Ely Samuel Parker and Stand Watie: The Life and Legacy of the Civil War's Most Famous Native American Officers, Charles River Editors
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Ely Samuel Parker and Stand Watie: The Life and Legacy of the Civil War's Most Famous Native American Officers

Author: Charles River Editors

Narrator: Bill Caufield

Unabridged: 3 hr 22 min

Format: Digital Audiobook

Publisher: Findaway Voices

Published: 01/20/2024

Genre: History - Native American

Synopsis

One of the best known of the six nations is the Seneca, and arguably the most famous Seneca chief was Ely Samuel Parker. Over the course of his life, he was a Seneca chief, a civil engineer, a close friend and adjutant to General Ulysses S. Grant, an advocate for the Indian peoples, and the first Native American Commissioner of the Department of Indian Affairs. His marriage to a much younger socialite scandalized Washington, and he made a fortune on Wall Street and lost it all. He ended his life in genteel poverty, working for nearly 20 years in an obscure position for the New York City Police Department. Parker was a largely self-taught engineer, who worked on various canal projects, and was hired by the Department of the Treasury to supervise the construction of several buildings in Galena, Illinois, where he met a shy salesclerk named Ulysses S. Grant. At the age of 18, he dined with President Polk, later talked with President Lincoln, and had the commanding general of the U.S. Army as the best man at his wedding. 

Stand Watie’s life connects the traditional Cherokee homeland in Tennessee and Georgia, the fight within the tribe over leaving for the West or staying on their homeland and trying to resist, and the Trail of Tears. At the same time, his life also includes the ongoing split between mixed-blood and full-blood Cherokee in the Cherokee Nation, and the chaos of Indian Territory during the Civil War. Like the country as a whole, the Cherokee Nation was split over the question of slavery, and with an estimated 100 slaves owned, Watie was the biggest native slaveholder in the region. At the start of the war, Watie was commissioned as a colonel in Confederate service and later as a brigadier general. His 1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles Regiment fought more engagements than any other Confederate unit west of the Mississippi River. As a result, Watie is perhaps the most famous figure of a widely overlooked aspect of the Civil War.

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