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      Editor's note: H. F. Buckner was appointed a Baptist missionary to the Creek Indians of Oklahoma in 1845. A short, interesting biography of Buckner is here. The following letters written in 1861 to Editor J. R. Graves, from Buckner's mission-area describe his intense interest in the American Civil War and how divided the Indian Nations were over the conflict. He wrote, "We are in the midst of the most horrid Indian war that history has ever recorded..." His biographer does not indicate the extreme passion he had concerning the great war, as these letters do.

      Buckner's surviving wife's statement on his tomb reads: "My husband Rev. H. F. Buckner, D. D., December 18, 1818 - December 3, 1882 a missionary among the Creek Indians for 33 years from Pulaski Co., Ky..."

The Civil War Among the Indians!
News from the Baptist Mission, &c

A Letter to the Tennessee Baptist Newspaper, 1862.

Creek Agency Creek Nation}
December 18th, 1861.}

      Dear Brother Graves: -- It has been many months since I have enjoyed the luxury of writing to you; but as brethren Compere and Murrow are on a short visit to my house, I can send this letter by them to be mailed at Fort Smith. We are in the midst of the most horrid Indian war that history has ever recorded, or that poets ever sung. The words of Dr. Cheever, that I forwarded to the Tennessee Baptist from New York last August a year ago, are literally fulfilled. Said he: "There is coming a war, compared with which all former wars were mere boy's play." I was satisfied then, from what I saw and heard in New York, that there was no conservatism in the North; that a war had been already maturely and purposely planned; that it was known to the wire workers of Black Republicanism, and that they then had emissaries in Europe to further their designs and interests; hence I gave your readers a fair warning of these things, and returned to the Indians a confirmed secessionist. I was not caught here by a sudden surprise; for I determined, the Lord helping me, to sink or swim with our interests here among these people. I cannot now give you a history of the rise and progress of our political evils; but I can safely say that I never read of a more savage and unnatural war than the one that is now in progress here. In future I will trace our troubles to Abolition emissaries, and show who brought them in, as we have intercepted letters that will fasten the damning guilt upon long faced hypocrites who came and stayed here under the false guise of religious teachers. I was at the night battle on the Red Fork where we lost five men, and the enemy fifty-six. At that engagement we captured ten of the enemy's wagons loaded with sugar, coffee, salt, &c., &c., besides 27 prisoners, and a number of ponies and cattle. I could not be at the recent engagement on Little Verdegris, on account of sickness; but our officers say that our men killed and wounded 300 of the enemy, while we lost 10. Two others have died of their wounds, but no others are dangerously wounded. We also captured some 60 wagons, besides a great number of mules, all of which belonged to the deserters from the Cherokees. Col. Drew's entire regiment of full blood Cherokees, except himself and about twenty-five others, went over to the enemy on the night before the fight. I should also except Lieut. Col. Ross, and a few others who were not near the engagement. Our forces consisted of 1 [? - fold in paper] 00 men under Cols. Cooper, D. N. McIntosh, and Sims; while the enemy had forces variously estimated at from 2,600 to 4,000. The 600 Creeks present under Col. McIntosh fought like tigers. I say this because the Texans all give them this credit, while I see the Fort Smith papers, through mistake, do them injustice. The Creeks on both sides were stripped to the skin, and painted to the teeth. Creek met Creek and disputed each others right to the same tree; and frequently they would wrest the guns from the very hands of their living enemies, as if they had been only ball-sticks. What is remarkable is that in a hand to hand fight of Creek with Creek for five hours, there was but one Creek killed on the Southern side!! History can no where show the like of this and I am sure that God was on our side. We had offered peace to the enemy; we had exhausted every means to conciliate them, even offering them rewards and making the most humiliating concessions because they were our brethren; and when nothing would do them but a fight, God forsook them in the day of battle. The deserting Cherokees had a corn shuck tied to the top of their head for a badge, and 30 of their heads lost their corn shuck scalps over which our Choctaw allies danced to the tune of Dixie, on the following night. The Cherokee deserters belong to the society of Pins, (a secret Abolition society, organized by the Jones of Boston Board notoriety, whose badge consists in wearing a pin in some specified position on the coat collar.) A majority of the full blood Cherokees belong to this party, and when Drew's regiment deserted our ranks, all our forces, after the battle, ceased to pursue the enemy, and came back to watch the Cherokee nation. Stand Waity has a regiment of half breed Cherokees, all of whom are true to the Confederacy; and I presume that a majority of the Nation are half breeds, and true to the South. Chief Ross made a speech at Gibson yesterday, favoring the South; but as he made and officered the Pin regiment, many doubt him. I am in the midst of the excitement, between two fires; with the enemy's forces only 45 miles to the left, and the Cherokee Pins only 15 miles to my right. An effort was made to fire my premises since I commenced this communication, but having much company at my house, we extinguished the flames. I had to abandon my place at Micco, because every body had fled from around there while I was off with our regiment, and most of all my corn, wheat, poultry, &c., were stolen. Bro. Vandivere and family have moved to Texas, so that I am alone as a Baptist Missionary to the Creeks for the third time in the past thirteen years. I occupy the house vacated by Brother Vandivere, near Creek Agency, 40 miles North of Micco.

