|HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, March 27, 1861.
SECRETARY OF WAR:
The letter of Hon. Charles B. Mitchell, U.S. Senator from Arkansas, dated the
17th instant, in relation to the military posts in Arkansas, having been submitted to
Lieutenant-General Scott, he has the honor to report, speaking not from documentary
information but rather from oral testimony, as follows:
Fort Smith is an old established post, from which the troops had been for a time
withdrawn, but which has been lately used as a depot to supply the advanced posts soon to
The honorable Senator proposes that the troops at Fort Smith shall be transferred
to a point called "Frozen Rock," about fifteen miles southeast of Fort Gibson,
on the Arkansas River, which is said to be a suitable position for a post. If this idea is
to be entertained, a preliminary examination of the site should be made by a competent
officer, and the title to the land, the sources of supply, lines of communication,
&c., should be ascertained. By act of March 3, 1859, "No permanent barracks and
quarters shall hereafter be constructed unless detailed estimates shall have been
previously submitted to Congress, and shall have been approved by a special appropriation
for the same." Until these previous steps are taken, no movement can be taken to
transfer the troops from Fort Smith.
Fort Washita, also an old-established post, is about 160
miles from Fort Smith. It is a highly important military point. The public buildings are
good and in repair. Orders were given Lieutenant-Colonel Emory, First Cavalry, the 18th
instant, to proceed there and establish his headquarters as commander of his regiment,
with discretionary power to concentrate at or in the vicinity of the post two companies of
cavalry and five of infantry, now at Forts Arbuckle and Cobb, in addition to the two
companies of cavalry already at Fort Washita. Orders were
transmitted the same day, by telegraph and express, to move in advance one company of
infantry from Fort Arbuckle to Fort Washita, in consequence
of a report, dated the 3d instant, from the commanding officer of the latter post,
referring to rumors of a contemplated attack from Texas.
Fort Arbuckle, about 60 miles west, a little north of Fort
Washita, has a garrison of two companies of cavalry. It is of no importance as a
military point, and will, no doubt, be broken up under the discretionary orders to
Lieutenant-Colonel Emory. Fort Cobb, about 160 miles northwest of Fort Washita, was first occupied by troops October 1, 1859. The site is
on a portion of the Choctaw country, leased as a reserve for several detached bands of
Comanche and other Indians, which were moved there from points within the limits of Texas.
This arrangement was made for the convenience of the State of Texas, and Fort Cobb was
designed for the double purpose of protecting these friendly bands against incursions from
the hostiles of their own tribes and to restrain the latter in their descents upon Texas.
The attitude now assumed by Texas changes the relations of Fort Cobb to that State, whilst
present maintenance is no doubt necessary for the protection of the Indians of the
reserve. But in connection with this point must be considered the safety of the garrison
in case of attack by a superior force and the possibility of supplying it. The post is at
such a distance from the base of co-operation as to leave it unsupported; the retreat of
its garrison would be easily cut off; hence it requires a powerful garrison, if any. The
supply trains must pass over a section of country so open to incursions from Texas as to
make strong escorts necessary to guard them. Subsistence and forage are said by the chiefs
of the staff departments to be difficult to obtain and very high.
These are the main subjects for the large discretion devolved upon
Lieutenant-Colonel Emory, and it is not doubted he will appreciate them and decide with
Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War.
By command of Lieutenant-General Scott:
E. D. TOWNSEND,
Assistant Adjutant-General General. Top
Report of Capt. S. T. Benning, Texas Troops, of the abandonment
of the U. S. posts in the Indian Territory.
BONHAM, May 14, 1861.
DEAR SIR: I hereby inclose an inventory of all the goods and property found and
taken at Fort Arbuckle, all of which I turned over to the Chickasaw Indians, by order of
William C. Young, who is State regimental colonel. Said Indians are at present taking care
of said post and all property therein contained. The United States Government troops under
Emory had abandoned said fort a few days previous to my entering and taking command of the
same. I am solicitous that you send me a captain's commission to occupy said post as one
of the posts belonging to the Southern Confederacy. I have a company of cavalry in
readiness for that post or any other that it may please your honor to assign us. Fort Washita and Fort Cobb, both being situated in the Chickasaw
Nation, were also abandoned, leaving considerable property in each.
