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Lincoln - Cherokee collection [decimalized]

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01233 Author/Creator: Place Written: [various places] Type: Header Record Date: 1838-1866 Pagination: Order a Copy

Consisting of 1838 Cherokee Treaty, Bonneville letter, and John Ross's correspondence with Lincoln in 1862.

Early in the Civil War, the Confederacy overran Cherokee territory and forced a treaty upon that Nation which, among other things, recruited troops for the South. From 1862 until the end of the war, the North and South fought back and forth over the Cherokee territory. During the War, Cherokees fought on both sides.
John Ross, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation who had led the Georgia Cherokees in the "Trail of Tears," played an ambivalent part in this story. Intelligent and charismatic, Ross helped draft his tribe's constitutions of 1827 and 1839, and was repeatedly elected to positions of power. Standard reference biographies such as Appleton and the Dictionary of American Biography characterize Ross as seeking neutrality during the early part of the Civil War and being forced into siding with the Confederacy in October 1861. However Ross worked his plantation with black slaves, harassed the dissident Unionist Cherokee who fled to Kansas, and then fought with the Confederacy in the battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas (March 1862). That June a Unionist force of Indians, the "Indian Expeditionary Force," invaded and Ross surrendered, with many Cherokee following him. Ross then left for Philadelphia whence he sought and was granted an interview with Lincoln, the story of which is contained below (GLC 1233.01-.03). Around this time Confederate Colonel Stand Watie burned Ross' plantation Park Hill in retaliation for switching sides.
Ross' background makes Lincoln's caution in dealing with him understandable, especially the president's insistence upon reviewing the treaty of 1846 (an original of which is included below, GLC1233.05). However, William P. Dole, who witnessed the interview between Ross and Lincoln, apparently believed Ross, as indicated in his post-war letter below (GLC 1233.04).
Appended to this correspondence is John R. Kannady's letter to Ross in 1861, asking Ross to support the Confederacy against an impending Union expedition (GLC 1251).
Each document has its own description followed by a transcription.
The Confederate Treaty with the Cherokee Nation is printed in GLC 534, Statutes... of the Provisional Government of the Confederate States of America (Richmond 1864).
Background for the interpretations offered in this introduction came from Basler, The Dictionary of American Biography ("John Ross" and "Stand Watie") and W. Craig Gaines, The Confederate Cherokees: John Drew's Regiment of Mounted Rifles (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989), chapter 1.

Abraham Lincoln. Autograph endorsement signed: [Washington], to Caleb Smith, 1862 Sept. 11. 1 p. On verso of blank leaf of:
Caleb Smith. Autograph letter signed: Washington, to Abraham Lincoln, 1862 Sept. 11. 1 p.
Written on Interior Department stationery.
Department Of the Interior,
Washington, Sept. 11, 1862
To the President
John Ross Chief of the Cherokee Indians desires to see you to explain the condition of matters in the Indian country. I hope it will suit your convenience to afford him an interview.
Very respy,
Caleb B. Smith
[2-3 blank]
[4] [Lincoln's endorsement:]

I will see Mr. Ross at 9. A.M. to-morrow, if he calls.
A. Lincoln Sept. 11, 1862.

Notes: Basler 5: 415, also Madigan No. 37.

John Ross. Autograph letter signed: Lawrenceville, N.J., to Abraham Lincoln, 1862 Sept. 16. 4 p.

