General Winfield Scott's Cherokee Indian Removal Enforcement Orders
After a delay in the Cherokee removal, General Winfield Scott "Addressed the Cherokee Nation" and subsequently enforced their removal. Below is a typewritten document, dated May 17, 1838, containing the orders
pertaining to the removal of the Cherokee Indians remaining in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama, to territory
west of the Mississippi, according to the terms of the Treaty of New Echota in 1835. The forced removal of the Cherokee in 1838 is known as the "Trail of Tears." The orders originated with Major General Winfield Scott at the Cherokee Agency in Tennessee and outline the military personnel involved in the emigration and the procedures to be
followed. Scott's signature appears on the orders and they are designated to be read to each military company participating
in the removal. Cherokee Indian Nation Indian Territory Oklahoma Nation
ORDERS. No. 25. Head Quarters, Eastern Division.
Agency, Ten. May 17, 1838.
MAJOR GENERAL SCOTT, of the United
States' Army, announces to the troops assembled and assembling in this country, that, with them, he has been charged
by the President to cause the Cherokee Indians yet remaining in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee
and Alabama, to remove to the West, according to the terms of the Treaty of
1835. His Staff will be as follows:LIEUTENANT COLONEL W. J.
, acting Adjutant General, Chief of the Staff. MAJOR M. M. PAYNE
acting Inspector General. LIEUTENANT R. ANDERSON
, & E. D. KEYES
, regular Aids-de-camp. COLONEL A. H. KENAN
LIEUTENANT H. B. SHAW
, volunteer Aids-de-camp.
Any order given orally, or in writing, by either of those officers, in the name of the Major General. will
be respected and obeyed as if given by himself.
The Chiefs of Ordnance, of the Quarter-Master's Department and of the Commissariat, as also the Medical Director
of this Army, will, as soon as they can be ascertained, be announced in orders.
To carry out the general object with the greatest promptitude and certainty, and with the least possible distress
to the Indians, the country they are to evacuate is divided into three principal Military Districts, under as many officers
of high rank, to command the troops serving therein, subject to the instructions of the Major General.
Eastern District, to be commanded by BRIGADIER GENERAL EUSTIS,
of the United States' Army, or the highest officer in rank, serving therein:
- North Carolina, the part of Tennessee lying
north of Gilmer county, Georgia, and
the counties of Gilmer, Union, and Lumpkin, in Georgia. Head Quarters, in the first instance, say, at Fort Butler.
Western District, to be commanded by COLONEL LINDSAY,
of the United States' Army, or the highest officer in rank serving therein: --
Alabama, the residue of Tennessee and Dade county, in Georgia. Head quarters, in
the first instance, say, at Ross' Landing.
Middle District, to be commanded by BRIGADIER GENERAL ARMISTEAD
of the United States' Army, or the highest officer in rank, serving therein:
-- All that part of the Cherokee country, lying within the State of Georgia, and which is not comprised in the two other districts. Head Quarters, in the first
instance, say, at new Echota.
It is not intended that the foregoing boundaries between the principal commanders shall be strictly observed.
Either, when carried near the district of another, will not hesitate to extend his operations, according to the necessities
of the case, but with all practicable harmony, into the adjoining district. And, among his principal objects, in case of actual
or apprehended hostilities, will be that of affording adequate protection to our white people in and around the Cherokee country.
The senior officer actually present in each district will receive instructions from the Major General as to
the time of commencing the removal, and every thing that may occur interesting to the service, in the district, will be promtly
[promptly] reported to the same source. The Major General will
endeavour to visit in a short time all parts of the Cherokee country occupied
by the troops.
The duties devolved on the army, through the orders of the Major General & those of the commanders of
districts, under him, are of a highly important and critical nature.
