When the Civil War started, he volunteered to protect Chief John Ross. After learning he would have to fight for the South, he, along with his friend, David Tadpole , turned and went home, refusing to fight against the treaty the Cherokee had with the United States. On July 11, 1862, he enlisted with the third regiment of the Indian Home Guard under Colonel Phelps and served for three years on the side of the Union, mustering out on May 3, 1864.
Though disabled during the war, he was still able to manage a 30 acre farm afterward. He was educated in the public schools of the Cherokee Nation and could speak and read both Cherokee and English. He often served as an interpreter for Cherokee Nation citizens who could not speak English. He was listed on the Final Dawes Roll as Cherokee by blood as a full blood.
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