The Keetoowah Society and the Avocation of Religious Nationalism in the Cherokee Nation, 1855-1867
 Chapter Four
Return of the Native

The legislative work of the Cherokee Council, partisan body that it was, with Lewis Downing as its presiding officer and Thomas Pegg as acting Principal Chief, was reactionary, yet epochal. It comprised several measures and three of transcendent importance, passed between the eighteenth [February, 1863] and the twenty-first:

1. An act revoking an allegiance with the Confederate States and re-asserting allegiance to the United States.

2. An act deposing all officers of any rank or character whatsoever, inclusive of legislative, executive, judicial, who were serving in capacities disloyal to the United States and to the Cherokee Nation.

3. An act emancipating slaves throughout the Cherokee country. [1]

Annie Abel
The American Indian in the Civil War, 1862-1865



To Major General Hunter, Commanding Kansas Department:

It is the intention of the Government to order me to report to you for an active winter's campaign. They have ordered General Denver to another department. They have ordered to report to you eight regiments cavalry, three of infantry, and three batteries, in addition to your present force. They have also ordered you, in conjunction with the Indian Department, to organize 4,000 Indians. Mr. Doles, Commissioner, will set out with me.
J.H. Lane [2]
It was upon General David Hunter, Commander of the Western Department of the Army of the United States of America, that the main responsibility for the refugees from the Indian Territory fell. As they were fleeing North, the destitute Keetoowahs had fallen in with a group of buffalo hunters from the Sac and Fox Nations whose reservation lay further North in an area which is presently Osage County Kansas. After hearing of their tragic experience, these friendly relations sent the word ahead of their party to Kansas where William G. Coffin, Southern Superintendent, appealed to Hunter to send federal officers and assistance to aid the distressed refugees. [3] In addition, Coffin ordered every federal agent under his charge to assemble at Fort Roe, Kansas to assist the refugees. [4]

General Hunter sent Captain J. W. Turner, Chief Commissary of Subsistence, and Brigade-Surgeon A. B. Campbell to the refugee Indian encampment to provide assistance to the destitute. However, the plight of the refugees overwhelmed the meager resources of Hunter's men; what few cheap blankets and condemned army tents that were furnished did little to meet the dire needs of those who had endured the exodus to the “promised land.” [5] According the Campbell, the supplies provided by the army consisted of thirty-five blankets, forty pairs of socks, and a few underclothes; Campbell woefully admitted that he “selected the nakedest of the naked” and gave them of what few items there were.

Campbell then explained to the hundreds who stood about that there was to be nothing left for them. From among those who stood before him, there were “seven, varying in age from three to fifteen years [without] one thread upon their body.” [6] On the fifteenth of February with supplies having given out, the army stopped giving assistance altogether; the horror was such that is was “beyond the power of any pen to portray.” [7] As Annie Abel described the situation in her work The American Indian in the Civil War, 1862-1865, “The inadequacy of the Indian Service and the inefficiency of the Federal never showed up more plainly, to the utter discredit of the nation, than at this period and in this connection.” [8] Yet, from the midst of this chasm of despair was to come the hope for a new day.

The Nakedest of the Naked

When Evan Jones arrived in the new Nation in January 1862, it was no longer the Cherokee Nation. It was Keetoowah, it was a nation of the “beloved community.” According to reports from the camps, there were more than three thousand Creek, a thousand Seminole, a hundred Quapaws, and less than fifty Cherokee and Chickasaw. Less than a hundred African Americans survived the flight to Kansas; [9] one can assume that the Southern troops would be much more willing to kill a fleeing African American than Native American. William McLoughlin believes that by the end of January, there were as many as ten thousand people living in the squalid refugee camps near Leroy, Kansas; [10] Annie Abel described the camps as “concentration camps” in 1919 work entitled The Indian as Participant in the Civil War, 1862-1865. [11]

Evan Jones immediately began working with the local religious and charitable organizations in order to organize assistance for the refugees, but this was difficult because the refugees, of necessity, had been situated on uninhabited lands along the Verdigris River. Though Jones could offer yet little to the emaciated refugees, his mere presence provided great hope and inspiration to those who had been his flock for so many years. He wrote home to his missionary board requesting assistance for his congregation, “In daily visiting the camps of the Indians, I witness a vast amount of destitution and suffering, and it is painful to think how little I can do towards its alleviation. I am glad to hear such good news about Missionary contributions coming in.” [12]

When Jones traveled among the able-bodied Keetoowah, he found a resilient and inspired people who were anxious to return to the homeland and reestablish their position in the political and social affairs of their respective Nations. If this meant joining the Federal Army and returning to Indian Territory to engage the rebel brigades of Watie, McIntosh, and Jumper, the loyal Keetoowahs were eager to do so. Remembering how Stand Watie and his Knights of the Golden Circle had ruthlessly pursued them to the Kansas border, there was strong resentment towards the Confederate Cherokee on the part of the loyal Keetoowahs. [13]

There was also strong support within the state of Kansas for organizing a force of “colored” troops in order to protect Kansas from its enemies to the South. [14] It was believed that “hordes of whites and half breeds in the Indian country are in arms driving out and killing Union men. They threaten to overrun Kansas and exterminate both whites and Indians.” [15] As early as August 1861, Senator James Lane of Kansas had sought among the Native Americans of Kansas a brigade of Indians to use as “Jayhawkers” against the states of Missouri, Arkansas, and Indian Territory. [16] Lane had written the Indian Agents of Kansas stating his requests:

For the defence of Kansas I have determined to use the loyal Indians of the Tribes above named... If you have means within your control I would like to have you supply them when they march with a sufficient quantity of powder, lead & subsistence for their march to this place, where they will be fed by the government... I enjoin each of you to be prompt and energetic that an early assembling of the said Indians can be accomplished. [17]
Senator James H. Lane, the “Grim Chieftain” of the Republican Party and self-styled “King” of Kansas politics was an unscrupulous political opportunist who used the struggle over slavery in Kansas to pursue his own political ambitions. [18] Lane was supported in his “abolitionist” fervor by James Montgomery (a follower of John Brown), Charles Jennison, David Anthony (brother of Susan B.), and a loyal cadre of militant journalists, preachers, and politicians. Federal Agent Gorge Cutler, who had met with Opothle Yahola's emissaries, wrote to Commissioner Dole to “see if possible that some measures are taken to rescue the Southern Indians from the rebels”; he specifically requested “the formation of a brigade of friendly Indians” to rescue their abandoned families. [19] Dole responded to his agent's request stating simply, “I am disinclined to encourage the Indians to engage in the war except in extreme cases, as guides.” [20]

Senator Lane, however, was not to have his plan slowed by either Commissioner Dole or General David Hunter, Commander of the Western Department, who had military responsibility for the western frontier. [21] By late 1861, Lane had used his power and influence in Washington and his friends and supporters in Kansas to organize the “Kansas Brigade.” The brigade swept across the border into Missouri burning, looting, and distributing proclamations announcing the abolition of slavery on the frontier. Wherever Lane's Kansas Jayhawkers swept, they “liberated” hundreds of black slaves and allowed them to accompany the expedition as teamsters, cooks and even soldiers. [22]

Lane was not averse to using the black soldiers for whatever purposes he saw fit. At Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in early 1862, the wily Lane stated, “I do say that it would not pain me to see a Negro handling a gun and I believe the Negro may just as well become food for powder as my son.” [23] In late November of 1861, Lane's Jayhawkers had “liberated” six hundred ex-slaves and sent them back to the “Happy Land of Canaan” in a “Black Brigade” led by two Methodist chaplains. When they arrived in Kansas, the freed blacks cheered for “James Lane, the liberator;” the chaplains then distributed the “ex-slaves” as laborers among the farms and villages of southern Kansas. [24]

Because of Kansas's reputation as an abolitionist enclave, especially in the areas around Lawrence, Leavenworth, Wyandotte, and Fort Scott, large numbers of African American refugees began to flee Missouri, Arkansas, and Indian Territory for the state. [25] In addition, the fear of Lane's Jayhawkers led many slaveholders in states surrounding Kansas to free their slaves as opposed to facing the scorched earth policy of the Jayhawkers; some Missouri slaveholders took their slaves to Texas, as did many Cherokee, to safeguard them until the war was over. Many of the African-Americans in Kansas were among the Native American refugees who had fled Indian Territory and were now living in camps in the Southern part of the state. [26] By 1863, there were nearly 8,000 former slaves in Kansas; by the end of the war the state's African- American population had grown from 816 in 1860 to nearly 13,000. [27]

Just as there was support in Kansas for the use of Indian troops to “protect” the state from the “hordes of whites and half breeds” lurking on their southern border, there began a movement among the abolitionist forces to enlist African Americans in the army. The Leavenworth Conservative echoed Lane's refrain by stressing the need for colored troops to protect Kansas's long border from Southern Indians and guerrillas. The Emporia News argued that if the South used colored troops “to shoot down our brave boys, ought we not retaliate by using them to subdue the enemies of the government?” [28] If the image of black soldiers was thought to strike fear into the hearts of Southerners, what might this image have upon those Southerners who were Cherokee?

As the Kansas citizens, military and political officials contemplated the use of colored soldiers, the refugees themselves contemplated a return home and the restoration of their once powerful Nation. If an army was needed, then this army was willing. A pervasive image in Cherokee society, that of the phoenix, was to be reborn in the midst of the new nation; out of the “nakedest of the naked,” a new army was to rise.

The Home Front

Back home, Chief John Ross struggled to maintain control over a Cherokee Nation that was spinning ruthlessly out of control. Confronted with the fact that the very troops he had commissioned into military service to protect his interests had deserted to Kansas, Ross found his leadership and loyalty to the Confederate States of America seriously called into question. Watie and the Knight of the Golden Circle had not only gained a strategic advantage by the Keetoowah's desertion, they were using the desertion to increase their own political and social standing within the Nation. In addition to accusing the Keetoowah of spoiling the good name of the Cherokee before their Confederate allies, the Knights even charged Ross with having protected some of the deserters in his home. [29]

Some of the deserters were indeed returning to the Cherokee Nation and attempting to reintegrate themselves into Cherokee society; others were returning home to gather up what materials they had and to return to Kansas. Ross, upon learning that Colonel Cooper intended to court-martial the deserters, begged Cooper to be allowed to handle this situation himself. He explained to Cooper that he was responsible for the confusion within the fullbloods because his efforts at reconciliation with Opothle Yahola. He also stressed the terms of the treaty with the Confederacy that the Cherokee soldiers would be required to fight only in defense of their homeland; asking the Cherokee to assault the fleeing renegades went against this policy he believed. Through deft and diplomacy, Ross was able to convince Cooper to allow him to handle the affair as he best saw fit. [30]

Ross reassembled Drew's regiment on December 19, 1861 and addressed the troops as Colonel Cooper and Major Thomas Pegg stood by his side. He began by chastising those among Drew's regiment who had deserted the Confederacy, but promised a pardon to those who agreed to return to the regiment. He then asserted that the treaty that the Cherokee people had secured with the Confederate States of America was the best treaty ever secured by the Cherokee Nation, and perhaps the best that could be expected under the circumstances. The desertion was all a misunderstanding:

According to the stipulations of our treaty [with the Confederacy] we must meet enemies of our allies whenever the South requires it, as they are our enemies as well as the enemies of the south; and I feel sure that no such occurrence as the one we deplore would have taken place if all things were understood as I have endeavored to explain them. [31]
In spite of Ross's call to Drew's regiment to recognize the Cherokee Nation's treaty with the Confederacy as legitimate entity, the plea fell upon many a deaf ear. Even Major Pegg could not rally the remaining Keetoowah in the Cherokee Nation around recognizing Confederate treaties; many of the Keetoowah went home. [32] The war within the Nation would be as fierce as the war to be waged from the North.

In late December, as Watie's troops were pursuing the fleeing Opothle Yahola north to Kansas, the Civil War was brought home to the Pins who had remained in the Nation. Chunestotie, a beloved man and one of the leaders of the Keetoowah, was murdered and scalped by Charles Webber, the nephew of Colonel Stand Watie. Chunestotie had deserted Drew's regiment before the battle of Bird's Creek, had fought with Opothle Yahola against the Confederate troops, and had returned to the Nation under Ross's amnesty. Chunestotie, a well-known Pin, had also been part of a struggle which stopped the Confederate flag from being raised over the Cherokee Council House in August Mrs. John Ross had protested. [33] For clinging to the “old ways,” Chunestotie was killed.

