War of the Rebellion: Serial 019 Page 0957

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CHAP. XXV.] CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.---CONFEDERATE. 957

come, and from the friendly Choctaw country. It would be a long retreat and the first 30 miles through a prairie. Our transportation is so scant that the remainder of the force will not be able to move within less than twelve or fourteen days. All our wagon-tires are dropping off. On the 27th, 28th, 29th, and 30th the thermometer stood, in my tent, at 1 p. m., 104, 105, 108, and 112, respectively.

Permit me to say that I do not think it would be advisable for me to be placed in command of Northwestern Arkansas. To any commander here the Indian country must be the principal object, and to take care of it is as much as I can do, if not as much as any man can do. Attached to part of Arkansas, that would be the principal object, as it was when McCulloch was in command. He was put in command of the Indian country alone; he never had a chance to bring any troops into it. He was wanted all the time beyond its limits, and I found everything was going to the devil.

I therefore urged the President, in August, to send an officer of the army here, as brigadier, who would be content to take care of this country alone, glory or no glory. The forts near Red River at that time were, and long had been, held by Texans not under his command, part of them under nobodies and as to all matters in the southern and western Indian country he knew nothing whatever.

The response to my recommendation was my own appointment, which I did not anticipate, and did not wish; and I am altogether too corpulent to ride much on horseback, and, besides, am subject to neuralgia in the back, which, seizing me suddenly, utterly disables me for days at a time. I only consented to take the d--d command because I had made the treaties, felt personally responsible for the security of the country here, and knew it was supposed I could manage better with the Indians than any one else. I am sure I wish somebody else would take it.

Since I came to this post it has been demanded that I should march north, march to Fort Smith, send troops to Fort Smith, go down and take command of Arkansas, and send troops to Arkansas. If I or any. body else were in command of Northwestern Arkansas, with the Indian country appended like a bob on the tail of a kite, I should have to be all the time in Arkansas, or there would be such a row as has never been heard.

That you may see how utterly impossible it is for any one at a distance to order about the few white troops in this country without doing mischief; I will only mention one or two things now occurring.

First. The Creek Indians, some 1,600 in number, are in our service. When I made the treaty with them, they numbered 13,500 people; now they number 7,500. They are all the time alarmed lest Ho-po-eith-le-yoho-la should come down west of the Verdigris, toward North Fork, and they be all driven off or murdered. I met George Stidham two weeks ago, and he told me that now and as yet they were as true as any of the Indians; but if the Northern troops came soon, they would kill him and the other half-breeds, and submit. They found out he talked of moving his negroes to Texas, and they notified him that if he did they would follow him and kill him. They said that no troops were put in their country to protect them. I immediately ordered a Choctaw regiment up there, and have since ordered Stevens' regiment there, to give assurance that they shall not be left unaided to the tender mercies of Ho-po-eith-le-yo-ho-la. The whole country about Doaksville is swarming with Missourians and other white men run out of Texas by the conscription