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150th Anniversary of the First Scout Enlistment: 1870-2020

July 20, 1870 AAG Clay Wood and J.J. Reynolds, Commanding Dept of Texas, to Major Zenas Bliss, Commanding, Fort Duncan   

General Reynolds authorizes the first enlistment of the Seminole Negro Indian Scouts. 

1_authorization_Letters return Kickapoo
2_authorization_Letters return Kickapoo

Headquarters Department of Texas
(Texas and Louisiana)
Office Assistant Adjutant General
Austin, Texas July 20th, 1870


Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Zenas. R. Bliss
Major 25th U. S. Infantry
Commanding Fort Duncan, Texas



Referring to your communication of the 14th instant, making report relative to the Seminole Negro Indians at Fort Duncan, you are authorized to enlist twenty (20), or such number as shall be found fit for service, as Scouts who will receive the pay and allowance of Cavalry Soldiers. Kibbits, or the Headman, will receive pay of a sergeant.


They will be mustered into service for six (6) months unless sooner discharged. The required muster rolls will be prepared and forwarded. The Indian and English names will both appear on the Muster-in rolls.


You will please detail an energetic and discreet commissioned officer who will have charge and command the party when enlisted.

Your recommendation as to locating the Seminole Negroes on Elm Creek, where they can live and cultivate land is approved, and you will carry out your plan.

The entire party of Indians will be under the control and protection of the Military Authorities at Fort Duncan.


By Command of Brevet Major General Reynolds:
(signed) H. Clay Wood
Assistant Adjutant General

Source Information:

National Archives Microfilm Publications

Microcopy Number: 619

Collection: Letters Received by the Office of the Adjutant General (Main Series), 1861-1870

Roll: 799-800 (Papers Relating to the Return of the Kickapoo and the Seminole (Negro) Indians from Mexico to the United States, 1870 – 1914)

Digital Images: 165-166.jpg

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