War of the Rebellion: Serial 019 Page 0858 MO., ARK., KANS., IND. T., AND DEPT. N. W. Chapter XXV.

Search Civil War Official Records

letter to you will find that I anticipated this invasion and tried to prepare for it. The successful exertions that have been used to render me helpless are being followed by the legitimate results. Even the mounted men I have must carry their powder in their pockets for want of the cartridge boxes which I procured, but other people needed, and of course appropriated. I yesterday received 89,000 percussion caps.

These are not part of the 800,000 which I had at Fort Smith two months ago and none of which have reached me. These 89,000 are all I have, except 6,000 G F caps for 1,300 white troops, while the Indians have about 40 per man and about a third of a pound of powder each.

The race of Colonel Clarkson was soon run. He applied to me while raising his force for orders to go upon the Santa Fe road and intercept trains. I wrote him that he could have such orders if he chose to come here, and the next I heard of him he wrote for ammunition, and, I learned, was going to make forays into Missouri. I had no ammunition for that business. He seized 70 kegs that I had engaged of Sparks in Fort Smith, and soon lost the whole and Watie's also. Without any notice to me he somehow got in command of the northern part of the Indian country over to two colonels with commissions nine months older than his. Rains made the headquarters Eight Division Missouri State Guards at Tahlequah and wrote to me for cannon, and Coffee and Livingston were wandering about promiscuously, all urgently inviting an invasion of the Cherokee country. About this time you relieved me of Woodruff's battery and all the infantry I had, and the swarms of Missourians every day hurrying back to that patriotic State carried that information there and told in the Federal camps what force was left in the Indian country to repel invasion. I expected this invasion in May. It is later than I looked for it, but does not at all surprise me. Northwestern Arkansas having been abandoned, and an Arkansas Federal regiment from Washington, Benton, Crawford, Sebastian, and Franklin [Counties] being about to occupy Fayetteville, the Indian country invited ravishment. The Indians, deliberately plundered of all I had procured for them, unpaid, half naked, unshod, and profoundly impressed with the idea of our wealth and power, are of course in high spirits and zealous in our cause. The simple truth is, general, that if the Federalists want to take the Indian country there is nothing here to oppose them. The few mounted Texans we have are worth very little against infantry and artillery and are wholly worthless to protect our artillery. The Arkansas River is not defensible. We may check them on the south side of the Canadian if they come that way. If they choose to go to Fort Smith there is nothing to prevent it. Either they are in small force and will return, or, if they are in large, the country is theirs. If I could get me I have no arms to give them and my ammunition is all distributed. My opinion is that they foresee the speedy advent of a peace, and mean to be in possession of this country when negotiated about. It is worth $100,000,000 to them, and it was folly to suppose they would not try to take it. If we cannot hold all of it we ought, at any rate, to hold the Choctaw and Chickasaw country. Half of it is better than none.

You will before you receive this be in possession of my resignation.

I hope that my request to be relieved of my command here will have been promptly granted.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ALBERT PIKE,

Brigadier-General, Commanding Department of Indian Territory.