[Footnote 545:—Ibid., 920.]
grumbling and the charge of favoritism. One other offence of which Holmes was guilty he did not attempt to palliate, the taking of the Indians out of their own country without their consent. To the very last Pike had expostulated against such violation of treaty promises; but Holmes and Hindman were deaf alike to entreaty and to reprimand.
General Pike, poet and student, was now finally deprived of his command and the Indians left to their own devices or at the mercy of men, who could not be trusted or were not greatly needed elsewhere. No one attempted any longer to conceal the truth that alliance with the Indians was a supremely selfish consideration, and nothing more, on the part of those who coveted Indian Territory because of its geographical position, its strategic and economic importance. For a little while longer, Pike contended with his enemies by means of the best weapon he had, his facile pen. His acrimonious correspondence with the chief of those enemies, Hindman and Holmes, reached its highest point of criticism in a letter of December 30 to the latter. That letter summed up his grievances and was practically his last charge. Having made it, he retired from the scene, not to reappear until near the close of the war, when Kirby Smith found it advantageous to reemploy him for service among the red men.
[Footnote 546: Official Records, vol. xiii, 928.]
[Footnote 547:—Ibid., 905, 963.]
General Blunt’s decision to restore the Indian refugees in Kansas to their own country precipitated a word war of disagreeable significance between the civil and military authorities. The numbers of the refugees had been very greatly augmented in the course of the summer, notwithstanding the fact that so large a proportion of the men had joined the Indian Expedition. It is true they had not all stayed with it. The retrograde movement of Colonel Salomon and his failure later on to obey Blunt’s order to the letter that he should return to the support of the Indians had disheartened them and many of the enlisted braves had deserted the ranks, as chance offered, and had strayed back to their families in the refugee camps of southern Kansas.
[Footnote 548: Blunt to Caleb Smith, November 21, 1862 [Indian Office General Files, Southern Superintendency, 1859-1862, I 860].]
[Footnote 549: One of the first notices of their desertion was the following: