“Go on and supply the destitute Indians. Congress will supply the means. War Department will not organize them.”—Same to Same, February 14, 1862.]
[Footnote 161: Smith to Dole, January 3, 1862 [Indian Office Special Files, no. 201, Central Superintendency, I 531 of 1862; Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Report, 1862, p. 150].]
[Footnote 162: On the second of January, Agent Cutler wired from Leavenworth to Dole, “Heopothleyohola with four thousand warriors is in the field and needs help badly. Secession Creeks are deserting him. Hurry up Lane.”—Indian Office Special Files, no. 201, Southern Superintendency, C 1443 of 1862.]
necessities and to enable them to return betimes to their own country. Moreover, Indians of northern antecedents and sympathies were exhibiting unwonted enthusiasm for the cause and it seemed hard to have to repel them. Dole was, nevertheless, compelled to do it. On the eleventh of February, he countermanded the orders he had issued to Superintendent Coffin and thus a temporary quietus was put upon the whole affair of the Indian Expedition.
[Footnote 163: Their plea was expressed most strongly in the course of an interview which Dole had with representatives of the Loyal Creeks and Seminoles, Iowas and Delawares, February 1, 1862. Robert Burbank, the Iowa agent, was there. White Cloud acted as interpreter [Daily Conservative, February 2, 1862].]
[Footnote 164: Some of these had been provoked to a desire for war by the inroads of Missourians. Weas, Piankeshaws, Peorias, and Miamies, awaiting the return of Dole from the interior of Kansas, said, “they were for peace but the Missourians had not left them alone” [Ibid., February 9, 1862].]
The thing that would most have justified the military employment of Indians by the United States government, in the winter of 1862, was the fact that hundreds and thousands of their southern brethren were then refugees because of their courageous and unswerving devotion to the American Union. The tale of those refugees, of their wanderings, their deprivations, their sufferings, and their wrongs, comparable only to that of the Belgians in the Great European War of 1914, is one of the saddest to relate, and one of the most disgraceful, in the history of the War of Secession, in its border phase.
The first in the long procession of refugees were those of the army of Opoeth-le-yo-ho-la who, after their final defeat by Colonel James McIntosh in the Battle of Chustenahlah, December 26, 1861, had fled up the valley of the Verdigris River and had entered Kansas near Walnut Creek. In scattered lines, with hosts of stragglers, the enfeebled, the aged, the weary, and the sick, they had crossed the Cherokee Strip and the Osage Reservation and, heading steadily towards the northeast, had finally encamped on the outermost edge of the New York Indian Lands, on Fall River, some sixty odd miles west of Humboldt. Those lands, never having been accepted as an equivalent for their Wisconsin holdings by the Iroquois, were not occupied throughout their entire extent by Indians and only here and there