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.
Mike Manning, author of this issue’s feature article, is Chief Ranger at Fort Donelson National Battlefield in Tennessee. Mike attended college at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma (founded as the capital of the Cherokee Nation), and while working as a volunteer interpreter at Fort Gibson State Historic Site discovered his Civil War passion—Indian Territory.
The Territory came into being as a place to resettle the Five Civilized Tribes from their traditional homelands in the Southern states. The removal to Indian Territory comes down through history as the Trail of Tears. A misconception of the Tribes in their trek to what is now Oklahoma is that they resembled the pop culture image of men with painted faces and wearing loincloths. Many members of the Five Civilized Tribes were very wealthy. They wore suits, transported their fine furniture and other belongings in horse-drawn wagons, and brought their slaves with them from the South.
In 2011 we published Mike’s feature on the Civil War in Indian Territory that covered events from the outbreak of the war in April 1861, the evacuation of Fort Smith, Arkansas, by U. S. troops and its occupation by Confederates, through the retaking of the fort by Union forces more than two years later in September 1863. Turn the page to resume Mike’s narrative that ends with the Final Surrender in June 1865.
David E. Roth