Bourland in North Texas and Indian Territory During the Civil War: Fort Cobb, Fort Arbuckle & the Wichita Mountains

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Passports  required  to  cross  Red River to Texas from  1862-1865

Question:   Why did the residents of Indian Territory who were rich and politically well-connected had no problems crossing Red River between 1862-1865 while the poor were starving and freezing in mud huts on the North bank of Red River begging for food?

This question is addressed in two sections of this web page.

1)  What proof that passports were required to cross Red River from Indian Territory do we have?   

2)   Who could  issue passports?          one  Col. James Bourland issued passports.


1)  Proofs that passports were required to cross Red River.

1a) The Federal Writer's Project, part of Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration, Indian-Pioneer Papers (IPP#6646), i.e., Interviews of 1861-1865 Indian Territory residents in the 1936-8 WPA Project that were interviewed .     Sent by Evelyn Rard of Tulsa OK.


Berryhill, Andrew Jackson "Jake" Berryhill (b-1856 Creek Nation). ... IPP#6646.... My most vivid recollection of the Civil War is of the battle of Honey Springs (Jul 17, 1863).  My mother, with a great number of other women, their children and what few personal belongings they could carry, fled south ahead of the retreat of the Confederate Army. They waded and swam across the Canadian River at Standing Rock and continued the long weary march south which terminated at the Colbert Ferry on the Red River. The hardships of that long march of many days are indescribable. We camped on the bank of the Red River and each day brought more refugees until it grew into quite a large camp. We remained in this camp in the Choctaw Nation about one year, or until the close of the Civil War.     

          We would draw our rations from the military supply headquarters at Bonham and Paris, Texas. I can remember riding horseback behind my mother to Bonham to draw supplies. It would take us a day to ride from the camp to Bonham where we would camp for the night and draw our rations. The next morning mother and I with our sack of rations on the old disabled army horse that the military headquarters had given us [and] would start on the twenty-mile trip back to the camp. During the time in this camp my mother was married to a Cherokee by the name of Wilson Cordrey who came from Georgia to Indian Territory in 1835. ... In 1866, the refugees in this camp all returned to the Cherokee Nation.

Berryhill, Richard Lewis Berryhill (b-1852 Creek Nation). ....IPP#None.... In 1861 my parents moved to a place on Pole Cat Creek northeast of where the town of Sapulpa now stands. We lived there until the Civil War broke out, when we moved back to the old home place.  Later, due to conditions brought on by the war, my father moved the family to the Chickasaw Nation near Red River where the family remained until after the close of the War.

Brewer, Oliver Hazard Perry Brewer (b-1829 Cherokee Nation )....IPP#None. ...  During the latter part of the war the Confederate forces were greatly outnumbered in the Cherokee Nation and many of the Citizens were compelled to become refugees in the South and Colonel Brewer’s family was moved to Preston, [Grayson Co,] Texas, where they lived until the close of the war. At the end of the war he moved his family to Pauls Valley, in the Chickasaw Nation; made two large crops of corn in that section, selling his products to the Federal Government for the use of its soldiers at a handsome profit and purchased a herd of cattle in the State of Texas and returned to his old home where he had lived prior to the war. He again engaged in farming and added stock raising to his enterprises.

Chipman, Joseph Armfield Chipman (IPP#8293)....  wrongly listed in IPP as Jesse Chipman..... (1845 Guilford Co NC-1941 Garvin Co OK), m-1876 Collin Co TX to Ida Jane Burch, son of and Mary Armfield and John M. Chipman)........ IPP#8293. ... In 1863 I joined the Confederate Army and was assigned to Captain Jim Shannon's company. We were stationed along Red River to keep the Indians from coming over into Texas and killing and stealing cattle.   I was with Captain Shannon's company for about a year.  We would cross Red River and make a circle through the Indian Territory on the border of the Comanche Country on the lookout for Indians.  But during my stay with Captain Shannon, we never did get into any trouble with the Indians although we chased a crowd of them for three days once, but never did overtake them.   ....  Your editor has a major article about Joseph A. Chipman in my 1,046-page book.. 

Choate, Christopher Columbus Choate (b-1857 now Pittsburg Co OK).  IPP#10386   Our people settled close together in what they called townships; I had seven uncles who lived close to us. My father died before the Civil War.  These uncles helped to look after my mother and us boys. About the end of the War the Indians all left their homes and went way down on the Red River, I think they went in October or November and stayed until March. We were the last ones to leave our home. Some Government men came and helped Mother to move and I remember how funny our neighbors' cabins looked, half full of feathers. When they were leaving they emptied the feather-ticks so that they wouldn't take up so much room in the wagon. One of our uncles helped us move back to our home in the spring.

