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 Research ACW US War Dept. Official Records HTML Ser. I, Vol. 1, Ch. VIII–Reports.

THE
WAR OF THE REBELLION:
A COMPILATION OF THE
OFFICIAL RECORDS
OF THE
UNION AND CONFEDERATE ARMIES.

{p.637}

CHAPTER VIII.
OPERATIONS IN ARKANSAS, THE INDIAN TERRITORY, AND MISSOURI.
February 7-May 9, 1861.
(Secession)
–––
REPORTS, ETC.

SUMMARY OF THE PRINCIPAL EVENTS.

February 7, 1861.– The Choctaw Nation declares its adherence to the Southern States.
8, 1861.– United States Arsenal at Little Rock, Ark., seized.
12, 1861.– United States ordnance stores seized at Napoleon, Ark.*
April 16, 1861.– Fort Washita, Ind. T., abandoned.
17, 1861.– The governor of Missouri refuses to furnish quota of militia to the United States.
18, 1861.– United States subsistence stores seized at Pine Bluff, Ark.
20, 1861.– United States Arsenal at Liberty, Mo., seized.
22, 1861.– The governor of Arkansas refuses to furnish quota of militia to the United States.
23, 1861.– Fort Smith, Ark., seized.
May 4, 1861.– United States ordnance stores seized at Kansas City, Mo.
5, 1861.– Forts Arbuckle and Cobb, Ind. T., abandoned.
6, 1861.– Ordinance of secession adopted by Arkansas Convention.

REPORTS.

No. 1.–Capt. James Totten, Second U. S. Artillery, of the seizure of the U. S. Arsenal at Little Rock, Ark.
No. 2.–Maj. Justus McKinstry, quartermaster, U. S. Army, of the seizure of U. S. ordnance stores at Napoleon, Ark.
No. 3.–Capt. William W. Burns, commissary of subsistence, U. S. Army, of the seizure of subsistence stores at Pine Bluff, Ark.
No. 4.–Lieut. Col. William H. Emory, First U. S. Cavalry, of the abandonment of Forts Arbuckle, Cobb, and Washita, Ind. T.
No. 5.–Nathaniel Grant, of the seizure of the U. S. Arsenal at Liberty, Mo.
No. 6.–Benjamin Farrar, of the seizure of the U. S. Arsenal at Liberty, Mo.
No. 7.–Maj. Richard C. Gatlin, Fifth U. S. Infantry, of seizure of Fort Smith, Ark.
No. 8.–Maj. Samuel D. Sturgis, Fourth U. S. Cavalry, of the seizure of Fort Smith, Ark.
No. 9.–Capt. Alexander Montgomery, assistant quartermaster, U. S. Army, of the seizure of Fort Smith, Ark.
No. 10.–Capt. Langdon C. Easton, assist-ant quartermaster, U. S. Army, of the seizure of U. S. ordnance stores at Kansas City, Mo.
No. 11.–Sergeant Charles A. Campbell, Company E, First U. S. Infantry, of the occupation of Fort Arbuckle, Ind. T., by Texas troops.
No. 12.–Capt. S. T. Benning, Texas troops, of the abandonment of the U. S. posts in the Indian Territory.

* Exact date of seizure not known.

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No. 1.

Reports of Capt. James Totten., Second U. S. Artillery, of the seizure of the U. S. Arsenal at Little Rock, Ark.

LITTLE ROCK ARSENAL, Little Rock, Ark., January 29, 1861.

SIR: I have the honor herewith to inclose a copy of a communication received this day from his Excellency Henry M. Rector, governor of the State of Arkansas, and also a copy of my reply to his excellency’s communication.

Please submit both these communications to the Secretary of War for the decision of the President of the United States, with the request that instructions be sent me as to my future action in the premises. I also request that means and money may be sent me to carry out the orders I may receive.

I forward, in the same mail with this, copies of the communications, herein mentioned, to the general commanding the Department of the West. I deem it necessary in this connection respectfully to inform the authorities concerned that, in my opinion, most positive and unequivocal instructions are called for, in order that I may not mistake the intentions of the administration regarding the matter at issue. I believe there is trouble ahead for this command, and that by the 4th day of March coming decided action will be absolutely imperative in the officer who may then command this arsenal, and, if left to his own discretion, he may not in everything correspond with the wishes of the Federal authorities.

Whatever orders may be given, I respectfully ask that they may be sent by a reliable agent, and not by the mails, as there appears to be some reason in believing that they are not entirely trustworthy at present. I would not myself, in the present instance, trust to this doubtful medium of communication if I had means at my disposal of sending an officer to Washington, and, indeed, if I can procure, the necessary funds, I may yet forward copies of the various communications now inclosed by such an agent as indicated.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAS. TOTTEN, Captain, Second Artillery, Commanding Post.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington City, D. C.

[Inclosure A.]

THE STATE OF ARKANSAS, Executive Department, Little Rock, January 28, 1861.

