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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1864
([1864])

Colorado superintendency,   pp. 216-258 PDF (17.3 MB)


Page 225

225 
COLORADO SUPERINTENDENCY. 
In honor of my exploit in recovering the prisoner the Indians recently gave
me a "big medicine dance," about fifty-five miles below Fort Lyon,
on the 
Arkansas river, at which the leading chiefs and warriors of several of the
tribes 
of the plains met. The Comanches, Apaches, Kioways, the northern band of
Arapahoes, and all of the Cheyennes, with the Sioux, have pledged one another
to go to war with the whites as soon as they can procure ammunition in the
spring. I heard them discuss the matter often, and the few of them who opposed
it were forced to be quiet, and were really in danger of their lives.  I
saw the 
principal chiefs pledge to each other that they would be friendly and shake
hands with the whites until they procured ammunition and guns, so as to be
ready when they strike. Plundering to get means has already commenced; and
the plan is to commence the war at several points in the sparse settlements
early in the spring. They wanted me to join them in the war, saying that
they would take a great many white women-and children prisoners, and get
a 
heap of property, blankets, &c. But while I am connected with them by
marriage, and live with them, I am yet a white man, and wish fto avoid blood-
shed. There are a great many Mexicans with the Comanche and Apache In- 
dians, all of whom urge on the war, promising to help the Indians themselves,
and that a great many more Mexicans would come up from New Mexico for the
purpose in the spring. 
B. 
WASHINGTON,D. C, December 14, 1863. 
SIR: The papers forwarded, for your information, through the honorable 
Secretary of the Interior, relating to an alliance between the Sioux, Cheyenne,
Kioways, Comanche, Apache, and a portion of the Arapahoe tribes of Indians,
are of such a character, that, taken in connexion with the extensive depredations
recently committed on the settlers of Colorado Territory by a portion of
these 
Indians, I am forced to apprehend serious difficulties early in the coming
spring. 
1st. I therefore ask that our 'military force be not further weakened by
the 
withdrawal of troops from the border. 
2d. That the first cavalry of Colorado be armed with carbines, their present
arms (sabres and pistols) being but poorly adapted to the wants of Indian
warfare. 
3d. That authority be given to the commander of the district to call out
the 
militia of Colorado in case of a formidable combination of hostile tribes
as fore- 
shiadowed in the papers referred to. 
4th. That the troops be stationed at proper intervals along the great routes
of travel across the plains, along the Platte and Arkansas rivers, through
the 
country occupied in common by the tribes referred to. This arrangement would
require an additional camp or post on the Arkansas, about half way between
Foits Lamed and Lyon, and one at or near Julesburg, on the Platte river.
I 
would also suggest that the camp at Cottonwood springs, on the Platte river,
and the garrison at Fort Kearney, be strengthened by troops from the States,
the forces in the Territory being scattered already so much as to render
further 
weakening dangerous-they being distributed from Forts Halleck and Laramie
on the north to Fort Garland and Camp Conejos on the south. 
I would further observe, that the great delay apparent from the date of the
papers referred to, which were mailed at Denver at their date and have but
just 
reached you, may serve to show how utterly inadequate preparations for defence
would be should they not be provided for until after hostilities had commenced.
An alliance of several thousand warriors, beginning on the sparse settlements
at various points along our extended frontier, as the wild savages propose
to do, 
15ci 


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