I was a private citizen, over fifty years of age, and neither needing nor desiring military rank or civil honors. I accepted the office of Commissioner, at the President’s solicitation. I took that of Brigadier General, with all the odium that I knew would follow it, and fall on me as the Leader of a force of Indians, knowing there would be little glory to be reaped, and wanting no promotion, simply and solely to see my pledges to the Indians carried out, to keep them loyal to us, to save their country to the Confederacy, and to preserve the Western frontier of Arkansas and the Northern frontier of Texas from devastation and desolation.
What has been my reward? All my efforts have been rendered nugatory, and my attempts even to collect and form an army frustrated, by the continual plundering of my supplies and means by other Generals, and your and their deliberate efforts to disgust and alienate the Indians. Once before this, an armed force was sent to arrest me. You all disobeyed the President’s orders, and treated me as a criminal for endeavoring to have them carried out. The whole country swarms with slanders against me; and at last, because I felt constrained reluctantly to re-assume command, after learning that the President would not accept my resignation, I am taken from Tishomingo to Washington, a prisoner, under an armed guard, it having been deemed necessary, for the sake of effect, to send two hundred and fifty men into the Indian Country to arrest me. The Senatorial election was at hand.
I had, unaided and alone, secured to the Confederacy a magnificent country, equal in extent, fertility, beauty and resources to any of our States—nay, superior to any. I had secured the means, in men and arms, of keeping it. I knew how only it could be defended. I asked no aid of any of you. I only asked to be let alone. Verily, I have my reward also, as Hastings had his, for winning India for the British Empire.
It is your day now. You sit above the laws and domineer over the constitution. “Order reigns in Warsaw.” But bye and bye, there will be a just jury empannelled, who will hear all the testimony and decide impartially—no less a jury than the People of the Confederate States; and for their verdict as to myself, I and my children will be content to wait; as also for the sure and stern sentence and universal malediction, that will fall like a great wave of God’s just anger on you and the murderous miscreant by whose malign promptings you are making yourself accursed.
Whether I am respectfully yours, you will be able to determine from the contents of this letter.
ALBERT PIKE, Citizen of Arkansas.
THEOPHILUS H. HOLMES, Major General &c.
I. ALPHABETICAL LIST OF SOURCES.
ABEL, ANNIE HELOISE, editor. The official correspondence of James S. Calhoun (Washington, D.C., 1915).