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Indian Warriors in the Civil War Even before the Civil War

March 17, 2019 0 Comment

Indian Warriors in the Civil War
Even before the Civil War, Indian and American relations were not amiable due to broken treaties and mistreatment of Indians by Americans. Although the Civil War was fought between the North and the South, Indians contributed to a major part of the war despite their desire to remain neutral (History Central, “Native Americans”). Since Indians lived in areas within the North and the South, it was inevitable that they would be included in the war. Similar to the North and the South, Indians were split into two with whose side they were on, either they were with the Union or with the Confederacy. Even those within the same tribe fought against each other in the Civil War (Military History Now, “Tribe vs. Tribe”). The Indians saw their war effort as a way to end the movement of their own territories to Western territories and to stop discrimination, but Indians also saw the war as a way to stop American expansion (Alexandria City Hall, “We Are All Americans”).
Nearly twenty-thousand Native Americans took part in the Civil War on both the Union and the Confederacy, serving in countless of battles such as Second Bull Run, Spotsylvania, and Antietam (Alexandria City Hall, “We Are All Americans”). Albert Pike, a Confederate officer, often helped tribes, specifically the Creeks in a battle versus court, which in turn made those tribes join the Confederacy in the war (History Central, “Native Americans”). Pike made a treaty with the Chief of the Cherokee Nation, John Ross, that provided more generosity with the Five Civilized Tribes consisting of Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole (History Central, “Native Americans”). Then, he trained those Indian regiments to fight in the Battle of Pea Ridge (History Central, “Native Americans”). Though, after this battle, Indians were restricted to fighting in only Indian territory, and some of them served as Confederate scouts (History Central, “Native Americans”). Stand Watie, who is also known as Standhope Uwatie, was the leader of the Confederate Cherokees and became the only Native American to have a general rank in the Confederacy (Civil War Home, “Stand Watie”). Watie and his forces fought against the Union two months after the war’s end (Military History Now, “Tribe vs. Tribe”).
Regarding the Union, many Indian tribes such as the Seneca, Shawnee, and Iroquois served as scouts or guerrilla warfare fighters (Military History Now, “Tribe vs. Tribe”). The Powhatan Indians acted as land guides and spies for the Army of the Potomac while the Pamunkey were naval pilots during the war (Alexandria City Hall, “We Are All Americans”). Some Indians were put into Indian Home Guard units, which were infantry volunteers, or the United States Colored Troop, which oversaw Indians fighting in the Civil War (Military History Now, “Tribe vs. Tribe”). Ely Parker, a Native American of Seneca, became a lieutenant colonel in the Union army due to his efforts in the war (Military History Now, “Tribe vs. Tribe”). He was a lawyer and was one of the trusted advisers that General Grant had. During General Lee’s surrender in Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia to General Grant, Parker drafted the papers that General Lee would sign for his surrender (Emily Clay, “Native Americans and the Civil War”).
Despite the tremendous war efforts that the Indians contributed to the Civil War, the Indians did not receive much from their contribution. The Indians who sided with the Confederacy had their treaties nullified by the federal government (History Central, “Native Americans”). Similar to the Americans, Indians suffered from long-lasting effect of pain at losing their own people and territories (Emily Clay, “Native Americans and the Civil War”).

Works Cited:
Clay, Emily. “Native Americans and the Civil War.” History in an Hour, 9 June 2013, .
“Native Americans during the Civil War.” History Central, 2018, .
“Native Americans in the Civil War.” Civil War Home, 16 Feb. 2002, .
“Stand Watie.” Civil War Home, 2018, .
“Tribe vs. Tribe – Indigenous Americans in the Civil War.” Military History Now , 1 Aug. 2012, .
“We Are All Americans.” City of Alexandria Virginia, 26 Aug. 2017, .