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eral Hanter with accompanying documents (copies herewith marked B, C, D) advising me that he could only supply these people with provisions temporarily; that the provisions made by the officers under his command for their support would be exhausted by the 15th day of February, and that from that time I would be expected to make provision for them. I could but feel that the responsibility was great. The numbers had been accumulating until it was estimated that they amounted to 8,000 to be provided for, and these lying upon the ground which was covered with snow and ice and the weather intensely cold. General Hunter advised me that he had no authority to furnish them clothing, but that Superintendent Coffin acting under his advice had purchased some $10,000 worth of blankets and other necessaries. It will be seen that this purchase amounted to no more than $1.25 to $1.50 for each person and left them about as destitute as before. They were therefore not only to be fed but also clothed. I had no funds applicable to the purpose, and was powerless to relieve them except by purchases made on the faith of an appropriation to be made at the discretion of Congress. The superintendent was in Southern Kansas so that I could not consult or reach him with instructions as to the immediate wants of the Indians. I therefore appointed Dr. William Kile, of Illinois, who being commissioned by the President to act upon General Lane's staff was then in Kansas and had been detailed by that officer as brigade quartermaster, as a special agent to act tempo. rarily in supplying the necessities of these wards of the Government. (See copy of instructions herewith marked E.) On the same day I telegraphed you as follows: C. B. SMITH, Secretary of the Interior :
Six thousand Indians driven out of Indian Territory naked and starving. General Hunter will only feed them until 15th. Shall I take care of them on the faith of an appropriation? No funds now applicable.
To which I received the following reply: Go on and supply the destitute Indians. Congress will supply the means. War Department will not organize thom.
I was also advised by you that difficulties had arisen in the way of organizing Indians into the Army; that General Lane's expedition had been countermanded, but that it was not expected that it would be abaudoned but would go forward under command of General Hunter, with whom I arranged verbally for the protection of the Indians to their homes whenever it should proceed.
On my return to Washington I advised you fully as to the condition of these people, and then learned that Congress had authorized the application of their annuities to their relief. Still being anxious that they should immediately return to their homes in order to plant crops in season for their support during the coming year I again with your hearty concurrence urged upon the War Department the propriety of arming a home guard of Indians, who with sufficient escort of white troops should return with these people to their homes and protect them there while raising a crop. This resulted in an order from the War Department to General Halleck directing him to detail two regi. ments of white troops to accompany 2,000 Indians to be armed for the purpose above stated. I also obtained an order upon the commandant at Fort Leavenworth for 2,000 rifles and suitable ammunition to arm the 2,000 Indian home guards. . That there might be no delay in the
execution of these orders Judge Steele was appointed a special mes. senger to bear them to their destination. What action was taken by General Halleck under the order delivered to him I am unable to say.
The order for the rifles and ammunition was honored at Leavenworth and on the 16th of April they were delivered to the superintendent in Southern Kansas. For some time but little was heard of the expedition, but on the 16th day of May I received a communication from Colonel Furnas, of the First Indian Regiment, inclosing an order issued by General Sturgis for the arrest of all officers and others engaged in executing the order of the War Department relating to Indian home guards. I mention these particulars to show that I had reason to consider these people as only temporarily in Kansas and to expect from week to week that they would be on their way home.
After the order to arrest the officers engaged in organizing the Indian home guards the changes in the command of the Kansas Military Department were so rapid that I have been unable to keep pace with the proceedings, but from the best information I have I believe the expedition if not already started will soon be en route for its destination.
Superintendent Coffin estimates the per diem expense of subsisting these Indians at 15 cents each. An estimate furnished to me by Captain Turner, chief of the commissary department at Fort Leavenworth, was the basis of my instructions to Agent Kile and Superintendent Coffin. In this connection see paper marked D. Learning that Mr. Collamore was in this city and had recently visited these Indians and made careful investigation as to their numbers and condition, and believing that information derived from him would be reliable, as at the commencement of the rebellion he was selected as State agent and quartermaster to provide subsistence and forage for the Kansas troops, I have procured from him a report of the numbers and the various tribes comprising these refugees, and his estimate of the cost of clothing and subsistence necessary for a given time, a copy of which is herewith marked F.
I have no means other than these estimates to even approximate the daily expense of feeding and clothing these Indians. Some $25,000 of accounts for purchases have been forwarded here, examined and paid. From $50,000 to $55,000 have been forwarded to Superintendent Coffin, but no account of his disbursements has yet reached me, though Í learn by telegraph that his accounts for the past quarter are on the way. I have as instructed by you ordered the accounts for the present quarter forwarded to this office for examination before payment.
