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Civil War Trust

General Watie Surrenders in the Oklahoma Territory

June 23, 1865

Fort Towson, OklahomaVisit on the Discovery Trail »

The last Confederate general to lay down his arms was the Brigadier Gen. Stand Watie. Gen. Waite, a slave-owning member of the Cherokee Nation, commanded the First Indian Brigade – a cavalry unit comprised primarily of Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole tribesman – of the Confederate Army of the Trans-Mississippi. Watie was tasked with keeping the Union Army on the eastern bank of Red River, in addition to disrupting Union troops wherever possible, and was largely successful in repulsing Federal troops throughout the course of his assignment. Even as the war began to wind down, Watie and his detachment of mounted American Indian troops remained a potent fighting force, engaging in over 18 battles or major skirmishes, with a host of additional minor scraps to their name. Lt. Gen Edmund Kirby Smith’s surrender of the Trans-Mississippi Department, initially at least, did not deter Watie, and despite his dwindling ranks, he continued to led his men. However, a month following Smith’s capitulation, and a full two months after Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender in Virginia, Waite finally determined that enough was enough, and he surrendered his command at Doaksville, in Oklahoma Territory near Fort Towson on June 23, 1865. He was the very last Confederate General to surrender of the American Civil War.


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