|This grossly inaccurate Currier and Ives print of the Battle of Pea Ridge|
shows members of the Five Nations decked out in Plains Indians regalia.
As organized Indian units went in the Civil War, those fighting for the Confederacy were chiefly mixed-blood Indians, like Stand Watie, a three-quarter Cherokee, and members of the Five Tribes who fought for the Union were principally pure-blood. John Ross himself was only 1/8th Cherokee, and a owned a great many slaves.
The Opinionator. . . From John Ross’s perspective, the news from Pea Ridge was a disaster. Stories soon appeared in Northern and Southern newspapers reporting that Cherokee troops had scalped, tortured and desecrated the bodies of Union soldiers. These reports prompted newspaper editors to characterize Cherokee soldiers as “barbarous,” ill-disciplined drunkards. Albert Pike also attracted newspaper criticism. The New York Tribune accused him of leading an “Aboriginal Corps of Tomahawkers and Scalpers.” [see full essay here]