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Journeyman

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Southern California
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 14,552

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The last Confederate Brigade didn't surrender until 4 days after June 19 . . .

June 23, 1865: Brigadier General Stan Watie (CSA), signed a cease-fire agreement with Union forces. Watie, a Cherokee, was the last Confederate General, and his troops -- the First Indian Brigade of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi -- the final force in the field for the now-defunct CSA to lay down their arms. The American Civil War was over.

There's a certain irony to the denouement, that a brigade comprised of native Americans should be the last active force fighting for the Confederate cause, but then, the War was filled with little ironies and big contradictions. And native Americans played a role in it throughout. Watie was the highest ranking native American for the South, while Ely Parker, a Seneca, held the same high rank in the Union army. Parker, however, as an attorney and civil engineer, had the distinction to serve on Gen. U.S. Grant's staff, and was picked by Grant to write the terms of surrender presented to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. That document is in Parker's handwriting.

Few Cherokee held slaves before the War. In this, they were similar to their white Confederate allies. They opposed the Union largely out of fear the Federal Government intended to carve a State out of the land they'd been forced onto by that same Government. Those fears proved valid after the War, when Oklahoma was established.

Watie's forces were both efficient and ruthless during the War. It is said they fought in more battles West of the Mississippi than any other Confederate unit. They also committed some of the war's most vicious atrocities, including the slaughter of Union troops and black civilian teamsters during a raid on a supply convoy in September, 1864.

There were many reasons why word of Emancipation took so long to reach every corner of the nation. Part of it was that the war continued well beyond Lee's surrender. (The final battle, Palmito Ranch, was fought near Brownsville, Texas, in mid-May. Ironically, it was a Confederate victory.) And as you rightfully point out, news of Emancipation took so long to spread due to poor communications -- both technologically and willfully, for not all who heard the word were quick to spread it, especially to their slaves.
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