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Little of the debate over slavery's expansion affected the tribes in Indian Territory. However, Indian slaveholders were apprehensive about the Republican victory in and the party's ultimate designs for "the peculiar institution. Seward's remarks when he urged the U. Another condition catastrophically affecting the tribes was continued dissension between mixed-bloods and full bloods over the legacy of removal. Nowhere was this division more apparent than among the Cherokee.

Because the mixed-bloods had signed a removal treaty at New Echota in , they were despised by the full bloods, led by Chief John Ross. A leadership contest developed between the factions, pitting Stand Watie, for the mixed-bloods, against Ross.

Indian Territory in the American Civil War

Until , however, Ross and the full bloods had succeeded in holding political control of the tribe, and a working, if not amicable, accommodation between the two parties had been achieved. The Confederate government, formed by early February , had plans for the West. Jefferson Davis and his councilors saw the need to protect the Mississippi River, use the western Confederacy as a "breadbasket," and eventually establish Indian Territory as a springboard for expansion.

Prior to Pike's arrival, other commissioners had gone north to Indian Territory from Texas to enlist the tribes in the southern cause. They found the Choctaw and Chickasaw enthusiastic for the Confederacy, and strong sentiment for the new nation also appeared among the Creek and Seminole. In early Col. Cooper recruited the Choctaw and Chickasaw into mounted rifle units, which later fought in Arkansas and Missouri. Albert Pike also recruited military units, and after Stand Watie received a colonel's commission in the Confederate army on July 12, , he raised a band of three hundred for service.

The Cherokee, however, held back from formal alliance. John Ross doubted the wisdom of secession and favored neutrality. Had the tribes listened to Ross, they would have weathered the war and enjoyed good relations with the victor. However, tribal divisions among the mixed-blood and full-blood factions, as well as the fact of slaveholding, worked against a policy of neutrality. Unfortunately for the Union and the Cherokee, the U.

Seeing Confederate activity in Arkansas and Texas, Lt. Consequently, Union sympathizers in Indian Territory had no military protection for their allegiance, and they found themselves surrounded by Confederate power. Early Confederate victories and the lack of a Union presence made a Confederate alliance compelling. Albert Pike thus made headway with the Indian Territory tribes.

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John Ross stalled, but the military power of the Confederacy rose while that of the Union waned. The mixed-bloods rejoiced over the alliance and quickly signed into the Confederate military. The Oklahoma Indians were in an impossible position, facing an uncertain and perilous future. A small population, they therefore could neither enforce their will on their neighbors nor defend their borders.

Kansas to the north was Union, and Arkansas to the east and Texas to the south were Confederate. Neutrality would have required diplomatic finesse, and military power would have be necessary to have kept the residents of those states from despoiling Indian Territory. Geography and scarce population would make the Indian nations a marching ground for troops in transit elsewhere or make them a target for vengeance.

The region itself possessed no particular military advantages save one: In terms of tactics the determining factor in the West during the Civil War was the Mississippi River. Union strategy, devised by Gen. Winfield Scott and dubbed the "Anaconda Plan," sought to control the Mississippi River and thus to divide the Confederacy.

Operations to Control Indian Territory | American Battlefield Trust

Most of the warfare in the West, therefore, was connected to furthering or thwarting Brig. Grant's advance down the river. Military activity in Indian Territory was marginal to that objective. Ben McCulloch, that army's second-ranking general officer, was ordered from Texas to Arkansas and placed in command of Indian Territory. The Confederate Army of the West, which he was to build, was to be composed of three Indian regiments plus one regiment each from Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas.

After the treaty making ended, Confederate military companies formed rapidly among the tribes, but resentment toward the Confederacy also surfaced. The Creek leader and slaveholder Opothleyahola rejected the Confederate alliance and led some seven thousand followers away from tribal lands. Secessionists perceived him as an enemy, and they pursued, under the leadership of Col.

Indian Territory in the American Civil War

In the last engagement, Opothleyahola's encampment was routed. The remainder of his followers eventually reached Kansas as refugees. Confederate leaders attempted to use Indian Territory troops to force the federals out of Arkansas. Under Albert Pike, promoted to brigadier general, the Indian regiments joined divisions led by Brig. Please try again later. The writing is a bit corny; and nothing is covered in depth it is a small book. But as a quick review on the battles involving Native Americans in the Civil War, it's pretty handy.

This is a work of art ,very good reading. One could learn many things by reading a good book and this is one. Well, it did, and it's quite a story.


