be paid off before they would march. The Choctaws and Chickasaws were willing enough to cross the line, but, influenced by merchants whom they owed, they too demanded to be paid, and the result was that I left them all behind, and overtaking the Cherokee regiments, fell in the rear of the army with them alone and two companies of mounted Texans. That these, with not more than 150 or 200 of Colonel Sims' Texan regiment, charged face to face and took a battery of three guns supported by regular cavalry,having 2 men killed and 1 wounded in the charge, and killing some 35 to 40 of the enemy, is certainly true. No other battery was taken in that action, and Cherokees and no others by my orders drew the guns into the woods. It is true that when a second battery opened on them they hastily retired into the woods, but they went no farther and remained there, holding the extreme right and keeping another battery and a large body of infantry in check, who would otherwise have been at liberty by a short march to take the other forces in flank or rear, until the action ceased.
It is equally certain that Colonel Drew's regiment of Cherokees was the last that left that field, and that when the Choctaw and Chickasaw regiment came up with the train which, abandoned by General Va Dorn, was pursuing its headlong flight toward Van Buren it passed all the troops that were with the train and with the Cherokees interposed between them and the enemy.
It is equally certain that it was a body of Colonel Watie's Cherokees that went with ammunition that night to find the remainder of the army at the main battle ground.
It was not reasonable to expect much of a small body of Indians, 900 men, among 18,000 or 20,000 in a regular engagement, where the enemy had to be attacked in a position selected by himself on ground to which he had dexterously enticed us and where he had been encamped and preparing to welcome us for three weeks. Surely it would have been both magnanimous and wise to acknowledge what they did do.
I also inclose a copy of an order from General Van Dorn, by which I am advised that I am expected to maintain myself in the Indian country independent of his army.
The Indian troops having been in the service for several months without pay, and not being supplied with clothing, tents, and blankets, I had made great exertions to collect supplies for them. In their thin clothing part of them, Creeks, Choctaws, and Chickasaws, had, under Colonel Cooper, pursued Hopoeithleyohola in the snow and cold, and fought him twice, first in the dark night and then in open daylight, killing in the last action nearly 400 of his men, and compelling him to retreat and abandon the country, leaving only a few hundred men in care of the women and wounded, to be afterward routed by Colonel McIntosh.
I had also procured a sufficient number of pieces of artillery and a