The Cherokees, by the advances which they have made in christianity
and civilization, are by far the most interesting tribes of Indians in the territorial limits of the United
States. Of the 15,000 of those people who are now to be removed -- (and the time within which a voluntary emigration
was stipulated, will expire on the 23rd instant -- ) it is understood that about four fifths are opposed, or have become averse
to a distant emigration; and altho' [although] none are in actual hostilities with the United States, or threaten a resistance by arms, yet the troops will probably be obliged to cover
the whole country they inhabit, in order to make prisoners and to march or to transport the prisoners, by families, either
to this place, to Ross' Landing or Gunter's
Landing, where they are to be finally delivered over to the Superintendent of Cherokee
Considering the number and temper of the mass to be removed, together with the extent and [unclear:
fastnesses] of the country occupied, it will readily occur, that simple indiscretions --
acts of harshness and cruelty, on the part of our troops, may lead, step by step, to delays, to impatience and exasperation,
and in the end, to a general war and carnage -- a result, in the case to those particular Indians, utterly abhorrent to the
generous sympathies of the whole American people. Every possible kindness, compatible
with the necessity of removal, must, therefore, be shown by the troops, and, if, in the ranks, a despicable individual should
be found, capable of inflicting a wanton injury or insult on any Cherokee man,
woman or child, it is hereby made the special duty of the nearest good officer or man, instantly to interpose, and to seize
and consign the guilty wretch to the severest penalty of the laws. The Major General is fully persuaded that this injunction
will not be neglected by the brave men under his command, who cannot be otherwise than jealous of their own honor and that
of their country.
By early and persevering acts of kindness and humanity, it is impossible to doubt that the Indians may soon
be induced to confide in the Army, and instead of fleeing to mountains and forests, flock to us for food and clothing. If,
however, through false apprehensions, individuals, or a party, here and there, should seek to hide themselves, they must be
pursued and invited to surrender, but not fired upon unless they should make a stand to resist. Even in such cases, mild remedies
may sometimes better succeed than violence; and it cannot be doubted that if we get possession of the women and children first,
or first capture the men, that, in either case, the outstanding members of the same families will readily come in on the assurance
of forgiveness and kind treatment.
Every captured man, as well as all who surrender themselves, must be disarmed, with the assurance that their
weapons will be carefully preserved and restored at, or beyond the Mississippi.
In either case, the men will be guarded and escorted, except it may be, where their women and children are safely secured
as hostages; but, in general, families, in our possession, will not be separated, unless it be to send men, as runners, to
invite others to come in.
It may happen that Indians will be found too sick, in the opinion of the nearest Surgeon, to be removed to
one of the depots indicated above. In every such case, one or more of the family, or the friends of the sick person, will
be left in attendance, with ample subsistence and remedies, and the remainder of the family removed by the troops. Infants,
superannuated persons, lunatics and women in a helpless condition, will all, in the removal, require peculiar attention, which
the brave and humane will seek to adapt to the necessities of the several cases.
All strong men, women, boys & girls, will be made to march under proper escorts. For the feeble, Indian
horses and ponies will furnish a ready resource, as well as for bedding and light cooking utensils -- all of which, as intimated
in the Treaty, will be necessary to the emigrants both in going to, and after arrival at, their new homes. Such, and all other
light articles of property, the Indians will be allowed to collect and to take, with them, as also their slaves, who will
be treated in like manner with the Indians themselves.
If the horses and ponies be not adequate to the above purposes, wagons must be supplied.
Corn, oats, fodder and other forage, also beef cattle, belonging to the Indians to be removed, will be taken
possession of by the proper departments of the Staff, as wanted, for the regular consumption of the Army, and certificates
given to the owners, specifying in every case, the amount of forage and the weight of beef, so taken, in order that the owners
may be paid for the same on their arrival at one of the depots mentioned above.
All other movable or personal property, left or abandoned by the Indians, will be collected by agents appointed
for the purpose, by the Superintendent of Cherokee Emigration, under a system
of accountability, for the benefit of the Indian owners, which he will devise. The Army will give to those agents, in their
operations, all reasonable countenance, aid and support.
