mention the fact that the Confederate army was also compelled to fall back to a region less wasted and exhausted than that which for many miles surrounded the well-fought field of Pea Ridge
As this was the only important battle in which ‘Indians
’ in considerable numbers took part, and as they were all found fighting — or, more strictly, yelling — on the side of the Confederacy
, a few words of explanation may be pertinent.
We have seen1
that the important aboriginal tribes known to us as Creeks and Cherokees, holding from time immemorial extensive and desirable territories, mainly within the States of North Carolina
, but extending also into Tennessee
, were constrained to surrender those lands to the lust of the neighboring Whites, and migrate across the Mississippi
, at the instance of the State
authorities, resisted, in obedience to treaties, by President John Quincy Adams
, and succumbed to, in defiance of treaties and repeated judgments of the Supreme Court, by President Andrew Jackson
They were located, with some smaller tribes, in a region lying directly westward of Arkansas
and north of the Red. river, to which the name of Indian Territory
was given, and which, lying between the 34th and 37th parallels of .North latitude, and well watered by the Arkansas
and several affluents of that and of Red river
, was probably as genial and inviting as any new region to which they could have been transferred.
Yet, though their removal had been effected nearly a quarter of a century, it is certain that the mass of the Indians there collected still regarded with just indignation the wrongs they had experienced, remembering fondly the pleasant streams and valleys of the lower Alleghanies
, from which they had been forcibly and wrongfully expelled.
But their Chiefs had been early corrupted in their old homes, by the example and practice among their White
neighbors of slaveholding — a practice novel indeed, but eminently congenial to the natural indolence and pride of the savage character.
They, consequently, adhered to it in their new location; and, since to hold slaves was a proof of wealth and importance, nearly every one who by any means obtained property, exchanged a part of it for one or more negroes; who, if they did not by labor increase his wealth, were certain, by flattery and servility, to magnify his conscious importance.
Thus thoroughly saturated with the virus of slaveholding, the most civilized Indian tribes fell an easy prey to the arts of the Confederate
The agents through whom they received their annuities and transacted most of their business with the Federal Government
, had nearly always been Democratic politicians — of course, pro-Slavery, and generally Southern--and for the last eight years emphatically so. These agents had little difficulty, at the outset of the Rebellion
, in persuading their Chiefs that the old Union was irrecoverably destroyed; that it was scarcely probable that an, effort would be made to restore it; and that, at all events, their interests and their safety dictated an alliance with that Confederacy which was