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When the Wolf CameWhen the Wolf Came

The Civil War and the Indian Territory

Mary Jane Warde

Winner of the Oklahoma Book Award for nonfiction; Winner of the Pate Award from the Fort Worth Civil War Round Table

Narrated by Robert E. Anderson

Available from Audible

Book published by The University of Arkansas Press

When the peoples of the Indian Territory found themselves in the midst of the American Civil War, squeezed between Union Kansas and Confederate Texas and Arkansas, they had no way to escape a conflict not of their choosing–and no alternative but to suffer its consequences.

When the Wolf Came explores how the war in the Indian Territory involved almost every resident, killed many civilians as well as soldiers, left the country stripped and devastated, and cost Indian nations millions of acres of land. Using a solid foundation of both published and unpublished sources, including the records of Cherokee, Choctaw, and Creek nations, Mary Jane Warde details how the coming of the war set off a wave of migration into neighboring Kansas, the Red River Valley, and Texas. She describes how Indian Territory troops in Unionist regiments or as Confederate allies battled enemies–some from their own nations–in the territory and in neighboring Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas. And she shows how post-war land cessions forced by the federal government on Indian nations formerly allied with the Confederacy allowed the removal of still more tribes to the Indian Territory, leaving millions of acres open for homesteads, railroads, and development in at least ten states.

When the Wolf Came will be welcomed by both general readers and scholars interested in the signal public events that marked that tumultuous era and the consequences for the territory’s tens of thousands of native peoples.

Mary Jane Warde is the author of Washita and George Washington Grayson and the Creek Nation.


“A fine and thorough overview of the military history of the Civil War in the Indian Territory, one that captures the different levels of politics, culture, and history that were pulling on Native communities at the time of the war, and that ultimately makes a good case for the long-term links between the war and Native history in both Oklahoma and the nation as a whole. I would strongly recommend it to those with an interest in Oklahoma history, Trans-Mississippi history, Native American history, Civil War in the West and the Removal Period.”

Field Notes

“One of the only works to date to document the experiences of Indians on the battlefield and at home in such rich detail. Scholars interested in the American Civil War, Indigenous military history, or the nineteenth-century history of the Five Nations will find the text especially useful.”

Native American and Indigenous Studies

“Warde has succeeded in crafting the definite history of the Civil War in Indian Territory. Blending federal documents, traditional archives, secondary sources, and oral histories, When the Wolf Came is highly recommended to students of the Civil War, the American South, American Indians, and federal Indian policy.”

The Journal of Southern History

“This book is highly recommended to anyone wanting to know more about the events and consequences of the Civil War in Indian Territory and its surrounding territories.”

The Chronicles of Oklahoma

“A solid work of scholarship that is essential for scholars of the Trans-Mississippi theater of the war and for Civil War enthusiasts.”

Arkansas Historical Quarterly

“Will stand for decades as the most comprehensive and thoughtful study of the Civil War’s impact on Indian Territory …. very fine scholarship indeed, carefully crafted, abundantly researched, and told with an eye to both detail and clarity”

Civil War Book Review

When the Wolf Came is a deeply researched and engagingly corrective addition to the sparse or dated existing studies of a critical period in the history of the Indian Territory; it is especially valuable for its extensive incorporation of the perspectives of those inside rather than outside the Territory. Occupying the intersection between the history of the Civil War and of the American West, it deserves careful reading by military historians interested in irregular warfare and students of the history of the United States generally and Oklahoma in particular.”

Michigan War Studies Review

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