NOVEMBER 19, 1861-JANUARY 4, 1862.--Operations in the Indian Territory.
No. 5. -- Report of Col. John Drew, First Cherokee Mounted Rifles, of engagement at Chusto- Talasah.
Cherokee Nation, December 18, 1861.
SIR: I have the honor to report to you that the First Regiment Cherokee Mounted Riflemen, under my command, reached Bird Creek in the forenoon of Saturday, the 7th instant. It consisted the evening of that day of about 480 men, rank and file. The hostile Creeks were encamped from 6 to 8 miles distant.
The day following, under your instructions and with the concurrence of Colonel McIntosh, commanding the Creek regiment, I authorized Major Pegg to assure Hopoeithleyohola and party of your desire for a peaceable settlement of the difficulty with the Creeks, and that you had no wish to prosecute a war against them. Major Pegg was accompanied to the Creek camps by Capts. George W. Scraper and J.P. Davis and Rev. Lewis Downing. Before they returned and late that evening I found that there were only about 60 men in camp, and that a report was circulating that we were to be attacked by an overwhelming force then at hand. I ordered my horse to be saddled, and while in the act of [throwing] a blanket on my saddle Captain Benge came up and said we had better be off, as the enemy were upon us. After proceeding a part of the way to your camp the party returned to secure the ammunition. Major Pegg was then in camp, and reported that he had seen a large number of warriors painted for battle, who would be down upon us that night, and that he had been allowed to return only on the plea of removing some women and children from danger. This renewed the excitement, and as it [was] now quite dark, the party dispersed in squads. Information had been conveyed to you of the dispersion of the regiment, and while myself, Captain Fields, and a few others were making our way to your camp the squadron of Texas cavalry, which had been instructed to secure the public property in our camp, was fallen in with. This prompt movement saved my train, tents, &c.
Major Pegg, Adjt. James S. Vann, Capts. Davis and J. D. Hicks, Lieuts. S. H. Smith, Jesse Henry, Anderson Benge, Trotting Wolf, and several privates pursued their way to Fort Gibson.
Captains Vann, Pike, and Scraper, and Lieutenants White-Catcher, Eli Smith, Foster, Bearmeat, and N. Fish, with parts of their companies, were missing, and doubtless were in the camp of Hopoeithleyohola or made their way there.
Capt. James McDaniel and Lieuts. Wat Stop, N. D. Bear, and Skiey-altooka were absent, but were almost certainly at the same place.
The unarmed portion of the regiment--which consisted in the aggregate of about 1,200 in number--were left at this place in camp, with the following officers: Lieut. Col. William P. Ross, commanding; Capt. N. B. Sanders and Lieutenants Sanders, Hawkins, Ahmer-cher-ner, Crab-grass Smith, Fogg, Little Bird, Young, Webber, Downing, Drew, Ulteesky, and Deer-in-Water, and Assistant Surgeon--Corden.
The following-named officers and privates were with me in your camp and present at the battle of Bird Creek on the 9th instant: Company F: Capt. Richard Fields, whose horse was shot; Lieut. Broom Bald-ridge, killed; Sergt. Dempsey Handle, and Privates Creek McCoy, Situwakee, and Tracker. Company D: Capt. J. N. Hildebrand and Lieuts. George Springston and Ezekiel Russell, Private Nelson Hog-shooter. Company H: Capt. E. R. Hicks, Lieut. George W. Rosa, Sergts. William Hewbanks, Allan Ross, and Peter; Privates Henry Meigs, Richard Robinson, Carter Oo-yor-lor-cha-he, and Coming Deer. Company K: Capt. Pickens M. Benge, Lieut. George Benge, Privates Oliver Ross, Thomas Ross, Broad Christy, Thomas Yah-hoo-lar, and Adam (a Creek); Surg. James P. Evans, and Expressman William S. Coodey.
The department of these few officers and men, under the peculiar circumstances of their situation, was highly honorable to them. The teamsters present also deported themselves in a creditable manner throughout.
The causes which led to the dispersion of the regiment arose from a misconception of the character of the conflict between the Creeks, from an indisposition on their part to engage in strife with their immediate neighbors, and from the panic gotten up by the threatened attack upon us. The regiment will be promptly filled and ready for service.
For the very kind manner in which you were pleased to speak of myself and those who adhered to their obligations in your note calling for this report I beg you to accept my grateful acknowledgments.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col., Comdg. First Regiment Cherokee Mounted Riflemen.
Col. D. H. COOPER,
Commanding Indian Department.
SOURCE: United States War Department. THE WAR OF THE REBELLION: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. 128 Volumes. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1880-1901.
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