Union and Confederate Indians in the civil War.
, Creek, Choctaw
, and Seminole
tribes were the only Indian tribes who took an active part in the civil war. Before the war very few of the Indians of these tribes manifested any interest in the question of
slavery, and only a small number owned slave property.
Slavery among them was not regarded in the same light as among the whites, for in many instances the slaves acted as if they were on an equality with their masters.
But the tribes named occupied valuable territory, and the Confederate
authorities lost no time in sending agents among them to win them over.
When the Confederate
agents first approached the full-blood leaders of the Cherokee
and Creek tribes on the subject of severing their relations with the United States
, the Indians expressed themselves cautiously but decidedly as preferring to remain neutral.
Conspicuous among those who took a decided stand against organizing the Indians to oppose the Federal Government
, the old chief of the Creek
The Confederate agents had succeeded in winning over ex-Chief McIntosh
, by appointing him colonel, but, perhaps, two-thirds of the people preferred to be guided by the advice of their venerable old chief, Hopoeithleyohola
In the fall of 1861, Colonel Douglas H. Cooper
, commanding the department of Indian operations under authority from the Confederate Government, made several ineffectual efforts to have a conference with the old chief for the purpose of effecting a peaceful settlement of the difficulties that were dividing the nation into two hostile camps.
unwavering in his loyalty to the United States
, Colonel Cooper
determined to force him into submission, destroy his power, or drive him out of the country, and at once commenced collecting forces, composed mostly of white troops, to attack him. In November and December, 1861, the battles of Chusto Talasah and Chustenahlah were fought, and the loyal Indians
finally were defeated and forced to retire to Kansas
In the spring of 1862 the United States Government sent an expedition of five thousand men under Colonel William Weer
, 10th Kansas Infantry, into the Indian Territory
to drive out the Confederate forces of Pike and Cooper
, and to restore the refugee Indians
to their homes.
After a short action at Locust Grove
, near Grand Saline
, Cherokee Nation
, July 2d, Colonel Weer
's cavalry captured Colonel Clarkson
and part of his regiment of Missourians.
On the 16th of July Captain Greeno
, 6th Kansas Cavalry, captured Tahlequah
, the capital of the Cherokee Nation
, and on the 19th of July Colonel Jewell
, 6th Kansas Cavalry, captured Fort Gibson
, the most important point in the Indian Territory
The Confederate forces were now driven out of all that part of the Indian
country north of the Arkansas River
, and the loyal Indians
of the Cherokee
, Creek, and Seminole
nations were organized, by authority of the United States Government, into three regiments, each fully a thousand strong, for the defense of their country.
The colonel and part of the field and line officers of each regiment were white officers.
Most of the captains of companies were Indians
Colonel William A. Phillips
, of Kansas
, who was active in organizing these Indian regiments, commanded the Indian
brigade from its organization to the close of the war. He took part with his Indian troops in the action at Locust Grove
, C. N., and in the battles of Newtonia, Mo.
, Maysville, Ark.
, Prairie Grove, Ark.
, Honey Springs
, C. N., Perryville
, C. N., besides many other minor engagements.
In all the operations in which they participated they acquitted themselves creditably, and to the satisfaction of the Federal
commander in the Indian Territory
On the Confederate
side, General Albert Pike
and Colonel Douglas H. Cooper
, in the fall
of 1.861, organized three regiments of Indians from the Choctaw
, Creek, and Seminole
nations or tribes, for service in the Indian Territory
These regiments, under General Pike
, participated in the battle of Pea Ridge
, on the 7th and 8th of March, 1862.
In the five tribes named a battalion and parts of four regiments were raised for the Confederate
service, but these amounted in all to perhaps not over 3500 men.
At the close of Mr. Buchanan
's administration nearly all the United States
Indian agents in the Indian Territory
were secessionists, and the moment the Southern States
commenced passing ordinances of secession, these men exerted their influence to get the five tribes committed to the Confederate
Occupying territory south of the Arkansas River
, and having the secessionists of Arkansas
on the east and those of Texas
on the south for neighbors, the Choctaws and Chickasaws offered no decided opposition to the scheme.
With the Cherokees, the most powerful and most civilized of the tribes of the Indian Territory
, it was different.