CAPTAIN: The public exigencies require me to make known to you that the U. S. Arsenal at this place will be permitted to remain in the possession of the Federal officers until the State, by authority of the people, shall have determined to sever their connection with the General Government, unless, however, it should be thought proper to order additional forces to this point; or, on the other hand, an attempt should be made to remove or destroy the munitions of war deposited in said arsenal.

Any assurances that you may be able to give touching the observance of these two latter conditions will greatly tend to quiet the public mind, {p.689} and prevent a collision between the sovereign people of Arkansas and the Government troops now stationed at this point.

Respectfully,

HENRY M. RECTOR, Governor of Arkansas and Commander-in-Chief.

Captain TOTTEN, U. S. Army, Little Rock Arsenal.

[Inclosure B.]

HEADQUARTERS LITTLE ROCK ARSENAL, Little Rock, Ark., January 29, 1861.

SIR: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 28th instant, which was handed to me this morning by your aide-de-camp, J. J. Gaines, esq., and in answer thereto, to say to your excellency that my understanding leads me to believe that the troops under my command were ordered here at the request of some of the members of Congress from this State, and several good citizens also, for what reasons, if any, I have not been apprised.

As you will readily understand, I cannot give your excellency any assurances as to what instructions may in future be issued regarding this arsenal and the Federal troops now stationed here, but I can assure you that, so far as I am informed, no orders, such as you refer to in your two propositions, have, been issued, nor do I believe, privately and unofficially, that any such orders will be given by the Federal Government. I have furthermore to remind your excellency that as an officer of the Army of the United States, my allegiance is due to that Government in whose [service] I am, and that I act by its authority and permission, and until absolved from that allegiance my honor is concerned in the faithful performance of what I may conceive to be my duty.

I shall forward your communication to the Secretary of War to be laid before the President of the United States, and ask instructions relative to the matter contained in it, and, if not prohibited by these authorities, I will cheerfully inform your excellency what these instructions are. In the mean time let me say, in conclusion, that I most cordially concur with your excellency in the desire to avoid collision between the Federal troops under my command and the citizens of Arkansas, and shall do everything in my power which an honorable man in my position can or dare do to prevent so deplorable an event.

I am, respectfully,

JAS. TOTTEN, Captain, Second Artillery, U. S. Army, Commanding Little Rock Arsenal.

His Excellency HENRY M. RECTOR, Governor of Arkansas and Commander-in-Chief.

–––

LITTLE ROCK, February 6, 1861.

I have to inform the authorities that companies of armed citizens from various sections of this State have already arrived, and it is said there will soon be five thousand here for the express purpose of taking this arsenal. Instructions are urgently and immediately asked. Collision seems inevitable if this arsenal is to be held.

JAMES TOTTEN, Captain, Second Artillery, Commanding Post.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General U. S. Army.

{p.640}

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LITTLE ROCK ARSENAL, Little Rock, Ark., February 6, 1861.

SIR: I have the honor herewith to inclose a copy of a communication just received from H. M. Rector, governor of the State of Arkansas, demanding the surrender of this arsenal to the State authorities.

As I have already written and telegraphed you for the information of the President, I am perfectly in the dark as to the wishes of the administration, from the want [of] instructions how to meet such a crisis as at present. If I had positive orders to cover the case in point I should obey them implicitly; but I have nothing whatever, within my knowledge, indicative of the course the Government wishes its agents to pursue, and I am therefore left to act as my judgment and my honor as a Federal officer dictate under the present trying circumstances.

I inclose also copies of certain resolutions, passed by the citizens of Little Rock, and of the common council of said city, explanatory of the circumstances under which the matter above referred to had been brought about.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAS. TOTTEN, Captain, Second Artillery, Commanding Post.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.

[Inclosure A.]

EXECUTIVE OFFICE, Little Rock, Ark., February 6, 1861.

SIR: There is now in this city a considerable number of the citizens of this State who have come here, under arms, with the avowed purpose of taking possession of the U. S. Arsenal.

Reliable information has been received that a large force of citizens are on the march to this place for the same purpose. This movement is prompted by the feeling that pervades the citizens of this State that in the present emergency the arms and munitions of war in the arsenal should be under the control of the State authorities, in order to their security. This movement, although not authorized by me, has assumed such an aspect that it becomes my duty, as the executive of this State, to interpose my official authority to prevent a collision between the people of the State and the Federal troops under your command.

I therefore demand in the name of the State the delivery of the possession of the arsenal and munitions of war under your charge to the State authorities, to be held subject to the action of the convention to be held on the 4th of March next. This course is the only one which can possibly prevent the effusion of blood and the destruction of the property of the citizens and the Government. I beg leave to assure you that the steps which the citizens have seen fit to take is not prompted by any personal distrust of you, but the jealousy which naturally exists towards the authorities of the United States under the present unhappy condition of the country.

This communication will be handed you by T. D. Merrick, general of First Division of the Arkansas Militia, who will call on you personally, accompanied by his staff, and who will receive from you your response.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY M. RECTOR, Governor of Arkansas.

Captain TOTTEN, Commanding U. S. Arsenal, Little Bock, Ark.

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[Indorsement.]

This is the paper marked “A.”

HENRY M. RECTOR, Governor of Arkansas. JAMES TOTTEN, Captain, Second Artillery.

