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They Fought Like Veterans: Civil War in Indian Territory 2 by Michael Manning

An Excerpt from the current issue: Volume 31, #2

They Fought Like Veterans

The Civil War in Indian Territory:
September 1863 – June 1865

Michael J. Manning


The brutality of the Civil War in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) tore apart the Five Civilized Tribes as they divided their loyalties between the United States and the Confederacy. The course of the war in the region began with the secession of the states of Arkansas and Texas, the alignment of the Indian Nations with the Southern Confederacy, and the evacuation of Fort Smith, Arkansas, and Indian Territory by the United States Army. Two Union expeditions into the Indian nations in 1862 and 1863 finally led to the reoccupation of Indian Territory north of the Arkansas River, and the Confederates’ evacuation of Fort Smith. The following narrative includes a description of the creation of Indian Territory and a recap of events in the early years of the Civil War, then chronicles the Civil War in Indian Territory from the Confederacy’s loss of Fort Smith on September 1, 1863, through the final surrender in 1865.

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Editor’s Letter: The Civil War in Indian Territory 2

The following is the Editor’s Letter from The Civil War in Indian Territory, Volume 31, #2

Civil War in Indian Territory

The Trans-Mississippi Theater always gets short shrift. I’ve been hearing that for years now, and frankly it’s true. I’ve also discovered that the farther west you go, the more well-rounded Civil Warriors you find. That’s because many, if not most of them, are interested in Gettysburg and Petersburg, as well as Chattanooga, Atlanta and Vicksburg, but also Chustenahlah, Pea Ridge, Baxter Springs, 1st and 2nd Cabin Creek, Honey Springs, and Middle Boggy.

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New Issue Teaser

The Fort Smith Council of 1865

Submitted by Fort Smith National Historic Site
Lisa C. Frost, Superintendent

In September 1865, the U. S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs met with representatives of 13 Indian nations in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The purpose of this historic meeting, known as the Fort Smith Council, was to reestablish formal relations between the tribes and the United States Government in the aftermath of the Civil War. While many of the tribes had signed formal treaties with the Confederacy at the outbreak of the war, they had also internally split into factions along Union or Confederate lines. Indian delegates from the following nations were present at the council meeting: Caddo, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Comanche, Creek, Osage, Quapaw, Seminole, Seneca, Shawnee, Wichita and Wyandotte.

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Merry Christmas!


As 2014 winds to an end, all of us at Blue & Gray wish you a safe and Merry Christmas.

Bermuda Hundred

Volume XXXI, #1 • An Excerpt From:

Bermuda Hundred

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by Herbert Schiller

In the early spring of 1864, the Federal and Confederate armies began preparing for their fourth campaign season. Much had changed in three years of war. The shrunken Confederacy was largely on the defensive. Facing the large Federal Army of the Potomac in the east was Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. In the west, William T. Sherman’s Union forces at Chattanooga, Tennessee, faced Joe Johnston’s Army of Tennessee in northwest Georgia.

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Battle of Tupelo, MS

Volume XXX Issue #6 • An Excerpt From:

The Battle of Tupelo

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by Tom Parson

Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s army—or rather his army group—was on the move. In the first week of May 1864, his blue columns had left their camps around Chattanooga and begun the 120-mile march to Atlanta. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee stood ready, if not able, to halt the Union commander’s endeavors. Sherman’s 98,000 soldiers nearly doubled Johnston’s force of 50,000.

Johnston had no illusions whether he could stand up to the three Union armies as they entered Georgia from the north: a stand up fight was out of the question. What Johnston could do, and in fact did, was to maneuver when he could, fall back when he had to, and wait for his adversary to make a mistake. If he could take advantage of an error on Sherman’s part, Joe Johnston might be able to even the odds.

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Editors Letter: The Campaign and Battle of Tupelo

The following is the Editor’s Letter from The Battle of Tupelo, Volume 30, #6

The Campaign and Battle of Tupelo (or Harrisburg), Miss.

This is an interesting campaign full of twists and turns, revenge, military trickery, displays of incredible human endurance, command disputes with high-drama obstinacy, bungled assaults, new characterizations of an oft-ignored Union commander (and his oddly named troops), and a new perspective on the purpose of the campaign—one that includes the consummate Southern cavalryman Nathan Bedford Forrest.

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The Battle of The Crater

Volume XXX Issue #5 • An Excerpt From:

The Battle of the Crater

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by Emmanuel Dabney

In March 1864, President Abraham Lincoln appointed Ulysses S. Grant to be the new general-in-chief of the Federal forces. The Civil War turned three years old in the spring of 1864, and for Lincoln and the War Department the conflict was no closer to victory than when it started. Despite assertions made in the years since the war that the South was doomed to defeat after the Battle of Gettysburg, the truth is that the Confederacy was still motivated to fight the war. Grant and Lincoln both recognized this and for Lincoln it was particularly important to end the war, as he faced an election in the fall of 1864. General Grant decided to accompany Maj. Gen. George G. Meade’s Army of the Potomac for the spring campaign of 1864.

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Editors Letter: The Battle of the Crater

The Battle of the Crater

This issue features one of the most brutal contests of the Civil War, displaying on the one hand the worst attributes of mankind, and on the other hand the kind of spunk and ingenuity that made America the greatest country on the globe. Then, as usual, politics got in the way to ruin a perfectly good plan.

The campaign in Virginia in the spring of 1864 pits Grant and Lee against each other for the first time. The recently appointed commander of all United States forces chooses to make his headquarters with the armies of the Eastern Theater to face the South’s greatest general.

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The Battle of Franklin

Volume XXX Issue #4 • An Excerpt From:

The Battle of Franklin

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by Eric Jacobson

In the fall of 1864, as the Civil War dragged toward its fourth brutal year, the last great campaign of that epic struggle unfolded across Middle Tennessee. Hood’s Tennessee Campaign, as it became known, saw old antagonists confront one another yet again, as the beleaguered Confederate troops desperately tried to stave off defeat, and Federal soldiers worked feverishly to prevent the war from dragging on and achieve ultimate victory. For nearly 150 years the events which swirled through Tennessee that autumn have been an integral part of Civil War history, yet are sadly overlooked by many. In the past decade great strides have been made to return the campaign to a place of national prominence.

At Spring Hill and Franklin, scenes of high drama, human error, bravery and bloodshed, were fused together in a frantic period of barely 36 hours. As a result, the very names of those places were burned deep into the minds of those who fought, marched, and struggled there. They understood how important it all was, and as we approach the 150th anniversary of Spring Hill and Franklin, the events there deserve the attention they were so long denied.

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