Most Native Americans had little love for the United States. Many tribes were in Oklahoma, which was called at the time the "Indian Territories". Most of these sided with the Confederacy, and some organized units of Native Americans fought on the Confederate side. There was actually a Civil War within the Civil War, between the Cherokees over which side to cast in with. Stand Waite of the Cherokee Nation was a Brigadier General in the Confederate service and commanded a brigade of Cherokees serving the south.

East of the Mississippi the only organized units of Native Americans to take part were several companies fighting for the Confederacy as part of "Thomas' Legion of Indians and Highlanders". William H. Thomas was the "White Chief of the Cherokees". He was a lawyer and it was through his intercession that the "Eastern Band" of Cherokees had been permitted to remain in western North Carolina at the time of the Removal in the 1830s. Thomas was a kinsman by marriage of Jefferson Davis (by Davis' first wife) and obtained permission from Davis to raise a Legion in which his beloved Cherokees could serve, when the Confederacy initiated a draft law. Thomas knew the Cherokees would have to serve, with this new law, and this was his method of trying to control what happened to them. A "Legion" was an idea ahead of its time, supposed to contain infantry, cavalry and artillery - an early concept of combined arms. There were maybe a dozen or so all together formed for the Confederacy, and Thomas' was the last one. They did not fit in well with other units when they were joined with a larger army. In many histories the Legion is the 69th NC and the 80th NC, but they never had these titles during the war - they were "The Legion" and "Walker's Battalion" of the Legion. All together there were about twenty companies and four of these were completely Cherokees. The Legion saw service in east Tennessee and western North Carolina.

(from "What Did Native Americans Do in the Civil War", WikiAnswers.com)





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