The American Indian in the Civil War, 1862-1865

The American Indian in the Civil War, 1862-1865

The American Indian in the Civil War, 1862-1865

The American Indian in the Civil War, 1862-1865

Synopsis

Annie Heloise Abel describes the 1862 Battle of Pea Ridge, a bloody disaster for the confederates but a glorious moment for Colonel Stand Watie and his Cherokee Mounted Rifles. The Indians were soon enough swept by the war into a vortex of confusion and chaos. Able makes clear that their participation in the conflict brought only devastation to Indian Territory.

Excerpt

The Civil War was a major event in the lives of southern Indians who had been removed to Indian Territory in the antebellum period. Early attempts to remain neutral crumbled under pressure from their Arkansas and Texas neighbors, clever Confederate diplomacy, and indifference from a United States concerned with more pressing problems. By the fall of 1861, the Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, and Seminoles had signed Confederate treaties and organized military companies to serve as a home guard. Thus the southern Indians became a part of the bloodiest war in United States history. Their participation in the conflict is the subject of the second volume in Annie Heloise Abel Slaveholding Indians.

The Civil War opened old wounds among three of the southern Indian nations. Factionalism dated back to the removal era when some citizens favored emigration to the west and others preferred to remain on their ancestral lands. As Civil War approached, many southern Indians wanted little to do with those states that had forced them from their homeland, nor did they want to follow the lead of the highly acculturated Indians who promoted the Confederate cause. Antagonism stemmed from complex political, economic . . .

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