May 23, 1861: McCulloch needs guns for Indian allies

Benjamin McCulloch
Benjamin McCulloch

The war in the west was beginning to take shape. In Arkansas, confederate Gen. Benjamin McCulloch was mustering regiments from among the Choctaws, Creeks, and Cherokees, but lacked arms for them. From the Official Record, Series 1, Vol. 3, Part 1, p. 583:


LITTLE ROCK, ARK., May 23, 1861.

Honorable L. P. WALKER, Secretary of War, Montgomery, Ala.:

SIR: I have the honor to state that from the most reliable source I have ascertained that Colonel Emory marched with all the Federal forces in the Indian Nation to Fort Leavenworth. He started near the end of last month, and most have reached his destination before this. I was informed a day or two since that he had been heard of within two or three days’ march of Leavenworth. I have learned that the notorious General Lame is rapidly organizing a force in Kansas to march into Territory. Montgomery is no doubt hovering near the border. I shall proceed direct to Fort Smith, and organize my force as rapidly as possible and put them at once in the field. I must again call your attention to the condition of arms in this State. The regiment of mounted men from this State will be of very little service unless arms suitable for them are at once sent. There are no arms suitable for the regiments of Indians that I am authorized to muster into the service. Some of them will present themselves with their rifles, but the greater part will be entirely without arms, and it will be necessary to send an immediate supply for their use. Without the Indian regiments I will be able to oppose but an insignificant force to the numbers sent against me. I telegraphed yesterday about a supply of tents. I hope you will be able to send me a supply. There are no tents of any description in the State. The regiment will be entirely without them.

The Convention has passed an ordinance sending, all the subsistence stores now in the arsenal to Fort Smith, where they will be turned over to General Pearce, of the State forces, at the same time authorizing me to draw upon General Pearce for such supplies as I may want, with the understanding that they will be returned by the Confederate States. These subsistence stores, which were seized in going up the river to the Federal troops, would have been sufficient for my whole command for two months, but as I have no certain control of them, and as there is a large force of State troops to draw upon them at the same time, I think it necessary to have supplies sent at once. We may not have another opportunity of getting them for six or eight months, on account of the uncertainty of the river. I will also be much in need of quartermaster’s stores. A brigade quartermaster and commissary should be at once appointed and sent to me, with ample means.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
BEN. McCULLOCH,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.

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