Christie, Betsy Adams Christie (b-1866 Sugar Loaf Co, Choctaw Nation). ...IPP#5816..... During this time [Civil War], a concentration point had been established at Doaksville, where the women whose male relatives were engaged in the conflict could be congregated for protection and sustenance. She and three of her sisters walked to this concentration point, a distance of nearly a hundred miles, and stayed there for some time. While at Doaksville they fared reasonably well as game was plentiful though breadstuff was scarce. On returning to their home -- this was before the close of the war-they again suffered severe hardship, as what stock they had when they left their home had been taken. They subsisted principally on game and fish and sometimes terrapin until they could again raise some corn with which to make bread and "sofka". During this time, all they possessed was the shelter afforded by the log cabin which her father, James Terrell, had erected when he settled in the Indian Territory. It will thus be seen that the Choctaws suffered the brunt of the hardships which were a large part of these cruel days.


Gibson, Elizabeth Garrett Gibson (b-1858 MS). ... IPP#6961. ... When the Civil War came, all the women and children were moved down South on the Red River on a reservation. We lived in little huts made of mud or logs. I remember how terrible the War was. We went hungry and cold. The Northern Soldiers would come in and take everything we had to eat. My uncle, General John Garrett [sic, Col Wm. H. Garrett], fought with the South.   He was in the Elk Creek battle near Honey Springs when the North burned down old North Fork town. That was southeast of Eufaula. The soldiers from the North built barracks, with the Negro soldiers on the bank of the creek. After the battle was over, those who had not been in battle were killed by the soldiers and pushed in the Creek. There were so many that the water was red with blood. Many died from want of food and clothes.
          Several years after the battle at Elk Creek, we went back, and the ground all around looked white with human bones, there were so many killed in that battle.

Moore, Edgar Moore (b-1873 Scullyville, Choctaw Nation). ... IPP#7073. ... During the turbulent years of the Civil War many of the families who owned slaves and plantations in Scullyville County went as refugees to Doaksville, and in some instances to Clarksville, Texas, taking the slaves with them. ....


1b.  Selected paragraphs from my 1,046-page book showing numbers of Indian

Territory residents camped on the North Bank of Red River.

"It was reckoned that, in the course of the War, fully three-hundred thousand [300,000] head of Indian cattle had been stolen" ... stolen or levied by both Union and Confederates and driven back East to feed soldiers.

"Most farmers of the Seminole, Creek, and Cherokee Nations had their crops and livestock destroyed by soldiers; 18,000 starving pro-Southern Cherokees and Creeks fled south to the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations, encamped near the Confederate posts near the Red River. ..." Due to pockets of Unionists, by 1866, Indian Territory families were ravaged: 14 % children were orphans, 16 % of children were fatherless, 33% of the women were widowed. The Tribes were more destitute than at the time of 1835 Removal."  

"Six thousand (6,000) Cherokees were reported to be on the Red River at the time of the Fort Smith Council [Sep 1865]. Needy and friendless, far distant from their desolate homes, and there were Seminoles in the lowlands of the Washita [River]."  

"There were upwards of 15,000 Indigents, all of whom have to be fed from the public crib." Compare the aforementioned Indians’ estimate with the Union’s estimate: "In 1865, the Indians were not concerned with the cessation of the war, or its technical complications, but the destitution of their numbers cast adrift, about 9,000 people."  

By the Fall of 1863, the Cherokee Nation was nearly abandoned. Some of these Union sympathizers went to Kansas where they were dependent upon the Union troops and Indian Agents for food, clothing, and shelter since their farms had been ravaged. Many Union sympathizers of the Cherokee, Seminole, and Creek Tribes had fled to the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations. Many cold starving Indians went South because of the repulsive blatant corruption of the Union Indian Agents in collusion with [future Arkansas U.S. Senator] Alexander McDonald caused the Indians to almost starve and freeze to death. For example, they were sent "shorts instead of flour." (Shorts are a by-product of milling wheat with very little nutritive value, usually fed as bulk to hogs.     ... Personal note: My dad, George Wil ford Adkins bought "shorts" for our hogs.)   