Lawrenceville New Jersey
September 16th 1862.
President Lincoln.
Sir /
During the interview which I had the honor to have with your Excellency the 12th. Inst. you requested that the objects of my visit should be communicated in writing. I therefore beg leave, very respectfully, to represent,
1st. That the relations which the Cherokee Nation sustains towards the United States, have been defined by Treaties entered into between the Parties from time to time, and extending through a long series of years.
2nd. Those Treaties were Treaties of Friendship and Alliance. The Cherokee Nation as the weaker party placing itself under the Protection of the United States and no other Sovereign whatever, and the United States solemnly promising that Protection.
3rd. The Cherokee Nation maintained in good faith her relations towards the United States [2] up to a late period and subsequent to the occurrence of the war existing between the Government and the Southern States of the Union and the withdrawal of all protection whatever by the Government.
4th. That in consequence of the want of that Protection Civil and Military, and the overwhelming pressure brought to bear upon them the Cherokees were forced for the preservation of their Country and their existence to negotiate a Treaty with the "Confederate States"
5th. That no other alternative was left them surrounded by the Power & influences, that they were, and that they had no opportunity freely to express their views and assume their true position until the advance into their Country of the Indian Expedition during the last summer.
6th. That as soon as the Indian Expedition marched into the Country the great Mass of the Cherokee People rallied spontaneously around the authorities of the United States and a large majority of their warriors are [3] now engaged in fighting under their flag. A movement not less in accordance with the Sentiments of the Cherokee People than with the Proclamation issued by Colo W. F. Cloud Comdg. United States Forces and the views expressed by W. G. Coffin Esqr. U. S. Superintendent of Indian Affairs and Copies of which are herewith submitted.
For the correctness of the foregoing Statement most respectfully refers your Excellency to the Treaties between [the] United States and the Cherokee Nation. To the Proclamation and letters just mentioned; to my published correspondence with Genl. McCulloch C. S. A. and Albert Pike, Esqr. Commissioner appointed by President Davis to the Indian Nations South of Kansas and others, and to reports from U. States Officers connected with [the] Indian Expedition which are supposed to be on file in the Department of War.
The advance of the Indian Expedition gave the Cherokee People an opportunity to manifest their views by taking [as] far as possible a prompt and decided stand in [4] favor of their relations with the U. S. Govt.
The withdrawal of that Expedition and the reabandonment of that People & Country to the forces of the Confederate States leaves them in a position fraught with distress, danger and ruin! What the Cherokee People now desire is ample Military Protection for life and property; a recognition by the Govt. of the obligations of existing Treaties and a willingness and determination to carry out the policy indicated by your Excellency of enforcing the Laws and extending to those who are loyal all the protection in your Power.
For the satisfaction and encouragement of my own People and of the Indian Nations who live near them, I beg leave very respectfully to suggest that you will issue a Proclamation to them, if deemed proper, in accordance with the views which you entertain on this subject and which will enable me to make assurances in behalf of the Govt. in which they can confide.
Hoping that your official engagements may admit an early reply to this communication. I have the honor to be, Sir, with Sentiments of high regard
Yr. obt. Serv't.
Jno. Ross, Princl. Chief Cherokee Nation

Notes: Portions of this letter are published in Basler 5: 440n. See Lincoln's response GLC 1233.03.

Abraham Lincoln. Autograph letter signed: Washington, to John Ross, 1862 Sept. 25. 1 p.
Written on Executive Mansion stationery.
Executive Mansion,
Washington, Sept. 25, 1862.
John Ross
Principal Chief of the
Cherokee Nation.
Your letter of the 16th. Inst. was received two days ago. In the multitude of cares claiming my constant attention I have been unable to examine and determine [strikeout] the exact treaty relations between the United States and the Cherokee Nation. Neither have I been able to investigate and determine the exact state of facts claimed by you as constituting a failure of treaty obligation on our part, excusing the Cherokee Nation for making a treaty with a portion of the people of the United States in open rebellion against the government thereof. This letter therefore, must not be understood to decide anything upon these questions. I shall, however, cause a careful investigation of them to be made. Meanwhile the Cherokee people remaining practically loyal to the federal Union will receive all the protection which can be given them consistently with the duty of the government to the whole country. I sincerely hope the Cherokee country may not again be over-run by the enemy; and I shall do all I consistently can to prevent it.
Your Obt. Servt.
A. Lincoln

Notes: Basler 5: 439-440

William P. Dole. Letter signed: Washington, to John Ross, 1866 Jan. 26. 2 p.

Washington Jany. 26th 1866
Hon John Ross
Dr Sir
On your visit to Washington in A. D. 1863 I was with you on a visit to [struck: the] President Lincoln & was present when you explained to him the reason why your people the Cherokees, had made a treaty with the rebels & that the President [struck: was] [inserted: appeared to be] satisfied, that it was done under coerecion & was the only means for you to save the lives & property of your people & on that account [2] that you & your people who had returned to your allegiance was excusable for the steps you had taken.
W. P. Dole
Late Commr. Indian Affairs

Notes: Ross died later this same year although he played an important part in negotiating the treaty of 1866.

Cherokee Nation. Manuscript document signed: Articles of a Treaty made and concluded... between the United States of America... and the Cherokee Nation.... Washington, 1846 Aug. 6. 14 p.

