Chronicles of Oklahoma

Skip Navigation

Electronic Publishing Center
Oklahoma Historical Society
Chronicles Homepage
Search all Volumes
Copyright 2001
Purchase an Issue

Table of Contents Index Volume List Search All Volumes Home

Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 1, No. 1
January, 1921
SOME LETTERS OF GENERAL STAND WATIE.

EDWARD E. DALE*

Page 30

One of the most picturesque and interesting figures in the history of the Civil War in Oklahoma is that of the noted Cherokee leader, General Stand Watie. He was born in 1806 in the Old Cherokee Nation in Georgia not far from the site of the present city of Rome. His father was a full blood Cherokee but his mother was half white. The family name was Watie and this boy received a name signifying in the Cherokee tongue “to stand firm,” so that he afterward became known as “Stand” Watie1.

The elder brother of Stand Watie was educated in the mission school at Cornwall, Connecticut and took the name of his benefactor, Elias Boudinot. He became the founder of the Boudinot family in the Cherokee Nation, members of which are still living in Oklahoma.

Stand Watie himself attended a little Moravian mission school at Brainard, near the line between Tennessee and Georgia. He received a fair education and soon became a man of prominence among his people. He was one of the signers of the treaty of 1835 by which the Eastern Cherokee agreed to sell their lands and remove to Oklahoma, and after the assassination of his brother, Elias Boudinot, and his uncle and cousin, Major and John Ridge, which occurred in 1839, Stand Watie became a recognized leader of the “Ridge-Boudinot party” of the Cherokee.

The bitter feud between this group and the “Ross party” was beginning to soften when the Civil War came on to tear open afresh the old wounds made by the removal. The Confederate Government was eager to secure the aid of the Indian





Page 31

tribes occupying Indian Territory and sent General Albert Pike of Arkansas to try to make treaties of alliance with them.

In the Indian country all was confusion. The Choctaw and Chickasaw were nearly all in sympathy with the South, but the Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole were much divided. The result of this division was that late in May, 1861, John Ross, Principal Chief of the Cherokee, issued a proclamation of neutrality,2 and when Pike and General McCulloch appeared in Tahlequah, early in June, the leaders of the Cherokee government refused to treat with them.3 Pike accordingly proceeded at once to the country of the other tribes with whom he quickly made treaties of alliance.4

In the meantime a large element among the Cherokee, especially that group known as the “Ridge-Boudinot faction,” was eager to join the Confederacy. Many young Hotspurs hastened to enlist in General McCulloch’s army in spite of the neutrality proclamation of their principal chief, while others insisted than an alliance should be made at once with the South, and urged Stand Watie to place himself at the head of the Southern party.

This he was willing enough to do. He owned many slaves and was further bound to the South by many ties. But in the meantime a great mass meeting was held at Tahlequah at which Chief Ross stated that he believed the time had come to take preliminary steps to form an alliance with the Confederate States.5 The meeting then voted to leave the matter entirely in the hands of the principal chief and the other regularly constituted authorities of the Cherokee Nation.

This did not please the leaders of the Southern party. They feared Ross quite as much as they did the North. But General Pike soon returned to Tahlequah and early in October









Page 32

he signed, at Park Hill, treaties of alliance with the Cherokee and also with several smaller tribes.6

The negotiation of these treaties did not serve to lessen the prevailing confusion and anarchy in the Indian Territory. There were many Creeks, Seminoles and Cherokees who favored the North. Civil war at once broke out between this group and the Southern Indians, and during the next four years the Indian Country was the scene of many bloody battles and was ravaged and devastated by the armies of both sides as well as by many predatory bands of outlaws and guerillas.

Late in 1861 the Northern Indians were defeated in battle and fled north to Kansas, where they spent the remainder of that winter and all of the following one, of 1862-3, in refugee camps, enduring every form of privation, and dying by hundreds of cold, starvation and disease. Then came a successful invasion of the Cherokee Country by the North and the Southern Cherokee non-combatants were driven from their homes and forced to flee south to the Choctaw Nation and Texas, where they too endured during the last two winters of the war all the horrors that the other faction had borne the two previous winters.7

During all this time Stand Watie was in the field, defending his country and his people against invasion from the North and against bands of ruffians who came to plunder rather than with any definite military object. Almost at the outbreak of the war he was commissioned as Colonel and in 1864 he received his commission as Brigadied General. He was also chosen principal chief of the Cherokee Nation by the Southern wing of the tribe, as in 1863 the National Council and Chief Ross had decided to abrogate the treaty of alliance with the Confederacy and again declare allegiance to the North. The





Page 33

tribe thus became hopelessly divided, and from this time on to the close of the war had two rival governments, one headed by Ross and the other by Stand Watie.

