Monday, November 1, 2010
A Friend To The Indians
Douglas Hancock Cooper was born in Amite County Mississippi, November 1st 1815 the son of David Cooper a Baptist minister. He went to the University of Virginia from 1832 until 1834. Not caring for studying, Cooper went back home to take up farming. He married Mary Collins and they had seven children. In 1844 Cooper was elected to the Mississippi State Legislature. When the Mexican American War started he raised a regiment of the 1st Mississippi Rifles. President Franklin Pierce appointed Cooper as a federal agent to the Choctaw Indians, and he help remove them to the Indian Territory.
When the Civil War began Cooper chose to side with the Confederacy. He raised what would be know as the 1st Choctaw and Chickasaw Mounted Rifles. Cooper was made their Colonel and given brigade command. He led troops at the Battle of Elkhorn Tavern, and Honey Springs. He was promoted to Brigadier General in 1863 and given military command of the Indian Territory. During Confederate General Sterling Price’s second invasion of Missouri in 1864, Cooper commanded the “Indian Brigade”.
When the Civil War ended Cooper persisted in living in the Indian territory where he helped the Chickasaw and Choctaw with their claims against the United States Government. Cooper died April 29th 1879 at Fort Washita, Bryan County Oklahoma. He was buried at the old fort in an unmarked grave.