Articles of a treaty made and concluded at Washington in the District of Columbia, between the United States of America, by their Commissioners, Edmund Burke, William Armstrong and Albion K. Parris, and John Ross principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, David Vann, William S. Coody, Richard Taylor, T. H. Walker, Clement V. McNair, Stephen Foreman, John Drew, & Richard Field, delegates duly appointed by the regularly constituted authorities of the Cherokee Nation, George W. Adair, John A. Bell, Stand Watie, Joseph M. Lynch, John Huss, and Brice Martin, a delegation appointed by and representing that portion of the Cherokee Tribe of Indians known and recognized as the "Treaty Party," John Brown, Captain Dutch, John L. McCoy, Richard Drew, and Ellie Phillips, Delegates appointed by and representing that portion of the Cherokee Tribe of Indians, known and recognized as "Western Cherokees" or Old Settlers.
Whereas serious difficulties have for a considerable time past existed between the different portions of the people constituting and recognized as the Cherokee Nation of Indians, which, it is desirable, should be speedily settled, so that peace and harmony may be restored among them, and whereas certain claims exist on the part of the Cherokee Nation, and portions of the Cherokee people against the United States: Therefore, with a view to the final and amicable settlement of the difficulties and claims before mentioned, it is mutually agreed by the several parties to this Convention as follows: viz: [2]
Article 1st. That the land now occupied by the Cherokee Nation, shall be secured to the whole Cherokee people for their common use and benefit; and a patent shall be issued for the same, including the eight hundred thousand acres purchased together with the outlet West promised by the United States, in conformity with the provisions relating thereto contained in the Third Article of the Treaty of 1835, and in the Third Section of the Act of Congress approved May 29th, 1830, which authorizes the President of the United States, in making exchanges of lands with the Indian tribes, "To assure the tribe or nation with which the exchange is made, that the United States will forever secure and guarantee to them, and their heirs or successors the Country so exchanged with them; and if they prefer it, that the United States will cause a patent or grant to be made and executed to them for the same: Provided Always, That such lands shall revert to the United States, if the Indians become extinct, or abandon the same."
Art. 2d. All the difficulties and differences heretofore existing between the several parties of the Cherokee Nation are hereby settled and adjusted, and shall as far as possible be forgotten and forever buried in oblivion. All party distinctions shall cease except so far as they may be necessary to carry out this Convention or Treaty. A general amnesty is hereby declared. All offences and crimes committed by a citizen or citizens of the Cherokee Nation, against the Nation or against an individual or individuals, are hereby pardoned. All Cherokees who are now out of the Nation are invited and earnestly requested to return to their homes, where they may live in peace, assured that they shall not be prosecuted for any offences heretofore committed against the Cherokee Nation-or any individual thereof-and this pardon and amnesty shall extend to all, who may now be out of the Nation and who shall return thereto on or before the first day of December next. The several parties agree to unite in enforcing the laws against all future offenders. Laws shall be passed for equal protection, and for the security of life, liberty and property, and full authority shall be given by law, to all or any portion of the Cherokee peacefully to assemble and petition their own Government or the Government of the United States, for the redress of Grievances and to discuss their rights. All armed Police, Light Horse and other Military organizations shall be abolished and the laws enforced by the Civil Authority alone. No one shall be punished for any crime or misdemeanor except on conviction by a jury of his country, and the sentence of a court, duly authorized by law to take cognizance of the offence. And it is further agreed all fugitives from justice (except those included in the general amnesty herein stipulated ) seeking refuge in the Territory of the United States, shall be delivered up by the authorities of the United States, to the Cherokee Nation for trial and punishment.
Art. 3d. Whereas, certain claims have been allowed by the several Boards of Commissioners heretofore appointed under the Treaty of 1835 for rents under the name or improvements and spoliations, and for property of which the Indians were dispossessed, provided for under the Sixteenth Article of the Treaty of 1835. And whereas the said claims were not justly chargeable to that fund, but were to be paid by the United States, the said United States to agree to reimburse the said fund the amount thus charged to the said fund, and the same shall be a part of the aggregate amount to be distributed to the Cherokee
People, as provided in the Ninth Article of this Treaty-and whereas a further amount has been allowed for reservations under the provisions of the Thirteenth Article of the Treaty of 1835 by said Commissioners and has been paid out of the said fund and which said sums were properly chargeable to and should have been paid by the United States, the said United States further agrees to reimburse the amounts thus paid for reservations to said fund. And whereas the expenses of making the Treaty of New Echota were also paid out of said fund, when they should have been borne by the United States, the United States agrees to reimburse the same and also to reimburse all other sums paid to any Agents of the Government and improperly charged to said fund. And the same also shall form a part of the aggregate amount to be distributed to the Cherokee people as provided in the Ninth Article of this Treaty.
