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After the outbreak of the Civil War, in April 1861 Confederate States of America (C.S.A.) President Jefferson Davis assigned Albert Pike to negotiate treaties with the Five Civilized Tribes of Indian Territory, who had been removed from the South in the 1830s. Many of the tribesmen were slaveholders with divided loyalties.

From the Southern point of view Indian Territory was a buffer between Union Kansas and Confederate Texas and a potential source for livestock and grain. In May 1861 the District of Indian Territory, C.S.A., was created. In January 1862 it joined Arkansas and Missouri to form the Trans-Mississippi Department. Throughout the war Indian Territory passed from one district or departmental jurisdiction to another until it became a separate district of the Trans-Mississippi Department in July 1864, with Brig. Gen. Douglas H. Cooper commanding.

By November 1861 Pike had concluded treaties stipulating that the tribes could retain their lands, property, and annuities and would receive supplies and weaponry. Regiments from Texas were sent to defend Indian Territory, whose various commanders included Pike and Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn. The Indians fought as separate units under their own leaders. Notable among them was Stand Watie.

The Confederacy controlled less than half of Indian Territory following the battle of Honey Springs in July 1863. The beleaguered South was unable to send supplies and arms. Tribal warfare destroyed property and left thousands homeless. The Five Civilized Tribes were forced to renegotiate treaties with the United States after the Confederacy's defeat in April 1865.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: LeRoy H. Fischer, ed., The Civil War Era in Indian Territory (Los Angeles: Lorrin L. Morrison, 1974). Fred Hood, "Twilight of the Confederacy in Indian Territory," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 41 (Winter 1963-64). Lary C. Rampp and Donald L. Rampp, The Civil War in the Indian Territory (Austin, Tex.: Presidial Press, 1975). George H. Shirk, "Indian Territory Command in the Civil War," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 45 (Winter 1967-68).

Martha Hartzog

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