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When the Wolf Came

The Civil War and the Indian Territory

Mary Jane Warde

Publication Year: 2013

When the peoples of the Indian Territory found themselves in the midst of the American Civil War, squeezed between Union Kansas and Confederate Texas and Arkansas, they had no way to escape a conflict not of their choosing--and no alternative but to suffer its consequences. When the Wolf Came explores how the war in the Indian Territory involved almost every resident, killed many civilians as well as soldiers, left the country stripped and devastated, and cost Indian nations millions of acres of land. Using a solid foundation of both published and unpublished sources, including the records of Cherokee, Choctaw, and Creek nations, Mary Jane Warde details how the coming of the war set off a wave of migration into neighboring Kansas, the Red River Valley, and Texas. She describes how Indian Territory troops in Unionist regiments or as Confederate allies battled enemies--some from their own nations--in the territory and in neighboring Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas. And she shows how post-war land cessions forced by the federal government on Indian nations formerly allied with the Confederacy allowed the removal of still more tribes to the Indian Territory, leaving millions of acres open for homesteads, railroads, and development in at least ten states. Enhanced by maps and photographs from the Oklahoma Historical Society's photographic archives, When the Wolf Came will be welcomed by both general readers and scholars interested in the signal public events that marked that tumultuous era and the consequences for the territory's tens of thousands of native peoples.

Published by: University of Arkansas Press

Title Page, Frontispiece, Copyright

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi

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Series Editors' Preface

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pp. vii-viii

The Civil War in the West has a single goal: to promote historical writing about the war in the western states and territories. It focuses most particularly on the Trans-Mississippi theater, which consisted of Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, most of Louisiana (west of the Mississippi River), Indian Territory (modern-day Oklahoma), and Arizona Territory (two-fifths...

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Author's Preface

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pp. ix-x

Even after 150 years we still live every day with the aftermath of the Civil War in the Indian Territory. Developments in neighboring states assured that the Indian Territory would be drawn into the Civil War, while what happened in the Indian Territory washed over into those states. The war in the Indian Territory also made possible the gathering...

Special Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-2

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1. Men and Things Are Changing Fast

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pp. 3-40

On March 19, 1860, Israel Folsom, a Cumberland Presbyterian minister active in Choctaw politics, wrote to his friend Peter P. Pitchlynn, then representing the Choctaw Nation in Washington, D.C., “Rapidly do men of all classes seem to be losing confidence in each other. It seems men & things are changing fast.”...

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2. Now the Wolf Has Come

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pp. 41-88

In early winter of 1862–1863, Thomas Pegg, acting chief of the Cherokee Nation, reflected on what had happened to his people in a little more than a year’s time. Pegg, or Ayuñadegi, was about sixty, an Old Settler, and had been active in his nation’s affairs for decades. At various times he had represented Saline District in the...

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3. Squally Times in This Territory

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pp. 89-134

In January 1862 Joseph S. Murrow wrote letters describing conditions in the Indian Territory to his friends and colleagues. Originally from Georgia, Murrow was only twenty-six but had already spent four years as a Baptist missionary to the Muscogee and Seminole peoples. When the Civil War began, he had moved his young family to...

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4. An Enemy’s Country

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pp. 135-178

Although it was only a lull in the storm of war, the coming of winter in 1862 brought the Indian Territory both relief and fear. Drought and crop failure had affected the whole area the preceding summer, but the Cherokee Nation was in a particularly desperate condition due as much to man as nature. On January 19, 1863,...

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5. Scattered Like Leaves

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pp. 179-216

In 1878 a writer, reminiscing about the Civil War in the Indian Territory, stated, “The war to preserve the union of States surged over the boundaries of the Indian Territory and swept the Indians from their homes, scattered them like leaves from the forest to the ends of the earth.”1 It was an apt description of what happened from 1861 to...

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6. The Terrors of War

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pp. 217-262

The euphoria among the Confederate allies due to their victory at Cabin Creek faded quickly. It did not affect the decline of the Confederacy in the east, and there were no more ambitious expeditions affecting the Indian Territory by either side in the fall and winter of 1864–1865. There was only desultory raiding and the merciless...

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7. Only the Land

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pp. 263-312

Looking back in 1878, an anonymous writer for the Indian Journal, published in the Muscogee Nation, wrote, “At the close of the war [Muscogee] families were again gathered together only to find their farms desolate, their homes burned, their fences destroyed, their fields overrun with weeds, their church and school...

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Bibliographic Essay

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pp. 313-322

The Civil War is a topic that never seems to fall out of favor for research. The 150th anniversary can only heighten interest among professional historians as well as those who simply want to know more about it. The nature of the war in the Indian Territory, touching as it did so many different peoples, should generate even more research and publication....


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pp. 323-368


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pp. 369-382


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pp. 383-404

About the Author

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pp. 405-406


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pp. G1-G14

E-ISBN-13: 9781610755306
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557286420

Page Count: 440
Publication Year: 2013