Colonel Drew called the murder of Chunestotie a “barbarous crime” and called for the arrest and trial of Webber; the Keetoowahs held Watie and the Knights of the Golden Circle responsible for the murder. Watie called the murder regrettable, but said that his nephew was “beside himself with liquor” at the time and the Ross party was just trying to make political hay of an unfortunate but entirely understandable incident. Around the same time Arch Snail, another of the Keetoowah deserters from Drew's troops who had returned home, was killed by his own pistol.Watie's followers claimed the Arch Snail had tried to ambush them and they were forced to kill him. [34] Ross wrote to Colonel Cooper urging him to investigate “certain complaints made against the reckless proceedings of Colonel Watie and some of his men towards Cherokee citizens” and demanded Cooper's immediate “attention to the Subjects therein embraced.” [35]

Watie, in responding to Cooper's inquiry regarding the murders, was incredulous. The murder of Chunestotie, Watie sardonically replied, “is called a barbarous crime and shocks the sensitive nerves of Colonel Drew, Mr. Ross, and others, who of course never participated in the shedding of innocent blood.” [36] He further went on to lay out his contempt for the Chunestotie, the Keetoowahs, as well as John Ross:

Chunestotie has been for years hostile to Southern people and their institutions; he was active last summer in repressing Southern movements with a strong hand, with the advice and assistance of Capt. John Ross `who accompanied you in your recent expedition.' He went at the head of many others of like opinion to Tahlequah last summer for the avowed purpose of butchering any and all who should attempt to raise a southern flag -- the flag was not raised as you remember...” [37]
Watie concluded by stating that he was “well aware that the personal relations of myself with the unfortunate faction is seized upon with avidity by those whose only ambition seem to be to misrepresent and injure me.” [38] Cooper's half-hearted investigation of Webber probably resulted from his disinterest in prosecuting those who would kill an enemy of the Confederacy, however, the inaction resulted in an increasingly clandestine internal warfare between the Keetoowah and the Knights of the Golden Circle.

Drew's regiment was the only thing that stood between Ross and his enemies; Ross began to refer to them as “my regiment” and the Keetoowah who remained in the Nation were tied closely to Ross. Not only did they protect Ross, but they worked against Watie and his Knights of the Golden Circle in their efforts to move the Cherokee Nation closer to the Confederate States of America. On January 11, 1862, Colonel Drew's troops left Fort Gibson to go to Park Hill, the home of Chief John Ross in order to “protect Chief Ross, that it was thought that he was not safe.” [39] The troops were called to Park Hill because Ross had been threatened by “a drunk boy [who]goes there, calls him a Pin and an abolitionist.” [40]

Ross's problems with this “drunk boy” were not only just the fear the he might become another victim of someone “beside himself with liquor,” there were deeper issues here. The boy was Return Foreman, the nephew of Reverend Stephen Foreman, Pastor of Park Hill Presbyterian Church, Ross's neighbor, and an follower of Stand Watie. The Foreman family ran down both sides of the conflict: James Foreman, responsible for killing treaty party members, was killed by Stand Watie in 1842. David Foreman, ordained by Evan Jones at Flint Church in 1849, left Jones's church over the issue of slaveholding ministry to pursue a ministry with the Southern Baptists in 1861. Several of the Foreman family members were also brethren at Cherokee Lodge #21. Members of the Foreman family also fought on both sides in the Civil War: Stephen Foreman's sons fought with Watie's troops; John Foreman fled North to Kansas with Opothle Yahola's forces.

Stephen Foreman shared his nephew's opinion about Ross. He never believed Ross to have been committed to the Southern cause and that the whole purpose of Drew's regiment was not to fight for the Confederacy, but to protect Ross and the Keetoowahs from the Knights of the Golden Circle. Foreman, a mixed blood slaveholder, distrusted Ross and Drew's regiment of Keetoowah:

His regiment showed their hand and his hand too at the Bird Creek fight when they fought against our own men. Mr. Ross showed his hand also in pardoning all those men without even a trial. Mr. Ross also showed his hand harboring the leaders of those traitors of the country. It is said that two or three of those traitors were in his house.” [41]
It is likely that when Return Foreman, with so many family members on both sides of the conflict, called John Ross a “Pin,” he knew was he talking about.

Cooper's investigation into the Chunestotie murder being a charade, Ross felt further alienated and endangered; the Knights of the Golden Circle kept up the intensity by consistently provoking incidents. Ross, with great consternation, wrote a letter seeking assistance to brother Albert Pike:

I had intended going up to see the Troops of our Regiment; also to visit the Head Qrs. of the Army at Cane Hill in view of affording any aid in any manner within the reach of my power to repel the enemy. But I am sorry to say I have been dissuaded from going at present in consequence of some unwarrantable conduct in the part of many base, reckless, and unprincipled persons belonging to Watie's regiment who are under no restraint or subordination of their leaders in domineering over and trampling upon the rights of peaceable and unoffending citizens. I have at all times in the most unequivocable manner assured the People that you will not only promptly discountenance, but will take steps to put a stop to such proceedings for the protection of their persons & property and to redress their wrongs. This is not the time for crimination and recrimination; at a proper time I have certain complaints to report for your investigation. [42]
Though Ross was articulating the fears of his supporters, it was clear that an increasingly bloody feud between the Knights of the Golden Circle and the Keetoowah's had been set in motion and in this conflict, there would be no innocent parties:
...dey was a lot of dem Pin Indians all up on de Illinois River and dey was wid de North and dey taken it out on de slave owners a lot before de War and during it too. Dey would come in de night and hamstring de horses and maybe set fire to de barn, and two of `em named Joab Scarrel and Tom Starr killed my pappy one night just before de War broke out.... [43]

Them pins was after Master all de time for a while at de first of de War, and he was afraid to ride into Fort Smith. Dey come to de house one time when he was gone to Fort Smith and us children told dem he was at Honey Springs, but dey knowed better and when he got home he said somebody shot at him and bushwhacked him all the way from Wilson's Rock to dem Wildhorse Mountains, but he run his horse like de devil was setting on his tail and dey never did hit him. He never sen them neither. We told him `bout de Pins coming for him and he just laughed.

...Pretty soon all de young Cherokee menfolks all gone off to de War, and Pins was riding `round all de time, and it ain't safe to be in dat part around Webber's falls, so old Master take us all to Fort Smith where they was a lot of Confederate soldiers. [44]

...Mammy said the patrollers and “Pin” Indians caused a lot of trouble after the war started. The master went to war and left my misterss to look after the place. The “Pins” came to the farm one day and broke down the doors, cut feather beds open and sent the feathers flying in the wind, stole the horses, killed the sheep and done lots of mean things. The mistress took her slaves and went somewhere in Texas until after the war. [45]

A new chaos arose within Indian Territory that eclipsed even the terrible years following removal; each day the terror struck not just at Keetoowah and Knight but also at those defenseless ones who made the easiest targets. Hannah Hicks, the daughter of missionary Samuel Worcester, described the dread that stalked the Nation, “Today we hear that Watie's men declared their intention to come back and rob every woman whose husband has gone to the Federals and every woman who has Northern principles.” [46] The internecine struggle, being no respecter of persons, decimated with equal ferocity the just and the unjust too.

Not just in the Cherokee Nation did the terror reign; it spread like a wildfire among the Nations of Indian Territory. In the Creek Nation, the crops which had been ready to gather were left in the field. The ceremonies to celebrate the harvest and the beginning of a new season were not held; the temples and churches saw little activity. There was only desolation: “We would see some lone cow that had been left. The roosters would continually crow at some deserted home. The dogs would bark or howl. Those days were lonesome to me, as young as I was, for I knew that most of our old acquaintances were gone.” [47]

Terror reigned. Men of the North and men of the South killed each other on sight. Parties of armed factions rode the land looking for the spoils of “war.” They stole everything they could not only from the homes of the “enemy,” but also anyone thought to be their “supporters.” Homes were burned, supplies were stolen and that which could not be used to support the struggle was destroyed. The women and children hid in the woods by day and at night returned to “what was left of our homes.” [48] No one was left untouched by the pain and horror which swept the Indian Territory.

In March of 1862, the Confederate forces, including many of reinstated Keetoowah of Drew's regiment as well as Watie's troops, fought a decisive battle against Union forces at the Battle of Pea Ridge in northwestern Arkansas. [49] For the first time, the Confederate Indians were not only allowed to fight amongst the white soldiers in a traditional Napoleonic confrontation, they were encouraged to fight in “their own fashion” with traditional weapons. A member of Sterling Price's Missouri brigade described the Confederate warriors:

They came trotting gaily into camp yelling forth a wild war whoop that startled the army out of all of its propriety. Their faces were painted for they were `on the warpath,' their long black hair qued in clubs hung down their backs, buckskin shirts, leggins, and moccasins adorned with little bells and rattles, together with bright colored turkey feathers fastened on their heads completed unique uniforms uniforms not strictly cut according to military regulations. Armed only with tomahawk, and war clubs, and presented an image somewhat savage, but they were mostly Cherokees, cool and cautious in danger, active and sinewy on persons, fine specimens of the `noble red man.' [50]
Stand Watie's Confederate troops fought bravely and earned recognition for their valor; after first being frightened by the “thunder wagons” of Union artillery, they recovered and captured several cannons and artillerymen. However, when the Battle of Pea Ridge was over, the Union forces under General Samuel Curtis had soundly defeated the Confederate forces under General Earl Van Dorn. The Western frontier was up for grabs. Furthermore, there were troubling rumors of “atrocities” being committed against Union soldiers by the Confederate Cherokee.

A Northern pamphlet charged that General Albert Pike had “maddened them [the Confederate Indians] with liquor to fire their savage natures, and, with gaudy dress and a large plume on his head, disregarding all the usages of civilized warfare, led them in a carnage of savagery, scalping wounded and helpless soldiers, and committing other atrocities too horrible to mention.” [51] Nothing could be further than the truth, but General Pike, upon examining the reports of Confederate surgeons, found that, indeed, one of the Federal dead was found scalped.

Pike immediately denounced the scalpings and immediately asserted that they were done by soldiers in another command; Union officers even reported that the “atrocities” were committed by white Texans. [52] However, the scalpings, paired with the Confederate Cherokee's wholesale desertion in December, caught brother Albert Pike in a whirlwind which he was not to escape unscathed. He was soon to resign his commission. [53]

Farther north in Kansas, a new storm was rising. Those who had fled and had suffered greatly in the winter of discontent were gathering their will and preparing to return home to rescue the land which had once been theirs. An ill-wind blew across the prairie and the struggle to come would be monumantal. At home, knowing of the impending cataclysm, the Confederate forces gathered their strength for the coming days. In the forthcoming battles, there would be no winners.

“So Laudable an Enterprise”

...the Indians of all tribes held a grand council last Thursday at Fort Roe in regard to the war, at which they determined with great unanimity to gather up and arm as best they could, all their able bodied men and go down with the army on the own hook and aid in driving out the Rebels from their homes in time to plant a crop for this season and then gather all the Ponies they can and they think they can capture enough from the Rebels with what they have come up for their families. Cannot the Government aid so laudable an enterprise as that at least with a few guns and some ammunition...
Agent Coffin to Commissioner Dole,
March 3, 1862 [54]
No sooner than he had visited among the Keetoowahs in Kansas, Reverend Evan Jones set about upon a plan to rescue John Ross and the remainder of the Keetoowahs from their desperate position in the Cherokee Nation. Jones, in letters to Commissioner Dole which were forwarded to the War Department, pleaded with the Federal officials that John Ross was, and always had been, loyal to the government. The contingencies of life in the Cherokee Nation and the threat of his old enemies had led Ross to certain actions, but indeed these actions were simply delaying tactics until a Federal force could recover Indian Territory. He articulated Ross's position to Dole:
In view of all [of] which the best friends of the Union and of the Nation were brought to their wits end and... to avert the overrunning of their country by the secession troops, and having no military force of their own, nor any other means of defense, the only choice seemed to be to accept the best conditions they could obtain...[Drew' regiment] was raised for home protection...the great majority of the officers and men in this case being decidedly loyal Union men. [55]
Among the refugees the desire to return to their homes was great, even if it meant having to fight their way back to their homelands. When General Lane traveled to the refugee camps in early 1862, Chief Opothle Yahola and Chief Aluk Tustenuke of the Seminole Nation met with him and pleaded with him for assistance. Lane's boasts of his efforts to raise to raise a “Cherokee Expedition” to return to Indian Territory and retake the Nation aroused the loyalist forces and they believed their commission was imminent. [56] The people of Kansas supported the expedition, believing the Confederate Indians on their border to be a grave threat to their safety; the reports of “atrocities” committed against federal troops at Pea Ridge even furthered their fears of being overrun by Confederate savages. What better plan than to set the “savages” against each other? In addition, the possibility of retaking Indian Territory following its act of “treachery” against the people of the United States provided land speculators, railroad promoters, and homesteaders with ample grist for the mill of speculation.

