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Friday, March 8, 2013
Civil War Photo Friday: Soldier in the Indian Home Guard
Some remained faithful to the Union, but after a series of defeats they had to flee to Kansas in the middle of the winter, on what the refugees called "the trail of blood on the ice." From these refugees the Federal government recruited men to create three Indian Home Guard units. This guy, whose name is now sadly lost, was one of them.
The Indian regiments faced prejudice from white civilians and soldiers. They were commanded by white officers and were required by law only to fight in the Indian Territory. That they did. Starting in the summer of 1862 the Indian Home Guard fought to retake their homes. The Confederate Indians never got many supplies from the resource-strapped Confederacy and support for the rebellion waned. By the end of 1863, most of the territory was back in Union hands.
Fighting continued until the very end, however, and the land was laid waste. An untold number of civilians died of exposure, disease, and starvation.
For a snapshot of the other side of the conflict, check out my post on the Cherokee Confederate reunion of 1903.
Photo courtesy National Park Service.