The Indian Territory in the Civil War Message Board

Douglas H. Cooper Letter

Am currently transcribing the letters of Brigadier General Douglas H. Cooper to General Hindman and thought I would post a particularly interesting one which opens up some lines of investigation. This letter was written while Cooper was quite sick and was at the time camped at Buck Creek, C. N. (whereever that is)on November 3, 1862. As back ground, during this time Hindman had moved his head quarters to the vicinity of Fort Smith. His problems in organizing his 1st corps was nothing less than an awesome task. He had at the time to deal with securing supplies and organizing the various new commands. Marmaduke had taken command of the 4th Cavalry Division, and was having problems with the Texas Brigade which was badly organized. General McBride at Pocohontas was quite sick himself and was attempting to organize the Missourians there. Then there was the on going problems with the I. T. and the confrontations going on between Albert Pike and everyone else. This letter appears to me to be the one that sparks the arrest of Pike.

Head Quarters 1st Brigade

Camp on Buck Creek, C. N.

Col. R. C. Newton Nov. 3, 1862

A. A. Genl.

3rd Dist. Trans Miss. Dept.

Colonel -

I have to acknowledge receipt of yours of October 31st containing information of the movements of Genl. Hindman's forces - and of Genl. Pikes assuming command of the Indian Department - which he has in fact done - Also special Order No. 28 assigning General Roane to the command of the troops in the Indian Country with his Head Quarters at Fort Smith.

I have part of my command near Skullyville at present where I design concentrating them. If I can procure subsistence sufficient for them - Colonel Watie's Regiment is at Webbers Falls and the Creeks from Fort Gibson. I fear that it will be impossible in the present state of my command to make a forward movement. I am having them dismounted and the most of them have no shoes and it will therefore be impossible for them to walk barefoot over the flinty roads. They are also destitute of clothing, and cold weather is approaching. They are badly supplied with blankets in fact they may be said to have none at all - More, it is out of the question to do anything with troops in this condition. I am anxious to move northward and if I could get clothing and shoes for my troops, I would cross the Arkansas somewhere near this place and move up in the direction of Evansville where I am well aware an army could be better sustained than here.

I had ordered some time since depots of provisions to be collected at different points so that if it should become necessary to fall back with the Indian I would have something to subsist upon, but owing to the disarray within the commissary Depot on Red River my orders have not been carried out. I shall therefore have to seek with my command some place where they can be procurred until other arrangements are made - It was this reason that I left the Cherokee nation and not on account of the enemy as I had reliable information they were not pursuing me. I have sent estimates of clothing required for this Brigade and hope that no delay may be had in obtaining it, as I am anxious to place my command in a condition for service. I have plenty of ammuntion, but a great many of the guns are indifferent - some worthless.

It is my opinion that General Pike should be removed from the Indian Country. He has interfered very much with my command. He is constantly writing advisory letters to the comamnders of the Indian Regiments, telling them what he has done for them - of the money and clothing that - HE has procurred for them - He has already created disaffection in some regiments - They do not know whether or not to obey my orders - and in some cases do it very reluctantly - I understand that he has advised officers in this department not to obey my orders, that he wold soon be in command and would do the right thing for them. He has taken a battalion or more of my troops without my orders to the Wichita Mountains and without informing me of it - his pretended object I believe is to PUT DOWN the Reserve Indians.

Colonel Lane and Capt. Marke are at least enroute to you now. I hope you will return the White regiments of my Brigade.

The affair at (Maguires?) defeat done at the time was due mainly that the Indian will not do without a steady body of men to stand post to rally upon. I am determined at this time to do whatever may be in my power, but I cannot without means.


D. H. Cooper,

Brig. Genl. Indian Brigade
Trascribers Note: The last paragraph was written in very small print at the bottom of the page making it difficult to interpret. Most of the scritpt was in a very shaky hand.

Writeen on a side maring is the following:
This is the first time I have been able to write - I desire to do more but will have to defer for the ----- D. C.

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Douglas H. Cooper Letter
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Douglas H. Cooper's Nov 3, 1862 Letter
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