As much as the people of Kansas sought “colored troops,” the senior officials in Kansas as well as Washington resisted the idea. Abraham Lincoln, himself, was opposed to the arming and use of Indian troops. Especially in light of the happenings at Bird Creek and particularly Pea Ridge, it was felt that Native Americans were unreliable, undisciplined, and prone to “revert to savagery in battle.” [57] Major General David Hunter was sympathetic to the plight of the Indians, but distrusted General Lane and was contemptuous of his marauding “Jayhawkers” and the “military” activities engaged in by Lane's forces. Governor Charles Robinson and General Henry Halleck, responsible for the Western frontier, disapproved of the use of “colored troops” in general, but more specifically under the command of the self-serving adventurer Lane. [58]

The struggle between General Hunter and General Lane for the control and responsibility for the military affairs of Kansas led to the reorganization of the Kansas regiments in early March. Lane, appointed as a Brigadier General in the Federal Army, refused to accept his appointment under the conditions of his being subservient to General David Hunter; Lane insisted that he was acting as a senator and member of the Military Committee of the Senate when he appeared before Hunter in late February. [59] In spite of a complete reorganization of the Federal troops on the western front, James Lane continued to exert considerable power and continued to seek the arming of loyal Indians for a return to the Indian Territory. [60]

The continual lobbying of Evan Jones for the rescue of Chief John Ross, the insistence of James Lane for an Indian expeditionary force, and the increasing costs of supporting a large army of unenlisted refugees from the Indian Territory put pressure upon Congress to act. On March 13, 1862, Commissioner Dole wrote to Secretary of the Interior Caleb Smith with the following appeal:

Procure an order from the War Department detailing two Regiment of Volunteers from Kansas to go with the Indians to their homes and remain there for their protection as long (as) may be necessary, also to furnish two thousand stand of arms and ammunition to be placed in the hands of the loyal Indians. [61]
Within a week , the orders for the recruitment of an “Indian Expeditionary Force” were sent down from Washington, but with a provision from Henry Halleck that “These Indians can be used only against Indians or in defense of their own territory and homes.” [62]

By the time of the organization of the “Indian Expeditionary Force,” there were nearly ten thousand refugees in Kansas from a variety of Native American nations. [63] General Hunter was ordered to draw two regiments of infantry from among the refugees. In reality, the First and Second regiments of the Indian Home Guard were mounted riflemen just as were their counterparts in the Confederate Army. [64] In addition to the Native American troops, there were three thousand white troops largely from Kansas, Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin. [65] The troops were placed under the command of Colonel William Weer, a good officer but a chronic alcoholic. [66] They were assigned to the Department of Kansas under the charge of General James Blunt; Blunt and Weer were close associates of Senator James Lane. [67] The Baptist missionary and political activist reverend Evan Jones was assigned as an official emissary between Commissioner Dole and the Indian Home Guards. [68]

The First Indian Home Guard was composed of loyal Creek followers of Opothle Yahola and Seminole warriors led by Afro-Indian Seminole Billy Bowlegs. Though history is to credit the entrance of African American troops into the Civil War at a much later point, there is little doubt that many of the leaders of the First Indian Home Guard were Afro-Indians. Aside from Billy Bowlegs, the leaders of the Companies were the aging “black muscolge” veterans of the Florida wars Halleck Tustenuggee, Tustenuggee Emarthla (Jim Boy), and Gopher John. [69] Chitto Harjo, a veteran of the Florida wars, spoke as a Keetoowah when he spoke of the reasons for his enlistment in the Federal Army:

I left my laws and I left my government, I left my people and my country and my home... in order to stand by my treaties... and I arrived in Kansas. It was terrible hard times with me then...Then I got a weapon in my hands, ...for I raised my hand to God to witness that I was ready to die in the cause that was right and to help my father defend his treaties. All this time the fire was going on and the war and battles were going on. [70]
The Second Indian Home Guard was composed of a variety of Nations, but at the core the leadership of the Second Indian Home Guards were Keetoowah loyalists from the Cherokee Nation. Among the officers of the Second Indian Home Guard were Captain James McDaniel, Captain Moses Price, Captain Archibald Scraper, Captain Bud Gritts, Captain Dirtthrower, and Captain Springfrog. That the Second Indian Home Guard was composed of fullblood troops is evidenced by the roster of enrollees: Oochalata (future leader of the Keetoowah), Littlebear Bigmush, Eli Tadpole, Goingsnake, Pelican, and Bullfrog. [71] Many of the members of the Second Indian Home Guard were Baptists. [72] The Reverend John B. Jones, one of the founders of the Keetoowah Society, was Chaplain of the Second Indian Home Guard. [73]

Evan Jones continued to articulate John Ross's loyalty to the United States of America in letters to Indian Commissioner Dole, and Dole maintained a smaller position before the political officials in the War Department. [74] Believing that Jones's position was credible and indeed rooted within sources deep in the Cherokee Nation, the War Department set forth a plan to test Ross's loyalty and to perhaps return the Cherokee Nation to the United States. The War Department planned to use the Federal Indian Home Guards to sweep deep into the Indian Territory in a series of early summer engagements. Jones was authorized to compose a confidential message to Ross from the War Department to be delivered to him under a flag of truce when the Indian Expedition reached the Cherokee Nation. It was believed by all that Ross and the Keetoowah loyalists still within the Nation would reunite with their brethren from the North and seal the fate of the Civil War within the Indian Territory. [75]

Leading up to the summer invasion, the Indians were drilled daily by white officers in the proper procedures of military warfare. They were marched and drilled, issued uniforms and caps, issued discard rifles from the federal stocks, and taught to operate the “shooting wagons” of the Federal artillery. The recent “atrocities” still fresh in mind, it was incumbent upon the white officers to instill discipline in their unruly and unsophisticated troops. The troops, many still gaunt from their horrible winter, hardly filled out what uniforms they had and their kepi caps sat precariously upon full heads of hair. What the troops lacked in military demeanor, they made up for in earnestness and commitment to their cause. The struggle was not just to reunite a nation, it was to reestablish the Nation.

In preparation for the upcoming return to their homelands, the Indian Home Guards engaged in their traditional preparation for wartime much to the amusement and perhaps to the concern of the Federal troops under whom they were commissioned. They drank great quantities of “black drink” which they believed would render them impervious to Confederate bullets and engaged in ritual cleansing:

they foolishly physic themselves nearly to death danc [dance] all night and then jump into the river just at daylight to render themselves bullet proof...they have followed this up now every night for over two weeks and it has no doubt caused many deaths [76]
Wiley Britton, in his The Union Indian Brigade in the Civil War reported that “the white soldiers saw hundreds of families, women and children, bathing nude in the warm shallow water of the stream, apparently unconscious of what we call shame. They were mostly Creeks and Seminoles.” [77] The Native troops chanted curious incantations to the spirits for protection and frequently punctuated drill practice with traditional war whoops. [78] In addition, the Creek soldiers were carrying two objects as sacred to them as the “ark of the covenant” carried by the Israelites; they carried the scales from an Uktena and the uwod from the magical lizard. [79]

A week before the Indian Expedition was to set out for Indian Territory, a group of Union Osage scouts from Kansas encountered some pro-Union Cherokee who were heading to Kansas to meet up with their brethren prior to the invasion. The Cherokee, members of the Keetoowah Society, were bringing messages of support and solidarity for the invasion; they reported two-thousand warriors within the Nation led by a Cherokee named Salmon. There were even reports of a significant number of former slaves, being enrolled as “wooly-headed” Indians, joining up with the loyalist forces in the Indian Territory. [80] The messengers were sent by Salmon to ascertain the status of the invasion force and to detail the frightful situation of the Cherokee remaining within the Nation. Watie's men had picked up the intensity of the internecine warfare in recent weeks and Salmon sought assurances that the Keetoowah would not be abandoned to face the struggle alone. Upon hearing of the Keetoowah support within the Nation, Colonel Weer wrote that “John Ross is undoubtedly with us, and will out openly when we reach there.” [81]


On June 21, 1862, the Indian Expedition containing nearly six thousand Native American, black indians, and white soldiers set forth from Humboldt Kansas bound for Indian Territory; the spectacle of this new army in Federal uniforms marching military style was one to behold:

...the first and second Indian Regiments left for Indian Territory in good stile and in fine spirits the Indians with their new uniforms and small Military caps on their Hugh Heads of Hair made rather a Comical Ludecrous apperance...they marched off in columns of 4 a breast singing a war song all joining in the chourse and a more animated seen is not often witnessed. [82]
On June 26, 1862, Lieutenant James Phillips of the United States Army wrote to Chief John Ross informing him of the impending invasion by the remaining Keetoowah and instructing him to prepare for the inevitable:
I have learned from your friends with me that you and your people are truly loyal to the United States; but from stress of circumstances have not been able to carry out your loyal principles during the present unholy rebellion...My purpose is to afford you protection and to relieve you and your Country from your present embarassment and to give to you and all your friends an opportunity to show their loyalty to the United States Government. [83]
Accompanying the expedition were two federal Indian Agents, E.H. Carruth and H.W. Martin, who were to provide liaison between the Indians and the military authorities. They were also to aid the loyal refugees in their return to their homeland and to provide assistance for Indian resettlement once the Indian Territory was secured. [84] Following the military troops were 1500 refugees, who had gathered all that they had left from among their possessions, hoping to return to their homes in time to get their crops into the field. [85]

Reverend Evan Jones also accompanied the expedition as an official envoy of Commisioner Dole and Superintendent William Coffin. He carried with him a letter to John Ross from Superintendent Coffin which stated:

As our mutual friend, Evan Jones, is about leaving with the military expedition that is about marching for the Protection of the Indian Territory, I embrace the opportunity as an Agent of the Government to assure you that the United States Government has no disposition to shrink from or evade any of its obligations to the Indian Tribes that remain loyal to it, and I earnestly hope that the time is not distant when Communications, so long cut off, may be renewed... And I would most respectfully state to your Excellency that Mr. Jones has, during his exile, been the most unceasing advocate of your people and their rights, and is eminently worthy of your consideration and regard. [86]
Evan Jones and his son John Jones were still in the employ of the American Baptist Missionary Union, but their activities by this point had strayed far from their responsibilities as missionaries. John Jones, Chaplain of the Second Indian Home Guard, could be seen as acting within his religious responsibilities, however, they were largely overshadowed by his political and military activities. In his last letters to the Board in May, Evan Jones made no mention of the expedition nor his role as intermediary for the federal government. During the length of their involvement in the expedition, neither Jones issued a report or a letter to the missionary board. [87]

Not long after the Indian Expeditionary Force entered the Indian Territory, it encountered some of Stand Watie's Confederate Regiment near Locust Grove on the Grand River. A large body of Watie's troops, J. J. Clarkson's Missourians, were completely surprised in their beds by the Creeks in the First Union Home Guard and fell into complete disarray; they scattered in their bedclothes but being completely surrounded they were forced to surrender. [88] Several times, the Union troops came very close to capturing the head of the Knights of the Golden Circle; the cavalry surprised Stand Watie as he was eating supper and he narrowly escaped. [89] Advance guards seeing Watie in dubious flight “emptied their revolvers at him with little effect;” however, one his attendants was killed. [90]

The Federal troops captured the home of Stand Watie; they also captured Colonel William Penn Adair (Flint Lodge #74), one of the leaders of the Knights of the Golden Circle and close associate of Watie. When the shooting was over, about 100 Confederates were killed or wounded and Clarkson and 110 men were captured; Union losses were 3 killed and 2 wounded. [91] The remainder of Watie's troops fled to Tahlequah and Park Hill and informed the Cherokee that the Union soldiers were in their immediate midst. [92]

Colonel Weer and his troops proceeded to Flat Rock on the Grand River not far from the home of John Ross where they set up encampment on July 3, 1862. No sooner had he set up camp than many of Colonel John Drew's full-blood troops turned themselves over to him and informed Weer that they would like to join the federal army. [93] After being enlisted into the Union Army, the word was spread among the Keetoowah that the federal troops had arrived and recruits began to flood in from throughout the Nation. During the next week, so many Keetoowahs joined the federal forces that the Second Indian Home Guard had to be expanded and the Third Indian Home Guard had to be formed under the leadership of Colonel William A. Phillips, a Scotsman and former journalist from Kansas. [94]

If the Second Indian Home Guard was composed of Keetoowah, the Third Indian Home Guard was even more so; they were led by Lt. Colonel Lewis Downing, Major John Foreman, Captain Smith Christie, Lt. Samuel Houston Benge, Captain Thomas Pegg, Captain Huckleberry Downing, and Captain James Vann. [95] Reverend Lewis Downing, the Chaplain of Drew's Regiment, brought with him nearly two hundred soldiers. [96] At various times, John Jones, Evan Jones, and Budd Gritts served as Chaplains of the various units of the Indian Home Guard. [97]

If there was ever a doubt as to the loyalty of the Keetoowahs to their treaties with the federal government and their commitment to each other and the Cherokee Nation, it was laid to rest. David Corwin, commander of the Second Indian Home Guard of the United States Army, was to later write:

We were in constant communication with the loyal portion of the Cherokee and it was then perfectly understood between us, before Colonel's Weer's expedition had been finally decided upon, that as soon as the United States troops advanced into the Nation, the loyal Indians, including Colonel Drew's regiment would join us. They said at that time, and I believe with entire truth, that Colonel Drew's regiment had been raised [by Ross] in order to protect the loyal portion of the Cherokees from the outrages of Stand Watie's rebel band. [98]
The invasion of the Cherokee Nation by the Federal army provided the opportunity for a reunion of the disparate Keetoowah brothers; no longer separated by the winds of the war, the Keetoowah steeled themselves for the struggle to regain their national identity.