White men and widows, citizens of the United States, who are,
or have been intermarried with Indians, and thence commonly termed, Indian countrymen; also such Indians as have been
made denizens of particular States, by special legislation, together with the families and property of all such persons, will
not be molested or removed by the troops until a decision on the principles involved can be obtained from the War Department.
A like indulgence, but only for a limited time, and until further orders, is extended to the families and
property of certain Chiefs and head-men of the two great Indian parties, (on the subject of emigration) now understood
to be absent in the direction of Washington on the business of their respective
This order will be carefully read at the head of every company in the Army.
[Signed] Winfield Scott. By Command:
[unclear: Lieut. Col.]
Chief of the Staff
Repository: Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries
Collection: Captain Isaac Vincent Papers
The Trail of Tears: Cherokee
(2006), Starring: James Earl Jones and Wes Studi; Director: Chip Richie, Steven R. Heape. Description:
The Trail Of Tears: Cherokee Legacy is an engaging two hour documentary exploring one of America's darkest periods
in which President Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal Act of 1830 consequently transported Native Americans of the Cherokee Nation
to the bleak and unsupportive Oklahoma Territory
in the year 1838. Deftly presented by the talents of Wes Studi ("Last of the Mohicans" and "Dances with Wolves"), James
Earl Jones, and James Garner, The Trail Of Tears: Cherokee Legacy also includes narrations of famed celebrities Crystal Gayle,
Johnt Buttrum, Governor Douglas Wilder, and Steven R. Heape. Continued below...
Cherokee Nation members which add authenticity to the production… A welcome DVD addition to personal, school, and community
library Native American history collections. The Trail Of Tears: Cherokee Legacy is strongly recommended for its informative
and tactful presentation of such a tragic and controversial historical occurrence in 19th century American history.
Reading: Trail of Tears: The
Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation. Description: One of the many ironies
of U.S. government policy toward Indians
in the early 1800s is that it persisted in removing to the West those who had most successfully adapted to European values.
As whites encroached on Cherokee land, many Native leaders responded by educating their children, learning English, and developing
plantations. Such a leader was Ridge, who had fought with Andrew Jackson against the British. Continued below...
he and other Cherokee leaders grappled with the issue of moving, the land-hungry Georgia legislators, with the aid of Jackson,
succeeded in ousting the Cherokee from their land, forcing them to make the arduous journey West on the infamous "Trail of
Tears." ...A treasured addition for the individual remotely interested
in American Indian history as well as general American history.
Recommended Reading: The Cherokee Nation:
A History. Description:
Conley's book, "The Cherokee Nation: A History" is an eminently readable, concise but thoughtful account of the Cherokee
people from prehistoric times to the present day. The book is formatted in such a way as to make it an ideal text for high
school and college classes. At the end of each chapter is a source list and suggestions for further reading. Also at the end
of each chapter is an unusual but helpful feature- a glossary of key terms. The book contains interesting maps, photographs
and drawings, along with a list of chiefs for the various factions of the Cherokee tribe and nation. Continued below...
to being easily understood, a principal strength of the book is that the author questions some traditional beliefs and sources
about the Cherokee past without appearing to be a revisionist or an individual with an agenda in his writing. One such example
is when Conley tells the story of Alexander Cuming, an Englishman who took seven Cherokee men with him to England
in 1730. One of the Cherokee, Oukanekah, is recorded as having said to the King of England: "We look upon the Great King George
as the Sun, and as our Father, and upon ourselves as his children. For though we are red, and you are white our hands and
hearts are joined together..." Conley wonders if Oukanekah actually said those words and points out that the only version
we have of this story is the English version. There is nothing to indicate if Oukanekah spoke in English or Cherokee, or if
his words were recorded at the time they were spoken or were written down later. Conley also points out that in Cherokee culture,
the Sun was considered female, so it is curious that King George would be looked upon as the Sun. The "redness" of Native
American skin was a European perception. The Cherokee would have described themselves as brown. But Conley does not overly
dwell on these things. He continues to tell the story using the sources available. The skill of Conley in communicating his
ideas never diminishes. This book is highly recommended as a good place to start the study of Cherokee history. It serves
as excellent reference material and belongs in the library of anyone serious about the study of Native Americans.
