Today in History:

898 Series I Volume XLI-II Serial 84 - Price's Missouri Expedition Part II


protection to trains en route from and to the States; and fifty cavalry and thirty infantry to the Upper Cimarron Springs for a like purpose. I informed you on the 8th instant that fifty cavalry and fifty infantry had been sent, via the Cimarron route, to the Upper Crossing of the Arkansas to help the trains. These three parties, all that can be safely spared at this moment, will, it is to be hoped, effect good results. They are rationed for fifty days.

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


Brigadier-General, Commanding.

(Copies to Major General Samuel R. Curtis and Colonel John M. Chivington.)

Santa Fe, N. Mex., August 27, 1864.

Honorable J. P. USHER,

Secretary of the Interior, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: I have been furnished with copies of two letters written to the Honorable William P. Dole, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, by Michael Steck, superintendent of Indian affairs for New Mexico. The letters are dated May 28 and June 25, 1864, and are in relation to the removal of the Navajo Indians from their country to the reservation set apart by law for these Indians and for the Apaches.

I have no disposition to have any controversy with Mr. Steck, nor do I wish to claim for the Indians anything that is not their just due, but truth and candor compel me to say that those letters are calculated greatly to mislead you with reference to the whole question. Please find herewith inclosed a return* of the number of Indians now at the reservation and en route thither. These comprise the principal chiefs and the most of the tribe, including nearly all the rich Indians. The fact is patent to every person in this country. The Indians on the reservation are the happiest people I have ever seen. They are instructions and look forward with ardent hopes to the time when they can raise enough to support themselves. In room of committing depredations they have gone out and attacked Indians who were attempting to run off the herds of the people. This fact is of public notoriety.

No board was ordered by the War Department. I myself ordered one. The board included provisions bought for troops and issued to Indians. No sixty men were ever employed by the quartermaster's department for Indians. Some public oxen were used for plowing fields. The contracts for supplies for Indians included the cost of transportation to Fort Sumner, where the supplies were to be delivered. The supplies were not for four months, but for nearly a year. The whole cost of the supplies as ascertained by the board was $414,853.66 total cost, and this for nearly or quite a year's supply, and not $700,000 for four months' supply and for labor, &c., as stated. Beef has risen greatly in price from the advance in the price of gold, and it is fortunate these purchases were made when they were. It was a saving to the Government of more than $200,000. I have never heard of sheep being sold for $4 per head even at the highest and one at a time. It is true that I had two storehouses made for the provisions which cost $9,000 and a hospital for the Indians which cost $9,000. The people are not


*Not found.