In addition to the broken brotherhood, there were other bonds to be renewed; families ripped apart in the flight North to Kansas were being reunited as the refugees returned home. African Americans from throughout the Cherokee Nation heard of the invading army of liberation and fled to join with them in the struggle against slavery. The Kansas regiments, being composed largely of abolitionist forces, freely accepted these runaway slaves into their midst giving them shelter and protection. [99]

Although the actual recruitment of “colored men” would not begin in Kansas for another few weeks under the auspices of James Lane, the number of “colored” troops within the Federal Indian Home Guards began to swell. [100] When three hundred Cherokee and thirty African American troops rode through Park Hill on their way to join up with Weer's forces, there was little doubt as to the nature of this new army. [101] Throughout the Nation, the fear of a slave uprising catalyzed Southern sympathizers. Wardell, in his A Political History of the Cherokees discussed the nature of the problem, “The slavery question was annoying in that the slaves were ranging over the country and were insolent.” [102]

The fears of a slave uprising were not without some merit. Colonel Weer proposed that a proclamation be issued inviting the Cherokees to abolish slavery by vote and accept compensation from the United States government for the freed slaves. Weer also encouraged Blunt to write to President Lincoln encouraging an amendment be added to the Emancipation Proclamation which would allow the “the Indian Nations to avail themselves of its benefits.” [103] Though the proclamation was never issued, there were serious problems in the Nation as evidenced by a letter from William Potter Ross to Colonel Drew, “I greatly regret the Confusion which exists, and owing to the apprehensions entertained of further Negro difficulties, will remain here (Park Hill) until I here from you.” [104] The returning refugees, protected by the Union troops, sought revenge upon those who had once so viciously pursued them. Many of the homes of the Confederate Cherokee were burned and several of them were killed; women and children were forced to flee to Confederate camps for protection. [105]

Over the next week, Colonel Weer sent several requests to Chief John Ross requesting that he meet with the Federal officials to discuss the position of the Cherokee Nation and to plan for a reconciliation with the United States. Ross, however, was less than eager to comply. [106] He realized that the Southern sympathizers were still a dominant force in the Nation and would consider his meeting with Weer an act of betrayal. Ross, though protected by a hundred of Drew's men considered “friendly to the Union although ostensibly still serving the Confederacy,” [107] refused to meet with United States officials (he also ignored orders from General Cooper of the C.S.A. to begin involuntary conscription). Mindful of his treaty obligations with the Confederacy conducted with “the authority of the whole Cherokee people,” Ross wrote to Weer, “I cannot, under the existing circumstances, entertain the proposition for an official interview between us at your camp.” [108] Reverend Evan Jones and Chaplain John Jones of the Third Cherokee Home Guard accompanied the correspondences between Ross and Weer. [109]

On July 12, 1862, Colonel Weer sent Captain Harris S. Greeno and a company of white and Cherokee soldiers to capture Chief John Ross, his brothers Lewis and William, and the remaining members of Colonel Drew's regiment. Upon riding into Tahlequah, Greeno was met by a “Negro” who informed him that Ross and his followers were waiting for him at Park Hill. On July 15, 1862 Colonel Weer sent Doctor Rufus Gilpatrick, Chief Ross's personal physician and a Union Officer, and several Cherokee to Park Hill to see if the word that he had been given were to be true. Finding it to be so and meeting with no resistance from the troops surrounding Ross, Greeno and his Union Cherokee easily captured Ross and the remaining members of the Keetoowah Society. Among those captured were the entire Ross family, Major Thomas Pegg, Lieutenant Anderson Benge, Lieutenant Archibald Scraper, Lieutenant Joseph Cornsilk, and Lieutenant John Shell. [110] Chief John Ross was placed under “house arrest” to be subsequently paroled. [111]

It was now evident to all that the Keetoowahs had not joined Drew's regiment to fight for the Confederacy but to protect the interest of the loyal Cherokee until the Union came to their rescue. [112] What had been suspected by enemies of John Ross was found to be true: Ross had been in allegiance with the Keetoowahs all along and that Drew's troops were indeed “traitors” to the Confederacy. The easy capture and parole of Ross and his troops infuriated Watie and embarrassed General Albert Pike. Pike attempted to defend Ross by stating that either Ross had no choice but to surrender, or, that “he is falser and more treacherous than I can ever believe him to be.” [113] With respect to the easy surrender of Ross, Annie Abel was later to remark, “there were many people who thought, both then and long afterwards, that the whole affair had been arranged for beforehand and that victor and victim had been in collusion with each other all the way through.” [114]

At a council gathered at Tahlequah to address the crisis in the Cherokee Nation, Colonel Greeno addressed the loyal Cherokees. He told them that he understood their plight and if they would now join the Union, he would restore all loyal Indians to their homes and protect their interests. After citing the spate of recent Union victories, Colonel Weer offered up his assurances of protection to those Cherokee who had been loyal to their treaties. Without realizing the irony of the situation, he spoke to the Cherokees:

The successes of the Federal arms are referred to show you that part of the Federal forces employed in these operations will be released for operations in Arkansas and the Indian country, and that it is the firm intention of the Government to exercise its lawful authority in all this region, and to meet, engage and destroy all opposition as rapidly as practicable, and it has been pointed out to you the earnestness with which the government has taken hold of this matter. [115]
On that day in July, the hopes and the dreams of the Keetoowah for a new Nation came one step closer to reality.

Several days later, there was another council. This council was a war council held among the officers and soldiers of the white troops under the leadership of Colonel Weer. Colonel Frederick Solomon wrote to General Blunt of the council:

Upon this and other information [regarding distance from supply lines and the movement of Watie's troops] the council of war decided that our only safety lay in falling back to some point where we could reopen communication and learn the whereabouts of our train of subsistence. To this decision of the council he at the time assented, and said that he would arrange with the commanders of the brigades the order of march. Subsequently he issued an order putting the command on half rations, declaring that he would not fall back, and refused utterly, upon my application, to take any steps for the safety or salvation of his command. I could not but conclude that the man was either insane, premeditated treachery to his troops, or perhaps that his grossly intemperate habits long continued had produced idiocy or monomania. In either case the command was imperiled, and a military necessity demanded that something be done, and that without delay. I took the only step I believed available to save your troops. I arrested the man, have drawn charges against him, and now hold him subject to your orders. [116]
It is without a doubt that the troops were in a desperate position being 160 miles behind “enemy lines” and being cut off from their supply lines. It was also quite hot and troops from Wisconsin and Ohio were not accustomed to the hot dry prairie climate; there was also little water suitable for drinking and even less grain for the animals. [117]

Though the situation of the Indian Expedition may have been perilous, there were also other reasons why the white troops mutinied against their commanding officer. Annie Abel reports in her The Indian as Participant in the Civil War that the “Germans were particularly discontented and came to despise the miserable company in which they found themselves.” [118]

An army of renegades and refugees surrounded the white troops and there is little doubt that many of these refugees and the soldiers protecting them were full-bloods and persons of African descent. Though Lane and his followers such as Weer may have had a commitment to the recruitment and use of “colored troops,” those soldiers who were in the most direct contact with the refugees seemed not to share Lane's liberal sentiments. [119] Salomon and his white troops decided to return to Kansas.

Before he left, Colonel Salomon implored John Ross to leave with him and flee to the safety of Kansas. Chief Ross, considering both his status as prisoner and yet the implications of his leaving the Nation, found himself once again caught between two fires. After a considerable discussion with Chief Ross and Evan Jones, Salomon decided not to force Ross to come with him as he fled the Nation. [120] At two o'clock in the morning on July 19th, Colonel Salomon and the white troops in his command commenced a “retrograde movement” back towards Kansas. [121]

Before he left, Colonel Solomon placed Colonel Robert Furnas in charge of the three Indian regiments and ordered them to cover his retreat while he fled North towards Fort Scott in Kansas. [122] Though Salomon ordered the Indian troops to disperse and protect him from several positions, they consolidated their position at the point where the Creek Nation and the Cherokee Nation shared a common border. [123] With the bulk of the Federal army now in retreat for Kansas, the loyal Indian troops now found themselves vulnerable once again to the assault of the Confederate Cherokee whom they were assured would once again drive them from the Nation. [124]

Believing in Colonel Weer's promise of protection, hundreds of refugees and loyalists had made their way back to the Cherokee Nation and to the farms and families. The seizing of Confederate lands and the insurrectionary activities pursuant the “negro difficulties” had created a great instability within the Nation. There was great fear that Watie and his soldiers would return to teach the loyalists a frightful lesson. Some of the refugees who had returned to the Nation now retreated in haste back to Kansas pursuing the Federal army which had once promised to protect them. Even some of the Union Indians of the 1st and 2nd Indian Home Guard became demoralized and deserted their regiments to return to their homes. [125]

On July 18, 1862, the Union officers of the Indian regiments met to decide what steps would be necessary to maintain the integrity of the Cherokee Nation. Colonel Furnas ordered the 3d Kansas Indian Home Guard, composed of Lewis Downing, Smith Christie, John Foreman, Evan Jones and the Keetoowahs, to camp on Pryor Creek in order to serve as a solidifying force for the remaining regiments and to protect the interests of the people. On July 23, 1862, Colonel William Phillips, Commanding Officer of the 3d Kansas Indian Home Guard learned that detachments of Stand Watie's rebel forces had crossed the Arkansas river and were “committing depradations against those Cherokees who had declared for the Union.” [126]

After dividing his troops into three columns, Phillips and his Keetoowah troops set forth to engage the Confederate armies near Fort Gibson which had previously been abandoned by the Federal forces. On July 27, rebel forces waiting near Bayou Meynard fired upon one of the columns of the Union troops which retreated back towards Park Hill; rebel forces pursued these troops and found themselves surrounded by the remaining Union forces. After a brief but sharp conflict, the rebel forces were routed in what was known as the battle of Bayou Menard; Confederate losses were put at 125 including Colonel Thomas Taylor and Captain Jefferson Davis Hicks of Watie's regiment, as well as two Choctaw captains. The Keetoowahs suffered but one casualty, a severely wounded private. [127]

General Blunt, hearing of Salomon's retreat, was concerned that Ross and the Keetoowahs had been left in the Nation to fend for themselves with little or no support from those who had promised such. On July 26, 1862, he ordered Lieutenant William Cloud and 1500 soldiers back to Park Hill to seize Ross and his entire family and conduct them to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Preceding Cloud were Evan Jones, John Jones, and Doctor Rufus Gilpatrick; these men convinced Ross to surrender and that his country would be protected. On August 3, 1862 Chief John Ross and his party of nearly forty members left for Kansas carrying with them the official records and treasury of the Cherokee Nation. [128] Serving as bodyguards for the Ross expedition was Captain Huckleberry Downing and the men of Company F of the 3d Kansas Indian Home Guard of the United States of America. [129]

The remaining troops of the Indian Home Guard, finding themselves out of provisions and military support, retreated to a point less than fifty miles from the Kansas border. Before they did, they seized nearly six hundred head of cattle and a large number of ponies which Colonel Phillips held for the use of the loyal Indians. As they engaged in a “retrograde movement,” the loyalist troops protected refugees once again fleeing the Nation. [130] Those who had returned triumphantly hoping for the promise of new nation within their own homelands found that, once again, their nation existed as an ideal existing solely among the “beloved community.” It would be some time before that ideal it would become a reality.

The Reverend Stephen Foreman, once a member of the “beloved community,” watched the proceedings from his homestead not far from Ross's home in Park Hill. He reflected the attitudes of many in the Southern Rights Party when he recorded in his diary on July 28, 1862:

The far-famed Evan Jones is said to be at Mr. Ross's now. He came in yesterday escorted by about 1500 northern pins and feds. Something, it is believed, will be done by Mr. Jones and Mr. Ross now that they have gotten together...To me it appears plain that he had been deceiving the South and that the Pins -- or his party -- the Joneses and the Feds all understood this, knew the time also when he would have to be taken prisoner in order to have things look smooth, and to conceal as much as possible his duplicity...they [the Keetoowahs] were on their way to the Feds camp to join the Northern army -- that they were a part of the Pin or Ross party, and in this move they were only carrying out the plan long since laid by Evan Jones and Chief Ross...The two Joneses I thought were the originators of the Pin organization. Chief Ross was knowing to the whole plan and sanctioned every measure... [131]
When Ross left the Nation in early August, Foreman was disgusted:
He has gone to Fort Leavenworth where he and his favorites will be safe and where he and the far-famed Joneses can talk politics and religion and lay some dark and deep plans for the downfall of the Cherokee Nation...By this turn of things Mr. Ross has succeeded in turning up `Jack at the right place.' But this he always does when he has Mr. Jones behind the curtains pulling the wires for him. [132]
Yet, nowhere was his agony greater than for those for whom he had once been so close:
When I think the Joneses are the cause of all our present sufferings and losses and will be the cause of the final overthrow of the Cherokee Nation, I am astonished. I know not what to say. Old Mr. Jones has been among us some forty years, laboring as a missionary. His son John was born among us and speaks the Cherokee language perfectly. He also is a preacher and, with his father, has been laboring for the spiritual good of this people. But where are they now? Why have they gone north with their church members and preachers and are engaged in killing and robbing those who differ with them in opinion? If that is according to the Gospel, keep it away from us. [133]
Fraught with Danger, Distress, and Ruin
The advance of the Indian Expedition gave the Cherokee people an opportunity to manifest their views by taking as far as possible a prompt and decided stand in favor of their relations with the U States Government. The withdrawal of the expedition and the reabandonment of that people and Country to the forces of the Confederate States leaves them in a position fraught with danger, distress, and ruin.
John Ross to Abraham Lincoln [134]
On August, 21 1862, exactly one year from the time which John Ross announced that the Cherokee Nation had decided to ally with the Confederate States of America, a general council was held in Tahlequah. This council of Confederate Cherokee, which consisted entirely of Stand Watie and his 700 soldiers, reaffirmed the Cherokee constitution and laws of 1839 and reasserted their treaty with the Confederacy. Declaring all offices of the Cherokee Nation to be vacant, he then established himself to be Principal Chief and replaced all officials whom he considered to be disloyal with his own men. The “National Council” also declared all who had deserted Drew's regiment to be outlaws. [135] Hannah Hicks, daughter of Samuel Worcester, wrote in her diary on August 24: “Stand Watie has been elected Chief; Sam Taylor, second Chief; S[tephen] Foreman, Treasurer, and [they] are now making new laws.” [136]

