HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF THE UPPER ARKANSAS,
Fort Riley, Kans., April 12, 1865.
Major J. W. BARNES,
Asst. Adjt. General, Dept. of the Missouri, Saint Louis, Mo.:
The pack-saddles did not arrive here until last evening, and to-day have been fitting them to the mules. Shall load the mules light with corn to Larned to break them in gradually. The mules are very wild and cause a great deal of trouble to saddle them; however, the train will leave early in the morning. It has rained constantly for three days and the roads are very bad, but am in hopes of having good weather after this. I start for Larned in the morning, or as soon as I learn the result of a scouting party sent south under the command of Lieutenant Wise to ascertain the truth of the report of Stand Watie's raid. I started Lieutenant Wise as soon as my scout, Peppard, reported the fact to me. I also ordered by means of courier the commanding officers of Forts Larned and Zarah to have all cavalry ready to move at thirty minutes' notice. I could throw from 600 to 800 troops into that country from Forts Larned and Zarah as quickly as from this post and cut off his retreat entirely. I am anxiously awaiting news from Lieutenant Wise. If, however, you should get news quicker from Colonel Blair and I should be needed to help him, I will be ready to go down at a moment's notice from Zarah or Larned. I am afraid that I have unnecessarily troubled the general commanding in regard to Leavenworth's peace mission, but these friendly Indians of Colonel Leavenworth's are camped with the Kiowas, or were at last reports, and were considered allies. It would be almost impossible to fight one without fighting all. The colonel is very anxious that I should wait until I hear from his mission, therefore I sent the last dispatch. I am, however, going ahead as though I had not seen him. It places me in an awkward position, he going by a different route on a mission of peace at the same time I start on a campaign, both going for the same Indians. If Indian agents and Indian traders were kept out of the way until the fighting was over, I feel satisfied that a lasting peace could be made before the summer is over. I desire before closing to thank the general commanding s with which supplies have been furnished. I have now received all that I have asked for, and if I do not succeed in the campaign no one can be blamed but myself. I inclose the report of scout by Lieutenant Wise, he having this moment arrived.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. H. FORD,
Brevet Brigadier-General, Commanding District.
FORT RILEY, KANS., April 12, 1865.
Lieutenant J. E. TAPPAN,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, District of Upper Arkansas:
SIR: I have the honor to report that in pursuance to order I started for Council Grove, Kans., to ascertain the fact about the coming of a large force of Indians, or Stand Watie's men, &c. On arriving at Council Grove I found no excitement there whatever, and the people there told quite a different story, although I sent Sergeants Tibbits and Peppard out that night to go to Walnut Creek, eighty miles from Council Grove, where the excitement started. After forty-eight hours the scouts returned, bringing the news that a party of southern Indians did come up into Kansas, stopped at a ranch where a man was about