HISTORY of the 1st Cherokee Mounted [Volunteers] Rifles

Brg. Gen. Stand Watie


On February 9, 1861 Jefferson Davis of Mississippi became president of the combined states of session. Which became known as the "Confederate States of America," and Alexander H. Stephens, of Georgia became vice president.

While the fledgling Confederacy was being formed. Out in the Indian Territory there was a long standing issue that had been brewing since the time of the removal in 1838. This was related to the unexicuted blood warrants that had been issued against those who had signed the treaty, [Treaty of New Echota-signed by the Treaty Party, also known as the "Ridge Faction"] that resulted in the removal of the Cherokee Nation. The standing issue involved Chief John Ross and the Ridge factions. The original Treaty Party was headed by Stand Watie, Elis Boudinot and Major Ridge [Western Cherokee or Old Settlers - also known as Chickamauga], those who signed the treaty for removal, in defiance of the tribal blood law.
Watie and his brother Elias Boudinot [Lone Watie] favored selling the land and leaving Georgia. They actually prefered remaining in Georgia, but felt it was inevitable that they move. Georgia and Washington had all the power and would eventually over run the Cherokee Nation.

Chief John Ross - Gen. Stand Watie's protaginest

The turmoil of the pending war between the states and the pressure on the Territorial Indians to side with the Confederacy. Caused someone within the Ross camp of full-bloods to exicute the blood warrants. By the time the war started the division within the Cherokee Nation was over the blood feud between Ross-Watie. over the killings of Major Ridge, John Ridge, and Elias Boudinot, Stand Waties brother.
Numerous related killings followed the murders of the Old Treaty Party, with many attempts on Waties life. One such attempt resulted in his standing trial for man slaughter, which he was found not quilty [self defense].

Major Ridge, leader original Treaty Party

NOTES: An E-mail recently sent to me asked the question:

"I have read several articals about the Civil War, indicating that Bg. Gen. Stand Watie commanded the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole Regiments of the Territorial Indians."

This information is incorrect, Stand Watie at the out break of hostilities, raised his own private army of mixed-blood Cherokee's, which he mobilzed and marched [uninvited] into the battle of Wilson's Creek, Aug 10, 1861 [southwestern Missouri]. This was the first official battle involving Territorial Indians.
The Commander of the Trans-Mississippi West was so impressed with Stand Waties actions at the Battle of Wilson's Creek, that he offered him a commission as a Col. in the Army of the Confederate States of America.
Due to the wording of the constitution of the Confederate States of America, a military unit could only be commissioned in one of the states that was part of the Confederacy. Arkansas being the closet to the Indian Territory, the units were formed under the State of Arkansas. The 1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles was first formed as the 1st Arkansas Mounted Volunteers [Rifles].
You will notice that all of the original Territorial Indian commissions granted to Brig. Gen. Albert Pike to organize units were as mounted voluneetrs [rifles] - [Home Guards]. The term rifles as opposed to cavalry, infers that they were mounted infantry. They rode into battle then dismounted and formed into schermish lines and faught from natural cover.
[NOTE: According to treaty agreement between Territorial Indians and Trans-Mississippi West the Territorial Indians were not supposed to be used outside the Indian Territory, they were Home Guards]
At the Battle of Pea Ridge, Bg. Gen. Albert Pike commanded the combined forces of Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole. Pike resigned his commission during the Battle of Pea Rdige, due to accusations of Indian atrocities commited on the battle field.
Col. John Drew Commander of the 2nd Cherokee Mounted [Volunters] Rifles, resigned his commission after Bg. Gen. Pike resigned. Drew returned to the Indian Territory where Chief John Ross re-commissioed him as a Col. in the [Union] Cherokee Home Guards.

Stand Watie was commissioned a Col. in the Army of the Confederate States of America, assigned to the Trans-Mississippi West, Territorial Indians under the command of Bg. Gen. Albert Pike in 1861. It wasn't until 1864 that he was commissioned as a Brig. General in his own right and commanded his own Regiment.
After Brig. Gen. Albert Pike, resigned his commission at the Battle of Pea Ridge. The Territorial Indians were without a over all Commander, until Gen. Doulas H. Cooper was given the Command of the combined forces of the Indian Territory. [he formerly commanded the Choctaw - Chickasaw Regiments during the Battle of Pea Ridge]. Twelve hundred full-blooded "pins" rode with John Drew [they distrusted Watie's mixed blood "slick skins"]. John Jumper commanded six hundred Seminole. Daniel McIntosh led eight hundred Creeks and Chilly McIntosh an additional two hundred.