Colonel Young has formed a treaty of peace with the Reserve Indians, conditioned
that the Southern Confederacy feed and protect them, as heretofore done by the United
States Government at a very heavy expense, and that, too, without the approval of but very
few of the people in this State. It is considered by the sovereigns here as a worse than
Hoping to hear from you soon, I remain, with respect, yours, &c.,
S. T. BENNING,
Captain of Fannin County Company.
Hon. L. POPE WALKER. Top
Report of Lieut. Col. William H. Emory, First U. S.
Cavalry, of the abandonment of Forts Arbuckle, Cobb, and Washita,
HEADQUARTERS TROOPS IN THE INDIAN COUNTRY,
West of the Arkansas River, May 19, 1861.
SIR: I had the honor to receive the instructions of the General-in-Chief, dated
April 17,(*) by the hands of Lieutenant Averell, of the Rifles, two days' march from Washita.
The seizure of supplies for this command, which I suppose was known sooner at
Washington than it was to me; the known fact that it was only supplied to the 31st of May,
and the failure of the command at Arbuckle and Cobb to concentrate as directed, caused me
to anticipate the instructions of the General-in-Chief, so far as withdrawing the troops
from Washita in the direction of Arbuckle and Cobb.
The day after I left Washita [April 16] the Texans
occupied that place in force. The troops at Arbuckle and two companies from Cobb joined me
five miles from Arbuckle, on the east bank of the Washita River, May 3. I then marched to
relieve Cobb, taking the road which lies on the open prairie to the north of the Washita
River, so as to render the cavalry available.
On the 5th, finding myself followed, I halted, and sent Captain Sturgis with his
company and Lieutenant Averell to the rear, to bring into my camp the advance guard of the
pursuing forces, which he did happily without having to shed blood. The same day Arbuckle
was occupied by a large force of white people from Texas. The next morning the
above-mentioned guard, mostly composed of gentlemen acting under erroneous impressions,
retraced its steps, and I followed my course to relieve the command at Cobb, for the
safety of which I had reasons to entertain serious apprehensions, and which I had ordered
to meet me.
On the 9th I found the command from Cobb (two companies of foot) thirty-five miles
northeast of that post, and on the same day I took the most direct course to Leavenworth
that the nature of the ground would permit. I am now in Kansas, on the north side of the
Arkansas River, with the whole command--eleven companies, 750 fighting men, 150 women,
children, teamsters, and other non-combatants. Nothing has been left behind but what would
have been left in time of peace. Contracts were made to bring such stores as were left and
were worth transporting (chiefly clothing of soldiers and officers' baggage), but I
understand the clothing has been seized. If this be the tact, these soldiers, who have not
mixed in the politics of the country, who stand to their colors, and do their duty
faithfully, should be reimbursed.
It is my duty to call attention to the unworthy conduct of the governor of the
Chickasaw Nation, which country, I apprehend, he too faithfully represents. He busily
joined in an attempt to disarm and disgrace the soldiers, whose only occupation for years
past was to defend the rights and property of the people he represents and who were, to my
own knowledge, invited by the agent and representatives of this people to re-enforce Fort Washita.
There is no money with this command, which has been a source of great
embarrassment; and I beg to call attention to the estimates, and request that funds be
immediately sent, to enable me to discharge useless persons I have been compelled to bring
along, and also to pay off the faithful Delaware guides.
Of the three staff officers stationed at Fort Smith, and who, it is presumed, had
possession of the funds, if there were any in this country, Paymaster Brown is the only
one who shared the fortunes of the troops, but he joined the command without a dollar.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. H. EMORY,
Lieutenant-Colonel First Cavalry, Commanding.
Headquarters Army, Washington, D. C. Top
Report of Maj. Samuel D. Sturgis, Fourth U. S. Cavalry, of the seizure of Fort Smith, Ark.
CAMP ON WALNUT CREEK, KANS., May 21, 1861.