General Stand Watie is said to be the only Indian who ever rose to the rank of Brigadier General. His well known “Indian Brigade” did splendid service for the Confederacy and it is commonly asserted that he was the last Southern officer to yield. Whether this be true or not it is certain that he did not surrender until June 23, 1865, two and a half months after Appomattox and almost a month after General E. Kirby Smith had surrendered the Trans-Mississippi Department to General Canby.8

During the last two years of the war the wife and children of General Stand Watie, like those of almost every other Southern Cherokee, were virtually refugees. Mrs. Watie was a sister of Colonel J. M. Bell, one of the General’s most trusted officers. She was a woman of great energy and resourcefulness. A part of this dark time she spent in Texas with relatives and friends, part of it was spent in the southern part of the Indian Territory, and a part of it with the General in camp.

Among the letters given here there are, in addition to those of Stand Watie himself, several from Mrs. Watie. Others are letters of his gifted nephew, Elias Cornelius Boudinot, who represented the Cherokee Nation in the Confederate Congress at Richmond, and still others are from Stand Watie’s old officers and friends. Each and every letter bears testimony as to the bravery, the kindness of heart, and the sterling character of the gallant General.

These letters are here given just as they were written. In a few instances where entire lack of punctuation has made it necessary to give some study to the subject matter in order to determine the meaning, a comma or period has been supplied



Page 34

merely as a convenience to the reader. But spelling, capitalization, and in all but a few cases, punctuation, are given here exactly as in the original.

General Stand Watie is truly a heroic figure in Oklahoma history. A brave soldier, a tender, loving husband and father, a loyal friend, and a generous foe, he is surely a man whose life and deeds are worthy of our study and admiration.

EDWARD EVERETT DALE.

A. W. Wilson and J. W. Washbourne to Stand Watie9
Fayetteville Ark
May 18th, 1861

Capt. Stand Watie,
Dr. Sir:

Several of our citizens addressed lately a letter to you on behalf of a meeting of the County held in this place, on the 6th of May last, and on behalf of the County and State, urging you, as a private and public citizen of the Cherokee Nation, to join us in our efforts for mutual defence.

Every day strengthens the probability that the soil of the Cherokee People will be wrested from them unless they bow down to Abolitionism and every day convinces us that it is very important that the Cherokee be up and doing to defend their soil, their homes, their firesides, aye their very existence. To this end the State of Arkansas and the Confederate Government will also strive, and bloodless will not be any victory over us. The integrity of the soil of the Southern



Page 35

Indians must and shall be maintained. We shall do all that men can do to so maintain them.

We are happy to inform you in accordance with our promise of said letter that we would afford you all the aid we could that a certain number of guns, good guns, have been granted to the State of Arkansas, for the use of the Cherokees in the defence of their and our frontier. So, push on the good work and train your men and apply for these guns. Under your management they will certainly do effective service for the Cherokee soil and so serve Arkansas as effectually. We earnestly exhort you to take this matter immediately in hand and advise that you should hasten to the organization of your companies.

It is reported that Jim Lane, the notorious Abolitionist, robber, murderer and rascal now disgracing a seat in the old U. S. Senate from Kansas has been recently appointed Cherokee Agent. If this be true, you will know what it portends. The subjugation of the Cherokee to the rule of Abolition, and the overwhelming of the race before the hordes of greedy Republicans. Of course you will all be prepared to repel so distasteful an appointment, and resist all efforts to enslave the Cherokees.

We should be pleased to hear from you, your success in organizing your people and concerning their feelings and intentions in the present state of war. The interest of the Cherokees are identical with ours, we feel them to be so and we will do all in our power to aid and protect them.

Respectfully,
Your Obt. Servt.
A. M. Wilson
J. W. Washbourne.

P. S. Since writing to you I have learned that it is not Lane appointed Cherokee Agent, but that a man, by name of Griffin a Black Republican is appointed Superintendent and Lane is to protect him with an army. It amounts to the same thing, As to the guns, 2500, with large amount of ammunition,

Page 36

have recently been sent up for this region in which I hear the Cherokees are to share. How many guns they may get I do not know. But raise a company and send on the request, that they be furnished with the guns and ammunition. We shall strive to have at least 200 guns sent you.

J. W. Washbourne.
A. W. Wilson.

P. S. Again,
Since the above I hear that President Davis is determined to arm the Cherokees, Creeks and Choctaws. Probably in the course of six or eight weeks there will be many guns for the Cherokees. Two regiments of Arkansas troops will soon be concentrated somewhere near Maysville. Communications from the South part of the State are already arriving here, and the two Regiments will be ready, fully equipped.

We will do our part towards keeping back the Kansas rascals. The Cherokees ought to be silent in their preparations for Lane does not anticipate any opposition from them, so they can the more easily ambush and surprise him & take booty. I have written to the Creeks. They have six companies of warriors ready at call.

J. W. W.

William P. Adair and James M. Bell to Stand Watie
Grand River, Aug. 29th 1861.

