Wednesday, July 12, 2017

This Day in History...Chief John Ross taken into Union Custody July 12, 1862


July 12, 1862

John Ross, tyrant chief of the Cherokee Tribe was taken into protective custody, then immediately paroled on this date by Union Officers in Indian Territory and removed to Washington DC for the remainder of his life.  He embraced the Confederacy in the beginning, but fell victim to greed and power as he always did and whether the other leaders wanted it or not went over to the Union, leaving his fellow Cherokee without stability,  means or leadership to suffer through the rest of the Civil War. 

The so called capture and subsequent parole of Ross and his troops infuriated The Knights (the S. Rights group of Cherokee Masons..The Knights of the Golden Circle)   and embarrassed General Albert Pike.  Pike hoped Ross was truly captured and had not broken his oath.  He stated if Ross had betrayed them  "he is falser and more treacherous than I can ever believe him to be."

Major General Thomas Hindman, in his report to the Confederate department of war, observed:

     "The federal Indian expedition was moving from Fort Scott, and its advance had crossed the Cherokee line.  To meet this force, 5,000 strong, we had only the brave Stand Watie, with his faithful regiment of half-breed Cherokees; Drew's regiment of full-bloods, many of whom were disaffected, and Clarkson's battalion of Missourians, raised under my orders, and sent there at the urgent request of Watie and Drew. . . . This small command encountered the enemy and was defeated.  Clarkson was captured, with his train, and many of his men dispersed.  Except a small body under the gallant Capt. Pickens Benge, Drew's regiment deserted to the enemy.  With a courage never surpassed, Stand Watie still resisted.  On one occasion a portion of his regiment, under Major E. C. Boudinot,  repulsed the federal advance of fivefold greater strength.  But it was not possible to make head against such odds, and he was at length compelled to fall back beyond the Arkansas.  The full-bloods, or Pin Indians, now rose in rebellion and committed horrible excesses.  John Ross, the Cherokee chief, was pretendedly taken prisoner, but, as afterwards appeared, really went over to the enemy with the archives and money of the nation. "

When Emancipation came, Ross wasn't required to let his slaves go, like the Confederate Cherokee had to.  The Cherokee fought gallantly under the leadership of Brig.  General Stand Watie and Col. James Madison Bell for the Cherokee Nation under the promise from the Confederacy that they would be able to self rule as a sovereign state.  The Cherokee Braves carried their own battle flag.

From the Book "Jesus Wept" An American Story, Chapter 8 War and More War.