Special Agent Kile is still employed under his original instructions, as I have seen no reason to change them and do not know what day thé removal of the Indians will enable me to dispense with his services.
For your information I will state the mode of distributing the articles purchased, whether of clothing or provisions. Agent Kile makes no disbursements but turns over to Superintendent Coffin all purchases, taking his receipt therefor. No claim or account is allowed except such as are certified by Agent Kile and Superintendent Coffin. Mr. Cutler, of Kansas, agent for the Creeks; Mr. Coleman, of Indiana, agent 'for the Choctaws and Chickasaws; Mr. Chatterton, of Illinois, agent for the Cherokees; Mr. Snow, of Indiana, agent for the Seminoles, and Mr. Carruth, of Kansas, agent for the Wichitas, are upon the ground acting as commissaries for their respective tribes, and to them the goods are delivered for distribution by Superintendent Coffin, he taking their receipts for the same. When funds are in the hands of
Superintendent Coffin he may pay accounts, otherwise they are forwarded to this office for adjustment; and in this connection it is proper to state that all expenses incident to the support and relief of these Indians are paid from their annuities under authority of the act of Congress above mentioned. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM P. DOLE,
Commissioner. (Sub-inclosure A.]
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, January 3, 1862. WILLIAM P. DOLE, Esq., Commissioner of Indian Affairs.
SIR: The Secretary of War in a letter dated the 2d instant informs this Department that it is desired to receive into the U.S. service 4,000 Indians from the borders of Kansas and Missouri; that it is proposed to give them each a blanket, army subsistence and such arms as may be necessary to supply deficiencies, and the Secretary requests such instructions from this Department to its officers as will enable MajorGeneral Hunter to organize them.
You are therefore directed to take such action in the matter as may be necessary to effect the object contemplated by the War Department. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CALEB B. SMITH,
Secretary. [Sub-inclosure B.)
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF KANSAS,
Fort Leavenworth, Kans., February 6, 1862. Hon. WILLIAM P. DOLE,
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Topeka, Kans. SIR: I have the honor to inform you that Capt. J. W. Turner, chief commissary of subsistence of this department, has just returned from the encampments of the loyal Indians on the Verdigris River and in its vicinity, having made arrangements for subsisting these unfortunate refugees until the 15th day of the present month.
In the neighborhood of Belmont and Fort Roe there were at the time Captain Turner left about 4,500 Indians, chiefly Creeks and Seminoles, but this number was being constantly augmented by the arrival of fresh camps, tribes and families.
Their condition is pictured as most wretched-destitute of clothing, shelter, fuel, horses, cooking utensils and food. This last-named article was supplied by Captain Turner in quantities sufficient to last until the 15th instant, after which time I doubt not you will have made further arrangements for their continued subsistence.
In taking the responsibility of supplying their wants until the Indian Department could make provision for their necessities I but fulfilled a duty due to our common humanity and the cause in which the Indians tre suffering. I now trust and have every confidence that under your energetic and judicious arrangements these poor people may be supplied with all they need after the 15th instant, on which day the supplies fur. vished by Captain Turner will be exhausted.
I make no doubt that provision should be made for feeding, clothing and sheltering not less than 6,000 Indians and possibly as high as 10,000. On this point, however, you are doubtless better prepared to
judge than myself. I only wish to urge upon you the necessity of prompt measures of relief. Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
Major-General. P. S.-Copies of the requests made by Captain Turner and Brigade Surgeon Campbell will be furnished you by to-morrow's post. In view of the urgency of this case and the fact that these Indians cannot be supplied any further than has been done from the supplies of the army I send one copy of this letter to Topeka and the other to Leavenworth City. Fearful suffering must ensue amongst the Indians unless the steps necessary be promptly taken.
