Let me preface my epistle with this, my great-great grandfather was a Southerner who lived in Arkansas and fought for the Union Army. He was a prisoner in Andersonville Prison almost the entire time the prison was open. Nobody in my family fought for the Confederacy. Thousands of citizens in North Arkansas remained loyal to the Union.
However, the Confederate Flag was hoisted above the State Capitol Buildings of the following states listed in the order of their secession:
1. South Carolina
11. North Carolina
In addition to these states, the southern part of New Mexico Territory formed a secession convention, which voted to join the Confederacy on March 16, 1861, and appointed Lewis Owings as the new territorial governor. They won the Battle of Mesilla and established a territorial government with Mesilla serving as its capital. The Confederacy proclaimed the Confederate Arizona Territory on February 14, 1862 north to the 34th parallel. Marcus H. MacWillie served in both Confederate Congresses as Arizona’s delegate. In 1862 the Confederate New Mexico Campaign to take the northern half of the U.S. territory failed and the Confederate territorial government in exile relocated to San Antonio, Texas.
Confederate supporters in the trans-Mississippi west also claimed portions of United States Indian Territory after the United States evacuated the federal forts and installations. Over half of the American Indian troops participating in the Civil War from the Indian Territory supported the Confederacy; troops and one general were enlisted from each tribe. On July 12, 1861, the Confederate government signed a treaty with both the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indian nations. After several battles Northern armies moved back into the territory.
Indian Territory, now Oklahoma, was never formally ceded into the Confederacy by American Indian councils, but like Missouri and Kentucky, the Five Civilized Nations received representation in the Confederate Congress and their citizens were integrated into regular Confederate Army units. After 1863 the tribal governments sent representatives to the Confederate Congress: Elias Cornelius Boudinot representing the Cherokee and Samuel Benton Callahan representing the Seminole and Creek people. The Cherokee Nation, aligning with the Confederacy, alleged northern violations of the Constitution, waging war against slavery commercial and political interests, abolishing slavery in the Indian Territory, and that the North intended to seize additional Indian lands. In all, about 12,000 American Indians served in the army of the Confederacy and around 6,000 served in the Union army.
The largest force in Indian Territory was commanded by Confederate Brigadier General Stand Watie, who was also a chief of the Cherokee Nation. Dedicated to the Confederate cause and unwilling to admit defeat, he kept his troops in the field for nearly a month after Lieutenant General E. Kirby Smith surrendered the Trans- Mississippi. Finally, Watie rode into Doaksville near Fort Towson in Indian Territory and surrendered his battalion of Creek, Seminole, Cherokee, and Osage Indians to Lieutenant Colonel Asa C. Matthews, appointed a few weeks earlier to negotiate a peace with the Indians. Watie was the last Confederate general officer to surrender his command.
Colonel Matthew Arbuckle commanded the 7th Infantry Regiment and led four companies to reinforce Fort Smith in 1821. In 1824, he moved the regiment farther west, establishing Forts Gibson and Towson, the first military posts in the Indian Territory. Fort Towson was named for Nathaniel Towson, Paymaster General of the Army.
The simple fact is that we can lie about our history but we CANNOT change our history. If America refuses to learn from history, we are doomed to repeat our history. Very little of America’s good history is taught in schools while the Father of Our Country is often disparaged.
George Washington did not fight the Revolutionary War from the Pentagon! He and many others mutually pledged to each other their Lives, their Fortunes, and their sacred Honor. The soldiers in the Continental Army saw themselves as Cincinnati and Washington was called the American Cincinnatus. Today, hardly anybody even knows who Cincinnatus was but every school student in Colonial America knew his story.
After Washington won the war, he spent six years as President of the Society of the Cincinnati, America’s first Veterans Organization. He immersed himself in Veteran’s issues including jobs, healthcare, pensions and care for their widows and orphans.
After those six years, George Washington became our First President and other members of the Veteran’s Organization became Our Founding Fathers. These men were not politicians who gained power with cute sound bites promising free stuff, they were Patriots who fought for freedom and loved America. Did you know that the leaders of a Veteran’s Organization became the leaders of The United States of America? While President Washington flatly refused a third term as United States President, he remained President of the Society of the Cincinnati for the rest of his life. While George Washington only wore three stars on his uniform, no military officer in the United States can EVER outrank him by Federal Law.
As politician after politician promises to improve education, our education slides farther down the ladder of mediocrity. When prayer was banned in school, America was number one in the world, now we are 28th in education.
If our children knew our history they might love America as I do. If you want your children to know our history, you will have to teach them yourself. Like each of us, there is good, bad and ugly in our Nation’s past. I respect those who morn their Confederate ancestors who died for a cause they believed in as I honor my great-great grandfather, Joseph P. McVay, who emerged from the Civil War a broken man stabbed by a Confederate bayonet while in captivity.