Academic journal article The Arkansas Historical Quarterly

The Civil War and Reconstruction in Indian Territory

Academic journal article The Arkansas Historical Quarterly

The Civil War and Reconstruction in Indian Territory

Article excerpt

The Civil War and Reconstruction in Indian Territory. Edited by Bradley R. Clampitt. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015. Pp. vii, 192. Map, introduction, index. $25.00, paper.)

Citing the recent expansion of Civil War scholarship into the Trans-Mississippi West, Bradley R. Clampitt, an associate professor at East Central University in Oklahoma, has assembled a collection of eight essays that explore the impact of the war and Reconstruction on Indian Territory. The result is a brief but welcome volume that sheds light on the devastation suffered by the peoples of the Five Nations during the war years and beyond. Collectively, the essays reveal that, while the conflict did not produce battlefield encounters to rival those in the war's eastern theater, the loss of life and property were arguably worse due to the unique circumstances that prevailed in Indian Territory. According to Clampitt, animosities that had lingered since removal, rather than sectional loyalties, primarily motivated tribesmen to take up arms and explain much of the destruction. The people of the Five Nations-regardless of their sectional allegiances-fought to maintain their way of life, land, political independence, and tribal sovereignties. As a result, the conflict became a series of wars fought within a war-producing violence that sometimes spilled over into Arkansas.

Many of the anthology's authors build on the theme that factional grievances motivated the violence in the territory. In the opening essay, Richard B. McCaslin reiterates that the members of the Five Nations picked sides in accordance with the faction they supported within their respective tribes. He also contends that these loyalties not only explain the early ascendancy of the Confederacy but offer insight as to why the war degenerated into a "blood feud" once Union troops began reclaiming the territory after 1863. Brad Agncw also insists that the war merely allowed the factional rifts to rise once more to the forefront. …

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