Col. Stand Watie,

Dear friend, You have doubtless heard all about Ross’s Convention, which in reality tied up our hands & shut our mouths & put the destiny & every thing connected with the Nation, & our lives &c in the hands of the Executive.10 You no doubt have seen A. Pike’s letter as published to the Chief etc. Pike is disposed to favor us and to disregard the course our executive has taken. The Pins already have more power in



Page 37

their hands than we can bear & if in addition to this they acquire more power by being the Treaty making power, you know our destiny will be inalterably sealed.11 It seems we should guard against this. Now is the time for us to strike, or we will be completely frustrated. Wm. Ross has already sent a runner to see Pike to win him over and every means by Ross is now being used to draw the Agent (Crawford) on his side. Ross’s Resolution adopted at the Convention, endorses. 1st. his neutral policy, 2nd. his correspondence with Gen. McCulloch & Mr. Hubbard Commissioner, & 3rd. they recommend continual friendship as well with the Northern as Southern States hereafter, 4th. they give the Executive the sole right in his wisdom to transact all matters of interest that may pend with the U. S. or Confederate States, 5th. they dont say a word about a Treaty with the Southern Confederacy, which is the most essential thing. Every thing is yet left open at the discreation and “wisdom” of the Executive whether to continue neutral or prolong a Treaty indefinitely or make a Treaty at all or to renew even our covenants with the old North. Under these circumstances our Party, (the “Southern Rights Party”) want you and Dr. J. L. Thompson to go in person and have an interview with Mr. Pike to the end that we may have justice done us, have this pin party broken up, and our rights, provided for and place us if possible at least on an honorable equity with this old Dominant party that has for years had its foot upon our necks. We have selected you for reasons that we will not name on account of modesty, but which will appear obvious to you, from the well known fact that you have had an honorable reputation abroad in the South for years and are well known by A. Pike and many other prominent Statesmen of the South. If you will go, please come right away & see Dr. Thompson as you will see we have no time to spare. I am at this time quite unwell and have not been well for 4 weeks. I just got home yesterday from Tahlequah and am completely



Page 38

worn out, If you can’t go please to send us a note and let us know but if possible you must go.

Yours fraternally,
W. P. Adair.

P. S. If you see J. S. Night please to tell him for me that if I do not get to Delaware Circuit Court next month to have his case put off as in all probability I will not be able to be present.

Yours.
W. P. Adair.

Col. Stand. Watie
Dr. Sir:

There is one thing to which Wm. P. Adair has not adverted and that is Ross has ordered the raising of twelve hundred men, John Drew Col. Tom Pegg Lieut Col. Wm. P. Ross Major. now I have been under the impression that these were commissioned by the Confederate States. It will require a rapid and prompt movement on our part or else we are done up. All of our work will have been in vain, our prospects destroyed, our rights disregarded, and we will be slaves to Ross’s tyranny write back immediately what we must do, it wont do for you to hold back, declare yourself ready to serve your country in what ever capacity we may want you.

Yours truly
James M. Bell.12

Stand Watie Esqr.
    Blue Springs D. D. C. N.

E. C. Boudinot to Stand Watie
Little Rock
Jan. 23, 1863.

Dear Uncle,

I delayed proceeding to Richmond until I could know some-



Page 39

thing definite concerning the fate of our army here, upon which rested the only hope of our country. I wished to carry such intelligence of the State of Affairs as would enable me to do more at Richmond than I could otherwise.13 Marmadukes success in Missouri (the taking of Springfield and Rolla) Van Dorn’s splendid raids on Holly Springs and Memphis, the attitude of Kentucky in regard to the emancipation proclamation, and many other matters that I might mention relieves my anxiety for the Nation and the fate of the Confederate States. An early peace I think beyond doubt, is inevitable. The Post of Arkansas was carried by the Feds, & Churchill and his army, 3,500 men taken prisoners. But their reverses elsewhere caused them to abandon in haste both the Arkansas and White rivers, if they should come to Little Rock, and with the present stage of water they could do so, they would be compelled to abandon it as soon as the river fell. In prospect of early peace it is all important that we should maintain our civil and military organization. I have procured a copy of the Late Treaty and find that such sums of money as may be due the Cherokees will be paid to any person authorized to receive it, by the “Constituted authorities of the Cherokee Nation,” A good deal of money is due us, and I suggest that the convention assemble and adopt the accompanying resolution authorizing me to receive such moneys, if they will pass this ordinance I am satisfied I can get the money, and with a full treasury you know what new life will be infused into our infant government.

Your buggy was taken from Fort Smith and run down to Judge Wheelers to keep it from falling into the hands of the enemy, in the general confusion, panic and stealage going



Page 40

on at Fort Smith I think it well it was taken off, though it doubtless has put you to much inconvenience. Wheeler lives 30 miles from Fort Smith nearly on the Waldron road. If John has got back you might send him home leading a horse, and he could get it for you. I will keep you posted.

As ever Yours—
Cornelius.

P. S. If the convention adopts the ordinance send me an official letter as Chief, enclosing the ordinance, Genl. Cooper will send it if you have no other way.

Boudinot.