Among the new laws were a forced conscription bill passed on August 31, 1862 which compelled all men between the ages of sixteen of thirty-five to enter the Confederate Army; anyone who did not obey this law was determined to be an outlaw and a traitor to the Confederate States of America. Watie's troops began scouring the Nation arresting and imprisoning the lucky and killing the unfortunate. On September 3, 1862, General Thomas Hindman ordered Watie to treat all deserters, and anyone who tried to flee to Kansas, as “disloyal” enemies of the Confederacy. [137] Those unlucky Cherokee who were found to be enemies of Watie and thus the Confederacy were killed on such suspicion. [138]

Fort Gibson, Tahlequah, Park Hill, and nearly all of the Cherokee country north to the Springplace mission was in Confederate hands; Stand Watie and his Knights of the Golden Circle were in control of the destiny of the Cherokee Nation. The Confederate Cherokee seized Fort Gibson and destroyed a general store owned by a member of the Ross family. After dumping one hundred hogsheads of valuable supplies on the ground, the Watie men took Daniel Ross and Dan Gunter, proprietors of the store, as prisoners. Terror once gain ruled the Nation:

Today I went to the Printing Office. I did not know how completely it had been cleared out. The Press, Types, paper and all carried off. By Watie's men, with the help of the Texans. We hear today that the “Pins” are committing outrages on Hungry mountain and in Flint, robbing, destroying, and killing. It is so dreadful that they will do so. Last week, some of Watie's men, went and robbed the Ross's place up at the mill; completely ruined them. Alas, alas, for this miserable people, destroying each other as fast as they can. [139]
Union Cherokees who attempted to remain in the Nation did so at great risk; many either swore allegiance to the Confederacy or fled to the woods. Mrs. William Potter Ross's mother, who had remained behind in the Nation, reported to her relatives in the East that the day after they had fled Park Hill, Watie's troops killed two men in the Murrell orchard and a few days later killed several more. William Potter Ross, in writing his son, let him know that even the elderly were not spared, “Your grandmother's house at the mill was broken into and all that she had was stolen.” [140]

As soon as Evan Jones got back to the safety of Lawrence, Kansas, he wrote his first report to the Board since late Spring. Writing nothing of his role with the Federal officials nor the arrest of John Ross, he addressed his concerns for his flock:

I have just returned from the Cherokee Nation to which I have had the sad privilege of making two visits and seeing a great number of our brethren, sisters, and other friends, among whom I may name our faithful brethren and fellow labourers, Lewis Downing, Smith Christy, and Toostoo. I have also heard from our brother Tanenolee, who, amid the trouble with which the country has been afflicted, has continued to labor for the cause of our redeemer. [141]
In a later letter, he addressed the source of the problem:
And but for the disastrous retrograde movement of the Federal Army, the Cherokee country could have been occupied at once, and held by a small force; and at the same time much of the subsequent losses and sufferings of the people prevented. But that unhappy retreat inspired the rebels with new spirit, gave them time to rally, and return with reinforcements to ravage the country. [142]
With the Confederate Cherokee in charge of the Nation and with Chief Ross in flight, once again the Keetoowahs were in flight to Kansas. In a later statement to Commissioner Dole, Ross and Evan Jones described the flight into Kansas:
By that retreat [Salomon's], the whole country was abandoned to the rebels, who returned anew the plunder of the unprotected families of the loyal men of the Federal army, who were the objects of special hate and abuse, and many hundreds were compelled to abandon home and property and follow their husbands, fathers, and friends, to escape ruffian violence. Most of these women and children, with old and infirm men, with great toil and fatigue, made their way to Drywood Kansas, on the neutral land, a short distance from Fort Scott, where they quartered several months, exposed to sun and rain and sickly dews, without tent or shelter, and almost without clothing, the results of such sickness and many deaths. [143]
Finally settling in desperation in Drywood, Kansas, the members of the Keetoowah Society described the refugees' plight:
They had been robbed of all means of their subsistence, & their lives threatened, & that course seemed to only course to save life, for the country was being fast overrun by guerrilla bands, committing every possible depredation. These refugees were collected on the Dry Wood, near Fort Scott [Kansas], & at one time numbered about 1,700. Their sufferings were great on the way up, but still greater after their arrival. Gen. Blunt furnished them with provisions, but they were compelled to camp out in the open air, as Gen. B had no tents at his command. When the fall rains came on and the winter frosts, these women and children were thus exposed, & were most miserably clad withal. Sickness made dreadful havock among them. The campground at Dry Wood is literally a grave yard. [144]
In November, 1862, Evan Jones was able to sneak back into the Nation, get to the Baptist mission, and bring his family out to Lawrence, Kansas. He was escorted by a small military component provided by federal authorities; most likely it was Lewis Downing, Smith Christie, Toostoo and Keetoowah members of the Third Indian Home Guard. [145] In a letter to the Board, he was thankful for the “gracious protection and guidance of the Divine providence,” but acknowledged that they had “suffered much in privations as well as anxiety.”

Of his Cherokee ministers still in the Nation, their sufferings were grave:

I have seen many of our Cherokee brethren, and spent several weeks with some of them. They have suffered much but the details would be too long to write .We are much afraid that our very good Brother, Tanenolee, is dead...I have been within seven miles of his house, but have heard that he was robbed of everything by the rebels and driven from his home into the woods while in very destitute circumstances, as are hundreds of others who have been similarly treated. [146]
Shortly after his family left the Nation, the Confederate Cherokee took advantage of Hindman's order to punish “disloyal” members of the Cherokee Nation. The Baptist Mission was burned to the ground, the press which had produced scriptures and hymns in Cherokee was taken and the type scattered, and the mission's crops and orchards were reduced to waste. In burning the Baptist mission, the Knights of the Golden Circle must have believed that the very heart of the Keetoowah Society had been destroyed. [147]

Yet across the border, the “Kituwah Spirit” prevailed. At the beginning of December, a new mission was formed near Neosho, Missouri. [148] Major James Foreman (Cherokee Lodge #21), of the Third Indian Home Guard petitioned General Blunt for the relief of the refugees:

Major James Foreman represented the extreme sufferings and destitution of these refugees, upon which Gen. Blunt ordered that officer to come to town with four companies of the 3rd. Indian Reg. & whatever number of Refugees might wish to accompany him here to establish a military post, & gather in refugees who desired to come, from Dry Wood & elsewhere, & put them in abandoned houses here. [149]
On Christmas Day, 1862, the majority of the refugees arrived at Neosho under the auspices of Major James Foreman of the United States Army, commandant of the post:
Major Foreman has put them in abandoned houses here, & they have been sheltered from the weather. He has gathered in supplies, partly from the surrounding country, & in part they have been forwarded from Camp Scott. Major Foreman is worthy of the highest praise for the arduous and noble work he has performed in supply these people & rendering them comfortable. During the month that we have spent here, they have been well fed, & sheltered from the inclemency of the weather, as well as possible. [150]
In the homes of the enemy, the Keetoowah gathered for prayer and consolation. In the midst of great suffering and depredations, there was once again a revival. When the flesh was weak, the spirit was willing:
After the Federal Army came down, and we had the opportunity once more to mingle with them and found in them a willingness to hear the gospel. This was especially manifest at Neosho, when the refugees were brought there. At that place, J.B. Jones had favorable opportunities to preach to large congregations for several weeks last fall and winter. A good meeting house was reserved for religious exercises. They had preaching on Sabbaths in Cherokee and English, and on week days prayer and conference meetings, principally in the Cherokee language. These exercises appear to have been favored with the presence of God, and the gracious manifestation of the Holy Spirit...The sacrament of the Lord's Supper was administered in the Cherokee language; after which quite a number of anxious persons came up for prayer and conversation...
They had a Sabbath school, at which one hundred and sixty youth attended. In the Cherokee regiments there is preaching every Sabbath, and in the tent there are prayer meetings or other religious exercises nearly every night... [151]
In the tents and camp meetings of the Federal army, the Keetoowah Society kept its commitment to its sacred vows through prayer meetings and other “religious exercises.” Though their suffering had been great, they knew that by the grace of God and the perseverance of the Kituwah Spirit, they would return home to their lands and their families. Deliverance would come and like a phoenix rising from the ashes, a new Nation would be borne for all of the people of the Cherokee Nation:
For several weeks they had regular and interesting religious services, under the care of the Chaplain of the 2nd Indian regiment, and they cherished hopes of returning to their homes in the spring in season to put in, at least a partial crop. The idea of wasting the season in idleness, living on rations from either the military or civilian department, was no pleasant condition for them to contemplate. Their most anxious desire all the time, had been to return to their homes as soon as possible. [152]
A New Nation

On August 4th, 1862, Colonel James Williams of the Fifth Kansas Cavalry was appointed Recruiting Officer for that portion of Kansas lying north of the Kansas river, “for the purpose of recruiting and organizing a regiment for the United States service, to be composed of men of African descent.” [153] By the end of October, there were two regiments of African American soldiers outfitted in federal uniforms drilling daily at Camp “Jim Lane” in Southern Kansas. Colonel Williams reported the “colored people entering into the work heartily, and evincing by their actions a willing readiness to link their future and share the perils with their white brethren in the war of rebellion, which then waged with such violence as to seriously threaten the nationality and life of the republic.” [154]

Though Lane and supporters may have believed that “the Negro may just as well become food for powder as my son,” [155] the feeling was much less than universal. William's recruits were arrested and jailed on fraudulent charges by county officials and the white officers in his proposed regiment were harassed with frivolous charges, such as unlawfully depriving a person of his freedom. [156] Williams saw as the source of the problem “an intolerant prejudice against the colored race, which would deny them the honorable position in society which every soldier is entitled to, even though he gained the position at the risk of his life in the cause of the nation.” [157]

On October 27, 1862 the Kansas Colored Volunteers quieted their critics. In an assault on a rebel stronghold at the Osage River in Bates County, Missouri, the African-American regiment defeated a force of six hundred Confederate soldiers. The Battle of Island Mounds was the “first engagement in the war in which colored troops were actively engaged.” [158] William Truman, a leader of the Rebel forces, reported that “the black devils fought like tigers...and not one would surrender, though they [the Rebels] had tried to take a prisoner.” [159]

A report of the Battle of Island Mounds from a New York Times correspondent highlighted the activities of two especially courageous black soldiers. One of the soldiers, “Sixkiller, a Cherokee Negro” fell with half a dozen wounds “after shooting two men, bayoneting a third and laying a forth hors de combat with the butt of his gun.” [160] A second, Sergeant Edward Lowrie ( a prominent Cherokee name), “was reloading his gun when three men on horseback ordered him to surrender. As an answer he knocked one of them off his horse with a stunning blow from his rifle, and as the other two charged, he felled them also with the butt of his gun.” [161]

The First and Second Kansas Colored Volunteers were made up of refugee African-Americans from the Indian Territory. [162] Though certainly there were large numbers of blacks who had fled to Kansas from Missouri and Arkansas, it was the Black Indians who had gained such a reputation for their bravery and military leadership who made up the officers of the regiments. [163] Many of the African American soldiers who served in the First and Second Kansas Colored Volunteers had previously served in the First Indian Home Guard Regiments which had been established in June of 1862. It was these experienced military veterans who made up the vanguard of the new colored regiments; it was these “Black Indians” who were actually the first African-American troops to see combat in the Civil War. [164]

On January 13, 1863, at Fort Scott in Kansas, six companies of African-American soldiers were mustered into the United States service by Lieutenant Sabin of the regular army. Between January 13 and May 2, 1863, the remaining four companies were organized and the Kansas First Colored Volunteers Infantry Regiment of the United States Army was commissioned. This was nearly four months before the commissioning of the most famous of the black regiments, the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth; the battle of Island Mounds was nearly nine months before the Fifty-fourth's assault on Fort Wagner. When the First Kansas was mustered out of the Civil War in 1865 as the 79th U.S. Colored Troops, it was ranked as twenty-first among all Union regiments in the percentage of total enrollment killed in battle. [165]

In a letter to John Ross in early January, Keetoowah Huckleberry Downing mentioned that “Chilly and D.N. McIntosh propose to surrender, & to come into the Union army, with two regiments of Creeks.” [166] Colonel Phillips, commander of the Third Indian Home Guard, informed Chilly McIntosh to be patient and to manifest no affection for the North for to do so would be premature and foolhardy. He told McIntosh to bide his time until he could send a brigade of Federal troops into Indian Territory to cover the surrender and retreat of further Creek forces. [167] At this point, even some of Stand Watie's troops were deserting to the North. [168]

In early February, Phillips and the Third Indian Home Guard slipped across the border and established Camp Ross at Cowskin Prairie, an area in the Cherokee Nation which was immediately accessible from the Federal lines. On February 17, 1863, Lieutenant-colonel Lewis Downing called a National Council of the Cherokee Nation; Colonel Phillips stood by to protect the Council as it began its proceedings. The National Council elected John Ross as its chief and Major Thomas Pegg as acting principal chief. Lieutenant-colonel Lewis Downing was chosen president pro-tem of the upper house as well as school commissioner, and Toostoo, Speaker of the Lower House. Reverend John B. Jones, Chaplain of the Second Indian Home Guard, was chosen clerk of the Senate. [169] Three of the five members of the new National Council were founding members of the Keetoowah Society; there is little doubt that all of the persons elected were Keetoowahs.

