BOTH sides raised Indian regiments; at least 5,500 redskin cavalrymen were recruited by the Confederacy, and around 4,000 served in the Union infantry. The South recruited Indians much earlier than the North, promising the creation of an all-Indian nation in what is now Oklahoma. Many of the Indian tribes in this area were originally Southern, owning negro slaves, and had been deported West by the Federal Government with an escort of the army now fighting the Confederacy. Leading figure in the raising of Southern Indian units was Brigadier-General Albert Pike, a white man who was made commander of the Confederate Department of Indian Territory. He formed the Indians into regiments and battalions on tribal lines.
The official records list the following Confederate Indian units. 1st Cherokee Cavalry 1st Cherokee Regiment
2nd Cherokee Mounted Rifles (Colonel Stand Watie, three-quarters Cherokee and later to be Brigadier-General, and one of the last Confederates to surrender on June 23, 1865. The men were mostly half-breeds).
Drews Cherokee Mounted Rifles (1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles; Colonel
1st Choctaw Cavalry War Regiment (In 1864, the 2nd Choctaw Cavalry
Regiment) 3rd Choctaw Regiment
1st Chocsaw and Chickasaw Mounted Rifles (Colonel Douglas H. Cooper) 1st Creek Cavalry Battalion
1st Creek Regiment (1st Creek Regiment Mounted Volunteers; Colonel
D. N. Mcintosh, who was part Scots, part Creek) 2nd Creek Regiments (2nd Creek Regiment Mounted Volunteers; Lieutenant-Colonel C. Mcintosh, brother of the 1st's commander) Kenards Creek Squadron McSmiths Creek Company Osage Battalion (Major Broke Arm)
1st Seminole Cavalry Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel John Jumper) Except for Pike and Cooper ail officers were Indian or part Indian. Some Cherokees in the Carolinas served as Scouts for the Confederates in the South-east.
The figure on the left is a Confederate Indian trooper wearing a fringed Indian shirt which could have been any shade of brown, and wrap-around legging trousers with t.'ie distinctive triangular shaped flap at the bottom. Equipment consisted of a flap-over holster, on a low-slung belt, to hold the favoured revolver, and a large knife carried in a sheath (not visible) in the trouser belt. The hair is worn long and loose in Indian style. Feathers in the head band were for Indians only, but feathers in hats were often worn by white troopers.
On the right is a Corporal of a Union Indian regiment, wearing the regulation kepi, fatigue blouse and trousers with cap box and waist belt. Non-regulation items were the knife in a beaded and fringed sheath, head band and moccasins. The blanket roll is an indication of the poor equipment issued to the Indians, in this case replacing the knapsack and cross belt, etc. The kepi has no infantry insignia—indeed, these were probably not issued. The musket is an old Ml855 Harpers Ferry but might even have been a Ml812 Flintlock.
In the official Confederate report of September 30,1864 on the Army of the Trans-Mississippi Department, the Indian Cavalry Division under BrigadierGeneral Douglas H. Cooper was organised in two brigades.
1st Indian Brigade, General Stand Watie
1st Cherokee (Colonel Robert C. Parks)
2nd Cherokee (Colonel Wm. P. Adair)
Cherokee Battalion (Major Joseph A Scales)
1st Creek (Colonel Daniel N Mcintosh)
2nd Creek (Colonel Chilly Mcintosh)
Creek Squadron (Captain R Kenard)
1st Osage Battalion (Major Broken Arm)
1st Seminole Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel John Jumper)
2nd Indian Brigade, Colonel Tandy Walker
1st Chickasaw Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel Lemuel M. Reynolds) 1st Choctaw Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel Jackson McCurtain) 1st Choctaw and Chickasaw Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel James Riley) 2nd Choctaw (Colonel Simpson N. Folsom) Reserve Squadron (Captain George Washington)
In addition to these two brigades there were two unattached white units, the 1st Battalion Texas Sharpshooters (Major James Burnet) and the 20th Texas (Major John R Johnson).
Artillery support for fhe Indian Division comprised the 7th Mounted Artillery Battalion (Captain W. Butler Krumbhaar), consisting Dashiells Battery (Captain George R. Dashiell), Krumbhaars Battery (Lieutenant W. M. Stafford) and Howells Battery (Captain Sylvanus Howell), all Texan units.
The Federal authorities eventually agreed to Indian regiments being recruited, although Secretary-of-War Edwin M. Stanton's ban had, in fact, been already broken. An entire company of the 53rd New York Infantry—D'Epinenils Zouaves—was made up of Tuscarora Indians. Eventually in 1862 three regiments of infantry were recruited, the 1st (mostly Creeks), 2nd and 3rd Indian Regiments, and were designated Home Guard. Many were Cherokees, Creeks and Osages. They were brigaded with Kansas Cavalry and Artillery and soon sent South to what is now Northern Oklahoma. The Seneca raised a company who served in a New York regiment, and a band of Delawares scouted for the Federal Army in the Mississippi Valley area. One Indian unit served as Sharpshooters in the second battle of Fredericksburg, but these may have been the Seneca Company. The Colonel and some of the field and line officers were white, but most of the Captains of companies were Indians. Colonel William A. Phillips commanded the Indian Brigade.
Promises made by the white authorities or the Indians were not very often kept. The Indians' service throughout the war was a confusion of military red tape, white prejudice, and tribal jealousies and intrigue. The opposing Governments never fulfilled their promises, and many braves switched sides again and again to join whichever army offered most, or had won the last battle. However, the official records show that just as Confederate Indians were amongst the last to surrender, 1,018 Union Indians of those who served died for the Union.
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