Mrs. Sarah C. Watie to Stand Watie
June 8th 1863

My dear half

I have just got home from Rusk and found Grady here and a letter, from you dated the 27th of April it gave me a great deal of pleasure to know that you still have time to write and cast a thought on home and home folks Mr. Kelly and W. Fields will start as soon as I finish my letter. I have not had a chance to write you a long letter since you left. Grady tells me that Charles and Saladin have killed a prisiner write and tell me who it was and how it was, tell my boys to always show mercy as they expect to find God merciful to them.14 I do hate to hear such things it almost runs me crazy to hear such things I find myself almost dead sometimes thinking about it. I am afraid that Saladin never will value human life as he ought. If you should ever catch William Ross dont have him killed I



Page 41

know how bad his mother would feel but keep him till the war is over. I know they all deserve death but I do feel for his old mother and then I want them to know that you do not want to kill them just to get them out of your way. I want them to know you are not afraid of there influence. Always do as near right as you can. I feel sorry that you have such a bad chance and so much to do be careful of yourself. We have not a bit of water here we almost starve for water. Old man Martin is sick I have not seen him since you left. he started the next day after you left and went to some house some fourteen miles of. I expect he will die. He has the consumption. Sister Nancy I do not think will live through the summer she wants me to go and stay with her while she lives. She cant walk across the house tell Major Bradley to hunt me up and I will take care of him if I go to Rusk15 for the summer. I will get me a house in Bellview so the children can go to school it (is) impossible for (me) to stay here I will get some one to stay and take care of our corn it will do to fatten our horses you must write every chance and direct it to Lanagin and let him mail it to Rusk Bellview, it looks like I cant live and not hear from you. You must write and tell me when it will be safe to come. I sent the bay horse the black was to poor to go. I will bring him. you can either send that back or keep him till I come. I can sell him for six hundred here I have not time to say good by, yours

S. C. Watie.

Write soon.

Stand Watie to Mrs. Stand Watie
Camp near North Fork
Nov. 12th, 1863

My dear Sally

I have not heard from you since your letter brought in by Anderson. When Medlock went away I was out on a scout.



Page 42

I went to Tahlequah and Park Hill. Took Dannie Hicks and John Ross. Would not allow them killed because you said Wm. Ross must not be killed on old Mrs. Jack Ross’s account.16 Killed a few Pins in Tahlequah. They had been holding council. I had the old council house set on fire and burnt down, also John Ross’s house. Poor Andy Nave was killed. He refused to surrender and was shot by Dick Fields. I felt sorry as he used to be quite friendly towards me before the war, but it could not be helped. I would great deal rather have taken him prisoner Since my return I have been sick but now good deal better. Another scout has since been made to Tahlequah under Battles. He returned today. They found some negro soldiers at Park Hill, killed two and two white men. They brought in some of Ross’s negroes.

There is a grand council of the different (tribes) to be held at Armstrong Academy on the 16th.17 Would like to attend but cant leave the command. Since Steele’s and Cooper’s retreat from Fort Smith I have been placed in command of the Indian troops (all) but Choctaws.18.

When I first sat down to write I thought I would send you a long letter but I am annoyed almost to death by people calling on me on business of various kinds, this and that,

I will send you pork enough to do you in a few days. I have concluded to have the hogs killed here and the meat hauled to you. You need not try to buy any. I can get it here.

A few days ago I received a letter from Sally Paschal. She said she had written to us and received no answer. Thinks per-








Page 43

haps we were displeased with her about something. I am sorry we did not write, it seemed to me you did. I will write to her soon. Let me hear from you often and let me know how you are all doing. Whenever the troops go into winter quarters I will go home to you. I have not been as well this fall as I used to. I cant get rid of this bad cough. Saladin is well. He is going to start in the morning with a party under Mose Fry on a scout to Fort Smith. Fry is not dead but is now a Major. He commands a battalion. I will write soon again.

Love to the little ones and everybody else.19

Your husband
Stand Watie

Elias Cornelius Boudinot to Stand Watie
House of Representatives
Richmond, Va. Jany. 24, 1864

Dear Uncle

I regret exceedingly that I have not been able to forward money sooner. Mr. Scott did not make the arrangement that I expected, and he promised, when we left Shreveport, so I was compelled to introduce a bill to that especial end.20 It passed with but one dissenting vote, and, has but just received the approval of the President. No one unacquainted with legislative delays will appreciate the embarrassment under which I have labored. I have procured the money at last without assistance, and hope our Commissioners will make it go as far as possible, for it must be borne in mind that -this money will have to be returned after the war, or else the C. S. will retain





Page 44

the amount out of moneys that may then be collectable, and that this $100,000, Confederate is the representation of $100,000 gold. Our claims for indemnity under the treaty are not effected by this loan.

Congress is making slow preparation to meet the enemy in the Spring from the tone of Northern papers the Yankees believe they have us subjugated already, and are quarreling among themselves about what shall be done with us. Lee & Johnson, will undeceive them in the Spring. 150000 men completely investing Charleston might starve it out, and I think that is the only way it can be taken.