The first act of the new National Council decreed “the treaty with the rebels was declared to have been entered into under duress, and, therefore, to have no binding effect, either in law or in morals. It was, therefore, abrogated and revoked, and declared to be null and void.” [170] The Council then “passed an act expelling every disloyal person, and declared their offices vacant.” [171] The first act of the new Keetoowah Council were to assert its continuing treaty relationship with the United and abrogate its false treaties with the Confederate States of America. It then removed the officers of the Knights of the Golden Circle from the positions that they had attained following Ross's surrender to Federal officials.

The next act of the Keetoowah Council was one of critical and lasting importance. It declared, “ that early day (February, 1863) -- before any slave State made a movement towards emancipation -- the Cherokee Nation abolished Slavery unconditionally and forever, and the enslaving or the holding in slavery of a human being within the limits of the Cherokee Nation, was declared to be a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of from one thousand to five thousand dollars for every offence.” [172] The Act of Emancipation, signed by John Jones, Lewis Downing, Thomas Pegg, and George Foster stated:

Be it enacted by the National Council: That all Negroes and other slaves with the lands of the Cherokee Nation be and they are hereby emancipated from slavery, and any person or persons who may have been in slavery are hereby declared to be forever free. [173]
The Act of Emancipation would have little effect upon the majority of the slaves in the Cherokee Nation for they were owned by mixed blood Cherokee who remained loyal to the Confederacy. These Cherokee would have little sympathy for slaves who attempted to take advantage of the act of the National Council; Stand Watie's Confederate Cherokee would serve to enforce the will of the slaveowners. [174] However, the Act of Emancipation was of critical strategic importance for the loyal Cherokee. The abolition of slavery and the freeing of former slaves within the Cherokee Nation would have a profound impact upon their military allies -- the Kansas First Colored Volunteers. Black soldiers would now fight as free men for a Cherokee Nation which would be their own. The tide of the war changed that day.

As the council was meeting, a “long line of persons” [175] was weaving its way through the ice and snow for Kansas; remaining members of the Creek Nation, having decided that their fortunes did not lie with the South began to flee to Kansas. As they fled, they wore a white badge on their hat that signified their loyalty to the Union; such sign had been agreed upon by Phillips and McIntosh to provide for their protection. Though nearly half of the Creek Nation had fled to Kansas, the Southern Creeks maintained their unity and carried on their governmental actions wherever they happened to be camped. In spite of their overtures, the McIntoshes made no effort to flee to Kansas. [176]

In early March, the leaders of the Creek Nation decided to follow upon the lead of their brethren within the Cherokee Nation. Chief Opthle Yahola, aged and near death yet steadfast in his commitment to his treaties, refused to acknowledge the treaties that had been set forth by the Confederate Creeks; he saw no need to establish new treaties. However, through the subtle diplomacy of African American interpreter Reverend Harry Islands and with the assistance of Sands Harjo, an agreement was reached to negotiate a new treaty. It was the last public act of the great old chief, he died shortly afterwards. [177]

The new treaty was negotiated through Reverend Island of North Fork Baptist Church, [178] a “shrewd Creek Negro” who “apparently looked after the interest of his race” according to Angie Debo in her The Road to Disappearance . [179] The treaty recognized the “necessity, justice, and humanity” of the Emancipation Proclamation. In the treaty, the Creek Nation agreed that slavery should cease and that they would set aside a portion of their lands for occupancy by the freedmen and “all others of the African race who shall be permitted to settle among them.” [180] Setting aside the implications of Debo's assertions, it seems apparent, on the basis of the historical role of African-Americans within the Creek Nation, that the treaty was in the best interest of all members of the Creek Nation.

The Cherokee National Council at Cowskin Prairie also chose three delegates to proceed to Washington, D.C. to assist Chief John Ross in his negotiations with the United States government: Lieutenant-colonel Lewis Downing, Captain James Mc Daniel, and Chaplain Evan Jones of the First Indian Home Guard. [181] The delegation was instructed to make a treaty with the United States on behalf of the new Council, to obtain unpaid annuities and compensation for losses from Confederate depredations, and to request assistance for the refugees in Kansas. The final demand was for a military expedition to free their Nation from the occupying force so that the Cherokee could return to their homes in safety. [182]

The Turning Point

In April 1863, Colonel Phillips received the command that he had been waiting for -- the Union Army was to advance in force into Indian Territory and attempt to seize it that the refugees may attempt to return home in time to get a crop in. The refugees were, by this time, in dire straits having both depleted material resources from the surrounding area and taxed the welfare and generosity of the people of Kansas. In addition, typhus and smallpox was spreading among the Indians and the Federal officials feared a wider epidemic. General Blunt ordered Phillips' Indian Home Guard Units, which now numbered five, to return to the Nation taking all of the refugees with them. [183]

On May 2, 1863, the Kansas First Colored Volunteers were ordered by General James Blunt to occupy a position at Baxter Springs, formerly the home of the refugees and within a day's ride from Indian Territory, for the expressed purpose of protecting Colonel Phillip's supply lines. [184] The Indian Home Guard easily having taken Fort Gibson in Northeast Indian Territory and established a post there, the “Texas Road” which William's troops protected was a vital link in the Union line. [185] The federal troops of the Indian Home Guard and the First Colored Volunteers, camped within twenty miles of each other, protected the refugees whom. Federal authorities being confident of their safety, had returned the refugees to Indian Territory and asked them to attempt to return to their previous lives. [186]

However, the troops of the Knights of the Golden Circle, which still were a force to be reckoned with in the Nation, were angry and frustrated. Watie addressed his troops at Webbers Falls in late April “with a heavy heart, for evil times have come upon our country” for “disaster upon disaster has followed the Confederate arms in the Cherokee country.” [187] Watie had sought to break up the January council of the Keetoowah leaders, but had been deterred by the presence of Phillips and Federal troops. The Federal troops now occupied several strategic positions adjacent to the Nation and had provided for the return of the loyal Cherokee and the recovery of at least a part of the Nation.

Even as he spoke, Federal troops were marching on his position. Watie had planned to have a Confederate Cherokee National Council the following morning to reelect a Principal Chief and to discuss the military situation in the Cherokee Nation. At dawn of April 25, 1863, the Keetoowahs under the leadership of Colonel Phillips, having conducted a night march, attacked Watie's position and catching the Knights still in the bedclothes sent them scurrying with hardly a shot being fired. The Confederate Cherokee National Council was not held. [188]

Shortly after the disruption of the Confederate Cherokee National Council, the Keetoowah National Council held a second meeting and followed up on the abolition of slavery with what William G. McLoughlin referred to as “one of the most controversial acts of the war.” [189] The Council authorized the confiscation and sale of all personal property and improvements owned by those who “disloyal” to the Cherokee Nation by their associations and actions on behalf of the rebellion. The purpose of the act was to recover land stolen or destroyed by Confederate soldiers and to provide for the relief and assistance of the returning refugees.

However, the confiscation act can also be seen as an attempt to mitigate against the “progressive” influences in the Nation such as mercantile capitalism, plantation agriculture, individualism, and racial polarization. What William G. McLoughlin refers to the act as “an effort to redistribute the wealth by the Keetoowahs who dominated the Indian Home Guard regiments.” [190] He also states the intent of the Keetoowah was to inform the wealthy Cherokee that “they would no longer enjoy the large homes and plantations they had possessed before.” [191] These intents may be true, but they are also consistent with the “old way” to which the Keetoowah were dedicated when the Cherokee “loved one another for they were just like one family, just as if they had been raised from one family. They all came as a unit to their fire to smoke, to aid one another and to protect their government with what little powder and lead they had to use in protecting it.” [192]

At the same time, in spite of the proximity of Federal troops, another kind of confiscation was going on,

About the 21st of May, the rebel Indians under the command of Stand Watie, entered the Territory and robbed the women and children of everything they could find, and took off horses, cattle, wagons, farming utensils, and drove off the inhabitants and laid open their farms to be entered and eaten up by stock. Crops were not sufficiently forward to mature without further cultivation, and were consequently mostly lost. Robbing, sometimes murdering and burning, continued until about the fourth day of July without abatement...The military authorities were, or seemed unable, to afford protection to the nation at their homes. They were compelled to leave their crops and seek protection at Fort Gibson. [193]
Stand Watie and his nearly 1000 Confederate troops were able to take advantage of the fact that Federal troops, in spite of their force of arms, could not be in all places at all times. With the men enlisted in the army, the farms were managed by women and children which proved easy prey for the Confederate. Something had to be done.

On June 26, 1863 the First Kansas Colored Volunteers Infantry Regiment made its way from Baxter Springs into Indian Territory where it was joined by Major James Foreman and the Kansas Indian Home Guard from nearby Neosho. On July 2, 1863, Major Foreman, commander of the point, sent back message to Williams, the officer in charge, that the Indian Home Guard had encountered an undetermined number of Confederate troops under the leadership of Stand Watie. That evening, as General Lee planned his assault on the federal position on Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg, Colonel Williams planned his assault upon the Confederate Cherokee at Cabin Creek. [194]

The following morning, the Confederate soldiers looked out across their lines to see a dense formation of Federal troops, caissons, and artillery; from out of the midst of these troops came a long line of Black and Indian troops bearing the colors and uniforms of the United States of America. The assault was led by Major Foreman and the Third Indian Home Guard; they jumped to their feet yelling and screaming and carrying their weapons above their heads, they attempted to ford the creek. A surprise Confederate musket barrage caught the vulnerable Keetoowahs and they took heavy losses; Major Foreman was shot twice by Confederate muskets and his horse was shot out from under him. Losing Foreman was a serious blow for the Native American troops and they retired back across the creek.

The First Kansas Colored Volunteers jumped up from behind the Native Americans and assumed the Third Indian Home Guards positions pushing forward across the creek. A second company opened up upon the Confederate troops forcing them down behind their entrenchments and protected the oncoming African-American troops; the black regiment quickly broke the Southern earthworks and secured the far bank. The black soldiers separated and a cavalry assault from the Ninth Kansas Cavalry regiment swelled up from the midst of the infantry as the First Kansas provided supporting fire. The Confederate line broke under the ferocious assault and the Confederate Cherokee fled as the Federal troops pursued them for nearly five miles.

With a force of only 900 men, Colonel Williams and his rainbow army had defeated a Confederate Force more than twice its size; his losses were one black soldier killed and twenty African-American and Native American soldiers wounded. Confederate losses were estimated at fifty killed, fifty wounded, and nine prisoners taken. Going into the battle, the Federal troops knew that if they did not win that there would be no quarter given nor prisoners taken when colored troops were involved in an engagement. Following the battle, the “morale was high, the step lively, and the spirit of soldierly unity grew.” [195] In another part of the world, Gettysburg and Vicksburg fell to the Union and the tide of the war changed.

William's troops, led by the First Kansas Colored Volunteers and the Kansas Indian Home Guards, pushed forward into Indian Territory until they arrived at Fort Gibson, located on the border between the Creek and Cherokee Nations halfway between Park Hill and Ebenezer Mission. Arriving at Fort Gibson, the Union forces learned that the Confederate Army was consolidating it forces and preparing for a decisive battle to determine the fate of Indian territory. On July 11, 1863 General Blunt, Commander of the District of the Frontier, arrived at Fort Gibson with six hundred cavalrymen from Kansas and Wisconsin. General Blunt order the assembled troops to prepare for a major campaign against the Confederate forces in Indian Territory. [196]

On July 17, 1863, in what has come to be known as the “Gettysburg of the West,” three thousand Federal troops under the leadership of William Blunt encountered six thousand Confederate troops led by Douglas Cooper at Honey Springs, Indian Territory. The First Kansas Colored Volunteers formed the center of the Federal line; the Second Indian Home Guard formed to the right of the First Kansas and the First Indian Home Guard formed to the left of the First Kansas. [197] The Third Indian Home Guard, having led the charge at Cabin Creek, served as reinforcements for the Federal troops; Chaplains Evan Jones and John B. Jones were present at the battle and reported the results to John Ross. Before the assault on the Confederate Troops, Colonel Williams addressed his troops:

This is the day we have been patiently waiting for; the enemy at Cabin Creek did not wait to give you an opportunity of showing them what men can do fighting for their natural rights and for their recently acquired freedom and the freedom of their children and their children's children...We are going to engage the enemy in a few moments and I am going to lead you. We are engaged in a holy war; in the history of the world, soldiers never fought for a holier cause than the cause for which the Union soldiers are fighting, the preservation of the Union and the equal rights and freedom of all men. You know what the soldiers of the Southern army are fighting for; you know that they are fighting for the continued existence and extension of slavery on this continent, and if they are successful, to take you and your wives and children back into slavery. You know it is common report that the Confederate troops boast that they will not give quarters to colored troops and their officers, and you know that they did not give quarters to your comrades in the fight with the forage detachment near Sherwood last May. Show the enemy this day that you are not asking for quarter, and that you know how and are eager to fight for your freedom and finally, keep cool and do not fire until you receive the order, and then aim deliberately below the waist belt. The people of the whole country will read the reports of you conduct in this engagement; let it be that of brave, disciplined men. [198]
When the battle was over, the Union forces vanquished the Confederate forces driving them south deep into Creek territory that had been the stronghold of African-American settlements prior to the war. The Southern casualties were 150 killed and buried in the field, 400 wounded and seventy-seven captured; two hundred stands of arms and fifteen wagons were seized and burned at Honey Springs Depot. [199] In addition, four hundred pairs of handcuffs were found at the depot. A black deserter from the Confederate army, David Griffith, reported that the handcuffs were to be used on “colored soldiers they expected to capture and send back south as trophies of their valor.” [200]

Colonel Williams, just as Major Foreman before him, was seriously wounded as his horse was shot out from beneath him under Confederate fire; he was carried from the field and taken to the rear. He joined the seventeen Union dead and sixty wounded in the makeshift Federal hospital. When General Blunt approached Colonel Williams, the first thing Williams asked General Blunt was, “General, how did my regiment fight?” General Blunt replied, “Like veterans; most gallantly, Sir!” Colonel Williams responded, “I am now ready to die!”

