Stand Watie

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Stand Watie

Stand Watie
Compiled Military Service Record

Stand Watie
Cherokee Chief and General Stand Watie.jpg
Cherokee Chief and General Stand Watie

Stand Watie  (Confederate)

Biographical data and notes:
- Born Dec. 12, 1806, in Rome, GA
- Stand Watie died on Sep. 9, 1871, at Honey Creek, DE
- Note: Last CSA general in the field to stand down

- 54 years of age at time of enlistment
- Enlisted on Oct. 15, 1861, as Colonel

Mustering information:
- Commissioned into Field and Staff, 1st Cherokee Cav (U.S. Indian Troops)
on Oct. 15, 1861
- Discharged due to promotion from 1st Cherokee Cav (U.S. Indian Troops)
on May 6, 1864
- Commissioned into Gen Staff (Confederate States)
on May 6, 1864

- Promoted to Colonel (Full, Vol) on Oct. 15, 1861, (1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles)
- Promoted to Brig-Gen (Full, Vol) on May 6, 1864

Stand Watie
Biography / History
Brigadier-General Stand Watie

Brigadier-General Stand Watie, of white and Indian blood, was a
prominent man in the Cherokee nation and intensely Southern in
sentiment. From the beginning of the war between the North and
South, efforts were made by Ben McCulloch and Albert Pike to
secure for the Confederacy the alliance of the tribes of the
Indian Territory.

Stand Watie and others of his class were anxious to form this
alliance, but John Ross, the principal chief of the Cherokees,
hesitated. After the decisive victory of the Confederates at
Wilson's Creek, the party represented by Watie succeeded in
persuading Ross to join the South. Before that time General
McCulloch had employed some of the Cherokees, and Stand Watie,
whom he had appointed colonel, to assist in protecting the
northern borders of the Cherokees from the raids of the
"Jayhawkers" of Kansas.

When the Cherokees joined the South, they offered the Confederate
government a regiment. This offer was accepted, and in October,
1861, the first Cherokee regiment was organized, and Stand Watie
was commissioned colonel. In December, 1861, he was engaged in a
battle with some hostile Indians at Chusto-Talasah, in which the
Confederate Indians defeated a considerable force of the

Colonel Watie pursued the enemy, overtook him, had a running
fight and killed 15 without the loss of a man. He participated
also in the battle of Pea Ridge, March 6 and 7, 1862. Gen.
Albert Pike, in his report of this battle, said: "My whole
command consisted of about 1,000 men, all Indians except one
squadron. The enemy opened fire into the woods where we were,
the fence in front of us was thrown down, and the Indians
(Watie's regiment on foot and Drew's on horseback), with part of
Sim's regiment, gallantly led by Lieutenant-Colonel Quayle,
charged full in front through the woods and into the open grounds
with loud yells, took the battery, fired upon and pursued the
enemy retreating through the fenced field on our right, and held
the battery, which I afterward had drawn by the Cherokees into
the woods."

But though the Indians were so good on a sudden charge, they were
easily thrown into confusion when the Federal artillery opened
upon them, and it required the greatest exertion on the part of
their officers to keep them under fire. There was considerable
fear after this battle lest the Indian Territory should be
entirely lost to the Confederacy, but Watie and his regiment were
firm in their adherence.

Gen. William Steele, in his report of the operations in the
Indian Territory, in 1863, says of Colonel Watie that he found
him to be a gallant and daring officer. On April 1, 1863, he was
authorized to raise a brigade, to consist of such force as was
already in the service of the Confederate States from the
Cherokee nation and such additional force as could be obtained
from the contiguous States.

In June, 1864, he captured the steamboat Williams with 150
barrels of flour and 16,000 pounds of bacon, which he says was,
however, a disadvantage to the command, because a great portion
of the Creeks and Seminoles immediately broke off to carry their
booty home. In the summer of 1864, Colonel Watie was
commissioned a brigadier-general, his commission dating from May
10th. In September he attacked and captured a Federal train of
250 wagons on Cabin creek and repulsed an attempt to retake it.

At the end of the year 1864, General Watie's brigade of cavalry
consisted of the First Cherokee regiment, a Cherokee battalion,
First and Second Creek regiments, a squadron of Creeks, First
Osage battalion, and First Seminole battalion. To the end,
General Watie stood by his colors. He survived the war several
years, and died in August, 1877.

Source: Confederate Military History, vol. XIV, p. 417

Recommended Reading: General Stand Watie's Confederate Indians (University of Oklahoma Press). Description: American Indians were courted by both the North and the South prior to that great and horrific conflict known as the American Civil War. This is the story of the highest ranking Native American--Cherokee chief and Confederate general--Stand Watie, his Cherokee Fighting Unit, the Cherokee, and the conflict in the West...

