On February 18, 1863, a council representing the Cherokee Nation agreed to peace terms with the Union. Like most other Indian tribes located in the territories that are now the state of Oklahoma, the Cherokee had initially sided with the Confederacy, contributing warriors in the West and in the Appalachians.
The Cherokee historically had distrusted the federal government, and many of their members owned slaves. However, when the Confederacy began to divert forces away from the Indian territories to other strategically vital theatres, many Cherokee, including Chief John Ross, had a change of heart.
The 1863 treaty included a provision that emancipated slaves held by the Cherokee. After the treaty was signed, the Cherokee splintered into pro-Union and pro-Confederate factions that spent the remainder of the war fighting each other.