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This Day in Georgia History

June 23, 1865

Stand Watie Last Confederate General to Surrender

Over two months after Lee’s surrender, Cherokee Stand Watie became the last Confederate general to surrender his forces in the final days of the Civil War. Born in Georgia, Watie was the brother of Elias Boudinot, cousin of John Ridge, and nephew of Major Ridge. In 1835, all had sided with the Cherokee faction supporting removal to the West and signed the Treaty of New Echota - for which all but Watie would be assassinated in 1839. At the time of the outbreak of the Civil War, Watie was a planter and slave-owner in the Indian Territory. He sided with the Confederacy and was commissioned as a colonel in July 1861. Watie raised a regiment known as the Cherokee Mounted Volunteers and fought in Arkansas and the Battle of Pea Ridge (Elk Horn Tavern). Because many Cherokees were loyal to the Union, Watie spent much of the rest of the war waging guerrilla warfare in the Indian Territory and adjacent states. In May 1864, he was promoted to brigadier general - becoming the highest ranking Indian to fight in the Civil War. After the war, Watie unsuccessfully tried to rebuild his fortune. He died on Sept. 9, 1871 in Delaware County, Oklahoma.