SIR: I avail myself of the first opportunity which has occurred since leaving
Fort Smith, Ark., to inform you that I evacuated that post at 9 o'clock p.m. on the 23d
ultimo, and marched with my command for Fort Washita, where we
arrived on the 30th ultimo, and reported for duty to Col. W. H. Emory, First Cavalry. All
the available transportation at the post, amounting to some twenty wagons and teams, was
taken along. The ordnance sergeant, hospital steward, chief bugler, sick, and laundresses
were left at the post, to be shipped to Jefferson Barracks by Capt. A. Montgomery, A. Q.
The causes which induced me to evacuate the post I presume are known to the
department commander from general notoriety. After the supplies were cut off by the State
of Arkansas the post, of course, became untenable, and we could have occupied it in any
case but a few more days. One hour after we left, two boats arrived with three hundred men
and ten pieces of artillery. To have contended against this force with two companies of
cavalry, and that, too, while the entire population of the surrounding country were ready
at a moment's warning to take up arms against us, could only have resulted eventually in
our being taken prisoners and the loss to the Government of all the arms, horses, means of
transportation, &c., at the post.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. D. STURGIS,
Captain, First Cavalry.
Capt. S. WILLIAMS,
Asst. Adjt. Gen.,
Headquarters Department of the West, Saint Louis, Mo. Top
CAMP DARDENNE, February 10, 1862.
Brig. Gen. ALBERT PIKE, Fort Smith, Ark.
GENERAL: I have to inclose letter from Col. John Drew, addressed to me as
colonel commanding department. You having virtually relieved me from that position by your
order printed and published at Little Rock, I can only advise the parties, which I have
done to-day, to use all their power to preserve peace and order in the Cherokee Nation. It
is apparent to everybody that we are in great danger of civil war among the Cherokees.
Indeed, nothing will probably prevent it but the presence of a large body of white troops.
I have ordered the only regiment of white men in the department (Colonel Taylor's Texas
cavalry, at Fort Washita) to North Fork, so as to place them
within reach. There is little or no forage to be had at Fort Gibson. The Secretary of War,
in his letter to me authorizing the First Choctaw and Chickasaw Regiment, stated and
required me to say to the Choctaw Council that six regiments--three white, from Texas,
Louisiana, and Arkansas, and three Indian--were raised for the protection of the Indian
Territory. Under that written pledge the Choctaws turned out. Colonels Hebert's.
Churchill's, and Greer's regiments were ordered out for service in the Indian Territory,
but were taken into Arkansas and there remained. The only regiment of white men now in it
I took the responsibility of raising. Unless the Government complies with its promises to
the Indians in every particular, and especially in giving them the aid of a sufficient
body of white troops, the Indian Territory will assuredly be lost. I do not presume to
advise, but simply state what I know to be true.
I am, general, your obedient servant.
DOUGLAS H. COOPER,
Colonel, Commanding Choctaw and Chickasaw Regiment. Top
SKULLYVILLE, NEAR FORT SMITH, ARK., May 6, 1862.
Maj. Gen. EARL VAN DORN, C. S. A., Memphis, Tenn.
GENERAL: I take the liberty of inclosing copy of report of a skirmish between
Cherokee troops, under Col. Stand Watie, and the Federals. General Pike being near Fort Washita, at Nail's Bridge, miles southwest, I have thought it
might be well to advise you direct of Col. Stand Watie's movements.
As we are likely to resort to guerrilla warfare, at least those who are outside the
new lines of defense, it would, in my opinion, be advisable to confer additional rank upon
Col. Stand Watie, with authority to receive into the service all the reliable Indian force
north of the Canadian rivers. The Indians have great confidence, and justly, in Col. Stand
Watie's patriotism, prudence, and courage, and I think would rally to his standard. His
thorough knowledge of the country renders him eminently suitable to direct the movements
of guerrilla bands along the border of the Cherokee country, and the Indians will make the
very best guerrillas. White troops should also be sent into the Cherokee country. As
matters now stand, if a Federal force should advance into the Cherokee country I think
Stand Watie would be driven out and a large majority of the Cherokees go over to the
Federals. They complain that by treaty they were promised protection; but instead of
protection they have been involved in a war with the Federal Government and then left to
shift for themselves.
