The Civil War in Missouri

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Brigadier General Stand Watie

1861-1865
MHM Photographs and Prints

Native American politics also played an important role in the Civil War. The Cherokee chose to side with the Confederacy and Stand Watie became the only Native American General during the Civil War. Before the war, Stand Watie and a handful of his allies betrayed Cherokee law by signing away their ancestral homeland and agreeing to relocate to Indian Territory in the West. Stand Watie’s action forced a divide in the Cherokee Nation as well as forced the exodus the Cherokee to Oklahoma.General Watie and his Native American troops operated primarily in Indian Territory and Arkansas. They did, however, ally with General Sterling Price of Missouri. In the Battle of Wilson Creek they helped earn the Confederate’s victory that left the Southern half of Missouri contested in the start of the war. They also fought fiercely in at Pea Ridge and Shiloh. General Watie would be the last Confederate general to surrender on June 23, 1865, two month after the battle of Appomattox. After the Civil War Watie remained in exile in the Choctaw Nation until 1867. He then returned to Honey Creek to rebuild his home. He died there on September 9, 1871. He was buried in the Old Ridge Cemetery, later called Polson's Cemetery, in Delaware County, Oklahoma.