Fort Leavenworth, Kans., February 5, 1862. JOSEPH K. BARNES,
Surgeon, U. S. Army, Medical Director, Dept. of Kansas. MAJOR: In compliance with instructions from Major-General Hunter contained in your order of 22d ultimo I left this place on the 22d and proceeded to Burlington, where I learned that the principal part of the friendly Indians were congregated and encamped on the Verdigris River near a place called Fort Roe, from twelve to fifteen miles south of the town of Belmont. I proceeded there without delay. By a census of the tribes taken a few days before my arrival there was found to be of the Creeks, 3,168; slaves of the Creeks, 53; free negroes, members of the tribe, 38; Seminoles, 777; Quapaws, 136; Cherokees, 50; Chickasaws, 31; some few Kickapoos and other tribes-about 4,500 in all. But the number was being constantly augmented by the daily arrival of other camps and families. I met assembled together Kamtamechks, Talwamechks, Meichkootks and Teslamakimaktla, all chiefs of the Creeks; Poskooak (first) and Gotza (second), chiefs of the Semi. noles; Tecumpta, a Chickasaw. From them I learned that a number
greater than were assembled were scattered over the country at • distances varying from 25 to 150 miles, and unable for want of food and ponies to come in. They were chiefly collected on the Cottonwood, Fall and Walnut Rivers.
These friendly Indians had had two fights with the Indians disposed to join the rebels and had been victorious. Their enemies had received re-enforcements from the Texas Rangers and had come upon them when they were celebrating a festival and in this third contest were defeated, compelled to fly with little or nothing to support life or protect themselves from the severity of the weather, and those now endeavoring to exterminate all who are loyal to the Government.
It is impossible for me to depict the wretchedness of their condition. Their only protection from the snow upon which they lie is prairie grass and from the wind and weather scraps and rags stretched upon switches. Some of them had some personal clothing; most had but shreds and rags which did not conceal their nakedness, and I saw seven varying in age from three to fifteen years without one thread upon their bodies. Hogobofobyab, the second chief of the Creeks, was sick with a fever. It is time he had received from Mr. Fuller blankets enough to keep him warm, but his tent (to give it that name) was no larger than a small blanket stretched over a switch ridge pole two feet from the ground and did not reach it by a foot on either side of him.
One or two of the lodges were better, all the rest worse than his. The boxes from the Chicago commission contained thirty-five comfortables or quilts, many of them only two feet and two feet six inches wide, forty pairs of socks, three pairs of pantaloons, seven undershirts and four pairs of drawers, a few shirts, pillows and pillow-cases. I unpacked the things and piled them up in the wagon in parcels of the same kind of articles. I had the wagon driven around the margin of the woods. I walked through the woods and selected the nakedest of the naked to whom I doled out the few articles I had, and when all was gone I found myself surrounded by hundreds of anxious faces, disappointed to find that nothing remained for them. The pillow-cases were the most essential articles next to food for they were the only means that families had to receive their portion of the meal or flour furnished them.
They are extremely destitute of cooking utensils and axes or hatchets. Many can with difficulty get wood to make fires either to warm themselves or to cook with, which together with the want of cooking utensils compels many of them to eat their provisions raw. They greatly need medical assistance. Many have their toes frozen off; others have feet wounded by sharp ice or branches of trees lying on the snow. But few have shoes or moccasins. They suffer with inflammatory diseases of the chest, throat and eyes. Those who come in last get sick as soon as they eat. Means should be taken at once to have the horses which lie dead in every direction through the camp and on the side of the river removed and burned, lest the first few warm days breed a pestilence amongst them. Why the officers of the Indian Department are not doing something for them I cannot understand. Common humanity demands that more should be done and done at once to save them from total destruction. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. B. CAMPBELL,
Surgeon, U. S. Army. (Sub-inclosure D.) OFFICE CHIEF COMMISSARY OF DEPT. OF KANSAS,
Fort Leavenworth, Kans., February 5, 1862. Hon. WILLIAM P. DOLE, Commissioner of Indian Affairs.
SIR: In compliance with your request that I would submit such sug. gestions as occurred to me in my recent visit to the loyal and destitute Indians now within the southern border of this State-in regard to their numbers, the best locality for them, their requirements and arrangements for supplying them—I have the honor briefly to offer the following:
At the time I was among them it was impossible to get definitely their total numbers. They were scattered over a great extent of country but were daily coming in at the point I visited them. At that time they numbered nearly 5,000. I calculated their numbers would swell to at least 8,000 and probably 10,000—men, women, children and negroes.
The place they concentrated at was on the Verdigris River at a point called Fort Roe, about thirty-five or forty miles from Le Roy and Bur. lington, on the Neosho.
The locality presented itself to me as a desirable one for their sojourn till at least definite arrangements should be made for their permanent abiding place. It is on Indian land and sufficiently removed from settlers to obviate the difficulties and disputes which would certainly arise if brought in close contact. There are a few settlers in the vicin. ity on the Verdigris, but as they have no right on Indian lands they can raise no objection to these Indians being here or the free use of the timber.