They then put “the bodies into the agency building and fired it.” The next morning they made an equally brutal attack upon the Tonkawas and with most telling effect. More than half of them were butchered. The survivors, about one hundred fifty, fled to Fort Arbuckle. Their condition was pitiable. The murderers, for they were nothing less than that, fled northward, they and their families, to swell the number of Indian refugees already living upon government bounty in Kansas.
Commissioner Scott then at Fort Washita hurried to the Leased District to examine into the affair. He had made many observations since leaving Richmond, had talked with Pike, now returned from Texas, and had come around pretty much to his way of thinking. His recommendations to the department commander that were intended to reach the Secretary of War as well were in every sense a corroboration of Pike’s complaints in so far as the woeful neglect of the Indians was concerned. Better proof that Hindman’s conduct had been highly reprehensible could scarcely be asked for.
[Footnote 495: (cont.) Moore, Rebellion Record, vol. vi, 6; W.F. Cady to Cox, February 16, 1870, Indian Office Report Book, no. 19, 186-188; Coffin to Dole, September 24, 1863, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Report, 1863, 177.]
[Footnote 496: S.S. Scott asked permission of Governor Winchester Colbert, November 10, 1862, to place the fugitive Tonkawas “temporarily on Rocky or Clear Creek, near the road leading from Fort Washita to Arbuckle.” Colbert granted the permission, “provided they are subject to the laws of the Chickasaw Nation, and will furnish guides to the Home Guards and the Chickasaw Battalion, when called upon to do so.”]
The tragedy at the Wichita agency brought General Pike again to the fore. His resignation had not been accepted at Richmond as Hindman supposed was the case at the time he released him from custody. In fact, as events turned out, it looked as though Hindman were decidedly more in disrepute there than was Pike. His arbitrary procedure in the Trans-Mississippi District had been complained of by many persons besides the one person whom he had so unmercifully badgered. Furthermore, the circumstances of his assignment to command were being inquired into and everything divulged was telling tremendously against him.
The irregularity of Hindman’s assignment to command has been already commented upon in this narrative. Additional details may now be given. Van Dorn had hopes, on the occasion of his own summons to work farther east, that Sterling Price would be the one chosen eventually to succeed him or, at all events, the one to take the chief command of the Confederate forces in the West. He greatly wished that upon him and upon him alone his mantle should fall. The filling of the position by Hindman was to be but tentative, to last only until Price, perhaps also Van Dorn,