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Presentation Immigration and Relocation in U.S. History

Civil War Years

"From the Far West, Chicago Tribune, November 10, 1864"

During the Civil War years, the military campaigns of dislocation and pacification continued in the Plains and in the lands to the west of the United States. Some tribal governments allied themselves with the Confederacy and some with the Union, with varied consequences for land ownership after the war.

In 1863, Kit Carson led the Union Army in an attack on the Navajos in the desert Southwest. Union Soldiers destroyed crops, orchards, livestock, and homes in a campaign to relocate the tribes to a federal reservation. Thousands of Navajos surrendered to U.S. troops in 1864. These men, women, and children were forced to walk 300 miles to Fort Sumner, New Mexico. This legendary "Long Walk" ended at a small, disease-filled camp that served as a Navajo prison for four years.