War of the Rebellion: Serial 033 Page 0572 MO.,ARK.,KANS.,IND.T.,AND DEPT.N.W. Chapter XXXIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

learned that a command of troops was on the road, that they might have a talk with the officer in command. I have talked with them all, through the United States interpreter, J. S. Smith. They all express the utmost friendship for the whites; say they have been offered the war-pipe by the Sioux of the Platte, and all refused to smoke, except the Northern Cheyennes. They say they are aware that some of their young men have committed depredations upon the road, and, in order to prevent a repetition of these officers, the Kiowas and Comanches will all leave the main traveled road; that they know they cannot live long while at war with the whites; that they must depend upon the Government and the friendship of the whites in a great measure for their support, especially the coming winter, as the buffalo have all left their accustomed ranges, owing to the unprecedented drought upon the Arkansas, the river being perfectly dry for 400 miles. They have promised to hunt up the authors of the depredations which have been committed, and to see that they are not repeated.

The Kiowa band, under La-tan-ka, one of the chiefs of the Kiowas, has done more damage than all the others, but he had left the road before I came up. The Comanches, and particularly the Apaches, appear very loyal; they offered all their warriors to aid me at the time they supposed the Texans were coming up, and went out as scouts to reconnoiter. They also went with me through their herds to look for white men's stock; we recovered ten head of Government mules and three Government horses, which have been turned over to assistant quartermaster at this post. I saw a good many head of Confederate States stock among the Comanche and Apache tribes; they had stolen it from the borders of Texas. This accounts for their "great scare" when they supposed the Texans were coming up from Red River.

The Arapahoes, to the number of 2,000, are moving up this way, under Little Raven, Left Hand, and Neeva. They expect to receive their annuities at this post next week. The band of Arapahoes who committed the depredations at Maxwell's and in vicinity of Colonel Boone's belong to the North Platte, and are now on the Smoky Hill. They are very destitute, and, from all reports, are suffering terribly from disease and hunger. With the force now here and at Fort Larned, I do not think any trouble need be feared from any band on the Arkansas. They were badly frightened when we went down. I could have wiped them all out with my force, and probably should have commenced upon the Kiowas, after their robbery of the wagon-master of Honore's train, had it not been for the interpreter, who explained the matter better than I could have understood it without his aid.

The Caddo Indians, numbering about 500, will arrive here in about ten days, and will go into a permanent settlement about 20 miles above the post. They suffered terribly from the hands of the rebels in Texas last winter. They have adopted many of the customs of the whites, and are well behaved.

Lieutenant [John A.] Edington, with his command, will reach here by the 30th instant, leaving the road almost clear of Indians except the Arapahoes in the immediate vicinity of the post and the Caddoes above.

The Indians are all very destitute this season, and the Government will be compelled to subsist them to a great extent, or allow them to starve to death, which would probably be much the easiest way of disposing of them.

I am, sir, with much respect, your obedient servant,


Major, Commanding Post.