The summer of 1863 saw in the Indian Territory a definite turn of the tide in favor of the North, and, at the same time the fortunes of the Confederacy as a whole began to decline. Vicksburg was taken and the Mississippi was opened to the sea. The battle of Gettysburg was fought, and General Lee fell back into Virginia. the blockade was growing tighter, and the value of Confederate currency steadily depreciated. The occupation of Fort Gibson by Colonel Phillips placed a strong Union force deep in the Indian Territory. Fort Smith, seized and garrisoned by the north, became a Federal outpost at the edge of the Choctaw Nation. Not a few Indians in the southern army were deserting and joining the north. The women, children, and old men of the Cherokees and Creeks were huddled in refugee camps along the Red River. Here they endured almost as great hardships during the winters of 1863-1864 and 1864-1865 as the northern refugees had suffered during the two preceding winters.
In desperation, the Confederacy sought to improve the situation by a change of commanders, but the time was past when much could be gained by new leadership, no matter how able it might be. General Steele was replaced by General S. B. Maxey, a bold and efficient officer, but the new commander could do little for want of men, equipment, and supplies. Eventually he resigned and was succeeded by General Douglas H. Cooper, who was very popular with the Indians and had repeatedly shown himself to be an able soldier. By this time, however, nothing could help the southern cause in the Indian Territory very much. The whole Confederacy was tottering and was soon to fall.
OKGenWeb Index Page | USGenWeb Index Page | WorldGenWeb Project Index Page | USGenWeb Archives | OkGenWeb Archives | Twin Territories Project of the OkGenWeb | State and Unknown County Queries | The Civil War in Indian Territory Index Page | Civil War Battle Sites in the Indian Territory | The Civil War in Indian Territory - The Story in Brief | The Shadow of War | The Mission of Albert Pike | Civil War and the Kansas Refugees | The Military Operations of General Pike | The First Indian Expedition | Difficulties of the Southern Indians | Division of the Cherokees | Occupation of the Cherokee Country by the Union | Waning Fortunes of the South | Last Phases of the War | Bibliography
This information has been gathered from research done in several areas. Source information is available on the bibliography page. This page has been designed and put together by Ann Maloney, Bartlesville, OK. If you would like to add anything, please contact me at the address below.
Copyright © 1998 Ann Maloney all rights reserved.