Texas had imposed a head tax on each refugee, so the fleeing Cherokees, Creeks, and Seminoles had to stay north of the Red River. Confederate agents, despite limited means, shared their commissary, but most subsistence supplies came from Texas, although the Choctaws and Chickasaws also generously provided food. Confederate refugee depots in the Chickasaw Nation issued beef, flour, and soap rations to 4,823 Creeks on the Washita River, [probably now Bryan Co OK], 2,906 Cherokees near Tishomingo [now Johnston Co OK], and 574 Seminoles at Oil Springs [found now Love or Johnston Co OK]. Also 241 Osages near Fort Arbuckle were furnished rations. During 1864, 4,480 needy Choctaws drew rations from Confederate stores. Chickasaws were reported to be ‘faring better.’    per Gibson's The Chickasaws, p270.



2)  Who could  issue passports?

2a)  Provost Marshal definition found in the Official Record.

2a1)  Provost Marshals of the 7th, 8th, 9th, 14th, 15th, 20th, and the 21st Militia Brigades of Texas? 

 2a1).  21st Militia Brigade Dist of Texas State Troops.   James Bourland was appointed Provost Marshal of the 21st Militia Brigade.  on May 30, 1862 by TST Brig-Gen. Wm. R. Hudson Bourland’s responsibilities included issuing passports for travel and could arrest anyone considered "injurious to the interests of the country."    see vIp134

Editor's note:  PROBABLY:  The bulk of the passports issued between "Jun 1862 -- Mar 1864 in the 21st Militia Brigade Dist. were issued by Col. James Bourland's office.    PROBABLY The bulk of the passports issued in the North Texas Sub-District between "Mar 1864 - Jun 1865" in the CSA Northern Sub-Dist of Texas were written by H.E. McCulloch's office.

2b) TST officers?   Reserve Corps of Texas?   commandant of conscripts?

1862 Cooke Co TX, Jun....."... [Provost Marshal] James Bourland refused to issue passports to and arrested John M. Cottrell and A.N. Johnson, who had married the daughter of Lucretia Hawley that day.  Lucretia’s husband, Elias J. Hawley, who had been a Butterfield Stage employee, had fled leaving her 'with no consolation but her wit, and no dowry but her beauty'."     see vIp136

1862 Oct 16 week of:   " ... There were refugees from Missouri and Arkansas camped all along the [north bank of the] Red River. ..."   Excerpts of G.R. Gautier’s Harder than Death, the Life of George R. Gautier, an Old Texan Living at the Confederate Home, Austin TX (1902), 67pp. G.R. (1839-1924) was born in Lexington MO and served in Sweet’s 15th Texas Cavalry, Co B (CSA) and Johnson’s 14th Cav, Co A.    see vIp148.

1864 Feb 3.  (McCulloch to Bourland)   I have just learned that a Company of 40 men under [? CSA deserters] Capt. [J.W.] Clanton is coming down by Washita [River, Indian Territory] claiming the cavalry of [CSA Gen. J. S.] Marmaduke. I suspect them and if they get into Texas and have not the proper papers, arrest them and send them to me at once. This can be done under Genl. [Edmund  Kirby] Smith’s order No. 58 without creating much ado.    [Clanton of OK Corral fame] ....  Bourland's Regt accepted into the Confederacy on Mar 1, 1864.    see vIp225

1863, Feb. .... "... then after the second year’s war, he [Bourland] organized a regiment for border purposes, placing his men up and down Red River for home protection. He had some skirmishes with the Indians. ..."  see vIp338 [Speer’s Encyclopedia of the New West, Marshall TX, U.S. Bio. Pub. Co. (1881), p573].     see vIp338

1863 Nov. 29... Steele to Gano, ... The general commanding wishes you to exercise peculiar vigilance in stopping these fellows. Parties, too, are reported passing through the country on the credit of Quantrill's men, who are, in all probability, jayhawkers, or, perhaps, spies. They should be looked to. I have heard that Quantrill himself published a card [passport] with reference to such characters, saying that unless they are provided with a printed furlough from him, they are sailing under false colors. General McCulloch, who reports about 1,500 or 2,000 of these renegades in his district, says:   ...  per ORsIv22/2[S#33]p1081

CSA friend of Oliver Loving from Stephens Co TX, April 12, 1862  .....   Mr. [Joel W.] Curtis wrote himself a passport and commission to buy mules for the Federal Government and by it, he was enabled to make his way back to this State. Texans know well how to repay this act of brutality of which the Northern cannibals are best pleased when performing. Let us have enough of them, free of vermin (if such can be found) to pad our saddles and make foot-mats for our kitchen-doors.   per Semi-Weekly News, San Antonio TX, Jul 21, 1862, p2c1. see vIp146