[Inclosure B.]

COUNCIL CHAMBER, Little Rock, Ark., February 5, 1861-3 o’clock p.m.

Resolved as a sense of this council, That if there be any impending danger or necessity which requires the seizure of the U. S. Arsenal at this place, it would become the duty of the governor, as the executive head of the State, to order such seizure to be made by the organized military power of the State.

But that all unauthorized attempts to seize the arsenal by persons without orders from the governor is an insult to his station and authority, and deserves the reprehension of all our people, and calculated to injure the cause of States rights, and we earnestly recommend the governor to interpose his authority to check any such movements if unauthorized by him.

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be immediately communicated to the governor, and that a committee, to consist of the whole council, be appointed for that purpose, and the same committee to communicate with the leaders of such movement.

C. P. BERTRAND, Mayor pro tem.

Attest: A. J. SMITH, City Recorder.

[Inclosure C.]

COUNCIL CHAMBER, little Rock, Ark., February 6, 1861.

At a called meeting Of the city council, held at 4 o’clock p.m. of this day

Present: Charles P. Bertrand, mayor pro tem., and Aldermen Waid, Peary, Tacker, Watkins, Henry, Robins, and George

The following preamble and resolutions were introduced by Alderman Geo. C. Watkins:

“Whereas an armed force of about four hundred men from different parts of this State are assembled at Little Rock for the purpose of seizing the U. S. Arsenal at this place, under the apprehension that the arsenal and the arms and the munitions of war stored therein may at no distant day be used to the injury of the people of this State, and it is reasonably certain that such force will soon be increased to one thousand men, or to five thousand, if necessary for the purpose designed;

“And whereas the governor of the State has on this day officially assumed the responsibility of said movement, and has made a demand in the name and by authority of the State upon the officer in command of the arsenal to surrender the same to the authorities of the State;

“And whereas the arsenal is so located that any attack or defense of it would involve the destruction of much of the property of private citizens of Little Rock, and the loss of many lives of our citizens, and the probable sacrifice of the officers and their command in charge of the arsenal: Therefore,

{p.642}

“Resolved, That this council do earnestly deprecate a hostile collision in their midst between the forces of the State and the United States troops stationed at the arsenal, and hope that the same may be avoided if it can possibly be done consistently with a proper sense of duty and honor on the part of those upon whom rests the responsibility of a collision and the deplorable consequences that would inevitably result from it.

“Resolved further, That a copy of these resolutions be furnished to the governor of the State, and also a copy of the same to the officer in command of the arsenal at this place.”

A true copy from the record:

Attest:

GORDON W. PEARY, Acting Recorder pro tem.

[Inclosure D.]

Whereas many good citizens of this State have come to Little Rock in obedience to what they supposed to be the orders of the governor, to assist in taking the U. S. Arsenal at this place; and whereas the governor disavows such orders as being without his authority or sanction: Therefore,

“Resolved, As the opinion of this meeting, that it is the duty of the governor to assume the responsibility of this movement or to interpose his authority and influence to prevent it.

“Resolved further, That in case there be, in opinion of the governor, any danger or necessity for seizing the arsenal, we earnestly recommend him, as the only way to prevent the effusion of blood, to order the same to be done in his official capacity and in the name and by authority of the State, and to that end that he make an official demand upon the officers in charge of the arsenal to surrender the same to the State authorities.

“Resolved further, That in our opinion the governor, as the executive head of the State, may rely upon the sympathy and co-operation of all good citizens in what he may do by authority of the State and her organized military power,

“The foregoing resolutions were, this 6th day of February, 1861, unanimously adopted by a mass meeting of the citizens of Little Rock, Arkansas.

“RICH’D H. JOHNSON, “Chairman.

“JOHN D. KIMBELL, Secretary.”

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LITTLE ROCK, ARK., February 12, 1861.

SIR: I have the honor herewith to inclose for the information of the President the originals of four papers relative to my withdrawal from Little Rock Arsenal with my command on the 8th instant.

I forwarded by mail copies of these papers on the 9th of this mouth, and now inclose the originals by General S. H. Hempstead, of Little Rock, a reliable gentleman, who has politely offered to deliver to you any communication I may wish to send.

For any additional information concerning my retiring from Little Rock I have the honor to refer you to my letters of previous dates. I shall also be most happy to explain any point relative to the matter which may not appear clear already from my past communications.

I beg also to refer the Adjutant-General to the bearer of this, General Hempstead, for much information which it did not appear to me {p.643} necessary to make known officially. I refer more particularly here to the rumored action taken by the governor of Arkansas to collect forces at Little Rock for the purpose of seizing the arsenal, and also to the views of his conduct and that of his friends and counsellors, taken by the city of Little Rock in its public meetings and the meetings of its council very recently.

I inclose a copy of my letter of transmittal Of the 9th instant (inclosed then), with the copies of the original papers now forwarded. [Inclosure E.]

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAS. TOTTEN, Captain, Second Artillery.

ADJUTANT-GENERAL U. S. ARMY.

[Inclosure B.]

