Pike, Albert

Life Span
to
Full name
Albert Pike
Place of Birth
Burial Place
Birth Date Certainty
Exact
Death Date Certainty
Exact
Gender
Male
Race
White
Sectional choice
South
Origins
Free State
No. of Spouses
1
No. of Children
10
Family
Benjamin Pike (father), Sarah Andrews (mother), Mary Ann Hamilton (wife)
Occupation
Politician
Businessman
Educator
Journalist
Other
Relation to Slavery
White non-slaveholder
Political Parties
Whig
American Party (Know Nothings or Nativists)
Other Affiliations
Masons
Nativists (Know Nothings)
Military
US military (Pre-Civil War)
Confederate Army

Albert Pike (American National Biography)

Scholarship
Pike's ties to the Indians led to the events that transformed his life. At the outbreak of the Civil War he was named commissioner of Indian affairs for the Confederacy. He succeeded in winning most of the Arkansas tribes over to the Confederacy, and, after being commissioned brigadier general, he organized and armed several Indian regiments. In early March 1862, over his objection that the Indians had agreed to fight only in defense of their territory, Pike's regiments were ordered to take part in a Confederate offensive. On 7 March, during the battle of Pea Ridge, in northwestern Arkansas, the Indians mutilated some Union dead, an infamy that haunted Pike for the rest of his life. On 15 March 1862, the Boston Evening Transcript doubted that "a more venomous reptile than Albert Pike ever crawled the face of the earth."

Pike, meanwhile, became embroiled in controversy closer to home. On 31 July 1862, confronted with an order to release his units to another command, he published an open letter to the Indians in which he announced his resignation and indicted the Confederacy for neglecting its treaty obligations. Jefferson Davis accused Pike of treason. In November Pike's commanding officer, Major General Thomas C. Hindman, sent 200 soldiers to arrest him, but as the Confederate position in the West collapsed, Pike was released.
Mark C. Carnes, "Pike, Albert," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/05/05-00614.html.
How to Cite This Page: "Pike, Albert," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, https://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/12846.