Cherokee chief. Confederate Brigadier General. Commander of the last Confederate army to surrender to the Union. b. 1806 d. 1871.
With the onset of the American Civil War, the Cherokee Nation was split. After John Ross, a Cherokee leader, allowed himself to be "captured" with important documents he is said to have used those documents to barter for a position in the Union army. Some Cherokee took Ross's actions as a betrayal while others saw him acting in their best interest in the bigger picture. One half retained allegiance to the Union while the other half allied itself with the Confederacy. Many of those who moved to join the Confederacy were "half-breeds," southeastern slave owners and Indians who had suffered multiple relocations at the hands of the United States government. Those that favored the southern cause chose Stand Watie as their leader.
To honor his position amongst the Cherokee, the Confederacy promoted Watie to the rank of Brigadier General. They did so mostly with the intention of keeping their Native American allies happy and faithful to the cause. All said, the Confederates considered the Indians part of their army while the Indians considered themselves allies of the Confederacy. Watie's forces covered Confederate retreats in the western theatre and specialized in harrassing Union supply lines.
Watie's army did not surrender until June 23, 1865 more than two months after Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House. Much of the resistance to surrender came from the Indian viewpoint that newly freed slaves were being accorded rights while their issues and position continued to be misrepresented and abused.