Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Civil War in Indian Territory & Honoring Black Soldiers of the Indian Home Guards

Monument to Indian Units that fought at Honey Springs Battle in July 1864

Today is the anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. On this day the first shots were fired at Ft. Sumter that began the saga that would divide the nation. It would also be the beginning of the dismantling of the heinous institution of slavery. As a practice, slavery also existed in Indian Territory, and several thousands of Africans had lived in bondage in Indian Territory enslaved within the Five Tribes brought west on the Removal..  

Many enslaved Africans ended up in Kansas, some having escaped and others having traveled with their slaveholder of the Lower Creeks, who had hoped to avoid the conflict. This faction was lead by Opothole Yahola.  Once in Kansas many of the African Creeks had also found freedom and when the opportunity  came, they enlisted in the Union Army.  Many joined the 1st and 2nd Kansas Colored Infantries. These units eventually were re-designated as the 79th ant 83rd US Colored Infantry.

However---there are a good number of men--who are not known, and on this day---the anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, I am compelled to share then names of many African men, who also served in the only 3 Indian Union Army regiments. (The rest of Indian Regiments became Confederate Army soldiers and the regiments are listed below following the listing of the black soldiers of the Home Guards )

Black Soldiers of the Indian Home Guards 
Sugar T. George 
Wheat Baldridge
Adam Dyle
Samuel Barnett
Dennis Harrod
George Marshall
Green McGilvray
Saucer Bradley
Robert Benjamin
Abram Colonel
Harry Stedham
Jacob Bernard
Snow Sells
Simon Brown
George Monday
Abe Prince
Billy Caesar
William Hawkins
John Cooks
Jacob Perryman
Dennis Marshall
Manam Marshall
Troy Stedham
Sage Barnwell
Toby Drew
Thomas Marshall
James Quabner
William Peter
Love Jimboy
Tally Lewis
Thomas Al 
Gabriel Jimison
Solomon Renty
Jacob McGilvray
Pickett Renty
Charles Renty
August Deer
George McGilvray
Thomas Bruner (Identified as a free man of color)
August Deer
Abraham Caesar
Latah Harjo
Benjamin Ab
Scipio Sancho
Morris Kernell
James Kernell
Ben Sancho
Redman Kernell
Peter Stedham
Joseph Sambo (Sango)
Billy Hawkins (Identified as free man of color)
John Kernell
Jim Barnett (Identified as free man of color)
Aaron Sancho
Samuel Wade 
Joe McGilvray
William Grayson
Isaac Smith
Tucker (This was Silas Jefferson)
Adam (Identified as free man of color)
Alex Hawkins
York McGilbra

Silas Jefferson (enlisted as Tucker) was also a leader within the Creek Nation


Some Background on Indian Territory in the Civil War.   

It is important to know that the Home Guards (1st, 2nd and 3rd) were the only Indian Union Regiments.
The remaining Native American regiments were Confederates. There were 25 Indian Confederate Units Many of these Indian soldiers were also leaders in the tribes, and many were also slaveholders. (Although the Lower Creeks went north into Kansas, the Upper Creeks stayed and signed and alliance with the Confederacy.)

Cherokee Confederates:
-1st (Watie’s) Cherokee Mounted Volunteers
-2nd Cherokee Mounted Volunteers
-Drew's Regiment (1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles)
-1st Bryan's Batallion
-1st (Holt’s) Squadron,Cherokee Mounted Volunteers
-Frye’s - Scales’ Battalion,Cherokee Mounted Volunteers (1st Battalion, Cherokee Mounted Rifles)
-Cherokee Battalion, Thomas’ North Carolina Legion (2nd Battalion, Thomas’ Legion; Indian Battalion)

Choctaw Confederates:
-1st Choctaw and Chickasaw Mounted Rifles
-2nd Regiment of Choctaw Cavalry
-3rd Regiment of Choctaw Cavalry
-Darneal's Regiment of Choctaw Warriors
-Folsom's Battalion of Choctaw Mounted Rifles
-Capt. Wilkin's Company of Choctaw Infantry

