War of the Rebellion: Serial 062 Page 0525 Chapter XLVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records

from these Indian soldiers, who in turn would be able to support their families with the money; besides, about half of all we get would be contraband. If a mule train or trains of 300 or 400 wagons is to be got, I foresee, by last year's experience, that the season will be over before it assumes sufficient magnitude to be depended on. Supplies ought to be brought here while the grass lasts. The river I fear will not do to depend on. I make this suggestion and desire to be informed if it meets the favor of the commanding general.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,


Colonel, Commanding.


Fort Gibson, Cherokee Nation, March 7, 1864.

Major General S. R. CURTIS,

Commanding Department of Kansas, Fort Leavenworth, Kans.:

SIR: In reporting, under orders on indorsement, a programme for bringing up the discipline of the Indian command I recommend-

First. That one regiment of white infantry be stationed with them, from which to make necessary details for business, to furnish part of each picket and guard station; part of it to act as provost guard to guard prisoners, and detachments of which can be rear guard to arrest stragglers and enforce discipline at all times.

Second. As a number of officers have died or resigned, that authority be given to have at least 2 white officers in each company, even though the company may have fallen a little below the minimum, as they cannot be run at all properly without such officers.

Third. That a definite plan for filling vacancies be ordered. Formerly instructions from the Adjutant-General's Office were that, in Indian regiments, a muster was equal to a commission. There is no governor in the Indian Nation. The officers who have not been commissioned ought to be commissioned by the President. Under instructions from various commanders I have assigned to duty and appointed to vacancies, and on their appointments they were mustered. My plan was to detail as orderly sergeants or duty sergeants, from white regiments, the most deserving and active men, and as vacancies occurred promote the sergeants in proper order; and where we got a sergeant that would not do to make a good officer, or who was not suited to the Indian command, order him back to his company.

Fourth. Although nearly all the Indian officers are useless as business men and more afraid, as a general rule, to reduce the men to discipline, I protest against the fallacy into which most new experimenters fall, that they ought to all be dismissed. They have in some cases influence that no white men have. The steps to crowd them out have been taken quite fast enough. Whenever I could find a good man amongst them I acquiesced in his elevation. As a recruiting expense, even the Indian officers are worth the money, as the regiments cost the Government little at first. In battle they are sometimes very useful. To keep them from breaking off and deserting they are useful. This Indian officer [matter] is one point on which an inexperienced man would be sure to do the command mischief, and would do it honestly. It is a matter requiring the most extreme delicacy and care. No rule that I could suggest can reach the case.