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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1855
([1855])

[Texas Indians],   pp. 177-186 PDF (4.2 MB)


Page 183

COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS.             183 
the protection and security of the friendly tribes, enclosing a copy of 
instructions to agent Howard. Having received no proper notice of 
the expedition, and that communicated by you being founded on com- 
mon report, and believing it due the Indian service that the agents 
residing among the Indians were entitled to more definite information 
in reference to the real objects and intended movements, I at once ad- 
dressed Captain Calhoun of 2d dragoons, who, report said, would 
command the expedition, and agent Howard at Fort Chadbourne, to 
neither of which did I receive a reply. 
Early in the month of February I learned that the expedition had 
moved from Chadbourne, and not being able to procure anything 
written, I sought a personal interview with the commanding officer, 
by visiting in person his camp at "Camp Wait," near " Phantom
Hill," who informed me that his orders were' such that he should 
feel it his duty to chastise in a summary manner such Indians as he 
might meet, particularly the southern Comanches, and that he had 
issued similar orders to his command. After protesting against the mo- 
lestation of any of the friendly tribes, enumerating them, and commu- 
nicating such information as I possessed relative to the position and 
condition of hostile tribes, I returned to the main Brazos, where it 
required all my efforts, with such aids as I could procure, to allay the
numerous doubts and fears arising from the many, and to them, un- 
favorable reports, in circulation, relating to the objects of the expedi-
tion ; some of which are made known in the accompanying copy of in- 
structions from the assistant adjutant general to the officer command- 
ing the expedition, dated at Corpus Christi, January 30, 1855, marked 
A ; and how far this corresponds, in its spirit, with the treaty of 1846,
and subsequent guaranties, may be readily noted by the Department 
of the Interior. I also enclose copies of my reports of the 25th 
of January, marked B, and of February 11, 1855, marked C, as state- 
ments made at the time of facts as they transpired. 
I have been induced to say this much in detail, in this report, 
(which should be general,) by some remarks made by Gen. P. F. 
Smith, commanding this military department, in his reports to the gov- 
ernment, in which he charges the Indian agents of Texas with neglect 
of duty and interference with military operations, " lounging about
cities," &c., and have felt myself justified in doing so, having
been 
the resident agent on this portion of the frontier, where nearly all the
friendly tribes of Indians in Texas were at that time communicated 
with, and having been constantly on active duty during the year, up to 
1st June, when I obtained a short leave, keeping myself, the supervising
agent and the commanding officer at Fort Belknap, (the nearest milita- 
ry post,) fully advised of every change and movement in this part of the'
Indian service; and had Gen. Smith possessed himself, by his personal 
observation, of the same knowledge of our Indian relations, the fact of 
his being in command of this department justifies me in saying, that the,
views of justice and policy, which seem to have predominated in the 
plans of the expedition originated in Corpus Christi, would not have 
been entertained by him; or had the facts been freely and properly 
communicated to the Indian agents in charge of the friendly tribes, 
(to which they were certainly entitled, before making war on those 


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