I insisted on Genl. Steele’s removal as soon as I arrived here last November, a few weeks since Rev. Robinson from the Chickasaw Nation came on with Sundry petitions, praying that Cooper be promoted and placed in command of the Indian Territory21 he said he represented the wishes and sentiment of all the Indians. Cherokees as well as Choctaws, and that it was the opinion of your best friends that you were incompetent to command a brigade, and hardly able to command a regiment.22 these friends of yours I ascertained to be Judge Keys, Judge Taylor, Mackay, Drew, Parks, Bob and other warm friends; Robinson I found to be a simple fellow he goes home under the impression that he accomplished much, when in reality he did nothing. I told the President that while I did not think Cooper the best General we could select for the command of our Dept. we infinitely preferred him to Steele. And I was assured Steele should be removed long before Robinson arrived. My plan which I have submitted to the President is to place Price in command of the Dept. of Mo. and the Indian Country, give him all the Mo. Infantry skeleton regts., let Cooper com-





Page 45

mand the brigade of white troops and organize the Indians into three small brigades to be commanded by citizens of the several Nations. The President told me he was much pleased with my scheme, and has written to Kirby Smith about it; if Price will accept, I think there is little doubt but he will be assigned to that command, in spite of Robinson’s threats that, if Cooper is not made the commander in chief all the Indians will desert the cause. Judge Dick Fields is here he has not told me his business perhaps, he has a delicacy in telling me he is the bearer of dispatches from a secret caucus which affected to represent the Cherokee people, recommending Cooper for Major Genl. and declaring that I had lost the confidence of the Cherokee people, which they would testify to by electing another delegate, bah! I can laugh at all such plots. I will be with you in May or June by that time I shall leave done all for our country, that I am able to do here. I shall succeed in collecting from the State of Va. $13500, which I will carry with me to our commissioners. Everything is extravagantly high here. My board costs me $300 per month, while I get $230, pay, so you see I am not making a pile being congressman, board at the principal hotels $20, per day. The Sec. of War has decided that Crawford and Vore must elect which position they will hold, Q. M. or Agent, and that they cannot hold both.23

The Yankees will summon all their energies in the Spring to take Richmond and Atlanta, McClellan is likely to be their conservative candidate for President, and either Lincoln or Grant the radical, the electoral votes of La. Arks. Kentucky, Tenn, & Maryland will be thrown for Lincoln or Grant. McClellan stands no chance in these States, although he alone is in favor of giving the South her Constitutional rights. One tenth of the population of these States is allowed to represent the whole.

I wish you would forward as soon as possible a statement of the condition of your forces, whether you have a battalion organized toward your third regiment &c.



Page 46

Give your letter to Scott and he will forward it.

My regards to all the boys.

As ever, Affly.
Yr. nephew
Cornelius.

P. S. I have introduced two bills to provide for the payment of all Q. M. Commissary and ordnance accts. in the Ind. country whether regular or otherwise, also a bill to pay the dead soldiers accts. in a more summary manner than now provided for. I will send a copy of the bill introduced by me and adopted, providing for elections to fill vacancies &c.

C.

Stand Watie to Mrs. Stand Watie
Camp Watie on Middle Boggy
April 24th 1864.

My Dear Sallie,

Captain Alberty is going to Rusk and he will take this letter. News from all quarters is very cheering but you have heard all so I will only relate what is going on here. The wild Indians from Kansas are getting to be very troublesome on the western border. Col. Adair crossed Arkansas river below Gibson but I have not heard from him since; a few men left off from him and returned they fell in with some pins one of their number young Bent is supposed to be killed. Adair has stirred up the Pins no doubt before now. None but Creeks are at Gibson part of the pin Regts have gone to Scullyville.

Two men and two women came out from Fort Smith a few days since they reported the Feds there about 800 a few days after two young boys came out they report the same story. All agree that the Feds are short of provisions, since the failure of the enemy to occupy Texas. Troops at Fort Smith and Gibson, I think will act on the defencive. We are now ready to move, only waiting for orders. Quantrell crossed the Arkansas river near the Creek Agency and killed eight men (Creeks) one of them shot a little boy and killed him. Some of the Creeks who were along returned to-

Page 47

day and brought this news.24 I have always been opposed to killing women and children although our enemies have done it, yet I shall always protest against any acts of that kind. Two days ago a part of Quantrells men fired on the guard at Boggy. Killed one man and wounded another.

A few days ago a party of Missourians took off Arch Shelton’s black boy (Peter) he was recaptured by some men below in the affray Wiley Forester was killed. No propperty is safe anywhere, stealing and open robbery is of every days occurrence.

I am very tired of this camp we have very bad water.

After Parks death all sorts of lies were told that I had planned everything.25 I am sorry that I should be charged in public of an act of that kind but it seems that is my doom let me act as I will my conduct is always considered wrong no charity was ever shown me yet I have lived through it and I trust and hope that justice land right will be meeted out to me some day. Although these things have been heaped upon me and (it) would be supposed that I become hardened and would be reckless but it still hurts my feelings. I am not a murderer.

Sometimes I examine myself throughly and I will always come to the conclusion that I am not such a bad man at last as I am looked upon. God will give me justice if I am to be punished for the opinions of other people, who do not know my heart I cant help it. If I commit an error I do it without bad intention. My great crime in the world is blunder I will get into scrapes without intention or any bad motive. I call upon my God to judge me, he knows that I love my friends and above all others my wife and children, the, oppinion of the world to contrary notwithstanding. Love to the little ones, and my friends.