LITTLE ROCK ARSENAL, Little Rock, Ark., February 6, 1861.

SIR: In the present trying circumstances by which the undersigned finds himself surrounded, as a Federal officer, he is anxious to learn officially from your excellency, before answering your demands for the surrender of the U. S. Arsenal at this place, the following important points, viz:

1st. If this arsenal and all the munitions of war stored therein are left intact as at the hour of 3 o’clock p.m. to-morrow, by the United States forces now in charge of them, will the governor of the State of Arkansas officially take charge of said arsenal and munitions of war in the name of the United States Government, and hold them in that light until future circumstances shall legally absolve him from the responsibility?

2d. If the United States forces now garrisoning Little Rock Arsenal evacuate said post, and leave the munitions of war intact as at the hour of 3 o’clock p.m. to-morrow, will the governor of the State of Arkansas officially guarantee to said forces an unmolested passage through the State in any direction the officer commanding said troops may elect, and guarantee, moreover, to said forces the right of carrying with them all the public and private property they brought with them to said arsenal, all which has been purchased for or by them, and all which has been sent to them since stationed at said arsenal, consisting of ordnance and ordnance stores, clothing, camp and garrison equipage, and barracks and mess furniture, as also provisions and all their individual or private property.

3d. If the arsenal and munitions of war stored therein are left intact as at the hour of 3 o’clock p.m. to-morrow, will the governor of Arkansas, in his official capacity, guarantee to the United States forces now in charge thereof the right of marching away from said place with all the honor due to them as Federal officers and soldiers who do not surrender their trust, but simply evacuate a post for want of instructions from their superiors in office, and in doubt as to the propriety of bringing on civil war among their fellow-countrymen?

Explicit and detailed answers to each and everyone of these questions will have great influence upon the undersigned in his answer to the Communication of the governor of Arkansas, which is promised by 3 o’clock p.m. to-morrow.

I am, very respectfully,

JAMES TOTTEN, Captain, Second Artillery, Commanding Post.

His Excellency HENRY M. RECTOR, Governor of Arkansas.

{p.644}

[Inclosure C.]

EXECUTIVE OFFICE, Little Rock, Ark., February 7, 1861.

Capt. JAMES TOTTEN, U. S. Army, In charge of U. S. Arsenal, Little Rock:

SIR: Your communication of the 6th instant (yesterday), propounding to myself certain propositions, explicit and detailed answers to which would have great influence upon you in your answer promised the governor of Arkansas by 3 p.m. to-day, was received at about 11 o’clock this morning.

After mature reflection I propose to accept your first, second, and third propositions, with the following understanding: That being informed your command brought no cannon with you-so none are to be taken away. You shall have a safe passage out of the State in any direction you may please with your command, provided, however, you do not station yourself within the limits of the State of Arkansas or on the borders thereof.

Whatever your command, either of private or public property, brought with them you will be permitted to take away.

I have the honor to be, captain, respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY M. RECTOR, Governor of Arkansas.

[Inclosure D.]

LITTLE ROCK, ARK., February 8, 1861.

Memorandum this day made and signed by James Totten, captain of Second Artillery, in the Army of the United States, and Henry M. Rector, governor of the State of Arkansas.

This paper, marked A,* signed by us, is the demand made by the governor upon Captain Totten for the delivery of the U. S. Arsenal at this place to the State authorities. The paper marked B, signed by us, is a copy of the response of Captain Totten to that communication. The paper marked C, signed by us, is the response of the governor accepting, as therein stated, the terms of the paper B.

It is further witnessed, that on this day, at the hour of 12 m., said Captain Totten, with his command, doth retire from said arsenal, and deliver the same, with all its stores, arms, and munitions of war , intact , to the governor of Arkansas, pursuant to the tenor and purport of said papers A, B, C. And the said Capt. James Totten protests that he has thus acted because in the presence of a greatly superior armed force, and which he became satisfied would soon become overwhelming by re-enforcements in case of resistance, involving the sacrifice of his command, without regard to the probable loss of life on the part of the assailants; because any defense of the arsenal in the city of Little Rock, whether successful or unsuccessful, would necessarily involve, to a greater or less extent, the destruction of property in the city, and the loss of lives of the peaceful citizens and families dwelling therein; because, being without instructions from his Government, be took, of necessity, the responsibility of doing what he thought proper and best under all the circumstances, desiring to avoid cause of civil war in this Government, by the first instance of a hostile and bloody collision, yet {p.645} protesting for himself and in the name of his Government against events beyond his control, and which have actuated him to this coarse.

(Signed in duplicate.)

HENRY M. RECTOR, Governor of Arkansas.

JAS. TOTTEN, Captain, Second Artillery, Commanding little Bock Arsenal.

* See inclosure A to Totten to Cooper, February 6, p. 640.

[Inclosure E.]

LITTLE ROCK, ARK., February 9, 1861.