2c) CSA officers?  Gen. H.E. McCulloch  ... Bourland's Regt  accepted into CSA  on Mar 1, 1864

(no date, ca. Jan 1865, from Strong's 1914 Memoirs).  W.R. Strong was arrested for lack of proper identification, which was defined by Bourland as orders over the signature of General H.E. McCulloch.   .... Strong described the the large divot in the ground (oven in yard) where Bourland's men tossed him while Bourland was deciding what to do with him.      see vIp224

1864 Hopkins Co TX, Jan 4. ....  (Acting CSA Gen J. Bourland to CSA Brig-Gen. H.E. McCulloch).   Enclosed I send you M.A. Bailey's Pass from the Enrolling Officer of Hopkins County. Said Bailey has been arrested. My men in this county [say] he has been skulking, and forwards [him] from this to Hopkins County [for] avoiding service. I also send you him for disposal.    see vIp218

1864, Sep.   Before M.C. Smith (b-1838, who was a Sgt. in Capt. J.L. Ligon’s Fannin Co TX militia) reached J.S. Chisum, Bourland ‘collared’ him and enrolled him in Capt. S.P.C. Patton’s Co. ‘G’ on Sep 24, 1864. Bourland then gave Smith a requested 3-day travel pass to collect a horse and a blanket, but Smith had no intention of serving in Bourland’s Regt., and didn’t.    see pN-150


passports                  ..... Name Index entries from my 1,046-page book.

furlough papers, 189, 196, 276, 277, 299, 303, 319, 326

papers, proper papers, identification papers, 216, 224, 225, 255, 271, 277, 305, 307

passports, passes, pass, 134, 135, 191, 195, 218, 221, 223, 267, 309, 310, 315, A-157, N-150

password, Arizina, 136


Provost Marshal, as defined in the Official Record

ORsIv3[S#116]p977,   CSA or Hdqts, Dept of Texas, Houston, May 22, 1862 .... Col. GEORGE FLOURNOY, Virginia Point:...   Passport system not yet established. You can arrest, place in confinement or turn back any person you deem suspicious. ... By order of Brig-Gen. P.O. Hébert, George R. Wilson, Aide-de-Camp.

ORsIIv7[S#120]p205, Richmond VA,  Jun 6, 1864. ... provost-marshal's department, consisting of a  passport office and a police organization, Gen. Braxton Bragg.

ORsIv39/2[S#78]p681..GENERAL ORDERS No. 90, Hdqrs Dept of Ala, Miss, and E. LA, Meridian, Mississippi, Jul 1, 1864 .... as confers upon the provost-marshal the power to grant passports through the lines, is hereby revoked. All such passes in future will be granted, if at all, at these headquarters, and by general officers commanding outposts, solely for the purpose of gaining information of the movements of the enemy.  General passes will not be granted. By command of Lt-Gen Lee: P. ELLIS, JR., Assist Adjt-Genl.

ORsIv48/1[S#101]p1311 GENERAL ORDERS No. 33.  Hdqrs. Northern Sub-Dist of Texas, Bonham, Dec 29, 1864......Recent thefts, robberies, and murders committed in this county by lawless men renders it necessary that our country should be cleared of all men who do not properly belong to it, or who are here from the army without proper authority.  Hence, all officers commanding troops in this sub-district are ordered to use their utmost exertions to arrest all such, and if officers or soldiers return them to their commands in arrest, and if persons not officers or soldiers but owing military service to the Confederate States, send them to the nearest enrolling officer, to be disposed of by him as law and order directs. No orders, leaves of absence, or furloughs or passes will be respected unless given:

1)  by authority of the commander of the Trans-Mississippi Dept or the commander of some district,

2)  by General Greer, commandant of conscripts,

3)  by Brig-Gen. J.B. Robertson, commanding Reserve Corps of Texas,

4)   from these headquarters in Bonham, Texas.   (i.e., Brig-Gen H.E. McCulloch).     And should any party be found in the brush or banded together to resist the lawful authorities they will be fired upon at once and shot as long as they resist or try to escape.  Officers of the Reserve Corps will proceed at once to enforce this order in their respective districts and counties, and will as far as practicable cooperate with the enrolling officer and will report all who fail to do their duty and prosecute all citizens who permit soldiers from the army or enrolled conscripts without proper papers to stay at or be fed from their homes or premises. Officers of the Reserve Corps being charged with the enforcement of this order, any neglect of duty by them will be promptly punished.    By order of Brig-Gen McCulloch:  B. E. BENTON, Capt and Assist Adjt-Gen.

