Stand Watie: The Last Confederate General to Surrender

This Saturday, I’ll be doing signings in New Orleans again. For today’s post, I thought I’d include my most recent article for TGIF Weekend Bandit that I write a weekly column for on the Civil War in North Texas and Indian Territory.

Stand Watie: The Last Confederate General

General Stand Watie, C.S.A., was the only Native American to receive the rank of general and on June 23, 1865, he was the last Confederate general to surrender his command. This Georgia born Cherokee was charismatic and seemed to be a born leader. As Steve Cottrell points out, Stand Watie has become a symbol of “the fury and defiance of the Southern cause.” His Cherokee Mounted Rifles kept the Southern Cause alive in Indian Territory (see the Stand Watie Biography Page at for more details).

During the War Between the States, Watie and his men were involved in at least eighteen battles or major skirmishes with Federal troops. In one effort he and his fierce men drove Federal forces and their Indian allies all the way to Kansas. Though most of his activity was in Indian Territory, he did venture into other states. One notable example was his role in the Battle of Elkhorn Tavern in Arkansas.
In addition to being a competent commander in battles, he seemed to have a knack for guerilla warfare. Through bold raids on Federal camps and wagons Watie kept his men supplied with food and weapons. Again according to Cotrell, Watie became an irritant to the Federal Army through his “hit-and-run” tactics, and literally bogged down thousands of Federal troops as they sought to cope with his unorthodox tactics. According to Kenny Franks, “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.”

According to waties_ grave_southwest.htm, Stand Watie is buried in Southwest City, MO. His tombstone reads:
In Honor Of
Gen. Stand Watie
only full blood Indian Brig. Gen in the Confederate Army. This brave Cherokee rendered heroic service to the Confederate Cause in Ind. Terr
Born in GA Dec 12 1806
Died in Cher. Nat. Sept 9, 1871
A Tribute to his memory by Okla. Div. United Daughters of the Confederacy.
“Lest we forget.”