Art. 4th. And whereas it has been decided by the Board of Commissioners recently appointed by the President of the United States to examine and adjust the claims and difficulties existing between the Cherokee people and the United States, as well as between the Cherokees themselves. That under the provisions of the Treaty of 1835, as well as in conformity with the general policy of the United States in relation to the Indian tribes and the Cherokee Nation in particular that, that portion of the Cherokee people known as the "Old Settlers" or "Western Cherokees" had no exclusive title to the territory ceded in that Treaty, but that the same was intended for the use of and to be the home for, the whole Nation, including as well that portion then East as that portion then West of the Mississippi; and whereas the said board of Commissioners further decided that, inasmuch as the Territory before mentioned became the common property of the whole Cherokee Nation by the operation of the Treaty of 1828, the Cherokees then West of the Mississippi by the equitable operation of the same Treaty acquired a common interest in the lands occupied by the Cherokees East of the Mississippi river as well as in those occupied by themselves West of that river, which interest should have been provided for in the Treaty of 1835, but which was not, except in so far as they, as a constituent portion of the Nation, retained in proportion to their numbers, a common interest in the country West of the Mississippi and in the general funds of the Nation, and therefore they have an equitable claim upon the United States for the value of that interest whatever it may be.
Now in order to ascertain the value of that interest it is agreed that the following principle shall be adopted, viz: All the investments and expenditures which are properly chargeable upon the sums granted in the Treaty of 1835, amounting in the whole to five millions six hundred thousand dollars (which investments and expenditures are particularly innumerated in the 15th Article of the Treaty of 1835) to be first deducted from said aggregate sums thus ascertaining the residuum or amount which would under such marshalling of accounts be left for per capita distribution among the Cherokees emigrating under the Treaty of 1835, excluding all improper and extravagant expenditures; and allow to the "Old Settlers" or "Western Cherokees" a sum equal to one third part of said residuum to be distributed per capita to each individual of said party of "Old Settlers" or "Western Cherokees. " It is further agreed that so far as the "Western Cherokees" are concerned in estimating the expense of removal and subsistence of an Eastern Cherokee to be charged to the aggregate fund of five million six hundred thousand dollars above mentioned, the sums for removal and subsistence stipulated in the Eighth Article of the Treaty of 1835, as commutation money in those cases in which the parties entitled to it removed themselves, shall be adopted, and as it affects the settlement with the "Western Cherokees" there shall be no deduction from the fund before mentioned in consideration of any payment which may hereafter be made out of said fund; and it is hereby further understood and agreed, that the principle above defined shall embrace all those Cherokees West of the Mississippi, who emigrated prior to the Treaty of 1835.
In the consideration of the foregoing stipulation on the part of the United States the "Western Cherokees" or "Old Settlers" hereby release and quit claim to the United States, all right, title, interest or claim they may have to a common property in the Cherokee lands East of the Mississippi and to exclusive ownership to the lands ceded to them by the Treaty of 1835 West of the Mississippi including the outlet west, consenting and agreeing that the said lands together with the eight hundred thousand acres ceded to the Cherokees by the Treaty of 1835 shall be and remains the common property of the whole Cherokee people themselves included.
Art. 5th It is mutually agreed that the per capita allowance to be given to the "Western Cherokees," or "Old Settlers" upon the principle above stated, shall be held in trust by the Government of the United States and paid out to each individual belonging to that party, or head of family or his legal representative, first deducting there from the sum of fifty thousand dollars to be paid to the delegation of that portion of the Cherokee people who are parties to the Treaty to defray the expenses of presenting their claims against the Government of the United States, including the late Capt. John Rogers. And it is further agreed that the per capita allowance to be paid as aforesaid shall not be assignable, but shall be paid directly to the person entitled to it, or to his heirs or legal representatives, by the agent of the United States authorized to make such payments.
And it is further agreed that a Committee of five persons shall be appointed by the President of the United States from the party of "Old Settlers" whose duty it shall be in conjunction with an Agent of the United States, to ascertain what persons are entitled to the per capita allowance provided for in this and the preceding article.
