Cherokee in The American Civil War - Western Front

Western Front

See also: Oklahoma in the American Civil War

In the west, the Cherokees blamed the federal government and former United States President Andrew Jackson for the Trail of Tears. Also, they had adopted Southern ways before their removal from their Appalachia home, including the practice of owning blacks as slaves. So, the western Cherokee were already sympathetic towards the South when in 1860 William Seward, campaigning on behalf of Abraham Lincoln, said that Lincoln would open the Indian Territory for white settlement.

Chief of the Cherokee John Ross was adamant that the Union was not dissolved. However, another leader of the Cherokee, Stand Watie, was eager to join the Confederate cause, and on June 1, 1861, began recruiting for an army to assist the Southern cause. Full-blooded Cherokees tended to support Ross (who was actually 7/8 Scottish) while the mixed-blooded Cherokee supported the 3/4 Cherokee Stand Watie. Stand Watie in 1862 was elected Chief of the Southern Cherokee Nation.

For the duration of the war, a series of small battles were waged by Cherokees in the Indian Territory. Stand Watie officially became the last Confederate general to end fighting on June 25, 1865 at Fort Towson, in the southeast portion of the Indian Territory. The terms of the armistice allowed Watie and his command, the First Indian Brigade of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi, to demobilize rather than surrender and go home with their arms.

Read more about this topic:  Cherokee In The American Civil War

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