Brigadier-General Stand Watie
Brigadier-General Stand Watie was born in 1806 to Oo-wa-tie, his Cherokee father and half-Cherokee, half-European mother in Oothcaloga, Cherokee Nation (near today’s Rome, Geogia). His original name was “Degataga,” meaning “Stand Firm.” When his father was baptized in the Moravian Church as David Uwatie, the son’s name was changed to Isaac S. Uwatie. As an adult, the son modified his name to Stand Watie.
Learning English at a Moravian Mission School, he helped publish the school’s “Cherokee Phoenix” tribal newspaper. By the time he attained adulthood his father had become a wealthy planter holding numerous African slaves.
After the northern States had decided upon war and invasion of the South, Watie, appointed Colonel, raised a regiment known as the Cherokee Mounted Volunteers in July 1861 and became known as a gifted field commander and bold guerrilla leader.
His poorly armed troops participated in some 27 major engagements during the war as well as minor skirmishes, primarily utilizing guerilla tactics. At the Battle of Pea Ridge in early 1862 his Mounted Rifles captured an enemy battery though the battle was lost. After October 1862 Watie’s command was known as the Cherokee Mounted Rifles.
In October 1863 his unit routed detachments of the First Kansas Colored Regiment. In May 1864 Col. Watie was promoted to brigadier-general and a month later his men surprised and captured the enemy steamer J.R. Williams. The following September the Mounted Rifles captured an enemy wagon train at Cabin Creek with supplies worth an estimated $1.5 million. By this time Watie’s command had expanded included men from the Creek, Seminole, Cherokee and Osage tribes. The Seminole tribe in the West organized several cavalry regiments which fought alongside Southern forces; Seminole sharpshooters wreaked havoc at the Ocean Pond Battle in Florida as they picked off northern officers behind their troops.
In 1865 Gen. Watie refused to surrender his command to the enemy after Gen. Robert E. Lee and Gen. Joseph E. Johnston capitulated in the East and kept his Cherokee Mounted Rifles in the field for nearly a month after Lt.-Gen. Kirby Smith’s surrender of the Trans-Mississippi Army in late-May 1865. Thus, he became the last Confederate General to surrender which he did on June 23, 1865.
Postwar, Gen. Watie returned to Indian Territory to rebuild his home, which enemy soldiers had burned to the ground. He journeyed to Washington to represent the Cherokee during the 1866 “Cherokee Reconstruction Treaty” proceedings, which resulted in the tribe being deprived of vast tracts of land in exchange for reinstatement in the north’s Union.
Gen. Watie returned to his Honey Creek Plantation home where he died in 1871. (WIKI).