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Northeastern State University, Oklahoma Historical Society commemorate 150th Anniversary of American Civil War’s end

Last treaty of American Civil War on display at Oklahoma History Center

(Tahlequah, Okla.)-- Recently discovered documents show the American Civil War officially ended 150 years ago—in Indian Territory, now Oklahoma.

An original signed copy, known as the “Watie Treaty,” is currently in Northeastern State University’s Archives and is considered to be one of three known copies of the last treaty signed by the last Confederate general during the American Civil War. 

Officials from NSU, Oklahoma Historical Society, Cherokee Nation and the Helmerich Center for American Research at the Gilcrease Museum gathered at the Oklahoma History Center on June 23 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the end of the civil war and to view facsimiles of several documents, including a three-page original signed copy of the treaty. Copies of the “Watie Treaty,” an historical narrative by NSU professor Dr. Brad Agnew and other documents will be on display at the Oklahoma History Center through July 10.

On June 23, 1865, General Stand Watie, a member of the Cherokee Nation and Brigadier general of the First Indian Brigade of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi, surrendered to Union forces at Doaksville in the Choctaw Nation, near the Texas border.

With his signature upon the cease-fire treaty, Watie became the last Confederate general in the field to surrender during the war. 

Blain McLain, the archives assistant who uncovered NSU’s signed copy of the treaty last November, said the document was a significant find for the university, community and country.

“This is the last, formal surrender of a general in the civil war which is probably by all accounts, the most influential war in American history. It shaped the country’s future more than any other war has,” McLain said.

Even though history recorded the official end of the war on April 9, 1865 when General Robert Lee surrendered to General Ulysses Grant in Appomattox, Va., it was more so the end of fearing for the Union’s demise, said McLain. It wasn’t the end of the struggle. Several months later in June, Watie was the final general to capitulate to the Union.

Watie signed the surrender treaty alongside two commissioners for the Union, Lt. Col. Asa C. Matthews and William H. Vance. Two additional signed treaty copies are located in the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the Gilcrease Archive Collection at the Helmerich Center for American Research.   

The 150th anniversary of its signing was June 23, 2015.

More information about the Watie Treaty.

Published: 6/23/2015 3:00:04 PM

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