Chickasaw Confederates: 
-1st Regiment of Chickasaw Infantry
-1st Regiment of Chickasaw Cavalry
-1st Battalion of Chickasaw Cavalry
-Shecoe's Chickasaw Battalion of Mounted Volunteers

Confederate Creeks:
(Many of the Upper Creeks aligned themselves with the South while upper Creeks eventually were aligned with the North.)
1st Batttalion Creek Cavalry 
1st Creek Mounted Volunteers
2nd Creek Mounted Volunteers

Confederate Seminoles
1st Battalion Seminole Volunteers
1st Regiment Seminole Volunteers

Additional Indian Confederates: Northwest Frontier Command
-1st Osage Battalion
-Major George Washington's Frontier Battalion
-Major James W. Cooper's Battalion

The African Indians of the tribes who served in the Indian Home Guards, in addition to their brethren in the 1st and 2nd Kansas Colored Infantry, should be honored for their bravery and for their actions during the Civil War.  

These men, like  the US Colored Troops were all Freedom Fighters and should therefore be remembered on this day, the anniversary of the American Civil War.

Monument to the Kansas Colored that also fought at Honey Springs, Indian Territory.  
Many of these soldiers were also African Creeks and African Cherokees and African Choctaws

8 comments:

Terry said...

Thanx for bringing the history of the Indian Territory Freedmen and their involvement in the "War of Rebellion." I hope you will bring attention to the other freedmen such as Thomas Blackwater, Bynum Colbert, and Isaac Alexander to name a few who fought during the war but not in the Home Guard.

Angela Y. Walton-Raji said...

Oh yes, I intend to bring out the fact that persons such as those that you mentioned others served nobly in the US Colored Troops and the Kansas Colored Infantries!

MissDazey said...

Why did most Indians joined the Confederates? Seems it would be just the opposite, since the Native Americans were treated badly themselves.

Angela Y. Walton-Raji said...

Many of the leaders of the Five Tribes were from the south, were wealthy had owned slaves themselves. One of the wealthiest Choctaws for example owned over 500 slaves. See the article I published in February:
http://african-nativeamerican.blogspot.com/2011/02/free-men-slaves-and-slave-traders-in.html
(Copy and paste the link)

Because many of them were slave owners they fought to preserve their way of life. This was only for the Five slave-holding tribes, sometimes called the Five Civilized Tribes. Unlike other tribes they had become very Europeanized.

The Chief of the Cherokee Nation, John Ross--he had over 100 slaves himself.

Also note that the slaves were not freed in Indian Territory till 1866 a full year after the Civil War. Though slavery was abolished in the US, they refused to free them till they had to sign a Treaty abolishing slavery in each tribe.
Ironically there were some free blacks living in some of the tribes, but there was a major limitation on what they could do like have guns, and participate in various events. The history is indeed fascinating.

carol j. smith said...

I appreciate this information. It is mostly unknown by the majority of people, black or white. Only recently did I discover a member of my family tree-Wheat Baldridge, a Cherokee Freedman who served with the 3rd Regiment, Company F, Indian Home Guards, Kansas

Angela Y. Walton-Raji said...

Hello Carol,

I have information on your ancestor Wheat Baldridge! He filed for and received a Civil War pension! Contact me at AngelaW859@aol.com and I might have more to share with you.
-Angela-

R Lull said...

Given the extensive intermarriage of black slaves, and black freedmen with Indians, is it reasonable to conclude that there were black freedmen and mixed-race black men and Indians in the Confederate regiments, such as those who served under Stand Watie?

Angela Y. Walton-Raji said...

Considering that the tribes had signed treaties with the South at the very beginning of the Civil War, and the plight of the slaves in the Territory, it seems unlikely that they would have Black soldiers allies.

TheConfederates were vehemently against Blacks fighting and being part of their army. Until Three weeks be for Robert E. Lee surrendered, they opposed the use of Black soldiers. Stan Watie would
have not violated orders of his superiors in general.