War of the Rebellion: Serial 019 Page 0958

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958 MO., ARK., KANS., IND. T., AND DEPT. N. W. [CHAP. XXV.

act. I have just ordered two Choctaw companies down to pick them up. (I am just this moment interrupted by a messenger with letters from Chilly McIntosh, containing requisitions for 100 guns, ammunition hospital stores, stationery, &c. I inclose a copy of Chilly's letter, and of one from his quartermaster; and you may judge from them how completely all these Indians rely upon and look to me.)

Second. I have been laboring for a year to effect a permanent peace with the Comanches and Caiawas, and at the same time to convince the border people of Texas that I can do it. Last fall I made a treaty with the Comanches, and sent messages to the Caiawas, to compel them to take their choice between peace and war. They agreed to do what they never had done before - live in peace with us. All this spring there has been apprehension among the Reserve Indians that the Caiawas were coming down to attack them; for it is known that they had received arms and presents from the North. At last they and the Comanches have determined to come in, and the Caiawas have selected Elk Creek, in the Wichita Mountains, to settle on. They are all to be at the agency on the 4th instant. I would have gone there three days ago, but for your orders. There will be 2,000 or 3,000 of them, and peace with them is a saving of the cost of two regiments on the frontier of Texas. They expect to meet me, and care nothing about Agent Leeper, who they have found out is a little captain. Very probably if I do not meet them they will go off, and you will have a thousand tales of depredations on Western Texas; part true, more false. If nothing required my presence elsewhere, I should, of course, take two or three companies and go there, and yet no one at a distance could anticipate this necessity. I give these as instances.

It is the multiplicity of matters always pressing on the commander here that makes me say that it is impossible for any officer at a distance to determine what ought to be done with a small force in this country. If I had one large enough to leave garrisons behind me, it would be different, but to take any command worth taking I must take all. I had not sent any troops to Colonel Watie's assistance, because I waited for him to let me know when he needed re-enforcement. He keeps me constantly advised, as do Jumper, with his Seminoles, and the Mclntoshs, with their Creeks, of all that passes in the northern part of the country. They are all men of sense, and know what my plans are. The whole Indian country is quiet and peaceful, and you can come here alone and unarmed, and travel from Kansas to Red River, and from Fort Smith to the Wichita Mountains, in perfect safety.

I inclose you a copy of a letter sent to Colonel Watie by me, enjoin. mg upon him to maintain the defensive. I do not know that upon that point I can add anything to what I have already said. I hope you will believe that I am not actuated by any small ambition in wishing to be in a condition to exercise my own discretion in regard to all operations in the Indian country. Senator [Robert W.] Johnson was unwilling for me to incur the odium of commanding Indians, and I could probably have had a better position elsewhere, but I told him that I thought the most odious of all things in a soldier was to seek to exchange a post to which he had been assigned for another, for greater ease or a larger chance for glory; that the President wished me to be here, and I should not seek to be sent elsewhere. I have incurred the odium, and who thanks me for it?

I inclose you a copy of a letter of the 8th May from General Robert E. Lee. You will see by it that I was supposed, at least, to be in command of Arkansas. I would rather you would be, for you are younger