Stand Watie – the last Confederate General to surrender


"Watie was born in Oothcaloga, Cherokee Nation (now Calhoun, Georgia) on December 12, 1806, the son of Uwatie (Cherokee for "the ancient one", sometimes spelled Oowatie), a full-blood Cherokee, and Susanna Reese, daughter of a white father and Cherokee mother.[2] He was named Degataga. According to one biography, this name means "standing firm" when translated to English.[3] He loosely translated his name as simply "Stand" and combined it with his father’s name to get Stand Watie.[2] His brothers were Gallagina, nicknamed "Buck" (who later took the name Elias Boudinot); and Thomas Watie. They were close to their paternal uncle Major Ridge, and his son John Ridge, both later leaders in the tribe. By 1827, their father David Uwatie had become a wealthy planter, who held African-American slaves as laborers.[2]

After Uwatie converted to Christianity with the Moravians, he took the name of David Uwatie; he and Susanna renamed Degataga as Isaac. In his life, Degataga preferred to use a form of the English translation of his Cherokee name, "Stand Firm." Later, the family dropped the "U" from the spelling of their surname, using "Watie." Along with his two brothers and sisters, Stand Watie learned to read and write English at the Moravian mission school in Spring Place, Cherokee Nation (now Georgia).[2]"



Well, pilgrims, he probably is Oklahoma's favorite Indian (native American).  He was paramount chief of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, a slaveholder (Black slaves of course), a rich planter as his father had been in Georgia before the Great Removal (Trail of Tears).  He raised a regiment of cavalry which he commanded throughout the war in good times and bad.  It is little known that the Confederate government in Richmond reserved seats in their Congress for representatives of the Indian Nations which sided with them; Cherokee, Creek, Chocktaw, Seminole, etc.  Indian inclination toward the CS declined during the war but then, people often drift away from causes facing defeat.

There must be a statue of this man somewhere that can be torn down, and Elizabeth Warren can demand his posthumous expulsion from her tribe.

He would have sought a ticket for tonight's rally in Tulsa.   pl

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15 Responses to Stand Watie – the last Confederate General to surrender

  1. Diana Croissant says:

    My younger son’s best friend and roommate for a long time is a Navajo. His grandmother sent him into the white man’s world to keep him away from the alcoholism that devastates many on his reservation in New Mexico. His father is the shaman on his reservation in Arizona.
    From what I can tell, the Native Americans in the South West mostly find the White people interesting to observe and a little silly.

  2. AndreL says:

    The statue of the Confederate general who led Cherokee allies in the Battle of Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern) was torn down in DC last night. Gen. Albert Pike had been assigned to the Indian Territories by the Confederate government and capitalized on the Native dislike for the Union forces of Manifest Destiny. The Confederates apparently promised them their own state should the South win the war. The Cherokee stood accused of scalping their victims at Pea Ridge and Pike didn’t last long in the grey uniform due to allegations of malfeasance and actual bouts of insubordination. He resigned in 1862. The statue was erected by the Freemasons, a group in which he was a most influential member. It appears complaints about the statue have been made since 1992 due to Pike’s alleged post-warconnection with the KKK and the Freemasons eventually agreed to remove it, but alas, they dragged their feet in this season of toppling.

  3. Vegetius says:

    I hear they got his horse pulling a wagon up in Kansas.

  4. Kevin Frost says:

    This Watie is famous with natives (Indians). I met this guy in my history 480 class, sort of an elite course at my university for researching historians who might well be going places. Murray was his name, Forrest Cree from Manitoba. 6’3” broad shoulders, very good looking, women drawn to the guy either voluntarily or involuntarily. Easily the smartest guy in the room. Murray stood head and shoulders above the rest, in every way. Got to know him and felt kind of privileged, He was different, distinguished. He was over at my place one time and in conversation got around to asking me about my ancestors. I mentioned that we had a few people buried on Reservations down Oklahoma way. Murray sat up strait and proud, looked me right in the eye and mentioned this fellow right away: ‘First to take the field; last to withdraw’. He beamed with pride. These guys are fighters. He said it was honourable to serve those who’ve defeated your people in the field. Now Murray was Canadian but first thing he did on turning 18 was head south of the 49th to enlist in the Army. He wanted to fly Hueys in Nam. Instead he became an historian, for a while, while he still lived. As mentioned above, this guy stood out from the crowd. Natural leader. Completely devoted to the well being of his people. The thing he took the most pride in was putting 17 of his people, mainly, through a series of courses in welding in southern Manitoba. Other than that, he wasn’t able to do much in this life, though he tried. He died young. I guess I should apologise to my readers for such an indulgent posting. It’s just that the subject matter of the above essay gets the mind ticking over, thinking about things and times gone by.

