their immediate neighbor, and of which the conservation and perpetuity of slaveholding was the most cherished idea.
Some of those Chiefs have since insisted that they were deceived by the Confederate
emissaries, and especially by Gen. Albert Pike
, chief Commissioner
for Indian Affairs of the Confederacy
, who had led them to confound that concern with the Union
What is certain is, that, directly after tidings reached them of the battles of Bull Run
's creek — the latter reported to them from that side as a complete discomfiture of the North
, which view the undoubted death of Lyon
and abandonment of Springfield
tended strongly to corroborate — the Chiefs of most of the tribes very generally entered into a close offensive and defensive alliance with the Confederacy
; even so cautious and politic a diplomatist as John Ross
throwing his weight into that scale.
It is said that, after the death of Lyon
, Pen McCulloch
's brigade of Texans was marched back to the Indian
border, and that the Creeks
and Cherokees were impressively required to decide quickly between the North
and the South
; else, betwixt Texas
on the one side and Arkansas
on the other, a force of 20,000 Confederates would speedily ravage and lay waste their country.
They decided accordingly.
Yet a very large minority of both Creeks and Cherokees rallied around the Chief Opothleyolo
, made head against the current, and stood firm for the Union
Assembling near the Creek
Agency, they tore down the Rebel
flag there flying and replanted the Stars and Stripes; and a letter1
from Col. McIntosh
to the Trute Democrat2
called loudly for reenforcements to the Rebel
array in the Indian Territory
, and expressed apprehension that the Northern
party might prove the stronger.
A battle between the antagonistic Indian forces took place Dec. 9th, 1861, on Bushy creek
, near the Verdigris river
, 180 miles west of Fort Smith
, the Confederates
being led by Col. Cooper
, the Unionists by Opothleyolo
The result was not decisive, but the advantage appears to have been with the Rebel
party, the Unionists being constrained soon after to make their way northward to Kansas
, where they received the supplies they so much needed, and where a treaty of close alliance was negotiated3
and his followers on one side, and Col. Dole, U. S. Commissioner
of Indian Affairs, on the other.
The Rebels were thus left in undisputed possession of the Indian Territory
, from which they collected the four or five thousand warriors who appeared at Pea Ridge
; but, though the ground was mainly broken and wooded, affording every facility for irregular warfare, they do not seem to have proved of much account, save in the consumption of rations and massacre of the Union
wounded, of whom at least a score fell victims to their barbarities.
Their war-whoop was overborne by the roar of our heavy guns; they were displeased with the frequent falling on their heads of great branches and tops of the trees behind which they had sought shelter; and, in fact, the whole conduct of the battle on our part was, to their apprehension disgusting.
The amount of effort and of profanity expended