encroached upon by white intruders, consequently the impoverished and greatly fatigued travellers encountered no obstacles in settling themselves down to rest and to wait for a much needed replenishment of their resources.
Their coming was expected. On their way northward, they had fallen in, at some stage of the journey, with some buffalo hunters, Sacs and Foxes of the Mississippi, returning to their reservation, which lay some distance north of Burlington and chiefly in present Osage County, Kansas. To them the refugees reported their recent tragic experience. The Sacs and Foxes were most sympathetic and, after relieving the necessities of the refugees as best they could, hurried on ahead, imparting the news, in their turn, to various white people whom they met. In due course it reached General Denver, still supervising affairs in Kansas, and William G. Coffin, the southern superintendent. It was the first time, since his appointment the spring before, that Coffin had had any prospect of getting in touch with any considerable number of his charges and he must have welcomed the chance of now really earning his salary. He ordered all of the agents under him—and some of them had not previously entered officially upon their duties—to assemble at Fort Roe, on the Verdigris, and be prepared to take charge of their
[Footnote 165: These facts were obtained chiefly from a letter, not strictly accurate as to some of its details, written by Superintendent Coffin to Dole, January 15, 1862 [Indian Office Special Files, no. 201, Southern Superintendency, C 1474 of 1862].]
[Footnote 166: For instance, William P. Davis, who had been appointed Seminole Agent, despairing of ever reaching his post, had gone into the army [Dole to John S. Davis of New Albany, Indiana, April 5, 1862, Indian Office Letter Book, no. 68, p. 39]. George C. Snow of Parke County, Indiana, was appointed in his stead [Dole to Snow, January 13, 1862, Ibid., no. 67, p. 243].]
several contingents; for the refugees, although chiefly Creeks, were representative of nearly every one of the non-indigenous tribes of Indian Territory.
It is not an easy matter to say, with any show of approach to exact figures, how many the refugees numbered. For weeks and weeks, they were almost continually coming in and even the very first reports bear suspicious signs of the exaggeration that became really notorious as graft and peculation entered more and more into the reckoning. Apparently, all those who, in ever so slight a degree, handled the relief funds, except, perhaps, the army men, were interested in making the numbers appear as large as possible. The larger the need represented, the larger the sum that might, with propriety, be demanded and the larger the opportunity for graft. Settlers, traders, and some government agents were, in this respect, all culpable together.