Personal note: The Battle of Pea Ridge also known by the South as the Battle of Elkhorn Tavern was faught on my family land. Most of the land of that area of the Boston Mountians known as Pea Vine Ridge was owned by the families: RUDDICK, FORD, GENTRY, LEE, SCOTT and COX. All of these families had inter-married for a very long time. The personal relationship bound them together in their fight against the North. Many of my family faught for the South.

There were many meetings called first by Chief John Ross, To try and elicit the support of all the tribes to remain neutral. Most of the Indians of the Indian Territory followed Chief John Ross's lead and remained neutral, until forced by the pressure and atrocities being commited in the Territoey and after the with-drawel of Union troops from the forts of the Indian Territory. At the same time Ross was holding his meetings, Watie was doing the same, though trying to convince the tribes to swing to the South.

More on Watie and the Battle of Wilson Creek

Stand Watie had already raised a private Army of half-blood Cherokee's who were loyal to him and the Confederacy. His private army along with the Texas Cavalry of Sterling Price engaged Gen. Lyon of the Dept. of Missouri at Wilson Creek. This was the first Civil War battle to be faught in by Territorial Indians. This private army of Watie's was to ride with him to Pea Ridge.

The original regiments raised by Gen. Pike, were disbanded and reorganized many times during the course of the war. This would account for the same names appearing on numerous rosters over a period of time. Those members who had served with the 1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles; up and until the surrender of Gen. Watie, had more than likely served in several regiments during the period from 1861 through 1865. In an effort to provide as much information as possible; I will post rosters as I find them:
In 1861 when Gen. Pike called upon the Cherokee to provide volunteers for the Trans-Mississippi West. Col's Watie and Drew responded with the 1st and 2nd Cherokee Mounted Volunteers:

Due to the controversial outcome of the Battle of Elkhorn Tavern. Col Drew disbanded the 2nd Cherokee Volunteers and resigned his commission. Many of the members of the 2nd Vol. went home to the Territory, the others joined up with Col. Stand Watie and the 1st Cherokee Mounted Volunteers. Brig..

John Ridge, member of the Treaty Party and uncle to Gen, Stand Watie.
Elias [Buck Oolwatie] Boudinet
Brother to Stand Watie

Cherokee CSA Military Units

Col. John Drew, Commander, 2nd Cherokee Volunteers or 2nd Cherokee Mounted Rifles

Gen. Pike dis-satisfied over his role at Pea Ridge and the accusations of his lack of control over the Indians; caused him to resign his commission and return home. This left Col. Stand Watie the senior field commander of the Cherokee's.

What follows is an overview of the re-organization:

1st [Watie] Cherokee Mounted Volunteers:
2nd [Drew] Cherokee Mounted Volunteers: (designation changed to 1st Regiment abt Dec 1862, after Col. Drew's regiment disbanded) and was absorbed by Col. Watie's Regiment, Cherokee Mounted Rifles:

The structure of the regiments before, during and after reorganization:


Stand WATIE; - promoted from Col. to Brig. Gen. May 6, 1864.

James Madison BELL; - promoted to Col. of the 2nd Reg. when Col. Watie was promoted to Brig. Gen.

Lt. Colonels:

Thomas Fox TAYLOR; - KIA July 27, 1862 at Bayou Menard (Ft. Gibson)
Robert Calvin PARKS; - replaced Taylor [from Capt. of the 1st Reg. Co. B] killed by a fellow officer during a personal dispute, at Fort Washita, on April 1864

Clement Neeley VANN; - replaced Parks [had been a pvt. Co. K, Drew's 2nd Reg.]


Elias Cornelius BOUDINOT; - [after reorganization, he was elected as the Cherokee Delagate to Congress] was a Col. and Vol. ADC on Maj. Gen. T.C. Hindman's staff in Dec. 1862

Joseph Franklin THOMPSON; - [promoted from Capt. in the 1st Reg., Co. I]

Erasmus J. HOWLAND; - [promoted to Capt. from 2nd Reg., Co. D] replaced Thompson in 1864

Regimental Staff:

1st Lt. - Charles E. WATIE;[moved from 2nd Reg., Co. B, after reorganization]

1st Lt. - Thomas F. ANDERSON;[promoted from pvt., 1st Reg., Co. H] to Brigade AAG in 1864.