Page 48

Let me hear from you, if possible I will write again before I get off too far.

Your affectionate husband.
Stand

Mrs. Watie to Stand Watie
Rusk
May 27, 1864.

My dear husband,

I have just came from Susanah McNairs she will not last longer than tomorrow I felt sorry to see her for she was my earliest friends she was the friend of my childhood it was long before either of us could speak; she says you have come at last I told her yes that was all I could say. I have not been well since I saw you part of the time I was very bad but now I feel a great deal better I will stay here in this part of the country till July then I expect to hear from you and if you think there will be peace I will go back as far as I was. it is ten times as hard to get a long here as there. I am not well enough to do anything in the way of making a living I will do well to save myself alive for my children Nancy is still very feable just can walk about the house all the rest are well I am sorry that Oakes could not buy a load but perhaps he can get enough to make a load at Sulphur Springs you must gouvern him you can talk better than I can but I will watch for a chance to buy but no one will sell anything for the money every one wants the new issue.26 I do not know what they will do with the money if it wont buy what we want. just at this time you cant get anything with it borde nor any thing else I will write the neighbourhood news by Lucian I am not well enough at this time to write much.



Page 49

May I use those books for the children to write on it will do them more good than any thing else.27

From your affectionate wife
S. C. Watie.

Stand Watie to Mrs. Watie
Camp Jumper 10 miles north of Perryville.
June 1st, 1864.

My dear Sallie:

In my last I promised to write again soon as I should return from Schullyville. I have been back four or five days found the Pins had left a day or two before and I was not very sorry for it. They had been strongly posted, had a fight come off we would have certainly lost good many men, but it seemed they had taken an alarm and left in a hurry as they had left some commissaries and tools they had been working with on the fortification. A place was picketed near the commissary house behind that large stone house near where you lived, all the houses around that place had port holes cut to shoot out of, the picketing was out of green timber sunk in the ground two feet and large logs rolled against them all around on the outside, two platforms for artillery. The boys burnt every house that had a port hole in it and destroyed the fort much as they could. The Pins are now near the river opposite to Fort Smith, Creeks and few other troops about 1200 at Gibson. Lieut. Col. James Bell took a scout with a hundred men to near Fort Smith, killed one notorious Captain by the name of Gibbons who was a terror to the southern people and brought in three Feds prisoners. Arkansas river is very high, a portion of the cavalry force of my command is on the other side of the Canadian. Cooper with the Choctaws, Gans Brigade, is at Johnsons Station. Maxey is at Doaksville. There are some four thousand men at Fort Smith. The main army of the Federals at Little Rock. It cannot be long before a general move is made in the direction of Arkansas river. The union citizens of Washington and Benton Coun-



Page 50

ties are moving out north. A letter frown Mr. Wheeler to John brings the sad news of the death of Mary Ann, her28 little girl had died a few days before. John took it very hard. Saladin has been sick but is now well ready as he says for a fight. I received a letter from Ann Shelton. I felt better after receiving it, I was very uneasy after seeing Richard, he told me that you was very sick, but Ann tells me you had got better. Tell her that I admire her medical skill, she says she burnt you, how did she do it? did she stick a coal of fire to your side? She must have a Diploma. If anything, such as calico or other finery can be had she shall be remembered. Joe Martin and Hooley have gone after cotton and wool cards.29 I will write whenever opportunity presents itself. Jim has written to Ann, I will write to her at some other time. Write whenever you can. I feel anxious to hear from the children. In my next I may have something of interest to tell you from our country. I rather look for this war to end with this year 1864. The period will then have been time times & half a time some where about the beginning of September.30

Write Soon,
Your affectionate husband,
Stand.

Mrs. Watie to Stand Watie
Rusk Co., Texas31
June 12, 1864.









Page 51

My dear husband.

I have not been well enough to write much since I came here sometimes I feel well for a day or two then worse. I dont hear from you at all and that troubles me and all things put together keeps me in such low spirits that I can’t mend. I have been very bad of ever since I left Jarratts there is some one coming in every few days but none of them can tell me any thing where you are tell me whether I had better get a place or not and where. I thought if you thought best I would get a place by the time you could come, if you could come this fall I would go back to Lamar county. I have no idea that you can leave long enough to come here. I do wish you would leave the service and let them see whether they can do so well without you as some seam to think. As for me I want some to learn how well they will do for I dont feel as if they treat you right so let them go where they want to go as for the Nation I believe it is bound to go to the dogs and the more one does to save it the more blame they will have to bear. I dont never expect to sit down in peace among them and if I could I would not for my weight in gold for I am tired of it and if nothing better than the last few years remains for me why I have no desire to live, if it was not for Jack and Ninny, I would rather die than always live in dread as we did it is no pleasure. I would like to live a short time in peace just to see how it would be. I would like to feel free once in life againe and feel no dread of war or any other trouble. You wrote to me you would meet me at Sheltons but I have no idea you will be there so soon but write to me and tell me when you can be there or in that neighborhood and I will go. I do hope the war will end this year. I will try and get some where close to a school so that the children can go from home. They are to small to bord out long at the time. I will try and have them clothes enough for winter but that is all I can

