Home |  PublicationsEncyclopedia |  Indian Territory Military District

The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture


After the outbreak of the Civil War, in April 1861 Confederate States of America (CSA) President Jefferson Davis assigned Albert Pike to negotiate treaties with the Five Tribes of Indian Territory, who had been removed from the South in the 1830s. Many of the tribesmen were slaveholders with divided loyalties.

From the Southern point of view Indian Territory was a buffer between Union Kansas and Confederate Texas and a potential source for livestock and grain. In May 1861 the District of Indian Territory, Confederate States of America, was created. In January 1862 it joined Arkansas and Missouri to form the Trans-Mississippi Department. Throughout the war Indian Territory passed from one district or departmental jurisdiction to another until it became a separate district of the Trans-Mississippi Department in July 1864, with Brig. Gen. Douglas H. Cooper commanding.

By November 1861 Pike had concluded treaties stipulating that the tribes could retain their lands, property, and annuities and would receive supplies and weaponry. Regiments from Texas were sent to defend Indian Territory, whose various commanders included Pike and Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn. The Indians fought as separate units under their own leaders. Notable among them was Stand Watie.

The Confederacy controlled less than half of Indian Territory following the engagement at Honey Springs in July 1863. The beleaguered South was unable to send supplies and arms. Tribal warfare destroyed property and left thousands homeless. The Five Tribes were forced to renegotiate treaties with the United States after the Confederacy's defeat in April 1865.

Martha Hartzog


LeRoy H. Fischer, ed., The Civil War Era in Indian Territory (Los Angeles: Lorrin L. Morrison, 1974).

Fred Hood, "Twilight of the Confederacy in Indian Territory," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 41 (Winter 1963–64).

Lary C. Rampp and Donald L. Rampp, The Civil War in the Indian Territory (Austin, Tex.: Presidial Press, 1975).

George H. Shirk, "Indian Territory Command in the Civil War," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 45 (Winter 1967–68).


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Martha Hartzog, “Indian Territory Military District,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=IN020.

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print versions of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS). This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and part or in whole.