The so-called Wichita, or Reserve, Indians, to call them by a collective term only very recently bestowed, had ever constituted a serious problem for the neighboring states as well as for the central government. It was with the Confederacy as with the old Union. The Reserve Indians were a motley horde, fragments of many tribes that had seen better days. They were all more or less related, either geographically or linguistically. Some of them, it is difficult to venture upon what proportion, had been induced to enter into negotiations with Pike and through him had formed an alliance with the Confederacy. Apparently, those who had done this were chiefly Tonkawas. Other Reserve Indians continued true to the North. As time went on hostile feelings, engendered by living in opposite camps, gained in intensity, the more especially because white men, both north and south, encouraged them to go upon the war-path, either against their own associates or others. Reprisals, frequently bloody, were regularly instituted. With Pike’s departure from Fort McCulloch an opportunity for greater vindictiveness offered, notwithstanding the fact that the Choctaw and Chickasaw
[Footnote 493: Official Records, vol. xiii, 868.]
troops had been left behind and were guarding the near-by country, their own.
Sometime in the latter part of August or the early part of September, Matthew Leeper, the Wichita agent under the Confederate government, a left-over from Buchanan’s days, went from the Leased District, frightened away, some people thought, perhaps afraid of the inevitable results of the mischief his own hands had so largely wrought, and sojourned in Texas, his old home. The sutler left also and a man named Jones was then in sole charge of the agency. The northern sympathizers among the Indians thereupon aroused themselves. They had gained greatly of late in strength and influence and their numbers had been augmented by renegade Seminoles from Jumper’s battalion and by outlawed Cherokees. They warned Jones that Leeper would be wise not to return. If he should return, it would be the worse for him; for they were determined to wreak revenge upon him for all the misery his machinations in favor of the Confederacy and for his own gain had cost them. Presumably, Jones scorned to transmit the warning and, in course of time, Leeper returned.
The twenty-third of October witnessed one of the bloodiest scenes ever enacted on the western plains. The northern Indians of the Reserve together with a lot of wandering Shawnees, Delawares, and Kickapoos, many of them good-for-nothing or vicious, some Seminoles and Cherokees attacked Leeper unawares, killed him, as also three white male employees of the agency.
[Footnote 494: Official Records, vol. liii, supplement, 828.]
[Footnote 495: On the murder of Agent Leeper, see Scott to Holmes, November 2, 1862, Official Records, vol. xiii, 919-921; Holmes to Secretary of War, November 15, 1862, Ibid., 919: F. Johnson to Dole, January 20, 1863, Abel, American Indian as Slaveholder and Secessionist, 329-330, footnote; (cont.)]