General Stand Watie
|Painting of the Surrender of Stand Watie
|Courtesy Artist Dennis Parker
Stand Watie was the only American Indian to attain the rank of brigadier
general during the Civil War, and was the last Confederate general to surrender (see Formal Surrender Order of Final Confederate Forces). He was born in Georgia in 1806. When the federal government began moving Cherokees from Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina
to a home west of the Mississippi, Stand Watie was one of those who supported the move. As a signer of the Treaty of New Echota in 1835, which provided for removal of Cherokees to the west, Stand Watie gained enmity of those opposed.
West of the Mississippi River, Cherokee Indians comprised the final Confederate forces that officially surrendered
to Union authorities.
Among the battles in which he participated were Wilson Creek, Bird Creek,
Pea Ridge and Cabin Creek. In the battle of Cabin Creek, the Confederates routed the Union soldiers and captured about three
hundred wagons loaded with supplies. This enabled the destitute Indian Confederates to continue in the war for a short time.
Watie surrendered his command to Peter Pitchlynn at Doaksville near Fort Towson on June 23, 1865. Watie's surrender was the
final formal surrender of Confederate forces. East of the Mississippi River, Walker's Battalion, Thomas' Legion of Cherokee Indians and
Highlanders was the final Confederate
force to formally surrender to Union officials.
He died September 9, 1871, near Grove, Oklahoma. He was considered by many to be a man of courage, leadership
of General Stand Watie by Dennis Parker was dedicated on May 2, 2000. The commission was managed by the Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund, Inc.
The painting is
located outside the Oklahoma State Senate lounge on the fourth floor of the Oklahoma State Capitol and can be viewed daily
from 8:30-5:30 when the Senate is not in session.
Artist Dennis Parker
Dennis Parker feels
his best work is done working out of doors from life or in front of a model. "Painting on the spot, I feel I get more of a
sense of light and color, and the interaction with live impressions gives the painting a freshness that is hard to capture
any other way," said Parker.
He studied three
years as an apprentice under artist Richard Goetz. Later, while attending the New York Art Student's League and the New York
Academy of Art, Dennis' instructors included such notable artists as Daniel Green, David Laffel and Ted Jacobs. He has also
studied individually with Joe Beeler and Albert Handell.
Dennis has participated
in national shows winning honors for both pastels and oils. He also teaches and demonstrates his art throughout the state.
Courtesy of Dennis
Parker, Oklahoma Arts Council, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Recommended Reading: Rifles for
Watie. Description: This is a rich and sweeping novel-rich in its panorama
of history; in its details so clear that the reader never doubts for a moment that he is there; in its dozens of different
people, each one fully realized and wholly recognizable. It is a story of a lesser -- known part of the Civil War, the Western
campaign, a part different in its issues and its problems, and fought with a different savagery. Inexorably it moves to a
dramatic climax, evoking a brilliant picture of a war and the men of both sides who fought in it.
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.
Recommended Reading: General
Stand Watie's Confederate Indians (University of Oklahoma Press). Description: American Indians were
courted by both the North and the South prior to that great and horrific conflict known as the American Civil War. This is
the story of the highest ranking Native American--Cherokee chief and Confederate general--Stand Watie, his Cherokee
Fighting Unit, the Cherokee, and the conflict in the West...
Reading: The Cherokee Nation in the Civil War
(Hardcover). Description: This book offers a broad overview of the war as it affected the Cherokees--a social history of a
people plunged into crisis. The Cherokee Nation in the Civil War shows how the Cherokee people, who had only just begun to
recover from the ordeal of removal, faced an equally devastating upheaval in the Civil War. Clarissa W. Confer illustrates
how the Cherokee Nation, with its sovereign status and distinct culture, had a wartime experience unlike that of any other
group of people--and suffered perhaps the greatest losses of land, population, and sovereignty. Continued below…
No one questions
the horrific impact of the Civil War on America,
but few realize its effect on American Indians. Residents of Indian Territory
found the war especially devastating. Their homeland was beset not only by regular army operations but also by guerrillas
and bushwhackers. Complicating the situation even further, Cherokee men fought for the Union
as well as the Confederacy and created their own "brothers' war." About the Author: Clarissa W. Confer is Assistant Professor
of History at California University of Pennsylvania.
Recommended Viewing: Indian Warriors - The Untold Story of the Civil
War (History Channel) (2007). Description: Though
largely forgotten, 20 to 30 thousand Native Americans fought in the Civil War. Ely Parker was a Seneca leader who found himself
in the thick of battle under the command of General Ulysses S. Grant. Stand Waite--a Confederate
general and a Cherokee--was known for his brilliant guerrilla tactics. Continued...
is Henry Berry Lowery, an Eastern North Carolina Indian, who became known as the Robin Hood of North Carolina. Respected Civil
War authors, Thom Hatch and Lawrence Hauptman, help reconstruct these most captivating stories, along with descendants like
Cherokee Nation member Jay Hanna, whose great-grandfathers fought for both the Union and the Confederacy. Together, they reveal a new, fresh perspective and the very
personal reasons that drew these Native Americans into the fray.
War Terror (History Channel) Description: This is the
largely untold story of a war waged by secret agents and spies on both sides of the Mason Dixon Line. These are tales of hidden
conspiracies of terror that specifically targeted the civilian populations. Engineers of chemical weapons, new-fangled explosives
and biological warfare competed to topple their enemy. With insight from Civil War authorities, we debunk the long-held image
of a romantic and gentlemanly war. To revisit the past, we incorporate written sources, archival photographs and newspaper
headlines. Our reenactments bring to life key moments in our historical characters' lives and in each of the horrific terrorist
Recommended Viewing: The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns. Review: The
Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns is the most successful public-television miniseries in American history. The 11-hour Civil War didn't just captivate a nation,
reteaching to us our history in narrative terms; it actually also invented a new film language taken from its creator. When
people describe documentaries using the "Ken Burns approach," its style is understood: voice-over narrators reading letters
and documents dramatically and stating the writer's name at their conclusion, fresh live footage of places juxtaposed with
still images (photographs, paintings, maps, prints), anecdotal interviews, and romantic musical scores taken from the era
he depicts. Continued below...
The Civil War uses all of these devices to evoke atmosphere and resurrect an event that many knew
only from stale history books. While Burns is a historian, a researcher, and a documentarian, he's above all a gifted storyteller,
and it's his narrative powers that give this chronicle its beauty, overwhelming emotion, and devastating horror. Using the
words of old letters, eloquently read by a variety of celebrities, the stories of historians like Shelby Foote and rare, stained
photos, Burns allows us not only to relearn and finally understand our history, but also to feel and experience it. "Hailed
as a film masterpiece and landmark in historical storytelling." "[S]hould be a requirement for every