HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE INDIAN TERRITORY, Camp Imochia, August 9, 1863.
Major W. B. BLAIR,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, District of Arkansas:
MAJOR: The Arkansas troops have been deserting in great numbers, hundreds in a single night,and I fear will continue to do so. The example is very pernicious, and,if I am not able to control it, may infect the other troops. I have captured some of these deserters, and, if a court can be had that will do its duty, will have them shot.
The Creek Indians are unwilling to pass the line of their own country. Thus, between the Creeks on one side and the Arkansas cavalry on the other, I can make no move without losing party of my forces. The men who compose Cabell's brigade,with the exception of Morgan's infantry regiment,now at Fort Smith, and Monroe's cavalry regiment, belong to a class who have very little at stake, and take but little interest in our cause. The officers are of the same class; several have deserted with their men; others encourage in their ideas and excuse their desertion. With such material and such ammunition I shall think I am doing well if I avoid a disaster.*
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
EXECUTIVE OFFICE, Choctaw Nation, August 9, 1863.
His Excellency the Governor of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations:
SIR: I wish,through you, to present to the people of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations a few thoughts, which the present condition and prospects of the Indian Nations have brought to my mind. I have lived in confident hope for the past year that energy and activity would take the place of sluggishness, and delay in the military movements in this part of the country,and that a proper use of the means in our power would enable us to regain that portion of our country which has been laid by our enemies. Relief and protection, so often cheeringly promised, have never been afforded us,and from present indications, I see not prospects of efficient aid outside of the Indian country. Every day seems to drive conviction to my heart that we, the Indians still true to the South, must place small reliance on assistance from abroad, but must test our whole power to defend our homes and firesides. A force of the enemy has been allowed to hold the Cherokee Nation for five months, and the chances and opportunities for its expulsion are less now than three moths ago. I am loth to believe that the Confederate authorities have entirely abandoned the Cherokee country, but I see in the future scarcely a ray of hope from them. I do not think all is lost because officers in control here will make no effort to regain the country, for I believe that, by a united and unyielding opposition of all our Indian forces, we can make the country untenable to our enemies, and hold it against any force they may send against us. The courageous Seminoles have shown what folly it is to try to subjugate or destroy a people determined to defend their rights and their homes. The bearing of the Choctaw and Chickasaw troops has not been excelled by any troops in the service, and,by a proper understanding among ourselves,our whole country may be saved despite of the inertness and delay of
*Some matters of detail omitted.
61 R R-VOL XXII, PT II