The tide of the Civil War in Indian Territory changed that day. Though the war was to drag on for another two years, there was never any doubt as to the outcome of the struggle. As Evan and John Jones watched, the very people who made up the constituency of their mission fought the battle that decided the fate of slavery in the Indian Nation. Though the conflict was over slavery, it was also about something much more -- it was about a Nation founded on freedom, kinship, and equality. On that day in July, a new Cherokee Nation was born. You can be free in a lot of places, but until your home is free -- freedom has no meaning. This is the heart of the Keetoowah message:

I got free while I was in Kansas. We all knowed it was comin'. The colored folks never worried once they got up north. What do I like best, the northerner or the southerner people? Now you are asking me something I don't know how to answer. I like it the way I is, free. It's a good thing, freedom. Do I like the northern folks -- if I should go back to Ft. Scott, they'd have to haul me away, I'd die a cryin'. They was awful good to me up there. And I bet all those old timers are gone. And do I love my folks here? Well, I'se born down here, here's where I belong. You know how it is, when you go away from where you first belong, seems like something calls you back. [201]


[1] Abel, The Indian as Participant in the Civil War, 256.

[2] United States War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 130 Volumes, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1900), Volume VIII, 482.

[3] Edmund Danzinger, Jr. “The Office of Indian Affairs and the Problems of Civil War Refugees in Kansas” Kansas Historical Quarterly 35 (Autumn, 1969): 261-263.

[4] Abel, The Indian as Slaveholder and Secessionist, 259-261; Annie Abel, The American Indian in the Civil War: 1862-1865, (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992), 80-81.

[5] Kansas Adjutant General's Office, Reports of the Adjutant General of the state of Kansas, for the years 1862, 1865, 1866, 1867, and 1868. Including the reports of the Quartermaster General for the years 1862, 1865 and 1867, and the reports of the Kansas regiments at the battle of Springfield, August 10, 1861 (Topeka, W.Y. Morgan, State Printer, 1902). See also by S. David Buice, The Civil War and the Five Civilized Tribes : a study in federal-Indian relations (Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK., 1970); David A. Nichols, Lincoln and the Indians: Civil War policy and politics (Columbia ; London : University of Missouri Press, 1978).

[6] Campbell quoted in Dean Banks, “Civil War Refugees from Indian Territories to the North.” Chronicles of Oklahoma 41 (1963-64): 289.

[7] Seminole Agent G.C. Snow, quoted in Abel, The American Indian in the Civil War, 1862-1865, 83.

[8] Annie Abel, The American Indian in the Civil War: 1862-1865 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992), 84.

[9] Debo, The Road to Disappearance, 152; Debo, A History of the Indians of the United States, 176.

[10] William Mc Loughlin, Champions of the Cherokees, 401.

[11] Abel, The Indian as Participant in the Civil War, 1862-1865, 85.

[12] Evan Jones, letters, ABMU, May 12, 1862.

[13] ibid.

[14] For a background on the situation in Kansas, see American Abolition Society, The Kansas struggle, of 1856, in Congress, and in the Presidential Campaign: with Suggestions for the Future, [Microform] (New York: American Abolition Society, 1857); James A. Rawley, Race & politics; "bleeding Kansas" and the coming of the Civil War (Philadelphia : Lippincott, 1969); Robert Townsend, ed., Decade of decision, 1855-1865, Drawings by Frederic James, (Kansas City, Mo., Kansas City Life Insurance Company, 1960); James P. Barry, Bloody Kansas, 1854-65; Guerrilla Warfare Delays Peaceful American Settlement (New York, Watts, 1972); Henry C. Bruce, The New Man: Twenty-nine Years a Slave, Twenty-nine Years a Free Man: Recollections of H.C. Bruce (Lincoln ; London : University of Nebraska Press, 1997; Albert E. Castel, A frontier State at war : Kansas, 1861-1865 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1979);

[15] Augustus Wattles to Major Farnsworth, August 25, 1861, in Abel, The American Indian as Slaveholder and Secessionist, 229.

[16] Wardell, 151. For background on Lane, see Reeder McCandless Fish, The Grim chieftain of Kansas, and other free-state men in their struggles against slavery. Some political seances, incidents, inside political views and movements in their career, [microform] (Cherryvale, Kan., Clarion Book Print, 1885); John Speer, Life of Gen. James H. Lane [microform]: "the liberator of Kansas" : with corroborative incidents of pioneer history (Garden City, Kan.: J. Speer, 1896); Wendell Holmes Stephenson, The Political Career of General James H. Lane, (Topeka, Kansas State Historical Society, 1930).

[17] James H. Lane to Indian Agents Sac and Foxes-Shawnees-Delawares-Kickapoos-Potawatomies- and Kaws, August 22, 1861 in Abel, The American Indian as Slaveholder and Secessionist, 229.

[18] Albert Castel, “Civil War Kansas and the Negro” in Journal of Negro History Vol. LI (January 1966, No. 1): 127. Castel referes to Lane as “a master demagogue, hypnotic orator, and utterly unscrupulous.” Most historians share Castel's assessment.

[19] George Cutler quoted in Nichols, 34.

[20] Dole to Captain Price, September 13, 1861, in Abel, The American Indian as Slaveholder and Secessionist, 233.

[21] Nichols, 35.

[22] Castel, 127.

[23] Larry Rampp, “Negro Troop Activity in Indian Territory, 1863-1865” in Chronicles of Oklahoma 47 (1969): 531-39. For background on the use of African American troops in the Civil War, see Dudley Taylor Cornish, The sable arm: Negro troops in the Union Army, 1861-1865 (New York: Longmans & Green, 1956); George Washington Williams, A history of the Negro troops in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865: preceded by a review of the military services of Negroes in ancient and modern times (New York: Negro Universities Press, 1969); Charles Harris Wesley and Patricia Romero, Negro Americans in the Civil War: from slavery to citizenship, (New York, Publishers Company, 1969); William Wells Brown, The Negro in the American Rebellion, his Heroism and his Fidelity [Microform] (Boston : Lee & Shepard, 1867); H.C. Blackerby, Blacks in Blue and Gray: Afro-American Service in the Civil War (Tuscaloosa, Ala.: Portals, 1979). For African American casualties, see United States War Department, U.S. Colored troops : statistical table of deaths from 1861-1865, from official records (Washington, D.C.: War Department, 1890); Herbert Aptheker, Negro casualties in the Civil War (Washington, D.C. : The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, Inc., 1945).

[24] Castel, 127.

[25] For information on early Black settlements, see Kansas State Historical Society: Historic Sites Survey, Black Historic Sites, a Beginning Point (Topeka, Kan. : Kansas State Historical Society , 1977); Walter Lynwood Fleming, "Pap" Singleton, the Moses of the Colored exodus [microform] (Baton Rouge, La., Ortlieb's Printing House, 1909). There are many books on the “exoduster” period of Black migration of the latter half of the nineteenth century, but few focus on this early period of black history in Kansas.

[26] Littlefield, Africans and Seminoles, 184.

[27] Castel, 128.

[28] Castel, 131.

[29] Ross, Papers of Chief John Ross, 2: 560-568.

[30] Gaines, 57.

[31] Ross, quoted in Wardell, 132.

[32] McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears, 195; Abel, The American Indian as Slaveholder and Secessionist, 257; Gaines, 57.

[33] Wardell, 132; Gaines, 61.

[34] Dale and Lytton, Cherokee Cavaliers, 112-113.

[35] Ross, Papers of Chief John Ross, 2: 508.

[36] United States War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 130 Volumes, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1900), Volume III, 1691. In this sarcastic statement, Watie was referring to the murder of his relatives by conservatives following the Treaty of New Echota in the early days of Indian Territory.

[37] ibid.

[38] ibid.

[39] Stephen Foreman, Diary, January 11, 1862 in Western History Collection, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma.

[40] Franks, Stand Watie, 182-183.

[41] Foreman, Diary, January 11, 1862.

[42] Ross, 508.

[43] There is no evidence that any of the Starr boys were members of the Keetoowah Society. The person relating the story is probably confused. The Starr boys were friends and family members of the Watie family. For more information on the Starr Gang, see C. W. West, Outlaws and peace officers of Indian Territory (Muskogee, OK: Muscogee Publishing Company, 1987); Glenn Shirley, Last of the real badmen: Henry Starr (New York : David McKay Company, Inc., 1965); Evett Dumas Nix, Oklahombres: particularly the Wilder Ones (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1993).

[44] Morris Sheppard in T. Lindsey Baker and Julie P. Baker, The WPA Oklahoma Slave Narratives (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1996), 378-379.

[45] Patsy Perryman in Baker, 315.

[46] Hannah Hicks, “The Diary of Hannah Hicks,” American Scene 13 (1972): 10.

[47] Malucy Bear, quoted in Debo, The Road to Disappearance, 153.

[48] Debo, The Road to Disappearance, 153.

[49] Pea Ridge National Military Park, The Battle of Pea Ridge, 1862 (Rogers, Ark.: The Park, 1963), 3-5; See also William L. Shea, War in the west : Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove (Fort Worth, Tex.: Ryan Place Publishers, 1996); Claire Norris Moody, Battle of Pea Ridge: or Elkhorn Tavern (Little Rock, Arkansas Valley Printing Company, 1956); Roy A. Clifford, “The Indian Regiments in the Battle of Pea Ridge.” Chronicles of Oklahoma 25, no. Winter (1947-48): 314-322; Wiley Britton, The Civil War on the Border (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1899); Annie Heloise Abel, The American Indian as slaveholder and secessionist (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992); Jay Monaghan, Civil War on the Western Border (Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 1955).

[50] R.S. Bevier, History of the First and Second Missouri Brigades, 1861-1862 (St. Louis, n.p., 1879), 92-93. In all probability, these were Drew's Keetoowah's for General Albert Pike had only given specific orders to fight “in their own fashion” to Drew's full-blood brigade. [Official Records, vol. xiii, 819]

[51] Gaines, 89.

[52] Gaines, 90.

[53] Albert Pike, To the Chiefs and People of the Cherokees, Creeks, Seminoles, Chickasaws, and Choctaws, [microform] (Fort McCulloch, OK: n.p., 1862).

[54] Coffin to Dole, March 3, 1862, in Abel, The American Indian as Slaveholder and Secessionist, 279.

[55] Evan Jones to Commissioner William Dole, United States Office of Indian Affairs, Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs 1862 (New York: AMS Press, 1976), 155-158.

[56] Abel, The American Indian in the Civil War: 1862-1865, 92.

[57] David Nichols, Lincoln and the Indians (Columbia, University of Missouri Press, 1978), 38-41.

[58] Abel, The American Indian in the Civil War: 1862-1865, 75.

[59] Britton, The Union Indian Brigade in the Civil War, 49; Nichols, 34-47.

[60] Wardell, 151; Nichols, 38-41.

[61] Abel, The American Indian in the Civil War: 1862-1865, 99.

[62] Nichols, 49.

[63] Debo, A History of the Indians of the United States, 176; McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears, 202.

[64] Abel, The American Indian in the Civil War: 1862-1865, 114; McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears, 202.

[65] Britton, The Union Indian Brigade in the Civil War, 62; Britton, The Civil War on the Border, 299.

[66] Britton, The Union Indian Brigade in the Civil War, 63.

[67] Gaines, 96. Hunter was furious that Lane and his supporters had taken the lead in this Indian expedition. Lane, at every chance, thumbed his nose at Hunter and this further drove Hunter close to the edge. In his furor, Hunter wrote several letters to President Lincoln that he had been bested by Lane and slighted by Lincoln. Lincoln, finding it hard to answer “so ugly a letter in good temper,” suggested to Hunter, “if I dare to make a suggestion I would say you are adopting the best possible way to ruin yourself.” The most serious consequences of the Lane/Hunter struggle was of course the Native Americans who were undersupplied and overextended. [Nichols, 40]

[68] Evan Jones, letters, ABMU, May 12, 1862; Wardell, 152.

[69] Abel, The American Indian in the Civil War: 1862-1865, 108; Kenneth Wiggins Porter, “Billy Bowlegs (Holata Micco) in the Civil War” Florida Historical Quarterly 45 (April, 1967): 390-401.