ORsIv34/2[S#62]p955, Hdqts Dist of West LA, Alexandria, Feb. 8, 1864 to Brig-Gen. S.J.R. Liddell, Comdg. Sub-Dist. Northern Louisiana, Monroe. ...... Fourth. The major-general commanding further directs that you pay especial regard to the subject of passports, permitting no person to pass in or out of your lines without a passport from or vised at these headquarters.    Passports from department headquarters must in all cases be vised at these headquarters, and persons coming into your lines with passes from or under pretense of going to Shreveport will be sent under guard to this place, as will all other persons who may be arrested by your command without passports or with other than those emanating from or vised at these headquarters. Passports have been given to Messrs. Stevenson and Menard to ship cotton by boat under certain conditions to the enemy's lines. Your attention is called to your previous instructions in regard to these cases. No other passports have been given, and none will be respected by you derived from other authority than these headquarters. The same rule which applies to passports for individuals will be applied to passports or permits to ship cotton.  .....    Lt. CHAS. LE D. ELGEE,  Aide-de-Camp, Major-General Robt. Taylor's Staff

Union, but instructive.  ORsIv39/2[S#78]p31 General ORDERS No. 4.  Hdqrs, DIST OF VICKSBURG, Vicksburg, Miss., May 5, 1864....  III. The provost-marshal at every post will keep an accurate record of every pass granted, and of all permits approved by himself, or the post commander. Books for this purpose will be supplied by the quartermaster's department and the records will be kept open for the inspection of any officer of the Government, at all hours between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. A record will be kept by the officers of the picket-line of all passes and permits presented, which record will be compared with that of the provost-marshal, and any discrepancy will at once be reported.



Confederate Passport for sale

Auction Location: 2003 ... Lot 128 : [Americana] Extremely scarce Confederate Passport, 1p. 10.75x17, Richmond, October 17, 1863, issued to Thomas W. Bell and signed at bottom..   From:

Richmond, October 17, 1863, issued to Thomas W. Bell and signed at bottom by Confederate Secretary of State, Judah P. Benjamin and by Bell.

Document gives complete physical description of Bell, and is the 352nd passport issued by the Confederate government. Wonderful embossed seal of the Confederate States at bottom center. Folds, else; original transmittal cover for this passport, addressed to; Partly printed Document Signed by Prize Commissioner E.C. Howe, Key West, January 11, 1864, and reads in part: DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES...T.W. Bell, late of the Brige Schooner Ringdove is discharged from further attendance upon the District Court of the United States, for the Southern District of Florida, on behalf of the United States...; Partly Printed Document Signed, 1p. octavo, October 22, 1864, Havana, Cuba, being a travel permission; Business Card for Bell which reads: T.W. Bell, (Late of Virginia) with WM. I. PEAKE & CO., Importers and Jobbers of DRY GOODS, 48 & 50 WHITE STREET, Between Broadway and Church Street, NEW-YORK.; Manuscript History, May 6, 1835, which reads: History given me by Dr. Alfred B. Clayton of Bedford, Va. Thos. W. Bell of Bedford son of Alfred A. Bell was Major in Blackhorse Cavalry (Confederate) at 18 yrs of age. At the fight at Brandy Station was cut from his saddle by a Union sabre. Unable to enter war again was sent to Fla. by Confederate Government to buy provisions for Confed Army. Went as a supposed Englishman. In speaking to a Yankee Officer said Dog gone it - was arrested as a Virginian for this reason & as a spy - Put in Dry Tortugas Prison... Cuba. Bought Provisions there until end of war. Died aged 40 at Galveston, Texas of ruptured aneurysm brought on by above sabre cut & is buried at Bedford...' An outstanding group, with extremely scarce CSA passport.


Black Citizens.  The Confederate provost marshals issued standardized passes for body servants, and these printed forms included a description of the slave and instructed military officials to give them free passage.    See web page:



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Patricia Adkins-Rochette        03/25/2017     

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Bourland in North Texas and Indian Territory During the Civil War: Fort Cobb, Fort Arbuckle & the Wichita Mountains