no suggestions, knowing that such is a question involving the movement of other forces, bases, and supplies, on which I would expect to be advised, when it was deemed expedient that I should do anything.
All of the Cherokee land south of the Arkansas was owned or inhabited by rebels. That portion of the Cherokee land, the Choctaw, Chickasaw, and part of the Seminole Nations, is magnificent country, could make of themselves a fair State, and such a State, lying where it does, filled with a loyal population, is a consideration the Government in the settlement of the questions for the future in the Southwest cannot overlook. I do not discuss the question of throwing open the whole Indian nation, because I do not deem it expedient to argue it here, and now especially, as I have no white troops, but action on the points I have suggested might be almost immediate and work naturally, and as a proper lesson, to the final solution of the question.
I am, general, very respectfully,
WM. A. PHILLIPS.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF KANSAS, Fort Leavenworth, February 29, 1864.
Captain M. H. INSLEY, Quartermaster, Fort Scott, Kans.:
CAPTAIN: Immediate efforts must be made to send provisions to Fort Gibson. For this purpose you will repair to Saint Louis and try to ascertain what provisions have been made for having light-draught steam-boats to run above Little Rock. You should have one or two such under your own control. Such boats should run to Fort Gibson when they can, but when they can go no farther, the supplies for points above should be stored at Van Buren. It is only a few days or weeks in a year that the upper Arkansas can be navigated. On such occasions we must avail ourselves of the cheapest mode of carrying provisions as high up the Arkansas as possible. Also inquire of the chief commissary what are the prospects of commissaries at Little Rock or elsewhere. We ought to have a year's supply for 10,000 or 15,000 men above Van Buren, deposited as high up the Arkansas as possible. But until we can certainly start the river line, and until that has placed the troops beyond a peradventure as to provisions at Fort Gibson, you will ruhr trains between Fort Scott and that post with the utmost energy and prudence.
The boats which you run on the Arkansas must have plain plank protections to guard the pilot-house and engineers against sharpshooters, and each boat should have two small howitzers with fixed ammunition on their decks. Having been with me during my recent reconnaissance through that upper Arkansas country and heard my views more fully expressed in my conversation, your own judgment will be exerted in every possible arrangement to transport full rations to our troops in that country. You will confer with Colonel Myers, at Saint Louis, and the quartermaster-general, freely, in respect to such arrangements, so as to avoid doubt or conflicting action. But as far as possible avoid depending on the hazardous and uncertain opinion of others, where your own judgment and energy can bear execution.
I am, captain, very truly, your obedient servant,
S. R. CURTIS,