HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF INDIAN TERRITORY,
Fort McCulloch, Ind. T., July 20, 1862.
The SECRETARY OF WAR:
SIR: On June 23, in consequence of the entrance into the Cherokee country from Kansas of a body of about 1,000 or 1,200 troops and their immediate return, I ordered Colonel Douglas H. Cooper to proceed to Fort Gibson and take command of the forces north of the Canadian River. The Cherokee regiments of Colonel Stand Watie and Drew were then in the Cherokee country. The regiments of Colonel D. N. McIntosh and the battalion of Lieutenant Colonel Chilly McIntosh were then back in the Creek country, and I ordered the new Choctaw regiment of Colonel Sampson Folsom to march into the Creek country and receive orders from Colonel Cooper.
About July 1 a force of the enemy again entered the Cherokee country and advanced down the Neosho or Grand River. Reports gave its numbers at from 4,000 to 11,000, and it was also reported that Colonel Drew's regiment had gone over to them,* and that the whole were marching on Fort Gibson.
On June 29 I ordered Colonel Stevens' regiment of mounted Texans, then at this place, to march to the Arkansas, moving in five days from that time, and Colonel Alexander's mounted regiment, with one unattached cavalry company and the only manned battery I had, to be ready to move at twenty-four hours' notice. The drought had loosened the tires of the wheels of all the wagons, and all the horses and half the mules were to be shod. So lamentably deficient are we in everything that the last companies of Colonel Steven's regiment have been gone but three or four days, and half of Colonel Alexander's has not moved yet. The unattached company will be ready to-morrow morning and the artillery is about moving now. I have heard nothing in regard to the enemy since I received a dispatch from Colonel Cooper dated the 11th. He sent another on the 14th, but said nothing about their position, movements, or numbers. From other sources I am satisfied they are not over 3,000 strong, if over 2,500. It is very probable, I think, that they have by this time returned to Kansas. Colonel Cooper has with him about 3,500 Indians, a squadron of Texas mounted men, and I understand some 1,500 Missourians, under General Rains. I am leaving this post this morning, and have ordered three Chickasaw companies to move part way to the Canadian, on which river I shall hold in reserve Alexander's regiment if the enemy is in larger force than I think. Colonel Cooper will have to fall back to the Canadian, where the defensible country commences. From his present position to the North Fork are 30 miles of open prairie. If it were not for the hazard of discouraging the Indians I would have sent only small bodies of mounted Indians and white troops to the Arkansas, and have prepared to fight them on the south side of the Canadian, after crossing which there is but one road southward, and it running over rough country and through many narrow gaps and passes and much timber. I hope a speedy peace may secure us this country, which otherwise we shall lose. It is impossible to hold it with a few mounted men. If I had the three regiments of infantry raised for me I could have held the Cherokee country; but I have not one infantry soldier; moreover my powder will soon be gone, and the last percussion cap. I had is distributed. Of these the Indian troops have about 30 or 35 each. I hope
* See Hindman's report, p. 40, and report of skirmish, July 3, 1862, at Locust Grove, p. 137.