Page 52

do for I cant spin a bit myself nor do I expect I can if I remain weak as I am. Tell Saladin he must shift for his clothes for I cant buy any thing at all. Oakes went back without any load from here. I told him to take what he had and buy a load at Sulphur Springs and hurry back to camp, I don’t know whether he can buy anything that will pay or not. I will watch and if I can I will buy that tobacco. I cant buy one thing with old money. You must send me some that will pass I told Oakes to trade on that he had and sell what he bought for new I have not sold my horses yet. I cant see how I can do without them unless I was at home and stay there. I had mind to go back to Paris, it is (so) far from you, I can’t hear anything but you can tell better than I whether it would be best or not. Write me a long letter and tell me everything that is going on. Sister Nancy is no better than she was last summer. She is very weak but does not cough much like most people with her disease though she does not seam to have the real consumtion but it is almost the same. I do not think that she will live long though she may last a year or two. And she may not last a month. Some days she does very well and others not so well. I have not heard any news that would interest you only that Joe Buffington wrote her aunt Nancy an insulting letter it made the old lady hot. She said they were determined to make her mean just as she was going to die and if it sent her to the devil she did not want her to come here she says they have tormented her what time she lived here. I will write again soon. Be sure and write. Jack sends love and a blossom to she says kiss the letter. Shake hands with the letter for Jack.

S. W.

Mrs. Watie to Stand Watie
Lamar, Oct. 9 1864.

My Dear,

I am here in this neighborhood of good old people but we are doing nothing yet. Oakes has been sick for two months. I intended to sow wheat as soon as I can I do

Page 53

think it is not worth my time to try to do much these times it weares me out just to look around and see how we are to do. I thought I would send you some clothes but I hear that you have done better than to wait on me for them.32 Well I dont feel a bit like writing this because I can not write what I want to say. I have been looking for you to send me some brown domestic and some callico I have not a sheet till I get it, it is all I can do to keep clothes for our children. I wanted to send them to school but the board is 200 a month apiece or 12 in provision, what must I do. I must have your advice on it.33 I saw Cornelius Boudinot the other day he will be here in a few days he will start to Richmond from here. He says Lincoln has commissioners at Richmond now and he wants to get back as soon as he can so as to secure our interest there. I want you to be certain and send me some domestic enough to do me two years. I want you to come as soon as you can, I am sick and tired of the world, I cant write it is to cold to sit out doors and the children talk so much that it pesters me to death if you want Oakes write. I thought I would sow wheat first if I can make any rise of tobaco I will send him but I cant do anything for the want of money I have not a dime of money but old Buck Jones is alive at home just as good as can be. He is all right so far. He wont let me want for anything. I guess I can do just about as well as any body else it is a saying that Mrs. W. can get along where others will sink, you know that to be so dont you. I will have to look to you for advise about the childrens schooling. I don’t know how about the board it is high everywhere Cornelius wants Wataca





Page 54

and Nancy to go this winter and the next time he comes he wants to take them with him, you are the right judge write once a week by mail and I will do the same after this, if you can come home this fall do so.

Yours as ever
S. C. Watie.

Elias Cornelius Boudinot to Stand Watie
Shreveport, La. May 11, 1865.

Dear Uncle,

I arrived here two days ago, and will probably leave to day for Washington Arks. where I shall leave my extra bagage, and as soon thereafter as possible will proceed to Doaksville where I understand you are now.

I have had a long and tedious journey from Richmond, having left there on the 18th of March and lost no time unnecessarily on the way.

I got a bill through Congress requiring Genl Smith to turn over to the Cherokee—300, worth of cotton, specie value.34 Another was also passed making the same provisions for the other nations to the extent of their annuities. I have seen Genl Smith, who promises to conform speedily to these provisions of the bill, he has gone to Marshall to see the Treasury Agent and will write to me, where, and how soon the cotton can be delivered.

It is important that we secure this cotton and export it if possible before the general crash on this side of the river, which, between you and I will take place this summer. I have nothing to do and am willing to devote my time and energies to this business if you will call your Executive Council together and give me the requisite authority.

It is a hurculean task, and the probability is, nay the certainty is, we will have to find our transportation. I think I can do this and turn over for the benefit of our people the full amount of this years annuities in coin. I suggested to



Page 55

Genl Smith an arrangement by which the cotton could be taken out of Red River and thus save time and expense, but he anticipates a movement of the enemy up the river soon, which would render such a scheme impracticable. If you see fit to intrust the matter with me I must not be trammeled by any superior authority, but must be allowed to carry out my own plans without dictation.

The surrender of Lee and Johnson virtually puts an end to the war on the other side of the river. The people from Virginia to the Miss. river are willing to try the experiment of absolute submission and return to the old Union. Gen Smith in my opinion will hold on if possible a month or two yet, until the hopelessness of further resistance is apparent to the world, before he will yield the contest.35

From all that I learn his army will fall to pieces. The war will close in some shape by the 1st day of August, unless the old story of foreign intervention should be verified. Our policy should be to remain still and watch the current of events. Cooper is Superintendent.