SIR: I have the honor herewith to inclose for the information of the President copies of four distinct papers relative to a solemn and ever-to-be-regretted act which has been forced upon me through the necessities of the circumstances surrounding me. The papers marked A, B, C, and D explain the whole sad affair from beginning to end, in connection with information previously communicated, and comment on my part, therefore, seems unnecessary at present. I have been forced, as the inclosed papers will show, to retire with my command from Little Rock Arsenal, and yield my charge into the hands of Henry M. Rector, governor of the State of Arkansas, who has taken charge of the same in the name of the United States, to hold it in that light until legally absolved from the trust.

I hope I have acted in the whole matter in a manner which will meet the approbation of the Federal authorities. My object throughout these trying circumstances has been to avoid bringing about bloodshed and civil war in this immediate vicinity among peaceable, law-abiding, and loyal citizens of the United States. In doing so, I sincerely believe, in the absence of all instructions, I have only done what appears to be the course indicated by the present administration in its past course, so far as I am informed. It gratifies me beyond measure to be able, on this occasion, to bear honest testimony to the honorable, high-toned, loyal, and law-abiding action taken by the great majority of the most respectable citizens of Little Rock, From the richest to the poorest, I am happy to say, there was but one sentiment, and that was in opposition to the course of the governor and those who counseled and aided him in the deed done.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAS. TOTTEN, Captain, Second Artillery, Commanding.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington City, D. C.

[Inclosure F.]

ORDERS, No. 3.

HEADQUARTERS LITTLE ROCK ARSENAL, Little Rock, Ark., February 8, 1861.

The troops of this command, consisting of Company F, Second Artillery, and all the enlisted men of the Ordnance Department, will be prepared to move to-day from this post to a camp to be selected by the commanding officer on the banks of the Arkansas River.

The command will depart as soon as the necessary transportation can be provided.

By order of Captain Totten:

ST. CLAIR DEARING, Second Lieutenant, Second Artillery, Post Adjutant

{p.646}

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LITTLE ROCK, ARK., February 10, 1861.

SIR: In answer to your telegram dated Washington, February 9, 1861, I this morning answered by telegraph as follows:

I have retired with my command from Little Rock Arsenal, and the governor of Arkansas in the name of the United States, has charge of all the public property, to hold the same until legally absolved from the trust. I have reported particulars by mail, and shall duplicate them, and explain the whole matter thoroughly. I shall order and proceed with my command to Saint Louis, where I beg that orders may be sent me for my future guidance.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAS. TOTTEN, Captain, Second Artillery.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington City, D. C.

–––

ORDERS, No. 6.

CAMP AT FLETCHER’S LANDING, Vicinity of Little Rock, Ark., February 12, 1861.

This command, consisting Of Company F, Second Artillery, and the enlisted men of the Ordnance Department formerly garrisoning Little Rock Arsenal, will embark to-day on the steamboat Madora, and proceed direct to Saint Louis, Mo., and report to the general commanding the Department of the West for orders as to its future movements.

JAMES TOTTEN, Captain, Second Artillery, Commanding.

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No. 2.

Report of Maj. Justus McKinstry, quartermaster, U. S. Army, of the seizure of U. S. ordnance stores at Napoleon, Ark.

ASSISTANT QUARTERMASTER’S OFFICE, Saint Louis, MO., February 12, 1861.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report, for the information of the general commanding, that I am in receipt of a telegram from Captain Montgomery, A. Q. M. at Fort Smith, Ark., informing me that a considerable amount of ordnance stores (list herewith inclosed), shipped by me on the 15th and 21st ultimo to Napoleon, Ark., en route for the posts on the Arkansas River, have been seized by certain individuals pretending to act for the State of Arkansas. As the State in question has passed no act of secession, or announced her withdrawal from the Union, I would respectfully recommend that orders be issued to my agents at Napoleon to take legal steps to recover the stores lost.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. McKINSTRY, A. Q. Ill.

Capt. S. WILLIAMS, Asst. Adjt. Gen., Headquarters Department of the West.

Shipment to Napoleon, Ark., per steamboat Sunshine, January 15, 1861:

Fourteen boxes, containing:

83 saddles; 166 stirrups; 83 saddle-bags; 83 girths; 83 surcingles; 83 bridles, complete.

Shipment January 21, 1861, per steamboat Southwester:

{p.647}

One hundred and nineteen boxes [containing]-

40,000 .58 elongated-ball cartridges, percussion; 10,000 .58 rifle-musket blank cartridges, percussion; 20,000 Sharp’s carbine-ball cartridges; 50,000 Colt’s pistol-ball cartridges, R. B.; 10,000 Colt’s pistol blank cartridges.

J. McKINSTRY, A. Q. M.

ASSISTANT QUARTERMASTER’S OFFICE, February 12, 1861.

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No. 3.

Reports of Capt. William W. Burns, commissary of subsistence, U. S. Army, of the seizure of subsistence stores at Pine Bluff, Ark.

FORT SMITH, ARK., April 19, 1861.

[Major WAGGAMAN.]

MAJOR: Yours inclosing invoices of stores is received. The people of Arkansas are maddened by the seizure of their arms in Cincinnati, and I am assured by every one that these stores will be seized. I therefore start to-day down the river to meet them, hoping that I can get on the boat, and, by advising with the captain,, avoid points and escape excitement. Please present the case to the general commanding, and send me the order of approval.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. W. BURNS, Captain and C. S.

