Post Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:55 pm

1862:Confederates defeatd in AZ & CO, West secured for Union

Many Westerners supported the expansion of slavery into the West, and some would support Southern secession. Much of the Anglo population in Arizona and New Mexico had come from the South, and although California was admitted as a free state in 1850, on the eve of the conflict the state’s highest officials included both Unionists and future Confederates. In a duel in September 1859, a month before John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry in Virginia, David Terry, a secessionist and chief judge of the state’s supreme court, shot and killed US Senator David Broderick, a free-soil advocate. Nonetheless there was never any serious threat of Confederate control of California, and the far West was secured for the Union in the spring of 1862 when federal troops at Glorieta Pass in northern New Mexico turned back a Southern bid to seize Colorado’s gold fields and another column from California drove a small Confederate force out of Arizona.

As with western gold and silver rushes, the Civil War and Reconstruction’s effect on American Indians was catastrophic. The war divided the “five civilized tribes,” removed to Indian Territory only a generation earlier. The Cherokee Stand Watie became a Confederate general and was the last of that rank to surrender in 1865. Many among the Unionist minority were driven into exile in Kansas, where they suffered terribly from hunger and exposure. Elsewhere an uprising of Minnesota Sioux (Dakota) in 1862 left hundreds of white settlers dead before it was crushed. Thirty-eight of its leaders were hanged and nearly two thousand Sioux were removed to South Dakota. The next year in Arizona a campaign led by the famed scout Christopher “Kit” Carson shattered the power of the Navajo, and conflict in Colorado, 1864–1868, broke that of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe. The latter fighting included the infamous Sand Creek massacre, an attack on a peaceful camp in November 1864 that left between 150 and 200 people dead. Massacres of Shoshone in Idaho (1863) and Blackfeet in Montana (1870) took more than four hundred more lives. Despite the crisis in the East, Union forces thus dealt Native independence terrible blows during the Civil War, and after 1865 the remnant of the US Army snuffed out the remaining Native military resistance in the far West.