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.
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.
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.