June 23

Stand Watie

June 23, 1865 - New Echota

He was the highest-ranking Native American to fight for the Confederacy, but years before the Civil War, Stand Watie was nearly assassinated by fellow Cherokees for what they saw as betrayal.

Watie was born near New Echota, in Georgia, in 1806. That’s the same place where he and three other Cherokees signed the Treaty of New Echota in 1835. All four sided with a small Cherokee faction supporting removal to the west and signed the treaty — all but Watie were assassinated by angry Cherokees in 1839.

When the Civil War began, Watie was a slave-owning planter in the Indian Territory. He volunteered to fight for the Confederacy and raised a regiment known as the Cherokee Mounted Volunteers. Later promoted to brigadier general, he commanded the first Indian brigade in the Western Theater.

Two and half months after Robert E. Lee surrendered in Virginia, Watie was the last Confederate general in the field to surrender, on June 23, 1865, Today in Georgia History.