Aff’ly Yr. Nephew,
Cornelius.

Congress voted you thanks for the capture of the train last fall.36 I had a bill passed also redeeming all the old issue, but that is of but little moment now.

C.

Mrs. Watie to Stand Watie
Lamar Co. Tx.
May 21, 1865.

My—(dear Husband)

We all feel disappointed at not hearing from you as one week has passed and no word yet we hear all kinds of rumors






Page 56

and none satisfactory to us. we heard you was captured and have not heard any thing to the contrary we hear that Gen K. Smith has surrendered and then we hear he has not so we dont know what to believe. do let us know all that you know for certain if it is for the worst let us know it so we can be prepared for it. if I have to fall among the feds I do not want to be among old Blunts set for the Pins will be mean enough and what is your prospect.37 I hear that they have set a price on several of there heads and you are encluded; that is the rumor I do not want people to believe it for some of them would be after it. I hear that Cooper will not give you any supplies. if he does not I believe that they all are speculating of it and I hope that the last of them will sink. I do not want you to do any thing of that kind I would live on bread and water rather than have it said you had speculated of your people I believe you have always done what you thought best for your people and I want it to die out that bad belief. if I thought you was working for nothing but to fill your pocket it would trouble me a great deal but I know it is not else it would have been filled before this time. I know that you are capable of making a living any where if we are let alone after the war is over.

Write soon and send it. I do not know what to believe. If you can get any specie get it for we cant get any thing for confederate money here and if we have to get away from here which I fear we will I dont know what we will do. my notion is that we cannot stay here for the robers. My black horse is not found yet I am all the time afraid the mules will be gone.

Write all, we are all sold out I believe.38

S. C. W.

Report says Jeff Davis is at Shreveport.





Page 57

Stand Watie to Mrs. Watie
Jones’s June 23rd 1865

Dear Sallie

We leave this morning; intend to go as far as Jarretts. have agreed upon the cessation of hostilities with the Comrs. they will leave tomorrow—Genl Smith had surrendered the whole department on the 26th day of May— The Grand Council will convene 1st day of Septr. when a comr. from Washington is expected to arrive. I will return home soon as our council is over at Nail’s Mill. Jumper and Checota are expected in today39 try to have Cornelius at your house next week. I must see him.

Stand

Thomas F. Anderson to Stand Watie
Near Waco, McLennan County, Texas,
Febr. 19th 1866.

Genl. Stand Watie,

Dear Sir, I saw a Mr Conway from Greyson County a few days ago on his way to Austin, from which place he will return here in two or three days. He informed me that you were living in the Choctaw Nation a few miles west of Armstrong Academy and promised me to have a letter forwarded to you, Personally I have no other motive for writing, than such as would induce one to write to a friend, if you will permit me to include myself in the number of those who truly esteem you.40





Page 58

But I have been requested by Adam Bibles and Downing, whom you both know as citizens to endeavor to get them authentic information in regard to the prospects of the Southern Cherokees. Both wish to return to the Nation this Spring, but, on account of the thousand and one rumors in circulation, do not know what to depend upon and would like to see their way clear. And I confess as much anxiety on the subject for my own part, as they or anybody else can possibly feel. I find it hard to shake off old associations and cannot help feeling identified with the people among whom I had the honor to serve during our late war. And when, homeless as I am, I think of a future home, I am abound to say that the United States proper, possess no attraction and hold out no inducement to me to live there in future and to live contented.

I have had a very tedious time of it here with my shattered leg, but am now doing as well as I could expect and can now begin to use it some. I would like very much to see you again before I go home this spring and will probably come up with Mr. Bibles. He is anxious to learn at what time you will all start up to your old home, so as to be there in time to go up with you. If however matters are not so arranged as to induce the Southern Cherokees to return, he desires to know, so as to enable him to shape his course accordingly.

Since I came here, I have written several letters to you, and fear that I have annoyed you. But I beg you to believe that such has not been my intention. Outside of my own family, such as I look upon as my best friends are among your people and among them, I can say in all sincerity, that you hold the first place, I know that you will understand me and receive this as full apology if you have thought me guilty of any boring.

I would like to hear from Saladin and other friends. If you know P. G. Lynch’s address, please give it to me.

I have no news whatever. I hear frequently from my family, since the mails have again begun to go with something like regularity. They are well, but getting along about

Page 59

as bad as the majority of impoverished families east of Mississippi.

There are now a company of U. S. regular Soldiers stationed at Waco and the probability is that they will remain there for an indefinite time or until Messrs. Sumner, Stevens & Co. choose to admit Texas as a State into the Union. The Convention here is in session but I have not heard from Austin lately.

Please answer this as soon as possible and address to me at “Waco, McLennan,Co. care of Danl Aerl.”

With my sincere respect to your family and begging you to remember me to other old friends, believe me, Genl,

Your friend & Obt. Servt.
Thos. F. Anderson.

Return to top


Electronic Publishing Center | OSU Home | Search this Site