American Civil War in the News is a edited review of American Civil War related news and articles, providing collection of hand-picked 1861-1865 era history.

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Indians: Tribes & War - American Civil War

Latest hand-picked Civil War news and articles.

Was Kit Carson a hero or criminal - Sending indians on a deadly march
Almost 150 years after the scorched-earth relocation of Navajos from the Four Corners region, resentment remains. The latest flashpoint is over the name of a 14,165-foot peak in Colorado's Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Kit Carson, the mountain's namesake, in 1863 led forces for the U.S. Army that expelled the Navajo from their hideaways in Arizona's Canyon de Chelly and sent them on a deadly march to a reservation in New Mexico. A proposal arising from the town of Crestone calls for the peak to be renamed "Mount Crestone." Replacing the name Kit Carson would please local residents, who feel "he was a war criminal, not a war hero."

The West's Civil War Indian Campaigns
"The West's Civil War Indian Campaigns," a 3-part series on how the Civil War helped set off fighting between pioneer settlers and the West's Indian tribes, is featured in OldWestNewWest.Com, which focuses on America's Wild West heritage. "The Indian Wars of 1861-1865 are a little-recognized facet of America's Civil War, but it was a struggle that both Union and Confederate troops faced west of the Mississippi River," said Mike Harris. As federal troops were withdrawn from the West to fight Confederate forces in the East, the Indians saw forts being abandoned. "The tribes... thought they had won, so some warriors became even more aggressive."

Civil War and the Indian Wars by Roy Bird
The Civil War included an upsurge of violence in the frontier on the part of the natives living there. U.S. drove the local Indians into action through folly or greed. Still other eruptions were incited by Confederate provocateurs. A few Indian Nations took inspiration from the greater struggle. They joined in, fighting civil wars within their individual nations. "Civil War and the Indian Wars" examines the Indian Wars fought during the American Civil War, year by year, presenting the hostilities involving the United States and different Indian Nations.

American Civil War was slow to end in Indian Territory
With the exception of the Battle of Honey Springs, there were few important battles fought in Indian Territory. However, for the 4 years that the war raged, it took a slow and hard toll on the people in Indian Country. Many small skirmishes took place until federal troops marched down the Texas Road and re-occupied Fort Gibson in 1863. Under General James Blunt, these troops worked to secure Indian Territory for the North. Their victory at Honey Springs basically achieved this. From that point forward, supply raids and guerrilla attacks by gangs such as Quantrill`s Band terrorized the population.

Site of 1864 massacre of Indians dedicated
After years of effort, the place where some 160 Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho were massacred 143 years ago by Colorado militia troops was dedicated as a national historic site. Tribal soldiers wore their uniforms as well as headdresses when they carried in the U.S. and other flags. In 1864, 700 state militia volunteers, hungry for blood in revenge for the killings of several settlers, attacked and killed scores of tribal members at the site and then burned their village. Many of those killed were elderly, women and children. At the time the militia members were regarded by many as heroes; today the episode is considered one of the West's most shameful chapters.

The Cherokee Nation in the Civil War by Clarissa W. Confer
One often forgotten aspect of the Civil War was the war fought in the Indian Territory. Like Texas` invasion of New Mexico in 1861, that theater was so far removed from the mainstream of the war that it failed to register on the national consciousness. For participants, the Civil War in the Indian Territory was all-consuming. Neutrality and nonparticipation were not permitted. "The Cherokee Nation in the Civil War" examines that conflict through the lens of one of the Indian Nations that participated. The Cherokee Nation was the most powerful of the Indian Nations in the US. It was also the one most bitterly divided by the Civil War.

Cherokees cast out sons of black slaves they once owned
Cherokees voted to expel descendants of black slaves they once owned, a move that has exposed the unsavoury role played by some Native Americans during the American Civil War and renewed accusations of racism against the tribe. Members of the Cherokee Nation voted by 77% to limit citizenship to those listed as "Cherokee by blood". The move stripped tribal membership from freedmen, those descended from slaves, and blacks who were married to Cherokees. They have enjoyed full citizenship rights for 141 years. Freedmen were granted full tribal membership under an 1866 treaty that the tribe was forced to sign with the US Government after the Civil War ended.

ill-treatment of Dakota after the Dakota war of 1862   (Article no longer available from the original source)
In Diane Wilson's new memoir, "Spirit Car", Angela Wilson recalls the emotions she felt when she walked the path 1,700 Dakota people took when they were forced to march after the Dakota war of 1862. White people will not find it easy to read "In the Footsteps of Our Ancestors." The essayists, who range from professors to artists, say that what white did to the Dakota was ethnic cleansing. They say that in the name of Manifest Destiny (the idea that whites are superior), the Dakota were forcibly evicted from the state. Wilson's essay, "Decolonizing the 1862 Death Marches," should be required reading in every school.

Medals Awarded to Indian Civil War Hero stealed
Thieves have stolen a pair of presidential medals awarded to a Seneca Indian who wrote the final draft of the surrender terms that ended the Civil War. The medals were awarded after the war to Union officer Ely Parker, the son of an Iroquois chief who became General Ulysses S. Grant's right-hand man during the civil war. The head of the historical society says the items are "extremely valuable." As Grant's adjutant, Parker wrote the final draft of the Confederate surrender terms at Appomattox.

Civil War battles and the Indian Territory
On July 17, 1863 the Battle of Honey Springs gave Union forces control of the Indian Territory for the rest of the Civil War. The battle followed one to the north known as the Battle of Cabin Creek. Confederate General Douglas H. Cooper sent troops to intercept a federal train - with escort of 1,000 troops. The Cherokee leader Stand Watie, the only Indian in the Confederate Army to make general, took about 1,400 men to the place where the train would cross the Grand River. General William Cabell had left Fort Smith with 1,500 Confederate troops. If his forces could cross the Grand River to join Watie the combined forces would be able to capture the train...

Tribal neutrality proved impossible in the Civil War   (Article no longer available from the original source)
When the southern states began to secede from the Union in 1861, the Five Civilized Tribes of Indian Territory found themselves under pressure to join the South with Confederate states on the east and south and only Kansas on the north siding with the Union. Aligning with the South seemed like the expedient thing to do. Yet many members of the tribes wanted to remain neutral and take no part in "the white man`s war." They argued that the Five Tribes should simply stay out of the conflict and then negotiate with whoever was left standing. But their attempt at a neutral stance proved almost impossible to maintain.

Indian who helped to draft the surrender papers at Appomattox   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Ely S. Parker was a Indian of exceptional intellect. In 1851 he was named Grand Sachem, leader, of the Six Nations. In 1860, he met and became friends with Ulysses S. Grant. When the Civil War erupted in April 1861, Parker tried, in vain, to join the Union forces like his friend Grant, whose West Point and Mexican War experience helped him to the rank of colonel. In 1863, Grant secured Parker as a captain of engineers in the U.S. Army. Parker served as Grant`s aide-de-camp during the 1864-65 campaign against Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee`s Army. Parker helped draft the surrender papers Lee signed in April 1865 at Appomattox.