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This fine little book makes a good start at correcting the oversight. When the war broke out, both sides wanted the Indians, the Five Civilized Tribes, led by the Cherokees, and each got around half. A strange, brilliant, man, Pike's career as a General is a minor footnote in his long life as an attorney, author, and Masonic scholar. Pike resigned in , and was followed by Douglas Cooper, a more conventional, if less colorful, officer. Here we meet the very first American Indian ever to wear general's stars: This was NOT a poor Indian in a wigwam, but a wealthy, slave owning, rancher who lived in a mansion.

He was also a very effective leader, and fighting cavalry officer, who conducted multiple successful operations. For all the Confederacy's problems, this was an arena where the South remained viable.


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  7. General Watie did not surrender until June 23, , the last Confederate general to strike his colors. This book does not pretend to be a deep, scholarly, tome. It is, however, a very well researched, and well written, overview.

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    This IS a book that I would recommend to the general reader; all too many think the Civil War was just about Lee and Grant, and that's far from the whole story. This provides a good summary of a part of the Civil War that I did not know existed before reading the book. It is an interesting and entertaining description of the battles, leaders, and campaigns that took place in Indian territory from to It describes the devestation that took place to the general population and the conflicts that still existed from the Trail of Tears that split apart the tribes. It is suitable for the general reader.

    The teaming of author Steve Cottrell and artist Andy Thomas in this book is perfect. Many captivating stories and facts combined with amazing artwork to go with them. This subject is a very interesting, and largely unknown, part of the American Civil War that anybody interested in this important time of American history should read. Anticipating that Confederate forces under General Douglas H. Cooper would attempt to join with those under General William Cabell , who was moving to attack Fort Gibson, Blunt approached Honey Springs on July 17, with a force of 3, men, including Native Americans and African-American former slaves.

    On the morning of July 17, he engaged Cooper in the Battle of Honey Springs , who commanded a force of 3,—6, men composed primarily of Native Americans. Cooper's troops became unorganized and retreated when wet gunpowder caused misfires and rain hampered their movements. The battle was the largest of the war in the Indian Territory. Perryville, a town halfway between Boggy Depot and Scullyville on the Texas Road , had become a major supply depot for the Confederate army.

    General Blunt, who had returned to Fort Gibson, learned that the Confederates had regrouped there and believed his troops could capture the depot and destroy Cooper's forces. Blunt reassembled a force and led them to Perryville. Arriving there on August 23, , he found that the Confederate commanders, Cooper and Watie, had already left for Boggy Depot.

    Blunt attacked under cover of darkness and the two sides exchanged artillery fire. The Union forces quickly scattered the Confederates, who eventually retreated again, leaving their supplies behind. Blunt's forces captured whatever supplies they could use, then burned the town. On February 13, , a force of about Union troops supported by two howitzers attacked a Confederate outpost in the Indian Territory.

    The outpost was guarded by about 90 poorly armed Confederate soldiers. The Confederates resisted, holding off the Union troops for about half an hour, then fled on foot toward Fort Washita. The Union Army claimed victory because 49 Confederates were killed, while the Union forces suffered no deaths. This was the last significant skirmish of the war in Indian Territory.

    It was a defeat for the Confederates, but the mistreatment of civilians and killings of wounded soldiers by the Union troops strengthened the resolve of Confederates and their sympathizers to continue the fight.

    The plan was to have a Confederate force attack central Kansas from Indian Territory, raiding Union Army facilities and encouraging Indian tribes in western Kansas to join in an attack on the eastern part of the state. Watie presented the plan to his superior, General Samuel B. Maxey , on February 5, Maxey approved the plan on the condition that the attack would start by October 1, to coincide with an attack on Missouri already planned by General Sterling Price.

    From until the early summer of , hostilities in the Indian Territory consisted mainly of guerrilla attacks. Confederate Colonel William Quantrill and his gang committed a number of raids throughout the lands of the Five Civilized Tribes. They destroyed only houses and barns used by Union troops as headquarters, for quartering troops or for storing supplies.

    Watie also targeted military supply trains because that not only deprived the Union troops of food, forage and ammunition but gave significant amounts of other booty that he could distribute to his men. One of Watie's most notable successes during this time was the ambush of the steamboat J. Williams in September Watie surrendered, along with his troops, at Doaksville on June 23, Watie went to Washington, D. He did not return home until May As part of the Reconstruction Treaties , U.

    Later the issue of citizenship caused contention when American Indian lands were allotted to households under the Dawes Commission. In the early 20th century, the Cherokee Nation voted to exclude the Freedmen from the tribe, unless they also had direct descent from a Cherokee not just a Cherokee Freedman listed on the Dawes Rolls — From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Operations to Control Indian Territory.