Their chief, John Ross
, was opposed to
hasty action, and at first favored neutrality, and in the summer of 1861 issued a proclamation, enjoining his people to observe a strictly neutral attitude during the war between the United States
and the Southern States
In June, 1861, Albert Pike, a commissioner of the Confederate States
, and General Ben. McCulloch
, commanding the Confederate forces in western Arkansas
and the Department of Indian Territory, visited Chief Ross
with the view of having him make a treaty with the Confederacy
But he declined to make a treaty, and in the conference expressed himself as wishing to occupy, if possible, a neutral position during the war. A majority of the Cherokees, nearly all of whom were full-bloods, were known as Pin Indians
, and were opposed to the South
went away to make treaties with the less civilized Indian tribes of the plains, and in the mean time the battle of Wilson's Creek
was fought, General Lyon
killed, and the Union
army defeated and forced to fall back from Springfield
now thought that the South
would probably succeed in establishing her independence, and expressed a willingness to enter into a treaty with the Confederate
On his return from the West
in September, 1861, Commissioner Pike
, at the request of Mr. Ross
, went to Park Hill
and made a treaty with the Cherokees.
The treaties made with each tribe provided that the troops it raised should be used for home protection, and should not be taken out of the Indian Territory
Even before the treaty with Commissioner Pike
, Chief Ross
had commenced to organize a regiment composed nearly altogether of Pin Indians
John Drew, a stanch secessionist, was commissioned colonel, and William P. Ross
lieutenant-colonel, of this regiment.
Colonel Stand Watie
, the leader of the secession party, had also commenced to raise a regiment of half-breeds for General McCulloch
As already stated, there were two factions among the Creeks
, one of which was led by Hopoeithleyohola
and the other by D. N. and Chitty McIntosh
, who were sons of General William McIntosh
, killed in 1825 by Hopoeithleyohola
and his followers in Georgia
, for making the treaty of Indian Springs
It is asserted by General Pike
and others that with Hopoeithleyohola
it was not a question of loyalty or disloyalty to the United States
, but simply one of self-preservation; that when he found the Confederate
authorities had commissioned D. N. McIntosh
as colonel of a Creek regiment, and Chitty McIntosh
as lieutenant-colonel of a battalion of Creeks, he felt certain that the Indian
troops thus being raised would be used to persecute and destroy him and his followers.
In November, 1861, he started for Kansas
, and was pursued and overtaken by the Confederate Creeks
, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Cherokees, and Texans under Colonel Douglas H. Cooper
A fight took place in the night, and Colonel Drew
's regiment of Cherokees, which had been raised by Chief Ross
, went over to Hopoeithleyohola
, and fought with him in the next day's desperate battle (known as the battle of Chusto Talasah), in which five hundred of the Union Indians
were reported by Colonel Cooper
to have been killed and wounded.
The Confederate Indians of Colonel Stand Watie
's regiment, and those of Colonel Drew
's regiment who had returned to the Confederate
service under Pike and Cooper
, also participated in the battle of Pea Ridge
in March, 1862, where they were charged with scalping and mutilating the Federal
dead on the field.
, hearing of the scalping, called on the surgeon and assistants of his field-hospital for reports, and in their reports they stated that they found one of the Federal
dead Who had been scalped.
then issued an order, denouncing the outrage in the strongest language, and sent a copy of the order to General Curtis
. General Pike
claimed that part of the Indians were in McCulloch
's corps in the first day's battle; and that the scalping was done at night in a quarter of the field not occupied by the Indian
troops under his immediate command.
After Pea Ridge
the operations of the Confederate Indians
under General Cooper
and Colonel Stand Watie
were confined, with a few exceptions, to the Indian Territory
In connection with white troops from Texas
, they participated in several engagements with the Federal Indian
brigade under Colonel Phillips
, after he recaptured Fort Gibson
in the spring of 1863; and they made frequent efforts to capture Federal supply trains from Fort Scott
to Fort Gibson
and Fort Smith
, but were always unsuccessful.
They fought very well when they had an opportunity to take shelter behind trees and logs, but could not easily be brought to face artillery, and a single shell thrown at them was generally sufficient to demoralize them and put them to flight.