Assistant Quarter Master:

1st Lt. - George A. ADAIR; [died April 1862]

1st Lt. - William Penn ADAIR; [promoted to Col. 2nd Reg., Feb 3, 1863]

1st Lt. - Johnson THOMPSON;

Asst. Commissary of Subsistences:

1st Lt. - Joseph M. STARR, Sr.;[until 1862]

1st. - Oliver W. LIPE; [promoted from pvt. 2nd Reg., Co. G] resigned June 3, 1863.

1st Lt. - Peter G. LYNCH [promoted from pvt., 2nd Reg., Co. A]


Maj. - Walter Thompson ADAIR; moved up to Brigade Surgeon in 1864.

Asst. Surgeon:

Capt. William D. POLSON; [resigned July 1, 1862]

Capt. Francis H. FISK; [from drill instructor 1st Reg., Co. I]

Quarter Master Sergeant;

Benjamin W. CARTER; [from pvt. 2nd Reg., Co. G]

John G. SCHRIMSHER; [from pvt. 2nd Reg., Co. G]

Cherokee Mounted Rifles [partial list]

Company A:

Capt. - Charles E. WATIE
3rd Lt. - Dumplin O'FIELD
3rd Lt. - Reese CANDY
Orderly Sgt. - Henry FOSSESTER


BALLARD, Archibald;      MOORE, John;       SQUIRREL, Jack;
CAREY, Edmond Duncan;    MOORE, Ned;        SUAGEE, Stand
HUSS, Charles;           PIGEON, Jack;      SUMMERFIELD, Joseph;
KETCHER, John;           PIGEON, Jesse;     WAITE, Saladin;
LOWREY, Charles;         PIGEON, Logan;     WARD, Vann;
MOORE, Olcut;            SQUIRREL, Daniel   WOODALL, Thomas Jefferson  

Company B:

Capt. - Robert Calvin PARKS
1st Lt. - Ephriam VANN


BURKETT, David;        HARRIS, William;         VANN, Coon;
BURKETT, James;        PARKS, Thomas Jefferson; VANN, Joseph;
BUTLER, James Leon;    RIDER, Alexander McCoy;  VANN, Yartunnah;
FISHTAIL, George Harlin; VANN, Cabbage;         WALKER, A. Daniel;
HARLIN, Mitchell;

Company C:

Company D:


Indian Tribal units commissioned and faught with the CSA in the Indian Territory

Cherokee Nation

*First Cherokee Mounted Rifles [Table of units]

* First Regiment of Cherokee Mounted Volunteers
* Second Regiment of Cherokee Mounted Volunteers
* Cherokee Regiment [Special Services,] CSA
* Third Cherokee Regiment of Volunteer Cavalry
* First Cherokee Battalion of Partisan Rangers
* First Squadron of Cherokee Mounted Volunteers
* Cherokee Special Services Battalion
* Scales' Battalion of Cherokee Cavalry
* Meyer's Battalion of Cherokee Cavalry
* Cherokee Battalion of Infantry
* Second Cherokee Artillery

Creek Nation

* First Regiment Creek Mounted Volunteers
* Second Regiment Creek Mounted Volunteers
* First Battalion Creek Confederate Cavalry

Seminole Nation

* First Battalion Seminole Mounted Volunteers
* First Regiment Seminole Mounted Volunteers

Chickasaw Nation

* First Regiment of Chickasaw Infantry
* First Regiment of Chickasaw Cavalry
* First Battalion of Chickasaw Cavalry
* Shecoe's Chickasaw Battalion of Mounted Volunteers

Choctaw Nation

* First Regiment Choctaw & Chickasaw Mounted Rifles
* First Regiment of Choctaw Mounted Rifles
* Deneale's Regiment of Choctaw Warriors
* Second Regiment of Choctaw Cavalry
* Third Regiment of Choctaw Cavalry
* Folsom's Battalion of Choctaw Mounted Rifles
* Capt. John Wilkin's Company of Choctaw Infantry

Northwest Frontier Command of Indian Territory

* Col. Roswell W. Lee, Commanding
* First Osage Battalion
* Major George Washington's Frontier Battalion
* Major James W. Cooper's Battalion

Cherokee and Choctaw Veterans of the Civil War.


Ed Gerdes Civil War - Drew's Mounted Rifles


For an overview of the campaigns fought by the 1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles click of the left arrow.