Art. 6th And whereas many of that portion of the Cherokee people known and designated as the Treaty Party, have suffered losses and incurred expenses in consequence of the Treaty of 1835, therefore, to indemnify the Treaty Party, the United States agrees to pay to the said Treaty Party the sum of one hundred and fifteen thousand dollars, of which, the sum of five thousand dollars shall be paid by the United States to the heirs or legal representatives of Major Ridge, the sum of five thousand dollars to the heirs or legal representatives of John Ridge, and the sum of five thousand dollars to the heirs or legal representatives of Chas. Boudinot, and the balance being the sum of one hundred thousand dollars, which shall be paid by the United States in such amounts and to such persons as may be certified by a committee to be appointed by the Treaty Party, and which committee shall consist of not exceeding five persons and approved by an Agent of the United States to be entitled to receive the same for losses and damages sustained by them, or by those of whom they are the heirs or legal representatives. Provided, That out of the said balance of one hundred thousand dollars, the present delegation of the Treaty Party may receive the sum of twenty five thousand dollars to be by them applied to the payment of claims and other expenses. And it is further provided, that if the said sum of one hundred thousand dollars should not be sufficient to pay all the claims allowed for losses and damages, that then the same shall be paid to the said claimant pro rata, and which payments shall be in full of all claims and losses of the said Treaty Party.
Art. 7th. The value of all Salines which were the private property of Individuals of the Western Cherokees and of which they were dispossessed provided there be any such shall be ascertained by the United States Agent and a Commissioner to be appointed by the Cherokee Authorities, and should they be unable to agree they shall select an umpire whose decision shall be final, and the several amounts found due shall be paid by the Cherokee Nation, or the Salines returned to their respective owners.
Art. 8th. The United States agree to pay to the Cherokee Nation the sum of Two Thousand Dollars for a printing press, materials and other property destroyed at the time, the sum of five thousand Dollars to be equally divided among all those whose arms were taken from them previous to the removal West by order of an officer of the United States, and the further sum of Twenty thousand dollars in lieu of all claims of the Cherokee Nation as a Nation of all kind whatsoever, against the United States prior to the Treaty of 1835, except all lands reserved by treaties heretofore made school funds.
Art. 9th. The United States agree to make a fair and just settlement of all monies due to the Cherokees and subject to per capita division under the Treaty of 29th December 1835, which said settlement shall exhibit all the money properly expended under said Treaty, and shall embrace all sums paid for improvements, fences, spoilations [sic], removal and subsistence, and commutation therefor, debts and claims upon the Cherokee Nation of Indians for the additional quantity of land ceded to said Nation, and the several sums provided in the several articles of the Treaty to be invested as the general funds of the Nation, and also all sums which may be hereafter properly allowed and paid under the provisions of the Treaty of 1835. The aggregate of which said several sums shall be deducted from the sum of Six Million Six hundred and forty seven thousand and sixty-seven dollars, and the balance thus found to be due, shall be paid over per Capita, in equal amounts to all those Individuals, Heads of families or their legal representatives entitled to receive the same under the Treaty of 1835, and the supplement of 1836, being all the Cherokees residing East at the date of said Treaty and the supplement thereto.
Art. 10th. It is expressly agreed that nothing in the foregoing Treaty contained shall be so construed as in any manner to take away or abridge any rights or claims which the Cherokees now residing in States east of the Mississippi, had or may have under the Treaty of 1835 and the Supplement thereto.
Art . 11th . Whereas the Cherokee Delegations contend that the amount expended for the one years subsistence after their arrival in the West of the Eastern Cherokees is not properly chargeable to the Treaty fund. It is hereby agreed that the question shall be submitted to the Senate of the United States for its decision, which shall decide whether the subsistence shall be borne by the United States or the Cherokee funds, and if by the Cherokees, then to say whether the subsistence shall be charged at a greater rate than Thirty three 33/100 Dollars per head-and also the question whether the Cherokee Nation shall be allowed interest on whatever sum may be found to be due the Nation, and from what date, and at what rate per annum.
Art. 12th. The Western Cherokees called "Old Settlers" in assenting to the general provisions of this Treaty, in behalf of their people, have expressed their fixed opinion that in making a settlement with them upon the basis herein established, the expenses incurred for the removal and subsistence of Cherokees after the 23rd day of May 1838, should not be charged upon the five millions of dollars allowed to the Cherokees for their lands under the Treaty of 1835, or on the fund provided by the 3rd Article of the Supplement thereto-and that no part of the spoliations, subsistence or removal provided for by the several Articles of said Treaty and the Supplement thereto, should be charged against them in their settlement for their interest in the Cherokee Country East and West of the Mississippi river. And the Delegation of "Old Settlers" or "Western Cherokees", propose that the question shall be submitted with this Treaty to the decision of the Senate of the United States of what portion if any of the expenditures made for removal, subsistence & spoliation under the Treaty of 1835, is properly and legally chargeable to the five million fund, and they will abide by the decision of the Senate.
In testimony whereof of the said Edmund Burke, William Armstrong and Albion K. Parris, Commissioners as aforesaid, and the several Delegations aforesaid & the Cherokee Nation and people have hereunto set their hands and seals at Washington aforesaid, this Sixth day of August in the year of our Lord. One Thousand eight Hundred and forty six.
Edmund Burke
Wm. Armstrong
Albion K. Parris
Delegation of the Government Party