–––

NAPOLEON, ARK., April 21, 1861.

COLONEL: I received an invoice of stores (year’s supply) from Major Waggaman on the 18th and fearing, from information on the river, that some unauthorized person might interfere with them, I came clown to meet them. On arriving at Little Rock I found military preparations made to intercept all boats loaded with U. S. stores. The steamboat Sky Lark had just passed, after having been boarded and the U. S. stores taken from her at Pine Bluff. I learned (from the paper and otherwise) that the Silver Lake , No. 2, would be seized if not taken at Pine Bluff (cannon were stationed for that purpose and cannoneers ready). I called upon some prominent citizens, heretofore Union men, who advised me to see the governor. I called, but did not find his excellency at home. I very soon discovered that the revolution was general. Troops were enrolling to march on Fort Smith. The steamboat I came down on was chartered. When I arrived at Pine Bluff I found the Silver Lake, No. 2, tied up and strongly guarded. The crew had left, the stores were placed in different houses in town, and the steamboat was to transport troops to Fort Smith.

I learned from Mr. Bell, the agent (I believe) of the governor, that he had instructions to cause the stores to be sent to Little Rock, part of them to be used in the expedition to Fort Smith, for which 5,000 troops were called out.

I am on my way to Saint Louis to report to the commanding officer of department, and advise, in concurrence with Colonel Emory, that stores be sent at once from Leavenworth, via Forts Scott and Gibson, to Washita.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. W. BURNS, Captain and C. S.

Col. Jos. P. TAYLOR, A. C. G. S., Washington, D. C.

{p.648}

No. 4.

Report of Lieut. Col. William H. Emory, First U. S. Cavalry, of the abandonment of Forts Arbuckle, Cobb, and Washita., Ind. T.

HEADQUARTERS TROOPS IN THE INDIAN COUNTRY, West of the Arkansas River, May 19, 1861.

SIR: I had the honor to receive the instructions of the General-in-Chief, dated April 17,* by the hands of Lieutenant Averell, of the Rifles, two days’ march from Washita.

The seizure of supplies for this command, which I suppose was known sooner at Washington than it was to me; the known fact that it was only supplied to the 31st of May, and the failure of the command at Arbuckle and Cobb to concentrate as directed, caused me to anticipate the instructions of the General-in-Chief, so far as withdrawing the troops from Washita in the direction of Arbuckle and Cobb.

The day after I left Washita [April 161 the Texans occupied that place in force. The troops at Arbuckle and two companies from Cobb joined me five miles from Arbuckle, on the east bank of the Washita River, May 3. I then marched to relieve Cobb, taking the road which lies on the open prairie to the north of the Washita River, so as to render the cavalry available.

Oil the 5th, finding myself followed, I halted, and sent Captain Sturgis with his company and Lieutenant Averell to the rear, to bring into my camp the advance guard of the pursuing forces, which he did happily without having to shed blood. The same day Arbuckle was occupied by a large force of white people from Texas. (See letter of Sergeant Campbell.) [Report No. 11.] The next morning the above-mentioned guard, mostly composed of gentlemen acting under erroneous impressions, retraced its steps, and I followed my course to relieve the command at Cobb, for the safety of which I had reasons to entertain serious apprehensions, and which I had ordered to meet me.

On the 9th I found the command from Cobb (two companies of foot) thirty-five miles northeast of that post, and on the same day I took the most direct course to Leavenworth that the nature of the ground would permit. I am now in Kansas, on the north side of the Arkansas River, with the whole command-eleven companies, 750 fighting men, 150 women, children, teamsters, and other non-combatants. Nothing has been left behind but what would have been left in time of peace. Contracts were made to bring such stores as were left and were worth transporting (chiefly clothing of soldiers and officers’ baggage), but I understand the clothing has been seized. If this be the fact, these soldiers, who have not mixed in the politics of the country, who stand to their colors, and do their duty faithfully, should be reimbursed.

It is my duty to call attention to the unworthy conduct of the governor of the Chickasaw Nation, which country, I apprehend, he too faithfully represents. He busily joined in an attempt to disarm and disgrace the soldiers, whose only occupation for years past was to defend the rights and property of the people he represents and who were, to my own knowledge, invited by the agent and representatives of this people to re-enforce Fort Washita.

There is no money with this command, which has been a source of great embarrassment; and I beg to call attention to the estimates, and request that funds be immediately sent, to enable me to discharge useless {p.649} persons I have been compelled to bring along, and also to pay off the faithful Delaware guides.

Of the three staff officers stationed at Fort Smith, and who, it is presumed, had possession of the funds, if there were any in this country, Paymaster Brown is the only one who shared the fortunes of the troops, but he joined the command without a dollar.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. H. EMORY, Lieutenant-Colonel First Cavalry, Commanding.

Lieutenant-Colonel TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General, Headquarters Army, Washington, D. C.

*See Townsend to Emory, of that date, in “Correspondence and Orders, etc.,” P. 667.

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HEADQUARTERS TROOPS FROM TEXAS FRONTIER, Fort Leavenworth, May 31, 1861.

