Difficulties of the Southern Indians

Difficulties of the Southern Indians

With the retreat of the Indian expedition, the Confederacy was left in nominal control of the Indian Territory, but the situation there was bad. The defeat at Pea Ridge and the subsequent invasion of the Indian Territory (even though the invaders had promptly fallen back to Kansas) had left the Indians in a demoralized condition. The departure of John Ross and the absence of his steadying hand upon the affairs of the Cherokees had also served to increase the disorder among his people. Factionalism increased and reprisals for real or fancied wrongs kept the country in a state of turmoil. Murder and depredations were of almost every-day occurrence. Stand Watie, the ablest leader, kept the field with his troops and carried out raids against the north, but his soldiers were ragged, often hungry, and never had proper arms and equipment. Pike complained bitterly that supplies, arms, and ammunition were not furnished him. Asserting that the supplies had been diverted to other troops, Pike engaged in a violent controversy with General Thomas C. Hindman, who was acting commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department, which he asserted, included the Indian Territory. General Pike also engaged in a quarrel with Hindman's successor, General T. H. Holmes. Pike was at last placed under arrest for insubordination, but he eventually resigned and played no further part in the war in the Indian country until just before the conflict closed.

About the beginning of 1863 the Indian Territory was made a separate military unit with General William Steele in command. Pike had earnestly urged that the Confederacy carry out the provisions of the treaties he had made with the Five Civilized Tribes and had complained bitterly that this had not been done. The justice of his complaints must have been apparent at once to the new commander. He found the Indians discouraged and dissatisfied, and their country devastated and stripped of all supplies. Marauders were everywhere, and people were clamoring for protection against them. Most of the soldiers had been granted furloughs and the few troops left were poorly armed and without adequate clothing, food and equipment. Perhaps the government of the Confederacy should not be blamed for the failure to keep its promises to the Indians, and more than one tends to blame the Federal Government. But, the south, engaged in a life-and-death struggle, could not carry out its treaty pledges to protect the Indians and to furnish them with the means to protect themselves.

OKGenWeb Index Page | USGenWeb Index Page | WorldGenWeb Project Index Page | USGenWeb Archives | OkGenWeb Archives | Twin Territories Project of the OkGenWeb | State and Unknown County Queries | The Civil War in Indian Territory Index Page | Civil War Battle Sites in the Indian Territory | The Civil War in Indian Territory - The Story in Brief | The Shadow of War | The Mission of Albert Pike | Civil War and the Kansas Refugees | The Military Operations of General Pike | The First Indian Expedition | Difficulties of the Southern Indians | Division of the Cherokees | Occupation of the Cherokee Country by the Union | Waning Fortunes of the South | Last Phases of the War | Bibliography

This information has been gathered from research done in several areas. Source information is available on the bibliography page. This page has been designed and put together by Ann Maloney, Bartlesville, OK. If you would like to add anything, please contact me at the address below.

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