Jno. Ross
W. S. Coody
R. Taylor
C. V. McNair
Stephen Foreman
John Drew
Richard Field
Delegation of the Treaty Party

Geo. W. Adair
J. A. Bell
S. Watie
Joseph M. Lynch
John his X mark Huss
Brice Martin
By J. M. Lynch his Attny.
Delegation of the "Old Settlers"

Jno. Brown
Wm. Dutch his X mark
John L. McCoy
Rich'd Drew his X mark
Ellis F. Phillips

In presence of
Joseph Bryan of Ala.
John P. Wolf
Secretary of Board
W. S. Adair

Note: Due to the fragile condition of this document, comparison of accidentals (punctuation and capitalization) was limited.

Benjamin Louis Eulalie de Bonneville. Autograph letter signed: [s. l. ], to an unidentified general, [n.d., ca. 1839 June 22]. 2 p.

General-Capt. Armstong Cass of Ind. Affairs reached here from Mississippi to take on a delegation of the treaty party of Cherokees-about 750 men, women & children have fled beyond the limits of the Nation for safety-
Murders are still continued-Light horse or police companies are assigned to each district three companies-are certainly very summary dealers in justice-'tis indeed a deplorable state of things-They have good lands -& if properly administered, no people could be happier- Congress will certainly have to legislate -to do some [2] thing for this afflicted people-a governor & council to act in all criminal matters-or something of the kind-
Stand Wattie has collected around him 120 Cherokees & he is determined not to leave the nation-Says he will not act on the offensive -or on the defensive & leaves the decision of their present condition to the Presdt. U.S.
B. L. E. Bonneville

Notes: Bonneville (1796-1878) was a soldier and explorer. Bonneville's punctuation has not been standardized. The 1835 Treaty of Echota, which Stand Watie signed with his elder brother Elias Boudinot, forced the entire Cherokee nation to move west to Oklahoma in 1838. This letter probably dates to 1839 June 22 when anti-treaty conspirators assassinated Boudinot, Major Ridge and John Ridge. Watie escaped death and led the small pro-Treaty party. He later served as a Confederate General.

J. R. Kannady. Autograph letter signed: Fort Smith, to John Ross, 1861 May 15. 2 p.

Headquarters Fort Smith
May 15, 1861
Information has reached this post to the effect that Senator Lane of Kansas is now in that State raising troops to operate on the Western borders of Missouri and Arkansas.
As it is of the utmost importance that those entrusted with the defence of the Western frontier of this State should understand the position of the Indian tribes through whose territory the enemy is likely to pass, I feel it to be my duty, as Commanding Officer at this post, and in that capacity representing the State of Arkansas and the Southern Confederacy of which she is a member, respectfully to ask if it is your intention to adhere to the United States Government during the pending conflict, or, if you mean to support the Government of the Southern Confederacy; and also, whether in your opinion the Cherokee people will resist, or will aid the Southern troops in resisting any such attempt to invade the soil of Arkansas or, if on the other hand you think there is any probability of their aiding the United States forces in executing their [2] hostile designs.
I have the honor to be,
Very respectfully
Your most obnt. Servt.
J. R. Kannady
Lieut. Col. Commandg.
Fort Smith
Hon. John Ross
Principal Chief of the
Cherokee Nation

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