Memories of the Civil War

(The following excerpt is from - Indian Pioneer Papers)

Although the Cherokee Nation was involved in the Civil War, it is important to note that Cherokee Nation was not located within the boundaries of any state, nor were her people citizens of the United States. Cherokees divided - some fought with the North, some with the South. And what resulted was a war within a war. . . . here are some of the memories of this awful time in the Cherokee Nation from Sallie Manus.

Mrs. Manus' father, Peacheater, went blind while serving in the Civil War and his Captain sent him home. Sallie Manus remembers how they hid him in a shallow cave on the side of a mountain for fear of the Bushwackers and the Confederate Army. The cave made for his hideout was a shallow cave covered with boards and then the boards covered with dirt and leaves and sticks until the surface appeared perfectly natural. His family lifted a board to give him his food.

The soldiers very often came by to rob Mrs. Manus of anything she had in the way of horse feed, food or clothing.

"Once I was warned by a soldier who had left a camp of Southern Soldiers camping about a mile east of me. This man knocked at my door about midnight and told me had sneaked away while the rest slept and that they intended to raid my house early the next morning and take my ponies, money, food, clothing or anything they could find.

I thanked the stranger with laughter and tears. I put my clothes on, took my bridles for my only little pony I had to help me make a living, and I stalked through the dark wooded pasture nearby until I found him. I talked to him and said, 'Pony Babe, you come here to me. You got to make your best run of your dear life. Our enemy is after us. Come here, Babe.'

He seemed to understand my begging voice and submitted very quickly and I took him to the house and I fed him the last food I had. He ate, seemingly rather nervous. He seemed to hear the extra noises just a mile away. At daybreak I had gotten my money ready to leave. I pinned $50.00 to my apron and got on my pony, just as I saw figures of some men coming.

I spoke to Babe, 'Hurry Babe!' that I could amost touch the ground with my feet. I head the soldiers whoop and the race was on. I heard a few shots fired at me and Babe and I couldn't tell whether I was gaining or losing for awhile, but Babe seemed to be just warming up to the race as we mounted first one hill and then another.

I used the instructions my father had given me to never kick a horse with your heels but use your voice by talking to your mount or using a small limb on the shoulder, because kicking your mount only shortened the pony's breath.

Anyway, I outran my enemies. I ran from home to Park Hill,, as about where Park Hill is located now, to a woman's house I knew as being my friend, though she was a Confederate supporter. I jumped off my perspiring and panting horse and fell on her porch. She ran out excited to death, and I muttered out my reason for my presence and she said, 'Give me here that money. They won't rob me for I am a Confederate.'

I shoved her the money and sure enough we got by with it. Poor old Babe lay on the ground for two days unable to get around for being too sore to walk.

The soldiers were very mean to the women. They treated them without any respect whatsoever. Conditions following the war were absolutely indescribably, no law, no respect, life worth nothing, property rights wiped away, no food or clothing."

[Info provided by the Cherokee Nation Cultural Resource Center, excerpts taken from the Indian Pioneer Papers. Please contact cultural@cherokee.org for any questions. The Indian Pioneer Papers are the product of a project developed in 1936. The Oklahoma Historical Society teamed with the history department at the University of Oklahoma to get a Works Progress Administration (WPA) writers' project grant for an interview program. The program was headquartered in Muskogee and was led by Grant Foreman. The writers conducted more than 11,000 interviews and after editing and typing the work, the results were over 45,000 pages long.]

*Note: Cultural information may vary from clan to clan, location to location, family to family, and from differing opinions and experiences. Information provided here are not 'etched in stone'.