I am ordered to fall back to the neighborhood of Boggy Depot, and shall march day
I am, general, yours, respectfully and truly,
DOUGLAS H. COOPER Top
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
Little Rock, Ark., October 8, 1862.
Capt. A. G. MAYERS,
Assistant Quartermaster, &c., Fort Washita, C. N.
CAPTAIN: It appearing evident, from the information given by you, that the
various Texas companies under Captains Marshall, Martin, and others, now at or near Forts Washita and McCulloch, are not needed in that region, General
Hindman recommended and General Holmes made an order, which is sent open by the same
courier who carries this letter, directing them all to march within forty-eight hours
after receiving the order for Maysville, Ark. The order is intended to embrace all those
unattached companies or battalions in that region of country. They are not all mentioned
by name, for the reason that they never report and there is no definite knowledge here
about them; but if any of them hesitate you will read to them this paragraph of this
letter, with the information from me that they will be summarily dealt with if disobedient
or slow to execute the order.
General Hindman is of opinion that if at all practicable it would be best to use
the companies of the provost-marshal's department for post guard duty at the places under
your charge. He wishes you to write to General Holmes fully on that subject. Except when
absolutely indispensable, it is believed best to keep white troops entirely out of the
Assistant Adjutant-General Top
FORT ARBUCKLE, C. N., October 16, 1862.
General ALBERT PIKE
SIR: Agreeably to the orders of Colonel Cooper, of date August 19, the Chickasaw
battalion commenced reorganizing, and now have reorganized five companies, and, with the
exception of a few, all members of the old battalion; but it is the fact, and I regret
very much to say, that there is not one officer in all the companies that is capable to
fulfill the duties of either quartermaster, commissary, or adjutant. Captain Cochran, whom
you appointed commissary and assigned to duty for the battalion, says he considers himself
no longer in the commissary department, and I have made a temporary appointment to act
during the reorganization of the battalion. Captain Campbell still retains his office, and
has told me that he will act until relieved. The battalion is in a bad condition--no
shoes, hats, clothing, or tents; but I hope those things which they are in much need of
will be furnished soon. With that hope before them they stick together. If it is in your
power to do so could you not appoint a commissary for us and continue Captain Campbell in
the quartermaster's department, and also appoint an adjutant for the battalion? If a
citizen can be appointed I should recommend Mr. Davisse, who has formerly acted as such in
the old battalion a few months. There is also Mr. Rennie, who acted as adjutant up to the
time the re-enlistment commenced, and he, considering himself out of service, went home.
All the officers of the old battalion took a stampede as soon as the day of reenlistment
arrived, and Governor Harris, who was authorized to re-enlist, being sick and not able to
attend to it, assigned me the duty. I have succeeded so far as to get five companies
reorganized, as I said before. There were very little provisions in the commissariat, and
I have made requisition on the quartermaster at Fort Washita
for provisions. This was my only chance to keep the men together, and made a temporary
arrangement for beef. If I was wrong in so doing I hope I may be excused, because I saw no
other chance. The lieutenant-colonel of the old battalion having told them that the old
battalion was disbanded, a great many of the men took it for granted that they were free
to go when they pleased, and, sir, it required all my energy, by talking, explaining,
persuading to remain, but a great many went home; but I hope to see you up here before
long. Yours, respectfully,
JAMES GAMBLE, Captain
Commanding Chickasaw Battalion Top
HDQRS. 1ST DIV., 1ST ARMY CORPS, ARMY OF THE WEST
Fort Smith, Ark., November 3, 1862.
Capt. H. M. WOODSMALL,
Commanding Detachment Cavalry:
CAPTAIN: In obedience to instructions from Maj. Gen. T. G. Hindman, commanding
District of Arkansas, you are ordered to proceed with your detachment to Fort McCulloch, Fort Washita, or wherever else you deem necessary to find Brig.
