Re: Cherokee at Wilson's Creek -- Sources
Since you invited it, I'll correct you on a few points here... It is correct to say that Watie's regiment did not exist as such by Wilson's Creek, that is, as a regiment, which by army regulations should have 10 companies. McCulloch did, however, authorize Watie to raise a regiment, since he was commissioned a Colonel - the rank of a regimental (and not battalion) commander. This he did on July 12, 1861. Such advance commissions normally came with a requirement to complete the organization of the unit within a given time frame, or else they would expire. I'm not sure how strict this was that early in the war, but early in 1862 it was defined by the War Department that anyone receiving commissions to raise regiments would have four months to complete organization. Anyway, by most accounts serious recruiting for Watie's regiment started at the end of July 1861, and records indicate that it was not fully organized until about October/ November. Obviously, it was slow going to put together all the companies required. By Wilson's Creek, Watie had only just started, and I doubt that he had much of an organization in place - a few half-organized companies perhaps. Throughout the late summer and fall of 1861 Watie's unit is referred to as a battalion, meaning that he was still short of a regiment, but obviously had several companies ready for duty. Interestingly, it was only after the Arkansas State Troops brigade of General N. B. Pearce had been discharged (by mid-September 1861) that Watie managed to increase his force to a regiment. I don't think that was a coincidence.