      We expect to pursue the enemy in a very few days. My young wife will be alone with the servants; but she is a heroine. This day I am 43 years old; and this day a year ago the wife of my youth and partner of my early toils, went to her blissful reward. Blessed be her precious memory forever. Happy! thrice happy!! was she in being spared these perils. Never since Babel was built has there been a people so confounded as these. I am personally acquainted with many, many families who are on both sides in this civil (?) war. I know fathers with us who have wives and children on the other side, (for the enemy carry women with them,) and I know natural brothers, who are also brothers in the same church, who are some on this and some on that side in the days of battle! I know a Baptist Deacon on that side who has two sons and three brothers with us; and one of his brothers carried our Confederate Stars and Bars at the night fight at Red Fork. But (thank God) there are but few Baptists with them; while there are twenty-one Baptist preachers in our single regiment, inclusive of myself and Col. D. N. McIntosh!

      But I am wearying you. I wish to say to Central Association, Ga., I am at your service.

H. F. Buckner.

[From the Tennessee Baptist Newspaper, January 11, 1862, p. 2, c. 7.]


Army Creek Correspondence.
More News from the Indians.

Sodom Creek Agency, Cree[k] Nation,}
December 22, 1861.}

      Dear Brother Graves: -- I wrote you a few days since of the state of the war in this section, and as Brother burns is with me to-night, I will have an opportunity of forwarding this letter to Fort Smith in the morning. I visited Col. D. N. McIntosh's Creek Regiment to-day, and learned the following particulars: -- We have been reinforced since the last battle by 900 Choctaws, two regiments under col. McIntosh, (of McCulloch's command,) one company of Texans, and Stand Waitie's regiment of half breed Choctaws; so that our present active force amounts to 5,000. Col. Sim's regiment of Texans is suffering greatly from sickness. We expect to march against the enemy in a few days; Col. McIntosh thinks that in five days after Christmas, we will utterly rout our enemies. We will have some artillery with us this time.

      The earth is now covered with snow, and the mercury is 25o above zero. Poor soldiers! how my heart pities them; and even our enemies have my yearning sympathies. Poor deluded souls! "They know not what they do." Many of them I know to be Christians, as well as it is possible for me to judge of the heart of man. Many of them have run to the enemy, not from principle, but for protection, as they believe that it is safest to be on the side of the U.S. Few of them have acted from principle, but most from policy. I fear they will not learn their mistake until it is too late. The Pins (full blood Cherokees,) to whom I alluded in my last as having deserted our ranks, have nearly all returned, and were pardoned by Col. Cooper. But I have not faith in them, and I want them to be far from us in the day of battle. I do not think that even Col. C. will trust them.

      Chief Ross made another speech the other day for the South, and is raising another regiment, but I have no faith in him or them.

      Stop the paper which you send to E. D. Carruth, of Creek Agency, for he is a long-faced hypocrite, now in Kansas as Commissioner of Indian Affairs under Abraham 1st, and is the prime cause of this Indian war.

H. F. Buckner.

[From the Tennessee Baptist Newspaper, January 18, 1862, p. 2, c. 6. These two letters were transcribed by Vicki Betts, U of Texas, Tyler, Librarian; used with permission. Formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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