Native American alliances
Before the outbreak of war, the United States government relocated all soldiers in the Indian Territory to other key areas, leaving the territory unprotected from
Texas and Arkansas, which had already joined the Confederacy. The Confederacy took an interest in the territory, seeking a possible source of food in the event of a Union blockade, a connection to western territories, and a buffer between Texas and the Union-held
Kansas. At the onset of war, Confederate forces took possession of the U.S. army forts in the area. In June and July 1861, Confederate officers negotiated with Native American tribes for combat support. After refusing to allow Creek lands to be annexed by the Confederacy, the Creek Principal Chief
Opothleyahola led the Creek supporters of the Union to Kansas, having to fight along the way.
 Leaders from each of the
Five Civilized Tribes, acting without the consensus of their councils, agreed to be annexed by the Confederacy in exchange for certain rights, including protection and recognition of current tribal lands.
After reaching Kansas and Missouri, Opothleyahola and Native Americans loyal to the Union formed three volunteer regiments known as the
Indian Home Guard. It fought in the Indian Territory and Arkansas.