  5. Leith says:

    General Watie was a damned fine guerrilla fighter. Better by far IMHO than Quantrell, Anderson, or Clarke. He successfully raided many Union supply trains throughout Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri. Diverted many tens of thousands of Union troops that were desperately needed elsewhere. Promoted to Brigadier when he captured a Union steamboat and its supplies on the Arkansas River (reported by the Oklahoma Historical Society as the only naval battle in Oklahoma). And later captured 300 Union wagons and 740 mules at the second battle of Cabin Creek. Those wagons were loaded with $1.5 million worth of food, clothing, boots, medicine, guns, ammunition, and other supplies. It is my understanding that the scalpings that Andre mentioned above by Watie’s band of mixed blood Cherokees were not done at Pea Ridge. They were mostly done against the Creek, Seminole, and some Chickasaw that were fighting for the Union under Chief Opothleyahola. That was three months previous to the battle at Pea Ridge when 9,000 of Opothelahola’s people including women and children were fleeing Indian Territory for Fort Row in Kansas.
    Watie’s one failure (which I blame on his commander General Van Dorn) was at Pea Ridge. It was Watie’s Cherokees that lost the battle when they became completely undisciplined and started celebrating after overrunning a three-gun Federal battery. The hero of Pea Ridge was Union General Jefferson C. Davis (no relation) who then ran them down with Union cavalry and turned the tide of battle to a victory for the north. But as I said above I blame that on General Van Dorn (known as General Damdborn to his troops). He never armed the Cherokees properly. Most carried their own weapons. And he should have kept them as scouts and light cavalry during the battle instead of trying to turn them into regulars and assault troops.

  6. Leith says:

    I thought Jo Shelby was the last Confederate General to surrender?
    Although maybe he never surrendered after returning from Mexico?
    But he must have, as Wikipedia says he was appointed the US Marshall of western Missouri in the 1890s.

  7. ambrit says:

    To pile on; in the long ago, my Dad worked a year at Allied Chemical in Norfolk, Virginia, (we lived in Petersburg.) Dad was a high pressure and temperature piping man, and one of his friends there was a full blooded Cherokee. Dad referred to Tom as “one of the best d–n engineers I ever met.” When his eyes started to go, Dad looked around and settled on City Inspector and later small businessman in the plumbing trade.
    We often visited Mr. Ton’s house, where the gentleman had a large personal library. He let me browse among the books and magazines, if I showed the proper reverence for the objects. It was the only place I have ever been that had a complete set of most of the science fiction magazines, and, a complete set of Weird Tales Magazine.
    There was a Golden Age.

  8. ked says:

    The backstory is treated very well by Langguth in his book, Driven West : The Trail of Tears From Andrew Jackson to the Civil War. The deal Waite made with the Confederacy seemed one born of desperation & opportunity after being burned by the Union government for decades on all their promises.
    Given how the Southern states governments (especially Georgia) had sparked that burning, I soeculate that the treatment of Oklahoma’s Five Nation’s would’ve been pretty much along the same trail.

  9. turcopolier says:

    Watie! Watie!

  10. ked says:

    Thanks, Col. And my apologies for misspelling – I have a long time friend named Waite – this is what the decades can do. I will add “no forum posts before caffeine” to “no forum posts after three martinis” to my list of precepts for self-improvement.
    Langguth’s Driven West is the third of four histories he authored covering the period from Revolution to Reconstruction. That from our Second War of Independence to the CW is overlooked (at least, in totality) in America’s becoming Empire. It would have been most interesting had Clay made it to the Presidency. I appreciate Langguth not treating the CW. He’s kinda dry, but that’s ok (for me) in a real historian. Cheers,

  11. JP Billen says:

    Leith: Jo Shelby never surrendered. Neither did Generals Hindman and Price. But mox nix as Hindman was on a leave of absence and commanded no troops when the war ended; and Price’s senior commander Edmund Kirby Smith of the Trans-Mississippi Department surrendered for him. Of course Hindman and Price never got Shelby’s fame & renown. Rock Hudson portrayed Shelby in the movie “The Undefeated”. And wasn’t Shelby Foote named in his honor?

  12. turcopolier says:

    IMO opinion, we should have a thread about the causes, and political development of the CW/WBS and the civic and political virtue of the contestants in the context of American constitutional development. IMO opinion, TTG as a senior writer here should lead. Could this be more relevant now?

  13. Fred says:

    “we should have a thread about the causes, and political development of the CW/WBS and the civic and political virtue….”
    That sounds like a good idea. I would love to see TTG’s take on tariffs and thier impact, today and then.

  14. ked says:

    Col, No, it could not be more relevant.
    If you & TTG can stand the increase in site-traffic oversight, examining the early course of the Constitution would be most illuminating. The political component of its inception & infancy reveal a lot about our nation’s character (& its characters), so also its future.

  15. AndreL says:

    Col., I like your idea of a CW/WBS thread. Just so happens, today is the anniversary of Watie’s surrender on June 23rd, 1865.
    I would guess that Warren would have been a big John Ross supporter and that Degataga and his braves would have been helping man the winches next to Andy Jackson’s monument in Lafayette Park this past weekend.

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