I arrived here this morning, and turned over the command to Major Sacket in good condition; not a man, an animal, an arm, or wagon hag been lost except two deserters.

W. H. EMORY, Late Lieutenant-Colonel First Cavalry.

Lieutenant-Colonel TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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No. 5.

Report of Nathaniel Grant of the seizure of U. S. Arsenal at Liberty, Mo.

MISSOURI DEPOT, Sunday, April 21, 1861.

SIR: I embrace the first opportunity to inform you that the depot was taken yesterday about 10 o’clock by a body of armed men from this and the adjacent counties. While I am writing the depot yard and grounds are filled with Men, who are rapidly removing the ordnance and ordnance stores from the post. Having no means of resistance, my protest against the forcible and unlawful seizure of the public property was of no avail, and I was informed that all the military stores would be taken.

I send this to Saint Louis by boat to be mailed, and so soon as it can be done a detailed report of all the facts, so far as they can be ascertained will be forwarded.

Very respectfully, I am, sir, your obedient servant,

NATHANIEL GRANT, In charge of Depot.

Col. H. K. CRAIG, Chief of Ordnance, Washington City.

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No. 6.

Report of Benjamin Farrar of the seizure of U. S. Arsenal at Liberty, Mo.

EAST SAINT LOUIS, MO., April 21, 1861.

HOD. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War:

Liberty Arsenal, in Missouri, was taken possession of by secessionists yesterday, and 1,500 arms and a few cannon distributed to citizens of {p.650} Clay County. The Missouri River is blockaded at Independence. All quiet here at present.

BENJAMIN FARRAR.

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No. 7.

Report of Maj. Richard C. Gatlin, Fifth U. S. Infantry, of the seizure of Fort Smith, Ark.

FORT SMITH, ARK., April 24, 1861.

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that a body of troops of the State of Arkansas, under the command of Col. S. Borland, entered and took possession of the post of Fort Smith last night, Captain Sturgis, of the First Cavalry, having evacuated it but a few hours previous. Being on a visit at the post at the time, I was made a prisoner of war by the authority of his excellency the governor of the State, but permitted to go at large upon giving my parole not to fight against the State of Arkansas or the Southern Confederated States during the pending difficulties between the latter and the United States, unless exchanged.

In a conversation with Colonel Borland to-day I am given to understand that the governor is acting as though the State bad already seceded; that last act in the drama being only a question of a few days’ time.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. C. GATLIN, Major, Fifth Infantry.

Col. L. THOMAS, Adjutant General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.

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No. 8.

Report of Maj. Samuel D. Sturgis, Fourth U. S. Cavalry, of the seizure of Fort Smith, Ark.

CAMP ON WALNUT CREEK, KANS., May 21, 1861.

SIR: I avail myself of the first opportunity which has occurred since leaving Fort Smith, Ark.; to inform you that I evacuated that post at 9 o’clock p.m. on the 23d ultimo, and marched with my command for Fort Washita, where we arrived on the 30th ultimo, and reported for duty to Col. W. H. Emory, First Cavalry. All the available transportation at the post, amounting to some twenty wagons and teams, was taken along. The ordnance sergeant, hospital steward, chief bugler, sick, and laundresses were left at the post, to be shipped to Jefferson Barracks by Capt. A. Montgomery, A. Q. M.

The causes which induced me to evacuate the post I presume are known to the department commander from general notoriety. After the supplies were cut off by the State of Arkansas the post, of course, became untenable, and we could have occupied it in any case but a few more days. One hour after we left, two boats arrived with three hundred men and ten pieces of artillery. To have contended against this force with two companies of cavalry, and that, too, while the entire population of the surrounding country were ready at a moment’s warning to take up arms against us, could only have resulted eventually in {p.651} our being taken prisoners and the loss to the Government of all the arms, horses, means of transportation, &c., at the post.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. D. STURGIS, Captain, First Cavalry.

Capt. S. WILLIAMS, Asst. Adjt. Gen., Headquarters Department of the West, Saint Louis, Mo.

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No. 9.

Report of Capt. Alexander Montgomery, assistant quartermaster, U. S. Army, of the seizure of Fort Smith, Ark.

FORT SMITH, ARK., April 24, 1861.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that the companies of cavalry under command of Captain Sturgis, First Cavalry, withdrew from this post yesterday evening and marched in the direction of Fort Washita. I inclose a copy of an order he issued immediately before leaving, directing the entire evacuation of the post.

About two hours after his departure a body of troops under the command of Col. Solon Borland, aide-de-camp to his excellency the governor of the State of Arkansas, accompanied by the adjutant-general of the State, arrived in steamers and took possession of the post, making me a prisoner of war, under authority and by direction of the governor of the State. Maj. R. C. Gatlin, Fifth Infantry, who happened to be in the garrison at the time on a visit, was also made prisoner of war. On giving our parole that we would not fight against the State of Arkansas or the Southern Confederate States during the existing difficulties between the latter and the United States, unless exchanged, we were permitted to go at large. The force under Colonel Borland consisted of 235 men, rank and file, with battery of artillery. Colonel Borland demanded and has taken possession of all the public property at the post and in its vicinity, inventories of which will be forwarded to the proper bureau.

