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BORN: 1809 in Boston, MA.
DIED: 1891 in District of Columbia.
HIGHEST RANK ACHIEVED: Brigadier General (Resigned in November 1862)
Albert Pike was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 29, 1809. When he was small, his family moved to Newburyport, Massachusetts, where he was educated. Pike taught in various schools until 1831, when he went out west to Independence, Missouri. There he joined hunters and traders headed for Santa Fe, New Mexico, then went on another expedition into the Staked Plain of New Mexico and Texas. In 1833, he was in Arkansas, where he worked as a schoolteacher. At 300 lbs., he was a physically imposing man. He became a poet, lawyer, planter and newspaper publisher. Pike was a Whig, and stood opposed to Arkansas' secession, but accepted it once the Confederacy was formed. Pike had made many contacts among Native American tribal leaders, and had helped the Creeks and other tribes obtain $800,000 in a long court battle with the federal government. This made him a clear choice for Confederate envoy to the Native Americans, and he was able to convince many Indian leaders to support the Confederacy. On October 7, 1861, he negotiated a treaty with the Chief John Ross of the Cherokee Nation, which provided more generous terms than the treaties with the United States for members of the "Five Civilized Tribes": Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole. Commissioned a brigadier general on August 15, 1861, he began training three Confederate regiments of Native Americans. Pike's troops fought victoriously at the Battle of Pea Ridge, but were routed by a Union counterattack. Unable to reassemble his troops, he contributed to the Confederate defeat. Later, the Union claimed that the Native Americans had scalped some of the dead or wounded soldiers on the field. Pike's difficulties were made worse when he and Maj. Gen. Thomas C. Hindman, commander of the Trans-Mississippi District, exchanged charges related to shady handling of money and materials. Hindman ordered that Pike be arrested, but Pike escaped into the hills of Arkansas and eluded a court-martial. His resignation was accepted on November 11, 1862. After the Civil War ended, Pike went back to practicing law, and was a national spokesperson for Freemasonry. Pike died in the District of Columbia, on April 2, 1891.