Gen. Albert Pike, whether in the Indian Territory, Texas, Louisiana, or Arkansas, and when
you find him you will take Brig. Gen. Albert Pike into personal custody and conduct him
without delay to the headquarters of Maj. Gen. T. H. Holmes, commanding the
Trans-Mississippi Department, at Little Rock, Ark.
You will treat Brigadier-General Pike with as much courtesy as the execution of
this order will allow; but you will execute this order to the letter, using all necessary
force even to the extent of taking life if resistance should be made. You will keep these
instructions secret from all persons whatever until the moment for executing shall arrive.
J. S. ROANE,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Troops in Indian Country. Top
WARREN, TEX., November 19, 1862.
His Excellency the PRESIDENT OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES
SIR: I am here a prisoner, in the custody of a captain and 48 men of Shelby's
brigade of Missouri troops, on my way to Little Rock, by virtue of the order from Brig.
Gen. John Selden Roane, of which I inclose a copy, marked A.
I was seized near Tishomingo, in the Chickasaw country, on the 14th instant, when
returning to Fort Washita from Fort Arbuckle, where I had
gone expecting to march to the Wichita Agency to repel an invasion of hostile Indians.
From a previous order of General Hindman to Colonel Cooper, a copy of which was
sent me by Col. Sampson Folsom, and of which I inclose a copy, marked B, I conclude that
the cause of my apprehension is that I had reassumed the command of the Indian country. I
did so with the greatest reluctance and for the reasons stated by me in my letter of the
23d of October to the assistant adjutant-general of General Holmes, a copy of which I
inclose, marked C.
For these reasons I felt constrained to do so in obedience to the will of the
President, and it seems to me that my letter required some response very different from
that which it has received, since my apprehension is the only reply with which I have been
I have received but one order from General Holmes since he granted me leave of
absence. That order was that if I had detained any ammunition in Texas I should at once
forward it to its destination and then report at Little Rock. I had not detained any, and
if it was intended that I should go in any event to Little Rock, not to say so without
equivocation was to set a trap to ensnare an unwary man.
The course pursued by Generals Holmes and Hindman in regard to the Indian troops
and country has produced the results which I long ago predicted. The Cherokee country is
lost; the reserve is broken up and abandoned; the loyal Creeks are fleeing to Texas; the
Choctaw troops, disgracefully routed under Colonel Cooper, are disbanding; the Chickasaws
will soon do the same. The money and clothing procured by me for them have been diverted
from their legitimate destination by General Holmes in defiance of your orders. Their
troops remain unpaid, unshod, half naked. The people all over the Indian country are
destitute of food, and to ascertain how many need to be fed we may take the whole census.
No Confederate troops are left in the country to protect them. The Federal officers are
making them propositions of peace and alliance at the moment when our promises are being
shamelessly violated; and at this moment, when I had returned to the country in the hope
of being able to still do something to save it, I am pursued as a felon by 250
Missourians, who, by their own confessions, to leave nothing undone that can alienate the
Indians, break open and plunder the houses of the Choctaws on their march to arrest me,
and I am seized and carried by force out of the country. If immense rewards had been
offered to induce the doing of all that could be done to lose the Indian country nothing
more could be done to that end than has been done by Generals Holmes and Hindman.
The charges and specifications which I to-day forward against General Holmes
will show what has been done to alienate the Indians. The success of these efforts will
soon prove their efficiency. In my opinion the Indian country is lost.
At any rate, Mr. President, it is too late for me to save it. Some other man may
perhaps be found who can do so. The only purpose for which I accepted the appointment of
brigadier-general has failed, and my commission has as little served to shield me from the
indignities I am enduring as have my constant efforts to carry out the wishes of the
President. This is the second time that General Hindman has sent an armed force to arrest
At the first moment when I shall be no longer in custody I shall repair to Richmond
to account for the public moneys placed in my hands, to demand that justice be
administered upon the criminals who have set the orders of the President at naught and
incited the Indians to revolt, and imperiled the welfare of the Republic, and to show how
the Indian country, worth more to the Confederacy than the State of Virginia, has been
wantonly thrown away.
I am, the President's most obedient servant,
ALBERT PIKE, Brigadier-General Provisional Army, C. S. A.