War of the Rebellion: Serial 019 Page 0904 MO.,ARK.,KANS.,IND., T.,AND DEPT. N. W. Chapter XXV.

Search Civil War Official Records

War. I do not know whether Colonel Darnell ever received the letter. At any rate the ammunition went on to Little Rock unimpeded, though Captain Martin, at the instance of General Young and unknown to me, sent a party of men to retain it and forward it at once to its destination. I simply endeavored to induce Colonel Darnell to obey the sixth paragraph of General Orders, Numbers 50, from the Department of War. General Holmes, in some way led to suppose that I had detained one or the other portion of the ammunition, sent me the order which I have quoted above. Being an old solider and a gentleman he did not assume that I had detained either, but directed me, as courtesy and propriety demanded, if I had detained it to forward it to its destination, and then report in person to answer for having detained it. To have stopped ammunition on its way to a force marching to meet the enemy would have been a very grave offense, for which I should have deserved to be cashiered, and General Holmes did not assume that I had been guilty of it, but gave me by his order and opportunity to deny the charge. I did deny it. He had been wholly misinformed. But on the same day on which this conditional order wa issued (October 8) a letter was written by Major Robert C. Newton, assistant adjutant-general, to Captain Abram G. Mayers, assistant commissary of subsistence at Fort Washita, purporting to speak throughout for General Hindman, and which, as the order was went to Captain Mayers to be forwarded to me, must have been sent by the same courier, in which General Hindman, by his assistant adjutant-general, said to Captain Mayers:

General Pike, having recently interfered with an ammunition train en route to Fort Smith, has been ordered by General Holmes to desist and also to report here in person.

And great pains were taken to make generally known in Fort Smith and in Texas that I had been arrested, or at least ordered to Little Rock, to be tried by court-martial. I feel entirely certain that General Holmes never authorized any such statement to be made to the prejudice and dishonor of one who had never sought to injure him, for the letter of General Hindman's adjutant-general contained two positive untruths. It stated positively that I had interfered with an ammunition train en route to Fort Smith. I had done no such thing. And it stated that I had been ordered to report in person at Little Rock. I had not. I had only been ordered to report if I had detained ammunition, which I had not done. It seems to me that the writing of such a paragraph to the injury of an officer whom the President had thought worthy of his confidence, and with the evident intention of destroying his influence with the simple people whose troops he was appointed to command, was not only contrary to good order and discipline, but a grievous breach of military courtesy and propriety. It is for General Holmes to vindicate himself from the suspicion of having authorized official information so widely variant from the truth to be given, and to punish him or those who have placed him in so false a position.

I gladly avail myself of the opportunity thus offered me to say a few frank words to General Holmes. He hardly knows me and has been surrounded by my enemies. I wish no military position after the war, and never have sought nor shall accept any political office. I only wish to save the Indian country for the Confederacy and to keep the Indians loyal. He severely condemned my proclamation to them when I was relieved of command. He neither understood (I say it with all possible respect) my situation nor their feelings. The proclamation was necessary, and if effected what I desired. The Choctaw