16 November 2012

Cherokees and the Civil War

Driven West: Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears by A.J. Langguth, 2010, Excerpts

American Civil War

1861: Most full blooded Cherokees did not own slaves. A secret organization with two thousand Cherokees belonged to a secret organization who had adopted the name Keetoowah Society. Outsiders called them “Pins” for the crossed pins they wore on their shirts. The Pins upheld the traditional Cherokee culture and leaned toward supporting the North.

Cherokees of mixed blood often sympathized with the Southern rebels. They had their own faction, the Knights of the Golden Circle, and their leadership fell to Stand Watie, who was commissioned as a colonel in the Confederacy. On the battlefield, Colonel Stand Watie burnished his legend. Confederate President Jefferson Davis appointed him a brigadier general on May 10, 1864. He became the last Confederate general to surrender on June 23, 1865.

Stand Watie

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