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Recommended Reading: Rifles for Watie. Description: This is a rich and sweeping novel-rich in its panorama of history; in its details so clear that the reader never doubts for a moment that he is there; in its dozens of different people, each one fully realized and wholly recognizable. It is a story of a lesser -- known part of the Civil War, the Western campaign, a part different in its issues and its problems, and fought with a different savagery. Inexorably it moves to a dramatic climax, evoking a brilliant picture of a war and the men of both sides who fought in it.

Recommended Reading: The Blue, the Gray, and the Red: Indian Campaigns of the Civil War (Hardcover: 288 pages). Description: Inexperienced Union and Confederate soldiers in the West waged numerous bloody campaigns against the Indians during the Civil War. Fighting with a distinct geographical advantage, many tribes terrorized the territory from the Plains to the Pacific, as American pioneers moved west in greater numbers. These noteworthy--and notorious--Indian campaigns featured a fascinating cast of colorful characters, and were set against the wild, desolate, and untamed territories of the western United States. This is the first book to explore Indian conflicts that took place during the Civil War and documents both Union and Confederate encounters with hostile Indians blocking western expansion. Continued below...

From Publishers Weekly: Beginning with the flight of the Creeks into Union territory pursued by Confederate forces (including many of Stand Watie's Cherokees), this popular history recounts grim, bloody, lesser-known events of the Civil War. Hatch (Clashes of the Cavalry) also describes the most incredible incidents.... Kit Carson, who fought Apaches and Navajos under the iron-fisted Colonel Carleton, arranged the Long Walk of the Navajos that made him infamous in Navajo history to this day. The North's "Captain" Woolsey, a volunteer soldier, became a brutal raider of the Apaches. General Sibley, a northerner and first Governor of Minnesota, oversaw the response to the Sioux Uprising of 1862 that left several hundred dead. The slaughter of Black Kettle's Cheyennes at Sand Creek in 1864 by Colorado volunteers under Colonel Chivington, a militant abolitionist whose views on Indians were a great deal less charitable, “forms a devastating chapter.” Hatch, a veteran of several books on the Indian Wars that focus on George Armstrong Custer, has added to this clear and even-handed account a scholarly apparatus that adds considerably to its value. 


Recommended Viewing: Indian Warriors - The Untold Story of the Civil War (History Channel) (2007). Description: Though largely forgotten, 20 to 30 thousand Native Americans fought in the Civil War. Ely Parker was a Seneca leader who found himself in the thick of battle under the command of General Ulysses S. Grant. Stand Watie--a Confederate general and a Cherokee--was known for his brilliant guerrilla tactics. Continued below...

Also highlighted is Henry Berry Lowery, an Eastern North Carolina Indian, who became known as the Robin Hood of North Carolina. Respected Civil War authors, Thom Hatch and Lawrence Hauptman, help reconstruct these most captivating stories, along with descendants like Cherokee Nation member Jay Hanna, whose great-grandfathers fought for both the Union and the Confederacy. Together, they reveal a new, fresh perspective and the very personal reasons that drew these Native Americans into the fray.


Recommended Reading: The American Indian in the Civil War, 1862-1865 (Bison Book) (403 pages) (University of Nebraska Press). Description: Annie Heloise Abel describes the divided loyalties of Native Americans and the American Civil War and makes it vividly clear that it brought only chaos and devastation to the Indian Territory. For example, she describes in detail the 1862 Battle of Pea Ridge, a bloody disaster for the Confederates but a glorious moment for Colonel (later promoted to "General")  Stand Watie and his Cherokee Mounted Rifles. The Indians were soon swept by the war into a vortex of confusion and horror. 


Recommended Reading: The Cherokee Nation in the Civil War (Hardcover). Description: This book offers a broad overview of the war as it affected the Cherokees--a social history of a people plunged into crisis. The Cherokee Nation in the Civil War shows how the Cherokee people, who had only just begun to recover from the ordeal of removal, faced an equally devastating upheaval in the Civil War. Clarissa W. Confer illustrates how the Cherokee Nation, with its sovereign status and distinct culture, had a wartime experience unlike that of any other group of people--and suffered perhaps the greatest losses of land, population, and sovereignty. Continued below…

No one questions the horrific impact of the Civil War on America, but few realize its effect on American Indians. Residents of Indian Territory found the war especially devastating. Their homeland was beset not only by regular army operations but also by guerrillas and bushwhackers. Complicating the situation even further, Cherokee men fought for the Union as well as the Confederacy and created their own "brothers' war." About the Author: Clarissa W. Confer is Assistant Professor of History at California University of Pennsylvania.

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