Reading: Winfield Scott: The Quest
for Military Glory (Hardcover). Description: One of the most important public figures in antebellum America, Winfield Scott is known today more for his swagger
than his sword. "Old Fuss and Feathers" was a brilliant military commander whose tactics and strategy were innovative adaptations
from European military theory; yet he was often underappreciated by his contemporaries and until recently overlooked by historians.
Although John Eisenhower's recently published Agent of Destiny provides a solid summary of Scott's remarkable life, Timothy
D. Johnson's much deeper critical exploration of this flawed genius will become the standard work. Thoroughly grounded in
an essential understanding of nineteenth-century military professionalism, Johnson's work draws extensively on unpublished
sources to reveal neglected aspects of Scott's life, present a complete view of his career, and accurately balance criticism
and praise. Continued below…
relates the key features of Scott's career: how he led troops to victory in the War of 1812 and the Mexican War, fought against
the Seminoles and Creeks, and was instrumental in professionalizing the U.S. Army, which he commanded for two decades. He
also tells how Scott tried to introduce French methods into army tactical manuals, and how he applied his study of the Napoleonic
Wars during the Mexico City campaign but found European strategy of little use against Indians. Johnson further suggests that
Scott's creation of an officer corps that boasted Grant, Lee, McClellan, and other veterans of the Mexican War raises important
questions about his influence on Civil War generalship. More than a military history, this book explains how Scott's
aristocratic pretensions were out of place with emerging notions of equality in Jacksonian America and made him an unappealing
political candidate in his bid for the presidency. Johnson recounts the details of Scott's personality that alienated nearly
everyone who knew him, as well as the unsavory methods Scott used to promote his career and the scandalous ways he attempted
to alleviate his lifelong financial troubles. Although Scott's legendary vanity has tarnished his place among American
military leaders, he also possessed great talent and courage. Johnson's biography offers the most balanced portrait available
of Scott by never losing sight of the whole man.
Reading: Agent Of Destiny: The Life And Times Of General Winfield Scott (Hardcover). Description: It's
about time somebody wrote a biography of Winfield Scott, and reading this fascinating account by accomplished military historian
John S. D. Eisenhower, you'll wonder why nobody did it sooner. Scott's career spanned an astonishing 54 years and he spent
most of it as a general. He was one of the few American heroes to emerge from the War of 1812; he launched a daring and successful
invasion of Mexico in 1847; and he defended a vulnerable Washington,
D.C., during the first months of the Lincoln
administration in 1861. Scott was a profoundly courageous man with a flair for the organizational side of military life. Continued
Yet an unseemly amount of ambition and vanity marred his character, even
as these qualities help make him an interesting subject for Eisenhower (who is, you guessed it, the son of Ike). Agent
of Destiny is a skilled portrait of a man who is often overshadowed by the generation of Civil War leaders following him.
Eisenhower deserves our thanks for writing this magnificent book about a vital figure.
Scott and the Profession of Arms (Hardcover: 328 pages) (Kent State University Press). Description: Winfield Scott And The Profession Of Arms is the true story of Winfield
Scott (1786-1866), who is perhaps best known for his role in bringing professionalism to the U.S. Army during his long military
career (1807-61). He served as general in the War of 1812, major figure during the Indian Wars, key character in the "Trail
of Tears", commanded U.S. forces in the final campaign of the Mexican American
War, and was the general-in-chief at the beginning of the Civil War. Continued below…
he was a presidential candidate and foe or friend to every president from Madison to Lincoln. History
professor emeritus Allan Peskin draws upon research in the National Archives to unearth a comprehensive portrait of General
Scott as a visionary managerial officer, who anticipated drastic changes in technology and business principles for the military
and adapted in response. An in-depth, balanced biography of a remarkable figure and his lasting legacy.
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