War of the Rebellion: Serial 086 Page 0358 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter LIII.

Search Civil War Official Records

for the Indians for the approaching winter. If you will have circular excavations made at the points where you will have the different villages, each one large enough for a family, and, say, four feet or more in depth, with the earth embanked some three or four feet high on the north side, with steps cut in the earth to descend to the floor, they would be very warm even with a little fire. Pray have one made as a model, and if they like it encourage the Indians to follow the patterns. In this way the cold winds will be entirely escaped by the children. What is done should be done at once before the winter sets in. The Indians can spread the floors with coarse reed grass or with hay, and can make beds o grass which will be very comfortable. Besides, they will have some green hides and skins to spread down. Such excavations require no timber, are warmer then the huts they have, and are soon made. They should be made north of the north acequia, and far enough removed to avoid dampness from it. I have ordered Captain Bell to buy, if possible, and send down from Fort Union, where he has gone, 4,000 sheep. These will furnish wool to weave into little blankets for the smaller children; the skins can be dressed for clothing,and the flesh issued for food at the present established rates. The whole animals, including what the butchers call the head and pluck, must be issued. You must pardon me for suggesting all these details, but my anxiety is so great to make this powerful nation which has surrendered to us as happy and as well cared for as possible, under all the adverse circumstances which encompass us, that every idea looking to this end which comes into my mind I send to you, fully believing that you will enter into the spirit which animates me for their good. The [greatest] economy in the use of food in all things must be observed. The making of soups, which is by far the best way in which to cook what they have, must be inculcated as a religion. And let me observe that one pound of solid food made into nutritious soups (nutritious because well and thoroughly boiled), for each man, woman, and child, per day, for a Frenchman, is more than he wants and more than he gets as a rule.

I hope the Indian goods will be at Fort Union by the 20th of November, and at the Bosque by the end. Then they will have more tools to work with, some blankets, shirts, and cloth for the children's nakedness. These articles, with the fleeces of 4,000 sheep, will held keep he Indians comfortable. Tell them to be too proud to murmur at what cannot be helped. We could not foresee the total destruction of their corn crops, nor could we foresee that the frost and hail would come and destroy the crop in the country, but not to be discouraged; to work hard, every man and woman, to put in large fields next year, when, if God smiles upon our efforts, they will at once bound be forever placed beyond want and independent. Tell them not to believe ever that we are not their best friends; that their enemies have told them that we would destroy them; that we had sent big guns there to attack them,but that those guns are only to be used against their enemies if they continue to behave as they have done. In relation to the excavations it would be well to have them at the sites of the different villages for this reason: the Indians will then be near where they will erect their houses and will lose no time in going to their labors upon them. If the Navajoes had the spirit with reference to the Comanches which they ought to have toward their hereditary enemies,a war party of 500 of the former could go out and get all the stock they wanted. It would add to the punishment which the Comanches deserve for their depredations and butcheries of this year. Captain Bristol and Captain Calloway would be the best men to prepare a model for the temporary habitations for