Elias Rector as an ardent partisan of the Confederacy, must have particularly wished in subsequent years that his report of Billy Bowleg’s death had been more than just a rumor, for Bowlegs was one of the principal chiefs of the Five Civilized Tribes who supported the Union in the Civil War. Although a number of Seminole chiefs, along with representatives of all the other Civilized Tribes, were bullied or cajoled into signing a treaty with the Confederacy, before the war was over it was estimated that two-thirds of the Seminole Indians and practically all their Negroes were within the Union lines. Reasons for the alignment of the Civilized Tribes in the Civil War are complicated. The Choctaw and Chickasaw, located farthest to the south and east and always more inclined than other southern tribes to be conciliatory toward their white neighbors, were nearly all thorough going Confederates, but the Creeks, Seminoles, and Cherokees were badly split. In general, the half-breed element also tended, along with such full-bloods as they could influence, to support the Confederacy. The majority of conservative full-bloods, with no interest in being “accepted” by the dominant element in the South, at first sought neutrality in the conflict, and then, when it became an impossibility, supported the Union cause. The Indian Negroes, who occupied a position of considerable influence among the Seminoles, and even among the Creeks and Cherokees were far more independent than white-owned slaves, knew immediately where their interests lay. Moreover, as badly as the Cherokees, Creeks, and Seminoles had been treated by the United States government and its armed forces, their treatment by southern territorial and state governments and volunteers had been far worse; such little protection and fair treatment as they had received had come from Washington and from regular army officers.
Porter, Kenneth W.
"Billy Bowlegs (Holata Micco) in the Civil War (Part II),"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 45
, Article 6.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol45/iss4/6