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Title: [Letter] 1836 Aug. 10, Head Quarters West Depart[ment], Camp Sabine, To Brig[adier] Gen[era]l Arbuckle, Fort Gibson, Ark[ansa]s / E[dmund] P. Gaines: a machine readable transcription of an image
Author:Gaines, Edmund P.

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Date: August 10, 1836
Extent: 4p
Summary:This document is a letter dated August 10, 1836, written by Edmund Pendleton Gaines, commander of the US Army Western Division, to General Arbuckle at Fort Gibson, Arkansas. Gaines reports of hostility perceived and expected from Native American tribes in Texas, who were allying with the Mexican army during its war against Texas. He talks specifically about the Cherokees, led by Chief Bowl, who had been pushed west into Texas, and the Caddoes. Gaines also discusses the fate of Mexican leader Santa Anna, and he commends Arbuckle on his ordering of troops from Missouri and Arkansas to protect frontier settlers from possible Native American attacks.
Collection:Gaines Papers

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Head Quarters West. Depart. [Western Department]Camp Sabine August 10th 1836

I have received your communication of the 21st of last month, with the enclosures refered [referred] to, and which preceeded [preceded] the mail. They were handed to me last night by Lieut. [Lieutenant] Paul .

A favorable change in the health of Mrs Gaines , added to new indications of hostility among the Indians in and West of the disputed Territory induced me to remain here, until your duties with the Indians of the West would allow you to visit this place of Nacogdoches .

I have received information the truth of which I cannot doubt, that many tribes of the Indians of Texas , and of our side of the unmarked but supposed boundary, have been engaged by the authorities of Mexico to aid in the war extermination against Texas.

I have proof that the Cherokees under Bowl with the Caddoes have been so engaged. The Caddoes are reported to have 400 Warriors,- Bowl's Cherokees are estimated at less than 150. These tribes though not numerous are capable of being very formidable by their perfect knowledge of this country, by which they would have it in their power to lead the more westerly and northerly tribes into every settlement, and to every house on our side of the line, and as far as the Red River , from Alexandria to Fort Towson , and throughout the disputed Territory._

I have had reason to calculate on hostilities being commenced as soon as the Corn got ripe enough to eat- or as soon as the Mexican Army shall approach the remaining settlements of Texas- which are principally on this side of the Brazos .-

The Mexican Army was however still at Matomoras on the

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16th of last Month_ held in check probably by the supposed determination on the part of the Texans to hold the life of Santa Anna answerable for the movement of the Mexican forces operating against Texas. But should this be the cause of the suspended movements of the Mexican Army, it is certainly a cause that cannot long be relied on. Mexico may very soon order the new Commander to prosecute the War regardless of the fate of Santa Anna, as they have already reprimanded their General Filasola for retireing [retiring] from Texas at the request of Santa Anna, after the battle of San Jacinto ; and they have decreed that any act of Santa Anna while a prisoner of war shall be null and void. Besides the death of Santa Anna by sickness, accident, or otherwise, or his escape will be the signal for vigorous operations on the part of the Mexicans, and that the Indians will co-operate with them I have no doubt.

Hence it is that I have deemed it necessary and proper to have the Dragoons, and the Six Companies of the 7th Infantry held in readiness for action upon the Nacogdoches frontier. Should the Indians or any other force attempt to disturb the inhabitants,- The disputed Territory here will be the principal theatre of War. The want of an effective force here will endanger the whole of the beautiful and immensely valuable cotton growing region of Red River, from Alexandria to the great raft, and from thence to Fort Towson.- The first mentioned settlement is one the destruction of which would involve in ruin hundreds of worthy and excellent families, with Millions of dollars worth of property._ The prospect of the plunder of which would tend powerfully to excite the cupidity of many men who have pretensions to civillization [civilization] , - and tempt them to assume the Garb and character of Savages, and accompany the real Indians on

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such a crusade, under the pretence [pretense] of liberating the ______ as suggested by Santa Anna.- but in reality to kill and plunder their owners.-

You ask me the very appropriate question whether the troops are to be called to the frontier before the commencement of hostilities? I answer in the language of a letter which I some time past addressed to the Secretary of War.- "I think it is our duty to afford the frontier inhabitants that "sort of protection guaranteed by the Constitution of the United "States- the whole people including the Pioneer, his widow, "or orphan inhabitant of the frontier Camp, or Cabin, as well "as the Wealthy citizens of the great emporium of Politics and of "fashion_ the Protection the work of which should commence before the work of destruction upon the frontier has begun: Protection to the living citizens rather than the the ashes of the slain."

You did right therefore to call for Arkansas troops, and the sooner you can have them ready for efficient service at Gibson the better.

I shall immediately request the Governor of the State of Missouri to furnish One thousand men- one half mounted- and shall desire General Atkinson to place the half of this force at Leavenworth and you the other half Gibson,- or if they should not be needed there they will be ordered to Towson.- Viz [videlicet] 250 Mounted men and 250 Infantry at Leavenworth and a like number at Gibson.

Without this force called out soon, added to all that you and I have recently called for, we cannot say truly that we are prepared to afford to this most important and very

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slender frontier that protection of which I have been speaking whilst 10,000 to 15,000 troops backed by 6 to 10,000 Indians are employed in a war of extermination near us.

With great Respect &c [et cetera]
(Signed) E. P. [Edmund Pendleton] Gaines
Maj. Genl. [Major General] Commanding
To Brigr. Genl. [Brigadier General] Arbuckle Command. &c Fort Gibson Arks. [Arkansas]
[added: No. [Number] 3.
Major General E. P. Gaines
Brg. Genl. M. Arbuckle
dated 10th August 1836]

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