Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gen. Stand Watie SCV Camp #915 Calhoun County Georgia


Born at Oothcaloga in the Cherokee Nation, Georgia (near present day
Rome, Georgia) on December 12, 1806, Stand Watie's Cherokee name was
De-ga-ta-ga, or "he stands." He also was known as Isaac S. Watie. He
attended Moravian Mission School at Springplace Georgia, and served
as a clerk of the Cherokee Supreme Court and Speaker of the Cherokee
National Council prior to removal.

As a member of the Ridge-Watie-Boundinot faction of the Cherokee
Nation, Watie supported removal to the Cherokee Nation, West, and
signed the Treaty of New Echota in 1835, in defiance of Principal
Chief John Ross and the majority of the Cherokees. Watie moved to the
Cherokee Nation, West (present-day Oklahoma), in 1837 and settled at
Honey Creek. Following the murders of his uncle Major Ridge, cousin
John Ridge, and brother Elias Boundinot (Buck Watie) in 1839, and his
brother Thomas Watie in 1845, Stand Watie assumed the leadership of
the Ridge-Watie-Boundinot faction and was involved in a long-running
blood feud with the followers of John Ross. He also was a leader of
the Knights of the Golden Circle, which bitterly opposed

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Watie quickly joined the Southern
cause. He was commissioned a colonel on July 12, 1861, and raised a
regiment of Cherokees for service with the Confederate army. Later,
when Chief John Ross signed an alliance with the South, Watie's men
were organized as the Cherokee Regiment of Mounted Rifles. After Ross
fled Indian Territory, Watie was elected principal chief of the
Confederate Cherokees in August 1862.

A portion of Watie's command saw action at Oak Hills (August 10,
1861) in a battle that assured the South's hold on Indian Territory
and made Watie a Confederate military hero. Afterward, Watie helped
drive the pro-Northern Indians out of Indian Territory, and following
the Battle of Chustenahlah (December 26, 1861) he commanded the
pursuit of hte fleeing Federals, led by Opothleyahola, and drove them
into exile in Kansas. Although Watie's men were exempt from service
outside Indian Territory, he led his troops into Arkansas in the
spring of 1861 to stem a Federal invasion of the region. Joining with
Maj. GEn. Earl Van Dorn's command, Watie took part in the bAttle of
Elkhorn Tavern (March 5-6, 1861). On the first day of fighting, the
Southern Cherokees, which were on the left flank of the Confederate
line, captured a battery of Union artillery before being forced to
abandon it. Following the Federal victory, Watie's command screened
the southern withdrawal.

Watie, or troops in his command, participated in eighteen battles and
major skirmishes with Federal troop during the Civil War, including
Cowskin Prairie (April 1862), Old Fort Wayne (October 1862), Webber's
Falls (April 1863), Fort Gibson (May 1863), Cabin Creek (July 1863),
and Gunter's Prairie (August 1864). In addition, his men were engaged
in a multitude of smaller skirmishes and meeting engagements in
Indian Territory and neighboring states. Because of his wide-ranging
raids behind Union lines, Watie tied down thousands of Federal troops
that were badly needed in the East.

Watie's two greatest victories were the capture of the federal steam
boat J.R. Williams on June 15, 1864, and the seizure of $1.5 million
worth of supplies in a federal wagon supply train a the Second battle
of Cabin Creek on September 19, 1864. Watie was promoted to brigadier
general on May 6, 1864, and given command of the first Indian
Brigade. He was the only Indian to achieve the rank of general in the
Civil War. Watie surrendered on June 23, 1865, the last Confederate
general to lay down his arms.

After the war, Watie served as a member of the Southern Cherokee
delegation during the negotiation of the Cherokee Reconstruction
Treaty of 1866. He then abandoned public life and returned to his old
home along Honey Creek. He died on September 9, 1871.

R. Stan Chambers

James Tolbert

Lt. Commander
W.S. "Buddy" Autry