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162 Series I Volume XIII- Serial 19 - Missouri - Arkansas Campaign

Page 162 MO., ARK., KANS., IND. T., AND DEPT. N. W. Chapter XXV.

Park Hill. Reached Tahlequah at about 5 p. m.; distance 22 miles. Surrounded the town quickly for the purpose of detaining every man in the place, my object being to obtain all the information possible in regard to the situation of the country. I found, however, but 4 or 5 men in the town; all had fled several days previous to my arrival. After spending a little time for resting I moved the command 2 1/2 miles south of Tahlequah and in the vicinity of a fine spring and encamped for the night. I here learned through a negro that there were some 200 or 300 Indians at Park Hill, supposed to be friendly, yet I could learn nothing positive in regard to that.

On the morning of the 15th I moved my command to park Hill (3 miles), the residence of John Ross, Chief of the Cherokee Nation. Here your command. The loyal people were very much excited, owing to the fact of several murders having been committed by Watie's men in the neighborhood within the past week. I found at Ross' house Lieutenant Colonel W. P. Ross, Major Thomas Pegg, Lieuts. Anderson Benge and Joseph Chover, Second Lieuts. L. Hawkins, Archibald Scraper, Walter Chuster, and George W. Ross, and Third Lieuts Allen Ross, Joseph Cornsilk, and John Shell, all of whom had been in the Confederate service, members of Colonel Drew's regiments, and had received orders from Colonel Cooper to report for duty at once to his headquarters, Fort Davis. These orders had been received but a few hours previous to my arrival. Colonel Ross was hesitating what course to pursue, and to decide the matter for him I made them all prisoners of war and brought them to these headquarters. John Ross had received a dispatch from Colonel Cooper, in the name of the President of the Southern Confederacy, to issue a proclamation calling on the Cherokee Indians for every man over eighteen and under thirty-five to take up arms to repel invasion in accordance with treaty stipulation entered into last August between the Cherokee Nation and Southern Confederacy, which treaty binds the Chief of the Cherokee Nation to furnish his ration of men whenever called upon by the President of the Southern Confederacy to do so. In order to place the Chief in position in which it would be impossible for him to act to do anything in opposition to the Government of the United States or in aid of the rebels, after thinking the matter over I concluded it was best, under the circumstances, to make him a prisoner of war and leave him at home on his parole until further action in the matter. The Chief seems very much concerned about the situation of the people of his nation, and anxious that the United States Government should send sufficient force here to protect them from lawless bands that are daily threatening them, committing robberies and murders. He is quite apprehensive of his own personal safety and the safety of his family.

I could hear of no armed forces near Tahlequah, and at Fort Smith on the 13th instant there were but 400 men to garrison the post. Colonel Rector had passed 15 miles east and south of Tahlequah on the 14th instant en route Fort Gibson to join Cooper.

I encamped for the night at Park Hill and started for camp on the 16th instant. About 200 friendly Cherokee Indians followed me back. Arrived at this camp at 4 p. m.; distance traveled from Park Hill to this camp 26 miles.

I remain, colonel, with due consideration, your obedient servant,


Captain, Commanding Detachment.

Colonel WILLIAM WEER, Commanding Indian Expedition.

Page 162 MO., ARK., KANS., IND. T., AND DEPT. N. W. Chapter XXV.