For the information of the friends of the parties. I beg leave to state, that Major Brown, paymaster, and Captain Burns, C. S., were absent from the post at the time of its evacuation. Major Brown, returning from Fort Arbuckle, received information at Scullyville that I had been made a prisoner of war, and immediately turned back and joined Captain Sturgis’ command. Captain Burns bad gone down the river to look after certain subsistence stores, which it was feared would be seized by the State authorities.

The movement of Captain Sturgis was necessitated by the limited supply of provisions on hand and the intelligence received a short time before he left that all the public stores on the river in transit to this post had been detained or captured by the State authorities. He was also aware that the governor of the State had dispatched a force, with artillery, to demand possession of the post, and possibly to capture his arms and horses. It was not expected that any orders had been given to make prisoners of war.

I have the honor, to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. MONTGOMERY, Captain and Q. M., U. S. Army.

Capt. SEMI WILLIAMS, Asst. Adjt. Gen., Headquarters Department of the West, Saint Louis, Mo.

{p.652}

[Inclosure.]

ORDERS, No. -.

HEADQUARTERS, FORT SMITH, ARKANSAS, April 22, 1861.

As soon as practicable after the troops are withdrawn from this post, Capt. A. Montgomery, quartermaster, will repair to Saint Louis, Mo., and report to the department commander, taking with him the ordnance sergeant, hospital steward, chief bugler, and all the laundresses, so that the post will be entirely evacuated.

S. D. STURGIS, Captain, First Cavalry, Commanding.

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No. 10.

Report of Capt. Langdon C. Easton., assistant quartermaster, U. S. Army, of the seizure of U. S. ordnance stores at Kansas City, Mo.

KANSAS, May 4, 1861.

The storehouse at this place was forcibly entered last night, at half-past 1 o’clock, by about fifty armed men, who carried off one hundred and two carbines, thirty-seven muskets, nine pistols, eighty-six sabers, and thirty-four thousand cartridges.

L. C. EASTON, A. Q. M.

Capt. S. WILLIAMS, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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No. 11.

Report of Sergt. Charles A. Campbell, Company E, First U. S. Infantry, of the occupation of Fort Arbuckle, Ind. T., by Texas troops.

FORT ARBUCKLE, C. N., May 5, 1861.

COLONEL: I regret to report that this post was this morning taken possession of by a portion of a large force of Texans, who are marching in the rear of your column (report says two thousand men). The officer commanding demanded me to give up to him, in the name of the Southern Confederacy, the whole of the United States property in my charge, which I complied with, as I could offer no resistance, my command being disarmed previous to leaving their companies. He has promised to myself and command a safe passage with our families and private property from further molestation until we get to Fort Leavenworth. Only for the interference of Mr. Myers he would have made us prisoners of war. I hope the colonel will order Mr. Myers, the contractor, to convey my command and our families to our destination as soon as he can get his train together, and also furnish us with rations when the quantity we have now in possession gives out.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

CHARLES A. CAMPBELL, First Sergeant, Company E, First Infantry.

Colonel EMORY, Commanding Troops in the Field.

{p.653}

No. 12.

Report of Capt. S. T. Benning, Texas Troops, of the abandonment of the U. S. posts in the Indian Territory.

BONHAM, May 14, 1861.

DEAR SIR: I hereby inclose an inventory of all the goods and property found and taken at Fort Arbuckle, all of which I turned over to the Chickasaw Indians, by order of William C. Young, who is State regimental colonel. Said Indians are at present taking care of said post and all property therein contained. The United States Government troops under Emory had abandoned said fort a few days previous to my entering and taking command of the same. I am solicitous that you send me a captain’s commission to occupy said post as one of the posts belonging to the Southern Confederacy. I have a company of cavalry in readiness for that post or any other that it may please your honor to assign us. Fort Washita and Fort Cobb, both being situated in the Chickasaw Nation, were also abandoned, leaving considerable property in each.

Colonel Young has formed a treaty of peace with the Reserve Indians, conditioned that the Southern Confederacy feed and protect them, as heretofore done by the United States Government at a very heavy expense, and that, too, without the approval of but very few of the people in this State. It is considered by the sovereigns here as a worse than needless expense.

Hoping to hear from you soon, I remain, with respect, yours, &c.,

S. T. BENNING, Captain of Fannin County Company.

Hon. L. POPE WALKER.

Library Reference Information

Type of Material: Book (Book, Microform, Electronic, etc.)
Corporate Name: United States. War Dept.
Main Title: The War of the Rebellion:
a compilation of the official records of the
Union and Confederate armies.
Prepared under the direction of the Secretary of War
by Robert N. Scott.
Washington, Govt. Print. Off., 1880-1900.
Published/Created: Washington : Government Pub. Off., 1880-1901 (70 v. in 128).
Description: 70 v. in 128. 24 cm.
Subjects: United States. Army--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Sources.
Confederate States of America. Army--History--Sources.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Regimental histories.
LC Classification: E464 .U6