[70] Chitto Harjo quoted in Debo, A History of the Indians of the United States, 176.

[71] Starr, History of the Cherokee Indians, 160-161.

[72] McLoughlin, Champions of the Cherokees, 403.

[73] Gaines, 99.

[74] Evan Jones to William Dole, January 21, 1862, Ross Papers, Gilcrease Institute, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

[75] Woodward, 275; Britton, The Union Indian Brigade in the Civil War, 64.

[76] Coffin to Dole, April 7, 1862, in Abel, American Indian in the Civil War: 1862-1865, 103; Britton, The Union Indian Brigade in the Civil War, 62

[77] Britton, The Union Indian Brigade in the Civil War, 62.

[78] ibid.

[79] Jack Kilpatrick and Anna G. Kilpatrick, Friends of Thunder: Folktales of the Oklahoma Cherokee (Norman: University of Oklahoma, 1964), 168. The Uktena is a magical giant snake with the horns of a deer which plays a prominent role in the religion of the Southeastern Native Americans. It is believed that an earthquake in the early nineteenth century was attributed to be the rumblings of Uktena which foretold the removal of the people to the Indian Territory west of the Mississippi. The uwod are brown spots taken from the inside of a giant magical lizard in the olden days and serve to protect their holders from harm.

[80] United States War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 130 Volumes, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1900), Volume XIII, 486.

[81] United States War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 130 Volumes, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1900), Volume XIII, 430-431.

[82] Coffin to Dole, June 25, 1862, in Abel, American Indian in the Civil War: 1862-1865, 123.

[83] United States War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 130 Volumes, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1900), Volume XIII, 450.

[84] Wardell, 152.

[85] Debo, A History of the Indians of the United States, 176.

[86] William E. Coffin to John Ross, June 16, 1862, John Ross Collection, Western History Collection, University of Oklahoma.

[87] McLoughlin, Champions of the Cherokees, 402-403.

[88] Britton, The Union Indian Brigade in the Civil War, 65.

[89] Britton, The Civil War on the Border, 301; Franks, Stand Watie, 129.

[90] Britton, The Union Indian Brigade in the Civil War, 65; Franks, Stand Watie, 129.

[91] United States War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 130 Volumes, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1900), Volume XIII, 137.

[92] in Abel, American Indian in the Civil War: 1862-1865, 132; Franks, Stand Watie, 129.

[93] Franks, Stand Watie, 129.

[94] United States War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 130 Volumes, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1900), Volume XIII, 138; Gaines, 104; Grant Foreman, A History of Oklahoma, (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1942), 124; Abel, American Indian in the Civil War: 1862-1865, 132; McLoughlin, Champions of the Cherokees, 403; McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears, 204; Britton, The Civil War on the Border, 301.

[95] Starr, 161-163.

[96] United States War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 130 Volumes, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1900), Volume XIII, 138.

[97] McLoughlin, Champions of the Cherokees, 271.

[98] David Corwin, quoted in McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears, 204.

[99] Gaines, 104; Larry Rampp, “Negro Troop Activity in Indian Territory, 1863-1865” in Chronicles of Oklahoma 47 (1969): 531-39. See also James G. Blunt, “General Blunt's Acoount of His Civil War Experiences Kansas Historical Quarterly I (May, 1932): 243-245; Barney King Neal, Federal Ascendancy in Indian Territory, 1862-1863 (Master's Thesis, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK.,1966); Sharon Dixon Wyant, Colonel William A. Phillips and the Civil War in Indian Territory (Master's Thesis, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, 1967);

[100] Rampp, 534. See also Thomas J. Boyd, The Use of Negro Troops by Kansas During the Civil War (Masters Thesis, Kansas State Teachers College, Pittsburg, Kansas, 1950). It is General David Hunter who is credited with the introduction of the first African-American troops on the side of the Federal forces when he established the First South Carolina Volunteer Regiment in early May of 1862. One wonders if it was not General Hunter's experience with Black troops in the Indian Home Guards that led him to recruit “colored troops” in South Carolina.

[101] The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. 130 Volumes. Washington, D.C., Volume XIII, 486.

[102] Wardell, 154.

[103] ibid.

[104] William P. Ross to John Drew, July 12, 1862, in Drew Papers, Gilcrease Institute, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

[105] The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. 130 Volumes. Washington, D.C., Volume XIII, 138; Britton, The Union Indian Brigade in the Civil War, 65.

[106] Britton, The Union Indian Brigade in the Civil War, 65; Britton, The Civil War on the Border, 302; Franks, Stand Watie, 129.

[107] Abel, The Indian as Participant in the Civil War, 137.

[108] John Ross to Thomas Hindman, Papers of Chief John Ross, 512.

[109] McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears, 205.

[110] United States War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 130 Volumes, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1900), Volume XIII, 162.

[111] Abel, The Indian as Participant in the Civil War, 137; Britton, The Union Indian Brigade in the Civil War, 69; Woodward, 281; Wardell, 155.

[112] Woodward, 278.

[113] Albert Pike, quoted in Gaines, 111.

[114] Abel, The Indian as Participant in the Civil War, 138.

[115] Britton, The Union Indian Brigade in the Civil War, 72.

[116] Frederick Salomon to James Blunt, in Abel, The Indian as Participant in the Civil War, 142; United States War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 130 Volumes, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1900), Volume XIII, 475-476.

[117] Abel, The Indian as Participant in the Civil War, 138; Britton, The Union Indian Brigade in the Civil War, 72; Britton, The Civil War on the Border, 308.

[118] Abel, The Indian as Participant in the Civil War, 138.

[119] As Craig Gaines put it in his The Confederate Cherokees, “Obviously Salomon had little interest in the fate of the Union Indians.” [Gaines, 117]

[120] McLoughlin, Champions of the Cherokees, 404.

[121] United States War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 130 Volumes, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1900), Volume XIII, 477.

[122] Woodward, 281.

[123] United States War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 130 Volumes, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1900), Volume XIII, 512: Woodward, 281; Gaines, 114.

[124] Britton, The Union Indian Brigade in the Civil War, 74.

[125] Gaines, 114.

[126] Britton, The Civil War on the Border, 308.

[127] United States War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 130 Volumes, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1900), Volume XIII, 181-184; Britton, The Civil War on the Border, 310-311; Gaines, 114.

[128] Woodward, 280; Franks, Stand Watie, 129; Wardell, 155.

[129] Gaines, 115.

[130] Britton, The Civil War on the Border, 311.

[131] Stephen Foreman, Journals, July 28, 1862, Western History Collection, University of Oklahoma, Norman Oklahoma.

[132] Stephen Foreman, Journals, August 3, 1862, Western History Collection, University of Oklahoma, Norman Oklahoma.

[133] Stephen Foreman, Journals, July 30, 1862, Western History Collection, University of Oklahoma, Norman Oklahoma.

[134] John Ross to Abraham Lincoln, September 16, 1862, Papers of Chief John Ross, 517.

[135] Perdue, 137; Wardell, 160; Mcloughlin, After the Trail of Tears, 207.

[136] Hannah Hicks, “The Diary of Hannah Hicks,” American Scene 13 (1972): 10.

[137] Franks, 131.

[138] McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears, 207.

[139] Hicks, 8.

[140] Woodward, 281.

[141] Evan Jones, letters, ABMU, September 1, 1862.

[142] Evan Jones to ABMU, Forty Ninth Annual Report, AMBU, July 1863, 288.

[143] Statement of John Ross and Evan Jones, February 15, 1866, in Papers of Chief John Ross, 561.

[144] Huckleberry Downing et. al. to John Ross, January 8, 1863, in Papers of Chief John Ross, 528.

[145] McLoughlin, Champions of the Cherokees, 407.

[146] ibid.

[147] ibid.

[148] Many African-Americans were among the Native American refugees who had fled Indian Territory and were now living in camps in the Southern part of Kansas and Missouri. Daniel Littlefield, in his Africans and Seminoles, notes that “refugee blacks and Indians” spent the winter “in their camps at Neosho Falls and elsewhere.” [Littlefield, ???]

[149] Huckleberry Downing et. al. to John Ross, January 8, 1863, in Papers of Chief John Ross, 528.

[150] ibid.

[151] Evan Jones to ABMU, Forty Ninth Annual Report, AMBU, July 1863, 290.

[152] Statement of John Ross and Evan Jones, February 15, 1866, in Papers of Chief John Ross, 561.

[153] Report of J.M. Williams, Colonel 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry, in Joseph T. Wilson, The Black Phalanx: African American Soldiers in the War of Independence, the War of 1812, and the Civil War, (New York: De Capo Press Inc., 1994) 227.

[154] Williams in Wilson, 228.

[155] Lane quoted in Rampp, 534.

[156] Rampp, 536.

[157] Williams in Wilson, 228.

[158] Williams in Wilson, 231; See also Booker T. Washington, The Story of the Negro: The Rise of the Race from Slavery [Volume I] (New York: Doubleday, Page, and Co., 1909), 323; Albert Castell, “Civil War Kansas and the Negro,” Journal of Negro History Vol LI, January, 1966, No. 1, 135; Patricia L. Faust, ed., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War, (New York: Harper and Row, Co., 1986), 668.

[159] William Truman, quoted in Benjamin Quarles, The Negro in the Civil War [Second Edition], (New York: De Capo Press, Inc., 1989), 115.

[160] Benjamin Quarles, The Negro in the Civil War (New York: De Capo Press, Inc., 1989), 115.

[161] ibid.

[162] Hondon B Hargrove, Black Union Soldiers in the Civil War, (Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, 1988), 52; DanielLittlefield, Africans and Seminoles, 184.

[163] Daniel Littlefield, Africans and Creeks: from the colonial period to the Civil War (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1979), 239.

[164] ibid.

[165] Patricia L. Faust, ed., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper and Row, Co., 1986), 668.

[166] Huckleberry Downing et. al. to John Ross, January 8, 1863, in Papers of Chief John Ross, 528. It must be remembered that Chilly McIntosh had been converted by Evan Jones and his native ministers through the Cherokee Baptist Missionary Society's outreach to the Creek Nation prior to the Civil War. Both Chilly and D.N. McIntosh were affiliated with the Ebenezer Baptist Church and were to become Baptist ministers after the war. There must have been more than a few African Americans among the Creek soldiers.

[167] Abel, The Indian as Participant in the Civil War, 254.

[168] Franks, 135.

[169] McLoughlin, Champions of the Cherokee, 408-409.

[170] Cherokee Nation, Memorial of the Delegates of the Cherokee Nation to the President of the United States and the Senate and House of Representatives in Congress, (Washington, D.C.: Washington Chronicle Print, 1866), 7.

[171] ibid.

[172] ibid.

[173] Haliburton, 132.

[174] McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears, 208.

[175] United States War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 130 Volumes, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1900), Volume XXII, 101.

[176] Debo, The Road to Disappearance, 154.

[177] Debo, The Road to Disappearance, 160; Littlefield, Africans and Creeks: from the colonial period to the Civil War, 239.

[178] North Fork Baptist Church was located in the Creek Nation. It was the church which Reverend Henry Davise of Peavine Baptist Church was sent to do his missionary outreach to the Creek nation on behalf of the Cherokee Baptist Missionary Association.

[179] Debo, The Road to Disappearance, 160

[180] Littlefield, Africans and Creeks: from the Colonial Period to the Civil War, 239.

[181] It is important to remember that the First Indian Home Guard was composed largely of members of the Creek Nation so Ross was quite well acquainted with them and their needs by this time.

[182] McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears, 209.

[183] Alvin Josephy, Civil War on the American Frontier (New York: Vintage Books, 1993), 370-371; Britton, 169-171; Abel, The American Indian in the Civil War, 258-261; Franks, 141; Foreman, History of Oklahoma, 115-117.

[184] Rampp, 536; Britton, Union Indian Brigade, 176; Abel, The Indian as Participant in the Civil War, 259.

[185] Rampp, 536.

[186] McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears, 209.

[187] Stand Watie, quoted in Franks, 136-137.

[188] Franks, 137.

[189] McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears, 211.

[190] ibid.

[191] ibid.

[192] "Keetoowah Laws - April 29, 1859" in Howard Tyner, The Keetoowah Society in Cherokee History. (MA, University of Tulsa, 1949), Appendix A.

[193] Justin Harlin to W.D. Coffin, September 2, 1863 in The Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1963), 179.

[194] Rammp, 537-538.

[195] United States War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 130 Volumes, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1900), Volume XXII, 379-381; see also Rammp, 539-541; Britton, 260-266.

[196] Rampp, 541; Britton, Union Indian Brigade, 268; Abel, The Indian as Participant in the Civil War, 286.

[197] Britton, Union Indian Brigade, 277-278.

[198] James Williams quoted in Britton, The Union Brigade in the Civil War, 276-277.

[199] Rampp, 547.

[200] Britton, The Union Brigade in the Civil War, 282.

[201] “Reminiscences of Aunt Chaney McNair, One-time slave of William Penn Adair” in George Rawick, ed., The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography, (Westport CT.: Greenwood Press, 1972), 213.

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Beneath the Underdog
Are You Kituwah’s Son?
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Chapter Three
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