Stand Watie

Monument: Find-a-Grave

Stand Watie, a three-quarter-blood Cherokee Indian, was born December 12, 1806, near the site of the present city of Rome, Georgia. He learned to speak English at a mission school, and became a planter and assisted in the publication of the Cherokee newspaper, the Phoenix. In 1835 he and others signed the treaty by which the remaining Cherokee in Georgia agreed to their removal to what is now Oklahoma. This act split the Indians into two factions and made Watie the leader of the minority or treaty party. At the beginning of the Civil War the Cherokee attempted unsuccessfully to remain neutral, but ultimately divided along the same lines as before. The majority declared for the Union and the minority group under Watie pledged allegiance to the Confederacy. Watie raised a company early in 1861; he was later in the year appointed colonel of the 1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles, and brigadier general to rank from May 6, 1864. The Indians were engaged in the battles of Wilson's Creek and Elkhorn, and were principally used in raids and as skirmishers in the Territory and along its borders. It was found that, although excellent soldiers in a sudden offensive dash, they exhibited considerable reluctance to stand up to artillery fire. General Watie's personal courage was unquestioned and he fought bravely to the end, supposedly not surrendering until June 23, 1865. After the war he resumed the life of a planter and also engaged in various business enterprises. He died at his home on Honey Creek, in what is now Delaware County, Oklahoma, September 9, 1871. He is buried in Old Ridge Cemetery there.

Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.

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