War of the Rebellion: Serial 019 Page 0960

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

Colonels Watie and Drew to march toward Fayetteville, and report to him. Of course, if I could have done so, when Little Rock was menaced, I would have hastened to where my children were.

I agree with you to some extent as to mounted men. A force of them can be of more use here than anywhere else; but they are awfully expensive. The Indians are all mounted, and this is justified by the consideration that even if they never fired a gun for us it would be good policy, and the cheapest policy, to keep them in our pay and on our side. If we did not, they would soon be against us; and we cannot whip 5-600 Indians. Of white shot-gun cavalry, I have as much as I want. The Indians alone can hold the country, unless a large force enters it. If such a force does so, they will intend, in addition, to march into Texas. To resist an organized army of even 10,000 men, infantry would be indispensable, and this was well understood by the President and Secretary when I received authority to raise two regiments of infantry, and the positive promise of 2,000 Enfield rifles to arm them with. I did not care about having any white mounted troops at all, and when they were offered me, in February, I asked only for authority to receive a battalion. I have a poor opinion of undisciplined mobs, each with six legs, instead of two, to tempt him to run away; and if I had not hoped to discipline the two regiments I have, so as to make them cavalry, to move and charge en masse, I would have sent them over Red River long ago, for part of them have nearly crazed me. Furlough, bounty, horse-shoeing --- the changes are rung on these three words all the time. Yesterday the officers of one company ordered to march toward the Arkansas at 12 o'clock came to me at 6 p. m. about bounty money, and at last said the boys would be very much dissatisfied. I told them to go back and tell them that if they were in the least dissatisfied to pack up and start this morning for Texas; and that if they were not off, one way or the other, this morning, I would bring up two of West's guns and shell them out of their camps. They marched in half an hour toward Fort Gibson. The truth is, that if the enemy do not come in large force they will not come at all. They know pretty nearly how many Indians are in arms. The country is very large, and to send an army through it would do about as much good as cutting a path through a lake with a knife.

The improvements of the Indians, with few exceptions, are worth nothing. The cattle would be driven out of the way, the Indian forces would melt away before them, and hang on their flanks and rear. To conquer the country they must occupy it; and it would not pay to keep an army here. If they left small bodies in garrison, these would be destroyed as soon as the army went back; and they know that if they come far enough into the country they have to fight Texans in it all the time.

The chief object in keeping a couple of regiments of white troops here is, therefore, not to prevent invasion, but to encourage and aid the Indians. That this is done is proven by the fact that so many of them are in arms. The chief complaint now, from the- upper Cherokee country, is that bodies of white men are running about there, crossing the line and firing a few shots, and then running back into the Indian country, provoking retaliation. When I proposed in making the treaties that the Indians should furnish troops, they invariably stipulated for two things: One, that they should not be taken out of their own country; the other, that they should not be drilled like white men, but be always allowed to fight in their own way. Of course, I agreed to both. You cannot use them in large bodies, nor play the general with them in the field. None of them, except the Choctaws and Chickasaws, would con-